China – 1; The West – 0

What made the US such a formidable factor in WWII was the size of its economy, its underutilized assets, and the ability of government to effectively organize it. It was a war not won by valour or brilliant tactics or clever code-breaking, as glamorous, inspiring, or important as those things were. The war  in Europe, especially, was a war of attrition, with the Soviet Union slowly grinding up half of Germany’s military might in the east, while the US relentlessly chipped away from the west. Germany fought on, enduring inconceivable punishment without surrender, until she had nothing left to fight with, until the Allies could finally claim victory over a wasteland of burnt-out cities and a defeated population. Continue reading

Government and Freedom – 2

If you haven’t watched the movie Atlas Shrugged, chances are you never will. You are not an acolyte of the novel’s author, and you’d probably find the story silly, or even offensive.

Yet the movie offers some imagery that is strangely compelling. A world of confident, intelligent people leading great organizations doing awesome things? A world of clearly-defined, timeless principles? Where human action, if governed by a simple morality, creates a background to life of beauty and utility, that inspires as well as serves?

If there are compelling reasons for the willing suspension of disbelief that is essential to the dramatic arts, many people have found them here. Continue reading

Battle Declined

The President of the United States went to a funeral this week, to express his condolences for those killed in an explosion at the West Fertilizer Company, most of them first responders battling a fire that apparently caused several thousand pounds of ammonium nitrate to detonate, demolishing homes and schools in the area and leaving a crater in the ground nearly one hundred feet in diameter.

If the firefighters had known about the ammonium nitrate, their priority almost certainly would have been to organize an evacuation. But they did not know. Continue reading

The Arrogance of Revenge

“He said…the usual rubbish, talking about God again, that whatever wrong he had done on His behalf, he would like to be forgiven.”

The violence, and the drama, have ended.

The shock is dissipating. The crime scenes will be restored to normalcy, the blood will be cleansed away, and the memories will slowly fade into old news items, like Newtown, Aurora, and Columbine. People will ask why, but, finding no real answer, will forget, except for lobbyists and politicians and religious leaders, who will invoke a great and beautiful city in sermons and speeches and position papers, to illustrate an evil only they can correct, if people will just listen and accept their nostrums, or pass their legislation. Continue reading