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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The World's First ICBM: A Real Attention-Getter!

 

 
 
Friends, this week's Newsmaker Show will blow your mind -- if it doesn't blow you away entirely.

First, Brian and I talk current events, including the well-scripted but ultimately insubstantial Democratic National Convention.  Brian and I also speculate on who will really be running the country, should Biden prevail in November.  In addition, we discuss the first few speeches at the RNC, and why this week is a golden opportunity for the Republicans to make polling gains.  We also cover the Dems' obsession with the postal service and their desire for mail-in ballots.  It appears they're playing a "long game" that involves counting and counting and counting (under the supervision of several thousand lawyers, of course) in November/December that leads, ultimately, to a victory for their side.  If Republicans are left feeling cheated, well, the Left can put up with that.  Winning is the bottom line.

In "This Day in History," Brian and I talk about the chaotic Democratic National Convention of 1968, held, as far as most historians are concerned, in the mean streets of Mayor Daley's Chicago.  We also ponder the presidency and legacy of LBJ, one of the greatest champions of big government in American history.  In addition, we cover the dawn of the age of the ICBM, in 1957, which altered the strategic balance in the Cold War permanently, and lastly we even make a nod towards the Battle of Tannenberg, which prevented a quick Allied victory in World War I.

Don't even think about not tuning in this week.  Our missiles are target-locked on your location!  Don't make us start a countdown...

 
***
 
In other news, check out this story on a professor placed on "administrative leave" for blaming China's communist government for the global pandemic.  Was his rhetoric inflammatory?  You bet.  Would a professor similarly be accused of "xenophobia" if he, say, claimed that the President of the United States was a Russian stooge?  Of course not.  "Bigotry, hate, and intolerance" are all good, as long as they serve the Left.  For shame.
 

25 comments:

  1. "BIGOTRY, HATE AND INTOLERANCE" coming to us since 1848. Thank you so much Karl Marx.

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  2. Dr.Waddy from Jack: Hooray for Elvis. I loved the Beatles but I strongly disliked Lennon. I think he was a cynical ,sour minded dreamer with a completely wrong headed and ultimately for him, ironic compassion for criminals. He was a symbol and to some extent the substance of the silly,profoundly ungracious and ungrateful youthful stupidity of the late '60's. I never realized that the Russian had launched the first ICBM in 1957 though I know they were working on boostersmore powerful than ours due in part to their backwardness in miniaturizing electronics. I don't remember it making big news then and I attended an elementary school which paid close attention to current events. I know it was years before the US public saw any pictures of Soviet boosters or manned vehicles. Sputnik: that was very big news in 1957 and I can see now how, in combination with knowledge at some level ,of the Soviet ICBM , it caused such consternation.

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  3. Dr.Waddy from Jack : Allow me to offer the view of one who grew up with the verity of communist puissance and the impossibility of it's demise short of WWIII. Solidarity and the great Lech Walesa brought the first dawning of the realization that the unimaginable had happened: somehow the Soviet monster had been successfully defied. Hungary '56, Czechslovakia '68: we knew all about them; the massive Soviet naval buildup, that too. When I was initially astounded was when the Hungarians actually outlawed the communist party in, I think, '89. For those of my age these were developments beyond imagination. And when the Soviets actually tolerated the reunification of Germany ( though on that alone I cannot in any way gainsay Russian revulsion at this forced necessity- Germany had done them more wrong than had any nation another within easily recalled memory by many millions) I thought I had entered Dreamland! Had I gone into a coma in 1987 and emerged in 1994 to be told that world communism, even in the USSR, had collapsed ( even in China , in which the process,though well underway, was less apparent), I would have exclaimed " OK , how many millions were killed in WWIII? The truth would have been almost beyond belief for those of my provenance.

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  4. Dr.Waddy from Jack: Our fear of world communism was NOT, as feckless Jimmy Carter declared and then recanted "inordinate". A system more sociopathic, wrong headed and at one time, more clearly bent on world domination than that cannot be credibly cited. Had the Nazis taken Britain, maybe them but Churchill, an essential anticommunist by the way, saw to that. Believe me, to me the most miraculous developments of my early boomer life were the fall of communism and space exploration (except of course, of fantastic medical advances).

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  5. Dr.Waddy from Jack: Thanx so much for that view of the Battle of Tannenberg; I' ve never looked at it that way.OK: the Russians win and they thrust further into Germany and that would of course have taken many , many German troops from the "Western Front" as it were, to confront semiasiatic Russian horde. What then? Would
    Britain and France have purposed Germany's defeat and occupation? Perhaps not: the "Great Game" of the 19th century had been Russia vs Britain and "Triple Entente" notwithstanding, the Brits might have been loathe to admit the Cossack into central Europe. And the defeat of Axis leaning Turkey would have given much feared Imperial Russian access to the Mediterranean and the Brits didn't want that threat to India. Also, of course, Russian victory might have short circuited the Bolshevik takeover and the consequences of that would have been very good! How extensive would allied victory in 1914 have been? Would it have motivated the developments traceable to the Versailles Treaty? I think not. The Germans would have expelled the Russian horde, which lacked the vindictive motivation the Red Army had in WWII. And the Western Allies? Well, Clemenceau had hated the boche since 1870 but could he have carried draconian terms after only a few months of war? As you say,Tannenberg might have had very wide reaching consequences!

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  6. Dr. Waddy et Al from Jack: The left of course is thoroughly discredited, dialectically, in any of their presumptuous accusations of a myriad of"isms" they assume to be condemnatory upon very accusation itself. Yes,they still can do massive damage with their casual assertions, now completely devoid of intrinsic definition and intellectual integrity.But I guffaw at their obsequious and typically totalitarian defense of "communist China". My guess is the Chinese say" yeah, ok you useful idiots, you who we would swiftly takein hand were you ever to be under our rule, go ahead and work mischief the like of which we are well acquainted! You are helping us but not in the way you naively assume." I think China may well be one of the most anticommunist nations ever now. They suffered it, did they ever and they are fully aware of the prosperity they have earned since they wisely denounced it, in their way.

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  7. Ray, Marx has a lot to answer for. Since, however, I trust he's roasting on a spit somewhere, what you and I think of him is probably the least of his worries!

    Jack, Sputnik was launched atop a rocket that was, for all intents and purposes, the same as the first ICBM. I think we were understandably skeptical of such Soviet claims, until they proved themselves with that infernal "Beep! Beep!"

    I agree re: Lennon. The Beatles were terrible exemplars for our youth.

    How right you are that the peaceful end of the Cold War came as a profoundly pleasant surprise to untold millions! As I've said before, the fact that we navigated MAD successfully I can more or less understand. That we navigated the communist bloc's fitful demise is, however, something akin to a miracle. Russia easily could have taken us with her in her death throes.

    Out of curiosity, which medical advances of your lifetime, Jack, have most impressed you? I suppose my generation takes virtual immortality (I exaggerate slightly) for granted.

    Much of what you say about Tannenberg seems plausible, Jack, but remember -- the Ottomans waited until October to join the fray. With a Russian victory at Tannenberg, I suspect they would have stayed out of it. The Austrians might have wavered too. I think you're right that Germany wouldn't have been wiped out, but it would have been humbled! And yes, no Bolshevism to worry about, plus a whole lot more monarchs safe on their thrones...

    Jack, interesting point that the Chinese may be among the most anti-communist of the world's people. I dunno. The gulf between theory and practice in China is so vast! I guess one could say the same of the Soviet Union for much of its existence too -- even there capitalism and "greed" flourished, under the table, of course. In a very real sense, no one sane has ever been a TRUE communist. That would require the abnegation of the self. Rather uncommon.

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  8. Dr.Waddy: Medical miracles: For me the polio vaccine stands out. I was among the first to get it. I could tell it was a big deal but I had no understanding of the enervating dread for their children which polio engendered in our parents. I think probably until some time in first half of the 20th century most people endured some kind of chronic pain and that has been much alleviated. In library school in the '70's we were taught that the medical field was the most advanced in information acquisition,dissemination and application. The computer, the most important development in information technology since the printing press, has enabled medical progress right out of Star Trek. I have had much reason to rejoice at this miracle lately. I'm fascinated by history and I'd love a chanceto go back and see some of it. But I would not stay; medical care was a fearful ordeal and the extensive freedom from that terrorwe now enjoy is beyond reckoning.

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  9. Dr.Waddy from Jack: Ithink the Chinese very affirmatively rejected Marxism after the lead of Teng Hsiao Ping; they were greatly aided by China's essential mastery of entrepreneurship and its solid work ethic. Everybody in the USSR knew communism was a tragic mistake but the regime persisted with the charade until it imploded. Cynicism was rife and hard work was anathematized and the effect of that persisted perhaps to this day.

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  10. Well said, Jack! Like I mentioned, much of this is taken for granted by my generation. I also don't cotton to stories of medical marvels like some people do. I never had an inclination to be a healer of any kind. You're absolutely right, though, that the quality of life and length of life that we enjoy today is due largely to medical advances -- but also, of course, to basic sanitation and other improvements. One might say, in fact, that our medical system has almost become TOO effective, in the sense that now, when people die, it comes as an unpleasant surprise! Come on, people. We're still mortal...

    Jack, sure, China has become entrepreneurial, but the flip side of that is that Marxist doctrine is still taught and, I suppose, honored there. How exactly do the Chinese square the one with the other? That I don't know.

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  11. Dr. Waddy from Jack: From my undergraduate only knowledge of China I can only suggest: China's history presents evidence of harmonious contradictions ( yin and yang if you will). Yes ,there was a heirarchy ranging from the Son of Heaven, who reigned but did not exercise total control, to the patriarchical local clan which governed the everyday lives of most in that essentially agricultural land, yet with " Confucian" verities accepted reflexively for their proven worth. There was a vital dichotomy at work there which is understandably difficult for "either or" westerners to comprehend. But in it may be found some guidance on current Chinese dualism. Perhaps to them , the superficial deference yet paid to marxism is recognized for the endurable necessity that it is in an orderly transition from the frantic,inhuman ( and yes, western imposed) ANOMALY of the age of Mao, back to deep,essential China. Chinese history shows many periods ( eg the spasmodic" legalism" of the first Chinese emperor or the brief rule of the Mongols) of relatively brief departures from essential CHINA. This may be just another one and the duality is to be endured for a time, that's all.

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  12. Heady analysis here, Jack! You're right, though, that China, as an historical phenomenon, transcends Marxism completely. China will long outlast the Chinese Communist Party. Pray tell, though, what is the "essential China"? "Harmonious contradictions" baffle me, as a concrete Western thinker. Is the essence of China collectivism? If so, then I suppose communism isn't entirely a bad fit.

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  13. Dr.Waddy from Jack: Last things first: is the essence of China collectivism? The first Chinese Emperor ,Chin Shih Huang ti,imposed the system of Legalism on his hard won empire (approx. later third century BC) and it flew like a lead balloon. It required draconian adherence to centrally set laws with zero tolerance for any offense. And an already 1000 year old culture, with its values recently codified by Confucius, threw it off after the tyrant was gone and embraced the first great lasting dynasty, the affirmatively Chinese Han. After that there was central government of a sort but probably most Chinese didn't even know it existed. Their government in all matters was local: the clan and the father. China is a deep (long lived and proven) civilization but certainly not changeless ( my Chinese geography Prof bristled at the concept of "changeless" China). Certainly, due in part to to modern communication and transportation, China's governance is more centralized today but the extremity of control purposed in the relatively brief communist ordeal was renounced. That is very evident in their entrepreneurial reawakening, which could not have been without the release of the artificial bonds of frivolous marxist doctrine and their return to the pursuit of individual gain which , hand in hand with their almost incomparable work ethic, inspires their formidable economy. So, I don't think collectivism to be part of their essence. I'll opine more on "essential China" presently, with the caveat that mine is no expert view.

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  14. Interesting, Jack. Your answer doesn't surprise me. It's a crude generalization to suggest that "Orientals" are incapable of individualism or originality. And, before the modern era, no country was as centralized and highly regulated as we are now -- for one thing, it simply wasn't logistically or technologically possible. You almost imply a tradition of Chinese "federalism". I should like to know more about that.

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  15. Dr. Waddy from Jack: I'd suggest we consider the institution of the mandarinate. It was assumed that wise men would govern justly ,without being bound by set laws,according to creditable consideration of individual circumstances. Mandarins were intensely educated and had to prove so by passing an incredibly demanding civil service exam. Their authority derived from national regime but they handled matters no more local than, say, a county executive today. Most of criminal and civil administration and justice was administered circumstantially by the clan and by father's (who could at will marry off their daughters and put unfilial sons to death). Most Chinese would experience the will of the yamen, the office of the mandarin, only when summons was made for labor or soldiers. It was inadvisable for them to sue to the yamen. Our federalism is, I think, a relationship between formal political entities. Clearly traditional China embraced a high degree of local control while also embodying a central Nexus of sovereignty in the Son of Heaven, the emperor. Perhaps this was closer to feudalism than it was to federalism. Dr. Waddy you will disagreewith me if you think it fit but I would say also to anyone else possessing more than my undergraduate knowledge of China, I would welcome your criticism of what I've said.

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  16. Dr. Waddy: I'll respond soon to your question on essential China.

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  17. Dr.Waddy from Jack: By essential China I mean that entity defined by the following characteristics (and many others way beyond my ken; I know a very respected and devoted China scholar whose Chinese father in law once said to him"there are times when I think you don't understand us"): the certainty of China's continuing and historical greatness as a matter of fact for which they see no need for apology; the certainty that there are moral verities reflecting, in the main, long enduring Confucian and fundamental Taoist (not magical Taoist) values which are not unchanging and some western influences are accepted but China is yet well fortified against moral relativism and (the hellish marxist experiment in social engineering notwithstanding) the insanity of using the detached musings of such as a 19th century dreamer as motivation for thoroughgoing forced change of a proven civilization; conviction that China's intermittent periods of sometimes catastrophic dissolution are yet ultimately bizarre interludes only ; the conviction that China's is a long since demonstrated practical, workable and reasonably flexible modus vivendi and operandi and finally(for me) , the unique history of the oldest civilization in today's world.

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  18. Dr.Waddy from Jack: Please indulge my addition to the above list of essentials of China: the conviction that hard work is rewarding and necessary for the integrity of the civilization and that fealty to this principle is indicative of a personality to be credited and respected. I saw this first hand (though also in myriad public settings even up to today) but particularly with my ethnic Chinese room mate at universityin Singapore. He said " I cannot fail" not as a boast but as a grateful recognition that his extended family had painfully pooled their physically hard earned resources to send him to academia. That is very similar to the efforts made by communities in historical China to send promising youth to training and trial for the mandarinate. He studied at least twelve hours a day, subjecting all us Americans to shame. He was taking "Intermediate English" but his economics course required him to read the Samuelson economics text which bedeviled so many American students, in English! He could and did hack it and I have no doubt he subsequently and consequentially did his family , his culture and himself, most proud.

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  19. Dr.Waddy from Jack: In addition if you will : the knowledge required of candidates for the mandarinate was heavily concentrated on the humanities ( they were bound to execute FAULTLESS calligraphy; a careless stroke could concemn them to failure and consequent suicide was not uncommon).It was judged that intellectuality of the sort suggested by sophistication in the humanities was indicative of executive wisdom.

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  20. Jack, thanks for the primer on ye olde China. That makes a lot of sense. The modern state, with its unending demands and constant oversight, must have been unimaginable to the Chinese in bygone times, just as it would have been to Westerners! Aside from making war, most pre-modern states left people alone the vast majority of the time. I suppose, when religion became a political issue, things may have gotten a bit more hairy. And I see what you mean about feudalism. China sounds like a land dominated by traditional, patriarchal authorities. Federalism is something quite different, but it does have this in common with feudalism: it emphasizes the importance of real human connections, at the local level, instead of bureaucracy run amok.

    Seems like what you mean by the "essential China" is, to a large extent, a faith in China's exceptionalism. We Americans can relate to that. But when you say that there is this Confucian anchor to Chinese culture/morality, I must confess I have little concept of what that means. You mention work ethic. Well, that's a noble tradition here as well -- but, well, times change... Surely they do in China too? I imagine communism must have fostered a few layabouts.

    I don't mean to poke holes in your formulations. I only want to understand better. And, I suppose, as a historian and as a cynic, I am always a little dubious at the notion of an "essential" anything!

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  21. Dr.Waddy from Jack: I welcome your criticism!I am schooled by your doubts about the use of "essential"; it was presumptuous of me to use it; I'm not an expert and it may well be unreasonable to apply a term as absolute as "essential" to anything as complex as a three thousand year old civilization. "Salient,established characteristics" might more appropriate. I would recommend a good encyclopedia style summary of Confucian principles as a better account than I could render. I see their strength in their enduring practical value in a very pragmatic culture (yes, some are out of date perhaps but together they still provide a sturdy framework , perhaps asJudaeo-Christianity does for us but without it's metaphysical aspects). It's telling that the marxists made a grimly hilarious effort to "struggle against Confucius and Lin Piao". Fat chance! I mean the Confucius part: Lin Piao was a good general and all but... In my opinion , the Chinese live their work ethic far more faithfully than we do. The Chinese student roommate I had was typical I think. A Chinese family we have in our little town runs a restaurant and works seven days a week. Chinese cities hum with intense labor and enterprise day and night in my experience. The certainty of the virtue of productivity is, I, think, very widespread in their culture and provides them a strong moral barrier against doctrines which hold that prosperity is due only to undue privilege.

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  22. Dr. Waddy from Jack: Yes, I do believe in American and Chinese exceptionalism.

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  23. Well said, Jack. As I've opined before, though, there's something bitterly toxic about Western popular culture these days, to one's work ethic and to one's moral sense more broadly -- so, I feel certain that, if the Chinese continue to drive Buicks and watch MTV, sooner or later they will be as lazy and entitled as we are! Prove me wrong, China! :)

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  24. Dr. Waddy from Jack: As for westerners; our work ethic is very much compromised by boomer moral relativity, union detached hostility to the realities of the venture capitalism which funded their workplaces and of course marxist dissembling at every step in our political economy. From what I hear the Chinese are, unforgivably, embracing their newfound blessed prosperity but they have a long to go yet before they reach our level of public supported debauchery and consequent (yes) airy openness to inhuman marxist seduction ( as ironic as it is to say that).

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  25. A fair point, Jack -- we in the West may be more "Marxist" in our worldview than the "communist" Chinese. Certainly the widespread support for BLM would indicate as much.

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