The 20th Century gave one of the most powerful historical lessons for America and the world: After the ruling class lost its moral authority and led its country into inflation, unemployment, and conspiracy beliefs, one of the most advanced, industrialized, and artistic nations was led into violence and bloody folly.
I hope the first half of that doesn’t strike close to home.
The argument about history being made by vast impersonal forces or the effect of individuals was given a profound case history in the person of a man who personally led this nation into fire and ruin. Impersonal forces dictated that something happen, but the course was set by one man and his inner circle.
These twelve years showed that some of the brightest and most industrious folk in the World could be made eager to lay down their consciences and doubts to follow a charismatic speaker. That they did abandon even their self-interest to follow their new emperor is undoubted. That his moral certainty seduced men and women across the globe is certain. That well-armed countries and armies were intimidated is demonstrated.
The leader and his European opponent are the best case study for the existence and limitations of Grand Strategy that I know. Many millions of lives were sacrificed to this lesson.
And yet, we are programmed to ignore this by the saying that ‘The first person to mention Hitler loses the argument!’
This programming is observed by all of us, yet I almost never hear anybody cavil against it. That is powerful programming.
Actually, I may be describing Hitler, Napoleon, or someone yet to come.
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I’ve been watching the British ‘quiz show’ QI. I am fascinated. The ‘facts’ are trash. They are about as accurate and comprehensive as the old ‘Hollywood Squares.’ They even make fun of their previous mistakes. Notably the number of Moons which the Earth has. On three different episodes they have been given three different answers.
QI lost the contestants and strategy of the game show. The panel was reduced to four with only one of them a regular member. To pique the interest of the audience there is a great deal of sophomoric humor about bodily functions and sex.
All that remains is programming. We are told the host is a polymath. Maybe, but the only way we know is that he has the cards with the answers and the panel defers to him. They have a regular panel member who is there precisely to be humiliated. [All totalitarian schools need a designated victim. This prevents any blame or ridicule from ending up directed at the authority figure.] When anyone answers a question with a common sense answer they are humiliated. The set flashes black and white, an alarm sounds, they forfeit their points, and they are quietly and humiliatingly admonished by the authority figure. Perhaps ‘arbiter’ is better. Arbitrary is the proper adjective for this authority. The panel grows hesitant to answer any question. They flinch before an obvious answer and are ready to accept nearly anything the authority tells them. Any answer can be rationalized by changing the definition. The subtext is actually ‘There is no truth.’ Woe to all who do not toe the politically correct line. The panel and, by extension, the audience are programmed.
I encourage you to find it on youtube to see a nice example of programming by television programming.