My minimum standard for considering America great again

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Abdul Alhazred
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My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:23 am

Certainly not anything any politician of any flavor is even talking about.

Not any pie in the sky crap about the "American dream" or something expensive involving outer space, but something that was once routinely possible in my lifetime. :oldman:

Not anything that anyone at the time would have said is what makes America great, because they took it for granted.

I want to go to the airport, buy a ticket on a domestic flight, and get on a plane. Just like that and no nonsense about showing ID (let alone being searched), just as it might be getting on a city bus.

Of course even back then the authorities reserved the right to stop and search you in certain cases, but it was not considered normal routine.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Poodle » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:26 am

It's that word 'again' which might produce problems.

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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by ElectricMonk » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:50 am

Universal, mandatory Conscription
Alternatively some form of Community Service for those with bonespurs.

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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:28 am

Abdul Alhazred wrote:
I want to go to the airport, buy a ticket on a domestic flight, and get on a plane. Just like that and no nonsense about showing ID (let alone being searched), just as it might be getting on a city bus.

Of course even back then the authorities reserved the right to stop and search you in certain cases, but it was not considered normal routine.
I flew TWA back to the US in 1974. Being used to PanAm I was rather disappointed in the TWA overall. So I switched my return ticket to PanAm when I was ready to go back to Sicily.

This meant:

A young man
Traveling alone
One-way ticket
Bought on short notice.

Can you guess? Yep, I was profiled. Two airport security guys intercepted me when I checked in for the flight. (No doubt there was a high sign flashed, but I wasn't looking for it so I didn't see it.) They asked me to come with them and lead me to the stairwell where they frisked me. Being clean they lead me back out to the waiting area. (They came with me to show the crew that they were cool with me, I think.) At that point I decided to have a little fun. My parents had brought me to the airport.

"Hey, Mom, I'm not a hijacker!"

Mom was cool.

"Are they sure, you look suspicious to me!"

The security guys were blushing furiously by that time and beat a retreat.

I was okay with all that, I'd rather be frisked to make sure I'm legit than be thrown out of the airplane dead, like that SEAL around about this time.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:54 pm

1973 was the year screening started.

Damn! I keep forgetting how old I am.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:58 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:1973 was the year screening started.

Damn! I keep forgetting how old I am.
People could be "flagged" before that, but there was no consistent set of procedures in place.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by scrmbldggs » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:58 pm

I'd like to be able to communicate by phone or any electronic means again without having the niggling feeling that someone could be secretly having access to that - just because they can.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Gord » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:26 pm

Well-paying jobs which don't require college degrees that don't even get used on job.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by scrmbldggs » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:46 pm

:hmm: I kept thinking of the single family income that, in many cases, was quite sufficient, but then, it's pretty much "Not anything that anyone at the time would have said is what makes America great, because they took it for granted.".
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:48 pm

scrmbldggs wrote::hmm: I kept thinking of the single family income that, in many cases, was quite sufficient, but then, it's pretty much "Not anything that anyone at the time would have said is what makes America great, because they took it for granted.".
When I was a senior in high school one of my friends said rather fervently "If I can just make ten thousand a year!" Car, house, wife, kids, and some money stashed in the bank.

He died two years later in Vietnam.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by landrew » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:42 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:Certainly not anything any politician of any flavor is even talking about.

Not any pie in the sky crap about the "American dream" or something expensive involving outer space, but something that was once routinely possible in my lifetime. :oldman:

Not anything that anyone at the time would have said is what makes America great, because they took it for granted.

I want to go to the airport, buy a ticket on a domestic flight, and get on a plane. Just like that and no nonsense about showing ID (let alone being searched), just as it might be getting on a city bus.

Of course even back then the authorities reserved the right to stop and search you in certain cases, but it was not considered normal routine.
I'd be happy just to have someone discuss the "less freedom for more security" bargain that was struck on our behalf after Nine-Eleven.
I can't say I hold out much hope; society has become mildly hysterical about all matters of safety nowadays.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Gord » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:43 am

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
scrmbldggs wrote::hmm: I kept thinking of the single family income that, in many cases, was quite sufficient, but then, it's pretty much "Not anything that anyone at the time would have said is what makes America great, because they took it for granted.".
When I was a senior in high school one of my friends said rather fervently "If I can just make ten thousand a year!" Car, house, wife, kids, and some money stashed in the bank.

He died two years later in Vietnam.
Lucky bastard.
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"Imagine an ennobling of what could be" -- the New Age BS Generator site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:34 am

Even though I am not religious, I can appreciate a few choice bits out of the bible. One is about being great.

" Let he who would be greatest be servant of all. "

True greatness comes from serving. If the USA as a country wishes to be great, it must prove itself to be a servant to humankind. It has not, and it is not. Nor has it shown any signs of ever becoming that in the future.

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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by landrew » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:52 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Even though I am not religious, I can appreciate a few choice bits out of the bible. One is about being great.

" Let he who would be greatest be servant of all. "

True greatness comes from serving. If the USA as a country wishes to be great, it must prove itself to be a servant to humankind. It has not, and it is not. Nor has it shown any signs of ever becoming that in the future.
I still think there's a grain of truth in all things, even the babblings of an idiot. The bible is no exception.
For Trump however, I'm close to making an exception.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by fromthehills » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:06 pm

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too.
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make a heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!

Kipling

My minimum.

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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by scrmbldggs » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:27 pm

:hmm: That reminds me of another one: Never to see or hear from that other Rudy again.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by landrew » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:52 pm

scrmbldggs wrote::hmm: That reminds me of another one: Never to see or hear from that other Rudy again.
I doubt Rudy Guiliani ever read it, but if he had, he'd probably think it was a detailed criticism of himself.
Or his boss, Trump.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by fromthehills » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:57 am

landrew wrote:
scrmbldggs wrote::hmm: That reminds me of another one: Never to see or hear from that other Rudy again.
I doubt Rudy Guiliani ever read it, but if he had, he'd probably think it was a detailed criticism of himself.
Or his boss, Trump.
I also doubt it. But he’d be right. I mean it as a direct criticism of them.

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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Gord » Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:54 am

Hi, fromthehills! :wave: Where the hell ya been?
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"Imagine an ennobling of what could be" -- the New Age BS Generator site
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Austin Harper » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:15 pm

The hills, presumably.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:27 pm

Austin Harper wrote:The hills, presumably.
A natural high.

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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by montgomery » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:41 am

The biggest chore in making America great again is raising the boats of the ordinary working people. And the biggest factor that is holding that back right now is Trump's duped base believing that it can still happen and Trump is good for his promises.

But in any case, making America great in that way is now quite impossible. Sure, the income inequality can be levelled out and that will help for a while, but there's no permanent cure. The global economy which Trump thinks he can dick around with, is not going to allow the good times to come back. Harder working people than Americans, and much more productive too, are glad to go home at the end of their workday with a couple of bucks and a cup of rice for the wife and kids.

There's a fix! Eliminate the competition so that the world's wealth can be stolen and horded by America. All it's going to take is a war against Russia and China because economic sanctions just aren't going to work for Trump. Plans have already been drawn up and implemented for the world's petroleum resources! Shades of 1930's Germany, hmmmmm?

Just one small problem to reckon with though! China and other countries need oil too.

Then that leaves us with MAD. (mutually assured destruction) So start thinking outside of the box. Glass parking lots are a cheap alternative to pavement!

I hope that gets us back on topic about America getting great!

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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by scrmbldggs » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:13 am

No luck herding the cats in the HD subforum so you have to try here, eh.



Hey, everyone, meet our new mod*, monty. Making SSF great again. :lol:









* :no:
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by psychiatry is a scam » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:15 am

Kyle Y

aint gonna happen

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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:30 am

scrmbldggs wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:46 pm
:hmm: I kept thinking of the single family income that, in many cases, was quite sufficient, but then, it's pretty much "Not anything that anyone at the time would have said is what makes America great, because they took it for granted.".
There it is. I agree. But all it takes is for the rest of the world to be recovering from a World War where all productive capability was destroyed leaving America as Great. That and impliedly, is a male going to work and supporting a FANTASTIC NET, NET, NET lifestyle worth making women second class citizens? Ha ha.....my brain says no......my little bob says OH HELL YES!!!!!!!!

Pros and Cons to all we do..........even if not including the rest of the world.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by scrmbldggs » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:17 am

Pay her fairly, and she can be the single breadwinner. As so many moms already are - with two or more jobs... Also keep costs reasonable. :pardon:

But, as usual, it's more than that. A functioning and/or happy family raises a better future...
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:10 pm

Gawdzilla Sama wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:48 pm
scrmbldggs wrote::hmm: I kept thinking of the single family income that, in many cases, was quite sufficient, but then, it's pretty much "Not anything that anyone at the time would have said is what makes America great, because they took it for granted.".
When I was a senior in high school one of my friends said rather fervently "If I can just make ten thousand a year!" Car, house, wife, kids, and some money stashed in the bank.

He died two years later in Vietnam.
Well, there's a downer! I had a similar experience. In 1963, the son of some friends of my parents decided he would save me (a practicing Catholic) from the bonds of Hell. He told me the Church was the Great Deceiver and would be responsible for the condemnation of a lot of souls. But, he said, he could see clearly the life plan God had for him as a minister in the (Campbellite) Church of Christ. And he did become such a minister. And he died in an automobile crash in July of 1966, while en route to preach at his church.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin (“Molotov”)

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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:18 pm

Regarding the OP, I find historians tend to apply the epithet "Great" to leaders like Alexander of Macedon, Tsar Peter I, and Frederick II of Prussia, that is, leaders who got a lot of people killed in successful imperialistic wars. So, by those standards, what we need is an imperialistic war we can actually win. We haven't had one of those since the Spanish-American War at the end of the nineteenth century.

I have posted about this elsewhere, part of a long essay I wrote back in January 2017, so I won't duplicate that.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin (“Molotov”)

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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by landrew » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:06 pm

Greatness falls as standards fall. Education gives way to a free market that strives to get the attention of children away from learning the things they need to prepare them for life. A clueless public fixated on consumerism and entertainment, and unskeptical of what they are told may be good for business, but it's not good for the nation as a whole.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:19 pm

Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:18 pm
Regarding the OP, I find historians tend to apply the epithet "Great" to leaders like Alexander of Macedon, Tsar Peter I, and Frederick II of Prussia, that is, leaders who got a lot of people killed in successful imperialistic wars. So, by those standards, what we need is an imperialistic war we can actually win. We haven't had one of those since the Spanish-American War at the end of the nineteenth century.

I have posted about this elsewhere, part of a long essay I wrote back in January 2017, so I won't duplicate that.
How about a link to it?

times change. So "should" the definition of Great. I go total lib and suggest it should be the definition of "happiness." Some group has been measuring happiness/contentment by their metrics for some years now as in "concerned about the future" "pays too much in taxes" "fearful of getting old/sick" and then more objective standards like life expectancy, literacy, infant mortality, retirement age, home ownership, new business start ups and so forth. I think the Nordic countries lead the list, Switzerland on top too.......USA upper middle but continuing a slide.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:30 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:19 pm
Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:18 pm
Regarding the OP, I find historians tend to apply the epithet "Great" to leaders like Alexander of Macedon, Tsar Peter I, and Frederick II of Prussia, that is, leaders who got a lot of people killed in successful imperialistic wars. So, by those standards, what we need is an imperialistic war we can actually win. We haven't had one of those since the Spanish-American War at the end of the nineteenth century.

I have posted about this elsewhere, part of a long essay I wrote back in January 2017, so I won't duplicate that.
How about a link to it?

times change. So "should" the definition of Great. I go total lib and suggest it should be the definition of "happiness." Some group has been measuring happiness/contentment by their metrics for some years now as in "concerned about the future" "pays too much in taxes" "fearful of getting old/sick" and then more objective standards like life expectancy, literacy, infant mortality, retirement age, home ownership, new business start ups and so forth. I think the Nordic countries lead the list, Switzerland on top too.......USA upper middle but continuing a slide.
As it's a rather long essay, with some citations in French and Russian (translated afterward), I could put it into a series of posts. After seeing the first one, people may beg me to cease and desist. Don't hesitate to do that. Here's the first installment. (Remember, this was written just before Trump's inauguration.)

THE COST OF GREATNESS

...à mon sens, la France ne peut être la France sans la grandeur.

Général de Gaulle, Mémoires de Guerre, p. 5

(...in my mind, France cannot be France without greatness.)

"L'empéreur n'avait été pour son père que le bien-aimé capitaine qu'on admire et pour qui l'on se dévoue; il fut pour Marius quelque chose de plus. Il fut le constructeur prédestiné du groupe français succédant au groupe romain dans la domination de l'univers. Il fut le prodigieux architecte d'un écroulement, le continuateur de Charlemagne, de Louis XI, de Henri IV, de Richelieu, de Louis XIV et du comité de salut public, ayant sans doute ses taches, ses fautes, et même son crime, c'est-à-dire étant homme; mais auguste dans ses fautes, brillant dans ses taches, puissant dans son crime. Il fut l'homme prédestiné qui avait forcé toutes les nations à dire: — la grande nation. Il fut mieux encore; il fut l'incarnation même de la France, conquérant l'Europe par l'épée qu'il tenait et le monde par la clarté qu'il jetait. Marius vit en Bonaparte le spectre éblouissant qui se dressera toujours sur la frontière et qui gardera l'avenir. Despote, mais dictateur; despote résultant d'une république et résumant une révolution. Napoléon devint pour lui l'homme-peuple comme Jésus est l'homme-Dieu."

Victor Hugo, Les misérables, troisième partie, livre 3

(For his father, the emperor had been no more than the beloved military leader whom people admired and to whom they were devoted; for Marius, he was something more. He was the predestined founder of the French Empire that succeeded the Roman Empire in ruling the world. He was the stupendous architect of a collapse, the successor to Charlemagne, Louis XI, Henri IV, Richelieu, Louis XIV, and the Committee of Public Safety, having of course his blemishes, his faults, and even his crime, that is to say, being human; but he was dignified in his faults, spectacular in his blemishes, and mighty in his crime. He was the man of destiny who had compelled all nations to say: the great nation. He was yet more; he was the very personification of France, conquering Europe by the sword that he held and the world by the splendor that he radiated. Marius saw in Bonaparte the dazzling vision that will always appear on the horizon to possess the future. He was a despot, but also a dictator; a despot who arose from a republic and consolidated a revolution. For him, Napoleon became the incarnation of humanity, just as Jesus is the incarnation of God.)

"...faire à chaque instant éclorer au zénith des siècles des constellations de victoires, donner l'empire français pour pendant à l'empire romain, être la grande nation et enfanter la grande armée, faire envoler par toute la terre ses légions comme une montagne envoie de tous côtés ses aigles, vaincre, dominer, foudroyer, être en Europe une sorte de peuple doré à force de gloire, sonner à travers l'histoire une fanfare de titans, conquérir le monde deux fois, par la conquête et par l'éblouissement, cela est sublime; et qu'y a-t-il de plus grand?"

Victor Hugo, Les misérables, troisième partie, livre 4. (Speech by Marius Pontmercy)

(...to cause galaxies of victories to burst forth continually at the summit of the ages, to present the French Empire as the successor to the Roman Empire, to be the great nation and to create la grande armée, to send his legions soaring over all the world, as a mountain sends out its eagles in all directions, to conquer, to dominate, to devastate, to be in Europe a people gilded with glory, to sound down the corridors of history a fanfare of titans, to conquer the world twice, by force of arms and by splendor, that is sublime; what could be greater?)


Тогда, когда уже невозможно дальше растянуть столь эластичные нити исторических рассуждений, когда действие уже явно противно тому, что всё человечество называет добром и даже справедливостью, является у историков спасительное понятие о величии. Величие как будто исключает возможность меры хорошего и дурного. Для великого—нет дурного. Нет ужаса, который бы мог быть поставлен в вину тому, кто велик.

"C'est grand!"—говорят историки, и тогда уже нет ни хорошего, ни дурного, а есть "grand", и "не grand". Grand—хорошо, не grand—дурно. Grand[eur] есть свойство, по их понятиям, каких-то особенных существ, называемых ими героями. И Наполеон, убираясь в тёплой шубе домой от гибнувших не только товарищей, но (по его мнению) людей, им приведённых сюда, чувствует que c'est grand, и душа его покойна.
"Du sublime (он что-то sublime видит в себе) au ridicule il n'ya qu'un pas", говорит он. И весь мир 50 лет повторяет: Sublime! Grand! Napoléon le grand! Du sublime au ridicule il n'y a qu'un pas.

И никому в голову не придёт, что признание величия, неизмеримого мерой хорошего и дурного, есть только признание своей ничтожности и низмерной малости.

Для нас, с данною нам Христом мерой хорошего и дурного, нет неизмеримого. И нет величия там, где нет простоты, добра, и правды.
Л.Н. Толстой, Война и Мир, Том IV, Часть III, Глава XVII

(L.N. Tolstoy, War and Peace, Book IV, Part III, Chapter XVII)

(When it becomes impossible to stretch such elastic threads of historical reasoning any farther, when an action becomes manifestly opposed to that which all humanity regards as virtue and even justice, the saving concept of greatness arises among the historians. Greatness seems to exclude the possibility of any standard of right and wrong. For a great man, there is nothing evil. There is no enormity that could ever be charged against a man who is great.

"C'est grand!" say the historians, and then there is no longer right and wrong, only great and not great. Great is right; not great is wrong. Great[ness] is, in their view, a property possessed by particular beings whom they call heroes. And Napoleon, wearing a warm overcoat and fleeing homeward away from dying men who were not only his comrades but whom (as he thought) he had led to that place, had a sense of "que c'est grand," and there was peace in his soul.

"From the sublime (he sees something sublime in himself) to the ridiculous is but a single step," he says. And for 50 years, the whole world will be repeating, "Sublime! Great! Napoleon the Great!" From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a single step.

And it will never occur to anyone that to take greatness, which cannot be measured, as the standard of right and wrong is only a confession of one's own insignificance and wretched mediocrity.

For us, with the standard of right and wrong given to us by Christ, there is nothing that cannot be measured. And there is no greatness where there is no simplicity, virtue, and truth.)
Last edited by Upton_O_Goode on Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin (“Molotov”)

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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:41 pm

Why such a polyglot approach? Best only when a culture/language has an idea/concept that is not present in the selected language. I don't see that above.
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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:42 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:41 pm
Why such a polyglot approach? Best only when a culture/language has an idea/concept that is not present in the selected language. I don't see that above.
It's a personal quirk. When I hear a quotation in a language that I know, but translated into English, I can't rest until I find out what the original language was. Example: What does not kill me, makes me stronger (Nietzsche). Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker. Others probably find it distracting. Well, one doesn't have to read it, and has the option of reading only the translation. But Tolstoy and De Gaulle and Victor Hugo were all writing about "greatness," so I see no reason to exclude them just because they wrote in Russian and French (and both, in Tolstoy's case).

Since no one has told me to shut up, here's the rest of the essay. (All in English.)

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

(Slogan of the Donald Trump campaign in 2016, sewn into caps made in China, Bangladesh, and Viet Nam.)

I write these words in the immediate aftermath of the inauguration of America's first sociopathic President, still mystified at the magnitude of support he enjoys among my fellow citizens. The signs that the new President is a sociopath were apparent to everyone, and yet he was treated with respect by the press. Essentially ALL of the responsible leaders of the news media—every newspaper and magazine editor and every television commentator, including some of distinctly right-wing views, the only exceptions being the very dregs of the mass media (The National Enquirer, Sean Hannity, and the assassin of democracy who has spent a quarter-century convincing his followers that any compromise with the opposition is tantamount to treason and whom I shall simply refer to as Rash Limpjaw)—advised us in the strongest possible terms not to vote for this man. But they did so in polite, restrained terms. All of them refrained from speaking the obvious truth plainly: This man is an egomaniac who worships only himself. And millions of people whom I would ordinarily regard as decent human beings did vote for him, some of them sincere Christians who (incredibly) believed that this amoral playboy was a Christian. How could they miss the signs? Can anyone name ANY OTHER adult male in two centuries of public life in America, running for ANY office, who boasted of the size of his penis in front of an audience of millions of people? Has any other candidate for President ever recommended deliberately targeting the innocent families of enemy combatants? Surely, these are immediate clues that this man has the mentality of a 13-year-old playground bully. And saying that is an insult to 13-year-old playground bullies. One could adduce a hundred more examples of the same type, but let these two suffice.

The first example just given of his adolescent behavior speaks for itself. As for the second, anyone who gave this seriously-made suggestion a minute's thought would see that it is utterly impossible: If America were to commit this unforgivable crime against humanity, how would it proceed? In order to target those families, one would have to know who they are and where they are. If they are living in Saudia Arabia or Afghanistan, it will be virtually impossible to know those things. And how would they be targeted? With drone strikes? And if that were done, how would it help to combat terrorism? The argument takes no account of, first of all, the mentality of the terrorists themselves, who submit utterly to Allah and consider themselves authorized to commit their families to Allah's mercy. A threat to their family would have no effect on them at all. Second, it ignores the world-wide outrage that would result, leading to the recruiting of vast armies of potential martyrs and the loss of all support for the American cause among people who were once our allies. Only a very stupid 13-year-old would publicly commit himself to such a position, not having thought it through. It appears that millions of Americans are precisely that stupid, or that morally obtuse, or simply chose to overlook this monstrous proposal (which amounts to being morally obtuse, I regret to say).

Even worse than these examples of adolescent behavior and lack of self-control and prudence is the new President's penchant for stubbornly lying, inventing fantastic, impossible conspiracies against himself, and obstinately refusing to face any facts that displease him. In this behavior, he is far below the level of an adolescent. This is behavior that decent human beings outgrow at the age of four.

In the humane and balanced essay by Tolstoy above, which I have contrasted with the bombastic vacuity of the French writers, there is an attempt to debunk the shibboleth of greatness with which the other authors and (Tolstoy says) historians have attempted to excuse the appalling egotism of Napoleon. Tolstoy died before Hitler came to power, but he would certainly have recognized the same sociopathology in the latter. As is well known, that pathology, carefully hidden by brilliant propaganda, had no effect on the Germans of the 1930s. In their case, we can at least partially understand, but not excuse them. They didn't know the full truth about Hitler, as we know it about Trump. And they had recently undergone a vindictive persecution by the victorious powers in the Great War, having suffered from a blockade imposed by the British and continued even after the armistice, having been forced to pay ruinous reparations to the British and French, and having undergone catastrophic inflation and economic destitution as a result.

America has no such excuse. It has not been defeated and occupied; its recent economic troubles were mild compared with those suffered by the Germans in the 1920s and were in any case self-inflicted. Moreover, the economy has recovered over the past eight years. What justification can there be for stimulating the jingoistic nationalism of a people who have, for the past fifteen years, been shouting "USA! USA!" almost continuously? No people on earth are more in need of humility and less in need of pride than the present generation of Americans. No one has less to complain of; no one has EVER had less to complain of. And yet, a seething anger was aroused, not in the historians that Tolstoy talked about, but in the mass of ordinary Americans, who apparently think that democracy means that their views on economic and foreign policy make more sense than those of people who have spent a lifetime studying these subjects. That mass of people has risen up and placed a madman in charge of the American government. He is, beyond a doubt, the most vicious, vindictive President ever, supplanting even Andrew Jackson in that regard.
Where will this lead? What would greatness mean in an America led by Donald Trump?

The French have given us two good examples, in the quotations above. France's attempt to restore its greatness after World War II led to the horrible massacre of November 23, 1946, in which the French, using American-supplied weapons, attempted to pacify the rebellious Vietnamese by killing 6000 of them in Haiphong. The eventual outcome of that atrocity is well known. In 1954, after the French were finally compelled to leave by military disasters, America chose to take over the enterprise of choosing the government of Viet Nam and found that even a superpower did not have the strength to subdue a small country inured to hardship. What it did have was the ability to inflict unconscionable damage on people with whom America had no legitimate cause to quarrel. The result was 57,000 American soldiers dead and probably ten times that many Vietnamese, to say nothing of the permanently injured on both sides.

As for Napoleon's greatness, if we count only the dead bodies, ignoring the poverty and misery caused to the living by the selfless devotion of certain people to a man utterly unworthy of it, we can figure that, in the course of a few dozen famous battles, well over a million people had their lives violently cut short ad maiorem Napoleonis gloriam. It is probable that the same number were maimed for life in the same cause, all for nationalistic glory, for the pleasure of devastating other nations, as Victor Hugo so tactfully phrases it. It is unlikely that Trump can restore what he regards as America's greatness, and which any objective observer would regard as xenophobia and rabid nationalism, without going to war. Indeed, he has already threatened war against North Korea. And he seems eager to build yet more useless armaments for the country that already spends as much on armaments as the rest of the world combined. It is impossible to believe that he will wield these horrible weapons with restraint. Restraint is utterly foreign to his nature. We may expect a war, somewhere, and fairly soon.

Trump's blasphemous claim that God himself held off the rain during his inauguration and allowed a downpour afterwards, besides being in direct contradiction to the plain truth, echoes Victor Hugo's blasphemous comparison of Napoleon with Jesus Christ. Shall we try to examine all this from God's point of view? I turn this task over to a writer of much greater talent than I possess. The following passages are from the essay "The War Prayer" by Mark Twain, dictated in 1905 and published in Harper's in November 1916:

"Then came the 'long' prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic war; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in his mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory—"

(Any resemblance to Victor Hugo's fatuous nationalism is, of course, coincidental.)

This prayer received an immediate answer from a stranger who suddenly appeared claiming to be God's emissary:

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two—one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. "

Then God's emissary read out the unspoken prayer:

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle—be Thou near them! With them—in spirit—we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it—for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him who is the Source of Love, and who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen."

To that, Mark Twain adds, "It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said."

I defy anyone to read this last passage without thinking of the devastation America has wrought throughout the Middle East. To those who remember how America generously helped to rebuild Germany, Italy, and Japan after World War II, I advise thinking about more recent military ventures. America did nothing to rebuild Viet Nam after devastating it in the decade from 1965 to 1975. America did nothing to rebuild Iraq between 1991 and 2003 after devastating it, essentially as described by Mark Twain, in early 1991. It has done nothing to relieve the flood of refugees from the chaos created by American policy all over the Middle East, and is now, led by its new President, eager to close its borders to its own victims in that region, out of fear of their just anger.

This will NOT end well for America—or for the world.
Last edited by Upton_O_Goode on Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin (“Molotov”)

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Re: My minimum standard for considering America great again

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:58 pm

Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:42 pm
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:41 pm
Why such a polyglot approach? Best only when a culture/language has an idea/concept that is not present in the selected language. I don't see that above.
It's a personal quirk. When I hear a quotation in a language that I know, but translated into English, I can't rest until I find out what the original language was. Example: What does not kill me, makes me stronger (Nietzsche). Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker. Others probably find it distracting. Well, one doesn't have to read it, and has the option of reading only the translation. But Tolstoy and De Gaulle and Victor Hugo were all writing about "greatness," so I see no reason to exclude them just because they wrote in Russian and French (and both, in Tolstoy's case).
This could be "wonderful"...........or a dud. In the above quote does one language as opposed to the other give you a "different" recognition of any kind or is it exactly the same idea just in a different language? SUPPOSEDLY: Great Spanish writers can tell you something different because their language has different words/concepts for the passage of time. I have always doubted that: just use some different English words? CONTRA with Inuits 50 different words for snow. I have no doubt at all that Eskimoes could point each other to different piles of snow than could a Floridian.......Heh, heh...and the Germans might know how to suffer in more varieties than the rest of us.......but, do the words/LANGUAGE matter, on the subject at hand or others?
Real Name: bobbo the contrarian existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
Asking: What is the most good for the most people?
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