Liberty & Power: Group Blog
"After talking at Cambridge recently about the preponderance of the eastern front and the scale of the Red Army’s triumph, I was accosted by an angry young British historian. 'Don't you realise that we were pinning down 56 German divisions in France alone,' he said. 'Without that the Red Army would have been heavily defeated.' What is less acknowledged is that without the Red Army pulverising 150 divisions, the allies would never have landed.
"The attack on the Third Reich was a joint effort. But it was not a joint effort of two equal parts. The lion's share of victory in Europe can be awarded only to Stalin’s forces and it is a fantasy to believe that he was fighting for justice and democracy."
Norman Davies' new book, Europe at War 1939-1945: No Simple Victory (Macmillan) has just been published in the UK. American readers will have to wait until next year for the book unless they order it from Britain. You can read extracts from an interview with Davies here and an extract from the book here.
Readers may also be interested to learn about Davies' other new book, Europe East and West (London: Jonathan Cape), a collection of essays, where he argues for a comprehensive view that challenges Western stereotypes and no longer ignores the history and experience of Eastern Europe. Among other issues, he proposes a revision of the misunderstood Allied victory in 1945 that parallels his Europe at War 1939-1945 discussed above.
Aeon J. Skoble
I went into the theater with extremely high anticipation having viewed television clips of Borat such this one and the fact that the film review site Rotten Tomatoes gave it an astronomical 96% favorable rating. Not only did the movie far exceed my expectations as to how humorous it would be, it had other virtues too. The music for various scenes was very well chosen enhancing the experience and the visuals were sometimes quite stunning, especially the parts in his home country. In addition, behind the laughter there is some perceptive social commentary going on. Sure, there is a character on screen spouting some of the most vile anti-Semitism ever heard but this same character also washes his face in the hotel room toilet.
Maybe you are a little depressed about the senseless deaths and maiming of our soldiers in Iraq, not to mention the public money pouring down that particular rat hole at such an alarming rate. Perhaps the fact that very few people seem to care that war on people who use certain kinds drugs continues to eat away at everything we hold of value as Americans has got you down. Certainly, the substitution of despicable and deceptive personal attack for reasoned discourse on the issues by so many candidates running in the upcoming election would discourage anyone. If you are having any such feelings going to see Borat could lighten your mood considerably, at least until you read the next morning’s paper.
Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity
Yesterday's headline in the Boston Globe:
Pay outpaces productivity; inflation feared
Then there's today's headine in the Washington Post:
Jobless Rate Is Lowest Since '01
As Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek points out here, this month's fear that wages are outpacing productivity (and threatening inflation) apparently offsets August's fear that producitvity was outpacing wages. Funny, isn't it?
Cross-posted at Free Association.
Go here to find out how much Charles Koch of Koch Industries has contributed to whom during the 2005-2006 election cycle. Go here to find out how much his brother David, vice-presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party in 1980, has shelled out during this same period. If, as expected, the Democrats win control of the House next week, would they have been better off distributing their largesse more widely?
Be advised that, if you wish to look up another donor, you should write a comma between their last name and their first name. Otherwise you will get no results.
Talk about chutzpah! A development company is thinking about suing Florida and the city of Riviera Beach for refusing to use eminent domain to provide land for upscale condominiums and a marina. Viking Inlet Harbor Properties was assured the city would condemn a number of working-class homes, but the city council had second thoughts. Now the company fears the $50 million it has already spent acquiring other lots will go to waste. “I’m stuck with these properties but can’t develop them because I can’t fill in the puzzle pieces,” said Mike Clark, president of the development company’s real-estate division. Hence the possible lawsuit.Read the rest of my op-ed "Eminent-Domain Chutzpah" at The Future of Freedom Foundation website
Cross-posted at Free Association.
Five economists who either won the Nobel Prize in economics or who served as president of the American Economics Association -- and three who did both -- recently joined over 600 other economists in urging the federal government to increase the minimum wage. The signatures were gathered by the union-backed Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which unsurprisingly supports substantial government intervention in the economy.Read the rest of this week's TGIF column at the Foundation for Economic Education website.
I guess this is supposed to make us think more of the minimum wage. Instead, it makes me think less of the Nobel Prize in economics and the American Economics Association.
Cross-posted at Free Association.
David T. Beito
At a time when most Americans want to exit from Iraq, Terry Michael, the Democratic Party defender, hits the mark (at least rhetorically). He depicts the Democrats as the best hope"to keep the government out of the bedroom, and hopefully out of Iraq."
By contrast, William Redpath, in his brief for the Libertarian Party, says nothing at all about Iraq or even Bush's use of the WOT to launch an assault on civil liberties.
Instead, Redpath's top reason for voting LP is"electoral reform." Oy vey.
Aeon J. Skoble
While I'm here, some shameless self-promotion: any L&P readers at the Univ of Wisc, feel free to come to a talk I'm giving next Wednesday.
Olbermann correctly points out that when you consider Kerry’s remarks in context it is very clear that the barb is aimed at the President and not the soldiers. Also, he goes well beyond this one incident in criticizing the mendacity of the current administration. I believe that George W. Bush is far and away the worst president of my lifetime. In his piece Keith Olbermann offers strong and comprehensive support for that opinion.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
I've received a bit of email from people who were wondering why it is I have not commented on the upcoming mid-term elections."Sciabarra, you're a political scientist, for Chrissake! What do you think?"
Well, let's leave aside the question of how much science goes into politics: It's always nice to know that some people find value in what I say. But with all due respect: There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. I have not changed my views of this two-party, two-pronged attack on individual freedom by one iota: A Pox on Both Their Houses! In truth, however, the modern Democratic Party has always been honest about its Big Government agenda. But the"small-government" GOP has long embraced the politics of Big Government. As the majority party, they are a total, unmitigated disaster for individual liberty, whether they are religious rightists or so-called"progressive conservatives"—who are actually much truer to the GOP's 19th-century interventionist roots than so-called"Goldwater" or"Reagan" Republicans (those who embraced the rhetoric of limited government, while still paving the way for a growth in the scope of government intervention). You have to chuckle when even Hillary Clinton sees the hypocrisy:"The people who promised less government," she said,"have instead given us the largest and least competent government we have ever had."
Still, I must admit that my political perversity would like very much to see the Bush administration get a royal slap across the face, such that the Democrats take the House of Representatives and, at the very least, close the gap in the GOP-controlled Senate. This is purely a strategic desire: Party divisions can have utility in frustrating the power-lust on both ends. In any event, I think it's probably true that the GOP will suffer a setback, and I have been saying so for over a year.
Please understand, however: THIS WILL DO NOTHING TO CHANGE THE CURRENT DOMESTIC OR FOREIGN POLICY DISASTERS. I don't mean to shout, but with regard to foreign policy alone: The Democrats handed this administration the current foreign policy debacle on a silver platter. They will not challenge one inch of the Bush administration's Iraq policy or its ideological rationalizations for that policy: that"democracy" can be imposed on societies that have little or no appreciation of the complex cultural roots of human freedom.
Either way, I'll be watching the results of politics-as-bloodsport on Tuesday, November 7th.
Cross-posted at Notablog.
See more on my take here, as well as in this addendum.