March 1, 2013

Scalia on "perpetuation of racial entitlement"

Christopher Caldwell wrote in 2009:
"One moves swiftly and imperceptibly from a world in which affirmative action can't be ended because its beneficiaries are too weak to a world in which it can't be ended because its beneficiaries are too strong." 

You might think that a black candidate winning back-to-back Presidential elections is evidence that the beneficiaries of affirmative action in voting arrangements are no longer too weak. But only a few wackos like Justice Scalia have drawn that inference. The bulk of respectable opinion has moved unthinkingly to the natural assumption that Obama's power proves that white people are racist losers, so of course the laws must continue to favor blacks over whites, because whites are evil. Didn't you read the election results? If whites weren't evil, they wouldn't be losers, now would they?

The Supreme Court is dealing with this situation with the Voting Rights Act. Back in 1965, this was passed to prevent Southern states from keeping blacks from voting and it rapidly succeeded, creating a powerful black political class to look after their own interests. Nevertheless, Congress has continued to renew the VRA, with additions such as in 1982 the requirement to gerrymander districts to such a black or Hispanic supermajority that they will elect black or Hispanic legislators, no matter how corrupt or comical. (This benefits Republican politicians in various ways, although not the general welfare.)

Much of the law, however, is of the familiar type that I can best explain by a driving analogy. As you drive down the road, you tend to drift left or right and have to constantly correct in the opposite direction to stay on your path. Title 5 of the VRA is like a governor on your steering wheel that blocks corrections to the right. Since the drifting is very small, the overall impact is hard to notice at any point in time, but ultimately all the little racheting to the left puts you on the wrong side of the street, head on into traffic.

In 2006, Congress renewed the VRA 98-0 for 25 years, which will keep some states and districts under federal trusteeship until at least 66 years after the original VRA. And who is going to dare vote against renewing it in 2031? Who will admit then that its time to take the Scarlet Letter off the South, since the evilness of white Southerners is becoming the central myth of our society, a sin that can never be forgiven or forgotten?

That the Voting Rights Act is both a substantive thumb on the scale of elections, and piece of symbolism in the reigning civic religion, worries Justice Scalia, although few others can comprehend his concerns. From the questioning in the Supreme Court:
JUSTICE SCALIA: Indeed, Congress must have  found that the situation was even clearer and the  violations even more evident than originally, because  originally, the vote in the Senate, for example, was something like 79 to 18, and in the 2006 extension, it was 98 to nothing. It must have been even clearer in 2006 that these States were violating the Constitution. Do you think that's true?

MR. REIN: No. I think the Court has to -­ ... 
JUSTICE SCALIA: Or decided that perhaps they'd better not vote against it, that there's nothing, that there's no -- none of their interests in voting against it. ...
JUSTICE SCALIA: That will always be true forever into the future. You could always say, oh, there has been improvement, but the only reason there has been improvement are these extraordinary procedures that deny the States sovereign powers which the Constitution preserves to them. So, since the only reason it's improved is because of these procedures, we must continue those procedures in perpetuity. ... 
JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, maybe it was making that judgment, Mr. Verrilli. But that's -- that's a problem that I have. This Court doesn't like to get involved in -- in racial questions such as this one. It's something that can be left -- left to Congress. The problem here, however, is suggested by the comment I made earlier, that the initial enactment of this legislation in a -- in a time when the need for it was so much more abundantly clear was -- in the Senate, there -- it was double-digits against it. And that was only a 5-year term. Then, it is reenacted 5 years later, again for a 5-year term. Double-digits against it in the Senate. Then it was reenacted for 7 years. Single digits against it. Then enacted for 25 years, 8 Senate votes against it. 
 And this last enactment, not a single vote in the Senate against it. And the House is pretty much the same. Now, I don't think that's attributable to the
fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this. I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It's been written about.

I'm interested in who has written about "perpetuation of racial entitlement" -- obviously, that's what Caldwell is writing about, Sowell has written about the subject, I have -- but I don't see the phrase many places in Google Books.
Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes. 
 I don't think there is anything to be gained by any Senator to vote against continuation of this act. And I am fairly confident it will be reenacted in
perpetuity unless -- unless a court can say it does not comport with the Constitution. You have to show, when you are treating different States differently, that there's a good reason for it. 
 That's the -- that's the concern that those of us who -- who have some questions about this statute have. It's -- it's a concern that this is not the kind
of a question you can leave to Congress. There are certain districts in the House that are black districts by law just about now. And even the Virginia Senators,
they have no interest in voting against this. The State government is not their government, and they are going to lose -- they are going to lose votes if they do not reenact the Voting Rights Act. Even the name of it is wonderful: The
Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future? ... 

Scalia's insights have evoked howls of protest: how dare an evil old white man favor equal treatment under the law. Doesn't he know he's a loser? And what's he talking about?

I think we've seen a real increase in my lifetime in what I call the Argument by Incomprehension: that if you don't understand the argument upon first hearing, then there's no reason to think about it.

More generally, human beings aren't very good at reasoning objectively about anything involving human beings. Instead, our natural reactions are to obsess over:

- Whose side am I on?
- Who is going to win?
- How can I ingratiate myself with the winners by putting the boot in to the losers?



55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like so much of what the federal government does, the VRA is patently unconstitutional.

brief amicus said...

Consult the Heinlein quotation that ends with "This is known as bad luck"

Anonymous said...

what was that kipling was talking about danegeld, gelding the dane or something? and then expecting them to be fruity.

Anonymous said...

It's hard for me to feel sympathetic when the Southern senators didn't vote against the extension.

Anonymous said...

The struggle is not over until parity of conditions is met.

PA said...

America is finished. There is nothing to conserve. The only thing that matters is how will the various populations eventualy sort themselves.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve, interesting article about pancreatic cancer:

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health-fitness/us-teenager-jack-andraka-develops-5-test-to-detect-pancreatic-cancer/story-fneuzlbd-1226588158089

anony-mouse said...

Sorry but the GOP is making a mistake fighting the extension. One of the reasons the House went GOP when the White House went Dem is because of the VRA.

The VRA creates districts that are so overwhelmingly (Black) Dem that essentially a huge amount of Dem votes are 'wasted'. Plus White Southern Dem voters get placed in overwhelmingly (White) GOP districts so their votes are wasted too.

The Dems give a gift to the GOP. And the GOP fights it.

David said...

Is that supposed to be a dialogue? If so, then aren't the speakers' names messed up?

What does this mean: "What thoughts are the likely winners against anyone thinking"?

And for Anon. at 3/1/13 5:45: What on earth does "parity of conditions is met" mean?

Come on, guys. There is this beautiful thing known as English. Let's use it more and love it the more.

Whiskey said...

As America's women became mostly variations of Lena Dunham, in attitude if not inherited wealth/power/connections, or perhaps Sandra Fluke, the gender aspect of the alliance against those icky ordinary White guys cannot be discounted.

Yeah its all about whose side you are on, but the counter is not the Tea Party (they are toast, even WWE now paints them as bad guys and "racists" for wanting closed borders, to crowd roars of approval -- the "Mexican Aristocrat" is now the face). Nope, it is the great roaring withdrawal into private life by most White guys.

Raider Nation etc. substitute for the dead American nation. While those "racist" White guys retreat into the internet, fragmented communities and basically try to slack off as much as possible.

TGGP said...

Your second link is broken.

Auntie Analogue said...



States' rights? Whoever heard of such a thing!

The next thing you know, federal politicians will argue for amnesty for foreigners who come here illegally, and fail to arrest any such lawbreakers who have the damn gall to appear in the House for the State of the Union address - and who the hell do these "American citizens" think they are to oppose such moral social justice!

Mr. Anon said...

"anony-mouse said...

The VRA creates districts that are so overwhelmingly (Black) Dem that essentially a huge amount of Dem votes are 'wasted'. Plus White Southern Dem voters get placed in overwhelmingly (White) GOP districts so their votes are wasted too."

No, state legislatures do that in most states. The feds only get involved in that in the southern states because of the VRA.

What is really at stake here is whether the southern states will get to decide their own election law (as they are entitled to do, under the Constitution) or forever be subject to interference from federal courts. And one of the reasons that the left - and perhaps particularly, Sonia Sotomayor - is for the VRA is because they want to exercise federal power to prevent states from requiring ID in order to vote. They want aliens to vote, and they want election fraud.

Anonymous said...

http://siskelandebert.org/video/W239656YW6BO/Opening-SoonThe-Best-of-1976

Anonymous said...

Your 3 questions are in the wrong order, Mr. Sailer. The question "Who's side am I on?" will be thought about last.

AMac said...

The other day, NPR ("All Things Considered" or a clone) had a great report by Nina Totenberg on the VRA. Using Pravda cliches, she celebrated the victory of Good, but worried about the persistence of Evil (Scalia). She interviewed liberal experts, who vehemently agreed, but her conservative subjects merely concurred enthusiastically.

Right-thinking people can't even conceive of whatever it is that Steve is trying to say. I certainly can't; 'cuz I'm on Team Nina!

Glaivester said...

Sorry but the GOP is making a mistake fighting the extension. One of the reasons the House went GOP when the White House went Dem is because of the VRA.

Except the GOP is not fighting the extension of the VRA, and what is being challenged is not the VRA in toto but only a certain portion of it, and not, as I understand it, the portion requiring minority-majority districts.

anony-mouse said...

Yes its the state legislatures that determine districts, but thanks to the VRA, even in Southern states that have/could have state legislatures with Dem majorities (either house), they would still be forced to have districting that purely favor the GOP.

Sideways said...

Wow, your Google link really turned up the perfect stupid incredulity-based "argument," and even from a black southerner.

Anonymous said...

- Whose side am I on?
- Who is going to win?
- How can I ingratiate myself with the winners by putting the boot in to the losers?

Lenin said it much more succinctly;

"Who? Whom?"

Anonymous said...

Since there are not enough women in Congress, shouldn't there also be women-only districts?

Anonymous said...

Even if the VRA is a gift to congressional republicans, which is dubious, congress doesn't matter.

Jim Bowery said...

PA said...
America is finished. There is nothing to conserve. The only thing that matters is how will the various populations eventualy sort themselves.


Yes. It's called Sortocracy: Sorting proponents of political theories into governments that test them.

Sortocracy is the plausible promise of the coming fifth generation war.

Communications and actions need to be partitioned.

Communications toward agreement on an objective state of affairs as moral -- a “plausible promise” to use the terminology of fifth generation warfare or a “declaration of war” to use more traditional terms -- and actions taken by individuals without coordination or communication; actions that are taken virtually at their leisure, capitalizing on their individual strengths to inflict maximum harm on the enemy in such a way that the individual remains economically, socially and evolutionarily viable to act again another day.

As money is the virtual life-blood of the enemy, my own contribution will likely be toward county currency. This is a mode of action that is consistent with communication because a widely-acceptable legal argument can be made for it.

However, for acts that are easily portrayed as "illegal" to the mass mind, even if the case for the legality, morality and ethics is air-tight, it is essential that those speaking about such acts -- in the mode of open source technology -- themselves, do not so act. It is also essential that those, so acting, do not speak of it, even in private.

Mr. Anon said...

"The other day, NPR ("All Things Considered" or a clone) had a great report by Nina Totenberg..."

"All Things Considered": It's well known that ATC only considers a very limited range of things.

Anonymous said...

we can pretty much kiss the constitution good bye.

With dems winning most future elections--and with gop imitating the dems--, supreme court will be packed with those who destroy the constitution.

pat said...

In a way it doesn't matter. The United States as we have known it is just about over. When the people of North America reform a new government it is not clear if there will be a Supreme Court. So what does it matter what Scalia thinks?

If for example we had a coup d'├ętat making Obama some kind of extra constitutional executive, he would be unlikely to set up a judicial check on his own authority. Courts after the Roman Republic fell were just another instrument of the central power of the Emperor.

The nation has long expected challenges from foreign powers but we never expected that the greatest challenge would be from our own immigrants and minorities.

I recently read two more books on World War II. One of the themes of all such books is "who won the war?". Some think it was "Rosie the Riveter", some think it was the boffins like Barnes Wallace or the Ultra geniuses or those at Los Alamos, some think it was strategic bombing. I think it was Detroit. Russia had it's own tanks but it needed our Studebaker trucks. The Nazis had jets and Tiger tanks but we had Detroit. We could build war winning weapons endlessly. Japan had better carriers at first but we built twenty times as many as they could shortly thereafter. American (Texan) oil may have won the "Battle of Britain" but it was Detroit that was critical in every other theater.

We could do all this because we had Detroit. But we no longer have Detroit. We hardly even have LA anymore. Blacks have taken over Detroit and it is no longer a strategic asset for our national defense. Southern California may soon vote to secede from the US and rejoin Mexico.

I certainly didn't foresee that the minority populations would endanger the continuation of the the republic - but there it is.

When I was in high school the danger to the nation was communism. We thought more and more people would be infected with statism until we ended up in a nuclear conflagration. But it didn't work out that way. The Soviet Union just crumbled as soon as we put a little pressure on it. We always thought that a nation as rich as we were could afford to prop up blacks and admit Mexican peasants endlessly. But we were wrong.

The federal government no longer has the will to oppose any of the liberal policies that weaken the nation. We could not defeat the Nazis today. The Muslims, I'm afraid, have figured this out too.

I don't see a way out. Democracies never lasted all that long before. It looks like this one is just about finished now.

Liberals tried to warn us about the dangers of global warming and other environmental issues like running out of oil. But that was all nonsense. We have lots of energy and the real environmental problem for mankind has always been the return of the ice as our interglacial comes to an end. The real dangers that we always faced were from humans. The US, it is becoming clear, succumbed to too large a burden of low IQ people.

The liberals have long alerted everyone to the danger of white people hating black people. Meanwhile ignoring the blatant fact that whites are generally sympathetic to blacks but many blacks harbor murderous hatred toward whites. This will become important when whites, who have failed to breed enough replacements, must rely on the contributions of blacks and Hispanics to continue to fund Social Security. Solidarity across the generations will come cropper on the shoals of racial solidarity. I very much doubt if balcks and Hispanics will want to pay higher taxes to suuport older white people. That issue might be the immediate issue that finally takes the constitution down.

Albertosaurus

Jeeves said...

As usual, George Will sums it up nicely:

The 2006 House vote was 390 to 33, the Senate vote was 98 to 0; obviously, the political class’s piety about the act has extinguished thought about its necessity. But one reason for judicial review — for active judicial engagement in the protection of constitutional rights and arrangements — is that the political class, with its majoritarian temptations, cannot be trusted to do so.

In 1982, Section 2 of the act was amended to say that the measure is violated whenever nomination and election processes “are not equally open to participation” by minority voters. And equality of participation is said to be denied whenever minority voters “have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to . . . elect representatives of their choice.” And representatives “of their choice” has been construed to mean representatives who are members of the same minority. This expresses two tenets of progressivism’s racialism. One is identity politics: Your race is your political identity. The other is categorical representation: Members of a race can be understood and represented only by members of this race. By this reasoning the Voting Rights Act has become an instrument for what Roberts has hitherto called “a sordid business, this divvying us up by race.”

Svigor said...

How about we add to the language of all these nice things "we're" doing for blacks, and all the people "we're" doing nice things for because of blacks (hispanics, anyone else who manages to slither in, etc.)?

E.g., right now, blacks can sue if they don't get enough gibsmedat. But how about if we added laws that say that the people who are edged out to give blacks their gibsmedat must come from the top, not the bottom? E.g., not only could an employer be sued for not giving enough jobs to blacks, but they could also be sued if it can be shown that the jobs they gave to blacks were denied not to high-achieving, high-credential, higher-income whites, but to low-achieving, low-credential, lower-income whites.

Make the elites who push this stuff the ones to pay for it. Maybe Jews and privileged whites wouldn't be so enthusiastic about these programs and so blase about the costs if they were paying the freight.

Anonymous said...

One of the interesting things about U.S. politics is that the Democrats wouldn't have a hope of winning the House of Representatives without what in other countries would considered gerrymandering.

It's a common enough pattern: there are two parties roughly equal in support, but one is pulls large majorities in the major cities and is only marginally competitive outside them. If electoral-district boundaries are drawn up in non-partisan way (the way some politically naive demographer would do it), the rural party will easily take a majority of seats with only 50 percent of the votes, or even slightly less. The urban party "wastes" votes in in its massive urban majorities.


In the United States, the Democrats are the urban party. Only heavy gerrymandering - let's call it politically savvy redistricting - prevents a Republican perma-majority in the House.

It seems to me that once you allow gerrymandering for achieving pseudo-proportional representation, it's hard not to extend it to other political goals that are deemed worthy.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...

..."who won the war?". Some think it was "Rosie the Riveter", some think it was the boffins like Barnes Wallace or the Ultra geniuses or those at Los Alamos, some think it was strategic bombing. I think it was Detroit. Russia had it's own tanks but it needed our Studebaker trucks. The Nazis had jets and Tiger tanks but we had Detroit. We could build war winning weapons endlessly. Japan had better carriers at first but we built twenty times as many as they could shortly thereafter. American (Texan) oil may have won the "Battle of Britain" but it was Detroit that was critical in every other theater.

I know this is venturing off topic, but I can't let that go unchallenged. Who won the war? The Russians, or Soviets, won the war.

Eric Falkenstein said...

'whose side am I on' is interesting, But then, why do rich, black men choose to align more with African-Americans over, say, libertarians? Why are single women liberal? Clearly they think it's in their best interest, the group that maximizes their status. These are not so obvious to see.

Maxwell said...

" brief amicus said...

Consult the Heinlein quotation that ends with "This is known as bad luck""


- I like this one from Heinlein as well:
"One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority."

Anonymous said...

"The Russians, or Soviets, won the war."

But it would have been way different for them without about 5,000 P-39s that pretty much destroyed Luftwaffe air-superiority on the Eastern front during 1943-1944 (Buffalo, NY, not Detroit, but still).

"I think it was Detroit."

Have you read "Freedom's Forge", by Arthur Herman? Essentially a bio about Henry Kaiser and Bill Knudsen, (CEO of GM and also the guy behind much of Ford's mass production):

"In January 1942, Knudsen was commissioned a Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army, the only civilian ever to join the Army at such a high initial rank, and appointed as Director of Production, Office of the Under Secretary of War.")

Albertosaurus, don't give up hope, even if it looks bleak. Solzhenitsyn has a great quote somewhere to the effect that, after all seemed lost, somehow, little by little, in an imperceptible fashion that can't quite be understood, the Russians got their country back. Here's another quote of his I just came across: "A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage . . . . Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elite, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society.” Well, the man had insight.

Anonymous said...

That's silly no America means the Soviets have no chance of taking Berlin. Maybe the Soviets could have driven them from Russia, but there is no war the Soviets end the war by themselves. Especially, as eventually Japan would have been drawn in in the East. It's always the Russophiles who screeched the loudest about who/whom too. Makes you wonder who the who is in there case. Its quite clear that Daniel Larison for instance is a just as obsequious to the Moscow Patriarch as those ungoogleable senators from mossad are to israel.

Anonymous said...

"The Russians, or Soviets, won the war."

But it would have been way different for them without about 5,000 P-39s that pretty much destroyed Luftwaffe air-superiority on the Eastern front during 1943-1944 (Buffalo, NY, not Detroit, but still).

"I think it was Detroit."


We are talking about winning the war, not helping, which a lot of nations did. For that matter, Hitler probably made more mistakes that contributed more to the Allied victory than some of the allies themselves. Not naming Detroit, or US industry, as the most important factor is no insult.

The P-39 was at best mediocre, and thus we were more than happy to give it to the USSR. The USSR had far better domestic built aircraft that they relied on. And their top tanks were outstanding.

The bottom line is the Russians/USSR destroyed the Germans in the field, and that is what wins wars. Whether they used their own equipment or British or American, it was they at the end of the day who used that equipment against the greatest military in the world. Of which about 75% of the German war effort was directed against them. Had the Russians not eaten up that chuck of the Wehrmacht, the US and Britain would have never been able to land in France. It took us a few years to do it just facing the remaining 25%.

I hated communists as much as anyone, but even I have to give Russians credit where credit is due.

Anonymous said...

That's silly no America means the Soviets have no chance of taking Berlin. Maybe the Soviets could have driven them from Russia, but there is no war the Soviets end the war by themselves.

And no USSR means the United States had no chance at taking back Europe. No one was suggesting the Russians could have won the war alone. As mentioned above, the Germans were the best and one-on-one, I doubt any nation could have defeated them. But the suggestion of the Russians winning the war was only given in response to the sillier claim that Detroit won the war. There is no way the US wins that war without the Russians taking on the bulk of the Germans.

It's always the Russophiles who screeched the loudest about who/whom too. Makes you wonder who the who is in there case.

That is an interesting comment because who is and who is not pro-Russian has done a 180 since the end of the Cold War.

Back in WW2, it was the Scots-Irish who were pro-communist and pro-USSR. Today the Scots-Irish hate Russia probably for the same historical reasons that led them to support the overthrow of the Czar in 1917.

On the other hand, guys like me who hated communism have since grown to respect what the Russians did in that war especially when one reads of the scope and magnitude of the Eastern Front.

Had I been alive then, I would have been a proud member of America First like Lindbergh and wanted the Germans to destroy Bolshevism before being bled white so that we and the Brits could have come in to pick up the pieces, thus avoiding American casualties.

Now post-Cold War, I find many on the right no longer have an animosity towards the Russians and hope they can reverse the damage of 70 plus years of Bolshevik rule.

Anonymous said...

In this video about the HE 111 and other German medium bombers they point out that the accidental death of one German prevented them from pursuing four-engined long-range bombers, which meant that they had nothing with which to destroy Russian industry.

Anonymous said...

"The P-39 was at best mediocre, and thus we were more than happy to give it to the USSR. The USSR had far better domestic built aircraft that they relied on."


What you say was the conventional wisdom before the end of the Cold War, but no longer. It's hard to know how much of the old conventional wisdom is warmed over propaganda by both sides. Do some research into what's currently known about the P-39 on the Eastern Front. Also, google around and see what both Russian and German fighter-pilots had to say about the P-39.

An interesting place to start is to check out the book "Attack of the Airacobras: Soviet Aces, American P-39s, and the Air War Against Germany", Dmitriy Loza (Author), James F. Gebhardt (Translator), Frank Borman (Foreword). " ... deployment of nearly 5,000 Bell P-39 ... The impact was dramatic, as the Soviets quickly adapted the planes into a devastatingly lethal force. ... Built for short range and relatively low altitudes, the P-39 was equipped with a powerful engine and weapons that enabled it to outduel and eventually dominate the Luftwaffe from the Caucusus foothills to Berlin."

We were more than happy to give it away, but it was what the Soviets needed, a good fit to their conditions. The P-39 was not mediocre below 10,000 feet, it was one of the best fighters in that regime throughout the war. With the armies locked in combat on the ground, combat took place at low altitude. The P-39 was a short range interceptor with poor range. Bad for the US in the Pacific, the British when they needed the cross the channel to fight, and the US when they needed to protect high-altitude bombers. (Real bad for the US in New Guinea flying against high-altitude Zeros and mountains... though surprisingly if you check the stats you'll find P-39s kill/loss rates in New Guinea against Zeros were about 1:1, maybe that includes ground losses.)

Good for the Soviets who flew them from temporary bases right behind the front lines. That tricycle gear helped operate out of rough strips, for instance.

In addition, a real problem (perhaps the real problem) with the P-39 was that it was too "hot" to be flown by the typical US WWII rapid-trainee pilot with maybe only 200 hours prior to combat. The experienced Soviet ex-Spanish Civil War pilots loved it. Entire Soviet Air Regiments who weren't so experienced never mastered it. Chuck Yaeger called it the best plane he ever flew.

"The USSR had far better domestic aircraft..." Maybe by the end of the war, but not when they needed them. For instance:

"Of the six Soviet aces generally credited with fifty or more victories, four scored most of their successes while flying the P-39 Kobra. The Soviet (and Allied) second ranking ace of the war, Alexandr Pokryshkin, scored 48 of his 59 victories while flying the Airacobra. To the end of the Second World War these men were able to use this underrated American fighter to take on some of the best German pilots, equipped with the latest versions of the Bf 109 and Fw 190. When the fighting ended there were still 1,178 P-39 Kobras in service with the Soviet air forces. Despite its technical faults, the Airacobra had become the most successful of all lend-lease aircraft sent to Russia, and had played an important role in the final Allied victory."


“You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Anonymous said...

"- Whose side am I on?
- Who is going to win?
- How can I ingratiate myself with the winners by putting the boot in to the losers?"

however that is at odds with the left trying its best to appear as an underdog(gendered not a good fit) against the evil rich old whitey who like a typical villain is the better man(person is not a good fit) but for the last 5 minutes, when the single colored mother finally achieves black belt in jiujitsu skills after getting affordable child-care for her brood.

Eric said...

Sorry but the GOP is making a mistake fighting the extension.

It's immaterial whether they would be making a mistake or not because they aren't fighting the extension.

Anonymous said...

"As mentioned above, the Germans were the best and one-on-one, I doubt any nation could have defeated them."

USSR could have. Germany got the initial upperhand only because Hitler suckerpunched Stalin.
Without the surprise attack, Germans would have rolled back much earlier.

One on one, the German soldier was best, but in raw material, manpower, and production--and wartime mobilization--USSR was tops.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't Africans and all other non-whites be suing white Americans for 'affirmative attention' for not having been bought and brought over to America as slaves? After all, even though blacks in America got the shorter end of the stick, it was still a hell of a bigger stick than what most non-whites got around the world who were left behind in the old world.

In the 20th century, it was much better to be black in America than white in Germany, Poland, Greece, Italy, Ukraine, Russia, etc.
So, even many white Europeans should sue American whites for not having been bought as slaves and settled in relatively safer America.

Anonymous said...

Detroit...

Colonel David Hackworth related a story in his memoir about being a 17-year old in Europe guarding German prisoners after the war ended. He was busting the chops of a "tough German artillery officer", asking him why, if the Germans were such supermen, an American teenager outside the wire with a gun while he was the prisoner inside. The officer told him that American tanks kept coming over the hill and the Germans would kill it with an 88 shell. He said the problem for the Germans was that they ran out of 88 shells before the Americans ran out of tanks.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Albertosaurus point ("I think it was Detroit") is really too controversial. Not to take anything from the Russians who did the fighting (or anyone else who did the fighting for that matter). Anyone interested in this sort of thing will find interesting books such as "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict From 1500 to 2000", by Paul Kennedy. Historically military power has been tied to economic power, and economic power usually to technical prowess. The guy firing the weapon is only the tip of a large pyramid. Those Syrian rebels, for instance, seem to have the fighting part down, but don't seem to be able to make progress without someone external arming them.

The larger point is that at one time the US excelled in changing the material world, if you will. Making the world a better place by applying technology at scale. The country could get things done, there was civic coherence.

It's hard to tell today if this still exists. If the country directs all its energies at essentially religious or moral goals that are fundamentally intractable (imposing complete equality of outcomes, for instance, or making everyone in the world a model citizen), why won't we go backward and end up like India with its castes and bureaucratic minutia or China after it turned inward? Or disappear as fast as the multi-ethnic Mongolian empire?

It's as if people assumed that all material problems were solved, or had been solved, or were now easy, and we could go on to real problems. Perhaps there were too many lawyers or judges, who thought rules trumped reality. Or that wealth was endless and would remain so.

The possibility that we might fail in our religious goals, loose our technical capability, and loose our civic coherence must not have seemed realistic. But that might well be what happens. ("This situation is typical of declining hegemons."). Did someone say something about "bad luck"?

Anonymous said...

In this video about the HE 111 and other German medium bombers they point out that the accidental death of one German prevented them from pursuing four-engined long-range bombers, which meant that they had nothing with which to destroy Russian industry.

Also the Germans insisted that all their bombers be capable of dive-bombing, which put a limit on their size. That was OK for a two-engined medium bomber like the Ju-88 and He-111. But when they expected their medium-heavy Do-317 and He-177 to dive, disaster happened. The Germans did have a four-engined plane, the Fw-200, used as a long-range patrol craft and hence not required to dive-bomb, or bomb at all. That could have been modified into a heavy bomber.

Anonymous said...

Detroit...

Colonel David Hackworth related a story in his memoir about being a 17-year old in Europe guarding German prisoners after the war ended. He was busting the chops of a "tough German artillery officer",...


American mass production did make up in quantity what American tanks lacked in quality. But maybe the Germans wouldn't have run out of shells had they not exhausted about 70% of their war machinery on the Eastern Front. The Soviets made even more tanks than Uncle Sam, and humbled the Germans well before Uncle Sam set foot in France.

Svigor said...

Without Britain and America, the Germans probably would have taken Moscow, and that would have probably not been something the Russians could have come back from.

But yeah, the Russians did most of the fighting and most of the dying.

Svigor said...

Colonel David Hackworth related a story in his memoir about being a 17-year old in Europe guarding German prisoners after the war ended. He was busting the chops of a "tough German artillery officer", asking him why, if the Germans were such supermen, an American teenager outside the wire with a gun while he was the prisoner inside. The officer told him that American tanks kept coming over the hill and the Germans would kill it with an 88 shell. He said the problem for the Germans was that they ran out of 88 shells before the Americans ran out of tanks.

We can forgive American G.I.s in general, never mind a 17-year-old, for not knowing that the German solider was superior to the American (and British, and Russian).

Anonymous said...

There's a good probability that WWII led to the current attitude in the US of perpetual racial entitlement. All that propaganda about, in effect, the shining utopia on the hill, the world working together... the US believed its own propaganda, was held to its own propaganda, and could try no less. After the war it came to believe it was all-powerful, which meant that anything less than utopia was a moral imperfection. There's now no way to gracefully stand-down.

Was the role of Russia in WWII ever particularly slighted in the US? In my circles I haven't seen it. Books like Plievier's "Stalingrad" came out in 1966, in the midst of the Cold War. It was a NY Times bestseller, or book of the month, or somesuch. If anything, Soviet secrecy contributed to the lack of knowledge about the Eastern Front.

Military hardware often has to optimize competing things, those are different for different nations. For instance, standard American tanks were small and light enough to be deployed on standard amphibious landing craft. There's a historical advantage to being a naval power and maintaining naval capability.

While not disputing in anyway the point that Russia did the bulk of the WWII fighting in Europe, it's also of note that Germany and Russia didn't go to war until after the Battle of Britain stopped the planned German invasion of Britain cold; it didn't even seem credible anymore. (Radar, good stuff.)

Small things can have big effects. The Axis dropped more bombs on Malta than Britain (at one time Malta was defended by only 3 planes,so the story goes, but that may be a little bit of propaganda), but Malta held, with the Germans finally departing the effort to assist in the attack on Russia. Without taking Malta the Axis could not control the Med, and without the Med...

Matthew said...

The extension of the VRA by a 98-0 vote is an example of how the Left has gained control of political debate in this country by demonization rather than dialogue. Few people will stand up for what is right when they are forced to stand alone. Conservatives need to grow a spine. Not a single senator - not even one from the affected states - voted against VRA extension?

It is time for conservatives to grow a spine, to stop backing down, to defend what we believe.

Matthew said...

Re: German vs. Allied fighting abilities, it's important to remember that after they suckerpunched pretty much all of Europe, both West and East, Germans were fighting largely from a defensive position. Defending a well-fortified position is always easier than attacking one.

That is not meant to underestimate the fighting ability of the average German soldier.

ben tillman said...

That is not meant to underestimate the fighting ability of the average German soldier.

It's not about the average German soldier. It's about organization, the structure of command, and decentralized decisionmaking. It's as if you hadn't read Boyd & Richerson's "Complex Societies: The Evolutionary Dynamics of a Crude Superorganism".

Controlling for equipment, surprise, and many other factors as well as possible, Dupuy found large differences in the effectiveness of soldiers. In WWII, German per capita effectiveness was highest, followed by Americans and British with about a 20% handicap relative to Germans (all else equal, it would take 120 Americans or British troops to accomplish the same objective as 100 Germans). The German advantage relative to Russians was approximately 2 fold. This difference persisted until the very end of the war despite a steady diet of defeat after 1942 for German units, very heavy casualties, and a poor supply situation. Many indices of German soldier’s military effectiveness accord with Dupuy’s analysis. For example, comparatively few Germans from ordinary divisions surrendered when defeated, most soldiers making their way rearward, even in chaotic defeats that reduced the soldiers of other armies to helpless passivity. Similar factors apply to the relative advantage of Israeli troops over their Arab enemies in 1967 and 1973.

More ethnographic analyses of the performance of the German Army relative to the Western Allies were conducted by Shils and Janowitz (1948), van Creveld (1982) and Fritz (1995). Cockburn’s (1983) account of the Cold War Soviet Army is similarly detailed. Shalit (1988) gives an interesting account of the psychology of combat based on his studies as a member of the Israeli Defense Force. All observers, van Creveld and Fritz most explicitly, agree with Dupuy’s evaluation of the relative superiority of the German Army against all its enemies, and with the relative inefficiency of the Soviet Army. It cannot be objected, these analysts hold, that the German loss of the war is ultimately the test of the combat effectiveness of their army. Lose Germany did, owing to the greater numbers of their enemies, especially the Soviets, and their superiority in material, especially due to American production. Controlling for such factors, German troops were more effective fighters than the Allies. Four aspects of modern armies seem to explain most of the German advantage in soldier’s fighting power, modes of recruitment, training, leadership, and treatment of individuals.

bentillman said...


German doctrine placed great emphasis on developing a sense of cohesion and solidarity among the members of small units (squads, platoons, and companies). To begin with, troops were recruited on a territorial basis, so the men served with fellows from the same towns and villages of their birth. Recruits were trained by elements of the same regiment in which they would serve in combat, and sent as a body to the front to make up losses from their regiment. A German soldier always served in the company of comrades, whose bonds of loyalty and fellowship were deliberately designed to cumulatively increase from the day of induction onwards. At the opposite extreme, the American system gave recruits basic training in temporary groups, and sent them on to advanced schools, and eventually to combat, as individuals. Socially isolated neophyte soldiers suffered considerable psychological turmoil during their long, lonely journeys to the front, and were disproportionately likely to become casualties in their first weeks of fighting. Not until actually incorporated into their final destination units could recruits begin to develop a sense of cohesion with any of the comrades with whom they would fight.

German basic training, conducted at the hands of non-commissioned officer drill sergeants, was extremely rigorous physically and mentally. However, this training was explicitly legitimated as preparation for battle, and instructors were typically fair as well as hard. After the beginning of the war, most instructors were veterans with whom the trainees would return to the front. Most drill instructors earned grudging admiration or better from recruits. Training of commissioned officers as well as NCOs emphasized the responsibility of officers for the welfare of their troops, and very often enlisted troops responded warmly to the paternalistic concerns of their field grade officers. At every level, soldiers were trained to seize opportunities and act on individual initiative, rather than await orders.

It is interesting read advice manuals for junior officers in modern Western armies (e.g. Malone, 1983), where leadership by remote command through a chain of command to troops, backed up by extreme coercion for disobedience, ought to be most manifest. Malone advises leaders of small units to display such traits as humility, justice, tact, and selflessness as well as more conventional military virtues as courage decisiveness, dependability, and loyalty. Under several different headings he encourages leaders to conspicuously recognize the contributions of subordinates, downplay their own roles, and defend their subordinates against unfair treatment from outside and from up the chain of command. Ideally at least, modern armies seem to expect leaders to behave much the same way an influential man might in an egalitarian society. More formal studies of bureaucratic leadership, of which military leadership is only a special case, emphasize similar points (Van Fleet and Yukl, 1986; Taylor and Rosenbach, 1992). According to Fritz and van Creveld, the German emphasis on the prosocial traits of NCO and field officer leaders along the lines Malone suggests was a good deal stronger than in the American Army of WWII. No doubt, the chain of command exists, and no doubt it is widely resented. Nothing is more familiar to all of us than complaining about superiors. Without dedicated small-unit leaders that can inspire common action by the same deft force of personality the informal leaders of simple societies use, it is doubtful that soldiers could be inspired to their customary desperate deeds.

ben tillman said...

American and British training and leadership practices were less meticulous versions of the German system, but Soviet practice was very different according to Cockburn. Recruitment and training were haphazard. In the Soviet Army, the NCO system was very rudimentary; lacking the long-service career NCO cadre that is one of the key components of German, British, and American armies. Commissioned officers were socially remote from recruits, who were informally ranked in terms of length of service (recruits serve 2 or 3 years). The effective face-to-face leaders of Soviet soldiers were typically young, inexperienced draftee junior officers. As a consequence Soviet units not only lacked effective small unit leadership, but the recruit experience engendered divisions between older and younger soldiers within units rather than the strongly felt solidarity of Western European, especially German, small units. Blind obedience to orders coming down from a remote high command was the rule, and local initiative was discouraged. German practice was at the opposite extreme in this regard. German orders to subordinates were drafted to emphasize the mission to be accomplished, with the subordinate expected to devise the means to accomplish the mission, right down to the level of squad and section leaders and individual enlisted men.

According to van Crevelt, the German command system was constructed to seem fair and just to individual soldiers by catering to their psychological needs for strong fellowship and sensitive, if tough, leadership. The German system went to considerable extremes to move the best officers to the front lines, at the expense of leaving rear areas under- and poorly staffed. German procedure greatly simplified reporting by field commanders in the interest of reducing the paperwork burden on fighters. The Americans had a much more manage-by-numbers approach, which tended to keep talent men in rear-area jobs, and which imposed a much larger paperwork burden on front line commanders. The German system for awarding medals was more prompt in its recognition of merit, and more strongly restricted to actual combat accomplishment, than the American system. The development of a very efficient field postal system kept soldiers in touch with their families, and hardship leave (e.g. when the family home was bombed) was common. The Wehrmacht thus went to considerable extremes to demonstrate an interest in a soldier’s personal well-being, minimizing conflicts between soldierly duty and personal interest. Significantly, Fritz describes, a German soldier was very unlikely to face extreme discipline from his normal superiors. In the catastrophic, anarchic retreats of the 1943-5 period, German Field Police units dealt summarily and extremely harshly with stragglers for relative misdemeanors, and the element of raw coercion in the system became very plain. In such circumstances, a soldier’s best option was to rejoin his unit as quickly as possible. Intact German units, even when very badly mauled, continued to be well led and well behaved and didn’t attracted attention from these dreaded detachments. German soldiers felt well cared for despite the fact that service in combat led to the death or maiming of most of them. Russian soldiers, contrariwise, were subject to extreme discipline by their own officers, with attendant lack of intense feelings of fellowship between superiors and subordinates.

ben tillman said...


There is debate over the role of Nazi ideology in explaining the effectiveness of WWII German soldiers. Shils and Janowitz substantially discount its impact relative to the details of training and leadership. Fritz argues that Nazi ideology underpinned soldier’s attitudes in several respects. First, the Nazi ideology of national solidarity was explicitly built on an analogy with the deeply felt front-line solidarity of small units in the face of a dangerous foreign enemy, a topic on which front-line WWI veteran Hitler could expound with genuine personal familiarity. Army service was endowed with an idealistic demonstration mission for the whole German Volk to a greater degree than in other armies. Fritz elaborates considerably on Hitler’s charismatic appeal to at least some considerable minority of soldiers. Second, the anti-aristocratic element in Nazi ideology served to reinforce attempts to bring officers socially closer to the men they commanded. At the end of WWI, dispirited German soldiers mutinied in large numbers, hastening the end of the war. The deep division between a largely aristocratic officer corps and working class enlisted ranks contributed to the mutinous behavior. No such mutinies occurred even in the last, desperate days of WWII. Van Creveld attributes this difference to a dramatic democratization of the German officer corps, including, much promotion from the NCO ranks, after 1933. Since the American and Soviet societies had ready access to egalitarian ideologies that could have served to reduce the social distance between officers and their troops, perhaps the most plausible explanation is that Hitler’s enlisted man’s experience in WWI gave him an intuitive sympathy for and appeal to ordinary soldiers’ motivations for fighting. In Hitler’s concept of soldierly solidarity, an ideological linchpin of his regime’s claim to legitimacy, happened to work rather well when applied to small units, and his glorification of it sustained soldier’s idealism remarkably well. And, he had the dictatorial power to enforce his ideals of leadership upon the traditional officer class. This power was exercised with sufficient vigor to result in von Stauffenberg’s 1944 attempt on his life, organized by aristocratic officers. In any case, average German performance was better than all but the best units of the American and British armies, whose organization, training, and leadership norms resembled that of the German Army in many respects. It does seem plausible that these differences in training and leadership could give rise to the large differences in per capita effectiveness measured by Dupuy.

It is highly ironic, as van Crevelt, an Israeli not likely to romanticize matters, notes, that a criminal, totalitarian nazi regime managed to find the most successful formula of the period for meeting the conflicting demands of command and control at the nation-state level with the need to provide feelings of egalitarian solidarity and just, prosocial leadership at the psychologically most salient level to ordinary soldiers.