A MODERN MACHIAVELLI

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.com

Human Action (A Treatise on Economics)

Written by: Ludwig von Mises

Narrated by: Jeff Riggenbach

LUDWIG von MISES (1881-1973, THEORETICAL ECONOMIST OF THE AUSTRIAN SCHOOLD, INFLUENCED HAYEK AND FRIEDMAN)
LUDWIG von MISES (1881-1973, THEORETICAL ECONOMIST OF THE AUSTRIAN SCHOOLD, INFLUENCED HAYEK AND FRIEDMAN)

America is on the threshold of the largest tax change since Ronald Reagan’s presidency.  If past is prologue, trickle down economics will not work, the deficit will rise, and the poorest will  be victimized.  The genesis of the delusion of trickle down economics comes from interpretations of a modern Machiavelli.

Ludwig von Mises is a twentieth century Machiavelli.  This near 48-hour audio book details a theory of economics that will offend modern liberals, expose weakness of libertarians, and vilify the new American President’s nationalist policies.  The venality of treating government as a business is a mistake of monumental proportion.

Approaching von Mises as a devil incarnate is unfair.  His beliefs are pilloried by today’s liberals as loudly as aristocrats and rulers vilified Machiavelli in the 16th century.  Like Machiavelli, von Mises looks at the world as it is; not as it ought to be.  His observations cut at modern liberal, as well as anarchic, views of highly regarded liberals like Ralph Nader, Martin Luther King, Norm Chomsky, and alleged conservatives-like President Trump.

In von Mises book, Roosevelt’s New Deal is vilified.  Additionally, von Mises vociferously disagrees with the liberal John Maynard Keynes’s

JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES (1883-1946)
JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES (1883-1946)

economic interventionist creed. Ironically, Donald Trump may be the most interventionist President since FDR with a scatter brained economic plan that von Mises would equally vilify.

Von Mises observations have historical credibility.  What they do not have is social conscience.  In fact, he suggests social conscience is a fiction perpetrated by populists to distort the value of capitalist economies.  Like Machiavelli, von Mises observes the nature of human beings, and recognizes their inherent irrationality and moral weakness.  Von Mises illustrates numerous examples of human irrationality; beginning with market consumption, and ending with entrepreneurial ambition.  Donald Trump exemplifies von Mises argument that humans are irrational, greedy, power-hungry, and vain.  For President Trump to believe taxing imports by 20% makes Mexico pay for a useless five-billion-dollar wall is absurd.  The American consumer will pay for that wall in increased cost of Mexican produce and manufactured goods.TRUMP AND FREE TRADE

Von Mises criticizes famous economists like David Ricardo for introducing politics into economics.  Von Mises argues that the drive for money, power, and prestige are inherent in an entrepreneurial capitalist system.  Von Mises argues that government officials who profess social conscience distort free enterprise by picking winners and losers.  When politicians pass legislation that aids one entrepreneur over another, it distorts the driving force of capitalist economies.  He equally vilifies government leaders who impose tariffs on international trade.  Von Mises explains that the fallacy of government leaders who pass favoring legislation is that the real mover of the economy is the consumer; not the producer.

FRENCH REVOLUTION
Von Mises believes labor has a choice.  They can work for low wages or remain idle.  The fallacy of that argument is the inherent unfairness of not having enough income to live creates revolutionary discontent.

The logical extension of von Mises’ theory is that any government planning or action that affects an entrepreneur’s willingness to take a risk to produce product, or service a customer’s perceived needs, is bad for society.  To von Mises, efforts to organize labor is an interference with capitalist entrepreneurs because labor is not taking a risk. Von Mises argues that labor costs will find its own level by being an automated tool of the entrepreneur; subject to hunger and deprivation if they choose not to participate.  Von Mises point is that the entrepreneur will pay what he/she must to have labor available, but no more than what the end-product consumer is willing to pay.  Von Mises believes labor has a choice.  They can work for low wages or remain idle.  The fallacy of that argument is the inherent unfairness of not having enough income to live creates revolutionary discontent.

UNION MOVEMENTUnions offer a vehicle for leveling the power between businesses and labor.  To not allow unionization is tantamount to favoring businesses that are no longer competitive but are today recognized as an economic equivalent of individuals.  Not to give unions a place “at the table” is morally, ethically, and economically unfair; particularly in industries that are no longer entrepreneurial.

Another von Mises’ observational theory is that government policy should have no role in subsidizing new inventions, new drugs, the ecology of the world, or the elimination of slavery because such policies interfere with pure capitalism. This reinforces absurdist arguments of libertarians.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH (RESEARCH INSTITUTE FINANCED BY THE GOVERNMENT.)

American creativity has historically been benefited by government subsidization of technological advances.  (President Putin noted in a 60 Minutes’ interview that creativity is his most admired quality in the American economy.) The speed of improvements in health, education, and welfare historically increased with government subsidization of drug research, public education, and the energy industry.

THE CIVIL WARThe fallacy of von Mises’ theory lies in the framework of theorists.  It ignores human existence by hiding behind the unquantifiable nature of society.  One may argue that America’s Civil War had nothing to do with the elimination of slavery.  (Von Mises suggests that slavery was abolished because it became too expensive; not because it was morally and ethically reprehensible.)  One may argue that Roosevelt’s New Deal was a failure.  One may argue that the Marshall Plan after WWII rewarded failed nations.  One may argue that George Bush’s and Barrack Obama’s decisions to bail out the American economy interfered with pure capitalism. History suggests von Mises is wrong.  Government intervention can be good as well as bad.  (Bush unilaterally agreed to lend $17.4 billion of taxpayers’ money to General Motors and Chrysler, of which $13.4 billion was to be extended immediately.)

Von Mises lived into the 1970 s.  How could he ignore the moral and ethical iniquity of slavery, the value of the Marshall Plan, government subsidization of the American banking system, financial incentives for the energy industry, and the billions spent to advance technological inventions?  Those are good examples of government intervention.  On the other hand, building a wall between Mexico and the U.S. and levying a 20% import tax is a bad government intervention.TRUMP'S WALL 2

American capitalism works because of the checks and balances written in the Constitution.  Von Mises theory is based on valid observations but social conscience, whether statistically measurable or not, must be a part of decisions that affect the lives of millions.  Mistakes will be made, and have been made, but economic statistics cannot be substituted for pragmatism.

AMERICAN APETITE

If there is a “Cromwell” in Trump’s administration, he/she should appraise King Henry and his emphasis on loyalty of class.  King Henry, like Trump, seems to care little about commoners; except as they benefit his wealth, power, and prestige.

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.blog

Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII’s Most Faithful Servant

Thomas Cromwell by Tracy Borman

Written by: Tracy Borman

Narrated by: Julian Elfer

TRACY BORMAN (AUTHOR, BRITISH HISTORIAN)

TRACY BORMAN (AUTHOR, BRITISH HISTORIAN)

HILIARY MANTEL

HILIARY MANTEL (ENGLISH AUTHOR OF “WOLF HALL” AND “BRING UP THE BODIES”)

While Hilary Mantel wets American appetites for Thomas Cromwell with “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies”, Tracy Borman offers a more British perspective.

“Thomas Cromwell” is shown by Mantel and Borman to be a commoner with an uncommon intelligence.  He rises from a blacksmith’s son to become among the most powerful government administrator of the 16th century.  Cromwell is the consummate power behind the throne of King Henry VIII.  He manages to reform the Roman Catholic church in England, the power of aristocratic government, and the wealth of the British throne; all the while placating a volatile and often shallow King.

THOMAS CROMWELL AT ESTIMATED AGE IN HIS 40S

THOMAS CROMWELL AT ESTIMATED AGE IN HIS 40S

In the 21st century, one wonders if there is an American equivalent to Thomas Cromwell in President Trump’s administration.  Was it John F. Kelly, his former Chief of Staff?  Whether there is a person behind Trump’s erratic pronouncements, Borman shows that a modern American Cromwell is a mixed blessing.

Borman characterizes King Henry as one who seeks wealth, power, and prestige in every government policy and action. 

Wealth is drawn from confiscation of Roman Catholic Church’ land and wealth.  Power is taken with the King’s appointment as head of a newly formed Church of England.  Prestige is pursued with King Henry’s six marriages–meant to preserve his royal lineage.  It is Borman’s contention that each of these pursuits are largely accomplished through the machination and administration of Thomas Cromwell.

As a commoner, Cromwell is a consummate go-between.  With Cromwell’s personal experience and innate intelligence, he caters to aristocracy while placating, and sometimes aiding English commoners.  Cromwell is tutored by Cardinal Wolsey, King Henry’s former administrator who is also a commoner.  Wolsey is a trusted aide and Roman Church Cardinal who acts as a go-between for the Roman Catholic Church and the King. 

Wolsey sets the table for Cromwell’s rise to power as King Henry becomes disenchanted with Wolsey’s failure to convince the Pope to annul Henry’s first marriage. Though Cromwell does his best to protect Wolsey from the King, Wolsey loses his position, and dies on his way to the Tower of London.

TRUMP'S TAX REFORM

Cromwell hugely increases the wealth and power of King Henry

The King becomes the Catholic Church’s sole leader in England.  With that religious schism, the reformation of Catholicism begins. 

Cromwell cleverly maneuvers his way into the King’s grace by creating a legal justification for the creation of the Church of England. 

On the one hand, Cromwell exhibits the quality of a true believer in denying the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church; on the other, he hugely increases the wealth and power of King Henry.  Henry can have his first marriage annulled.  He marries Anne Boleyn and becomes one of the wealthiest monarchs in the world.  As reward, Cromwell not only becomes wealthy, he is given license to reform English Catholicism.

Cromwell is shown to be enlightened and parochially narrow-minded at the same time.  Cromwell believes the bible should be available to all.  He endorses Tyndales’s New Testament as the first printed edition of the scripture in the English language. Cromwell disavowed Roman Catholic Church indulgences that imply followers may buy their way into heaven.  At the same time, Cromwell believes torture reveals the truth and uses it to convict innocent citizens who justify government policies desired by King Henry.  Anne Boleyn is beheaded based on torture induced confessions and false testimony.  Through Cromwell’s catalogue of lies, King Henry is able to divorce Boleyn and marry for a third time.

However, Borman notes that Cromwell is a protector of women even though he is the perpetrator of injustice to Boleyn.  Borman recounts letters of appeal that acknowledge help given by Cromwell to women abused by men, or left poor by death or divorce of their husbands.

HENRY VIII'S WIVES

With the death of Henry’s third wife, Cromwell arranges a marriage for the King to a German Princess, Anne of Cleaves.  This becomes, in Borman’s history, the beginning of the end for Cromwell’s tenure as the force behind the throne.  King Henry is no longer young, and his physical being has diminished by less exercise and greater weight. His new queen is not to his liking.  Though there may have been some political value to the marriage, there is no physical attraction.  These negatives are compounded by evidence that Queen Anne had been married before and her former husband is killed to facilitate her marriage to Henry.  Cromwell is alleged to have knowledge of the previous betrothal before Anne’s marriage to Henry.

THOMAS HOWARD (3RD DUKE OF NORFOLK, UNCLE OF ANNE BOLEYN)

THOMAS HOWARD (3RD DUKE OF NORFOLK, UNCLE OF ANNE BOLEYN)

King Henry becomes enamored with a potential fifth wife, Catherine Howard, who is the niece of the Duke of Norfolk.  The Duke of Norfolk is a bitter enemy of Cromwell.  Though King Henry soon divorces Catherine Howard (she is beheaded for adultery), the Duke of Norfolk begins a campaign to unseat Cromwell from his favored position with the King.  Though not mentioned by Borman, Henry marries for a sixth time but dies before finding cause to pursue a seventh wife.

In Borman’s final assessment, Cromwell is convicted of treason for failing to protect the King from his marriage to Anne of Cleaves.  However, Borman suggests the underlying cause for Cromwell’s demise is that he was a commoner among aristocrats who resented his power.  In an epilogue Borman notes that history has pictured Thomas Cromwell as villain and savior in different eras.  He is a villain for destroying the power of the Roman Catholic Church.  He is a savior for reforming the transgressions of the church.

THOMAS CROMWELL (1485-1540) DIED AT THE AGE OF 55

THOMAS CROMWELL (1485-1540) DIED AT THE AGE OF 55

Borman’s history of Cromwell resonates to some because it reminds one of Trump’s ascension to President of the United States.  Though Trump is no King, he is an aristocrat of wealth surrounded by many billionaires of the same aristocracy.  Trump seems to have some of the same shallow characteristics of King Henry.  If there is a “Cromwell” in Trump’s administration, he/she should appraise King Henry and his emphasis on loyalty of class.  King Henry, like Trump, seems to care little about commoners; except as they benefit his wealth, power, and prestige.

As Mark Twain said–“History doesnt repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”

AMERICA’S CIVIL WAR

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.blog

The Civil War: A Narrative, Vol. 2, Fredericksburg to Meridian

Written by: Shelby Foote

Narrated by: Grover Gardner

“America’s Civil War”

SHELBY FOOT (AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN)

SHELBY FOOTE (AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN)

Shelby Foote’s history of America’s Civil War is a classic for all who wish to understand the culture and strength of American democracy. America, like most nations, is a diverse country. Societal differences make the United States both strong and weak. Strength comes from limited freedom within a government of checks and balances. Weakness comes from the nature of human beings who violate moral and ethical standards defined by society.

ROY MOORE

ROY MOORE (DEFEATED IN RECENT ALABAMA ELECTION BASED ON ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT.)
The norms of society are shaped by human experience.  Religion, money, power, and prestige drive Americans to achieve fame and success; as well as infamy and failure.

Foote recounts the interplay between civilian and military leaders in America’s civil war who show how these drives shape American society.  The evil of slavery tangles itself into the Civil War’s human experience.  Slavery is reviled by some; while fully endorsed by others.

Generals, political leaders, and soldier/citizens on both sides of the Civil War demonstrate various levels of good and bad behavior.  Some vie for the money, power, and prestige of command.  Some fight for the glory of God whom they feel is on their side.  Some fight because they are paid to fight.  Some fight because they can exercise power over another.  Some fight for the spoils of war.  Some fight to win the accolade of those who follow their lead.  Others vie for nothing more than the desire to win against an opposing force.

AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

There are heroes and villains in this Civil War.  Foote tells the story of America’s Civil War from his voluminous research and personal perspective.

Foote offers facts that show both sides of the conflict have honorable and flawed leaders.  He, like all human beings, does not escape his own prejudices.  There seem hints of Southern sympathy and ethnic prejudice.  Even the best historians are human; neither omnipresent or omniscient.

The listener/reader judges for themselves based on their own beliefs and experience.  Lincoln, Davis, Stanton, Halleck, McClellan, Mead, Rosencrans, Lee, Grant, Sherman, Longstreet, and Stonewall Jackson are heroes with flaws. Each chose their path which leaves them to historian’s and reader/listener’s judgement. 

All of us are shaped by heritage and experience. All desire a degree of money, power, and/or prestige.

MISOGYNY

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.blog

Misogyny, The World’s Oldest Prejudice

Written by: Jack Holland

Narrated by: Cameron Stewart

Jack Holland (Irish writer, Born 1947, Died 2004.)

This quarters’ “Foreign Affairs” argues misogyny is rising in the world with newly elected autocrats. It cites rising misogyny in Brazil, India, Poland, Honduras, Mexico, Turkey, and the U.S. in a lean toward authoritarian and antidemocratic policies. “Foreign Affairs” leading article suggests “…women’s political and economic empowerment is now stalling or declining around the world”.

Undoubtedly, sexual depredation began before recorded time, but misogyny became institutionalized with the written word.

The mystery is what has taken so long for American misogyny to be recognized.  The mystery is explained in Jack Holland’s “Misogyny, The World’s Oldest Prejudice”.  Misogyny appears when history is first recorded.  Misogyny is perpetuated by religion, society, and government. 

From men who are Presidents to business moguls to famous newscasters, misogyny grows like a cancer.

(Past accusers of President Trump.)

E. Jean Carroll–Latest accuser of President Trump’s past behavior.

A woman’s rights have been a moving target since the beginning of time; or at least since the beginning of recorded “history”. Jack Holland tracks “The World’s Oldest Prejudice”, misogyny. 

Holland’s conflation of Nazism with societal misogyny seems misplaced except in comparison to Nazism’s institutionalization of discrimination.  The evidence and truth of women’s domination, abuse, and murder by men is solid. Holland recounts government practices, religious doctrines, philosophical treatises, science errors, and corroborated historical events that confirm institutionalization of misogyny.

Misogyny is in the news today with accusations against Presidents, several newscasters, aspiring and existing politicians, film producers, and business leaders. 

(COMBO): This combination of pictures created on October 13, 2017 shows US producer Harvey Weinstein (L) taken on March 10, 2015; (1st row from L) US actress Rose McGowan taken on April 3, 2016, US actress Angelina Jolie taken on September 13, 2017 in New York City, Italian actress Asia Argento taken on May 17, 2017, US actress Gwyneth Paltrow taken on May 6, 2017, US actress Ashley Judd taken on July 25, 2017, (2nd row fromL) French actress Lea Seydoux taken on May 19, 2016, US actress Mira Sorvino taken on December 7, 2015, US actress Rosanna Arquette taken on February 25, 2017, US actress Louisette Geiss taken on October 10, 2017, British actress Kate Beckinsale taken on on August 7, 2017, (3rd row fromL) Television reporter Lauren Sivan taken on July 26, 2014, US actress Jessica Barth taken on June 21, 2012, US producer Elizabeth Karlsen taken on January 4, 2016, French actress Emma De Caunes taken on October 17, 2016, and French actress Judith Godreche taken on October 19, 2015. An avalanche of claims of sexual harassment, assault and rape by hugely influential Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have surfaced since the publication last week of an explosive New York Times report alleging a history of abusive behavior dating back decades. / AFP PHOTO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA AND AFP PHOTO / STAFF

As far back as the oldest laws of government written by a Sumerian King in 2,050 BC, women have been singled out with human rights’ violations.  An example is the King’s law that particularly applies to women who speak insolently.  They are to have their mouths scoured with salt; i.e. a law applying only to women slaves.  Of course the law begs the question of why women are slaves.

All major religions are patriarchal.  Each has a history of misogyny that lives through to today.

Beginning with the book of Genesis in the Christian Bible, women come from man; not as a singular human being but as an adjunct of man, a mere rib.  In Genesis 3:16, women are burdened and subservient to men from the beginning.  “Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee”.

In the Ten Commandments, wives are treated as property to men.  Holland cites Apostle Paul as a harbinger of doom for women.  His doctrinal preaching perpetuates misogyny.  Apostle Paul implies women are seductresses because of men’s earthly desires.

Men are advised to focus on the spiritual to avoid sin and assure their passage to heaven.  By separating humanity and spirituality, Holland argues Apostle Paul implies women and bodily pleasure are a principal source of sin.  Female genital mutilation is condoned in this view of human sin.

FEMALE GENTITAL CUTTING IN MODERN TIMES
FEMALE GENITAL CUTTING IN MODERN TIMES

Holland notes that in the Torah (Jewish doctrine), women are unclean twice as long for birthing daughters rather than sons.  Further, the Torah explains that women who are raped in the city should be stoned to death, and if raped in the country, required to marry their rapist.  The fault for being raped is assigned to women rather than men.  Some conservative Jewish sects pray to God that they are not given daughters; additionally, they thank God for not being born a woman.

THE TORAH
THE TORAH

(Exodus 21:3-4 Says that if a male slave is given a wife by his master (regardless of how long they are wed, how much they love each other or if they have kids) he can not leave servanthood with his wife or children. The woman and children are merely property of the master and their personal happiness or sanctity of family doesn’t matter.)

In the Qur’an (Islam’s holy book), women are less valuable and inferior to men.  In paragraph 4:34 “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other.”  In Islam’s Sharia law, women are generally guilty of their own rape and are to be stoned to death or immolated.  There are exceptions but proof is an onerous exercise in futility.  As witnesses to rape, Holland notes a victim must find 4 men to corroborate a woman’s testimony or she is considered untruthful, guilty, and subject to punishment or death.

THE QURAN
THE QURAN

Holland argues that Sharia law denies women the right to an education.  (Islamic scholars disagree.)  If true, just as the American south feared education of slaves, the Islamic religion fears the education of women.  With education, women are bound to seek a better life with more freedom and less domination.

Holland reaches back to ancient Greek philosophers to note that both Plato and Aristotle believe women are afflicted with natural defectiveness.  To Plato, that defect is implied in “The Republic” when children are to be taken from their mothers to be educated by the state; independent of a mother’s influence.  To Aristotle, women’s defect is in his concept of forms.  Women either have no soul or essence that allows for perfect form.  Women are mere vessels for the birth of children that come from an essence provided by the sperm of men.  Aristotle argues women are subject to men and are, at best, “deformed males”.

ARTHUR SCHOEPENHAUER (1788-1860 DIED AT 72)
ARTHUR SCHOEPENHAUER (1788-1860 DIED AT 72)

Holland notes later philosophers like Schopenhauer and Nietzsche carry misogyny forward.  Schopenhauer argues that women have meager reasoning ability.  To Schopenhauer, women’s lack of reason and abundant sensuality cause chaos and disruption.  Nietzsche has a similar view of women.  Nietzsche views women as vixens that need to be controlled; not helpmates, independent humans, or equals to men.

SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939)
SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939)

Science luminaries also feed the misogynist credo.  Darwin suggests women are not as fully evolved as men.  Freud creates myths of penis envy and mental dysfunction from normal female physiological conditions.  Holland also addresses the misconception of the “blank slate” in science as noted by Stephen Pinker, a modern-day psychologist.

As Pinker notes, fifty percent of who we are, male or female, is determined by genetics.  We are not blank slates.  There are common genetic inheritances that interact with the environment as we mature.  However, each human reacts to incidents in the world in their own unique way.  Human beings, whether male or female, react differently to the same incidents based, in part, on their genetic inheritance.

Women and men are different but equal based on a combination of nature and nurture.  A truth in science is that the energy producers of life (mitochondrial DNA) come solely from mothers, not fathers.  This is quite a contrast to Aristotle’s theory of women as mere vessels of birth.  It is a surprise that there are not more misandrists than misogynists.

WITCH BURNED AT THE STAKE
WITCH BURNED AT THE STAKE

Holland recounts several horrific misogynistic events from history and modern times.  A major event in the 15th to 18th century were the witch trials.  Tens of thousands of accused witches were tortured and burned at the stake in Europe.  The most famous in America were the witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts.  An estimated 80 women were tried in New England with 20 executed and 5 who die in prison.

A NYT’s headline on 3.17.21 shows a Turkish woman battered by her husband. Misogyny is not unique to any country, culture, or religion. Misogyny is a world-wide heart rending tragedy.

Though witch trials and executions are in the past, modern-day Middle East and Eastern countries have trials for women that are raped, tortured, and mutilated for failing to follow religious and cultural norms established by male dominated governments.

SHARIA LAW VIOLATOR'S PUNISHMENT
SHARIA LAW VIOLATORS’ PUNISHMENT

Holland delves into the rise of Nazism and suggests the idea of the super race are contributors to misogynist beliefs.  To some extent that may be true but Hitler’s primary objective is to create a straw man for the ills of Germany.  The straw man became the Jews; i.e. the alleged source of all that is wrong with the world.  Nazism had much less to do with belief that women are the inferior of men.  As Holland points out, Hitler was widely supported by German women.

Hitler’s asexual revolution had little to do with the degradation of women but more to do with the myth of the “other” that is meant to roil and consolidate the masses in defense of a new order.  Sexual allure and male domination of women is the least of Hitler’s interests.  Experiments on women in concentration camps is a predilection of demented interests of Nazi doctors; not because of belief in misogyny, but belief in a final solution that will create a super race.

WWII KZ SACHSENHAUSEN
WWII KZ SACHSENHAUSEN CONCENTRATION CAMP

Hitler’s relevance to the subject of misogyny is in the creation of an “other”.  To a misogynist, the “other” is women for men who succumb to the fiction of male superiority.  To the misogynist, women become the source of men’s problems rather than their helpmates or equals.

Misogyny is a cancer in the world’s body politic.  Regulated freedom and equal opportunity are its cure.  The diversity of human life demands equal opportunity for all.  This does not mean everyone is equal but that each should be able to achieve what they are capable of achieving.  Regulated freedom is a necessity because all human beings are motivated by money, power, and prestige; each of which can lead to greed, corruption, and hubris.  All human beings are subject to the same vices.  All men and women should have an equal right to say yes or no to greed, corruption, and hubris.  Holland’s point is that women do not have the same rights as men because of centuries of cultural bias.

SO DIFFERENT SO ALIKE

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.blog

Richard Nixon: The Life

Written by: John A. Farrell

Narrated by: Dan Woren

John A. Farell (Author, former White House correspondent and Washington editor for The Boston Globe.).

“So different and so alike” is what comes to mind in listening to John Farrell’s biography of Richard Nixon.  President Nixon is characterized as thin-skinned, vindictive, and dissembling; a description echoed by today’s President.   Both make comments reflecting ethnic racism with reprehensible private comments.  Both attack news publishers; particularly the Washington Post and New York Times.

However, Farrell shows Nixon to be clearly unlike Trump.  Nixon understands political reality while Trump clings to a skewed personal reality.

NIXON, TRUMP

Nixon and Trump appear both misogynistic, and anti-intellectual.  Both viscerally react to perceived slights.  Both have morally corrupt views of society.

One uses the FBI and former CIA spies to discredit political’ opposition; the other demands loyalty more than truth from national security agencies.

Nixon avoids unfavorable publicity while Trump manufactures it.  Nixon exemplifies international, geo-political, and professional foreign policy while Trump follows an amateurish parochial isolationist foreign policy.   Nixon operates from a perspective of power-hungry self-interest, while Trump operates from a “monied” self-interest.

TRUMP-THE QUINTESENTIAL BULLY

Trump bullies the President of Montenegro.

Nixon is surreptitiously thuggish, while Trump is outwardly thuggish.

Farrell recounts Nixon’s early years of overt and benign support of McCarthyism. Nixon justifies his penchant for exposing communist sympathizers with his successful prosecution of Alger Hiss.  (Ironically, Hiss is convicted for a cover-up rather than espionage; just as Nixon is impeached for a cover-up rather than a burglary.) 

HENRY KISSINGER (FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE & NAT. SECURITY ADVISOR FOR NIXON AND FORD, WINNER OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE)

HENRY KISSINGER (FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE & NAT. SECURITY ADVISER FOR NIXON AND FORD, WINNER OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE)

Nixon and Trump have little respect for experts.  Nixon demeans Henry Kissinger, a Harvard educated intellectual, who became Nixon’s Secretary of State and a principal in the negotiation for the first SALT agreement with Russia and the opening of Communist China. 

Nixon fires a special prosecutor investigating the Watergate burglary. Trump, according to the Mueller report, orders the same action regarding Robert Mueller.

The only difference appears to have been–members of Trump’s administration refuse to follow orders.

Front page of the Mueller report-text following:

Trump demeans the scientific community by denying global warming and removing America from the Paris Climate Accord.

On balance, Nixon is shown by Farrell to be much more presidential than Trump but the perspective of history weighs heavily on that assessment. 

Ending Vietnam at the expense of South Vietnamese is a mixed blessing but Nixon stopped the carnage.  Opening China to the world is a great American accomplishment which history fairly attributes to Nixon and Kissinger.

TRUMP'S BELIEF IN THE LIE

Nixon, like all human beings, is flawed.  He is not the first President to lie.  He is not the first President to kill innocents.    Only time will tell if Trump is more than what he seems.

Specters of Revisionist History

Audio-book Review
By Chet Yarbrough

(Blog:awalkingdelight)
Website: chetyarbrough.wordpress.blog

American Ulysses, A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

Written by: Ronald C. White

Narrated by: Arthur Morey

RONALD C. WHITE (AUTHOR)

RONALD C. WHITE (AUTHOR, HISTORIAN)

Revisionist history always raises the specter of truth or fiction. Some histories report Ulysses Grant as a drunk, a failed farmer, a mediocre student of West Point, an uncaring General of soldier’s slaughter, and an inept President of the United States.

Ronald White tells a different story. He implies Grant is one of the three greatest leaders in American history. White ranks Grant with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

As may not be widely known, Grant chose to resign from the army in 1854 because of a threat of court martial from a commanding officer.  The commanding officer alleges Grant is too drunk to carry out his duty as a ranking officer at his post.  White explains Grant’s choice to resign as a defense against the stigma of trial. 

Based on research, White suggests Grant fears embarrassment for his wife and family with a public trial.  After leaving the Army, Grant tries his hand at farming and finds he cannot make it profitable. 

He sells his farm interest and carries its debt until paid in full.  Grant asks his father to allow him to work for him in his tanning business as a salesman.  When civil war is declared, Grant requests return to the Army as a Union officer.  As a graduate of West Point, his request is granted; partly for military necessity, but certainly with knowledge of a mark against his character.

BATTLE OF VICKSBURG (COUNCIL OF WAR WITH ULYSSES GRANT 2ND FROM LEFT ON BENCH AT CENTER LEFT)

Grant is shown to make his mark in history at the Battle of Vicksburg.  Beginning as a frontal assault that changes into a siege, Grant confirms his reputation as a master strategist and winning union general.  To many, Vicksburg is the turning point in America’s civil war.

It is unquestioned by White that many Union soldiers die under Grant’s command, but Grant is the first Union officer to fight and win battles.  Grant is soon promoted to Brigadier General. Grant is shown to be a quick study who makes strategic mistakes but learns to assess and manage fellow officers who battle and beat Confederate armies. 

ULYSSES GRANT

Grant at Cold Harbor

White reports that Grant is deeply affected by loss of close friends and soldiers.  However, Grant retains a fierce determination to win reunification of the States.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809-1865, 16TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. )

Grant is strongly supported by Abraham Lincoln who reveres and respects Grant’s  hard-won battles against the Confederacy.

Grant abhors slavery and fully endorses freedom for slaves and enlistment of the freed into the Union Army.    White reflects on the character of Grant by noting that he is a self-effacing leader who supports and rewards successful subordinates while serving as a fierce fighter for unionization and the equality of all human beings.

CIVIL WAR RECRUITS (OVER 180,000 BALACK MEN FOUGHT FOR THE UNION ARMY DURING THE CIVIL WAR.)

CIVIL WAR RECRUITS (OVER 180,000 BLACK MEN FOUGHT FOR THE UNION ARMY DURING THE CIVIL WAR.)

ANDREW JOHNSON (17TH PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. 1865-1869)

ANDREW JOHNSON (17TH PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. 1865-1869)
After Lincoln’s assassination, White reveals the contentious time and inept handling of the government by Andrew Johnson.  Johnson is impeached. He is accused in eleven articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives.

(Legislation of that time forbade the President from discharging cabinet members without approval of Congress.)  Grant privately, and later publicly, opposed Johnson’s actions as President.  White also notes that Grant argues against Johnson’s attempts to return the South to slavery by allowing state governments to continue discrimination against Blacks. 

Grant argues for military intervention in southern state governments when they discriminate against minorities.  This remains an unresolved issue until Grant becomes President, after Johnson’s completed term.

ULYSSES GRANT POLITICAL CARTOON REGARDING CORRUPTION IN HIS ADMINISTRATION.

ULYSSES GRANT POLITICAL CARTOON REGARDING CORRUPTION IN HIS ADMINISTRATION.

White completes Grant’s biography by noting that the “Gilded Age” (a title coined by Mark Twain) smudges Grant’s reputation because of the greed of a few men who knew Grant and tried to take advantage of their association.  Some were members of Grant’s administration, but White argues that none of them included Grant in their sordid schemes. 

White infers a naivete in Grant because he views others as he views himself.  Once one gathers Grant’s confidence, White implies Grant loses his objectivity.  White illustrates Grant’s credulity in having joined a Ponzi scheme that nearly bankrupts his family.  This credulity is further explained by White in the story of Grant’s personally written biography of the war.  Mark Twain protects Grant from making a huge financial mistake in how his memoirs are to be published.

TRUTH IS TRUTH

Truth is left to historians, and society’s judgement.

Trump’s second impeachment–what is society’s and the Republican party’s judgement?

Is White’s revisionist history truth or fiction?  One draws their own conclusion, but few human beings are untouched by the seduction of money, power, and prestige.  White’s story of Ulysses Grant suggests he is among the untouched few.  White makes a compelling and interesting case for Grant’s place in American history. 

Truth is left to historians, and society’s judgement. Who knows; e.g. Ulysses Grant had his critics but time has revised his place in history. What awaits today’s American President in histories’ and societies’ judgement?