Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day

My version of Memorial Day: remembering some of the non-combatant victims of war during the last century or two:

The American South at the hands of Lincoln and Sherman.

Filipinos at the hands of the Americans.

Koreans at the hands of the Japanese.

Up to 1.5 million Armenians of Eastern Anatolia during the First World War, at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

Anyone who live in the lands between Russia and Germany during the first half of the twentieth century…at the hands of the Russians and Germans.

Countless millions of Ukrainians at the hands of Stalin’s forced famine.

Hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens, victims of Stalin’s Great Terror.

German victims of Allied bombings of civilian populations.

Up to 14 million Germans forcibly relocated (and up to 1 million killed) after World War Two, at the hands of the victorious Allies.

At least 200,000 Japanese at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  And here.  And here.  By you-know-who.

Millions of Palestinians (and counting) at the hands of the Jews.  And here.  And here.  And here.

There are many more examples: Chinese at the hands of the Japanese; Koreans in the 1950s and Vietnamese in the 1960s and 1970s – both at the hands of American; pretty much everyone living in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. 

I just haven’t written much about these yet.  Look, don’t blame me: you try to keep up with all of these atrocities.


Anyway, that’s my Memorial Day.


  1. I understand, I see the same over here. But(!) why not restrict YOUR memorial day to YOUR victims?

    (This is kind-of the same argument as doing business predominately with members of the group you identify with the most.)

    Isn't it more important te remember 'your' victims? Isn't the purpose of remembering the strengthening of the group identity?

    I recently heard a podcast were the argument was made: with any question/decision, ask yourself first "does it increase our survival chances?" (And the second I would add: does it increase the survival chances of our competitors?)

    [I guess you can tell that I am dealing a lot with in-group/out-group questions lately]

    1. Of course, I might be Filipino, Japanese, or Armenian. You never know!


      In all seriousness...the greatest enemy of liberty is war, and greater for those on the receiving end (like those listed above) than those who live on the sending end (like those who perpetrated the above).

      Also, while I obviously find the idea of culture, tradition, kin a valuable building block for liberty, I do not embrace it at the expense of all other values I hold in life.

      This may have been before your time here:

    2. Yes that was 'before my time' ;-)

      All in all, I think we are in much the same boat.

      I want to apologize for my initial reaction, it reads like an attack on your position. It should have been more questioning. Sorry.

    3. No need for apology; I find it valuable and necessary to clarify my position from time to time on this topic of "tribe."

    4. I mentioned r/K evolutionary psychology recently. I just read a note that tells me that the book on this subject will be free as a kindle download for a one day (today I believe):

  2. No doubt about it, government / political rule is THE great threat to life and limb. No doubt as well you are familiar with the work of RJ Rummel whose research derives an estimate of 260,000,000 killed by government in the 20th century alone. Rummel argued that democracies tend to be the least murderous form of political rule because there political power is the weakest and most constrained by their subjects. Hoppe however cautions that the peace observable between Western European democracies following WW2 is largely an artifact of their vassalage to the US.

    1. I lean strongly toward Hoppe. One thing democracy is terrible at is avoiding war; another is making a lasting peace; another still is not fighting wars against another democracy.

      Other than this, democracies are good at avoiding war.

  3. "Anyone who live[d] in the lands between Russia and Germany during the first half of the twentieth century…at the hands of the Russians and Germans."

    You've really done it this time, Bionic. This is your idea of showing the proper deference due The Holocaust (TM)?! By lumping the suffering endured by the Eternally Persecuted with that of the Poles, Ukrainians, Japanese and assorted other vermin? By pointing the finger not only at the demonic Krauts, but at FDR's beloved Uncle Joe?!

    You've placed yourself squarely in the crosshairs of the ADL and SPLC, Bionic. Worse, you've placed me, one of your legion of fans, in the same crosshairs. There goes my vague semblance of a career.

    1. Tony,

      I am no scholar of the Holocaust, but what I have read of the region suggests that while Jews were certainly identified and persecuted for being Jews, the fate that they suffered was not meaningfully different than others who occupied the same lands.

      No need to debate numbers: those of the 100 million dead who were not Jews died just as gruesome deaths as did the 6 million (or whatever) Jews.

      There, now I have taken the heat off of you and back on to me!

  4. Nice sentiment. I always feel awkward on these kinds of holidays. Usually I just work, so I can avoid thinking about it.

    1. No one engaged me today in the real world on the topic of Memorial Day, so it was a good day.

  5. I rarely post comments. Otherwise I would spend every waking hour vainly attempting to convert fascists. But I will accommodate you because it is a subject worthy of comment. Memorial Day is about remembering. Too many people dwell on the glory of war and the bravery of those who bear the consequences of old men playing war games at the expenses of young mens’ lives. Too few visit the Wall to contemplate the sacrifice of our best and brightest to indulge their dreams of Manifest Destiny in their unipolar world. Here is a relevant post I wrote in 2013:

    1. Throwing shade and condescending comments. Maybe better to take the advice in your own first sentence.

      Really, if you are going to go to the trouble of making a comment, better to be constructive than destructive.

      "But I will accommodate you..."

      Please, control your urge the next time.