911

Twin Towers

Twin Towers

 

Today marks 7 years since Islamic terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jets. Two were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York, one was flown into the Pentagon and the forth crashed in Pennsylvania after the passengers heroicly staged a counter attack. At the time commentators said that the world would never be the same again and whilst on one level such a statement is merely a truism (the world never is the same again) the events of 911 do remain the most defining geopolitical event of this decade. And whilst the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004 would kill 75 times as many people and displace many more lives, the graphic protracted real time images and audio of the many personal events that were projected onto our television sets on the 11th of September 2001 make that day one of the most defining modern moments in terms of human tragedy and suffering.  Please reflect on that day and perhaps share your thoughts.

63 thoughts on “911

  1. i had just finished a three year stint in New York and returned home to the UK in June of that year. as a result, 9/11 affected me enormously.

    i think a lot of people had their views challenged and permanently changed on that day.

  2. Number dead on that day several thousand, number dead from the miss directed response several hundred thousand.

    Empires destroyed on that day, none, empires destroyed because of the miss directed response. One.

    9/11 was a turning point in history, but it didn’t happen on 9/11.

  3. Charles, you are a dimwit.

    By “miss directed response” (sic) do you mean removing the Taliban in Afghanistan, which gave the terrorists sanctuary?

    The response there has been well directed, albeit somewhat underwhelming.

    Just in case you are an anti-American bigot, the Iraq invasion was not a response to 9/11. It was essentially the end game of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

  4. I’ll agree with charles Iraq was a mistake. Either that it was not part of the war on terror, or it was so inadequetely planned despite its necessity (humanitarian, strategic or part of the war on terror) contrary to the advice of military officials and consultants.

    Iraq sapped the momentum of the war against al Qaida. Moreso, I’d say Bush hasn’t been vigourous enough in trying to defeat al Qaida and the Taliban.

    charles’ casulty rate is fanciful. Basically it is about 1/9 the casulty rate of the First World War. Remember that the British had over 19 000 killed in action on the first day of the First Battle of the Somme.

    Also remember Saddam has confirmed slaughterings of his own citizenry that total close to 400 000.

  5. DavidLeyonhjelm

    Afghanistan came before 9/11. Afghanistan is the war lost because of 9/11, who knows enough resources may be put in place to turn it around but I doubt it, my guess is it will be forgotten and fade into history. Yes 9/11 was only the excuse for the Iraq invasion, they had absolutely nothing to do with it, junior wasn’t quite as smart as senior.

    Unfortunately the net result will be the falling of an empire, but it didn’t happen on 9/11.

    I truly fail to see how burying your head in the sand makes you pro American, but if you want to pretend it all didn’t happen that is your business.

    The USA is now back to where it was after the Vietnam war, broke. When you consider the sympathy they had on 9/11 and the progress they had made in paying down their Vietnam war dept, it’s quite an achievement.

  6. At least it makes things simpler now! 9/11 gave us a new crop of bad guys for Hollywood to demonise. This will give movies a moral compass, and Americans can come out looking like heroes! (The Vietnam War was lousy for movies- and have any great books come out of it, like ‘The Great Escape’?) If they can’t put an American Hero into it, it didn’t happen.

  7. Nicholas,

    I know you are being flippant but some Vietnam War movies are excellent.

    I don’t understand how America is broke either JC. Somehow Europe doesn’t go into Iraq and still manages to allow it’s economy to end up worse than the US (hence the recent rise in the USD).

  8. Charles. If America is broke, it is because of other items which cost FAR far more than their foreign policy.

    Social security.
    Medicare.
    Unfunded liabilities.

    Even their pledge to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which have $6trillion of bonds outstanding is a devastating decision.

    These problems have nothing to do with 9-11.

  9. The whole response was haunted by psychological warfare against the administration, the “no regimes to see here” obsession and just general leftist dishonesty.

    This is not a question of occupation/no-occupation. One ought not reverse the heirachy of reasoning versus conclusion. Or analysis versus strategy. We had a civilisation-threatening shitrain of working backwards from the preferred conclusion.

    Worst of all was the tendency of many on the libertarian-right to conveniently accept the lies and lying-mantras of the left.

    The libertarian-rights typical hatred of the welfare/warfare state could be justified on its own terms and the crime-scene did not need to be tampered with to justify this staunch bias.

    Reviewing the facts with fresh eyes, people will find that more than likely at least three regimes were involved and Iraq was almost certainly a driving force behind 9-11.

    One hopes that after all this time a rational review can now be made by people who acted with appalling stupidity a few years back.

  10. Somehow Europe doesn’t go into Iraq and still manages to allow it’s economy to end up worse than the US (hence the recent rise in the USD).

    Could be much worse than that Mark. My sister just returned from Europe and said it is looking quite bad over there. One trader she spoke too even advised to buy gold, not stocks in gold, but actual gold. Just yesterday a news headline on bbc.co.uk claiming some European countries are plunging into recession.

  11. 500 billion here, 500 billion there, what does it matter. The end comes when the US dollars ceases to be the reserve currency. John at the moment Bears are a dime a dozen.

  12. The legacy of 9/11? I think most people are already forgetting it. It may have been the catalyst for some significant events, such as the invasion of Iraq, but in itself it was clearly not really important. Other issues such as climate change, peak oil, food prices are much more important to the future of the world.
    Our reaction to 9/11 was as much about the shock of discovering that that the West was not immune from the suffering in the rest of the world. After all lots of places, Palestine, Sudan, Rwanda etc have suffered 9/11s for generations. And we barely noticed.

  13. The end comes when the US dollars ceases to be the reserve currency.

    there is no evidence of that yet Charles. The US dollar share of world currency reserves is still around 60 odd% and remains little changed from a decade ago.

  14. At least it makes things simpler now! 9/11 gave us a new crop of bad guys for Hollywood to demonise. This will give movies a moral compass, and Americans can come out looking like heroes!

    nicholas gray comment 8 – I haven’t seen many Hollywood movies where the baddies are Islamic terrorists and the good guys are all-American heroes. In fact there are plenty more like V for Vendetta, Redacted, Syriana and most Michael Moore films that have it the pretty much the other way round.

  15. You are right, Papa, but why is that? Bin Laden seems tailor-made to be a baddie, and he’s already declared that America is the number-one country to attack. He has even called it a duty to attack america and americans!

  16. jc

    It’s actually perked before the Iraq war and has been in decline since. It’s hasn’t yet reached the lows that occurred after the Vietnam war. But that was their first debt default ( giving up the gold standard). This one to date is a little more subtle, devaluation. The question is a will other nations continue to hold enough to get screwed again. We will see.

  17. Charles:

    I’m really sorry to say but you don’t make sense.

    How exactly is the US broke? It has sovereign triple A status. It’s economy is growing and has been growing under the bush years at around 1.9%- less than Clinton’s 3.5%, but it’s still growing. It’s budget deficit this year is expected to be $485 billion which is around 3.5% of GDP which is highish but not startlingly so.

    Where are you getting your information.

  18. charles,

    Please read this. It is very important you have a good understanding of what actually happened. Scaremongering about “bankruptcy”, the value of derivatives etc is uninformed piffle.

    It wasn’t a debt default, the Bretton Woods system was set up in a flawed way so that gold speculators could basically use the US currency as a tool to get gold cheaply.

    The whole post WWII monetary framework could only work as long as America had a persistent current account surplus or balance.

    “America” didn’t owe anyone anything. The currency was weak because of inflation used to pay for the war, the taxes slowed the economy and the US Government also borrowed heavily which contributed to the inflation and slowing growth. In the long run, slow growth and more money equals devaluation. The devalution caused the problem of the gold outflow, to which the FX system had set up in an unsustainable way. They would have had this problem if Japan and Germany invested heavily in American real estate or built new factories in America. Can you explain you why owe someone something after you have sold it to them.

    The moral of the story: don’t be fooled into confusing Government debt, private debt and international balance of payments accoutning conventions. They are all completely different. Yes, the Government spending and debt did contribute to the economic slowdown, but the slowdown simply put pressure on an unworkable FX framework. It did not “bankrupt” America.

    Everyone else gave up the gold standard. If you had a current account deficit, does this mean you defaulted? No. Your currency simply trades at the appropriately discounted value after that. Our money is still backed by gold – but open to manipulation (monetary policy)- see what a special drawing right is at the IMF.

    Also, if foreign bondholders decide to cash in their bonds, they will only get the present value of the bond (US dollar has depreciated from a peak), and if done en masse would see a large increase in the supply of foreign currencies and a large increase in the demand for USD. It is totally inconceivable that such an action would “bankrupt” America. The bonds are bought globally by other investors, not sold back to “America” against her will. The bonds also do not have provisions to be cashed in at the holder’s pleasure. Typically a bond will have a repurchase option, exercised at the pleasure of the issuer.

    You should also note that virtually all security exchanges also require of their participants (voluntarily imposed simply as a matter of commonsense, even if statutorily required) that derivative positions be covered. You cannot write a naked position – essentially all derivatives positions cancel out with the opposite trade or are covered by underlying assets which move in the other direction.

  19. Charles, let me guess: you’ll be concentrating your investments in EU countries as that’s going to be the economic powerhouse of the future, reflected in the fact that it’s now the world’s largest economy!?

  20. …the Iraq invasion was not a response to 9/11.

    Correct. 9/11 created the political atmosphere that enabled th US administration to go to war. The foreign relations heads in the Bush regime expressed the intention to go to war with Iraq before Bush was elected. Anecdotes from those with access to intelligence before the war reveal a commonplace knowledge that the intentions of the Bush administration were known well enough.

    It was essentially the end game of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

    Not really. This isn’t an endgame it’s a preamble. If you look at the map you see that Iraq and Afghanistan flank Iran and give access to Central Asia. Central Asia is thought to hold many rich resources including of course oil.

    More than that apart from a small strip of land belonging to Pakistan both Afghanistan and Iraq, if secured by Anglo-American military force, provide pipelines for resources from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean respectively. The UK/US intentions should properly be regarded as pretty much the same as those of the Russians’ activities leading to the Crimean War.

    For the extreme pessimist of course there’s also the fact that establishing alliances with Central Asian nations gives the Western military access to China and Russia. A few chess moves leading to an inevitable series of wars?

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  22. john

    you’re right that it’s much worse in europe. i was over in the uk in july and was shocked at how bad things had become so quickly. i would much rather own $$ than euros or GBP but i would also rather own gold or oil than $$.

    btw – heard today that there were 236 people whose job was to regulate Fannie and Freddie! god bless the govt.

    i would like to watch the film I.O.U.S.A but hear it won’t be shown in Oz.

  23. Thank you, Australia, for your kind comments on the anniversary of 9/11. We love the Anglosphere, and Australia’s intrepid brand especially; must be our common love for freedom-loving cowboys.

    Two things about 9/11:

    What has radically changed as a result of the attack is the 350 year old paradigm of relations between nation-states. Now, non-state actors have violently made obvious that the old paradigm in international relations is done. A new paradigm is not yet constructed (sovereignty is now the liability; it used to be the paradigm) and, unfortunately, so many libertarians do not see this as the best opportunity to reformulate international relations upon libertarian principles.

    Secondly, what the 9/11 attack did was crystalize an evolved form of fascism, ‘theofascism,’ for the 21C. The attack emboldened a world-view grounded in a death wish, and that ‘revival’ of evolved fascism is going to plague the world for all of the first half of this century. Islam will eventually emerge from this ideo/theological process more moderate and modern, but not without enormous numbers of Muslims dying at the hands of fellow Muslims, their fanatics. Theofascist Iran alone is likely to kill more Muslims than all who died in 1,400 years of religious wars.

    9/11 did not so much ‘change’ everything as much as it did make us more aware that the changes had already occurred.
    3,000 innocent dead, and our ‘innocence’ gone with them.
    May they rest in peace; may we preserve our freedom.

    Thank you, Australia, for remembering us on this day.

  24. Duoist – We have a saying in this country – pull your head in.

    The emergence of non-state combatants is new but hardly challenges the sovereignty of the state. The UK and Spain, to name just two countries, dealt with terrorist activities over decades. Whilst they couldn’t eliminate them they hardly posed any serious threat to national sovereignty.

    The way that the Blair/Bush governments have dealt with al-Qaeda terrorism is telling. They have done so in precisely the opposite way to that deemed prudent by those dealing with ETA and the IRA. Terrorist groups cannot directly challenge states militarily. Their aim is to create discord, anxiety, panic via fear. The way in which Spain and the UK dealt with this is by downplaying their publicity as much as possible. The US and UK governments went the other way. For their own purposes.

    How libertarians are supposed to subvert the 350 year old paradigm (where did that figure come from?) is beyond me. 9/11 didn’t weaken the state it gave the state an excuse to start rolling back central limitations on its power. The spectacle of Mr Bush crapping on about freedom whilst merrily trashing habeas corpus and monitoring library cards is Orwellian. Mr Bush’s claim to be a freedom fighter ranks alongside Stalin’s claim to be the leader of a worker’s paradise.

    Your characterisation of Jihadism lacks subtlety and accuracy. The theocracy of Iran bears a certain resemblance to Fascism in some ways. In others it’s quite different. But I haven’t the space.

    I’m afraid the US busted its cherry a long time before 9/11. But feel free to continue with the 3 monkeys act. For my part I hope my own country will resolve not to merrily follow yours in its self-righteous romantic adventurism in the future. They don’t seem to end too well.

  25. Charles at comment # 2 is closest to the mark here. The responses from jc, david and the other usual suspects are as unconvincing as, well, usual. The response to 911 showcased brilliantly the flaws of the US Government. I find it suprising, bordering on sad, that people on this “Libertarian” site appear to have an almost reflexive, pro-USRP response some times.

  26. Mark –Also remember Saddam has confirmed slaughterings of his own citizenry that total close to 400 000.

    Also remember that the US was just fine with that. 🙂

  27. I suppose a difference between ETA and the IRA on one hand and jihadists on the other is that jihadists blow the legs off grannies (mostly grannies who share the same religion as it happens) because they like blowing the legs off grannies. They don’t seem to want anything we can give them, they don’t want anything we have. The IRA and ETA both had tangible objectives. They knew/know that there are limits to violence because if they go too far they lose the support they crave.

  28. The Jihadist aim in the short term is very similar to ETA and the IRA. They want the US out of Saudi Arabia. ETA wants Basque independence the IRA wants the UK out of northern Ireland. But none of that’s relevant here.

    What is is that terrorist work from fear. The tactic is to reduce the fear they cause. If so why did Bush actually amplify it. Answer he was using terrorism as an excuse for other things.

    And as far as I remember the IRA relished blowing the legs off of people – as long as they were English. Al-Qaeda’s different in that they seem to expend more energy blowing up Muslims.

  29. The Jihadist aim in the short term is very similar to ETA and the IRA. They want the US out of Saudi Arabia.

    Dunno about that Adrien, Uncle Bin was pretty specific with his demands. He also wants the ” west ” out of Spain and Portugal.

  30. Adrien (aka Adrienswords), what are you doing slumming it here? You are usually spreading your left-wing anti-American bile at Catallaxy and elsewhere. This site take its libertarian values seriously. Trust me, you are an outlier.

  31. Duoist; The vast majority of us are with you today. This should be and was probably intended to be a memorial of sorts.

    It is just a pity we have a few whackos who want to spew their venom on it.

  32. p.s. In spite of some bad apple nations I think the sovereignty right of nation states is better than the alternative of global governance.

  33. well said, Jim

    Adrien – it is absurd to compare AQ with ETA or the IRA. Both the latter groups fought for a specific objective (independence for the Basque and the removal of the English from N Ireland). AQ has no objectives. Or rather what incoherent objectives it does have are preposterous – for instance the restoration of the Caliphate in Spain, the removal of the Jews from Israel.

    Hitler had similar objectives. It doesnt mean we should attempt to address them or attempt to understand their root causes.

  34. Actually I think understanding the root causes of Hitler and the NAZI movement are important parts of history. Lest we repeat the mistakes.

  35. Terje

    some people are born with pure evil in them. i can’t learn much from that.

    go and watch the Batman movie.

  36. charles (and friends) think/s he’s right about foreign policy. Perhaps the flaws of the US Government as well.

    Hey, he might be. There is a lot going his way here.

    Let’s get it through his head he is wrong about the US being “bankrupt”. It is a fundamentally stupid idea built on a shaky understanding of macroeconomic accounting.

    Adrien,

    You are right. The West should go after all terrorists without exception. I don’t like the idea of getting blown up because my beliefs offend someone or because I am a target of opportnity.

    Bush wasn’t vigourous enough in pursuing terrorism and Iraq just slowed him down. He also could have finsihed that war long ago if the administration acted on advice they were given.

  37. It is just a pity we have a few whackos who want to spew their venom on it.

    Oh please excuse me but I am not a whacko and I wasn’t spewing venom. I’m simply inclined to be hostile to nationalistic agitprop. My comment may be something with which you disagree, and it may have been written somewhat emotively but it wasn’t irrational.

    You are usually spreading your left-wing anti-American bile at Catallaxy and elsewhere.

    My ‘bile’ is neither particularly left wing nor is it anti-American. I was educated by Americans. I know their history, their customs, their sports and their literature. If you find one comment that’s ‘anti-American’ I’ll eat a worm. BTW – It is not anti-American to criticize the US govt. Quite the reverse.

    In short the sovereignty right of nation states.

    Indeed Terje. I’m afraid I was testing the gentleman. Even Kissinger has written that the Westphalian system has ended not due solely to 9/11 but to a range of factors. The breaking of UN multilaterlism being one but globalization and its pressures I think being the primary source.

    Whatever the historical niceties I see another war to end them all on the horizon – joy!

    He also wants the ” west ” out of Spain and Portugal.

    Yes Mr Bin Laden’s eyes are bigger than Mr Collins et al. He wants to be the new Saladin. (Don’t they all.)

    In any event the size of the preposterous claims of a terrorist group are immaterial to the argument. What is material is that terrorists use sporadic violence to create widespread fear in order to bring attention to their cause whatever it might be. The response to past terrorist acts has been to starve them of publicity, thus providing a disincentive. But Bush/Blair have done the opposite.
    .
    This is a classic case of population manipulation using war. Unfortunately it seems libertarians in the main are so sewn in with the rest of the Right that anyone who actually does what the classic liberals did and declare this to be a shameful resource grab are labeled anti-American lefty whakos. 🙂

    Bollocks!

  38. Adrien — rest assured that the vaste majority of libertarians opposed the Iraq war. Just (unfortunately) not the vaste majority of Australian libertarians, for some reason that confuses American libertarians as much as you.

    Pommy — are you really saying that you learnt nothing from looking at the rise of Hitler. That’s sad. And a little scary.

  39. Temujin – there are ‘root causes’ that can be used to explain just about anything depending on your own political viewpoint. for example, the most plausible ‘root cause’ of 9/11 was most likely Bush Sr’s. refusal to remove Saddam when he had the chance – hence US troops in Saudi, hence the rise of AQ, hence 9/11.

    do you really believe that the overly harsh Treaty of Versailles can explain the collective madness of Naziism? what exactly did you learn from Hitler?

  40. From the rise of Hitler we can learn that democracy does not guarantee liberty or humanity or even further democracy. We can learn that punishing an entire nation for past wars (ie reparation payments) in a way that impoverishes will make the option of restarting past wars more rational (in fact we did learn this lesson for a while because after WWII the allies ensure that both Japan and Germany were lightly taxed). We can learn that despotes can be popular. Perhaps you knew all this but I can’t imagine you knew it implicitely without looking at some history lessons first.

    Labeling some group as evil and then waging war on them without some consideration of incentives or motives seems to me to be unscientific and a blank cheque for the sorts of atrocities we should be keen to avoid. In fact waging war on them implies we do think incentives matter. People may be evil but rarely are they mindlessly evil. I doubt that Bin Laden eats small children on weekends just for amusement. His evil is purposeful. Likewise Hitler killed Jews because it served some objective and some vision of society that he had.

  41. in fact we did learn this lesson for a while because after WWII the allies ensure that both Japan and Germany were lightly taxed

    Terje – Japan may have been lightly taxed but it certainly wasnt lightly bombed. if you’re looking for ‘root causes’ of a future Japanese/US War, then avenging Hiroshima looks a fairly safe bet.

  42. Mises or Hayek discuss the WW1 reparations and suggest they were actually quite light- about 1 1/2 % of GDP which was hardly crippling.

  43. Temujin; i guess I come from an age where courtesy was considered important, I also put up a post to let my mates over there that I was thinking of them on 9/11.

    I am associated with four history types over there, a couple are ‘buffs’, one fairly serious historian who does the lecture circuit, and a professor. If any of these people had put up a post dealing with some Australian disaster from the past on its anniversary or otherwise, I would as a matter of courtesy post a thank you comment, as Duoist did.

    I would not expect it to be greeted with,”pull your head in.”

    Pommy, The reasons given by maniacs who wish to form empires seldom have any basis in reality, mainly in semantics.

    We have just seen one to protect Russian nationals, not so far back ‘greater Serbia’ was a cause, further back there was Liebenstrom, and so on.

    if you’re looking for ‘root causes’ of a future Japanese/US War, then avenging Hiroshima looks a fairly safe bet. Mate the Japanese are a sensible people and are probably grateful to the allies, (not just the US) for bringing the war to a speedy end and thus saving countless Japanese lives.

  44. “Mises or Hayek discuss the WW1 reparations and suggest they were actually quite light- about 1 1/2 % of GDP which was hardly crippling.”

    That would be Mises. I don’t think they were too large but you have to have both sides of the balance sheet right. You’ve got to remember that the Brits leading up to the treaty had continued with a blockade on Germany, probably indirectly killing many tens of thousands of Germans by subjecting them to horribly high food prices. And then good King Calvin had done most things right but he had put up trade barriers. I think if the Germans were going to be forced into paying these reparations you had to use all your diplomatic powers to try and keep markets open for them…..

    …. And if you are going to set harsh terms you’ve got to be on a hair-trigger to enforce them. In other words its the same old story. You’ve either got to piss or get off the pot. Either enforce the reparations on a hair-trigger or forgive them outright…… but from a position on strength.

    Better still split it up into its pre-Bismarkian principalities and then be good neighbours with them. But that would likely have required an occupation and the extension of the war.

  45. Jim — nothing wrong with telling your friends your thoughts are with them. I was just quickly responding to two comments by pommy & adrien. I didn’t tell anybody to pull their head in.

    I am sympathetic with people who have bad things happen in their life.

    Pommy — there are many lessons to learn from the rise of Hitler. Democracy can elect bad people. Terrorism (bombing the german parliament) can be used as an excuse to limit freedoms. If you push people into a corner that often makes them angry. Destroying a friendly regime is not always a good idea when the options are facsists or communists.

    Anyway, you seem to be confusing “understanding” with “necessarily doing everything to avoid war”. Those aren’t the same concepts. Perhaps the benefits of punishing a relatively peaceful Germany was worth the risk of leading to the rise of a strongman. That’s a separate issue. But first we need to actually understand the situation and the risks.

    The “anti-root-causes” mob is nothing more than a “refuse to understand how the world works” mob. It makes no sense and it’s embarassing to see people justify ignorance as somehow a virtue.

  46. Temujin – I’m not sure why Jim was explaining himself to you (perhaps your siding with Adrien explains it), however rather than accusing you of telling people to pull their head in I presume that Jim was explaining to you that when Adrien in comment 29 did tell Duoist to “pull his head in” Jim felt that was poor behaviour and he responded accordingly.

  47. Temujin – i’m just wary of viewing history as a series of cause-and-effect events. Some things just happen by chance according to the circumstances of the moment. We all tend to underestimate the importance of randomness in history (and especially in our own lives).

    Maybe i’m too keen to oversimplify, but i look at crazy evil but highly charismatic psychos like OBL, Hitler, Stalin, Mao etc and i just don’t believe their ‘grievances’ – they’ve all got a different story to justify their megalomania.

  48. Hitler was just one crazy dude. However 50% of Germans voted for him and loads supported him even after he cancelled elections. The question in my mind is what were those Germans thinking?. Were they all just taking evil pills? Or are Germans just born evil? If you think the outcome of elections are just random events then you have a lot more faith in chance than me. And if you think cause and effect has so little bearing on history then why blow up the Taliban? By your logic after 911 everybody should have just relaxed and let random events save us from the crazies. Sorry I’m not buying that logic. I don’t even think you believe it.

  49. Terje – Hitler never won a Parliamentary majority or the Presidency. He had a plurality and abused the law and executive power to install a one party State.

    Hitler only ever got 35% of the vote as Presidential candidate and the Nazis got 43% of the Reichstag vote in 1933.

    The reparations weren’t excessive – but the timeframe was. They were to be paid off in 1988.

    The lesson of Hitler, Osama, Saddam etc is to never try to be to clever for your own good – don’t make allies out of evil people or organisations. In the end you only protect evil causes by doing so.

  50. Here’s an interesting irony for you- because of the existence of the Soviet Union, Hitler was able to polarise the right-wing vote by a fear of international communism (Anyone remember the Comintern?). If the USSR had collapsed in the first years of it’s existence, we’d never have had Hitler, because he’d have had no-one to vilify! (Anti-semitism would not have been as potent). The Nazi party needed a plausible scapegoat- and Hitler probably was anti-communist, because it said it was international. His brand of socialism was for Germany only! So you can blame Lenin for WW2!

  51. I blame the (German) Kaiser for installing Lenin. But Russia was so broken that the liberal democracy that emerged after the capitulation to the Germans, anything could have happened. Revilution and counter revolution ensued. Every faction had a go – the Greens, the Whites, the liberal democrats and the Reds.

    But I blame the Austrian Kaiser for WWI, if anyone person can be vilified for that.

  52. Car accident victims with frontal lobe damage can lose their inhibitions and/or become violent. Some people have lower than normal dopamine and or serotonin production and are at a higher risk of being violent and withdrawn.

    But I don’t believe it’s possible to be born evil – I think a conscience is learned, becoming automatic over time, not innate. Similarly, I think thoughts (cause) preceed emotions (effect).

    I seriously doubt Hitler was in this category of being mentally deficient.

    And I don’t think the world has learnt the lessons of Hitler and the Nazis, because I don’t think the underlying cultural and ideological problems (of both the Nazi party and the public) were solved.

    The 20th century resulted in the most war related deaths ever. But can this just be blamed on better weapons technology? Or was the world more violent and hateful compared to previous centuries, like I suspect?

  53. Just (unfortunately) not the vaste majority of Australian libertarians, for some reason that confuses American libertarians as much as you.

    Possibly as a product of defending the US from Australian anti-Americanism? And/or possibly because there’s not much by way of diversity in the media here. Generally the libertarians side with the Right. In 2001-03 there was very little by way of criticism of the Bush administration’s plans in the press. In fact some commentators went so far as to regard one as immoral if you were critical.

    Given the massive demonstrations on the eve of the Iraq War the Australian people felt somewhat differently.

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