Shiny Baubles

Manhattan Island, we are told, was bought for the price of a few handfuls of glass beads, some axe heads and muskets, and possibly a barrel of whisky.

Across the world primitive peoples, once exposed to the delights of modernity, have embraced it wholesale swapping bows and arrows for i-phones and loincloths for frayed jeans.

They have been cheered on by rationalists who point out, reasonably enough, to those who would prefer to see them left in peace, that they have every right to choose a life of medical care, availability of food and travel over their miserable stone age existence, nasty brutish and short.

But, looking at the bigger picture, would it not be true to say that all of us here in the West, have allowed ourselves to be taken in by the shiny baubles dangled in front of us by technology, and have blithely and carelessly given away our birthright of liberty in exchange for a mess of pottage in the form of clever toys of instant gratification, the internet of things, universal basic income?

Let’s take a look at the charge sheet:

  • Free and individual thought is crowded out by conformity of easy-to-hold opinions. Free speech is only allowed if people like what you’re saying.
  • Children are too rarely taught about self discipline. Instead their every act is praised to the skies and they grow up unable to deal with more challenging real life situations.
  • Universities have abandoned universality, and replaced teaching how to think with teaching what to think; in a depressing monochrome of wokeness. Contrasting opinions are effectively banned from campus.
  • The christian values, and especially dissent, which were responsible for enabling the creation of the splendour of our Western civilization have been forgotten except to the extent of a sort of whiny woke parody of religiosity. Just look at the sorry state of the Church of England. The real meaning and values have been lost, especially in the great cities where society’s consensus opinion is formed.
  • The sturdy self reliance of the frontiersman or the farmer is looked down upon, presidential candidates disparage the residents of flyover states with their bibles and their guns. Over here left wing politicians openly express the same contempt for white van man.
  • Vanity and self pity have become virtues.

This is not a new phenomenon. I think our civilization reached its peak during the Edwardian period leading up to the First World War. Many people think that the great flushing away of empires and the end of deference which were ushered in by that great calamity were good things.

And I would agree.

Unfortunately the baby was thrown away with the bathwater. Our civilization held its own until the 50’s, but after the Second World War the view had immovably taken hold that government’s wonderful efforts were responsible for winning the war and now they were going to win the peace.

It was at this point that our civilization lost its soul. It gave away its precious island in exchange for a few shiny baubles.

It was a short step from the nationalisation of the health service, the coal industry, the railways, the car industry and all the rest to a pervading belief that whatever the problem, the government had to do something about it. The massively over-centralised state got bigger and bigger and more and more monstrously inefficient, and ineffective. Here was the puppy chasing its own tail, on an enormous scale.

I would add here that the magnificent example of Germany, which addressed its own post war economic disaster by sending packing the American and British advisers who had been installed to run things, and instead adopted the great Erhard reforms which essentially liberalised and deregulated the economy and unleashed the Wirkschaftswunder which dominated Europe for the next 50 years. The lessons from this were studiously ignored until Thatcher appeared.

To add to these economic woes came the cultural catastrophe which was the 60’s when those old fashioned values which had stood us in pretty good stead for centuries, were gleefully thrown out of the window. Free love and rock and roll – fantastic. But if you don’t remember where you come from the consequences are disastrous.

Then came the idiotic French philosophers Derrida and the like. the Frankfurt school of cultural marxism. And Globalism.

Orwell was quite right when he pointed out the self-hatred that lurked in the soul of the fashionable parts of the British Establishment and it is that more than anything else which has brought us to the brink of the globalist hell where we find ourselves now. Up to the Edwardian period there was a substantial countervailing element in the Establishment which understood and respected what had been created. All too often this manifested itself in unwelcome ways such as economic protectionism, but the point is that you weren’t considered a freak or a throwback if you were proud to be British.

It was this attitude which was destroyed between 1914 and 1918, and the void this has left has been filled since 1945 by a kind of narcissistic moral vacuum.

It is a natural human failing to be lazy and to look for the easy way forward. It is that which has led to the astonishing engineering and organizational achievements of our civilization. But the downside of that is that it is all too easy nowadays not to be too bothered about the bigger picture. And this at a time when the establishments of the western nations are poised to take massive steps towards disolving our collective national identities. They are giving away our sovereignty to international bodies with no democratic accountability. AI risks becoming a serious threat to the human race as all the massive amounts of personal information which is collected every day will now be fed into what amounts to a massive machine which has the potential to know everything about everybody. Back when all this seemed to belong to an impossibly distant future, Sci Fi writer Isaac Asimov postulated his famous rules for robots:

  • First Law – A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • Second Law – A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • Third Law – A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law

We would have done well to insist these same rules applied to AI, but that ship has sailed. Even now governments are contemplating autonomous fighting drones. The dangers are obvious, and appalling.

The moral constraints which might once have shamed governments into some sort of pretence of respect for human dignity, liberty and autonomy have been swept away by the covid fiasco. If ever a relatively minor sickness was instrumentalised into a grotesque power grab this was it.

You don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist or to believe the WEF’s nonsense about a Great Reset to be deeply concerned. The fact is that a number of massive and deeply worrying developments are taking place all together, and there is virtually no debate. No concern. Because people are comfortable. Don’t want to rock the boat. Or be ridiculed as dinosaurs.

Thinking this through it has become clear to me that all civilizations contain the seeds of their own eventual fall. Ours is no exception.

If we don’t wake up, it may turn out that the end is sooner than we expected.

Heroes And Villains

Just like the second world war with which it is frequently (and ridiculously) compared the Covid Pandemic has thrown up more than its fair share of individuals who have had a good or a bad war.

“This is not the end, nor is it the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning” – thus Churchill described Monty’s fine victory at the battle of El Alemain. The apparent success of the vaccination campaign is I suppose a sort of D-Day, a connection already made by politicians desperate to flog yet more life out of the WWII dead horse.

But even though it’s not over, and just like the other event, the ramifications will shape our lives indelibly, it is not too soon to start identifying those individuals who have had a good war, and distribute rhetorical white feathers to some others.

So, we can say without fear of contradiction that the role of Lord Haw Haw has been admirably filled by the mainstream media and in particular the BBC whose frenetic and unrelenting propaganda campaign has done so much to cow the population into submitting to the most draconian restrictions on fundamental liberties in our island history. They have done nothing but parrot the government line from the start. And we know why; the BBC is part of the extended government machine, and as for the mainstream press, whose sales and advertising revenues have been plunging for years, have welcomed the government’s massive fear porn campaign as a welcome blast of oxygen. Let us hope that the BBC at least will meet Lord Haw Haw’s end, sooner rather than later.

Obviously Boris Johnson has been shown up as weak, overly eager to please, and unable to lead. The polar opposite of his own self image as a churchillian figure.

Matt Hancock – what a loathsome little man.

On the positive side; trebles all round for talk radio, Julia Hartley-Brewer in particular who has been a giant, holding ministers to account with genuinely forensic questioning, which they weren’t getting elsewhere.

Toby Young has been an unsung hero in Education for years; the founder of the Free Speech Union has masterminded the brilliant Lockdown Sceptics website which has been at the forefront of the dissemination of dissent against the insane lockdown policies.

And a Victoria Cross please, for Lord Sumption who has graced the anti-lockdown movement with a series of incisive and (literally) magisterial interventions. He should be in cabinet.

The Great Reset – Book Review

In the words of Dorothy Parker, this is not a book to be tossed aside lightly – it should be thrown with great force.

Poundshop Bond villain Klaus Schwab has acquired an unaccountably vast amount of influence amongst the self proclaimed global “elite”, largely by plying them with expensive food and drink at his converted volcano hideaway at Davos, and telling them what they want to hear.

In this book the master plan is revealed.

Having unleashed on the world a lethal virus (actually in Klaus’s own words “it’s not particularly deadly”) Western governments will shut down their countries’ economies and only reopen them once they can do so in a thoroughly “green” way.  And in a way which will vastly enrich a small coterie of billionaires and other highly networked folk; by an extraordinary coincidence, the same people who attend his meetings.

Actually there might even be some truth in the conspiracy theory; it is undeniable that the actions of (mostly) western governments have been absolutely unfathomable, and certainly not justifiable objectively on the terms described by those same governments. So there is something fishy going on, but probably a severe case of groupthink rather than Klaus’s nefarious conspiracy.

But it could be argued that Groupthink amongst a collection of individuals with infinite resources of wealth and power and an identical worldview is pretty well indistinuishable from a conspiracy anyway.  Pure semantics.

And having said that, there is no doubt that these same governments are heavily bought in to the warblings of Klaus’s World economic forum, especially regarding green issues and so it is inevitable that policy will be influenced accordingly.

Which is my reason for reading this book – Sun Tzu advised to know your enemy as well as you know yourself.

And make no mistake, inside this poorly-written-to-the-point-of-being-incomprehensible book, there is an extraordinarily unpleasant, inhuman manifesto. This is a document which clearly identifies those who would expound or facilitate these policy precriptions as an enemy of the free human being.

It is, not to put too fine a fine on it, a recipe for a global neo-feudalism.  Serfs will own nothing and be happy.  They even have adverts boasting about it.

The people behind this stuff have made no secret of their intentions. It is time to take them at their word and push back as hard as necessary to prevent this being enacted any further.

It is chilling to see how much has already been put in place during the year of Covid.  Absurd, implausible and uncosted “Green” commitments which threaten the coup de grace to our wounded economies.  The war on cash.  Vaccine passports.  The war on free speech by proxy, with tech giants blatantly engaged in shameless internet censorship shutting down dissenting opinions.  Arbitrary closure of small businesses all over Europe and the USA.

It’s not hard to see the outlines of a pogrom against the little man, the individualist, the pioneer.

This is the end point of Gramsci’s leftist march through the institutions.  The singularity at the heart of the leftist, globalist black hole.

If we wish to retain our humanity, and the vast gains that have been made by Western civilization down the ages,  they cannot be allowed to go any further.

The Four Horsemen Of The Aocalypse

As what we once knew as normal life slips ever further behind in our collective rear view mirror and the evening news might have been written by some ghastly chimaera of Orwell and Aldous Huxley possibly with a soupçon of Kafka thrown in, then comfort of a kind (not a terribly comforting kind) may be found in Revelations, the last book in the Bible, and the one which used to seem to have been written by a paranoid religious maniac during a particularly heavy acid trip, but nowadays seems fairly prescient.

One of the many things which would combine to make life a misery were the four horsemen of the apocalypse: The Antichrist, War, Famine & Pestilence.

And so it is as we approach the end of times, for Western Civilization at least, that their precise form is becoming clear.

  • The Antichrist – wokeism is eating away at our culture from the inside having infiltrated all the most influential institutions
  • War – that will be the Chinese push for global dominance by fair means or foul, (clue: mostly the latter)
  • Famine – will be the poverty and misery unleashed on the world by greenist policies founded in ignorance and cynicism
  • Pestilence – the Covid crisis is rapidly denormalising sacred freedoms

I don’t as a rule place an enormous amount of faith in biblical predictions; but Revelations is hurtling towards us and it might be too late to stop it.

PS. it will be obvious by the way that all four of these are due to the incompetence of Governments, and the blame is partly ours for not rising sooner.



On The Occasion Of Receiving A Request For Support From Boris Johnson

Dear Boris

I cannot in all conscience donate to the Conservative party for two reasons.

One is that I profoundly disagree with government policy regarding Covid 19.  The insanely authoritarian response is useless, ineffective and disastrously expensive and the astonishing depth of the incompetence on display by the PM, ministers (in general but especially Hancock and young Gavin) and the civil service has made our country a global laughing stock.

The second reason is that thanks to the serious reduction of income I am enjoying as a result of the covid lockdown policies, I am struggling to make the end of the month, in common with the vast majority I suspect of private sector employees and entrepreneurs.

So no.

People like you, your civil servants and the quangocracy generally don’t feel it with your fat index linked salaries and gold plated pensions, all paid for by private sector workers, but I’m telling you now, that you need to make a pretty urgent change of course.

On few occasions in history have the British people been so sorely tested by the casual cruelty and incompetence of their government, and each time it has ended badly.

Best wishes

Jack the dog

Reasons (Not) To Be Cheerful

No stop signs, speed limit
Nobody’s gonna slow me down…I’m on the highway to hell”

When our favourite rock & roller penned the lyrics of AC/DC’s “Highway to hell” it is unlikely he had the travails of the German economy in mind.  After all it is a colossus that has bestrode the continent for half a century, isn’t it?

AEP in the Telegraph points out that this traditional view of the strength of the German economy is misleading.  I made a similar point a bit back.

It is beginning to look, at long last, as though some sort of Brexit is going to take place at some point, and that it is likely to have negative effects for the Germans as much as for the British, with the difference that the latter are much better placed to bounce pack quickly having a more modern flexible and (after Brexit) open economy.

Combine this with what is looking more and more like an incoming global economic downturn which will add pressure to those struggling southern European economies that have never really emerged from the 2008 crash, and an ECB which exhausted its monetary firepower under Draghi (an extremely capable central banker) and has now taken delivery of a new president, the perpetually suntanned french lady, Mrs Lagarde (evidently still capable of landing these top jobs despite a 400 million euro fraud conviction and a track record of grim failure) and the stresses on the Euro really will start to pile up.

As is well understood the German economic wonder in recent years at least has depended on two chief factors.  The first of these is a deliberate policy to hold down wages (the Harz IV reforms).  The second has been a massive export drive of machine tools and cars.  The China machine tool boom is over and the cars were sold mostly to the British or to southern Europeans who bought them using money lent to them by the Germans via the Target 2 Euro area clearing system.

In this way a liability has been built up over the years of around 1 trillion euros which the S. Europeans are obviously never going to pay back.  And equally obviously at some point the Germans are going to want their money back.

The point at which these imbalances will explode is impossible to predict but it is undoubtedly a mightily worrying question.  The Germans have form in taking out their domestic issues on the neighbours.



We’re Doomed! Dooomed…!!

An iconic comedy show from our youth in the distant recesses of the last century was Dad’s Army, the family-friendly and gently amusing adventures of a home guard detachment.  Along with “Don’t tell him, [your name] Pike!”, one of the many catchwords this show spawned was Cpl. Fraser’s line quoted in the title.

I have just finished reading a book “At Our Wit’s End” which was telling me pretty much the same thing.

This is a serious book about an important subject, but it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the authors’ style and presentation write cheques that their conclusions don’t really cash.

Their thesis is that due to the growth of a welfare state across western countries and other cultural changes leading to a process of negative selection for higher IQ, and (to a lesser extent), high immigration from low average IQ countries, the average IQ of populations in the West is dropping sharply and that as a consequence our civilization is about to collapse, as did the Romans’ before us, and for much the same reasons.

The basic idea is unremarkable.  It is fairly obvious to a casual observer that by  incentivizing low IQ individuals to have children by extracting money from high productivity individuals redistributing it to the feckless, the results will not be pretty.  The other important factor operating in the same direction is that because high g (meaning IQ) individuals are more successful at contraception they are better at having fewer children, and do so as they get richer, a phenomenon documented throughout the world.

Much is made of the decline of religious belief in the West, although christian charity is held partly to blame for the generous welfare support provided to the needy.  And the whole charabanc is held together with sticky stape and speculation.

The authors’ solution (to the extent they have one) to this societal problem which they liken to a person preparing wisely for his own old age, is essentially Eugenics.

I’n not so sure.

There are any number of points on which they don’t convince me.

The book opens by recounting the sad end of the magnificent Concorde project which occurred as a result of an accident caused by the shoddy maintenance of another unrelated aircraft depositing a piece of metal on a runway which caused a freak accident killing 100 people.  The remaining aircraft were immediately withdrawn from service, and that was that.  Crossing the Atlantic now took 8 hours again instead of 3.

The next example cherry-picked and half-analysed to illustrate the author’s thesis is the project to put man on the moon in 1969.

Apparently 21st century humankind is no longer capable of doing that, either.

It seems to me that neither of these examples, at least as they are presented in the book, really work.

The reason that these staggering feats of engineering haven’t been repeated is more to do with economics and politics than with any preceived lack of engineering Genius in the population.  The authors fail to reflect that emerging from the massively centralised wartime economy of the West there was an enormous technological infrastructure of scientists and capable administrators just sat there with no more Nazis to fight, communist megalomaniacs to support, Atom bombs to build and test, or greatest seabourne invasions in history to plan and implement.

This was probably the greatest concentration of intellect ever harnessed to a single cause and hopefully we’ll never need to see its like again

With the war done and dusted some new purpose needed to be found for all this talent, the way of government being what it is, returning all these geniuses to normal boring peacetime activity was never an option.

Newly nationalised aircraft industries took the wartime inventions of jet engine and the rest and evolved them with massive amounts of financial input from the government, into Concorde, truly a magnificent aircraft but one which could uncharitably be described as using tax payer’s money to ferry plutocrats from one side of the Atlantic to the other.  Whether it ever really paid for itself is a moot point and the unseemly haste with which it was dumped after the crash tends to imply that it’s 50 year-old air frames were becoming a burden, and the economic case for making a new generation of supersonic plane is weak – luckily the will in the west for another tax payer funded effort doesn’t seem to be there.  that is progress.

Likewise the man on the moon, possible only because of the cold war space race.

The authors might as well explain the fact that we haven’t build another pyramid of Gaza or Great Wall of China.

Their assertion that a general decline in the amount of creativity (which is correlated strongly with g) is justified by the observable decline in the quality of the output of the BBC.  However other possible reasons for this are the infestation of cultural marxism and its baleful handmaid, political correctness, which really mitigate against creative thought.  It is impossible to imagine making The Life of Brian, or The Sweeney or countless other shows which we enjoyed in our youth, nowadays largely for reasons of PC and the fact that the BBC’s mission is now brainwashing rather than entertainment.  State broadcasters the world over will suffer from the same problem, as does (worryingly) the world of academe in which speakers of truth or opinion which lie outwith accepted and very tightly bounded acceptability, are routinely no-platformed or summarily sacked.  The teaching of history and the humanities generally has been debased, and only the STEM subjects seem to have resisted (excluding the question of Climate change which has taken on the trappings of a religion rather than serious science).

As a consequence it is impossible to separate the effects of CM from the mooted results of a generalised decline in intelligence, and the authors are wrong not to point this out.

They don’t consider either the likely effect of the 20th century’s great blood letting in the fields of Flanders.  A substantial proportion of the best and brightest of a generation were ground into the mud there before being able to procreate.  I would be surprised if that had no effect on the quality of the gene pool.

In general I got the strong impression that most of the quoted sources came from rather a small group of names including a considerable amount from the authors’ own previous works, not necessary a problem but not great either.

They attempt to discuss the history of the great Arab civilization and also the Chinese in similar terms but don’t convince.

In particular they don’t discuss what the possible effects of China’s one child policy might have been.  It would most likely have tended to attenuate the decline I would suspect but we’ll never know.  Not from these two anyway.

A particular niggle regarding the authors’ use of language.  They are adamant that a decline in the ability of people to use certain words accurately is an indicator of falling g but they themslves are guilty on at least five occasions of that awful abomination ” which comprises of” .  Need I say more?

When it comes to solutions they seem mainly to be in thrall to various types of Eugenics of differing degrees of wholly unacceptably authoritarian awfulness.  One example they mention is some system of licencing who can have children!

There might be better ways of achieving similar results.  For sure part of the problem is the very high percentage of women trying to have careers.  These careers especially for the university educated ones are often in relatively non value adding parts of the economy made necessary only by vast amounts of pointless and counter constructive government regulation.  If this were eased there would a double benefit.  In general government subsidy of higher education should be removed altogether and universities should have to go out to the market and offer genuinely value adding courses rather than sucking in students to study useless degrees for purely credentialist purposes.

I would suggest that benefits to unmarried mothers be reduced sharply.  Sucking at the teat of the tax payer as a lifestyle choice needs to be eliminated.  For mothers who can’t afford to keep their children, adoption by richer childless couples is a better outcome for the children, and one which at the moment is heartbreakingly difficult.

There will be other and probably better ways as well.

The “creativity deficit” in public broadcasting is easily solved.  Break up the BBC and sell off the bits.

Ridding the world of academia of the pernicious influence of cultural marxism it is a little more complicated, but reforms to make Universities more responsive to market forces would in time fix the problem.  Stop subsidising useless degree courses in pointless subjects like gender studies.  Reforms to education along the lines of the voucher systems which are frequently proposed but rarely implemented would improve the academic quality of primary and secondary education and as a result students would make better choices later.

So, all in all, food for thought and worth a read, but to my mind begs almost as many questions as it answers.

1942 All Over Again

There is an interesting article in this weeks speccie by Europhile (shock horror) Fredrik Erixon in which with more honesty than you might expect he looks at what the rise in (so-called) populist movements across Europe might mean for the EU.

Summing up he writes:

... we have centre-right parties spooked by migration and the borderless Europe. Meanwhile, the left is focusing its attentions on the single market, and would like to see scores of new policies introduced that restrict the freedom to do business across borders. For these parties, the ‘four freedoms’ are problematic. They worry about Polish plumbers fixing the pipes in France and Hungarian truck drivers delivering Amazon packages in Germany…Without the introduction of new social rights, or taxes and regulations on labour that would ‘level the playing field’ between EU countries, the left threatens to disavow the principle of free trade inside the EU… So the supposed torch-bearers of ‘ever-closer union’ are losing faith in key foundations of the whole European project. Even they want a different Europe, with stronger borders, weaker rules, and more power for nation states.

He points out that this is not so different from David Cameron’s ill-fated “renogotiation” that led to Brexit, and goes on:

Paradoxically, Brussels’s rigidity is a sign of internal weakness — not of strength. … Even if no other country is looking for the exit, many want to have more flexible arrangements … For some, it is about allowing more subsidies for failing industries or bigger fiscal deficits; others want less demanding rules about cutting carbon emissions or about refugees seeking asylum. If the EU gives much ground, the result will be a disunited Europe.

However his analysis is rather let done by this:

An era of never-closer union may be about to begin.

It is here that I think he is completely wrong.

That is completely not how the EU works, it is against its founding principles. The history of the EU since its foundation has been one of unrelenting deepening, and that institutional inertia is not about to change.

We have seen with the Euro that the internal inconsistencies are ignored by Brussels until they become an existential threat, at which point a band aid is applied to buy a little more time.  It has been clear for years that its internal struggle between debt sharing and further loosening (which is really a struggle between common sense and German intransigence), is nothing less than a case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object.

The political tensions described by Mr Erixon are now on track to become a second irresistible force.  The difference here is that the new power struggle is between two pillars of the EU’s fundamental structure – the Platonic executive and the nominally (at least) democratic parliament.

Given the staggeringly poor quality of the political leadership in Brussels it seems to me that the end must be approaching even faster than before. However given the political will to keep going it is likely that it will keep struggling on, running on willpower alone.

In historical terms we are still only in late 1942. The inevitability of the final outcome is starting to take shape – German troops are outgunned and outnumbered in front of Stalingrad, the US has entered the war and the flow of arms and materials to Europe is accelerating. The battle of the Atlantic has turned. Hitler kept going for another two and a half years despite the increasingly obvious facts, thereby sentencing millions more people to death.

How long will Selmayr’s will hold out?

Hearts Of Oak

So it would appear that some off duty sailors have been very naughty boys and have got drunk and got in a brawl.

Splendid news.

I’m afraid I was thinking after that embarrassing episode in the gulf of Iran back in 2007, that the Navy had gone the way of the Police, the BBC and most everything else the government touches ie. been taken over by leftard girly boys.

But no, it would seem that some at least of these fine chaps still have the stuff to do what sailors down the ages have done best.

Splice the mainbrace all round lads.

Celebrating 20th July

The Americans have July 4th.  The French have July 14th.

And not to be left out, the Germans have 20th July.  Not perhaps celebrated with quite such enthusiasm as the other two; but, desperate to bury the national shame of her recent past Germany celebrates the attempt by Colonel Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg to murder Hitler and take control of his hideous regime with his co-conspirators von Tresckow and others.

The legend that has been allowed to grow over the years is that these brave men, sickened by the attrocities committed against the Jews in Poland and Ukraine they have begun to learn about, are determined to do something about the monster who has taken control of their country and effectively enslaved its people, tragically the plot failed, Stauffenberg and others died heroes’ deaths and the war continued until the German people were liberated from the Nazis by the allies.

I read a brilliant and timely article in the Speccy this morning in which historian Matthew Olex-Szczytowski comprehensively debunks the myth.

Uncomfortable truths (the plotters were a tiny band, most had been Nazis or enthusiastic supporters) … discoveries which the archives are still yielding…show the full extent to which key players, such as Stauffenberg himself, were full-blown Nazi criminals before they ever came to oppose the regime…A reckoning with such facts will be tough. After all, the Ministry of Defence is in the Stauffenbergstrasse in Berlin, the army schools officers at its Stauffenberg barracks in Dresden, and the Bundeswehr runs global missions from the Tresckow base near Potsdam.


For Stauffenberg and Tresckow, the charge sheets might have started in 1939 when, as senior military men invading Poland, they aided the SS Einsatzgruppen squads in murdering thousands. Stauffenberg’s division was implicated in burning 70 Poles and Jews alive in a barn; his people were there when the Germans staged a pogrom to ‘celebrate’ Yom Kippur; he welcomed ethnic cleansing and German colonisation. Tresckow was directly involved in atrocities too. During and after the fighting, 20,000 Poles and Jews were unlawfully put to death, but in the classic accounts Stauffenberg and Tresckow noticed nothing…From late 1940 to early 1943, Stauffenberg was a key aide to the head of the army’s high command, General Franz Halder. The future frondeur shaped the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. This saw the German army run mass executions, starve more than three million POWs to death and support the Einsatzgruppen in shooting 1.2 million Jews and 800,000 others. In 1942 Stauffenberg planned compulsory labour culminating in the induction of
3.6 million Soviet civilians — men, women and children — into slavery in Germany and Austria. Tresckow helped lead the Army Group Centre, the largest force to invade Soviet-run territory, so shared in myriad army crimes. We know his people murdered and helped the Einsatzgruppen to kill. By the end of 1941 he had presided over the death of a million Soviet prisoners left to starve and freeze.

Far from being disgusted by these crimes it is quite clear that the plotters in the general staff were steeped in blood to their elbows, and were motivated entirely by  the growing realization that Hitler’s increasingly demented and disastrous running of the war was leading to certain defeat and they aimed to replace what they saw as a failing regime with what they believed would be a more successful one, involving themselves enjoying the fruits of power.

… they concocted reactionary schemes which were either risible (for Germany’s internal governance) or ominous (for continued German rule over Europe)… Albert Speer might have been a minister, Tresckow would have run the police.

These facts have been known for some time and more is being unearthed all the time.  Olex-Szczytowski rightly asks why Germany is so reluctant to confront this truth?  And concludes that given the continued interest in this history in Germany and the activities of the revisionists will lead to a reckoning:

Only last month the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland party … caused uproar by pooh-poohing the impact of Hitler when seen against the country’s 1,000 years of achievement.

Quite what these 1000 years of achievement consists of I’m not so sure.  Germany didn’t exist as a unified state untl the 19th century when their single greatest statesman, Bismarck, merged a motley collection of independent duchies and principalities into a militaristic giant which fought a won a series of wars of conquest against its neighbours culminating in a shocking victory over France in 1870.

Germany’s most important contribution to human wellbeing was the invention of protestantism but even that only led to the enlightenment after it had transplanted to Great Britain.  Plus they had some very great writers and composers, as did other nations.

Germany’s military adventures in the 20th century are too tragic to mention save to say that we are all still living in the baleful afterglow of the conflagration.

And after the inevitable but agonising and costly defeat we have the economic miracle, funded largely by the Americans and by default on her debts.

A generally unknown fact pointed out by James Holland in his outstanding book “The War In The West” is that compared to the western allies (excluding the USA) at the start of the war Germany was very weak in terms of motorisation.  Even quite late in the war an awful lot of men and materiel were moving on foot or horsedrawn.  The excellent but overworked railway system could not make up for this.  The rather small British was far better equipped in terms of motor transport, this being the result of a conscious decision to replace men with machines as far as possible.

I think it is for this reason that the German motor industry is such an important thing for modern Germany.  The Germans are always fighting the last war.

All the important technical innovations  in the 20th century were made by the British or the Americans.  In the first there was the tank.  In the second there was overwhelming logistical dominance.   It seems that the understandable desire to win the peace has led to this enormous industry being the cornerstone of their economy.

But globally the economy has moved on.  Modern economies are not based on massive manufacturing plants.  However much Grauniad columnists and Labour Party MPs might deplore the fact, modern economies are mixed, flexible, and post-industrial.

In the last decade Germany’s astonishing dominance of the euroland economy has been based on control of a currency rigged in its favour, and at the expense of her southern neighbours.  She has built up a Target 2 imbalance of a trillion euros which she might as well write off now as it will never be repaid.

Viewed from the lofty heights of Castello Italicus it is clear that Germany, far from winning the peace has in fact hoist herself with her own petard and in fact the German people are in for a very serious economic reaming at some point in the next decade or so, when this whole mess collapses under the weight of its own internal contradictions.  A reckoning is coming and it won’t be pretty.

As for the Stauffenberg plot, had it succeeded, one monster would have been replaced by others and the war might have dragged on even longer.  Let’s celebrate the fact that they failed.