Blood, toil, tears and sweat

“We have before us,” Churchill continued, “an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.” He then asked the Commons for a vote of confidence, and got it — unanimously.

A statement like that in 2017 might seem utterly implausible, but in 1940 the sentiment was just this side of universal. George Orwell, reviewing Mein Kampf, pointed out how essential it was to the Third Reich:

Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won’t do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarised version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet. Perhaps later on they will get sick of it and change their minds, as at the end of the last war. After a few years of slaughter and starvation “Greatest happiness of the greatest number” is a good slogan, but at this moment “Better an end with horror than a horror without end” is a winner. Now that we are fighting against the man who coined it, we ought not to underrate its emotional appeal.

Along more contemporary lines, Severian notes:

In 1940, when even Americans involuntarily went to bed hungry from time to time, you could forgive yourself for thinking that we’d eventually educate ourselves out of this bourgeois longing for something more than material comfort. But who can doubt it now? Everyone in the West has everything anyone could ever possibly want, to the point that poor people routinely die of heart disease, and we’re miserable. Does a person who’s content with life worry about which gender he is? Compared with your average modern SJW, Lenin was a sane, moderate, reasonable man. The greater the material security, the worse the mental instability.

I can understand someone not fitting the standard binary; that doesn’t mean there are thirty-one discrete types. And most of the trans women I’ve encountered — if I’ve seen a trans man, I overlooked him — are a lot less well off than Martine Rothblatt or the Wachowski sisters.

So for real dumbth, you’ve got to go back to college, which is why when Robert Stacy McCain points out something stupid happening in academia, which seems to be about 75 times a year, he is careful to point out the annual cost of “education” at whichever school is involved — in dollars, anyway. The cost in brain cells is several orders of magnitude greater.


  1. McG »

    13 July 2017 · 3:25 pm

    I remain convinced that no institution of higher learning — save the military academies and perhaps seminaries — should be permitted to admit anyone at any level who has not held down a paying, menial, private-sector job for at least one uninterrupted twelve-month period since their most recent previous graduation.

    And I’m inclined to increase the interval by a year for each additional graduation. Want a Ph.D? You’ll need to have flipped burgers or worked a loading dock for a total of six years on top of the time you spent getting your bachelor’s and master’s.

  2. Chuck Pergiel »

    14 July 2017 · 9:16 am

    I’m telling you, we need to bring back Amenhotep, aka the Sun God, and start building pyramids.

  3. Holly H »

    14 July 2017 · 9:39 am

    1. McG is onto something.

    2. This makes me feel better about feeling BAD about the state of the world today. I tend to relentlessly agonize over the animals that we are killing off, due to our greed and stupidity. Perhaps all this agony is what keeps me sane.

    I will give myself credit though. I do more than agonize. I’m running two Monarch Way Station gardens at local libraries, and will probably be adding a third in March.

  4. nightfly »

    14 July 2017 · 3:55 pm

    Chuck – knowing the state of the world today, we’d try to bring back Amenhotep and wind up stuck with Imhotep instead.

    (Of course, the actual Imhotep would be a pretty good deal: he was one of the most accomplished men of his era in a wide variety of pursuits. And that too would be fitting – we would be getting a great bargain entirely by accident.)

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