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Samizdata quote of the day

Now, of course, there are many hazards that either forestall or destroy the accumulation of capital – tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, plagues etc. but I sincerely doubt that there is any peril as destructive or as persistent to capital accumulation as government.

John W

43 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • lucklucky

    A quote for ages.

  • Lee Moore

    Yes. And no.

    The accumulation of capital requires confidence in property rights. As John W says, tornadoes and earthquakes can destroy property, but they don’t undermine confidence in property rights. You can insure, maybe. And even if you can’t insure, you can rebuild, so long as you’re confident in your property rights.

    A bad government can undermine property rights. But so can the horsemen of the steppe. Capital accumulation requires protection against anarchy, invaders, plunderers. What is required is the right kind of government – one which protects property rights (inter alia) from the depredations of private sector looters without become looter-in-chief. Much as we all like to criticise modern “liberal” governments in the Western democracies, on balance they’re a good thing – compared to anarchy. Whereas yer Soviets and so on – steppe horsemen are much to be preferred. Unfortunately no one has discovered a way to stop the government dial at “Calvin Coolidge” – it just keeps on going.

  • Bogdan the Ausssie

    Yeah… Government becomes a destructive beast when HOMO CONSUMUS DEGENERATUS, satiated, intellectually lazy and morally confused being allows THE PARASITE to take over.
    Upon winning the power, PARASITE begins to steal as much as it’s possible and corrupts the law so IT shall never be held accountable for the plunder of people’s wealth IT commits.
    IT also works hard to make IT’s power permanent wherever it is possible.
    Like in Venezuela, for example.
    Or Cuba.
    Or even America.
    Or my own EUNUCHALIA… (Things are going to be VERY, VERY BAD here as the Criminal Syndicate consisting of the so called “Labor Party”, the so called “Trade Unions”, the so called “Independents” and, of course, allied with them ECO FASCISTS are poised to win the next election.
    If the last Labor leadership could be called a pack of HYENAS, the new one has to be called the pack
    A very sad greetings from where the folks goes upside down…

  • JohnW

    The point is everyone acknowledges the problems resulting from uncommon phenomena like tornadoes and earthquakes but few people seem to appreciate the persistent problem with government.

    The horsemen of the steppes and all the worst invaders, plunderers and mass killers throughout human history have always been creatures of government – I can handle the occasional burglar or vandal myself.

    Perhaps Brexit marks a change in the perception of “government” as a universal instrument of good; even the most ardent admirer of the EU has to acknowledge that the EU is a very large government – with ambitions to be larger still.

    We can argue all day about the nature and implementation of individual rights but it is only when people question the merit of government that there will be any hope in curtailing its manifold excesses.

  • rfichoke


    That’s the conclusion I’ve been reaching lately too.

    The anarcho-capitalist critique of the state is legitimate. Only the market can adequately allocate scarce resources–including infrastructure, law, and security. Complete privatization of all goods is an ideal worth striving for, despite the fact that we’ll rarely get close to it on this earth.

    But the ignorance and complacency I see around me is disheartening. It’s one thing to accept that the state isn’t going away any time soon. It’s another to be completely ignorant of the problems with socialized provision of services and to believe that the state is the ideal provider of services. The Progressive indoctrination has been extremely successful in the last century.

  • Paul Marks

    Government is a sword – the Sword of State.

    A weapon exists to destroy.

    Some people need to be destroyed – that has to be said.

    But the myth (of Francis Bacon, Jeremy Bentham and others) that government, the Sword of State, can be used to promote “happiness” is both false and dangerous. Incredibly dangerous.

    The one good thing about the thought of the late Thomas Hobbes (the servant of Francis Bacon) was that he understood that government is organised violence. And the horribly false and evil thing about Thomas Hobbes was that he denied that law or justice are anything other than the will of this organised violence (the state) – and did not even consider the possibility of a moral duty to protect other people (and their property) from attack.

    In the end chaos and tyranny are not alternatives (as Mr Hobbes taught) let alone the only alternatives (as he also taught) – they are close kin, and the one leads to the other.

  • James g

    We all have an inherent bias that draws us towards the power of authority. I suspect that we then subconsciously rationalise this in non coercive arguments: the government does good things. And so we over weight the performance of the government. A conscious effort is therefore required to overcome all this.

  • James g


    “Perhaps Brexit marks a change in the perception of “government” as a universal instrument of good;”

    I think the 52% was certainly a reaction against large and remote government. A deep feeling of suspicion that libertarians should exploit. However, the taking back control message was still very much big government at the national level. We have this attraction to coercive authority in us that we then justify by over emphasising the good of government.

  • Lee Moore

    The horsemen of the steppes and all the worst invaders, plunderers and mass killers throughout human history have always been creatures of government

    Even if this were true, they aren’t your government, so getting rid of your government doesn’t do squat to protect you from these other governments. This is Nuclear Free Zone time. Of course the worst pillagers and killers have been governments because governments are more powerful than smaller assemblages*. But that certainly doesn’t mean that you can do without government to protect you against private enterprise pillaging. The actual problem is not how to do away with government, but how to design and operate government institutions to limit their expansion beyond pillage protection into pillaging.

    And it isn’t true that the horsemen of the steppe, or Somali pirates, or Al Capone are creatures of government – except in the High Church philosophising sense that there is no categorical distinction between “government” and “non-government.” – “Government” is just a name that certain clumps of pillaging humans choose to call themselves.

    Private enterprise assaults on liberty are real, and when undertaken by organised groups, can only be combatted effectively by organising a bigger, more powerful and permanent antibody. Called the “government.”

    *mere quantity of pillaging is not a sensible measure of damage done to capital accumulation. A government that predictably takes half of everyone’s income,year in year out, obviously deals a heavy blow to capital accumulation. But a government that capriciously takes 50% from everyone one year, everything from a random 30% of the population the next year, nothing the third year, and 80% from 80% of the population the fourth year may actually pillage less than the steady Eddie 50% government. But its arbitrary unpredictable pillaging style will probably do much more harm to capital accumulation, because no one can make any plans.

    The current US government obviously pillages far more than the Soviet or Maoist governments did at their absolute worst. Because there is more to pillage. And the reason there is more to pillage is that the damage to capital accumulation in the US is much less from the steady Eddie milking that the US government does, than the outright butchery that the commies did. The amount or value of pillaging is not the same thing as the damage done by pillaging.

  • Derek Buxton

    The worst words to hear are “I am from the government and am here to help”, Mr. Reagan I believe. What really annoys is that we supposedly elected a conservative party, has anyone ever heard these userpers come up with anything suggesting conservative principles? They appear to be neo socialists, up with taxes, big government, NGOs proliferating like rabbits, listening to all those groups who only have a hatred for our Country, its ways and Peoples. Is this the way that led to the fall of the Holy Roman Empire?

  • One question

    How does one separate the relatively peaceful destructive aspects of government, from the single most destructive aspect of government? i.e. war.

    It’s all pretty bad, but I’d like to hear some estimates of just how bad each aspect is.

  • Alisa

    I am far from certain that war is the single most-destructive aspect of government, Taylor. And even if it was, what I would call liberal democracies for the purpose of this discussion (which is the relevant form of government in this context) are much less prone to initiate wars than other forms of government. They are much more prone to other destructive policies, the “peaceful” ones.

  • John Galt III

    Hey Taylor,

    Since 1900, what countries have “started” wars?

    Muslim Nations
    National Socialists

    What do the above have in common? They were all failed states that imprisoned and tortured their own citizens.

    Don’t say the US, please. Our wars have been reactions to the above and if we hadn’t been around you would all be speaking either German, Japanese or Russian.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Taylor, war solves all (governments) problems, hence the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror. Whoever opposes the war is a collaborator and/or traitor. (External) War is (Internal) Peace, as people rally around the flag. Orwell knew his stuff!! Sorry, the correct position will be that Orwell, and ‘1984’ are satires with no relation to the real world.
    John, I’m glad you said ‘1900’. When did the US invade Cuba, to ‘liberate’ it? Before 1900, so that’s alright. And when did America take all those Indian tribes’ lands? Again, before 1900. And when did America force the Japanese Government to engage with the world, thus leading to the Japanese ‘Co-Prosperity Sphere’ in the first place? 18-something, I think.

  • Taylor is also lucky in that the Boer war started just before 1900.

    “And when did America take all those Indian tribes’ lands?” (Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray
    April 3, 2017 at 2:09 am)

    Actually, they bought the bulk of the acreage of the US, were defending themselves in some other cases, and in some others “it’s complicated” is a fair comment. Straightforward conquest was the norm south of the Rio Grande (hence the term ‘conquistadores’) but not so much north of it.

  • monoi

    Well, our beloved prime minister believes that “the state can be a force for good”. Apparently, that’s what tories believe now.

    We’re up the creek…

  • Alisa

    Taylor is also lucky in that the Boer war started just before 1900.

    Why? (a real question, and Taylor can speak for himself, obviously)

  • The question is, how destructive of capital government caused wars are compared to the destructive non war related activities of the state ?

    This not only could include the direct aspects, bombing factories, bridges etc. but the economic aspects of war’s destructive nature such as taxation, regulation (rationing) and opportunity costs.

    Non war related capital destruction could include, taxation, regulation, corruption, and the hard to quantify negative aspects of ‘government greed’ such as we see in the US when local governments go on a ‘traffic enforcement’ bender.

  • Re- the Boer War

    Mafeking obviously did wonders for the capital value of Britain”s beer and whiskey businesspeople.

  • Watchman


    Why is a Tory (or even a Conservative – note the use of Tory is designed to denigrate the Conservative party by focussing on one ultimately reactionary branch of its history, so it is ill advised to use it) believing government is a force for good unusual? The ideological roots of the tories is in championing royal power against the Whigs, whilst the modern party was formed to oppose movements for self-determination. The Conservatives are not and never really have been an anti-government party. They have probably absorbed the anti-government Whig tendency (certainly the Liberal/Liberal Democrat party never had this), but other than in a general commitment to markets and free trade this is of limited impact. And Theresa May is definitely not from the whig side of the Conservative party.

  • Watchman

    I think Lee has this correct. You need government to guarantee the rule of law in order to have the stability to allow capital accumulation.

    To take this further, you need to have government by consent (so that the law is respected and alternative structures are not created) in order to allow capital accumulation. The case studies for this would be western Europe (where those countries without violent and regular political swings even within democracy did best) and Singapore and Hong Kong versus the surrounding areas, and now China and Vietnam as against North Korea.

    It is also worth noting therefore that unexpected actions such as leaving the EU could therefore affect capital accumulation (it doesn’t show any signs of doing so so far though…). Elections of unexpected leaders such as Trump should not do so however, as the system is designed to accomodate leaders so long as they respect the rule of law – it is the actions of leaders that are important (a key distinction that many of the anti-Trump types seem to have failed to grasp).

  • Alisa

    Taylor, my problem here is with the premise of government-caused wars: caused by which government, mine or foreign? It has to be mine (and/or yours) for it to be relevant to this discussion, and I still maintain that as a Westerner, the number of wars caused by my government(s) approaches zero.

    You could argue that the US government, as an obvious example, could stay out of wars caused by others, but then the cost comparison would have to account for the costs of staying out rather than getting in.

    I also want to note that the cost in lives, as opposed to cost in wealth, is not part of this discussion, as long as there is no conscription (which has been the case in the US since after the Vietnam war).

  • Alisa (and Taylor), I misattributed; I should have written: “John Galt III (April 2, 2017 at 7:16 pm) is lucky…” not “Taylor is lucky…”.

  • Rich Rostrom

    The current US government obviously pillages far more than the Soviet or Maoist governments did at their absolute worst.

    Come now. By that standard, the most libertarian government in the modern world “pillages far more” than the Pharoahs of Egypt.

  • Rich Rostrom

    The current US government obviously pillages far more than the Soviet or Maoist governments did at their absolute worst. Because there is more to pillage.

    Come now. By that standard, the most libertarian government in the modern world “pillages far more” than the Pharoahs of Egypt.

  • Mr Ed

    I have long wondered if, and if so, when, US Congress’s annual misappropriations in real terms (whether in tax or spending) exceeded the notional monetary value of the October Revolution in its seizing, in effect, the whole of Russia. I suspect by 1942.

    The 100,000,000 or so ensuing deaths are necessarily off balance sheet, unless you are an Eco Loon, in which case the balance can’t come soon enough, but you must pretend it would be a bad thing.

  • Alisa

    I’m thinking, I’m thinking

  • Lee Moore

    Come now. By that standard, the most libertarian government in the modern world “pillages far more” than the Pharoahs of Egypt.

    Just so. Indicating, as I said, that mere quantity of pillage is not the most useful measure of destructiveness to capital accumulation.

  • Laird

    The relationship between outright pillage and destructiveness to capital accumulation is tenuous at best. Pillage can be a one-time event, and you can recover from it. To my mind, it’s the long-term effects of taxation and, especially, regulations and legal systems which is the real destructive factor. (And within “legal system” I include the protection of property rights; read de Soto’s “The Mystery of Capital” for a deeper explanation.) In large measure, that’s why economic growth in the US was so robust (outstripping the rest of the world) during the 19th century: low taxes, little regulation and a functional legal system inherited from England. We have drifted farther and farther from that base, and the result is the anemic rate of economic growth we’ve experienced over the last decade-plus. As they say, there’s a lot of ruin in a country, but we’re pushing the limits.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    The Boer War was not an American affair, and Mr. Galt was trying to claim that the US Government didn’t start wars. Though I get the impression that President Roosevelt tried to trick the Japanese into attacking Hawaii, so he could have a pretext for war.

  • Mr Ed

    Though I get the impression that President Roosevelt tried to trick the Japanese into attacking Hawaii, so he could have a pretext for war.

    I wonder about that, and if the Rape of Nanking was also one of Roosevelt’s tricks, out of nowhere, on the peaceful Japanese militarists.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    I think that Roosevelt was not an isolationist, but the US was, before Pearl Harbor. The Japanese gave him the opening, and I think he was trying to goad them into doing that. Hitler then declared war on America, since his Japanese allies were at war with them, and Roosevelt could widen the American mandate, and take on the Germans as well.
    So, Mr. Galt, how do you feel about the possibility that the US might have goaded countries into declaring war on America, so as to feel virtuous about being attacked? And does joining other wars count, i.e. vietnam?

  • How does one define government caused ? Where to start ?


    Was Pearl Harbor caused by FDR or by Versailles or by Japan’s elite ?

    Was World War One started because of the European alliance structure or by the Sarajevo assassination? Or by France’s desire for revenge after 1870 ?

    Was the Yom Kippur War started because of the 1967 war ? Or 1948 ? Or because Sadat wanted to consolidate his personal power ?

    I believe government’s fight in part because that’s what history has primed them to do. That does not mean that some governments are worse than others. As a matter of fact some governments are very very very bad.

  • Alisa

    Taylor, I never said that I had a problem defining government-caused. Thinking is good, overthinking – not so much 🙂

    I believe government’s fight in part because that’s what history has primed them to do.

    And that is their only legitimate purpose, as far as I’m concerned.

  • Taylor (April 4, 2017 at 6:25 am), these are straightforward questions to answer.

    “Was Pearl Harbor caused by FDR or by Versailles or by Japan’s elite ?”

    Japan’s elite. Examining FDR’s actions in the run-up makes clear he was trying to keep Japan out of the war. (Rationally, given his expectations: he feared Japanese attack on Russia or on the British Empire in ways that would put upon him the task of bringing the US into the war.)

    “Was World War One started because of the European alliance structure or by the Sarajevo assassination? Or by France’s desire for revenge after 1870 ?”

    None of the above, although the Sarajevo assassination is an important, perhaps essential, prerequisite for war in 1914. There were “chronic Bosnias’ throughout the period (I quote Sir Edward Grey). The difference in 1914 was that the German government already thought 1914 a ‘good year for it’, saw Sarajevo as a good (public) cause for it, and so OKed the decision for war. They therefore issued all the initial declarations of war, and did the initial invasions – and then had to remind their Austro-Hungarian allies to get a move on and declare war on everyone too, and invade Serbia. In the 40+ years between, French desire for revenge of 1870 never brought France even close to declaring war on Germany. (France was probably closer to declaring war on Britain in 1898 than they ever were to declaring war on Germany at any moment in the period – and they were not really very close in 1898.)

    “Was the Yom Kippur War started because of the 1967 war ? Or 1948 ? Or because Sadat wanted to consolidate his personal power ?”

    It was fought to remove the shame of the 1967 defeat more than any other one cause. At first, it was to reverse that and also 1948 and 1956 and to sweep the Jews into the sea. Two weeks later, Sadat wisely saw that if he called it off fast enough, he could turn what was becoming a crushing defeat into something that ordinary Egyptians would see as having given Israel a good fight and a good fright. Thus Egypt gained self-respect from the war. I’m quite sure that was not his conscious pre-war aim, but Sadat wisely accepted it as the sufficient (because the only available) post-war gain, and was able to do so because, both for him and for most Egyptians, regaining self-respect had become an important emotional undertow of the whole enterprise.

    “I believe government’s fight in part because that’s what history has primed them to do.”

    Governments fight because that is one of their very few legitimate purposes. Monopolising force, to defend their people from worse experiences of force, is the justification for government. The “cruel absurdity” that Gibbon notes in the final years of the western Roman empire, when its rulers would “neither defend their subjects nor permit them to defend themselves”, is a corruption that governments often fall into, but it is a defining characteristic of an uncorrupted government that it is ready, able and, for just cause, willing to fight.

  • Paul Marks

    Actually the Tory folk did NOT generally support state power.

    The difference between Whig and Tory started off as being about WHO should be King (with Tory people supporting James Duke of York, brother of Charles the second becoming King – and Whigs being opposed because James was a Roman Catholic) and then (later) being about where power should be – King or Parliament.

    Very few Tories thought that all power should go to the King – and very few Whigs thought that all power should got to Parliament. It was question of the BALANCE of power – with a Tory tending to stress the King, and Whigs tending to stress Parliament (i.e. the landowners – Whigs were not mass democrats).

    “Court” and “Country” (not Tory and Whig) sometimes referred to a view of what government should DO (the powers of government). As long as one remembers that there were many “Country Tories” (with their October Ale and their opposition to the Cider tax) and plenty of “Court Whigs” – “Court” not as in the “Royal Court” but the general Executive (the Whigs tended to dominate government after all).

    The average Tory squire was no more likely to support state interventionism that the Whig Duke down the road in the stately home.

    And Tory intellectuals could be Free Traders such as Sir Dudley North (perhaps the first Free Trader in terms of popular writing).

    If one is looking for large scale plans of government control of society (education and so on) one should look to 19th century Liberals and Conservatives, not 18th century Whigs and Tories (who did not generally go in for such things). The Tory Dr Johnson was not in favour of such things – and neither was the Old Whig Edmund Burke.

    A professional Civil Service using the power of government for the “public good” is very 19th century – it is Jeremy Bentham (born in the 18th century – but not really influential to the 19th century), Edwin Chadwick and J.S. Mill.

    Although economic growth kept government limited in the 19th century – although even as a proportion of the economy government is on the rise from the early 1870s onwards.

  • Paul Marks


    Libertarian, really Rothbardian, “history” is largely mythology.

    It presents war as optional – as if (for example) British Prime Minister Asquith and Foreign Secretary Grey were somehow warmongers in 1914, and President Wilson was in 1917.

    Totally wrong – actually these men desperately wanted peace, but war was forced-upon-them by the Germans.

    The whole Rothbardian “history” of the origins and conduct of the First World War, the Second World War, the Cold War against the Marxists (Korea and so on) and so on – is nonsense.

    A political philosophy must not be based upon lies.

    These conflicts were not the result of Western warmongers. And nor is the conflict with the Islamists – a conflict that is actually almost 14 centuries old.

    Being conquered and enslaved is not a good way to limit state power.

    Take the example of Carthage – a city ruled by traders, basically concerned with financial profit and loss.

    Carthage was a much richer and larger city than Rome in the period of their struggle – but the merchants who ruled Carthage were not prepared to make the sacrifices of money and the lives of their own sons to destroy Rome (perhaps fearing that if someone like Hannibal was successful he would overthrow the republic in Carthage and make himself King).

    Carthage did not even succeed in taking over Sicily – seeing the losses that would be needed as unprofitable. Yes Carthage made sacrifices and suffered great losses – but whereas Rome did the same and then KEPT ON DOING IT, the merchant rulers of Carthage drew back.

    The results of failing to commit totally (regardless of the costs in money and lives) were not good for Carthage. “Limited war” is just a fancy way of saying DEFEAT.

    Having your city destroyed and the ground sown with salt, and your population killed or enslaved is worse than some short term losses – financial or biological.

    As Adam Smith put it – defence is more important than opulence.

    Or as Salon the Wise put it (in an most likely fictionally meeting with the rich King of Lydia) – no matter how much gold you show me I am not impressed, as the first person who has better iron than you do will take your gold.

    Unlike the Lydians the Persians were not great traders (no doubt they had great traders – but this is not what the people were generally known for) – and the Persians (as far as I can remember) invented nothing. Whereas the Lydians are supposed to have invented many things.

    But the Persians created an empire that stretched from India to Greece which lasted for centuries – and their language and culture still exist (although changed by Islam).

    Being able to read a balance sheet is a fine thing – but your hand must also know how to handle a sword, not just a pen. And you must be prepared to sacrifice everything for victory – even your own sons.

    Such is the price of survival in what is, and has always been, a harsh world.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Alisa: Excellent points. :>)

    . . .


    I note that your final sentence calls to mind the question of just what we (we humans; and also, we libertarians) mean by the word “coercion.” In the sense of boots on the ground, not merely of pie in the sky, if folks see what I mean. (I know, or think I know, most libertarianish types limit it strictly to acts of force, fraud, or extortion. The question is whether this delimitation of the concept is sufficient for the living, breathing, libertarian who is trying to negotiate the Rocky Shoals of Life.)

    In general parlance, I believe the word refers to varieties of pressure — moral blackmail, as some call it, and emotional manipulation generally. And things like, “If you don’t shape up the way I want, I will tell it all over town that you’ve been doing X practically your whole life. Then see how many customers you’ll have!” Or, worse: “You do as I say or I won’t love you anymore!”


    Which brings us, of course, to the fact that libertarianism isn’t only about freedom from the coercion of the State.

  • Julie near Chicago


    While I was writing my comment, you posted two of your own. I agree wholeheartedly with the second, and am grateful for the info in the first.


  • Paul Marks

    Always glad to be of service Julie.

    Although I missed out Edmund Burke’s point about “Armed Doctrines”.

    With a power such as Ancient Rome if one can convince them one is harmless (i.e. some small place – not a vast city such as Carthage which was actually larger than Rome in this period), they may leave one alone (as long as one pays tribute and so on). Local laws may remain in force – at least during the Republican period of Rome (the Imperial period was less tolerant of different legal systems in different places).

    With an “armed doctrine” this is not enough – as they want to transform your society.

    Edmund Burke pointed out that Islam was such a doctrine – but in the late 18th century Islam was far away from Britain and need not be a major concern of policy. But the French Revolutionary regime was very close (only a few miles away) and it was dedicated to totally overthrowing BRITISH society (not just French) – therefore peace with the regime in France was not an option, as it was an Armed Doctrine seeking to transform the world (not just France).

    The same was true in both World Wars – yes, both. It is often forgotten that the Kaiser was under the influence (and had been since at least 1888 – when he treated his own mother as if she was an enemy British agent, after the death of his father the Emperor Frederick) of the academic elite in Germany – who very much had an Armed Doctrine seeking German domination of Europe and indeed the world. Yes the world – Mr Hitler does not invent these ideas, he was a follower not an inventor.

    The ideas of (for example) General Ludendorff (basically the ruler of Germany in the latter part of the First World War) were fairly typical of the German academic and political elite (going back to Fichte and so on). Treating the Germans and the British as similar but in different uniforms is a mistake – although a mistake made by many British Generals at the time. Someone such as General Douglas Haig did not really understand the IDEOLOGY of his opponents.

    But they the Rothbardians even do not grasp the nature of the threat of the Armed Doctrine of National Socialism in World War II – and, no, it was not “just” a threat to Britain. Or of Marxism. Or of Islamism (with its vastly greater population than it had say a century ago).

    In short they understand nothing of these matters.

  • Laird

    An interesting article, Alisa; thanks. It’s good to reflect upon all of that on this, the 100th anniversary of our entry into that war, and at at time when its legacy is that we are embroiled in numerous conflicts around the globe. Much of the history and background presented in the article seem accurate, but I disagree in part with the author’s conclusions and I disagree profoundly with his characterization of Woodrow Wilson. There is ample evidence that Wilson had secretly been plotting to drag the US into that war for at least year but had to disguise his ambitions in order to win re-election; his 1916 campaign slogan “He kept us out of war” was a cynical half-truth. There was little appetite in the US for involvement; this was a very popular song in 1915 (I own a copy of that 78). In my opinion Wilson was the worst US President in the 20th century (a century which included the incompetent Jimmy Carter as well as the national statist Franklin Roosevelt); his sins were legion. But we’ve drifted pretty far off topic here so I’ll end my rant.