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Less economy of truth, please: ‘Maths is Racist’ – no, not even this

Teacher training in Louisville, Kentucky is succumbing to the woke bandwagon of “maths is racist”. I’ve already said what I wanted to say about “maths is racist” – but I noticed a remark of a rightly-disgusted observer of this latest example. Trying to imagine how any maths lesson could be racist (since “no matter your color, religion, sex, or anything else, 2+2 will always equal 4”), she said she “would call math racist” only if the questions were like:

“Two Blacks and two Jews are walking through the street. They meet a gang of three Hitler Youth and three KKK members. If the Blacks and Jews are armed with six sticks weighing three ounces each, and the Hitler Youth and KKK are armed with six bats weighing eight ounces each, how long will it take the Hitler Youth and the KKK members to drive the Blacks and Jews out of town?”

I read that – and instantly remembered an incident from Christabel Bielenberg’s autobiography ‘The Past is Myself’. Some months into Hitler’s first year in power, she and husband Peter were dining out. At another table, three Jews were quietly finishing their meal. Six SA men strolled into the establishment. One of them spotted the Jews and loudly alerted his fellows.

“Beside me, Peter stood up. Shades of my Irish father! I know when there’s going to be a fight. I stood up too, but I was thinking: six burly-looking SA men, three not very athletic-looking Jews, Peter and me – and my state of mind would not have won the Victoria cross.”

(Nor my state of mind if I’d been there, I daresay, and I’ve faced up to worse odds than that in my time.)

Despite what Christabel had learnt from her father, there was not a fight. The sudden upstanding protest of a very nordic-looking couple gave the stormtroopers pause, the Jews were eager to leave and swiftly did so, and it all calmed down. As she sat down again, Christabel took in the body language of all the other German diners. Their poses said, as loudly as an open declaration, that, though many of them might not have positively welcomed their dining experience being enhanced with a floor-show of SA Jew-baiting – might indeed have disliked the prospect, her computation of

6 stormtroopers > 3 unathletic Jews + Peter + her

would not have been altered by the addition of any of them to that equation’s right-hand side.

It was then that I realised that something really nasty had come to town.

When the racism that calls itself anti-racism comes to your town, and you have to decide whether to stand up for Secoriea or kneel to her murderers, then you too (unless your state of mind is one that will win the Victoria cross – and maybe even if it is) will make these mental calculations – and they will be no more racist than any other kind of maths. Both racism and resisting it lie in actions, not calculations.

—-

(The above quotes from ‘The Past is Myself’ are from memory, as I do not have the book in front of me while writing this. It is well worth reading.)

35 comments to Less economy of truth, please: ‘Maths is Racist’ – no, not even this

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Niall.

    The “Anti Nazis” follow relativism just as the Nazis did. They deny objective truth (hence they lie without shame) and they deny any rights of the individual against the collective.

    President Poincare (a philosopher) noted the philosophical trends before there was any National Socialist German Workers Party.

    In 1914 the German Declaration of War upon France was deliberately absurd (it even pretended that the French were bombing Bavaria) – why make the document absurd, when it could have been made more plausible?

    The document was deliberately absurd because the German elite were making a point – and not a point against France. It was a point against the idea that there were such things as universal and objective principles.

    All the document lacked was 1+1=5 at the start.

    Classical Marxism is factually wrong – it is based on a series of claims about history and economics that are FALSE.

    When this is shown a Marxist has two ways out – they can abandon Marxism (cease to be a Marxist) or they can abandon the idea that there is such a thing as reason and objective truth.

    The Frankfurt School, from which BLM comes, have taken the second option.

    Frankfurt School “Woke” Marxism is not compatible with civilisation – it will, if it wins, destroy civilisation.

    And no wonderful new Marxist civilisation will take the place of the destroyed “capitalist” civilisation – all there will be is ashes and dried blood.

  • -XC

    Thanks for the book reccy, I am finishing up The Washing of the Spears (zulu wars) and was looking around for something equally cheerful.

    FWIW, I use ThriftBooks here in the US because (a) not Amazon and (b) super reasonable and (c) the books they ship seem better quality (to me) than as graded by them.

    -XC

    PS – Also ordered “The Butchering Art” about Lister.

  • Paul Marks

    Notice the other things the School District is pushing.

    A “Queer History of the United States” and a “Disabled History of the United States”.

    This is nothing really to do with black people, or with homosexuals, or the disabled.

    This is about DEATH TO THE WEST – destroy civilisation by destroying education.

    It really is that brutally simple – and it is working.

  • Paul, I don’t think you are quite right about the German declaration of war’s lies being to make that point.

    The German elite did indeed hold that believing you could win it was all the justification needed for starting a war, and had published books (Bernhardi’s, for example) saying so explicitly. BUT, when war came, they wanted all the advantages they could get, so aimed to make it easier for the willing German soldier to swallow the idea that the vile enemy were responsible for the war “with no more dishonesty than comes naturally to a human” (C.S.Lewis).

    – The diary of one German soldier records his reading a newspaper story of 30 German officers in Aachen hospitals with their eyes put out by ferocious Belgian irregulars: “I thought, ‘Our people are not at all prepared for war’, as I read this”, the soldier wrote, to which a historian later retorted, “The German press were obviously only too well prepared.”

    – German after German regaled an American attache with stories of how the son of a Belgian burgomeister (sometimes it was the daughter of a Belgian burgomeister) had assassinated yet another German commander, until “it seemed to him the Belgians must have bred a special race of Burgomeisters’ children, like the assassins of Syria” (he later wrote sarcastically – the attache did not of course fall for these tales).

    Similarly, the lies in the German declaration of war on France were not put in to impress the French, who knew these incidents had not happened, but to make life easy for any German soldier whose principles – or whose fears – needed a bit of help to persuade him that invading Belgium and France was all right and proper and necessary.

    Summary: rather than ‘making a point’, the absurdities’ purpose was to obscure the point during the crucial period of signing the whole nation up to war. They didn’t obscure it much – those who really wanted to make a true assessment were surely able to do so – but many were willingly duped.

    All this is a bit OT – but the point about the aggressor’s accomplices sometimes semi-consciously wanting a propaganda diet that lets them defer facing up to what they are doing has its modern relevance.

  • Stonyground

    Surely the only way that maths can be racist is if some races are too unintelligent to learn maths. If that is the case then saying that maths is racist is itself racist.

  • Paul Marks
    July 28, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    Classical Marxism is factually wrong – it is based on a series of claims about history and economics that are FALSE.

    When this is shown a Marxist has two ways out – they can abandon Marxism (cease to be a Marxist) or they can abandon the idea that there is such a thing as reason and objective truth.

    There is a third way out. The Marxist can kill you.

  • Ellen (July 28, 2021 at 3:35 pm), while your point is extremely relevant, I see the socialist will to kill as implicit in the denial of objective truth. How else, in the absence of that common ground, could disagreements be settled within the ruling socialist group, let alone between it and its subjects, except by violence or the threat of it? Being alive versus being dead remains an objective matter of fact even to socialists.

    Of course, as we discussed in a prior thread in the context of Mussolini’s evolution from Marxism through Socialist Syndicalism to Fascism, a marxist’s decision to untether their faith from a belief in its objective truth can, over time, let them evolve so far that they abandon it for a ‘better myth’. But so long as Critical Theory delivers for its devotees in terms of seizing control of institutions, getting book contracts and the like, its followers will continue to follow it as the route to the intellectual revolutionaries’ true faith – that they should be in charge.

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    Niall,

    Do you think violence is now inevitable?

  • Zerren Yeoville

    Is maths also transphobic? I invite you to consider this genuine maths question from an educational organisation called ‘Just Like Us.’ (It is apparently intended for use with the 5-7 years age group. If anyone wonders why their kids are growing up like the Parsons brats in ‘1984’, this may be a clue).

    “Harley (a non-binary and gender-non-conforming person using they/them pronouns) has volunteered to give bottles of water to runners of a Marathon. They have 15 bottles of water but there are a total of 25 runners in the marathon. How many more bottles of water does Harley need to buy?”

    You will notice that the question is incomplete, because it doesn’t explain how many bottles of water are needed per runner, nor if all the runners want or will accept the water. There is clearly a presumption that 1 runner = 1 bottle. On what is this presumption based?

    Now, isn’t it rather odd that a question that goes to great (some might say ‘excessive’) lengths to establish ‘diversity’ on the part of the donor nevertheless treats the 25 runners as a homogeneous, undifferentiated mass, which is uniformly and identically thirsty?

  • staghounds

    This is about U.S. events, we have MATH, which IS.

    You have mathS, which ARE.

  • Phil B

    Perhaps the school paymaster can get firmly on board with “2+2 does not necessarily make 4”.

    For example, calculating a woke teachers pay. 40 hours a week multiplied by $40 an hour means that the pay cheque should be $32.73c.

    How can anyone object to that after preaching that “maffs iz racis”?

  • John Lewis

    https://youtu.be/-ONGRdNEIg4

    2 + 2 = 22.

    (Shame about the interminable opening music).

  • Stonyground

    If they only have one water station for a 26.2 mile running event they need to do a calculation for how many ambulances they are going to need.

  • Zerren Yeoville (July 28, 2021 at 8:58 pm),

    “Harley (a non-binary and gender-non-conforming person using they/them pronouns) … How many more bottles of water does Harley need to buy?”

    But, but … its “curricular violence” for Harley to perpetrate “white … focus on getting the right answer”. Surely the only possible approach is to advise buying some random number of bottles – if, that is, the vile bigot who wrote the question should be answered at all: since ‘asking students to “show their work” is white supremacy’, surely it’s pretty questionable even to ask them to show their answer.

    Speaking more seriously, I was struck by the incredible irrelevance of the virtue signalling bit in brackets to the question – they hadn’t even tried to integrate the two at all. One could almost say it did “curricular violence” to the question’s coherence.

  • Paul Marks

    Ellen – I take the latter option (the Marxist trying to kill you) as option 2. Namely that they have ceased to believe they can prove Marxism to be factually correct, but have decided to cling to Marxism anyway.

    Of course it is not just the Marxists who endlessly lie – so do the Nazis and their Fellow Travellers, only today I was told that there was no intention to wipe out the Jews in the Holy Land in 1948 (that would have come as news to everyone at the time – at the time everyone knew well the effort was being made, but now history is being rewritten – and most certainly NOT just by the followers of Islam). As with Marxists, at least Marxists of the Frankfurt School type, arguing with Nazis, or their Fellow Travellers, is pointless.

    Niall – you may have a point. An external observer, with access to information, would know that the claims made in the German Declaration of War on France in 1914 were a pack of lies. But would the ordinary German soldier in 1914 know that?

    Yes – they might well have been deceived. A point I stupidly overlooked – my apologies.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Every country takes at least a little bit of blame for WWI happening. But if there is one country that is MORE responsible for WWI happening than any other, then that country is DEFINITELY Russia. I supported my position on the matter with evidence, sources and logic quite in depth in a series of comments here:

    https://www.samizdata.net/2016/03/no-one-owns-a-culture/

    I am not saying that Germany was blameless but, then again, Israel was not blameless in 1967. Remind me, what did Churchill say about the victors and writing of history?

  • Paul Marks

    Shlomo Maistre.

    I disagree. For example, claims that the Russian Foreign Minister in 1914 was a Slavophile are a myth (indeed worst than a myth – they are an old campaign of lies, including forgery). Russia most certainly did NOT want war in 1914.

    Germany declared war on Russia in 1914 – and delivered two (not one) “final communication” one document said that they were declaring war because Russia was mobilising, but the other document (delivered at the same time) said that Germany would declare war even if Russia changed policy.

    There is a campaign to let Imperial German Government off the hook for 1914 – to blame Russia rather than Germany for the events that led to a World War is absurd (for example even the German Ambassador admitted that his own government had forced Britain into war).

    Sir Edward Grey (the British Foreign Minister) supported an international conference on the matter of Serbia and Austro-Hungary, and it was the GERMAN side that rejected that. Even the Prime Minister of Hungary was against war – but he was overruled.

    Nor did Britain go to war in 1914 over Serbia (this is a myth) – Britain went to war in 1914 over the German invasion of France and Belgium. The Germans would not have left Belgium had they taken it (their claims that they would leave being yet more lies) – the basic point was to control the coast opposite this island – the plan of the German academic and political elite being to replace the United Kingdom. The German (or rather the academic and political elite) desire for world domination dating to well before 1914.

    I would strongly warn you against trusting anything from people who say that the Imperial German Government was not to blame for the 1st World War – as their real agenda is the 2nd World War and Israel today.

    By the way – an update on the Twitter “Conservative”, his latest move was to say that the forces that attacked Israel in 1948 did not want to exterminate the Jews, they “only” wanted to expel them (so that is O.K. then..). The wickedness of such people (the Rothbard-Buchanan crowd) is sometimes hidden under a cloak of politeness – but the wickedness is very deep.

    “The victors write the history” – if Churchill said that he was quite wrong Shlomo Maistre.

    For example, the young are taught that the Jews viciously attacked people in 1948. The invasion by many Islamic armies is left out of the “history”.

    It is much the same with the United States – the United States won the war in the 1840s with Mexico, but it is the Mexican version of events (or rather the version of events pushed by the dictatorship that controlled Mexico) that is taught in American history books. Ditto with the conflicts with the Indian tribes – what is taught in American schools and universities (and in the rest of the West) is wild anti American propaganda and disinformation.

    “The victors write the history” – no they do not.

    Even in the 1920s and 1930s disinformation about the origins of the First World War (a false account that pretended that the German government was not to blame – and a campaign of propaganda against such people as the President of France and and the Foreign Minister of Russia) had a terrible effect on British policy – undermining chances that sensible policies, to contain Germany, would be followed.

    The winners of a war tend to be busy afterwards (they have lots to do), the losers have time on their hands – plenty of time to write, and to spread, lies. And as George Orwell (himself a socialist) put it long ago – the mark of an “intellectual” in Britain (and in America as well) is hatred of their own country, they are quick to spread the lies of the enemy, and make them the foundation of “education”.

  • Paul Marks

    It is incredibly dangerous to compare Israel in 1967 to Germany in 1914 – it plays into the hands of people who want to utterly exterminate Israel.

    The sort of people who say the Islamic forces “only wanted to expel the Jews in 1948” (expel them to the next world – wipe out a community that had hung on for centuries in Jerusalem and a few other places, and had largely created the country from the late 19th century on), and I assure you that such people do exist – and, under their disguise of politeness, are totally vicious.

    For the record…..

    Nasser and other dictatorships were planning to wipe out Israel in 1967 – totally destroy it.

    No one, no country at all, was planning to attack Germany in 1914 – still less to destroy Germany.

    Therefore to blame the 1st World War on Russia and say that the position of Germany in 1914 was, in any way, like that of Israel in 1967 – is quite wrong.

  • Rudolph Hucker

    Getting back to “Maths is Racist”.

    Initially, I wondered if there might be any benefit in pointing out (to them) that the basis of what we now call “Maths” originally came from India, and reached “the West” via Arabia (from which we got Arabian Numerals).

    But then I realised that, if any Wokist for a fleeting second accepted that as true, their “best bet” response would be to say that Maths is still racist, because we “stole” it from another ethnic group. Or it was Cultural Appropriation.

    Heads they win, tails we loose?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Paul,

    You make a very large number of assertions. Some I agree with and some I disagree with. Some oversimplify (by, for example, overlooking certain facts) and some do not oversimplify at all.

    At the end of the day, Serbia’s actions after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand were not merely hostile but actually tantamount to an act of war, considering the situation. Serbia knew it was committing an act of war and did so anyway – it was deliberate.

    Serbia would not have committed an act of war against Austro-Hungary unless Serbia had the support of a great power to commit the act of war against Austro-Hungary, which the primary source evidence demonstrates Serbia had – primarily in the form of Russia (and, to a lesser extent, France).

    Russia supported Serbia’s act of war against Austro-Hungary. For more details regarding what the act of war was and why it was an act of war (actually a series of acts of war committed by Serbia against Austro-Hungary) in the period following the assassination then please read my comments in the link:
    https://www.samizdata.net/2016/03/no-one-owns-a-culture/

    Please note that the act of war committed by Serbia was certainly NOT the assassination of the Archduke but, rather – as I note very clearly above – “Serbia’s actions after the assassination”. This was a far more grave action than the assassination itself. The assassination could have easily been dealt with by Serbia and Austro-Hungary working together, but Serbia and Russia had different plans.

    The actions of Serbia following the assassination were not all that different from when Egypt blocked the straits of Tiran in 1967 – designed to intimidate, threaten, and instigate conflict.

  • bobby b

    Rudolph Hucker
    July 31, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    “Getting back to “Maths is Racist”.”

    In the US, at least, the black/nonblack educative deficit begins strongly in the pre-school ages, due to the cultural differences in family structure. Therefore, black kids are already lagging in counting by first grade, and never really catch up. (This in spite of the fact that more money is spent on black students in the US than on nonblack students.)

    So, in this era of equity-not-equality, the system behind math must be racist. To call out the family-structure issues is merely racist quibbling, as results count for all and explanations not at all.

  • Paul Marks

    SM – you start from the assumption that the Serbian government supported the murder of the Arch Duke and his wife, they did not. Even the evil intelligence officer who gave the green light to the operation did not really think the Black Hand would do it (to him they were just hotheads he wanted out of his office – he case they turned on him) – and the Colonel certainly did not tell the Serbian government. The Serbian Government promptly gave in to all but one of the Austro-Hungarian demands – the one demand they did not give in to was the demand for Hapsburg soldiers on their soil (they could not give in to that – had they done so the Serbian people would have revolted and the Serbian government would have ended up hanging from lamp posts).

    The Austro-Hungarian demands, specifically the last demand, were designed to be unacceptable – indeed Vienna and Berlin were astonished that the Serbian Government gave in to all but one of the demands. Had Vienna said “fair enough then” it would have been a massive diplomatic victory for Vienna (although I doubt the Serbian government would have lasted another year – having humiliated itself by giving in to all but one of the demands). Indeed Kaiser Wilhelm was, at first, overjoyed by the news that Belgrade had given in to all but one of the demands “victory for Vienna” was his (correct) assessment – but he was then told (by the “advisers” who endlessly gave bad advice) that this would not do at all, as it would remove the excuse for war.

    As for your claim that Russia supported the murder – that is utterly false. Czar Nicholas was horrified by the murder. Russia was utterly unprepared for war in 1914 – and Nicholas did not want war, at any time, anyway. Nor was Nicholas the sort of man who supported murder – any biography of the man makes that clear.

    Nor has this got anything to do with the First World War AS SUCH – as there had already been several Balkan Wars (quite recently – in the years before 1914). What turned another possible Balkan War into a general European War was the decision of the GERMAN government to make it first a European and then a World war.

    Britain would NOT have gone to war over Serbia – Britain went to war (as the German, yes the German Ambassador, bitterly pointed out) because Berlin made Britain go to war. Everything was done to make Britain staying out of the war impossible.

    The German attack on France was an outrage – there can be no defence for the German attack on France in 1914, but even then Britain might NOT have gone to war. It was going into Belgium (and thus seeking to control the coast, both French and Belgium) that made war with Britain inevitable – even in the 16th century England (as it then was) could not allow the coast line opposite this island to be hands of one hostile power.

    The German academic and political elite had, since the tragic early death of the Emperor Frederick in 1888 been committed to unlimited power – there were no limits, none, on their plans. Hence “Geopolitics” (world domination).

    Kaiser Wilhelm II, by seeming to celebrate his own father’s death and by other conduct, disgusted Alexander III of Russia (one of the reasons why the alliance between Germany and Russia broke down), but Wilhelm was actually less dangerous than the people around him.

    In many ways Wilhelm was a tragic figure – alienated from both his parents (partly by their coldness – and by their endorsement of quack medical treatments for his withered arm), and horribly mislead and misguided by the people who were starting to dominate German intellectual life.

    Nicholas II of Russia bitterly reproached himself for trusting Wilhelm – but it was not really Wilhelm, it was the collection of people around Wilhelm.

    Would things have been different had Kaiser Frederick lived? Yes – I think they undoubtedly would have been utterly different (and much better).

    The lung cancer of Kaiser Frederick, which led to his early death in 1888, was one of the great turning points of history – just as the death by drowning of an earlier Emperor Frederick in 1190 was of vital importance.

    The death of the Emperor Frederick in 1190 meant that the Christian alliance lacked a leader – the Byzantines would not accept orders from the King of England or the King of France, and these two Kings fell out with each other anyway.

    Without the Emperor Frederick at top the vast forces the Christians had assembled to reverse their losses in the Middle East were leaderless – many of them went home, and King Richard (the de facto leader of those who stayed) failed in his main objective. Also the point of driving back the Turks in Asia Minor was just forgotten about (as King Richard was only really interested in the Holy Land).

    The Emperor Frederick who died in 1888 was also a professional soldier (having served in three of Prussia’s wars) – but he was a man of peace, determined that the new Germany (created in 1871) would follow a path of peace.

    Kaiser Frederick and Bismarck hated each other – but they were (ironically enough) in agreement on this, now that the new Germany has been created it must follow a path of peace – not seek ever greater conquests.

    Kaiser Wilhelm, or rather those around him (whispering the words of madness in his ear) flung all that away.

    When Kaiser Frederick died the friends of Bismarck expected him to be delighted (after all Frederick would almost certainly have dismissed Bismarck as fist minister) – but instead Bismarck was filled with terrible foreboding – an increasing fear that the Germany he had created with his wars of 1866 and 1870 was doomed, and that it would drag Europe down with it.

  • Paul Marks

    Turning back to a matter I touched on earlier.

    The Jew haters have a new term (at least new to me) – the term is “entitlement” or “sense of entitlement” or “such a sense of entitlement”.

    Supposedly Jewish opposition to being robbed and murdered is from a “sense of entitlement” which proves evil Jewish possessiveness – and, thus, justifies Jews being robbed and murdered.

    All this, somehow, proves that Germany was not responsible for either World War – and that there was no effort to wipe out Jews in the land between the river and the sea in 1948. Not that Jews have a right to be there anyway – or a right to be anywhere else on this Earth.

  • Paul Marks

    On Serbia – the 1903 change of dynasty, is real Prisoner of Zenda stuff. If only the light had not leaked out of the hidden room – keep the door fully shut and stand in the dark.

    And if only the relief force had got there sooner.

    The evil Colonel was more directly involved in the events of 1903 than those of 1914 – a character played (with a bit of disguise – via the novel) by George Mason in the film “Prisoner of Zenda”.

    I do not know if the novel came before or after the events – I will have to look that up.

  • Paul Marks

    Ah – the book was a decade before the change of dynasty (life imitating art). And the wicked man in the 1952 film was played by JAMES Mason.

    A brilliant actor who so often played elegant “baddies”.

  • Paul Marks

    As for Colonel “Apis” himself?

    A Captain in 1903 – shot three times in his successful coup. Like the baddies James Mason often played he did not lack courage.

    Later executed by the Serbs themselves in 1916.

    Depending on who you believe – he either got involved in one plot too many, or his enemies (such as the Serbian Prime Minister – who had hated him for years) fabricated evidence against him. It would indeed be ironic if a man who had committed so many crimes was finally executed for a crime he did NOT commit.

    The lesson is plain – never let the intelligence service get out of control, a lesson the United States has sadly FAILED to learn.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    SM – you start from the assumption that the Serbian government supported the murder of the Arch Duke and his wife, they did not.

    I did not start from that assumption. In fact, I made abundantly clear multiple times that this was not an assumption or claim that I was making.

    As for your claim that Russia supported the murder – that is utterly false.

    Again, I did not claim this at all. In fact, I made abundantly clear that this was NOT what I was saying at all.

    I kindly suggest you read my last comment again – slowly and carefully.

  • Richard S Thomas

    Paul Marks, that’s the thing with revolutionaries, you don’t want their type around once you’ve grabbed the power for yourself.

  • I kindly suggest you read my last comment again – slowly and carefully. (Shlomo Maistre to Paul Marks, August 2, 2021 at 12:11 pm)

    Shlomo, having reread your comments above (and also gone back to remind myself of your arguments in the prior thread you linked), I have to agree with Paul (Paul Marks, August 2, 2021 at 10:10 am). Your claim that Serbia’s actions justified Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war has been denied by – among many others – Kaiser Wilhelm, who noted, in one of his several momentary hesitations, that Serbia’s reply to Austria-Hungary’s note “dissipates every reason for war”.

    This did not however change German policy. The German Government remained determined to use the opportunity to initiate a great-power conflagration. It was chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg who told those eager to declare war that, for internal political reasons, it was desirable to delay till Russia announced mobilisation (this speaks to my first reply to Paul on this topic far above in the thread). When, on August 1st, the Kaiser, in the last of his momentary hesitations, suggested attacking just Russia (when under the momentary impression that France could indeed be bullied into deserting her alliance), Chief-of-the-General-Staff Moltke’s reaction was one of utter fury and he point-blank refused to obey. (Moltke – with the Kaiser’s full assent – had written the ultimatum to Belgium on July 26th, two days before Austria declared war on Serbia and four days before Russia mobilised.)

    We can of course, agree to disagree on the matter. This is all rather off-topic of my orignal post. As in the prior thread, feel free to have the last word.

    Niall – you may have a point. An external observer, with access to information, would know that the claims made in the German Declaration of War on France in 1914 were a pack of lies. But would the ordinary German soldier in 1914 know that? (Paul Marks, July 30, 2021 at 10:23 pm)

    Paul, you are being just a bit harder on yourself and/or kinder to the average 1914 German reservist than I was implying (in Niall Kilmartin, July 28, 2021 at 3:11 pm). While it is possible that a German reservist not in Nuremberg would honestly believe the fictitious bombing reports – there are reports of some Berliners on August 2nd looking nervously at the sky after reading their newspapers’ reports of it – swallowing the tales of ruthless sons and daughters of Belgian burgomeisters blinding and assassinating many tens of German officers needed (and relied on) the help of their readers’ will to be duped.

  • Do you think violence is now inevitable? (Schrodinger’s Dog, July 28, 2021 at 6:05 pm)

    It was, in more ways than one, very silly of Biden to tell the US public that violent resistance was futile because his government was the side that had warplanes and nukes – but his motive for saying it was the same as that noted by Clausewitz:

    The aggressor is always peace-loving. He would prefer to take over our country unopposed. (‘On War’, Carl von Clausewitz)

    Biden said it because his faction is keen to avoid violence (other than their own, of course). They don’t want (anyone else’s) violence to be inevitable.

    However, they are also compelled to treat the relative absence of violence as violence – to treat the events of January 6th as an ‘insurrection’, despite the protestors leaving their guns at home. So they may defeat their own ends. They are compelled simultaneously to hope that violence is not inevitable, but also that non-violent exposure of vote fraud and/or electoral punishment of it is not inevitable, that passive disobedience to lockdowns and masks is not inevitable, that parental resistance to CRT teaching is not inevitable. Their approach to making these latter things not inevitable is to act as if they were violent crimes.

    They might have more luck with either aim if they were not obliged simultaneously to pursue the other.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Niall,

    Shlomo, having reread your comments above (and also gone back to remind myself of your arguments in the prior thread you linked), I have to agree with Paul (Paul Marks, August 2, 2021 at 10:10 am). Your claim that Serbia’s actions justified Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war has been denied by – among many others – Kaiser Wilhelm, who noted, in one of his several momentary hesitations, that Serbia’s reply to Austria-Hungary’s note “dissipates every reason for war”.

    Three questions:
    1. Paul said: “SM – you start from the assumption that the Serbian government supported the murder of the Arch Duke and his wife, they did not.” But I did not. Can you point to an example of where I assumed or said something that teh Serbian government supported the murder of the Arch Duke, Niall?

    2. Paul said: “As for your claim that Russia supported the murder – that is utterly false.” I did not assume or claim this either. Can you point to an example of where I assumed or claimed this, Niall?

    3. Can you name or link to the primary source where you got that quote from Kaiser Wilhelm please?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Can you point to an example of where I assumed or said something that teh Serbian government supported the murder of the Arch Duke, Niall?

    Can you point to an example of where I assumed or said that the Serbian government supported the murder of the Arch Duke, Niall?*

  • bobby b

    “Do you think violence is now inevitable?”

    Why is it only “violence” when we do it?

    Come with me on a walk through Minneapolis, Minnesota. You’ll see burned out buildings – shells, really – streets barricaded off with dumpsters and trash and old tires and armed anti-people standing guard, empty streets on weekdays, you’ll see infrequent police cars zooming through but not interfering . . .

    Violence is no longer inevitable. It’s the norm.

  • Shlomo, I was agreeing with Paul’s second paragraph (Paul Marks, August 2, 2021 at 10:10 am), not commenting on his first. I was agreeing with his point that, contrary to your statement that Serbia’s behaviour post-assassination was “tantamount to an act of war, considering the situation”, the Serbian government’s behaviour in July 1914, particularly in accepting all ultimatum points but one, was trying hard to avoid war. As regards that one point (letting Austrian police run the investigation inside Serbia), the Austrians very understandably doubted the impartiality of a purely Serbian investigation but the Serbians (correctly as we now know and rationally as everyone knew then) had as much cause to suspect Austria of an ulterior motive. The Serbians did offer to submit to international adjudication, which the Austrians refused.

    Kaiser Wilhelm’s remark was made in a letter to Jagow written on the morning of July 27th immediately after he read the full text of Serbia’s reply. It is translated the way I quoted it in ‘August 1914’ (Barbara Tuchman) and as “with it [the Serbian Reply] every reason for war drops away” in ‘Dreadnought’ (Robert Massie). The original is quoted in Imanuel Geiss, ‘July 1914: The outbreak of the First World War: Selected Diplomatic Documents’ p222 (published 1974; one of the side-effects of our victory in WWII is that we captured Germany’s WWI archives).

    The background is that the Germans arranged for various people (including the Kaiser) to be ‘on holiday’ in mid-July 1914, to keep the other powers unprepared and to make it look as if Germany too had no plans and was ignorant of the Austrian note. Originally, the Germans pressed the Austrians to present their ultimatum by July 18th but the latter pointed out that French president Poincare would be in Russia on a state visit till the 23rd, so it was decided the Austrians would present the note on the 23rd at 5pm (later altered to 6pm to be quite sure Poincare would be at sea, returning to France, when it was handed over). Unbeknown to him, the Kaiser’s agreed holiday was made a bit more real than the others by his chancellor, who thought he could manage things better without excitable Wilhelm butting in, and so repeatedly sent the Kaiser minimal summaries and assurances that all was going well and to carry on exploring the Norwegian fiords. So, when Wilhelm returned in late July, he had to be reminded of the decision for war he himself had made, and promised to the Austrians, in the meetings of early July. Not for the first time, his startled advisors had to refocus their easily-distracted Kaiser on the fact that merely achieving ‘a great diplomatic victory for Vienna’ [i.e. the submissive Serbian reply] was not the plan.

  • bobby b (August 2, 2021 at 8:56 pm), plus one – indeed, plus one thousand. The ‘peace-loving aggressor’ loves the violence Hitler enjoyed in France 1940 – a swift low-cost campaign leading to peaceful (for the victors) enjoyment of power and prestige. They hate the resistance that does not accept defeat – and still more, of course, the resistance that defeats them.