Homage to Ambrose Bierce.

“Remain in Texas”: the policy on asylum-seekers adopted by the Democrats as a successor to President Trump’s inhumane “Remain in Mexico” policy.

“Navel Observatory”: official residence of the Vice President of the United States, whose current Occupant was charged by President Joe Biden with resolving the problem posed by the huge influx of illegal immigrants that began with his election.

“Bidenvilles”: the collection of homeless shelters, municipally-rented hotels, military barracks, tent encampments, freeway underpasses, and–potentially–cruise ships used to house the asylum-seekers bussed North by Republican governors of border states.

Public Opinion in September 2022.

            The scalding televised hearings of the House 6 January Committee had been held and the FBI had staged its “Raid on Mar-a-Lago” to recover the purloined secret documents.  In an early September 2022 poll, better than half (53 percent) of respondents had a negative view of Donald Trump, while a slim minority (44 percent) had a favorable view.[1]  Better than half said Trump’s post-election actions threatened democracy, while better than a third (38percent) said he had had a right to contest the election outcome.  Just over half (51 percent) thought that Trump had “committed serious federal crimes,” while more than a third (38 percent) thought that he had not committed serious federal crimes.”  Asked whom they would support in a 2024 rematch between Trump and Joe Biden, 45 percent favored Biden and 42 percent favored Trump. 

            The poll also asked about specific polices.[2]  The respondents were evenly divided on legal immigration, with 44 percent supporting the Democratic position and 44 percent supporting the Republican position.  On illegal immigration, 51 percent favored the Republican position, while 37 percent supported the Democratic position.  Among Independents, 51 percent favored the Republican position.  More than half of the respondents said that they agreed with the Republican Party on illegal immigration, and half of the respondents favored building a wall along the Mexican border.  Of these, 20 percent identified as Democrats and 46 percent identified as Independents. 

When it comes to the economy, a clear majority of voters (52-38 percent) agree more with Republicans rather than Democrats.  Furthermore, a large plurality of voters (49-31 percent) assign greater importance to economic issues than to social issues in deciding their vote for Congress in November 2022. 

            On crime and policing, Republicans led Democrats 47 percent to 37 percent.  Independents leaned Republican by 49 to 31 percent.  On guns, a narrow plurality (47-43 percent) said they agree more with Republicans than with Democrats, but they even more strongly either oppose or favor (49-46 percent) banning semi-automatic weapons.   On the latter, 23 percent of Democrats oppose a ban, while 29 percent of Republicans support a ban.  

            Voters massively (61-30 percent) reject gender dysphoria, believing that gender is what a person is born as rather than psychological identity.  Americans remain conservative in their approach to aspects of sex education.  They overwhelmingly oppose classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary school (70-27 percent) and are divided on middle school (54-44 percent), but narrowly support it in high school (56-42 percent). 

On only a few issues do Democrats have the bulge on Republicans.  On climate and energy policy, the Democrats have a clear edge (50-31 percent) if not a clear majority.   Voters massively (62-30 percent) oppose the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade.  Similarly, 62 percent support making abortion always or mostly legal.  In contrast, 31 percent say abortion should be mostly or always illegal.  The opponents include 34 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Independents.     

A recent forecast gives the Republicans a good chance of capturing the House.[3] 

[1] Ruth Igielnik, “Pro or Con, Voters Have Not Wavered on Trump,” NYT, 23 September 2022. 

[2] See: Microsoft Word – NYT Siena National PR 9-19-22 — FINAL.docx 

[3] 2022 House Forecast | FiveThirtyEight 

Migrant Drop-Offs.

            Illegal immigration to the United States has fluctuated across time.[1]  It fell sharply after the beginning of the “Great Recession.”  Subsequently, the Trump administration cracked down hard on illegal immigration.  This became a principle grievance of Democrats.  So, in 2021, illegal immigration jumped up sharply after the election of President Joe Biden.  The US Border Patrol reported “catching” 1.7 million people who had crossed the Mexican-American border.  The Border Patrol didn’t actually “catch” most of them.  Instead, the immigrants looked for Border Patrol officers to whom they could surrender.

            Under American immigration law, any foreigner who reaches the United States has the right to apply for asylum.  To do so, they have to state that they fear persecution or violence if they are forced to return to their home country.  Once the immigrant files the initial claim, then the government begins a process to deciding if the claim is valid.  If the claim is accepted, then the immigrant is allowed to remain in the United States.  However, the immigration system is massively back-logged.  It will be years before asylum-seekers have their cases decided.  In the meantime, the immigrants are free to go wherever they want.  Humanitarian groups have paid for immigrants to travel somewhere else for many years.  State governments that want to immigrants to do their waiting elsewhere can pay for the immigrants’ travel to some destination.[2] 

            Currently, about 8,000 illegal immigrants/asylum-seekers enter the United States each day.  Early in Summer 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) drafted a plan to begin moving the immigrants to “interior” cities (like Los Angeles).  One news report says that DHS has grown tired of White House foot-dragging on doing even the preliminary work to prepare for this plan.[3]  Now, according to the Border Patrol, about 1,300 migrants per day have been crossing near El Paso, Texas alone.  The processing center is swamped.  Beginning on 7 September 2022, Border Patrol agents began dropping off illegal immigrants near the city’s bus station.  It’s a not-so-subtle hint that they should go somewhere else in the United States.[4]   

            Republican governors have started sending bus-loads of migrants to “sanctuary cities.”[5]  Recently, Florida governor Ron DeSantis sent a small plane-load of illegal immigrants from Venezuela to Martha’s Vineyard.  Texas governor Greg Abbott sent a busload of illegal immigrants from Central and South America to the sidewalk in front of the official home of the Vice President.  These and other state-paid migrant movements have been roundly denounced by Democrats as “inhumane” and as “political stunts.”  However, so far, “no evidence has surfaced that the migrants boarded the flights or buses unwillingly.” 

            Apparently, large-scale migrant movements are coming.  One way or another. 

[1] See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_immigration_to_the_United_States 

[2] Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Eileen Sullivan, “Were the Migrant Drop-Offs Legal?  It’s Complicated,” NYT, 17 September 2022. 

[3] Julia Ainsley, “Friction between White House and Senior Homeland Security officials mounts as migrant borders crossings soar,” NBC News, 15 September 2022.  Friction between White House and DHS officials as migrant numbers rise (nbcnews.com)  The high numbers are unlikely to continue.  If they did, then the US would be on track to receive 2.9 million illegal immigrants in the course of a year.  Hilariously, one DHS proposal is to fly the recent arrivals to the Canadian border.  Let them figure it out from there. 

[4] Julia Ainsley, “Migrant Surge Overwhelms Border Patrol and Shelters in El Paso,” NBC News, 13 September 2022.  Migrant surge overwhelms Border Patrol, shelters in El Paso (nbcnews.com) 

[5] Sanctuary city – Wikipedia 

Venezuelan Refugees.

            Henry Ford once griped that “History is just one damn thing after another.”  Well, yes in the sense that all events have prior causes.  Seen in historical perspective, Venezuela provides an example.[1]  Spanish “conquistadores” showed up in what would become Venezuela in 1522 and the area remained under Spanish rule until 1811.  For the next century and a half, Venezuela went through the whole lamentable experience of the Spanish American republics.  Two things sent Venezuela down a different course.  First, at the dawn of the petroleum revolution in 1914, drillers discovered immense oil reserves.  Second, in 1958, Venezuela broke with the regional pattern of dictatorships and established a democracy.  The two developments interacted constantly thereafter.   

Oil exports came to amount to 80 per cent of the country’s exports, drawing-in vast amounts of money.  That money accounted for about two-thirds of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and better than half of the government’s revenue.  It didn’t get distributed very equitably, but it did create a lot of jobs and an expanded middle class.  After 1945 relative prosperity made Venezuela a magnet for immigrants from southern Europe and other South American countries. 

After several previous swings at the pinata, Venezuelans established a democracy in 1958.  The oil money helped ease social conflicts until the “oil shocks” of the 1970s left the country richer than ever, richer than people could imagine, richer than anyone could manage.  Spending soared, borrowing soared, the 1980s brought a fall in oil prices, a fall in incomes for ordinary people, and struggles over how/whether to pay the country’s debts.  The turmoil continued through the 1990s until Hugo Chavez won the presidency in 1999. 

Chavez led Venezuela until his death in 2014.  His policies nicely illustrate Margaret Thatcher’s rebuke to the British Labor Party: “Socialism is fine until you run out of someone else’s money.”  In this case, the first “someone” was the oil industry; later “someones” were private businesses and the middle class.  Since the death of Chavez, his acolyte Nicholas Madura has doubled-down on Chavez’s policies.  Economic chaos led to massive suffering across all of society.  Mounting political resistance has been met with violence and populist authoritarianism. 

It will surprise no one that lots of Venezuelans left the country.  The big surge began with young professionals who saw no future for themselves in Venezuela except poverty or jail.  More recently, it has expanded to include people from the lower classes.  These are the very people that Chavez, then Maduro, claimed to be trying to help.

The number of Venezuelans living abroad rose from 400,000 (2005) to 600,000 (2015); then it jumped to almost 1.7 million (2017).  Since then it has continued to rise to perhaps 6 million people.[2]  Another way of looking at it is through the lens of total population.  Total population rose from 24,192,000 (2000) to 30,082,000 (2015), then fell to 28,436,000 (2020).[3]  That is, population grew by about 400,000 a year until 2015; so it should have been about 32 million in 2020.  Instead, it fell by about 2 million in absolute terms and by 4 million in comparison to what it should have been. 

One refugee crisis among the many of our age, but no less tragic or noteworthy. 

[1] William Neuman, Things Are Never So Bad That They Can’t Get Worse: Inside the Collapse of Venezuela (2022). 

[2] See: Venezuelan refugee crisis – Wikipedia 

[3] See: Demographics of Venezuela – Wikipedia 

My Weekly Reader.

            Couple of bumper-stickers from days of yore on the subject of free speech: “Who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?” and “Does a book displease you?  Refute it.”[1]  Still, these are just one opinion on the subject.  Equally representative is the rant against those who publish “foolish, ignorant, malignant, libellous (sic), mad, impious, and subversive ideas.”[2]  The ideas seem self-evident, as do the contemporary applications to Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election. 

            These statements arose in response to the invention of the printing press.[3]  “Bad ideas” and “bad speech” had been around for a very long time.  Governments had dealt with them on an “ad hoc” basis.[4]  The printing press allowed the mass publication of books at a comparatively low price.  The audience expanded.  Soon, the Protestant Reformation emphasized mass literacy.[5]  The audience expanded again.  From the 16th Century on, governments struggled against the flood of books that some people did not want other people to read.  To avoid being drowned,[6] they developed the technique of delegation.[7]  Printers, comparatively few in number, were held responsible for the authors, numerous as flies in an outhouse.  This could work so long as all countries followed the same rules.  However, as has often been the case with agreed production limits in OPEC, somebody always cheated.  The Dutch, in particular, often published books that the neighboring French wanted banned.  The market (smugglers, book-sellers with “something in the back room that might interest you”) did the rest.[8]  The printers of today are Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter.  They face a great deal of political pressure to either weed-out or stop weeding-out contested speech. 

            Recently, the Pew Research Center reported that, in 19 advanced economies, a median of 70 percent of respondents see the “spread of false information on-line” as a “major threat.” Younger people are much more likely to regard this as less of a threat than do older people.  In the United States, 75 percent of people 50 and older regard it as a major threat, while 56 percent of those 18-29 see it that way.  Similarly, younger Americans who follow social media express less concern about made-up news as a factor in politics or as a worsening problem.[9]    

            Perhaps young people are dopey or old people are technophobes.  Or maybe young people know a skunk when they smell one.  As Milton and Voltaire seemed to believe of all. 

[1] John Milton and Voltaire respectively. 

[2] Erasmus. 

[3] Jonathan Marks, “How Dare You Say Such Things,” a review of Jacob Mchangama, Free Speech: A History From Socrates to Social Media (2022), WSJ, 10 February 2022.  Marks is a professor of politics at Ursinus College and a tireless defender of liberal education. 

[4] Witness the unfortunate Socrates and Jesus of Nazareth incidents.  Not that more recent governments haven’t pursued the same solution.  Witness Leon Trotsky and Salman Rushdie. 

[5] Even if mass literacy did not become a reality until much later on. 

[6] One censor, exhausted and half-blind, lamented that “What we need is a halt to printing.”  Couldn’t put that genie back into the bottle. 

[7] What I know about this comes from “A Police Inspector Sorts His Files: The Anatomy of the Republic of Letters,” in Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (1984). 

[8] Later, in the Soviet Union, with its tightly controlled borders, people resorted to “samizdat.” 

[9] See: Three-in-four across 19 countries view global climate change as a major threat to their country | Pew Research Center  and 6. Younger Americans and those who prefer social media for news feel less concern about the issue of made-up news | Pew Research Center 

The Asian Century 23.

            Who knows best, government or the markets? 

            Governments have a larger range of concerns than do markets; among them is the need to promote the national welfare.  National “welfare” includes national security as well as material prosperity. 

            For many years, people believed in the great benefits of comparative advantage and global trade.  For example, Americans could devote themselves to producing high-value goods (like computer software) while farming out the low-value goods (like textiles or computer chips) to developing economies.  In a nutshell, the United States became dependent for some key products—both for economic prosperity and national security—on Asian manufacturers.  This didn’t mean only China.  Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan especially became vital suppliers. 

            In some Asian countries, conditions could allow corporations to ignore or subordinate investor concerns about short-term factors like return on investment, quarterly earnings reports, or stock prices.  They may have had a different attitude toward capital than the prevailing view in the United States.  They saw it as abundant, rather than scarce.  Moreover, they were in the control of families, or part of a web of allied companies, or had the backing of their governments.  In the United States on the other hand, capital markets held the whip hand.[1] 

            Chinese assertion in the western Pacific has belatedly cast into doubt the virtues of comparative advantage and global trade.  The supply-chain mess attending the Covid pandemic showed what could happen if anything disrupted trade in vital commodities.  Now the United States has launched a major effort to rebuild its position in the manufacture of semi-conductors.[2] 

            In economic theory (and practice), markets allocate resources best.  Investors (whether the idle rich or public employee pension funds) will be happy with high returns and unhappy with lower returns, whatever the cause.  Capital markets (like Wall Street) allocate capital to the places where it will earn the highest return. 

            Companies can be asset-heavy (like steel-makers) or they can be asset-light (like owners of some form of intellectual property—social media platforms, movie studios, software designers).[3]  In recent decades, the returns on investment in asset-light companies has been tremendous.  So that is where a lot of investment has flowed. 

            In recent decades, economies of scale required the construction of enormous semi-conductor computer-chip factories (fabrication plants or “fabs”).  Only such plants could produce a return on investment that would satisfy investors.  They cost a lot of money, in the area of $10 billion each.  Hard-pressed to obtain capital and unable to scale-up, lesser American producers started off-shoring production to China and Taiwan.[4] 

            At least two questions arise.  First, can government subsidies counter the force of the market?  Second, America has lost ground in many areas of “advanced manufacturing,” not only in semi-conductors.  What about those other industries? 

[1] Greg Ip, “In U.S. Chip-Making Push, Wall Street Shrugs,” WSJ, 15 September 2022. 

[2] The Chips and Science Act, July 2022, allocates better than $50 billion in subsidies to the chip fabricators. 

[3] Examples of the latter include computer chip-designers, chip-design software producers, and chip-making machinery makers.  That last one is a mouthful.    

[4] One manufacturer claims that his company is at a 30-50 percent cost disadvantage against Asian competitors. 

You got a Freund in Jesus.

After 1789, the nation-state tried to organize people according to a shared language, a shared history, and—often—a shared religion.  The Austro-Hungarian Empire amounted to a Heinz 57 mixture of different religions, languages, and ethnicities.  It was doomed.  In 1918, the empire came apart like a leper in a hot tub. 

Kurt Freund (1914–1996) was born into a German-speaking Jewish family in Chrudim.  Chrudim is a wide spot in the road in Bohemia.  In 1918 it became a part of the new country of Czechoslovakia.  Kurt Freund got out as soon as he could.  He studied medicine at Charles University in Prague.  Possibly inspired by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld in neighboring Germany, he also became a sexologist.  (“Nothing propinks like propinquity.”)  In September 1938, Czechoslovakia’s French and British allies betrayed it at the Munich conference.  In March 1939, Nazi Germany took over the Czech parts of Czechoslovakia.  The Germans launched a savage repression of Czech identity and resistance.  (See: “Anthropoid.”)  In January 1942, Freund married Anna Hlounová, a non-Jewish Czech pianist and music teacher.   The couple had a daughter, whom they called Helen.  In 1943, they divorced to protect Anna and their daughter from anti-Jewish laws imposed by the Germans.  Somehow, Kurt, Anna, and Helen all survived the war and the Holocaust.  Kurt’s parents and brother did not.  In 1944, the Red Army arrived in Prague to “liberate” Czechoslovakia from the Germans.  The Russian “liberators” didn’t leave until 1990.[1]  They imposed a Stalinist dictatorship.  A reign of terror followed against the opponents of “democratic centralism.”  Nothing in the recent history of the Czechs suggested that truth-telling was a good life strategy.  It just got you imprisoned or killed. 

While Communists were OK with stealing private property and murdering their enemies, they were really puritanical about sex.  Gay people—called “warm people” in Czech slang[2]–were not “allowed” to serve in the military.  Lots of Czech men didn’t want to serve in the army, so they claimed to be homosexual.  The Czech Army set Kurt to work finding out if a machine could tell if a draftee was gay or straight.  So Kurt now developed a professional interest in “truth detecting” in a country now dedicated to lying and fantasizing. 

Put not quite as crudely as possible, male sexual arousal leads to an inflow of blood to the sex organ.  The organ becomes enlarged and rigid.  So, Kurt reasoned, if you can measure volumetric change during the presentation of various stimuli, you have a measure of what arouses someone.  Basically, put a vacuum tube on a guy, show him a variety of dirty movies, and see what pops up, so to speak.  In scientific terms, this is called “Penile plethysmography” or “phallometry.”[3]   Broadly, his theory seems to have held up.  He also did a lot of work on “conversion therapy” for gay people and concluded that sexual orientation is in-born, so don’t hold your breath waiting for the counseling sessions to change someone back to “normal.”[4] 

In 1968, the Czechs rebelled against their Russkie-puppet rulers.  It failed, just like in East Germany in 1948, and Hungary in 1956.  A boat-load of Czechs bolted for the West.  Kurt ended up teaching in Toronto.   Canadian shrinks turned out to be a lot more retrograde than Czech shrinks.  Kurt’s ideas about tolerance for homosexuality aroused (HA!) resistance. 

In 1994 Kurt Freund’s doctor told him he had terminal cancer.  In 1996, he died of a mix of muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, and wine.  Probably sitting on his porch watching the sun set. 

[1] Meanwhile, in 1945 Kurt and Anna re-married and had a second child, Peter. 

[2] See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martina_Navratilova#Sexuality_and_relationships 

[3] I don’t expect that American colleges will develop a major in Phallometry. 

[4] Of course it didn’t work: he was treating straight men who were dodging the draft.  See: Upton Sinclair. 

“Florence of Arabia.” OK, I stole that.

Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) came from a family of British commoners that had clawed its way to the top during the Industrial Revolution.  She fit the pattern.  She wasn’t interested in the steel business and women weren’t supposed to go into business anyway.  She went to Oxford in 1885 and came away with a First Class degree in History in two years (instead of the normal three years).  She got bored lolling about the family estate and the London “season” where she was supposed to be looking for a husband.  In 1892 she went out to Persia to visit her uncle, who was the British ambassador.  She fell in love with the Middle East, learning Arabic, Persian, and Turkish in addition to the French and German she already possessed.  She traveled much, visiting archaeological excavations.  When she wasn’t doing this, she was climbing mountains in the Alps.  Along the way, she fell in love with a British Army officer, Charles Doughty-Wylie.  He was married and neither of them cared to break up the marriage, so that didn’t work out. 

In 1915, after the outbreak of the First World War, a bunch of the Middle East experts in Cairo suggested that Gertrude Bell be added to their group.  Doughty-Wylie got killed at Gallipoli in April 1915, so she threw herself into her work.  Soon she went to Mesopotamia (now Iraq) to advise the British army that had invaded that corner of the Ottoman Empire. 

She found a difficult situation.  Arabs led by Emir Hussein of the Hashemite family were willing to revolt against the Ottomans.  However, they wanted the creation of an Arab kingdom in what is now Syria, Jordan, and Iraq as their prize.  The British and French governments were even then carving up the region into colonial lands for themselves after the war.  How to square the circle?  To make matters worse, the Turks did not just lie down and die.  They fought off a British attack at Gallipoli in 1915 and then destroyed a British army in Mesopotamia. 

Bell became an enormously powerful figure in Iraq, both among the British and among the Arabs.  Highly intelligent and deeply knowledgeable (and therefore opinionated), she also possessed good political and diplomatic skills.  Hussein’s son Faisal tried to collect on the war-time promises by taking Syria.  The French refused, ejecting Faisal from Syria and making the country their own.  She (and others, like T.E. Lawrence) persuaded the government to put the sons of Hussein in as rulers of Iraq and Jordan. 

From 1921 to 1926 Bell labored to make Iraq a success.  There may not have been a good, let alone permanent, solution to this problem.  “Iraq” had never existed as a country.  It had been three administrative districts of the Ottoman Empire.  It jammed together a Sunni minority, which had been the traditional rulers under the Ottomans; a Shi’a majority, which had been denied power and treated with suspicion by the Sunni Ottomans; and a Kurdish ethnic minority that wanted to unite all the Kurds of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria in a single country.  She recognized that Shi’as, Sunnis, and Kurds could easily be at each other’s throats.  They had to be reconciled, their conflicts contained, until a sense of national unity could be created over time.  She believed that too tight a grip by a foreign power would ruin everything.  She advised the new royal government on many issues.  The government did not always take her advice.  A chain-smoker and incredibly hard worker, Gertrude Bell wore herself out.  The post-war death of her younger brother and other family problem may have depressed her.  She died of an overdose (perhaps accidental) of sleeping pills.  She is buried in Baghdad. 

The descendants of Abdullah rule Jordan to this day.  The descendants of Faisal ruled Iraq until overthrown in a revolution in 1958 that eventually put Saddam Hussein in power.  The American invasion in 2003 caused the country to explode into Sunni, Shi’ite, and Kurdish factions.  Was Bell right or was Iraq always doomed? 

“Follow the Science.”

The “theory” of Evolution propounded by Charles Darwin, along with a bunch of other “modern” innovations, put the back up on religious conservatives.  The Catholic Church just said it was BS and went on with what it was doing without thinking about it anymore.  American Protestants, however, got all bent out of shape and mounted a counter-attack.  Presbyterian theologians at the Princeton Theological Seminary worked out a basic statement of “Fundamental” beliefs of Christians at the end of the 19th Century.  Basically, the “Fundamentals” are that the Bible is the Word of God; Jesus was born to a virgin mother; the miracles performed by Jesus really happened; the death of Jesus was an atonement for our sins[1]; and the resurrection of Christ really happened.  These aren’t just some parables that are open to interpretation by slimy wheezers in tweed jackets. 

Science continued its advance, regardless of what religious stick-in-the-muds thought.  Moreover, it began the process of extending knowledge of scientific discovery from the intellectual elite to the common man.  One means to this end came in the writing of textbooks for high-school science classes.  In 1914, George William Hunter published A Civic Biology: Presented in Problems.  The text book proved widely popular and was adopted as a high-school biology textbook.  It contained a chapter stating the theory of Evolution in an approving way. 

Less noticed, because not controversial among anyone at that time, were other chapters of Civic Biology.  One chapter explained that Mankind was divided into races and that the races were arranged in a hierarchy with the Negro at the bottom and the Caucasian at the top.  Another chapter explained that both positive and negative behavioral characteristics could be inherited, just like pigmentation and eye color.  “The science of being well born is called eugenics.”  The stock of humans might be improved in the same way as the stock of domesticated animals (horses, cattle, dogs), through conscious breeding.  Moreover, there were people who should be prevented from reproducing because they passed on negative characteristics: imbecility, disease, and crime.  These people were parasites.  “If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading.  Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race.

Remedies of this sort have been tried successfully in Europe and are now meeting with some success in this country.” 

Meanwhile, the “fundamentalist” ideas spread from the Presbyterians to the Baptists and other denominations during the first couple of decades of the 20th Century.  In 1925, the Tennessee legislature passed a law banning the teaching of anything that challenged the Bible’s story of Creation.  Well, Civic Biology certainly did that.   Most teachers just skipped that chapter so as to stay out of trouble.  However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) got a local Tennessee teacher to pretend that he had taught the chapter.  In 1925, he was charged, tried, and convicted.  “Fundamentalism” triumphed in the court room.  It got trounced in the court of public opinion.  In big cities.  Among liberal intellectuals.  Who wrote books read by later generations.  While the teacher had not actually taught the chapter on Evolution, he had taught the other chapters—including the one on eugenics.  His name was John Scopes. 

[1] This is why the suffering of Jesus is portrayed in such gruesome detail by the fundamentalist Catholic Mel Gibson in his movie “The Passion of Christ.”  He wasn’t trying to make a “giallo” flick for the people who like blood and gore.  He was trying to emphasize the nature of the sacrifice offered by Jesus for our salvation. 

The United States and the Holocaust V.

Were there alternative policies that might have prevented or greatly reduced the death-toll of the Holocaust?   Sure. 

First, get the early Christian Fathers to lay-off anti-Semitism.  No anti-Semitism, nothing to infect Hitler’s mind a couple thousand years in the future (except anti-Communism and vegetarianism), so no Holocaust.[1] 

Second, occupy Germany for forty years after the First World War, same as after 1945. 

Third, open borders for the United States after 1924.  No Jews in Europe for Hitler to want dead, no Holocaust.[2]  On the one hand, the law relied upon a belief that citizens in a democracy had a right to control who entered their country.  This is parochial, rather than cosmopolitan. 

On the other hand, the 1924 law targeted immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe in particular.  No anti-Semitism (see above), no restrictions on Jews from these areas.  No anti-Catholicism, no restrictions on immigrants from Poland, Hungary, Italy, and Rumania.  Just get the Catholic Church to lay-off the “Syllabus of Errors,”[3] kidnapping Jewish children to force their conversion,[4] and maintaining separate schools.  Get the immigrants to stop undermining labor unions with workers eager for jobs and providing the votes for big-city “machines.”    

Fourth, tell the Arabs to lump it between the wars.  There were only 750,000 Palestinian Arabs.  Move in 7-8 million European settlers during the twenty years before the Second World War.[5]  Stamp out any Arab rebellion.[6]  The new settlers probably would be willing to help. 

While you’re at it, give the Italians Ethiopia and the Japanese China.  That way the British aren’t looking at fighting three simultaneous wars for which they do not have the resources.  In turn, the British wouldn’t have been so hot for appeasement.  They could have devoted themselves to winding up the French instead of encouraging weakness. 

Fifth, Britain, France, and the United States could have joined together to fight the Germans at the time of Munich in 1938.  If other people hadn’t been obsessing about how terrible had been the previous war, it might have been possible to stop the Germans before they got going.  The Czechs (certainly) and the Poles (probably) would have joined that fight.  The Americans should have abandoned their traditional policy of no foreign entanglements.  It might not even have come to a fight.  German elites might well have decided to toss Hitler overboard to avoid such a war.  Make him an offer he couldn’t refuse. 

Sixth, in 1939, Britain and France could have given the Russians what they wanted—control of Eastern Europe—to join an alliance against Germany.  Tell the Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians that the Russians are taking over.  Tell the Poles that they’re going to have to let the Red Army into their country to get at the Germans.  Tell them, as well, that the Russian price for “saving” them is the eastern third of Poland and Polish Communist in the government.[7] 

Other than that, you’re left with the situation as it really existed. 

[1] That doesn’t mean that there would have been no Second World War.  All those non-refugee German scientists would have been working on a German atomic bomb to run with the V-2. 

[2] Still, Hitler came to power because of the political crisis arising from the Depression, not from anti-Semitism. 

[3] See: Syllabus of Errors – Wikipedia  The “Selected Propositions” rejected by the Church explains a lot. 

[4] David I. Kertzer, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara (1998). 

[5] There are about 7 million Jewish Israelis today.    

[6] See: Great Syrian Revolt – Wikipedia and 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine – Wikipedia 

[7] “Katyn” Katyn (2007) – massacre scene part 2/2 (English subtitles) – YouTube