Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

A Century of Butchery: A German Deserter’s War Experience

December 11, 2013

In a few weeks, we will mark a century of butchery as bad as man has ever known, made more sinister by great leaps in technological knowledge. The “Art” of War — figuring out new ways to kill Human Beings — has developed to a pitch that human effort in battle is miniscule compared to the effort of machines and automated weaponry.

But this century of butchery, we should not forget, began in 1914 with the start of World War I, and few youths of today may be intimately connected with the horrendous reality that existed in Europe, just 36,525 days back from January 1, 2014.

To grasp that terrible reality, there are few texts better than “A German Deserter’s War Experience” by Anonymous, the record of a German soldier who was in near-constant battle for several years, and who fought at the Marne and Verdun. If you want to know the true reality of war, the immense senseless suffering, then it behooves you to read this work.

In it you can see the utter callousness of the generals and the general staff, and the officers, towards the common soldier. Anonymous was a sapper, an engineering soldier who put up wire, laid mines, floated pontoons across rivers, etc., but he also fought with the Infantry. He describes what hand-to-hand combat does to people, the ferocious bayonet fights, and the callous indifference to corpses quickly acquired. He describes laying a field of explosives, then inducing the French Infantry to attack across it, and then detonating it, so that 200-300 Frenchmen were blown in an instant into body parts which rained down, and hung in the trees. He describes the German officer who blew up a bridge crammed with both French Cavalry and German foot soldiers desperately trying to retreat across the bridge. He notes how not one officer in his regiment was a casualty, while few draftees remained alive in his original batallion. He points out that the soldiers had to sleep on the damp ground, with only a thin cloak, while the officers had sleeping bags and woolen blankets. He notes the almost universal disillustionment and regret at having volunteered by both youths and old men, who had been brainwashed into sacrificing their lives for the “Fatherland”.

Contrarywise, he notes, after having been moved from a very violent to a very quiet part of the front, the lack of confrontation between both sides and the wish to keep it on those terms by both French and German soldiers. They even fraternised at night, exchanging gifts, and shaking hands when they parted. In one instance, the only nearby well was located in the middle of a no-man’s land, but both the French and the Germans went out and used it, and waited patiently while those ahead filled their canisters, saluting when they parted.

Anonymous finally has enough of the war, and plans an escape which will have the reader on the edge of his seat. We’ll leave that bit untold.

Perhaps the only flaw in the book is the last paragraph of the work, which throws out a specifically political (and in our view incorrect) viewpoint. But having gone through what this fellow went through, you might think the same way.

“A German Deserter’s War Experience”, which can be read at archive.org, reminds us of the utter callousness and horror of war, and war waged merely to satisfy the aristocracies, military elites, and munitions-makers of Europe. It portraits a reality that must never be forgotten.

Hoooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

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There Is a Free Lunch at The Mises Diner

February 3, 2010

One of the most common dictums thrown at one in America when one is growing from pupdom to wolfdom is “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” You hear this not only from cynical socialists, who feel that no Capitalist would ever give away anything for free unless he expected a higher return by the action, but also from hardboiled business types, who think that if a deal sounds too good, there’s always a catch in it, and who think that all other businessmen think exactly as they do.

But this duo of sceptics would be contradicted not by any swindling capitalist or even greater swindling socialist, but by the most pro-Capitalist, pro-free-market outfit in America: the Mises Institute; for what the Institute has done is not only made available copies of many of the classics of the Libertarian-Austrian School of Economics philosophical-economic outlook for free, but now, in the last few weeks, added a whole new raft of recordings to be inspected with a circumspect ear (to mix metaphors). These latest jewels of scholarship include two series of lectures delivered by Professor Murray N. Rothbard at the NY Polytechnic Institute in 1986, an excellent reading of A. J. Nock’s “Our Enemy, the State” by Jock Coats of Oxford, essays of Herbie Spencer, as well as readings by Jeff Riggenbach, who is also an excellent reader with a rich, resonant voice. (Herbie Spencer, known as Herbert to his friends, was a late 19th century British Libertarian-leaning essayist, who, according to Rothbard, became more statist as he aged. You can see this in the upper half of his face, which became like a human being later in life, while the lower half retained its wolf-like hirsuteness.) And the cherry is a brief, crisp recording of a short lecture Mises gave during an interlude in the US Steel corporation’s program in 1962, in which he explains why the free-market is so different from the old monarchies and church-dominated societies. (The reason is, if you’re curious to know, because instead of expropriating wealth by looting or taxation, which the king or church-priesthood had done is olden times, the free-market requires that a man serve his fellow men in some useful capacity by expending energy, and he will only be able to garner a living if he can fulfill some useful need. Therefore, his wealth is dependent on the consumer, not on legalized looting, and each consumer must, in turn, find something to turn his hand to so that he may procure the wherewithal to secure those commodities he needs for survival, or wants as fripperies. Thus the consumers, and not the kings, priesthood, or even the businessmen, are the real kings in a true free-market economy.Like Rothbard, Mises could make pellucid murky economic problems with a comparatively short, understandable explanation.)

The two Rothbard series of lectures feature one on a history of America from 1870 through King Roosevelt II from an Austrian School economic perspective, and several on the basics of economics like Value, and the Determination of Prices. These constitute the brown rice and beans (bread and butter for you junkfooders) of economic understanding, which can then be applied to the gallimaufry of American political history. Rothbard’s technique of historical analysis, which always asks “Qui bono?”, who benefits from a specific piece of legislation?, is one that logically explains not only the vast giveaways of the public’s wealth that were doled out to corporations during the 19th and 20th centuries, but the current massive giveaways by Obama, Geithner, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Frank, and that whole gang of “experts”, well paid at the public university’s feeding troughs, who said that the sky would fall if we didn’t bail out the megabanks, AIG, and Detroit. The same lies, the same “sky is falling” arguments, and it’s a hundred and forty years later. The same liers; the same gullible public quickly gulled, like the flocks at the seashore, with a few crumbs of bread that will be piled on the backs of the unborn. Socialists don’t give a damn about the unborn slaves that will have to slog for years to pay off the debt that they are building up right now so that those corporations they say are too big to fail can continue to give their enormous bonuses. They are the sadistic torturers of the unborn.

But the new items on the menu should not blind one to the solid, staple fare that Mises has in the pantry of its archives. There, for example, is Rothbard’s “For a New Liberty”, perhaps the first book any would-be neophyte Libertarian should read, perused aloud in excellent rendition by Jeff Riggenbach. No need to strain the eyes now, you can listen to it while taking the (subsidized) public transport, or while waiting to have your genitalia examined by a lusty Brunehilde at the airport. Thank goodness we Americans still have a “Right to Privacy”, eh what?

Anyway, there is plenty of “free lunch” for us Capitalists to stuff our brains with until bursting at the Mises Diner. Fortunately, unlike the fare at many other Brain Diners, there are no brain-clogging cholesterols of lies, no mind-hardening triglycerides of Leftist propaganda, no simplistic schemes like the money crank’s idea of printing up money and handing it out as a solution to shortages, or the Georgeist’s taxing land only. There is only economic truth, amazing in its simplicity after baffling economist theoreticians for over 2000 years, explained in the Woody Allenesque, quickfire, pace of Professor Rothbard, and always sprinkled with lots of humourous quips which usually are pretty good.

So don’t let the cynics give you any of their guff. At the Mises Diner, there is such a thing as a free lunch.

Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

Silverwolf Officially Declares the ‘Eldritch Project’ “A Failure”

January 21, 2010

Silverwolf’s muzzle is truly drenched today as he comes to the sad and long-procrastinated realization that his famous “Eldritch Project”, which he initiated two and a half years ago with such gusto, has come to a crashing halt. It is, Silverwolf must admit, a failure.

We all know with what high hopes Silverwolf attempted to modify the English language, while at the same time seeing if the power of the internet was so great that it could alter the common use of English heard around the world. This was the aim of the Eldritch Project, an attempt to introduce the rather obscure word “eldritch”, meaning “weird”, as a frequently used term in both worldwide spoken English, and international internet usage. This jolly old adjective, probably of Scottish origination, was employed by Robert Louis Stevenson, amongst others, in his “Master of Ballantrae”, and Silverwolf, for some unknown and still unexplained reason,  was seized with a frenzy of fervour to bring this word to the attention of the world internet consistory.

But today, Silverwolf must admit that the project is a dismal failure, an utter repudiation of his vainglorious and rather pompous dreams of affecting worldwide English by effecting a change in parlance. But no go. Not even a “close but no cigar”.

Therefore, Silverwolf, with dewdrops streaming from the lachrymal glands, sadly closes the books on the “Eldritch Project”. Our thanks to all the half-dozens that participated. At least we tried to graft some life onto the moribund  world literary grapevine.

Well, there’s always “slubber”.

Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf