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Burt Folsom History Thread
This is rather a strange essay by Folsom. Usually he focuses on a tighter subject with historical facts not easily discovered by most of us. This one is dead on - but seems to be more aimed at uncovering disinformation than information. I think we all know the facts behind this essay, but he presents them all cogently and with common sense. If anyone can remain being a Progressive after reading this, than there may be no hope for the delusional.

Burt Folsom Wrote:The Progressives Are On The Wrong Side Of History
on AUGUST 26, 2014

Who is “on the wrong side of history,” progressives or conservatives? Progressives often insist they are “on the right side of history,” but their ideas failed 100 years ago.

Today, for example, progressives have opposed fracking and have halted the building of the Keystone Pipeline to bring cheaper oil from Canada through the United States. As a result, gas prices at the pump have been over $3.00 per gallon for years. One hundred years ago progressives also stopped the flow of oil. They used new antitrust laws to break up the Standard Oil Company; and, as a result, no American company had the venture capital to pursue the foreign drilling that might have prevented shortages today.

On taxes, President Woodrow Wilson gave us the first progressive income tax. He and his progressive friends said raising tax rates would not hinder investments. But the year President Woodrow Wilson left office, the U.S. had a top tax rate of 73% and unemployment had skyrocketed to 12%. Because of high taxes, entrepreneurs refused to invest, the national debt spiraled upward, and the number of Americans reporting $300,000 in income declined from almost 1,300 in 1916 to fewer than 250 in 1921. High taxes chased away wealth and stifled growth.

Today, progressives have recently raised tax rates on entrepreneurs, on capital gains, and on dividends—and they are surprised to see economic stagnation and record debt levels. What didn’t work a century ago is also not working now.

In foreign policy, progressives today shun commitments to promote stability in the world. President Obama has wanted to withdraw U.S. influence from the Middle East whenever possible. ISIS, President Obama insisted, was no serious threat; they were merely a junior varsity team trying to dress up like they were in the pros. When ISIS then began rampaging through Iraq and part of Syria, the president still preferred inaction. When they next beheaded James Foley, an American journalist, the president criticized this action, but then went back to another round of golf.

In foreign policy almost 100 years ago, progressives led the charge for isolationism after World War I. Senator Hiram Johnson, who ran for president in 1912 with Teddy Roosevelt, and Senator Robert LaFollette, who ran for president in 1924 on the Progressive ticket, believed that talk instead of action would abolish war forever. They supported the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed by dozens of nations, which declared war to be illegal. The U.S. and other nations agreed to “condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.” When running for president in 1924, Robert LaFollette wrote in his Progressive Party platform that he “promote[d] firm treaty agreements with all nations to outlaw wars.”

The progressive idea here is that if a problem exists, we can pass a law and the problem will go away. In the real world, however, we often have negative unintended consequences. By everyone signing an agreement to outlaw war, for example, nations that knew better were lulled into complacency. Germany rebuilt its military in the 1930s with almost no resistance. Like ISIS, Germany could have been stopped early but progressives believed their rhetoric, they abhorred foreign intervention, and an evil threat to world order went unchecked.

For progressives to dismiss ISIS, or any other group, because it is “on the wrong side of history” creates two problems. First, even if true, it ignores the damage caused by inaction. Second, it assumes a “progress” in human affairs that our Founders did not assume. Human nature, our Founders believed, was not to be trusted. Power needed to be dispersed because even good people could not be trusted with much power. And ISIS today is similar to the Ottoman Turks almost 100 years ago who killed more than 1.5 million Armenians primarily because they were Christians. Evil never thinks it is on the wrong side of history.
Ever notice you're, like, usually yelling to hear your own echo in this thread?
(08-27-2014, 06:38 PM)Gunnen4u Wrote: Ever notice you're, like, usually yelling to hear your own echo in this thread?

Tait, have you ever read any of Burt Folsom's articles before?

Sorry, Gunnen4u, if you think that. It is untrue, but you're welcome to expound your own beliefs in full for anything I've ever said that is wrong. It's easy to smear another without proving yourself, so please take the time to do it right. We can disagree about things without character assassination.

Folsom is a first-rate historian, and one who is worth paying attention to, so one's own world view is sound.
I seem to remember some posts concerning how the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a bad idea. Here is a thoughtful fact that no one ever seems to note:

Burt Folsom Wrote:Why Did We Drop the Atomic Bomb? These questions come up year after year: Why did the U.S. drop the atomic bombs on Japan? Was this the right strategy? Was it morally the right thing to do?

Seventy years ago, in August 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs that led to Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II. That’s when those questions began.

A prisoner of war who witnessed the atomic bomb exploding over Nagasaki gives a compelling argument that yes, dropping the bombs was exactly the right thing to do. Lester Tenney had joined the U.S. Army in 1940, thinking that he would get his military service over in a hurry, get back to civilian life, and finish his education. He was assigned to the 192nd Tank Battalion and sent to the Philippines, just in time to be there when the Japanese attacked. Lester was captured on Bataan, survived the Bataan Death March, and sent by his captors on a “hell ship” to Japan to work as a slave laborer.

Here is part of his story:

“In the late spring of 1945, I saw that the cruelty with which we prisoners of war were treated was only increasing. Our guards told us that Japanese units facing attack had received orders to kill all military and civilian POWs in their custody. They were to unburden themselves to focus on the fight. The executions were to begin August 17….

Early on the morning of August 9, from the POW camp where I was held some 30 miles across a bay, I saw the sky over Nagasaki change. It glowed red and the air tuned warm against my skin. Until then, red was the color of my subjugation. My Japanese guards were certain that red had a uniquely Japanese meaning. It wasn’t just the central color of their flag, it was viewed as emotionally representative of their pure spirit and sincerity. The red sky over Nagasaki ended those illusions.

“At that moment, I made a bet with a friend that soon we would all be set free. I was right.” (Wall Street Journal, 8/8/15)

Lester Tenney survived his captivity because World War II ended suddenly, with an announcement by the Japanese emperor to his people on August 15th that the war was over. Japan had surrendered.

If you wish to learn more about why the U.S. dropped the atomic bombs, go to for their brief video on “Was It Wrong to Drop the Atom Bomb on Japan?”

Also, read FDR Goes to War (co-authored by Burton and Anita Folsom).

According to this, had the bombs not been dropped when they were, all the US prisoners of war were scheduled to be killed eight days later. The bombings stopped that from happening. I wonder if some word of that order may have influenced the timing?
I've always stated that the two nuclear bombs actually saved lives, for both belligerents, regardless what the revisionists can concoct. We actually killed more through firebombing, which was also a terrible way to die. So, my position on this is still unchanged.


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