From: Mike Lorrey (mlorrey@datamann.com)
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 17:37:27 MST

pchaston wrote:
> > pchaston wrote:
> > >
> > > Mike Lorrey wrote:
> > >
> > > > At its core, all world wars have been over which is superior: lies
> > > > versus truth.
> > snip
> > >
> > >pchaston wrote
> > >Which historical texts describe the First World War as a history of
> > > imperialism vs. human liberty? snip...
> >Mike Lorrey wrote:
> >
> > But did imperialism survive WWI? Not really, and Wilson's lobbying and
> > public speaking pretty much killed the whole concept at wars end and
> > following. snip///
> Imperialism, as an ideology, did survive the Great War. Moreover, one can
> argue that its ideological underpinnings were strengthened by the downfall
> of the Dual Monarchy, Germany, Russia and the Ottomans. Countries during the
> interwar period who wished to overturn the Versailles treaty settlement
> viewed the expansion of their power in territorial and inperialistic terms:
> German lebensraum, Italy in Abyssinia, Japan and Manchukuo. Their
> governmental ideologies incorporated the dynamic of imperialism and married
> it to new racial and national extremes.

Well, no, and yes. WWI was initially a war between empires. WWII was a
war between empire builders and democracy builders. The British Empire
was on the ropes through the 1920's and 30's, as was the French. Germany
lost its colonies entirely and AustroHungary was broken up entirely at
Versailles. The British only kept India through WWII by promising to
grant independence after the war. Italy, well, Italy, quitely plainly,
was a joke as far as imperialists go. The Ottomans fell after WWI as

> The British and French empires remained in existence at this time, and
> remained symbols of national strength for their electorates.
> Anti-imperialistic arguments in Europe were mainly derived from
> Marxist-Leninist theory and never gained much credence beyond the Left.
> Imperialism in Britain eventually lost its ideological grip with the
> Atlantic Charter.
> Perhaps imperialism did lose its ideological hold upon the US under Wilson
> but the Versailles Treaty and its principle of self-determination had to
> battle with the long-standing notions of racial and cultural superiority
> that justified empire.

THis is not really that accurate. Wilson's ideas gained quite a wide
public acceptance throughout Europe after the war, it was really only
the aristocrats who resented the implications.

> > > > Mike Lorrey wrote
> > > > Countries would not go to war against each other if one side or the
> > > > other were not lying about their point of view.
> > >
> > > If you wish to view a war in terms of the ideologies expressed by the
> > > participants, how do you distinguish between their ideas and
> > the propaganda
> > > created in support of their point of view? snip...
> >
> > Propaganda, per se, is not always a lie. There are two forms of
> > propaganda: information and disinformation. One is truth, the other is
> > falsehood.
> >
> Propaganda is always a form of untruth as the authors wish the reader or
> observer to privelege a particular interpretation. The author is hoping that
> their work is structured in such a way that it will make your mind up for
> you.

But nothing you say here demonstrates that all interpretations are
untruths. If even on interpretation is accurate, then propaganda for
that point of view is not an untruth.

> Studies of British propaganda during WWII found that it was not possible to
> modify deeply held attitudes but that you could reinforce and exacerbate
> preexisting attitudes.

On the contrary, stunning defeats are quite effective at making people
reevaluate their assumptions.

> >
> > Yes. However, nationalism being wrong and false does not mean that
> > everything it involves is automatically false (just as a KKK member can
> > still tell the truth when he says the sky is blue). Objectively ranking
> > one form of polity as objectively better than another is significantly
> > different from having blind faith in one's nation, right or wrong.
> The terms 'false' and 'wrong' are only applicable if you wish to view
> history as a conflict between rationalism and irrationalism (which would
> include your definition of faith). However, it is not possible for a
> nationalist to set down objective criteria in order to assess nations, as
> s/he develops an exaggerated sense of belonging to their own nation through
> sentiment and/or loyalty. This is not a statement saying that the objective
> ranking of polities is impossible but that one has to reflect on these views
> and discount them before attempting suvh an assessment.

On the contrary, the individual should decide first what sort of country
they think, according to facts of human nature, would be the best to
live and prosper in, then see what countries match up best to those

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