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  • Author: Alex Epstein
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Who would argue that producing and using fossil fuels is not only not shameful, but also positively virtuous? Alex Epstein would. And he has done so eloquently and thoroughly in his book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The modern welfare state began to take shape in the 1880s in Otto von Bismarck's Germany, and it took off in the United States in the 1930s under Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal." Now that the welfare state is thoroughly entrenched throughout most of the world, is there any reason to question its existence or any way to eliminate it? There is a reason and a way, and these are the subjects of the essays in After the Welfare State.
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany
  • Author: Ross England
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: On June 14, 1940, when the German army entered an undefended Paris, the seemingly unstoppable Nazi forces took full control of the city. But one door remained, at least temporarily, closed to them. When the Wehrmacht arrived at the Pasteur Institute and attempted to enter the basement crypt where the bodies of Louis Pasteur and his wife, Marie, were interred, they found an aging concierge blocking the path. The guard steadfastly and courageously refused to permit them entry to the tomb. This guard was not alone in his devotion to Pasteur. In a 1922 speech, the French ambassador to the United States, Jules Jusserand, described the incredibly high esteem in which Pasteur was held among the French people:
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In the Summer 2008 issue of The Objective Standard, John David Lewis concluded his review of Sun-tzu: Art of War with this important truth: "War is fought with wits as well as with weapons, and the way to victory is to use one's mind to defeat one's enemy." In The Secret Lives of Codebreakers: The Men and Women Who Cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park , Sinclair McKay relays how this truth played out in Britain's relentless fight against Nazi Germany.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, Germany
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Two months after D-Day, an agent working in Britain received a message from his Nazi handler that said, in part: With great happiness and satisfaction I am able to advise you today that the Führer has awarded the Iron Cross to you for your extraordinary merits, a decoration which, without exception, is granted only to front-line combatants. For that reason we all send you our most sincere and cordial congratulations. (p. 335)
  • Political Geography: Britain, Germany
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In 1943, on the coast of Andalusia in southwest Spain, a dead man “washed ashore wearing a fake uniform and the underwear of a dead Oxford don, with a love letter from a girl he had never known pressed to his long-dead heart” (pp. 323–24). It was near the high point of the Third Reich's reign, with Europe effectively under Nazi control; but, owing in part to this dead man, Hitler's days were numbered. Ben Macintyre tells the story of this fantastic ruse in Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory. The book may read like fiction, but remarkably, the story is completely true. It begins during World War II when the Nazi war machine “was at last beginning to stutter and misfire.” The British Eighth Army under Montgomery had vanquished Rommel's invincible Afrika Korps at El Alamein. The Allied invasion of Morocco and Tunisia had fatally weakened Germany's grip, and with the liberation of Tunis, the Allies would control the coast of North Africa, its ports and airfields, from Casablanca to Alexandria. The time had come to lay siege to Hitler's Fortress [across Europe]. But where? Sicily was the logical place from which to deliver the gut punch into what Churchill famously called the soft “underbelly of the Axis.” The island at the toe of Italy's boot commanded the channel linking the two sides of the Mediterranean, just eighty miles from the Tunisian coast. . . . The British in Malta and Allied convoys had been pummeled by Luftwaffe bombers taking off from the island, and . . . “no major operation could be launched, maintained, or supplied until the enemy airfields and other bases in Sicily had been obliterated so as to allow free passage through the Mediterranean.” An invasion of Sicily would open the road to Rome . . . allow for preparations to invade France, and perhaps knock a tottering Italy out of the war. . . . [Thus]: Sicily would be the target, the precursor to the invasion of mainland Europe. (pp. 36–37) There was a major problem, however. Macintyre points out that the strategic importance of Sicily was as clear to the Nazis as it was to the Allies and that, if the Nazis were prepared for it, an invasion would be a bloodbath. So how could the Allies catch their enemy off guard? The solution was to launch what Macintyre calls one of the most extraordinary deception operations ever attempted. The British Secret Service would take a dead man and plant on him fake documents that suggested that the Allies were planning to bomb Sicily only as an initial feint preceding an attack on Nazi forces in Greece and Sardinia. They would then float their man near the Spanish coastline, making it appear as though he drowned at sea, and hope that one of the many Nazi spies in Spain discovered him and the documents and passed their content along to his superiors—convincing them to weaken Sicily by moving forces to Greece and Sardinia. . . .
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Germany, Tunisia, Rome, Alexandria
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: On May 1, 1940, a group of highly trained killers was flying through the air on gliders. The gliders were thirty-seven feet long and had wingspans of seventy-two feet. Each was equipped with three machine guns; carried ten combat-ready Nazis; and was soaring as fast as 180 miles per hour toward a fort in Belgium.1 Located just inside the border Belgium shared with Germany, that fort—known as Eben Emael—was seemingly unconquerable. Its walls rose two hundred feet from the banks of the Meuse River, and from that height its Belgian defenders could see for miles into the German countryside, use the fort's arsenal of massive guns to destroy the three bridges any invading Panzer division would have to cross, and then rain bullets on any Nazi foolish enough not to flee.2 The guns themselves poked out of either six-inch-thick steel domes or concrete blockhouses designed to withstand everything from surface artillery to aerial bombardment.3 And, on this day, nearly a thousand untroubled soldiers manned this seemingly unconquerable fort.4 At 4 a.m. the Nazi gliders reached the air above Eben Emael and then, almost as one, the teams dived sharply to avoid antiaircraft fire, landing within close range of the domes and blockhouses protecting the guns.5 They then ran up to the structures, placed specially designed explosives on them, and stood aside as the explosives blew the structures to bits, taking the guns out of service and killing many of the men inside.6 Within just fifteen minutes, this small but fast-moving and well-organized group of Nazis neutralized the fort's massive guns. Soon after, they seized the fort itself, enabling Nazi Panzer divisions to invade France via Belgium.7 And, because the French and the British were compelled to commit forces to the north in response, they were unable to defend against the Führer's primary offensive on France, launched soon after, through Luxembourg.8 Fifty years later, William H. McRaven—the son of a WWII fighter pilot—went looking for the Nazi who planned that infamous operation. Tall, muscular, and brainy, a friend once described McRaven as both “the smartest [Navy SEAL] that ever lived” and someone who “can drive a knife through your ribs in a nanosecond”—not exactly the kind of person you want hunting you down.9 But McRaven did hunt down Rudolf Witzig, the mastermind of the Eben Emael attack, and found him in Munich. McRaven had waited a long time for this moment and had come prepared—to take notes. * * * McRaven wanted to interview the old Nazi so that he might discover why some special operations succeed and others fail. “The assault on Eben Emael,” he held, “was one of the most decisive victories in the history of special operations.”10 But what went into its planning? How did the soldiers prepare for it? What factors enabled them to succeed? McRaven had many such questions, questions he hoped would lead him to a general theory of special operations that he could apply to his work with the SEALs. Witzig, he thought, could help. As Witzig relayed the importance of the intelligence he and the Nazis had gathered on Eben Emael, McRaven listened intently. Witzig said he had acquired not only aerial photos of the fort before the assault but also blueprints from a German subcontractor who helped build it.11 This, Witzig noted, allowed him to know the exact locations of the large guns—which proved crucial to the operation's planning and rehearsal. At the airfield where they practiced, Witzig told McRaven, “everything was laid out as things were at Eben Emael.” We had markers set up with the exact distances between them. This way the pilots and crew leaders could orient themselves. I would go to each man and point out his objectives—“This is yours, this is yours, and this is yours.”12 With that setup, the men practiced with their gliders until each could “take off at night, fly the profile, and land on a grassy surface within fifteen to thirty yards of his target.”13 The men also practiced on similar but “more difficult” forts in Czechoslovakia.14 And then, after returning and practicing even more on each detail of the operation, they put the plan into practice. Although these preparations could hardly guarantee success, McRaven saw how they made success increasingly probable. After the interview, McRaven integrated what he had gathered from Witzig with his own experiences as a special operations commander, and proceeded to study other operations. . . .
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: John Cerasuolo
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: As a child, Barbara Masin had a favorite bedtime story: her father's retelling of the time he (Pepa), her uncle Radek, and their friend Milan hid under a pile of branches to elude East German troops who were hunting them down. This cliff-hanger of a story, told to her in fragments, never seemed complete. Pepa Masin did not talk much about what came before and after this adventure, and the story he did tell—of a daring escape from Communist Czechoslovakia through East Germany to the freedom of West Berlin—seemed incredible. It was easy to understand the desire to escape to the West, but why were twenty-four thousand East German and Soviet troops deployed to stop five lightly armed young Czechs? And how did her father and his friends survive against such overwhelming odds? Barbara Masin finally found the answers after teaching herself rudimentary Czech and painstakingly researching recently opened secret police archives from Germany and the Czech Republic. The result of Masin's research is Gauntlet, the gripping story of these young Czech freedom fighters determined to escape to the West, join the U.S. military, and return to overthrow the evil Communist regime that was terrorizing their country. Shortly after the Communists seized power in 1948, the Masin brothers and their friends began engaging in small acts of protest against the regime. Convinced that a more-aggressive approach was necessary, the boys advanced to acts of vandalism and then to the formation of an underground resistance group dedicated to sabotaging their new tyrants, the Czech Communists. . .
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Heike Larson
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Infidel is a heroic, inspiring story of a courageous woman who escapes the hell of a woman's life in the Muslim world and becomes an outspoken and blunt defender of the West. Ms. Hirsi Ali takes the reader on her own journey of discovery, and enables him to see, through concretes and by sharing her thought processes, how she arrived at the conclusion that Islam is a stagnant, tyrannical belief system and that the Enlightenment philosophy of the West is the proper system for human beings. In Part I, Ms. Hirsi Ali describes her childhood in Muslim Africa and the Middle East. With her father imprisoned for opposing Somalia's communist dictator Siad Barré and her mother often preoccupied with finding food for her family, young Ayaan and her siblings grew up listening to the ancient legends their grandmother told them-legends glorifying the Islamic values of honor, family clans, physical strength, and aggression. Born in 1969 in Somalia, Ms. Hirsi Ali moved frequently with her family to escape persecution and civil war, living in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. At a colonially influenced Kenyan school, she discovered Western ideas, in the form of novels, "tales of freedom, adventure, of equality between girls and boys, trust and friendship. These were not like my grandmother's stark tales of the clan, with their messages of danger and suspicion. These stories were fun, they seemed real, and they spoke to me as the old legends never had" (p. 64). Forced into an arranged marriage, she was shipped to Germany to stay with distant family while awaiting a visa for Canada to join the husband she didn't know. At age twenty-two, alone and with nothing but a duffle bag of clothes and papers, she took a train to Holland to escape the dreary life of a Muslim wife-slave. "It was Friday, July 24, 1992, when I stepped on the train. Every year I think of it. I see it as my real birthday: the birth of me as a person, making decisions about my life on my own" (p. 188). In Part II, Ms. Hirsi Ali shares her wonder of arriving in modernity, and her relentless effort to create a productive, independent life for herself. After being granted asylum, she worked menial jobs, learned Dutch, became a Swahili translator, earned a vocational degree, and finally graduated with a degree in political science from one of Holland's most prestigious universities. An outspoken advocate of the rights of Muslim women, she was elected to the Dutch parliament in 2003, as a "one-issue politician"-she "wanted Holland to wake up and stop tolerating the oppression of Muslim women in its midst" and to "spark a debate among Muslims about reforming aspects of Islam so people could begin to question" (p. 295). She became a notorious critic of Islam, at one point daring to call the Prophet Muhammad a pervert for consummating marriage with one of his many wives when she was only nine years old. In 2004, she made a short film called Submission: Part 1 in which she depicted women mistreated under Islamic law raising their heads and refusing to submit any longer. Tragically, the film's producer, Theo van Gogh, was brutally murdered by an offended Muslim, who left on van Gogh's body a letter threatening Ms. Hirsi Ali with the same fate. Since 2004, Ms. Hirsi Ali has had to live under the constant watch of bodyguards, often going into hiding for months at a time. Although the straight facts of her life are in and of themselves admirable, Ms. Hirsi Ali's intellectual journey as presented in Infidel is truly awe inspiring. This journey begins in Africa in the disturbingly dark world of Islam-with its disdain for thought and reason, its self-sacrificial ethics, and its corrupt, tyrannical politics-and ends in the West with her having become an outspoken champion of reason and freedom.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Canada, Germany
  • Author: John David Lewis
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: During World War II, the prime source of information for Americans about the war overseas was the dispatches of foreign correspondents-men who put their lives on the line in war zones to report the truth. George Weller was a giant among such men. Captured by the Nazis and traded for a German journalist, Weller watched the Belgian Congolese Army attack Italians in Ethiopia, saw the invasion of Crete, interviewed Charles de Gaulle in South Africa following an escape through Lisbon, and overcame malaria to report on the war in the Pacific. He was the first foreign correspondent trained as a paratrooper, and he won a Pulitzer Prize for his report of an appendectomy on a submarine. He wrote the book Singapore is Silent in 1942 after seeing the city fall to the Japanese, and he advocated a global system of United States bases in his 1943 book Bases Overseas. After witnessing Japan's surrender on September 2, 1945, he broke General Douglas MacArthur's order against travel to Nagasaki by impersonating an American colonel and taking a train to the bombed-out city. In a period of six weeks, he sent typewritten dispatches totaling some fifty thousand words back to American newspapers through official channels of the military occupation. Under MacArthur's directives, they were censored and never made it into print. Weller died in 2002 thinking his dispatches had been lost. Months later his son, Anthony Weller, found a crate of moldy papers with the only surviving carbon copies. Anthony Weller edited the dispatches and included his own essay about his father, resulting in this priceless addition to our information about World War II in the Pacific, and the birth of the atomic age. The importance of the dispatches, however, extends far beyond the value of the information from Nagasaki. George Weller is a voice from a past generation, and the publication of his censored dispatches raises a series of deeply important issues and, in the process, reveals an immense cultural divide between his world and ours today. On September 8, 1945, two days after he arrived in Nagasaki, Weller wrote his third dispatch concerning Nagasaki itself. He described wounded Japanese in two of Nagasaki's undestroyed hospitals, and recorded the question posed by his official guide: Showing them to you, as the first American outsider to reach Nagasaki since the surrender, your propaganda-conscious official guide looks meaningfully in your face and wants to know: "What do you think?" What this question means is: Do you intend writing that America did something inhuman in loosing this weapon against Japan? That is what we want you to write (p. 37). What would many reporters today write if asked this question by bombed enemy civilians? . . .
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Japan, America, Germany, Nagasaki