A Twitter friend went into the way back machine and reminded me of the Nuclear Freeze movement of the 1980s. I guess you’d have to be at least 50 to have any memory of it at all: so, a lot of the youngsters in the world wouldn’t know what it was about. Of course, you could Google it – but if you did that, you almost certainly won’t find out about it.
Oh, you’d read a lot about it. And what you read would be almost invariably praising it to the skies. But what you probably won’t read about it is that it was nothing more than a Soviet front organization. We were about to build and deploy a type of nuclear weapon the USSR (a) couldn’t build and (b) couldn’t defend against. Our having these weapons while the USSR didn’t would put us in the driver’s seat – the USSR would essentially be forced to throw in the towel on Cold War competition. So, the USSR did the one thing it was actually good at: call forth the Useful Idiots of the West to ensure the USA shot itself in the foot.
I remember it, now, very well. Especially one of the leading voices of it: Dr Helen Caldicott. She was just about everywhere during the time. Highly in demand for your Soviet inspired peace march and conferences around the world. And she was an Authority on it! She knew was she was talking about! After all, she’s a doctor.
Well, a pediatrician…who never had any experience dealing with either nuclear power or weapons…but she fit the bill: someone who seemed oh, so nice and had Smart credentials and how can you argue against her? You can’t hug your kid with nuclear arms!
The drivel almost worked – huge pressure was placed on Reagan and Thatcher to ditch the new weapons. But, they didn’t…and then the weapons (along with other Reagan tactics) did precisely what they were supposed to do: force the Soviets to the table at a disadvantage and eventually unravel their Empire in Europe (the fall of the USSR was really just a bonus that nobody could foresee).
But that isn’t our issue for the moment – the real issue is that a pack of ridiculous lies nearly sunk Reagan’s USSR policy and even though the lies failed at that, they still managed to implant into the public mind that nuclear power is somehow extra dangerous and that the only safe thing to do with nuclear power is have nothing to do with it. By this time in our history, almost all our electricity production should come from nuclear power. A whole series of plants all across America should be humming with cheap, clean nuclear energy providing far more than our greatest need. We’re not because of people like Caldicott got themselves fooled and then managed to fool enough other people.
And, heck, I have to admit – back there in the late 80s and early 90s, I was wary of nuclear power. I still figured we should go for it, but I had this mental image of it being extra dangerous and we had to take extra care around it…and this was after I got out of the Navy, when I had literally stood next to an operating nuclear power plant aboard a submarine. How could I have been so stupid?
Of course it had to be operated properly – but so does any device. Operate a solar plant incorrectly and you’ll cause a lot of problems. We got into our minds, though, that nuke was Super Dangerous! Thousands of years must pass before it is clean! For goodness sake, at no point did people stop living in Hiroshima. A few days after the bomb went off and all the bodies were cleared away, the people were already starting to rebuild. It is a city of nearly 1.2 million people: far larger than it was when bombed in 1945. Here’s the photo of the iconic dome of Hiroshima. Tell me, what immediately leaps out here?
That is doesn’t quite look like the wasteland of 1945…the trees really take away from the whole End of the World vibe we’re supposed to get here.
Obviously, nuclear weapons are very destructive and nuclear power is something that you have to be careful with…but there is clearly a bit of a mental psychosis in the popular imagination about it which is not supported by things we can easily observe. Things we can know just by knowing them. I doesn’t take special knowledge or insight to know that Hiroshima is a thriving city…but we, in a sense, don’t know it…and so we fear nuclear power and think that using a nuclear weapon is unthinkable.
And then you start to ponder: what else are we refusing to know? How much of what we “know” are lies?
You can do this yourself: just take some subject and think about it. Think about what you know but then take the crucial step: pretend you don’t know it and think about it for a bit. Does what you “know” match up with what you think? Like this:
One of the things you’ll find asserted – in books, movies, documentaries, everywhere – is that the Anglo-American alliance could not have defeated Nazi Germany without the USSR. This is an article of faith. It is true and may not be questioned. If you do, you’re an idiot. I mean, think about it – at least 5 million German and Axis soldiers fell against the USSR. If the USSR hadn’t killed them, then they would have all been turned against us and we never could have won!
Makes sense, right? I mean, that is a lot of dead Krauts and it would have taken us a powerful long time to off them, ourselves. But when examined, it simply falls apart.
At the end of the war, more than 21 million Americans and Brits were in the armed forces. This does not count British Empire forces: even excluding Britain’s Indian Army, this probably worked out to two or three million more. But lets just go with the Yanks and the Limeys.
By 1945, the Brits were at maximum strength: 5 million was about what their population could sustain in the field. The USA could still call up three or four million more than we had, though that would be pushing it. The Germans, if they strained every nerve to the breaking point, could maybe get 10 million into uniform. Starting to see something here? Just the Anglo-Americans, alone, vastly outnumbered the Germans. Throw in the Italians and minor Axis allies and you still have a big advantage for the Anglo-Americans. When you add in that the UK/USA had vastly more economic capacity than the entire Axis (including Japan) and had open access to all the resources in the world what you conclude is that regardless of how any particular engagement went, the only question on defeating Germany was how long it was going to take? Having the USSR in got the job done in 1945, rather than 1946 or 1947. That’s it. Good thing, of course; but certainly far different from “we must be thankful because without the USSR we couldn’t have won the war.”
And who likely floated the idea that we had to have the USSR? The USSR – and their useful idiots in the United States. Starting with those who gave away the store at Yalta in order to get Russia into a war against Japan we had already won.
That is just one mental exercise which, once concluded, lays to rest a myth which is believed really for no other reason than it has been repeated over and over again. But I think we all have to start doing this – start thinking entirely fresh. Roll it around in your. They say this happened: well, does it make sense that it would happen, or happen that way? They say we must do this: why? They say we have retain this policy or alliance: are we sure?
Last night I posted a Tweet where I asserted that the US government must keep no secrets. That a Republic must do her business in the open for all the citizens to see as it is done. Very smart people said we can’t have that – even George Washington believed in keeping diplomatic secrets! Well, sure: if Washington was President today, I’d probably trust him to keep some things confidential. But we’ve got Pudding Brain and his merry band of morons running the show: you really want them to be able to keep what they’re doing secret from you?
But I came to this conclusion by a bit of a winding intellectual road and it just flashed in my mind that secrets are for con artists You don’t keep secret honest dealings – you keep a con secret because if your con gets out into the open, enough people will see it in time to warn your mark off. Heck, even God doesn’t really keep secrets from us – He’s got some Mysteries, but He has shown them to us: we just can’t fully understand God. Go figure. But secrets are just not good – and in government, they are downright bad. And so, the whole FBI/CIA/NSA “National Security” apparatus, in my view, has to be ditched. It is keeping secrets mostly to hide its incompetence. But I only got to this view by thinking anew about everything – by taking nothing for granted. I got here by thinking – and we really do have only two ways to live:
- By thought that has been thought out.
- By thought that hasn’t been thought out.
For nigh to a century, we’ve been going on “not thought out”. I think we need to change that. We need to find out what we really know.