Truman’s Ulterior Motives

3 Observations

1. In his address to Congress to request aid for the reconstruction of Greece and Turkey due to the damages done during the Second World War, President Truman justified his request by saying that if the United States didn’t provide assistance to these countries, another power could potentially impose upon their respective sovereignty. He omitted what seemed to be his true intention: the inhibition of communist ideas. He seemed to believe that if the United States did not act promptly, the Soviet Union would instead try to impose communism upon these nations, even though he did not once mention the Soviet Union by name.… Read the rest here

Spengler’s “The Decline of the West”

3 main points

1. All cultures and traditions have a limited lifespan and all will eventually fail and give rise to a new set of traditions. Spengler supported this observation by providing examples which occurred throughout history prior to the contemporary time frame in which he wrote.

2. The future of warfare lies with paramilitary forces and contractors.

3. The groups that would overtake the dominant world powers were those which were developing in the East (India, China, and the like), those which he believed were Caesars to the West’s Napoleons.… Read the rest here

Spencer’s Social Progress

Author: Herbert Spencer, English philosopher

Context: 1857, prior to Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”, on the tail-end of the first Industrial Revolution

Language: inquisitive and scholarly; here he asked what social progress really meant and whether it should be redefined

Audience: the intelligent but uninformed, more specifically those interested in philosophy and anthropology

Intent: to direct scholars’ attention to another way of thinking about society and social progress; until this time most were under the impression that social progress meant that societies were improving the standard of living.… Read the rest here

Pope Leo XIII and the “Rerum Novarum”

AUTHOR- Pope Leo XIII, who served from 1878 to 1903

CONTEXT- toward the end of the second Industrial Revolution; this was when Communism began to gain momentum as a viable alternative to capitalism, which led to Leo’s response in the Rerum Novarum

LANGUAGE- instructive, meant to explain how Communism infringes on justice and freedom as the Catholic Church describes it; points out that it can be sinful

AUDIENCE- members of the Church, whom he addresses at the beginning of the document

INTENT- to prevent the spread of Communism, because it goes against human nature by eliminating the concept of private property and privacy

MESSAGE- Communism is harmful to the human nature because a human must be able to own (or invest in) property in order to make a living, to survive.… Read the rest here

Veblen’s Leisure Class

Author: Thorstein Veblen, Conspicuous Consumption (1902); American-born son of Norwegian immigrants who owned a farm where he spent his youth; his rural background may have led to his prejudice against the so-called “wasteful consumption” urban dwellers engaged in, leading him to write this essay

Context: beginning of the 20th century, during a period of rapid urbanization; the influx of Americans to large cities allowed the economy to grow because of the rise of the middle class, or the “leisure class” as he calls it

Language: he seemed to have disdain for the rise of the leisure class; he often mentions these people’s spending habits as wasteful and unnecessary

Audience: seems to be written for educated individuals, perhaps directed at those within the leisure class; may have been an address to enlighten those who participated in “conspicuous consumption” about the faults of their actions

Intent: again, it seems to have been written as a wake-up call to those within the leisure class to prevent them from further spending wastefully; he wished to highlight the divide between the middle class (those who in his eyes spent money wastefully and those who appeared to be more thrifty)

Message: The essay noted the rise of a socioeconomic class that fell somewhere between the upper class as he knew it and the lower class.… Read the rest here

Spirit of Unity

“It was not for a material interest that the people of Vienna fought in 1848; in weakening the empire they could only lose power.” -From Giuseppe Mazzini’s “On Nationality”

This quote, I believe, has the greatest influence in his argument for the unification of the various European states. He aims to inspire unification because it would give the people a greater sense of community by being able to call themselves “German” or “French”, to commonly identify with one another.… Read the rest here

“The Avarice of Masters”

“Here, then, is the ‘curse’ of our factory-system; as improvements in machinery have gone on, the ‘avarice of masters’ has prompted many to exact more labour from their hands than they were fitted by nature to perform…”

 

This quote, from “The Physical Deterioration of the Textile Workers”, ties in with our previous discussion of the potential dangers of a laissez-faire economy. The “avarice of masters” drives this type of economy by almost dehumanizing the working class.… Read the rest here

Arguing against the notion that developing a national identity is natural

I would argue against von Herder’s statement that having a national identity is natural and rather for what he points out earlier: that man can find identity with family, and even villages. This is how people still live in many African “nations” and in Middle Eastern “states”. They would rather identify with their family and their village than a national government. In Nigeria, for example, only people who worked in a government agency during the transition period from England governing them to becoming a self-governing nation actually recognized the authority of the state.… Read the rest here

Declaring a Revolutionary War

Declaration of Independence of the United States

While the celebrated document asserts the fledgling nation’s independence, it is additionally a list of grievances the colonizers have concerning the Crown and associated British government. Considering the varied atrocities committed by British troops and officials in the run-up to the war (Boston Massacre, various taxes, and weakening the citizens’ collective voice over time, among a whole host of other things), the revolutionary leaders, i.e., Founding Fathers, took advantage of the Declaration of Independence to effectively declare war as well on the British troops garrisoned in America.… Read the rest here