Archive for November, 2015

Infantilism. Ubiquitous—1
November 26, 2015

Much poor commentary, reconstruction and reflection on the origins of the Great War has appeared in the last few years. A little has been outstanding and for the best of reasons, such as Annika Mombauer’s documentary collection The Origins of the First World War, published by Manchester University Press.  The great bulk has been either indescribably poor or intended to deceive.

Thus Sir  Huw Strachan in Australian Historical Studies (vol. 46, no. 1 [2015], p. 128):

As Joan Beaumont [in Broken Nation] makes clear, thanks not least to the rejection of conscription, more Australian men of military age did not join the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) than did.


Actually more did join; over 40 per cent. could not remain in the army having failed the subsequent medical examination.  Both Strachan and, more seriously, Joan Beaumont ignore the single, perfectly accessible, source telling ’em so: Alison Pilger, ‘The Other Lost Generation: Rejected Australian Volunteers, 1914–1918’, Journal of the Australian War Memorial, no. 21 (October 1992), pp. 11–19.  Beaumont has no excuse; deceit was evidently her purpose—and of those who assisted in the construction of her poor book.

For infantilism, rather than tawdry politics, see ‘World War III‘ by someone called Roger Cohen in The New York Times, 26 November 2015.  Unsurpassable.  It’s so bad it must immediately appear on schools’ reading lists.  The maintenance of public ignorance is doubtless a difficult task but achieved with aplomb by most of those who join the program. Such is the havoc wreaked on the public mind by nations’ unelected politicians numbered in many thousands over the course of the last half century or so that politicians in the public sphere, themselves little more literate, have little to fear.  And likewise their enemies.