Let’s have another World War!

Sometimes, it feels like 1910 all over again.

Then, a confident Germany was the up-and-coming industrial power house, fearing an even more up-and-coming Russia, with the UK and France desperately holding on to their colonial empires.

Now, a confident China is the up-and-coming industrial powerhouse, fearing an even more up-and-coming India, with the US and its European allies desperately holding on to its global empire.

Then, an international in-bred elite was holding on to far more wealth than it deserved in term of productivity, leading them to support extremism, nationalism, and populism as a means of holding off the tide of socialism and mass discontent.

Now, an international in-bred elite is holding on to far more wealth than it produces, supporting Clinton and Trump, Boris and Macron.

Then, science was threatening to re-structure the world of work radically, with automobiles and telephones making the world a far smaller place than it was before, and with new technology leading to widespread loss of jobs in agriculture and basic trades.

Now, science is re-structuring the world of work radically, with long-distance trade in services and IA driving out the procedural cognitive jobs that keep the peasants and tradesmen of this age busy: administrators, middle-management and I-follow-orders professionals.

Then, belief in magic was still rife, with new migrants in the US and Australia burying shoes in the foundations of the new houses to appease the spirits, and with romantic nationalism blossoming on the Balkans to kick-start a jolly-good-scrap.

Now, belief in magic is even more rife, with witch hunts, fake news, and fairytales in the US (#MeToo, ‘great again’, and DSM V), where the masses reject the notions of innocent till proven guilty and the idea of rationality, and with romantic nationalism blossoming in Scotland, Catalonia, Padania, and god-knows-where.

Then, dooms-sayers were having a field day, ranging from Halley’s Comet that was prophesised to swallow up earth in its 1910 visit, to regular Armageddon following the sinfulness of the times.

Now, there are even more doom-scenarios with widespread support, ranging from the threats to our climate to Islamic fundamentalism to the take-over by robots.

Then, the corrupt were in power, with monarchies, landed aristocrats, oligarchs, and self-congratulating scientists dominating the West, glorifying wars and preaching purity.

Now, well, need I really say it?

So, shall we have another jolly good scrap then to blow away the cobwebs?


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6 years ago

Wilhelm II, who prided himself on never having read the German constitution, would have adored Twitter.

6 years ago

In terms of DSM-V, if you read the start of it (assuming it’s the same DSM-V we’re thinking about), its explicitly noted (at least in the older versions which I’ve read) that it’s basically an atheoeritcal manual simply designed to help people communicate with each other about complex mental states that show some similarity across people (done by a small group of psychiatrists who act as the gate-keeper to categorical terms for behavior that generally lies on a multi-dimensional continuum). Many psychology people use it as something with a strong scientific bases because their training is poor so they don’t know enough about the potential underlying mechanisms of some disorders, and they also incorrectly assume we do know enough about some states that there must be a known theoretical bases for them. The general public likes it because they don’t know any better and when you accompany things with fMRI of the brain and a correlation of .18 (p = .0499) between two areas with impressive sounding names it must be true.

It’s also used in the opposite way of guilty until proven innocent — it’s used to try and imply innocence no matter how guilty, which fortunately largely came to an end in courts in Australia because if you plead insane you may never and probably wont ever get out, and the main reason people use insanity in the US is to avoid the death penalty. However, similar less scientific sounding terms start coming back “it was a brain-snap” and obviously at a less serious level things like special consideration in universities is rife. I’m always impressed that universities will let people study courses despite being diagnosed with serious learning difficulties. To me it’s similar to the way people want to believe in genetic determinism for things that are clearly part environmental (I’m fat because of my genes, I did AB&C because I had psychological disorder XY&Z and couldn’t control myself) because someone found 100-200 genes that explain 2-3% of the variance in something and published it in Nature.

paul frijters
paul frijters
6 years ago
Reply to  conrad

yes, all that was the bit I was referring too. Thanks for beefing it up!

Nicholas Gruen
6 years ago

Certainly here at troppo we’re guilty until proven innocent. We have the brain scans, all our money in an offshore tax haven and a cache of baked beans in the cellar to prove it.

Bring it on I say. Pip pip.

I am and will always be Not Trampis
I am and will always be Not Trampis
6 years ago

I would say WW1 happened because no-one thought it would happen and we would all muddle through. Quite a few wise foreign affairs bureaucrats having retired ( some voluntary some not so) exacerbated this ‘accident’.

I can see a relationship between Wilhelm and Trump but nothing else.

Perhaps you might read up on the Washington Treaty as you knew little of it previously given present circumstances. It seems more relevant