Search This Blog

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Newest Holiday

I propose a new holiday.

It is to celebrate one of the greatest Moral and Spiritual achievements of the human race thus far:

the refusal of the USA and the USSR to mutually destroy themselves and the world with nuclear weapons

I think it is worth a festival. I think with the Iran talks about nuclear arms now it is pertinent and important.
What date should be set for it?

July 16 was the date of the Trinity test. July is filled with festivities, from July 1 Canada Day through July 4 Independence Day (USA) to July 14 Bastille Day (France).
Maybe another won't hurt.
(Maybe July should be the month of holidays. I think Martin Luther King, Jr. Day should have been in the summer, anyway. Let's move it.)


I include a reprint of a past article dealing with the victory over Mutually Assured Destruction:

There was a piece in the Times about an airline pilot who was not laid-off, but was reduced in rank to first lieutenant in charge of making "blip......blip" pingy type noises for the sonar machine. Anyway, he now made 1/2 of his previous salary. He now pulled in $34,000 per annum, making less than his wife, who teaches grade school.

Pretty soon, Ohio and North Carolina will be vying with each other not to claim to be the birthplace of Aviation.

So I viewed Things To Come yesterday. Based on H.G.Wells' The Shape of Things to Come, it was produced in 1935 (I think) and directed by Alex Korda.
The Decline of the West notion involves a war starting in 1940 and dragging on until 1966 or so.

-This forecast of the future was based on World War I, where armies remained locked in trench warfare, continously dieing, yet not gaining anything for their blood.
Wells and his adaptors could not know that the War foreseen by them - World War II - would end in total victory for one side.

Of course, it needn't have. The Manhattan Project was anything but a sure thing. If Oppenheimer and General Groves had taken the wrong turn - perhaps following Teller's research on the fusion bomb - there may not have been a bomb in 1945.
What if WW II had dragged on another three years? That would only be 9 years for the Brits, and we have wars nowadays much longer.
What if the Reich had developed their own Fetter Bube ( Fat Boy ) and the Allies and the Reich started blasting atomically?
Where would we be today?

Raymond Massey arrives on the scene of an England ruled by local warlords, much like Afghanistan. Massey is John Cabal, and he is a member now of the United Airmen who have formed Wings Over The World - a group of technicians and specialists and scientists devoted to peace, and having set up their own supra-national group to bring real peace to the world.

- In the 1930's it was still possible to see Science as a real liberator. This was before Science became totally part of the mechanism of war. It was a simpler age - a Hugo Gernsbackian age where plucky boys could make their own laser guns from parts left over from their crystal set receiver.

This is where we end that narrative. The rest of the film has its own vision of man's place in the future and man's soul, but I shall leave it for another time.
Right now, I am more interested in the late 1930's. The Depressed economy had not returned to health by the late 1930's; many truly revolutionary things waited until 1935 to start: such as Social Security - which everyone was forced to be a part of - and many parts of the New Deal were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court by 1936. Things were getting better, but slowly.
World War II did not so much end the Depression.
It was a clear victory with the total destruction of the other side's ability to make war that ended the Depression; it was the large scale destruction of Europe that ended the Depression. At this point, there was only the US and the USSR, allies for a bit longer.
The war itself liberated the returning veterans into college and good jobs. The re-building of Europe and the rest of the world let American manufacturing and Industry explode into new heights of growth. There was so much to do that Labor and Management co-existed...they were too busy going to the bank to fight anymore.

Whatever economic re-organization that America was due to undergo in the late 1930's and the 1940's, as the gap between the haves and the have-nots widened, did not occur because of the war. Back in the day, some said that we essentially leap-frogged over social revolution due to the war, because those very GI benefits provided so much for the Middle Class: education for oneself and one's children, help on mortgages, and common bonds of shared emotional experience between man and woman that cut across classes.
These civil bonds were unhealthily strengthened by a Cold War extension of WW II, during which Ideological hysteria was set free: blacklists and McCarthyism.

The blessings have been squandered.
Since the end of the Vietnam war, we have:
1) blundered around looking for war;
2) apparently lost the ability to hold a country once invaded;
3) lost political vision;
4) lost our Manufacturing and Industrial pre-eminence;
5) since 1980 or so, unlinked Government Spending from Ability to Pay, living in a fool's paradise - totally deceived by the faerie lights of our own Myths.

The great things we've done, we don't even recognize them.
One of the greatest Moral and Spiritual achievements of the human race was the refusal of the US and the USSR to use nuclear weapons, instead slowly and laboriously to find their way through a maze of distrust to a world where we could have totally disarmed. (Of course, we did not have the pluck to go all the way, yet.)
There should be an international holiday. There is not.
Let the Nobel Committe and pick out all the negotiators involved, American and Soviet, and issue a belated and partially posthumous Peace Prize to them all.
Their names and pictures should right now be inspiring children in their schools.
No such thing.

Starting September 24, there were sit-ins and occupations  in the California University system by students disaffected from the present social set-up, who see the future as having been destroyed by our greed and stupidity.
Radicalism still breathes.
We are back before World War II, looking at the discords and failures of our system, and wondering what we shall do.


No comments: