I shuddered at the thought that the Valkyrie might have indeed become America's Parthenon. Even while its sits in the Air Force museum, the XB-70 Valkyrie is still at war; it still inspires hymns of praise, that altogether in due time may yet complete our journey to suicide.
"Steve agreed that it was so alright. "That's the trouble with sophistry," he said. "It takes the brightest that humanity is able to create and turns it into evil that grinds us into dust. But that's what the purpose of sophistry is. It takes the humanity of mankind and shreds it wherever it is found."
"Sophistry creates soulless slaves," said I. "That's what Palmerston was demanding me to become, and is demanding from everyone - slaves that the empire uses up in the sewer of its fascism, while it gets them to sing its hymns of praise for the wonders of imperial freedom. Wasn't Napoleon III fighting for freedom? He abolished feudalism, religious intolerance, and serfdom. He replaced decrepit monarchs with liberal governments, granted constitutions, instigated civil law. The Code Napoleon is still basic to French civil law. He had said of himself that he closed the gulf of anarchy and turned chaos into order. But history records that he did so with the force of unspeakable brutality as Goya illustrated. Nevertheless, he did establish efficient civil governments in the areas that he conquered, which served to secure his power. I think that is where his sophistry was anchored. He is said to have purified revolution, which meant that he universalized regime change. It is said that he intended to build a federation of free peoples in a Europe united under a liberal government, his government. In reality he paved the road further towards the long-coveted goal of the Anglo-Dutch-Venetian emporium to establish a single imperial 'wold-government' across the planet without opposition, and it being enforced by the terrorism of fascist power."
"Hitler was fighting for the freedom of the world from Bolshevism, wasn't he?" said Ushi. "That's what Hitler said in his mass rallies at Nuremberg. We all know what he really meant when he spoke of, freedom. But the sophistry of his lies gave him the power that he wanted, or rather his controllers wanted him to have."
"The world hasn't weaned itself of Napoleon's sophistry to the very day, much less of fascism," said Steve. "Society still loves the sweet milk of militarism. Napoleon continues to be admired as the greatest military commander of all times. It must have been some powerful stuff that he dispensed, with which he shut down a budding renaissance that had raised the banner of humanity from the Rock of Gibraltar to the Ural Mountains. He shut this down and turned Europe into a blood bath. After close to twenty wars, wrecking and plundering Europe, he still controlled a grand army that was probably the biggest military force the world has ever seen since the 'glory' of Rome. Napoleon came to the gates of Russia with a military force of close to half a million men and half as many horses, riding on the 'winds' of seemingly countless stunning victories," said Steve. "A force of this power should have drawn the Russians to capitulate in awe of its sheer terror. Russia had nothing to match Napoleon's force. Perhaps it was the mystique of the glory of war, the glory of fascism, that had become the new kind of sophistry that had erased rationality and had fuelled madness."
"Russia must have felt like you did last night," said Ushi to me. "But Russia won, and so can we win. Russia won with the aid of the exiled friend of the German poet, Friedrich Schiller who had been assassinated previously. Russia became inspired from this background to look beyond the sophistry and behold the real Napoleon and his forces as being just simple men with human needs. That's how Russia had been able to maintain its freedom. It gained nothing on the battlefield. It won without a single victory by simply side-stepping the entire sophistry and grinding down the logistics that supported Napoleon."
"When Napoleon entered Russia in 1812," said Steve, "that was supposed to be a cakewalk, a swift victory, a glorious battle to pillage a rich and vast land and to subdue it. But the reality didn't live up to the sophistry. Nearly all of the soldiers that had came to pillage had lost their life. The Russian let them come in. They drew them deeper and deeper and slowly stalled them while they hit the logistics. By the time Napoleon reached Moscow, barely 100,000 remained of more than half a million by then. So it wasn't the winter that defeated Napoleon. His own sophistry defeated him. The winter actually killed very few. The denial of logistics defeated him. The Russians even burnt four fifth of Moscow to the ground, right under Napoleon's nose, to deny him the logistics of the city. The great Emperor had no choice but to retreat. The 90,000 men that were still alive when Napoleon turned back at the onset of winter, rolled out of Moscow with 40,000 wagons loaded with spoils, mostly useless stuff, from fine furniture to just about everything, except food and supplies for living. And the country itself was base. On the way in the Grand Army had destroyed everything in its wake. Now they returned through an empty, inhospitable wasteland, with winter descending. The glory of the war had turned sour. The sophistry had lost is luster. The cold Russian winter claimed 50,000 victims, less than 8% of Napoleon's losses. Of those that survived 20,000 fell in battle crossing the last river out of Russia. Only 20,000 made it back. Some historian put the figure as low as 5,000. Whatever the real figure might have been, it was a sorry trickle that returned of the 640,000 men that had entered Russia a few months earlier under the spell of the glory of war that like any mirage built on sophistry, was a delusion."
Steve suggested that Hitler fared just as badly riding on his own wave of puffed-up sophistry. "Imagine the little man standing in front of 100,000 men at his famous Nuremberg rallies, singing Pericles 'song,'" said Steve and laughed. He suggested that this would have been quite a show, if he had been able to pull it off. "He would have had to sing that of all the countries in the world, Germany is greater than her fame. She needs no poet sing her praise since every land and every sea can furnish proof of her great enterprises and successes. Her enemies are never defeated or disgraced. They confess that she is worthy to rule them, and to the men who have fallen to death on her behalf, death is no evil."
Ushi laughed at Steve. "Steve, you're far too generous with the little man. With all the most able scriptwriters at his command, Hitler didn't have the means to come even close to the artistry of Pericles from a couple millennia before him. We all know that the tittle man screamed at the people in a rage, to 'inspire' them. He riled against the Bolsheviks. He might have yelled: the Bolsheviks' first act after gaining power was not the liberation of the working people, but the liberation of the scum of humanity, the asocial creatures concentrated in the prisons, and then the letting loose of these wild beasts upon the terrified and helpless world about them. Bolshevism turns the flourishing countryside into sinister wastes of ruins. And he might have added proudly, that National Socialism, in contrast, transforms a world of destruction and misery into a healthy Reich of flourishing economic life. The 100,000 that listened to such speeches might have responded spontaneously under the spell of compassion, shouting with great enthusiasm, Heil Hitler, hail Hitler! After their bitter defeat at Versailles, the downtrodden people of Germany wanted to hear that they are still a great people. Who would not been moved by such masterful sophistry that sings to people the innermost thoughts of their desire? All of Russia was defined as scum ready to be uplifted and to become civilized by Germany and be brought into the only noble Reich on earth, with Reich meaning rich. The sophistry glorified the means of war. It glorified fascism and the people lapped it all up with everything else like a puppy dog laps up its morning meal. But when the dust settled the glory was gone. Hitler came to Stalingrad with 300,000 men. That's three times as many as were assembled at Nuremberg shouting Heil Hitler. Of those 300,000 only 6000 made it back, barely enough that they would be noticed on the vast Nuremberg grounds. It is said that 2.5 million people died in the battle over Stalingrad. That's 20 times as many as died in Hiroshima, Peter, and 25 times as many as shouted Heil Hitler at Nuremberg. This kind of outcome typifies the nature of sophistry as a tool to create insanity, and it is insanity that stands at the core of every empire, by which it is assuring its doom. Palmerston's empire is no exception. Nevertheless, Hitler had a powerful effect on Germany and humanity. A 100 million paid the price for people listening to his song. Palmerston is thinking in terms of exacting 40 times as many casualties than those that Hitler caused."
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