August 4

Ep. 0018: The First World War, Part 3: Enter Team America

In this episode, I’m primarily going to cover the effects of entering the war on the United States.  Long story short, it was not a good time for civil liberties or the Bill of Rights…

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The events leading up to American entry into the war
  • Woodrow Wilson’s speech, and how the reasons he gave for entering the war were B.S., and how the real reasons for US intervention were things for which few average Americans would have been willing to risk their lives
  • How most Progressives ardently supported the war
  • The government’s mobilization of the nation for total war by 1) seizing control of the economy; 2) implementing mass conscription; and 3) cranking out propaganda (including disseminating the government’s narrative and attempting to silence any competing, dissident narratives)
  • How bad the war was for civil liberties and the Bill of Rights
  • Some notable Americans who dissented anyway
  • A brief look at Wilson’s 14 Points (most of which were implemented only partially, or not at all)

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  • The hit American song “Over There” (by George Cohen, 1917), which was the WWI-era equivalent of “America, Fuck Yeah!”  (which came from the wonderfully satirical film Team America:  World Police.)  [By the way, the opening line of “Over There,” which is, “Johnny get your gun,” later inspired the title of Daltron Trumbo’s antiwar novel Johnny Got His Gun, which in turn inspired the Metallica song “One.”]

July 17

Ep. 0013: Artifacts of American Progressivism

Those early American Progressives we talked about last time left the United States with a lot of physical and cultural artifacts that seem omnipresent through to today.  Many things that Americans take for granted as timeless examples of Americana are less than a century old and were Progressive innovations, sometimes ironically in light of how many modern-day “conservatives” love some of them.  Some of the details and origins of these artifacts are more troubling than you might think at first glance.

[BTW, this one was recorded in my noisy old car – I think the last thing I ever recorded in it before trading it in, at which point it was 11 years old and had 170K miles on the odometer.  (As you can surmise, history hasn’t exactly made me rich yet.)  Hopefully podcasts recorded in my new car will have a little less background vehicle noise!]

Join Prof CJ as he discusses the origins and details of:

  • The Pledge of Allegiance (which was written by a Socialist in 1892), and why rightwingers should abhor the pledge (if they actually knew history and were consistent with the beliefs they profess)
  • The Lincoln Memorial (completed 1922), which is actually a temple, deifying a dead politician and the central government for which he waged war
  • The presence of fasces in the Lincoln memorial (which can also be found in a surprising number of other US government buildings, monuments, and insignias, some of which are mentioned)
  • The Mercury Dime
  • The Lincoln Penny (the first time in US history that a politician – rather than Lady Liberty or an American Indian – appeared on US coinage)
  • How earlier American leaders – such as George Washington – opposed the idea of putting politicians on money

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July 14

Ep. 0012: American Progressivism (c. 1890s-1920)

Here we’re going to dig into the beliefs of the original American Progressives (c. 1890s-1920), and we’ll see that they’re a bit different (and more troubling, if you happen to support things like self-ownership and property rights) from what you’ve probably been told about them.

Join Prof. C.J. as he discusses:

  • Quotes from leading Progressives
  • How Progressives like to deliberately conflate “state” and “society”
  • Analysis of what Progressives really believed on such topics as government, the economy, religion, the American Constitution, education and more
  • The reality that Progressives were (contrary to the established narrative) more likely to be working on behalf of, rather than against, the interests of big business in order to corporatize/cartellize the economy
  • Differences between Progressives and Populists
  • The affinity of many Progressives for eugenics
  • The European origins of Progressive ideology, including British Fabians and Prussian/German statism
  • How Progressives stole the label “Liberal” for themselves starting around the 1930s, but have in recent decades returned to the label “Progressive” because “Liberal” had too much negative baggage (which is why Progressives had abandoned the P-word back in the 1920s)

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July 7

Ep. 0010: The Myth of Reagan

Ah, the Gipper!  He reversed (or at least significantly slowed) the growth of the post-New Deal/Great Society Leviathan federal government in the US, right?  I mean, he sure did take a rhetorical ax to the government….

But what if it was all just talk?  What if conservatives love and liberals hate Ronald Wilson Reagan, but for things that aren’t even real?

(BTW, I apologize for the intermittent background noise.  A cable was rubbing on the mic and I didn’t notice it until after I’d recorded the whole episode!)

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  •  The Mythical Story of Reagan-as-Gov’t-Cutter
  • Supply Side theory & practice
  • Candidate Reagan’s platform c. 1980
  • Reagan’s record on such things as deregulation, taxes, spending, borrowing, money, and federal programs & departments
  • Some excerpts from David Stockman’s excellent book, The Triumph of Politics, on how & why the Reagan Revolution didn’t really happen
  • The Prof’s thoughts on how figures like Reagan (and Obama) seem to emerge whenever there’s a real possibility of the Anti-Establishment Left & Anti-Establishment Right getting together (such as in the late-70s & circa the end of George W. Bush’s presidency), and successfully 1) re-divide the Left and Right sides of Anti-Establishmentarianism and 2) co-opt & defuse the energy and anger of their respective side (as Reagan did for much of the Anti-Est. Right of the 1980s and Obama did for much of the Anti-Est. Left in recent years.)

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July 3

Ep. 0009: The Philippines War, Part II

Here it is — part II of Prof CJ’s take on the American war against the Filipinos.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • How Americans had little to no sympathy for Filipinos
  • The ‘pacification’ of the island of Samar & the court-martial of Major Waller
  • How imperialists vilified their political opponents as unpatriotic traitors rather than principled dissenters
  • Characteristics of imperialists, including their youth & their Progressive ideology (in other words, Imperialists were Progressives & vice-versa – exhibit A being Teddy Roosevelt himself)
  • How the US declared victory in 1902 (even though fighting wasn’t quite done in some places)
  • Quotes looking back on the war from contemporary imperialists & anti-imperialists
  • Some closing thoughts and observations about this war and its troubling legacy, including Americans’ eagerness then (as now) to quickly self-induce amnesia in order to forget morally dubious wars
  • How unhappy truths are some of the most important truths with which one must come to grips, if one wishes to avoid future ills
  • In the words of Patrick Henry:  “For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it.”

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June 30

Ep. 0008: The Philippines War, Part I

I started off intending this to be a single episode, but after working on it for only a short while, I realized it was going to take two to get through everything I wanted to say about this war.

This is not a happy subject, but sometimes uncomfortable truths are among the most necessary to come to grips with.  Be warned:  My coverage of this war is brutally honest, and at times I’ll use some rough language (generally when quoting commentators of the time period.)

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The outbreak of fighting between Filipino nationalists and American occupying forces
  • How the Treaty of Paris passed & the United States ‘acquired’ the Philippines
  • Contemporary quotes both for and against keeping the Philippines
  • How American military leaders led the Filipino leaders (during the war with Spain) to believe that America supported Filipino independence, but then denied anything of the type once McKinley decided to keep the archipelago for the US – alienating and angering many Filipinos who initially regarded the US in a friendly, positive light
  • How the war against the Filipinos quickly turned nasty, characterized by war crimes & atrocities (including, but not limited to, the “water cure” depicted in the photo above)
  • The capture of Emilio Aguinaldo 1901, and how that seemed to signal the beginning of the end (though it really wasn’t)

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June 26

Ep. 0007: The Spanish-American War

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • How tensions between the US and Spain over Cuba escalated in 1898, giving the Large Policy clique (covered in our last episode) the opportunity they’d been waiting for
  • Spanish abuses (real, exaggerated, and fabricated) in Cuba, including those by Spanish General Weyler (a professed admirer of the American General W. T. Sherman), culminating in a policy of reconcentracion
  • The explosion of the USS Maine in Havana, and some evidence as to what probably happened
  • How the jingoistic Large Policy clique, uninterested in evidence, immediately pinned it on the Spanish and upped their drive for war (assisted by the press)
  • How Theodore Roosevelt used his job as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to put the Philippine Islands in Uncle Sam’s crosshairs, though it was on the other side of the world from Cuba
  • Quotes from the warhawks, many of which are dripping with references to manliness and virility (see the George Carlin routine linked in last episode)
  • How many Southerners were happy to assist the US federal government (which had brutally subjugated them just 30 years previously) to conquer Spaniards, and after them, Filipinos
  • A smattering of antiwar quotes
  • How Spain bent over backwards trying to avoid war and conceded to almost every American demand, to no avail – the American war party got its war
  • The real story of the Teller Amendment
  • A brief overview of the brief war against Spain
  • The highlights & lowlights of the American war effort
  • A cynical (realistic?) look at TR’s wartime experience
  • Side effects of the war, including a major effect on the state of Florida; a new cocktail (the Cuba libre); and the North-South reconciliation brought about by the two regions teaming up against foreign enemies; and its role in Anglo-American rapprochement
  • This war led directly to a nastier, longer, and costlier war, against the Filipinos, which we’ll cover next episode

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June 23

Ep. 0006 The “Large Policy”

How did the United States go from being a country that, in the words of then-Secretary of State (and future President) John Quincy Adams in 1821, “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy,” to being, dare I say it, Team America:  World Police?  This podcast will tell you how a small, elite (and elitist) clique of American leaders and intellectuals made the country change its foreign policy course one-hundred-and-eighty degrees from that charted by our Founders and their sons and grandsons, and a country founded on anti-imperialism began acting blatantly imperialistic.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The foreign policy prescriptions of America’s founding generations, which were (for the most part) reiterated and followed by America’s leaders for most of the nineteenth century
  • The emergence of the “Large Policy” clique that steered America (mostly against the wishes of most average Americans) down the road toward emulating the European Empires of the day (especially the British)
  • Members of that clique, including:  Adm. Alfred T. Mahan, Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt, Brooks Adams, John Hay
  • The ideology and motives of these men
  • Also, press tycoon William Randolph Hearst, who though not a member of the clique, shared their eagerness for war for his own reasons
  • Some interesting & revealing quotes from the Large Policy clique
  • Some of the late-nineteenth-century American leaders (generally of an older generation than the Large Policy guys) who opposed American overseas expansionism and war, including Thomas Brackett Reed & Grover Cleveland
  • How tensions with Spain over Cuba would give the Large Policy clique the opportunity to start getting their way. (This war will be covered next episode.)

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