2020/06/13

Replacement instead of reform

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The Minneapolis' city council's decision to replace the police department made the news in early June. I remember that I mentioned such a 'total water change' policy for terminally reform-resistant (armed) bureaucracies in the past.
It's a very interesting case and one of few experiments in this regard. It'll be interesting to see how it works out. A proper police education and training requires probably two years of full-time learning and a one-year (fully paid) trainee/internship period. The formal education and training of police and deputy recruits is ridiculously short (shorter than for barbers or other fairly simple trades where incompetence doesn't kill) in the U.S.. This short training forces a heavy emphasis on on-the-job training. This in turn empowers rotten bureaucracies to corrupt their poorly inoculated new hires right away.

I doubt that a bottom-up water change with thorough training is going to happen in the Minneapolis case, for it takes many years to take effect and a full water change might require more than a decade this way. They could alternatively hire professionals from elsewhere, but that approach would only work well for few cities at once, since the pool of good cops willing to move is way too small for a nearly nationwide police reform.
Military bureaucracies have the same problem, only much more extreme; they would rather not make use of foreign officers at all since this has become unfashionable after the Napoleonic Era.

The replacement of a rotten air force could make use of a naval air arm as replacing alternative, but this only helps if the latter isn't too rotten itself.
An army could be replaced by growing a militia, national guard or marines branch in parallel to grow up an army alternative over about two decades till the water change is complete.

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Recent private sector corporate successes at maintaining a high vitality / start up spirit for roughly a decade even in an organisation with thousands or ten thousands of employees are interesting cases for studies. It might be possible to distil some recipe to stay 'non-bureaucratic' for decades after a water change.

In the end, after any successful reforms it would take a stern, informed, well-intentioned and effective exogenous (civilian) leadership to keep the bureaucracy from becoming a self-licking ice cone again. It's the exogenous leadership and oversight that is responsible for keeping the bureaucracy on course towards the common good rather than towards its self-interest. 
It's inappropriate to expect the superhuman effort of consistent selflessness from bureaucrats. The group thinking and group egoism are all-too human and all-too reliable. 

This shall also be a reminder why generals and admirals are horrible ministers or defence in principle.

also related

BTW, the Camden police department disbanding did not exclude the old cops from applying for the new county-level organisation.

S O
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34 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I know a state-level department of economy that has an age average well above 50 years. Nobody in there above the age of 40 has ideas, and nobody below it has a substantial budget or staff to move things.
      The entire bureaucracy is paused; they have to wait 10...15 years till they have replaced the dinosaurs.

      It would be better to kick all 60+ people out of the positions that are not mere backoffice jobs. The kicked-out men (hardly any women there) could be paid the full salary till pension and it would still be better than keeping them on the job.

      Sometimes you need radical moves to push a bureaucracy at least to an ordinary level of performance.

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    3. The 50+ age cohort is simply past the age of people having good ideas.
      https://www.pnas.org/content/108/47/18910
      They're doing administration, and are dependent on others (lobbyists) for ideas for improvements.

      I know some of those people in the ministry; the old guard truly has no ideas. They keep coming to work till pension and just try to avoid trouble.
      There's a break at about 40. The younger ones aren't geniuses or terribly creative, but they are at least still trying to do something for the people other than continuing old policies.

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  2. The question of career and which people in peacetime are successful and why is the decisive one. The reason why the air goes out after 40 is also simply because. Over the years, one realizes how it actually behaves and recognizes the absolute impossibility of reform and the futility of any attempt to do something right in relation to the real balance of power and real objectives.

    Nowhere is it really about the well-being of people. The boys who really try to do something for the people and not continue the old ways are simply ignorant, naive and devoid of any knowledge of the actual situation.

    And the fact that the old people don't mention any new ideas doesn't mean that they don't have any. In truth, they are now simply pursuing completely different goals.

    The objective is the all-important point. After many years you either pursue other goals (which you may then achieve) or you give up. The ridiculously naive idea of ​​acting for the good of people is either nothing but propaganda or youthful naivety.

    It was never different and it will never be different.

    Only extreme events and, in relation to military issues alone, war make reform possible. The war is not the great leveler, it creates social justice, technology, social progress, it alone enables the reform of the structure and the (temporary) overcoming of bureaucracy. In peacetime, on the other hand, people sink.

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    1. I see your first paragraphs as opinion, but the last one tells me that you have absolutely no idea about war. Nothing of what you wrote there is true. In fact, the opposites are true.

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  3. By the way:

    https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691183251/the-great-leveler

    From The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality:

    Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes.

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    1. Well, anyone can write a book full of bullshit.
      The Roman Republic Republic had an undeniable record of wars enriching the rich and impoverishing almost all plebeians. The Punic Wars in particular began with a fairly intact society and ended with a society that had well over half its troops being Velites - poor plebeians who could not afford Principes or even triarii gear and had thus to fight as light infantrymen.

      The war profiteering during both world wars is well-documented.

      The 30 Years War made a few captains rich and just about everyone else dead or poorer.

      The War of 1870/71 may have benefited Germany in purely economic terms if human suffering is excluded, but it certainly didn't make it more equal.

      Smaller wars (and great wars are now way too destructive) usually have few war profiteers, some enhanced officer careers, many crippled veterans, few dead, much added public debt (mostly owned by institutional investors) and nothing to show for.

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    2. Last Dingo:

      Lets stay with the roman republic and by the way i can recommend to you the book Rome at war from Rosenstein for a better understanding of the economical situation and the interplay between war and economy in the republic.

      To the contrary of what you wrote here the wars made not only some patrician families rich, but also offered opportunities for many other people. Moreover some rich families were destroyed or lost their wealth through the constant warfare. The more wars rome fought, in which the rich families were involved personally disproportionate to their share of the population the more redistribution of wealth was the result.

      This is also true for many other catastrophic periods like the black death era or the 30 years war etc. You do not look close enough and only see the destruction, death and losses of many people. But the ones losses are the others gains. The land of one whipped out family will add to the wealth of another familiy and this were not for the most part the rich ones although the surviving rich also enriched them even more from the same mechanism.

      That todays ridicolous pseudo colonial mini-wars that are characterized by inability, bizarre costs and nonexistent losses, extreme ritualization and no sense do not offer redistribution of wealth and do not offer materiel advantages is self-explaining. But that does not mean that the overall mechanism does not exist, it only shows that our current state ritualized kind of pseudo-warfare is senseless.

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    3. So your argument is that war profiteering outweighs the suffering in war?
      You neglect the opportunity costs, which is disqualifying. Moreover, my initial statement still stands: You may have an opinion that the benefits outweigh the costs, but you cannot prove it.
      Essentially, every opinion on this is unsubstantiated. You may claim this for my opinion as well, but the opportunity costs argument and basic human decency are heavyweight arguments for siding with me.

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    4. Your very old argument of the opportunity costs shows clearly, that you do not understand from the ground up for that states exist (in truth they are institutionalized predator-prey relationships), for what wars are fought (not for the good of the people but for the good of an group / avandgarde), how an modern macro economy functions (which does not function at all without tremendous state / gouvernment consumption) and that the good of the people was never and will never be the target of any kind of politics and never of any kind of warfare.

      Who cares about human suffering if some can benefit tremendously ? Moreover in many cases not only some, but many profiteer. Thats the whole point why sometimes war gains such support. And there are intangibles that you do not regard: some simply have fun in warfare, human suffering is their joy and war is what the in truth want not because of materalistic reasons and not because of a cost / benefit analysis, but because humans overall and some huamns even more are extremly irrational and to summarize it : evil creatures.

      As this is the true human nature (hidden under our current ridicolous oil civilisation) a strong army is an advantage, not an burden and is any thought about defence and freedom only a naive dream or propaganda.

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    5. You have not understood that my text isn't historical, but philosophical.

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  4. @S.O.

    How an overt bellicist sees war must deviate from your ideas of war. In essence, the entry is a kind of quote from Hegel. Here in the original:

    The war is therefore of greater importance that, as I have expressed it elsewhere, it will maintain the moral health of peoples in their indifference to the establishment of finite determinations, how the movement of the winds will protect the sea from decay, into which she finds a permanent calm, as a permanent or even an everlasting peace would put the peoples.

    In peace, bourgeois life expands more, all spheres settle in, and in the long run it is a swamp the human;

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    1. That's blathering spiced with bullshit.

      Seriously, you should be embarrassed to come to this place with such a load of bullshit.

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  5. Incidentally, a captain of the KSK -the German special forces- recently wrote a letter of appeal to the Ministry of Defense complaining about the level of far-right tendencies within the unit.

    https://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/bundeswehr-kommando-spezialkraefte-hauptmann-schickt-hilferuf-an-kramp-karrenbauer-a-17a4b656-bedb-4539-a948-e179708027b9

    Given their secrecy and elite status within the Underwear, it's not surprising that this happened in there. Special forces often operate like an army within the army.

    Some people have claimed that the abolition of conscription helped to create these conditions, since the recruits don't represent a cross section of German society anymore, the Bundeswehr has to accept anyone they can get and people with a right wing attitude are more likely to volunteer.


    What is your opinion?

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    1. It's frustrating to see such scandals. Both the KSK and the officer corps are supposed to have high standards of entry. Scandalous behaviour should be limited to enlisted and junior NCO personnel.

      Maybe we should let force size be driven by recruitment and retention (with a ceiling), not water down expectations to reach an arbitrary force size goal.
      We could go more capital-intensive if the personnel size is small and less capital-intensive if we have little recruitment & retention problems with our defence needs. It's possible to substitute to some degree in the medium term.

      About SF; I'm no fan
      https://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2010/09/glorified-cannibals.html
      https://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2014/09/special-forces.html

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  6. That rightwing extremist are more likely to join the military (or the police) is so logical and simple self explaining that i wonder how any one can think it would be otherwise.

    People does not go to such units or to the armed forces at all for the money only, or for freedom and democracy. The more combat a unit is, the more rightwing extremists are there. Moreover it would not function otherwise because ´to few would fight in combat and kill and risk beeing killed without such an attitude. Therefore such a political agenda will and must dominate combat units (and also the police).

    The question is, if we should make an drama out of any such behaviour and claim it scandalous only because its right wing extremism. Most crimes commited by such people are only low-level bullshit, mainly showing anti-constitutional symbols and hate-speech.

    This was not different in the conscript army and imo the todays bundeswehr even has fewer such problems than some decades ago. Rightwing extremist were very common in the airborne and mountain infantry in the 90s for example and even then there were "scandals" there.

    The todays left-shift of the whole social-culture in germany and the much greater sensitivity and media coverage are here in reality the reason for the illusion that the problem rises. To the opposite we have today much fewer such extremists in the armed forces than at any point in time before.

    Only two decades ago such behaviour was standard an common in most combat units of the bundeswehr which is now an "scandal" in the ksk.

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    1. The only right wingers that I remember from military service were "Zivilversager" with a severe need to compensate for their issues.
      The impressive personalities were unpolitical and not in need of memorabilia or B.S. stories.

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    2. In principle, your negative experiences with a few right-wing extremists in the luftwaffe (!) are only anecdotal evidence.

      Of course, this also applies to my experience here. But I got to know a number of units in the army and, on average, right-wing extremists were always better as soldiers than the rest, who were also massively riddled with civil failures. The question here is what kind of right-wing extremism we are talking about. Dull skinhead figures are of course hardly suitable for the military. However, such right wingers are not otherwise dangerous - the problem in your sense is in fact those to whom you do not immediately notice their attitude and that are intelligent, able and have an hidden agenda. This crypto fascists were without any exception always amongst the best soldiers in army combat units i met.

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    3. We may differ in our idea of what makes a soldier a good soldier.

      My life experience is that hardly anybody is truly good at more than two aspects of his job. The 'driven' ones tended to be good at nothing else. Some people were good at convincing and networking. Some people were good at diligent absorbing of reports. Some were good at spotting and supporting talent.

      You may think that a person with a focus on combat situations or killing or manliness is a good soldier.
      I have not ever seen any indication in military history that the behaviour of a man in combat stress is predictable in peacetime.
      There are a few trends - the relatively reckless men who participate in an assault under fire tend to be young (18...25 or so) and unmarried.
      The ones that offer a very stubborn defence and don't give up tend to be older and married.
      The ones that get killed least for stupid reasons and rarely get their small unit into trouble tend to be above average intelligent.
      In the past, the typically better nourished and less smoke-harmed rural youth tended to provide better soldiers than the then often sickly youth that experienced famines without ability to scrounge up food from the landscape and rural grey markets.

      Never ever have I seen political orientation mentioned as a predictor for martial prowess and I assure you, I have read way too much.

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    4. "This was not different in the conscript army and imo the todays bundeswehr even has fewer such problems than some decades ago."

      That is easily explained by the fact that conscripts had a lower bar to complain than timers, esp. when the offending guys were NCOs.

      Ulenspiegel

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    5. Last Dingo:

      The reason is that you read the "wrong" books. According to your interest in logic, material factors, technic, reason, defence, freedom etc i think you of cause do not regard authors as worth reading which wrote about intangibles, wars of aggression, fighting power, will and social culture.

      To write it as simple as possible: the political orientation gives soldiers more or less motivation for the fight. If you are indoctrinated and hate your enemy with every inch of your soul to the extreme and your political orientation regards killing and a focus on combat as very desirable goals (which of cause is therefore completly against your political orientation) this leads to a greater fighting power of the soldiers overall as it gives motivation, pressure of the group, cohesion, peer pressure and such intangibles have a great influence in combat. Its about psychology.

      Only around 2 % of all soldiers are truly killers because they are psychopaths. Of cause such soldiers are deficiant because of there psychatric illness. To reproduce what is useful without the defects of the illnes is since centuries one of the main targets of any kind of military.

      Why did man fight in war mostly ? Because of peer pressure and what their comrades think. And what their comrades think does result from the overall political orientation.

      This is not about winning hearts and minds and social-worker pseudo-warfare under the military horizon but about serious warfare.

      No one will fight for abstract rights of freedom and the grundgesetz. That is not for what people will use violence. Therefore today in Germany the will to fight in warfare declines more and more. The political orientation of the majority of the people here degrades the fighting power of the armed forces.

      https://www.welt.de/geschichte/article142886294/Nur-wenige-Deutsche-wuerden-fuer-ihr-Land-kaempfen.html

      And opposite to your believe that the gouvernment can change such an attitude from above with some simple lies, propaganda and orders, laws and a change in the overall political situation this will not change in time of crisis. Lieber rot als tot (better red then dead) it will then sound again in any kind of variation of it. You cannot change this without changing the political orientation and exactly because of that the political orientation is of the outmost importance for the question of the psychological part of fighting power.

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    6. There's no need for hatred-based or sociopathy-based motivation in a defensive war waged by an intact society. A society not coined by egoists and haters, but of sense of community and national solidarity.
      The German society has this much more than the American society and likely also more than the Russian society.
      On top of this there's the extant competence and organising prowess of Germany and the Bundeswehr that transforms recruits into soldiers and soldiers into units.

      Hatred-based motivation cannot be stirred in a few days in the event of a hostile strategic surprise attack on a peripheral ally. A sense of community with the Baltics on the other hand could trigger enough will to defend them in an instant.

      You don't seem to understand how the motivation of the German military worked in 1870...1941. There was no huge hatred for the French except for the French guerillas.
      Hate-based propaganda motivation was tried mostly in 1942-1945, and that was the losing period. The Americans routinely delve in hatred, disgust and disrespect for their targeted countries - and their performance on the ground is unimpressive and almost continually ending in strategic defeat.

      That's not conclusive evidence that hate-based motivation is a dud, but there is sufficient evidence that it doesn't need to be the centrepiece when the war is being perceived as being a defensive one.

      Moreover, stirring up hatred in peacetime has undesirable and IMO unintended side-effects. The current hate-mongering against China is only going to cause unnecessary trouble for no real gain IMO. Hatred between nations can lead to entirely avoidable, wasteful wars.

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    7. "and exactly because of that the political orientation is of the outmost importance for the question of the psychological part of fighting power."

      That sounds like nonsense.

      The political orientation of most German soldiers was quite different in 1914, 1939 and after 1955 on both side of the iron curtain.

      While in each of these armies political orientation was considered important, the fact that quite different political orientations led to the same (high) quality points at least in retrospective to the opposite picture: politics is of very low importance

      Ulenspiegel

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  7. Last Dingo:

    I can agree with this of your conclusions completly, that for an defensive war in the way you prefer him as a result of logic and the will to do good for the people and to defend them the political orientation in the way i described it is not so necessary.

    But to claim that the todays bundeswehr is competent is far away from reality. That does not mean that your overall argument is wrong, i only want to point out, that incompetence and the inability to produce fighting power is today the hallmark of the bundeswehr.

    Political orientation as a factor for motivation is moreover not only about hate, but also about other intangibles. Such as feeling superior, thinking that military solutions are good and necessary (bellicism), thinking that violence is good and so and so on. This is not about hate, but about for example thinking about oneself as an superior and thinking that violence can solve problems.

    Although the german soldiers in 1940 did not hate the french, they have a tremendous advantage in the intangibles of warfare over the french because of their political orientation. Without this the war against france would not be won in this way. The motivation to win against france was much higher amongst the german soldiers than on the other side the will to win over germany amongst the french soldiers. And the war against Russia was a hate war from the beginning.

    But of cause for an defensive war to protect yourself this is not so important in comparison. The question remains, if such an defensive conventional war will happen or if not instead complete other forms of war will happen and then must be fought that will then require a complete different mindset.

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    1. The Heer is not as competent (or as serious) as it should be, but it's at a whole higher level of organisational competence than 80...90% of armed services world-wide.
      Most armies fail to convert individuals to national soldiers. We do this in basic training.
      The recruits get trained, but certain things simply don't stick. Just look at the Russian army's inability to root out the bullying culture and move towards proper comradeship. Or the failure to turn Iraqis or Afghans into national soldiers first.

      Your idea that extremist right wing political orientation somehow leads to an unusually high level of mental preparation for warfare is wishful thinking.
      Extreme right wingers tend to be gullible, hateful and thus incapable of accepting unity with many of their fellow citizens and frankly, they tend to be easily scared pussies. They get even scared by their own fantasies - something that children are supposed to un-learn till the age of 10.

      An ethos that works pretty well to create things like "Kleine Kampfgemeinschaft" is a classic worker class (Facharbeiter) ethos. I already mentioned how marital status and age tend to influence suitability for offence and defence.
      An above-average IQ is positively correlated with staying alive and finding solutions to tactical problems.

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    2. The bundeswehr does not longer produce national soldiers, although some soldiers are this kind of fighter. It produces mercenaries and in some parts professional and high level mercenaries. The national soldier is fought in reality by the military command, it is not longer wanted. A national soldier needs a nation. The nation as a term is seen negative today in germany, instead of its positive meaning in earlier times in which the term nation was regarded as an hallmark for freedom, liberty and independence.

      We do not convert individuals to national soldiers toady in basic training. To the opposite any such approach is fought activly. But perhaps we define the term national soldier differently and thats the reason why we cannot agree here.

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    3. The reason why iraqis and afghans cannot be converted to national soldiers (especially with the afghans i have at least even practical experience here) is simply because there is no afghan nation. The society in afghanistan has no sense of nationalism despite any rethoric used. No afghan soldier will regard afghanistan higher than its clan / familiy or even higher than his demand for weed.

      You mentioned one interesting point: the inability of extreme right wingers (and also of extrem left wingers or religious zelots etc) to accept unity with many of their fellow citizens is for example one thing that can be an advantage militarily. It strengthens the fighting power of the army against other humans. The first thing to increase the will to fight any group is to not feel unity with them but to the opposite. For the question of future (internal) wars this would be an advantage and such attitude was activly used in history and is used in many states today in which a minority is placed against the others exact for this reason.

      Also there is no such sense of unity left even in germany today, the society is dividing more and more into enemy camps driven by dialectical opposition to each other. This division of the society and the loss of a national feeling are main reasons why today the majority of the young german people would not and will not fight against any enemy. Because of this lost of the nation they become more and more like the afghans, incapable to unite and to use organised violence because they do not regard the nation as a thing that is worth fighting for. They do not even regard democracy and freedom as a thing worth fighting for. They only think of their personal pleasure, income, wealth, money, carreer.

      Therefore this developement to an mercenary army, which is not a bad thing in any case. Mercenaries can deliver good fighting power under the right circumstances and were very common in military history. But especially mercenary armies need a very competent military leadership and that is lacking in germany.

      If the todays mercenery bundeswehr would be led by competent civilian and military leaders that have strong national values for themselve i would not even see it as such a problem.

      Also many common bundeswehr soldiers and especially nco are very competent in their specific area, motivated and good fighters, professional mercenaries they are. My main concern is therefore especially with the high command, the civilian command and the high level officers.

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    4. As the topic here is replacement instead of reform the question remains how to replace the high level of command instead of the competent and motivated ncos and common soldiers ? Because changing the high level command structure is imo more important than anything else and the most difficult, especially in peacetime and in an buerocratic state like todays germany in which every such officer would go for a lawyer and a court decision against such an restructuring.

      To replace great parts of the leadership is imo the most important thing and would deliver the highest increase in fighting power, as the fish stinks from the head. But of cause it is impossible in todays Germany such as it is. And the main reason for that is the political orientation (and that is not about righ vs middle vs left - as also in a right wing gouvernment the same incompetence can thrive). So i do not want to be understodd that a right wing political orientation is militarily better. Its not about right wingers beeing better soldiers,

      but that any kind of political orientation that has high ideal values, a strong conviction of immaterial factors and a strong believe in intangibles i superior, regardless if is democratic, left wing, religious, right wing or what ever.

      For example imo right wingers tend to be often to be too materialistic, to much interested in self-enrichtment and so on and for that reason they are then not as good for the fighting power as other kinds of conviction with a morer anti-materialistic approach. The corporative capitalism was for example one of the main military weaknesses of the fascist gouvernments.

      So i am not claiming that right wing political orientation is per se better, i am claiming that an political orientation for intangibles is better, regardless of its form. And that opposite to that the todays german society is to materialistic and to self-cenctric, to individualistic and has lost his political myth and therefore our fighting power erodes in the same amount as our nation erodes.

      Therefore: We become more and more like the afghans.

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  8. Ulenspiegel:

    The political orientaton was different from the ideology, but it was a strong political and ideological conviction with a strong us vs them content, a sense for immaterial values and standards and a orientation to a political mythos of heroism, action and the defense of the nation.

    Especiall after 1955 this was not longer the case in the western german army in the same amount as in earlier times or the Eastern German army and therefore an disadvantage for the bundeswehr from the beginning. The spiritual and psychological fighting power of the bundeswehr was therefore not nearly as strong as it was in other german armies before or in eastern germany and therefore an disadvantage in the intangibles of warfare for the bundeswehr.

    The standards of fighting power results in the end in the nationalism and also the so called socialist states were more fascist in truth than true leftist. To generate fighting power you must approve violence, you must want to kill the other and you must think that your violence is just and better than any other solution.

    This positive attitude to violence was very common in 1914, it was common in 1939 and it was even more present in 1955 than it is today. Today most young men would not fight to the death against any enemy, even not in an war of pure defence in the sense of Last Dingo.

    At least in 1955 they would have done at least that because of their fear and rejection of communism. This have changed today to the extreme. There is no enemy in the eyes of the majority of the people and this worldview results from the todays political orientation.

    The same is not true for other countries. For example China is thinking of germany as an enemy which must be destroyed, subdued and overcome to gain worldpower. Therefore the chinese for example regard us as enemies.

    The even teach their children that in the education. To the opposite for what should any young german fight? For more wealth for the rich? For the alien refugees ? For crimminal clans ? For climate change ?

    The political mythos of the german society is broken and no new functioning such mythos is there today. Such an society will not be able to even defend itself.

    And that is exaclty what we are seeing today, look for example to stuttgart.

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    1. Regarding education, health care and social safety, it's been getting worse in every European country and the USA, but one could observe that during the Cold War's dangerous phase up till the 70s, it was attempted to have a cohesive egalitarian society with strong safety nets and good professional perspectives.

      This society was not willing to fight endless colonial wars. With the professionalization of the US army and the break up of worker's unions through badly integrated migrant labour, this system broke down. Today's fear is anti-globalist. For price reduction, workers of one country are made to compete with their "equals" from another country and culture, disregarding the differences in work culture that merit different payments. An individual can learn a new work culture, but this works less well if he is integrated into a network of workers with the same migratory background. Integration requires individualisation at the workplace. A more nationalist minded group such as the Saxons in Germany preserve their structures against union breakers.
      The whole issue about unions and migrant workforce is very well documented in the slaughterhouse debate between Germany and Denmark. We could improve hygiene greatly by going the same way as Denmark with machinery instead of cheap labour while exporting a few tasks for maximum value extraction to other countries of the EU.

      You might have a point that there can be general stressors in a society that make one to break more easily under additional stress. If people feel that their needs are well taken care off, they are more likely to perform well under stress. This can apply to a select group of professionals or to a society in general. Germany performs quite well under the current stressor, unlike the US.

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    2. The American worker's unions were not broken by migrants in the U.S.. They were broken by the Republican Party. The only ones they left alone were police and firefighter unions - the unions that supported the Republicans. Do NOT lie here!
      Likewise, it wasn't migrants that weakened labour unions in Europe, either. Political decisions (especially by right-centre politicians) made it hard for labour unions to attract members. Fear (in part reasonable, in part induced by propaganda) made workers and thus labour unions yield to corporate pressures.
      The public environment made many earlier labour union services superfluous (nobody needed a labour union newspaper, municipalities offered self-improvement courses as did labour unions in the 19th century, governmental social safety net and work regulations replaced earlier efforts by labour unions).
      Foreign workers elevated the ordinary indigenous workers to foremen and trainers and replaced what gifted worker family children went to universities.

      Education and health care don't really get worse. Nostalgia is an old phenomenon. Some things improve, others worsen.

      The social safety net had its ups and downs. The German Pflegeversicherung and some fairly new regulations for women and families were clearly strengthening the German safety net (while it was eroded elsewhere, including by turning postal and railway services into private companies with very different work contracts).

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    3. Migrant workers have been used to reduce the influence of some unions, not every union in the US and in Europe. It's the more than workplace integration problem that makes them less likely to unionize for better wages. I work in the field and this is a standard practice by employers to max out what is legally possible and beyond, because migrant labour is more pliable and less capable of joint action nor do they know the law or have access to adequate representation. I don't find the same issues with a strongly unionized work force such as IGM and some people of migrant descent have bought into German unions. So I'm not saying migrants destroyed the unions, but that migrants get hired selectively to sabotage union efforts by reducing workforce coherence.

      Calling on me NOT to lie feels a bit over reactive if we just have a misunderstanding in communication.

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