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The Trump Way — Blood Oath — American People Want This Deal — The Chicago Way Not To Be Confused With Appeaser Obama’s Red Line Way — Videos

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The Trump Way — Blood Oath — American People Want This Deal — The Chicago Way Not To Be Confused With Appeaser Obama’s Red Line Way — Videos

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imagePresident Donald Trump delivered a high-stakes address to the world on Wednesday, offering Iran peace if it abandons its nuclear ambitions but also threatening the use of hypersonic weapons if war follows

 

Trump responds to Iranian airstrike: Iran will never have a nuclear weapon

Special Report: Trump addresses Iran attack on U.S. bases in Iraq

Rep. Dan Crenshaw says Obama-era officials are obsessed with defending their appeasement of Iran

Tucker Carlson Tonight 1/8/20 | Fox News Today January 8, 2020

Sen. Ted Cruz on Sen. Mike Lee’s public frustration with intel briefing on Soleimani strike

Petraeus says U.S. had “lost the element of deterrence” before Soleimani strike

Iran strikes back at US with missile attack at bases in Iraq

Iran Strikes Back at U.S.With Missile Attack on Bases in Iraq | News 4 Now

Shields and Brooks on Iran general’s killing, 2020 Democrats’ fundraising

Trump says Iran will be hit ‘very fast’ if they strike American assets

See the source image

The Chicago Way – The Untouchables (2/10) Movie CLIP

(1987) HD

A Clip From The Blind Side

The Blind Side

 

Donald Trump blames Barack Obama for giving Iran the cash to buy missiles flung at U.S. bases-as he offers to ’embrace peace’ and claims Tehran is ‘standing down’ but warns of ‘hypersonic weapons’ and ‘lethal and fast’ attacks

  • President said Iran can choose peace but warned of new weaponry that’s ready to strike
  • He blamed the Obama administration for unfreezing $150 billion and delivering $1.5 billion in cash to jump-start a nuclear nonproliferation deal that has since fallen apart
  • ‘As long as I am president of the United States, Iran will never be be allowed have a nuclear weapon,’ he vowed, even before saying ‘Good morning’
  • ‘Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast,’ he said, sending a warning in nearly the same breath as an olive branch
  • ‘Under construction are many hypersonic missiles,’ he warned, standing amid a tableau of stern-faced military leaders
  • Iran fired 22 ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops early Wednesday local time
  • Strikes are not thought to have killed any U.S. or Iraqi personnel, though extent of damage is being assessed
  • Ayatollah Khamenei said U.S. was given a ‘slap’ but strikes alone are ‘not enough’ and wants troops kicked out 
  • There are still fears for U.S. troops after Iran-backed militias in Iraq threatened to carry out their own strikes

Donald Trump blamed Barack Obama on Wednesday for supplying Iran with the money to purchase a torrent of missiles fired at American military positions Tuesday night.

‘The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration,’ he said, citing $150 billion in frozen assets that the previous president released and $1.5 billion flown by the U.S. to Tehran.

He began his speech to the world on Wednesday with a familiar ultimatum, even before saying ‘Good morning.’

‘As long as I am president of the United States, Iran will never be be allowed have a nuclear weapon,’ he said.

And Trump backed up that vow with a threat:

‘Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast,’ he said, sending a warning in nearly the same breath as an olive branch.

‘Under construction are many hypersonic missiles,’ he warned, standing amid a tableau of stern-faced military leaders.

Minutes later he offered an olive branch, urging European nations to make ‘a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place’ and allows Iran to explore its ‘untapped potential’ as a mainstream trading partner.

‘We want you to have a future, and a great future,’ he told Iran’s people, claiming its military ‘appears to be standing down.’

President Donald Trump delivered a high-stakes address to the world on Wednesday, offering Iran peace if it abandons its nuclear ambitions but also threatening the use of hypersonic weapons if war follows

President Donald Trump delivered a high-stakes address to the world on Wednesday, offering Iran peace if it abandons its nuclear ambitions but also threatening the use of hypersonic weapons if war follows

Talking peace and war: Donald Trump offered to 'embrace peace' with Iran if it gives up its nuclear ambitions and its terrorism - but listed U.S. military capabilities

Talking peace and war: Donald Trump offered to ’embrace peace’ with Iran if it gives up its nuclear ambitions and its terrorism – but listed U.S. military capabilities

The president spoke in the Grand Foyer of the White House, speaking with the aid of a teleprompter in measured tones

The president spoke in the Grand Foyer of the White House, speaking with the aid of a teleprompter in measured tones

Trump's made-for-TV tableau included Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Vice President Mike Pence

Trump’s made-for-TV tableau included Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Vice President Mike Pence

Tightly-scripted: Donald Trump stuck to the teleprompter version of his address to the nation about Iran

Tightly-scripted: Donald Trump stuck to the teleprompter version of his address to the nation about Iran

No questions: Donald Trump left without taking any questions from reporters who had been brought into the room before his speech

No questions: Donald Trump left without taking any questions from reporters who had been brought into the room before his speech

Television entrance: Donald Trump enters to address the nation in the aftermath of missile strikes by Iran on a U.S. base in Iraq

Television entrance: Donald Trump enters to address the nation in the aftermath of missile strikes by Iran on a U.S. base in Iraq

The president's audience-of-one was Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the iron-fisted theocrat who is the mortal enemy of Israel and the United States

The president’s audience-of-one was Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the iron-fisted theocrat who is the mortal enemy of Israel and the United States

His remarks, watched live around the world, came after Tehran’s armies rained missiles down on Iraqi military installations where American troops have been stationed for more than 16 years.

‘No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,’ the president said. ‘We suffered no casualties.’

Iranian state-run television claimed at least 20 U.S. servicemen and women were killed.

U.S. officials believe the missiles were deliberately fired into unpopulated areas, in what a senior official called a ‘heads-up bombing.’

The president spoke with the aid of tele-prompters in the Grand Foyer, the main entrance hall in the front of the White House.

He blasted Tehran’s ‘destructive and destabilizing behavior’ and said the days of Western patience ‘are over.’

Trump has long seen himself as a maverick loner on the world stage, unpredictable and unbothered by ruffling feathers overseas.

He boasts that his low approval ratings in foreign countries are an indication that he is focused on Americans’ welfare—not the priorities of real and nominal allies.

That approach could be tested as Iran and the U.S. creep toward what some, but not all, in the national security establishment see as an inevitable war.

The White House isn’t expecting one, the senior official said Wednesday: ‘This doesn’t have to end badly, and frankly right now we might be in the best position ever for diplomacy with Tehran.’

As he has in the past, the president trashed the Iran nuclear deal negotiated during the Obama administration along with Tehran and six other powers. He called the deal, which the administration already backed away from, ‘very defective’ noting that it ‘expires anyway.’

He called on other negotiating parties, including Great Britain, France, Germany, and Russia – to ‘break away from the remnants of the Iran deal.

At the same time, Trump did not completely foreclose negotiation. He called for a ‘deal with Iran that makes the world a more peaceful and safer place.’

Trump, who spoke to reporters but had yet to speak directly to the nation since ordering the killing of Soleimani, called the Iranian general ‘the world’s top terrorist,’ and said he was ‘personally responsible for some of the absolutely worst atrocities.’

‘Soleimani’s hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood,’ Trump said. ‘He should have been terminated long ago. By removing Soleimani, we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our people,’ he added.

Trump announced that the U.S. would impose ‘powerful’ sanctions on the already heavily-sanctioned Iranian regime. But the White House did not immediately provide specifics. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was seen exiting the meeting Trump had with top military and security advisors moments before the speech.

‘The United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime. These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior,’ Trump said.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired on the Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq and Erbil International airport in the north in the early hours of Wednesday, but failed to kill a single US or Iraqi solider.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, speaking on Iranian TV shortly after the missiles were launched, described the strikes as ‘a slap’ and said they ‘are not sufficient (for revenge)’ while vowing further action to kick US troops out of the region.

But foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the attack was now ‘concluded,’ praising Iran’s ‘proportionate’ response and adding: ‘We do not seek escalation or war.’

Trump tweeted late Tuesday to say ‘so far so good’ as American forces assessed the damage and casualties.

Iranian television had tried to claim that 80 ‘American terrorists’ were killed, but that figure was quickly rubbished by Iraqi and US officials.

Images showed several missiles had either failed to explode on impact or else missed their targets.  The remains of one was found near the town of Duhok, some 70 miles from Erbil air base, which was the intended target.

Tehran fired an ineffective missile strike at U.S. forces at Iraqi airb

Tehran fired an ineffective missile strike at U.S. forces at Iraqi air bases after promising brutal revenge for Trump’s drone strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani (pictured), the architect of terror attacks that have killed hundreds of American servicemen and women

Iran has fired 22 ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops in a revenge attack for the U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani

Iran has fired 22 ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops in a revenge attack for the U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani

The rockets hit Ain Asad (pictured) which houses US and coalition troops

The rockets hit Ain Asad (pictured) which houses US and coalition troops

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq that was visited by Donald Trump in December 2018 and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.20pm EST (1.20am local time)

It is thought Iran used Fatteh-110 and Qaim-1 ballistic missiles during the attack, which failed to kill any US or Iraqi troops (pictured, one of the missiles is launched in Iran)

It is thought Iran used Fatteh-110 and Qaim-1 ballistic missiles during the attack, which failed to kill any US or Iraqi troops (pictured, one of the missiles is launched in Iran)

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Qais al-Khazali

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left) said the attack it is ‘not enough’ for revenge against the US, before Iraqi militia commander Qais al-Khazali (right) vowed to exact his own revenge for the killing of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis

Iraqi security forces clear away pieces of shrapnel from the Ain al-Asad airbase after it was struck by ballistic missiles fired by Iran as part of operation 'Martyr Soleimani'+

Iraqi security forces clear away pieces of shrapnel from the Ain al-Asad airbase after it was struck by ballistic missiles fired by Iran as part of operation ‘Martyr Soleimani’

Initial reports indicate at least 15 missiles were fired at two American bases in Iraq, though officials said early warning systems sounded alarms at the Ain al-Asad base (pictured) allowing troops to scramble for cover+49

Initial reports indicate at least 15 missiles were fired at two American bases in Iraq, though officials said early warning systems sounded alarms at the Ain al-Asad base (pictured) allowing troops to scramble for cover

A man holds shrapnel from a missile launched by Iran on U.S.-led coalition forces on the outskirts of Duhok, in northern Iraq 70 miles from Erbil, following Iranian missile strikes

A man holds shrapnel from a missile launched by Iran on U.S.-led coalition forces on the outskirts of Duhok, in northern Iraq 70 miles from Erbil, following Iranian missile strikes

Wreckage of a missile that was fired at Ain al-Asad military base in western Iraq but failed to explode on impact

Wreckage of a missile that was fired at Ain al-Asad military base in western Iraq but failed to explode on impact

US officials said early warning systems sounded alarms at the Ain al-Asad base, allowing troops to scramble for cover

US officials said early warning systems sounded alarms at the Ain al-Asad base, allowing troops to scramble for cover

Wreckage of an Iranian missile near Ain al-Asad

Wreckage of an Iranian missile near Ain al-Asad

Iraq said 17 missiles were fired at the Ain al-Asad base, two of which failed to explode (pictured, unexploded wreckage)

In an attempt to talk-up the impact of the strikes, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said they show ‘we don’t retreat in the face of America.’

‘If America has committed a crime… it should know that it will receive a decisive response,’ Rouhani said in a televised address. ‘If they are wise, they won’t take any other action at this juncture.’

It is thought Iran gave advanced warning of the strikes, after Iraq, Finland and Lithuania – which all had troops stationed at the bases which were targeted – all said they were informed in advance.

America said that ‘early warning systems’ detected the missile launches and sirens were sounded at the Asad base, allowing soldiers to seek shelter. It is not clear whether they were also informed by Iran.

Prominent analysts suggested Iran may have deliberately pulled its punches because they are fearful of the ‘disproportionate’ response threatened by Trump if US personnel were killed.

‘With the attacks, Tehran signalled its capacity and readiness to respond to US attacks, thus saving face, and yet they have been well targeted to avoid fatalities and thus avoid provoking Trump’s reaction,’ said Annalisa Perteghella of the Institute for International Political Studies in Milan.

President Donald Trump says 'all is well' and 'so far so good' as the damage and casualties continue to be assessed after Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops

President Donald Trump says ‘all is well’ and ‘so far so good’ as the damage and casualties continue to be assessed after Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops

Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif called the attacks 'self-defense' but said they did 'not seek escalation' but would defend itself against further aggression

 

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif called the attacks ‘self-defense’ but said they did ‘not seek escalation’ but would defend itself against further aggression

Hours after the launch, a Ukrainian Airlines Boeing 737 caught fire crashed near Tehran killing all 177 passengers and crew – including 63 Canadian and three Britons – amid fears it could have been caught up in the attack.

The Ukrainian embassy in Tehran initially stated that the crash had been caused by an engine failure rather than terrorism or a missile attack, but later deleted that claim.

Iran has blamed technical failure and an engine fire for the crash, after early saying the pilot had lost control during an engine fire.

If it emerges that Iran did shoot down the plane – either accidentally or on purpose – then it is likely to prompt a global response that will escalate tensions in the region even further.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry said of those killed, 82 were Iranian, 63 Canadian, 11 Ukrainian, three British, with the remainder hailing from SwedenAfghanistan, and Germany.

The timing of the Iranian strikes – around 1.20am local time – occurred at the same time as the US drone strike which killed Soleimani.

Following the strikes, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps warned any further strikes by America would be met with fresh attacks, and that any allied countries used as a base for such strikes would themselves become targets.

The Iraqi military said 22 missiles were fired in total – 17 at the Asad base, two of which failed to explode, and five more that struck Erbil International Airport. US officials put the total slightly lower at 15 – ten of which hit Asad, one which hit Erbil, four which failed in flight.

Iran said it had used Fatteh-110 ballistic missiles for the attack, though analysts said images of wreckage near the Aasd base also appears to show Qaim-1 ballistic missiles were used.

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq – visited by Trump in December 2018 – and Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were struck by the missiles around 5.20pm EST Tuesday in an operation dubbed ‘Martyr Soleimani’ by Iran.

The Pentagon says the missiles were ‘clearly launched from Iran’ to target U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. A US official said there were no immediate reports of American casualties, though buildings were still being searched. Iraqi officials say there were no casualties among their forces either.

There are still fears for US forces in the region after Qais al-Khazali, a commander of Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, vowed to exact revenge for the killing of deputy-leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

‘The first Iranian response to the assassination of the martyr leader Soleimani took place,’ he tweeted. ‘Now is the time for the initial Iraqi response to the assassination of the martyr leader Muhandis.

‘And because the Iraqis are brave and zealous, their response will not be less than the size of the Iranian response, and this is a promise.’

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran had delivered a 'slap in the face' to American forces but added that missile strikes are 'not enough' and called for the US to be 'uprooted' from the region

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran had delivered a ‘slap in the face’ to American forces but added that missile strikes are ‘not enough’ and called for the US to be ‘uprooted’ from the region

The Ayatollah spoke in a televised address early Wednesday during which he praised a 'measured' strike against the US, which he said embodied the spirit of slain general Soleimani

The Ayatollah spoke in a televised address early Wednesday during which he praised a ‘measured’ strike against the US, which he said embodied the spirit of slain general Soleimani

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST)

 

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST)

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were spotted arriving at the White House soon after news of the strikes broke

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were spotted arriving at the White House soon after news of the strikes broke

Iraqi security forces and citizens gather to inspect the site where missiles fired by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps landed outside the Ain al-Asad airbase

Iraqi security forces and citizens gather to inspect the site where missiles fired by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps landed outside the Ain al-Asad airbase

Pieces of shrapnel are seen near the Ain al-Asad airbase after a missile strike by Iran

Pieces of shrapnel are seen near the Ain al-Asad airbase after a missile strike by Iran

Members of Peshmerga fighters stand guard in center of Erbil in the aftermath of Iran's launch of a number of missiles at bases in Iraq

Members of Peshmerga fighters stand guard in center of Erbil in the aftermath of Iran’s launch of a number of missiles at bases in Iraq

Members of Kurdistan's regional government attend a meeting to discuss security after Iranian missiles targeted Erbil International Airport early Wednesday

Members of Kurdistan’s regional government attend a meeting to discuss security after Iranian missiles targeted Erbil International Airport early Wednesday

Britain, Australia, France, Poland, Denmark and Finland have confirmed that none of their troops stationed in Iraq were hurt in the attack, while calling for an end to hostilities and a return to talks.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen vowed the EU will ‘spare no effort’ in trying to save the nuclear deal that Iran signed with President Obama and was ripped up by Trump, sparking the current tensions.

China and Russia, both key Iranian allies, also warned against escalating strikes with Vladimir Dzhabarov, lawmaker with Russia’s upper house of parliament, warning the conflict could easily lead to a nuclear war.

The Syrian government, another key ally of Iran, has expressed full solidarity with Iran, saying Tehran has the right to defend itself ‘in the face of American threats and attacks.’

The foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday that Syria holds the ‘American regime responsible for all the repercussions due to its reckless policy and arrogant mentality.’

Meanwhile Turkey, which is a NATO member but also has ties to Iran in Syria, said its foreign minister will visit Iraq on Thursday as part of diplomatic efforts to ‘alleviate the escalated tension’ in the region.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which controls the country’s missile program, confirmed that they fired the rockets in retaliation for last week’s killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

They reported the operation’s name was ‘Martyr Soleimani’ and it took place just hours after the slain general’s funeral.

The rockets used in the attack, according to Iranian TV, were Fatteh-110 ballistic missiles, which have a range of 186 miles or 300km.

The Iranian air force has since deployed multiple fighter jets to patrol it airspace, according to reports – as Iran warned the U.S. and its allies in the region not to retaliate.

The Pentagon said it was still working to assess the damage.

Iranian missiles that blitzed Iraqi airbases can deliver a precision-guided 500lb warhead over a range of more than 180 miles

Two types of ballistic missiles were reportedly used to hit U.S. Military bases in Ain al-Asad in western Iraq and also around Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The majority of those used are believed to be the Fateh-110, which can travel 180 miles or 300km and have a payload of around 500lb.

Reports also suggest the Qiam-1 was also used, a short range ballistic missile produced by Iran which can travel 500 miles and carry 750lb warheads.

The Fateh-110 is an Iranian-designed, short-range, surface-to-surface ballistic missile that can be launched from any location.

While the Qiam-1 was specifically built to target U.S. bases in the Middle East, which have ‘encircled Iran’, according to Iranian sources.

When it was launched the Fateh-110 was described by Iranian defence minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami as ‘100-percent domestically made – agile, stealth, tactical (and) precision-guided’.

Both missiles are reported to have been fired from Tabriz and Kermanshah provinces in Iran.

‘In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners. These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces,’ a statement from the Pentagon read.

‘It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at al-Assad and Irbil. We are working on initial battle damage assessments.

‘As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend U.S. personnel, partners, and allies in the region.’

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, reportedly said Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei was personally in the control center coordinating the attacks.

They also warned U.S. allies in the Middle East that they would face retaliation if America strikes back against any Iranian targets from their bases.

‘We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to its terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted,’ they said. It also threatened Israel.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were spotted arriving at the White House soon after news of the strikes broke.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said on Tuesday night that the missile strikes were an ‘act of war’ and said Trump had all the power he needed to act.

‘This is an act of war by any reasonable definition,’ Graham told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. ‘The President has all the authority he needs under Article II to respond.’

People stand near the wreckage after a Ukrainian plane carrying 177 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport

People stand near the wreckage after a Ukrainian plane carrying 177 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport

Rescue workers in protective suits gather up the bodies of passengers who were killed in the Boeing 737 crash in Iran today

Rescue workers in protective suits gather up the bodies of passengers who were killed in the Boeing 737 crash in Iran today

An aerial view of the crash site where rescuers searched the debris this morning with the cause of the crash still unclear

An aerial view of the crash site where rescuers searched the debris this morning with the cause of the crash still unclear

Mohammad Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh (pictured), 40, has been named as the first British victim of the Ukrainian Airlines disaster

Mohammad Reza Kadkhoda-Zadeh (pictured), 40, has been named as the first British victim of the Ukrainian Airlines disaster

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted that the U.S., as well as the rest of the world, ‘cannot afford war’.

‘Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting U.S. troops in Iraq. We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war,’ she tweeted.

After the strikes, Saeed Jalili – a former Iranian nuclear negotiator and foreign minister – posted a picture of the Islamic Republic’s flag on Twitter, appearing to mimic Trump who posted an American flag following the killing of Soleimani and others in the drone strike in Baghdad.

Ain al-Asad air base was first used by American forces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, and later saw American troops stationed there amid the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. It houses about 1,500 U.S. and coalition forces.

About 70 Norwegian troops also were on the air base but no injuries were reported, Brynjar Stordal, a spokesperson for the Norwegian Armed Forces said.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday it would ban U.S. carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia after the missile attack on U.S.-led forces.

Earlier on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States should anticipate retaliation from Iran over the killing in Iraq of Soleimani.

‘I think we should expect that they will retaliate in some way, shape or form,’ Esper told a news briefing at the Pentagon, adding that such retaliation could be through Iran-backed proxy groups outside of Iran or ‘by their own hand.’

‘We’re prepared for any contingency. And then we will respond appropriately to whatever they do.’

Trump had also earlier told reporters about the prospect of an Iranian attack: ‘We’re totally prepared.’

‘They’re going to be suffering the consequences and very strongly,’ he said from the Oval Office during a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Meanwhile, early reports of an attack at the al-Taji military base, just outside Baghdad, was later reported as a drill.

Local reports initially suggested that five rockets had struck the base after ‘shelter in place’ sirens were heard ringing out around the compound.

Sirens were also heard blaring out inside the U.S. consulate in Erbil, which was one of the bases struck in the missile attack.

Iran said the attack, dubbed Operation Martyr Soleimani, was launched hours after the funeral service for General Qassem Soleimani (pictured) - who was killed in a US drone strike - had finished

Iran said the attack, dubbed Operation Martyr Soleimani, was launched hours after the funeral service for General Qassem Soleimani (pictured) – who was killed in a US drone strike – had finished

Mourners attend funeral and burial of General Soleimani in his hometown in Kerman early Wednesday morning

Mourners attend funeral and burial of General Soleimani in his hometown in Kerman early Wednesday morning

People lower the coffin of Qassem Soleimani into his grave in the city of Kerman, central Iran

People lower the coffin of Qassem Soleimani into his grave in the city of Kerman, central Iran

Mourners rush to lay their hands on the coffin of General Soleimani before it is lowered into a grave in the cit of Kerman

Mourners rush to lay their hands on the coffin of General Soleimani before it is lowered into a grave in the cit of Kerman

Was the Ukrainian jet brought down by an Iranian missile – or were the 176 people on board killed by a mechanical failure? Here are the five key theories

Theory one: Mechanical failure or pilot error 

Iranian authorities have said that initial investigations point to either an engine failure – or a catastrophic pilot error.

The three-year-old Boeing 737 jet came down just three minutes after take-off from Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Iranian officials said the pilot had lost control of the Boeing jet after a fire struck one of the plane’s engines, but said the crew had not reported an emergency and did not say what caused the fire.

Footage of the crash appears to show the plane streaking downwards with a small blaze on the wing, near its jet engines (pictured above on the ground).

But critics have questioned the Iranian account, calling it the ‘fastest investigation in aviation history’ – and said the Boeing 737 has a largely outstanding safety record with no recent history of an engine failure of this kind.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has instructed prosecutors to open criminal proceedings – a clear signal that he is unsure about Iran’s version of events.

His Government also revealed the plane was inspected just two days ago.

Theory two: Accidentally hit by an Iranian missile

The plane came down shortly after Iran launched its missile attacks Iraq with tens of ballistic weapons fired from the rogue state.

Photographs of the downed Ukrainian airlines jet show that the fuselage appears to be peppered with shrapnel damage.

Experts have said that an engine fire or pilot error does not explain those holes (pictured).

Ilya Kusa, a Ukrainian international affairs expert, said amid the US-Iranian tensions and said: ‘It is difficult not to connect the plane crash with the US-Iran confrontation. The situation is very difficult. One must understand that this happened shortly after Iran’s missile attacks on US military facilities’.

Just hours before the crash, the US Federal Aviation Administration had banned US airlines from flying over Iran, Iraq and the waters of the Persian Gulf due to the Middle East crisis.

This was due to the possibility of missiles flying towards Iraq – and airlines are still skirting the region as they head to and from Asia.

Theory three: Jet was deliberately brought down by a missile 

+49

Video footage tweeted by the BBC‘s Iran correspondent, Ali Hashem, appeared to show the plane already burning in the sky before it crashed in a massive explosion.

It sparked speculation that the jet could have been shot down accidentally by nervous Iranian air defence soldiers, hours after Iran fired 22 ballistic missiles at US bases in retaliation for the killing of general Qassem Soleimani.

But there is a major question mark over whether Iran would shoot down a plane with so many of its own citizens on board.

Many of the world’s major airlines have stopped flying through or even near Iranian airspace as they cross the globe amid safety fears after US/Iran tensions boiled over in the past week.

Iran is a key ally of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which grabbed Crimea from Ukraine and has been involved in an on-off conflict with its neighbour since 2014.

Russia has denied shooting down the ill-fated MH17 jet five years ago – but experts say otherwise with three Russians arrested over the disaster.

 Theory four: An accidental drone strike

Experts have speculated that the Ukrainian aircraft could have collided with a military drone before crashing.

The drone may have smashed into the engine – or been sucked in – with the pilot unsighted because it was after dark.

This could cause an explosion and the fire seen as the plane hit the ground (pictured).

Experts said Iranian were in the air at the time – in case the US decided to fight back – and not always picked up by radar.

Russian military pilot Vladimir Popov said: ‘It could have been an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, which are small in size and poorly visible on radars. A plane in a collision could get significant damage and even catch fire in the air.’

Theory five: Sabotage or a terror attack

Aviation experts have urged investigators to rule out whether the plane was brought down by terrorists or as an act of sabotage.

They say that while a flaming engine is highly unusual, the sudden loss of data communications from the plane is even more so.

This could be caused by a bomb, that blew up after the 737 took to the air, wrecking its systems.

An electronic jammer weapon that knocked out the plane’s controls could also explain it.

British expert Julian Bray said it ‘could be an altitude triggered device set to detonate during take off. Unusual that engine seen to be on fire before crash, points to catastrophic incident’ or being ‘deliberately brought down’.

He added that based on the footage pilot error looks ‘unlikely’.

Experts have said that if the black box is not recovered by Iranian security officials (pictured) from the wreckage it could point to it being a deliberate act.

After the crash the Ukrainian embassy in Tehran reported that the crash had been caused by an engine failure rather than terrorism – but this was later deleted on social media.

The strikes by Iran were a major escalation of tensions that have been rising steadily across the Mideast following months of threats and attacks after Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Soleimani’s killing and Iran’s missile strikes also marked the first time in recent years that Washington and Tehran have attacked each other directly rather than through proxies in the region.

After the strikes, Saeed Jalili - a former Iranian nuclear negotiator - posted a picture of the Islamic Republic's flag on Twitter, appearing to mimic Trump who posted an American flag following the killing of Soleimani and others in the drone strike in Baghdad

After the strikes, Saeed Jalili – a former Iranian nuclear negotiator – posted a picture of the Islamic Republic’s flag on Twitter, appearing to mimic Trump who posted an American flag following the killing of Soleimani and others in the drone strike in Baghdad

It raised the chances of open conflict erupting between the two nations, which have been foes since the days immediately following Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The revenge attack came a mere few hours after crowds in Iran mourned Soleimani and as the U.S. continued to reinforce its own positions in the region and warned of an unspecified threat to shipping from Iran in the region’s waterways, crucial routes for global energy supplies.

U.S. embassies and consulates from Asia to Africa and Europe issued security alerts for Americans. The U.S. Air Force launched a drill with 52 fighter jets in Utah on Monday, just days after Trump threatened to hit 52 sites in Iran.

Meanwhile a stampede broke out Tuesday at Soleimani’s funeral in his hometown of Kerman and at least 56 people were killed and more than 200 were injured as thousands thronged the procession, Iranian news reports said.

There was no information about what set off the crush in the packed streets. Online videos showed only its aftermath: people lying apparently lifeless, their faces covered by clothing, emergency crews performing CPR on the fallen and onlookers wailing and crying out to God.

A procession in Tehran on Monday drew over one million people in the Iranian capital, crowding both main avenues and side streets.

Hossein Salami, Soleimani’s successor as leader of the Revolutionary Guard, addressed a crowd of supporters gathered at the coffin in a central square in Kernan.

He vowed to avenge Soleimani, saying: ‘We tell our enemies that we will retaliate but if they take another action we will set ablaze the places that they like and are passionate about’.

The al-Asad base for American and coalition troops (pictured above in December) was struck by missiles ‘clearly launched from Iran’, U.S. officials say

The Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan, which provides facilities and services to at least hundreds of coalition personnel and CIA operatives, was also hit in the missile attack+49

The Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan, which provides facilities and services to at least hundreds of coalition personnel and CIA operatives, was also hit in the missile attack

President Trump’s speech on Iran

As long as I am President of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.

Good morning. I’m pleased to inform you: The American people should be extremely grateful and happy no Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime. We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.

Our great American forces are prepared for anything. Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.

No American or Iraqi lives were lost because of the precautions taken, the dispersal of forces, and an early warning system that worked very well. I salute the incredible skill and courage of America’s men and women in uniform.

For far too long — all the way back to 1979, to be exact — nations have tolerated Iran’s destructive and destabilizing behavior in the Middle East and beyond. Those days are over. Iran has been the leading sponsor of terrorism, and their pursuit of nuclear weapons threatens the civilized world. We will never let that happen.

Last week, we took decisive action to stop a ruthless terrorist from threatening American lives. At my direction, the United States military eliminated the world’s top terrorist, Qasem Soleimani. As the head of the Quds Force, Soleimani was personally responsible for some of the absolutely worst atrocities.

He trained terrorist armies, including Hezbollah, launching terrorist strikes against civilian targets. He fueled bloody civil wars all across the region. He viciously wounded and murdered thousands of U.S. troops, including the planting of roadside bombs that maim and dismember their victims.

Soleimani directed the recent attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq that badly wounded four service members and killed one American, and he orchestrated the violent assault on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. In recent days, he was planning new attacks on American targets, but we stopped him.

Soleimani’s hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood. He should have been terminated long ago. By removing Soleimani, we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our people.

As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression, the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime. These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior.

In recent months alone, Iran has seized ships in international waters, fired an unprovoked strike on Saudi Arabia, and shot down two U.S. drones.

Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given $150 billion, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash. Instead of saying “thank you” to the United States, they chanted “death to America.” In fact, they chanted “death to America” the day the agreement was signed.

Then, Iran went on a terror spree, funded by the money from the deal, and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration. The regime also greatly tightened the reins on their own country, even recently killing 1,500 people at the many protests that are taking place all throughout Iran.

The very defective JCPOA expires shortly anyway, and gives Iran a clear and quick path to nuclear breakout. Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism. The time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China to recognize this reality.

They must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal -– or JCPOA –- and we must all work together toward making a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place. We must also make a deal that allows Iran to thrive and prosper, and take advantage of its enormous untapped potential. Iran can be a great country.

Peace and stability cannot prevail in the Middle East as long as Iran continues to foment violence, unrest, hatred, and war. The civilized world must send a clear and unified message to the Iranian regime: Your campaign of terror, murder, mayhem will not be tolerated any longer. It will not be allowed to go forward.

Today, I am going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East process. Over the last three years, under my leadership, our economy is stronger than ever before and America has achieved energy independence. These historic accompliments [accomplishments] changed our strategic priorities. These are accomplishments that nobody thought were possible. And options in the Middle East became available. We are now the number-one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world. We are independent, and we do not need Middle East oil.

The American military has been completely rebuilt under my administration, at a cost of $2.5 trillion. U.S. Armed Forces are stronger than ever before. Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal, and fast. Under construction are many hypersonic missiles.

The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it. American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent.

Three months ago, after destroying 100 percent of ISIS and its territorial caliphate, we killed the savage leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi, who was responsible for so much death, including the mass beheadings of Christians, Muslims, and all who stood in his way. He was a monster. Al-Baghdadi was trying again to rebuild the ISIS caliphate, and failed.

Tens of thousands of ISIS fighters have been killed or captured during my administration. ISIS is a natural enemy of Iran. The destruction of ISIS is good for Iran, and we should work together on this and other shared priorities.

Finally, to the people and leaders of Iran: We want you to have a future and a great future — one that you deserve, one of prosperity at home, and harmony with the nations of the world. The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.

I want to thank you, and God bless America. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

– White House transcript

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7865171/Trump-address-world-Iran-Ayatollah-calls-missile-attack-not-revenge.html

 

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Queen – Another One Bites the Dust (Official Video)

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How Qassem Soleimani was ‘torn to shreds’ by a US missile and his body had to be identified by his RING: Pentagon drone launched four rockets at car carrying Iranian general after he arrived from Syria to meet ringleaders of embassy attack

  • US airstrike killed General Qassem Soleimani, the powerful head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in Baghdad
  • The attack unfolded early on Friday local time in a precision strike on two cars that were carrying Soleimani 
  • Soleimani had just arrived in Baghdad on a flight from Syria and was leaving the airport when he was hit
  • Attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, leader of Iranian militias in Iraq which led attacks on US embassy

Four precision missiles were fired from a deadly remote-controlled 4,900 pound U.S. drone, decimating a convoy that Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Quds force, was traveling in and tearing his body ‘to shreds’.

Soleimani, commonly known as the second-most powerful man in Iran and tipped as a future president, was so badly maimed in the strike that he had to be identified by a large ring he wore on his finger.

He had just landed in Baghdad airport on a plane from either Syria or Lebanon around 12.30am when he was met on the tarmac by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq.

Muhandis pulled up to the aircraft steps in two cars before Soleimani and Mohammed Ridha Jabri, public relations chief for the PMF who had been traveling with him, climbed inside and were driven away.

Both vehicles were instantly reduced to smoldering wrecks – killing Soleimani, Muhandis, Jabri and two others who have yet to be identified.

Social media photos show burning wreckage of the US airstrike on two cars at Baghdad International Airport. Iranian officials and pro-Iran militia members were among those killed

This is the moment an American guided missile struck a convoy of cars carrying Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani along with two Islamic Revolutionary Guards generals, a colonel, and a captain, killing all five

The devastating US drone has a range of 1,150 miles and is able to to fly at altitudes of 50,000 feet. It is an ‘armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance’ remotely piloted aircraft.

It is primarily used to execute targets – such as Soleimani – and secondarily to collect intelligence, according to the U.S. Air Force.

The drone is capable of annihilating targets with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles which provide ‘highly accurate’ and ‘low-collateral damage’ capabilities.

An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft making a rare public sighting in Nevada in November

AGM-114 Hellfire missiles – which are laser guided and subsonic – are so powerful that they are used to take out tanks. They can also be used as an air-to-air weapon against helicopters and other aircraft.

Fired upon Soleimani’s convoy, the 4,900-pound drone- which has a wingspan of 66 feet and a cruising speed of roughly 230mph – is said to have reduced two vehicles to smoldering wrecks and ‘torn to shreds’ the bodies of those inside.

The drone made a rare public sighting at Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada in November. The Aviationist reports that it was ‘nearly silent’ and ‘sent a collective shiver up air show viewers’ spines’.

Two officials from the PMF said Soleimani’s body was torn to pieces in the attack, while they did not find the body of al-Muhandis.

A senior politician said Soleimani’s body was identified by the ring he wore. Photos from the scene show a hand with large ring that looks identical to one Soleimani is seen wearing in old photos.

Local militia commander Abu Muntathar al-Hussaini told Reuters:

‘Haj Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were riding in one vehicle when it was struck by two successive guided missiles launched from an American helicopter while they were on their way from the arrivals hall on the road that leads out of Baghdad Airport.’

He said the second vehicle was carrying bodyguards from the PMF and was hit by one rocket.

While American forces did not make it clear how they had tracked Soleimani’s location, he is thought to be kept under near-constant surveillance by US, Saudi and Israeli security forces.

The New York Times reported that Friday’s attack drew upon a combination of highly classified information from informants, electronic intercepts, reconnaissance aircraft and other surveillance techniques.

The Defense Department said that the airstrike was justified to protect American lives.

‘General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,’ the Pentagon statement said.

The statement added that Soleimani ‘orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months’ including the embassy assault.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Soleimani’s assassination would strengthen resistance against the United States and Israel in the region and the world, Iranian state television reported.

‘The brutality and stupidity of American terrorist forces in assassinating Commander Soleimani … will undoubtedly make the tree of resistance in the region and the world more prosperous,’ Zarif said in a statement.

The high-profile assassinations are likely to be a massive blow to Iran, which has been locked in a long conflict with the United States that escalated sharply last week with an attack on the US embassy in Iraq by pro-Iranian militiamen.

A senior politician said Soleimani's body was identified by the ring (above) he often wore

The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (center in sunglasses), the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, which were responsible for the recent attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad

Soleimani’s killing marks a dramatic escalation in the regional ‘shadow war’ between Iran and the US and its allies, principally Israel and Saudi Arabia, which could quickly ratchet up tit-for-tat attacks – all the way to the brink of all-out war.

The slain commander’s Quds Force, along with its stable of paramilitary proxies from Lebanon’s Hezbollah to the PMF in Iraq – battle-hardened militias armed with missiles – has ample means to launch a multi-barrelled response against its enemies.

In September, US officials blamed Iran for a devastating missiles and drones attack on oil installations of Saudi Aramco, the Saudi state energy giant and world’s largest oil exporter. The Trump administration did not respond, beyond heated rhetoric and threats.

Iran, for its part, has absorbed scores of air strikes and missile attacks, mainly carried out by Israel against its fighters and proxies in Syria and Iraq.

But analysts say Iran is likely to respond forcefully to the targeting of Soleimani, who it has built into a legend as its influence has spread across the region in the wake of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and subsequent occupation.

This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike, in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020

This photo released by the Iraqi Prime Minister Press Office shows a burning vehicle at the Baghdad International Airport following an airstrike, in Baghdad, Iraq, early Friday, Jan. 3, 2020

The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force

The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force

Images taken after sunup on Friday show the twisted wreckage left behind by the US missile strike on two cars

 

Images taken after sunup on Friday show the twisted wreckage left behind by the US missile strike on two cars

PMF official said the dead also included its airport protocol officer, identifying him as Mohammed Reda (above)

Soleimani, who has led the foreign arm of the Revolutionary Guards and has had a key role in fighting in Syria and Iraq, acquired celebrity status at home and abroad.

The United States and Iran’s regional foes Saudi Arabia and Israel have struggled to keep Iran’s influence in check.

Soleimani survived several assassination attempts against him by Western, Israeli and Arab agencies over the past two decades.

His Quds Force, tasked with carrying out operations beyond Iran’s borders, shored up support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad when he looked close to defeat in the civil war raging since 2011 and also helped militiamen defeat Islamic State in Iraq.

He became head of the Quds Force in 1998, a position in which he kept a low profile for years while he strengthened Iran’s ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria’s government and Shi´ite militia groups in Iraq.

Muhandis, who was killed with Soleimani, oversaw Iraq´s PMF, an umbrella grouping of paramilitary groups mostly consisting of Iran-backed Shi´ite militias that was formally integrated into Iraqi armed forces.

Soleimani (right) is seen attending a religious ceremony with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a file photo. Soleimani was immensely popular in Iran and the Ayatollah has vowed 'harsh revenge'

Soleimani (right) is seen attending a religious ceremony with Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a file photo. Soleimani was immensely popular in Iran and the Ayatollah has vowed ‘harsh revenge’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7847795/How-airstrike-Iranian-general-unfolded-Baghdad.html

Qasem Soleimani

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Qasem Soleimani
Qasem Soleimani with Zolfaghar Order.jpg

Soleimani in his official military dress with the Order of Zolfaghar in 2019
Native name
قاسم سلیمانی
Nickname(s) Haj Qassem” (among supporters)[1]
“The Shadow Commander” (in the West)[2][3][4][5][6]
Born 11 March 1957
Qanat-e MalekKermanImperial State of Iran
Died 3 January 2020 (aged 62)[7]
Near Baghdad International AirportBaghdadIraq
Allegiance Iran
Service/branch Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
Years of service 1979–2020
Rank Major general
Lieutenant general (posthumously)
Commands held 41st Tharallah Division of Kerman
Quds Force
Battles/wars

See battles
Awards Order of Zolfaghar (1)[17]
Order of Fath (3)[18]

Qasem Soleimani (Persianقاسم سلیمانی‎, pronounced [ɢɒːseme solejmɒːniː]; 11 March 1957 – 3 January 2020), also spelled Qassem Suleimani or Qassim Soleimani, was an Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and from 1998 until his death, commander of its Quds Force, a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.

Soleimani began his military career in the beginning of the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s, during which he eventually commanded the 41st Division. He was later involved in extraterritorial operations, providing military assistance to Hezbollah in Lebanon. In 2012, Soleimani helped bolster the Syrian government, a key Iranian ally, during the Syrian Civil War, particularly in its operations against ISIS and its offshoots. Soleimani also assisted in the command of combined Iraqi government and Shia militia forces that advanced against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2014–2015.

Soleimani was killed in a targeted U.S. drone strike on 3 January 2020 in Baghdad, Iraq. Also killed were Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces members and its deputy head, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.[19] Soleimani was posthumously promoted to lieutenant general.[20] Soleimani was suceeded by Esmail Ghaani as commander of the Quds Force.[21]

Early life

Soleimani was born on 11 March 1957 in the village of Qanat-e MalekKerman Province,[22] to an impoverished peasant family. In his youth, he moved to the city of Kerman and worked as a construction worker to help repay a debt his father owed. In 1975, he began working as a contractor for the Kerman Water Organization.[23][24] When not at work, he spent his time lifting weights in local gyms and attending the sermons of a traveling preacher, Hojjat Kamyab, a protege of Ayatollah Khomeini.[25]

Military career

Soleimani joined the Revolutionary war Guard (IRGC) in 1979 following the Iranian Revolution, which saw the Shah fall and Ayatollah Khomeini take power. Reportedly, his training was minimal, but he advanced rapidly. Early in his career as a guardsman, he was stationed in northwestern Iran, and participated in the suppression of a Kurdish separatist uprising in West Azerbaijan Province.[25]

On 22 September 1980, when Saddam Hussein launched an invasion of Iran, setting off the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988), Soleimani joined the battlefield serving as the leader of a military company, consisting of men from Kerman whom he personally assembled and trained.[26] He quickly earned a reputation for bravery,[27] and rose through the ranks because of his role in the successful operations in retaking the lands Iraq had occupied, eventually becoming the commander of the 41st Sarallah Division while still in his 20s, participating in most major operations. He was mostly stationed at the southern front.[26][28] He was seriously injured in Operation Tariq-ol-Qods. In a 1990 interview, he mentioned Operation Fath-ol-Mobin as “the best” operation he participated in and “very memorable”, due to its difficulties yet positive outcome.[29] He was also engaged in leading and organizing irregular warfare missions deep inside Iraq carried out by the Ramadan Headquarters. It was at this point that Suleimani established relations with Kurdish Iraqi leaders and the Shia Badr Organization, both of which were opposed to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.[26]

On 17 July 1985, Soleimani opposed the IRGC leadership’s plan to deploy forces to two islands in western Arvandroud (Shatt al-Arab).[30]

After the war, during the 1990s, he was an IRGC commander in Kerman Province.[28] In this region, which is relatively close to Afghanistan, Afghan-grown opium travels to Turkey and on to Europe. Soleimani’s military experience helped him earn a reputation as a successful fighter against drug trafficking.[25]

During the 1999 student revolt in Tehran, Soleimani was one of the IRGC officers who signed a letter to President Mohammad Khatami. The letter stated that if Khatami did not crush the student rebellion the military would, and it might also launch a coup against Khatami.[25][31]

Command of Quds Force

Qasem Soleimani Reading Quran in Memorial ceremony of Akbar Hashemi

The exact date of his appointment as commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force is not clear, but Ali Alfoneh cites it as between 10 September 1997 and 21 March 1998.[24] He was considered one of the possible successors to the post of commander of the IRGC, when General Yahya Rahim Safavi left this post in 2007. In 2008, he led a group of Iranian investigators looking into the death of Imad Mughniyah. Soleimani helped arrange a ceasefire between the Iraqi Army and Mahdi Army in March 2008.[32]

Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, Ryan Crocker, a senior State Department official in the United States, flew to Geneva to meet with Iranian diplomats who were under the direction of Soleimani with the purpose of collaborating to destroy the Taliban, which had targeted Shia Afghanis.[25] This collaboration was instrumental in defining the targets of bombing operations in Afghanistan and in capturing key Al-Qaeda operatives, but abruptly ended in January 2002, when President George W. Bush named Iran as part of the “Axis of evil” in his State of the Union address.[25]

In 2009, a leaked report stated that General Soleimani met Christopher R. Hill and General Raymond T. Odierno (America’s two most senior officials in Baghdad at the time) in the office of Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani (who knew General Soleimani for decades). Hill and General Odierno denied the occurrence of the meeting.[33]

On 24 January 2011, Soleimani was promoted to Major General by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.[28][34] Khamenei was described as having a close relationship with him, calling Soleimani a “living martyr” and helping him financially.[25]

Soleimani was described as “the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today” and the principal military strategist and tactician in Iran’s effort to combat Western influence and promote the expansion of Shiite and Iranian influence throughout the Middle East.[25] In Iraq, as the commander of the Quds force, he was believed to have strongly influenced the organization of the Iraqi government, notably supporting the election of previous Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki.[25][35] Soleimani has even been described as being “Iran’s very own Erwin Rommel“.[36]

According to some sources, Soleimani was the principal leader and architect of the military wing of the Lebanese Shia party Hezbollah since his appointment as Quds commander in 1998.[25] In an interview aired in October 2019, he said he was in Lebanon during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war to oversee the conflict.[37]

Syrian Civil War

A map of Al-Qusayr and its environs. The Al-Qusayr offensive was allegedly masterminded by Soleimani[38]

According to several sources, including Riad Hijab, a former Syrian premier who defected in August 2012, he was also one of the staunchest supporters of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War.[25][35] In the later half of 2012, Soleimani assumed personal control of the Iranian intervention in the Syrian Civil War, when Iranians became deeply concerned about the Assad government’s lack of ability to fight the opposition, and the fallout to the Islamic Republic if the Syrian government fell. He was reported to have coordinated the war from a base in Damascus at which a Lebanese Hezbollah commander and an Iraqi Shiite militia coordinator have been mobilized, in addition to Syrian and Iranian officers. Brigadier General Hossein Hamadani, the Basij’s former deputy commander, helped to run irregular militias that Soleimani hoped to continue the fight if Assad fell.[25] Under Soleimani the command “coordinated attacks, trained militias, and set up an elaborate system to monitor rebel communications”. According to a Middle Eastern security official Dexter Filkins talked to, thousands of Quds Force and Iraqi Shiite militiamen in Syria were “spread out across the entire country.”[25] The retaking of Qusayr in May 2013 from rebel forces and Al-Nusra Front[39] was, according to John Maguire, a former CIA officer in Iraq, “orchestrated” by Soleimani.[25]

Soleimani was much credited in Syria for the strategy that assisted President Bashar al-Assad in finally repulsing rebel forces and recapture key cities and towns.[40] He was involved in the training of government-allied militias and the coordination of decisive military offensives.[25] The sighting of Iranian UAVs in Syria strongly suggested that his command, the Quds force, was involved in the civil war.[25] In a visit to the Lebanese capital Beirut on Thursday 29 January 2015, Soleimani laid wreaths at the graves of the slain Hezbollah members, including Jihad Mughniyah, the son of late Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah which strengthens some possibilities about his role in Hezbollah military reaction on Israel.[41]

Soleimani helped form of the National Defence Forces (NDF) in Syria.[42]

In October 2015, it was reported that he had been instrumental in devising during his visit to Moscow in July 2015 the Russian–Iranian–Syrian offensive in October 2015.[43]

War on ISIS in Iraq

The east of Saladin Governorate in Iraq, where Qasem Soleimani was involved in breaking the Siege of Amirli by ISIL[44]

Qasem Soleimani was in the Iraqi city of Amirli, to work with the Iraqi forces to push back militants from ISIL.[45][46] According to the Los Angeles Times, which reported that Amerli was the first town to successfully withstand an ISIS invasion, it was secured thanks to “an unusual partnership of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and U.S. warplanes”. The US acted as a force multiplier for a number of Iranian-backed armed groups—at the same time that was present on the battlefield.[47][48]

Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani prays in the Syrian desert during a local pro-government offensive in 2017.

A senior Iraqi official told the BBC that when the city of Mosul fell, the rapid reaction of Iran, rather than American bombing, was what prevented a more widespread collapse.[10] Qasem Soleimani also seems to have been instrumental in planning the operation to relieve Amirli in Saladin Governorate, where ISIL had laid siege to an important city.[44] In fact the Quds force operatives under Soleimani’s command seem to have been deeply involved with not only the Iraqi army and Shi’ite militias but also the Kurdish in the battle of Amirli,[49] not only providing liaisons for intelligence sharing but also the supply of arms and munitions in addition to “providing expertise”.[50]

In the operation to liberate Jurf Al Sakhar, he was reportedly “present on the battlefield”. Some Shia militia commanders described Soleimani as “fearless”—one pointing out that the Iranian general never wears a flak jacket, even on the front lines.[51]

Soleimani was also intimately involved in the planning and execution of the operation to liberate Tikrit[52][53]

Hadi al-Amiri, the former Iraqi minister of transportation and the head of the Badr Organization [an official Iraqi political party whose military wing is one of the largest armed forces in the country] highlighted the pivotal role of General Qasem Soleimani in defending Iraq’s Kurdistan Region against the ISIL terrorist group, maintaining that if it were not for Iran, Heidar al-Ebadi’s government would have been a government-in-exile right now[54] and he added there would be no Iraq if Gen. Soleimani hadn’t helped us.[55]

There were reports by some Western sources that Soleimani was seriously wounded in action against ISIL in Samarra. The claim was rejected by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.[56]

Soleimani played an integral role in the organisation and planning of the crucial operation to retake the city of Tikrit in Iraq from ISIS. The city of Tikrit rests on the left bank of the Tigris river and is the largest and most important city between Baghdad and Mosul, gifting it a high strategic value. The city fell to ISIS during 2014 when ISIS made immense gains in northern and central Iraq. After its capture, ISIL’s massacre at Camp Speicher led to 1,600 to 1,700 deaths of Iraqi Army cadets and soldiers. After months of careful preparation and intelligence gathering an offensive to encircle and capture Tikrit was launched in early March 2015.[53] Soleimani was directing the operations on the eastern flank from a village about 35 miles from Tikrit called Albu Rayash, captured over the weekend.[citation needed] The offensive was the biggest military operation in the Salahuddin region since the previous summer, when ISIS fighters killed hundreds of Iraq army soldiers who had abandoned their military base at Camp Speicher outside Tikrit.[citation needed]

Orchestration of military escalation in 2015

In 2015 Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad’s forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah.[57][58][59]

According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory—with Russia’s help. Qasem Soleimani’s visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iranian–Russian alliance in support of the Syrian (and Iraqi) governments. Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin. “Putin reportedly told the envoy ‘Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani’. General Soleimani went to explain the map of the theatre and coordinate the strategic escalation of military forces in Syria.[58]

Operations in Aleppo

Map of the offensive.[60][61][62][63][64][65]

Soleimani had a decisive impact on the theatre of operations and led to a strong advance in southern Aleppo with the government and allied forces re-capturing two military bases and dozens of towns and villages in a matter of weeks. There was also a series of major advances towards Kuweiris air-base to the north-east.[66] By mid-November, the Syrian army and its allies had gained ground in southern areas of Aleppo Governorate, capturing numerous rebel strongholds. Soleimani was reported to have personally led the drive deep into the southern Aleppo countryside where many towns and villages fell into government hands. He reportedly commanded the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division, Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi), Kata’ib Hezbollah (Iraqi), Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-Abbas (Iraqi), and Firqa Fatayyemoun (Afghan/Iranian volunteers).[67]

Soleimani was lightly wounded while fighting in Syria, outside of Al-Eis. Reports initially speculated that he was seriously or gravely injured.[68] He was quoted as saying, “Martyrdom is what I seek in mountains and valleys, but it isn’t granted yet”.[69]

In early February 2016, backed by Russian and Syrian air force airstrikes, the 4th Mechanized Division – in close coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Kata’eb Hezbollah, and Harakat Al-Nujaba – launched an offensive in Aleppo Governorate’s northern countryside,[70] which eventually broke the three-year siege of Nubl and Al-Zahraa and cut off rebel’s main supply route from Turkey. According to a senior, non-Syrian security source close to Damascus, Iranian fighters played a crucial role in the conflict. “Qassem Soleimani is there in the same area”, he said.[71] In December 2016, new photos emerged of Soleimani at the Citadel of Aleppo, though the exact date of the photos is unknown.[72][73]

Operations in 2016 and 2017

In 2016, photos published by a Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) source showed Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani and other PMF commanders discussing the Battle of Fallujah.[74]

In late March 2017, Soleimani was seen in the northern Hama Governorate countryside, reportedly aiding Maj. Gen. Suheil al-Hassan in repelling a major rebel offensive.[16]

CIA chief Mike Pompeo said that he sent Soleimani and other Iranian leaders a letter holding them responsible for any attacks on US interests by forces under their control. According to Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, a senior aide for Iran’s supreme leader, Soleimani ignored the letter when it was handed over to him during the Abu Kamal offensive against ISIL, saying “I will not take your letter nor read it and I have nothing to say to these people.”[75][76]

In politics

General Soleimani in civilian attire during a public ceremony in 2015

In 1999, Soleimani, along with other senior IRGC commanders, signed a letter to then-President Mohammad Khatami regarding the student protests in July. They wrote “Dear Mr. Khatami, how long do we have to shed tears, sorrow over the events, practice democracy by chaos and insults, and have revolutionary patience at the expense of sabotaging the system? Dear president, if you don’t make a revolutionary decision and act according to your Islamic and national missions, tomorrow will be so late and irrecoverable that cannot be even imagined.”[77]

Iranian media reported in 2012 that he might be replaced as the commander of Quds Force in order to allow him to run in the 2013 presidential election.[78] He reportedly refused to be nominated for the election.[77] According to BBC News, in 2015 a campaign started among conservative bloggers for Soleimani to stand for 2017 presidential election.[79] In 2016, he was speculated as a possible candidate,[77][80] however in a statement published on 15 September 2016, he called speculations about his candidacy as “divisive reports by the enemies” and said he will “always remain a simple soldier serving Iran and the Islamic Revolution”.[81]

In the summer of 2018, Soleimani and Tehran exchanged public remarks related to Red Sea shipping with American President Donald Trump which heightened tensions between the two countries and their allies in the region.[82]

Personal life

Qasem Soleimani while Praying

Soleimani was a Persian from Kerman. His father was a farmer who died in 2017. His mother, Fatemeh, died in 2013.[83] He came from a family of nine and had five sisters and one brother, Sohrab, who lived and worked with Soleimani in his youth.[84] Sohrab Soleimani is a warden and former director general of the Tehran Prisons Organization. The United States imposed sanctions on Sohrab Soleimani in April 2017 “for his role in abuses in Iranian prisons”.[85]

Soleimani had Dan in karate and was a fitness trainer in his youth. He had four children: two sons and two daughters.[86]

Sanctions

In March 2007, Soleimani was included on a list of Iranian individuals targeted with sanctions in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747.[87] On 18 May 2011, he was sanctioned again by the United States along with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and other senior Syrian officials due to his alleged involvement in providing material support to the Syrian government.[88]

On 24 June 2011, the Official Journal of the European Union said the three Iranian Revolutionary Guard members now subject to sanctions had been “providing equipment and support to help the Syrian government suppress protests in Syria”.[89] The Iranians added to the EU sanctions list were two Revolutionary Guard commanders, Soleimani, Mohammad Ali Jafari, and the Guard’s deputy commander for intelligence, Hossein Taeb.[90] Soleimani was also sanctioned by the Swiss government in September 2011 due to the same grounds cited by the European Union.[91]

He was listed by the United States as a known terrorist, which forbade U.S. citizens from doing business with him.[32][92] The list, published in the EU’s Official Journal on 24 June 2011, also included a Syrian property firm, an investment fund and two other enterprises accused of funding the Syrian government. The list also included Mohammad Ali Jafari and Hossein Taeb.[93]

On 13 November 2018, the United States sanctioned an Iraqi military leader named Shibl Muhsin ‘Ubayd Al-Zaydi and others who allegedly were acting on Qasem Soleimani’s behalf in financing military actions in Syria or otherwise providing support for terrorism in the region.[94]

Death

Qasem Soleimani (left) with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (right) at a 2017 ceremony commemorating the father of Soleimani, in Mosalla, Tehran.

Soleimani was killed on 3 January 2020 around 1 am local time (22:00 UTC on 2 January)[95], after missiles shot from American drones targeted his convoy near Baghdad International Airport.[96] He had just left his plane, which arrived in Iraq from Lebanon or Syria.[97] His body was identified using a ring he wore on his finger, with DNA confirmation still pending.[98] Also killed were four members of the Popular Mobilization Forces, including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi-Iranian military commander who headed the PMF.[99]

The airstrike followed attacks on the American embassy in Baghdad by supporters of an Iran-backed Iraqi Shia militia and the 2019 K-1 Air Base attack.[100]

The United States Department of Defense issued a statement that said the U.S. strike was carried out “at the direction of the President” and asserted that Soleimani had been planning further attacks on American diplomats and military personnel and had approved the attacks on the American embassy in Baghdad in response to U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on 29 December 2019 and was meant to deter future attacks.[101][102]

Soleimani was posthumously promoted to lieutenant general.[103][20] He was suceeded by Esmail Ghaani as commander of the Quds Force.[21]

Cultural depictions

He was described as having “a calm presence”,[104] and as carrying himself “inconspicuously and rarely rais[ing] his voice”, exhibiting “understated charisma“.[27] In Western sources, Suleimani’s personality was compared to the fictional characters KarlaKeyser Söze,[27] and The Scarlet Pimpernel.[105]

Unlike other IRGC commanders, he usually did not appear in his official military clothing, even in the battlefield.[106][107]

In January 2015, Hadi Al-Ameri the head of the Badr Organization in Iraq said of him: “If Qasem Soleimani were not present in Iraq, Haider al-Abadi would not be able to form his cabinet within Iraq”.[108]

The British magazine The Week featured Soleimani in bed with Uncle Sam in 2015, which indicated to both sides fighting ISIS, although Soleimani was leading militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans during the Iraq War.[109]

The 2016 movie Bodyguard, directed by Ebrahim Hatamikia, was inspired by Soleimani’s activities.[110]

The 2016 Persian book Noble Comrades 17: Hajj Qassem, written by Ali Akbari Mozdabadi, contains memoirs of Qassem Soleimani.[111]

See also

References …

External links

How Trump decided to kill Iran’s Soleimani

The U.S. strike against Tehran’s feared paramilitary commander followed months of Iranian attacks.

Qassem Soleimani

Hours before the U.S. military sent a Reaper drone to kill one of the most wanted men on the planet, President Donald Trump was relaxing at his palatial Florida properties. In the morning, he played 18 holes at Trump International, his West Palm Beach golf club.

At around 3 p.m., he returned to Mar-a-Lago, the historic oceanfront estate he’s branded “the Winter White House,” and waited, donning a navy blue suit with a powder-blue tie and an American flag pinned to his lapel.

He’d already made a risky—and potentially world-altering—decision to allow the U.S. military to kill Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite paramilitary forces. Earlier this week, he’d been surrounded at Mar-a-Lago by top officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland. Throughout the entire week, Trump sought input from other advisers by phone.

“He was calm, cool and collected,” said conservative radio host Howie Carr, who spoke with Trump on Thursday at Mar-a-Lago soon after the news first broke, as the president dined with GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy. “I had no idea there was anything out of the ordinary going on until I got home.”

As rocket attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq intensified over the last two months, the president had granted the Pentagon extraordinary latitude: The U.S. military had his permission to kill Soleimani the next time it had an opportunity to do so, according to a senior defense official who was not authorized to speak on the record.

“We had authority before the strike to take that action,” said the official, who wouldn’t say how recently Trump gave the Pentagon that authorization—whether it was hours, weeks or even months earlier. As recently as New Year’s Eve, the president was telling reporters that he didn’t want war with Iran.

For a man U.S. officials have portrayed as a terrorist mastermind, an evil genius responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, Soleimani often flaunted his influence as he jetted between Tehran, Baghdad and Beirut for meetings with local potentates.

“I don’t think it was so hard [to find him] because he was not below the radar in the last two or three years,” said a former senior Israeli government official, who noted that Soleimani had previously moved around under strict operational secrecy. “But the last two or three years, he worked in the open.”

Former national security adviser John Bolton, a vocal advocate of regime change in Iran, described the killing of Soleimani as “long in the making.”

“We’ve known every minute of every day where Soleimani is for years—there’s no moment of any given day where five or six intelligence agencies can’t tell you where he is,” a Republican foreign policy hand said. “It’s been one of his talking points: The Americans can find me any time, they just don’t dare hit me.”

That calculation proved misguided in the wee hours of January 3 in Iraq, where Soleimani landed amid spiraling tensions between U.S.- and Iranian-allied factions. “He arrived at the airport and we had a target of opportunity, and based on the president’s direction, we took it,” the senior defense official said.

U.S. officials had received “an intelligence-based assessment that drove our decision-making process,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday, describing how the recent killing of an American contractor had changed the Trump team’s calculations about the “intelligence flow” they were receiving about Soleimani’s activities in Iraq.

U.S. officials, briefing conservative think-tank experts on Friday, said the U.S. had “exquisite intelligence” on a plot to strike Americans in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, according to someone familiar with the call. By killing Soleimani, the officials said, they disrupted such plans.

A night of confusion and rumors

The first dispatches from Baghdad on Thursday evening were cryptic. “Several Katyusha rockets have been fired at Baghdad airport, causing multiple casualties amid tensions with US,” the AP alert read.

Then, suggestions that something major had just gone down began trickling in. Word that someone—presumably the United States—had just killed Iran’s pre-eminent strategist first posted online shortly before 7 p.m. in Washington.

As journalists scrambled to confirm and make sense of the rumors flying around, Iraqi state television announced that Soleimani, along with several of Iran’s top Iraqi allies, had been killed. A BBC reporter shared a grisly image purporting to show Soleimani’s mangled hand, complete with his signature ruby ring; other photographs claiming to be of the remains of the convoy he was traveling in circulated online.

Photographs taken around this time showed President Trump huddling with McCarthy and White House aides Jared Kushner, Hogan Gidley and Dan Scavino at Mar-a-Lago.

“A memorable and historic evening at The Winter White House. Proud of our President!” McCarthy posted later on his Instagram feed.

It wasn’t until 9:46 p.m. on Thursday that the U.S. government officially confirmed Soleimani’s death, in the form of a terse, 163-word Pentagon press release emailed to reporters.

“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the statement read.

But his television surrogates were quick to supply their inside accounts.

Dialing into Fox News from his vacation, conservative commentator Sean Hannity—a close Trump confidant—shared what he’d heard from “one person familiar that was in the room.”

“The president said, ‘Our people will be protected. This will not be Benghazi,’” Hannity relayed.

“At one point,” the Fox host continued, “the president asked the question among some of his military and Cabinet and intelligence and State Department people, ‘Well, how long is it going to take to mobilize?’ And the words [came back from the president], ‘That’s not fast enough,’ and everybody said, ‘Yes, sir.’ And they got it done in really record time.”

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, another of the president’s close allies on Capitol Hill who was with him at Mar-a-Lago, described the president’s mood on Thursday evening as “very focused.”

“I think he was really dialed into the ways in which Soleimani was planning to kill Americans, to harm our diplomats and to throw the entire region into civil war,” Gaetz said on Fox News. “I think we understand that this is a big moment in time. He appreciates the gravity of that.”

The White House seems to have informed only its closest congressional allies ahead of the move, with top Hill Democrats complaining that they hadn’t been informed in advance.

“I was briefed about the potential operation when I was down in Florida,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who was with the president at Mar-a-Lago earlier this week, told Fox News on Friday morning. “I appreciate being brought into the orbit.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper appeared to warn Iran of the coming strikes hours beforehand on Thursday, amid a discussion of the recent attacks on U.S. bases by Iraqi militias tied to Iran.

In what might have been a sign of preparation for the strike, Pompeo cancelled a trip to Ukraine and several other countries this week to monitor the tensions in Iraq.

State Department officials summoned the Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. for a meeting Thursday afternoon, according to a person familiar with the situation. It was not clear what exactly was discussed.

“I think it’s been in the works for a while because I don’t think it was a last-minute thing,” a Middle Eastern official said. “I don’t think they were like, ‘Oh we just found him, let’s take him out.’ I think it was to mitigate an action that was actually in the works.”

“Tracking Solemani was likely something that was being done from at least May, when the major stream of threats emerged,” a former defense official said.

Actually targeting Soleimani posed a more formidable challenge, though, according to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Nagata, a former senior special operations commander in the Middle East who retired as strategy head at the National Counterterrorism Center last summer. “That depends on being able to know not only where he is, but where he’s going to be at a specific time in the future,” Nagata said.

That, in part, was why “we never decided to go after him personally” before, Nagata said – especially in earlier years when Soleimani maintained a lower profile and traveled less often, the military was reluctant to devote surveillance assets to a target few believed any president would ever allow to be struck.

“Soleimani was the spider at the center of the web, so there were recurring conversations over the years about what it would take to do something about him,” Nagata explained. “But what you had to grapple with was, ‘This is going to divert time, energy and resources from other tasks, and for a mission that I have no confidence we’re going to go through with.’”

Consultation with Israel

Pompeo held several phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent weeks, suggesting that Israel was not surprised by the strike against Soleimani.

Before departing on Thursday morning for Greece, Netanyahu told reporters in Israel, “We are in continuous contact with our great friend the U.S., including my conversation yesterday afternoon. I want to make one thing clear: We fully support all of the steps that the U.S. has taken as well as its full right to defend itself and its citizens.”

By Friday morning, Pompeo was dialing up his counterparts in foreign capitals, including Moscow and Beijing, to stress that the strike was a “defensive action” and that the U.S. hopes for a de-escalation in the crisis.

Iranian officials were warning of a severe reaction, and the Parliament in Baghdad was voting to bar U.S. troops from Iraq even as U.S. officials were planning to send more forces to the region. European diplomats traded anxious phone calls, warning about the potential for further regional chaos.

And Trump himself was finally weighing in, explaining and justifying the decision with a barrage of tweets and retweets. “He should have been taken out many years ago!” the president wrote.

Asked about the U.S. plan for managing the potential blowback from Iran, a U.S. defense official said, “Your guess is as good as mine. The ball’s in Iran’s court at this time. We’re waiting to see what their response is.”

Nancy Cook, Quint Forgey and Caitlin Oprysko contributed reporting.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/03/donald-trump-iran-soleimani-093371

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Impeachment Insanity Insults Independents Integrity — Videos

Posted on December 20, 2019. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Congress, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Culture, Education, Elections, Employment, Entertainment, Faith, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Radio, Speech, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , |

Impeachment Insanity Insults Independents Integrity — Videos

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Trump impeached: The votes, the reaction and what’s next

Trump reacts to impeachment vote at Michigan rally

Trump impeachment: Mitch McConnell speaks on the Senate floor | FULL

Pelosi wants the Senate to clean up the House’s work: Grassley

Robert Ray: Pelosi doesn’t have power to dictate what the Senate will do

Jordan and Biggs on Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to submit articles of impeachment to the Senate

President Trump: “Democrats … are declaring their deep

hatred and disdain for the American voter.”

Ratcliffe: Trump didn’t get caught, Schiff got caught with the whistleblower

Michigan Trump supporters voice their opinions on impeachment efforts

Why Trump supporters say they’re sticking by their president

Schiff met with boos, angry constituents at town hall

Mitch McConnell threatens to CANCEL Donald Trump’s Senate trial if ‘scared’ Nancy Pelosi does not hand over ‘slapdash’ articles of impeachment – as Speaker slams him as a ‘ROGUE leader’ and president gloats he will be cleared by ‘default’

  • Nancy Pelosi forced the Trump impeachment across the finish line Wednesday
  • Now the process moves to a U.S. Senate trial but Pelosi said she’s in no hurry
  • She blasted Senate leader Mitch McConnell for saying he’s not an ‘impartial’ juror, and declared she won’t hand him the baton without a pledge of ‘fairness’
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing for witness subpoenas that Republicans don’t want to agree to
  • Impeachment trial can’t start until Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy choose ‘managers’ to carry the House’s case to the Senate 
  • McConnell slammed Pelosi in a floor speech and warned the Senate’s more patient pace will have a ‘calming’ influence after ‘slapdash’ impeachment
  • President Donald Trump warned that ‘[t]he Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s Senate’s call!’

Mitch McConnell threatened on Thursday to cancel Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate if ‘scared’ Nancy Pelosi refuses to send him the formal articles of impeachment that Democrats passed Wednesday night.

The Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority leader went to war over next steps in the impeachment process, with Pelosi slamming McConnell as a ‘rogue leader’⁠—and he blasted her indictment of the president as ‘slapdash’ and ‘unfair.’

The dispute exploded into the open the morning after Democrats voted to impeach Trump, with the president bragging he could prevaIl by ‘default.’

‘If the Do Nothing Democrats decide, in their great wisdom, not to show up, they would lose by Default!,’ Trump argued on Twitter of his upcoming Senate trial, which is now in doubt.

Pelosi has to transmit the articles of impeachment and appoint ‘managers’ to prosecute the president. She offered no timeline, saying she wanted to see the Senate’s plan for a ‘fair trial,’ effectively holding the articles over McConnell’s and Trump’s heads.

McConnell, who previously said he wanted to hold a trial in January, responded: ‘It’s beyond me how the Speaker and Democratic Leader in the Senate think withholding the articles of impeachment and not sending them over gives them leverage.’

‘Frankly, I’m not anxious to have the trial. If she thinks her case is so weak she doesn’t want to send it over, throw me into that briar patch.’

Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers are exploring the legal question of whether or not Trump has even been impeached since Pelosi hasn’t sent over the articles, Bloomberg News reported.

They argue, based on how the impeachment process is laid out in the Constitution, an impeachment isn’t formalized until the House reports the charges to the Senate.

Open warfare: Nancy Pelosi slammed Mitch McConnell as a 'rogue leader' and he called her articles of impeachment 'slapdash' and 'unfair' as the two clashed over the Senate trial of Donald Trump

Open warfare: Nancy Pelosi slammed Mitch McConnell as a ‘rogue leader’ and he called her articles of impeachment ‘slapdash’ and ‘unfair’ as the two clashed over the Senate trial of Donald Trump

‘Lawyers close to Trump are exploring whether Pelosi’s decision to temporarily withhold articles of impeachment from the Senate could mean that the president hasn’t actually been impeached. The case is largely rhetorical, but could provide WH and Senate Republicans leverage,’ Bloomberg reported.

Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson are both labeled as ‘impeached’ even though neither president was convicted in their respective Senate trials.

The legal and historic argument was a president is impeached when the House approves articles of impeachment. But the additional element of the transfer of the articles to the Senate adds a legal question that could require a court answer if the articles aren’t transmitted soon.

Meanwhile, McConnell and the president both blasted Pelosi for refusing to move to the next step, with Trump unleashing a storm of tweets and retweets and venting: ‘PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT.’

The president also charged Democrats with being ‘ashamed’ of the impeachment articles.

‘They don’t want to put them in because they’re ashamed of them,’ he said Thursday in the Oval Office.

McConnell also criticized Democrats on the Senate floor, accusing them of creating what he called an ‘unfair, unfinished product’— charges that stemmed from ‘partisan rage.’

Calling Pelosi’s work ‘constitutionally incoherent,’ he said impeaching a president on the basis of political disagreements would ‘invite an endless parade of impeachable trials’ in the future, making House leaders ‘free to toss up a jump-ball every time they feel angry.’

‘She’s failed the country,’ McConnell said.

‘It was like the speaker called up Chairman [Jerrold] Nadler and ordered up “One impeachment, rushed delivery, please”.’

Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate minority leader accused McConnell of offering no defense of Trump's actions

President Donald Trump held a rally as House Democrats were passing the arrticles, sticking to his guns and mocking the

Pelosi herself held a press conference after McConnell spoke and offered no hint on when she would move.

‘Just to get this off the table right away, we impeached the president immediately and everybody was on to the next thing,’ she said.

‘The next thing will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate. Then we’ll know the number of managers that we may have to go forward and who we would choose.’

And she grew testy as reporters pressed her for more details on when the two articles of impeachment will end up on McConnell’s desk.

‘I’m not going to answer anymore questions on this. Clearly you understand when we see what their process is we will know who and how many we want to send over, not until then. I’m not going to go there anymore,’ Pelosi said.

 Our founders, when they wrote the constitution, they suspected that there could be a rogue president. I don’t think they suspected that we could have a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.
 Nancy Pelosi

But she did react angrily to McConnell’s speech, saying: ‘I saw some – I didn’t see it – but heard some of what Mitch McMconnell said today and it reminded me that our founders, when they wrote the constitution, they suspected that there could be a rogue president.

‘ I don’t think they suspected that we could have a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.’

In the Senate, McConnell declared that ‘their slapdash process has concluded in the first purely partisan presidential impeachment since the wake of the Civil War.’

Citing previous House votes that fell short of authorizing impeachment inquiries, he said Democrats had ‘tried to impeach President Trump for being impolite to the press, for being mean to professional athletes, for changing President Obama’s policy on transgender people in the military.’

‘All of these things were high crimes and misdemeanors according to the Democrats,’ he said.

McConnell cited Democrats’ earlier pledges to impeach Trump as proof that Wednesday’s vote ‘was not some neutral judgment that Democrats came to with great reluctance. It was the predetermined end of a partisan crusade that began before President Trump was even nominated, let alone sworn in.’

House Democrats have begun pressing Pelosi to force the Senate to tailor the upcoming constitutional trial to their wishes—by refusing to send the articles of impeachment to McConnell until he agrees to their terms.

 Frankly, I’m not anxious to have the trial. If she thinks her case is so weak she doesn’t want to send it over, throw me into that briar patch
Mitch McConnell

McConnell called her bluff, saying she’s afraid to hand him the baton because she knows the articles are weak.

‘Pelosi suggested that House Democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate,’ he will say, mocking her suggestion in a post-vote press conference that she’ll hold the two articles over his head until he agrees to a ‘fair’ trial.

In response Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate minority leader accused McConnell of offering no defense of Trump’s actions.

He renewed his call for witnesses at the trial saying: ‘Is the president’s case so weak that none of the President’s men can defend him under oath?’

And echoing McConnell’s criticism of ‘the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history,’ Schumer said the Republicans were ‘plotting the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment trial.

A defiant Trump partially quoted the Senate’s rules for impeaching President Andrew Johnson in 1868, saying in a tweet that ‘[t]he Senate shall set the time and place of the trial.’

‘The Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s Senate’s call!’ he warned, saying they would ‘lose by default’ if they decided to ignore whatever schedule McConnell sets.

‘PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!’ Trump tweeted in a standalone message.

 

Schumer this week demanded McConnell agree to swear in a list of trial witnesses that include senior Trump administration officials and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, people who House Democrats decided not to subpoena during their impeachment inquiry.

McConnell said Schumer has been ‘searching for ways the Senate could step out of our proper role and try to fix House Democrats’ failures for them.’

George Washington is said to have told Thomas Jefferson that the U.S. Senate was designed to be a calming counterpoint to the more raucous House of Representatives, in the way a teacup’s saucer ‘cools’ a hot beverage.

McConnell, famous for embracing a plodding style when key legislation is on his desk, leaned on the oft-quoted ‘cooling saucer of democracy’—saying that the U.S. Constitution’s framers ‘built the Senate to provide stability’ and ‘[t]o keep partisan passions from boiling over. Moments like this are why the United States Senate exists.’

Pelosi told reporters after adjourning the House of Representatives on Wednesday night that she’s in no hurry to send the two articles of impeachment to McConnell for a trial. Her caucus passed them without any Republican votes, accusing Trump of abusing his power and showing open contempt for Democrats’ investigation by blocking witnesses and document demands.

The Articles of Impeachment were approved Wednesday night with no Republican votes; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted 'present' instead of 'yes,' and two other Democrats bucked Pelosi to openly side with the GOP

The Republican-led Senate owns the next chapter of the saga, a trial where Chief Justice John Roberts will preside. An unlikely two-thirds supermajority is required to convict the president and remove him from office.

McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, expects his Republican majority to exonerate Trump. But that can’t happen until impeachment ‘managers,’ duos chosen by both parties, present the Senate with the twin impeachment articles.

Pelosi said Wednesday night that she won’t be ready to let go of the process until McConnell demonstrates the trial will be ‘fair’—and she’s nowhere near convinced yet.

The Washington Post quoted Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer overnight saying he has talked to three dozen Democratic lawmakers who favor ’rounding out the record and spending the time to do this right.’

‘At a minimum, there ought to be an agreement about access to witnesses, rules of the game, timing,’ Blumenauer said of the upcoming Senate trial.

And an unnamed Democrat told the newspaper that Democrats are discussing ‘serious concern about whether there will be a fair trial on the Senate side.’

Impeachment managers are appointed via House resolutions; Thursday is the last day the House will be in session until January 7.

Trump vented about his political plight at a political rally in Michigan while House Democrats were voting to impeach him in Washington

‘So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,’ she warned. ‘So hopefully it will be fairer. And when see what that is, we’ll send our managers.’

‘Let me tell you what I don’t consider a fair trial,’ Pelosi said as she read from a piece of paper an aide handed her.

‘This is what I don’t consider a fair trial, that Leader McConnell has stated that he’s not an impartial juror, that he’s going to take his ‘cues’ from the White House, and he is working in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office.’

Article I: Abuse of Power

Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election.

Accused: Donald Trump has two articles of impeachment against him
Accused: Donald Trump has two articles of impeachment against him

He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage.

President Trump also sought to pressure the Government of Ukraine to take these steps by conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine on its public announcement of the investigations.

President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit. In so doing, President Trump used the powers of the Presidency in a manner that compromised the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.’

Article II: Obstruction of Congress

As part of this impeachment inquiry, the Committees undertaking the investigation served subpoenas seeking documents and testimony deemed vital to the inquiry from various Executive Branch agencies and offices, and current and former officials.

In response, without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas. President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the ‘sole Power of Impeachment’ vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.

In the history of the Republic, no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively the ability of the House of Representatives to investigate ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

This abuse of office served to cover up the President’s own repeated misconduct and to seize and control the power of impeachment — and thus to nullify a vital constitutional safeguard vested solely in the House of Representatives.

In Michigan, a sweat-glowing Trump said during a raucous campaign rally that he expects no drama.

‘The Republican Party has never been so affronted, but they’ve never been so united as they are right now, ever. Never,’ the president said.

‘And I know the senators and they’re great guys. And women too. We have some great women, we have great guys, they’re great people. They love this counry. They’re going to do the right thing.’

‘Americans will show up by the tens of millions next year to vote Pelosi the hell out of office,’ Trump boasted, calling for the restoration of a Republican House majority.

On the eve of the House impeachment vote, a few thousand protestors carried signs and marched from Times Square to Union Square in New York City
In theory Pelosi could sit on the paperwork indefinitely, leaving Trump in constitutional purgatory while blaming Senate Republicans for dooming the process with partisanship.

In the meantime, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is pressing McConnell for permission to call a list of witnesses who Democrats want to hear from.

House Democrats denied Republicans the ability to call witnesses of their choice in Intelligence and Judiciary Committee hearings during the impeachment process.

Pelosi’s gambit could be resolved once Schumer has exhausted his leverage.

‘We have done what we set out to do,’ she said, adding that ‘right now, the president is impeached.’

‘We’ll see what happens over there.’

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Sustainable Garbage In Garbage Out — Energy and Land Boom — Videos

Posted on December 19, 2019. Filed under: Anthropology, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Crisis, Cult, Culture, Diet, Documentary, Education, Employment, Enivornment, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Immigration, Investments, Journalism, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Money, Newspapers, People, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Security, Social Sciences, Success, Technology, Trade, Transportation, Video, Welfare, Wisdom, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Governor Cuomo America Never GreatSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

The Coasters – Yakety Yak

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Trashopolis Season 2 Preview!

Trashopolis S02 E01: Mexico

Trashopolis S02 E02: Jerusalem

Trashopolis S02 E03: Tokyo

Trashopolis S02 E04: Los Angeles

Trashopolis S02 E05: Mumbai

Trashopolis S02 E06: Berlin

Trashopolis S02 E07: Moscow

Trashopolis S02 E08: Montreal

  • S01E01 New York

    • September 2, 2010

    The year is 43 AD. A Roman outpost on the banks of the Thames River, called Londinium, is rapidly expanding. Roman builders use trash to support the docks of the new port — today that trash reveals fascinating details of daily life in the ancient city. London prospers, and the constant struggle with trash generates huge public projects that alter the shape of the city and affect the lives of every Londoner. An Englishman invents the world’s first toilet. Trash helps Britain win two World Wars but leads to the tragic deaths of thousands, by smog. Today, London continues to experiment with new ways of converting trash to energy, such as the construction of the world’s largest trash incinerator.

  • S01E02 Cairo

    • September 9, 2010

    When the Dutch buy Manhattan, the island is a swampy marsh. But trash, and enormous mounds of giant oyster shells, help build the New Amsterdam Seaport into the most profitable port in the New World. Garbage and recycling becomes big business — controlled by crooked politicians, and New York’s most ruthless gangsters. A Civil War Hero creates the city’s Department of Sanitation, and takes New York’s trash back from the crooks. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers die a gruesome death from cholera, spread by waste contaminated drinking water. Urban planner Robert Moses uses trash to build New York City’s expressways, bridges, and parks. Organized crime extorts millions from businesses. The activist Freegans eat trash thrown out by the supermarkets. An artist stuffs trash into small plastic boxes and sells them as art. A 50 million dollar project in Brooklyn uses a new kind of trash to build a park on the shores of the East River.

  • S01E03 Paris

    • September 16, 2010

    When the walls of the city’s largest cemetery collapse, decomposing bodies tumble out – and six thousand corpses are moved into the tunnels of the catacombs. Terrified by ancient beliefs, Parisians refuse to bathe – and develop the art of perfume to mask their body odors. The Chief of Police orders the streets to be paved, and streetlights to be installed. A Baron vows to rid Paris of its filth, and demolishes slums, creates the grand avenues of Paris, and builds hundreds of miles of new sewers. A Parisian invents the garbage can. 60,000 ragpickers create the world’s most famous flea market. A band of modern day activists refuse to throw anything away, and turn trash into sculpture, and dead batteries and wine bottle corks into cash.

  • S01E04 Rome

    • September 23, 2010

    Roman Emperors reflect the power and the glory of the Empire in their monuments, temples, fountains and aqueducts. Demons lurk below the public toilets. Slaves build the greatest sewer in the world. The Visigoths storm the walls and a millennium of darkness and despair decimates the population from one million to less than fifty thousand. The Roman Catholic Church regains the glory of ancient Rome by rebuilding the aqueducts, restoring the fountains, and passing new trash laws. A zealous Pope “cleanses” the Jewish population, exiling thousands to a ghetto within the city walls – and restricting their occupations to trash collecting. Mussolini lusts for immortality – and attempts to associate his rule with the ancient Emperors by championing vast public works, and using slave labor. Modern day sanitation experts excavate Rome’s oldest landfill. Rome’s ruins compete for space with traffic circles and luxury hotels, and a new kind of visual trash begins to obscure the glory and beauty.

  • S01E05 London

    • September 30, 2010

    Cairo’s Zabaleen – the traditional garbage people – collect the city’s trash by hand and haul it home on donkey drawn carts. Vast slums in the heart of the city are filled with mountains of stinking garbage, and in the alleys and roof tops, Zabaleen women and children sort trash for recycling. 300,000 pigs raised by the Zabaleen eat what can’t be re-sold, a practice that began in the days of King Tut. Following the Romans, a tribe of slave warriors called the Mamelukes defeat the Christian Crusaders. Under Islamic rule, Cairo flourishes with strict laws regulating the disposal of trash, and public sanitation. Napoleon invades, and a large section of Cairo is rebuilt – inspired by the architects and engineers who rescued Paris from its own sewage and trash. Today, Cairo awards sanitation contracts to multinational corporations, and the Zablaeen take to the streets and begin a desperate fight to protect their livelihood.

Season 2

  • S02E01 Mexico City

    • January 1, 2012

    Mexico City is sinking. The sewers are overflowing, the landfills are closing, and mountains of Trash from iconic celebrations like the Day of the Dead have nowhere to go. But the city is fighting back.

  • S02E02 Jerusalem

  • S02E03 Tokyo

    • January 1, 2012

    Whether Super Hi-Tech or Japanese Traditional, Tokyo’s 33 million people always find a way to turn their Trash into something useful.

  • S02E04 Los Angeles

    • January 1, 2012

    Angelenos dumped their Trash into the river, the studios trashed film stock and movie sets in the desert – and no one dreamt what horrors the future might bring.

  • S02E05 Mumbai

  • S02E06 Berlin

  • S02E07 Moscow

  • S02E08 Montreal

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Bill Bonner — Hormegeddon: How Too Much of a Good Thing Leads To Disaster — Videos

Posted on July 13, 2019. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Faith, Family, Farming, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health, history, History of Economic Thought, Immigration, Investments, Journalism, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Money, Narcissism, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Plays, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Reviews, Security, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Trade, Trade Policiy, Transportation, Wealth, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Why Public Policy Always Ends in Disaster

It’s Hormeggedon! What Happens When Public Policy Passes the Point of No Return

Bill Bonner Interview: hold on to your cash, the real financial crisis is yet to come

Bill Bonner on the financial markets WORLD.MINDS INTERVIEW

How to Profit from the Death of Retail. Guest Bill Bonner.

Bill Bonner (author)

 MoneyWeek magazine,[2] and his daily financial column Bill Bonner’s Diary.[3]

Contents

Biography

Bonner was born in 1948.[4] He attended the University of New Mexico and Georgetown University Law School, and he began work with Jim Davidson, at the National Taxpayers Union.[citation needed]

Bonner was a director of MoneyWeek from 2003 to 2009.[4]

Works

Bonner co-authored Financial Reckoning Day: Surviving The Soft Depression of The 21st Century and Empire of Debt with Addison Wiggin. He also co-authored Mobs, Messiahs and Marketswith Lila Rajiva. The latter publication won the GetAbstract International Book Award for 2008.[5] He has previously co-authored two short pamphlets with British media historian, John Campbell, and with The Times former editor, Lord William Rees-Mogg, and has co-edited a book of essays with intellectual historian, Pierre Lemieux.[6]

In his two financial books, as well as in The Daily Reckoning, Bonner has argued that the financial future of the United States is in peril because of various economic and demographic trends, not the least of which is America’s large trade deficit. He claims that America’s foreign policy exploits are tantamount to the establishment of an empire, and that the cost of maintaining such an empire could accelerate America’s eventual decline. Bonner argues in his latest book that mob and mass delusions are part of the human condition.[citation needed]

Bonner warned in 2015 that the credit system, which has been the essential basis of the US economy since the 1950s, will inevitably fail, leading to catastrophic failure of the banking system.[7][8]

In June 2016, Bill Bonner, via his company Agora, paid for an advertisement on Reuters describing a new law that would not allow Americans to take money out of their own USA accounts. The ad reads: “New Law Cracks Down on Right to Use Cash. Americans are reporting problems taking their own money out of US banks.” The advertisement does not cite the law (the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act or FATCA[9]) to which it refers.

References

  1. ^ “Bill Bonner, Author at LewRockwell LewRockwell.com”.
  2. ^ https://moneyweek.com/author/bill-bonner/
  3. ^ Bill Bonner’s Diary
  4. Jump up to:a bhttps://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/04016750/officers
  5. ^ “getAbstract International Book Award”.
  6. ^ Bonner, Bill; Lemieux, Pierre (2003). The Idea of America. Agora Health Books. ISBN 1891434136.
  7. ^ “Bill Bonner: hold on to your cash, the real financial crisis is yet to come”. MoneyWeek. March 3, 2015.
  8. ^ Wiggins, Addison (June 29, 2015). “When Genius Fails Again”. Forbes. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  9. ^ Sahadi, Jeanne (June 4, 2015). “You’ve never seen IRS penalties like these”CNNMoney. Retrieved 2016-08-01.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Bonner_(author)

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Dinesh D’Souza — The Big Lie: Exposing The Nazi Roots of The American Left — Videos

Posted on June 8, 2019. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Comedy, Communications, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Documentary, Education, Employment, Energy, Faith, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Journalism, Law, liberty, Links, Literacy, Mastery, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Politics, Psychology, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Security, Sociology, Spying, State, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Taxation, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

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D’Souza reveals SHOCKING truth about FDR

Dinesh D’Souza: My pardon is dangerous to left’s ideology

Dinesh D’Souza on Clinton Foundation documentary

Never-before-seen clip from ‘Hillary’s America’

Dinesh D’Souza on Democratic Party ties to Fascism & Nazism “They liked it” (Book TV)

Dinesh D’Souza SPECIAL EVENT at Yale University

The ‘Big Lie’: Dinesh D’Souza Exposes Neo-Nazi Roots of the Progressive Left

Dinesh D’Souza – The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left

What Is Fascism?

Italy Under Fascism (ca 1930s)

Mussolini’s Foreign Policy in the 1920s & 1930s pt1 Prof. John Gooch

Rick Steves’ The Story of Fascism

Fascism and Mussolini | The 20th century | World history | Khan Academy

Mussolini becomes Prime Minister | The 20th century | World history | Khan Academy

Mussolini aligns with Hitler | The 20th century | World history | Khan Academy

Ten Minute History – Mussolini and Fascist Italy (Short Documentary)

Learn History: Top 5 Things to Know About Benito Mussolini

From Socialist to Fascist – Benito Mussolini in World War 1 I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson On The Impact Of the Radical Left

Identity politics and the Marxist lie of white privilege

The Choice We All Have , But Only a Few Apply It | Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson on Why People Are So Unhappy

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Jordan Peterson On Importance Of Reading

Jordan Peterson about Universities, Education and personal Growth

Jordan Peterson: “There was plenty of motivation to take me out. It just didn’t work” | British GQ

Joe Rogan Experience #1139 – Jordan Peterson

Jordan B. Peterson on 12 Rules for Life

See the source image

See the source imageSee the source image

 

Fascism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Benito Mussolini (left) and Adolf Hitler(right), the fascist leaders of Italy and Nazi Germany, respectively

Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of radical, right-wingauthoritarian ultranationalism,[1][2][3][4] characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy,[5] which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.[6] The first fascist movements emerged in Italy during World War I before it spread to other European countries.[6] Opposed to liberalismMarxism, and anarchism, fascism is placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes to the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and the total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilians and combatants. A “military citizenship” arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war.[12][13] The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[12][13]

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete and regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.[14] Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.[14] Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation.[15][16][17][18] Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky(national economic self-sufficiency) through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.[19]

Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far-right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th-century fascist movements.[6][20]

Contents

Etymology

The Italian term fascismo is derived from fascio meaning “a bundle of sticks”, ultimately from the Latin word fasces.[21] This was the name given to political organizations in Italy known as fasci, groups similar to guilds or syndicates. According to Mussolini‘s own account, the Fascist Revolutionary Party (Partito Fascista Rivoluzionario or PFR) was founded in Italy in 1915.[22] In 1919, Mussolini founded the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento in Milan, which became the Partito Nazionale Fascista (National Fascist Party) two years later. The Fascists came to associate the term with the ancient Roman fasces or fascio littorio[23]—a bundle of rods tied around an axe,[24] an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrate[25] carried by his lictors, which could be used for corporal and capital punishment at his command.[26][27]

The symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break.[28] Similar symbols were developed by different fascist movements: for example, the Falange symbol is five arrows joined together by a yoke.[29]

Definitions

Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have long debated the exact nature of fascism.[30] Each group described as fascist has at least some unique elements, and many definitions of fascism have been criticized as either too wide or narrow.[31][32]

One common definition of the term focuses on three concepts:

  1. the fascist negations (anti-liberalismanti-communism, and anti-conservatism);
  2. nationalist authoritarian goals of creating a regulated economic structure to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture; and
  3. a political aesthetic of romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence, and promotion of masculinity, youth, and charismatic leadership.[33][34][35]

According to many scholars, fascism—especially once in power—has historically attacked communism, conservatism, and parliamentary liberalism, attracting support primarily from the far-right.[36]

Historian Stanley Payne identifies three main strands in fascism. His typology is regularly cited by reliable sources as a standard definition. First, Payne’s “fascist negations” refers to such typical policies as anti-communism and anti-liberalism. Second, “fascist goals” include a nationalist dictatorship and an expanded empire. Third, “fascist style” is seen in its emphasis on violence and authoritarianism and its exultation of men above women and young against old.[37]

Roger Griffin describes fascism as “a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populistultranationalism“.[38] Griffin describes the ideology as having three core components: “(i) the rebirth myth, (ii) populist ultra-nationalism, and (iii) the myth of decadence”.[39] Fascism is “a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti-conservative nationalism” built on a complex range of theoretical and cultural influences. He distinguishes an inter-war period in which it manifested itself in elite-led but populist “armed party” politics opposing socialism and liberalism and promising radical politics to rescue the nation from decadence.[40]

Robert Paxton says that fascism is “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion”.[41]

Racism was a key feature of German fascism, as they made the Holocaust a high priority. According to the historiography of genocide, “In dealing with the Holocaust, it is the consensus of historians that Nazi Germany targeted Jews as a race, not as a religious group.”[42] Umberto Eco,[43]Kevin Passmore,[44] John Weiss,[45] Ian Adams,[46] and Moyra Grant[47] stress racism as a characteristic component of German fascism. The Encyclopedia Britannica says, “Hitler envisioned the ideal German society as a Volksgemeinschaft, a racially unified and hierarchically organized body in which the interests of individuals would be strictly subordinate to those of the nation, or Volk.”[48] Fascist philosophies vary by application, but remain distinct by one theoretic commonality. All traditionally fall into the far-right sector of any political spectrum, catalyzed by afflicted class identities over conventional social inequities[6]

Historian John Lukacs argues that there is no such thing as generic fascism. He claims that National Socialism and communism are essentially manifestations of populism and that states such as National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy are more different than similar.[49]

Position in the political spectrum

Most scholars place fascism on the far right of the political spectrum.[6][7][8][9][10][11] Such scholarship focuses on its social conservatism and its authoritarian means of opposing egalitarianism.[50][51] Roderick Stackelberg places fascism—including Nazism, which he says is “a radical variant of fascism”—on the political right by explaining: “The more a person deems absolute equality among all people to be a desirable condition, the further left he or she will be on the ideological spectrum. The more a person considers inequality to be unavoidable or even desirable, the further to the right he or she will be”.[52]

Fascism’s origins, however, are complex and include many seemingly contradictory viewpoints, ultimately centered around a myth of national rebirth from decadence.[53] Fascism was founded during World War I by Italian national syndicalists who drew upon both left-wing organizational tactics and right-wing political views.[54]

Italian Fascism gravitated to the right in the early 1920s.[55][56] A major element of fascist ideology that has been deemed to be far-right is its stated goal to promote the right of a supposedly superior people to dominate, while purging society of supposedly inferior elements.[57]

In the 1920s, the Italian Fascists described their ideology as right-wing in the political program The Doctrine of Fascism, stating: “We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the ‘right,’ a fascist century”.[58][59] Mussolini stated that fascism’s position on the political spectrum was not a serious issue for fascists: “Fascism, sitting on the right, could also have sat on the mountain of the center … These words in any case do not have a fixed and unchanged meaning: they do have a variable subject to location, time and spirit. We don’t give a damn about these empty terminologies and we despise those who are terrorized by these words”.[60]

Major Italian groups politically on the right, especially rich landowners and big business, feared an uprising by groups on the left such as sharecroppers and labour unions.[61] They welcomed Fascism and supported its violent suppression of opponents on the left.[62] The accommodation of the political right into the Italian Fascist movement in the early 1920s created internal factions within the movement. The “Fascist left” included Michele BianchiGiuseppe BottaiAngelo Oliviero OlivettiSergio Panunzio, and Edmondo Rossoni, who were committed to advancing national syndicalism as a replacement for parliamentary liberalism in order to modernize the economy and advance the interests of workers and common people.[63] The “Fascist right” included members of the paramilitary Squadristi and former members of the Italian Nationalist Association (ANI).[63] The Squadristi wanted to establish Fascism as a complete dictatorship, while the former ANI members, including Alfredo Rocco, sought to institute an authoritarian corporatist state to replace the liberal state in Italy while retaining the existing elites.[63] Upon accommodating the political right, there arose a group of monarchist fascists who sought to use fascism to create an absolute monarchy under King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy.[63]

After King Victor Emmanuel III forced Mussolini to resign as head of government and placed him under arrest in 1943, Mussolini was rescued by German forces. While continuing to rely on Germany for support, Mussolini and the remaining loyal Fascists founded the Italian Social Republic with Mussolini as head of state. Mussolini sought to re-radicalize Italian Fascism, declaring that the Fascist state had been overthrown because Italian Fascism had been subverted by Italian conservatives and the bourgeoisie.[64] Then the new Fascist government proposed the creation of workers’ councils and profit-sharing in industry, although the German authorities, who effectively controlled northern Italy at this point, ignored these measures and did not seek to enforce them.[64]

A number of post-World War II fascist movements described themselves as a “third position” outside the traditional political spectrum.[65] Spanish Falangist leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera said: “[B]asically the Right stands for the maintenance of an economic structure, albeit an unjust one, while the Left stands for the attempt to subvert that economic structure, even though the subversion thereof would entail the destruction of much that was worthwhile”.[66]

“Fascist” as a pejorative

The term “fascist” has been used as a pejorative,[67] regarding varying movements across the far right of the political spectrum.[68] George Orwell wrote in 1944 that “the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless … almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist'”.[68]

Communist states have sometimes been referred to as “fascist”, typically as an insult. For example, it has been applied to Marxist regimes in Cuba under Fidel Castro and Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh.[69] Chinese Marxists used the term to denounce the Soviet Union during the Sino-Soviet Split, and likewise the Soviets used the term to denounce Chinese Marxists[70] and social democracy (coining a new term in “social fascism“).

In the United States, Herbert Matthews of The New York Times asked in 1946: “Should we now place Stalinist Russia in the same category as Hitlerite Germany? Should we say that she is Fascist?”.[71] J. Edgar Hoover, longtime FBI director and ardent anti-communist, wrote extensively of “Red Fascism”.[72] The Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s was sometimes called “fascist”. Historian Peter Amann states that, “Undeniably, the Klan had some traits in common with European fascism—chauvinism, racism, a mystique of violence, an affirmation of a certain kind of archaic traditionalism—yet their differences were fundamental….[the KKK] never envisioned a change of political or economic system.”[73]

Professor Richard Griffiths of the University of Wales[74] wrote in 2005 that “fascism” is the “most misused, and over-used word, of our times”.[32] “Fascist” is sometimes applied to post-World War II organizations and ways of thinking that academics more commonly term “neo-fascist“.[75]

History

Nineteenth-century roots

According to Encyclopædia Britannica[better source needed] the roots of fascism are either tied to the Jacobin movement or a 19th-century backlash against the Enlightenment.[76] Historians such as Irene Collins and Howard C Payne see Napoleon III, who ran a ‘police state’ and suppressed the media, as a forerunner of fascism.[77] According to David Thomson,[78] the Italian Risorgimento of 1871 led to the ‘nemesis of fascism’. William L Shirer[79] sees a continuity from the views of Fichte and Hegel, through Bismarck, to Hitler; Robert Gerwarth speaks of a ‘direct line’ from Bismarck to Hitler.[80] Julian Dierkes sees fascism as a ‘particularly violent form of Imperialism‘.[81]

Fin de siècle era and the fusion of Maurrasism with Sorelianism (1880–1914)

The historian Zeev Sternhell has traced the ideological roots of fascism back to the 1880s and in particular to the fin de siècle theme of that time.[82][83] The theme was based on a revolt against materialismrationalismpositivism, bourgeois society and democracy.[84] The fin-de-siècle generation supported emotionalismirrationalismsubjectivism and vitalism.[85] The fin-de-sièclemindset saw civilization as being in a crisis that required a massive and total solution.[84] The fin-de-siècle intellectual school considered the individual only one part of the larger collectivity, which should not be viewed as an atomized numerical sum of individuals.[84] They condemned the rationalistic individualism of liberal society and the dissolution of social links in bourgeois society.[84]

The fin-de-siècle outlook was influenced by various intellectual developments, including Darwinian biologyWagnerian aestheticsArthur de Gobineau‘s racialismGustave Le Bon‘s psychology; and the philosophies of Friedrich NietzscheFyodor Dostoyevsky and Henri Bergson.[86] Social Darwinism, which gained widespread acceptance, made no distinction between physical and social life, and viewed the human condition as being an unceasing struggle to achieve the survival of the fittest.[86] Social Darwinism challenged positivism’s claim of deliberate and rational choice as the determining behaviour of humans, with social Darwinism focusing on heredity, race, and environment.[86] Social Darwinism’s emphasis on biogroup identity and the role of organic relations within societies fostered legitimacy and appeal for nationalism.[87] New theories of social and political psychology also rejected the notion of human behaviour being governed by rational choice and instead claimed that emotion was more influential in political issues than reason.[86] Nietzsche’s argument that “God is dead” coincided with his attack on the “herd mentality” of Christianity, democracy and modern collectivism; his concept of the übermensch; and his advocacy of the will to power as a primordial instinct, were major influences upon many of the fin-de-siècle generation.[88] Bergson’s claim of the existence of an “élan vital” or vital instinct centred upon free choice and rejected the processes of materialism and determinism; this challenged Marxism.[89]

Gaetano Mosca in his work The Ruling Class (1896) developed the theory that claims that in all societies an “organized minority” will dominate and rule over the “disorganized majority”.[90][91]Mosca claims that there are only two classes in society, “the governing” (the organized minority) and “the governed” (the disorganized majority).[92] He claims that the organized nature of the organized minority makes it irresistible to any individual of the disorganized majority.[92]

French nationalist and reactionary monarchist Charles Maurras influenced fascism.[93] Maurras promoted what he called integral nationalism, which called for the organic unity of a nation and Maurras insisted that a powerful monarch was an ideal leader of a nation. Maurras distrusted what he considered the democratic mystification of the popular will that created an impersonal collective subject.[93] He claimed that a powerful monarch was a personified sovereign who could exercise authority to unite a nation’s people.[93] Maurras’ integral nationalism was idealized by fascists, but modified into a modernized revolutionary form that was devoid of Maurras’ monarchism.[93]

French revolutionary syndicalist Georges Sorel promoted the legitimacy of political violence in his work Reflections on Violence (1908) and other works in which he advocated radical syndicalist action to achieve a revolution to overthrow capitalism and the bourgeoisie through a general strike.[94]In Reflections on Violence, Sorel emphasized need for a revolutionary political religion.[95] Also in his work The Illusions of Progress, Sorel denounced democracy as reactionary, saying “nothing is more aristocratic than democracy”.[96] By 1909 after the failure of a syndicalist general strike in France, Sorel and his supporters left the radical left and went to the radical right, where they sought to merge militant Catholicism and French patriotism with their views—advocating anti-republican Christian French patriots as ideal revolutionaries.[97] Initially Sorel had officially been a revisionist of Marxism, but by 1910 announced his abandonment of socialist literature and claimed in 1914, using an aphorism of Benedetto Croce that “socialism is dead” because of the “decomposition of Marxism”.[98] Sorel became a supporter of reactionary Maurrassian nationalism beginning in 1909 that influenced his works.[98] Maurras held interest in merging his nationalist ideals with Sorelian syndicalism as a means to confront democracy.[99]Maurras stated “a socialism liberated from the democratic and cosmopolitan element fits nationalism well as a well made glove fits a beautiful hand”.[100]

The fusion of Maurrassian nationalism and Sorelian syndicalism influenced radical Italian nationalist Enrico Corradini.[101] Corradini spoke of the need for a nationalist-syndicalist movement, led by elitist aristocrats and anti-democrats who shared a revolutionary syndicalist commitment to direct action and a willingness to fight.[101] Corradini spoke of Italy as being a “proletarian nation” that needed to pursue imperialism in order to challenge the “plutocratic” French and British.[102] Corradini’s views were part of a wider set of perceptions within the right-wing Italian Nationalist Association (ANI), which claimed that Italy’s economic backwardness was caused by corruption in its political class, liberalism, and division caused by “ignoble socialism”.[102] The ANI held ties and influence among conservatives, Catholics and the business community.[102] Italian national syndicalists held a common set of principles: the rejection of bourgeois values, democracy, liberalism, Marxisminternationalism and pacifism; and the promotion of heroismvitalism and violence.[103] The ANI claimed that liberal democracy was no longer compatible with the modern world, and advocated a strong state and imperialism, claiming that humans are naturally predatory and that nations were in a constant struggle, in which only the strongest could survive.[104]

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Italian modernist author of the Futurist Manifesto (1909) and later the co-author of the Fascist Manifesto (1919)

Futurism was both an artistic-cultural movement and initially a political movement in Italy led by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti who founded the Futurist Manifesto (1908), that championed the causes of modernism, action, and political violence as necessary elements of politics while denouncing liberalism and parliamentary politics. Marinetti rejected conventional democracy based on majority rule and egalitarianism, for a new form of democracy, promoting what he described in his work “The Futurist Conception of Democracy” as the following: “We are therefore able to give the directions to create and to dismantle to numbers, to quantity, to the mass, for with us number, quantity and mass will never be—as they are in Germany and Russia—the number, quantity and mass of mediocre men, incapable and indecisive”.[105]

Futurism influenced fascism in its emphasis on recognizing the virile nature of violent action and war as being necessities of modern civilization.[106] Marinetti promoted the need of physical training of young men, saying that in male education, gymnastics should take precedence over books, and he advocated segregation of the genders on this matter, in that womanly sensibility must not enter men’s education whom Marinetti claimed must be “lively, bellicose, muscular and violently dynamic”.[107]

Benito Mussolini (here in 1917 as a soldier in World War I), who in 1914 founded and led the Fasci d’Azione Rivoluzionaria to promote the Italian intervention in the war as a revolutionary nationalistaction to liberate Italian-claimed lands from Austria-Hungary

World War I and its aftermath (1914–1929)

At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the Italian political left became severely split over its position on the war. The Italian Socialist Party (PSI) opposed the war but a number of Italian revolutionary syndicalists supported war against Germany and Austria-Hungary on the grounds that their reactionary regimes had to be defeated to ensure the success of socialism.[108] Angelo Oliviero Olivetti formed a pro-interventionist fascio called the Fasci of International Action in October 1914.[108] Benito Mussolini upon being expelled from his position as chief editor of the PSI’s newspaper Avanti! for his anti-German stance, joined the interventionist cause in a separate fascio.[109] The term “Fascism” was first used in 1915 by members of Mussolini’s movement, the Fasci of Revolutionary Action.[110]

The first meeting of the Fasci of Revolutionary Action was held on 24 January 1915[111] when Mussolini declared that it was necessary for Europe to resolve its national problems—including national borders—of Italy and elsewhere “for the ideals of justice and liberty for which oppressed peoples must acquire the right to belong to those national communities from which they descended”.[111] Attempts to hold mass meetings were ineffective and the organization was regularly harassed by government authorities and socialists.[112]

German soldiers parading through Lübeck in the days leading up to World War I. Johann Plenge‘s concept of the “Spirit of 1914” identified the outbreak of war as a moment that forged nationalistic German solidarity

Similar political ideas arose in Germany after the outbreak of the war. German sociologist Johann Plenge spoke of the rise of a “National Socialism” in Germany within what he termed the “ideas of 1914” that were a declaration of war against the “ideas of 1789” (the French Revolution).[113]According to Plenge, the “ideas of 1789” that included rights of man, democracy, individualism and liberalism were being rejected in favor of “the ideas of 1914” that included “German values” of duty, discipline, law and order.[113] Plenge believed that racial solidarity (Volksgemeinschaft) would replace class division and that “racial comrades” would unite to create a socialist society in the struggle of “proletarian” Germany against “capitalist” Britain.[113] He believed that the “Spirit of 1914” manifested itself in the concept of the “People’s League of National Socialism”.[114] This National Socialism was a form of state socialism that rejected the “idea of boundless freedom” and promoted an economy that would serve the whole of Germany under the leadership of the state.[114] This National Socialism was opposed to capitalism because of the components that were against “the national interest” of Germany, but insisted that National Socialism would strive for greater efficiency in the economy.[114][115] Plenge advocated an authoritarian rational ruling elite to develop National Socialism through a hierarchical technocratic state.[116]

Impact of World War I

Fascists viewed World War I as bringing revolutionary changes in the nature of war, society, the state and technology, as the advent of total war and mass mobilization had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant, as civilians had become a critical part in economic production for the war effort and thus arose a “military citizenship” in which all citizens were involved to the military in some manner during the war.[12][13] World War I had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines or provide economic production and logistics to support those on the front lines, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[12][13] Fascists viewed technological developments of weaponry and the state’s total mobilization of its population in the war as symbolizing the beginning of a new era fusing state power with mass politics, technology and particularly the mobilizing myth that they contended had triumphed over the myth of progress and the era of liberalism.[12]

Members of Italy’s Arditi corps (here in 1918 holding daggers, a symbol of their group), which was formed in 1917 as groups of soldiers trained for dangerous missions, characterized by refusal to surrender and willingness to fight to the death. Their black uniforms inspired those of the Italian Fascist movement.

Impact of the Bolshevik Revolution

The October Revolution of 1917—in which Bolshevik communists led by Vladimir Lenin seized power in Russia—greatly influenced the development of fascism.[117] In 1917, Mussolini, as leader of the Fasci of Revolutionary Action, praised the October Revolution, but later he became unimpressed with Lenin, regarding him as merely a new version of Tsar Nicholas.[118] After World War I, fascists have commonly campaigned on anti-Marxist agendas.[117]

Liberal opponents of both fascism and the Bolsheviks argue that there are various similarities between the two, including that they believed in the necessity of a vanguard leadership, had disdain for bourgeois values and it is argued had totalitarian ambitions.[117] In practice, both have commonly emphasized revolutionary action, proletarian nation theories, one-party states and party-armies.[117] However, both draw clear distinctions from each other both in aims and tactics, with the Bolsheviks emphasizing the need for an organized participatory democracy and an egalitarian, internationalist vision for society while the fascists emphasize hyper-nationalism and open hostility towards democracy, envisioning a hierarchical social structure as essential to their aims.

With the antagonism between anti-interventionist Marxists and pro-interventionist Fascists complete by the end of the war, the two sides became irreconcilable. The Fascists presented themselves as anti-Marxists and as opposed to the Marxists.[119] Mussolini consolidated control over the Fascist movement, known as Sansepolcrismo, in 1919 with the founding of the Fasci italiani di combattimento.

The Fascist Manifesto of 1919

In 1919, Alceste De Ambris and Futurist movement leader Filippo Tommaso Marinetti created The Manifesto of the Italian Fasci of Combat (the Fascist Manifesto).[120] The Manifesto was presented on 6 June 1919 in the Fascist newspaper Il Popolo d’Italia. The Manifesto supported the creation of universal suffrage for both men and women (the latter being realized only partly in late 1925, with all opposition parties banned or disbanded);[121] proportional representation on a regional basis; government representation through a corporatist system of “National Councils” of experts, selected from professionals and tradespeople, elected to represent and hold legislative power over their respective areas, including labour, industry, transportation, public health, communications, etc.; and the abolition of the Italian Senate.[122] The Manifesto supported the creation of an eight-hour work day for all workers, a minimum wage, worker representation in industrial management, equal confidence in labour unions as in industrial executives and public servants, reorganization of the transportation sector, revision of the draft law on invalidity insurance, reduction of the retirement age from 65 to 55, a strong progressive tax on capital, confiscation of the property of religious institutions and abolishment of bishoprics, and revision of military contracts to allow the government to seize 85% of profits.[123] It also called for the fulfillment of expansionist aims in the Balkans and other parts of the Mediterranean,[124] the creation of a short-service national militia to serve defensive duties, nationalization of the armaments industry and a foreign policy designed to be peaceful but also competitive.[125]

Residents of Fiume cheer the arrival of Gabriele d’Annunzio and his blackshirt-wearing nationalist raiders, as D’Annunzio and Fascist Alceste De Ambrisdeveloped the quasi-fascist Italian Regency of Carnaro (a city-state in Fiume) from 1919 to 1920 and whose actions by D’Annunzio in Fiume inspired the Italian Fascist movement

The next events that influenced the Fascists in Italy was the raid of Fiume by Italian nationalist Gabriele d’Annunzio and the founding of the Charter of Carnaro in 1920.[126] D’Annunzio and De Ambris designed the Charter, which advocated national-syndicalist corporatistproductionism alongside D’Annunzio’s political views.[127] Many Fascists saw the Charter of Carnaro as an ideal constitution for a Fascist Italy.[128] This behaviour of aggression towards Yugoslavia and South Slavs was pursued by Italian Fascists with their persecution of South Slavs—especially Slovenes and Croats.

Italian Fascists in 1920

In 1920, militant strike activity by industrial workers reached its peak in Italy and 1919 and 1920 were known as the “Red Years”.[129]Mussolini and the Fascists took advantage of the situation by allying with industrial businesses and attacking workers and peasants in the name of preserving order and internal peace in Italy.[130]

Fascists identified their primary opponents as the majority of socialists on the left who had opposed intervention in World War I.[128] The Fascists and the Italian political right held common ground: both held Marxism in contempt, discounted class consciousness and believed in the rule of elites.[131] The Fascists assisted the anti-socialist campaign by allying with the other parties and the conservative right in a mutual effort to destroy the Italian Socialist Party and labour organizations committed to class identity above national identity.[131]

Fascism sought to accommodate Italian conservatives by making major alterations to its political agenda—abandoning its previous populismrepublicanism and anticlericalism, adopting policies in support of free enterprise and accepting the Catholic Church and the monarchy as institutions in Italy.[132] To appeal to Italian conservatives, Fascism adopted policies such as promoting family values, including promotion policies designed to reduce the number of women in the workforce limiting the woman’s role to that of a mother. The fascists banned literature on birth control and increased penalties for abortion in 1926, declaring both crimes against the state.[133] Though Fascism adopted a number of anti-modern positions designed to appeal to people upset with the new trends in sexuality and women’s rights—especially those with a reactionary point of view—the Fascists sought to maintain Fascism’s revolutionary character, with Angelo Oliviero Olivetti saying: “Fascism would like to be conservative, but it will [be] by being revolutionary”.[134] The Fascists supported revolutionary action and committed to secure law and order to appeal to both conservatives and syndicalists.[135]

Prior to Fascism’s accommodations to the political right, Fascism was a small, urban, northern Italian movement that had about a thousand members.[136] After Fascism’s accommodation of the political right, the Fascist movement’s membership soared to approximately 250,000 by 1921.[137]

Fascist violence in 1922

Beginning in 1922, Fascist paramilitaries escalated their strategy from one of attacking socialist offices and homes of socialist leadership figures to one of violent occupation of cities. The Fascists met little serious resistance from authorities and proceeded to take over several northern Italian cities.[138] The Fascists attacked the headquarters of socialist and Catholic labour unions in Cremona and imposed forced Italianization upon the German-speaking population of Trent and Bolzano.[138] After seizing these cities, the Fascists made plans to take Rome.[138]

Benito Mussolini with three of the four quadrumvirsduring the March on Rome (from left to right: unknown, de Bono, Mussolini, Balbo and de Vecchi)

On 24 October 1922, the Fascist party held its annual congress in Naples, where Mussolini ordered Blackshirts to take control of public buildings and trains and to converge on three points around Rome.[138] The Fascists managed to seize control of several post offices and trains in northern Italy while the Italian government, led by a left-wing coalition, was internally divided and unable to respond to the Fascist advances.[139] King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy perceived the risk of bloodshed in Rome in response to attempting to disperse the Fascists to be too high.[140] Victor Emmanuel III decided to appoint Mussolini as Prime Minister of Italy and Mussolini arrived in Rome on 30 October to accept the appointment.[140] Fascist propaganda aggrandized this event, known as “March on Rome“, as a “seizure” of power because of Fascists’ heroic exploits.[138]

Fascist Italy

Historian Stanley G. Payne says Fascism in Italy was:

A primarily political dictatorship….The Fascist Party itself had become almost completely bureaucratized and subservient to, not dominant over, the state itself. Big business, industry, and finance retained extensive autonomy, particularly in the early years. The armed forces also enjoyed considerable autonomy….The Fascist militia was placed under military control….The judicial system was left largely intact and relatively autonomous as well. The police continued to be directed by state officials and were not taken over by party leaders…nor was a major new police elite created….There was never any question of bringing the Church under overall subservience…. Sizable sectors of Italian cultural life retained extensive autonomy, and no major state propaganda-and-culture ministry existed….The Mussolini regime was neither especially sanguinary nor particularly repressive.[141]

Mussolini in power

Upon being appointed Prime Minister of Italy, Mussolini had to form a coalition government because the Fascists did not have control over the Italian parliament.[142] Mussolini’s coalition government initially pursued economically liberal policies under the direction of liberal finance minister Alberto De Stefani, a member of the Center Party, including balancing the budget through deep cuts to the civil service.[142] Initially, little drastic change in government policy had occurred and repressive police actions were limited.[142]

The Fascists began their attempt to entrench Fascism in Italy with the Acerbo Law, which guaranteed a plurality of the seats in parliament to any party or coalition list in an election that received 25% or more of the vote.[143] Through considerable Fascist violence and intimidation, the list won a majority of the vote, allowing many seats to go to the Fascists.[143] In the aftermath of the election, a crisis and political scandal erupted after Socialist Party deputy Giacomo Matteotti was kidnapped and murdered by a Fascist.[143] The liberals and the leftist minority in parliament walked out in protest in what became known as the Aventine Secession.[144] On 3 January 1925, Mussolini addressed the Fascist-dominated Italian parliament and declared that he was personally responsible for what happened, but insisted that he had done nothing wrong. Mussolini proclaimed himself dictator of Italy, assuming full responsibility over the government and announcing the dismissal of parliament.[144] From 1925 to 1929, Fascism steadily became entrenched in power: opposition deputies were denied access to parliament, censorship was introduced and a December 1925 decree made Mussolini solely responsible to the King.[145]

Catholic Church

In 1929, the Fascist regime briefly gained what was in effect a blessing of the Catholic Church after the regime signed a concordat with the Church, known as the Lateran Treaty, which gave the papacy state sovereignty and financial compensation for the seizure of Church lands by the liberal state in the nineteenth century, but within two years the Church had renounced Fascism in the Encyclical Non Abbiamo Bisogno as a “pagan idolotry of the state” which teaches “hatred, violence and irreverence”.[146] Not long after signing the agreement, by Mussolini’s own confession the Church had threatened to have him “excommunicated”, in part because of his intractable nature and that he had “confiscated more issues of Catholic newspapers in the next three months than in the previous seven years”.[147] By the late 1930s, Mussolini became more vocal in his anti-clerical rhetoric, repeatedly denouncing the Catholic Church and discussing ways to depose the pope. He took the position that the “papacy was a malignant tumor in the body of Italy and must ‘be rooted out once and for all,’ because there was no room in Rome for both the Pope and himself”.[148] In her 1974 book, Mussolini’s widow Rachele stated that her husband had always been an atheist until near the end of his life, writing that her husband was “basically irreligious until the later years of his life”.[149]

The National Socialists of Germany employed similar anti-clerical policies. The Gestapo confiscated hundreds of monasteries in Austria and Germany, evicted clergymen and laymen alike and often replaced crosses with a swastikas.[150] Referring to the swastika as the “Devil’s Cross”, church leaders found their youth organizations banned, their meetings limited and various Catholic periodicals censored or banned. Government officials eventually found it necessary to place “Nazis into editorial positions in the Catholic press”.[151] Up to 2,720 clerics, mostly Catholics, were arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned inside of Germany’s Dachau concentration camp, resulting in over 1,000 deaths.[152]

Corporatist economic system

The Fascist regime created a corporatist economic system in 1925 with creation of the Palazzo Vidioni Pact, in which the Italian employers’ association Confindustria and Fascist trade unions agreed to recognize each other as the sole representatives of Italy’s employers and employees, excluding non-Fascist trade unions.[153] The Fascist regime first created a Ministry of Corporations that organized the Italian economy into 22 sectoral corporations, banned workers’ strikes and lock-outs and in 1927 created the Charter of Labour, which established workers’ rights and duties and created labour tribunals to arbitrate employer-employee disputes.[153] In practice, the sectoral corporations exercised little independence and were largely controlled by the regime and employee organizations were rarely led by employees themselves, but instead by appointed Fascist party members.[153]

Aggressive foreign policy

In the 1920s, Fascist Italy pursued an aggressive foreign policy that included an attack on the Greek island of Corfu, aims to expand Italian territory in the Balkans, plans to wage war against Turkey and Yugoslavia, attempts to bring Yugoslavia into civil war by supporting Croat and Macedonian separatists to legitimize Italian intervention and making Albania a de facto protectorate of Italy, which was achieved through diplomatic means by 1927.[154] In response to revolt in the Italian colony of Libya, Fascist Italy abandoned previous liberal-era colonial policy of cooperation with local leaders. Instead, claiming that Italians were a superior race to African races and thereby had the right to colonize the “inferior” Africans, it sought to settle 10 to 15 million Italians in Libya.[155] This resulted in an aggressive military campaign known as the Pacification of Libya against natives in Libya, including mass killings, the use of concentration camps and the forced starvation of thousands of people.[155] Italian authorities committed ethnic cleansing by forcibly expelling 100,000 Bedouin Cyrenaicans, half the population of Cyrenaica in Libya, from their settlements that was slated to be given to Italian settlers.[156][157]

Hitler adopts Italian model

Nazis in Munich during the Beer Hall Putsch

The March on Rome brought Fascism international attention. One early admirer of the Italian Fascists was Adolf Hitler, who less than a month after the March had begun to model himself and the Nazi Party upon Mussolini and the Fascists.[158] The Nazis, led by Hitler and the German war hero Erich Ludendorff, attempted a “March on Berlin” modeled upon the March on Rome, which resulted in the failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich in November 1923.[159]

International impact of the Great Depression and the buildup to World War II

Benito Mussolini (left) and Adolf Hitler (right)

The conditions of economic hardship caused by the Great Depression brought about an international surge of social unrest. According to historian Philip Morgan, “the onset of the Great Depression…was the greatest stimulus yet to the diffusion and expansion of fascism outside Italy”.[160] Fascist propaganda blamed the problems of the long depression of the 1930s on minorities and scapegoats: “JudeoMasonicbolshevik” conspiracies, left-wing internationalism and the presence of immigrants.

In Germany, it contributed to the rise of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which resulted in the demise of the Weimar Republic and the establishment of the fascist regime, Nazi Germany, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. With the rise of Hitler and the Nazis to power in 1933, liberal democracy was dissolved in Germany and the Nazis mobilized the country for war, with expansionist territorial aims against several countries. In the 1930s, the Nazis implemented racial laws that deliberately discriminated against, disenfranchised and persecuted Jews and other racial and minority groups.

Fascist movements grew in strength elsewhere in Europe. Hungarian fascist Gyula Gömbös rose to power as Prime Minister of Hungary in 1932 and attempted to entrench his Party of National Unity throughout the country. He created an eight-hour work day, a forty-eight-hour work week in industry and sought to entrench a corporatist economy; and pursued irredentist claims on Hungary’s neighbors.[161] The fascist Iron Guard movement in Romaniasoared in political support after 1933, gaining representation in the Romanian government and an Iron Guard member assassinated Romanian prime minister Ion Duca.[162] During the 6 February 1934 crisisFrance faced the greatest domestic political turmoil since the Dreyfus Affair when the fascist Francist Movement and multiple far-right movements rioted en masse in Paris against the French government resulting in major political violence.[163] A variety of para-fascist governments that borrowed elements from fascism were formed during the Great Depression, including those of GreeceLithuaniaPoland and Yugoslavia.[164]

Integralists marching in Brazil

In the Americas, the Brazilian Integralists led by Plínio Salgado claimed as many as 200,000 members although following coup attempts it faced a crackdown from the Estado Novo of Getúlio Vargas in 1937.[165] In the 1930s, the National Socialist Movement of Chile gained seats in Chile‘s parliament and attempted a coup d’état that resulted in the Seguro Obrero massacre of 1938.[166]

During the Great Depression, Mussolini promoted active state intervention in the economy. He denounced the contemporary “supercapitalism” that he claimed began in 1914 as a failure because of its alleged decadence, its support for unlimited consumerism and its intention to create the “standardization of humankind”.[167] Fascist Italy created the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI), a giant state-owned firm and holding company that provided state funding to failing private enterprises.[168] The IRI was made a permanent institution in Fascist Italy in 1937, pursued Fascist policies to create national autarky and had the power to take over private firms to maximize war production.[168] While Hitler’s regime only nationalized 500 companies in key industries by the early 1940s,[169] Mussolini declared in 1934 that “[t]hree-fourths of Italian economy, industrial and agricultural, is in the hands of the state”.[170] Due to the worldwide depression, Mussolini’s government was able to take over most of Italy’s largest failing banks, who held controlling interest in many Italian businesses. The Institute for Industrial Reconstruction, a state-operated holding company in charge of bankrupt banks and companies, reported in early 1934 that they held assets of “48.5 percent of the share capital of Italy”, which later included the capital of the banks themselves.[171] Political historian Martin Blinkhorn estimated Italy’s scope of state intervention and ownership “greatly surpassed that in Nazi Germany, giving Italy a public sector second only to that of Stalin’s Russia”.[172] In the late 1930s, Italy enacted manufacturing cartels, tariff barriers, currency restrictions and massive regulation of the economy to attempt to balance payments.[173] Italy’s policy of autarky failed to achieve effective economic autonomy.[173] Nazi Germany similarly pursued an economic agenda with the aims of autarky and rearmament and imposed protectionist policies, including forcing the German steel industry to use lower-quality German iron ore rather than superior-quality imported iron.[174]

World War II (1939–1945)

In Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, both Mussolini and Hitler pursued territorial expansionist and interventionist foreign policy agendas from the 1930s through the 1940s culminating in World War II. Mussolini called for irredentist Italian claims to be reclaimed, establishing Italian domination of the Mediterranean Sea and securing Italian access to the Atlantic Ocean and the creation of Italian spazio vitale (“vital space”) in the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions.[175] Hitler called for irredentist German claims to be reclaimed along with the creation of German Lebensraum(“living space”) in Eastern Europe, including territories held by the Soviet Union, that would be colonized by Germans.[176]

Emaciated male inmate at the Italian Rab concentration camp

From 1935 to 1939, Germany and Italy escalated their demands for territorial claims and greater influence in world affairs. Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935resulting in its condemnation by the League of Nations and its widespread diplomatic isolation. In 1936, Germany remilitarized the industrial Rhineland, a region that had been ordered demilitarized by the Treaty of Versailles. In 1938, Germany annexed Austria and Italy assisted Germany in resolving the diplomatic crisis between Germany versus Britain and France over claims on Czechoslovakia by arranging the Munich Agreement that gave Germany the Sudetenland and was perceived at the time to have averted a European war. These hopes faded when Hitler violated the Munich Agreement by ordering the invasion and partition of Czechoslovakia between Germany and a client state of Slovakia in 1939. At the same time from 1938 to 1939, Italy was demanding territorial and colonial concessions from France and Britain.[177] In 1939, Germany prepared for war with Poland, but attempted to gain territorial concessions from Poland through diplomatic means.[178] The Polish government did not trust Hitler’s promises and refused to accept Germany’s demands.[178]

The invasion of Poland by Germany was deemed unacceptable by Britain, France and their allies, resulting in their mutual declaration of war against Germany that was deemed the aggressor in the war in Poland, resulting in the outbreak of World War II. In 1940, Mussolini led Italy into World War II on the side of the Axis. Mussolini was aware that Italy did not have the military capacity to carry out a long war with France or the United Kingdom and waited until France was on the verge of imminent collapse and surrender from the German invasion before declaring war on France and the United Kingdom on 10 June 1940 on the assumption that the war would be short-lived following France’s collapse.[179] Mussolini believed that following a brief entry of Italy into war with France, followed by the imminent French surrender, Italy could gain some territorial concessions from France and then concentrate its forces on a major offensive in Egypt where British and Commonwealth forces were outnumbered by Italian forces.[180] Plans by Germany to invade the United Kingdom in 1940 failed after Germany lost the aerial warfare campaign in the Battle of Britain. In 1941, the Axis campaign spread to the Soviet Union after Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa. Axis forces at the height of their power controlled almost all of continental Europe. The war became prolonged—contrary to Mussolini’s plans—resulting in Italy losing battles on multiple fronts and requiring German assistance.

Corpses of victims of the German Buchenwald concentration camp

During World War II, the Axis Powers in Europe led by Nazi Germany participated in the extermination of millions of Poles, Jews, Gypsies and others in the genocide known as the Holocaust.

After 1942, Axis forces began to falter. In 1943, after Italy faced multiple military failures, the complete reliance and subordination of Italy to Germany, the Allied invasion of Italy and the corresponding international humiliation, Mussolini was removed as head of government and arrested on the order of King Victor Emmanuel III, who proceeded to dismantle the Fascist state and declared Italy’s switching of allegiance to the Allied side. Mussolini was rescued from arrest by German forces and led the German client state, the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany faced multiple losses and steady Soviet and Western Allied offensives from 1943 to 1945.

On 28 April 1945, Mussolini was captured and executed by Italian communist partisans. On 30 April 1945, Hitler committed suicide. Shortly afterwards, Germany surrendered and the Nazi regime was systematically dismantled by the occupying Allied powers. An International Military Tribunal was subsequently convened in Nuremberg. Beginning in November 1945 and lasting through 1949, numerous Nazi political, military and economic leaders were tried and convicted of war crimes, with many of the worst offenders receiving the death penalty.

Post-World War II (1945–present)

Juan PerónPresident of Argentina from 1946 to 1955 and 1973 to 1974, admired Italian Fascism and modelled his economic policies on those pursued by Fascist Italy

The victory of the Allies over the Axis powers in World War II led to the collapse of many fascist regimes in Europe. The Nuremberg Trials convicted several Nazi leaders of crimes against humanity involving the Holocaust. However, there remained several movements and governments that were ideologically related to fascism.

Francisco Franco‘s Falangist one-party state in Spain was officially neutral during World War II and it survived the collapse of the Axis Powers. Franco’s rise to power had been directly assisted by the militaries of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during the Spanish Civil War and Franco had sent volunteers to fight on the side of Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union during World War II. The first years were characterized by a repression against the anti-fascist ideologies, a deep censorship and the suppression of democratic institutions (elected Parliament, Constitution of 1931, Regional Statutes of Autonomy). After World War II and a period of international isolation, Franco’s regime normalized relations with the Western powers during the Cold War, until Franco’s death in 1975 and the transformation of Spain into a liberal democracy.

Giorgio Almirante, leader of the Italian Social Movement from 1969 to 1987

Historian Robert Paxton observes that one of the main problems in defining fascism is that it was widely mimicked. Paxton says: “In fascism’s heyday, in the 1930s, many regimes that were not functionally fascist borrowed elements of fascist decor in order to lend themselves an aura of force, vitality, and mass mobilization”. He goes on to observe that Salazar “crushed Portuguese fascism after he had copied some of its techniques of popular mobilization”. [181] Paxton says that: “Where Franco subjected Spain’s fascist party to his personal control, Salazar abolished outright in July 1934 the nearest thing Portugal had to an authentic fascist movement, Rolão Preto’s blue-shirted National Syndicalists […] Salazar preferred to control his population through such “organic” institutions traditionally powerful in Portugal as the Church. Salazar’s regime was not only non-fascist, but “voluntarily non-totalitarian,” preferring to let those of its citizens who kept out of politics “live by habit”.[182] Historians tend to view the Estado Novo as para-fascist in nature,[183]possessing minimal fascist tendencies.[184] In Argentina, Peronism, associated with the regime of Juan Perón from 1946 to 1955 and 1973 to 1974, was influenced by fascism.[185] Between 1939 and 1941, prior to his rise to power, Perón had developed a deep admiration of Italian Fascism and modelled his economic policies on Italian Fascist policies.[185]

The term neo-fascism refers to fascist movements after World War II. In Italy, the Italian Social Movement led by Giorgio Almirante was a major neo-fascist movement that transformed itself into a self-described “post-fascist” movement called the National Alliance (AN), which has been an ally of Silvio Berlusconi‘s Forza Italia for a decade. In 2008, AN joined Forza Italia in Berlusconi’s new party The People of Freedom, but in 2012 a group of politicians split from The People of Freedom, refounding the party with the name Brothers of Italy. In Germany, various neo-Nazi movements have been formed and banned in accordance with Germany’s constitutional law which forbids Nazism. The National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) is widely considered a neo-Nazi party, although the party does not publicly identify itself as such.

Golden Dawn demonstration in Greece in 2012

After the onset of the Great Recession and economic crisis in Greece, a movement known as the Golden Dawn, widely considered a neo-Nazi party, soared in support out of obscurity and won seats in Greece‘s parliament, espousing a staunch hostility towards minorities, illegal immigrants and refugees. In 2013, after the murder of an anti-fascist musician by a person with links to Golden Dawn, the Greek government ordered the arrest of Golden Dawn’s leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos and other Golden Dawn members on charges related to being associated with a criminal organization.

Tenets

Robert O. Paxton finds that the transformations undertaken by fascists in power were “profound enough to be called ‘revolutionary.'” They “often set fascists into conflict with conservatives rooted in families, churches, social rank, and property.” Paxton argues:

[F]ascism redrew the frontiers between private and public, sharply diminishing what had once been untouchably private. It changed the practice of citizenship from the enjoyment of constitutional rights and duties to participation in mass ceremonies of affirmation and conformity. It reconfigured relations between the individual and the collectivity, so that an individual had no rights outside community interest. It expanded the powers of the executive—party and state—in a bid for total control. Finally, it unleashed aggressive emotions hitherto known in Europe only during war or social revolution.[186]

Nationalism

Ultranationalism combined with the myth of national rebirth is a key foundation of fascism.[187] Dylan Riley argues that in Italy in the early 1920s:

Neither organized socialism nor the Italian liberals championed the democratic demands of the left nationalists. Fascism stepped into this vacuum, constituting itself as an antisocialist and antiliberal civil society movement. It was the failure of this counterhegemonic movement that would lead to the fascist seizure of power. Veterans’ organizations are the clearest manifestation of civic mobilization in postwar Italy.[188]

The fascist view of a nation is of a single organic entity that binds people together by their ancestry and is a natural unifying force of people.[189]Fascism seeks to solve economic, political and social problems by achieving a millenarian national rebirth, exalting the nation or race above all else and promoting cults of unity, strength and purity.[41][190][191][192][193] European fascist movements typically espouse a racist conception of non-Europeans being inferior to Europeans.[194] Beyond this, fascists in Europe have not held a unified set of racial views.[194] Historically, most fascists promoted imperialism, although there have been several fascist movements that were uninterested in the pursuit of new imperial ambitions.[194]

Totalitarianism

Fascism promotes the establishment of a totalitarian state.[195] It opposes liberal democracy, rejects multi-party systems and supports a one-party state. Mussolini’s The Doctrine of Fascism (1932) – partly ghostwritten by philosopher Giovanni Gentile,[196] who Mussolini described as “the philosopher of Fascism” – states: “The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State—a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values—interprets, develops, and potentiates the whole life of a people”.[197] In The Legal Basis of the Total State, Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt described the Nazi intention to form a “strong state which guarantees a totality of political unity transcending all diversity” in order to avoid a “disastrous pluralism tearing the German people apart”.[198]

Fascist states pursued policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media and regulation of the production of educational and media materials.[199][200] Education was designed to glorify the fascist movement and inform students of its historical and political importance to the nation. It attempted to purge ideas that were not consistent with the beliefs of the fascist movement and to teach students to be obedient to the state.[201]

Economy

Fascism presented itself as a third position,[when?] alternative to both international socialism and free market capitalism.[202] While fascism opposed mainstream socialism, it sometimes regarded itself as a type of nationalist “socialism” to highlight their commitment to national solidarity and unity.[203][204] Fascists opposed international free market capitalism, but supported a type of productive capitalism.[115][205] Economic self-sufficiency, known as autarky, was a major goal of most fascist governments.[206]

Fascist governments advocated resolution of domestic class conflict within a nation in order to secure national solidarity.[207] This would be done through the state mediating relations between the classes (contrary to the views of classical liberal-inspired capitalists).[208] While fascism was opposed to domestic class conflict, it was held that bourgeois-proletarian conflict existed primarily in national conflict between proletarian nations versus bourgeois nations.[209] Fascism condemned what it viewed as widespread character traits that it associated as the typical bourgeois mentality that it opposed, such as materialism, crassness, cowardice, inability to comprehend the heroic ideal of the fascist “warrior”; and associations with liberalism, individualism and parliamentarianism.[210] In 1918, Mussolini defined what he viewed as the proletarian character, defining proletarian as being one and the same with producers, a productivist perspective that associated all people deemed productive, including entrepreneurs, technicians, workers and soldiers as being proletarian.[211] He acknowledged the historical existence of both bourgeois and proletarian producers, but declared the need for bourgeois producers to merge with proletarian producers.[211]

While fascism denounced the mainstream internationalist and Marxist socialisms, it claimed to economically represent a type of nationalist productivist socialism that while condemning parasitical capitalism, it was willing to accommodate productivist capitalism within it.[205] This was derived from Henri de Saint Simon, whose ideas inspired the creation of utopian socialism and influenced other ideologies, that stressed solidarity rather than class war and whose conception of productive people in the economy included both productive workers and productive bosses to challenge the influence of the aristocracy and unproductive financial speculators.[212] Saint Simon’s vision combined the traditionalist right-wing criticisms of the French Revolution combined with a left-wing belief in the need for association or collaboration of productive people in society.[212] Whereas Marxism condemned capitalism as a system of exploitative property relations, fascism saw the nature of the control of credit and money in the contemporary capitalist system as abusive.[205] Unlike Marxism, fascism did not see class conflict between the Marxist-defined proletariat and the bourgeoisie as a given or as an engine of historical materialism.[205] Instead, it viewed workers and productive capitalists in common as productive people who were in conflict with parasitic elements in society including: corrupt political parties, corrupt financial capital and feeble people.[205] Fascist leaders such as Mussolini and Hitler spoke of the need to create a new managerial elite led by engineers and captains of industry—but free from the parasitic leadership of industries.[205] Hitler stated that the Nazi Party supported bodenständigen Kapitalismus(“productive capitalism”) that was based upon profit earned from one’s own labour, but condemned unproductive capitalism or loan capitalism, which derived profit from speculation.[213]

Fascist economics supported a state-controlled economy that accepted a mix of private and public ownership over the means of production.[214] Economic planning was applied to both the public and private sector and the prosperity of private enterprise depended on its acceptance of synchronizing itself with the economic goals of the state.[215] Fascist economic ideology supported the profit motive, but emphasized that industries must uphold the national interest as superior to private profit.[215]

While fascism accepted the importance of material wealth and power, it condemned materialism which identified as being present in both communism and capitalism and criticized materialism for lacking acknowledgement of the role of the spirit.[216] In particular, fascists criticized capitalism not because of its competitive nature nor support of private property, which fascists supported—but due to its materialism, individualism, alleged bourgeois decadence and alleged indifference to the nation.[217] Fascism denounced Marxism for its advocacy of materialist internationalist class identity, which fascists regarded as an attack upon the emotional and spiritual bonds of the nation and a threat to the achievement of genuine national solidarity.[218]

In discussing the spread of fascism beyond Italy, historian Philip Morgan states:

Since the Depression was a crisis of laissez-faire capitalism and its political counterpart, parliamentary democracy, fascism could pose as the ‘third-way’ alternative between capitalism and Bolshevism, the model of a new European ‘civilization’. As Mussolini typically put it in early 1934, “from 1929…fascism has become a universal phenomenon… The dominant forces of the 19th century, democracy, socialism, liberalism have been exhausted…the new political and economic forms of the twentieth-century are fascist'(Mussolini 1935: 32).[160]

Fascists criticized egalitarianism as preserving the weak, and they instead promoted social Darwinist views and policies.[219][220] They were in principle opposed to the idea of social welfare, arguing that it “encouraged the preservation of the degenerate and the feeble.”[221] The Nazi Party condemned the welfare system of the Weimar Republic, as well as private charity and philanthropy, for supporting people whom they regarded as racially inferior and weak, and who should have been weeded out in the process of natural selection.[222] Nevertheless, faced with the mass unemployment and poverty of the Great Depression, the Nazis found it necessary to set up charitable institutions to help racially-pure Germans in order to maintain popular support, while arguing that this represented “racial self-help” and not indiscriminate charity or universal social welfare.[223] Thus, Nazi programs such as the Winter Relief of the German People and the broader National Socialist People’s Welfare (NSV) were organized as quasi-private institutions, officially relying on private donations from Germans to help others of their race—although in practice those who refused to donate could face severe consequences.[224] Unlike the social welfare institutions of the Weimar Republic and the Christian charities, the NSV distributed assistance on explicitly racial grounds. It provided support only to those who were “racially sound, capable of and willing to work, politically reliable, and willing and able to reproduce.” Non-Aryans were excluded, as well as the “work-shy”, “asocials” and the “hereditarily ill.”[225] Under these conditions, by 1939, over 17 million Germans had obtained assistance from the NSV, and the agency “projected a powerful image of caring and support” for “those who were judged to have got into difficulties through no fault of their own.”[225] Yet the organization was “feared and disliked among society’s poorest” because it resorted to intrusive questioning and monitoring to judge who was worthy of support.[226]

Action

Fascism emphasizes direct action, including supporting the legitimacy of political violence, as a core part of its politics.[17][227] Fascism views violent action as a necessity in politics that fascism identifies as being an “endless struggle”.[228] This emphasis on the use of political violence means that most fascist parties have also created their own private militias (e.g. the Nazi Party’s Brown shirts and Fascist Italy’s Blackshirts).

The basis of fascism’s support of violent action in politics is connected to social Darwinism.[228] Fascist movements have commonly held social Darwinist views of nations, races and societies.[229] They say that nations and races must purge themselves of socially and biologically weak or degenerate people, while simultaneously promoting the creation of strong people, in order to survive in a world defined by perpetual national and racial conflict.[230]

Age and gender roles

Members of the Piccole Italiane, an organization for girls within the National Fascist Party in Italy

Members of the League of German Girls, an organization for girls within the Nazi Party in Germany

Fascism emphasizes youth both in a physical sense of age and in a spiritual sense as related to virility and commitment to action.[231] The Italian Fascists’ political anthem was called Giovinezza (“The Youth”).[231] Fascism identifies the physical age period of youth as a critical time for the moral development of people who will affect society.[232]

Walter Laqueur argues that:

The corollaries of the cult of war and physical danger were the cult of brutality, strength, and sexuality….[fascism is] a true counter-civilization: rejecting the sophisticated rationalist humanism of Old Europe, fascism sets up as its ideal the primitive instincts and primal emotions of the barbarian.[233]

Italian Fascism pursued what it called “moral hygiene” of youth, particularly regarding sexuality.[234] Fascist Italy promoted what it considered normal sexual behaviour in youth while denouncing what it considered deviant sexual behaviour.[234] It condemned pornography, most forms of birth control and contraceptive devices (with the exception of the condom), homosexuality and prostitution as deviant sexual behaviour, although enforcement of laws opposed to such practices was erratic and authorities often turned a blind eye.[234] Fascist Italy regarded the promotion of male sexual excitation before puberty as the cause of criminality amongst male youth, declared homosexuality a social disease and pursued an aggressive campaign to reduce prostitution of young women.[234]

Mussolini perceived women’s primary role as primarily child bearers and men, warriors—once saying: “War is to man what maternity is to the woman”.[235] In an effort to increase birthrates, the Italian Fascist government gave financial incentives to women who raised large families and initiated policies intended to reduce the number of women employed.[236] Italian Fascism called for women to be honoured as “reproducers of the nation” and the Italian Fascist government held ritual ceremonies to honour women’s role within the Italian nation.[237] In 1934, Mussolini declared that employment of women was a “major aspect of the thorny problem of unemployment” and that for women, working was “incompatible with childbearing”. Mussolini went on to say that the solution to unemployment for men was the “exodus of women from the work force”.[238]

The German Nazi government strongly encouraged women to stay at home to bear children and keep house.[239] This policy was reinforced by bestowing the Cross of Honor of the German Mother on women bearing four or more children. The unemployment rate was cut substantially, mostly through arms production and sending women home so that men could take their jobs. Nazi propaganda sometimes promoted premarital and extramarital sexual relations, unwed motherhood and divorce, but at other times the Nazis opposed such behaviour.[240]

The Nazis decriminalized abortion in cases where fetuses had hereditary defects or were of a race the government disapproved of, while the abortion of healthy pure German, Aryan fetuses remained strictly forbidden.[241] For non-Aryans, abortion was often compulsory. Their eugenics program also stemmed from the “progressive biomedical model” of Weimar Germany.[242] In 1935, Nazi Germany expanded the legality of abortion by amending its eugenics law, to promote abortion for women with hereditary disorders.[241] The law allowed abortion if a woman gave her permission and the fetus was not yet viable[243][244] and for purposes of so-called racial hygiene.[245][246]

The Nazis said that homosexuality was degenerate, effeminate, perverted and undermined masculinity because it did not produce children.[247] They considered homosexuality curable through therapy, citing modern scientism and the study of sexology, which said that homosexuality could be felt by “normal” people and not just an abnormal minority.[248] Open homosexuals were interned in Nazi concentration camps.[249]

Palingenesis and modernism

Fascism emphasizes both palingenesis (national rebirth or re-creation) and modernism.[250] In particular, fascism’s nationalism has been identified as having a palingenetic character.[187]Fascism promotes the regeneration of the nation and purging it of decadence.[250] Fascism accepts forms of modernism that it deems promotes national regeneration while rejecting forms of modernism that are regarded as antithetical to national regeneration.[251] Fascism aestheticized modern technology and its association with speed, power and violence.[252] Fascism admired advances in the economy in the early 20th century, particularly Fordism and scientific management.[253] Fascist modernism has been recognized as inspired or developed by various figures—such as Filippo Tommaso MarinettiErnst JüngerGottfried BennLouis-Ferdinand CélineKnut HamsunEzra Pound and Wyndham Lewis.[254]

In Italy, such modernist influence was exemplified by Marinetti who advocated a palingenetic modernist society that condemned liberal-bourgeois values of tradition and psychology, while promoting a technological-martial religion of national renewal that emphasized militant nationalism.[255] In Germany, it was exemplified by Jünger who was influenced by his observation of the technological warfare during World War I and claimed that a new social class had been created that he described as the “warrior-worker”.[256] Jünger like Marinetti emphasized the revolutionary capacities of technology and emphasized an “organic construction” between human and machine as a liberating and regenerative force in that challenged liberal democracy, conceptions of individual autonomy, bourgeois nihilism and decadence.[256] He conceived of a society based on a totalitarian concept of “total mobilization” of such disciplined warrior-workers.[256]

Criticism

Fascism has been widely criticized and condemned in modern times since the defeat of the Axis Powers in World War II.

Anti-democratic and tyrannical

Hitler and Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in Meeting at Hendaye, on 23 October 1940

One of the most common and strongest criticisms of fascism is that it is a tyranny.[257] Fascism is deliberately and entirely non-democratic and anti-democratic.[258][259][260]

Unprincipled opportunism

Some critics of Italian fascism have said that much of the ideology was merely a by-product of unprincipled opportunism by Mussolini and that he changed his political stances merely to bolster his personal ambitions while he disguised them as being purposeful to the public.[261] Richard Washburn Child, the American ambassador to Italy who worked with Mussolini and became his friend and admirer, defended Mussolini’s opportunistic behaviour by writing: “Opportunist is a term of reproach used to brand men who fit themselves to conditions for the reasons of self-interest. Mussolini, as I have learned to know him, is an opportunist in the sense that he believed that mankind itself must be fitted to changing conditions rather than to fixed theories, no matter how many hopes and prayers have been expended on theories and programmes”.[262] Child quoted Mussolini as saying: “The sanctity of an ism is not in the ism; it has no sanctity beyond its power to do, to work, to succeed in practice. It may have succeeded yesterday and fail to-morrow. Failed yesterday and succeed to-morrow. The machine first of all must run!”.[262]

Some have criticized Mussolini’s actions during the outbreak of World War I as opportunist for seeming to suddenly abandon Marxist egalitarianinternationalism for non-egalitarian nationalism and note to that effect that upon Mussolini endorsing Italy’s intervention in the war against Germany and Austria-Hungary, he and the new fascist movement received financial support from foreign sources, such as Ansaldo (an armaments firm) and other companies[263] as well as the British Security Service MI5.[264] Some, including Mussolini’s socialist opponents at the time, have noted that regardless of the financial support he accepted for his pro-interventionist stance, Mussolini was free to write whatever he wished in his newspaper Il Popolo d’Italia without prior sanctioning from his financial backers.[265] Furthermore, the major source of financial support that Mussolini and the fascist movement received in World War I was from France and is widely believed to have been French socialists who supported the French government’s war against Germany and who sent support to Italian socialists who wanted Italian intervention on France’s side.[266]

Mussolini’s transformation away from Marxism into what eventually became fascism began prior to World War I, as Mussolini had grown increasingly pessimistic about Marxism and egalitarianism while becoming increasingly supportive of figures who opposed egalitarianism, such as Friedrich Nietzsche.[267] By 1902, Mussolini was studying Georges Sorel, Nietzsche and Vilfredo Pareto.[268] Sorel’s emphasis on the need for overthrowing decadent liberal democracy and capitalism by the use of violence, direct actiongeneral strikes and neo-Machiavellianappeals to emotion impressed Mussolini deeply.[269] Mussolini’s use of Nietzsche made him a highly unorthodox socialist, due to Nietzsche’s promotion of elitism and anti-egalitarian views.[267]Prior to World War I, Mussolini’s writings over time indicated that he had abandoned the Marxism and egalitarianism that he had previously supported in favour of Nietzsche’s übermenschconcept and anti-egalitarianism.[267] In 1908, Mussolini wrote a short essay called “Philosophy of Strength” based on his Nietzschean influence, in which Mussolini openly spoke fondly of the ramifications of an impending war in Europe in challenging both religion and nihilism: “[A] new kind of free spirit will come, strengthened by the war, … a spirit equipped with a kind of sublime perversity, … a new free spirit will triumph over God and over Nothing”.[106]

Ideological dishonesty

Fascism has been criticized for being ideologically dishonest. Major examples of ideological dishonesty have been identified in Italian fascism’s changing relationship with German Nazism.[270][271] Fascist Italy’s official foreign policy positions were known to commonly utilize rhetorical ideological hyperbole to justify its actions, although during Dino Grandi‘s tenure as Italy’s foreign minister the country engaged in realpolitik free of such fascist hyperbole.[272] Italian fascism’s stance towards German Nazism fluctuated from support from the late 1920s to 1934, when it celebrated Hitler’s rise to power and meeting with Hitler in 1934; to opposition from 1934 to 1936 after the assassination of Italy’s allied leader in AustriaEngelbert Dollfuss, by Austrian Nazis; and again back to support after 1936, when Germany was the only significant power that did not denounce Italy’s invasion and occupation of Ethiopia.

After antagonism exploded between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy over the assassination of Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss in 1934, Mussolini and Italian fascists denounced and ridiculed Nazism’s racial theories, particularly by denouncing its Nordicism, while promoting Mediterraneanism.[271] Mussolini himself responded to Nordicists’ claims of Italy being divided into Nordic and Mediterranean racial areas due to Germanic invasions of Northern Italy by claiming that while Germanic tribes such as the Lombards took control of Italy after the fall of Ancient Rome, they arrived in small numbers (about 8,000) and quickly assimilated into Roman culture and spoke the Latin language within fifty years.[273] Italian fascism was influenced by the tradition of Italian nationalists scornfully looking down upon Nordicists’ claims and taking pride in comparing the age and sophistication of ancient Roman civilization as well as the classical revival in the Renaissance to that of Nordic societies that Italian nationalists described as “newcomers” to civilization in comparison.[270] At the height of antagonism between the Nazis and Italian fascists over race, Mussolini claimed that the Germans themselves were not a pure race and noted with irony that the Nazi theory of German racial superiority was based on the theories of non-German foreigners, such as Frenchman Arthur de Gobineau.[274] After the tension in German-Italian relations diminished during the late 1930s, Italian fascism sought to harmonize its ideology with German Nazism and combined Nordicist and Mediterranean racial theories, noting that Italians were members of the Aryan Race, composed of a mixed Nordic-Mediterranean subtype.[271]

In 1938, Mussolini declared upon Italy’s adoption of antisemitic laws that Italian fascism had always been antisemitic,[271] In fact, Italian fascism did not endorse antisemitism until the late 1930s when Mussolini feared alienating antisemitic Nazi Germany, whose power and influence were growing in Europe. Prior to that period there had been notable Jewish Italians who had been senior Italian fascist officials, including Margherita Sarfatti, who had also been Mussolini’s mistress.[271] Also contrary to Mussolini’s claim in 1938, only a small number of Italian fascists were staunchly antisemitic (such as Roberto Farinacci and Giuseppe Preziosi), while others such as Italo Balbo, who came from Ferrara which had one of Italy’s largest Jewish communities, were disgusted by the antisemitic laws and opposed them.[271] Fascism scholar Mark Neocleous notes that while Italian fascism did not have a clear commitment to antisemitism, there were occasional antisemitic statements issued prior to 1938, such as Mussolini in 1919 declaring that the Jewish bankers in London and New York were connected by race to the Russian Bolsheviks and that eight percent of the Russian Bolsheviks were Jews.[275]

See also

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

 

 

 

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Voltaire’s Revolution

Voltaire, the pen name of François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), was one of the most influential leaders of the French Enlightenment. His defense of individual freedom of conscience and his criticisms of religious fanaticism and oppressive orthodoxy had a telling effect on Western history, inspiring several leading founders of America’s new laws.

This is the first English translation of many of his key texts from his famous pamphlet war for tolerance, written from 1750 to 1768, originally published under pseudonyms to avoid imprisonment and to educate the average citizen. Included are “The Sermon of Rabbi Akib” (a searing attack on anti-Semitism),  “Prayer to God” (from the famous Treatise on Tolerance), the hugely popular “Catechism of the Honest Man,” “The Dinner at Count Boulainvillier’s,” and other witty, sometimes acerbic pieces that point out the errors in the Bible, the corruption of the clergy, and the religiously-inspired persecutions, both of his day and across the ages. Many of these pamphlets were burned in a losing battle by the authorities.

With a lengthy introduction and copious notes by the editor and translator, plus an appendix including first-hand accounts of the battle by noted mathematician and French revolutionary Condorcet, Frederick the Great, Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith, and others, this excellent compilation will be a welcome addition to the libraries of anyone with an interest in human rights and freedom of thought.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/voltaires-revolution/fgqpf3h0d0nr?activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab

 

G.K. Noyer

GOODREADS AUTHOR

 

Born  suburb of Detroit, The United States

 

Influences Voltaire, Norman Torrey, René Pomeau, Theodore Besterman, Haydn Mason, …more

 

Member Since December 2010

A writer from Michigan, where she wrote for a PBS affiliate and radio, GK Noyer lives in France (not because of Voltaire, but it helped the research). Predominantly a TV scriptwriter and translator for years, this is her first book, and the 20+ years of research it reflects was first undertaken in view of writing a screenplay on Voltaire. A few years back, the discovery of the near disappearance of the Enlightenment from our schoolbooks along with the increasing polarization over religion then suggested that this book might be a better place to start. Here are a couple of reviews that offer more details: http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/boo…
and http://www.factsandarts.com/essays/g-…More links and info are available on the GK Noyer Fac…more

Voltaire Biography

voltaireVoltaire (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778) was a French writer, essayist, and philosopher – he was known for his wit, satire, and defence of civil liberties. He sought to defend freedom of religious and political thought and played a major role in the Enlightenment period of the eighteenth century.

“Love truth, but pardon error.”

– Voltaire

Voltaire was a prolific writer, producing more than 20,000 letters and over 2,000 books and pamphlets. Despite strict censorship laws, he frequently risked large penalties by breaking them and questioning the establishment.

Short Biography of Voltaire

voltaire

Voltaire was born François-Marie Arouet, in Paris. He was educated by Jesuits at the Collège Louis-le-Grand (1704–1711), becoming fluent in Greek, Latin and the major European languages.

His father tried to encourage Voltaire to become a lawyer, but Voltaire was more interested in becoming a writer. Instead of studying to be a lawyer, he began writing poetry and mild criticisms of the church and state. His humorous, satirical writing made him popular with sections of Paris society, though they also started attracting the attention of the censors.

In 1726, he was exiled to England after being involved in a scuffle with a French nobleman. The nobleman used his wealth to have him arrested, and this would cause Voltaire to try and reform the French judicial system. After this first imprisonment in the Bastilles, he changed his name to Voltaire – signifying his departure from his past. He also used numerous other pen names throughout the course of his life, in a bid to escape censorship.

Voltaire spent three years in England, where he was influenced by British writers, such as William Shakespeare and also the different political system, which saw a constitutional monarchy rather than an absolute monarchy as in France. He also learnt from great scientists, such as Sir Isaac Newton. Voltaire was particularly impressed by the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, such as Adam Smith and David Hume, saying once:

“We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation”

Although he had much in common with fellow French Enlightenment philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, the pair often disagreed and had a prickly relationship. However, after Rousseau wrote Emile / Vicaire Savoyard, Voltaire offered Rousseau a safe haven because he appreciated Rousseau’s attack on religious hypocrisy. Rousseau regretted not replying to Voltaire’s offer.

On returning to France, he wrote letters praising the British system of government and their greater respect for freedom of speech. This enraged the French establishment, and again he was forced to flee Paris.

Seeking a safe place, Voltaire began a collaboration with Marquise du Chatelet. During this time, Voltaire wrote on Newton’s scientific theories and helped to make Newton’s ideas accessible to a much wider section of European society. He also began attacking the church’s relationship with the state. Voltaire argued for the separation of religion and state and also allowing freedom of belief and religious tolerance. Voltaire had a mixed opinion of the Bible and was willing to criticise it. Though not professing a religion, he believed in God, as a matter of reason.

“What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason.” On Catholicism

In a letter to Frederick II, King of Prussia, (5 January 1767) he once wrote:

“Ours [religion] is without a doubt the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and the most blood-thirsty ever to infect the world.”

In 1744, Voltaire returned to Paris, where he began a relationship with his niece, Marie Louise Mignot. They remained together until his death.

For a brief time, he was invited by Frederick the Great, to Potsdam. Here, Voltaire wrote more articles of a scientific nature, but later incurred the displeasure of the king as he started satirising the abuses of power within the state.

In 1759, he wrote his best-known work – Candide, ou l’Optimisme (Candide, or Optimism) This was a satire on the philosophy of Leibniz. After a brief stay in Geneva, he settled for 20 years in Ferny on the French border.

In his later life, Voltaire continued to write and also to support persecuted religious minorities. He was visited by some of the leading European intellectuals of the day – such as James Boswell and Adam Smith.

In 1778, he died after shortly returning to Paris. Some of his enemies claimed he made a deathbed conversion to Catholicism, but this is disputed.

In February of that year, fearing he would die, he wrote:

“I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition.”

Voltaire was secretly buried before a pronouncement could be made public.

Three years after his death, on 11 July 1791, he was brought back to Paris to be enshrined in the Pantheon. It is said up to a million people came to see Voltaire – now considered a French hero and fore-runner of the French revolution.

Influence of Voltaire

  • Voltaire revolutionised the art of history. He sought to avoid bias and included discussion of social and economic issues, moving away from dry military accounts.
  • Voltaire argued for an extension of education, hoping greater literacy would free society from ignorance.
  • Voltaire wrote poems and plays, including two epics. Voltaire politicised writing by showing that even poetry and romance could be laced with satire and political polemic. Often it was indirect criticism that was most effective.
  • Voltaire was a passionate and persistent critic of those in power who misused their position. By attacking the abuses of the absolute monarchy and church, he paved the way for a less deferential attitude which was a significant underlying cause of the French revolution.
  • At a time of religious persecution, Voltaire illustrated how religious dogmas were created by human ignorance and led to needless bloodshed and suffering.
  • Voltaire was a key figure of the enlightenment which sought to use a range of scientific and literary books to explain the underlying nature of life. Voltaire believed no one book or dogma could explain everything. But, true understanding required the use of reason and an open mind.

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of Voltaire”, Oxford, www.biographyonline.net – 3 February 2013. Last updated 7 February 2018.

Voltaire Quotes

“It does not require great art, or magnificently trained eloquence, to prove that Christians should tolerate each other. I, however, am going further: I say that we should regard all men as our brothers. What? The Turk my brother? The Chinaman my brother? The Jew? The Siam? Yes, without doubt; are we not all children of the same father and creatures of the same God?”

– Voltaire A Treatise on Toleration (1763)

https://www.biographyonline.net/writers/voltaire.html

Voltaire’s Revolution 2mn

LITERATURE – Voltaire

Voltaire on Religion (Philosophical Dictionary / French Enlightenment)

Who was Voltaire? A history of Voltaire

Will Durant—The Philosophy of Voltaire

What Was the Enlightenment? AP Euro Bit by Bit #25

Jordan Peterson – Reconciling Science and Religion

Jordan Peterson (June 01, 2018) – Enlightenment now Steven Pinker

“One of the impediments to enlightenment is attachment” Jordan Peterson

“The worst snake of all is malevolence” Jordan Peterson on the snake within

 

PRAISE

“An essential book for Anglophones studying Voltaire, philosophy, and the separation of religion from government.”

Portland Book Review

“I count myself as a Voltaire enthusiast but had never bothered to unearth some of these gems… No other book offers such a lively collection of Voltairian prose in so few pages.”

Facts & Arts

“It would be nice to think Voltaire’s Revolution will add to the ranks of the admirers. If this much wit and brilliance (all very adroitly translated) can’t manage that, probably nothing can.”

Open Letters Monthly

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/249737/voltaires-revolution-by-gk-noyer/9781633880382/

Voltaire

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Voltaire
Portrait by Nicolas de Largillière, c. 1724

Portrait by Nicolas de Largillière, c. 1724
Born François-Marie Arouet
21 November 1694
ParisKingdom of France
Died 30 May 1778 (aged 83)
Paris, Kingdom of France
Resting place Panthéon, Paris, France
Occupation Writer, philosopher
Language French
Nationality French
Alma mater Collège Louis-le-Grand
Partner Émilie du Châtelet (1733–1749)

Philosophy career

Era Age of Enlightenment
Region Western philosophy
French philosophy
School Lumières
Philosophes
Deism
Classical liberalism
Main interests
Political philosophyliteraturehistoriographybiblical criticism
Notable ideas
Philosophy of history,[1] freedom of religionfreedom of speechseparation of church and state

François-Marie Arouet (French: [fʁɑ̃swa maʁi aʁwɛ]; 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire (/vɒlˈtɛər/;[2]French: [vɔltɛːʁ]), was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religionfreedom of speech, and separation of church and state.

Voltaire was a versatile and prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets.[3] He was an outspoken advocate of civil liberties, despite the risk this placed him in under the strict censorship laws of the time. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma and the French institutions of his day.

Biography

François-Marie Arouet was born in Paris, the youngest of the five children of François Arouet (19 August 1649 – 1 January 1722), a lawyer who was a minor treasury official, and his wife, Marie Marguerite Daumard (c. 1660 – 13 July 1701), whose family was on the lowest rank of the French nobility.[4] Some speculation surrounds Voltaire’s date of birth, because he claimed he was born on 20 February 1694 as the illegitimate son of a nobleman, Guérin de Rochebrune or Roquebrune.[5] Two of his older brothers—Armand-François and Robert—died in infancy, and his surviving brother Armand and sister Marguerite-Catherine were nine and seven years older, respectively.[6] Nicknamed “Zozo” by his family, Voltaire was baptized on 22 November 1694, with François de Castagnère, abbé de Châteauneuf [fr], and Marie Daumard, the wife of his mother’s cousin, standing as godparents.[7] He was educated by the Jesuits at the Collège Louis-le-Grand(1704–1711), where he was taught Latin, theology, and rhetoric;[8] later in life he became fluent in Italian, Spanish, and English.[9]

By the time he left school, Voltaire had decided he wanted to be a writer, against the wishes of his father, who wanted him to become a lawyer.[10] Voltaire, pretending to work in Paris as an assistant to a notary, spent much of his time writing poetry. When his father found out, he sent Voltaire to study law, this time in CaenNormandy. But the young man continued to write, producing essays and historical studies. Voltaire’s wit made him popular among some of the aristocratic families with whom he mixed. In 1713, his father obtained a job for him as a secretary to the new French ambassador in the Netherlands, the marquis de Châteauneuf [fr], the brother of Voltaire’s godfather.[11] At The Hague, Voltaire fell in love with a French Protestant refugee named Catherine Olympe Dunoyer (known as ‘Pimpette’).[11] Their affair, considered scandalous, was discovered by de Châteauneuf and Voltaire was forced to return to France by the end of the year.[12]

Voltaire was imprisoned in the Bastille from 16 May 1717 to 15 April 1718 in a windowless cell with ten-foot-thick walls.[13]

Most of Voltaire’s early life revolved around Paris. From early on, Voltaire had trouble with the authorities for critiques of the government. As a result, he was twice sentenced to prison and once to temporary exile to England. One satirical verse, in which Voltaire accused the Régent of incest with his daughter, resulted in an eleven-month imprisonment in the Bastille.[14] The Comédie-Française had agreed in January 1717 to stage his debut play, Œdipe, and it opened in mid-November 1718, seven months after his release.[15] Its immediate critical and financial success established his reputation.[16] Both the Régent and King George I of Great Britain presented Voltaire with medals as a mark of their appreciation.[17]

He mainly argued for religious tolerance and freedom of thought. He campaigned to eradicate priestly and aristo-monarchical authority, and supported a constitutional monarchy that protects people’s rights.[18][19]

Name

The author adopted the name Voltaire in 1718, following his incarceration at the Bastille. Its origin is unclear. It is an anagram of AROVET LI, the Latinized spelling of his surname, Arouet, and the initial letters of le jeune (“the young”).[20] According to a family tradition among the descendants of his sister, he was known as le petit volontaire (“determined little thing”) as a child, and he resurrected a variant of the name in his adult life.[21] The name also reverses the syllables of Airvault, his family’s home town in the Poitou region.[22]

Richard Holmes[23] supports the anagrammatic derivation of the name, but adds that a writer such as Voltaire would have intended it to also convey connotations of speed and daring. These come from associations with words such as voltige (acrobatics on a trapeze or horse), volte-face (a spinning about to face one’s enemies), and volatile (originally, any winged creature). “Arouet” was not a noble name fit for his growing reputation, especially given that name’s resonance with à rouer (“to be beaten up”) and roué (a débauché).

In a letter to Jean-Baptiste Rousseau in March 1719, Voltaire concludes by asking that, if Rousseau wishes to send him a return letter, he do so by addressing it to Monsieur de Voltaire. A postscript explains: “J’ai été si malheureux sous le nom d’Arouet que j’en ai pris un autre surtout pour n’être plus confondu avec le poète Roi“, (“I was so unhappy under the name of Arouet that I have taken another, primarily so as to cease to be confused with the poet Roi.”)[24] This probably refers to Adenes le Roi, and the ‘oi’ diphthong was then pronounced like modern ‘ouai’, so the similarity to ‘Arouet’ is clear, and thus, it could well have been part of his rationale. Voltaire is known also to have used at least 178 separate pen names during his lifetime.[25]

Early fiction

Voltaire’s next play, Artémire, set in ancient Macedonia, opened on 15 February 1720. It was a flop and only fragments of the text survive.[26] He instead turned to an epic poem about Henry IV of France that he had begun in early 1717.[27] Denied a licence to publish, in August 1722 Voltaire headed north to find a publisher outside France. On the journey, he was accompanied by his mistress, Marie-Marguerite de Rupelmonde, a young widow.[28]

At Brussels, Voltaire and Rousseau met up for a few days, before Voltaire and his mistress continued northwards. A publisher was eventually secured in The Hague.[29] In the Netherlands, Voltaire was struck and impressed by the openness and tolerance of Dutch society.[30] On his return to France, he secured a second publisher in Rouen, who agreed to publish La Henriadeclandestinely.[31] After Voltaire’s recovery from a month-long smallpox infection in November 1723, the first copies were smuggled into Paris and distributed.[32] While the poem was an instant success, Voltaire’s new play, Mariamne, was a failure when it first opened in March 1724.[33] Heavily reworked, it opened at the Comédie-Française in April 1725 to a much-improved reception.[33] It was among the entertainments provided at the wedding of Louis XV and Marie Leszczyńska in September 1725.[33]

Great Britain

In early 1726, a young French nobleman, the chevalier de Rohan-Chabot, taunted Voltaire about his change of name, and Voltaire retorted that his name would be honored while de Rohan would dishonor his.[34] Infuriated, de Rohan arranged for Voltaire to be beaten up by thugs a few days later.[35] Seeking compensation, redress, or revenge, Voltaire challenged de Rohan to a duel, but the aristocratic de Rohan family arranged for Voltaire to be arrested and imprisoned in the Bastille on 17 April 1726 without a trial or an opportunity to defend himself.[36][37] Fearing an indefinite prison sentence, Voltaire suggested that he be exiled to England as an alternative punishment, which the French authorities accepted.[38] On 2 May, he was escorted from the Bastille to Calais, where he was to embark for Britain.[39]

Elémens de la philosophie de Neuton, 1738

In England, Voltaire lived largely in Wandsworth, with acquaintances including Everard Fawkener.[40] From December 1727 to June 1728 he lodged at Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, now commemorated by a plaque, to be nearer to his British publisher.[41] Voltaire circulated throughout English high society, meeting Alexander PopeJohn GayJonathan SwiftLady Mary Wortley MontaguSarah, Duchess of Marlborough, and many other members of the nobility and royalty.[42] Voltaire’s exile in Great Britain greatly influenced his thinking. He was intrigued by Britain’s constitutional monarchy in contrast to French absolutism, and by the country’s greater support of the freedoms of speech and religion.[43] He was influenced by the writers of the age, and developed an interest in earlier English literature, especially the works of Shakespeare, still relatively unknown in continental Europe.[44] Despite pointing out his deviations from neoclassical standards, Voltaire saw Shakespeare as an example that French writers might emulate, since French drama, despite being more polished, lacked on-stage action. Later, however, as Shakespeare’s influence began growing in France, Voltaire tried to set a contrary example with his own plays, decrying what he considered Shakespeare’s barbarities. Voltaire may have been present at the funeral of Isaac Newton,[a]and met Newton’s niece, Catherine Conduitt.[41] In 1727, he published two essays in English, Upon the Civil Wars of France, Extracted from Curious Manuscripts and Upon Epic Poetry of the European Nations, from Homer Down to Milton.[41]

After two and a half years in exile, Voltaire returned to France, and after a few months living in Dieppe, the authorities permitted him to return to Paris.[45]At a dinner, French mathematician Charles Marie de La Condamine proposed buying up the lottery that was organized by the French government to pay off its debts, and Voltaire joined the consortium, earning perhaps a million livres.[46] He invested the money cleverly and on this basis managed to convince the Court of Finances that he was of good conduct and so was able to take control of a capital inheritance from his father that had hitherto been tied up in trust. He was now indisputably rich.[47][48]

Further success followed, in 1732, with his play Zaïre, which when published in 1733 carried a dedication to Fawkener that praised English liberty and commerce.[49] At this time he published his views on British attitudes toward government, literature, religion and science in a collection of essays in letter form entitled Letters Concerning the English Nation (London, 1733).[50] In 1734, they were published in French as Lettres philosophiques in Rouen.[51][b] Because the publisher released the book without the approval of the royal censor and Voltaire regarded the British constitutional monarchy as more developed and more respectful of human rights (particularly religious tolerance) than its French counterpart, the French publication of Letters caused a huge scandal; the book was publicly burnt and banned, and Voltaire was forced again to flee Paris.[18]

Château de Cirey

In the frontispiece to Voltaire’s book on Newton’s philosophy, Émilie du Châteletappears as Voltaire’s muse, reflecting Newton’s heavenly insights down to Voltaire.[52]

In 1733, Voltaire met Émilie du Châtelet, a mathematician and married mother of three who was 12 years his junior and with whom he was to have an affair for 16 years.[53] To avoid arrest after the publication of Letters, Voltaire took refuge at her husband’s château at Cirey-sur-Blaise, on the borders of Champagne and Lorraine.[54] Voltaire paid for the building’s renovation,[55] and Émilie’s husband, the Marquis du Châtelet, sometimes stayed at the château with his wife and her lover.[56] The relationship had a significant intellectual element. Voltaire and the Marquise du Châtelet collected around 21,000 books, an enormous number for the time.[57] Together, they studied these books and performed experiments in the natural sciences at Cirey, which included an attempt to determine the nature of fire.[58]

Having learned from his previous brushes with the authorities, Voltaire began his habit of keeping out of personal harm’s way and denying any awkward responsibility.[59] He continued to write plays, such as Mérope (or La Mérope française) and began his long research into science and history. Again, a main source of inspiration for Voltaire were the years of his British exile, during which he had been strongly influenced by the works of Sir Isaac Newton. Voltaire strongly believed in Newton’s theories; he performed experiments in optics at Cirey,[60] and was one of the sources for the famous story of Newton and the apple falling from the tree, which he had learned from Newton’s niece in London and first mentioned in his Letters.[41]

Pastel by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, 1735

In the fall of 1735, Voltaire was visited by Francesco Algarotti, who was preparing a book about Newton in Italian.[61] Partly inspired by the visit, the Marquise translated Newton’s Latin Principia into French in full, and it remained the definitive French translation into the 21st century.[18] Both she and Voltaire were also curious about the philosophies of Gottfried Leibniz, a contemporary and rival of Newton. While Voltaire remained a firm Newtonian, the Marquise adopted certain aspects of Leibniz’s arguments against Newton.[18][62] Voltaire’s own book Elements of Newton’s Philosophy made Newton accessible and understandable to a far greater public, and the Marquise wrote a celebratory review in the Journal des savants.[18][63] Voltaire’s work was instrumental in bringing about general acceptance of Newton’s optical and gravitational theories in France.[18][64]

Voltaire and the Marquise also studied history, particularly those persons who had contributed to civilization. Voltaire’s second essay in English had been “Essay upon the Civil Wars in France”. It was followed by La Henriade, an epic poem on the French King Henri IV, glorifying his attempt to end the Catholic-Protestant massacres with the Edict of Nantes, and by a historical novel on King Charles XII of Sweden. These, along with his Letters on the English mark the beginning of Voltaire’s open criticism of intolerance and established religions.[citation needed] Voltaire and the Marquise also explored philosophy, particularly metaphysics, the branch of philosophy that deals with being and with what lies beyond the material realm, such as whether or not there is a God and whether people have souls. Voltaire and the Marquise analyzed the Bible and concluded that much of its content was dubious.[65] Voltaire’s critical views on religion are reflected in his belief in separation of church and state and religious freedom, ideas that he had formed after his stay in England.

In August 1736, Frederick the Great, then Crown Prince of Prussia and a great admirer of Voltaire, initiated a correspondence with him.[66] That December, Voltaire moved to Holland for two months and became acquainted with the scientists Herman Boerhaave and ‘s Gravesande.[67] From mid-1739 to mid-1740 Voltaire lived largely in Brussels, at first with the Marquise, who was unsuccessfully attempting to pursue a 60-year-old family legal case regarding the ownership of two estates in Limburg.[68] In July 1740, he traveled to the Hague on behalf of Frederick in an attempt to dissuade a dubious publisher, van Duren, from printing without permission Frederick’s Anti-Machiavel.[69] In September Voltaire and Frederick (now King) met for the first time in Moyland Castlenear Cleves and in November Voltaire was Frederick’s guest in Berlin for two weeks;[70] in September 1742 they met in Aix-la-Chapelle.[71] Voltaire was sent to Frederick’s court in 1743 by the French government as an envoy and spy to gauge Frederick’s military intentions in the War of the Austrian Succession.[72]

Though deeply committed to the Marquise, Voltaire by 1744 found life at the château confining. On a visit to Paris that year, he found a new love—his niece. At first, his attraction to Marie Louise Mignot was clearly sexual, as evidenced by his letters to her (only discovered in 1957).[73][74] Much later, they lived together, perhaps platonically, and remained together until Voltaire’s death. Meanwhile, the Marquise also took a lover, the Marquis de Saint-Lambert.[75]

Prussia

Die Tafelrunde by Adolph von Menzel: guests of Frederick the Great at Sanssouci, including members of the Prussian Academy of Sciences and Voltaire (third from left)

After the death of the Marquise in childbirth in September 1749, Voltaire briefly returned to Paris and in mid-1750 moved to Prussia at the invitation of Frederick the Great.[76] The Prussian king (with the permission of Louis XV) made him a chamberlain in his household, appointed him to the Order of Merit, and gave him a salary of 20,000 French livres a year.[77] He had rooms at Sanssouci and Charlottenburg Palace.[78] Life went well for Voltaire at first,[79] and in 1751 he completed Micromégas, a piece of science fiction involving ambassadors from another planet witnessing the follies of humankind.[80] However, his relationship with Frederick the Great began to deteriorate after he was accused of theft and forgery by a Jewish financier, Abraham Hirschel, who had invested in Saxon government bonds on behalf of Voltaire at a time when Frederick was involved in sensitive diplomatic negotiations with Saxony.[81]

He encountered other difficulties: an argument with Maupertuis, the president of the Berlin Academy of Science and a former rival for Émilie’s affections, provoked Voltaire’s Diatribe du docteur Akakia (“Diatribe of Doctor Akakia”), which satirized some of Maupertuis’s theories and his abuse of power in his persecutions of a mutual acquaintance, Johann Samuel König. This greatly angered Frederick, who ordered all copies of the document burned.[82] On 1 January 1752, Voltaire offered to resign as chamberlain and return his insignia of the Order of Merit; at first, Frederick refused until eventually permitting Voltaire to leave in March.[83] On a slow journey back to France, Voltaire stayed at Leipzig and Gotha for a month each, and Kassel for two weeks, arriving at Frankfurt on 31 May. The following morning, he was detained at the inn where he was staying by Frederick’s agents, who held him in the city for over three weeks while they, Voltaire and Frederick argued by letter over the return of a satirical book of poetry Frederick had lent to Voltaire. Marie Louise joined him on 9 June. She and her uncle only left Frankfurt in July after she had defended herself from the unwanted advances of one of Frederick’s agents and Voltaire’s luggage had been ransacked and valuable items taken.[84]

Voltaire’s attempts to vilify Frederick for his agents’ actions at Frankfurt were largely unsuccessful. Voltaire responded by composing Mémoires pour Servir à la Vie de M. de Voltaire, a work published after his death that paints a largely negative picture of his time spent with Frederick. However, the correspondence between them continued, and though they never met in person again, after the Seven Years’ War they largely reconciled.[85]

Geneva and Ferney

Voltaire’s château at Ferney, France

Voltaire’s slow progress toward Paris continued through MainzMannheimStrasbourg, and Colmar,[86] but in January 1754 Louis XV banned him from Paris,[87] so instead he turned for Geneva, near which he bought a large estate (Les Délices) in early 1755.[88] Though he was received openly at first, the law in Geneva, which banned theatrical performances, and the publication of The Maid of Orleans against his will soured his relationship with Calvinist Genevans.[89] In late 1758, he bought an even larger estate at Ferney, on the French side of the Franco-Swiss border.[90]

Early in 1759, Voltaire completed and published Candide, ou l’Optimisme (Candide, or Optimism). This satire on Leibniz‘s philosophy of optimistic determinism remains the work for which Voltaire is perhaps best known. He would stay in Ferney for most of the remaining 20 years of his life, frequently entertaining distinguished guests, such as James BoswellAdam SmithGiacomo Casanova, and Edward Gibbon.[c] In 1764, he published one of his best-known philosophical works, the Dictionnaire philosophique, a series of articles mainly on Christian history and dogmas, a few of which were originally written in Berlin.[37]

From 1762, he began to champion unjustly persecuted people, the case of Huguenot merchant Jean Calas being the most celebrated.[37] Calas had been tortured to death in 1763, supposedly because he had murdered his eldest son for wanting to convert to Catholicism. His possessions were confiscated and his two daughters were taken from his widow and were forced into Catholic convents. Voltaire, seeing this as a clear case of religious persecution, managed to overturn the conviction in 1765.[91]

Voltaire was initiated into Freemasonry a little over a month before his death. On 4 April 1778, Voltaire attended la Loge des Neuf Sœurs in Paris, and became an Entered ApprenticeFreemason. According to some sources, “Benjamin Franklin … urged Voltaire to become a freemason; and Voltaire agreed, perhaps only to please Franklin.”[92][93][94] However, Benjamin Franklin was merely a visitor at the time Voltaire was initiated, the two only met a month before Voltaire’s death, and their interactions with each other were brief.[95]

House in Paris where Voltaire died

Death and burial

Jean-Antoine Houdon, Voltaire, 1778, National Gallery of Art

In February 1778, Voltaire returned for the first time in over 25 years to Paris, among other reasons to see the opening of his latest tragedy, Irene.[96] The five-day journey was too much for the 83-year-old, and he believed he was about to die on 28 February, writing “I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition.” However, he recovered, and in March he saw a performance of Irene, where he was treated by the audience as a returning hero.[37]

He soon became ill again and died on 30 May 1778. The accounts of his deathbed have been numerous and varying, and it has not been possible to establish the details of what precisely occurred. His enemies related that he repented and accepted the last rites given by a Catholic priest, or that he died under great torment, while his adherents told how he was defiant to his last breath.[97] According to one story of his last words, his response to a priest at his deathbed urging him to renounce Satan was “Now is not the time for making new enemies.”[98] However, this appears to have originated from a joke first published in a Massachusetts newspaper in 1856, and was only attributed to Voltaire in the 1970s.[99]

Because of his well-known criticism of the Church, which he had refused to retract before his death, Voltaire was denied a Christian burial in Paris,[100]but friends and relations managed to bury his body secretly at the Abbey of Scellières in Champagne, where Marie Louise’s brother was abbé.[101] His heart and brain were embalmed separately.[102]

Voltaire’s tomb in the Paris Panthéon

Regarding Voltaire as a forerunner of the French Revolution, the National Assembly of France had his remains brought back to Paris, and enshrined in the Panthéon on 11 July 1791.[103][d] It is estimated that a million people attended the procession, which stretched throughout Paris. There was an elaborate ceremony, complete with an orchestra, and the music included a piece that André Grétry had composed especially for the event, which included a part for the “tuba curva” (an instrument that originated in Roman times as the cornu but had recently been revived under a new name).[106]

Writings

History

Voltaire had an enormous influence on the development of historiography through his demonstration of fresh new ways to look at the past. Guillaume de Syon argues:

Voltaire recast historiography in both factual and analytical terms. Not only did he reject traditional biographies and accounts that claim the work of supernatural forces, but he went so far as to suggest that earlier historiography was rife with falsified evidence and required new investigations at the source. Such an outlook was not unique in that the scientific spirit that 18th-century intellectuals perceived themselves as invested with. A rationalistic approach was key to rewriting history.[107]

Voltaire’s best-known histories are History of Charles XII (1731), The Age of Louis XIV (1751), and his Essay on the Customs and the Spirit of the Nations (1756). He broke from the tradition of narrating diplomatic and military events, and emphasized customs, social history and achievements in the arts and sciences. The Essay on Customs traced the progress of world civilization in a universal context, thereby rejecting both nationalism and the traditional Christian frame of reference. Influenced by Bossuet‘s Discourse on the Universal History (1682), he was the first scholar to make a serious attempt to write the history of the world, eliminating theological frameworks, and emphasizing economics, culture and political history. He treated Europe as a whole, rather than a collection of nations. He was the first to emphasize the debt of medieval culture to Middle Eastern civilization, but otherwise was weak on the Middle Ages. Although he repeatedly warned against political bias on the part of the historian, he did not miss many opportunities to expose the intolerance and frauds of the church over the ages. Voltaire advised scholars that anything contradicting the normal course of nature was not to be believed. Although he found evil in the historical record, he fervently believed reason and educating the illiterate masses would lead to progress.

Voltaire explains his view of historiography in his article on “History” in Diderot’s Encyclopédie: “One demands of modern historians more details, better ascertained facts, precise dates, more attention to customs, laws, mores, commerce, finance, agriculture, population.” Voltaire’s histories imposed the values of the Enlightenment on the past, but at the same time he helped free historiography from antiquarianism, Eurocentrism, religious intolerance and a concentration on great men, diplomacy, and warfare.[108][109] Yale professor Peter Gay says Voltaire wrote “very good history”, citing his “scrupulous concern for truths”, “careful sifting of evidence”, “intelligent selection of what is important”, “keen sense of drama”, and “grasp of the fact that a whole civilization is a unit of study”.[110]

Poetry

From an early age, Voltaire displayed a talent for writing verse and his first published work was poetry. He wrote two book-long epic poems, including the first ever written in French, the Henriade, and later, The Maid of Orleans, besides many other smaller pieces.[citation needed]

The Henriade was written in imitation of Virgil, using the alexandrine couplet reformed and rendered monotonous for modern readers but it was a huge success in the 18th and early 19th century, with sixty-five editions and translations into several languages. The epic poem transformed French King Henry IV into a national hero for his attempts at instituting tolerance with his Edict of Nantes. La Pucelle, on the other hand, is a burlesque on the legend of Joan of Arc.

Prose

Frontispiece and first page of an early English translation by T. Smollett et al. of Voltaire’s Candide, 1762

Many of Voltaire’s prose works and romances, usually composed as pamphlets, were written as polemicsCandide attacks the passivity inspired by Leibniz’s philosophy of optimism through the character Pangloss’s frequent refrain that circumstances are the “best of all possible worlds“. L’Homme aux quarante ecus (The Man of Forty Pieces of Silver), addresses social and political ways of the time; Zadig and others, the received forms of moral and metaphysical orthodoxy; and some were written to deride the Bible. In these works, Voltaire’s ironic style, free of exaggeration, is apparent, particularly the restraint and simplicity of the verbal treatment.[111] Candide in particular is the best example of his style. Voltaire also has—in common with Jonathan Swift—the distinction of paving the way for science fiction’s philosophical irony, particularly in his Micromégas and the vignette Plato’s Dream (1756).

In general, his criticism and miscellaneous writing show a similar style to Voltaire’s other works. Almost all of his more substantive works, whether in verse or prose, are preceded by prefaces of one sort or another, which are models of his caustic yet conversational tone. In a vast variety of nondescript pamphlets and writings, he displays his skills at journalism. In pure literary criticism his principal work is the Commentaire sur Corneille, although he wrote many more similar works—sometimes (as in his Life and Notices of Molière) independently and sometimes as part of his Siècles.[112]

Voltaire’s works, especially his private letters, frequently contain the word “l’infâme” and the expression “écrasez l’infâme“, or “crush the infamous”.[113]The phrase refers to abuses of the people by royalty and the clergy that Voltaire saw around him, and the superstition and intolerance that the clergy bred within the people.[114] He had felt these effects in his own exiles, the burnings of his books and those of many others, and in the hideous sufferings of Jean Calas and François-Jean de la Barre.[115] He stated in one of his most famous quotes that “Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.”[116]

The most oft-cited Voltaire quotation is apocryphal. He is incorrectly credited with writing, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” These were not his words, but rather those of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, written under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre in her 1906 biographical book The Friends of Voltaire. Hall intended to summarize in her own words Voltaire’s attitude towards Claude Adrien Helvétius and his controversial book De l’esprit, but her first-person expression was mistaken for an actual quotation from Voltaire. Her interpretation does capture the spirit of Voltaire’s attitude towards Helvetius; it had been said Hall’s summary was inspired by a quotation found in a 1770 Voltaire letter to an Abbot le Riche, in which he was reported to have said, “I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”[117] Nevertheless, scholars believe there must have again been misinterpretation, as the letter does not seem to contain any such quote.[e]

Voltaire’s first major philosophical work in his battle against “l’infâme” was the Traité sur la tolérance (Treatise on Tolerance), exposing the Calas affair, along with the tolerance exercised by other faiths and in other eras (for example, by the Jews, the Romans, the Greeks and the Chinese). Then, in his Dictionnaire philosophique, containing such articles as “Abraham”, “Genesis”, “Church Council”, he wrote about what he perceived as the human origins of dogmas and beliefs, as well as inhuman behavior of religious and political institutions in shedding blood over the quarrels of competing sects. Amongst other targets, Voltaire criticized France’s colonial policy in North America, dismissing the vast territory of New Franceas “a few acres of snow” (“quelques arpents de neige“).

Letters

Voltaire also engaged in an enormous amount of private correspondence during his life, totalling over 20,000 letters. Theodore Besterman‘s collected edition of these letters, completed only in 1964, fills 102 volumes.[118] One historian called the letters “a feast not only of wit and eloquence but of warm friendship, humane feeling, and incisive thought.”[119]

In Voltaire’s correspondence with Catherine the Great he derided democracy. He wrote, “Almost nothing great has ever been done in the world except by the genius and firmness of a single man combating the prejudices of the multitude.”[120]

Religious views

Voltaire at 70; engraving from 1843 edition of his Philosophical Dictionary

Like other key Enlightenment thinkers, Voltaire was a deist.[121] He challenged orthodoxy by asking: “What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason.”[122][123] Voltaire held mixed views of the Abrahamic religions but had a favourable view of Hinduism.

In a 1763 essay, Voltaire supported the toleration of other religions and ethnicities: “It does not require great art, or magnificently trained eloquence, to prove that Christians should tolerate each other. I, however, am going further: I say that we should regard all men as our brothers. What? The Turk my brother? The Chinaman my brother? The Jew? The Siam? Yes, without doubt; are we not all children of the same father and creatures of the same God?”[124]

In one of his many denunciations of priests of every religious sect, Voltaire describes them as those who “rise from an incestuous bed, manufacture a hundred versions of God, then eat and drink God, then piss and shit God.”[125]

Christianity

Historians have described Voltaire’s description of the history of Christianity as “propagandistic”.[126] Voltaire is partially responsible for the misattribution of the expression Credo quia absurdum to the Church Fathers.[127] In a letter to Frederick II, King of Prussia, dated 5 January 1767, he wrote about Christianity:

La nôtre [religion] est sans contredit la plus ridicule, la plus absurde, et la plus sanguinaire qui ait jamais infecté le monde.[128]
“Ours [i.e., the Christian religion] is assuredly the most ridiculous, the most absurd and the most bloody religion which has ever infected this world. Your Majesty will do the human race an eternal service by extirpating this infamous superstition, I do not say among the rabble, who are not worthy of being enlightened and who are apt for every yoke; I say among honest people, among men who think, among those who wish to think. … My one regret in dying is that I cannot aid you in this noble enterprise, the finest and most respectable which the human mind can point out.”[129][130]

In La bible enfin expliquée, he expressed the following attitude to lay reading of the Bible:

It is characteristic of fanatics who read the holy scriptures to tell themselves: God killed, so I must kill; Abraham lied, Jacob deceived, Rachel stole: so I must steal, deceive, lie. But, wretch, you are neither Rachel, nor Jacob, nor Abraham, nor God; you are just a mad fool, and the popes who forbade the reading of the Bible were extremely wise.[131]

Voltaire’s opinion of the Bible was mixed. Although influenced by Socinian works such as the Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum, Voltaire’s skeptical attitude to the Bible separated him from Unitarian theologians like Fausto Sozzini or even Biblical-political writers like John Locke.[132] His statements on religion also brought down on him the fury of the Jesuits and in particular Claude-Adrien Nonnotte.[133][134][135][136] This did not hinder his religious practice, though it did win for him a bad reputation in certain religious circles. The deeply Christian Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote to his father the year of Voltaire’s death, saying, “The arch-scoundrel Voltaire has finally kicked the bucket …”[137] Voltaire was later deemed to influence Edward Gibbon in claiming that Christianity was a contributor to the fall of the Roman Empire in his book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:

As Christianity advances, disasters befall the [Roman] empire—arts, science, literature, decay—barbarism and all its revolting concomitants are made to seem the consequences of its decisive triumph—and the unwary reader is conducted, with matchless dexterity, to the desired conclusion—the abominable Manicheism of Candide, and, in fact, of all the productions of Voltaire’s historic school—viz., “that instead of being a merciful, ameliorating, and benignant visitation, the religion of Christians would rather seem to be a scourge sent on man by the author of all evil.”[138]

However, Voltaire also acknowledged the self-sacrifice of Christians. He wrote: “Perhaps there is nothing greater on earth than the sacrifice of youth and beauty, often of high birth, made by the gentle sex in order to work in hospitals for the relief of human misery, the sight of which is so revolting to our delicacy. Peoples separated from the Roman religion have imitated but imperfectly so generous a charity.”[139] Yet, according to Daniel-Rops, Voltaire’s “hatred of religion increased with the passage of years. The attack, launched at first against clericalism and theocracy, ended in a furious assault upon Holy Scripture, the dogmas of the Church, and even upon the person of Jesus Christ Himself, who [he] depicted now as a degenerate”.[140] Voltaire’s reasoning may be summed up in his well-known saying, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities“.

Judaism

According to Orthodox rabbi Joseph Telushkin, the most significant Enlightenment hostility against Judaism was found in Voltaire;[141] thirty of the 118 articles in his Dictionnaire philosophiquedealt with Jews and described them in consistently negative ways.[142][143] For example, in Voltaire’s A Philosophical Dictionary, he wrote of Jews: “In short, we find in them only an ignorant and barbarous people, who have long united the most sordid avarice with the most detestable superstition and the most invincible hatred for every people by whom they are tolerated and enriched.”[144]

On the other hand, Peter Gay, a contemporary authority on the Enlightenment,[141] also points to Voltaire’s remarks (for instance, that the Jews were more tolerant than the Christians) in the Traité sur la tolérance and surmises that “Voltaire struck at the Jews to strike at Christianity”. Whatever anti-semitism Voltaire may have felt, Gay suggests, derived from negative personal experience.[145] Bertram Schwarzbach’s far more detailed studies of Voltaire’s dealings with Jewish people throughout his life concluded that he was anti-biblical, not anti-semitic. His remarks on the Jews and their “superstitions” were essentially no different from his remarks on Christians.[146]

Telushkin states that Voltaire did not limit his attack to aspects of Judaism that Christianity used as a foundation, repeatedly making it clear that he despised Jews.[141] Arthur Hertzberg claims that Gay’s second suggestion is also untenable, as Voltaire himself denied its validity when he remarked that he had “forgotten about much larger bankruptcies through Christians”.[clarification needed][147]

Some authors link Voltaire’s anti-Judaism to his polygenism. According to Joxe Azurmendi this anti-Judaism has a relative importance in Voltaire’s philosophy of history. However, Voltaire’s anti-Judaism influences later authors like Ernest Renan.[148]

According to the historian Will Durant, Voltaire had initially condemned the persecution of Jews on several occasions including in his work Henriade.[149] As stated by Durant, Voltaire had praised the simplicity, sobriety, regularity, and industry of Jews. However, subsequently, Voltaire had become strongly anti-Semitic after some regrettable personal financial transactions and quarrels with Jewish financiers. In his Essai sur les moeurs Voltaire had denounced the ancient Hebrews using strong language; a Catholic priest had protested against this censure. The anti-Semitic passages in Voltaire’s Dictionnaire philosophique were criticized by Issac Pinto in 1762. Subsequently, Voltaire agreed with the criticism of his anti-Semitic views and stated that he had been “wrong to attribute to a whole nation the vices of some individuals”;[150] he also promised to revise the objectionable passages for forthcoming editions of the Dictionnaire philosophique, but failed to do so.[150]

Islam

Voltaire’s views about Islam remained negative as he considered the Quran to be ignorant of the laws of physics.[151] In a 1740 letter to Frederick II of Prussia, Voltaire ascribes to Muhammad a brutality that “is assuredly nothing any man can excuse” and suggests that his following stemmed from superstition. Referring to the prophet, Voltaire continued in his letter, “But that a camel-merchant should stir up insurrection in his village; that in league with some miserable followers he persuades them that he talks with the angel Gabriel; that he boasts of having been carried to heaven, where he received in part this unintelligible book, each page of which makes common sense shudder; that, to pay homage to this book, he delivers his country to iron and flame; that he cuts the throats of fathers and kidnaps daughters; that he gives to the defeated the choice of his religion or death: this is assuredly nothing any man can excuse, at least if he was not born a Turk, or if superstition has not extinguished all natural light in him.”[152]

In 1748, after having read Henri de Boulainvilliers and George Sale,[153] he wrote again about Mohammed and Islam in an article, “De l’Alcoran et de Mahomet” (On the Quran and on Mohammed). In the article, Voltaire maintained that Mohammed was a “sublime charlatan”[f] Drawing also on complementary information in the “Oriental Library” of Herbelot, Voltaire, according to René Pomeau, had a judgement of the Qur’an where he found the book in spite of “the contradictions, the absurdities, the anachronisms”, “rhapsody, without connection, without order, and without art”.[154][155][156][157] Thus he “henceforward conceded”[157] that “if his book was bad for our times and for us, it was very good for his contemporaries, and his religion even more so. It must be admitted that he removed almost all of Asia from idolatry” and that “it was difficult for such a simple and wise religion, taught by a man who was constantly victorious, could hardly fail to subjugate a portion of the earth.” He considered that “its civil laws are good; its dogma is admirable which it has in common with ours” but that “his means are shocking; deception and murder”.[158]

In his Essay on the Manners and Spirit of Nations (published 1756), Voltaire deals with the history of Europe before Charlemagne to the dawn of the age of Louis XIV, and that of the colonies and the East. As a historian he devoted several chapters to Islam,[159][160][161] Voltaire highlighted the Arabian, Turkish courts, and conducts.[157][162][163][162] Here he called Mohammed a “poet”, and stated that he was not an illiterate.[164] As a “legislator”, he “changed the face of part of Europe [and] one half of Asia.”[165][166][167] In chapter VI, Voltaire finds similarities between Arabs and ancient Hebrews, that they both kept running to battle in the name of God, and sharing a passion for the spoils of war.[168] Voltaire continues that, “It is to be believed that Mohammed, like all enthusiasts, violently struck by his ideas, first presented them in good faith, strengthened them with fantasy, fooled himself in fooling others, and supported through necessary deceptions a doctrine which he considered good.”[169][170] He thus compares “the genius of the Arab people” with “the genius of the ancient Romans”.[171]

Drama Mahomet

The tragedy Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet (FrenchLe fanatisme, ou Mahomet le Prophete) was written in 1736 by Voltaire. The play is a study of religious fanaticism and self-serving manipulation. The character Muhammad orders the murder of his critics.[172] Voltaire described the play as “written in opposition to the founder of a false and barbarous sect.”[173]

Voltaire described Muhammad as an “impostor”, a “false prophet”, a “fanatic” and a “hypocrite”.[174][175] Defending the play, Voltaire said that he “tried to show in it into what horrible excesses fanaticism, led by an impostor, can plunge weak minds”.[176] When Voltaire wrote in 1742 to César de Missy, he described Mohammed as deceitful.[177][178]

In his play, Mohammed was “whatever trickery can invent that is most atrocious and whatever fanaticism can accomplish that is most horrifying. Mahomet here is nothing other than Tartuffe with armies at his command.”[179][180] After later having judged that he had made Mohammed in his play “somewhat nastier than he really was”,[181] Voltaire claims that Muhammad stole the idea of an angel weighing both men and women from Zoroastrians, who are often referred to as “Magi“. Voltaire continues about Islam, saying:

Nothing is more terrible than a people who, having nothing to lose, fight in the united spirit of rapine and of religion.[182]

In a 1745 letter recommending the play to Pope Benedict XIV, Voltaire described Muhammad as “the founder of a false and barbarous sect” and “a false prophet”. Voltaire wrote: “Your holiness will pardon the liberty taken by one of the lowest of the faithful, though a zealous admirer of virtue, of submitting to the head of the true religion this performance, written in opposition to the founder of a false and barbarous sect. To whom could I with more propriety inscribe a satire on the cruelty and errors of a false prophet, than to the vicar and representative of a God of truth and mercy?”[183][184] His view was modified slightly for Essai sur les Moeurs et l’Esprit des Nations, although they remained negative.[185][186][125][187] In 1751, Voltaire performed his play Mohametonce again, with great success.[188]

Hinduism

Commenting on the sacred texts of the Hindus, the Vedas, Voltaire observed:

The Veda was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East.[189]

He regarded Hindus as “a peaceful and innocent people, equally incapable of hurting others or of defending themselves.”[190] Voltaire was himself a supporter of animal rights and was a vegetarian.[191] He used the antiquity of Hinduism to land what he saw as a devastating blow to the Bible’s claims and acknowledged that the Hindus’ treatment of animals showed a shaming alternative to the immorality of European imperialists.[192]

Views on race and slavery

Voltaire rejected the biblical Adam and Eve story and was a polygenist who speculated that each race had entirely separate origins.[193][194] According to William Cohen, like most other polygenists, Voltaire believed that because of their different origins blacks did not entirely share the natural humanity of whites.[195] According to David Allen Harvey, Voltaire often invoked racial differences as a means to attack religious orthodoxy, and the Biblical account of creation.[196]

His most famous remark on slavery is found in Candide, where the hero is horrified to learn “at what price we eat sugar in Europe” after coming across a slave in French Guiana who has been mutilated for escaping, who opines that, if all human beings have common origins as the Bible taught, it makes them cousins, concluding that “no one could treat their relatives more horribly”. Elsewhere, he wrote caustically about “whites and Christians [who] proceed to purchase negroes cheaply, in order to sell them dear in America”. Voltaire has been accused of supporting the slave trade as per a letter attributed to him,[197][198][199] although it has been suggested that this letter is a forgery “since no satisfying source attests to the letter’s existence.”[200]

In his Philosophical Dictionary, Voltaire endorses Montesquieu‘s criticism of the slave trade: “Montesquieu was almost always in error with the learned, because he was not learned, but he was almost always right against the fanatics and the promoters of slavery.”[201]

Zeev Sternhell argues that despite his shortcomings, Voltaire was a forerunner of liberal pluralism in his approach to history and non-European cultures.[202] Voltaire wrote, “We have slandered the Chinese because their metaphysics is not the same as ours … This great misunderstanding about Chinese rituals has come about because we have judged their usages by ours, for we carry the prejudices of our contentious spirit to the end of the world.”[202] In speaking of Persia, he condemned Europe’s “ignorant audacity” and “ignorant credulity”. When writing about India, he declares, “It is time for us to give up the shameful habit of slandering all sects and insulting all nations!”[202] In Essai sur les mœurs et l’esprit des nations, he defended the integrity of the Native Americans and wrote favorably of the Inca Empire.[203]

Appreciation and influence

According to Victor Hugo: “To name Voltaire is to characterize the entire eighteenth century.”[204] Goethe regarded Voltaire to be the greatest literary figure in modern times, and possibly of all times.[205] According to Diderot, Voltaire’s influence on posterity would extend far into the future.[206][g] Napoleon commented that till he was sixteen he “would have fought for Rousseau against the friends of Voltaire, today it is the opposite…The more I read Voltaire the more I love him. He is a man always reasonable, never a charlatan, never a fanatic.”[207] Frederick the Greatcommented on his good fortune for having lived in the age of Voltaire, and corresponded with him throughout his reign until Voltaire’s death.[208] In England, Voltaire’s views influenced GodwinPaineMary WollstonecraftBenthamByron and Shelley.[205] Macaulay made note of the fear that Voltaire’s very name incited in tyrants and fanatics.[209][h]

In Russia, Catherine the Great had been reading Voltaire for sixteen years prior to becoming Empress in 1762.[208][210] In October 1763, she began a correspondence with the philosopher that continued till his death. The content of these letters has been described as being akin to a student writing to a teacher.[211] Upon Voltaire’s death, the Empress purchased his library, which was then transported and placed in The Hermitage.[212] Alexander Herzen remarked that “The writings of the egoist Voltaire did more for liberation than those of the loving Rousseau did for brotherhood.”[213] In his famous letter to N. V. GogolVissarion Belinsky wrote that Voltaire “stamped out the fires of fanaticism and ignorance in Europe by ridicule.”[214]

In his native Paris, Voltaire was viewed as the defender of Jean Calas and Pierre Sirven.[205] Although he failed in securing the annulment of la Barre‘s execution for “blasphemies” against Christianity, despite a protracted campaign, the criminal code that sanctioned the execution was revised during Voltaire’s lifetime.[215] In 1764, Voltaire successfully intervened and secured the release of Claude Chamont for the crime of attending Protestant services. When Comte de Lally was executed for treason in 1766, Voltaire wrote a 300-page document absolving de Lally. Subsequently, in 1778, the judgment against de Lally was expunged just before Voltaire’s death. The Genevan Protestant minister Pomaret once said to Voltaire, “You seem to attack Christianity, and yet you do the work of a Christian.”[216] Frederick the Great noted the significance of a philosopher capable of influencing judges to change their unjust decisions, commenting that this alone is sufficient to ensure the prominence of Voltaire as a humanitarian.[216]

Under the French Third Republic, anarchists and socialists often invoked Voltaire’s writings in their struggles against militarism, nationalism, and the Catholic Church.[217] The section condemning the futility and imbecility of war in the Dictionnaire philosophique was a frequent favorite, as were his arguments that nations can only grow at the expense of others.[218] Following the liberation of France from the Vichy regime in 1944, Voltaire’s 250th birthday was celebrated in both France and the Soviet Union, honoring him as “one of the most feared opponents” of the Nazi collaborators and someone “whose name symbolizes freedom of thought, and hatred of prejudice, superstition, and injustice.”[219]

Jorge Luis Borges stated that “not to admire Voltaire is one of the many forms of stupidity” and included his short fiction such as Micromégas in “The Library of Babel” and “A Personal Library.”[220] Gustave Flaubert believed that France had erred gravely by not following the path forged by Voltaire instead of Rousseau.[221] Most architects of modern America were adherents of Voltaire’s views.[205] According to Will Durant:

Italy had a Renaissance, and Germany had a Reformation, but France had Voltaire; he was for his country both Renaissance and Reformation, and half the Revolution.[204] He was first and best in his time in his conception and writing of history, in the grace of his poetry, in the charm and wit of his prose, in the range of his thought and his influence. His spirit moved like a flame over the continent and the century, and stirs a million souls in every generation.[222]

Voltaire and Rousseau

Voltaire’s junior contemporary Jean-Jacques Rousseau commented on how Voltaire’s book Letters on the English played a great role in his intellectual development.[223] Having written some literary works and also some music, in December 1745 Rousseau wrote a letter introducing himself to Voltaire, who was by then the most prominent literary figure in France, to which Voltaire replied with a polite response. Subsequently, when Rousseau sent Voltaire a copy of his book Discourse on Inequality, Voltaire replied, noting his disagreement with the views expressed in the book:

No one has ever employed so much intellect to persuade men to be beasts. In reading your work one is seized with a desire to walk on four paws [marcher à quatre pattes]. However, as it is more than sixty years since I lost that habit, I feel, unfortunately, that it is impossible for me to resume it.[224]

Subsequently, commenting on Rousseau’s romantic novel Julie, or the New Heloise, Voltaire stated:

No more about Jean-Jacques’ romance if you please. I have read it, to my sorrow, and it would be to his if I had time to say what I think of this silly book.[225]

Voltaire speculated that the first half of Julie had been written in a brothel and the second half in a lunatic asylum.[226] In his Lettres sur La Nouvelle Heloise, written under a pseudonym, Voltaire offered criticism highlighting grammatical mistakes in the book:

Paris recognized Voltaire’s hand and judged the patriarch to be bitten by jealousy.[225]

In reviewing Rousseau’s book Emile after its publication, Voltaire dismissed it as “a hodgepodge of a silly wet nurse in four volumes, with forty pages against Christianity, among the boldest ever known.” He expressed admiration for the section in this book titled Profession of Faith of the Savoyard Vicar, calling it “fifty good pages…it is regrettable that they should have been written by…such a knave.”[227] He went on to predict that Emile would be forgotten after a month.[226]

In 1764, Rousseau published Lettres de la montagne, containing nine letters on religion and politics. In the fifth letter he wondered why Voltaire had not been able to imbue the Genevan councilors, who frequently met him, “with that spirit of tolerance which he preaches without cease, and of which he sometimes has need”. The letter continued with an imaginary speech delivered by Voltaire, imitating his literary style, in which he accepts authorship for the book Sermon of the Fifty—a book whose authorship Voltaire had repeatedly denied because it contained many heresies.[228]

In 1772, when a priest sent Rousseau a pamphlet denouncing Voltaire, Rousseau responded with a defense of Voltaire:

He has said and done so many good things that we should draw the curtain over his irregularities.[228]

In 1778, when Voltaire was given unprecedented honors at the Théâtre-Français,[229] an acquaintance of Rousseau ridiculed the event. This was met by a sharp retort from Rousseau:

How dare you mock the honors rendered to Voltaire in the temple of which he is the god, and by the priests who for fifty years have been living off his masterpieces?[230]

On 2 July 1778, Rousseau died one month after Voltaire’s death.[231] In October 1794, Rousseau’s remains were moved to the Panthéon, where they were placed near the remains of Voltaire.[232][i]

Louis XVI, while incarcerated in the Temple, had remarked that Rousseau and Voltaire had “destroyed France”, by which he meant his dynasty.[233][j]

Legacy

Voltaire perceived the French bourgeoisie to be too small and ineffective, the aristocracy to be parasitic and corrupt, the commoners as ignorant and superstitious, and the Church as a static and oppressive force useful only on occasion as a counterbalance to the rapacity of kings, although all too often, even more rapacious itself. Voltaire distrusted democracy, which he saw as propagating the idiocy of the masses.[235] Voltaire long thought only an enlightened monarch could bring about change, given the social structures of the time and the extremely high rates of illiteracy, and that it was in the king’s rational interest to improve the education and welfare of his subjects. But his disappointments and disillusions with Frederick the Great changed his philosophy somewhat, and soon gave birth to one of his most enduring works, his novella Candide, ou l’Optimisme (Candide, or Optimism, 1759), which ends with a new conclusion: “It is up to us to cultivate our garden.” His most polemical and ferocious attacks on intolerance and religious persecutions indeed began to appear a few years later. Candide was also burned and Voltaire jokingly claimed the actual author was a certain ‘Demad’ in a letter, where he reaffirmed the main polemical stances of the text.[236]

He is remembered and honored in France as a courageous polemicist who indefatigably fought for civil rights (as the right to a fair trial and freedom of religion) and who denounced the hypocrisies and injustices of the Ancien Régime. The Ancien Régime involved an unfair balance of power and taxes between the three Estates: clergy and nobles on one side, the commoners and middle class, who were burdened with most of the taxes, on the other. He particularly had admiration for the ethics and government as exemplified by the Chinese philosopher Confucius.[237]

Voltaire is also known for many memorable aphorisms, such as “Si Dieu n’existait pas, il faudrait l’inventer” (“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”), contained in a verse epistle from 1768, addressed to the anonymous author of a controversial work on The Three Impostors. But far from being the cynical remark it is often taken for, it was meant as a retort to atheistic opponents such as d’HolbachGrimm, and others.[238] He has had his detractors among his later colleagues. The Scottish Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle argued that “Voltaire read history, not with the eye of devout seer or even critic, but through a pair of mere anti-catholic spectacles.”[239]

The town of Ferney, where Voltaire lived out the last 20 years of his life, was officially named Ferney-Voltaire in honor of its most famous resident in 1878.[240] His château is a museum. Voltaire’s library is preserved intact in the National Library of Russia at Saint Petersburg, Russia. In the Zurich of 1916, the theatre and performance group who would become the early avant-garde movement Dada named their theater The Cabaret Voltaire. A late-20th-century industrial music group then named themselves after the theater. Astronomers have bestowed his name to the Voltaire crater on Deimos and the asteroid 5676 Voltaire.[241]

Voltaire was also known to have been an advocate for coffee, as he was reported to have drunk it 50–72 times per day. It has been suggested that high amounts of caffeine acted as a mental stimulant to his creativity.[242] His great-grand-niece was the mother of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Catholic philosopher and Jesuit priest.[243][244] His book Candide was listed as one of The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written, by Martin Seymour-Smith.

In the 1950s, the bibliographer and translator Theodore Besterman started to collect, transcribe and publish all of Voltaire’s writings.[245] He founded the Voltaire Institute and Museum in Genevawhere he began publishing collected volumes of Voltaire’s correspondence.[245] On his death in 1976, he left his collection to the University of Oxford, where the Voltaire Foundation became established as a department.[246][247] The Foundation has continued to publish the Complete Works of Voltaire, a complete chronological series which is expected to reach completion in 2018, reaching around 200 volumes, fifty years after the series began.[247][248] It also publishes the series Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, begun by Bestermann as Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, which has reached more than 500 volumes.[247]

Chronology

Works

Non-fiction

History

Novellas

  • The One-eyed Street Porter, Cosi-sancta (1715)
  • Plato’s Dream (1737)
  • Micromégas (1738)
  • The World as it Goes (1750)
  • Memnon (1750)
  • Bababec and the Fakirs (1750)
  • Timon (1755)
  • The Travels of Scarmentado (1756)
  • The Two Consoled Ones (1756)
  • Zadig, or, Destiny (1757)
  • Candide, or Optimism (1758)
  • Story of a Good Brahman (1759)
  • The King of Boutan (1761)
  • The City of Cashmere (1760)
  • An Indian Adventure (1764)
  • The White and the Black (1764)
  • Jeannot and Colin (1764)
  • The Blind Judges of Colors (1766)
  • The Princess of Babylon (1768)
  • The Man with Forty Crowns (1768)
  • The Letters of Amabed (1769)
  • The Huron, or Pupil of Nature (1771)
  • The White Bull (1772)
  • An Incident of Memory (1773)
  • The History of Jenni (1774)
  • The Travels of Reason (1774)
  • The Ears of Lord Chesterfield and Chaplain Goudman (1775)

Plays

Voltaire wrote between fifty and sixty plays, including a few unfinished ones.[249] Among them are:

Collected works

  • Oeuvres complètes de Voltaire, A. Beuchot (ed.). 72 vols. (1829–40)
  • Oeuvres complètes de Voltaire, Louis E.D. Moland and G. Bengesco (eds.}. 52 vols. (1877–85)
  • Oeuvres complètes de Voltaire, Theodore Besterman, et al. (eds.). 144 vols. (1968–2018)

See also

References …

Bibliography

Further reading

In French

  • Korolev, S. Voltaire et la reliure des livres // Revue Voltaire. Paris, 2013. #13. pp. 233–40.
  • René PomeauLa Religion de Voltaire, Librairie Nizet, Paris, 1974.
  • Valérie Crugten-André, La vie de Voltaire [1]

Primary sources

  • Morley, J., The Works of Voltaire, A Contemporary Version, (21 vol 1901), online edition

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voltaire

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Steven Pinker – Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress — The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined — The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature — Videos

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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress featuring Steven Pinker

STEVEN PINKER: ENLIGHTENMENT NOW

Stephen Fry & Steven Pinker on the Enlightenment Today

Enlightenment Now | Steven Pinker | RSA Replay

Dr. Steven Pinker, Harvard University – Collective Impact

The Personal Philosophy of Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker & Charlie Rose – “The Better Angels of Our Nature”

Prof. Steven Pinker – The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity

A History of Violence: Steven Pinker at TEDxNewEngland

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 1/2)

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 2/2)

Steven Pinker on Human Nature

Understanding Human Nature with Steven Pinker – Conversations with History

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker: Human nature and the blank slate

Steven Pinker – The Genius of Charles Darwin: The Uncut Interviews

Steven Pinker — On psychology and human nature

 

Steven Pinker Books

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=steve+pinker+books&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=194752538360&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18360483831547681179&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9060114&hvtargid=kwd-313239828936&ref=pd_sl_oakl91e0m_b

 

My new favorite book of all time

For years, I’ve been saying Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature was the best book I’d read in a decade. If I could recommend just one book for anyone to pick up, that was it. Pinker uses meticulous research to argue that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. I’d never seen such a clear explanation of progress.

I’m going to stop talking up Better Angels so much, because Pinker has managed to top himself. His new book, Enlightenment Now, is even better.

Enlightenment Now takes the approach he uses in Better Angels to track violence throughout history and applies it to 15 different measures of progress (like quality of life, knowledge, and safety). The result is a holistic picture of how and why the world is getting better. It’s like Better Angels on steroids.

Pinker was generous enough to send me an early copy, even though Enlightenment Now won’t be released until the end of February. I read the book slowly since I loved it so much, but I think most people will find it a quick and accessible read. He manages to share a ton of information in a way that’s compelling, memorable, and easy to digest.

It opens with an argument in favor of returning to the ideals of the Enlightenment—an era when reason, science, and humanism were touted as the highest virtues. (Gates Notes Insiders can get a preview of this section of the book.)

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I’m all for more reason, science, and humanism, but what I found most interesting were the 15 chapters exploring each measure of progress. Pinker is at his best when he analyzes historic trends and uses data to put the past into context. I was already familiar with a lot of the information he shares—especially about health and energy—but he understands each subject so deeply that he’s able to articulate his case in a way that feels fresh and new.

I love how he’s willing to dive deep into primary data sources and pull out unexpected signs of progress. I tend to point to things like dramatic reductions in poverty and childhood deaths, because I think they’re such a good measure of how we’re doing as a society. Pinker covers those areas, but he also looks at more obscure topics.

Here are five of my favorite facts from the book that show how the world is improving:

  1. You’re 37 times less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than you were at the turn of the century—and that’s not because there are fewer thunderstorms today. It’s because we have better weather prediction capabilities, improved safety education, and more people living in cities.
  2. Time spent doing laundry fell from 11.5 hours a week in 1920 to an hour and a half in 2014.This might sound trivial in the grand scheme of progress. But the rise of the washing machine has improved quality of life by freeing up time for people—mostly women—to enjoy other pursuits. That time represents nearly half a day every week that could be used for everything from binge-watching Ozark or reading a book to starting a new business.
  3. You’re way less likely to die on the job. Every year, 5,000 people die from occupational accidents in the U.S. But in 1929—when our population was less than two-fifths the size it is today—20,000 people died on the job. People back then viewed deadly workplace accidents as part of the cost of doing business. Today, we know better, and we’ve engineered ways to build things without putting nearly as many lives at risk.
  4. The global average IQ score is rising by about 3 IQ points every decade. Kids’ brains are developing more fully thanks to improved nutrition and a cleaner environment. Pinker also credits more analytical thinking in and out of the classroom. Think about how many symbols you interpret every time you check your phone’s home screen or look at a subway map. Our world today encourages abstract thought from a young age, and it’s making us smarter.
  5. War is illegal. This idea seems obvious. But before the creation of the United Nations in 1945, no institution had the power to stop countries from going to war with each other. Although there have been some exceptions, the threat of international sanctions and intervention has proven to be an effective deterrent to wars between nations.

Pinker also tackles the disconnect between actual progress and the perception of progress—something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. People all over the world are living longer, healthier, and happier lives, so why do so many think things are getting worse? Why do we gloss over positive news stories and fixate on the negative ones? He does a good job explaining why we’re drawn to pessimism and how that instinct influences our approach to the world, although I wish he went more in depth about the psychology (especially since he’s a psychologist by training). The late Hans Rosling explains this more fully in his excellent new book Factfulness, which I plan to review soon.

I agree with Pinker on most areas, but I think he’s a bit too optimistic about artificial intelligence. He’s quick to dismiss the idea of robots overthrowing their human creators. While I don’t think we’re in danger of a Terminator-style scenario, the question underlying that fear—who exactly controls the robots?—is a valid one. We’re not there yet, but at some point, who has AI and who controls it will be an important issue for global institutions to address.

The big questions surrounding automation are proof that progress can be a messy, sticky thing—but that doesn’t mean we’re headed in the wrong direction. At the end of Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that “we will never have a perfect world, and it would be dangerous to seek one. But there is no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing.”

The world is getting better, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker’s ever written. It’s my new favorite book of all time.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Enlightenment-Now

5 books I loved in 2018

If you’re like me, you love giving—or getting!—books during the holidays. A great read is the perfect gift: thoughtful and easy to wrap (with no batteries or assembly required). Plus, I think everyone could use a few more books in their lives. I usually don’t consider whether something would make a good present when I’m putting together my end of year book list—but this year’s selections are highly giftable.

My list is pretty eclectic this year. From a how-to guide about meditation to a deep dive on autonomous weapons to a thriller about the fall of a once-promising company, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a fool-proof gift for your friends and family, you can’t go wrong with one of these.

Educated, by Tara Westover. Tara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

Army of None, by Paul Scharre. Autonomous weapons aren’t exactly top of mind for most around the holidays, but this thought-provoking look at A.I. in warfare is hard to put down. It’s an immensely complicated topic, but Scharre offers clear explanations and presents both the pros and cons of machine-driven warfare. His fluency with the subject should come as no surprise: he’s a veteran who helped draft the U.S. government’s policy on autonomous weapons.

Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou. A bunch of my friends recommended this one to me. Carreyrou gives you the definitive insider’s look at the rise and fall of Theranos. The story is even crazier than I expected, and I found myself unable to put it down once I started. This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari. I’m a big fan of everything Harari has written, and his latest is no exception. While Sapiens and Homo Deus covered the past and future respectively, this one is all about the present. If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessonsoffers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face.

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe. I’m sure 25-year-old me would scoff at this one, but Melinda and I have gotten really into meditation lately. The book starts with Puddicombe’s personal journey from a university student to a Buddhist monk and then becomes an entertaining explainer on how to meditate. If you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the perfect introduction.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Best-Books-2018

Wrapping up 2018

What I learned at work this year

Every Christmas when I was a kid, my parents would send out a card with an update on what the family was up to. Dad’s law firm is growing, Mom’s volunteer work is going strong, the girls are doing well in school, Bill is a handful.

Some people think it is corny, but I like the tradition. These days, at the end of each year, I still enjoy taking stock of my work and personal life. What was I excited about? What could I have done better?

I thought I would share a few of these thoughts as 2018 concludes.

One thing that occurs to me is that the questions I am asking myself at age 63 are very different from the ones I would have asked when I was in my 20s.

Back then, an end-of-year assessment would amount to just one question: Is Microsoft software making the personal-computing dream come true?

Today of course I still assess the quality of my work. But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life. Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.

Melinda has helped broaden my thinking on this point. So has Warren Buffett, who says his measure of success is, “Do the people you care about love you back?” I think that is about as good a metric as you will find.

It may sound grand, but I think the world is slowly going through a similar transition to a broader understanding of well-being. For most of human history, we have been focused on living longer by fighting disease and trying to grow enough food for everyone. As a result, life spans have gone up dramatically. Technology has played a key role in that through vaccines, medicines, and improved sanitation.

We still need a lot of innovation to solve problems like malaria or obesity, but we are also going to be focusing more on improving the quality of life. I think this will be the thrust of many big breakthroughs of the future. For example, software will be able to notice when you’re feeling down, connect you with your friends, give you personalized tips for sleeping and eating better, and help you use your time more efficiently.

There are not the same clear measures of these things as there are for diseases, and there may never be. But there is nascent work in this field and I think it is going to accelerate.

As I look back on the year, I am also thinking about the specific areas I work on. Some of this is done through our foundation but a lot of it (such as my work on energy and Alzheimer’s work) is not. What connects it all is my belief that innovation can save lives and improve everyone’s well-being. A lot of people underestimate just how much innovation will make life better.

Here are a few updates on what’s going well and what isn’t with innovation in some areas where I work.

Alzheimer’s disease

 I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

One is that researchers focused on a new set of ideas about how to stop Alzheimer’s.

The first generation of theories, which dominated the field for years, emphasized two proteins called amyloid and tau. These proteins cause plaques and tangles in the brain, clogging up and killing brain cells. The idea was to stop the plaques and tangles from forming. I hope these approaches pay off, but we have not seen much evidence that they will.

In the past year, researchers have doubled down on a second generation of hypotheses. One theory is that a patient’s brain cells break down because their energy producers (called mitochondria) wear out. Another is that brain cells break down because part of the immune system gets overactivated and attacks them.

This is a great example of how improving our understanding of biology will reduce both medical costs and human suffering.

The other trend this year is that the Alzheimer’s community focused on getting more and better access to data. We’re working with researchers to make it easier for them to share information from their studies broadly so that we can better understand questions like how the disease progresses.

Over the past few years, the U.S. government has dramatically stepped up funding for Alzheimer’s research, from $400 million a year to over $2 billion a year. There is also a big push to create better diagnostics.

The only problem where I don’t yet see a clear path forward yet is how to develop more efficient ways to recruit patients for clinical trials. Without a simple and reliable diagnostic for Alzheimer’s, it’s hard to find eligible people early enough in the disease’s progression who can participate in trials. It can take years to enroll enough patients. If we could find a way to pre-screen participants, we could start new trials more quickly.

But there is so much momentum in other areas—scientific tools, better diagnostics, improved access to data—that as long as we can solve the recruitment problem, I am confident that we will make substantial progress in the next decade or two.

Polio

 I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are.

I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are. Unfortunately, there were more cases in 2018 than in 2017 (29 versus 22).

I underestimated how hard it would be to vaccinate children in places where there’s political violence and war. Families move around to escape fighting, which makes it hard to keep track of children and make sure they get all the doses of the vaccine. Or sewage systems get destroyed, allowing the virus to spread as children come into contact with an infected person’s excrement.

This is a key reason why Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been free of polio—in fact they are the only two countries that have never been free of polio.

I spend a lot of time on polio, part of it talking to the funders to make sure they continue their commitment even though eradication is taking longer than any of us would like. I remind them of the huge benefits of success, and the risk that the disease will return in a big way if we don’t finish the job.

I also remind them what a difference innovation is making. We’re now able to test sewage samples to track the virus and find the source before an outbreak starts. And the global health community is finding creative ways to work in war zones, having stopped outbreaks in Syria and Somalia in recent years.

Finally, I am hopeful about a new oral vaccine being tested in Belgium and Panama. The results should be out in 2019, and if this one proves effective, it would overcome some of the problems with previous oral vaccines when they’re used in places where few children are immunized. The new vaccine could be in use as soon as 2020.

Despite all the challenges, I am still optimistic that we can eradicate polio soon.

Energy

Global emissions of greenhouse gases went up in 2018. For me, that just reinforces the fact that the only way to prevent the worst climate-change scenarios is to get some breakthroughs in clean energy.

Some people think we have all the tools we need, and that driving down the cost of renewables like solar and wind solves the problem. I am glad to see solar and wind getting cheaper and we should be deploying them wherever it makes sense.

But solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy, and we are unlikely to have super-cheap batteries anytime soon that would allow us to store sufficient energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Besides, electricity accounts for only 25% of all emissions. We need to solve the other 75% too.

This year Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the clean-energy investment fund I’m involved with, announced the first companies we’re putting money into. You can see the list at http://www.b-t.energy/ventures/our-investment-portfolio/. We are looking at all the major drivers of climate change. The companies we chose are run by brilliant people and show a lot of promise for taking innovative clean-energy ideas out of the lab and getting them to market.

Next year I will speak out more about how the U.S. needs to regain its leading role in nuclear power research. (This is unrelated to my work with the foundation.)

Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation.

The United States is uniquely suited to create these advances with its world-class scientists, entrepreneurs, and investment capital.

 Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago.

Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, it will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it’s serious.

There are several promising ideas in advanced nuclear that should be explored if we get over these obstacles. TerraPower, the company I started 10 years ago, uses an approach called a traveling wave reactor that is safe, prevents proliferation, and produces very little waste. We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely. We may be able to build it in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen.

The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change. Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.

The next epidemic

In 1918, the Spanish flu killed 50 million people worldwide. It still ranks as one of the deadliest natural disasters ever.

I had hoped that hitting the 100th anniversary of this epidemic would spark a lot of discussion about whether we’re ready for the next global epidemic. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and we still are not ready.

People rightly worry about dangers like terrorism and climate change (and, more remotely, an asteroid hitting the Earth). But if anything is going to kill tens of millions of people in a short time, it will probably be a global epidemic. And the disease would most likely be a form of the flu, because the flu virus spreads easily through the air. Today a flu as contagious and lethal as the 1918 one would kill nearly 33 million people in just six months.

I have been studying this for several years. To be prepared, we need a plan for national governments to work together. We need to think through how to handle quarantines, make sure supply chains will reach affected areas, decide how to involve the military, and so on. There was not much progress on these questions in 2018.

 There has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu.

The good news is that there has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu. This year I visited the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Maryland and got an update from some of the people leading this work.

The challenges of making a universal flu vaccine are fascinating. All strains of the virus have certain structures in common. If you’ve never been exposed to the flu, it’s possible to make a vaccine that teaches your immune system to look for those structures and attack them. But once you’ve had the flu, your body obsesses over the strain that got you sick. That makes it really hard to get your immune system to look for the common structures.

So it is clear how we could make a universal vaccine that would protect anyone (such as the very young) who has never been exposed to the flu before. But for anyone who has already had the virus, it is a lot harder. The problem is a long way from being solved, but new research money is coming in and more scientists are working on it.

To make the most of these scientific efforts (some of which our foundation is funding), the world needs to develop a global system for monitoring and responding to epidemics. That is a political matter that requires international cooperation among government leaders. This issue deserves a lot more focus.

Gene editing

Gene editing made the news in November when a Chinese scientist announced that he had altered the genes of two baby girls when they were embryos. What is unprecedented about his work is that he edited their germline cells, meaning the changes will be passed down to their children. (The other, less controversial type of gene editing involves somatic cells, which aren’t inherited by future generations.)

I agree with those who say this scientist went too far. But something good can come from his work if it encourages more people to learn and talk about gene editing. This might be the most important public debate we haven’t been having widely enough.

The ethical questions are enormous. Gene editing is generating a ton of optimism for treating and curing diseases, including some that our foundation works on (though we fund work on altering crops and insects, not humans). But the technology could make inequity worse, especially if it is available only for wealthy people.

I am surprised that these issues haven’t generated more attention from the general public. Today, artificial intelligence is the subject of vigorous debate. Gene editing deserves at least as much of the spotlight as AI.

I encourage you to read up on it whenever you have a chance. Keep an eye out for articles in your news feed. If you are willing to read a whole book, The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee is very well done. This story is one to follow, because big breakthroughs—some good, some worrisome—are coming.

Looking ahead

 I am making a resolution for 2019.

Although I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions, I have always been committed to setting clear goals and making plans to achieve them. As I get older, these two things look more and more like the same exercise. So I am making a resolution for 2019. I am committing to learn and think about two key areas where technology has the potential to make an enormous impact on the quality of our lives, but also raises complex ethical and social considerations.

One is the balance between privacy and innovation. How can we use data to gain insights into education (like which schools do the best job of teaching low-income students) or health (like which doctors provide the best care for a reasonable price) while protecting people’s privacy?

The other is the use of technology in education. How much can software improve students’ learning? For years we have been hearing overheated claims about the huge impact that technology would have on education. People have been right to be skeptical. But I think things are finally coming together in a way that will deliver on the promises.

I will be posting updates on these and other issues on the Gates Notes.

In the meantime, Melinda and I are working on our next Annual Letter. The theme is a surprise, though it is safe to say we’ll be sharing some positive trends that make us optimistic about the future. We’ll send the letter out in February.

I hope you have a happy and healthy start to 2019.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Year-in-Review-2018

A Failed Quest for Meaning

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker (Viking, 576 pp., $35)Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard has written a 500-plus-page advertising pamphlet for the Enlightenment. He doesn’t quite make the sale, in spite of his having the good fortune to be pitching the best product . . . ever, really.

Good Steven Pinker argues that the Enlightenment represented an escape from dogma, one in which the emerging combination of the scientific method and political liberalism put every claim and creed to the test of reason. Bad Steven Pinker believes — and believes hard — that the Enlightenment is itself a dogma and a tribe and a scripture. Case in point: Countering the argument that Enlightenment ideals fail because people are not perfectly rational actors, Pinker writes, in emphatic italics: “No Enlightenment thinker ever claimed that humans were consistently rational.” Throughout his new book, Enlightenment Now, he offers that same observation repeatedly, as though it were not only dispositive but self-evidently so. From Spinoza to Laplace to Pinker: There is no escaping apostolic succession, after all.

Professor Pinker, like Saint Paul, has a great talent for making the good news sound positively dreadful — unbearable, even. Which is a shame, because there is so much good news in his book. And charts! Goodness, are there charts, charts and charts and charts charting the rise of human flourishing on every axis from educational attainment in India to female literacy in Pakistan to anti-black hate crimes in the United States. Hooray, and well done, humanity. If those are the charts, then bring on the charts!

But this isn’t a book about charts, really. This is a book about the Meaning of Life.

Professor Pinker begins with an anecdote about a student who, after a lecture, asked him, “Why should I live?” After satisfying himself that this was not a case of suicidal ideation or mere smart-assery, he answers:

As a sentient being, you have the potential to flourish. You can refine your faculty of reason itself by learning and debating. You can seek explanations of the natural world through science, and insight into the human condition through the arts and humanities. You can make the most of your capacity for pleasure and satisfaction, which allowed your ancestors to thrive and thereby allowed you to exist. You can appreciate the beauty and richness of the natural and cultural world. As the heir to billions of years of life perpetuating itself, you can perpetuate life in return.

He goes on in that mode for a while, and even the most casual reader will notice that he offers a great deal of “You can” but no “You should.” Which is to say: He does not answer the question. As it turns out, he answers the question neither in short nor at length. “Explaining the meaning of life is not in the usual job description of a professor of cognitive science,” he writes, “and I would not have had the gall to take up her question if the answer depended on my arcane technical knowledge or my dubious personal wisdom.” No, he appeals to a higher power: “But I knew I was channeling a body of beliefs and values that had taken shape more than two centuries before me and that are now more relevant than ever: the ideals of the Enlightenment.”

It was reason that led most of the Enlightenment thinkers to repudiate a belief in an anthropomorphic God who took an interest in human affairs. The application of reason revealed that reports of miracles were dubious, that the authors of holy books were all too human, that natural events unfolded with no regard to human welfare, and that different cultures believed in mutually incompatible deities, none of them less likely than the others to be products of the imagination.

That is fairly sloppy stuff: There is the fallacious appeal to authority (“most of the Enlightenment thinkers”), the failure to understand the claims of the other side (of course reports of miracles are dubious: miracles are unlikely — that is what makes them miracles), the ad hominem (it would hardly come as a shock to any Christian familiar with the biography of Saint Peter that he was “all too human” — accompanying the Prince of Peace in His last days, Peter got into a knife fight), the juvenile (as a matter of logic, it simply is not the case that if not all religious claims can be true simultaneously, then all of them must be false), etc. None of this stuff is very much germane to Professor Pinker’s argument; he simply cannot help himself. If you doubt that this is base, tribal, googly-eyed, us-vs.-them stuff, consider this bit: “Early governments pacified the people they ruled, reducing internecine violence, but imposed a reign of terror that included slavery, harems, human sacrifice, summary executions, and the torture and mutilation of dissidents and deviants. (The Bible has no shortage of examples.)” This appears a few sentences above mentions of the Chinese civil war and Idi Amin. Of course it is the case that accounts of violent episodes can be found in the Bible, but that is not why the Bible appears in that sentence. It appears as a tribal signifier. Us ain’t Them.

Better that Professor Pinker should have taken the advice of A. J. Ayer and eliminated the metaphysics altogether. It isn’t as though the real-world problems of fanaticism and primitivism would have left his volume too slender: The Islamic State exists, and, if it’s explicit anti-intellectualism you’re looking for, consider the etymology of “Boko Haram” — literally, “Books are forbidden.”

In metaphysics as in politics and poker, it is hard to beat something with nothing, and, as ethics go, “The universe is headed for heat death, eventually” isn’t exactly compelling. Marcus Aurelius advised his reader not to worry too much about life, death, or reputation, because, soon enough, we’ll be dead, everybody who knew us will be dead, everybody who might have remembered us will be dead, etc. “‘This man was the last of his house’ is not uncommon upon a monument,” the emperor-philosopher wrote. “How solicitous were the ancestors of these men about an heir! Yet someone must, of necessity, be the last.” Which is sunshine in a glass compared with maximum entropy.

The problem for Professor Pinker is that there isn’t any really good way to get from just the facts to an ethical creed, from the reason and science of his subtitle to the humanism. He tries to get around this with rarity: Humans and human institutions (along with sentient beings and life in general) are examples of low-entropy situations, which are very rare in the universe. Professor Pinker in fact follows the rhetoric of the creationists and intelligent-design cranks (he must shudder to do so) when he explains the Law of Entropy: “If you walk away from a sandcastle, it won’t be there tomorrow, because as the wind, waves, seagulls, and small children push the grains of sand around, they’re more likely to arrange them into one of the vast number of configurations that don’t look like a castle than into one of the tiny few that do.”

The echo of the Reverend William Paley’s Divine Watchmaker is unmistakable. Professor Pinker uses his story for a different purpose, of course: While those who would seek to discredit evolution argue that the fact of the universe argues for a creator in the same way that the existence of a watch implies the existence of a watchmaker, Professor Pinker argues that the rarity of the orderly bits of the universe makes them special, valuable, interesting. But: To whom? And: Says who? There isn’t anything about the Second Law of Thermodynamics that says, or even implies, that we should prefer thermodynamic disequilibrium over thermodynamic equilibrium. It’s only temporary, anyway. There isn’t any scientific reason to prefer a world with humans in it to one without, or a world with happy humans in it to one with unhappy humans in it. (“And what if God prefers your tears to your studying?” asked Rabbi Mendel, no relation to the Right Reverend Gregor Mendel, who laid the foundations of genetics when he wasn’t running the abbey in Brno.) If you want to get from thermodynamics to politics and ethics, there’s a bit more work involved than Professor Pinker has here done. “We’re the Enlightenment, we’re the good guys, follow us!” won’t do it.

This is unfortunate, because Professor Pinker believes that the ideals of the Enlightenment “are now more relevant than ever”: There are challenges to the Enlightenment, to liberalism, and to material progress. Tribalism is, at the moment, resurgent, no less here in the United States than abroad: President Trump is being joined at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference by Marion Maréchal–Le Pen. The new tribalists of the West are not very much impressed by the low prices at Walmart, the improving quality of life in urban China, or the rising literacy rate among Afghan girls. Neither is Boko Haram. Neither is the Islamic State.

And that is what makes the author’s failure here all the more dismaying. Professor Pinker, and many others like him, understand the Enlightenment as a force of oppositionto the civilization that produced it, the civilization we used to call “Christendom.” Professor Pinker’s account has the new gospel of Enlightenment arising from the muck of Christian civilization, with its witch hunts and inquisitions, protected by a few true believers toward whom we still look today for guidance. But the actual Enlightenment happened in the Christian world. They had gunpowder in ancient China, but the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution happened where they happened, and when they happened, for a reason. To properly defend the Enlightenment and its ideals requires grounding the Enlightenment in the culture that produced it, which offends Professor Pinker’s cosmopolitan instincts, to say nothing of his instinct for sneering at Christianity.

“Cult” is the first syllable in “culture,” and Professor Pinker’s professed humanism is a creed, not a scientific deduction. A creed grounded in what? Being nice? The scientific method? Please. It’s grounded in a tribal identity, a little tribe comprising Professor Pinker, Sam Harris, and the ghost of Christopher Hitchens. That sounds like a fun dinner party, but it’s hardly the basis for a civilization. Pinker is dead-on about much — and much that is important — but he remains limited by what must be described as intellectual pettiness, which isn’t what you want in a book professing to lay out the meaning of life.

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/03/19/steven-pinker-enlightenment-now-review-failed-quest-meaning/

Books by Steven Pinker

https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/steven-pinker/202210/?mkwid=s|dc&pcrid=301999411142&pkw=&pmt=b&plc=&pgrid=34947186125&ptaid=dsa-266516562683&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIh_6j9OXS3wIVy7fACh0oCAC1EAMYASAAEgLbO_D_BwE

 

Steven Pinker

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Steven Pinker
102111 Pinker 344.jpg
Born
Steven Arthur Pinker

September 18, 1954 (age 64)

MontrealQuebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
American
Notable work
Spouse(s)
  • Nancy Etcoff
    (m. 1980; div. 1992)
  • Ilavenil Subbiah
    (m. 1995; div. 2006)
  • Rebecca Goldstein (m. 2007)
Alma mater
Awards Troland Award (1993, National Academy of Sciences),
Henry Dale Prize (2004, Royal Institution),
Walter P. Kistler Book Award (2005),
Humanist of the Year award (2006, issued by the AHA),
George Miller Prize (2010, Cognitive Neuroscience Society), Richard Dawkins Award (2013)
Scientific career
Fields Evolutionary psychologyexperimental psychologycognitive sciencepsycholinguisticsvisual cognition
Thesis The Representation of Three-dimensional Space in Mental Images (1979)
Doctoral advisor Stephen Kosslyn
Influences Noam Chomsky[1]
Website www.stevenpinker.com

Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologistlinguist, and popular science author. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.

Pinker’s academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His experimental subjects include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children’s language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of cooperation and communication, including euphemisminnuendo, emotional expression, and common knowledge. He has written two technical books that proposed a general theory of language acquisition and applied it to children’s learning of verbs. In particular, his work with Alan Prince published in 1989 critiqued the connectionist model of how children acquire the past tense of English verbs, arguing instead that children use default rules such as adding “-ed” to make regular forms, sometimes in error, but are obliged to learn irregular forms one by one.

In his popular books, he has argued that the human faculty for language is an instinct, an innate behavior shaped by natural selection and adapted to our communication needs. He is the author of eight books for a general audience. Five of these, The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), Words and Rules (2000), The Blank Slate (2002), and The Stuff of Thought (2007), describe aspects of the field of psycholinguistics and cognitive science, and include accounts of his own research. In the sixth book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011), Pinker makes the case that violence in human societies has, in general, steadily declined with time, and identifies six major causes of this decline.

His seventh book, The Sense of Style (2014), is intended as a general style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand. His eighth book, Enlightenment Now (2018), continues the optimistic thesis of The Better Angels of Our Nature by using social science data from various sources to argue for a general improvement of the human condition over recent history.

Pinker has been named as one of the world’s most influential intellectuals by various magazines. He has won awards from the American Psychological Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the American Humanist Association. He delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. He has served on the editorial boards of a variety of journals, and on the advisory boards of several institutions. He has frequently participated in public debates on science and society.

Biography[edit]

Pinker was born in MontrealQuebec, in 1954, to a middle-class Jewish family. His parents were Roslyn (Wiesenfeld) and Harry Pinker.[3][4] His grandparents emigrated to Canada from Poland and Romania in 1926,[5][6] and owned a small necktie factory in Montreal.[7] His father, a lawyer, first worked as a manufacturer’s representative, while his mother was first a home-maker then a guidance counselor and high-school vice-principal. He has two younger siblings. His brother Robert is a policy analyst for the Canadian government, while his sister, Susan Pinker, is a psychologist and writer who authored The Sexual Paradox and The Village Effect.[8][9]

Pinker married Nancy Etcoff in 1980 and they divorced in 1992; he married Ilavenil Subbiah in 1995 and they too divorced.[10] His third wife, whom he married in 2007, is the novelist and philosopher Rebecca Goldstein.[11] He has two stepdaughters: the novelist Yael Goldstein Love and the poet Danielle Blau.

Pinker graduated from Dawson College in 1973. He received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from McGill University in 1976, and earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in experimental psychology at Harvard University in 1979 under Stephen Kosslyn. He did research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a year, after which he became an assistant professor at Harvard and then Stanford University.

From 1982 until 2003, Pinker taught at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, was the co-director of the Center for Cognitive science (1985–1994), and eventually became the director of the Center for Cognitive neuroscience (1994–1999),[12] taking a one-year sabbatical at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1995–96. As of 2003, he is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard; from 2008 to 2013 he also held the title of Harvard College Professor in recognition of his dedication to teaching.[13] He currently gives lectures as a visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities, a private college in London.[14][15]

About his Jewish background Pinker has said, “I was never religious in the theological sense … I never outgrew my conversion to atheism at 13, but at various times was a serious cultural Jew.”[16] As a teenager, he says he considered himself an anarchist until he witnessed civil unrest following a police strike in 1969, when:

As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike … This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist).[17]

Pinker identifies himself as an equity feminist, which he defines as “a moral doctrine about equal treatment that makes no commitments regarding open empirical issues in psychology or biology”.[18] He reported the result of a test of his political orientation that characterized him as “neither leftist nor rightist, more libertarian than authoritarian.”[19] He describes himself as having “experienced a primitive tribal stirring” after his genes were shown to trace back to the Middle East, noting that he “found it just as thrilling to zoom outward in the diagrams of my genetic lineage and see my place in a family tree that embraces all of humanity”.[20]

Pinker also identifies himself as an atheist. In the 2007 interview with the Point of Inquiry podcast, Pinker states that he would “defend atheism as an empirically supported view.” He sees theism and atheism as competing empirical hypotheses, and states that “we’re learning more and more about what makes us tick, including our moral sense, without needing the assumption of a deity or a soul. It’s naturally getting crowded out by the successive naturalistic explanations.”[21]

Research and theory[edit]

Pinker in 2007.

Pinker’s research on visual cognition, begun in collaboration with his thesis adviser, Stephen Kosslyn, showed that mental images represent scenes and objects as they appear from a specific vantage point (rather than capturing their intrinsic three-dimensional structure), and thus correspond to the neuroscientist David Marr‘s theory of a “two-and-a-half-dimensional sketch.”[22] He also showed that this level of representation is used in visual attention, and in object recognition (at least for asymmetrical shapes), contrary to Marr’s theory that recognition uses viewpoint-independent representations.

In psycholinguistics, Pinker became known early in his career for promoting computational learning theory as a way to understand language acquisition in children. He wrote a tutorial review of the field followed by two books that advanced his own theory of language acquisition, and a series of experiments on how children acquire the passive, dative, and locative constructions. These books were Language Learnability and Language Development (1984), in Pinker’s words “outlin[ing] a theory of how children acquire the words and grammatical structures of their mother tongue”,[23] and Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure (1989), in Pinker’s words “focus[ing] on one aspect of this process, the ability to use different kinds of verbs in appropriate sentences, such as intransitive verbs, transitive verbs, and verbs taking different combinations of complements and indirect objects”.[23] He then focused on verbs of two kinds that illustrate what he considers to be the processes required for human language: retrieving whole words from memory, like the past form of the irregular verb[24] “bring”, namely “brought”; and using rules to combine (parts of) words, like the past form of the regular verb “walk”, namely “walked”.[23]

In 1988 Pinker and Alan Prince published an influential critique of a connectionist model of the acquisition of the past tense (a textbook problem in language acquisition), followed by a series of studies of how people use and acquire the past tense. This included a monograph on children’s regularization of irregular forms and his popular 1999 book, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language. Pinker argued that language depends on two things, the associative remembering of sounds and their meanings in words, and the use of rules to manipulate symbols for grammar. He presented evidence against connectionism, where a child would have to learn all forms of all words and would simply retrieve each needed form from memory, in favour of the older alternative theory, the use of words and rules combined by generative phonology. He showed that mistakes made by children indicate the use of default rules to add suffixes such as “-ed”: for instance ‘breaked’ and ‘comed’ for ‘broke’ and ‘came’. He argued that this shows that irregular verb-forms in English have to be learnt and retrieved from memory individually, and that the children making these errors were predicting the regular “-ed” ending in an open-ended way by applying a mental rule. This rule for combining verb stems and the usual suffix can be expressed as[25]

Vpast → Vstem + d

where V is a verb and d is the regular ending. Pinker further argued that since the ten most frequently occurring English verbs (be, have, do, say, make … ) are all irregular, while 98.2% of the thousand least common verbs are regular, there is a “massive correlation” of frequency and irregularity. He explains this by arguing that every irregular form, such as ‘took’, ‘came’ and ‘got’, has to be committed to memory by the children in each generation, or else lost, and that the common forms are the most easily memorized. Any irregular verb that falls in popularity past a certain point is lost, and all future generations will treat it as a regular verb instead.[25]

In 1990, Pinker, with Paul Bloom, published the paper “Natural Language and Natural Selection”, arguing that the human language faculty must have evolved through natural selection.[26] The article provided arguments for a continuity based view of language evolution, contrary to then current discontinuity based theories that see language as suddenly appearing with the advent of Homo sapiens as a kind of evolutionary accident. This discontinuity based view was prominently argued by two of the main authorities, linguist Noam Chomsky and Stephen Jay Gould.[27] The paper became widely cited and created renewed interest in the evolutionary prehistory of language, and has been credited with shifting the central question of the debate from “did language evolve?” to “how did language evolve”.[27][28] The article also presaged Pinker’s argument in The Language Instinct.

Pinker’s research includes delving into human nature and what science says about it. In his interview on the Point of Inquiry podcast in 2007, he provides the following examples of what he considers defensible conclusions of what science says human nature is:

  • The sexes are not statistically identical; “their interests and talents form two overlapping distributions”. Any policy that wants to provide equal outcomes for both men and women will have to discriminate against one or the other.
  • “Individuals differ in personality and intelligence.”
  • “People favor themselves and their families over an abstraction called society.”
  • Humans are “systematically self deceived. Each one of us thinks of ourselves as more competent and benevolent than we are.”
  • “People crave status and power”

He informs the listeners that one can read more about human nature in his book, Blank Slate.

Pinker also speaks about evolutionary psychology in the podcast and believes that this area of science is going to pay off. He cites the fact that there are many areas of study, such as beauty, religion, play, and sexuality, that were not studied 15 years ago. It is thanks to evolutionary psychology that these areas are being studied.[21]

Popularization of science[edit]

Pinker in 2011.

Human cognition and natural language[edit]

Pinker’s 1994 The Language Instinct was the first of several books to combine cognitive science with behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology. It introduces the science of language and popularizes Noam Chomsky‘s theory that language is an innate faculty of mind, with the controversial twist that the faculty for language evolved by natural selection as an adaptation for communication. Pinker criticizes several widely held ideas about language – that it needs to be taught, that people’s grammar is poor and getting worse with new ways of speaking, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis that language limits the kinds of thoughts a person can have, and that other great apes can learn languages. Pinker sees language as unique to humans, evolved to solve the specific problem of communication among social hunter-gatherers. He argues that it is as much an instinct as specialized adaptative behavior in other species, such as a spider‘s web-weaving or a beaver‘s dam-building.

Pinker states in his introduction that his ideas are “deeply influenced”[29] by Chomsky; he also lists scientists whom Chomsky influenced to “open up whole new areas of language study, from child development and speech perception to neurology and genetics”[29] — Eric LennebergGeorge MillerRoger BrownMorris Halle and Alvin Liberman.[29] Brown mentored Pinker through his thesis; Pinker stated that Brown’s “funny and instructive”[30] book Words and Things (1958) was one of the inspirations for The Language Instinct.[30][31]

The reality of Pinker’s proposed language instinct, and the related claim that grammar is innate and genetically based, has been contested by many linguists. One prominent opponent of Pinker’s view is Geoffrey Sampson whose 1997 book, Educating Eve: The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate has been described as the “definitive response” to Pinker’s book.[32][33] Sampson argues that while it may seem attractive to argue the nature side of the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate, the nurture side may better support the creativity and nobility of the human mind. Sampson denies there is a language instinct, and argues that children can learn language because people can learn anything.[33] Others have sought a middle ground between Pinker’s nativism and Sampson’s culturalism.[34]

The assumptions underlying the nativist view have also been criticised in Jeffrey Elman‘s Rethinking Innateness: A Connectionist Perspective on Development, which defends the connectionist approach that Pinker attacked. In his 1996 book Impossible Minds, the machine intelligence researcher Igor Aleksander calls The Language Instinct excellent, and argues that Pinker presents a relatively soft claim for innatism, accompanied by a strong dislike of the ‘Standard Social Sciences Model’ or SSSM (Pinker’s term), which supposes that development is purely dependent on culture. Further, Aleksander writes that while Pinker criticises some attempts to explain language processing with neural nets, Pinker later makes use of a neural net to create past tense verb forms correctly. Aleksander concludes that while he doesn’t support the SSSM, “a cultural repository of language just seems the easy trick for an efficient evolutionary system armed with an iconic state machine to play.”[35]

Two other books, How the Mind Works (1997) and The Blank Slate (2002), broadly surveyed the mind and defended the idea of a complex human nature with many mental faculties that are adaptive (Pinker is an ally of Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins in many disputes surrounding adaptationism). Another major theme in Pinker’s theories is that human cognition works, in part, by combinatorial symbol-manipulation, not just associations among sensory features, as in many connectionist models. On the debate around The Blank Slate, Pinker called Thomas Sowell‘s book A Conflict of Visions “wonderful”,[36] and explained that “The Tragic Vision” and the “Utopian Vision” are the views of human nature behind right- and left-wing ideologies.[36]

In Words and Rules: the Ingredients of Language (1999), Pinker argues from his own research that regular and irregular phenomena are products of computation and memory lookup, respectively, and that language can be understood as an interaction between the two.[37] “Words and Rules” is also the title of an essay by Pinker outlining many of the topics discussed in the book.[25] Critiqueing the book from the perspective of generative linguistics Charles Yang, in the London Review of Books, writes that “this book never runs low on hubris or hyperbole“.[38] The book’s topic, the English past tense, is in Yang’s view unglamorous, and Pinker’s attempts at compromise risk being in no man’s land between rival theories. Giving the example of German, Yang argues that irregular nouns in that language at least all belong to classes, governed by rules, and that things get even worse in languages that attach prefixes and suffixes to make up long ‘words’: they can’t be learnt individually, as there are untold numbers of combinations. “All Pinker (and the connectionists) are doing is turning over the rocks at the base of the intellectual landslide caused by the Chomskian revolution.”[38]

In The Stuff of Thought (2007), Pinker looks at a wide range of issues around the way words related to thoughts on the one hand, and to the world outside ourselves on the other. Given his evolutionary perspective, a central question is how an intelligent mind capable of abstract thought evolved: how a mind adapted to Stone Age life could work in the modern world. Many quirks of language are the result.[39]

Pinker is critical of theories about the evolutionary origins of language that argue that linguistic cognition might have evolved from earlier musical cognition. He sees language as being tied primarily to the capacity for logical reasoning, and speculates that human proclivity for music may be a spandrel — a feature not adaptive in its own right, but that has persisted through other traits that are more broadly practical, and thus selected for. In How the Mind Works, Pinker reiterates Immanuel Kant‘s view that music is not in itself an important cognitive phenomenon, but that it happens to stimulate important auditory and spatio-motor cognitive functions. Pinker compares music to “auditory cheesecake”, stating that “As far as biological cause and effect is concerned, music is useless”. This argument has been rejected by Daniel Levitin and Joseph Carroll, experts in music cognition, who argue that music has had an important role in the evolution of human cognition.[40][41][42][43][44][45] In his book This Is Your Brain On Music, Levitin argues that music could provide adaptive advantage through sexual selectionsocial bonding, and cognitive development; he questions the assumption that music is the antecedent to language, as opposed to its progenitor, noting that many species display music-like habits that could be seen as precursors to human music.[46]

Pinker has also been critical of “whole language” reading instruction techniques, stating in How the Mind Works, “… the dominant technique, called ‘whole language,’ the insight that [spoken] language is a naturally developing human instinct has been garbled into the evolutionarily improbable claim that reading is a naturally developing human instinct.”[47] In the appendix to the 2007 reprinted edition of The Language Instinct, Pinker cited Why Our Children Can’t Read by cognitive psychologist Diane McGuinness as his favorite book on the subject and noted:

One raging public debate involving language went unmentioned in The Language Instinct: the “reading wars,” or dispute over whether children should be explicitly taught to read by decoding the sounds of words from their spelling (loosely known as “phonics“) or whether they can develop it instinctively by being immersed in a text-rich environment (often called “whole language”). I tipped my hand in the paragraph in [the sixth chapter of the book] which said that language is an instinct but reading is not.[48] Like most psycholinguists (but apparently unlike many school boards), I think it’s essential for children to be taught to become aware of speech sounds and how they are coded in strings of letters.[49]

The Better Angels of Our Nature[edit]

Violence in the middle ages: detail from “Mars” in Das Mittelalterliche Hausbuch, c. 1475 – 1480. The image is used by Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, with the comment “as the Housebook illustrations suggest, [the knights] did not restrict their killing to other knights”.[50]

In The Better Angels of Our Nature, published in 2011, Pinker argues that violence, including tribal warfare, homicide, cruel punishments, child abuse, animal cruelty, domestic violence, lynching, pogroms, and international and civil wars, has decreased over multiple scales of time and magnitude. Pinker considers it unlikely that human nature has changed. In his view, it is more likely that human nature comprises inclinations toward violence and those that counteract them, the “better angels of our nature”. He outlines six ‘major historical declines of violence’ that all have their own socio/cultural/economic causes:[51]

  1. “The Pacification Process” – The rise of organized systems of government has a correlative relationship with the decline in violent deaths. As states expand they prevent tribal feuding, reducing losses.
  2. “The Civilizing Process” – Consolidation of centralized states and kingdoms throughout Europe results in the rise of criminal justice and commercial infrastructure, organizing previously chaotic systems that could lead to raiding and mass violence.
  3. “The Humanitarian Revolution” – The 18th – 20th century abandonment of institutionalized violence by the state (breaking on the wheel, burning at the stake). Suggests this is likely due to the spike in literacy after the invention of the printing press thereby allowing the proletariat to question conventional wisdom.
  4. “The Long Peace” – The powers of 20th Century believed that period of time to be the bloodiest in history. This to a largely peaceful 65-year period post World War I and World War II. Developed countries have stopped warring (against each other and colonially), adopted democracy, and this has led a massive decline (on average) of deaths.
  5. “The New Peace” – The decline in organized conflicts of all kinds since the end of the Cold War.
  6. “The Rights Revolutions” – The reduction of systemic violence at smaller scales against vulnerable populations (racial minorities, women, children, homosexuals, animals).

The book was welcomed by many critics and reviewers, who found its arguments convincing and its synthesis of a large volume of historical evidence compelling.[52][53][54][55][56] It also aroused criticism on a variety of grounds, such as whether deaths per capita was an appropriate metric, Pinker’s atheism, lack of moral leadership, excessive focus on Europe (though the book covers other areas), the interpretation of historical data, and its image of indigenous people.[57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67]

English writing style in the 21st century[edit]

In his seventh popular book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (2014), Pinker attempts to provide a writing style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand.

In a November 2014 episode of the Point of Inquiry podcast, host Lindsay Beyerstein, asked Pinker how his style guide was different from the many guides that already exist. His answer,

The Thinking Person’s Guide because I don’t issue dictates from on high as most manuals do but explain why the various guidelines will improve writing, what they do for language, what they do for the reader’s experience, in the hope that the users will apply the rules judiciously knowing what they are designed to accomplish, rather than robotically.[68]

He also indicated that the 21st century was applicable because language and usage change over time and it has been a long time since William Strunk wrote Elements of Style.[68]

Public debate[edit]

Pinker is a frequent participant in public debates surrounding the contributions of science to contemporary society. Social commentators such as Ed West, author of The Diversity Illusion, consider Pinker important and daring in his willingness to confront taboos, as in The Blank Slate. This doctrine (the tabula rasa), writes West, remained accepted “as fact, rather than fantasy”[69] a decade after the book’s publication. West describes Pinker as “no polemicist, and he leaves readers to draw their own conclusions”.[69]

In January 2005, Pinker defended Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard University, whose comments about a gender gap in mathematics and science angered much of the faculty. Pinker noted that Summers’s remarks, properly understood, were hypotheses about overlapping statistical distributions of men’s and women’s talents and tastes, and that in a university such hypotheses ought to be the subject of empirical testing rather than dogma and outrage.[70] Edge.org ran a debate between Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke on gender and science.[71]

In 2009, Pinker wrote a mixed review of Malcolm Gladwell‘s essays in The New York Times criticizing his analytical methods.[72] Gladwell replied, disputing Pinker’s comments about the importance of IQ on teaching performance and by analogy, the effect, if any, of draft order on quarterback performance in the National Football League.[73] Advanced NFL Stats addressed the issue statistically, siding with Pinker and showing that differences in methodology could explain the two men’s differing opinions.[74]

In 2009, David Shenk criticized Pinker for siding with the “nature” argument and for “never once acknowledg[ing] gene-environment interaction or epigenetics” in an article on nature versus nurture in The New York Times.[75] Pinker responded to a question about epigenetics as a possibility for the decline in violence in a lecture for the BBC World Service. Pinker said it was unlikely since the decline in violence happened too rapidly to be explained by genetic changes.[76] Helga Vierich and Cathryn Townsend wrote a critical review of Pinker’s sweeping “Civilizational” explanations for patterns of human violence and warfare in response to a lecture he gave at Cambridge University in September 2015.[77]

Steven Pinker is also noted for having identified the rename of Phillip Morris to Altria as an “egregious example” of phonesthesia, with the company attempting to “switch its image from bad people who sell addictive carcinogens to a place or state marked by altruism and other lofty values”.[78]

Pinker continued to court controversy through his 2018 book Enlightenment Now, in which he argues that enlightenment rationality has driven tremendous progress and should be defended against attacks from both the left and right. The Guardian criticized the book as a “triumphalist” work that has a “curious relationship to intellectual history” and overestimates the role of campus activists in mainstream discourse.[79] While promoting the book on the NPR show 1A, Pinker caused a minor social media backlash when he said that “I don’t think Malcolm X did the world much good.”[80][81][82]

In a debate with Pinker, post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha argued that Enlightenment Now sees the perils of the modern age such as slavery, imperialism, world wars, genocide, inequality etc as glitches rather than costs for enlightenment’s gifts. But Pinker responded that the natural state of humanity has been poverty and disease, and knowledge has improved human welfare.[83]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

Pinker in Göttingen, 2010

Pinker was named one of Time‘s 100 most influential people in the world in 2004[84] and one of Prospect and Foreign Policy100 top public intellectuals in both years the poll was carried out, 2005[85] and 2008;[86] in 2010 and 2011 he was named by Foreign Policy to its list of top global thinkers.[87][88] In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[89]

His research in cognitive psychology has won the Early Career Award (1984) and Boyd McCandless Award (1986) from the American Psychological Association, the Troland Research Award (1993) from the National Academy of Sciences, the Henry Dale Prize (2004) from the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the George Miller Prize (2010) from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He has also received honorary doctorates from the universities of NewcastleSurreyTel AvivMcGillSimon Fraser University and the University of Tromsø. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1998 and in 2003. On May 13, 2006, he received the American Humanist Association‘s Humanist of the Year award for his contributions to public understanding of human evolution.[90]

Pinker has served on the editorial boards of journals such as Cognition, Daedalus, and PLOS One, and on the advisory boards of institutions for scientific research (e.g., the Allen Institute for Brain Science), free speech (e.g., the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), the popularization of science (e.g., the World Science Festival and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry), peace (e.g., the Peace Research Endowment), and secular humanism (e.g., the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Secular Coalition for America).

Since 2008, he has chaired the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and wrote the essay on usage for the fifth edition of the Dictionary, which was published in 2011.

In February 2001 Steven Pinker, “whose hair has long been the object of admiration, and envy, and intense study”,[91] was nominated by acclamation as the first member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) organized by the Annals of Improbable Research.

Bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

Articles and essays[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ C-SPAN | BookTV “In Depth with Steven Pinker” November 2nd 2008
  2. ^ “Steven Pinker”Desert Island Discs. 30 June 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  3. ^ Pinker, S. (2009). Language Learnability and Language Development, With New Commentary by the Author. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674042179. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  4. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/sapinker/status/990944371578109952
  5. ^ Annie Maccoby Berglof «At home: Steven Pinker»
  6. ^ Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist
  7. ^ Pinker, Steven (June 26, 2006). “Groups and Genes”The New Republic. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Shermer, Michael (2001-03-01). The Pinker Instinct. Altadena, CA: Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  9. ^ Steven Pinker: the mind reader The Guardian Accessed 25 November 2006.
  10. ^ Biography for Steven Pinker at imdb. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  11. ^ “How Steven Pinker Works” by Kristin E. Blagg Archived 2014-10-17 at the Wayback MachineThe Harvard Crimson Accessed 3 February 2006.
  12. ^ Curriculum Vitae (PDF)Harvard University, retrieved June 23, 2017
  13. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Official Biography. Harvard University”. Pinker.wjh.harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  14. ^ “The professoriate” Archived June 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  15. ^ “Professor Stephen Pinker”, New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  16. ^ “Steven Pinker: the mind reader” by Ed Douglas The Guardian Accessed 3 February 2006.
  17. ^ Pinker, Steven (2002), The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human NaturePenguin PutnamISBN 0-670-03151-8.
  18. ^ Pinker, Steven, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (Viking, 2002), p. 341
  19. ^ “My Genome, My Self” by Steven Pinker The New York Times Sunday MagazineAccessed 10 April 2010.
  20. ^ “DNA and You – Personalized Genomics Goes Jewish”The Forward. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  21. Jump up to:a b Grothe, D.J. (23 February 2007). “Podcast:Steven Pinker – Evolutionary Psychology and Human Nature”. Point of Inquiry with D.J. Grothe. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  22. ^ The nature of the language faculty and its implications for evolution of language
  23. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven. “Steven Pinker: Long Biography”. Harvard University. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  24. ^ Pinker has written a piece on The Irregular Verbs Archived 2014-06-06 at the Wayback Machine., stating that “I like the Irregular verbs of English, all 180 of them, because of what they tell us about the history of the language and the human minds that have perpetuated it.
  25. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven. “Words and rules (essay)” (PDF). Harvard University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 August 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  26. ^ Pinker, S. & Bloom, P. (1990). Natural language and natural selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4): 707‐784
  27. Jump up to:a b Christine Kenneally“Language Development:The First Word. The Search for the Origins of Language”. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14.
  28. ^ “The 20th Anniversary of Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom: Natural Language and Natural Selection (1990)”. Replicatedtypo.com.
  29. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven (1994). The Language Instinct. Penguin. pp. 23–24.
  30. Jump up to:a b Pinker, Steven (1998). “Obituary: Roger Brown” (PDF)Cognition66: 199–213 (see page 205). doi:10.1016/s0010-0277(98)00027-4. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2015-05-18.
  31. ^ Kagan, Jerome (1999). “Roger William Brown 1925-1997” (PDF)Biographical Memoirs77: 7.
  32. ^ “The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate”. University of Sussex.
  33. Jump up to:a b “Empiricism v. Nativism: Nature or Nurture?”. GRSampson.net. Retrieved 8 June2014.. More at The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate
  34. ^ Cowley, S. J. (2001). The baby, the bathwater and the “language instinct” debate. Language Sciences, 23(1), 69-91.
  35. ^ Aleksander, Igor (1996). Impossible Minds. pp. 228–234. ISBN 1-86094-030-7.
  36. Jump up to:a b Sailer, Steve (30 October 2002). “Q&A: Steven Pinker of ‘Blank Slate. United Press International. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  37. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Words and Rules (book)”. Harvard University. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  38. Jump up to:a