The man who launched a thousand bricks

My name is Troy as in Helen of, said the burly workman.  Just don’t call me Helen. Thus begins the work on our north-facing wall. First grind out what remains of the old mortar. Then back fill with new mortar.  A huge undertaking that must be carried out on our almost 50 year-old house. Who knew…houses wear out.  Everything wears out.  Such is the nature of life.

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Over the holidays, I have finished my book by Tony Judt, a stellar accomplishment, a history of over 1,000 pages.  This work, probably his last major accomplishment before he died is must reading for anyone who wants to understand the past 70 years or so of European history.  Amazingly, as Judt was a Marxist scholar and British citizen, the United States come off as a country one can take pride in. He also makes a compelling case for why U.S. involvement in some events, such as the Bosnian War, was a necessity. Meanwhile he completely dismisses communism as a way to govern. Marxist scholarship does  not advocate communism.

Reaganites won’t like that Judt assigns Gorbachev the starring role as the catalyst that finally affected the collapse of the corpse known as the U.S.S.R.  He also makes it clear that the former client states were not so much longing for a market economy as to once again become part of Europe.  Recent news stories indicate that this metamorphosis is still underway.  The portending swing toward extreme leftist rule in upcoming elections in Greece is an ominous prospect.  Basically, Judt says, Europe tried extreme right-wing and extreme left wing governance in the twentieth century and neither worked.

A great book originally assigned for one of my graduate history classes (Europe since WWII) and my second reading. This time I listened to the audio book, narrated by Ralph Cosham, however.

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7 thoughts on “The man who launched a thousand bricks

    • Spoken like a true believer. I would be too if their were no dirty rotten scoundrels at work. Alas, when it comes to the environment, there are nefarious, greedy and ignorant people at work. Look what has happened with wolves this year following their removal from the Endangered Species list.

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  1. I thought that the collapse of the USSR was due to the preference of the people for capitalism.
    Vietnam and China have embraced capitalism, though both are communist.
    It will be interesting to see how they end up 20 years from now.

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    • The Communist block countries collapsed because of totalitarian Communism, i.e., Totalitarian government (the opposite is democracy), totalitarianism does not work.

      The only economic system that exists is capitalism. The question is how much do we regulate capitalism. The extreme right would have a completely free system, the extreme left would regulate it until the economy crumbles. Finding the center is the crux of the matter.

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  2. It appears that your muscular mason did a fine job. I think communism has provided ample proof that it doesn’t work as a social or economic system. Doubt Greece has any importance as a player on the world stage, so I’m not going to lose a bit of sleep over what sort of system it embraces.

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