Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So who was a better General: Patton or MacArthur?

Via Aretae, I find myself pulled by the gravitational (gravitas?) field into Foseti, which offers a cornucopia for the thinking blogger. For example, Patton or MacArthur?
Patton complained about US policy and faded (i.e. was pushed) into the background. MacArthur – because he was operating in the theater that policymakers didn’t care about and because he was loved by the citizens in the countries that the US was operating in – took policy into his own hands. The result was a relatively stable, pro-US Asia and the rise of the biggest economies outside the US. The only exceptions to this general rule – Korea and Vietnam – were undertaken against MacArthur’s advice by the policymakers who otherwise ignored Asia. The result in Europe was a stalemate between great powers, enslavement of half of Europe’s population, and 50 years spent on the brink of nuclear annihilation. Is this even a comparison?
Or the nature of Man:
I believe that the vast majority of men yearn to follow a leader. If allowed to freely pursue "their own ends" they would walk in circles. Some subset of men seek power. Among this subset, some are good and some are bad. I don’t see how one can read any serious quantity of history and disagree with my position. If you disagree, explain war, religion or the rise of nations without reference to men believing in causes and leaders.
Or the nature of Woman (err, not exactly, but the heading was irresistable):
Women are rising in many professions. Unfortunately, they are doing so only with massive subsidy from the government. This subsidy comes in the form of forcing men to pay child support to women who automatically get children in divorce, direct subsidies for working mothers, daycare subsidies, tax breaks, etc. Women may be rising, but an economy based on women-only work is as unthinkable as Greece fully honoring its debt.
Or the nature of Society:

Voting out one set of pols won’t change the results. The elites are the system and the system is the elites. It is so now. It has always been so. It always will be so.

My point (take it as the formalist point) is that along the spectrum of "societies for human beings" there is no choice of a system that doesn’t have elites. A society that has no elites would have to be a non-human society. Human societies create elites. Elites are the system.

Mind you, these were all posted yesterday. Yowzer. That's a lot of Intellectual grist for the thinking mill, right there.

I'm not at all sure that I agree with most of this (and am pretty sure that I don't agree with a lot of this). But if you're looking for something to make you stop and think, about all sorts of things, presented in a delightfully curmudgeonly manner, this should be a waystop for your bloggy adventuring.


Old NFO said...

You're right, good grist for the mill BP... Re Patton and MacArthur, both had their syncopats that covered up their more egregious displays of stupidity and both got away with a lot of things that they should not have. Both were, in the end, relieved because they started believing their own press releases. MacArthur actually missed the boat on Korea, because he/his staff discounted reports from Marine Intelligence that were correct, but disagreed with "his" intelligence estimates

Keith said...

Both took part in the Massacre of US citizens and WWi veterans in the crushing of the "Bonus Army" and hence cleared Hoover off the stage for the entry FDR and his further assaults on your constitution and theft of your liberties.

ZZMike said...

I think a better question would be "who was the worse general?"

Both were capable of the battlefield (the nod goes to Patton here), but as soon as they got involved in politics, they fell short. Patton didn't live long enough to really screw up, but MacArthur got himself fired because he wanted to nuke China, over the objections of President Truman - his boss.

Retardo said...

MacArthur's equivalent in Europe was Eisenhower, not Patton.

Anonymous said...

There was no "Bonus Army massacre", the army was held out until the last resort (MacArthur advised against using the army unless absolutely necessary) and when called in, tear gas was used to disperse the protestors. Years after the incident, it was clear that communist elements were infiltrating the "bonus army" inciting them to riot, manipulating veterans into doing their dirty work. Yes, some of the communist threat was real.

MacArthur fought hard against demilitarization after World War 1 when pacifists and a budget conscience congress wanted to reduce our armed forces below safe security levels, and he reformed West Point after the as its superintendant.

MacArthur had a much bigger influence on history than Patton (for better or at times, for worse).