Monday, 2 July 2007

Other Idols

On account of the post-war economic strength of Japan, Eric Falkenstein finds it quite silly that Japanese soldiers killed themselves when faced with defeat by the United States in the Second World War.
After watching the movie where the Japanese soldiers were in effect committing suicide on the basis that life would be intolerable if the Americans won, when in fact Japan prospered after WW2, reminded me of the general mistakes people have on the big picture. [1]
Mr Falkenstein makes the mistake of projecting his own interests onto others, and it is unsurprising therefore that he finds their deeds silly.
.....If those Japanese soldiers had been fighting for an economic prosperity within an Americanised society, such as that which exists in Japan today, then their beliefs about the intolerability of Japan in the future would have been false, given that they would have found tolerable what they found desirable; moreover their fighting against the power which would beget such a society would have been irrational; and their suicides in vain. But of course they were fighting for no such thing.
.....Many committed suicide in accordance with a code of honour and in the belief that the order to which they had sworn themselves — which they loved and to which they had devoted their lives — was to be destroyed, an event that has largely come to pass. The Japan that has prospered after the war is a very different Japan; and thus the belief that life would be intolerable if the Americans won was true precisely for those to whom the ensuing society would have been intolerable. Make of that what you will, but understand thereby that not everyone has Mammon for his idol, and not everyone makes his sacrifices thereto.
[1] Eric Falkenstein, “Conventional Wisdom of Future Usually Wrong”, Mahalanobis (Weblog), 1st July 2007, via Tim Worstall, “Quote of the Day”, Tim Worstall (Weblog), 2nd July 2007. (At the risk of being accused of pedantry or churlishness, but to the benefit of a language in which we are all fallible, I must note that the sentence “After watching the movie. . ., reminded me of . . .” is incorrect.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The past is another country..."; I know it's become a cliche, but it is awfully good.

P.S. Perhaps we should advise him that if he can't cope with long sentences he should write short ones?