Vonnegut, Heller, and Styron on War, Government, and Racism (1997)

These people are gone. The voices of reasoning that stood witness to our most terrible decisions as a country are rapidly vanishing. Now we, as a country, seem to have developed selective amnesia about where we come from.

The following videos on YouTube are from a series of lectures and discussions with several WWII veterans of moderate fame. I watched every minute attentively and without distraction. It was depressing and it was important at a time when our president thinks the threat of nuclear annihilation is a publicity event.

I can’t guarantee that the following 5 hours of videos will provide as much information at the 30,000 Tweet alternatives, but at least I’m pretty sure these aren’t bots.

William Styron on the rightness of the bomb in WWII:

“People that have no lessons to learn from their past are bound to be extremely dangerous.”

Kurt Vonnegut’s lecture on WWII and analogies:

Vonnegut and Heller Discuss WWII

Compare that with this thoughtless horse shit from the Philadelphia Inquirer which comes by way of TaxProf which manages to add some more shit on the bottom of the pile. These are people longing for the good ol' days that were unevenly distributed at the top whitest portions of our middle class.

We should demand more intellect from our modern intellectual leaders. The stark contrast between the great minds of Vonnegut, Styron, and Heller with those publishing at the Philadelphia Inquirer set me back. If I’m going to long for the good ol' days, it’s going to be for the times when we had people like Styron, Heller, and Vonnegut up there arguing that the days weren’t quite so good as we like to pretend. Thankfully I still have shaky CSPAN2 video from the 90’s to set my expectations.