Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 4 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit 1 Share on StumbleUpon 1 Tell A Friend 9 (15 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   33 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Hubris as the Evil Force in History

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 15   Valuable 13   Well Said 12  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H2 6/12/12

Become a Fan
  (383 fans)

I have always been intrigued by the Battle of Bull Run, the opening battle of the US Civil War, known to southerners as the War of Northern Aggression. Extreme hubris characterized both sides, the North before the battle and the South afterwards.

Republican politicians and their ladies in their finery rode out to Manassas, the Virginia town through which the stream, Bull Run, flowed, in carriages to watch the Union Army end the "Southern Rebellion" in one fell swoop. What they witnessed instead was the Union Army fleeing back to Washington with its tail between its legs. The flight of the northern troops promoted some southern wags to name the battle, the Battle of Yankee Run.

The outcome of the battle left the South infected with the hubris that had so abruptly departed the North. The southerners concluded that they had nothing to fear from cowards who ran away from a fight. "We have nothing to worry about from them," decided the South. It was precisely at this point that hubris defeated the South.

Historians report that the flight back to Washington left the Union Army and the US capital in a state of disorganization for three weeks, during which time even a small army could have taken the capital. Historians inclined not to see the battle as a victory for the South claim that the southerners were exhausted by the effort it took to put the yankees to flight and simply hadn't the energy to pursue them, take Washington, hang the traitor Lincoln and all the Republicans, and end the war.

Exhausted troops or not, if Napoleon had been the southern general, the still organized southern army would have been in Washington as fast as the disorganized Union. Possibly the southerners would have engaged in ethnic cleansing by enslaving the yankees and selling them to Africans, thus ejecting from the country the greed-driven northern imperialists who, in the southern view, did not know how to behave either in private or in public.

It was not southern exhaustion that saved the day for the North. It was southern hubris. The Battle of Bull Run convinced the South that the citified northerners simply could not fight and were not a military threat.

Perhaps the South was right about the North. However, the Irish immigrants, who were met at the docks and sent straight to the front, could fight. The South was dramatically outnumbered and had no supply of immigrants to fill the ranks vacated by casualties. Moreover, the South had no industry and no navy. And, of course, the South was demonized because of slavery, although the slaves never revolted even when all southern men were at the front. When the South failed to take advantage of its victory at Bull Run and occupy Washington, the South lost the war.

An examination of hubris casts a great deal of light on wars, their causes and outcomes. Napoleon undid himself, as Hitler was to do later, by marching off into Russia. British hubris caused both world wars. The second world war began when the British, incomprehensibly gave a "guarantee" to the Polish colonels, who were on the verge of returning that part of Germany that Poland had acquired from the Versailles Treaty. The colonels, not understanding that the British had no way of making the guarantee good, gave Hitler the finger, an act of defiance that was too much for Hitler who had declared Germans to be the exceptional people.

Hitler smacked Poland, and the British and French declared war.

Hitler made short work of the French and British armies. But the British in their hubris, hiding behind the English channel, wouldn't surrender or even agree to a favorable peace settlement. Hitler concluded that the British were counting on Russia to enter the war on their side. Hitler decided that if he knocked off Russia, the British hope would evaporate and they would come to peace terms. So Hitler turned on his Russian partner with whom he had just dismembered Poland. Stalin, in his own hubris, had recently purged almost every officer in the Red Army, thus making Hitler's decision easy.

The outcome of all this hubris was the rise of the US military/security complex and more than four decades of cold war and the threat of nuclear destruction, a period that lasted from the end of world war two until Reagan and Gorbachev, two leaders not consumed by hubris, agreed to end the cold war.

Alas, hubris returned to America with the neoconservative ascendency. Americans have become "the indispensable people." Like the Jacobins of the French Revolution who intended to impose "liberty, equality, fraternity" upon all of Europe, Washington asserts the superiority of the American way and the right to impose it on the rest of the world. Hubris is in full flower despite its defeats. The "three week" Iraq war lasted eight years, and after 11 years the Taliban control more of Afghanistan than the "world's only superpower."

Sooner or later American hubris is going to run up against Russia and China, neither of which will give way. Either the US, like Napoleon and Hitler, will have its Russian (or Chinese) moment, or the world will go up in thermonuclear smoke.

The only solution for humanity is to immediately impeach and imprison warmongers when first sighted before their hubris leads us yet again into the death and destruction of war.

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available here. His latest book,  How America Was Lost, has just been released and can be ordered here.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Libya - The DC/NATO Agenda And The Next Great War

The Road to Armageddon

American Job Loss Is Permanent

A Story...The Last Whistleblower

Pakistan TV Report Contradicts US Claim of Bin Laden's Death


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
23 people are discussing this page, with 33 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Impeach and imprison, indeed. The beauty of 9/11, ... by Ron Brassfield on Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 3:44:35 PM
9/11 allowed the Empire that IS America to hide be... by Alan MacDonald on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 2:59:34 PM
The hubristic US military/police/security politica... by Tom Madison on Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 5:29:01 PM
Aloha and HangThemAll.The Lying Treasonous Bastard... by Mike Preston on Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 6:16:38 PM
This is a great man perhaps the only one in the Me... by Jack Heart on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 9:39:09 AM
There's the answer!Best,Alan... by Alan MacDonald on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 2:42:50 PM
Bush family and follow the money trail from there.... by intotheabyss on Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 7:07:51 PM
Pelosi/Conyers - lacking even a tiny speck of hubr... by Lance Ciepiela on Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012 at 8:53:46 PM
I think you've nailed it - and the rest are flound... by Virginia Simson on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 2:16:38 PM
Ah, yes, Paul C., but there are so many creatures ... by Nelson Wight on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 5:29:09 AM
 Mr. Roberts,  I'm going off topic, regr... by Ad Du on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 7:41:55 AM
Actually Mr. Roberts keen analysis of the Civil ... by Jack Heart on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 9:31:32 AM
PCR  troubles me as a person who is totally i... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 9:46:17 AM
His analysis of WWII was good enough everyone is ... by Jack Heart on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 10:04:40 AM
What it all has to do with Hitler's book? i actual... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 3:46:35 PM
Dr PCR should know what Reagan wanted to do with t... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 1:39:12 PM
I say to hell with the interference of a Bill Gate... by Janet Gaudiello on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 12:42:06 PM
Put children first.  Seriously first, and m... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 2:47:10 PM
I often rail at you for being a bit disengenuous .... by Virginia Simson on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 2:24:18 PM
Investigate and prosecute illegal conduct that le... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 2:49:26 PM
Paul, while you have a point that "hubris" is an e... by Alan MacDonald on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 2:39:23 PM
Another term I've adopted is bankster mafia. I sup... by intotheabyss on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 4:29:23 PM
Website:  ... by Tom Madison on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 5:54:07 PM
   Forgive me for being ignorant, but ca... by Bob Gormley on Wednesday, Jun 13, 2012 at 6:55:46 PM
Hubris: noun excessive   pride   ... by Davey Jones on Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 12:39:25 AM
ditto... by Bob Gormley on Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 6:48:17 AM
Although U.S. presidents, the Congress, the milita... by Gary Brumback on Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 8:08:15 AM
"The only solution for humanity is to immediately... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 9:22:08 AM
The greatest impediment to applying justice is the... by Paul Repstock on Thursday, Jun 14, 2012 at 9:28:39 AM
Ah, the hubris of war.   However, it is ... by Guitar Chris on Friday, Jun 15, 2012 at 10:32:43 AM
and imprison warmongers." I was at Pelosi's house ... by Samuel Bryan on Friday, Jun 15, 2012 at 12:44:11 PM
Jesus - from a former Editor of the Wall Street Jo... by terry smythe on Friday, Jun 15, 2012 at 3:50:10 PM
Sooner or later American hubris is going to run up... by Michael Dewey on Monday, Jun 25, 2012 at 11:55:10 PM