Month: January 2015

Ethiopia in WW2 – Part 1

Italian Flying Boat Lands in Chicago

Today we continue our excerpts of Stacy Danielle Stephens excellent historical novel.  Apart from bringing the war to a human level, she has a knack for finding and writing vividly about things that are mostly ignored by the canned histories that came later.  One great example is the segment about the USS Greer that we ran previously – another is this post.

On July 15, 1933, two dozen Italian Savoia-Marchetti S.55 flying boats, under the command of Air Marshal Italo Balbo, landed on Lake Michigan. It was easily the most dramatic and popularly acclaimed arrival of a foreign military officer in American history. Meeting later with Charles Lindbergh and having lunch with President Roosevelt, Balbo captivated the imaginations and won the hearts of the majority of Americans.

* * *

On December 9th, 1934, at Wal Wal, in southern Abyssinia, Italian Dubats[1] encountered Camel-mounted Ethiopian soldiers. There was an exchange of fire, in which the number of Italian dead increased as the weeks went by. Flatly ruling out arbitration, Mussolini demanded that the Ethiopian government make immediate reparations.

On January 3, 1935, Ethiopia appealed to the League of Nations for arbitration. For the next several months, each commission, committee, or subcommittee to which the matter was referred recommended that Ethiopia submit to arbitration[2], then referred the matter to another commission, committee or subcommittee.

* * *

The conference at Stresa, Italy, which began on April 11th, 1935, was a response to Hitler’s cumulative treaty violations. Mussolini and Fulvio Suvich, Italian Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, met with French Prime Minister Pierre-Étienne Flandin and French Foreign Minister Pierre Laval, as well as Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald and Foreign Minister Sir John Simon of Britain. After several days of discussion, the group agreed that “maintaining the independence and integrity of Austria would continue to inspire their common policy” and that they would “act in close and cordial collaboration” to oppose “by all practicable means, any unilateral repudiation of treaties which may endanger the peace of Europe.”

Pierre Laval

Apparently, the minutes of the meeting as recorded by British clerks indicate that the words “of Europe” had been agreed upon from the beginning. French and Italian sources recall that Mussolini later requested they be added. Much has been made over this point, but in either case, it is clear that France and Britain were standing behind–or, more accurately, hiding behind–the precedent established at the League of Nations. Since the peace of Europe depended upon Italy’s support for Austrian independence, Mussolini had every reason to believe that the agreement signed in Stresa was a quid pro quo, giving him carte blanche against Ethiopia.

* * *

League of Nations Meeting

In May, while he was still only Foreign Minister, Laval had persuaded the League of Nations to postpone for three months any decisions regarding Italy’s provocations of Ethiopia[3]. In August, as Prime Minister, Laval had to find a way to appease the League of Nations while keeping Mussolini as an ally poised against Hitler, but already, Léon Blum had coined the phrase, “With Mussolini, it is not a question of wrongs, but of crimes,” and the Socialists had taken it up as a slogan. The prevailing consensus in every corner of France, as well as Britain, was that Mussolini must be condemned and Ethiopia supported through, and in concert with, the League of Nations.

Knowing Laval’s reputation for negotiating the impossible into mere difficulties, British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin sent his foreign minister, Sir Samuel Hoare, to Paris, with no further instructions than to push Laval to his limits and keep Britain out of war.

Hoare began the discussion with a suggestion that Britain and France attempt to get an agreement from the Germans limiting the size of the Luftwaffe[4]. He then mentioned, almost casually, that while keeping Mussolini[5] in opposition to Hitler was quite desirable, his government would have to stand behind the League.

Laval acknowledged that he was in the same bind, but wanted to know if Britain would stop at sanctions, or actually go to war with Italy if the league called for it. Hoare said that Britain had no intention of going to war. Laval expressed doubts about sanctions being anything more than an annoyance to Italy, since Germany, Japan, and the United States weren’t bound by the League’s decisions, and also expressed his gravest concern; that Mussolini might be “driven into the German camp.”

Nothing had been decided, and Laval was less certain of British support for France than he had been before the meeting. Hoare, meanwhile, addressed the League of Nations, calling for unity without mentioning any specific actions, or revealing what part Britain intended to play in that unity. It was nonetheless clear that Baldwin’s government hoped it could stand solidly behind Ethiopia and the League of Nations, but at a very comfortable distance.

* * *

On August 31st, 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Neutrality Act, which had passed both houses of Congress by majorities that approached unanimous. It established the licensing and registration of arms manufacturers in the US, and provided for an embargo of arms shipments to foreign governments at war. It also restricted travel by US citizens on vessels of other nations at war.

The President also announced that the US would not abide by any League of Nations sanctions against Italy. Since shipments of petroleum were not restricted by the Neutrality Act, and Ethiopia did not have money to purchase weapons even if they could have been exported from the US, the Neutrality Act of 1935 was essentially supporting Mussolini while purporting otherwise, and served as public notice that if the League of Nations were forming a posse, the US would not be riding in it.

* * *

On September 8th, 1935, Laval telegraphed London, asking how Britain would respond if Germany seized the moment and attacked Austria. On September 11th, he sent a telegram to Rome, reminding Mussolini that France was obligated to act in accordance with the League of Nations. Laval received no reply to either telegram.

On October 3rd, 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia.

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[1] Irregular auxiliaries in the Italian Colonial Army.

[2] It was Ethiopia which was seeking arbitration, and Italy which was refusing it.

[3] Mussolini appears to have interpreted this as an endorsement of his intentions toward Ethiopia. This may well have been Laval’s intent.

[4] What led Hoare to assume this would be an effective ice-breaker is anyone’s guess.

[5] Hoare was under the mistaken impression that Laval and Mussolini had a long-standing personal friendship,

LG Electronics Argentina – An Inexplicable Tale of Stupid

download (1)

Apart from being a blogger, I am also both a consumer and a senior manager in a company.  As such, I am often left speechless by things that happen within organizations.  Here at Classically Educated, we’ve poked a bit of fun at some of the internal things that companies do wrong (most notably here and here).

Most companies, however usually take extremely good care of their consumer-facing image, and look like well-oiled machines to everyone who isn’t directly involved in their day-to-day operations.

But sometimes, they really, really screw up and act in completely clueless ways.

Let’s have a look at the case of LG Electronics in Argentina, a company that has recently shown itself to be a poster-child for incompetent consumer management.

Argentina is currently not the perfect place to sell electronics, especially not brand-name electronics.  We’ve explained a little bit about the economic situation here, but perhaps that doesn’t quite give the whole picture.  Your average electronic device in Argentina costs between two and three times what it would in the civilized world (which is why smart people bring things from abroad when they travel), plus there is a smaller range to choose from.  Convincing people to buy a specific brand is a VERY tough thing to do.  Every sale is important.  Every customer is important.

So, if I were a company trying to sell electronics in Argentina, there are a few things I WOUDLN’T do, which I list below:

1)  I WOULDN’T sell consumers a faulty air conditioner, especially a faulty EXPENSIVE unit.  LG Electronics Argentina decided to do this.  To be fair, this could have happened to anyone, but perhaps they need to improve their quality control.

2)  When sending a technician to the house after being called over to investigate, and finding that the unit needs to be replaced nearly entirely, I WOULDN’T tell the consumer that they have to wait 15 to 20 days for the service department to call them.  I would especially avoid this when competitors such as Electrolux Argentina get the same thing solved and repaired in a week.  LG Electronics Argentina, in their wisdom decided to do so.

Now, this one is interesting, as the law apparently allows this timeframe.  However, as a consumer, I find it unacceptable and a great reason to share my experience, especially when competitors are doing it better.  This is a case where giving the lowest customer service required by the law is simply unacceptable.

3)  I ESPECIALLY WOULDN’T do this in summer, when it’s very hot in Buenos Aires, and the consumer wants to use the expensive air conditioner that he has bought for this purpose.  It isn’t really any use once their idiotic service times pass and the summer is over, is it?  LG Electronics Argentina decided to do so, anyway.

4) When the consumer calls the call center to complain about this situation and to tell the company that it is unacceptable, I wouldn’t have the call center person say that that is the process and that the extremely angry consumer needs to basically suck it up. LG Electronics Argentina, in it’s sad, unfortunate wisdom, decided to do so.

This last one really gets to me.  Most call centers have backup plans when a consumer is really upset, as I was when I called them. I have managed a call center for an airline, and would have fired the entire staff if they’d been unable to find a solution for a consumer as pissed as I was when I called.  That is just incompetence on behalf of the call center management and whoever designed the process.

Monkey in a suit

5) If I were to do all of the above and leave the consumer hanging, I would at least try to remember that each unsatisfied consumer tells seven of his friends… correction, back when there was no internet, each unsatisfied consumer used to tell seven of his friends.  Nowadays, many of them tell seven hundred Facebook friends or tweet about it.  If you really, really screw it up, you might irritate someone with access to a blogger with tens of thousands of readers. LG Electronics Argentina, in their infinite wisdom, have done precisely that.

Oopsie.  But perhaps other companies can learn from LG Electronics’ little mistake, which the consumer is doing everything possible to make bigger every day.  Also, this may serve as an example to other consumers who’ve had a problem – there’s no longer any need to suffer in silence!!

To be or not to be… all in – a reflection on the fragility and importance of beginnings in relationships


Scarlett still ranks as the author of our most popular guest post (logical, considering it was about why it sucks to be single, female and smart!, which seems to be a popular topic among many of our readers!), so we are delighted to welcome her back!  Today, she continues to explore the joys and pitfalls of modern love in her own inimitable and realistic way…

Red Umbrella Love

Tale as old as time: boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl likes boy, they start dating, they enjoy their time together, they start liking each other even more, but after a few dates one of them becomes distant. Nine times out of ten, this ends in a premature breakup, and that, for me, is a shame. Maybe it’s my engineering background speaking, but don’t you hate it when an opportunity goes to waste?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that when it comes to relationships not all people you meet will stay in your life, and that’s all right. Sometimes there is something about the other person we just do not like, and that is strong enough for us to decide we don’t want them in our lives. However, what is a shame is that sometimes we dismiss people or people dismiss us before actually knowing if something better can come along between us, if we can evolve, if we can move past our differences.

Lovers Fight

Let me put it this way, there’s a line from Matrix Reloaded that I simply adore: “You do not truly know someone until you fight them” (says Seraph, when Neo meets him, looking for the Oracle). This is so overridingly true! If you think about all the people you know and love today, and you look back in time, certainly, in more than one case, you will have gone through conflict and overcame it, and that made your relationship and your connection even stronger.

My point is that relationships involve a process, and when we are in the beginning, we don’t truly know who we are with. Actually, the first time we hit a difference or a conflict with other people is the first opportunity we have to understand more deeply who they are, and at the same time learn a bit more about ourselves.

Now going back to couples, being in a relationship is sometimes hard, as is being single. No relationship situation you choose to live in life will be 100% painless (or 100% painful for that matter). You just have to ask yourself what kind of pain you are willing to put up with to have a happy life. Of course, the painful moments would have to be a small price to pay in exchange for all the great things tagged along with your choice.

Having said that, why is it so hard for so many people to deal with conflict? Moreover, why is it that the moment we start feeling intensely for someone else, so many people feel compelled to run away? I will not attach this pattern to either men or women, because I have seen it happen in both genders, almost equally.

As the years go by, every time I see a couple in harmony together I say to myself: this is one of life’s miracles, there are and will always be people who manage to find each other, overcome their fears, and selfishness and decide to continue their lives’ journey together. Of course, I am simplifying and generalizing, not all couples are healthy, not all couples are happy, and not all couples are selfless and loving to each other. You cannot really tell what is going on in the intimacy of a couple. However, the point I want to make here is about the beginning part where they decide to be a couple, and keep dating and so on.

This part of a relationship is so fragile that the smallest fracture in your train of thought or feeling can generate in either part the decision / reaction to stop seeing the other person. When I become aware of this fragility is when I appreciate even more deeply the miracle of overcoming it and staying together.

Footsteps in the sand

To know if someone is the right person for you or not is very personal, there is not one right answer. Moreover, I would be inclined to say that the answers lie within each person, so the journey to know who is right for you has to start with an inner journey. That is where I think the problem begins. How many people actually embark in this inner journey nowadays? First, let us define this so-called inner journey: to get to know yourself to the point of seeing yourself for who you are, with the fewest distortions possible, which means getting in touch with the less obvious parts of your inner self. Second, I would include in this journey the following experiences:

  • To admit your dark side, acknowledge your low points and your weaknesses and forgive yourself, because after all, we are only human and we are entitled to a dark side (i.e., acknowledging the times you were either selfish, or mean, or manipulative, or envious, etc.).
  • To hit your deepest self and connect with the fundamental questions of your life, i.e. how do you want to live your life, what are your ultimate goals or what do you want to leave behind when you die.
  • For some people it could also involve the vocational or development journey: what is my calling, what makes me feel that I am contributing to this world, and at the same time I am expanding my full potential.
  • To heal wounds from the past: to let go of resentment for people who hurt you, to overcome losses and to forgive (people who hurt you in particular, and life in general for the situations you had to go through).

So, going back to my initial point, if you meet someone and you like that someone, and you start sharing time, experiences and intimacy with that someone, eventually you will encounter conflict and/or vulnerability for either or both. That is exactly when we start having the wide variety of reactions we usually see, the extremes being some people choose to stay and work it out, and learn and grow through the process, while some people choose to run away and go somewhere where they can feel safer, less exposed, back to comfort zone – being alone again or meeting someone new.

I believe that if we truly want to experience a deep and meaningful relationship, we need to take a leap of faith and face the fear of feeling vulnerable. If you are familiar with the movie “Must love dogs”, there’s a scene where John Cusack is on a first date with Diane Lane, and he suggests skipping all the nonsense and small talk of a typical first date and spill their guts to each other. I confess I liked that idea, inverting the process and start by telling each other our low points, our fears, our dark side. Only when we know who we are, we can feel comfortable enough to share it with someone else of our choice, and when we are true to ourselves and others we have more authentic and meaningful human experiences. Therefore, being genuine will increase our chances of finding someone who will love and accept us for who we truly are, dark side included, for as long as it lasts. That way the difficult moments that relationships sometimes bring will make sense, because we will be on our way to something significant: a deep connection with another human being. I have always been fond of Saint Exupery’s definition of being “domesticated” in his Little Prince. As the Fox beautifully describes it, when we are domesticated “we stop being one person just like the next person, to someone else”.

Unfortunately, not every person we meet will be in agreement with these concepts. Some people will not want to be all in. And it’s alright, not everyone has to be an all in kind of person. We only need to understand and respect the differences we have on this fundamental perspective, and avoid the unnecessary conflict of expecting an all in relationship with people who are not up for it.

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The Early Queen of Technicolor

Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis

As we continue our review of the 1001 films to watch before you die, it has become increasingly obvious that Judy Garland was the early queen of color film.  Most people will remember the scene in the The Wizard of Oz where she opens the door from the black and white world of Kansas to the riot of color that is Oz, but it would take a much more hardcore movie fan to recall the subject of today’s post.

Meet Me in St. Louis is another Garland musical, this time from 1944 which, unlike The Wizard is basically a family drama / romance.  As such, the color is a little more muted – but still stands out among the other great films mainly due to the simple fact of having been filmed in color.  Looking back at the movies we’ve reviewed here at Classically Educated, only The Life and Death of General Blimp was a color film.

So, what did we think?


Not our cup of tea, really.  To be brutally honest, it seemed like an unnecessarily melodramatic treatment of stuff that wasn’t all that serious.  This isn’t entirely a bad thing.  Had this same film been made in modern times, the melodrama would have been created by having someone die slowly of something awful during the entire film, or having someone fight against some terrible social stigma.  In that sense, the Garland vehicle is much, much less unbearable.

Meet Me in St. Louis Scenery

The scenery is also evocative, if much less complex than what you’d see today.  It does make you want to move to St. Louis over a hundred years ago and recreate that idyllic lifestyle.

The central conflicts have to do with a couple of love stories and a possible family move that would disrupt everything, but in the end it’s not really a spoiler to say that things turn out for the best.  It may have unnecessary melodrama, but is in essence a musical comedy.

In its time, it was critically well-received, and even commended for being just a bit darker than similar films which had a more “pollyanna” vibe to them, but that edge – though still visible when comparing to other films of its day – has lost a lot of its bite for modern audiences.

I wouldn’t say that the film was particularly memorable, but it is significant for a few things.  In the first place, it’s where Garland met Minelli, which, eventually, led to a whole bunch of other musicals with Liza in them.  This may or may not be a good thing, depending on one’s point of view, so I’ll leave it at that.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Album Cover

In addition to that, this film saw the debut of the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas“.  This, many, many years later has allowed millions of wives to annoy millions of husbands with the Michael Bublé version of the same while in the car. Again, this may or may not be a good thing, depending on one’s musical taste and gender.  All we can really say for sure is that divorce lawyers seem to be happy with that development.

Finally, this is the first film in the 1001 that we’ve seen that has three surviving cast members: Joan Caroll, June Lockhart and Margaret O’Brien.  If any of them are reading this, Hi!

So, all in all, this is a film we’d probably recommend to people partial to slightly melodramatic musical comedies.  It would probably not go down particularly well with an audience capable of appreciating the finer points of Apocalypse Now, but that isn’t its intention after all.

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Charlie Hebdo and History Repeating itself

Je suis charlie

On April 11th, 1812, a group of Luddites attacked a mill in Leeds, exchanging fire with the armed guards within and leaving two dead.

On January 7th, 2015, a pair of Islamic extremists attacked the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, opened fire, and left twelve dead.

The incidents might seem completely unrelated.  After all, one is an incident over two hundred years old, involving a group that was protesting against the social changes brought about by technology, while the other is based on a religious premise, a protest against a specific act, and looks more like the continuation of ancient crusades and jihads than anything else.

And yet, the parallels are pretty obvious.

The superficial similarities are what jumps out first.  The Luddites were a pseudo-military force that trained and indoctrinated its recruits and eventually found itself facing the might of the British army before being eliminated.  Islamic extremists are similar, except that they are facing the might of most of the world’s armies as opposed to that of just one nation (thanks in large part to the Luddites defeat, the world is now one single nation, essentially).

But there exists a much more subtle similarity as well.  Both events essentially motivated by fear of progress and change.  While the Luddites expressed this openly, religious extremism is just another symptom of the same disease: man’s fear to move forward into a new era.

Of course religious fanatics don’t fear the newest iPhone or electric cars (although some of them do).  The thing they are fighting against is progress as society moves away from religious thinking.  Whether it be jihadis attacking freedom of speech by killing the editors and staff of a magazine that published things they found offensive or right wing Christian fundamentalists taking advantage of regional political power to ban the teaching of science in favor of pseudoscientific theories (and stunt the education of innocent children in the process), they are all reacting against the same thing: religion is no longer a leading driver of social change or social mores.

paris not afraid

Yes, there is a world where people can satirize any prophet and continue living, and it is this one.  The men and women who died in the attack are the ones the world considers heroes… not the attackers.  All but a few misguided souls will be raising a glass in remembrance to the dead – their magazine might have been a bit over the top, and often in incredibly bad taste, but no one can doubt that they had balls and integrity, or that they were true to the spirit of freedom of speech and thought.

This doesn’t mean that religion is unimportant or something to be dismissed.  People are much more free to explore their spiritual side and find a path that helps them deal with modern life than ever before, and many religions are keeping up with the times and offering heir adherents answers that truly help them cope.  But as a force that can force others to conform and be a homogeneous flock, it is spent.

This is anathema to many, to the same type of people who, had they lived in the 1810s would have been part of the Luddite Revolution.

They have already lost, but they just haven’t been able to accept it yet.  They see the world around them getting more and more alien to their beliefs and, unable to adapt, they become violent in their extreme.

I can’t do anything to ease the pain of the loved ones of the people murdered this week.  Or to heal the wounds of the city of Paris or of France.  I can’t even shout loud enough to be heard what a wonderful religion Islam is when it isn’t being practiced by ignorant, frightened, worthless extremists.  The action of fools will harm innocent, peaceful muslims all over the world, including many that I am proud to call friends.  All we can do is support them from here at Classically Educated, which makes me feel impotent and angry.

But at least we can take solace in the knowledge that, like the Luddites before them, religious extremists are just rabid dogs.  They are dying off due to forces they don’t have the mental faculties to understand.  All they are smart enough to do is hurt people before they die.  But both rabid dogs and religious extremists are doomed by the very forces that give rise to their aggression.  Yes, they might get more and more rabid as their time passes, but in the end, they will just be a curious memory, like the Luddites.

We won’t miss them when they’re gone.  And we won’t fear them while they’re here.

Ignorance as a Point of View

Astrology Cartoon

I was talking to an acquaintance recently, and was amazed and more than a little dismayed when she said “Astrology is a science, just like math.”  When I expressed my utter disbelief that anyone with even a smattering of education could possibly utter such a statement in the 21st century, she dismissed me as closed-minded and, safe in the knowledge that a majority of society would back her on that point, spoke about other things.

Never has, in my opinion, the modern iteration of ignorance been so eloquently expressed.

So, in order to learn about the people who share these modern times with us, let’s dissect the incident:

Astrology is a science

Well, one thing that astrology is NOT is a science.  To summarize centuries of development, science is a process by which hypothesis are tested via empirical data and then the theory is modified to fit the data.  As anyone objective can easily see, astrology works precisely opposite.  The results are given first (Scorpios kick babies, prefer to drink white wines and are only compatible with Gemini) and then the data is peered at through distorting lenses to make it seem like it fits.  It is much more akin to a religion than a science.  Wikipedia calls it a pseudoscience, because it attempts to clothe non-scientific methods within a scientific framework, but I think Wikipedia is being both generous and politically correct (can’t get funding if potential donors are offended).

Funny Fortune Cookie

So when discussing this, the defenders of astrology will say that testing is unnecessary because there are millennia of tradition behind it, and there’s no need to verify further. Er…  Yeah, that would also have worked when Columbus was yammering about the Earth not being flat.

So… why do people insist that it’s a science? Well, despite the growing trendiness of aggressive ignorance disguised as “a democratic right to different points of view”, there is still a feeling in society that science and logic are much more intellectually respectable than spiritualism.  So people lie to themselves (and attempt unsuccessfully to lie to intelligent observers) in order to feel respected as opposed to the alternative: feeling like ignorant cretins when faced with the raised eyebrow of a respected member of the peer group.  It’s better to dismiss logical arguments as “the limitations of people who think they’re educated” than to just admit that astrology is more of a fun, brain-dead way to spend time – like watching Dancing with the Stars – than anything approaching a science.

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 11.14.07 AM

Just like math

The discussion of whether mathematics is or isn’t a science probably would have gone over her head, but this article on the topic is simply awesome, especially the bit about Cicadas, so I just had to link it here.

Ok, so that’s the breakdown of her phrase, but the more disturbing bit is her sense of security that society would back her up.  In this case, I tend to agree with her.  That is a bit worrying, and it led me to asking myself why society seems to prefer to support certain ignorant theories and marginalize people who try to debunk them as elitists*

I think the answer is twofold.  In the first place, I’d like to offer the hypothesis that there’s a large correlation between the kind of people who think that astrology is a science and the the kind of people who watch a LOT of TV.  As is pretty evident to even casual viewers, TV content is not designed to stimulate the intellect, but rather to pander to more basic needs: low entertainment, fear-mongering and (particularly relevant in this case) the reinforcement of beliefs.  Now, to meet these needs, even the documentary channels have needed to adapt, as we’ve discussed before.  And if it’s on the Discovery Channel, then it must be true, right**?

The second half of the answer has more to do with how society has evolved in the decades since the second world war.  After the war, society has become obsessed with safety in all forms, be it physical or psychological.  The many have, in their wisdom, decided that freedom is less important that safety (see: mandatory helmet laws, myriad).  Even feelings are to be preserved…  if someone hurts your feelings, they are in the wrong, and therefore “safe places” need to be created where they can’t do so.

As educated, intelligent people are a minority, their opinions are normally dismissed as elitist, which immediately equates them with such immoral bastards as the filthy rich*.  So, to protect themselves from feelings of inferiority, the mob has made astrology a socially accepted topic – and mocking astrology the province of evil, “limited” people who can’t see beyond what their senses tell me.  So, once again, we decide what is scientifically correct by democracy***.

Is it just me, or should an educated society work in precisely the opposite way?

*Please note that here at Classically Educated, we consider the word “elite” to be a compliment, definitely not an insult.  If you are reading this, and feel that being elite is bad, you probably landed on this site by mistake!  We also oppose the discrimination against rich people – in fact, we oppose discrimination against any minority… fortunately, dumb people are not a minority, so you’re good there.

**This footnote isn’t actually linked to anything in particular, but I just had to mention traditional remedies.  All I have to say about that is that most ancient societies had life spans of about thirty years.  I am certain you are intelligent enough to draw your own conclusions about traditional medicine from that fact, and I don’t have to give you any further subtle hints.

***Can we vote to repeal the law of gravity?  Hover cars sound way cool.