Make it Celsius, if you will

Miles, yards, feet, inches, and … Daniel Fahrenheit!

From my Writing Room

Copyright © 2020 by Uwe Bahr

Referring to my previous blog about the indispensable transition of a ruthless American economic system comprising certain semblance with elements of 19th century capitalism, another absolutely innocuous subject matter comes to mind that nonetheless carries quite some nostalgic smack with it. Although it is, without doubt, also of far less importance in light of current social problems, the matter nevertheless reveals the sometimes hilarious, widespread mentality in a country where many folks are serious in referring to a Second Amendment, which in recent decades has been completely turned on its head in terms of its original meaning written a cool 231 years ago and ratified two years later. As an aside: The man who penned the infamous lines of said Amendment – James “Jamie” Madison, who would later become the nation’s fourth president and the last of the founders to go – certainly had to use candle light for his literary fabric, provided he used his little quill either in the wee hours or later at night.

Even a bit more ancient than the presumptive law of the gun most Americans deluding themselves with, is their procedure to figure out what the temperature of the day or night might be. In doing so and in a slightly mispronounced style, they use a man’s name who was of German ancestry, born in the year of 1686 in the city of Danzig at the Baltic Sea, back then under the rule of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. I have been to Danzig, which today belongs to Poland and is named Gdansk, several times in the 70’s and 80’s. Its downtown is certainly the most magnificent I have ever seen. According to my father, who knew Danzig from his childhood, the historic inner-city was restored almost to the detail after heavy air raids and besiegement at the end of World War II had reduced to rubble nearly the entire city.

The subject of our story – Americans are more familiar with the name than almost anybody else in the world – is Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, the man from Danzig who in 1724 invented the thermometer in conjunction with the scale named after him. He basically is the father of the mercury-in-glass thermometer, which scale became the first standardized measuring unit to be widely used for temperature.

Only a few years later, in 1742, the Swedish astronomer, physicist, and mathematician Anders Celsius (1701-1744) introduced the Celsius scale, an improvement and to date in conventional use throughout the entire Western world of contemporary style. Celsius’ method provided more accuracy, not least because of its conversion to a decimal system.

There are sources claiming that Fahrenheit was furthermore used worldwide to measure temperatures until the 1970’s. Such assertion catches me by surprise, for as somebody growing up in the – what we considered it back then – underdeveloped ages of Socialism, I can only state that, at the time and at least from the 1960’s on, there was not a single country at least in Europe using Fahrenheit instead Celsius. Even the expression was unbeknownst to us. As for Germany, I can say with certainty that most people including me were at loose ends with the term already back then, not to mention the significance of the man who invented the thermometer almost 300 years ago. This certainly constituted a lack of knowledge as well.

At least, Americans today are not completely alone in this world to hold unswerving faith with Mr. Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit. According to researchers, the Fahrenheit scale is used to date by the following countries: Marshall Islands, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Liberia, Palau, The Federal States of Micronesia, and – you bet – The United States of America.

Americans and their Specter of Socialism

From my Writing Room

Copyright © 2020 by Uwe Bahr

The closer it gets to the election day, the more the political right in the United States is riding their hobbyhorse of “Socialism” in a desperate attempt to defend a President who not only has proved a lack of intellect and morale, but bullies, lies, and sneers. Followers that are still holding on to him – careless or clueless about the incorrectness of terms used in the heated political language – walk straight into the verbal trap, eagerly abusing the mystic expression themselves. And yet, the strenuous iteration does not make it an inch truer.

This writing comes from someone who – not voluntarily – has lived nearly thirty years in the pseudo-Socialism of the extinct German Democratic Republic (GDR). I would not want to have it back.

Nevertheless, a dose of clarification seems necessary at this point in view of the utter nonsense spreading like a virus in Trump’s America almost every time the term “Socialism” is being referenced.

So, my fellow Americans, hold on to your seats, lean back for a minute, grab one of your numerous dictionaries especially Trump supporters should always have at hand, and look up what “Socialism” stands for. I am for my part quoting for you Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (unabridged), page 2162. A pretty heavy book, by the way – but any other American dictionary will do.

Socialism is a – quote – “System or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state.” End quote. Period, that’s it – no more, no less.

Got it?

A socialist command economy – I did not have to see it with my own eyes decades back for coming to the conclusion: Such state controlled, nationalized economy cannot function due to its utter inefficiency. Which makes me wonder: Where in the United States are such circumstances in existence? Is somebody out there who can please prove me wrong?

Hold your politicians, regardless of their political color, responsible for their baseless propaganda trick, don’t let them take you for a fool with an imaginary scapegoat that does not exist. Don’t fall for the catch phrases from political pied pipers who themselves have never lived in Socialism, like no American within the United States has ever even seen a glimmer of Socialism in their country.

For the sake of bettering the conditions for most Americans, it is worth noting here that an accompanying, controlling mechanism – ensuing from the government in terms of checks and balances – must be incorporated in the legal system to protect the little man from exploitation. It’s not called Socialism, but rather: Justice. Those who have – for example – ever worked for America’s largest retailer, W******, (and again, I was there, too), should know what the talk is about. The indiscriminate cut of work hours without any legal regulations versus the corporations own dictates, recurrent bullying, the shortening and eliminating of night shift allowances, the virtually non-existent access to institutions to defend themselves, a broadly lawless work environment in general, as well as a wage which does not allow hard-working Americans to make a decent living – all these facts experienced by the author disparages American citizens to a merely disposable mass of people without rights. The phrase of a “Free Country” becomes a farce here. Not even in the pseudo-Socialism of the GDR have I witnessed human beings being treated like this, which arises the question: Why do Americans, in their very own country with a Christian claim, humiliate their own people that way, albeit the means for a fair treatment and more income justice are available and could be easily arranged? Why?

By the way: If social justice is an interpretation of Socialism, then the pastor in church who commonly calls his sheep all “brothers and sisters”, obviously invoking equality, might be called a communist as well – that is, God forbid, the consecutive comparative of the spell “Socialism.”

Ironically, some 50 years ago, in that very same Socialism I lived through, once a teacher, not exactly convinced of the subject himself, asked his little students what it might look like in Communism. A girl raised her arm, stepped outside the bench and replied with an upright posture: “In Communism they are all brothers and sisters.”

By now we should know what propaganda is. If not – ask your dictionary.


From my Writing Room

Copyright © 2020 by Uwe Bahr

If it was not for my American wife, I would not be in this country anymore and long back in Germany. There have been inconsistencies going on everywhere lately, but the United States are presently salient with a good deal of people revealing ominous disturbances toward a sound human mind. A public disease seems widespread in this society like another virus on its own.

In 1989/90, when we sent the self-declared peoples’ government of the GDR (East Germany) packing, I considered these apologists of Socialism the most primitive sort of people I was ever governed under and was certain that I will never see any attempts of that magnitude from a government again to play their own populace for a sucker. Obviously, I was misled here by my own presumptions.

What I am seeing today in the country of my current residence is not only shocking, but nothing more than a largely effective process of national dulling disguised as patriotism. I can’t help myself to express it in a more polite and harmless way. The adherents of Donald J. Trump – in my judgement – suffer from pathetic brainwashing including the influence of conspiracy theories, leading inevitably to a disturbed mind. Never in my life have I seen anything even close to this.

And it makes feelings even worse when noting that white Evangelicals rank among Trump’s most reliable bases. Is this what Christian morality is about? The hypocrites, who tell themselves and others you HAVE to believe in God, should be ashamed for the rest of their life.