Milton said ‘who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter? ‘ – but he was wrong. I’ve seen it put to the worse time and time again. A major fraction of western universities are dominated by various kinds of lunatics – much more so than 50 years ago – and the situation is deteriorating. Sometimes the bad guys win the arguments, not least because there are a million lies for every truth, and it’s not surprising that some of those lies are more attractive. People aren’t logic machines.
Searching for truth via open debate works sometimes, on some subjects, with some people. But on many topics falsehoods prevail. In war, though, there is a systematic bias towards truth. It helps you win. A tendency, one that can often be overwhelmed by disparities in material or population, or by chance events, but is nonetheless real.
When one side is really crazy – drastically misaligned with reality – even big numerical advantages are sometimes not enough.
Being the strongest power gives you more latitude to indulge your fantasies. Women aren’t ever going to make useful Army Rangers: if we were fighting a war of survival, one in which that kind of infantry combat was key and against a foe with comparable resources, we would either shed that delusion or lose. War, serious war, keeps your head on straight [or chops it off] . That’s one reason that governments in Europe generally didn’t get as goofy as sometimes happened in China , late in a dynasty. Not for long.
The South didn’t want to use black soldiers- if they were effective, it would be a strike against their whole social theory. But winners are interested in winning, not some silly proposition.