Quotulatiousness

November 2, 2017

“… the United States made a collective choice to let the South have a mythology in place of independence”

Filed under: History, Politics, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Colby Cosh is cheering on the carnage of the US-Civil-War-revisionism war that appears to have broken out to our south:

As someone who is relishing the United States’s outburst of Civil War revisionism, I am a little confused by the controversy over a remark by the White House chief of staff, John Kelly. Kelly is being assailed for saying in a Fox News interview that “the lack of an ability to compromise led to the (American) Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

This was part of a familiar-sounding encomium to Gen. Robert E. Lee, the Confederacy’s warlord. It is the kind of thing, until recently an accepted part of the American civil religion, that is being instantly challenged in our tempestuous moral climate. And I think this is, on the whole, terrific. About time, and then some.

But I would have thought that the objectionable part of Kelly’s comment was the stuff about “men and women of good faith” — as if Southern whites had not made war for the purpose of preserving a caste’s economic advantage and its political dominance within the federation. Did “good faith” always characterize the Confederacy’s collective behaviour before and during the war? One thinks of Andersonville, or Fort Pillow, or Bleeding Kansas, or — to throw in a Canadian angle — the Confederacy’s use of British North America as a base for conspiracies and violence. We may even recall Preston Brooks beating Charles Sumner nearly to death in the United States Senate in 1856, and being lionized throughout the South for it.

“Good faith,” eh? This reflects the toxic part of the schoolhouse account of history given to Americans: faced with the problem of being bound together in a Union as a victorious nation and a vanquished one, the United States made a collective choice to let the South have a mythology in place of independence. An account of the war as a fateful collision between “ways of life” was allowed to stand — perhaps in the absence of acceptable alternatives — and the South was permitted to commemorate and celebrate war heroes without inviting odium or reprisal. Those heroes ultimately remained part of the ruling class in the South.

It is easy to recognize talk of “good faith” (or “ways of life”) as the thinking of somebody still under the cultural spell of Gone With the Wind. The puzzle is that it does not seem to be the “good faith” part of Kelly’s comment that is inviting the strongest objections. He is being vilified by the “lack of an ability to compromise” part.

Misunderstood Moments in History – The Spartan Myth

Filed under: Europe, History — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Invicta
Published on 27 Oct 2017

The Spartans are immortalized in history as super soldiers bred for war. However most of what we think we know about them is a lie. Today we will unmask the truth behind the Spartan Myth.

The Great Courses Plus is currently available to watch through a web browser to almost anyone in the world and optimized for the US market. The Great Courses Plus is currently working to both optimize the product globally and accept credit card payments globally.

Documentary Credits:
Research: Dr Roel Konijnendijk
Script: Invicta
Artwork: Milek J
Editing: Invicta
Music: Total War OST, Soundnote

Documentary Bibliography:
Paul Anthony Cartledge, The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-heroes of Ancient Greece
Nigel Kennell, Spartans: A New History (2010)
S. Hodkinson, Property and Wealth in Classical Sparta (2000)
J. Ducat, Spartan Education: Youth and Society in the Classical Period (2006)
S.M. Rusch, Sparta at War: Strategy, Tactics and Campaigns, 550-362 BC (2011)
E. Rawson, The Spartan Tradition in European Thought (1969)
S. Hodkinson & I.M. Morris (eds.), Sparta in Modern Thought (2012)

George Orwell had a lot of rejection slips for Animal Farm

Filed under: Books, Business, Politics — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

But of those, this one from T.S. Eliot is perhaps the most representative:

(Click to see full-size)

H/T to Raj Balasubramanyam for the image.

The Short-Lived No1 Mk6 SMLE Lee Enfield

Filed under: Britain, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Forgotten Weapons
Published on 30 Mar 2017

Prototype: Sold for $56,350 – http://jamesdjulia.com/item/1645-396/
Pre-production: Sold for $12,075 – http://jamesdjulia.com/item/1646-396/
No1 Mk6: Sold for $12,075 – http://jamesdjulia.com/item/1650-396/
No4 Mk1: Sold for $5,750 – http://jamesdjulia.com/item/1658-396/

The SMLE No1 Mk3 was the iconic British infantry rifle of World War 1, but not the final evolution of the Lee Enfield design. By World War 2 it had been replaced by the new No4 Mk1 Lee Enfield, and this is the story of the interim models.

At the end of WW1, the British recognized several areas where the SMLE could be improved: a heavier barrel, a lighter bayonet, and aperture sights. This led to the development of the No1 Mk5 rifle (the Mk4 being a designation for a .22 rimfire training variation), with 20,000 examples made for troop trials in the mid 1920s. The Mk5 was well received by troops, with its rear-mounted aperture sight being seen as a substantial improvement over the previous tangent notch sight. However, experimentation continued and by 1926 prototypes of a Mk6 rifle were being made.

In 1929 a series of 1000 No1 Mk6 rifles was put into production, which would fit a new style of short and light spike bayonet as well as an improved type of aperture sight. They also featured a very distinctive large area of deep square checkering on the hand guard, intended to improve one’s grip on the rifle during bayonet drill. These rifles were nearly the same as what was ultimately adopted as the new No4 Mk1 rifle – so much so that in 1931 that designation was applied to the rifles and a batch of 2500 more made for trials. These trials rifles were mostly issued out to troops in the aftermath of Dunkirk, making them very scarce to find today, as most did not survive the war. Those that did will sport a new serial number with an “A” suffix to indicate their non-standard parts (in comparison to the production model No4 Mk1. Today were will look at the progressive development of a pre-prototype Mk6, Mk6 rifle number 1, a Mk6 trials rifle, and one of those 2500 trials No4 Mk1 rifles.

http://www.patreon.com/ForgottenWeapons

QotD: Free trade versus modern “Free Trade” agreements

Filed under: Economics, Environment, Politics, Quotations — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Once upon a time, free-trade agreements were about just that: free trade. You abolish your tariffs and import restrictions, I’ll abolish mine. Trade increases, countries specialize in what they’re best equipped to do, efficiency increases, price levels drop, everybody wins.

Then environmentalists began honking about exporting pollution and demanded what amounted to imposing First World regulation on Third World countries who – in general – wanted the jobs and the economic stimulus from trade more than they wanted to make environmentalists happy. But the priorities of poor brown people didn’t matter to rich white environmentalists who already had theirs, and the environmentalists had political clout in the First World, so they won. Free-trade agreements started to include “environmental safeguards”.

Next, the labor unions, frightened because foreign workers might compete down domestic wages, began honking about abusive Third World labor conditions about which they didn’t really give a damn. They won, and “free trade” agreements began to include yet more impositions of First World pet causes on Third World countries. The precedent firmed up: free trade agreements were no longer to be about “free” trade, but rather about managing trade in the interests of wealthy First Worlders.

Eric S. Raymond, “TPP and the Law of Unintended Consequences”, Armed and Dangerous, 2016-04-12.

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