Friday, March 20, 2015

Equality: The Impossible Quest

We are very pleased to be able to announce the publication of an intellectual tour de force by the world-renowned military historian Martin van Creveld, entitled Equality: The Impossible Quest. Although this is a serious, scholastic history, it is a fascinating read that delves deep into the history of an important, but almost completely unexamined philosophical concept. Featuring a cover designed by Christopher Kallini, it is 282 pages and is now available at Amazon as well as in both EPUB and MOBI formats at Castalia House.

Despite being one of the three most important political concepts of the modern age, unlike Justice and Liberty, Equality has seldom been examined from an intellectual perspective. What does it mean to be equal? What is being specifically demanded when calls for equality are made? Is inequality justified when the objective is to make up for past inequalities? Which inequalities are unacceptable and require government intervention, and which are acceptable and therefore do not merit any action? Where did the idea that equality was a desirable state come from in the first place? These, and other questions, are addressed in deeply researched detail by Martin van Creveld, the well-known military historian and theorist, in Equality: The Impossible Quest.

The book begins with a search for signs of equality throughout the animal kingdom as well as in the primitive historical societies that never heard of the concept. Next, van Creveld traces the development of the idea and its implementation in various societies throughout history. This include ancient Greek equality as realized in Athens and Sparta, monastic equality in both East and West, social revolts aimed at establishing equality, utopian equality, liberal equality of the American and French Revolutionary varieties, socialist, communist and kibbutz equalities, Nazi equality, the equality of women and minorities, and biological equality through medical and genetic science. The last chapter deals with the greatest equalizer of all, death.

This survey of the history of equality demonstrates that the vast majority of human societies have not only survived, but thrived without equality. And it appears that despite its popular appeal, if carried too far, equality will present a threat to justice, liberty, and even truth. More problematic still is the observable fact that the various versions of equality tend to be contradictory. For every form of equality achieved, another must often be sacrificed. That is why the attempt to establish it on a lasting basis has, in every previous instance, proven ephemeral.

Dr. Martin van Creveld, Professor Emeritus of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, is one of the world's leading writers on military history and strategy. He is fluent in Hebrew, German, Dutch, and English, and has authored more than twenty books, including Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945 (1982), The Transformation of War (1991), and Wargames: From Gladiators to Gigabytes (2013). He is known for his development of the concept of "nontrinitarian" warfare and two of his books are among the seven considered to make up the 4th Generation Warfare canon as defined by William S. Lind.



Anonymous Quartermaster March 20, 2015 6:51 AM  

No society has equality in the sense libtards want. I like teh way Jerry Pournelle puts it, "Free people are not equal, and equal people are not free." Almost everything libtards want goes against human nature. Anyone that tries to buck human nature will eventually fail.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet March 20, 2015 7:01 AM  

lovin' that cover. the writing sounds fairly interesting as well.

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2015 March 20, 2015 7:09 AM  

Perhaps the website needs some tweeking. If wishing to pay via PayPal why do you need to enter billing address/ personal info? Shouldn't one click/ $6.99 via PayPal sent/ ebook delivered be all that's required? I've only been getting Kindle book via Amazon but can't that model be used by Castalia?

[I suspect this will be one of those books that by the third chapter I'll think the case is overwhelmingly made and I'll skim the rest - a lot of good books are just highly expanded etymology - think about it]

Blogger Markku March 20, 2015 7:15 AM  

If wishing to pay via PayPal why do you need to enter billing address/ personal info?

Because, alas, of European Union. We need to document the purchases for VAT reasons. You can write bullshit street address if you have to, but please get the nation right.

Blogger Markku March 20, 2015 7:18 AM  

As for PayPal already having that info, the security notice at the side of the checkout page is indeed true. PayPal doesn't send us any information about the purchase except that it has gone through. This makes us have to worry about security so much less. There is nothing valuable in our database for hackers to get.

Blogger wrf3 March 20, 2015 7:25 AM  

Markku wrote: ... but please get the nation right

Do the idiot bureaucrats really expect Americans to get geography right? With citizens that think that "New Mexico" isn't a part of the U.S.?

Anonymous Stg58 / Animal Mother March 20, 2015 7:29 AM  


Blogger Markku March 20, 2015 7:29 AM  

If you LIVE there and don't know you live in USA, then you might deserve a trophy for getting the purchase to go through at all.

Blogger Viisaus March 20, 2015 7:30 AM  

Does Creveld mention the imperial Roman jurisprudence as one of the sources of egalitarian ideology? The Roman Civil Law was one major pagan legacy that the Christian Middle Ages did not fully abolish, and it renders all its citizens or subjects equal under the law, or equal in servitude to the allmighty state, the Hobbesian Leviathan, a god on earth.

"3 Sir H. Maine observes that the "strictly juridical axiom" of the lawyers of the Antonine era ("omnes homines naturâ æquales sunt"), after passing through the hands of Rousseau and being adopted by the founders of the Constitution of United States, returned to France endowed with vastly greater energy and dignity, and that "of all 'the principles of 1789' it is the one which has been least strenuously assailed, which has most thoroughly leavened modern opinion, and which promises to modify most deeply the constitution of societies, and the politics of States" (Ancient Law, p. 96)."

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2015 March 20, 2015 7:33 AM  

[download worked] Tell us what the Eclipse looked like Markku. Happy equinox Europe. "Why is this night different from all other nights" - blow the shofar - it begins .....

Blogger Markku March 20, 2015 7:33 AM  

Ah, right, totally forgot about the eclipse. Well, it was just 70% here. Wouldn't have been very impressive.

Blogger Rantor March 20, 2015 7:40 AM  

Congrats, will be buying this weekend. Read van Creveld quite a bit while working on Masters, he has a sharp mind.

Blogger ScuzzaMan March 20, 2015 7:43 AM  

It was strange. A barely perceptible reduction in light but a very distinct reduction in heat.

I expect the book's more satisfying.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan March 20, 2015 7:53 AM  

If only the leftards were tasked to provide evidence for once

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2015 March 20, 2015 8:14 AM  

First impression. A history of ideas without prescriptions attached. The levelers of the English revolution get a mention but the first true democracies of the modern era, pirate ships/ privateers get missed. ie. buccaneer/ renegades formed micro democracies based on commonality of purpose in survival/ necessity is the mother of invention brings unexpected civility to renegades. [just a first impression pertaining to meta narrative]

Blogger MATT March 20, 2015 8:14 AM  


Blogger A Wiser Man Than I March 20, 2015 8:26 AM  

“Nature smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias. For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies.” - Will Durant

Anonymous PhillipGeorge(c)2015 March 20, 2015 8:55 AM  

No mention of Magna Carta. Biblical Jurisprudence, ergo, English common European law implicitly, if not explicit: a loving father represents the best interests of wife and children. One man one household one vote.

It is impossible to write English history, European history, Legal history, without reference to biblical jurisprudence - canon law. Broken cisterns, replete with citations, is a brilliant cover. But sophistry can sufficiently exasperate as to lead a soul to water.

Anonymous The other skeptic March 20, 2015 9:04 AM  


Anonymous The other skeptic March 20, 2015 9:09 AM  


Blogger Vox March 20, 2015 9:48 AM  

No mention of Magna Carta. Biblical Jurisprudence, ergo, English common European law implicitly, if not explicit: a loving father represents the best interests of wife and children. One man one household one vote.

None of those things have anything to do with the history of the concept of equality. Not all books are written in order to serve your preferred purposes. This is a scholarly history, not a political polemic.

Anonymous dantealiegri March 20, 2015 9:55 AM  


what you should say is - I doubt those have anything to do with the history of the concept of equality, but if you want to make a book to prove me wrong, be my guest.

Blogger Vox March 20, 2015 10:10 AM  

Ah, all right, sure, let's go with that. I am indeed dubious.

Blogger denizenofgoo March 20, 2015 10:56 AM  

The two goddesses of equality and diversity, forever at loggerheads but not their laity.

Blogger David March 20, 2015 11:00 AM  

The other skeptic, the speaker whose engagement you linked envisions a world without prisons. She must figure that when confronted with a robber or rapist, the intended victim will simply shoot, shovel and scoot.

Anonymous Anonymous March 20, 2015 11:08 AM  

When I grew up I took all references to equality in the political context to mean "equality under the law, in the eyes of the state" and not equality of ability, wealth, station, taste, pesonality, sense of humor, intellectual ability, etc.

I'm still not sure when that changed.

Anonymous jack March 20, 2015 11:12 AM  

I purchased Creveld's A History of Strategy and have done about 3 chapters now. Very good. An interesting read. I will probably buy this one as well.

Just for my infor, anyone here, what are the titles of Creveld's two books that should be read for a good grounding in 4th. war?


Blogger ajw308 March 20, 2015 11:31 AM  

This pic sums the equalizing process up quite well.

Blogger El Borak March 20, 2015 11:32 AM  

Jack: van Creveld's two contributions are Fighting Power and The Transformation of War.

Blogger ajw308 March 20, 2015 11:37 AM  

Crevin's 2 books in Lind's list are:
1) Fighting Power: US and German Atmy Performance, 1938-1945, and
2) The Transformation of War

Blogger Vox March 20, 2015 12:19 PM  

I would HIGHLY recommend his Technology of War as well. I'm reading it now. And, for obvious reasons, I'm interested in his book on wargames. That's next on the list.

Anonymous BigGaySteve March 20, 2015 12:27 PM  

Equality of opportunity is an equal opportunity to prove unequal talents. - Viscount Samuel
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." - Aristotle
The truth is not mean. It is the truth. ~ Andrew Breitbart
The skank that takes an hour of smoke breaks a day is the most fervent believer in equal pay for "equal" work~ BigGaySteve
dieversecity demands conformity.

Anonymous Anonymous March 20, 2015 1:15 PM  

Well Vox, it seems that you are now obliged to repent of your seemingly (correct me if I'm wrong) previous complete dismissal of Nietzsche, who prophesied the greater emergence of SJWs long ago:

"Thus I speak to you in a parable—you who make souls whirl, you preachers of equality. To me you are tarantulas, and secretly vengeful. But I shall bring your secrets to light; therefore I laugh in your faces with my laughter of the heights. Therefore I tear at your webs, that your rage may lure you out of your lie-holes and your revenge may leap out from behind your word justice. For that man be delivered from revenge, that is for me the bridge to the highest hope, and a rainbow after long storms."

Anonymous Anonymous March 20, 2015 1:26 PM  

I challenge anyone to find a more nuanced, poetic, scathing summation of the heart of the SJW, than from Nietzsche, as linked above.

Anonymous jack March 20, 2015 3:53 PM  

@ El Borak March 20, 2015 11:32 AM and, AJW, and Vox

Thanks; I intend to get all three. The war gaming? Maybe. If I get even more interested in his writings I may just tackle that one, though, I'm not a gamer.

I wish Castalia had all his books on epub or mobi. That would be the preferred formats that I'm trying hard for these days; what with Amazon maybe surviving or not. Its difficult to make purchases from them work on a computer or ereader unless either one is tied into them via the net or wifi. Or, if there is a decent hack I would love to know it. Calibre, good as it is, usually will not convert an Amazon product for you. The frustrating part is I have paid them good money for something that, end of the day, I'm only renting. And, should they go away I can't read most of them unless they do the right thing and unlock whatever they do to 'protect' their profits. I won't hold my breath on that one.

Anonymous jack March 20, 2015 3:57 PM  

@J Thomas.
Thanks. That was deliciously cutting and effective. I had no idea the old advocate of 'that which does not kill you makes you stronger' had that kind of insight within himself. Maybe I should read some more of his stuff.

Anonymous Feh March 20, 2015 4:23 PM  

"The histories of liberty and justice have often been written. Not so the history of equality, which so far has failed to find its proper biographer."

I disagree. Here it is:

Sometime in the 18th century, the word equality gained ground as a political ideal, but the idea was always vague. In this treatise, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn argues that it reduced to one simple and very dangerous idea: equality of political power as embodied in democracy.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza March 20, 2015 5:09 PM  

Fantastic! I could read this particular topic forever. Kickass cover art.

OT: Mailvox, I should have used the term concept art not the other terms.

Anonymous A Reader March 20, 2015 7:27 PM  

I notice some posters like the cover art of the book.

Showing some tit will do that.

Anonymous Reader March 20, 2015 7:59 PM  

"A Reader" is different from commenter "Reader", maybe time to change "name".

As a member of a minority group myself in a western society, the concept of equality is one of the topics I'm very interested about. Will buy on amazon.

Blogger Markku March 20, 2015 8:23 PM  

what with Amazon maybe surviving or not. Its difficult to make purchases from them work on a computer or ereader unless either one is tied into them via the net or wifi.

Amazon is still able, probably for just a little while more, to make us their bitch with some of their exclusivity rules. But ALL of our books sold at Amazon are non-DRM. Which means that if you have even moderate knowledge of using your PC or Mac, you will be able to trivially and legally convert into format of your choice. Which I recommend to be epub, using Calibre.

Anonymous The other skeptics March 20, 2015 9:00 PM  

The other skeptic, the speaker whose engagement you linked envisions a world without prisons.

If the state would allow us to deal decisively with half-savage miscreants there would not be a problem, would there?

Anonymous Anubis March 20, 2015 10:09 PM  

Equality is a slogan based on envy. It signifies in the heart of every citizen: 'Nobody is going to occupy a place higher than I.'" -- Alexis de Tocqueville

"When the socialist says 'Fair Shares for All,' what he really means is equal shares for all. Equal shares for those who toil and those that shirk. Equal shares for those that save and those that squander. No reward offered for the skilled. No incentive for the industrious or experienced. No reward for ingenuity, thrift or good housekeeping. What the socialist means is EQUAL shares for all." --Winston Churchill
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free-Richard Cotton

Anonymous scoobius dubious March 21, 2015 2:04 AM  

You don't have to believe everything that Nietzsche said (I don't), but you do have to confront him squarely and seriously, if you want to be an intellectual grownup. You're welcome to refute him if you can (I can, but that doesn't make me his superior), but if you dismiss him out of hand, you're basically saying you're an idiot.

It's like certain tone-deaf goofballs around here who can't understand what's happening in the "Night-town" chapter of Ulysses.

Also, putting some tit on the cover ----> not the stupidest thing in the world. And also, it says something subliminally rather clever about Equality.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 21, 2015 2:26 AM  

A Reader: "I notice some posters like the cover art of the book."

The cover painting is The Danaides, 1903, by John William Waterhouse, the last and greatest pre-Raphaelite, who was an awesome talent. If you look on his work and feel fully equal to its creator, you are the sort of talent that comes along once in a century or so, or else a blockhead.

Anonymous ENthePeasant March 21, 2015 3:42 AM  

I loved "Fighting Power", it was the first eye opener on the nature of combat in WW II and how our ground game was not all that good. The other books I'm impressed with are "The Rise and Fall of the State" and Supplying War. Rise and Fall has turned out to be true, the Nation State is failing and supplying war gives one a look at why attacks turn into retreats at certain points and why retreats turn into victories. Well worth understanding.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza March 21, 2015 4:14 AM  

Breasts are anatomy just as anything phallic. 3 women, 3 vessels and 3 water spouts.

I want a red moon, red sky and stars so bright they outdo streetlights.

Anonymous Anonymous March 21, 2015 11:49 AM  

Cheers to that!

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