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Monday, March 04, 2019

Refusing to learn from history

How do the experts expect to be able to learn anything from history when political correctness prevents them from looking at the causal factors.
The first way to look at past civilisations is to compare their longevity. This can be difficult, because there is no strict definition of civilisation, nor an overarching database of their births and deaths.

In the graphic below, I have compared the lifespan of various civilisations, which I define as a society with agriculture, multiple cities, military dominance in its geographical region and a continuous political structure. Given this definition, all empires are civilisations, but not all civilisations are empires. The data is drawn from two studies on the growth and decline of empires (for 3000-600BC and 600BC-600), and an informal, crowd-sourced survey of ancient civilisations (which I have amended).

Collapse can be defined as a rapid and enduring loss of population, identity and socio-economic complexity. Public services crumble and disorder ensues as government loses control of its monopoly on violence.

Virtually all past civilisations have faced this fate. Some recovered or transformed, such as the Chinese and Egyptian. Other collapses were permanent, as was the case of Easter Island. Sometimes the cities at the epicentre of collapse are revived, as was the case with Rome. In other cases, such as the Mayan ruins, they are left abandoned as a mausoleum for future tourists.

What can this tell us about the future of global modern civilisation? Are the lessons of agrarian empires applicable to our post-18th Century period of industrial capitalism?

Collapse may be a normal phenomenon for civilisations, regardless of their size and technological stage

I would argue that they are. Societies of the past and present are just complex systems composed of people and technology. The theory of “normal accidents” suggests that complex technological systems regularly give way to failure. So collapse may be a normal phenomenon for civilisations, regardless of their size and stage.

We may be more technologically advanced now. But this gives little ground to believe that we are immune to the threats that undid our ancestors. Our newfound technological abilities even bring new, unprecedented challenges to the mix.

And while our scale may now be global, collapse appears to happen to both sprawling empires and fledgling kingdoms alike. There is no reason to believe that greater size is armour against societal dissolution. Our tightly-coupled, globalised economic system is, if anything, more likely to make crisis spread.
Read the article and notice what factors just happens to be omitted: immigration, identity politics, and foreign leadership. Now consider this description of the Crisis of the Third Century that nearly brought down the Roman Empire.

The Crisis of the Third Century was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of barbarian invasions and migrations into Roman territory, civil wars, peasant rebellions, political instability with multiple usurpers competing for power, growing influence and Roman reliance on barbarian mercenaries, and commanders nominally working for Rome, but increasingly independent, plague, debasement of currency, and economic depression. The crisis began with the assassination of Emperor Severus Alexander by his own troops in 235, initiating a 50-year period during which there were at least 26 claimants to the title of emperor, mostly prominent Roman army generals, who assumed imperial power over all or part of the Empire. The same number of men became accepted by the Roman Senate as emperor during this period and so became legitimate emperors.

By 268, the empire had split into three competing states. Later, Aurelian reunited the empire; the crisis ended with the ascension and reforms of Diocletian in 284. The crisis resulted in such profound changes in the empire's institutions, society, economic life and, eventually, religion, that it is increasingly seen by most historians as defining the transition between the historical periods of classical antiquity and late antiquity.

Is this starting to sound familiar? Both the UK and the USA are empires with foreign leadership that has no love for the native populations over which it rules, and unlike the Jurchen tribe which created the Manchu Dynasty that ruled over the Han for 268 years, those that currently rule the two Western empires actively seek to destroy their historical culture, religion, and native peoples.

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60 Comments:

Blogger Matt March 04, 2019 5:05 AM  

All the rights under the Sun are meaningless without homogeneity.

Well, right to bare arms is of course paramount at all times.

Blogger Robert What? March 04, 2019 5:10 AM  

Is this unique in history, that the rulers of a nation despised the people over which they ruled?

Blogger Balkan Yankee March 04, 2019 5:14 AM  

Sooner or later, the centrifugal will get the better of the centripetal.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 04, 2019 5:40 AM  

So really the only common element we're missing is plague. But not to worry, we're working on importing that too.

"Is this unique in history, that the rulers of a nation despised the people over which they ruled?"

Not at all.

Blogger Matt March 04, 2019 5:42 AM  

It's natural to hate people who want and need things from you.

Blogger D E K March 04, 2019 5:43 AM  

For the statement "ruled by foreign leadership" you are getting ridiculed. Change will be upon us, when one gets attacked for it.

Blogger Zerokage March 04, 2019 5:51 AM  

England is the classic example of foreign ruling class who hated the people who they ruled. Right up until today.

Blogger Innamorato March 04, 2019 6:14 AM  

What are the best accounts covering the fall of Roman empire?

Blogger Sargent.matrim March 04, 2019 6:29 AM  

Taking into consideration the various people groups living in China, do you view it also as am empire, but of a much more stable variety?

Or do you think that they have developed into a people who identify themselves as one nation?

If it is an Empire, what makes it so much more stable than say the British or American Empires?

Blogger wahr01 March 04, 2019 6:39 AM  

Matrim's Mutterings wrote:

If it [China] is an Empire, what makes it so much more stable than say the British or American Empires?


That would be obvious:
a strong central leadership which isolates and (re)indoctrinates potential treasonous elements.

The USA used to have this with Native Americans and it took several generations to quash their fanatic resistance to American rule.

No longer, and we see the result with the "diversity" now wanting to "Make America Mexico Again"

Anonymous Anonymous March 04, 2019 6:48 AM  

Robert What? wrote:Is this unique in history, that the rulers of a nation despised the people over which they ruled?

No. The most analagous example, and one of the most recent, is the case of Russia under the Jewish Bolsheviks. Which is apposite, because the rulers of Soviet Russia who conducted the Holodomor - the Jewish Bolsheviks, are the antecedents of the Jews Vox is referring to in his piece. It's largely the same people, right now, ruling the United states - the companions, descendents and adherents of Trotsky who emigrated to the United States post-Stalin. Another recent example is the rule over the Balkans and the Slavic regions by the National-Socialists during World War 2. Irrespective of the many distortions and exaggerations about the Nazis, they hated the Slavs and the people of the Balkans who were their subject populations. They committed acts of terror and persecution not dissimilar to those carried out by the Deep State today - just more overt. By Operation Paperclip - many of those individuals were also absorbed into the United States. How the remnants of these two groups relate and coexist is unclear - but they do. I'm not well-read enough to think of a directly analagous precedent to the US today due to the unique racial component. The best I can think of is the Ottoman Empire, and perhaps the British Raj. But I think they were actually more stable, better forms of governance then exist in the United States today. And they were still very different. Perhaps the Persian empire post Alexander, or the Crusader States, or the various Kingdoms of Sicily pre Garibaldi. Maybe Yugoslavia - but the differences were more subtle along the ethnic axis, and focused primarily on religion. Rule under the Jews is so unique because they do not assimilate in any way. Perhaps Ireland under the English is the best analogy. The way the native Irish were denuded of rights and identity, dehumanised and slow genocided without almost any feeling of empathy or mingling from their rulers is probably a good example of rule by the Jews. Because the Irish Question was presided over by Jews too - Disraeli and his set.

Blogger The Cooler March 04, 2019 6:54 AM  

[...] we have the unique advantage of being able to learn from the wreckages of societies past.

We know what needs to be done: emissions can be reduced, inequalities levelled, environmental degradation reversed, [...] economies diversified. The policy proposals are there. Only the political will is lacking. [...] Such steps will lessen the chance of a future collapse becoming irreversible.

We will only march into collapse if we advance blindly. We are only doomed if we are unwilling to listen to the past.


Laugh? Cry? Facepalm, in any event.

God help us all.

Blogger Quicksilver March 04, 2019 6:56 AM  

Completely off topic, has Vox Day ever posted his own recommended book list?

Im looking for mostly non fiction and i thought Id ask here is there are any good compiled lists to start from.

Anonymous Anonymous March 04, 2019 6:57 AM  

Quicksilver wrote:Completely off topic, has Vox Day ever posted his own recommended book list?

Why don't you buy and read all of Vox's books to start with ;) send him the receipts and then he might give you a list!

Blogger Sargent.matrim March 04, 2019 7:02 AM  

@Wahr01

Do you think they are much stronger in their central leadership because of their experience through history of having been overrun and conquered by other groups like the Mongols et al?

Blogger wreckage March 04, 2019 7:02 AM  

@11 looking at smaller empires and a wider span of history, at a tribal level it is unexceptional to be ruled by an exogenous elite. I speculate that it is more "normal" than internal promotion of an elite.

Consider the Anglo-Saxons in Britain, the Mongols in Russia, The Spartans over their entire labour caste, and examples you can find in "A Ship of Fools" and "Equality: The Impossible Quest", which are temporarily misplaced on my iPad, so you'll have to look those up for yourself.

Anonymous Anonymous March 04, 2019 7:04 AM  

Robert What? wrote:Is this unique in history, that the rulers of a nation despised the people over which they ruled?

But if you want to know what it's like being a white minority under rule of People of Colour - Rhodesia, and South Africa right now are very good examples. The black rulers hate the whites. They are totally beyond any form of common-sense or goodwill. They are just waiting for a change in administration in the United States, and then they will implement their confiscations without compensation and kill the Boer.

Can you imagine for even one second, a United States led by 'any' of the Democrat candidates for President coming to the assistance of a white minority? Someone like Kemala Harris, Cory Booker, Ocacia-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Liz Warren, Joe Biden - I can easily imagine actually providing military support to the African National Congress and preventing China or India trying to save their nationals, whilst the ANC and friends engage in Rwandan genocide against the South African whites - with assistance from the Jews who helped them get elected in the first place.

Blogger wreckage March 04, 2019 7:05 AM  

@13 I believe Castalia House has SEVERAL such lists, including selling NN Taleb's main published works even though Castalia House is not the publisher.

Vox repeatedly recommends "Antifragile", "The Black Swan", and "Fooled by Randomness"; I have read only Antifragile and strongly recommend it, it is also often mentioned by longer-time commenters here.

Blogger McJibblits March 04, 2019 7:18 AM  

Aids is now legal to spread in California. I think we are well on our way.

Blogger xevious2030 March 04, 2019 7:28 AM  

Looking at the quote, seems 40% of human behavior, what people are born with, genetics, has no pedistal. Generally speaking, as a pipulatiin, the populations of China do not seem to have been particularly innovative or revolutionary. Rather they seemed to excel at forced adaptation and being cogs. In a way not prevalent with differing strain combination groupings elsewhere.

When I was a kid, I always heard the wheel was invented in China, proof of their innovation. Which, it was not invented there. And now there is't even the faintest reference online to the error. A big emptiness. But there is the capacity to build under constant pressure, so long as the pressure maintains, to a degree generally uncharacteristic of others. Which points to more than nurture, pointing to a pedistal, in PC no-go land.

Blogger Don't Call Me Len March 04, 2019 7:37 AM  

Soon as I saw it was a BBC link, I knew somewhere near the top, if not at the very top, of the list would be "CLIMATE CHANGE!" and "MUH INEQUALITIES!". A quick scan proved me correct, and yet I can only feel disappointed.

Blogger pyrrhus March 04, 2019 7:57 AM  

Easter Island was a "civiiization"??? These people really are idiots.

Blogger Johnny March 04, 2019 8:01 AM  

Can't recall the exact title, but I did read a history book about Venice that was recommended here. For me it was a tough slog owing to length, but it did reveal a remarkable city. Not a grand empire, but the city that managed to survive as an independent entity for centuries, And at times, despite the small population, a force in the region.
A descriptive title would be, By Commerce Alone, because their ace in the hole was commerce. They generated enough revenue through trade to ward of the bad guys, when necessary, with an armed navy and sometimes ground armies.

Blogger Johnny March 04, 2019 8:05 AM  

pyrrhus wrote:Easter Island was a "civiiization"??? These people really are idiots.

I am going to tentatively put myself in the idiot category. In terms of the level of organization and technology, Easter Island was on about the same level as the Aztecs and Incas, the other pre Columbian empires. Otherwise they were not unique. More or less Polynesian in culture.

Blogger Johnny March 04, 2019 8:25 AM  

Among the various Mongolian emperors of China, one of them set up the civil service. Having no ties at all to the local potentates, he used a merit based system to establish his bureaucracy. Or at least merit as he saw it. The Mongolians were competent administrators. Or at least they were on those occasions when they weren't committing mass murder.

I suspect that is why China has held together as well as it has. By the low standards of the era, they had a history of sound administration.
Something similar to that is true of Europe. The governance methods set up by the Romans were retained and reintroduced in the Middle Ages, hastening the nation state recovery from the fall of the empire.

Blogger Stilicho March 04, 2019 8:54 AM  

OT (well, maybe): saw a report that Rand Paul will side with democrats against border wall. Usual libertardian reliance on denying welfare as sole means of stopping invasion. Kentucky isn't sending their best to the Senate, but we do have to remember that libertardians embrace the free migration of people across borders while vehemently denying that is related to their embrace of free trade and the movement of goods and capital.

Blogger John Rockwell March 04, 2019 8:58 AM  

@Vox

I think this podcast on the murder of the Tsar and his family in Russia would be just as revelatory as the plan of the Soviet Union to conquer Western Europe:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-V-XyXH-GQ

There are many lies about the Russian revolution especially the massacre of the 5000.

Blogger Crew March 04, 2019 9:07 AM  

Is this an example of refusing to learn from history?

Goldfein: Embracing Diversity Isn’t About Being Politically Correct, It’s a “Warfighting Imperative”

Blogger 1st Earl Hardwicke March 04, 2019 9:11 AM  

I suppose in the UK the military swears allegiance to the Monarch. I don't know how it works in the USA.

Was interesting looking at a kindle sample of the "Miscellaneous State Papers: From 1501 to 1726." - Philip Yorke. The first or second letter talks about King Charles asking the Duke of Buckingham, not to bang his wife. Cough*.... Not quite in those words though. I wondered what would happen if there had at some point in history.. been a muslim baby inline for succession..... Of course that could never happen right?

"Our laws of gavelkind, had ill effect, applied to the succession as the freedom of the State; it balanced the power and raised the competition of the younger branches against the elder; a Theban war of Welsh brethren ending in family blood, and national destruction."

— Philip Yorke(different one), The Royal Tribes of Wales, p. 46

Although worked well in Kent. Welsh boyos...

Why does hardly anyone ever reference in the comment section historians, family or otherwise. Most people here seem more clued in than most, I want to know, mostly out of boredom and entertainment.

A Thank you, to the member, who referred me to the testimony of John C Wright. I do believe Panentheism is correct(or at least as close as I'm probably going to get), certainly blaspheme would not apply in Leibniz's conception of Theism(has a kind of Buddhist air to it). Panentheism also seems closer to the Bible. Plus there's Sir Issac Newton & Christopher Langan who are Panentheists. Has some interesting implications. I apologise for saying Jesus Christ was the total embodiment of God(Trinitarianism) or nothing, I shouldn't have said that, though I was eager for alternative views. Anyway, my two cents.

Blogger Johnny March 04, 2019 9:37 AM  

>>Goldfein: Embracing Diversity Isn’t About Being Politically Correct, It’s a “Warfighting Imperative”

What it is about is that an army that draws on the general population of the nation, is obliged to obey the cultural norms of that nation. That is all. Embrace this and that, regardless, and then live with the outcome.

I get so tired of this moral teaching that comes from people who really have no identifiable basis for why they should be preaching to the rest of us. And this really is a moral teaching, disconnected from outcomes and thought to be liked to personal virtue by the carriers of the doctrine.

Blogger VFM Bear March 04, 2019 9:41 AM  

O/T but figured Vox would appreciate this compliment paid to Trump:

"he was not simply good, he was Prince-at-the-Super-Bowl great"

I think we might need a new word for Trumpslide, Trumpalanche?

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-03/gillespie-trump-just-might-have-won-2020-election-yesterday

Blogger PJW Gent March 04, 2019 9:51 AM  

Quicksilver wrote:Completely off topic, has Vox Day ever posted his own recommended book list?

Im looking for mostly non fiction and i thought Id ask here is there are any good compiled lists to start from.

Since you are on this site, you might try his book reading list for the seven years (2010-2016) that is posted in the column to the right.
See the section headed by:
BOOK LIST 2019
A History of the Peninsular War, Vol. I, Charles Oman
The Virtue of Nationalism, Yoram Hazony

Reading List 2016
Reading List 2015
Reading List 2014
Reading List 2013
Reading List 2012
Reading List 2011
Reading List 2010

Blogger Mark Stoval March 04, 2019 9:53 AM  

"How do the experts expect to be able to learn anything from history when political correctness prevents them from looking at the causal factors." -- VD

We have reached a point where everything is highly politicized. Moderns are so delusional that being able to solve real world problems is now nearly past us.

As we close in an another little ice age (or worse) we bleat about global warming. As socialism fails yet again we claim Marxism will work NEXT time.

You can not fix a problem until you honestly look at the situation.

Blogger Crush Limbraw March 04, 2019 10:00 AM  

Just posted this yesterday on the African Methodist admonishment of American Methodists and the consequences to come - https://crushlimbraw.blogspot.com/2019/03/what-happens-when-culture-formers-are.html?m=0 - without Christianity there is no Western Civilization.
Historically speaking, the birth of Jesus and what followed was an epochal event with the usual ups and downs as determined by human weakness and the range of spiritual involvement.
While we examine history in macro, it is the micro which also enables us to see the direct link to the overall failure of humanity and its obvious limits without the dependence, and most importantly, following the instructions of God.
Vox's comments are weaved into the mix as required.

Blogger Johnny March 04, 2019 10:06 AM  

>>I suppose in the UK the military swears allegiance to the Monarch. I don't know how it works in the USA.

I forget the exact words. It is very close to the pledge of allegiance to the Constitution, Flag, and Republic. They watch you do it and it has legal consequence. That is when you officially join the armed forces. Once inducted the Marine Corps pushes God, Corps, and Country. Or did.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine March 04, 2019 10:13 AM  

"You can not fix a problem until you honestly look at the situation."

Sometimes you just need to be part of a community that can successfully make the transition to remnancy, and just withdraw to let the fire burn itself out of oxygen.

Most of the measures being taken to fix/heal/repair/uphold society at this point are just directly or indirectly feeding the parasitic infestation.

Blogger Crew March 04, 2019 10:27 AM  

What it is about is that an army that draws on the general population of the nation, is obliged to obey the cultural norms of that nation. That is all. Embrace this and that, regardless, and then live with the outcome.

And who imposes those cultural norms?

Blogger Jack Amok March 04, 2019 10:43 AM  

If it is an Empire, what makes it so much more stable than say the British or American Empires?

I wouldn't call China significantly more stable than other empires. They may be Chinese, but their governments have risen and fallen like any other people. The current communist government is 60 years old. Prior to that, the Republic lasted less than 40 years. It replaced the Qing dynasty, which was about 270 years old when it collapsed due to multiple rebellions. The Qing had replaced the 250-ish year old Ming dynasty when the Ming treasury was exhausted from warfare and was overthrown by a peasant rebellion. The Ming dynasty itself followed the collapse of the Mongolian rule established by Kublai Khan (less than 100 years), which had ended by conquest the 300 year old Song dynasty, which itself followed the Ten Kingdoms era, which...

Forms of government in imperial nations tend to last 250 years, give or take, with occasional shorter-lived transition states. China maybe gets an extra 50 years on average, but their empires fall too.

Blogger Jack Amok March 04, 2019 10:52 AM  

Well, more like 185 years on average for the Chinese. Since the founding of the Han dynasty in 206 BC, there have been 12 distinct periods in China's rule, each ended by rebellion, conquest or civil war. So 2,225 years / 12 = 185.4 years per era.

Blogger Johnny March 04, 2019 10:52 AM  

>>And who imposes those cultural norms?

I would put it more, who creates them? How do they get to be. After that enforcement is expediency. Social pressure and mob rule if it is a tribe or a village. Organs of the state, if there is a state that has the power to do it.

Blogger Quicksilver March 04, 2019 11:00 AM  

@peter gent
Thank you. Im on mobile and the side bar never appears for me.

Blogger RC March 04, 2019 11:05 AM  

@Quicksilver - Vox has made book recommendations on his blog over time for various categories of books. To learn more about Christianity he has recommended:

First of all, remember not to get too caught up in the theological extrapolations. No matter what you end up reading, it is always worthwhile to periodically circle back to the original source. Don't neglect reading the Bible in favor of various men's interpretations of what the Bible says. In the end, theology is nothing more than philosophy derived from the Bible and it is no more intrinsically reliable than any other logical derivation.

I would start at the beginning. If your understanding is limited, begin with The Chronicles of Narnia. As we saw in the debate with Luke of Common Sense Atheism, the average grasp of Christian concepts don't even rise to the level of Narnia. Then read The Tower of Geburah by John White. Once you've read the children's fiction, move onto simple theology like Mere Christianity by CS Lewis and Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton. As a general rule, it's hard to go too far afield on a foundation of Lewis and Chesterton. I would also recommend the very short, very simple, but intriguing A Defense of the Revelation by Leonhard Euler, who happens to be one of the most legendary mathematicians in history. And my friend Greg Boyd's Letters to a Skeptic is also recommended.
Once you have a grasp of the theological basics, you may be ready to read up on the actual history of Christianity and some of its leading thinkers. The first volume of the Cambridge Medieval History series, The Christian Empire, is tremendously informative and the epub is freely available for download online. St. Augustine's Confessions are worth reading for their influence on Western thinking and a good summary of Thomas Aquinas is a necessity as well. I haven't read it yet, but I have heard very good things about Edward Feser's Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide and I intend to review it as soon as I finish the Cantillon.

Any other reasonable recommendations would be welcome. Please note that this is not the right sort of post to either indulge your particular theological peculiarities or exhibit how esoteric your reading happens to have been. We're talking Christianity 101, not 503.


Anonymous Anonymous March 04, 2019 11:05 AM  

1st Earl Hardwicke wrote:Why does hardly anyone ever reference in the comment section historians

Brevity. Also almost all historians from 1960 are as politically correct as the BBC. They simply aren't worth citing. Their analysis does not correspond to events because it exludes relevant politically incorrect factors.

The goal of contemporary historians is to evade and suppress qualitative differences between groups and individuals as a causal factor for historical phenomena. They all have to operate within the limits of equalitarianism. So Jared Diamond says the differences in national outcomes are due to accidents of geography, flora, fauna, and local species domesticity. Eric Hobsbawm (an ardent Marxist) was largely a pure materialist, like Engels. So all differences in societal outcomes arose from different material bases and their associated non-economic super-structures.

Kenneth Harl is good - but his Ancient civilization material is like the Old Testament - quoting is a pain, and differences are again materialist or cultural - never qualitative.

Even 'centrist' conservative historians like Niall Ferguson try to evade and suppress qualitative human differences as an explanatory factor. If asked about Islamic immigration into Europe, Ferguson will cite Germany split into Communist East and neo-con West, or North Korea versus South Korea. He says holding people constant, their outcomes will differ according to the system they reside under. Therefore, all that is required for the 'new Europeans' are increased efforts of assimilation.

The problem is that a within-nation comparison between Germans and Koreans is not a valid basis for a between-nation comparison between a German and a Somali.

But Ferguson has a Somali wife. This is the problem with citing historians.

Korea and Germany are valid exemplars for'within-nation' comparison, where the human subjects are held constant but their political/social environments are the independent variable causing divergent outcomes.

The problem is that a comparison between Germans and Koreans says nothing about comparing Germans with Somalis. But Ferguson has a Somali second wife. So the comparison is not made. Everyone just pretends comparing a German in Bonn to a German in Chemnitz under communism means a Somali is the same as a Swede.

In short - it seems a pre-condition for publishing and publication for modern historians to be politically correct and to lie.

Henry Makow is a good source of non-converged history. His website was how I found Bella Dodd's 'School of Darkness' about the massive communist infiltration of the Catholic Church for example. He was also how I found David Irving. Thomas Woods is also quite compelling on the Catholic Church. He provides convincing evidence that the Cictercians monks were on the cusp of achieving the industrial revolution a few hundred years before it happened - before all their assets were seized by Henry 8th.

When reading anyone engaging in histiography today - just keep an eye out for evasion of qualitative differences between groups. Also look for distortions in favour of Jews.

Blogger RC March 04, 2019 11:07 AM  

@Quicksilver: Vox's list of 25 books to be considered literate:

Since I consider myself to be literate, by definition any book that I have not read cannot be necessary for literacy. That knocks out more than a few books commonly listed, such as Portrait of the Author as a Young Man. (And while I have read Ulysses, it is by no means necessary.)

I should also note that I left out the OC's spotting of a religious tome, because whereas the Bible is necessary to be considered literate, the Bhagavad Gita and the Koran are not. Most literate people have read neither. Anyhow, without further ado, here's my list of 25 books which I believe is absolutely necessary to have read in order to be considered literate.

The Iliad
The Odyssey
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Plato's Republic
The Annals

The Decameron
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Candide
A Christmas Carol
Anna Karenina

Don Quixote
The Three Musketeers
The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe
Crime and Punishment
Brideshead Revisited

1984
The Name of the Rose
The Glass Bead Game
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Lord of the Rings
The Chronicles of Narnia
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Foundation
The Code of the Woosters

Blogger RC March 04, 2019 11:19 AM  

@Quicksilver: You can also just take a peek at the bookshelves in his office from his Darkstreams. I will second the Cambridge Medieval History Series. I actually purchased my set from a seller in England and when they arrived they had been pulled from Cambridge University's library. Oh, the irony.

Most of them are available on Archive.org. I've spent many hours just studying the separate map books. If you're buying a set, make sure those are included.

Blogger PJW Gent March 04, 2019 11:20 AM  

RC wrote:Any other reasonable recommendations would be welcome. Please note that this is not the right sort of post to either indulge your particular theological peculiarities or exhibit how esoteric your reading happens to have been. We're talking Christianity 101, not 503.

I would suggest as one of the best all around introductions to basic Christian theology that you consider J.I. Packer's Knowing God. It is a classic and the best-selling IVP book of all time. There are also free study materials for the book available at the Knowing God Study Center, including student and teacher's editions.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 04, 2019 11:21 AM  

Read the article and notice what factors just happens to be omitted: immigration, identity politics, and foreign leadership.
BBC, so expected.

Robert What? wrote:Is this unique in history, that the rulers of a nation despised the people over which they ruled?
It is the hallmark of colonialism.

Anonymous Anonymous March 04, 2019 11:26 AM  

RC wrote:Vox's list of 25 books to be considered literate:

Cool. What's the reasoning behind these particular books. Why Poe over say Steinbeck. Why no Dickens or Chaucer or Dumas. Not nit-picking, looks like a good list. Just curious

Blogger RC March 04, 2019 11:36 AM  

@unknown: His recommendations were all debated at the time, May of 2007, but they're his, not mine. I don't think the comments from the post survived. I may have a copy somewhere as I found that discussion very valuable, but no way to post them here.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash March 04, 2019 11:44 AM  

1st Earl Hardwicke wrote:Panentheism also seems closer to the Bible.
Then you need to re-read the Bible.

Blogger Solon March 04, 2019 11:59 AM  

That airforce page linked in here was ridiculous. Relating the story in it of a black master Sargeant who brought a box of Band-Aids in, and telling Goldfein that it made him mad that the Band-Aids were colored for white men and not black men.

How hard would it be to tell the Master Sargeant "You're mad because Band-Aids are white flesh colored and not black colored? Is it enough to make you resign the air Force? No? Then shut up and get the hell out of my office."

I would have thrown the Band-Aids back in his face. Imagine a grown-ass man getting upset over the color of Band-Aids.

Clown World, ladies and gentlemen. Clown World.

Anonymous Anonymous March 04, 2019 12:10 PM  

RC wrote:His recommendations were all debated at the time, May of 2007, but they're his, not mine. I don't think the comments from the post survived. I may have a copy somewhere as I found that discussion very valuable, but no way to post them here.

If you could find them, do you reckon you could email them to VD and maybe he could do an entry? I want to go away and read those books.

Jim Flynn of Flynn Effect fame did a little book called 'The Torch-Light List' where he did exactly the same list of books requisite for literacy with explanations. I would love to read a book like that from the Dark Lord.

Flynns books were for the progressive. VD's I'm assuming are more realistic.

Blogger Duh-ave March 04, 2019 12:16 PM  

We need imvaders because they will live in the houses Americans won't live in. The dozens of little old empty in my small village are being filled with them. Is that the real reason these non-workers are being brought in? East Tennessee is tenderly but urgently calling me home.

Blogger PJW Gent March 04, 2019 12:20 PM  

Solon wrote:...Clown World, ladies and gentlemen. Clown World.
Or, someone looking for their five minutes of fame. Band-Aid makes clear bandages (problem solved), so it was his choice on what to buy...

Blogger Sean Carnegie March 04, 2019 1:09 PM  

I would suggest as one of the best all around introductions to basic Christian theology that you consider J.I. Packer's Knowing God.

Yes, this. Over and above anything by C.S. Lewis. I dislike C.S. Lewis for anything even remotely theological.

I realize it's fiction but Pilgrim's Progress is a must read.

For the "being literate" list, I'm unsure how Atlas Shrugged didn't make the list. No matter what your affinity for Ayn Rand, it's a classic.

Blogger Primus Pilus March 04, 2019 1:53 PM  

"Can you imagine for even one second, a United States led by 'any' of the Democrat candidates for President coming to the assistance of a white minority?"

Heck, other than maybe Steve King, there's nobody in the entire Republican party today willing to even throw a rhetorical bone towards the white majority. They'll all rally immediately and launch a furious media offensive if you offhandedly criticize AIPAC, though.

Blogger English Tom March 04, 2019 5:46 PM  

@Jack Amok

Re: Chinese civilisations

Dave DuByne of Adapt2030 often shows a graph about past solar minimums and he claims that in every previous minimum the ruling chinese dynasty has collapsed. See also: Global Crisis by Geoffrey Parker.

Blogger Doktor Jeep March 04, 2019 7:07 PM  

So in 2000 years, it will be said that Americans were all black, and thugs will be saying "we wuz yankees and sheeeit".

Blogger PJW Gent March 05, 2019 6:21 AM  

Sean Carnegie wrote:I would suggest as one of the best all around introductions to basic Christian theology that you consider J.I. Packer's Knowing God.

Yes, this. Over and above anything by C.S. Lewis. I dislike C.S. Lewis for anything even remotely theological.

Sean, I think you should reconsider. Lewis has done yeoman work beating back serious attacks on Christianity. I loved Mere Christianity. His confronting those who claim Jesus was a "great teacher" with by demanding that you have to conclude that Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or who he said he was, God the Son is by itself a formidable defense of Christianity forcing compromisers to out themselves while effectively taking away their platform.

Blogger wreckage March 05, 2019 8:49 PM  

Lewis isn't a formal philosopher or a theologian, but he grasps and communicates the intuitions of Christianity better than pretty much anyone. And honestly, those are in many ways the most important bits. Theology is something to delve into after you understand the cultural touchstones.

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