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Tag Archives: Leninism

Existential threats and other difficulties

Young man, there’s a great deal of ruin in a nation. So Adam Smith responded to a correspondent who feared that a successful revolt by the American colonies would ruin Britain.  Looking back, Adam Smith was right and the fearful young man was wrong. Indeed, Britain proceeded to gain and give up a great empire, and […]

The French Revolution as Chinese dynastic crisis

This is an essay on the interaction between states and social orders, using China as a prism to examine European patterns, rather than the other way around. According to Japanese historian Naito “Konan” Torajiro, the history of modern China began in the Song dynasty (960-1279), making China the first modern society; an analysis known as the Naito Hypothesis. […]

What’s left out

In a his excellent The World Is Not Enough blog, Charles Richardson comments on an essay by Israeli journalist Yossi Gurvitz.  Gurvitz’s essay applies the analogy of Germans expelled from the Sudetenland, Silesia, Prussia etc after 1945 to the Palestinians expelled from Israel in 1947-48. As Charles notes, it is a revealing analogy. But revealing not […]

Action and consequences

First, a minor bit of boasting. I occasionally submit pieces to Agora, the journal of the History Teachers of Australia Victoria (HTAV). They are doing a “reprint” edition, the best of the last five years, and two of my essays will be included: Finding Patterns in Ancient Civilisations Agora No.3 Vol.43 2008 Discovery, Connection and […]

Violence and the State

The always worth reading Prof. Gene Callahan recently posted – citing Jared Diamond’s example of warfare among the Dani of New Guinea — that violence is rooted in human nature, not the state. Prof. Callahan observes: The problem isn’t the State: the problem is human beings. And the problem with admitting that problem is you’re not left […]

The social consequences of theology

The BBC recently noted that interest rates on public debt in the Eurozone varied according to the religious majority of the population — Orthodox Greece had the highest interest rates, followed by the Catholic countries with the Protestant countries having the lowest. Interest rates being a measure of risk, this represented clear market judgements on […]

War and peace

We think of the World Wars of the C20th as being unprecedented in their death tolls. That is not true in either total deaths or, still less, death rates. While the 1939-45 War did have the largest death toll of any war in history, the 1914-19 War does not come second. When one considers the huge […]

Something obscurantist this way comes

I recently had the unexpected experience of reading a book that appalled me; this is not a reaction I can remember having to a book before. The book has a title I agree with: Ideas Have Consequences. Regarded as a classic text of  postwar American conservatism, the book is a long jeremiad at the corruption […]