What Shall Always Be With Us

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There are a bunch of sour pusses running around who quote John Adams on “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” to claim that every misfortune that comes our way is because we’re not moral and religious according to their version of morality and religion, or that we’ll never make the republic function, because, you know, we’re not perfect angels.

That sound you hear is me rolling my eyes hard.

Look, I haven’t made a concerted study of John Adams other than reading up on the revolution in general (yeah, I know I need to but time keeps running away from me.)  I do know that while religious and definitely moral (look, a man who defends enemy soldiers because that’s the right thing to do is moral.  You just might not like where his morality takes him) he was not a sourpuss, and would not demand that everyone be perfect angels according to his definition of moral and religion before the republic would work.  If he felt that way, he might as well have sat on his hands, since humans are not and have never been angels or morally perfect, or you know flawlessly religious.

I think what he meant was more along the lines of “people have to agree on a frame work for the world and it should be [what we would call] that of western civ.”  I.e. humans are imperfect, and only G-d is perfect, and we do the right thing even when it hurts us.  Also, the right thing is roughly contained in the ten commandments which by themselves enjoin respect for “the other” and his rights.

Not that John would expect us to be perfect at it.  He was human, and though it’s tempting to imagine their world back then was much simpler, it takes only an average intelligence and a modicum of knowledge to figure out it wasn’t.

Which brings us to that common framework, and not just in morals and religion (It’s always hard to educate people in a plural religious society.  Just not deriding religion in public might be all we can ask for. Morals on the other hand, we have a framework for in our own constitution and we should definitely be raising kids with the idea of the “right thing” you know like not stealing or murdering, and not sponging off people.) We’re failing them all across the board.  Which is unconscionable considering the years we make kids spend in Maximum Security schools, aka K -12.

I might have told the story here of when I was in college and for reasons I can no longer remember (the Shakespeare group?) took a train at 4 or 5 am into the city.  These trains are the equivalent of red eye flights with the difference that not only are they cheap, but they are the only way people from far flung regions can get into the city.  (Or could.  This was before the highway system and widespread car ownership) Which means they start at 9 pm or so and stop.at.every.stop.no.matter how minor.  Back then the stop in the village was almost voluntary in that it wasn’t even marked and sometimes new conductors “forgot” it playing havoc with my school schedule.

This one stopped, though, and on it were people from far in the mountains, who’d been traveling all night.  There was also a young man, maybe 14 who was making his way through the train, telling the tragic tale of how his family had been killed in the war in Spain, and he was a refugee with nothing.

In case you’re wondering, this was 1983.  Yeah, there was no war in Spain.  I tried to fit it with any of the bombings, but nothing recently in the news fit.  And yet, all these women were cooing over him and opening their purses.

Look, at the time, the war in Spain was something they’d heard from their parents as I had.  The required education was fourth grade, a lot of it very practical skills like how to tell if an egg was rotted, with a smattering of academic stuff (math, history, geography, grammar) at the end just so those heading to prep school (grades 5 and 6 — prep because it prepared you for high school) had the rudiments.  Most of my classmates went to work the day after they finished 4th grade. And the history we got never got past about 1900.  So what did they have?

Oh, the means to inform themselves, for sure.  Newspapers and books, and radio stations devoted to history and mythology and stuff.  I know this because my mom listened to those late at night when she was working because on a deadline.

But most people don’t care.  It’s just not important for their daily life.  Which means they fall for little sobs with an sob story in the train, but also for presentism and the lies of the Marxists.  Because, really, how would they know that this thing that sounds so good has failed and filled mass graves over and over again?

Never happen here, you say? We have 12 years of education.  TWELVE.  Surely people have a common framework for the world when they leave school.  It might be tilted left, but it’s a framework.

You wish.  What they actually have is a very odd mishmash topped with bits of popular books and movies.

And I’m not talking stupid, mind you.  I’ve heard things like this from people who were smart and even gifted in their fields, except that their interests didn’t fall to either history, economics or politics.

For instance one of my art teachers (post graduate education) once told me that Anne Rice did impeccable research about how there was a peaceful matriarchy before–  Yeah.

Heard same from well spoken people in grocery store about Dan Brown’s “amazing research” and the things he’d “uncovered.”

If you pursue conversation with these people you find their idea of the past is a mishmash of confusing insanity overlaid with the ideas of the SJWs, because those are really loud and have penetrated.  For instance, the idea women were always discriminated against, because men are evil.  Or that the normal state of women throughout history was roughly Victorian England for the upper classes: not allowed to work, not allowed to go out alone, etc.  (In fact most women throughout history have worked, because they needed to, and who the hell can accompany every woman throughout.  They think all women live basically in sharia countries, always.)

Two things I overheard this weekend, by no means from people who look stupid drove this point home to me.

The first was that England has had only one Queen, Queen Charlotte, the surviving widow of Henry VIII (!).  The second was more alarming in terms of policy: Apparently, Brexit broke up the EU, so it’s o longer the United Kingdom and that’s why Britain and Ireland have different currencies.  (And that’s a bad thing.)  These people are planing a trip to England, while they still have at least one castle, because it’s important to see where we came from and all that history.

I will note my dinner companions prevented me from delivering a lecture, in withering terms on the fact that while the UK is in Europe/ish, it’s NOT all of Europe, that Brexit had nothing to do with breaking up the EU but with freeing the UK from the EU and that what they don’t know about currencies could be carried in a very large bucket.

I also wanted to beg them please, for the love of Bob, not to vote, because as far as their vote has foreign implications, they will do something horrendous.  H*ll, I wouldn’t bet their view of national politics isn’t about the same level of crazy.

And this, THIS is why people can swallow nonsense about writers (who have no power in the field) keeping women and minorities (Why do they never mention people of different orientations when talking outside the field, I wonder) out of writing sf/f.  Or why each five years women storm SF/F AGAIN for the first time.  Or why they think that STEM is conspiring to keep women out, or why they buy the idiocy that there are refugees from Central America whose problems won’t be solved by moving a 100 kilometers (other than their country sucking, but that doesn’t entitle them to come here and make ours suck) or why they’re always willing to “try” socialism again “for the first time.”

They live in an undigested soup of stuff they gleaned from entertainment, vague memories of something or other heard in school, the stories their parents/grandparents told them.

How to fix it is harder.  We can’t fix the poverty problem because some people just WON’T do a lick of work over the absolutely required.  I mean, to the point of preferring to live in trash to their knees rather then picking stuff up. (I’ve seen it.  Trust me on this.) Evolutionary when we were scavenging apes and couldn’t store food long, but impairing now.  I mean, we’re the crazy ones, but it gives us an advantage in producing and creating.

Unfortunately that laziness applies with bells on to education. People don’t WANT to learn. They will take what they can, undigested, and retain very little of even that outside their fields.

So how is a republic to survive.

First we need to teach history better.  And by this I mean throw Howard Zinn out the window (is he still alive? Because the idea of literal defenestration is kind of cute.  But I mean his books and ideas.) but beyond that, teach history in short bursts of “this is how this era was” and make sure the things are simple enough to stick.  Never mind about the dates. People are going to telescope them anyway.  Just “this happened, then this happened.”

Second, we need to teach geography better.  The UK is not the EU. The EU is a recent construction. That sort of thing.

Third, teach how we are different and how radically innovative our founding principles are.

Sure, I’m just dreaming, right now.  But things are changing.  It might happen.

On the other hand, remember they also take entertainment.  We need to write more of that and do more of that.  Make sure your history is right in romances, in light adventure, in short and amusing mysteries.  Because the SJWs no longer have the only microphone, and even the disconnected are starting to “get” that the left ideas don’t work.  So, we have a chance.

But we can’t be timid or embarrassed.  In books, in movies, in social situations, we need to be able to go “Oh, please.”  Yeah, it won’t work well with total strangers, but with work mates? Classmates?  People who know you?  It will work and chip at the invincible fog of ignorance behind which the left operates.

We are the sappers for the culture war battalions, making the ground safe for the advance of more serious education.

Go build and do and teach.

Because the clueless shall always be with us, but the republic can’t survive its being as near universal as it is.  Let the fighting back begin with you.

 

 

272 responses to “What Shall Always Be With Us

  1. John Adams was a Congregationalist back when they had pretty serious teachings about innate depravity. He expected people to be corrupt to some degree (“A Puritan was someone who was never disillusioned.” _Albion’s Seed_). He also expected people to admit this and to try to do better, which made religious frameworks for society so important.

    Ahem. Sarah, please quit channeling The Great Author when I’m whining about having to take a week to go learn how to teach a second history class, OK? It makes me nervous. 😉

    • Oh, He delivers messages through the weirdest vessels. I get mine through Chinese Fortune Cookies. (I wish I were joking.)

    • If John Adams were to have limited himself to only those who ascribed to his exact vision of morals and religion he would never have been able to work with either Ben Franklin or Thomas Jefferson.

      Nor George Washington or Richard Henry Lee.

      Nor just about everyone else he worked with over his long life. (Many who found him obnoxious and disliked, did you know that? 😉 )

      • Dan Hamilton

        BTW: 1776 is one of the few movies that teach the reason that slavery wasn’t abolished then. It is funny, and generally true, accurate not really, but in general feel, it is closer to the truth than others.

        • 1776 annoys me greatly because of how all the Southerners are shown as assholes and maybe evil. The play makes me feel that the only good patriots are NYers and other NE types. Maybe it doesn’t say it.

          • When did Virginia become part of the Northeast?

          • I have my own complaints about the history — for example North Carolina’s delegation to the Second Continental Congress was the first not only authorized to discuss independence, it was the first to be instructed to vote for independence.

            But as to the musical, Dr. Lyman Hall of Georgia ranks pretty highly in my book.

            And while it is Dr. Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire who proposes central intrusion in day to day lives:
             

            Resolved: that for the duration of the present hostilities the Congress discourage every type of extravagance and dissipation, elaborate funerals and other expensive diversions, especially all horse-racing—‘

             
            It is Edward Rutledge of South Carolina who argues against a monolithic Federal government: 

            You refuse to understand us, gentlemen!  We desire independence, yes — for South Carolina.  That is our country.  And as such we don’t wish it to belong to anyone — not to England, and not to you.

      • Sit down John, For God’s sake sit down.

    • Wasn’t it CS Lewis that pointed out that the fall of man was the one Christian doctrine that nobody had issues with proving? *wry*

  2. “For instance one of my art teachers (post graduate education) once told me that Anne Rice did impeccable research about how there was a peaceful matriarchy before– Yeah. Heard same from well spoken people in grocery store about Dan Brown’s ‘amazing research’ and the things he’d ‘uncovered.'”

    Don’t forget Marion Zimmer Bradley’s realistic depiction of pre-Christian Britain in “Mists of Avalon.” I had to read that in high school with a teacher convinced that Bradley’s book was as close to the real story of King Arthur as we would ever get.

    I’ve read some research on how people process fictional information. We do recognize that things like the Avalon series and the Da Vinci code are fiction, so we discount the information in them, but we do still absorb it. And if we don’t have any other information that contradicts it, we tend to accept what we get from those books on a subconscious level.

    (My go-to example for this is the boy who fell in the gorilla enclosure, gorilla was shot, and people were asking why they couldn’t have just used a tranquilizer dart. Those who know something about tranquilizer darts pointed out that they don’t work instantly and asked sarcastically if the rest of us thought that creatures hit with a tranquilizer just fell over unconscious like in the movies. I was embarrassed to admit that, yes, I did. I knew those depictions were fictional, but I didn’t know anything else about the subject, so I just accepted that that was how it worked.)

    All of which is just a very long way of saying that yes, we have to teach people history, because if we don’t, others can fill in the missing details with just about anything.

    • Sort of like Gell-Mann, but on a larger scale?

      • Sort of, but it’s subconscious. I’ve always had the impression that the idea behind Gell-Mann is that you consciously accept the wrong information that the press is giving you, on the grounds that surely those reporters wouldn’t lie or BS anything (ignoring the fact that the reporters on the previous page did exactly that).

        This is more a case of your brain using fiction to fill in gaps in your knowledge without you necessarily being aware of where those assumptions came from. In my case, at least, once I was called on it, I thought, “Wait a sec, all my knowledge on this subject comes from fantasy novels and cop shows. There’s no reason to think any of it is right.” But until that call came, I just went along with that “knowledge” in my head, never questioning it.

        • We also “live through” emotional experiences narrated convincingly, so a ton o the people who think they were raped, etc, probably read about it. (No, not joking. False memories are THAT EASY to form.)

          • And at the Mad Scientist Panel at LibertyCon, Speaker also talked about how malleable “snapshot” memories are – you know, “Where were you and what were you doing when…” kind of things? I don’t remember the specific ratio, but IIRC, he said that for most people, those memories are only half correct, or even less.

            • The crucial experiment was carried out by a professor in the wake of the Challenger disaster: he asked his class to participate by writing down what they did, and where, when they heard.

              • This is why standard procedure in a mishap investigation is to have everybody write what THEY saw…before discussing it with anyone else.

            • It gets even more insidious when we do it to ourselves. Usually, when someone tells a story about themselves, they embellish. Yes, USUALLY. It might just be rounding off the rough edges, or leaving bits out because nobody wants to sound like a bad person but generally a bit of embellishment is there, if only a tiny bit. The insidious part is that each time, the story they tell flavors the original memory. That’s part of how memories work, each time something is remembered, it strengthens that memory. Eventually, the memory fits the story rather than the other way around.

            • I try to be very honest about those things. I mean, I have a very detailed mental timeline of 9/11, but those parts I don’t remember I’m honest about not remembering. Like the lady on the bus who was being very offensive about things—I don’t remember what she said, more how she said it, but the most I can say is she was gleeful about people dying and that was not okay.

          • Yes, ‘recover d memory’ is a minefield. There ar a bunch of warning flags, though. My lady recovered memories of childhood abuse by a family member, and I believe her for (among others) the folowing reasons:

            * She did not recover the memories under hynosis or the influence of drugs.

            * The person she names as her abuser is completely believable in the role. Setting her memories aside, he had a long history of abusive relationships with both lovers and family members. He declaired as Gay, but was my case-in-point for my assertion that to qualify as Gay you must love somebody ELSE of the same gender. A total narcissist.

            * In the time that I knew her before her breakthrough, she never professsed to have memories from that period of her childhood, so that the ‘recovered’ memories were filling an existing gap.

            * Her recovered memories are comletely consistent with certain body-memory/revulsion reactions she displayed as long as I knew her.

            * Her recovered memories are all physically and temporally possible.

            If you know someone who has recovered memories that run counter to the above, caution is called for in accepting them.

            • Caution is probably called for anyway, but yes, and particularly the last point.

              My mom is going through some post operative weirdness and trying to sort through what really happened from what she just remembers happening, clear as anything and *real* in the way that a real memory feels different from a dream memory. She was feeling a little better and talking about it and when I left was still convinced that a rash of people had been planning parties in town, but mostly was starting to realize that most of what she was certain happened never did. She looked at me and said, “I suppose that the ladies in town didn’t get together and vote me the ugliest person, either.”

              So physically, temporally, and *socially* possible.

              I just told her, Mom, no one would DO that.

              • Yes. Several ‘panics’ over the last few decades run aground on complete lack of evidence. The ‘Daycare Abuse Panic’ should have ground to a hault almost immediately. No physical evidence, impossible (or improbable enough to be a working impossibility) narratives, complete lack of any actual due process. Sadly, a number of people were,convicted, and some (I believe) still languish in durance vile.

                Multiple police officials have baldly stated that, other than videos made by aprehended serial killers (and that’s, I think, only one or two cases) no ‘snuff films’ have ever surfaced. Caetainly no such films made by some shadow conspiracy for profit. Yet the urban myth persists.

                The ‘sex trafficking’ panic involves a lot of inflated number, mischaracterization of sex-workers as people without agency, amd general bushwa….specifically including a variation on the old lie about domestic abuse peaking during the Superbowl. Claims have been repeatedly (one might say, routinely) made about big sports event being a likely attractor of ‘trafficing’ related prostitution.

                Historians seem to agree that one big driver of the Victorian/Edwardian ‘White Slavery’ panics was the feeling of upper-middle class women that the availability of sex-for-pay undermined their control of their men.

                I think Historians will also agree, in time, that the ‘Sex Trafficking’ panic was the ‘White Slavery’ panic with the serial numbers filed off.

                • I have literally seen someone claim that mulitple accusations prove guilt.

                  I cited the witch trials. Instantly it was narrowed to proof of guilt of sexual crimes.

                  I cited the day care panic and declared that a new rule would be declared to rule it out of court. Instantly it was narrowed to precluding prompting.

              • Confounding issue:
                “possible” is going to depend on accurate and specific information, or it’s just confirmation bias.

        • Terry Sanders

          “I’ve always had the impression that the idea behind Gell-Mann is that you consciously accept the wrong information that the press is giving you, on the grounds that surely those reporters wouldn’t lie or BS anything (ignoring the fact that the reporters on the previous page did exactly that).”

          I’ve always had the impression it’s a subconscious thing, assuming that the reporter couldn’t possibly be just making stuff up–and that the mistake you saw on the previous page was *just* a mistake.

          Most of us just write it off. If you’re the active type, you might try to correct them, because surely they *meant* to get it right. And when they ignore you and hand out the same line of BS the next time, you might get bitter and disgusted with how they just don’t respect {gun owners} {pilots} {SF readers} {whatever}. But you *still* don’t assume they don’t care about the truth *in general.*

          It runs deep.

          • While I don’t remember the name of the guy who coined the term for Gell-Mann Amnesia, I do remember reading an article he wrote describing it. It’s basically that, if you don’t have strong information that contradicts a given story, you don’t even think about questioning the story, despite how wrong the story you DO know something about was. It really has nothing to do with whether you think the reporter was lying or just wrong, you just don’t bother to question anything you don’t know much about, even when you have evidence that other stories are wrong.

            • I thought it was Richard Feynman, but Wikipedia says it was Michael Crichton. Since I first heard about it in one of his essays on his web site, maybe so…

          • I no longer trust the newspapers or TV news. Can’t do it. They’ve lied too long and too often.

            • I no longer trust Wikipedia…………..
              (It was a toss-up whether to reply to your comment or TRX’s.)
              😉

              • That’s why I mentioned where the information came from… each reader can filter it through their personal “how much credence do I put into random Wikipedia articles?” filter.

                • I trust Wikipedia articles to get series orders correct, generally. But I can cross check those with the other sites 😉

          • And when they ignore you and hand out the same line of BS the next time, you might get bitter and disgusted with how they just don’t respect {gun owners} {pilots} {SF readers} {whatever}. But you *still* don’t assume they don’t care about the truth *in general.*

            Assumption of good will; AKA, charity.

            Thing is, in some cases it *is* true– there’s a guy I argue with a lot who seriously believes that claim about “women think 80% of guys are below average” where he keeps tossing it out, and I keep pointing out this:

            Dug around until I found the origin for that “80% of men are below average” thing.

            It was a blog post, from OK Cupid, contrasting how guys rated profiles vs how gals rated profiles; it’s been taken down since then, so you’d have to look for a cached version.

            A rating of one would remove the profile from coming up again, a rating of four or five would send the owner of a profile a message that the rater thought they were attractive.

            Women’s profiles had a huge spike a bit below 3; mens had a large spike at a bit below 4.

            The guys that women chose to send messages to spiked at 2.5; men’s spiked at about 4.5. And men sent a MUCH higher volume of messages.

            Gosh, who’d think that women wouldn’t want to send out a bunch of “hey I think you’re cute” messages?!?

            He believes the conclusion based on what he’s seen in the dating scenes where he’s at; I believe it’s baloney based on the people I’ve talked to outside of the hook-up scene.

            • Terry Sanders

              Yup. If we all assumed everybody was lying unless proven otherwise, we couldn’t do much of anything. Even “low trust” societies involve a lot of trust–their members are just *much* more restrictive about who they trust–or to whom they feel obligated to be trustworthy.

              We are a high trust society whose leaders and influencers have formed low-trust subcultures which exclude us. This is not an assumption most “high trust” people work around easily.

    • About the gorilla story:
      Connected is the idiot saying “Why did he shoot that rapist/armed robber/gang banger five times? That proves he did it because he hated them because racist!” Because they actually believe the tv/movie crap that a big, mean, tough attacker just falls over when shot a single time.

      • (Nods) Also, unless you’re trained to double-tap, you’re going to keep putting rounds into the target until it registers that the target is no longer a threat–and you can fire a semiautomatic pistol very quickly.

        • I remember a conversation with a local PD officer acquaintance about an officer-involved shooting. At that time, the PD was using 9mm pistols and the perp rushed the officer. 17 (or so–not sure which firearm was in use) rounds later, the perp finally stopped, turning into an ex-perp.

          I was taught defensive pistol at Gunsite (before the 40 S&W and 10 mm rounds were around), and a) Jeff Cooper swore by the .45, and b) two shots to center of mass, then a third to the head, assuming you have time to do this.

          I’ve never had to apply this, but it’s still in memory.

          • MarcusZ1967

            45… because there isn’t a 46….

            Thank you Ringo!

            • Yes, but there IS the .50 GI that can be fit into pretty much any 1911 with a conversion kit… Why not that? LOL!!!

              • Well, basically no. The frame of the 1911 is too narrow to feed the .50GI. The Guncrafter .50s use a unique frame, trigger stirrup, and other parts, though the slide and most small parts are ordinary 1911 bits.

                They do make a drop-in conversion for the Glocks, but those have fat double-stack magwells, so the stack just straightens out a bit.

                And there *is* a .46! The .460 Rowland, which puts you firmly into .44 Magnum ballistics. Clark Custom sells a conversion kit for $300-ish; barrel, recoil spring, and compensator. Or you can DIY it.

          • Reality check. If I have to fire a semi-automatic pistol at something in self defense, my finger will be frozen on the trigger pull until the thing stops on it’s own, I don’t care how many bullets it holds. (Screaming the whole time, but whatever.)

      • Or the whole, “Couldn’t they have just shot him in the leg and wounded him?” idea. I can’t believe I still hear that one dragged out in all seriousness.

        • The Palestinians were recently complaining about all the amputations from “protestors” at the Gaza border getting shot in the arms and legs.

          So “couldn’t they just wing him” became “those monsters took my boy’s leg!!!”

          • Bill Jordan’s rules still apply:

            Don’t go to stupid places.
            Don’t do stupid things.
            Don’t hang around with stupid people.

            • Don’t hang around with stupid people.

              If that isn’t a recommendation for a job change…

              Oh, wait, it seems to be that for almost everyone.

              Hrmmm… h. sapiens??

              Or right, that ‘s a _possibility_ and not a certaintly.

              Still, ox head hurt.

              • Well, job status aside, I believe the reference is intended to mean not to voluntarily hang around with stupid people during off hours. Work is kind of a forced put, so you just need to maintain a situational awareness to not let their stupidity drag you down with it.

        • I used to tell those folks, “When you’re in a combat situation (and haven’t been before) you’re likely so hopped up on adrenalin and other hormones that you’re lucky to see straight, much less have the fine motor control and presence of mind to be able to accurately hit an extremity. You aim for the center of mass because that’s all you have even a remote chance of hitting.” They never believe the truth though, so now I just say, “Nope, couldn’t have hit him in the leg. Had to put him down.”

          • Ask them if they’re qualified to practice medicine. Shoot someone in a limb you are likely to hit a major artery and they will bleed out in a minute or so, but while doing it could still shoot you or any number of innocent bystanders dead. But they know better because they saw it in a movie once.

            • Many a TV show had the hero shooting the villain in the hand to stop the fight. For that matter, even RAH used that in the Dora section of Time Enough for Love,

              Gonna take a miracle to get that out of popular thought.

              • What people lose sight of is that scenes like that are intended to show how ludicrously outmatched the bad guy is.

              • I’ve used it myself, the robots like to shoot people’s gun hands off with their plasma pistols. But the robots have nanosecond reflexes and carbon fiber muscles, so they can do things like that. And they can fix the humans later with a Larry Niven autodoc ambulance. Nanotech handwavium, if you can grow a whole sentient robot you can grow a hand.

                Difference being, this is FICTION that I made up, I’m assuming my audience is grownups able to understand that. Possibly I am hopelessly optimistic?

        • Robin Munn

          That’s one of the things I appreciated about a book I recently found through Kindle Unlimited: Magic and the Shinigami Detective, by Honor Raconteur. (Which has to be a pen name). There’s a scene where the main character, a cop, is chasing some criminals. She fires at one of them and sees him stagger a bit, but then he keeps running, so she figures she only winged him. Later on after the criminals have gotten away, she had her partner revisit the scene looking for any tracks that might lead them to the gang. They find the blood trail where she hit him, and there’s a bit more blood than there should be for a mere nick. The blood trail is enough to lead them to his hideout nearby, where they find him dead. She only hit him in the arm, but it turns out that the bullet nicked an artery and he died of blood loss within minutes of getting shot in the arm.

          It’s on Kindle Unlimited. Here’s an Amazon link:

      • Also, the speaker has never been in a situation where they were shit-scared. Under those circumstances some people freeze, some people pull the trigger again and again, and people who have drilled enough may even reload from muscle memory without thinking about it.

        I would fire wildly, which is why I don’t own a gun. Under pressure I tend to revert to flailing adolescence.

        • One part of my Gunsite class was the “Funhouse”, where you are presented with several shoot-don’t shoot situations. I must admit there were a fair number of “people” who shouldn’t have been shot who were.

          I guess I was channeling Fearless Fosdick. Oops.

          • I imagine my results would be similar. When you’re wired up, if it moves you shoot at it. Learning to -not- shoot at something that moved is contra-survival, that’s why it is so hard to do.

            • Yeah, but some cops just like to shoot, and then you wind up with the “hail of bullets” scenario where everyone just yanks their iron and joins in even though they don’t know what’s going on.

              Though NYPD has had more than their fair share of such indicents, the definitive one is still the “Dorner Manhunt” in LA, where officers were looking for a black male suspect in a compact car, and could not explain why they opened fire on two Hispanic female senior citizens in a pickup truck who were running delivering newspapers. Eight officers fired over a hundred shots, hitting one of the women in the back and the other in the hand. Then LAPD went radio-silent on the whole affair, as is common in that sort of thing.

              • NYPD has a huge training issue. The issue is they don’t train. They never have, its been that way for a very long time.

                http://phantomsoapbox.blogspot.com/2012/08/bleeding-update-third-never-bet-against.html

                Then there was the Sammy Yatim murder in Toronto, the cop slow-fired ten rounds of 9mm into a kid on a streetcar: blam……blam……blam……blam…… you get the picture. Only hit him about 80% of the rounds despite the aimed fire, too.

                • Fifteen minutes ago I got back from the range, where I shot the Arkansas State Police qualification round, to upgrade to the new “enhanced” carry permit.

                  I arrived with the gun, muffs, 150 rounds of ammo… and no magazine. So I wound up renting an unfamiliar double-stack 9mm. And then, halfway through, my glasses fogged up from the heat and humidity, and I shot the distance section of the course essentially blind.

                  I did just fine. Which mainly means, the level of proficiency required for the ASP is scarily low…

                  • Think about all the wheezy sea mammals you regularly see in police uniforms. People who can’t button their shirts, or see their shoes. If they can’t shoot the qualification course, they lose their job. And they are unionized public employees, who can’t be fired.

                    Therefore any regular human being over the age of 12 can shoot the course. Actual trained shooters can shoot the course half blind.

              • Actually, they didn’t hit EITHER woman. What hit the women were flying bits of glass from the back window.

                The suspect was supposed to be in a large blue pickup. The ladies were in what we used to call a wannabe pickup. And it was blue enough in the darkness, evidently……….

          • snelson134

            You know, it’s funny: EVERY time one of the “evil cops want to kill people” hacktivists gets taken through one of those, they come out just like you did (plus at least one episode where they got “killed”), and admit that it isn’t as simple as they thought it was.

      • I do a LOT of linking to that story where the gal was home with sick kids, retreated from a home invader until she was backed into a crawl space in the attic, emptied her .38 special into his chest at point blank range– and the guy wandered off, drove several blocks, then pulled over because the cops had the whole area blockaded and WALKED to the ambulance.

    • This is why I don’t care for historical fiction: Too hard to find the boundary between the two. After reading Space (the Michner tome), I spent weeks trying to figure out what about it was true. The Turtledove alien-lizards-invade-during-WWII was similar. A lot of stuff about WWII that I didn’t know, all overlaid with a patina of “is it true, though?”

    • I had recently (in the last year) bought Mists of Avalon at a used book store. Was about 1/8 of the way through it, and – with some reservations – enjoying it.
      And, then, I heard about Zimmerman Bradley’s daughter, and her experiences.
      After reading the girl’s book, I just don’t see how I could finish Avalon.

      • When I was a teenager, the first 2/3 of _Avalon_ was kinda cool. The last bit really dragged, although I admired the woman who had dedicated her voice to the goddess and kept that vow. When I was in my 20s, the book really bothered me. I re-read the first part and understood why. Never touched another thing by Bradley, and I’d liked some of the Darkover stuff. Everything’s tainted now.

        • Same here. Tainted. My daughter recently tasked me with how I had allowed her to read MZB’s book about Cassandra when my daughter was a young teen – one which really, really disturbed her. The distressing bit to my daughter, was the killing of Hector’s son, and the rape and murder of the little girl who was the heroine’s … what, junior priestess? Maid? Can’t recall – just that the whole book left a bad taste in my mouth, and an even worse in that of my daughter, once we had read about how MZB and her awful spouse treated their own children.
          And I had really liked the Darkover books, to the point of writing a couple of Darkover fan-fic stories myself.
          All the MZB books are now in a big box in the garage. I don’t think that I will ever read any of them again. And I certainly won’t get anything for them at Half Price Books.

        • The SJWs are trying to rehabilitate MZB these days, they keep saying she was an “important voice” in SFF.

          Part of the push there is the continual redefinition of “unacceptable” by the Left. There’s a guy still working at the William Morris agency in Hollywood who “accidentally” killed a man in his S&M dungeon at his house. (You do not want to know the details.) The agency didn’t fire him after that happened. Having a wildly dangerous S&M lifestyle is not a problem at William Morris.

          Basically what we’re witnessing is the accelerating spiral of perversion of a rich and pampered elite who thought they were untouchable. Unfortunately for them, #MeToo tore the sheets off, and now we can seeeeee them all. The existence of such creatures explains shows like Sense8 and WestWorld.

    • One of the more disturbing facts of life I’ve come to realize is that with most people who do not own guns and far too many that do everything they know about firearms they learned from the movies and television.
      This is enough to keep any reasonably knowledgeable gun nut awake at night.

      • All too true. Doubly so when you get to muzzle-loading arms (a subject on which I will claim a fair degree of expertise).

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Nickelodeon Cartoon show titled something like “Cities Of Gold” set during the Spanish conquest of South America.

          Crazy battle scenes where the Spanish kept shooting their muskets without reloading. 😆

          • Feather Blade

            Lost Cities of Gold”, if one wishes to be nitpicky. 80’s anime. XD

            I remember loving that show as a kid, and randomly found it at a local video rental store a couple years back.

            …unfortunately the protagonist kid was too obnoxious for me to enjoy watching it again…

            That and the other cartoon that they played. Turns out that one was French: Le Monde Angloutis (Pardon my… er, French spelling).

            I don’t even know what they called it in English; two kids get lost in an underground world – hollow-Earth type of situation – get rescued by some guy in a long robe with awesome utility bracers, and spend time in conflict with really ridiculous looking pirates. There’s a call-back to those pirates in the “Ugly Princess” episode of Wafku though, which I found amusing. From what I found on the Internet later, the English version that Nickelodeon showed no longer exists.

            /OTnostalgiatrip

          • Watched Thor: Ragnorok and they had dynamic ammo, too– although they played fair in that it DID run out at a dramatically suitable time, AND the guy it ran out for then used the gun as a weapon anyways.

    • I actually heard a woman attending college talking about how little she had known about King Arthur before Mists.

      • (shakes head)…Why do I get the impression these people don’t quite get the idea that the Arthurian legends are fiction?

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          But Arthur Really Existed!!!! [Shocked Look]

          Seriously, considering how many versions of the Arthur story that I’ve heard or seen, I can’t imagine why people would think that a Specific Book “Had It Right”.

          Oh, I enjoyed Mary Stewart’s version. 😀

          • MS had a good tale. I sort of liked T.H.White’s version; the ants remind me of a certain political faction: “Everything not mandatory is forbidden.”

          • It’s like Robin Hood. SOMETHING existed, but it aggregated to itself a lot of legends from times probably prior to Rome.

          • Mary Stewart’s is pretty plausible, which is impressive for something that has magic.

            • I always thought that Rosemary Sutclif’s Arthur in “Sword at Sunset” came about the closest to a believable historical Arthur.

            • snelson134

              Parke Godwin has put together a fairly plausible Arthur (Firelord, etc.) and Robin Hood (Sherwood, Robin and the King).

        • snelson134

          Mostly because “finding the historical King Arthur” has been a thing in both fiction and such places as the History Channel for the last 20+ years.

    • With fiction, folks generally expect that there will be some compression for the needs of drama– like look at NCIS, where they combined jobs that would be done by a whole bunch of folks into single characters, because drama– but you expect it is basically like that.

      So you figure tranqs are fairly fast, even if you figure they’re probably not instant like in the movies, and the idea that they might not even work is just beyond consideration.

      See also, how pepper spray works. As I keep pointing out to folks– military grade pepper spray has enough folks inherently immune to it that there is a standard procedure for testing the issue isn’t with the dispenser in the “get sprayed every year so you can carry it” test, AND you develop a resistance. (The guys who run the “confidence chamber” in boot camp do not wear gas masks. When I asked, they said it took a couple of weeks of week day exposure to get to that level. Less than a month.)

      • Plus, how often do TV and movies depict a tranq KILLING the one receiving it?

        Especially when it’s a human accidentally getting shot with something for much larger animals.

        • Feather Blade

          *gives the side-eye to Jurassic World*

        • The late unlamented Scorpion got close to that, with one of the characters shot with an alligator-specific tranquilizer round. At least they noted that the shootee was at serious risk, though I suspected in real life, he’d be in deep shit within a few minutes.

      • snelson134

        Pepper spray? I once worked with a guy who ate hot stuff daily. He’d walk into our local Thai restaurants and order “Thai Hot Plus”. They’d make it, and the kitchen staff would be peeking out the door to watch what happened to the crazy round-eye. Depending on how fresh the spices were, he’d clear adjacent tables with the steam, but Dave would be eating this stuff without a tear.

        • I ran into a Chinese place that had a killer Kung Pao Chicken. My buddy and I both ate it, and never returned. Not sure what they were using for peppers, but it was considerably hotter than the usual Silicon Valley places did.

          OTOH, the KPC at the Deepest Oregon place we go to is frighteningly mild. The green bell peppers are the first giveaway. 🙂

  3. “All of which is just a very long way of saying that yes, we have to teach people history, because if we don’t, others can fill in the missing details with just about anything.”
    You may be certain that they WILL fill in missing details, many-to-most WRONG.

  4. richardmcenroe

    One of the reasons we’re in such a mess is that tradmedia, for all their pretense at multicultish sophistication, no longer believe in the ancient Chinese proverb: “Better the lie that exalts us than ten thousand truths.” These days they don’t just acknowledge the squalid, the tragic, the actual malign, they exalt it.

    • Put it in fiction, and it’s not a lie. After all, fiction doesn’t claim it’s the truth.

      And while non-fiction deals with the intellect, fiction deals with the sentiments. To prevent what C.S. Lewis called Men Without Chests.

      “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

  5. I can go one better from your encounter last night, Sarah. About the time I was promoted to NCO, I was living in half of a conblock duplex in base housing at Mather AFB. The couple in the other part of the duplex unit were a pair of very young (as in just 18 or 19) enlisted airmen. And one day, the female half of the couple came to me, in all earnestness, saying, “You have a lot of books, and you know a lot of history, right? Can you tell me if our Civil war was before or after the Protestant Reformation … and when was the Roman empire in relation to that?”
    I picked up my jaw off the floor, and said, “Kiddo, you were too busy flirting with the handsome football players when you had history classes in high school, weren’t you?” And sat down and drew her out a time-line of history, ancient and modern, with the dates and significant events marked. At least – she cared enough to be puzzled but it, and had the nerve to ask!
    I had not, until then, met anyone who was so unscathed by having gone through the public educational system. Regrettably, I understand such is pretty much the norm, now.

      • This does NOT surprise me. Putting events into a time/place context is NOT one of those things that modern education does well.
        History is taught on a very scattershot basis. If the time period lends itself to being exploited for “White Men are Evil, Minorities are GOOD”, well, then, it is ‘taught’.
        Extremely superficially, and with a severe bias, but ‘taught’.
        If the events would make White Men/Christian Civilization look good, then – not. Or, a little – but twisted, to make the powerful look bad – VERY bad. And, evil.
        Heck, look how the Civil War is NOT taught in school. One of the most pivotal events in American history, entwined with passionate, religiously-guided, men – AND women, on BOTH sides.
        Few Villains. Few Saints. Just people trying – hard – to do the Right Thing.
        Great for teaching geography, history, economics, etc.

        So what do schools do?

        Virtually ignore it. Other than sanctifying Black people. Which, no one deserves. Don’t sanctify. Report. With love.

      • richardmcenroe

        Hey, everybody who’s ANYbody knows the Israelis bombed Carthage…

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Well, there are the theories about Russia or the Turk as successors to the Byzantines…

      • The Russians wil claim it. Partly because the only child of the last Byzantine Emperor married the Tsar.

    • I remember History as being very disjointed. Yes, if you memorized dates you could figure out what happened compared to when, but even “survey of” classes with big long time-lines didn’t compare events to what was happening somewhere *else*.

      For example, it was fascinating to me to know that Spanish colonies, including Cuba and Albuquerque, took up collections to send aid to the New England revolutionaries. (People back then knew what was happening on the other side of the world and it made differences in their lives.) And then I realized that, well, of *course* they did… because they were more or less at war with England *too*. But our History is taught linearly. So we “learn” about the revolutionary war but we don’t learn about England or her conflicts with France and Spain and don’t put them in context for what happened and when.

      History might actually be one area where “intersectionality” may be appropriate.

      • It took me until I was in my late 30s to get a solid mental time-line of world history from, oh, Alexander the Great (350 BC/BCE) to the 1900s. And I work in the business. So I don’t cringe as much when other people come up with really strange things. Emphasis on “as much.”

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I read the Encyclopedia of Military History in middle school. Much of it I was unable to retain because I didn’t have the foundation in Asian history to keep track of what was going on. I have a little bit more foundation in that now, but I’m always learning new things. Always improving the mental model, and finding huge gaping flaws.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Intersectionality and being able to put history into different contexts are not the same thing.

        @EsotericCD on twitter made the point that every young person he knew used intersectionality not in the strict academic sense, but as a technique for determining who has the higher place on the social hierarchy by having the most victim points. That the meaning of intersectionality is common usage among youth, not what a very small minority of academics use it to mean.

        I would go further and say that the ‘legitimate academic use’ was not what those academics created it for. I think the academics coined the word and usage deliberately so that it would be ‘misused’ as young people use it.

        Intersectionality is a points system for judging history, based on cherrypicking things and entirely divorcing them from context. It is a fecal slurry poured into the burning tire yard of Marxist historical theory.

        • You’re no doubt right. Even in that the misuse of the word to make disjointed hierarchies of oppression was probably deliberate.

          I was meaning in that (supposed) academic sense or even purely literal sense of how everything is related and to see where events in one part of the world influence other parts.

          Reading turn of (last) century agricultural magazines from Texas is an example because they’d include the weather reports from Egypt. People cared about that because a good cotton crop in Egypt (or a bad one) made a direct difference to their lives.

          People seem convinced that no one *knew* anything about the rest of the world back when. (Because our ancestors couldn’t possibly know more than we do today.)

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            The better they sell the idea that our forefathers were purely ignorant illiterate savages, they better they can sell their ‘year zero’ revisionist history and utopian nutjobbery that will result only in mass murder.

          • Your ancestors have to be ignorant boobs because otherwise the Arc Of History doesn’t support perpetual PROGRESS.

            • I’ve started asking folks why they think our Forefathers did something “stupid” when they insist that they did.

              Because it can’t be obviously suicidal. People just don’t KILL THEMSELVES for absolutely no reason. So what are we missing, what bad assumption is going on?

        • It is a fecal slurry poured into the burning tire yard of Marxist historical theory.
          Well said.

      • If you still interested in reading ‘intersectionality’ history, Transformation of the World: Global History of Nineteenth Century by Jurgen Osterhammel is an excellent book.

      • I remember the eye-opener it was when I took world history in college and realized that the Puritans were Calvinists and that the French and Indian war was part of a broader conflict between Britain and France over their colonies.

        Learning American history, especially the colonial parts, without some more context is a little like watching a second-down play of a football game without seeing any of the surrounding downs, knowing where on the field we are, or even catching a glimpse of the scoreboard.

        • I think it was covered correctly when I was a sprout (graduated HS in 1970). The French and Indian war got covered medium well, partly because we were in the Midwest, and parts of the conflict was somewhat local.

          The indoctrination stages were starting in the last couple of years in high school, as memory serves.

      • History is what I have my degree in, but I did realize at the time that our system of Late Modern US History (1940-60), Chinese History, Latin American History, and other geographically selective classes tended to isolate events that didn’t happen in isolation. I still have trouble grokking the horizontal view of mankind’s recorded life on this planet though I continue to try.

        One of my favorite classes was in the hilariously mislabeled Political Science department. The course surveyed the different forms of modern government. That was where I learned the costs and benefits of the parliamentary system and the absurdities of the centrally planned economy.

        • I’ve been working on that. On my web site, http://www.sapiencekb.com, check out the Knowledge Base. For the History section, I have a century-by-century outline of history from 3000 BC to 1500 AD, and a more detailed outline by 20 year periods from 1501 to the present, so that a general outline of the shape of world history can be detected. From the Sociology section (or by following the appropriate links) you can look at particular nations of interest. Stop by for a visit, and if I’ve left something out that really ought to be included, drop a comment on my blog (linked to at the same site). If you mention you came from or through here and have specific information, I’m more likely to let it through my comment spam detector.

      • We found a great book when we were homeschooling that presented all sorts of bits of history in a timeline, with columns for art, music, war, different regions of the world, etc. (If I were at home, I’d give you the title.)

        One of the things I did with it was teach an Old Testament Overview at church, one year. Because we tend to compartmentalize (Kingdom of the Left Hand, Right Hand) we tend not to see the history of the Bible in the context of world history. So, as I went through, I presented what was happening elsewhere in the world at the same time. It was interesting.
        (And, yes, it assumed certain timelines, and I didn’t really do any of that until Abraham.)

        • You might post the title when you get back; a while ago, several people were asking whether such a thing was out there.

          Wells’ “Outline of History” is still useful, but assumes the reader has an Edwardian schoolboy’s knowledge of European history, which would probably be second-year college history in the modern US.

      • One of the concepts I kind of appreciate, even as disjointed as the series seems to appear, because you need a mental road map of what is happening when & where are the Ring of Fire (or 1632) series founded by Eric Flint. Other than the first couple of books you have multiple books in different years. But the books are not chronological, not the same time span, but over lapping time spans from different POV from different locations as everyone spreads out. You get a feeling for the over lap, because you’ll get a brief statement that xyz happened over there, but no detail & xyz is detailed/covered in a different book. Then you have various authors “telling” the story, of varying writing quality; adds to the jarring quality of the series, but it is mimicking actual history.

    • That was quite a while ago, since Mather closed in 1993!

      We lived in base housing when I was small, during the Vietnam years. My Mom used to put folded towels on the counters and table so plates didn’t walk off onto the floor when strings of B-52s were taking off.

      • Ugh — now I feel old! Yes, I was at Mather in 1981-82. I have tried on google-maps to find some of the places there that I knew. Of course, the Wherry housing area is all gone, although the main road that I lived on still seems to be there.
        The young couple that I mentioned – the husband of the pair somehow managed to capture a live rattlesnake, hoping to keep it as a pet. It bit the young wife on the hand, as she attempted to force-feed it hamburger, and the young husband came running next door to me, all in a lather, asking to use my phone to call for an ambulance … since their phone service had been cut off owing to the outstanding $600 phone bill, as they had run it up, calling home to Mama…
        Yeah. Keeping a live rattlesnake, in an aquarium. In Base Housing. And me, next door, with a toddler.
        The Base Commander was quite reasonable, considering.
        The snake goes, or you two. Your choice.

        • Ask Steve for his snakes & Marines at Pendleton story.

        • First WESPAC before departing, way before cell phones, married a whole 3 months, told my wife I would call her once (collect- remember that?) from each port, talk for 5 minutes, then hang up. She informed me I would call her every night, and talk as long as she wanted. Base pay about $564, BAQ $172 and a small amount of SUB and Sea pay. First 3 port calls did just that, and at the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th got a bunch of nasty letters. 4th port call I called her and after 5 minutes she said- “Well, time to go. Call me at the next port.” I stayed on an extra minute to find out the change of heart. First phone bills had come in for her and the wives she knew. Ours was the only bill under $500. Just about $100 if I remember correctly.

        • I have some friends that live in the Mather area now. My dad worked at McClellan, which has largely been converted over to other uses. The airstrips got taken over by the Coast Guard for takeoff-landing practice, as well as firefighting air support, so they didn’t have to do quite as much toxic cleanup as they’d originally projected when the base closed.

    • While an instructor at “A” school walked in on a discussion where The Supreme Court just passed a law…” and mentioned that the court doesn’t pass laws- they make judgement on them. Majority vote decided I was wrong.

      • Alright, the bartender was very generous with the pours… but ox still not THAT snockered to go along with such nonsense.

        Ox… slow.. and. less than sober… and still out-doing some allegedly educated supposedly full-humans? Education Reform is a dire need indeed!

    • I wish I could say this surprises me. But it doesn’t.

  6. Side note: how on earth do you manage to go through your entire life in the Anglosphere and manage to not hear about Queen Elizabeth I?
    For that matter, how has this person managed to avoid hearing about Queen Elizabeth II?

    • How about not knowing about Victoria, since a common term for those who are prudish in their morals is to refer to them as Victorian.

      • Oh, it’s entirely possible to go through life knowing that there was a time period referred to as, “Victorian” without having any idea that it was in any way related to Queen Victoria.

        • Quite.

          Therefore why would they be familiar with Mary Tudor, the first Elizabeth, Mary (of William & …), or Anne. While the romantics and Anglophiles might know them, Matilda was never crowned and Lady Jane Gray was placed on the throne in a failed attempt by Protestants to avoid Mary Tudor, a Catholic.

          Now as to not having an idea about the present the reigning monarch who has been all over the tabloids and news of late — that is more of a conundrum.

    • After all, Queen Elizabeth the First only lead England when it told Spain to go f-off and the subsequent defeat of the Spanish Armada. Nothing that gets taught in school these days, unless it it is condemnation as “evil European colonialists”.

      The next time the open borders crowd tries to portray the people trying to sneak across the border as “natives who had their land stolen”, perhaps they should be reminded that the vast majority are descendants of the SPANISH CONQUISTADORS who conquered South and Central America as well as the American South West and are therefore the descendants of “white colonial imperialists” the way many in the America’s are. And as bad as the English and French (and the USA once we got established) were, the Spanish Conquistadors matched it or worse.

      Of course this stuff has been going on since people started competing with the people in the next cave over (2001 A Space Odyssey got that part very right)
      I am reminded of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s S4 Episode Pangs and Spikes speech about conquest:
      Spike : You won. All right? You came in and you killed them and you took their land. That’s what conquering nations do. It’s what Caesar did, and he’s not going around saying, “I came, I conquered, I felt really bad about it.” The history of the world isn’t people making friends. You had better weapons, and you massacred them. End of story. (dialogue taken from transcript posted on Buffyworld)

      • Edit/Addendum: The difference with the USA is we recognize we did bad things most of the time and at least try to make sure that we make our best efforts to have a system were individual liberty can thrive-though very few of us it seems actually seem to care about that anymore.

      • ” therefore the descendants of “white colonial imperialists” the way many in the America’s are.”

        See: George Zimmerman, White Hispanic.

        • Which is, the way the Fed breaks races down now, totally a thing. Except “Hispanic” means “Mexican or South American”, actual people from Spain are “European” (white) no matter what their skin color or racial background (the Moors unhappened, apparently), and whether “Hispanic” is counted as white depends on what agency is doing the counting. Nobody classes Hispanics as “Native Americans”, even though they’re technically just as Indian as anyone living on the reservations. And Indians are Native Americans and you’re not, no matter how far your family tree goes back or what your birth certificate says.

          I expect “non-non-Aryans” to be a thing any time now…

  7. He may have meant it individually, that nothing about our system will compel morality, so you’ve got to do it yourself.

      • Most likely. How do you have liberty where people will not self govern?

        • ^^THIS^^

          A “moral people” police their own selves, knowing some things are right/wrong without needing a specific law to tell them so, and trying (in general) to abide by that.
          When they do that, then they can be allowed to generally run free.

          Because if you don’t govern yourselves, someone else WILL.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      What it comes down to is the nature of the society he was working in. Which was heavily influenced by Christianity, and heavily influenced by immigrants from cultures where a lot of the worse excesses of bandit culture had been stamped out. So a consensus that mostly respected individual rights was possible, as was a consensus on peace that could mostly displace a state of constant robbery, rape, and murder. The constitution and the government formed from it are a deal, an agreement that harms every party some of the time, and has a necessary basis in human society.

      Think like contract law. You can write a contract without a legal system to enforce it. But it is only good if both parties keep their word. Against a determined crook, a contract backed by force of law will still not be super effective.

      The necessary basis for the constitution is probably shared values from Christianity or a culture heavily influenced by Christianity. It is not yet clear that a culture heavily influenced by a religion whose values are in opposition to Christianity will serve as an adequate replacement.

      • “Against a determined crook, a contract backed by force of law will still not be super effective. ”

        And Leftists are both determined, and crooks. Which is why living in the same society with them is impossible.

    • I start at the bottom and read up, so I just saw what TXRed said, and that more or less fits, too.

      And my understanding of “congregationalist” is a form of church government (similar to the “free” churches) that may associate by choice but doesn’t recognize an authority above the local congregation. (Other than God and Scripture, of course.)

      • *wags paw back and forth* There was some sense that certain political and theological leaders had the authority to intervene in church governance on certain rare occasions, but in general yes, the congregation called the minister and could dismiss him with cause, and made its own by-laws and requirements within the general tenants of the faith. Each congregation stood or fell on its own, although members of other congregations might be called in to mediate or to assist from time to time. beyond that it gets really complicated and you have to start dipping into Congregationalist theology to explain things.

        • Right. 🙂 Associate by choice.

          I know that it’s not at all the same thing as the Congregationalist denomination so I’m sure there are really big theological differences, but I grew up in the Free Lutheran church… each congregation owns their own stuff, calls (or dismisses) their own pastors, etc. and while the central association is closely involved anyone, either direction, can at any time decide that they aren’t going to “belong” anymore.

          At least with my upbringing, not even the pastor had any real spiritual authority. The decons and elders had more. The pastor had a job in a “works for us” sort of mindset. (Though highly admired.) It works pretty well with Lutheran doctrine, I mean, the pastor or anyone else can’t believe FOR you, so you have to do your religion yourself.

          • Close enough like for the point John Adams and Sarah were making. 🙂

            • Ahem, alike, Otto Corrupt, ALIKE.

              • sabrinachase

                I think you meant Otto Kruppt, right? 😀 What a nogoodnik, him…

              • And this is why every phone I get has that “feature” disabled FIRST.

                My mama taught me how to spell, and how to use a dictionary; Android can’t do a better job.

                • Oh heck yes! Disabled. Let it underline, yes. But I choose the correct word. Reality check. My spelling sucks. I’ve been known to change my sentence wording because the work I want to use I can’t spell it close enough that the dictionaries will provide anything close. I will recognize the word I want when I see it; can even easily spot same pronunciation, wrong word (ex: cent VS scent; four VS for VS fore, etc. FYI, drives me nuts, but I’m polite). Just can’t spell it from the get-go, sometimes not even close, therefore how can Android or Windows get the correct word?

    • I’ve always understood it to mean that, due to the nature of the form of government as delineated by the Constitution, only a people who are moral people in the significant majority can keep it from turning against the people. And, due to the time and place, “moral” automatically implied, “religious”.

  8. Every patriotic holiday, a stupid video purporting to be the true history of “The Star Spangled Banner” goes around. The “creator” (in quotes because he actually stole the text of it and claimed it as his own, the actual creator has apologized for the bad stuff and pulled his version. Not so much the “creator” who has doubled down) claims to be telling the truth so we can understand and appreciate the flag and our country more.

    It mixes up the War of 1812 with the Revolutionary War. It claims such absurdities as there were so many bodies of the dead inside Fort McHenry that they were able to pile the bodies against the flag pole and hold it up because the bombing had broken it. (Yes, dead bodies piled at the bottom of a flag pole would hold up a pole that, if it was broken, was likely broken much higher up, much less, were there that many people left in the fort.) And Key was there to negotiate for the release of all the prisoners of war that were being kept on hulks out in the harbor. And that the entire British fleet had just showed up with plans to shell the fort until there was nothing left.

    People share it and repost it because it is easily accessible, sounds plausible (not really, but it is all dressed up with patriotic music and a narrator’s voice that works), and has the music track to help pull the heart strings.

  9. … the normal state of women throughout history was roughly Victorian England for the upper classes: not allowed to work, not allowed to go out alone, etc.

    And two words, if thought about at all, deal a fatal blow to that: farm wife. Alright, she might not have done certain things… but sheesh. And then the Servant Problem… so who was doing all that work, hrm? Every great once in a while I hear how people of the current Age would need X servants in previous times to even come close to current convenience — and that’s ignoring all that technological progress that means we enjoy what was once just plain impossible. Radio, TV, motorcar, computers/phone, antibiotics (cures that cure!) air travel, etc. Why, someone from not all that long ago might be astonished at walking in the back way and finding the light turns itself on and stays on until a bit after no longer being needed.

  10. I suppose you can forgive them for not knowing about the Empress Matilda, or for that matter, Queen Mary (I and II), Jane (9 days’ reign!), Queen Anne, Queen Victoria (!), …

    Still, can they actually walk and breathe at the same time without prompting?

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Elizabeth II . . .

      • II’s the daughter of I, right? Heh, heh, heh. Somebody’s gotta believe that.

        • I have heard that when the film “The Madness of King George” was made, its title was changed from “The Madness of George III” because the producers were afraid that people would say, “I missed ‘The Madness of George I’ and ‘The Madness of George II’; I don’t think I’ll know what’s going on.”

          • I suspect the producers believed as H.L. Mencken: ‘No one in this world, so far as I know … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.’

          • Probably got ditched in part on “excessive detail” rules.

            It doesn’t MATTER if he’s formally “king George the third” unless one, two, four, etc are going to be involved.

            • I thought he meant that they would think that this was the third movie and they missed the first two.

              • It sounds like an interpretation “stupidity” thing to me– I’ve had a lot of people inform me I did something because of similar “you think people are so dumb” things, when the actual reason was just simplifying stuff.

                • I learned a lot about wording things so as to NOT give that impression when I worked the helpdesk.

                  Where I mostly run into problems is people generalizing something I said, and later telling me I had said something that could not possibly come out of my mouth, because they applied it to something totally different than what was being discussed when I said whatever thing they took to mean that.

    • Many who have made it into elite universities haven’t much of a grasp on U.S. history, no less that of other nations.

  11. Christopher M. Chupik

    And of course the folks who know nothing spend all their time raging against those who actually do know something. Rand talks about “hatred of the good”. There’s certainly hatred of the competent.

    • In college (early ’70s), I ran across a creature of humanoid appearance who hated RAH and his works because of the “competent man” ideal.

  12. I did not remember any Queen Charlotte. I had to look her up. Not Henry VIII, never sovereign in her own right. At least the name isn’t completely fictitious. Between the Elisabeths and Victoria England has had quite a lot of history under female monarchs. I wonder where the people you overheard got such an idea?

    • I knew she was a consort, but dear Lord.

      • You did live in Charlotte, NC, ‘the Queen City’ … back when her statue still stood in the Charlotte airport.

        • yes. It doesn’t now? (I’ve run through it four times since then, but…)

          • I haven’t seen it at anytime in the past decade, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there somewhere. That airport has been in a serious state of ongoing reconstruction for most of this decade. I avoid the inside of it when I can. Picking up and dropping off a family friend who flies to Ohio through there I have become mighty familiar with the traffic patterns and various cell-phone lots it has had over time.

        • Uh… that nickname doesn’t necessarily mean much, I’m afraid. Cincinnati is also called, “The Queen City”, and I really don’t remember ever hearing about Cincinnatus running around in drag…

    • Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Sophia Charlotte) became wife of King George III in 1761. 

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Charlotte of Wales would have been Queen instead of Victoria if Charlotte hadn’t died in childbirth. And Leopold of Belgium might have never existed.

  13. Be leery of tossing dates entirely, Sarah. You see, Thucydides got it only half right. Yes, first “words have to lose their ordinary meanings,” but also people have to lose track of cause and effect. Not losing track of cause and effect requires chronology.

    Or do you imagine the SJWs are incapable of claiming the Japanese bombed Perl Harbor in retaliation for Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

    • Sigh. I wasn’t suggesting throwing out dates entirely. EVERY classroom SHOULD have a chart of history in order. No, what I meant is when I came to the US I was very shocked at two things: multiple choice questions AND half the questions were dates. Yeah, being digit dyslexic meant problems. BUT mostly people would memorize these dates for the test, then forget them.

      BTW my trick for getting around digit dyslexia was to memorize ONE date, then count everything backward and forward from it…

    • Funny, for me keeping track of the dates became easier after I had a string of cause and effects to help keep various incidents in better order. 

    • kenashimame

      ‘History is the art of the written narration of human civilization, with chronology as it’s principle organizing tool.
      — Father Justin Barry, O.S.B.

      That definition has stuck in my head since the first day of Fr. Justin’s World Civilization to 1650 class (Literally, he gave that definition as part of a blindingly fast lecture on the first day of class meant to scare the business and Mrs. majors). I don’t know where he may have gotten it from. Fr. Justin’s position was that it was most important to know the order things happen in, i.e. that Pearl Harbor happens then Hiroshima happens, and yes it’s important to remember certain dates, say 1066, 1776, or 1941, but that on the whole dates were something you could look if you had to.

      • I first read that honorific as “S.O.B.” and wondered how one earned that. ‘Cause I want one.

        • kenashimame

          I’m sure he got that from dressing in his full Benedictine habit and scaring kids on Halloween…

          That, or the snowballs thrown in class…

    • I’m quite sure the SJWs would be down with the concept of preemptive retaliation. We already see them doing it.

  14. My niece and nephew come to my house for a few hours everyday after public school finishes at 3:30. I am having to educate them myself to deprogram them from nonsense they are taught by their teachers.

    One memorable incident was when one of their female teacher’s thought similar to woman who said Queen Charlotte was only female ruler of UK. BBC did excellent three part series called She Wolves that looked at England’s early queens and I had recently made my niece and nephew watch it. My nephew knew his teacher was wrong so he put up his hand and corrected his feminist teacher and all hell broke lose.

    Teacher wanted to send my nephew home for the afternoon because he was being ‘provocative’ and then I got shouty about how my nephew was not going to be punished for being correct. Fun times, I like being able to hassle ignorant public school teachers.

  15. “Third, teach how we are different and how radically innovative our founding principles are.”

    This one is frustrating me lately, or at least the willful ignorance of it. It’s trendy to reject the philosophy of government and founding principles on the basis that those old white men set this up for white men only because it “privileged” them. Which is pure ignorance. It’s also the sort of excuse making where anyone who isn’t perfect is thus completely wrong about everything. (Requiring the person so wisely saying so to understand nothing at all.)

    No one is perfect and everyone has their blind spots and if our system and our founding was set up for the benefit of the men who did so, the SAME SYSTEM would benefit equally anyone held equal under it.

    To believe otherwise is to believe that what is good for old white dudes is race and sex specific and would not benefit anyone else even if they were equal or in charge, and that something genetic or having to do with our plumbing makes socialism or a nanny state better for other races or people with innies instead of outies. It would be saying that while this political philosophy of liberty and self-reliance and lack of central economic planning was designed to privilege those white men, that a future colony of Lesbos arranged such wouldn’t privilege women, because vaginas.

    • > “Third, teach how we are different and how radically innovative our founding principles are.”

      Yeah. There are at least a dozen South American and African countries, and maybe a few in the Pac Rim, whose origin and early years are virtually identical to ours, right down to their constitutions.

      Having the same starting point didn’t help some of them much, though… we’ve managed to avoid the military junta phase, at least so far.

      • kenashimame

        Ho Chi Minh pretty much cribbed the entire Vietnamese declaration of independence from Jefferson, not that the North Vietnamese followed up on those beliefs.

        (Maybe if Wilson hadn’t ignored Ho and sent him scampering off to Moscow… Also Versailles 1919 — Worst Peace Treaty To Date.)

        • Wilson – the most morally-guided president to date. This… was not always a Good Thing, given his ideas about what was morally Right and Good. (Not that he should get 100% of the blame for Versailles and the aftermath, but announcing self-determination and not thinking about areas that were 50/50 or 30/30/30…)

          • kenashimame

            Wilson doesn’t deserve 100% of the blame for Versailles, true; but he compromised his way out of all of his points except the League of Nations.

            The Versailles treaty came up in every history class I’ve ever taken that covers the period after 1919, whether it was on Vietnam, China, or Russia. And nigh universally those connections were negative, like giving German holdings in China to the Japanese rather than giving them back to the Chinese even though the Chinese sent laborers to the Western Front. Heck you can even trace the Charlie-Foxtrot that is the modern middle east to that misbegotten paper that ended the Great War.

            • And of course it was Wilson who re-segregated the American Military, among other appalling things that he did. Wilson is the forefather of American “progressivism” and the effort to create the rule of “experts” based on the premise that the people are too stupid to govern themselves. Wilson in my view is one of the worst President’s in American history.

              • I didn’t know about the military, but he did his best to get rid of black civil servants…

                Unfortunately, the Previous Incumbent only rates as #3, behind Wilson and Jackson.

                • My own list of Worst Presidents has Lyndon Johnson as #1. Obama is in the #2 position, followed by Clinton, Franklin Roosevelt, and Wilson.

                  • Robin Munn

                    My wife, having just finished reading Battle Cry of Freedom a few months ago, would take a lot of convincing before she’d drop Buchanan from the top three.

                    • Buchanan’s number one, no question. Franklin Pierce is second, then Wilson to round out the top three.

                    • I grew up in Pennsylvania, it was quipped that there would never again be a President from Pennsylvania after Buchanan. Admitted, he came to office at a very challenging time, but he could not have been much worse if he had tried.

                • kenashimame

                  Why do people always forget about Buchanan on their Worst President Ever lists?

                  By the time he was done, we were all shooting at each other.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    While I haven’t read up on Buchanan that much, the problems leading up to the ACW existed long before him so IMO it isn’t fair to blame him.

                    After Lincoln was elected (and before Lincoln took office), I wonder what he could have done to prevent the Southerns from leaving. Especially considering that anything he might have done could have conflicted with what Lincoln would want to do.

                    Note, we may be getting into “dangerous territory” here as Sarah dislikes the “blue on blue” discussions of the ACW.

                    • I don’t have a problem with Buchanan not ordering the US army to go to Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina and arrest and shoot everyone at the secession conventions.
                      I do have a problem with him letting John Floyd and Jefferson Davis send tens of thousands of rifles to the Federal armories in the states threatening secession.

            • That’s because Versailles was a Grade-A screw-up. The Allies had declared foodstuffs to be contraband of war, then kept the naval blockade (and starvation campaign) on after the Armistice. Not one Allied soldier put one foot on German soil in the First World War.

              Under those conditions, you normally get a pretty soft peace. The Germans pay some reparations, lose a few colonies…and everybody goes home. But the Allied governments were politically unstable…and the Communists were circling like sharks, ready to make trouble. (I’m prepared to defend an assertion that the Communists were responsible for at least the last two years of that conflict.) So they decided to starve the Germans into signing onto a treaty with terms not won on the battlefield.

              • I am curious about how Communists were responsible for 1917 and 1918. I could understand them being responsible for 1918–had Russia stayed in the war, Germany would probably have realized the jig was up when America came in–but 1917?
                Also, the problem with the Armistice was that it was just that. The war was still on, but everyone had agreed not to move. Foch should have taken Pershing’s advice and said “No peace until Berlin.” That would have scotched any notions that Germany had not been defeated, decisively, on the battlefield.

                • The First World War was very unusual, in that it lasted MUCH longer than it should have. The whole affair should have been called off in 1915, 1916 at the latest.

                  The problem was that in 1916, the Germans were winning. And the major Allied governments were all politically unstable. The British had undergone a soft coup less than a decade earlier that gutted the House of Lords’ independence, Russia had hot-and-cold revolution on tap, and the only thing keeping the Third Republic afloat was that the French had not decided what to replace it with.

                  And the Communists were circling, pushing Red Revolution. A “cure” worse than any disease.

                  So the Allies kept fighting. On, and on, and on, at an obscene cost.

      • Israel is different than the majority of other Middle Eastern countries.

    • “Third, teach how we are different and how radically innovative our founding principles are.”

      Dennis Prager has for many years advocated for a ritual retelling of the story of the American founding. He encourages people to pattern part of our Independence Day festivities after the Jewish Passover Seder. It seems like something the Usains would do, but I’m fairly sure he has never read Sarah’s work.

    • if our system and our founding was set up for the benefit of the men who did so, the SAME SYSTEM would benefit equally anyone held equal under it.
      ^^THIS^^

  16. It’s a bit like that Shaun King idiot tweeting that not wanting poop on sidewalks is a “white” thing instead of something that benefits everyone.

  17. Howard Zinn died in 2010, so it’s too late to defenestrate him. Since I haven’t read his book, “A People’s History of the United States” I am not a properly well informed critic. Going by a summary of the contents, it appears to be quite biased against the version of history I was taught. There has been an effort made to promote it to schools as the most correct and complete version of American History available. It is almost certainly not that.

    • The latest move is to stop requiring student take much history at all.

      • Considering what and how I was “taught”, I’m not seeing a real downside there.

        • Well … yes … I’ll give you that.

        • About the only bit of ‘history’ that I was taught which I can still recall was NOT taught by a history teacher – or least not one I had acting as such. And the reason I recall is the wordplay/joke (‘gag’.. if you must) nature of it: “The Magna Carta was signed in 1215, right after lunch.” Short lunch?

    • The problem is that a significant number of the people in charge of education system believe that the wrong side won the Cold War, that Mao’s Cultural Revolution is something to be emulated, and that the Constitution is a tool of tyranny that must be abolished, rather than the greatest example of a framework for preserving liberty through limited government. There is a reason that the marching leftists chant “Our Revolution will not recognize the Constitution.” When Obama spoke of “the fundamental transformation of America”, this is exactly what he had in mind. The fact that not a single member of the media asked him when he made that statement (We are five days away from the fundamental transformation of America) what he meant by fundamental transformation shows how much in the tank they were for him, and still are.

      • Thing is, the Constitution does tyrannize those people. It stops them from tyrannizing others, which to that sort is the worst tyranny of all.
        Allow me to play the world’s smallest violin.

      • The media didn’t ask Obama any probing questions because they were his accomplices.

  18. As to Dan Brown and his ilk (although I’m not sure he believes any of it, just that it makes a good story) and their blood libels on that Evil Conspiracy ™, the Roman Catholic Church…. Don’t they realize that what we as spawn of Albion know of the Spanish Inquisition was part of a propaganda war by the English monarch, recently separated from the RCC because he divorced his wife (the Spanish princess), and he and his successor were soon to be at war with Spain over it. “Those uniquely evil Spaniards and most especially Catholics! Pardon me while I hang this heretic I just dragged out of his priest hole.”

    And no aspersion cast on our hostess by casting too wide of a net in calling us the spawn of Albion, but some things just culturally stuck with us while others like drinking tea were thrown out with the Revolution.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      IIRC, the propaganda war against the Spanish Inquisition predates Henry VIII declaring himself Head of the English Church (not that he didn’t later contribute to the propaganda war).

      Spain was the most powerful Catholic Nation in Europe so Protestant rulers had a vested interest in bad-mouthing Spain and its Inquisition.

      The funny thing about the propaganda war was that their “criminal justice system” was harsher than the actual practices of the Spanish Inquisition. 😈

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        The bad blood between England and the Catholic Church seems to go back to a settlement between, IIRC, the Magna Carta John and the Pope, where John as King of England conceded that the Pope was also his secular master. The Italian Popes were too far away to rule England, and so culturally different it would have been a bad idea anyway. But badmouthing the Papacy would have thereafter been in the interest of the English monarchy, which would have had more access to the English people to do it with. Add in the issues with France, and the French Papacy…

        • That French kings got more say in naming high churchmen than did the English kings or Holy Roman Emperors, so there was that little additional irritation going back to, oh 1076 and Canossa.

      • Bear in mind that the Spanish crown ruled holdings in what is now the Netherlands, as well as Spain. They needed the Channel to be in semi-friendly hands to travel from one part of their dominion to another.

    • I had a friend who once encountered a Dan Brown aficionado, heard them talk for a moment, said, “oh, the [whatever] conspiracy theory?” and then went on to talk about all the major points in a book she had not read, simply because she had a good working knowledge of history. (This is also the friend who figured out many of the events in the later Harry Potter books from the heavy clues J.K. Rowling was dropping in the early ones. Love her writing or hate it, you have to admit she did foreshadowing right.)

      • Your friend is very cool. I just kept quiet and did not feel like engaging with the obnoxious lady going on about Dan Brown’s historical illumination and how Democrats were willing to go into Republican groups and engage but she couldn’t seem to get Republicans to show up at Democrat groups and engage, and that must mean they didn’t want to hear their ideas challenged and have a rousing intellectual exchange.

        Sometimes I wish I’d said something, but 1. I didn’t think of anything good, and 2. we were stuck together for a while and it would have encouraged her to keep talking about it.

      • The sword and the something. It’s a new age book

  19. The problem with not knowing history or basic information is definitely not just an American thing. Just a couple minutes ago, I ran across a friend’s post linking to a video/article, and where a commenter with a Japanese name claimed France is not “socialist”, and England is a monarchy. His own country is a federation with 13 provinces (Canada?). All of this is in context of talking about universal health care in those countries and how that has nothing to do with the socialism “she fears” (She being the author of the video/article linked to).

  20. sabrinachase

    Speaking of getting the cultural beliefs and context right for historical fiction, one of the (many!) things I admire about Georgette Heyer is she does exactly that. She was very much aware that even in her milieu of choice, the landed gentry, there was a range of opinion AND she let that range show in different books, rather than try to pretend there was One True Way. So in one book brandy smugglers are bad (and very good reasons involving espionage and funding enemies given) and in another the Revenuers or whatever they were called were considered joyless busybodies trying to prevent milord from having a nice drink after dinner and it was quite convenable, as Leonie would say, to trick and thwart them.

  21. And by this I mean throw Howard Zinn out the window (is he still alive? Because the idea of literal defenestration is kind of cute. But I mean his books and ideas.)
    *giggle* Sarah, you might find this little anecdote entertaining; requires a bit of background though.

    Most folks who know anything about the Philippines – or even just look it up briefly – will note that Jose Rizal is touted as the Philippine’s National Hero, the sort we all should try to emulate and become. He was well educated, well spoken, the few portraits of him that exist show he was fairly handsome; okay his odd charm resulted in a lot of lovers along the way, and he ‘died for our nation’s freedom’ (There’s an argument that better heroes are found in Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo, who actually wanted Philippine independence; and it could be argued that Rizal wanted Filipinos to be seen as equals by the Spanish, but didn’t want full independence and self governance… I digress. This point of view is important though.)

    What a lot of folks don’t know there’s something of a cult of personality surrounding the Rizal image. Indeed, there’s an actual cult of Rizalistas, bordering on seeing him as the saviour of the Philippine people. They’re often extreme nationalists who live in a very idealized image of the Philippines, that has very little to do with reality (I’ve mentioned before that the Filipino language has little to no technical, scientific, musical, engineering, etc terms; these people imagined that it was something ‘easy to fix’ and that just because the French, Germans, and Japanese had their own language in use in education, we Filipinos ‘have that right too!!11’) and a tendency towards ‘anyone who disagree with us are anti-nationalists, anti-Filipino, and are enemies of the Filipino people and are pro-foreigners!11’ – so you get the mind set. They’re sadly not uncommon in the academic circles. There’s a whole subset of Philippine history that focuses on Rizal, the revolution, etc, that’s separate entirely from Philippine history as a class.

    Enter Ambeth Ocampo, a historian who counters quite a bit of the tendency towards idealism with his very well researched books that also illustrate and bring to life the idols of the Philippine Revolution as ordinary human beings who had extraordinary gumption, but certainly as flawed as any other, as opposed to being almost supernatural saints. He taught for a while in the University of Ateneo; I had friends who were students, and they related to me some stories, which show him as an educator who wants his students to develop actual thinking, versus regurgitating memorized factoids and pre-approved points of view. Being that he is one of the esteemed historians of our era, he was hired to teach history for that school (and boy, was I jealous of my friends who were fortunate enough to have him as their teacher. They say he was/is also a fully ordained monk that sometimes taught in his habit) and I got a story of a day where he was supposed to teach a class on Rizal, witnessed by the person telling the story.

    Sir (we tend to call our teachers ‘Sir’ or “Miss/Mrs/Ms”) Ocampo walked in to the class and saw there was a stack of books that he was expected to use to teach waiting for him at the desk. Curious, he walked up to the books, and scanned the titles, which were the kind of Rizal-worshipping drek that serves more as indoctrination and borderline ‘religious teaching.’ The person telling the story told me one of the volumes was this children’s book, a literal ‘ABCs of Rizal’ – not university material.

    The fellow telling us the story told us that Sir Ocampo then went to the windows, very pointedly opened them, then went back to the desk, gathered up the books and proceeded to fling them out the window, one by one, detailing in ‘beautifully sarcastic and eloquent terms’ why he was chucking them out like the intellectual garbage they were, that they were here to learn history, not mythology. He then went back to the center of the room and started his lesson. The friend who was relating the story was almost beside himself with laughter, while students who had not encountered Ocampo before were frozen to their seats, unsure what to do or say, but certainly were now terrified, and the Rizalistas in the class were nearly apoplectic with rage. They tried to get Ocampo banned from the school for his ‘disrespectful and inappropriate behaviour towards the Philippine national hero’ – failing, I should note – and he continues on his merry way.

    It was also in an Ambeth Ocampo class where this same friend told us of the final exam where students were to write a fictional retelling of the Battle of Mactan from the point of view of an indio, a Spaniard, a tree, a bird or a fish; and he awarded a score of 110% to the student who filled the exam notebook with ‘blub blub blubb’ in paragraphs, sentences, etc, and then put at the very end this disclaimer: “I do not speak fish.”

  22. The big headaches I’ve seen are that you need a decent overview of World History just for orientation. Which will necessarily be very shallow.

    Then you can start digging. American History, naturally – and I don’t mean the propaganda from that Zinn twit. Deeper European history. Greek and Roman history. If you really wanted to play revisionist, try Persian history – they were the #1 headache for both Greece and Rome for nearly a thousand years.

    I won’t even mention military history.

    The problem is that you MUST have a good foundation of historical knowledge. It’s a list of what situations people have encountered, what they tried, and what worked…and what didn’t.

  23. England had many female queens. But one of the more powerful queens in Europe was Maria Theresa. I first heard of her as a result of the Maria Theresa thaler. One of the most widely counterfeited coins ever, if counterfeit is the right word. Multiple nations, including the U..S, minted them.

    • Robin Munn

      As long as the coin’s value is based on its precious metal content rather than being fiat currency, and the coins being minted do contain the amount of metal that they say they do, I’d say “counterfeited” isn’t the right word. It would only be a counterfeit if it didn’t contain the right amount of silver and copper.

  24. You know, John Adams’s statements about the Constitution are all very well, but he wasn’t one of its framers; he wasn’t even at the convention. Madison was probably the single most important framer; other people who played a big part in the discussion included Roger Sherman, William Paterson, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Gouverneur Morris, James Wilson, Charles Pinckney, and George Mason. I wouldn’t give all that much weight to what Adams thought about the intent of the framers, given the strongly partisan nature of his presidency and its controversial policies.

  25. warning, major time sink

    take a look at “the history guy: five minutes of history” on youtube. It’s a long series of 5-10 min videos with lots of interesting details