Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Today I recalled a post from November of 2013 when I used to write a good deal more in this blog than of late. What I was remembering was a story about the destruction of a town in the Americas by a pack of religious zealots. It came back to mind when I recalled that I had meant to repost that blogpost after I attended the Monet Show at the Imperial Cleveland Art Museum and Atrium. That show has moved on, as they do, and that all that remains is, kind of unknown at the moment.  From the banner hanging outside the Art Museum, it's Egyptian.

We attended a wonderful Explorer Series lecture last night on the Poison Frogs....and no, not what you're thinking. These are the adorable little poisonous frogs.....not quite specific enough. This was a wonderful lecture on the little tiny extremely poisonous frogs of....I'll start again.

Anyway, while I was there, I recalled the Monet Exhibit this summer which had featured a painting by Childe Hasam of the Isle of Shoals six miles off the coast of Maine, where the godfearing Pilgrims marooned Thomas Morton, leader of Wallaston, to meet his lonely fate and die back in 1625 AD.

Isle of Shoals by Childe Hasam
Merry Mount was a little place but they screwed up and failed to arm themselves against religious fanatics. It's like they didn't believe such folks were a threat to them.

You can read all the gory details here.

It's kind of interesting to observe the trend of now. Merry Mount was a town of good enough people who had a right to exist and follow their conscience but it was wiped out and replaced with Quincy, MA which, I think, is reason enough to compel our attention to the role that zealots play in history. I'm not talking about the small stuff like what happened in Waco twice now as the zealots went berserk and wiped out the enemies of the forces of law and order. It's more than that.

I'm watching more and more zealots convinced that they have an absolute right to kill or strand unbelievers on a rock off the coast of Maine. They believe it down to their hearts that what they do is good and necessary and cannot comprehend people that refuse to knuckle under and obey the commands from on high. They have never once considered where this nation came from or even glanced at the foundations of this modern Nation/State. The only thing that ties them together is a hatred for things they all hate together. They hate everything with a passion. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you fail to raise passion for what you believe, rest assured you'll go down because the people who hate you will raise passions against you and everything you believe. I believe in civilization. Not many people understand what that is.

We once lived in a world where educated men were familiar with the classics and the classics included all that was distilled from the essence of governing civilized society learned from thousands of years of governing civilized societies. We didn't accept the governing principles of the Kings of Hawaii anymore than we accepted those of the rulers of Africa or Central Asia or the Steppes of Mongolia. That's due to a really simple reason. They are incompatible with civilization. Nomads are inherently destructive of civilization. We've reached the point where our universities preach destruction and decivilization to an entire unwashed group of people who, attending university, consider themselves the arbiters of what is civilization.

Nomads camp on 14th hole in England because
Government, under civilization, grew to effect civilization over the centuries. It gradually assumed the benefices of civilization to itself and it took to governing more and more of the world. Yeah, it did it by main force but also by the fact that it worked to the benefit of most of the people.* It established rational rules of behavior, rewarded those who followed the rules and it imprinted itself on most of the known world by 1948. You can see that by the order that came out of WWII but you can also see that that order grew out of the Peace of Versailles and the Peace of Westphalia and the Magna Carta. It is a gradual process.

You know what held all that together right up until now? People were actually familiar with the Magna Carta, The Constitution, The Rights of Man, the Treaty of Westphalia, the 100 Years War, the Treaty of Paris, the Geneva Convention, the actual words of Martin Luther.

Nobody in the World teaches that stuff anymore. One can lament that as a passing of the armies of western thought that existed since Thucydides right up to George Kennan, but it's gone. It's as much a faded history as the Battle of Blenheim or Malplaquet or the battle flags hanging in Les Invalides. Nobody under 40 has ever read any of that stuff. Not one of them think it matters.

The saddest part for me, nobody understands where that all came from. They don't have a clue that the world goes through phases, just like the solar cycle. There is peace and tranquility for just an instant and then it is swept away by the nature of conflict and cultural understanding. If you look at the shaping documents that survive history that meant anything at all, every one of them was written in oceans of blood. Yep, right around the time the people of x understand the cultural invasion, they react. Greece was there, eventually when the Persians were resisted, Rome for a thousand years, Europe gradually awoke to it but you'd have to actually read a survey of history such Will and Ariel Durant to find an appreciation for every place that grew into a civilization.

Once upon a time, the Caliphs owned a civilization that flourished across much of the known world. They were quite civilized by any standard until they were destroyed by the growing Mongol Empire. What happened to that civilized society at the hands of the Mongols ranks right up there with the Holodomor that overwhelmed countless societies of that time right up until the 20th century. You know? I'm pretty sure that each time, people all agreed, never again.

I was actually kind of looking forward to the sudden understanding of the interpretations (very different) of the sea-bed mining UN convention and the ownership of space UN convention after a little tiny bit of understanding of what has changed over the last 500 years since the kings of Europe wrote Royal or Imperial Charters to the New World. Look at the current onslaught of Space. It is now entrepreneurs that talk about launching the first manned expedition to Mars. They can't claim it in the name of America, they'll just claim it for Google.

Space X and the rest will move into the solar system with charters you cannot see and they will colonize and develop new places which will find the legacy of their predecessors quite unendurable. I can see them all doing just exactly what the leaders of the Plymouth Colony did and holding every man hostage, at knifepoint, until he agrees that he and his family will be bound by the communist manifesto until they starve to death.

Which is just how it happened again and again in the New World the last time.


OldAFSarge said...

Civilization does seem to be on the wane.

'Tis a shame, for it was a beautiful thing.

(Rather prolific day for you, Cap'n. You've given us much to ponder.)

Captain Steve said...

Really good. Thanks. BTW:My grandchildren have absorbed some history. I teach them what the schools will not--and correct what the schools incorrectly teach (e.g The Vietnam War).

virgil xenophon said...

GREAT post, Curtis, really fine..

HMS Defiant said...

Our late friend and I have a tendency to write and then hesitate about posting. You got a day's worth of hesitation. Blame it on our late friend from Portales. That's what I plan to do.

HMS Defiant said...

I cannot recall it but they might get some benefit from Leslie Gelb and the slippery slope; The Village by jerry west, A Sense of Honor, that movie We Were Soldiers Once and Young and To Serve Them All My Days.

That was a war I lived through as a child. I was in the first grade when my da went to war. He came back. We would go to the pool and swim and he had the most wonderful zippers and bullet holes.

OldAFSarge said...

No doubt he'd give you a pass.