Forum Replies Created
FourShoes, thanks for your feedback, and I’m sorry to be so slow in answering your question.
I’m not clear on what you mean by Athens’s alliance with Darius. Are you referencing a specific statement in my lecture or in one of the sources like Herodotus?
Sparta’s concern over Athenian power is usually cited as a contributing factor to the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, but of course that’s a couple of generations after the Persian Wars.
Any clarification of your question would be helpful.
Joel, I may be too late with this reply to help you much, but I hope that my reading lists in the lectures helped you to some extent. Conrad Russell’s book on the Civil Wars is the best starting point for getting a balanced view for what you’re talking about. Some the other “classic” authors who wrote about the Civil War, such as Lawrence Stone and Christopher Hill, were Marxists and not the best people to consult for the nuance you’re trying to detect.
Clarence, it looks like I’m getting to this late, but here’s a thought or two:
Evaluating imperialism as a bad thing seems obvious at first glance from a libertarian perspective, and I think even after careful examination it comes out as a net negative. However, if the concern is for individual liberty, it’s worth pointing out that Western imperialism did increase that in many respects by doing things like ending the slave trade and oppressive local practices such as suttee. It also increased the worldwide division of labor and improved standards of living.
So sorry for the slow reply on this . . .
I do not know a whole lot about the alt-right people, although I’ve met a few and spent a little time on their websites. As far as I can tell, the big issue for them is white nationalism, part of which involves an appreciation for traditional elements of European culture. So they share some ideas with traditional conservatism, but they use a vocabulary that strikes me as being foreign to it a lot of the time. For one thing, the alt-right people I’ve read have no sympathy toward Christianity; they’re either atheists, agnostics, or neo-pagans.
You could say that today’s white nationalism has antecedents in the Anglo-American nationalism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which was really an ideology of empire. (I talk about this a little in the course.) Today’s white nationalism, by contrast, is motivated more by fear of displacement, so there’s a different tone to it.
I hope this is at least a partial answer to your question!
You can’t please everyone . . .
Here’s what I wrote about Hurston in a LRC column (https://www.lewrockwell.com/2009/04/jason-jewell/more-cultural-literacy-a-reading-list-for-beginners/) several years ago:
“84. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God: follows the fortunes of Janie Crawford in Eatonville, FL, an all-black community (Hurston’s birthplace). At one time the most prominent black woman writer in America, Hurston didn’t hate white people enough — she endorsed Robert Taft, for crying out loud! — to satisfy the critics, who tried to send her work down the memory hole. She has enjoyed a resurgence of interest since the 1970s.”
If I recall correctly, Henri Pirenne shows that coinage shifted from primarily gold to primarily silver after the Western Empire faded. This was due mostly to the West’s losing access to certain Mediterranean markets, particularly after the Islamic conquests of the 7th century. Coinage did not go out of use. Some localities shifted to barter because the division of labor dried up, and they weren’t plugged in to real trade networks. It had nothing to do with the lack of a central political authority.
I hope this helps.
I can’t vouch for this title, but it might be the sort of thing you’re looking for and deals at least in part with the 18th century:
I don’t know of any way to measure the profitability of the brigade. Plutarch writes that Crassus had made a point of buying up slaves who were skilled architects and builders, and that might have constrained potential competitors.
Honestly, if you’re looking for a portrait of everyday life, you can’t do much better than the Diary of Samuel Pepys. There are several modern editions of it like this one:
Be careful with the free editions that aren’t abridged or annotated. Pepys used a sort of shorthand that can be confusing.
Here’s Mises on Bruning:
“The Hindenburg Program aimed at all-around planning of all production. The idea was to entrust the direction of all business activities to the authorities. If the Hindenburg Program had been executed, it would have transformed Germany into a purely totalitarian commonwealth. It would have realized the ideal of Othmar Spann, the champion of “German” socialism, to make Germany a country in which private property exists only in a formal and legal sense, while in fact there is public ownership only.
However, the Hindenburg Program had not yet been completely put into effect when the Reich collapsed. The disintegration of the imperial bureaucracy brushed away the whole apparatus of price control and of war socialism. But the nationalist authors continued to extol the merits of the Zwangswirtschaft, the compulsory economy. It was, they said, the most perfect method for the realization of socialism in a predominantly industrial country like Germany. They triumphed when Chancellor Brüning in 1931 went back to the essential provisions of the Hindenburg Program and when later the Nazis enforced these decrees with the utmost brutality.”
Elsewhere Mises argues for an essential continuity in economic policy between Bruning and the Nazis (https://mises.org/library/crisis-interventionism).
However, with specific attention to “austerity,” my understanding is that the mainstream historians more or less agree that there was no other option for Germany without a repeat of the hyperinflation of 1923.
Hi Jon, and sorry for the slow reply. Plutarch accepts the story of Crassus’s purchasing houses that were on fire. Perhaps even more significantly, he offered to purchase other buildings in the vicinity that were at high risk of catching fire if his crew did nothing to stop the blaze.
I’ve never read a contradictory claim to Plutarch on this, so I’m inclined to accept it as legitimate.
Here’s a link to the Leonardo biography I mentioned: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0140169822/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0140169822&linkCode=as2&tag=thewesttrad-20&linkId=DGYYAZLRQRCZLT7Z
I’d start with Vasari’s life of Leonardo. You can find English translations online. I have a good biography of Leonardo at home, but can’t remember the author’s name right now. I will try to get that for you this evening.
On the Medici, Christopher Hibbert is pretty good: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0688053394/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0688053394&linkCode=as2&tag=thewesttrad-20&linkId=NKUZD32CASSO7GNU
The modern theory of sovereignty had been developing since the mid-16th century, but it’s probably fair to say that the Peace of Westphalia was the first significant set of treaties to use that theory as its framework. Practically speaking, though, states like England and France had been operating on a lot of these assumptions for some time, so I don’t think it’s correct to say that the treaties “established” the nation-state idea. The major change, as I said earlier, is that states are for the most part agreeing not to intervene in each others’ religious affairs.
JMEnglish, I apologize for not responding to your question until now. I’m not sure how I missed it when you first posted it, but I’m just seeing it for the first time now.
I don’t give a lot of emphasis to the Treaty of Westphalia in the course. What mainstream historians will normally say about its significance is that it marks the end of using religion to justify war. Among Western states that’s still true, although in the broader international order? Maybe not so much.
The other thing that’s often said about it is that it establishes the modern nation-state system. I think that’s a more dubious claim.
Could I ask you to be more specific about what Westphalian principles you’re referring to if you have something else in mind?