The political project of the “post liberals” is not my own. Many of their critiques of contemporary American life and politics mirror what I have written; many of their suggestions for the future of the American right I easily endorse. θBut the grander their essays, the broader their harangues, the less convincing they become. I suspect our most important divide concerns our understanding of history.
A Scholar’s Stage forum member reports that he and a friend recently finished reading John Darwin’s After Tamerlane. Enraptured by Darwin’s account of flourish and fall, they ask what else they might read to understand the rise and decline of peoples and powers over the course of human history.
In my mind there are four central parts to this tale:
A supposed bust of Alcibiades. Image source. I spent the later part of my teenage years in the forbidding climes of southeastern Minnesota. In those days I’d often hear a joke that I sometimes still repeat: “In Minnesota we have four seasons: near-winter, winter, still-winter,… and road construction.” Minnesota’s northern reaches are pockmarked with lakes […]
This post was originally published as part of the Thucydides Roundtable project over at Zenpundit. I encourage you to read all of the posts in the roundtable. The most famous episode in Thucydides’ History is found in its fifth book. Known as the “Melian Dialogue,” it is one of the best known statements of what […]
This post was originally published as part of the Thucydides Roundtable project over at Zenpundit. I encourage you to read all of the posts in the roundtable.Meet Sima Qian. I hold him in high regard. You could say that this was a historian with balls. Sima Qian is sometimes called the “Herodotus of the East.” […]
This post was originally published as part of the Thucydides Roundtable project over at Zenpundit. I encourage you to read all of the posts in the roundtable. All the world trembles at the dreaded “Thucydides trap.”Of late this phrase has been all the rage. It was first popularized by Graham Allison in 2012, and has only […]
Note to readers: The following post was originally published at Zenpundit as part of the on-going Thucydides Roundtable. I encourage you to follow the comment thread there and read the other participant’s posts as they are published throughout the week.On a summer night, nearly three thousand years ago, three hundred men of Thebes, wet and mud soaked, snuck into the […]
. “Hadrian’s wall at Greenhead Lough” by Velella,Image Source: Wikimedia In a recent War on the Rocks piece Iskander Rehman argues that the United States should not favor a foreign policy of retrenchment because United States policy makers are simply too daft and out of touch with the world to play the part of a modern day Castlereigh: […]
Image Source. Yesterday’s post, “Pre-Modern Battlefields Were Absolutely Terrifying,” has proven immensely popular. The sheer number of responses to it on social media, web forums, and other websites has been a bit overwhelming. My favorite of these was written by Lynn Rees, co-blogger over at Zenpundit. In a personal message to me he describes how […]
Image Source. “Man does not enter battle to fight, but for victory. He does everything that he can to avoid the first and obtain the second” –Ardant du Picq, Battle Studies: Ancient and Modern Battle, trans. John Greely and Robert Cotton (or. pub. Paris, 1870; trans. edition, New York, 1921), pg. 1. Of the many […]