In Transit, and a Video To Make Up For It

To the readership:

As he is heading to the mainland to visit family for a month or so, this author will be in lost in transit for the next few days. Expect posting to be light over the next week. Likewise, I ask the proprietors of the other sites I frequent (and occasionally start arguments at) to forgive any discussions that may be dropped during this time.
For those dearly wanting the type of intellectual stimulation and insight this author likes to imagine he provides, it is my suggestion that you set aside 40 minutes this week to listen to the following lecture (H/T Committee of Public Safety):
Jeremy Black. University of California Television. Posted 31 January 2010.
Black makes several points that would deserve their own post if time permitted. These include:
  • Man has developed two metaphors to conceptualize that institution we call the state:  the machine, created as a tool and ruled by Newtonian mechanisms, and the animal, a living thing whose existence is due to organic development, not conscious design. Black proposes that the true divide in American politics is between those Americans who subscribe to the organic view, and those who subscribe to the mechanic.

    For those interested, my thoughts matter were expressed in an earlier post: The Death of a Nation

  • Totalitarian regimes were fond of calling subversive elements “sicknesses” and “cancers” that needed to be eradicated. While this seems quite horrid to us democrats of the modern day, the incessant “wars” we declare (on poverty, drugs, ect.) are not far removed from the totalitarian metaphor.
  • When asked why Europeans were able to so successfully dominate Native Americans and Australian Aborigines but never do the same in Africa or Southern Asia, historians often point to the many tropical diseases that slowed European conquest and stunted European settlement in these regions. However, this explanation leaves us with a paradox. As Black points out, the European hold on Africa, India, and Southeast Asia was weakest just as European powers had banished these diseases to the point of irrelevancy.

Consider the comment thread a free space to discuss any of these points (or any of the other interesting asides Black makes – there are many) until I return. Cheers!

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