Like other commenters, I was struck by this observation of Lex’s while he related his tale of his initial Occupy Chicago encounter:

My hatred of the Boomers, who have brainwashed and wasted these kids
is boundless. There is nothing wrong with them. They have just never
been taught anything but bullshit. They have been betrayed by their
parents and their teachers. It is very depressing. The country has
been shamefully dumbed down.

Three weeks ago, Thomas S. Monson, the president of my church, observed:

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Recommended Podcast: Europe From Its Origins

I recently listened to this fascinating podcast: Europe from its Origins. It provides a unique in-depth review of the history of the Dark Continent from 312-1414 (so far).

Joseph Hogarty, the author, takes the unique tack of using contemporary names of historical people and places rather than the received historical name.

For example:

  • Constantinius vs. Constantine
  • Antiochea vs. Antioch
  • Clodovicius vs. Clovis
  • Fracia vs. France
  • Carolus Martellus vs. Charles Martel
  • Carolus Magnus vs. Charlemagne

Hogarty stresses the strong continuity between Rome and post-476 Western Europe (except poor distant Britannia). He argues that the great discontinuity between Western medieval Europe and the Western empire of antiquity was not the Germanic barbarian invasions of c. 400 onward but the Islamic conquest of half of the Roman empire after 633. In following this narrative thread, Hogarty’s work slants away from recent scholarship that portrays the Islamic conquest as a welcome breath of desert tolerance warmly embraced by the Christians of Roman Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Africa. Hogarty argues instead that the Islamic conquest was a bloody usurpation that, uniquely in world history, retribalized every complex urban civilization it touched.

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The Sentiments of Mr. Charles James Napier

The sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier on multicultural understanding and tolerance:

Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.

The sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier on effective government:

The best way to quiet a country is a good thrashing, followed by great kindness afterwards. Even the wildest chaps are thus tamed.

The sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier on how to win friends and influence people:

The human mind is never better disposed to gratitude and attachment than when softened by fear.

The sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier on colonialism:

So perverse is mankind that every nationality prefers to be misgoverned by its own people than to be well ruled by another.

The sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier on self-improvement:

Success is like war and like charity in religion, it covers a multitude of sins.

The sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier on life’s little setbacks:

Honorable retreats are no ways inferior to brave charges, as having less fortune, more of discipline, and as much valor.

Not a sentiment of Mr. Charles James Napier regarding south Pakistani tourism:


Humanitarian Intervention in the Mesozoic Era


Whatever may be the traditional sympathy of our countrymen as individuals with a people who seem to be struggling for larger autonomy and greater freedom, deepened, as such sympathy naturally must be, in behalf of our neighbors, yet the plain duty of their Government is to observe in good faith the recognized obligations of international relationship. The performance of this duty should not be made more difficult by a disregard on the part of our citizens of the obligations growing out of their allegiance to their country, which should restrain them from violating as individuals the neutrality which the nation of which they are members is bound to observe in its relations to friendly sovereign states. Though neither the warmth of our people’s sympathy with the Cuban insurgents, nor our loss and material damage consequent upon the futile endeavors thus far made to restore peace and order, nor any shock our humane sensibilities may have received from the cruelties which appear to especially characterize this sanguinary and fiercely conducted war, have in the least shaken the determination of the Government to honestly fulfill every international obligation, yet it is to be earnestly hoped on every ground that the devastation of armed conflict may speedily be stayed and order and quiet restored to the distracted island, bringing in their train the activity and thrift of peaceful pursuits.


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How Many Divisions Does S&P Have?

In 1935, French foreign minister Pierre Laval visited Moscow to win greater Soviet support against Hitler’s Germany. During his visit, Laval asked Joseph Stalin to ease up on his rough handling of Soviet Roman Catholics. Laval argued that this public show of toleration toward Soviet Catholics would increase French diplomatic clout with the Vatican and help Laval persuade Pius XI to oppose the rising Nazis threat more fervently.

Stalin dismissed Laval’s request out of hand, snorting sarcastically, “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?”

Stalin may have been surprised when it turned out that at least one Pope commanded enough divisions to make a strong contribution towards fatally undermining Stalin’s own handiwork. Marxist-Leninism, with its emphasis on purely material factors, may have mislead Stalin into discounting the Pope’s divisions of the imagination. Or Stalin was being misleading since he used his own invisible legions of useful idiots, fellow travelers, and fifth columnists to great effect.

But, in this current frantic moment, when the division between imagined and real is in blurry flux, we might find it useful to ask another version of Stalin’s question:

How many divisions does Standard and Poors (S&P) have?

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