Things are never as good (or as bad)…
Humanity is never as liberal (or as sovereign)…
Networks are never as decentralised (or as democratic)…
Revolutions are never as is impactful (or as legible)…
Death is never as pointless (or as painful)…
…as it seems.
- History – like the present and certainly the future – is not about “moderation” but rather instead about periods of unspeakable atrocities punctuating great human flourishing. To quote UK Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher (1841-1920):
Moderation in war is imbecility.
Australian poet Frederic Manning (1882-1935) continues along these lines:
War is waged by men; not by beasts, or by gods. It is a peculiarly human activity. To call it a crime against mankind is to miss at least half its significance; it is also the punishment of a crime.
- And America is never as “creative” as it seems! Turns out, thanks to 5`500 pages of incredible research from Todd H. Rider in his recently published Forgotten Creators: German-Speaking Scientists and Engineers Invented the Modern World, And What We Can Learn from Them that today we’re largely living on fumes of the 1800-1950 German-speaking world. America’s contribution has rarely been “invention” so much as scale and sales, ie. a large integrated low-barrier internal domestic market and world-class marketing. Hey, it’s something! Just don’t it late for
- If secularism were “true” it wouldn’t be so sterilising, y’know what I mean? ↩
- What does actual “deterrence” look like in praxis? Look no further than Paul Fussell 1981 essay for The New Republic: Thank God for the Atom Bomb ↩
- Most people don’t call it such, preferring instead to view of the “country” of “Israel” through their DEItarded lenses as some kind of “colonial” project, but we’re actually living in the time of the Third Jewish Commonwealth, the inevitable project of which will be to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, now dormant these two millennia. What a time to be alive! To give some context for the specialness and remarkableness of this moment, let’s looks back a couple thousand years via Salo Wittmayer Baron’s 1937 magnum opus: A Social and Religious History of the Jews (pp 162-164, emphasis added):
Unlike the First Commonwealth which had owed its origin to military conquest, the Second was built principally by the combined forces of Jewish statesmenship and priestly learning. This was possible, because the new form of religion corresponded so well to the new situation. A most remarkable thing happened. Just as in the days of the Judges, the people in Palestine now had to live by a law formulated outside their own country. It is immaterial whether it was the whole Pentateuch in its then known form, or only the so-called Priestly Code that Ezra submitted to the people gathered in Jerusalem. It was apparently brought with him from Babylonia. To be sure, it drew on the rich, centuries-old mines of Palestinian judicial and priestly lore. It was also, in many ways, a child of the spirit of the Palestinian prophets. But the emphasis, the lights and the shadows, the whole tone, as well as many detailed extensions, were Babylonian. The elevation of the Law to a supreme position in the Jewish religion, the extreme accentuations of the ritual, the laws of purity and those concerning food, and even the exalted appreciation of priesthood and sacrifices reflected mainly exilic conditions and ideals.
Ideal holiness of the people through segregation found its counterpart in both Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s insistence upon ethnic purity and their prohibition of intermarriage. This principle of ethnic purity and
exclusiveness was for centuries to come a necessity for the preservation of the Jewish people even in Palestine. But in its essence it is the main safeguard of a people in dispersion against national extinction. Ethnic purity was here in a remarkable way combined with the idea of a universal, transcendent, and holy God. The chief task of the Jewish people thus became that of a “nation of priests” living a holy life apart from the others “before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord” (Mal. 3:23). Such a nation of priests does not depend on the number of its members, but on its quality of holiness and purity. Therefore, a select group of such sacerdotal or lay “priests,” even though it be an insignificant minority of the Jewish people itself, living in the Holy Land, would be able to exercise a significant influence on all Israel in the dispersion, and through it on the whole world. Thus originated that anomalous Jewish “theocracy” in a corner of the Persian Empire, small and neither politically nor economically significant. Through its vital influence on the whole Jewish people in many lands, however, this little province soon became a factor of consequence to the world at large.
In building the Second Jewish Commonwealth exilic and post-exilic leadership embarked upon another unprecedented venture. Never before had a people, dispersed through foreign lands, created out of its spiritual and material resources a homeland and ultimately a state. This was, however, but a logical consequence of its leaders’ conscious determination from the outset to go on living as a national entity in defiance of all precedents. Building upon the foundations of their historic heritage, their faith reinforced by their belief in the imminence of a messianic future, they reconstructed the communal life of their people and reformulated its basic ideologies with the view toward a perplexing present and an unpredictable future. In order to achieve this end they often had to tone down some of the traditional emphases and, more frequently, stress certain elements with unprecedented vehemence.
One of the most amazing characteristics of that entire exilic and early postexilic experience was the astounding rapidity with which the Jewish minority groups in Babylonia, and apparently also in Egypt, recovered from the shock of the loss of national independence and the miseries of deportation. While adjusting themselves to the new environments, however, often achieving wealth and influence, they retained their national and religious identity. New leaders arose. Instead of denouncing a social structure no longer their own, instead of preaching comfort and consolation to a people most of whom no longer were suffering individual distress, they evolved a whole new system of law and theology. While fully maintaining continuity with the previous intellectual evolution, they found new theoretical and practical implications for a nation without state and territory. A transcendent and holy God, they taught, has selected the people of Israel as his holy nation, for reasons known only to Him. Through a life of holiness and, if necessary, of great suffering this people will continue to make known the name of God until the end of days, when all nations shall recognize their error and worship this one God. In the meantime, Israel must keep aloof from these other nations, or order not to be contaminated by their errors and their unholy life. Such an aim can only be achieved by a full, specific, and peculiar law in all its ramifications. The life thus demanded is necessarily artificial and contrary to nature in many ways. Therefore the Jew has to live, if necessary, in defiance of nature.
From the ruins of the Second Temple, may the Third Temple rise! For only the second time in human history, a Diaspora becomes a State: