Goldberg vs. Reno: it is Goldberg for the Win!

 

Jonah Goldberg doesn’t need me to defend him, but since we had two posts on this subject already (found here and here), I thought it was worth my time to read the entire R.R. Reno review.

The review was terrible. Frankly, I expected Mr. Reno to hold himself to a higher standard than he achieved in his review of Jonah Goldberg’s book. Goldberg responded to the review on Twitter by laughing at it. I thought I might give a longer response. Let’s start right at the top.

Mr. Reno writes:

Goldberg believes that the Miracle exists beyond rational justification—and therefore beyond critique. “There is no dialectic, inevitability, teleology, or hidden algorithm that made human success a foregone conclusion.” We can’t explain it as divine Providence, nor can we justify the Miracle on the basis of human nature. Goldberg thus jettisons the foundations of classical political philosophy: God, human nature, reason, and history. Critics may imagine that there could be a better way. But Goldberg assures us they are mistaken. We are “standing at the end of history,” and there is no alternative other than reactionary regression.

Mr. Goldberg does no such thing. He merely adopts the Hayekian position that we should not pretend to have too much knowledge about how this great thing happened. Sure, many arguments about why this happened and where this happened have merit and serve as partial explanations. These answers remain partial. As Goldberg explains at length, no one knows completely why and how the mix of Enlightenment thinking, Christianity, English and Dutch culture, and geopolitical situation led to these last three centuries of jaw-dropping economic growth, the protection of individual rights, and the peaceful advancement of political and religious freedom. Since we have no certain formula for making this kind of society happen, Goldberg encourages us to not be cavalier in throwing away the achievements.

The wealth the “Miracle” creates allows for discontent. Hard work and thrift become despised, resentment of the standing order begins to eat away at the foundations of our success. Goldberg’s book is about wanting to fight the discontent, the resentment, the erosion of the moral foundations that make the Miracle happens. Goldberg says it’s a fight worth having because no known alternative to the Miracle is an improvement. Consequently, he spends a long time in his book addressing critiques of the Miracle.

Goldberg and Reno agree that “Critics can imagine a better way.” Where they disagree is that Goldberg points out no alternative has proven better than what we have now, while Reno seems to think such “better” alternatives exist, though Reno fails to identify any of them.

***

Reno writes,

Since there is no reasonable basis for criticizing what Goldberg calls the liberal order, the only explanation for dissent is psychological—a psychosis, a regression, an irrational fear. He dismisses various populist movements as irrational even though they have asked us to answer some very reasonable questions: Should there be limits to globalization? What is the future of the Pax Americana? What is the role of the nation-state in the twenty-first century? How should we respond to mass migration? Can we sustain global prosperity while ­reorienting its benefits toward middle-class voters in the West?

Actually, this is not Goldberg’s understanding at all. Goldberg doesn’t claim the Miracle defies all explanation and is therefore immune from criticism. Rather, he thinks the Miracle is better than any alternative actually offered. It is not psychosis but human nature which resists benefiting more than our own group or narrow interests. The fallen nature of men tends to bend more towards exploitation instead of beneficial co-operation with strangers.

Let’s take apart Reno’s series of very reasonable questions: “Should there be limits to globalization?” A question very much asked and answered in various ways by people within the classical liberal order of the Miracle. “What is the future of the Pax Americana?” A question that is not even part of Goldberg’s book and is not essential to the Miracle. “What is the role of the nation-state in the twenty-first century?” A question well asked by the defenders of the Miracle and detractors alike. “How should we respond to mass migration?” The legal, cultural, economic system that is Goldberg’s “Miracle” has no one answer to that. Mass migration is not a foundational question but a contingent one.

The first half of the last question in the series takes the existence of the Miracle for granted and means that Reno supports Goldberg’s thesis more than he knows. Reno asks, “Can we sustain global prosperity…?” Before the Miracle, the entire world would have found that premise to be insane. Who would care about “global prosperity”? Why would we care about that, rather than be concerned with just our own prosperity?

Reno claims the series of questions he poses to Goldberg are gifted to us by “populism,” but they were part of the conversation before populism’s recent rise. The real questions are, will we answer these questions in a healthy and useful way or in a way that’s harmful and counterproductive?

***

Reno writes,

For example, after 1945, a consensus developed that promoting free trade forestalls nationalist competition that leads to war. Free trade also unites America’s allies in common cause against communist aggression. It was a wise policy for a time, but it was not itself the liberal order. After all, in the decades before 1945, proponents of the liberal order in America pursued vigorous protectionist policies. Today, however, criticisms of economic globalization are denounced as anti-liberal, as if the post-1945 world order uniquely and finally realized the essence of liberalism—which is ­exactly what Goldberg implies.

A false reading of history. Classical liberalism always valued free trade but the focus was first on eliminating tariffs and other barriers within a nation or group. This was a major way for regimes to tax their own people, and liberals wanted to end this harmful practice. Now the very thought of such a practice is so insane that Reno just skips over it. The principle of free trade was in fact part of the liberal order always but the why and the how of our implementation of the principle have changed over time as our knowledge, experience, and technology have changed.

This would be no different than saying free speech was not really part of our values at the founding of the United States because the founders allowed more censorship than we do today. The principle of free speech has been with America from the beginning but its implementation and its impact on our culture changes over time.

***

Reno writes,

This confusion of the present political consensus with the end of history is a constant temptation in the modern era. Modernity is whiggish. It seduces us into thinking that everything that comes before leads to the present, which finally realizes the true potential of earlier trends.

But as Goldberg writes on page 99 of his book,

None of this is to say that Hannan—a friend of mine—is wrong. It is to say that he was right when he said the English “stumbled” into modernity. The tradition of English liberty was a flame that could have been extinguished if the winds of history had shifted slightly at any one of a thousand different moments. We are fortunate that circumstances worked out the way they did. But at the most fundamental level, if you take providence or some other teleological theory of the purpose of history out of the equation, modernity happened in England by accident.

Hard for me see Goldberg the Whig here.

***

In the following passage, Reno basically agrees with Goldberg and joins with him in sounding the alarm for saving the miracle:

Peasants with pitchforks are dangerous, yes, but less so than our complacent political class. These people fail to recognize that while benefiting many, globalization has hollowed out the middle class in the developed West, thus imperiling liberal democracy. Our job is to rethink, readjust, and remediate so that the best of what has been achieved in recent decades can be preserved.

That Reno spends most of the review trashing Goldberg’s view, then pretty much joins in with Goldberg’s premise at the end, seems dishonest, lazy, or at the least sloppy. More charitably, perhaps Reno did not fully grasp the book I assume he read.

***

Reno takes a very strange turn when he writes,

In Goldberg, the habit of denunciation reaches absurd heights. He rehearses the tiresome conservative trope that Democrats are not true liberals but illiberal progressives. According to Goldberg, Trump voters are ingrates, moral hypocrites, and tribalistic “reactionaries.” So are Clinton and Sanders voters. He believes that ever since Woodrow ­Wilson, what goes by the name “liberal” in America has in fact been an anti-liberal form of reactionary regression from the Miracle. Anyone who defines ­Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt as enemies of the liberal order is a political propagandist, not a thinker concerned with understanding our populist-­driven challenges.

The fact that Wilson and FDR were hostile to the classical liberal order and sent the Democrat party into an illiberal direction is simply true: they were open about it and it is obvious. How this becomes a “tiresome conservative trope” for Reno is beyond me. I can hazard a guess that it may be rooted in a Conservative Catholic tradition that goes something like this:

First came Protestantism, which led directly to Liberalism, which descends naturally into Communism and only a return to a society ordered by the Catholic Church defends us from such horrors. I have heard of this view and read of it, but it never made much sense to me.

Catholic, Orthodox, and Pagan countries have all gone Communist or Fascist. Which Protestant countries have done that? (Germany of course did but it was a country with an enormous Catholic population). Protestants did become classically liberal first but not all Protestant countries did so or even remained classically liberal. I will just leave it with the thought that anyone claiming that Wilson and Roosevelt were not enemies of the classical liberal order as written down in our founding documents is not a serious thinker.

***

I will end with this: Although most of Reno’s essay was off-topic or misinformed, he finished with an insightful question:

One place to start is with Augustine, who defined a commonwealth as a body of people united by a common love. In a liberal society that prizes individual freedom and religious pluralism, can we identify our common love? ­Populism cannot answer that question, but it has shown that our public intellectuals and political leaders can’t either. [emphasis added]

For the last 300 years, we all answered this question with a resounding and surprising successful “Yes!” Before that the whole world would have said “No!” Goldberg thinks preserving the “Yes” is vitally important and it seems to me Reno is comfortably answering “No.”

There are 45 comments.

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  1. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    Protestantism may be more critical of authority but I don’t see how that makes it more individualistic than the Catholic faith.

    Individualistic or communatarian in my use is not pejorative.  There are many aspects of Protestant theology that stress the individual relationship with God while Catholic theology will tend to stress that relationship with God comes through the church.  I have heard many a protestant talk about having the Word of God, a relationship with Jesus is enough. There is nothing special about Pastors or teachers or the rest, they can be your guides and guard rails but they add nothing to salvation. 

    I don’t imagine that message is taught very much in the Catholic church.  That is not saying that either way is better or more Christian than the other.  But Protestants and Catholics have different emphasis on different aspects of the overall Christian tradition and this has real world effects. 

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    Just to counter your accusations the university system of Europe was established by the Catholic Church.

    What accusations?  I am not sure what you are referring too.  Yes of course the Catholic Church founded the University system.  I am glad they did and celebrate that achievement.

    I am not sure what you are getting at but Protestants in America created the modern day public school to educate all people in the community.  Literacy has been a great motivating factor for Protestants more so than other communities.  Did they invent these ideas?  Of course not!  They simply started them earlier on a mass scale.  I would suggest this long article about the difference between the effects of independent Protestant missionaries as opposed to government sponsored Catholic or Protestant missionaries.  If you are pressed for time this article is more of a summary and a quicker read but covers the same basic material. 

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    Natural rights and the idea of justice were fairly contemplated ideas within Catholicism prior to the Reformation.

    Almost all ideas that Reformation put forward and put into operation in their societies had a Catholic origin.  That is why we call that great social upheaval the Reformation.  So I think we are in agreement here as well.

    I am not saying that Catholics can’t think of these ideas what I am saying is that America was founded by Protestants with these ideas and I am saying that mattered.  Catholics put these ideas into practice in France, Spain, Italy, Colombia, Venezula, Mexico, Cuba, Central America, the Brazilian Catholics had slightly more advantage situation than the English Colonists in America but the outcomes of these colonies, revolutions and politics were far, far different than what happened in America.  The fact that America was Protestant was one factor in that outcome but not the only factor.

    • #31
  2. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    I don’t think the idea of a pluralistic civil conventions originated with the Protestants. There have been numerous cases of pluralism within Catholic nations/states prior to the Reformation, and within other non-christian nations too.

    I surely did not.  For instance religious freedom was practiced first in Poland and in Hungry long before the rest of Europe both placed had catholic monarchs.  Then Transylvania was the first Calvinist Protestant nation to practice Religious freedom.

    When I speak of a system of pluralism I do not refer to an Imperial system where one political regime rules over distinct people groups.  I mean a system where all the various people groups in the country engage in the politics of the country as equals.  You have not seen a lot of that around the world.

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    But to be more to the point I don’t think most of these ideas originated with Catholicism either. The virtues have been contemplated and exercised for quite a while and the historical record attests to this. Trade has been going on since at least 10,000 BC.

    Strongly disagree.  Trade has gone on for as long as there have been humans and nearly none of the societies were pluralistic.  You have seen American like societies with the rule of law, participatory democracy, free trade in operation for centuries?  I have not.  It is not that any one aspect of America is brand new what is new is that all the factors came together and combined and worked in a new way that started off a massive growth in economic prosperity and cultural and technological innovation. 

    All of this is not linked to any certain religion either.  For instance Catholic France had religious dissenters that wanted to emigrate to America.  But the French would not let them emigrate to Quebec and so they eventually fled mostly to England and a little colony on the Mississippi.  The English crown said “good riddance, get out of here.”   The difference policy choices here made a huge difference in the fate of the two countries’ Colonial enterprises but the fact that the monarch of France was Catholic and the English Monarch was Protestant had no effect on this particular crucial policy choice.

    • #32
  3. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Goldberg’s book would have made more sense to the idiot reviewer if he had bothered to notice and pursue Goldberg’s express heavy reliance on McCloskey’s utterly brilliant Bourgeois Virtues and Bourgeois Dignity which explored in detail every possible alternative explanation for the economic explosion that arose in the 17th century in England and Holland. What is left is clearly a cultural cultural change. It is a “miracle” precisely because the usual array of materialistic or ideological causal explanations fail. It was a cognitive, cultural change that led to an explosion of innovation that drove (and still drives) unprecedented rates of economic and technological growth.

    If you don’t grasp Goldberg’s starting point as to what it is that is threatened by the return of tribalism or romanticism, you can’t understand the book.

    Also, it is the lazy, shallow, kneejerk reviewer who misses the point regarding Goldberg’s characterization of modern “liberals” as having completely departed from classical liberalism. And anyone who read Liberal Fascism would understand how well grounded Goldberg’s critique of Wilson was.

    Trying to review a book by simply asking where and how the book departs from the average second-rate zeitgeist regurgitation on Huffpo –and even getting that wrong–is deeply pathetic.

    Wow.  We know where you stand!  I have almost always had a fairly good reaction to Reno’s work but in this review he was bad, really bad.  I am not sure he made a wise choice in reviewing the book in the first place.

    • #33
  4. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    I Walton (View Comment):
    Goldberg’s book was balanced and thorough right up to the end when he moved into contemporary politics for which the only information is media and conflicting personal accounts which is different from research where a lot of error and contemporary furor has been burned off by history and history’s critics. 

    Fair enough…

    • #34
  5. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):

    Brian Wolf (View Comment):
    Our movies and stories almost always reflect a basic Protestant world view and that gives us a certain shared culture.

    What is the Protestant world view?

    Well Catholics (in general) and protestants (in general) have radically different relationships with time which has a number of social and political consequences.

    That was a really good video!  Thanks for sharing it.

    • #35
  6. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Brian Wolf (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):

    Brian Wolf (View Comment):
    Our movies and stories almost always reflect a basic Protestant world view and that gives us a certain shared culture.

    What is the Protestant world view?

    Well Catholics (in general) and protestants (in general) have radically different relationships with time which has a number of social and political consequences.

    That was a really good video! Thanks for sharing it.

    Happy too.

    • #36
  7. HeavyWater Inactive
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Great post.  A few months ago, Robert Tracinski wrote this regarding various review of Goldberg’s “Suicide of the West.” Dear Conservatives: The Enlightenment is not the Enemy.

    It’s quite a trick for the Enlightenment to bring us both hyper-individualism and communism, but more on that in a moment. Davidson goes on to assert that “the various illiberal ideologies that came out of Enlightenment thought (like communism)” are a “natural consequence of the hyper-rational scientism embedded in the liberal order itself.”

    He quotes another review by Richard M. Reinsch II: “If you are going to set the Enlightenment Miracle as the standard of human excellence, one that we are losing, you must also clearly state the dialectic it introduces of an exaltation of reason, power, and science that can become something rather illiberal.” Reinsch concludes that “scientistic communist thinking” cannot be “cleaved from the modern Enlightenment project.”

    Well, thanks, guys. You just took the entire moral and intellectual authority of the Enlightenment and handed it over to the commies, a feat they could never have managed on their own.

    It’s an interesting article.

    • #37
  8. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Great post. A few months ago, Robert Tracinski wrote this regarding various review of Goldberg’s “Suicide of the West.” Dear Conservatives: The Enlightenment is not the Enemy.

    It’s quite a trick for the Enlightenment to bring us both hyper-individualism and communism, but more on that in a moment. Davidson goes on to assert that “the various illiberal ideologies that came out of Enlightenment thought (like communism)” are a “natural consequence of the hyper-rational scientism embedded in the liberal order itself.”

    He quotes another review by Richard M. Reinsch II: “If you are going to set the Enlightenment Miracle as the standard of human excellence, one that we are losing, you must also clearly state the dialectic it introduces of an exaltation of reason, power, and science that can become something rather illiberal.” Reinsch concludes that “scientistic communist thinking” cannot be “cleaved from the modern Enlightenment project.”

    Well, thanks, guys. You just took the entire moral and intellectual authority of the Enlightenment and handed it over to the commies, a feat they could never have managed on their own.

    It’s an interesting article.

    I think Reno was coming from this point of view too.

    • #38
  9. Could Be Anyone Member
    Could Be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    Brian Wolf (View Comment):

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):

    Brian Wolf (View Comment):
    Our movies and stories almost always reflect a basic Protestant world view and that gives us a certain shared culture.

    What is the Protestant world view?

    Well Catholics (in general) and protestants (in general) have radically different relationships with time which has a number of social and political consequences.

    That was a really good video! Thanks for sharing it.

    That video isn’t bad but it argues that geography affects time management (and thus productivity) and not religious doctrine—making it irrelevant to our discussion . The only part, lasts 10 seconds in a 10 minute video, that covers religious doctrine is the little boilerplate mention of Calvinism (work hard to show that God favors you) and the mention of GDP between Protestant and Catholic nations (he does not even explain what the Catholic time management version is).

    This completely misses the fact that there are Catholic nations with GDPs equal or superior to Protestant nations (France and Austria are good examples). @thereticulator has also linked a study before, on a past thread,  between regions in Germany, both before and after reformation from 1300 to 1990, and found no discernible difference in economic output explained by religion.

     

    • #39
  10. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    That video isn’t bad but it argues that geography affects time management (and thus productivity) and not religious doctrine—making it irrelevant to our discussion

    Not totally irrelevant.   But yes the video does not prove anything by itself.  It was just interesting to me I did not say the video was great because I thought it proved my points.

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    the mention of GDP between Protestant and Catholic nations (he does not even explain what the Catholic time management version is).

    Catholics are past orientated and Protestant future according to the video.  They did not really go into depth on their proof for that.

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    This completely misses the fact that there are Catholic nations with GDPs equal or superior to Protestant nations (France and Austria are good examples).

    Catholic countries do tend to do better after being conquered by Protestant ones!  (Ok that was just a joke please don’t take seriously.

    Religion can be a factor and it can be an important one because Religion can shape culture.   But Religion does not shape culture alone.  I would assume that the cultural traits that unite Germans are more powerful than their religious differences and there are always exceptions to things write large, the world is a big place. 

    But back to my main point.  The English and the French both settled North America the English were far more successful at it and part of the why of their success is their Protestant culture and back ground.  These reasons go deep and involve a lot of accidents of history, not just religion.  However I think religion does make a difference and is a weighty factor.  Catholics made many colonies, more than the English did, but none them followed a stable liberal trajectory that America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia did.  This was not just restricted to the English either as the articles I cited above show.  Protestant missionaries created a different kind of culture than Catholic missionaries did.

    • #40
  11. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    I kind of think that if you view it that religion can influence how we relate to time, and that will influence what we value, which will impact how a society balances trade offs; its probably a less contentious conversation when discussing the ideas in general.

    In specific, religion can lead to value differences which can lead to unbridgable divides on trade offs when trying to have a common administration of a pluralistic society.  That conversation is necessarily contentious, but that isn’t necessarily the one we have to have now.

    • #41
  12. Could Be Anyone Member
    Could Be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    Brian Wolf (View Comment):

    Religion can be a factor and it can be an important one because Religion can shape culture. But Religion does not shape culture alone. I would assume that the cultural traits that unite Germans are more powerful than their religious differences and there are always exceptions to things writ large, the world is a big place.

    But back to my main point. The English and the French both settled North America the English were far more successful at it and part of the why of their success is their Protestant culture and back ground. These reasons go deep and involve a lot of accidents of history, not just religion. However I think religion does make a difference and is a weighty factor. Catholics made many colonies, more than the English did, but none them followed a stable liberal trajectory that America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia did. This was not just restricted to the English either as the articles I cited above show. Protestant missionaries created a different kind of culture than Catholic missionaries did.

    The difference in outcome for the English and their “liberalization” from the rest of continental Europe was that they were missing one major variable, war. Like America England benefitted from having water around it and weak neighbors. War destroys not only valuables but also human individuals. A double loss of capital. It also warps how a society thinks about accumulating wealth. The more violent the society the more likely it is that taking wealth, rather than producing it, is seen as the means to success.

    That has nothing to do with work ethic or the various other factors you are allegedly that some strain of Protestantism increases against Catholicism. England did have a few wars (and 3 civil wars) from 1000 to 1914, but none were devastating to England itself. The majority of the damage of said wars were on their enemies (the Irish, French, Welsh, and Scots, etc.).

    That lack of war, or prolonged peace, can do wonders for establishing a stable society that can operate without need for threat of violence (so common in war). It facilitates trade and contracts (because you can trust people). That then permeates throughput your expanded holdings (colonies) when you expand. No other nation had that kind of culture but the English also had different circumstances than other nations in the Americas.

    The English were not known for mixing with Native American groups. Other nations, like the French and Spanish were far more prone to it. The Spanish in particular had in several cases knocked out large (advanced for their region) empires that had existed prior  to their arrival and had significant populations (even after the plague hit). Said territory was not going to be cooperative and so the Spanish (as they had learned through the very recent Reconquista) implemented authoritarian institutions to tame said territory, in many cases said measures were opposed by local priests and bishops.

    The English in the North Americas, Australia, and New Zealand colonized land that had very small local populations (for Canada and Australia and New Zealand that was just the climate, but for America the plague had wiped out many). Little opposition. Now consider other areas where the British ran into opposition during colonization (South Africa and India) and they committed similar authoritarian measures in subduing local populations as the Spanish did, and little economic or democratic progression occurred during the colonization.

    The Protestant English were not much better than their Catholic counterparts aside from the fact they had a better maritime tradition and were hard to invade. The French lost North America because of the 7 Years War and that was decided on the fields of Europe where Prussia, and not England, bore the brunt of the bill in deciding who would control North America.

    • #42
  13. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    The difference in outcome for the English and their “liberalization” from the rest of continental Europe was that they were missing one major variable, war. Like America England benefitted from having water around it and weak neighbors. War destroys not only valuables but also human individuals. A double loss of capital. It also warps how a society thinks about accumulating wealth. The more violent the society the more likely it is that taking wealth, rather than pro ducing it, is seen as the means to success.

    Partially true.  A society that makes wealth accumulation available by non violent means will get less violence as well.  If you take away violence you don’t automatically get economic growth or the system that allows that economic growth to develop.

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    That has nothing to do with work ethic or the various other factors you are allegedly that some strain of Protestantism increases against Catholicism. England did have a few wars (and 3 civil wars) from 1000 to 1914, but none were devastating to England itself.

    Flatly wrong.  You underestimate the numbers of wars in England dramatically.  3 Civil Wars?  Cnute heirs fought a civil war, then Empress Matilda v. King Stephan, then Henry I v. Stephan, over 2o years of violence, then Henry versus Young Henry, then Henry versus John and Richard and Eleanor, the King John v. the Barons, then the French invasion of England, then Simon de Monfort civil war, I am up to seven civil wars and one foreign invasion already and we are centuries from the War of the Roses and the English Civil War.  Also many of these conflicts shattered the finances of the Kingdom and wrecked the economy of England.

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    That lack of war, or prolonged peace, can do wonders for establishing a stable society that can operate without need for threat of violence (so common in war). It facilitates trade and contracts (because you can trust people). That then permeates throughput your expanded holdings (colonies) when you expand.

    I suppose that you can then explain then why Henry VIII king of a nonviolent and totally subdued England rich from centuries of peace was so much poorer and weaker than the war wracked Holy Roman Empire and France?  French revenues were many times that of England and it allowed France to field a much more powerful military.  Even when Henry invaded France he was easily stopped and when he faced France alone he feared his whole kingdom would be destroyed.  Why was France, Germany and Spain so much richer than Catholic England?

     

    • #43
  14. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    The English were not known for mixing with Native American groups. Other nations, like the French and Spanish were far more prone to it.

    For genetic reasons?  The Puritans lived in peace with the Native American for 80 years and even fought a war to protect peaceful Christian Indian villages in their territories.    The English made alliances with native tribes just like the French and the Spanish.  The Puritans educated their women and produced an enormous number of children, nearly biological maximum, for centuries! I wonder why that was?  What would motivate Puritans to have such a tremendous focus on education and produce such large families that they successful cultivated their cultural habits in?  I wonder why the French and the Spanish didn’t similarly breed large populations of culturally catholic and European populations but found the need to intermarry and depend on the native population for their work force. 

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    Now consider other areas where the British ran into opposition during colonization (South Africa and India) and they committed similar authoritarian measures

    They colonized these places with Puritan and Baptist settlers?

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    The French lost North America because of the 7 Years War and that was decided on the fields of Europe where Prussia, and not England, bore the brunt of the bill in deciding who would control North America.

    The powerful French colonial population swamped British settlers in Canada with their industriousness and birth rate yes?  So if the decision on the European battlefields had gone differently and Britain had lost the war do you imagine the American colonies would have become French and Catholic primarily?

    • #44
  15. Brian Wolf Coolidge
    Brian Wolf
    @BrianWolf

    Brian Wolf (View Comment):
    Flatly wrong. You underestimate the numbers of wars in England dramatically. 3 Civil Wars? Cnute heirs fought a civil war, then Empress Matilda v. King Stephan, then Henry I v. Stephan, over 2o years of violence, then Henry versus Young Henry, then Henry versus John and Richard and Eleanor, the King John v. the Barons, then the French invasion of England, then Simon de Monfort civil war, I am up to seven civil wars and one foreign invasion already and we are centuries from the War of the Roses and the English Civil War

    Oh yeah this does not include Edward the Confessors v. the Godwinsons, Harald invasion of England, William’s invasion of England and his civil war with his cousin Robert I and of course the rebellions in his kingdom. The various wars with France, the constant border raids into England from Wales and Scotland, Irish slavers, I could go on…

    • #45
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