Tag: History

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Hello Ricochet, Barring any bombshells getting dropped in the next couple of days, we are about to close the history books on presidential administration number 45 (44 if you count Cleveland’s non-consecutive administrations as one. Thanks for making this complicated, Grover…). I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe that the Trump administration will have a […]

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While I believe most people are shocked and upset by yesterday’s events at our Capitol, we have to keep our wits and move forward. We cannot control the behavior of others and events that come and go, beyond our control. This includes yesterday’s breach of the Capitol in Washington, DC. I’ll give my thoughts briefly, […]

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Tucker Carlson gave this powerful speech at Turning Point USA 2020 “Student Action Summit” this month. How do you get through to the youth who are getting so much mis-information through social media, through the educational system and so forth? A statue of Lincoln was pulled down in Boston this month. This is now not […]

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…but did it really happen? A case study in the difficulties of finding historical truth. On Christmas Eve of 1906, a few shipboard radio operators–listening through the static for signals in Morse code–heard something that they had never before heard on the radio, and that most had never expected to hear. A human voice. Preview […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Greatness of America: Part I

 

In my lifetime, I have never experienced such deceptive, malevolent, and destructive actions and behaviors from the Progressive Left. Maybe I was just naïve. Maybe their willingness to speak openly about their own devious behavior is how I’ve become enlightened. As a result, I am making demands of the Left that my government representatives, Senators and Congressmen, have been unwilling to make up until now.

But I take these stands, not with malevolence, but firm determination. I will not let you harden me or make me bitter. I will not descend to your level.

You must stop doing the following:

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While history does not repeat, knowing more about history makes it easier to understand the present as well as the future. There is a reason that kings and philosophers alike have sought to understand both the events of the past and how they have historically been interpreted – because there is no better way to obtain […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Radar Wars: a Case Study in Expertise and Influence

 

In today’s WSJ, David Mamet writes about expertise and influence, pointing out that experts who get important things wrong, sometimes causing great harm to millions of people, often pay no personal price whatsoever. One example he mentions is the pre-WWII secret British debate on air defense technologies and especially the role played by Churchill’s scientific advisor, Professor Frederick Lindemann.

It is an interesting and important story, and is discussed by the scientist/novelist CP Snow in his 1960 book Science and Government…which, he says, was inspired by the following thought:

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Bakelite: The Beginnings of the Plastics Era

 

About 110 years ago, the plastics era (as we understand that term) began with a material called Bakelite named by its creator and inventor Leo Baekeland.

Leo Hendrick Baekeland was born on November 14, 1863, in Ghent, Belgium, to Karel and Rosalia Baekeland. His father was a cobbler while his mother worked as a housemaid. He was a bright young man who, encouraged primarily by his mother, read anything he could get his hands on.

Leo Hendrick Baekeland.

Steve settles in with some Japanese whisky while “Lucretia” abandons her “whisky cougar” ways with a bona fide Glenlivet 18 so we can celebrate Amy Coney Barrett’s start turn driving Democrats to embarrass themselves last week. The hearings illustrate what’s wrong with the “side of history” liberals, as expressed in an especially lazy column from Nick Kristof in the New York Times, and a series of coordinated tweets from Democrats trying to assail constitutional originalism, but mostly succeeding only in exposing their own invincible ignorance.

The main event of this episode is reviewing our pick for Article of the Week, Bari Weiss’s essay “Stop Being Shocked” in The Tablet. It’s a great essay, with its bracing warning of the existential threat to Jews from the new illiberalism, but it has two problems: it get Trump wrong (though Lucretia proposes that this may be tactical cleverness), and its focus on the precariousness of Jews under the rising assault from the social justice left may not go far enough in forecasting the menace facing everyone. Guess who foresaw the problem of the Jews a decaying liberal democracy 60 years ago? Yup, that L– S—— guy again.

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Over 200 rare and very valuable books that were stolen over three years ago, were recovered under a floor at a Romanian house in recent days. Some of these books included first editions by Sir Issac Newton and Galileo. They were stolen from a postal transit warehouse in West London en-route to a Las Vegas […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. America’s Sovereign States: The Obscure History of How 10 Independent States Joined the U.S.

 

It is often said that before the Civil War, the United States “are,” but after the War, the United States “is.” This is a reference to the formerly theoretically sovereign nature of each state as compared to “one nation, indivisible.”

More than just the theoretic sovereignty of the individual states, the territory now comprising the U.S. has a rich history of sovereign states outside the control of the federal government. Some of these you’ve almost certainly heard of, but a lot of them are quite obscure. Each points toward a potential American secession of the future.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Frederick Douglass and the Answer to Cancel Culture

 

“Liberty is meaningless,” Frederick Douglass once said, “where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist.”

Born a slave in the Antebellum South, Douglass knew a thing or two about freedom and bondage. As a child, Douglass learned to read and write by challenging white schoolboys his age to spelling contests. He lost every time at first, but in time, Douglass leveraged his hard-earned mastery of the English language to not only secure his own freedom, but play a crucial role in the eventual liberation of millions of American slaves.

Fast-forward to 2020. Not only are monuments to Douglass’ likeness in jeopardy from the mob, but so are the characteristics that led to his freedom. Competition, hard work, and rugged individualism—qualities that Douglass personified and which led to his own liberation—are all derided as racially exclusive values of “whiteness.”

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. American Architectural Geography: Part II, Form

 

One popular way to approach American architecture is to distinguish between form and style. Form, the thinking goes, involves the large-scale arrangement of elements within a building, whereas style is inherent in applied ornamentation. The placement and sizing of rooms, the positioning of door and window openings, the divisions of a structure’s facade — all these are elements of form. Of course, form can be related to style, as in the case of hip-roofed Italianate buildings designed to resemble the country houses of northern Italy, but the connection isn’t an absolute one. For readers’ sake, I’ll assume that the dichotomy makes sense, and I’ll devote most of this piece to the subject of form. The conversation on style will have to wait for another day.

. . .

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. On Hagia Sophia and Spiritual Reclamation

 
Hagia Sophia without the minarets

As of Friday, July 24, 2020, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul has been put back into active use as a mosque. As a Christian, I of course mourn this deeply. As a historian, however, the move does not surprise me. Many are the religious sites around the world today that were once worship sites for other deities, for other peoples, and for other mysteries, some barbaric. That historian in me says we should temper our outrage that the conquerors of a land would choose to make what use of that land that they will, for we have done the same ourselves. We should be wary of venting too much indignation over the status of a building lost ere Columbus sailed the ocean-blue and started a chain of losses for the peoples who once dwelt where we now live. In a way, Erdogan was right in his contempt for a foreign opinion on this matter; the Turks rule the roost in Turkey (would that Turkey respected others’ borders and rights as vehemently as he demands for his own country, however, as Cyprus, Syria, Armenia, Bulgaria, and Greece can all attest).

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: “A Profound Failure of Historical Imagination “

 

But it is a species of moral arrogance, not to mention a profound failure of historical imagination, to pass a breathtakingly severe judgment on your forebears, whether near or distant, especially having made no attempt whatsoever to historicize them. And only that same arrogance can then fail to imagine that your descendants, even more bereft of historical awareness than you are, won’t do the same to you, or that there will be no standard left to judge you by—the standard having already been set, today, by you.

Jason Peters, “Flaunting a Presumptuous Innocence” , Law & Liberty

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Peanut Butter Crackers, Gunsmoke, and His Rubix Cube: In Search of My Grandfather

 

Growing up, I only had one grandparent. My mom’s mother, who, for a variety of reasons, my dad wished to largely keep my sister and I away from, and who died when I was 7. I’m never quite sure of how much this difference from others my age affected me; on the one hand, there was little point in pining after something I had never had, but that didn’t always mean that seeing my peers bring grandparents to every significant school occasion, and excitedly report on all of the neat adventures they got to go on with them, didn’t sometimes rankle. That vague feeling of a missed connection has waned over the years, as I was lucky enough to be kind of informally ‘adopted’ by one of my best friend’s maternal grandfather, and to have been given a second family in a community of (mostly 50 and over) Benedectine monks. Still, questions linger, questions that I didn’t really feel comfortable posing to my parents past a certain age. 

Most of them centered around my paternal grandfather, Charlie. My dad was always full of stories about his mother, who he compared to me (when I maybe wasn’t meant to be there) in terms of devotion and bullheadedness to his siblings, and the little aquatinace that I had with my maternal grandmother didn’t really leave me wanting more. My mom’s dad, meanwhile, had passed in the late ‘70s, and seemed a distant, somewhat painful memory even to her. Charlie, though, existed as a kind of aura around my dad’s stories, a cheerful and mischievous but indistinct presence who bore 7 kids and 50 something years of marriage with equanimity and good humor. The most I concretely knew about him was that he drove my grandmother crazy playing with a Rubix cube at the dinner table, ate peanut butter crackers by the thousands, and died a few months before I was born.

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A survey for the under-40 crowd here: Which of the following did you hear about growing up or learn about in school (not university): The Hard Hat Riot, the Prague Spring, the Bader-Meinhof Gang, the Kidnapping of Patty Hearst, the Engel vs. Vitale Case, the disentigration of Skylab and the Arab Oil Embargo. Yes, this […]

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This Tuesday, June 23, 2020, Joe Biden held a virtual fundraiser which featured former President Barack Obama. The event included a discussion or conversation between Biden and Obama and, in that conversation, Obama made an assertion that stunned me. Let me post a video which includes the assertion in question. The video is about 2 […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Agitprop Supports the Narrative

 

This photograph been making the rounds on Facebook. It purports to be an advertising shot of Nancy Green, the first person to represent the Aunt Jemima brand.

The trouble is, there are no known photographs of Nancy Green. There are photographs of all of the other women who portrayed the character, but not Nancy. This photo is actually a self portrait by artist Sally Stockhold, part of an exhibition in Denver in 2011 entitled Myselfportraits Icons and Absurdities: Photographs of Sally Stockhold. The Denver Post covered the exhibition: