Friday, August 31, 2007

History Super Lecture - Part Three

Hour 13

The Early Reformation: Wycliffe, Hus
Martin Luther at Wittenberg - Coucil of Worms
Ultich Zwingli and John Calvin Council of Trent
Counter Reformation - Jesuits
Religious Wars - Charles V (and the Holy Roman Empire)

Hour 14

Unification of Spain. Expulsion of the Jews
The Dutch Revolt - Rise of the House of Orange
Henry VIII breaks from the Catholic Church.
Reformation in England.

Hour 15

The Elizabethan Era in England
The War of the Henry's in France
Fall of the Incas and Aztercs - Cortes and Pizzaro
Spanish Settlements in the Americas
The Race to India
The Decline of Spain

Hour 16

The Booming Dutch Economy
The reign of James I
Gunpowder Plot
Richelieu and Mazzarin in France
Olivares in Spain
English Civil War
Ivan the Terrible in Russia
English settlement of the Americas
Battle of Lepanto - Decline of Ottoman Empire

Hour 17

Restoration of the Stuarts
Mercantilism - Colbert
The Early Colonial Movement
The Rise of Britain
Prussia - Standing Army
The Quiet Revolution
The Exploration Drive Continued
Wars of Louis XIV includes War of the Spanish Succession

Hour 18

The Engligtenment - Locke, Hume, Berkley, Spinoza, Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau etc.
Passing of Power to Parliament in England
Wars of the Austrian Succesion, Minor Conflicts, Seven Years War
Peter the Great modernizes Russia - Conflicts with Turks and Swedes
Frederick the Great
Marie Theresa

A letter to Michael Coren

Michael Coren is a media personality in canada - see

Hi Michael

Thanks very much for allowing me the opportunity for an interview on your Radio Show.
Its very much appreciated.
As mentioned earlier I believe the topic of Ideology in Education manifests itself not only in the Field of Teacher Training but in many areas of the humanities and social sciences.
Alan Bloom was one of the first to address this issue in his 1987 Bestseller - The Closing of the American Mind and Dinesh D'Souza followed this up with his book Illeberal Education.
I feel that Gen X viewers of your CTS show such as myself would find this a fascinating topic to sink our teeth into.

The following is a list of issues that could be addressed:

1. What are the limits of Academic Freedom of Expression?
2. Can the humanities/social sciences be truly objective?
3. Are professors such as Ward Churchill and Nicholas De Genova (of the million Mogadishus fame)
an embarrasment to their professions? or intellectual heroes?
4. Has post-modernism destroyed Classical Education?
5. Who are the academic McCarthyites? Are we overreacting?
6. Do Universities fail their students? How useful is a humanities degree anyway?
7. What is meant by Critical Reasoning? Has the term been usurped?
8. Are Speech Codes necessary on Campus?
9. What are the responsibilities of a Tenured Prof?
10. Do students need an Academic Bill of Rights?
11. Are the campuses encouraging silence and a culture of monothink?
12. Ridiculous courses on North American campuses: There is one that discusses the role of the Phallus in history, another course focuses on the relationship between Ancient Egypt and Rock n' Roll etc.

I believe that if one looks at these issues one can see some of the thinking that goes into the forces that shape

Anti-Globalization protests
Greenie hysteria
Blind Anti-Americanism
Emerging Moral Relativism
Specism - The psychology that fuels groups like PETA

Most of these can be traced back to Post Structuralism, Foucaltian Power Discourse, Deconstructionism, unrepentant Marxism, Nihilism, Primitavism, Post Colonial Analysis etc.

Thanks for taking the time to read my e-mail



Friday, August 24, 2007

Early British History Quiz I

Early British History I

1. Who was the real King Arthur?
2. Which Century was Egbert crowned King of Wessex?
3. What was Danelaw?
4. Which Irish monk converted the Picts to Christianity?
5. Who was St. Alban?
6. What was significant about the Treaty of Wedmore?
7. What title did Edward the Elder take in 901 AD?
8. How many Saxon kings were named ‘Ethelred’?
9. Which people took control of Cumberland and Westmoreland from the English in 945?
10. Who were killed on St. Brice’s Day in 1002?
11. What was the nickname of Harold I?
12. Which Danish king of England died of drink in 1035?
13. Who became King of Scotland in 1040?
14. Which English King founded Westminster Abbey in 1052?
15. Who became King of the Southern portion of England in 1016, only to be assassinated in the same year?

Answers to Early British History Quiz I

1. He was a Roman/British chieftain who fought against the Saxon invaders of England during the early 6th Century.
2. 9th Century - 802 AD to be precise..
3. Danish occupied territory in England.
4. St. Columba. He used as his base a monastery which he founded on the Island of Iona
5. A Roman Soldier who became a Christian martyr in England. He was scourged and beheaded for sheltering and changing clothes with a Christian Priest who had converted him.
6. Signed in 878 AD, the Treaty divided England into two sections: Wessex in the South , Danelaw in the North.
7. King of the Angles and Saxons.
8. Two
9. The Scots.
10. Danish settlers and mercenaries in Southern England.
11. Harold the Harefoot.
12. Hardicanute
13. Macbeth. He killed Duncan in the Battle of Elgin.
14. Edward the Confessor.
15. Edmund Ironside, the son of Elthelred II.

History Super Lecture - Part Two

Hour 7

The aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire in the West
The Frankish and Saxon invasions
The exapansion of the Vandals, Visigoths and Huns
Resurrected Byzantine Empire - under Justinian
The Western European Early Dark Ages
The growth of Christendom - Clovis, early monasteries, church splits

Hour 8
The Arab Invasions
Spread of Islam to Asia (Ghazani etc)
Arab-Indian Intellectual exchange

Hour 9

The Feudal System
Holy Roman Empire
Viking Invasions
Fall of Paganism
Rise of Christian Anti-Semitism

Hour 10
The Early Saxon Kingdoms in England - Alfred the Great
Events until 1066
1066 and all that - Norman Kingdom
Neo-Platonism to Scholasticism
War against Islam in Spain

Hour 11
Plantagenat rule in England
War with the Scots
Rise of the Valois in France
Hundred Years War
War of the Roses - Lancaster v York

Hour 12
The High Medieval Age to the Renaissance
The Italian Wars - Italian City States
Tudor growth in England
Revolutions in Art, Literature and Science
Renaissance overview
Age of Exploration

Friday, August 17, 2007

History Super Lecture - Part One

I have this idea for a 24 hour long lecture that I would like to deliver some time. I know it sounds ridiculous, but my intention is to obtain sponsorship with all revenue collected going to charity. An additional challenge is that I will speak for 24 hours without any notes.

Lecture Title: The History of Western Civilization.

The following is a list of the time chronology of the lecture with the list of topics to be covered.

(Hours 1-6)

Hour 1:

- Out of Africa Theory
- Beaker Cultures and the Venus of Willendorf
- The Agricultural Revolution
- The Urban Revolution
- Mespotamia (Ur, Akkad, Erich, Nippur etc).
- The Hittites, Cimmerians and the Hurrians
- Abyssinia and Babbylonia

Hour 2:

- The Scythians
- The Phoenicians
- Lydia-Media: Persians
- The Ancient Israelites - History + System of Ethics

Hour 3:

The Ancient Egyptians
- The Old, New, Middle Kingdoms
- Egyptian Mythology
- The Pyramids/Scientific Advancement
- Book of the Dead
- Nomarch and Ma'at
- Conquests

Hour 4:

Ancient Greece I:

- Minoan Civilization
- Mycenean Civilization
- Doric Invasion
- Dark Ages
- Classical Greece
- Greek Mythology
- Greek Philosophy

Hour 5:

Ancient Greece II:

- Greek Contribution to Math, Science, Art, Literature
- The Persian Wars
- Conflicts betweem Athens and Sparta (Two Visions)
- Conquests of Alexander the Great
- The Hellenic Era

Hour 6:

Rome the Kingdom and the Republic

- The Origins of Rome
- The Kingdom
- Structure of the Republic
- The Italian Wars
- The Punic Wars
- Macedonian and Greek Campaigns
- Wars in Asian Minor
- The End of the The Repoublic: Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Cicero, Crassus, Caesar

........More to Follow

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Overrated - Underrated

I just finished reading American Heritage's - Overrated Underrated.
In Blue are there opinions in Red are my opinions

Most Overrated City: Washington DC
Most Underrated City: Chicago

Most Overrated: LA
Most Underrated: Boston

Most Overrated Enemy: Soviet Union
Most Underated: Canada

Most Overrated Enemy: Soviet Union
Most Underrated: Saudi Arabia

Most Overrated Founding Father: Thomas Jefferson
Most Underrated Founding Father: John Adams

Most Overrated Founding Father: Thomas Jefferson
Most Underrated: Alexander Hamilton

Most Overrated Kennedy: JFK
Most Underrated Kennedy: Teddy

Most Overrated Kennedy : JFK Jr.
Most Underrated Kennedy: Arnold - even if it is by marriage.

Most Overrated Musician: Elvis
Most Underrated Musician: Louis Armstrong

Most Overrated Musician : Elvis
Most Underrated Musician : Chuck Berry

Most Overrated National Turning Point: Rejection of the Treaty of Versailles
Most Underrated: The GI Bill

Most Overrated National Turning Point: JFK assassination
Most Underrated: Reagan fires air traffic controllers

Most Overrated Novel: Moby Dick
Most Underrated: The Caine Mutiny

Most Overrated Novel: Catcher in the Rye
Mos Underrated Novel: Right Stuff

Most Overrated Politician: Jefferson Davis
Most Underrated Politician: Richard Nixon

Most Overrated Politician: Bill Clinton
Most Underrated Politician: Daniel Monihyan

Most Overrated President: FDR
Most Underrated President: Ronald Reagan

Most Overrated: President: George Washington
Most Underrated President: Harry Truman

Monday, August 6, 2007

World War II Thinking Questions - Part I

These are great for the grey matter..............

1. Why did Hitler not order his forces to finish off the British Expeditionary Force in Dunkirk? What would have happened if he did?
2. Why did Germany declare war on the US so soon after Pearl Harbour?
3. How would the Second World War have evolved if Hitler had not ordered Operation Barbarossa at all or so early in the war?
4. Did the Allies know ahead of time of the attack on Pearl Harbour?
5. How would the Battle for Southern Europe have changed if Franco had thrown his forces behind Hitler instead of remaining neutral?
6. If the Italians had not bungled the Greek Invasion would the Germans have avoided entering Southern Europe altogether?
7. What would have happened if the Suez Canal had fallen into German hands?
8. How much more effective would Japan have been in their Asian campaigns if the Brits did not have control of India? Would the Brits have even entered the Asian fight if this were indeed the case?
9. Could the Allies (Britain and France) have prevented the War if they had acted with force towards Hitler's Rhineland occupation?
10. How would the war have manifested itself if Turkey had thrown its forces behind Germany?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Unholy Alliance I

I have been giving some thought to the concept of Unholy Alliances in particular those carved out by the Left (some well meaning others not) with various unsavoury groups to thwart the center – the rational choice. Very often these alliances only serve to resurrect a new evil.

Unholy Alliance I - Brutus with Cassius and Casca against Julius Caesar

Brutus (the champion of Republican virtues who family had driven out the Roman kings) allies himself with the opportunists Cassius and Casca and several others to kill Julius Caesar. Brutus believed that such an act would save Rome from what he deemed to be Caesar’s tyranny.

Why this was short-sighted? Caesar was a powerful force but not a tyrant. He was responsible for a more equitable land distribution amomgst the population and worked to curb some of the powers of the Senate – who were often self-focused and opposed to the buregeoning power of the lower classes (the same classes that Caesar drew his military support from). In addition he secured Rome’s grain supply from Egypt and believed in expanding Rome’s neophyte democracy. His philosophy was in a way closer to the reformist Gracchi brothers and opposed to the Diktat of the Senate (who had earlier backed Caesar’s enemy Pompey – a former ally of the the actual tyrant Sulla). Caesar in short was the wrong target and Brutus identified the incorrect enemy. He should have picked on the bad 'apples' in the Senate but was side tracked by the noise of jealousy and chose to vent his wrath at Caesar.

Results in brief : Caesar was murdered in a gruesome manner. Rome enveloped into a bloody civil war. The forces of Cassius, Casca and Brutus were defeated at Philipi. The Roman controlled territories dividedi nto three domains of power (Second Triumvirate) then later two. Octavian, Caesar’s nephew defeated Mark Anthony at Actium and consolidated Roman power with himself as the Emperor (he will be known as Augustus Caesar). The Republic died as did the last shreds of democracy. An Empire took its place. Augustus would prove to be a competent figure but not so some of his successors: Tiberius, Caligula and Nero, who will each rule with brutality unchecked by the systems of the Republic of Old. In short Brutus’s intentions of saving the Republic failed miserably not only did it end his beloved Republic but instead created the foundations that the very tyranny that he himself so despised could grow.

(on a positive note though George Lucas two thousand years later would gain a historical context – Republic-Empire transition on which to play out his Science Fiction Soap Opera fantasy, Star Wars).

Next posting: Unholy Alliance II - Girondins and the Jacobins