April 30, 2007

Dear Mark

I try not to respond to assholes who comment here with a whole new post, but sometimes it is just necessary. Reader Mark had some wholesale objections to this post where I gave my opinion on the ten greatest events in history. I do not presume to guess Mark's politics, but he argues like many on the left, with anti-American rhetoric and insults. I have no problem with a reasoned debate, but if Mark is looking for an insult contest I will win.

I will take this opportunity to offer my rebuttal, and I encourage civilized dialog and disagreement. First, the fact a society or event is not listed only means it did not make MY top ten. It in no way means I am ignorant of the existence of the Islamic influences of the Fourth Century, or of Asia, they just were not in the top ten.
I don't know where to start. That was the most eurocentric ignorant list I have ever seen in my life. saying that the US is the only superpower since Rome is just a flat lie

I will admit to a Eurocentric bias. I will also say that there is a good reason for this, most of the great technological inventions in modern history have risen from the West. When China closed itself to foreigners they, like any isolationist society ceased to become a leader in cultural and scientific advancement. Intellectual inbreeding does not create a free thinking society. For the purposes of this discussion the nature of a superpower will be defined as a society that has a near global influence on economics, military and culture.

The Romans controlled most of the 'known world", certainly the entire educated Western world. They minted the coin of the realm, they dictated and influenced fashion, architecture, military strategy, religion, and literature. Most of the languages of the Western world owe a portion of their vocabulary to the Romans, as do the names of most major cities and towns.

One could make a case the British had a similar influence in the days of their Empire, in fact I made an argument in a now lost college thesis that the American "Empire" was a continuation of the British Superpower. I believe that is a valid argument still. There has not been a society since Rome that has influenced world culture, economics, and military in the same manner as America does today.
The Muslim empires that came between were so much more influential to the world than either Rome, and arguably the US today,
...claims Mark. Where is the Islamic influence in the world today in language, culture, economics and military? If you claim a religion that fosters a fourth century mindset, based on murder and conversion by the sword as qualifications, I guess you have a point. The Caliphate did little to preserve the works of the Greeks and Romans. There were a few enlightened scholars in Persia and Spain and Portugal and Rome that kept the knowledge alive. The strict adherents of Islam had no interest in the Greeks. For them the Koran was all the knowledge they needed. The scholars that kept the libraries were scholars first, members of a religion second. Christian clerics also preserved the Roman/Greek writings, as did scholars in the Latin borough of Paris and in Cambridge. In any case to claim the Islamic Caliphate had a more lasting influence than the Romans is ridiculous at best, and unworthy of further comment.
Putting the American Revolution on there is also ridiculous. "The principles of all men being equal, of liberty and justice for all" were really not even original; we stole them from the Enlightenment thinkers in Europe.

Of course most good ideas are not original. Before the American Revolution, there was not a group of individuals who were willing to put these ideas to the test, to form a new nation ruled not by kings and queens, but by the reason of man and self governance. The 'Great Experiment' of America sowed the seeds of democracy and changed the political landscape in ways that reverberate yet today. Name a major country that is truly ruled by a monarchy today. Name a major nation not ruled by monarchy in 1775. If you can not see this point you are ignorant of the political history of the past two thousand years.
The inclusion of the Roman Empire on the list, but the absence of any Chinese or Islamic empire, let alone the Mongols, is also eurocentric, and demonstrates your ignorance very nicely. The Mongols did so much more than the Romans I don't know where to begin.

The ancient Chinese Empires did have some historically significant developments. Their lasting influence on the modern world is of little significance due to the afore mentioned Mongols and their own tendency to a closed society. If you can demonstrate their lasting global influence on culture, economies, and military I will reconsider. As far as the Mongols, I considered them. Their legacy is one of destruction, so I guess they have a lasting negative influence. They did not make the top ten. The Mongols "did more" than the Romans? Where are the Mongol roads, coins, religions, architecture, etc.? This sir, is not even worthy of debate. Who is ignorant here?
You completly[sic] ignored the influence of India and Africa, both of which had far more of an impact than Alexander the [G]reat.

The Caliphate you speak so fondly of earlier in your comments derived directly from the Empire of Alexander the Great, so I guess you are contradicting yourself a little here. Show me the lasting influences from Africa and India that are worthy of the top ten. Again, I am not disparaging the historical influences of those regions, but they did not reach the top ten in my book, especially if you arguing for Sub-Saharan Africa.
I would also like to point out that the invention of fire and tools was pre-history, so it doesn't even belong on the list.

My list, my rules -- you do not get to chose what I can include. Pre-History? It happened, so I guess it is history. Do we pretend there were no dinosaurs, no woolly mammoths? The invention of fire and tools are events that determined the survial of homo sapiens, along with the ability to cultivate grain and domesticate animals.

The inclusion of Abraham maybe does not make the list, but the issues in the Middle East and the global cultural conflicts we face today are a direct result of Abraham. The divisions of Islam and Jews and Christians have their roots in that incident. Some of the commentary was facetious, but the fact we can trace 1,500 years of conflict to one man is not. You can believe in Abraham or not, but three of the world's great religions acknowledge his existence.
In conclusion, I am disgusted by your ignorance and clear lack of thought put into this. Next time you make such a sweeping list like this, make sure to at least think about cultures other than your own.

In conclusion, you self righteous piece of shit, if you do not like what I write, do not read it. I welcome comments and disagreements, but maybe you should make your own list on your own blog. You have no idea if I considered other cultures or not, you have no idea of my background, education or ideological leanings. You are the one making sweeping generalizations. You may disagree, but this last paragraph was out of line and shows you are the ignoramus in this debate. Let me type this slowly, so you can understand -- I could only list TEN, the fact I left out your favorite event or culture does not lesson their impact on history, it only reflects my opinion of their significance. For all you know your pet was number eleven.

Why don't you define a specific list of your ten events, instead of telling what is wrong with mine. Be prepared to defend why any one of my items was left off.

No comments:

Consider everything here that is of original content copyrighted as of March 2005