30 November 2015
Among the many things that irk me is hearing someone speak as if there had been such a thing as a Mongol “empire”. Temujin (the man known to history by the title “Genghis Khan”) and his successors conquered immense territories, but the Mongols, being nomadic barbarians, had neither the willingness nor the ability to rule what they conquered; they merely exacted tribute from defeated peoples, by threatening to return and do something even worse than what they had done previously. Their system was highly effective for a rather long time, but it was not imperialism; it was banditry on a national scale. (Temujin’s descendant Kublai Khan did rule an empire, but it was not a Mongol empire; it was a Chinese empire with a Mongol dynasty.) I have seen some historical maps in which tributary states are included in other “empires” such as the hegemony established by the Guptas over much of India, and the word “empire” is often used very loosely; to talk of a Mongol “empire”, though, which gives the impression that the Mongols not merely enjoyed ascendancy but actually controlled a realm stretching from Eastern Europe to Korea, is, in my opinion, to use that word much more loosely than it ought to be used.
23 November 2015
I wonder whether any other commentators have made the observation that President Obombast’s instantly notorious example of bad timing, saying, hours before ISIS operatives executed the attack in Paris that produced well over 100 deaths, that the terror-army has been “contained”—What happened to his vow to “degrade and defeat” this group?—, took place on Friday the Thirteenth. It is not, however, my intention to promote superstition, the existence of which is detrimental to true religion. This isn’t bad luck; it’s bad leadership.
16 November 2015
(I had some difficulty coming up with a title for this u.c., until I remembered the motion picture Days of Wine and Roses.)It’s difficult to understand how, in the willfully neurotic civilization that we presently have, one can have a career in politics without developing a pathological dread of saying something that might offend a significant portion of our population, and thus have a damaging or even fatal effect on that career. Do you remember US Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott? His life in public office was effectively destroyed by a single off-the-record comment. Lott, of course, was a Republican, and the peril of which I write does apply much more truly to the GOP than to the Democrats, who, anyway, expect their constituents to be super-sensitive, intolerant paranoiacs.
09 November 2015
Enforced legality of same-sex marriage throughout the USA may be more than four months old, but I still have something to say about this issue. The reason why one doesn’t marry a member of one’s own sex is the same reason why one doesn’t marry one’s brother or sister: it’s unnatural, and the US Supreme Court cannot strike down natural law.
02 November 2015
The alteration in government-mandated family-planning by the Peoples’ Republic of China is not so revolutionary as it might seem. Contrary to the impression given by the Western media’s labeling of this policy as “one-child-per-family”—see below for my own term—, it was never true that couples throughout the land were forbidden to have more than a single child; that prohibition applied only in urban areas, whereas rural folk were permitted to have two, and members of ethnic minorities could have three or more. The resultant misapprehension, and the correspondingly excessive welcoming of the PRC’s news by the uninformed over what they think to be a repeal rather than a mere modification of a terrible policy, demonstrates the importance of using accurate terms and avoiding oversimplification. (This easing of what I call reproduction-rationing provides a further lesson for the West, which is thought by some to be endangered by overpopulation but which actually has the same demographic concerns that motivated the Chinese Communist Party’s decision.)