Posts Tagged With: History

Battles Fought, Battles Avoided

People who fail to heed the past, doom the future. Likewise, those who ignore the present, as if they have no responsibility for their actions to those who come after, may change the course of history. That history may be one not wanted, or deserved, by those who inherit it.

An event in 9 A.D., in a dark German forest, probably didn’t seem like much on the global scale. When three Roman legions were destroyed by German tribes in Teutoburg Forest, it was a tragedy for sure. Nearly 20,000 were dead, an amount hard to imagine killed in only a few hours time. The loss struck Caesar Augustus hard, and no full-scale attempt to conquer and Romanize Germania would ever occur again. Rome would stay close to the militarized border along the Rhine and Danube Rivers for the remainder of its existence. As Rome endured for a few more hundred years after the Battle of Teutoburg Forest, the disaster didn’t seem like an event of significance, one that had altered history.

But it had.

Had the German region become part of Rome like western Europe, would the “barbarian” invasions of Rome centuries later never occur? Would the empire have endured longer? Would later wars between France and Germany also fail to materialize? What of the World Wars?

Of course we are speculating, we cannot know for sure how an alternate timeline would have played out. Some dismiss the battle had any serious impact on the river of time, not because of historical evidence, but out of overwrought fears the battle will be used for nationalist causes. Others point to Britannia, which expelled Roman culture after Rome left, as if that proves something contrary. Britain and Europe would be at odds for centuries, much like the situation north of the Alps. Nor are we arguing that Roman expansion was a just enterprise. However, we know what did happen, and what did not happen. We know a severe cultural divide was created, and even centuries later during multiple eras, when both sides shared the same religion, it didn’t erase the past. Rome fell for many reasons. Endless war was one of them. Many of which were with their neighbors to the north.

What should this teach us? First, we must pay attention to our past. We must cast off this hubris that believes nothing important happened prior to today. Our temporal amnesia is a dangerous disease.

Second, our decisions and actions as nations make lasting ripples far into the future. Where this chain of history goes forward is hard to see from our link, but looking back, the weight of memory is heavy and clear. We can see the connections, the causes and effects.

If we ignore the messages our ancestors have given us, we will fall into our own battles in dark forests. Regardless, if at the time, we think we are on the winning side, our descendants could lose everything.

Each generation has a responsibility to the next to preserve and pass on the canon of human history. It is how the continuity of civilization endures through both the bad and the good.

We have traded our responsibility for tribalisms, allow the elite to choose and run our governments, and abandoned intellect as we run headlong into chaos that we are told is imaginary.

If our ancestors could speak, they would ask, “Why did you not listen to us?”

Categories: History | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Beware of the Book Burners

Jarrett Stepman writes:

A well-educated person should read deeply and broadly…Reading authors with opinions both contemporary and ancient can be a profoundly illuminating experience. It becomes quite clear that the advancement of time has led to many positive changes—and more than a few bad ones as well…’Decolonizing’ bookshelves represents a further closing of the American mind, but now intellectual shallowness is being paired with self-righteous zealotry. It’s a frightful combination.

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” ― Ray Bradbury

Categories: Books | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

What the Vikings Can Teach Us

We’re all taught that Columbus “discovered” the New World in 1492, with the caveat that the Vikings arrived centuries earlier circa 1000 A.D. This is always added as a bit of a footnote, as if it’s not all that important. Sure, it didn’t have the impact of the Spanish-backed Columbus voyages, but the Viking voyages have always been begrudgingly admitted to existing. Even before ruins were found in the 1960s, the Viking Sagas and other accounts were largely written off as myth. Even after the finds, the story went like this, “Yes, they came here, probably over a couple centuries, but these infamous explorers never did much of anything.” Doesn’t really make much sense, does it? Why the reluctance to give the Vikings their due? In light of the discovery of a new Viking site in Canada, perhaps our prejudices in studying our own history need re-examined. Continue reading

Categories: Ancient America, Ancient Sites, Critical Thinking, Native Americans | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Historic Preservation

Another way you can protect historic sites is through the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Go here to learn more and join.

Categories: What You Can Do | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Stopping the Reinvention of History

Throughout time, people have often tried to reinvent, revise or bury history that was inconvenient to their beliefs. Ultimately, factless theories and agendas eventually crumble as their holes in logic, lack of facts and contrary evidences are revealed. Perhaps in no time in history have so many tried to rewrite the past. The onslaught of information, the failure of public education and the lack of basic critical thinking skills have created a perfect opportunity for those peddling their personal visions.

Whether driven by politics, religion or simple ignorance, many seek to recreate history to support their views. It is not hard to undo these folks, the problem is few bother trying. Too many just take as fact what they hear or read. Some are just happy living in a world of shifting clouds. Others just don’t care. Some are just too busy in their zombie-like existence in front of the television. Rodney Stark, who has pushed back those trying to revise the history of Christianity and the Western world, writes in Cities of God:

Unfortunately, far too many historians these days don’t believe in evidence. They argue that since absolute truth must always elude the historian’s grasp, ‘evidence’ is inevitably nothing but a biased selection of suspect ‘facts.’ Worse yet, rather than dismissing the entire historical undertaking as impossible, these same people use their disdain for evidence as a license to propose all manner of politicized historical fantasies or appealing fictions on the grounds that these are just as ‘true’ as any other account. This is absurd nonsense. Reality exists and history actually occurs. The historian’s task is to try to discover as accurately as possible what took place…The search for truth and the advance of human knowledge are inseparable: comprehension and civilization are one.

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