Something old and something new

Hello and welcome to my humble blog.

I started this website as an outlet for some of the writing I did in university and as a forum for some of my ideas and future writings. My primary focus will be on history and historical fiction along with some food for thought.

One common question about history is what use is it or the statement that it’s not going anywhere, I categorically disagree with both ideas. First studying history can be a valuable way to hone critical thinking and quality of writing in a format with an entertaining and often funny narrative. Second history oddly enough is a moving target, not long ago we had no idea the Medieval Warm Period ever existed let alone the devastating effects of the Little Ice Age and how that probably made the Black Death as devastating as it was, and people are still trying to pin down the cause of that most famous of epidemics (apparently it was not actually the fleas).

An old saying goes that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it, but I would argue that far too many study history only to pigeonhole it into their preexisting world view. A Jehovah’s Witness I once worked with claimed that he was a great student of history and that everything he read backed up what he already thought and I told him if that was true than he wasn’t reading it right. I was once guilty of this type of thinking, but actually the history of the Celts’ siege of Rome has a particular relevance to opening up my eyes. I was being told about an experienced Roman soldier driving multiple Gallic warriors from the fortified point, and just brushed it off in disbelief. The idea of a civilized soldier being better than multiple barbarian warriors struck me as incorrect and I was not afraid to speak my mind. At the time I was surrounded by far too many people who took the naturalist’s view of civilization being a weakening force, and considered such ideas as hard and fast rules. But then I thought it through and realized how idiotic I was being as this was from the sources themselves and even if they were sometimes wrong the stance I was taking was stupid. Like my very small circle of associates I could come up with arguments based on hard and fast ideas that were not thought through, I was clever without being critical not of my friends and certainly not of myself. I took to studying things closer and realized the Romans could never have been such great conquerors if I were right, no way in hell could they have so consistently won battles against greater numbers if they did not have numerous advantages and no truly great weakness.

Ever since then I have appreciated history, and philosophy to a far greater extent, and always tried to get others to look at things with a similarly critical eye. In this I have had mixed results but people are strong willed, once I argued with someone that the American War of Independence was a very difficult conflict, and he refused to believe me based on mythical stereotypes passed down to him only a couple weeks later he looked it up and thanked me for questioning his ideas and motivating him to get a more balanced view. But for each case like that I’ve run into at least a couple people who did not let facts get in the way of their romantic notions about the world, once at work a man stated to me that the United States was too soft to ever take on an Arab army because Arabs were more macho, he blew off the reminder that the US had recently twice over routed the massive very heavily equipped and battle hardened Iraqi army. It was like arguing with the boy I once was and knowing that an outside voice would not crumble the poorly constructed edifice of confidence and yet hoping I had caused some invisible cracks which might grow overtime. Ever since my epiphany I have cared less about people agreeing with me, or I with them, and more on people having a logical process to come up with solutions.

I have several papers I’ll be posting every few days or so till I get them all up, I intend on giving them a bit of polish before putting them up. They are not generally as one might assume from the rest of my post exclusively on military history, but following my disciplines on different topics and informed by other fields of study.

Even if I’m the only one to ever give this a read it’ll still be a decent outlet.

Macaulay quote