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Tag Archives: history

Book Review: Against The Grain

Someone on SSC Discord summarized James Scott’s Against The Grain as “basically 300 pages of calling wheat a fascist”. I have only two qualms with this description. First, the book is more like 250 pages; the rest is just endnotes. … Continue reading

List Of Passages I Highlighted In My Copy Of Ages Of Discord

Turchin has some great stories about unity vs. polarization over time. For example in the 1940s, unity became such a “problem” that concerned citizens demanded more partisanship: Concerned about electoral torpor and meaningless political debate, the American Political Science Association … Continue reading

Book Review: Ages Of Discord

I. I recently reviewed Secular Cycles, which presents a demographic-structural theory of the growth and decline of pre-industrial civilizations. When land is plentiful, population grows and the economy prospers. When land reaches its carrying capacity and income declines to subsistence, … Continue reading

Book Review: Secular Cycles

I. There is a tide in the affairs of men. It cycles with a period of about three hundred years. During its flood, farms and businesses prosper, and great empires enjoy golden ages. During its ebb, war and famine stalk … Continue reading

Puritan Spotting

[Related to: Book Review: Albion’s Seed] [Epistemic status: Not too serious] I realize I’ve been confusing everyone with my use of the word “Puritan”. When I say “That guy is so Puritan!” people object “But he’s not religious!” or “He … Continue reading

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The Invention Of Moral Narrative

H/T Robin Hanson: Aeon’s The Good Guy / Bad Guy Myth. “Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?” The article claims almost every modern epic – superhero movies, Star … Continue reading

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Book Review: Madness And Civilization

[Content warning: Severe mistreatment of the mentally ill. Through this post, I’ll be following Foucault in using the politically incorrect term “madness” rather than the more modern “mental illness”, because a big part of his point is worrying about the … Continue reading

Highlights From The Comments On Dark Ages

Thanks to everyone who made interesting comments on yesterday’s post about Dark Ages. Several people challenged the matching of the economic/population decline to the “fall of Rome”. For example, from David Friedman: On the graph you are citing, 36 million … Continue reading

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Were There Dark Ages?

[Warning: non-historian arguing about history, which is always dangerous and sometimes awful. I will say in my defense that I’m drawing off the work of plenty of good historians like Bryan Ward-Perkins and Angus Maddison whom I interpret as agreeing … Continue reading

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Djoser Joseph Osiris

My recent move has already paid off in terms of increased access to the Bay Area intellectual milieu, by which I mean wacky outlandish hypotheses about completely random stuff. The other day a few people (including Ben Hoffman of Compass … Continue reading

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