Archive for January 2007

American Origins – The Spartans Part 2

January 31, 2007

A comment I wrote at blackfive inspired by the discussion there. There were more than one, so this is part 2.

Something more on Sparta

Archileonis: ‘Some Amphipolitans came to Sparta and visited Archileonis, the mother of Brasidas, after her son’s death. She asked if her son had died nobly, in a manner worthy of Sparta. As they heaped praise on him and declared that in his exploits he was the best of all the Spartans, she said: ‘Strangers, my son was indeed noble and brave, but Sparta has many better men than he.’

Some of the Spartans and their tradition filtered down through the ages to America. I’ve mentioned this before of course, but I didn’t explain specifically what I meant.

The below is for Geo (or if not Geo then the person who said eugenics)

Alkman’s work also illustrates the relationship between the women of Sparta, which was similar to the man-boy relationship of Athens. This bond was sexual and educational.

According to Aristotle, they at one point in the fourth century BCE owned 2/5 of the estates in Lakonia. These women are also said to have owned racehorses and they did in fact drive chariots in some religious festivals. They were the first to own victorious racehorses at Panhellenic festivals.

However, we must keep in mind that these women were given these ‘freedoms’ for one reason: eugenics. Xenophon himself realized this and commented on it in his works. The Spartans valued motherhood highly and in fact, there will only two ways a Spartan would receive their name on a gravestone: death in battle or death in childbirth. These women were also forced to take on these responsibilities as there husbands and sons spent most of their adult life in military training. In addition, we can never be positive about these women as the works in which they are mentioned are hardly objective. Aristotle who felt that the Spartan women were somewhat to blame for the fall of Sparta called the city-state a gunokratia. These women with their financial position, training and prominent position were drastically different than the women of Athens and became their natural counterpart.

In a way, America went about eugenics the other way around. We let nature take its course, and simply obeyed the dictates of human nature. We did not institute laws of Lykurgos, we did not institute euthanasia as the Germans did and the Left is now doing for disabled babies. We simply said, come to the frontier if you are able to survive. And they came. Many died, but still they came. On the Oregon Trail, onwards to Texas and California, to paths undreamed of before.

The US has been in many wars. Those wars took a toll on our population, but it also gave our population a vitality and strength never seen before in war ravaged 1918 Europe.

The point I’m trying to make is that the American belief in real men is reflected in the traditions of Sparta and Rome, amongst others as well. The American pride in soldiers and defenders is nothing new, but it is probably the greatest example in the history of the world.


Unnamed: ‘Another woman, as she was sending her lame son up the battlefield, said: ‘Son, with each step you take bear courage in mind.’

Unnamed: ‘Another woman, as she was handing her son his shield and giving him some encouragement, said: ‘Son, either with this or on this.’

Unnamed: ‘When asked what dowry she was giving the man marrying her, a poor girl said: ‘My father’s common sense.’

We share Athen’s almost suicidal political arena where war leaders that do not come back home victorious are tried. Where noted leaders like Socrates are ordered to take poison by vote. But we also share Sparta’s belief in mothers, in the continuation of our line. I won’t get into the woman on woman action, though, although in 20 years that might be a different case.

I think it is a good thing for two people to find in each other more strength and power unified, than the sum of their individual selves alone.

Neo put up a very good example of that here.

Fighting Mountain Lions

The US has had its share of problems with slavery, and so was Sparta plagued by the same problem. The US also had a major problem with equal rights and the question of how strong their womenfolk were in WWII. But war changes all things, even if war itself never does change.

We needed that added power in 1950. They demonstrated that a woman can do the same work as a man, that they can contribute just as much to the nation, and therefore deserves equal wages for equal time.

The point is, when America wins wars, people are freed, people who once lived in poverty are given new hope and new opportunities for elevation. Forget what might have been, what we see is what we have right now. And what we have right now is the entire world looking at us to see where we shall advance. Forward or backwards.

These public processions of the maidens, and their appearing naked in their exercises and dancings, were incitements to marriage, operating upon the young with the rigour and certainty, as Plato says, of love, if not of mathematics. But besides all this, to promote it yet more effectually, those who continued bachelors were in a degree disfranchised by law; for they were excluded from the sight those public processions in which the young men and maidens danced naked, and, in winter-time, the officers compelled them to march naked themselves round the marketplace, singing as they went a certain song to their own disgrace, that they justly suffered this punishment for disobeying the laws. Moreover, they were denied that respect and observance which the younger men paid their elders; and no man, for example, found fault with what was said to Dercyllidas, though so eminent a commander; upon whose approach one day, a young man, instead of rising, retained his seat, remarking, “No child of yours will make room for me.”

Sparta even had to contend with the same problems we have today in Europe. Depopulation.

Plutarch also included her in his section of the sayings of Spartan women. Here they are:
‘When asked by a woman from Attica, ‘Why are you Spartan women the only ones who can rule men?, she said: ‘Because we are also the only ones who give birth to men.’
‘On her husband Leonidas’ departure for Thermopylae, while urging him to show himself worthy of Sparta, she asked what she should do. He said: ‘Marry a good man and bear good children.’

We are not Spartans. Just as we are not Romans, Athenians, or Britons. We are a unique blend of everything, really. Both genetically via the influx of immigrants, but also culturally and historically we are a unique hybrid blend of things past and gone.

Did you know what Hitler said of the US during his rise to power? He said that he feared the power of the US, for the US demonstrated what could result from the success of the Master Race project. He admired us and feared us at the same time. He based this upon the belief that the more intrepid Germans left the motherland, and it was these unique superior Germans that went to the New World and took a risk to build something new. That is why he feared us, because in his eyes we were his worst nightmare. The culminations of the Master Race philosophy but siding with Britain, his enemy.

However, as the timeline progressed and we began to fight him. Hitler changed his views. Now he saw blacks (in air squadrons) fighting side by side with whites, Native Americans, and (gasp) other mongrel breeds. And then he said something to the effect that he no longer fears the US anymore, because we have tainted our pure bloodline with the blood of our inferiors.

I suppose Hitler might have realized his mistake, but perhaps he was too busy suiciding to do that path of thought any true justice. Because it was the Navajo code talkers that gave us an uncrackable code where as Hitler’s communications were broken open. It was the added power of blacks in WWII, that added to our power just as it added to the UNION’s manpower in the civ war. Contrasted with Hitler’s purgings of the Jews, many of whom had fought for Germany in 1915. Hitler believed that he was enriching his people by purging the malcontents, but we all knew that he was just setting himself up for the fall.

The thing is, Hitler’s Master Race eugenics program was retarded. They didn’t have the DNA sequencing and engineering technology to pull it off. The world is developing such technology even now.

America took a different philosophical road. Instead of relying upon blood and physical stature/purity, we relied upon results. Meaning, so long as you can perform, America cares not what sex or race you are from, alien or terran. And we have been perfecting this, just 30 years ago, if you recall. There will always be reactionists and the ignorant that wish to fight the path of progress. Look at the anti-war demonstrators right now. Plenty of them to go around, for 50 milliona eras I tell ya.

The point I wish to make is that America accomplished what everyone else has only dreamed of. To be the greatest nation on earth, we required a majority of the greatest individuals on Earth. And we have it.

There are good men in Britain, Australia, Japan, Germany, France, and China. But they are not a majority, they do not have majority power. The women also have problems in those countries. Some because of political/historical repression, others because of laws banning the right to self-defense via being armed. For Japan, we may perhaps blame it on the US protecting Japan so that Japan never had a need before to protect themselves. What seems seemingly intolerable in Iraq (US protecting the Iraqis for them) seems to be just an accepted fact for Japan.

Well, that is not all that important really. I want to get back to Aristotle and Sparta. Those Greeks in their time had a view of the good man and woman. Meaning, they had a rather specific idea of what made you good as opposed to evil and feckless that is. The Greeks valued courage, indomitability, success, the warrior creed, and freedom. Aristotle wrote that virtues are virtues because they are not extreme, they do not imbalance the human soul by taking it over with extremely strong desires that cannot be controlled.

Maybe the best way to explain it is to use Grim’s heroic epic that he used to describe Greek literature. It is a philosophy that is perhaps best experienced, instead of explained. Oh Greece at that time had their share of psychopathic killers, sadists, and power mad idiots. That, we have not gotten rid of in America, regardless of our efforts. John Kerry back in the Greek days would be slicing and dicing, a miniature Prince of war back then. Women, children, don’t really matter to such warlords.

Posted by: Ymarsakar | Jan 30, 2007 9:34:41 AM

Quick Link

January 31, 2007

Rita, Eric, and other commenters here.

War, Secrets, Nukes, Spies, and Much Else

January 31, 2007

I found these interesting sites while googling.

One of a very good overview concerning WWII’s last moments.

Always throughout history individual soldiers and even units were willing to sacrifice their lives to hold a position. Certainly the effort of the 600 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, in 480 BCE was a prime example of a heroic and suicidal stand against overwhelming odds. But most of these suicidal efforts were of a defensive nature. Still most soldiers fight to be able to survive, not to die. When one is faced with a foe, that is not only willing to give up his/her own life, the battle reaches a more serious level. The phrase “kill or be killed” rings very true in these types of circumstances. In fact, in combat, this mantra becomes almost universal. In a conventionally based conflict, pitting one state against another, the desire to survive the action is still paramount with most combatants and most responsible governments. In July of 1945, the Potsdam Conference attempted to answer the problem of state sponsored suicide with an explicit threat. History tells us that this threat was ignored and a more drastic and escalated response followed with swift brutal finality.

According to the agreement at the Potsdam Conference, which was held in Cecilienhof in Potsdam, Germany from July 17th to August 2, 1945, a Declaration and warning was given to Japan, the remaining combatant from the former Axis Alliance. Of course this last great meeting of the 2nd World War brought together the leaders of the three great Allied Powers, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Unlike the previous summits, unforeseen events intervened and dramatically affected the makeup of the participants. Unlike the Yalta Conference and the Teheran Conferences, two of the major personalities who dominated the prosecution of the war were gone. Franklin D. Roosevelt * (1882-1945), who served as the nominal chairman of both the meeting in Yalta, a Russian Black Sea resort city and at Teheran, the capital of Iran, had died suddenly in Warm Springs, Georgia of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945. Winston Churchill was defeated in a massive repudiation of the Conservative Party on July 5, 1945, though the vote was not decided until the 26th of that month, when all the overseas ballots had arrived and had been finally counted.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had won an unprecedented 4th term as President, was quite run-down and worn out after he had made his extensive 12,000 mile round trip to the Yalta / Crimea Conference in the former USSR and now located in the Ukraine Republic. He was suffering from advanced arteriosclerosis, an enlarged heart and various other ailments. Though he was still sharp and lucid through most of the meeting, the difficult trip had exhausted him and sapped his strength. Joseph Stalin * (1878-1953) did not wish to be out of the Soviet Union while his country’s big push into Germany was on, and therefore demanded that both FDR and Churchill travel to meet him on Soviet territory. The meeting lasted from February 2, until February 11, 1945. It was held in the Livadia Palace, and it was said that all the rooms were “bugged” by the Soviet KGB.

This is a rather sweeping and ambitious essay in which the author ties in many loose ends of both WWII and our current conflict. Don’t miss out.

There was a discussion over here at blackfive concerning what to do with the media. I gave some of my views and recommendations. And I also found this site about secrets in the process of posting a link for alexa.

Crypto-Grams.

Ahmed Chalabi is accused of informing the Iranians that the U.S. had broken its intelligence codes. What exactly did the U.S. break? How could the Iranians verify Chalabi’s claim, and what might they do about it?

This is an attempt to answer some of those questions.

Every country has secrets. In the U.S., the National Security Agency has the job of protecting our secrets while trying to learn the secrets of other countries. (Actually, the CIA has the job of learning other countries’ secrets in general, while the NSA has the job of eavesdropping on other countries’ electronic communications.)

To protect their secrets, Iranian intelligence — like the leaders of all countries — communicate in code. These aren’t pencil-and-paper codes, but software-based encryption machines. The Iranians probably didn’t build their own, but bought them from a company like the Swiss-owned Crypto AG. Some encryption machines protect telephone calls, others protect fax and Telex messages, and still others protect computer communications.

As ordinary citizens without serious security clearances, we don’t know which machines’ codes the NSA compromised, nor do we know how. It’s possible that the U.S. broke the mathematical encryption algorithms that the Iranians used, as the British and Poles did with the German codes during World War II. It’s also possible that the NSA installed a “back door” into the Iranian machines. This is basically a deliberately placed flaw in the encryption that allows someone who knows about it to read the messages.

There are other possibilities: the NSA might have had someone inside Iranian intelligence who gave them the encryption settings required to read the messages. John Walker sold the Soviets this kind of information about U.S. naval codes for years during the 1980s. Or the Iranians could have had sloppy procedures that allowed the NSA to break the encryption.

Of course, the NSA has to intercept the coded messages in order to decrypt them, but they have a worldwide array of listening posts that can do just that. Most communications are in the air-radio, microwave, etc. — and can be easily intercepted. Communications via buried cable are much harder to intercept, and require someone inside Iran to tap into. But the point of using an encryption machine is to allow sending messages over insecure and interceptible channels, so it is very probable that the NSA had a steady stream of Iranian intelligence messages to read.

Whatever the methodology, this would be an enormous intelligence coup for the NSA. It was also a secret in itself. If the Iranians ever learned that the NSA was reading their messages, they would stop using the broken encryption machines, and the NSA’s source of Iranian secrets would dry up. The secret that the NSA could read the Iranian secrets was more important than any specific Iranian secrets that the NSA could read.

The result was that the U.S. would often learn secrets they couldn’t act upon, as action would give away their secret. During World War II, the Allies would go to great lengths to make sure the Germans never realized that their codes were broken. The Allies would learn about U-boat positions, but wouldn’t bomb the U-boats until they spotted the U-boat by some other means…otherwise the Nazis might get suspicious.

Very nice inner view into certain matters that aren’t usually discussed.

Flowers

January 29, 2007

No title comes to mind here.

Red

Pink

Green

Jim Webb

January 29, 2007

Link

A look at an older Jim Webb, Senator.

Courtesy of Alexa Kim at Blackfive’s comment section.

The Vietnamese Deserved Better

And what of Vietnam-the country, not the war? Those who served there and grew to love not only the country but its people in large part share the view of David Halberstam, at least in the years before he became an intellectual leader of the antiwar left. Writing in 1964 in his book The Making of a Quagmire, Halberstam opined that “Vietnam is … perhaps one of only five or six nations in the world that is truly vital to United States interests,” and warned that a communist takeover would bring about ‘a drab, lifeless and controlled society for a people who deserve better.’

The Vietnamese do deserve better, and it is a tribute to their amazing resilience that those who became exposed to Western ideals and practice before Saigon’s fall were able to keep hope alive despite the conditions into which American naiveté and abandonment delivered them. One doubts whether Mr. McNamara, who understood only numbers, or the antiwar leaders, who found solace and even hope in the preaching of Hanoi’s hard-line leaders, will ever understand the true Vietnamese character-or for that matter the nobility of the Americans who attempted to save it.

Strength or Fashion?

January 28, 2007

Neo has up an interesting incident which I think reflects further on why the Hollywood “thinness” model isn’t very good or wise.

It Can’t Happen Here

January 28, 2007

Courtesy of Esoterick at Blackfive, I came across this review of the book while googling.

The identity of the main ally of the fictional dictator would be equally obvious, Bishop Peter Paul Prang, the popular radio preacher who endorses Buzz Windrip’s campaign, is based on Father Charles Coughlin, the most popular radio speaker of the thirties who had a weekly program on CBS in which he denounced President Roosevelt and the Jews for causing and perpetuating the depression. Father Coughlin’s fans included the father of Pat Buchanan, a candidate for the Republican nomination for the president in the year 2000.

The parallel between Father Coughlin and such present-day TV evangelists as Pat Robertson is equally obvious. (In his novel, Lewis foresees that TV would have even greater propaganda potential than the radio – this fictional dictator introduces mass coast-to-coast TV broadcasting in 1937 – something that did not happen in reality until 1948.)

Interesting background information during the times. Always use for modeling future growths and trends. Or even current ones.


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