connected: ezChat version 0.54
Chris OConnor:: Good evening everyone!
Tonight we have Dr. Victor Davis Hanson as our guest!
Chris OConnor:: As you all know Victor wrote a review
of Jared Diamond's "Collapse" in April of
Chris OConnor:: We have had this review posted in the
"Collapse" forum for the past month or so.
Chris OConnor:: Hopefully most of you have read his
review - if not you might want to after this chat.
Chris OConnor:: We'll discuss "Collapse,"
but feel free to bring up other topics as you see fit.
Victor Davis Hanson joined
sandor at the zoo joined
Chris OConnor:: test
sandor at the zoo:: test
Chris OConnor:: Sandor
Chris OConnor:: aka Greg
sandor at the zoo:: Hey Chris.
Chris OConnor:: Just got an email from a few members
that my community emails didn't get to them, but my
private ones did. There must still be problems with
the ezboard network from the hacking.
sandor at the zoo:: I did not get a community e-mail
either. Just checked the sandor address a couple hours
Chris OConnor:: Then something is still wrong with the
system. Lovely. Very frustrating. In the hacking our
community lost over 200 members.
Chris OConnor:: But that has nothing to do with community
emails. They become members the moment they log back
in. The problem is many people relied on reminder emails
for author chats and don't use the Home page at all.
sandor at the zoo:: How has the discussion been going
for "Collapse"? Are a lot of people reading
sandor at the zoo:: Hello Kostya.
#Kostya:: Hi Sandor, Chris and Victor
Chris OConnor:: Hey Kostya - did you get an email reminder?
Something is fishy with ezboard
#Kostya:: I did get the email reminder
#Kostya:: but ezboards are always working in "mysterious
Chris OConnor:: Hmm many have emailed me in the past
hour upset about not getting notices. I just sent another.
Victor Davis Hanson:: I think
I am on online now, though this is the first time I
have done something like this
sandor at the zoo:: Ignore my previous question, I just
checked the forums. 502 posts ... looks like people
have been liking the book.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - what do you prefer to be called?
Dr. Hanson - Victor - Chad?
Victor Davis Hanson:: Victor is fine
sandor at the zoo:: Yes, you're coming in loud and clear,
sandor at the zoo:: Thank you very much for coming tonight.
GOD defiles Reason joined
Chris OConnor:: Sandor - yes, this has been our largest
book discussion to date. But I am obviously concerned
right now. Last chat we had about 18 people in right
at the start of the chat. The fact that emails didn't
go our properly is of concern.
sandor at the zoo:: Yes, I agree.
Chris OConnor:: ...and then more straggled in as we
Chris OConnor:: Hmm
Chris OConnor:: Lets kinda hold off a few minutes -
but I expect the room to fill slowly
Chris OConnor:: Hey Eric
ecstian:: Hi Chris - Welcome back
Chris OConnor:: SoftWarm - you're new to BookTalk I
SoftWarmThunder:: Hello Chris ... thank you
Chris OConnor:: Victor - usually we have a large room
by now, but I expect people to start entering slowly.
we can chat as we wait a bit.
Victor Davis Hanson:: Well,
I'll just respond as asked
Chris OConnor:: About 2 or 3 months ago the largest
hacking ever took place, with over 10,000 message boards
partially destroyed. we suffered quite a bit, but have
Chris OConnor:: Victor - tell us a bit about yourself.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - you're a military historian
Chris OConnor:: What do they mean when they say "Classicist?"
Victor Davis Hanson:: I am
a classicist-a philologist of Greek and Latin actually-by
training who specialized in ancient warfare and then
branched out to general military history
Chris OConnor:: As you know I just returned from Greece.
What is a philologist? Someone who studies philosophers?
Chris OConnor:: don't laugh at that question folks
Victor Davis Hanson:: And currently
I am a retired professor of Classics, and a senior fellow
at the Hoover Institution, Stanford U. A philologist
studies the language and literature of Greece and Rome
Chris OConnor:: As people enter we can get onto "Collapse,"
but feel free to ask other questions folks
Victor Davis Hanson:: I was
also born and live on a family farm, and wrote some
books on ancient and modern agriculture and agronomy
Chris OConnor:: There are 10 people on the site not
in the chat room yet.
Chris OConnor:: Hello Julian
sandor at the zoo:: How did you come to write the Introduction
for "Collapse", Victor? Is Jarred Diamond
a colleague of yours?
Chris OConnor:: The Review
sandor at the zoo:: Ah, ok, the review. Was that for
Victor Davis Hanson:: I didn't
write the introduction but I did review both of his
books, not positively I'm afraid, and I debated him
for an hour on Talk of the Nation about 3 years ago
Chris OConnor:: One of our members thought that Victor
did exceptionally well in that debate
Chris OConnor:: I wish I had seen it.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - while people file in I'd love
to ask you a question. I've read plenty on your web
Chris OConnor:: As a military historian you must have
some intriguing ideas about how best we should handle
the War on terror.
Chris OConnor:: What now? Some on the far left support
an immediate withdrawal of our forces from Iraq.
Chris OConnor:: Forget whether or not going into Iraq
in the first place was a good idea - but what now?
Victor Davis Hanson:: Well,
I don't know about that, but I was surprised that when
asked about radically different proximate societies--South/North
Korea, Tijuana/San Diego, etc. he insisted that there
were microclimates at work that explains differences
Chris OConnor:: Wouldn't withdrawal leave a vacuum for
sandor at the zoo:: Interesting. I have to admit that
I haven't read either of Diamond's books. I came to
the chat tonight mainly because Bill Whittle speaks
very highly of you on his blog. I was interested in
hearing anything you might have to say on any subject,
Chris OConnor:: Microclimates. I'd love to hear that
Victor Davis Hanson:: Now?
I'm writing an essay for the DC Post and my regular
Chicago Tribune column on why leaving abruptly is a
bad idea, and why staying after WWII in Germany (as
opposed to WWI) or Afghanistan (as opposed to forgetting
it after the Soviet defeat) or Vietnam as opposed to
South Korea, make the messy reconstruction less messy
in the long run, but that is a different story, and
Ill get back to the book
Chris OConnor:: Welcome Michael
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: hi chris
Chris OConnor:: Ok
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: is anyone talking? I only
see you, Chris
Chris OConnor:: Michael - yes, but you walked in during
the middle of it
Victor Davis Hanson:: JD meant
that geography and climate explain the differences in
wealth of two societies often side by side, and downplayed
the role of culture, specifically a Western paradigm
explaining why a San Diego or Seoul was wealthier and
a more hospitable place to live than Tijuana or North
Chris OConnor:: I find tremendous differences in the
various cultures within even the US itself that account
for much of the disparity we see
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: social networks tend to promote
people who have the same unconscious cultural codes.
It's hard to fake them, since they're unconscious. A
wealthy social network will stay wealthy.
sandor at the zoo:: There are 9 of us in the room, Michael.
Victor has opened up the floor to questions about Jarred
Diamond's book "Collapse".
JulianTheApostate:: JD didn't mention the importance
of culture, though that doesn't mean that he doesn't
acknowledge its importance. He's simply emphasizing
the importance of resources & the environment, which
don't receive much attention in most historical treatments.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: wealth is circulated within
the group of people who share unconscious habits, even
on the level of body language, personal space, etc.
Victor Davis Hanson:: I'm not
sure of your question, my point was whatever South Korea
was doing it was quite different than North Korea and
did not result in 1 million dying of famine as just
happened in the last decade in North Korea
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: geography is probably also
important, trade routes etc
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: north Korea is a closed network,
it can't get new energy or information
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: only the elite there has
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: networks that share information
and talent do better. It's social groups that close
off to the world that don't do well.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - excellent point. The climates
are pretty similar between north and south Korea. The
south is benefiting from something other than mother
nature smiling upon them. Culture is a reasonable guess.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: the south benefits from open
trade links to other nations
Victor Davis Hanson:: Yes,
exactly, since politics and economics not landscape
explain the differences (pace GGand Steel), and a Western
paradigm seems to create wealth in a way a statist/communist
model did not
Chris OConnor:: Michael - so that would be a cultural
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: not necessarily cultural,
if a dictator is responsible for the country being closed
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I don't know the history
of north Korea tho
Chris OConnor:: I guess I'm considering that cultural
- allowing your nation to be a dictatorship is a cultural
Victor Davis Hanson:: The point
again is the climate or geography is not the determining
factor is a nation's success, but rather its protocols
about science, economics, politics, social life,
Chris OConnor:: Yes, and that point seems valid.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: the exchange of information
is what matters. Groups that take in a lot of information
know how to take advantage of opportunities that closed
sandor at the zoo:: When you say "downplayed",
Victor, to what degree do you believe he did this? Did
he ignore cultural factors, or just fail to emphasize
Chris OConnor:: Obviously climate and geography (and
even chance) are factors, but are they the dominant
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: trade routes and geography
would matter, because in earlier times they'd have determined
the flow of information
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: anything that affects the
flow of information would make a difference
Chris OConnor:: Welcome RhodyHistorian - jump on in
as you please
JulianTheApostate:: The existence of oil in the Middle
East has obviously had a significant impact. And there
are many other examples.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: that's true... anyone who
controls a major resource stays on top
Victor Davis Hanson:: Well,
he wrote 2 different books, the first (GGS) was geographically
determined (the West stumbled onto it success), the
second suggested that in fact Western modes of production
and organization were pathological--but the examples
he provided were mostly isolated and ecologically fragile
islands and out of the way places rather than present
day Europe, the US, or Latin America where tens of millions
live rather than a few thousand or even hundred in his
examples of Easter Island, Greenland, and other places
sandor at the zoo:: I see.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: pathological as in a defense
Chris OConnor:: Closed systems so to speak.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: or as in harmful to the environment?
JulianTheApostate:: I attributed JD's emphasis on the
fact that he was examining closes systems. Perhaps,
with globalization, the entire world could be considered
a closed system.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: julian--that would be a unique
change in human culture... the transformation to a global
JulianTheApostate:: So, would that make Easter Island
a valid analogy for the entire human race in the 21st
Victor Davis Hanson:: No, in
the sense that we are exploitive to the point of suicidal--element
of that indictment are true, but they are not the whole
truth, especially since rather small congested areas
such as Tokyo or London that have virtually no resources
can maintain large populations quite well if they avoid
political instability, poor public health, etc.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: julian--in what way?
Chris OConnor:: What I'm concerned with is learning
from history so insure that the horrific elements don't
Chris OConnor:: to insure*
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: good idea chris
Chris OConnor:: In a nutshell - I think bad decisions
lead to Collapse.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think if people don't learn
the psychological aspects of history, they'll find themselves
repeating mistakes in spite of themselves
Victor Davis Hanson:: Well,
instead of Easter Island or Greenland, perhaps he could
spell out exactly how the US or Europe is doomed or
is failing, when in fact air and water are getting cleaner
while national wealth is increasing--despite worries
about oil and national security
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Chris--I think it has a lot
to do with narcissism. When cultures turn inward and
see only themselves.
Chris OConnor:: Humans are resilient and can thrive
just about anywhere. We collapse when deadly ideas,
policies and practices are allowed to spread
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I don't think western civilzation
will collapse. IT will just have a crisis of conscience.
RhodyHistorian:: Chris, in fact, the ability to learn
from history is what separates modern civ. from the
closed societies discussed by Diamond, doesn't it? They
were unaware of "the other", if you will.
JulianTheApostate:: In the marginal societies Diamond
explored, the population managed to destroy the environment
and consume the resources. Now we're damaging the environment
and using up resources on a global scale.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Chris--I think it's fragmentation
of the social web, when subcultures become self-referencing
and cut off ties to other subcultures.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: it makes a society vulnerable
RhodyHistorian:: Yes Julian, but we are aware of those
dangers as opposed to Diamonds subjects
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: one reason why religion is
such a big deal, people are afraid society will fragment
further without it
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I agree we need to change
the way we relate to natural resources.
Chris OConnor:: Rhody - that seems reasonable. and I
think that is what Victor is saying. Using closed little
social groups doesn't fly.
Victor Davis Hanson:: Yes,
that is right, and we have 2500 years of history to
suggest to us which systems don't make it--top heavy
statist or theocratic governments for example or closed
economies or tribal societies without the rule of law
Chris OConnor:: Victor - exactly
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: victor--right... we need
to strengthen the small business side of capitalism,
and increase social cohesion
JulianTheApostate:: Rhody, I agree, that we're much
more aware, and that awareness has given rise to the
environmental movement, who in turn have inspired policies
leading the clean air and water.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: not rely on top heavy systems
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Julian is right.. we do have
homeostatic mechanisms that alert us to future dangers
#Kostya:: FYI: link to "Talk of the Nations"
Chris OConnor:: capitalism or competition is the key
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: unless we cut those mechanisms
out... environmentalists were derided for a couple decades
before everyone started realizing conservation is a
Chris OConnor:: capitalism = natural selection
RhodyHistorian:: Julian, exactly
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: chris--small business competition,
as opposed to huge corps that write their own laws
JulianTheApostate:: In the Japan chapter, JD explained
how top-down control saved Japan's forests.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: if huge companies squeeze
out small businesses, it's not healthy, especially if
they're close to government and lock the whole thing
Victor Davis Hanson:: I think
whatever one's politics are, one can agree that massive
corporations or governments are slow to react to stimuli,
and that is why we are always in a cycle of change and
response in a free society, whether that is distrust
of big government or agribusinness, we are quite flexible
given our heritage and constitution
RhodyHistorian:: Chris, I was thinking that, too, but
was thinking that perhaps "adaptation" (which
may sound too neo-Darwinian, but oh well)
RhodyHistorian:: instead of natural selection
Chris OConnor:: adaptation is a better choice of words
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: victor--and the marketing
techniques that allow corporations to act as if they
care about the public need, without actually responding
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think capitalism is a kind
of natural selection, as long as there's enough biodiversity
JulianTheApostate:: Societies are incredibly adaptive.
Lower birth rates and greater concern about the environment
are examples. The only problem is that there's a lag
time, and society may not adapt quickly enough to global
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think social cohesion is
important too, and nobody seems to agree on how to improve
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Julian--I agree
Chris OConnor:: Victor - what are we doing wrong today
that could lead to the collapse of western civilization?
anything? or have we learned from history?
Chris OConnor:: What do you mean by social cohesion?
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Chris--I don't think western
civ will collapse. It will just go through a crisis
of conscience as people integrate a global moral awareness
into systems that used to behave as if there were no
Victor Davis Hanson:: What
was disturbing about Diamond's examples were that sometimes
the worst traits of a society--China's coercion to force
one child, Japan's top down dictates are held up as
ideals. Even his repeated praise of the Dutch turned
ironic, given their abject failure to integrate minorities
and their current hysteria about Islamic minorities.
As for us, the danger would be to give up on an open
and transparent society, in pursuit of short-term remedies
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: social cohesion = the ability
of subcultures to have a shared social space, and not
become toxic to one another
JulianTheApostate:: Victor, what's your view of the
tragedy of the commons, in which an individual's best
interest conflicts with society's best interest?
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Victor, I agree
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: and the tragedy of the commons
is a great theme
Chris OConnor:: Victor - How else was China to deal
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: we make many decisions that
are good for the individual or corporation or political
party in the short term, but bad in the long term or
in a wider context
Chris OConnor:: Short term remedies and ends - I'd like
to hear some examples.
RhodyHistorian:: Lincoln suspending Habeas Corpus?
Chris OConnor:: Patriot Act going too far perhaps
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: the renewed interest in corporate
ethics is a good sign, I hope that gets into politics
Victor Davis Hanson:: In a
free society since the Greeks we know that the crux
is how can we be both free and equal since they are
often antithetical given that we are not born into the
world with equal talent and opportunity. We know that
government mandated equality of result failed, so we
rely on religion, custom, shame, family, etc. to teach
the individual not to do what he is legally free to
do, but to think of others
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: if politicians keep doing
only what's best for their careers, they'll screw things
up for everyone
Chris OConnor:: I agree Michael. Seeing CEO's and CFO's
doing hard time is a pleasant change.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: victor-only problem with
shame is it's so overused that nobody responds to it
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Chris--more than the punishment
aspect is the renewed interest in how to avoid short-term
Victor Davis Hanson:: Ceo's
are a good example, since the old restraints of shame
and family odium have been lost, thought I think the
public is demanding they return to curb such excesses
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: accountability isn't just
about seeing people get punished, but knowing that the
system has enough feedback loops to keep things stable
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: victor--right... shame only
works when one's decisions are likely to become public,
Chris OConnor:: true
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: probably the form of shame
that still works is to focus on the victims
Chris OConnor:: S nobody else but me is concerned that
our civilization will collapse one day?
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think they ought to publicize
the stories of the victims of suicide bombings more.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: chris--I think there's always
that possibility, but I think we're learning
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: the fear of collapse leads
Victor Davis Hanson:: It is
very important to have accountability and it is not
political--it is key to have conservatives shame Ken
Ray and Enron and liberals to do the same to the UN
oil for food that cost even more billions- both culpable
parties should be stigmatized in addition to criminal
charges, that is how a free society avoids the ultimate
solution of a coercive totatarian and utopian false
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: victor--good point about
people condemning abuses on their own side. It's easy
to condemn the enemy's abuses.
JulianTheApostate:: But is shame sufficient? Many people
would rather be rich than respected.
Chris OConnor:: Yes, very good point. It doesn't happen
Victor Davis Hanson:: Sorry,
I have 4 sticky keys, Ken Lay and totalitarian
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: shame isn't sufficient...
but it does keep shady people from having access to
social networks that would reward them
Chris OConnor:: Example - I listen to Rush Limbaugh
poke fun at liberals nonstop, but allow reps to get
away with anything.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: the point of shame is to
cut links between people who abuse resources and the
people who help them get resources to abuse
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: chris--that's true. Limbaugh
is a fire setter. He's not accountable for his words.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - never eat cotton candy while
RhodyHistorian:: that is a particular characteristic
of most ideologues
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: if you go into Yahoo Islam
chat, you'll find lots of Americans insulting the Muslims
in vicious ways. They're using anonymity to set fires.
RhodyHistorian:: right or left, or cotton candy eating
Victor Davis Hanson:: No, shame
is just part of the arsenal. As far as radio hosts go--it
seems the right keeps us honest with bloggers, cable
news, and talk radio, and the left with NRP, PBS NY
Times and DC Post or perhaps CBS News, and this tension
is good since one must weather the arena of criticism
Chris OConnor:: I agree, but Islamic fundamentalists
are sure harming their religion
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: chris--true. But in Yahoo
Islam chat, it's the other way around. It's Americans
and "Christians" insulting the Muslims and
Chris OConnor:: True - there are sure a lot of right-wing
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Muslims have to condemn fanatical
Muslims, Christians have to condemn fanatical Christians.
JulianTheApostate:: I was surprised by the Chevron chapter,
in which image concerns (shame in essence) made Chevron
far more environmentally friendly.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - I saw you took 1st place in
2004 for your blob.
RhodyHistorian:: or blog
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: julian--yeah, I think the
wave of environmental ads by energy companies will force
them to put their money where there image is.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - and "Eject! Eject! Eject!"
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: they know they have to APPEAR
environmentally aware, which may lead to the real thing
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: congrats victor... where
is your blob/blog?
Chris OConnor:: I'm not seeing many extremist Christians
RhodyHistorian:: similar to cigarette companies w/ kids
and beer companies with responsible drinking: good pr
and hopefully practical results
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: chris--they exist, believe
Chris OConnor:: http://victorhanson.com/
RhodyHistorian:: Pretty much "extremist" anything
exists these days, if you look hard enough
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: in the media, you mostly
see people like Dobson or falwell, they're extreme but
not to the point of advocating violence
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: but there are Christians
who advocate violence. Pat Robertson being only one
Victor Davis Hanson:: The point
again, is that in free Western society, ideas rise or
fall according to their strength and logic, I have one
at victorhanson.com and get about 1000 emails a week,
many furious and quite hostile, but again the point
is the government leaves it alone, people can vent,
and one must take heat for one's views, not true in
the Middle East
JulianTheApostate:: There's plenty of heat in the Middle
Chris OConnor:: Lots of new people trying to get into
this chat room right now.
RhodyHistorian:: That is the key point: the ability
to have this dialogue, heated at times, is at the core
of our modern society.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I agree Rhody
Victor Davis Hanson:: But look
Robertson is immediately damned and ostracized, no one
wishes to associate with him, that is how the public
arena sorts things out
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I really dislike how people
on the Right and Left are calling the other side "murderers"
and so on. People who support abortion aren't murderers,
and neither are people who support the war.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - another great point.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: victor--right. although I
bet he retains a lot of his connections.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: it's one thing for people
to snap at Robertson and for him to apologize, another
thing for him to lose his political friends, etc.
JulianTheApostate:: Everyone supports the free exchange
of ideas. The question is about what actions to take,
and who should be making the decisions.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: it's as if his beliefs don't
matter, as long as he apologizes for saying them too
RhodyHistorian:: On one of Diamond's islands, for instance,
if Robertson was the "big man", he wouldn't
have encountered much resistance and may have prompted
the very action. The existence of rapid and respected
dissent marks the difference
Victor Davis Hanson:: There
is a sort of rule--that when one goes beyond the limit,
it will almost always come back to haunt one. The demonization
of Clinton had its natural reaction in the current irrational
hatred of Bush, and this teaches us to be very careful
what you say and write since in a free society there
is always a ripple.
RhodyHistorian:: MG: that is part of the problem with
"shame", today we are too willingly to accept
any apology for any action. We just want to hear them
say I'm sorry and then move on.
Victor Davis Hanson:: Shame
only works when deeds follow words in some manifest
Chris OConnor:: Victor - I didn't really consider that
the lefts hatred of Bush could be "pay back"
for how Clinton was treated
RhodyHistorian:: Acta non Verba
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think it would help if
people who were good for the system as a whole were
promoted, rather than people who scratch backs.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: in the two party system,
the people who get promoted are the ones who are likeliest
to win, not necessarily those likeliest to understand
and have good solutions to complex problems.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Chris--I think when one party
shows irrational hatred toward the other, it ends up
getting mirrored back.
RhodyHistorian:: Well, sometimes that backfires: Dole,
ecstian:: I don't think that disgust with Bush and his
policies is "irrational hatred" in itself,
even if some people who hat him are irrational
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think "Bush's policies
are harming the country" is not irrational. "Bush
is a lying terrorist" is more irrational.
Chris OConnor:: I think both Clinton and Bush have had
their fair share of irrational hatred
Victor Davis Hanson:: Yes,
once the Monica controversy eroded into Clinton the
killer, thief, extortionist, it was only logical that
Bush would be the Nazi, killer, terrorist, etc. and
then we will all sicken of the cycle and return to some
sort of decorum
ecstian:: well we would have to determine if he is lying,
and we would have to define torrorist
JulianTheApostate:: Victor, do you support any environmental
regulations, such as Clear Air and Clear Water acts?
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: right victor
Chris OConnor:: Victor - yes, with Hillary at the helm
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think Hillary is demonized
in very irrational and hysterical ways
RhodyHistorian:: Or JEB
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: criticism of her is rarely
item by item
Chris OConnor:: Jeb will never make it out of Florida.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: it's usually more like "Hillary
is a feminazi (and a lesbian!)"
Chris OConnor:: haha that sounds mean
RhodyHistorian:: I meant ;) I don't think another Bush
will win the Pres. for a long time
ecstian:: is that a promise, chris?
Chris OConnor:: lol yes
GOD defiles Reason:: I think there's a combination of
"payback" emotions, healthy opposition to
policies that people think will cost us for generations,
and this so-called 'blackbox voting' thing does cause
ecstian:: ok - then I will hold you responsible if history
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think the whole idea of
'payback' leads to cynicism.
Chris OConnor:: At some point I'd like to hear about
any of Victors upcoming books. I know he has one in
Victor Davis Hanson:: All of
this is an example of how free and flexible societies
deal with problems and in the environmental sphere can
react quite rapidly to crisis, that was my main critique
of Diamond--he underestimates how rapidly Western free
societies address crises, in a way that the Ottomans
or Aztecs or Soviets could not, all being top heavy
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: back scratching and payback
both... tribalistic activity in social networks
Chris OConnor:: Looks like Victor has authored at least
RhodyHistorian:: But all contained in a broader social
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: victor--I think intellectually
we're a very vibrant society. The problem is taking
what's discussed among the "chattering classes"
(probably us) and making it effective.
JulianTheApostate:: Of course, the Ottomans did a lot
better, and were more innovative, than the West for
a couple of centuries, though at that point the West
didn't have free societies.
Chris OConnor:: The Blogosphere
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I actually blogged this week.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I have all of 40 regular
Chris OConnor:: Too bad pctacitus couldn't make it tonight.
He is a big fan of yours Victor.
Victor Davis Hanson:: The electronic
media has speeded up things, so haste trumps reflection,
as a columnist one is under pressure to write hours
before the deadline and is told to quite writing reflective
pieces that take 3-4 days, given the nature of our short
attention span and the 500 word instant commentary
JulianTheApostate:: That's why I get so much more out
of books, though the blogs are always tempting.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: victor--CNN did something
funny: they reported on Blogger reactions to Bolton's
UN reform ideas. Liberals hate him and conservatives
think he's great (big surprise). Then they forgot to
report what changes Bolton actually wanted.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: It's as if any issue is all
about "Liberals say... conservatives say..."
and not about actual information.
sandor at the zoo:: It has been very informative and
interesting observing this chat, everyone. It's now
10 pm here and I have to log off. Thank you for taking
the time to visit, Victor, and thank you for hosting,
Chris. A good night to you all.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: bye sandor
Victor Davis Hanson:: I think
it is good to have mix, writing a book is important
to look at something in depth rather than just a number
of things superficially--
sandor at the zoo left
Chris OConnor:: I have an odd questions about the Acropolis.
On one side just outside of the wall there is a tunnel
dug into the rock that obviously leads up and into the
Acropolis. I can't find any information about this on
the Internet, but my bartender in Athens told me this
was an escape tunnel used to get away from the Turks.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - you're welcome to comment if
you know anything about it - I know you've written extensively
Victor Davis Hanson:: I think
you are thinking of the north slope and the cave of
Pan, it was not a tunnel in antiquity, but rumor had
it under the Ottomans there were tunnels
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I'm having college flashbacks
and I didn't go to college
Chris OConnor:: Victor - Yes, it is on the north side.
Near the theater.
RhodyHistorian:: Victor, that reminds me: I've seen
you get criticized for not showing proper historical
"reflection" in some of you shorter op-de
pieces. Do you find that often you have to tamp down
your historian's tendency to reflect when writing short
pieces? And does it bother you?
Chris OConnor:: Not the Odeon of Dyonisis, but the other
one. (spelling is wrong)
RhodyHistorian:: "op-ed" not "op-de"
Victor Davis Hanson:: No, that
it is the south side and those are additional caves
and a spring as well. yes, it does bother me: historians
write and say "how can you do this and ruin your
reputation by writing opeds after 15 books, and then
oped editors says, stop mentioning history so much ,
you're losing the audience
Chris OConnor:: Welcome Stephan - better late than never
Victor Davis Hanson:: You are
thinking of the 4th century theater of Dionysos, on
the site of the original 5th century one
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: hey Stephan
StephanKrieg:: Please forgive my tardy entry
StephanKrieg:: Please continue, Dr. Hanson
Chris OConnor:: Athens is incredible people. I want
to go back already.
RhodyHistorian:: yes, Victor, I've seen you get criticized
for being "too general" or relying on "simple"
analogies in your columns. As far as Athens, good coffee
and good Uzo
Chris OConnor:: Victor - I'm going to add a link to
your site on our Home page since yours does qualify
as a Blog.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: pop culture must be relentlessly
deloused of depth and fact.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: if it's not tribalistic and
doesn't make people feel good about the position they've
taken, it won't sell
Chris OConnor:: Victor - your upcoming book - can you
tell us about it?
StephanKrieg:: Dr. Hanson, forgive my impertinence.
Do you see any situation in history that your give us
guidance for the emergence of China into the world stage,
as is happening today. What does this emergence portend,
in your opinion?
Victor Davis Hanson:: It is
largely a 19th century city built on an Ottoman village
that was itself on top of the classical town, nothing
like Florence or Rome, still it is worth seeing. I lived
there over 2 years and go back each summer, they always
say is wont work any longer, but somehow it muddles
JulianTheApostate:: Speak of depth and fact, one neat
aspect of Collapse was learning about all these obscure
societies, such as on Easter Island and Greenland.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Stephan--with all sides having
nuclear weapons, there's no precedent.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: best solution to china is
to form lots of business ties with ordinary Chinese
Chris OConnor:: The coffee in Athens wasn't impressive,
to tell you the truth. They don't understand "just
coffee." Everything is either an espresso or frappe
GOD defiles Reason left
Victor Davis Hanson:: China
has a rendezvous with unions, environmentalism, class
envy and exploitation and a host of problems that will
not so easily allow it to the be the hyper power we
are presently so apprehensive about it, it is still
a top down society and the hope is that it liberalizes
RhodyHistorian:: I like mine strong, that's why, especially
after a lot of Uzo
Chris OConnor:: I didn't buy any Uzo.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I agree with victor, china
won't be taking over the world, except maybe economically.
And they have a right to do that, as much as we do.
JulianTheApostate:: But China seems to becoming stronger,
year after year, even though it has a top-down structure.
Chris OConnor:: Michael - they have a "right,"
but doesn't their potential scare you a little?
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: chris--sure. But I'm in their
shoes, I'd do the same thing. Buy up American real estate.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: if I was in their shoes
Chris OConnor:: Fortunately, the days of conventional
warfare are over.
Chris OConnor:: Or maybe not so fortunate.
StephanKrieg:: Should the US be fearful of its threats?
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: not sure what happens if
china tries to grab Taiwan.
JulianTheApostate:: If China weren't subsidizing so
much of the US debt, the US would be in much worse economic
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Stephan--depends.. fearful
enough to take sane action, or fearful enough to take
paranoid and stupid action? The line can be very thin.
Chris OConnor:: Yea, Taiwan is a time bomb waiting to
StephanKrieg:: to all: have you read the Asymmetrical
Chris OConnor:: Stephen - never heard of it.
JulianTheApostate:: What are you referring to, Stephan?
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Stephen--there's only one?
RhodyHistorian:: It's a two way street in China, though.
Western companies are becoming heavily invested over
there. And the people are getting used to Western goods.
PBS had a doc. a couple months ago on the burgeoning
car market, for instance.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: rhody--right. and more economic
ties that go both ways might act as a stabilizing force
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: jingoism isn't the right
approach to china
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: investment might be
StephanKrieg:: The subsidy of the US debt is hard to
understand, unless one considers the way that investors
buy stock in the companies that they investy in...
Victor Davis Hanson:: China
is weighing the question as we speak and not sure whether
the US public will come to the defense of Taiwan or
think that "they are all Chinese and it is an internal
problem or 'why lose LA for Taiwan?"
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: china is already invested
in the us, might as well make it go both ways
RhodyHistorian:: I agree, free markets are a long term
good, if sometimes they hurt short term
JulianTheApostate:: The China chapter of Collapse was
scary. What happens to the environment when a billion
people work towards first-world lifestyles?
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Stephen--short term decisions
often end up tying people to things they don't want
to be tied to.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - that threat by the Chinese
general was pretty scary
Chris OConnor:: He threatened to launch a nuke strike
against the US
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: julian--hopefully they'll
be mad enough at the US for not being environmentally
friendly that they'll have a patriotic interest in doing
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think the Taiwanese should
consider a nonviolence campaign with links to mainland
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: involving the US would be
JulianTheApostate:: Unfortunately, they seem more interested
in achieving a stronger economy, more powerful military,
and more Olympic medals.
StephanKrieg:: One thing that it seems that the CCP
is good at (and all others are not) is patience. We
in the West would do well to study Zen.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think any top-heavy system
should recognize that reality is really good at undermining
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I agree Stephan. Our decisions
are remarkably short-term.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: individually and as a mass
Chris OConnor:: true
RhodyHistorian:: That's what happens when you exalt
the state over individuals. Patience is indeed a virtue
when not concerned with the effects on individuals or
even larger groups of citizens.
StephanKrieg:: I do not think that the threat to LA
is directed at the population, i believe that it is
directed at the power elite of this country
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I'm not sure we are in the
habit of visualizing a real future. We react to what
we can see.
Victor Davis Hanson:: It was
intended to be scary, since he knew that no American
general would say something similar such as taking out
their new $50 billion damn, so there is the assumption,
quite correct, that affluent Westerners can be intimidated
by scarifying rhetoric so foreign to their current comfort
Chris OConnor:: Stephan - but the missile would be directed
JulianTheApostate:: However, top-heavy systems often
remain in place until there's a catastrophic collapse.
The Soviet Union was a mess, but things aren't any better
in most post-Soviet states.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - so we have to assume this is
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: julian--true. Good reason
we should be looking at robust networks to hold the
US up if the govt ever does collapse.
Chris OConnor:: They have a $50 billion dam? Damn!
StephanKrieg:: No, it is not a bluff, IMHO, we are just
not understanding to whom it is directed.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: it's the social networks
that kick in when government fails
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: if we have no cohesion as
a culture, we'll have trouble
RhodyHistorian:: I believe Chinese political leaders
backed off of that statement pretty quickly, did they
not? (I may be mistaken)
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Stephan--it might be a "trial
balloon". Feeling out America's commitment to a
war over Taiwan.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I don't think we should commit
to a war over Taiwan.
Chris OConnor:: Stephan - I'm not following you. The
threat may be directed at our government, but the actual
missile would target LA and kill millions potentially.
Victor Davis Hanson:: Yes,
of course. Since we have overwhelming nuclear superiority
and the foundations of an ABM system, but it was effective
StephanKrieg:: Dr. Hanson, does it not seem to be the
case that "Governments" are an emergent structure,
emergent from an underlying social process?
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: if china invaded Taiwan,
its govt would lose the confidence of its people pretty
quickly. Without the US getting involved, they'll probably
figure that out.
Chris OConnor:: How effective is this ABM system?
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I worry that governments
will get so addicted to strategy that they'll miscalculate
eventually and set off a nuclear exchange.
Chris OConnor:: Michael - and the same people would
forget about this invasion within 3 years, just like
we did 9/11
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: strategy can be a very narcissistic
enterprise. It's not the same in theory as in reality.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: chris--I doubt it. We didn't
ecstian:: depends on what you mean by forget
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: we argue about Iraq, but
that doesn't mean we forgot 911. We just don't know
what we can do more than we're doing about it.
Chris OConnor:: I think time desensitizes people
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: people still talk about 911
all the time
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: chris--I think talking over
time does desensitize... but feelings remain underneath
Victor Davis Hanson:: Very
effective in 5 years against a North Korea or Pakistan,
somewhat with China, useless against the Russians or
any others with more than 300 or so delivery systems
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: words lose impact as they're
repeated, but something usually refreshes the impact
of words eventually.
StephanKrieg:: Chris, we have to understand that we
should not consider a "government" to be an
entity at the same level as a being like you and I,
there are tiers of emergence. Interactions between entities
occurs, mostly, at the same tier: governments -governments,
humans - humans. I am assuming this. We, as individuals,
do not operate at the same level as a government.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Stephan--good question about
social processes leading to government
StephanKrieg:: 9/11 was a phase transition event.
JulianTheApostate:: Here's an article about the Chinese
general's threat, if you aren't familiar with it:
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: it's a matter of feedback
on all levels
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: even dictators are influenced
by the people they dominate
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: they just don't realize it
Chris OConnor:: I need to read more about this missile
RhodyHistorian:: Well, getting a bit late here on the
East Coast. Thank you Dr. Hanson for your time and for
booktalk for hosting. It was a genuinely stimulating
StephanKrieg:: Yes, Michael, because the dictator's
power flows from the people that they dominate
Chris OConnor:: Goodnight Rhody
as well. Same thing happens in narcissism... saying
"I am not influenced" is often a sign that
one is influenced, and reacting against it.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: fundamentalism is a reaction
not only against modernity, but against the recognition
that the fundamentalist has been influenced.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - you're welcome to chat with
us as long as you're enjoying yourself. We would like
to hear about your book about Athens and Sparta before
you say goodbye.
Chris OConnor:: your next book
StephanKrieg:: yes, forgive my impertinence.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I missed your impertinence,
Stephan... can you repeat it?
Chris OConnor:: I think Islamic fundamentalism is more
than a reaction - it is what the Koran calls for
Chris OConnor:: But I suppose that is for another chat
Victor Davis Hanson:: Yes,
I'll have to log off soon: but the book--A War Like
No Other: How Athens Fought Sparta comes out next month
from Random House and tries to explain the war from
the vantage point of those who fought it
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Chris--most Muslims I've
talked to are quick to denounce terrorism. A holy book
is NOT meant to be taken entirely literally or as a
guidebook to modern living. The majority of Jews and
Christians also know that.
StephanKrieg:: Dr. Hanson, is there any similarity between
the Athens and Sparta struggle and the US/Sino struggle?
JulianTheApostate:: According to Karen Armstrong's Battle
for God, fundamentalism is definitely a response to
Chris OConnor:: Victor - I'd love to ask you questions
about Greek history, but I know you'll have to go.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Most Muslims read the Quran
in context, just as most Jews read the Bible in context.
God tells the Hebrews to commit genocide... doesn't
mean modern Jews are associated with that.
JulianTheApostate:: How much can you know about the
soldiers' experiences in Ancient Greece?
Victor Davis Hanson:: In the
sense that a liberal society (Athens) has short term
liabilities and long term but unappreciated strengths
Chris OConnor:: Victor - how do we know all that we
know about those ancient wars? This has always interested
me. Were there books left behind? Scrolls? Writing on
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: history is written by the
Chris OConnor:: Michael - yes, but where is it written
is my question!
StephanKrieg:: no, by the Victors...
JulianTheApostate:: And the rat excrement.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: chris--and a good one
JulianTheApostate:: (Collapse reference)
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Stephan-only the victors
who could write
Chris OConnor:: I want to do some reading on ancient
Greece and Samuel (booktalk member) has suggested a
few books. But how do we know what we claim to know?
this is what intrigues me.
Victor Davis Hanson:: Classics
is based on tripartite evidence: literature (eg Thucydides,
Aristophanes, Plutarch), 2, inscriptions on stone (eg
20,000 of them from Athens alone), and archaeology and
art (eg. vase paintings of trieremes, remains of stone
forts and walls
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: the history of any family
is largely distorted into a myth, unless there's a writer
in the family who is very honest and articulate. Same
Chris OConnor:: 20,000! I'd love to see these inscriptions.
That's incredible. So much has been found all over Athens.
JulianTheApostate:: Does the literature mainly reflect
the experience of the ruling elite?
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: was it the ruling elite that
did the most writing?
Chris OConnor:: I've read Timaeus and Critias (spelling?)
about Atlantis, but seriously doubt this civ existed.
Chris OConnor:: Julian - I bet it does
Chris OConnor:: We stayed on Santorini and many scientists
think Atlantis was there - if it existed at all.
Victor Davis Hanson:: Not always;
Euripides and Aristophanes have sympathetic portraits
of slaves for example, we also have graffiti, everyday
utensils , houses etc that tell us the other story
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: it's interesting to think
about all the history that was never written because
it didn't fit into an existing category of literature.
Chris OConnor:: You guys would flip if you saw the National
Archaeological Museum in Athens.
Chris OConnor:: Also there is a museum just for the
artifacts from the Acropolis.
Chris OConnor:: I have 442 pictures.
Victor Davis Hanson:: I am
afraid I am going to have to log off and prepare for
class tomorrow, thank you for the opportunity to chat
with everyone, vdh
JulianTheApostate:: Thanks for coming.
Chris OConnor:: Victor - thank you very much for this
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: see you victor
Victor Davis Hanson left
Chris OConnor:: It is unfortunate that about half of
the audience I was hoping for showed up tonight.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I was surprised to see so
JulianTheApostate:: It still seemed like a good conversation.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: it seemed like enough people
to stay interesting
Chris OConnor:: Thanks for you guys being here. I plan
to do some advertising soon. Of course, I have said
that for months and months. It is expensive.
JulianTheApostate:: Bye, everyone! See you next time.
Chris OConnor:: Yes, this was fun.
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: bye julian
Chris OConnor:: Bye Julian
Chris OConnor:: Michael - you really made this chat!
Chris OConnor:: "made" as in made it interesting
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: you mean I showed up?
Chris OConnor:: thanks
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: thanks chris
Chris OConnor:: haha
Chris OConnor:: Stephan - did you get my email or see
my post on BBT?
StephanKrieg:: Chris, my apologies for being late! I
as looking forwarrd to Dr. Hanson's talk.
Chris OConnor:: you guys see that person on BookTalk
right now? He never entered the chat room
StephanKrieg:: I got your email. I am no longer a member
Chris OConnor:: Stephan - I only post when I mention
one of these chats (on BBT)
StephanKrieg:: it is difficult to figure out how to
log onto the chat
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I liked Stephan's questions,
they were good
StephanKrieg:: thank you.
Chris OConnor:: Yes, they were good. Thanks for coming
StephanKrieg:: I am very interested in geopolitics
Chris OConnor:: Eric - did you get my email?
StephanKrieg:: I see History as the best guide to patterns
within geopolitics, hence my questions...
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Stephan--I worry that people
will apply historical examples where they no longer
apply, and only discover too late why they don't apply
ecstian:: yes i did chris
Chris OConnor:: Ok, I'm going to copy and paste this
StephanKrieg:: That is true, but is it all that we have
that comes close to empirical evidence with which to
Chris OConnor:: Eric - cool. Well, thanks for showing.
Sorry this wasn't as dynamic as past chats.
StephanKrieg:: Chris, please email me a transcript
Chris OConnor:: Stephan - I will post it on the transcript
page too. You know where that is?
MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Stephen--one reason why knowledge
of history has to be balanced by an ability to get real-time
feedback and update one's views as new info comes in.
Chris OConnor:: http://www.booktalk.org/transcripts.php
StephanKrieg:: That is a very good strategy
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