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"VDH on red US as Byzantium and blue US as Rome" Topic

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doc mcb14 Oct 2021 8:50 a.m. PST


Interesting analysis. VDH's history is correct, of course. I'm not sure about his identification of my Tennessee with the Byzantines and NY and CA as the western Romans. What do others think?

DrSkull14 Oct 2021 9:58 a.m. PST

If you focus on the Italian heartland and the Senatorial elite, then he may be on to something. But, the ordinary populace of Spain, Gaul and Britain seem a bit more reddish to me (especially with the rapid de-urbanization of those regions).

jamemurp14 Oct 2021 10:23 a.m. PST

History doesn't repeat itself, but It often rhymes.

A terrible, superficial article that ignores regional differences (there are solid pockets of "blue" states throughout the Midwest and plenty of red on the coast) as is typical of those pushing political conflict over the more complex reality that this country has always favored the privileged elite few over the many and wrapped classism in democratic rhetoric to sell it to the masses. Time and time again, this has lead to conflict, especially during economic downturns when wealth is highly concentrated. The general response is to repress labor (with violence if necessary) and rely on pitting groups (often racial or ethnic) against each other, with a pittance afforded to the enforcement class to keep them slightly above the rest (and fearful of losing it).

This is just one more period of breakdown.

John the OFM14 Oct 2021 10:32 a.m. PST

VDH's scholarship has been challenged in the past, as has his too facile identification of current events with ancient history.

One thing I would challenge him on would be

Yet the Roman eastern half survived for nearly 1,000 years. It was soon known as the Byzantine Empire,

No. They never referred to themselves as "Byzantine". They always considered themselves "Roman".
"Byzantine" as a name is an invention by later historians.

His "The Western Way of War" doesn't just hint, it comes right out and states that only Western nations, based on infantry, took warfare seriously. Apparently bow armed Persians and Mongols didn't take war seriously. At its core, that's racist.

In another book, he links the struggle against tyranny by joining Thebes vs Sparta, Sherman vs Johnston, and Patton's 3rd Army vs Nazi Germany as sturdy stout yeoman democratic farmers vs tyranny. Strange, but isn't Soviet Russia vs Germany also pitting agrarian vs Bad Guys?

VDH, a farmer, is a crank with an agenda, not above cherry picking his facts to suit that agenda.
And before anyone jumps in with the classic "what about Professor X???" Yeah. Him too! And the horse he ride in on. Historians trying to shoehorn history into Current Events all have agendas.
Frankly, I would not trust anyone who said they didn't. Why are they writing?

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2021 10:52 a.m. PST

Who would argue that conservatives, who want to conserve, welcome change? He knows what foreigners think about the coasts vs the interior?
Atheism? Try running that by a small New England town not far from the coast.
In New England we are not especially reckless, you will find all the same qualities you can find in the Midwest in many good people. And the same for NYC by the way. Or Charleston. Or LA.

Why does he do this? Never mind, I already know. The guise of academic discussion here does not work for me. I still see one big country.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Oct 2021 10:59 a.m. PST

This is neither 'general historical discussion' not 'ultra modern warfare' it is POLITICS.

Talk about trying to hide an elephant behind a tree – you aren't even using a big tree !!!

machinehead14 Oct 2021 11:23 a.m. PST

If you want a real chuckle read the comments section of the article.

Perris070714 Oct 2021 11:42 a.m. PST

Spot on OFM.

McKinstry Fezian14 Oct 2021 11:45 a.m. PST

+1 GildasFacit

John the OFM14 Oct 2021 12:31 p.m. PST

+2 GildasFacit

Until he is stopped, this will continue. Doc sees us an unruly class that must be instructed.

doc mcb14 Oct 2021 12:33 p.m. PST

OFM, I agree that sometimes VDH is a bit too facile in comparing ancient events with modern, and this may be a case of that. I have enjoyed several of his books and respect him as an historian. I do think there is SOMETHING to his analogy here, but analogies are always slippery and this one perhaps more than some. But the Greek versus Latin culture distinction DOES have some validity as a model of red/blue today. Some.

doc mcb14 Oct 2021 12:35 p.m. PST

As to "stopping' me???? How does that work? Easier for those who prefer other topics to just not read this one, right?

John the OFM14 Oct 2021 12:43 p.m. PST

Hey! I read the comments!
And someone else caught him on the "they called themselves Byzantine" nonsense.
Montesquieu, eh?

Anyone who calls themselves a scholar of history should not make such a boneheaded mistake.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Oct 2021 12:45 p.m. PST

No doc, the easy thing would be for you to stop posting this stuff in the wrong places.

This forum has a place for political discussion or controversial topics and it isn't in the main boards.

I know you are averse to obeying the common rules of reasonable society but, just for once, do it here and take it to the Blue Fez.

John : hell will freeze over long before doc learns enough to teach me anything worth knowing.

arealdeadone14 Oct 2021 3:37 p.m. PST

Interesting article.

I do think by 2100 there will be no USA but instead three or more countries focused around California, Texas and the mass urban conglomeration in the East (Megacity 1!).

I wouldn't be surprised if the US starts changing massively culturally to a more Hispanic model especially as immigration continues unabated.

I actually think this Rome-Byzantium analogy will apply to Europe by 2100 as well:

1. Western Europe (Rome) – split into lots of minor Christian and Islamic "countries". I don't see France, Spain or Italy surviving Islamification (demographic change is already happening). Britain will have split up and possibly as early as 2050 or even earlier.

I can see Germany splitting back into an Islamic west and Christian East. Some German cities are already primarily non-German (ie migrants are over 50% of population) and some are already 30% Islamic.

2. Slavic Eastern Europe (Byzantium) – ironically chummed up with Russia. Very conservative, anti-Islamic (despite Russian Islamic minorities) and certainly not western.

Australia – this is an interesting one – I suspect Australian eastern seaboard will be split into Chinese and Indian areas whilst western Australia is the last enclave of European Australians.

Democracy by this stage is largely dead as is consumerism. It might survive in places but I suspect the future states will be authoritarian in nature which is a necessity in governing a population with such large levels of inequality.

This is all based on long term demographic (immigration and birth rates) and economic and political trends.

The west as a concept is already dead basically.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Oct 2021 1:39 a.m. PST

If there are to be major divisions in Europe in the future I can't see any sign that it will be on religious lines at all. Predicting that shows that you have little or no understanding of how Europe actually works as a political entity.

doc mcb15 Oct 2021 8:34 a.m. PST

Oh? Islamists vs others is not a major division?

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Oct 2021 9:05 a.m. PST

Only in your head doc.
In my experience here in the UK muslims fit quite well into many British towns & cities and can often become prominent citizens. There are areas in some towns & cities that are where specific nationalities tend to congregate but that applies to any immigrant group and has been that way for centuries in the UK and other parts of Europe.
Britain has far less religion in its politics than parts of the US; even Northern Ireland is more politically riven than religiously so.

doc mcb15 Oct 2021 9:30 a.m. PST

And the areas where there have been mass rapes? Hope that is an aberration.


GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Oct 2021 10:42 a.m. PST

It has nothing to do with religion though. The same thing is happening in Pakistan itself where there is no religious divide.

You look for simplistic reasons for what is a complex problem that has been on the radar of many social workers for a long time. It isn't confined to a few areas either but believed to be quite widespread, even if in very small numbers. Many of the targets are vulnerable and at that age where belief in a dream is more attractive than reality. They often have a background of poor living conditions and limited education. It doesn't help solve the problem by touting it as a racial/religious issue when that is only a part of the story, and not the most important part.

You want division; you believe in the superiority of your beliefs to the exclusion of others. This does not lead to a healthy society, it leads to stagnation and dispute not progress through cooperation.

John the OFM15 Oct 2021 11:01 a.m. PST

+1 GildasFacit

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Oct 2021 11:40 a.m. PST

I'm bowing out of this one John, it isn't worth the effort.

Dan Cyr16 Oct 2021 10:40 a.m. PST

+ 1 GildasFacit

As a historian, I've always wondered why there are those who claim to have historical insight when it is apparent by their statements (beliefs?) that they don't.

Just to use the comments about the US breaking up based on the idea that the present immigration issues will doom or submerge the existing WASP population and its domination of the existing race/political structure, one wonders if they've actually examined the history of the screams and breast beatings of the repeated attempts by such past groups terrified by the appearance of a new influx of people from somewhere they don't like and fear. Does anyone really believe that millions of people who came here from Ireland, Germany, Italy, Poland Japan, China, Vietnam and other places damaged or weakened the US in any way, shape or form? How many millions of US citizens have arrived here and adjusted their cultural heritage (as those of us who are already here adjust our cultural heritage as a result)? Nothing new then, there are always a small percentage of the population will fear for loss of the purity of a mythical nation, religious beliefs, race purity, culture, language, etc., and in a few generations few notice that much of a measurable change has taken place. People want to come here (and a few other countries), for reasons that make perfect sense. The US has proven an ability to attract, absorb and remain what its founders would have approved of.

There are always the fearful, terrified that they personally or their supposed class/identity/etc. identity will be marginalized due to their lack of education, money, religion, race, gender, etc. History demonstrates that it will not happened, even as this tiny part of the population whines, screams, acts out, shudders and prepares for the apocalyptic event they are sure is coming. They've always been here, always make the same types of claims (modern communication systems allow them to spread their claims more widely) and time buries them.

Get a grip.

arealdeadone16 Oct 2021 4:35 p.m. PST

Gifts it has everything everything to do with religion and culture.

Nordics states keep good stats on criminal demographics(though Sweden stopped when these states were used to argue against further migration). Muslims are biggest perpetratirs of rape and spousal murder.

Education dies nothing to cange attitudes- I have 2 university degrees and I also started honours yet my attitudes are still rooted in Balkan and Communist thinking including attitudes on war that support actions that would be considered war crimes in the est. My attitudes to criminal justice are probably even more extreme and barbaric than the Soviet gulags and Saudi head chopping square.

I have worked with doctors from other parts of the world whose attitudes are governed by their religion and culture including attitudes to women and caste and even our patients (I am in mental health).

Also know plenty of Aussies who are educated with 19th attitudes to race and gender relations.

The whole educate people is a crock of crap basically.

arealdeadone16 Oct 2021 4:38 p.m. PST

Dan Cyr many of the more recent Chinese arrivals are fully indoctrinated and their loyalty is to China.

I have already read of Chinese american community groups heavily infiltrated by Chinese loyalists.

It is even worse in Australia where they went as far as celebrating Mao's birthday I Sydney and Melboir

arealdeadone16 Oct 2021 4:40 p.m. PST

Finally studies show things like community trust, civic participation and investment in public infrastructure decrease as multiculturalism increases.

And according to a honest defector the Chinese view multiculturalism as a distinct weakness to be exploited.

Dan Cyr16 Oct 2021 9:31 p.m. PST

You have a view, I'm just glad I don't share it.

All Sir Garnett17 Oct 2021 12:06 p.m. PST

Woe. Woe and ,er, thrice Woe…

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