Least favorite historical period.

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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by smrk » Fri 30 Mar 2012, 22:44

I'm not terribly interested in early modern England. Post-industrial revolution things get a little more interesting, but, at least the way it's usually presented, it bores the pants off me. Maybe I just haven't found the right book, though. That said, I did read some interesting stuff about enclosure back when I was in college, but that wasn't in a class about English history. Similarly, the period of American history from the end of the Civil War to WWI can be incredibly dull, since the most important political questions during that period were about stuff like tariffs, monetary policy, and the civil service, and if the class/book/whatever just focuses on that without discussing their deeper economic and social implications (like, say, your high school American history class), then that can be super boring.

I'm not a huge fan of ancient Greece, either.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by DanH34 » Fri 30 Mar 2012, 23:10

I've been puzzling over this one for a while.

The only answer I can give is: I don't have one.

I find the interconnected web of human interactions and events that make up human history fascinating regardless of when and where it all takes place.

I do find the period of the decline of the Roman Empire/rise of Christianity immensely depressing, however. And, of course, the Holocaust brings shame upon us all.

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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Xonen » Sat 31 Mar 2012, 13:54

Trailsend wrote:Get a bunch of people together and have them take some (harmless) pain tolerance test (like measuring how long they are able to immerse a hand in ice water) twice. On one trial, give them some collection of harmless words to shout when feeling pain. On the second trial, let them swear. (Be sure to vary the ordering of the trials.) Then calculate the average change in immersion time.
Funny, I could swear I saw people doing exactly this on TV once. [:P]
Spoiler:
Confirmed, BTW.

EDIT: Damn! Pun not intended.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Ànradh » Sat 31 Mar 2012, 14:36

Xonen wrote:Funny, I could swear I saw people doing exactly this on TV once. [:P]
Spoiler:
Confirmed, BTW.

EDIT: Damn! Pun not intended.
Make that twice: Planet Word and Mythbusters.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Trailsend » Sun 01 Apr 2012, 06:30

Lodhas wrote:
Xonen wrote:Funny, I could swear I saw people doing exactly this on TV once. [:P]
Make that twice: Planet Word and Mythbusters.
Ha! I originally heard about the effect from "official" research, but I smiled when I saw Mythbusters duplicate it.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Khemehekis » Sun 01 Apr 2012, 09:37

World War II. A lot of lock-step marching behind figures like FDR, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Tojo. The amount of flag-waving was so intense it would make 9/12/2001 look like a Vietnam War protest.

Also, the internment of Japanese-Americans and sale of their possessions was unforgivable. None of the Americans who pulled Japanese-American internment off got punished for it, even though they everyone involved should have gotten life in prison and be made to pay all their money back to their Japanese-American victims.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Micamo » Sun 01 Apr 2012, 15:18

Khemehekis wrote:None of the Americans who pulled Japanese-American internment off got punished for it, even though they everyone involved should have gotten life in prison and be made to pay all their money back to their Japanese-American victims.
Should, maybe. But the frightening thing about WW2 was that all of the involved parties agreed on all essential matters of policy. The only big difference between the nazis and FDR america is the much greater extent Hitler was willing to pursue his people's ideas to their logical conclusions. Ideas that, today, are mostly unchanged. Even Nuremburg itself was a show trial, a way for the winning party to wave their dicks around and prove to themselves that they had bigger ones.

The idea that the perpetrators of the Japanese-american internment camps should have been punished would have been considered absurd in its own day. Everyone but the victims agreed with what was going on, and the victims only wished it were happening to someone else instead. World War 2 was something... far, far darker than you probably care to imagine.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by smrk » Mon 02 Apr 2012, 21:48

Micamo wrote:But the frightening thing about WW2 was that all of the involved parties agreed on all essential matters of policy. The only big difference between the nazis and FDR america is the much greater extent Hitler was willing to pursue his people's ideas to their logical conclusions. Ideas that, today, are mostly unchanged.
Really?
I assume you're trying to make some point either about the illegitimacy of state power, or about "collectivism", depending on whether you're a left-wing anarchist or a right-winger who considers the Nazis, Stalin, and FDR various flavors of socialist.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by CrazyEttin » Tue 03 Apr 2012, 06:03

smrk wrote:
Micamo wrote:But the frightening thing about WW2 was that all of the involved parties agreed on all essential matters of policy. The only big difference between the nazis and FDR america is the much greater extent Hitler was willing to pursue his people's ideas to their logical conclusions. Ideas that, today, are mostly unchanged.
Really?
I assume you're trying to make some point either about the illegitimacy of state power, or about "collectivism", depending on whether you're a left-wing anarchist or a right-winger who considers the Nazis, Stalin, and FDR various flavors of socialist.
Actually, nazi germany was, economically speaking, centrist. And it's true, all of the parties agreed on many matters of policy.
And i object to the use of word "people" here. Many germans were not nazis.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Micamo » Fri 06 Apr 2012, 08:17

smrk wrote:I assume you're trying to make some point either about the illegitimacy of state power, or about "collectivism"
Both.

Nazi ideology had, at its core, two fundamental ideas.

- First, that human interaction is zero-sum. Prosperity to one group necessarily denies prosperity to another.

- Second, that it's both possible and desirable to provide prosperity to favored groups by exploiting unfavored ones.

Remove either of these ideas and the entirety of their belief system crumbles like a house of cards. Everything else is details on how exploitation of unfavored groups should be carried out, and moral justification as to why the favored groups are more deserving of prosperity than the exploited.

Furthermore those two core ideas were present not only in FDR america, but are alive and well in all the ruling ideologies of the west. Modern society is far more similar to nazi germany than most are comfortable admitting. This is why you occasionally see unironic praise of Hitler's policies "outside the whole holocaust thing" with his smoking bans and such.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Xing » Fri 06 Apr 2012, 10:34

That't the kind of argument that are frequently encountered in websites and internet forums, but which receives little attention from more serious political philosophers. Basically, one person claims that the ideology some other person adheres to "really" is the same as some other ideology, that both persons despise. The "argument" laid forth for this claim is that both ideologies share some abstract similarity.

A social conservative might thus claim that "libertarians are really marxists at heart (they both wants to re-design society from abstract blueprints, showing little respect for established social mores, etc.); leftists can claim that "libertarians and fascists are really the same (since they don't share the class-war analysis, etc.)", etc. Proponents of virtually any ideology can say that virtually any two other ideologies "share the same fundamental ideas".

The problem is, of course, that though one can point to similarities between any two ideologies, one can also point at differences. To take a closer look at one of the alleged "similarities" between FDR liberalism and nazism:
Micamo wrote:- Second, that it's both possible and desirable to provide prosperity to favored groups by exploiting unfavored ones.
But nazis and FDR liberals disagree what counts as "favoured" and "disfavoured" groups, and what counts as "exploiting", as well as on many other issues. They are both similar (and so are also proponents most other political ideologies, like conservatives, social-demicrats, moderate libertarians, communists, etc.) that some state power is acceptable. But what state power, and what justification for this state power can be given, differ highly between the various ideologies. What one ideology counts as legitimate exercise of state power, may be regarded as illegitimate by another ideology. The similarities between the various ideologies thus boil down to that they don't think that a radical laissez-faire system (at least not always) is the most just political or economic system, and at least in some situations may render unwelcome results. But they may disagree highly on in what situations laissez-faire systems fail, which in turn follow from that the different ideologies may have very different ideas about justice, and what people are entitled to to begin with.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Micamo » Fri 06 Apr 2012, 23:14

Of course you can point out silly, superficial similarities and differences: Marxism and the american republican party both use the color red to identify themselves, but I don't think anyone would seriously claim that they're the same on these grounds alone. What needs to be decided is which aspects of an ideology are fundamental and worthy of attention, and which aspects are superficial and may be ignored. I think that race-war vs. class-war conceptions politics is a superficial and, thus, unimportant difference: That they view socio-economic interactions as inherently antagonistic is enough to reject both. The comparison won't convince anyone who doesn't already agree with that, but why should it?
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Xing » Sat 07 Apr 2012, 18:10

Micamo wrote:I think that race-war vs. class-war conceptions politics is a superficial and, thus, unimportant difference: That they view socio-economic interactions as inherently antagonistic is enough to reject both.
Maybe, maybe not. Proponents of marxism and racism of various kinds would probably claim there are important differences between the notions of 'class' and 'race', respectively. In fact, I think they would use very different arguments to justify their positions. The kind of argument that would justify 'class' as a fundamental socio-economic analysis would probably not justify 'race' as an equally important category (and vice versa; the kind of arguments that makes 'race' a fundamental notion, would not do so with 'class'). Both positions may be wrong (which I believe they are), but different arguments may be needed to refute them. Both marxists and racists would believe that a laissez-faire system is 'unfair', according to their respective conceptions of justice (=such a system would fail to give certain people what they are entitled to). But since they may have widely differing views about what people are entitled to in the first place, their shared belief that a laissez faire-system would fail to live up to their conceptions of justice or fairness, might be more of a negative trait they share.
The comparison won't convince anyone who doesn't already agree with that, but why should it?
If one aims to convince anyone else that the libertarian/anarcho-capitalist worldview is true, it would be unwise to use comparisons and analogies that presuppose the basic assumptions of the worldview.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Micamo » Sun 08 Apr 2012, 09:32

xingoxa wrote:If one aims to convince anyone else that the libertarian/anarcho-capitalist worldview is true, it would be unwise to use comparisons and analogies that presuppose the basic assumptions of the worldview.
Of course. However, I'm not really trying to convince anyone of that.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Tomos » Fri 13 Dec 2013, 20:41

In school I was never particularly interested in the Victorians. I know they did a lot for us but whenever we did them I thought 'Oh, not again'.

I don't like the current period of British TV much. When ITV killed off the regions and anything interesting it wasn't good.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Shemtov » Fri 20 Dec 2013, 08:34

Micamo wrote:
Khemehekis wrote:None of the Americans who pulled Japanese-American internment off got punished for it, even though they everyone involved should have gotten life in prison and be made to pay all their money back to their Japanese-American victims.
Should, maybe. But the frightening thing about WW2 was that all of the involved parties agreed on all essential matters of policy. The only big difference between the nazis and FDR america is the much greater extent Hitler was willing to pursue his people's ideas to their logical conclusions. Ideas that, today, are mostly unchanged. Even Nuremburg itself was a show trial, a way for the winning party to wave their dicks around and prove to themselves that they had bigger ones.

The idea that the perpetrators of the Japanese-american internment camps should have been punished would have been considered absurd in its own day. Everyone but the victims agreed with what was going on, and the victims only wished it were happening to someone else instead. World War 2 was something... far, far darker than you probably care to imagine.
Exactly.
FDR would have committed the Holocaust himself, except for the fact that that was what the enemy was doing.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Tomos » Fri 20 Dec 2013, 12:35

My granddad was a POW in Germany and when he said he was Welsh not English they looked at him like he was mad but he was treated better than the English people there. He thought that the ordinary working man was fine, it was just the people at the top that were the problem. I was 10 when he died so I didn't really appreciate the meaning of it and it was before I got into Welsh culture, but if he was alive today I would probably talk to him about it.

Someone I know said why did the Japanese side with the Germans? Because they're fairly different cultures.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Ahzoh » Fri 20 Dec 2013, 23:30

I hate the 1920s, and everything after the 50s.
I also hate medieval Europe.
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by pittmirg » Sat 21 Dec 2013, 15:25

It will be the XVIII century. I suspect the reason I feel so queasy about it is that it is portrayed in Polish historiography as a gloomy period of cynical absolutist despots, diabolical alliances and the devaluation of ye olde virtues (ofc I'm talking about the European aspect). Concerning the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, it is generally seen as a period of national decay, antiintellectualism and bigotry*, dominated by treacherous magnates. It culminated in the partitions.

*you think there must be something to it when you read such gems as the first Polish encyclopedia Nowe Ateny... (1740's).
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Re: Least favorite historical period.

Post by Creyeditor » Mon 23 Dec 2013, 02:12

I don't like the middle ages and the time from 1700 to 1900.
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