Big Serge has a detailed article on Operation Barbarossa which is well-researched, insightful, and very long. Anyone interested in WWII history, and anyone who hopes to make any sense of what is happening in Ukraine, would do well to read the entire thing.

Soviet preparation for war had focused on material factors – the sheer size of tank, artillery, and aircraft inventories – while neglecting the professional aspects of command, communications, and coordination. Consequentially, despite adequate equipment and weaponry, the Red Army was, very simply, outmatched by the nimbler and more responsive Wehrmacht.

In the first place, the performance of the Red Army cannot be separated from the fact that Stalin had conducted a widespread purge of his own officer corps only a few years prior to the outbreak of war. This appalling churn in the command hierarchy had occurred at the same time that the Red Army was expanding; as a result, Soviet officers tended to be rapidly promoted and were for the most part in over their heads early in the war, fighting a highly trained, experienced, coolly competent German officer corps, which had by now successfully undertaken two large campaigns in France and Poland, along with a variety of other specialized operations from Norway to Greece. The basic factors of experience and training were thus hilariously disposed in Germany’s favor.

At the same time, the Red Army lacked a dedicated communications system and relied on civilian telephone and telegraph lines, many of which were quickly cut by the Germans. It was not uncommon during the early phases of the war for Soviet officers to have to inquire with local communist party officials (the party did have access to wireless communications) as to where the Germans were and how far they had advanced.

The Red Army fought bravely but was unprepared for war at Germany’s pace
These two factors – an overwhelmed officer corps and a broken communications system – had a particularly deadly synergy. Different levels of the command hierarchy were cut off from each other and blind, while at the unit level, commanders were simply unable or unwilling to take initiative. Furthermore, the… shall we say peculiarities of the Stalinist system left the officer corps with instincts that were oriented towards political survival, rather than military exigency, and this meant not making drastic unilateral decisions.

This was an absolutely central aspect of war making that Stalin and the communists simply did not grasp; they had focused on churning out tanks, guns, and shells, while neglecting the command and control functions of the army. The Germans, quite simply, were prepared to fight war at a different pace than the Soviets: German commanders were more experienced, more decisive, more precise, more willing to act independently, and more level headed. The Red Army consequentially resembled an enormous, muscle bound fighter, but with a diseased nervous system and bad eyesight.

These vulnerabilities made the Red Army particularly susceptible to the Wehrmacht’s approach to warfighting, which brought overwhelming firepower and violence at the point of attack to allow rapid penetration and movement, creating an encircled pocket, or what the Germans called a kessel, for cauldron – which could then be liquidated. By fighting multiple kesselschlachts, or encirclement battles, the Wehrmacht planned to annihilate the Red Army and destroy the Soviet Union’s capacity to resist by the autumn of 1941. The objective was very clear: destroy Soviet fighting power. Annihilating the Red Army took absolute priority over capturing any specific geographic markers. Hitler himself had remarked that even Moscow was “of no great importance.” Rather, the objective of Barbarossa was to destroy Soviet manpower: “The mass of the army”, read the Barbarossa directive, “is to be destroyed in bold operations involving deep penetrations by armored spearheads, and the withdrawal of elements capable of combat into the extensive Russian land spaces is to be prevented.”

This last portion is the key to the concept of Barbarossa, but we shall return to this later.

The first shots fired in the cataclysmic Nazi-Soviet war came in the form of an aerial bombardment by the Luftwaffe, which attacked over 60 frontline Soviet air bases early on June 22. The Red Air Force lost over 1200 aircraft on the first morning of the war, ensuring German control of the air all along the line of contact. On June 24, literally two days into the war, Soviet western front headquarters informed Moscow that “Enemy aviation has complete air dominance.” The wholesale destruction of the Red Air Force’s frontline units was one of the most remarkable events in the history of warfare, yet it occurred so quickly that it receives scant mention in much of the war’s historiography; it is as if the Soviet air force simply vanished into thin air. Meanwhile, German advance teams managed to cut many civilian telephone and telegraph lines, throwing the Red Army’s command and control system into disarray and forcing the NKVD (which operated a wireless radio communication system) to act as middlemen to relay orders to the army. With the Red Army severely disoriented and bereft of air support, on came the fearsome German mechanized package.

The Soviet response was woefully inadequate. 1941 would be a year of terrible mistakes, but above all, what high level Soviet leadership – including and especially Stalin – did not understand was just how much could be won or loss in the opening moments of the war. By neglecting to put the Red Army on full combat alert, the regime allowed the Wehrmacht to achieve tactical, but not strategic surprise. Years later, one Soviet Marshal, Andrei Grechko, would make the tongue in cheek remark that the government and senior commanders were fully prepared for the outbreak of war, and the only people surprised by the German attack were the Red Army soldiers on the front line. What Stalin’s team did not comprehend was that tactical surprise, mixed with Germany’s particularly aggressive and mobile approach to war and the Soviet Union’s sclerotic command system, could produce a total catastrophe.

It is interesting to note that Big Serge tends to support Suvorov’s Icebreaker hypothesis, which is that Stalin was preparing to invade Central and Western Europe, but was taken by surprise by the timing and effectiveness of the German offensive. And indeed, the most convincing aspect of the hypothesis is the extreme forward placement of the 60 Soviet air bases, which led to the incredible destruction of the Soviet air forces.

it occurred so quickly that it receives scant mention in much of the war’s historiography

I would argue that it receives scant mention because it destroys the narrative that the German attack on the Soviet Union was unprovoked and took place solely as a consequence of Hitler’s vast imperial ambitions.


Secular Blindness and Post-Ideology

This post by Z-Man usefully illustrates why he, and all the other secular commentators of the Right, are now past their use dates. Because they are totally blind to the moral and religious elements of the observable globalism vs nationalism conflict, which is far less the philosophical Aristotle vs Plato than Satanic imperialism aka The Empire of Lies vs truth, anything they say is only going to be tangentially relevant to the present situation at best, and usually by sheer accident.

The old language is either inadequate or loaded with moral connotations. Calling the Biden people fascist is not entirely wrong, but not entirely accurate either. That and the word fascist comes with so much baggage that its descriptive value is completely lost.

The same can be said for words like communist and authoritarian. Even the term managerialism has been abused to the point where it often just means “bad” rather than a specific sort of organizational outlook. One of the weird parts about being trapped in the 20th century, as is the case with the West, is we are left to use moral language that no longer works in this century.

The term “Biological Leninism” is a good example. While the NRx people have accurately described some aspects of the current system, this is mostly an accident of trying to jam the current system into old models. The term itself is just a way to anathematize the current ideology by associating it with an ideology of the last century which is universally reviled.

What needs doing is a fresh look at the 20th century from an objective, historical perspective that avoids the old moral language.

To the contrary, we don’t need a fresh, objective, historical secular perspective. That’s the very outdated sort of thinking that has placed humanity in its current peril. We need to return to the old moral language, and specifically, the historical Christian perspective upon which Western civilization was built and by which humanity advanced intellectually, morally, and technologically to heights it had never seen before.

All ideology is deception. Whether it is an ideology of the Right, such as free trade, free speech, libertarianism, Objectivism, or conservatism, or an ideology of the Left, such as socialism, communism, feminism, anti-racialism, or social justice, it is a deception and a distraction from the true and ancient conflict.

Satan is real. He rules this fallen world. And he is determined to root out every last vestige of the truth, because the truth inevitably leads to the Truth, which is Jesus Christ. That’s why the satanic imperialists lie about everything from economics to race, from science to sex, and from math to phonics. It is the essence of the truth they fear, not the specific fact in question.

We are living in a post-ideological time in a manner that exceeds mere identity politics, because every single identifiable ideology is poisoned with falsehoods in its core axioms. None of them are built on the truth, indeed, they are literally designed to deflect their adherents from the truth. And all of them observably lead to the exact same evil destination, as we are seeing take place in real time with “capitalism”, “democracy”, and “free market economies”.

Here is a specific example of how a secular perspective literally prevents the analyst from recognizing an observable and reliable historical pattern.

Throughout history whenever a society has accepted women leadership (matriarchy), or worshipped a female Deity, this has been followed by the acceptance of homosexuality and transgenderism. Without fail. It is a remarkable convergence, especially considering that this is observed in cultures that had nothing to do with each other and could not have influenced each other, because they were separated by centuries and continents. What people, including Mark, commonly call the Jezebel spirit is really the goddess Astarte, Ashtoreth, Ishtar, Aphrodite, Artemis, etc. In other words an active demon or demons that shows up in a consistent pattern throughout history, in every continent, in unconnected cultures, but always with the same tricks.

How can the secularist account for the repetitive historical consequences of demonic activity? He simply can’t. He can’t even take the historical facts into consideration. His intellectual framework specifically excludes the causal factor, and therefore he is forced to resort to obvious and increasingly ridiculous falsehoods in an inept attempt to explain away the observable truth.


The Crisis of Empire

The first line of Col Douglas Macgregor’s excellent article is a bit of a misnomer. America’s national power has already been leashed and broken. What we’re witnessing now is the limits of the imperial USA’s power, which have been constricted by the incompetence and shortsighted mismanagement of the mostly foreign imperial elite.

The crisis of American national power has begun. America’s economy is tipping over, and Western financial markets are quietly panicking. Imperiled by rising interest rates, mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasuries are losing their value. The market’s proverbial “vibes”—feelings, emotions, beliefs, and psychological penchants—suggest a dark turn is underway inside the American economy.

American national power is measured as much by American military capability as by economic potential and performance. The growing realization that American and European military-industrial capacity cannot keep up with Ukrainian demands for ammunition and equipment is an ominous signal to send during a proxy war that Washington insists its Ukrainian surrogate is winning.

Russian economy-of-force operations in southern Ukraine appear to have successfully ground down attacking Ukrainian forces with the minimal expenditure of Russian lives and resources. While Russia’s implementation of attrition warfare worked brilliantly, Russia mobilized its reserves of men and equipment to field a force that is several magnitudes larger and significantly more lethal than it was a year ago.

Russia’s massive arsenal of artillery systems including rockets, missiles, and drones linked to overhead surveillance platforms converted Ukrainian soldiers fighting to retain the northern edge of the Donbas into pop-up targets. How many Ukrainian soldiers have died is unknown, but one recent estimate wagers between 150,000-200,000 Ukrainians have been killed in action since the war began, while another estimates about 250,000.

Given the glaring weakness of NATO members’ ground, air, and air defense forces, an unwanted war with Russia could easily bring hundreds of thousands of Russian Troops to the Polish border, NATO’s Eastern Frontier. This is not an outcome Washington promised its European allies, but it’s now a real possibility.

In contrast to the Soviet Union’s hamfisted and ideologically driven foreign policymaking and execution, contemporary Russia has skillfully cultivated support for its cause in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. The fact that the West’s economic sanctions damaged the U.S. and European economies while turning the Russian ruble into one of the international system’s strongest currencies has hardly enhanced Washington’s global standing.

Biden’s policy of forcibly pushing NATO to Russia’s borders forged a strong commonality of security and trade interests between Moscow and Beijing that is attracting strategic partners in South Asia like India, and partners like Brazil in Latin America. The global economic implications for the emerging Russo-Chinese axis and their planned industrial revolution for some 3.9 billion people in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are profound.

In sum, Washington’s military strategy to weaken, isolate, or even destroy Russia is a colossal failure and the failure puts Washington’s proxy war with Russia on a truly dangerous path. To press on, undeterred in the face of Ukraine’s descent into oblivion, ignores three metastasizing threats: 1. Persistently high inflation and rising interest rates that signal economic weakness. (The first American bank failure since 2020 is a reminder of U.S. financial fragility.) 2. The threat to stability and prosperity inside European societies already reeling from several waves of unwanted refugees/migrants. 3. The threat of a wider European war.

America was finally defeated once and for all in 1965. Everything that has happened since was literally a new imperial order, and it is the new imperial order that is jeopardized, not the conquered nation that will likely benefit from the collapse of the empire.

They also know that since 1965 Washington led them into a series of failed military interventions that severely weakened American political, economic, and military power.

Washington. The seat of empire.

Far too many Americans believe they have had no real national leadership since January 21, 2021.

They haven’t had it for a lot longer than that. Since at least 1965, in fact.

This confusion of America with its imperial elite notwithstanding, Macgregor’s piece is an astute one that accurately chronicles the challenges presently overwhelming the empire. And the empire is neither willing nor able to meet those challenges, because the weapons of influence, namely, money and media, are unable to effectively defeat the weapons of power, which are industrial capacity and military might.

Influence can only defeat power if morale is sufficiently lacking. But both the Russians and the Chinese collectively possess a formidable will to survive, which is why they will likely succeed where a complacent and degenerate America failed.


History is a Cycle

Alex Macris goes considerably deeper than my post on anacyclosis, as he contemplates the wisdom of Naram-Sim to assist an inquiry into whether the facts support the idea that history is cyclical or if it is, as we are assured by Whigs and Marxists and technophiles and transhumanists alike, inevitably progressive.

Whig historiography is wrong because it falsely presupposes the inevitability of progress. If Whig historiography sees progress as a hockey stick, its arch-rival, cyclical historiography, sees progress as a sine wave. Cyclical historiography is nowadays in vogue among the dissident right, and there are a number of different cyclic theories of history.

Polybius, building on Aristotle, offered a theory of anacyclosis in which governments decay from their proper to corrupt forms and are then replaced by the next type of government in its proper form, only for that also to decay (the traditional cycle being monarchy to tyranny to aristocracy to oligarchy to democracy to mob rule). However, anacyclosis doesn’t explain what happened to Akkad.

Ibn Khaldun, the 14th century Muslim jurist, developed a theory that does, based on the concept of asabiyat (social solidarity). Professors Murat Onder and Fatih Ulasan of Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University explain:

History, to Ibn Khaldun, is a cyclical process in which sovereign powers come to existence, get stronger, lose their strengths and are conquered by other sovereign powers over time.

More precisely, every community is uncivilized at the beginning and tries to acquire the power around its own territory. The power depends on the stronger asabiyya than other communities’ asabiyyat. Asabiyya is very powerful because people from the same asabiyya tend to protect each other at all cost and due to their wild natures, they are strong and competent fighters. Asabiyya and wild nature which trigger the success in fighting and prevent communities from embracing the comfortable life’s disadvantages walk arm in arm. If one of them decelerates, the other one acts in the same way. These features which do not degenerate are enough to invade communities which have the less asabiyyat and civilized communities which are tired of fighting and lose their wild natures.

However, over time the less civilized communities which defeat others are always inclined to imitate the more civilized societies. Due to that, the wild communities lose their nature, get used to luxury and lastly are replaced by less civilized societies having stronger asabiyyat. And this cycle is infinite…

Ibn Khaldun argues that the cycle takes about 120 years.

Ibn Khaldun was not the only scholar to recognize this cycle. Sima Qian of China articulated the theory of the dynastic cycle. According to Qian, a dynasty begins when a charismatic and valorous leader earns the Mandate of Heaven, seizes power, and brings prosperity, and ends when through corruption and greed, the emperor loses the Mandate of Heaven and is replaced. Sima Qian’s theory lacks the causal explanation of asabiyyat; instead the cycles are caused by heavenly responses to earthly misdemeanors. It also assumes more longeval dynasties, about 200 – 300 years.

Arnold Toynbee, in his book A Study of History, offers a theory of civilizational cycles based on the concept of a creative minority. According to Toynbee, a creative minority rises to certain societal challenges and brings prosperity, achieves dominance, reduces the rest of the population to proletariat, and then begins to degenerate. Toynbee rejects the idea that urban life itself reduces asabiyyat, and therefore rejects the idea that a less-civilized power will grow stronger and topple the weakening hegemon. Instead, he sees the decline of a civilization as primarily internal.

The famed Oswald Spengler, in Decline of the West, argued that a civilization is a living organism that passes through stages of life or seasons — e.g. childhood, adolescence, adulthood, senescence or spring, summer, autumn and winter — over the course of a thousand years, with each stage lasting about 250 years. Spengler associates each civilization with a “soul” and its decline is fundamentally a spiritual one.

A more recent cyclical theory of history is Strauss-Howe generational theory. According to Strauss and Howe, historical events occur in 80-year cycles, each marked by four turnings of a generation (20 years). Strauss-Howe theory has given rise to the oft-discussed concept of the Fourth Turning. Strauss-Howe theory is based on the idea that each generation of human beings predictably differs from the prior generation based on the conditions of its upbringing. Put bluntly, a new crisis occurs when the generation that remembered the last crisis dies off and a new generation that has known only good times take the wheel of the ship of state.

The concept is often summarized using the famous quote by author G. Michael Hopf in his book Those Who Remain:

“Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times.
Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times.”

Because it offers a causal mechanism based on civilizational changes, Strauss-Howe theory is close kin to Ibn Khaldun’s theory. It also has the virtue of fitting the data of my own country, the United States, relatively well.

It’s an excellent piece. I highly recommend reading the whole thing.


Anacyclosis in Action

This is a recent post from /pol/ that is well worth reading, especially by those whose knowledge of history and the classics is less complete than might be desired. And it correctly points to the way in which the demoralization and denationalization of Western civilization is rooted in the decline of the Christianity that is one of its integral elements. Polybios would definitely be an early candidate for a second history-based Library subscription.

This was already noted by Polybios in the 2nd century BC, and he referred to his own society – the Hellenistic Greece. Polybios is recognized as “father of sociology”, and he witnessed his own civilization falling and being conquered by Rome.

Anacyclosis is the circulation of governmental forms: warlordship-monarchy-dictatorship-aristocracy-oligarchy-democracy-ochlocracy. Which follows with societal collapse and back into warlordship. The cycle starts anew. The cycle can skip one or more phases or go backwards, but it will never stop on itself.

The theory of anacyclosis is based upon the Greek typology of constitutional forms of rule by the one, the few, and the many. Anacyclosis states that three basic forms of “benign” government (monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy) are inherently weak and unstable, tending to degenerate rapidly into the three basic forms of “malignant” government (tyranny, oligarchy, and ochlocracy). They, however are disliked and not tolerated well, and people tend to seek the “benign” forms.

According to the doctrine, “benign” governments have the interests of all at heart, whereas “malignant” governments have the interests of a select few at heart. However, all six are considered unworkable because the first three rapidly transform into the latter three due to political corruption, and the latter three tend to collapse from violence.

Widespread Atheism is a sign of democracy transforming into ochlocracy – the mob rule – and Polybios himself witnessed that happening in the Hellenistic Greece. The rise of Materialism and philosophy had killed off the Greek Pagan religion, and it was nothing but an empty shell any more – he said nobody believed in the gods any more. The result was general hedonism, disinterest in upkeeping of the society, amassing of personal fortune and collapse of birth rates.

Polybios himself was a soldier, and he complained of the demoralization of the Hellenistic civilization in general. He lived through collapse of Macedon and defeat of the last king, Perseus, in the battle of Pydna 168 BC. Polybios stated that when a nation loses its faith on its gods, it loses its faith on itself and in the future. He also saw the Roman military, witnessed the Punic Wars and saw how Republican Rome was far less civilized than the Hellenistic sphere, but it was young and hungry.

Polybios considered democracy as the pinnacle of the anacyclosis. Yet in the same way that the descendants of kings and aristocrats abused their political status, so too will the descendants of democrats. Accordingly, democracy degenerates into ochlocracy, literally, “mob-rule”. In an ochlocracy, according to Polybius, the people of the state will become corrupted, and will develop a sense of entitlement and will be conditioned to accept the pandering of demagogues and Populist politicians. Essentially, government becomes a puppet show because a transition in power does not affect a civilian on a day-to-day basis.

This phase sees a widespread Atheism. People lose their faith in gods, and they lose their faith in the society and themselves and in the future. They rather concentrate on what they have here and now – and the result is widespread Hedonism, amassing of wealth and collapse of birth rates. Eventually an ochlocratic society will collapse – either into civil war and anarchy – or is conquered by an external conqueror. The cycle starts anew.

The same happened to Rome 400 years later with the Third Century Crisis. The Roman Polytheism was moribund already in the Early Imperial era, and it collapsed during the Middle Imperial. The Roman Empire was basically a religious vacuum – or a chaotic hotbed of religious competition – by the 3rd century, and the Empire tore in three parts by 242. Only the reconquest of Aurelianus and the reforms of Diocletianus saved the moribund empire and purchased it 100 years more time. But the Empire cleft in two in 395 and the Western Empire went bankrupt 476. Only the rise of a new religion – Christianity – consolidated the situation, and saved the Roman civilization in West and the Roman Empire in the East – the Eastern Roman Empire lasted for 1000 years more.

But also the fate of the Cordoba caliphate in Spain and its collapse is an example of anacyclosis, and the most striking example is the fate of USSR – and each and every Communist regime.

Not all Atheists are Communists, but all Communists are Atheists. The USSR was a acumen of an Atheist society, and Atheism was enforced on all levels of the society. The result was an Orwellian totalitarian dictatorship – the worst tyranny and oppression the world has ever seen, a genocide of millions of people and destruction od centuries of culture – and eventually collapse. USSR collapsed in less than three generations after it had been founded. The only way it could stay together was excessive use of lies, coercion and state violence.

Both Dima Vorobiev, Misha Firer and Dimitry Kosh can confirm my observations and tell how it was. They lived through the USSR. They have first hand experience of it all. And they can tell how it went and what happened to Atheism in the USSR.

Another way to inspect the deleterious effect of widespread Atheism in society are the fates of various ideal communities and ideal societies. All non-religious ideal societies, such as kolkhozes, kibbutzim, Hippie communities and Naturist communities, have collapsed in three generations at latest – due to internal disputes and strife – while religious ideal societies can last for millennia. The Hutterites are a primary example of this, but so are monasteries. Monte Cassino was founded in 529 AD and Heian in 711 AD, and both Christian and Buddhist ideal societies are still going strong. The only kibbutzim in Israel today are those which are religious.

There is also a third way to observe and confirm this phenomenon – that widespread Atheism is a sign of a collapsing society – and it is meme theory, 12 leverage points’ theorem and cultural evolution. The meme theory claims the cultural evolution is analogous to biological evolution – the nature works on analogies – and same principles apply. The meme theory insists that cultural evolution works on similar information carrying replication units as the biological, called memes – which form memeplexes like the biological evolution forms organisms and species. And for each species there is an ecological niche – and the same applies for memeplexes in the cultural evolution.

Religion is perhaps the oldest memeplex there is – it predates Homo sapiens, and can even be observed on some animals. There clearly is thus an ecological niche for it. An ecological niche can be vacated, but never destroyed. And when an ecological niche is vacated, it keeps getting re-occupied – the evolutionary race to occupy it starts anew.

In the 12 leverage points’ theorem, religion corresponds to the most powerful leverage point – the power to transcend the paradigm. Religion is the only thing which can overcome the Dunbar number, and it is the mortar which binds the individual human bricks of the society into a durable societal edifice. Religion is the basis of all ethics, social contracts, how we form the society, how we relate to society, to each other, what we value, what we shun, what we consider beneath our dignity, how we relate to work and labour and how we relate to outsiders. Every religion creates a society of its image. Not the other way – this was Marx’s tragic error. Lutheranism creates the Scandinavian model while Islam creates Talibanistan.

Atheism corresponds to an empty ecological niche. It is basically an all-bets-are-off situation. Remove the mortar, and all you have is a heap of individual bricks, which will collapse at the slightest push. An Atheist society cannot endure setbacks or violent challenges, while religious can.

And KGB knew all this. It did not know of memetics, but it knew of “cultural hegemony” by Antonio Gramsci, and it knew religion was the only force which could turn the Communist subversion back and restore the citizen society. This was the reason why anti-religious work was so important in the ideological warfare of the Communist world against the free world. By rottening the religion from inside, USSR aimed for the collapse of the free world. And it was a success beyond measure. But the irony of history is that USSR collapsed first.

There is also a fourth way to confirm these observations. Religions do not spread by conversion. They spread by breeding. Remember Polybios observed that widespread Atheism goes hand in hand with collapsing birth rates?

This is exactly what is happening in the Western world today.


EVERYTHING is Fake and Gay

There is not one single thing that Clown World has told you is true that can withstand the light of even a half-serious investigation. NOT ONE SINGLE THING. It doesn’t matter what the subject is, from evolution to the Moon, from Covid-19 to Vatican II, all of it is fake and gay, all of it is obviously and provably false.

At this point, the only rational, logical, and sane thing to do is to assume, a priori, that everything the mainstream media reports as fact or history is misleading at best and on average false. This superskeptical heuristic will point you in the direction of the confirmable truth far more often than assuming the mainstream narrative is more or less true will.


The Temporal Challenge of Gnosodecay

The challenge of history is helping humanity remember that which extends beyond the lifespan of a human generation:

It’s very common to see historians implicitly or explicitly assert that knowledge in their field increases over time. For example, in his 1962 masterpiece Medieval Technology and Social Change, Lynn White Jr. assumes greater clarity from archaeological discoveries are yet to come: “Despite prodigious labours by Hungarian archaeologists, the stratification of Avar materials is not yet clear…[Avars] may well have been the first people of Europe to use the stirrup, but the time of its arrival is still uncertain.” Meanwhile, in a more recent article, nonprofit founder Jason Crawford writes, “I note at the outset that this is an old book, published 1925 and revised 1940. Probably a lot has been learned in the last 80 years and the following has already undergone revision, which I’ll uncover when I read more modern sources.”

The historian’s optimism rests on three promises. The first, expressed by White above, is that there are lost artifacts that can be recovered. Secret government records can be declassified, new construction will dig up an ancient tomb, a statesman’s grandchildren will find old letters in the attic and give them to a university, or archaeologists will find the ruins of an ancient temple complex. Such finds improve our understanding of the past, sometimes dramatically.

The second reason for optimism is that historians make better analyses of existing data as time goes on, as Crawford mentions above. After they make inferences from the available material, subsequent historians can take their best arguments and build on them while discarding flawed ideas which do not stand up to scrutiny. By standing on the shoulders of giants, the field will climb higher and higher, like in hard sciences such as physics or biology.

The third reason for optimism is the continued unfolding of history. After all, it is harder to see how an event fits into ongoing trends before those trends have had a chance to play out—time gives us perspective, and hindsight is 20/20. However, while the passage of time may give us a better understanding of a historical event’s effects on the future, it does not improve our knowledge of the event itself. Despite this limitation, knowing what happens next can make it easier to understand which events were important and why.

Archaeologists and Historians Can’t Defeat Entropy
If these three promises are met, then our knowledge of history is steadily increasing. How, then, could past events be so hazy today? Shouldn’t centuries of new finds, ongoing analysis, and knowledge of subsequent history mean that scholars of Henry VIII’s reign know what happened during that period far, far better than scholars of more recent events like the 2008 financial crash or the two world wars? Of course, we usually see the opposite.

These optimistic historians are writing epistemic checks that cannot be cashed. What the three promises leave out is that information is often lost. Firsthand witnesses and expert historians die after passing down only a fraction of their knowledge. If you investigate the 2008 financial crash today, chances are you can still interview someone who worked in finance or government who will give you information that has never been recorded. The information stored in people’s minds is still fundamentally accessible—for now. In a century, much of this information will be irretrievably lost.

In addition to people, books and artifacts are also lost to entropy in a hundred different ways. The cumulative effect of this destruction is immense, as illustrated by the records of classical civilization. “[T]oday we possess written fragments from only 13% of the ~2,000 ancient Greek authors known to us by name. This does not account for the authors we do not know, and only a small portion of the 13% figure consists of complete works.”

Preserving the ever-growing mass of historical material is too expensive to be practical, so when budgets run thin, even major libraries and archives will discard books and records by the hundreds of thousands. For example, the Manchester Central Library’s recent culling destroyed 210,000 to 500,000 “literary, commercial, educational and political records going back 150 years” with “no subject specialists involved in the process.” This is a standard library practice.

Artifacts are also lost in accidents like the 2018 fire that destroyed 92.5 percent of the 20 million items stored in the National Museum of Brazil, including the only recordings of now-extinct languages. Another example is the 1986 Los Angeles Central Library fire that destroyed 20 percent of the collection and damaged much of the remainder.

In recent decades, digital information has fared no better than paper. Between link rot and changes in software standards, tremendous amounts of digital information become inaccessible over the course of a single decade. The long-term preservation of digital archives remains a hope rather than a guaranteed fact. Even in optimistic scenarios, it would require ongoing effort and maintenance on par with the curation of printed information. As the development of the printing press illustrates, much better ways of recording information can often have only modest effects on how much information gets preserved centuries later.

While we’re waiting for the Library subscribers to make their presentation for the expansion of the Library, I’ve been thinking over the various possibilities that would allow us to help meet this challenge. We already have a few private projects that are underway, but my thought is that it may be time to create a second history-based subscription in which the subscribers, rather than the editors, decide which works are most important to preserve. This subscription would only produce three or four books per year, and would focus on more obscure or more pedestrian works of the sort that would be less likely to appeal to a general audience.

Essentially, a subscription with a primary focus on the True rather than the Beautiful. Which, naturally, would imply an eventual subscription with a focus on the Good, and the Bible project that many people have asked us to consider tackling.


The Faith of the 150 Holy Fathers

That is the correct and original name for what many Christians today erroneously call “the Nicene Creed”.

At Nicaea there were present some 318 bishops, at Constantinople some 150, so the two creeds were distinguished as the Creed of the 318 holy Fathers and the Faith of the 150 holy Fathers respectively. They were so much alike that great temptation was offered to copyists to assimilate their texts. Indeed, as we shall see, the process of corruption had already begun. In course of time the revised Jerusalem Creed, often called Constantinopolitanum, came to be regarded as an improved recension of the Nicene Creed, and inherited all the prestige which attached to the work of the first General Council. From one point of view this development may be justified because the kernel of the teaching of the Nicene Council on the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ was enshrined in it, leaving outside the husk of the negative warnings, the anathemas.

The interesting question is this: by whom was the great temptation offered? And why does the modern Church not stand by the original Nicene Creed rather than by the corrupted one that relies upon the prestige of the original council despite having been produced 56 years later?


The Folly of Ukraine

Karl Denninger explains how the imperial USA’s interventionist foreign policy is leading up to a Syracuse moment for the US empire:

It was only a matter of time before our so-called foreign policy turned into a serious problem with someone who can punch back.

For decades the United States has arrogated to itself the capacity to tell other nations who they should have as leaders. Who must run said nation, and who may not. The alliances that are to be coddled, and those that are forbidden. This is preposterous, of course, in that national sovereignty is precisely that, yet we have for decades believed we have the “righteous authority” to issue such diktat.

The CIA has toppled some 50 governments over time. Some more-or-less openly, some on the down low. Iran is an infamous one that ultimately blew up in our face. Deciding that the Iranian government was unacceptable because it expropriated the property of a British company, not even a US concern, we interfered, toppled the government and installed the Shah. This ultimately led to the Iranian revolution and the seizure of hostages at our Embassy, never mind a whole bunch of other terrorism.

We are very anti-narcotic and anti-serious drug — except, of course, when the use of the money generated suits us. Then its “oh well” or “oh, that’s sad”, even if the people that die from said drugs are in the United States, and they often are. Oliver North and the cocaine trade that was at the center of Iran-Contra anyone?

The United States was the initiator of events that led to the war in Ukraine. We were fully behind the overthrow of the government there back at the time of Maidan less than a decade ago. Said government was incorrigible, but that’s none of our business, right up until it apparently is and someone gets a wild hair in their backside about where someone’s using the money — or really, really likes the idea of being able to launder some as a US interest. Anything that gets in the way of that is, of course, unacceptable.

But for Maidan there would be no war in Ukraine. But for our continued attempts to do what we did with Turkey and missiles right near Russia there would have been no Cuban missile incident either. Yes, that was a crisis, but it was our making — not the USSR’s. Would you sit back and let some foreign nation put nuclear missiles in Mexico within a few minutes flight time of LA?

Didn’t think so.

Fundamentally the Ukraine problem lies there.

His analysis is correct, although I consider it to be partial and historically incomplete. Here is my not-unrelated perspective: the US empire, like most late-stage empires, is currently run by foreigners who have obtained power and influence through words, money, and the naivete of the native people. Those foreign rulers are now in the process of discovering the massive difference of being a parasite on another people and actually being responsible for all the various challenges of governing a major world power.

Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

It should be no surprise that the endeavor is going about as well as it did for the adopted gamma child who is suddenly given responsibility to provide for and protect the entire neighborhood. The challenge is not just beyond his abilities, it is beyond his imagination. And now the people who have never successfully managed a single state the size of Delaware are intentionally seeking direct conflict with the oldest and most successful civilization on Earth as well as with the second-greatest military power in human history.

The odds are not good.


The Cupboard is Bare

Germany’s Defense Minister publicly admits that Germany is totally incapable of defending itself against military attack.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius claimed on Monday that the country’s army isn’t prepared to protect the nation against military aggression. The minister made the remarks during a meeting with fellow members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

We have no armed forces that are capable of defending [the country], that is, capable of defending [it] against an offensive, brutally waged aggressive war,” Pistorius said.

The minister said the Bundeswehr is understaffed and under-equipped after decades of neglect from the federal government. Pistorius added that Germany would have to invest much more in its military in order to be up to NATO standards.

Lieutenant General Alfons Mais, the commander and highest ranking officer of the German army, told the DPA press agency on Sunday that the €100 billion previously promised by Chancellor Olaf Scholz would not be enough to make the country’s armed forces battle ready. He further added that “the army that I have the duty to lead is more or less bare.”

It appears NATO has succeeded in at least two parts of its mandate, which was keeping the Germans down and the USA in. But while it prevented the Soviets from invading, it clearly failed to keep the Arabs and Africans from doing so.

Clown World is going to crash so hard that it’s hard to even try to formulate an opinion about what is going to come next. There is absolutely no point in history that decadent and unarmed nations have ever fared well against the barbarians who decide to take their land, their women, and their gold.

If, by this point, you haven’t figured out that all of the ideologies of Clown World, both left and right, are intrinsically destructive, you simply aren’t paying attention. The cult of freedom and capitalism is every bit as satanic and self-contradictory as the coven of feminism and centralized control.