Yeats saw it coming

The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post both have pieces on W. B. Yeats’ great poem The Second Coming.

One of the defining poems of the 20th century, Yeats wrote it back in 1919, but it seems to predict the rise of Nazi Germany, the growth of Communism, and now postmodernism, the rise of radical Islam, current political trends in Europe, and–for columnist E. J. Dionne–Donald Trump!

The poem, famous for its lines “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”and “The center cannot hold,” is built both on Yeats’ theories of history and his take on the Christian notion that Christ will be followed by Antichrist.  After the jump, read an excellent unpacking of the poem by David Lehmann, and then see what Dionne does in applying it to today’s political situation. [Read more…]

Fighting in Armor

The estimable David Mills takes a break from writing about Planned Parenthood, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and other major issues to discuss something just because it’s cool:  What it was like for knights to fight in armor.

I’d always thought that the soldiers in armor were like human tanks, clumping slowly around and taking wide swings with a broadsword, and that when two of them met they used their swords more like clubs till one finally knocked down the other. They fought with force rather than technique. But no. The knight in his armor could run (or at least trot), climb ladders, and even do a forward roll if he had to. He had to learn the techniques of fighting in armor.

He goes on to show a video (reproduced after the jump) and links to recent research, showing that iron-clad warriors were quite nimble, but that their sword fighting looked quite different from what we have currently imagined. [Read more…]

Criticism leads to revision of AP History Exam

The last version of the Advanced Placement History exam, which allows high schoolers to test out of college courses–as well as the material required to prepare for it–bought into the leftist revisionist history movement, portraying American history mainly in terms of how oppressive it was.  (See this and this.)

Conservative parents and academics pushed back.  And now they have won a rare victory, with the College Board revising the exam to eliminate bias and to include more of the good things about America.  Some critics are pleased with the revision, while others don’t think it goes far enough.  But still. . . . [Read more…]

The Gulf War 25 years later

August 1 was the 25th anniversary of the start of Operation Desert Storm, a.k.a. the Gulf War, fought to expel the Iraqis from Kuwait after Saddam Hussein invaded and took over that country.  That war had clear justification, a limited goal, and was over in six weeks.

Richard N. Haas, a national security advisor under George Bush I, tells about how the war unfolded in the White House and draws lessons from that conflict that we need to learn.  Here is his conclusion:

The Gulf War looks today like something of an anomaly: short and sharp, with a clear start and finish; focused on resisting external aggression, not nation-building; and fought on battlefields with combined arms, not in cities by special forces and irregulars. Most unusual of all in light of what would follow, the war was multilateral, inexpensive and successful.

After the jump, the seven lessons that he says we should learn from the Gulf War. [Read more…]

“The lie kills nations”

Hermann Sasse was contending with Nazi Germany, but his words about how “the lie” kills nations–presenting cultural dissolution “as a glorious ascent,” in which “decline is viewed as an advance”–have an unsettling resonance for today. [Read more…]

Christianity’s influence on marriage & the status of women

According to the “progressive narrative,” Christianity and its view of marriage have oppressed women.  But as David Theroux points out, drawing on actual scholarship,  the actual influence of Christianity is quite different. [Read more…]