Dazzling Knowledge

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I realize I'm a bit late, but here are some Independence Day thoughts:

Here are some questions about the American Revolution for which you may find you have no good answer:

One: why do the American loyalists share a nickname with a British political party? Is this just a coincidence, or does it imply some kind of weird alliance? And what is on the other side of said alliance? If the loyalists are called Tories, why does no one call the Patriots Whigs?

Two: what on earth is the British strategy? Why do the redcoats seem to be spending so much time just hanging around in New York or Philadelphia? Valley Forge is literally twenty miles from Philly. Okay, I realize, it's winter. But come on, it's twenty miles. General Washington is starving in the snow out there. His troops are deserting by the score. And Lord Howe can't send a couple of guys with muskets to go bring him in? Heck, it sounds like a well-phrased dinner invitation would probably have done the trick.

Three: if the Stamp Act was such an intolerable abuse, how did the British Empire have all these other colonies — Canada, Australia, yadda yadda — where everyone was so meek? Surely we can understand the idea that taxation without representation was the first step toward tyranny. So where is the tyranny? Where are Her Majesty's concentration camps? Okay, there was the Boer War, I guess. But more generally, why is the history of America so different from that of the other colonies?

Four: why does no one outside America seem to resent these unfortunate events at all? I mean, the Revolution was a war. People got pretty violent on both sides. In some parts of the world, when people lose a war, they don't feel that it was just God's will. They feel that God would be much more satisfied if there was some payback. And they tend to transmit this belief to their offspring. In the American unpleasantness, a lot of people — loyalists — got kicked out of their homes. They had to leave with only a small travel bag. When this sort of thing happens in the Middle East, it's remembered for the life of the known universe.

Still with me? Read more.

And now? Maybe you are ready for the reactionary world of Mencius Moldbug.


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