Energy Sustainability: The American Approach

So, everybody is talking about gas prices, many times in crisis-couched language. 

[Sigh]

I want to get something straight before I move on: I am on your side, dear reader.  I would like to see the US be energy independent, I’d like it to be the most energy-efficient nation on earth.  I’d like to see us have the lowest per-capita production of greenhouse gases of any developed country (even though I’m sort-of a skeptic in the global warming area, I really just want the Europeans to find something new about the US to whine about).

I’m on your side OK?

Now, let me shock my conservative friends, and maybe get back a little goodwill with Southern Beale  …

When it came to energy policy, I’d say that Jimmy Carter had things about right.

Excuse me…

…OK, sorry, had to take a shower after that. 🙂  Seriously, I’d say policy-wise (on energy and energy alone) Carter understood the problem and was WAY ahead of his time.  In fact, I think he could have gone farther.

Have I become a liberal?  Should I sign up for my “Yes We Can” bumper sticker?  Hardly.  Carter was doomed to failure, as any approach by HRC or McCain would be (and maybe Obama – but he MAY be the man to pull this off, I don’t know).  You see, I think what Carter’s approach represented (along with this post by Mack) , is a profound misunderstanding of what makes Americans tick.

We Americans will conserve, for a good cause.  What we will not do, at least indefinitely, is hunker down.

We just don’t do it well.  Yes, there was rationing during WWII.  But my grandpa used to tell me stories.  People whined and complained the whole time.  People cheated when they could get away with it.  Had the war gone on another year, there probably would have been outright rebellion.

I think that what turned my generation off most about Carter was the feeling of hunkering down that flowed though all of his policies, not just his energy policies.  I remember the whole misery index thing, and the “malaise”. 

Remember when he said this?  “I think it’s inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated… The only trend is downhill.”

You just don’t say that kind of stuff to Americans.  Only people who don’t understand Americans (individually and corporeally) say things like that. 

Now, I have recently learned that a majority of bloggers are pessimists, but I can tell you from a lifetime’s worth of experience and layman’s study that the majority of Americans are optimists.  Heck, I’d go so far to say that the majority of us are dreamers.

How do I know?  Think about it.  I don’t care what Michael Savage says, people do NOT emigrate to America to get on the dole.  Britain, Germany and France may have their share of that kind of immigrant, but that’s a fairy tale here.  Have you ever spoken to a first generation American?  They are dreamers, every darned last one of them.

I’ve said it before: America is an optimistic country because that’s where all the optimists went.  And it’s in our national DNA.  Yes, even in the poorest neighborhoods – I’ve spent my fair share of time in fellowship with those in poverty (albeit those who are overtly Christian and filed with a certain kind of “joy”) – I hear more optimism than I’ve ever heard in a crowd of college aged suburban kids.

That’s why I believe in American exceptionalism.  NOT that there is something morally superior about our country, or that God blesses us more than other nations.  I think America is exceptional because the majority of its people are optimists and dreamers.

Now, this national character causes us to make some profound blunders from time to time, but it also means that we, as a people, will bravely dare instead of…well, hunkering down.

We alway eventually rebel against walls and ceilings and fences.  Always.  I love that about America.

So, you want energy sustainability, energy independence, lowering of greenhouse gases?  Do not approach the problem as a problem, but a contest.  Americans will sacrifice ANYTHING in the name of winning a contest.

The space race is a good example.  Americans normally do not shine well to runaway government spending, and there was a little complaining at the time, but the idea of BEATING the Russians to the moon caused the people to overlook differences over the insane spending that was neccessary to get to the moon.  To this day, we still consider it a good investment, mainly because, well, we beat the Russians.

The Russians are still pretty good bad guys, but I think that we need new villians if we are going to come together and get energy independent.  And, the middle eastern countries are not powerful enough to be boogeymen (not to mention the fallout from declaring a cold war on Islamic countries).

No, if I were the president, I would name the Chinese the enemy, and I would couch a goal of energy independence as THE way we could kick Chinese ass.  One, China really is the biggest long-term threat to the superiority of the US on the world stage.  And two, the people that run the country are very, very bad guys.

Finally, if America were to become the most fuel efficient on earth, we would have an economic advantage over the Chinese (they have fuel costs, too) that would far outweigh their advantage in labor costs.  If we want to stay number one, we need an advantage.  Energy indepenence is it.

Have a goal?  The answer with Americans is to ALWAYS appeal to their optimism and competitive instincts.  Asking them to hunker down is just a good way to lose elections over and over again.

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45 Responses to “Energy Sustainability: The American Approach”

  1. Ginger Says:

    Wow, Slarti…I don’t know if something’s gotten into you lately, or if it’s me…but I have had some real issues with a few of the posts you’ve written lately…especially when you are calling out other bloggers.

    I don’t know of anybody who is writing about the current crisis who isn’t American and doesn’t already know “what makes Americans tick”…wouldn’t you say that’s a little bit presumptuous to say that Mack doesn’t know…I mean, since he is American, after all?

    You know I love you like a brother…truly…but please try to remember that we each see situations through the lenses of our own personal experience and belief systems.

    I am an optimist and dreamer…I have always been accused of being “idealistic”…but I’ve had a pretty good life to show for all of that idealism. It’s what gave me the nerve to live a better life than what I grew up with.

    Yet even I am very concerned about the future. If things keep going the way they are going right now, I don’t see how our country can sustain our standard of living. There are real issues to be dealt with, and all of the optimism in the world is for naught without some action behind it.

  2. Slartibartfast Says:

    Ginger, did I miss something? Is my writing that bad now? Did I fail to make it clear that I propose EXACTLY what liberals, including Mack, propose?

    What the?

    I simply propose another marketing method to sell the ideas. Those same sustainability ideas that Mack is proposing.

    I do not begrudge anyone’s approach, I just give my opinion (as is my right, no?) what I think the best approach would be.

    I don’t understand why anyone would be upset when I advocate proposals they agree with. I thought it would be conservatives who would be upset.

    I just don’t know what to say.

  3. Mr. Mack Says:

    The whole “we need new villians” mindset is what fueled this militaristic race to the bottom.

  4. Ginger Says:

    Slarti…

    You see, I think what Carter’s approach represented (along with this post by Mack) , is a profound misunderstanding of what makes Americans tick.

    Does the above statement not clearly indicate that you feel that Mack doesn’t understand what makes Americans tick? I mean…you are the one who said it, not me…as is your right, of course…

  5. Jim_NH Says:

    Very good article. However, I think there are two points that can be added. First is the need for Conservation, and not just fuel. We have to reinvent and revisit American frugality. Secondly, Petroleum is far too valuable to use as fuel. I hate the word plastics, but try and live without them.

  6. Southern Beale Says:

    Carter was doomed to failure, as any approach by HRC or McCain would be …

    Why?

    You can’t toss a rock like that and assume we will agree with you. So .. WHY?

    I wonder if conservatives really understand that every gallon of gasoline they pump into the Hummer goes to terror-supporting regimes like Saudi Arabia. And that the Republican Party is deeply in bed with such regimes. Why else would the oil lobby want to weaken the terror victims law?

    True Patriots, true conservatives, are also energy conservationists. Oil is for dinosaurs. God ain’t makin’ any more of ’em. Get off the oil tit, people. It’s the ONLY way to secure America. It Just. Makes. Sense.

  7. felix culpa Says:

    Good post, Slarti.
    I’ll differ with you on details.
    Carter was a peanut farmer, not a chess player. He knew what dirt looked like, on a first-name basis.
    I liked that in him, and that he was a man of Christian conscience. So I’m not eager to diss him.

    I think the optimism thing is good. Of course the DNA wouldn’t be African. t least not related to their reason for coming to America, though certainly their spirituals mixed present sorrow with future hope.

    And don’t forget American pragmatism, which breeds doing a lot with a little and ingenuity.
    The idea of making it into a contest is good, but I agree with Mack that motivating with hatred is a really dangerous game, Hell on earth, in fact. From Hell and sucking everything that way.
    And I agree with Jim and Southern that the waste we Americans love to flaunt is criminally blind and stupid (though they weren’t so given to harsh speech). By waste I mean both sorts, stuff we throw away and more stuff than we could use but spend our money on anyway. It’s never been morally sustainable and it’s time in the sun is running out.

    But with American ingenuity (assuming the exceptionalist meme) we could be just as happy with new ways and things that are simpler, more clever, and reduce the clutter and crap. Of course all the crap-makers would have to find new jobs, and that’s a lot of people. But we’re already used to that.

    And America’s only been a superpower since WWII. Given current progress it sure looks as if the sun is setting on that American empire.
    I’m not optimistic. But I’ll help any way I can.

  8. felix culpa Says:

    This may interest you. A ‘diavlog’ on bloggingheads (surprise) with Michael Schellenberger, co-author of Break Through. He’s very much in the camp of the optimists vs. the pessimists, and innovation vs. regulation. It certainly suggests that the book will bolster and clarify your present train of thought.
    I do certainly agree that optimism is a better starting point for solutions as long as it’s an informed and realistic optimism rather than a blind and ignorant one; surely there’s no disagreement there.
    Schellenberger makes the point that fear is a poor motivation for reasoning in general and forward movement in particular.
    Hope that helps.
    Good luck (as we say in theological circles). 😉

  9. H.B. Keats Says:

    What we are seeing now is the beginning of the end of this age of civilization which began with the “birth” of christ/fall of the Roman Empire.

    Optimistically, we may have until around the middle of this century before the wheels start to come off.

    Mark my words.

  10. nm Says:

    Hmmm … the Roman Empire was around until 1485 CE, when Constantinople was taken by the Turks. Even in western Europe, historians note that Roman civilization didn’t begin to wane until the 5th or 6th century CE. This doesn’t contradict your larger point (though I’m not sure I agree with it completely), but if you want to make big historical pronouncements you need to base them on actual history.

  11. H.B. Keats Says:

    Actually, Constantinople fell in 1453, according to the calendar most Western Eurocentric “authorities” rely on.

    My historical “pronouncement” is not contingent on your calendar.

    For example, some folks have submitted evidence that the cult of christidolatry actually began about 200 years before the supposed “birth” of christ, and I personally can find no reason to assume that their version warrants less credibility than the “official” version, predicated on critical evaluation of the available evidence.

  12. bridgett Says:

    HB, some folks have submitted evidence that aliens crashed in Roswell and a subset of people believe them. That mostly goes to show that Barnum was right. Since nm teaches this period, I’m thinking she’s got a good handle on the chronology, the dating employed by her scholarly peers, and the historiography of the Roman empire. But hey, if y’all want to debate the periodization of christidoloatry on a thread about energy sustainability strategies, that’s the Internet for you.

  13. felix culpa Says:

    H.B.—
    Setting aside your “Enlightened’ (momentarily employing your use of quotes) faith in the nobility of Stoicism or Epicureanism as it may be, speaking as one among those who hope in Christ’s Redemption (which you will feel compelled to set apart with quotes); the grease allowing the wheels to turn is already wearing thin (less oil, less grease) and the wheels are already wobbling.

    So take such comfort as you may staring into the coming darkness. Some of us will prefer to struggle against it and look for ways towards another sort of enlightenment. Reducing life to materialist consumption is a dead end.

  14. nm Says:

    HBK, you’re right about 1453; my bad for typing too fast. But you’re the one who wants to use that date as more or less contiguous in time with the beginning of Christianity for purposes of periodization. And I don’t exactly think that’s convincing.

  15. H.B. Keats Says:

    Actually, I was just pointing to a couple of significant events that more or less point to a major a transition, as a general historical reference.

    It’s not like people went to bed one night as part of a thriving empire and suddenly woke up in the throes of anarchy. If you need a date to hang your hat on, fine, pick one, maybe 325, or 476. Just let me know in case there is a quiz.

    Bridgett:
    So I started the “debate”?

  16. H.B. Keats Says:

    Bridgett:
    How is the prospect of someone coming back to life after three days more likely than aliens landing at Roswell?

  17. nm Says:

    You said that the significant dates were the “fall of Rome” and the “‘birth’ of Christ.” I’m just pointing out that those things happened (or purportedly happened) more than 1400 years apart, and that’s quite a spread of time to use as the beginning of a transition, if we’re dealing with human and not geologic time.

    I’m also kind of curious about that anarchy thing. Do you mean the anarchy of the deeply-rooted, long lived Greek-speaking Roman Empire? The thriving, politically experimental, legally creative German states with their continent-wide trade routes? The anarchy of the ethno-religious bureaucracies of the Islamic states ? You might want to read something a little more recent and less biased than Gibbon when you’re talking about Rome and its successors.

  18. H.B. Keats Says:

    nm:

    I guess I should have specified Western Roman Empire.

    As far as the other thing is concerned, why not call into question the critical objectivity of history authored by scholars functioning in a culture that is dominated by the belief that eternal salvation is contingent on the facts being decided a certain way?

    I would hypothesize that some Western Romans might have felt a sense of anarchy in or around 476.

    Not everyone can be a history expert. But if my layman’s understanding that the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the beginnings of christidolatry covered roughly the same historical period; and that those events marked a substantial change in the course of civilization is wrong, then that is the fault of a history expert somewhere.

  19. nm Says:

    The point is that even the western Roman Empire did not experience anarchy in the 4th or 5th centuries CE. It did experience a change in the ethnicity of its rulers. It did, in the centuries after that change took place, experience changes in laws and policies (as it would have done had it not experienced a change in the ethnicity of its rulers). So some persons in the western Empire might have felt a sense of dispossession “in or around 476,” but they would not have felt “a sense of anarchy.”

    As I don’t know how you were taught history, I can have no opinion on whether your ignorance is the fault of a badly prepared history expert or of your own inattention and/or prejudices. But I do know that the study of Late Antiquity is carried on by proponents of at least three monotheisms as well as by atheists and yet they all seem to be able to agree that Gibbon was talking through his hat, due to his anti-Christian and pro-imperial (British, not Roman) presuppositions. Sometimes evidence is just, you know, evident.

    Finally, if you’re trying to get a rise out of me by going on about “christidolatry,” give it up. I’m not Christian and I have no axe to grind about the influence of Christianity. I just like facts.

  20. H.B. Keats Says:

    I was taught that Rome was sacked several times and I hypothesize that those being sacked would have felt a sense of anarchy.

    I think you may be making some unwarranted assumptions regarding what knowledge you think I am claiming to have.

    Based on the information you have presented here so far, I am not seeing that my initial “big historical pronouncement” is contradicted by facts to the point of being obviously utterly false, i.e., not based on actual history.

  21. felix culpa Says:

    BTW HB, I’m not entirely unsympathetic to your usage re christidolatry.
    There’s the white, sanitised Jesus. Best friend in art school came from a venerable and distinguished New England family, father was R.R. Palmer, and perhaps in compensation he didn’t wash much. Came to my home for Thanksgiving and my mom complained later that he smelled, then was appalled with my response that Jesus would have smelled too.
    We could fill a library with books gainfully distorting Jesus’ words. My personal hobbyhorse is self-righteousness using those words to fortify self-righteousness. Smug Christians justifying bloodshed, injustice, and discrimination. And torture.
    So yeah. So it goes (my favorite phrase from Vonnegut).
    Still and not withstanding His words are my benchmark of underlying truth. Sorry we disagree. Probably most of my friends would side with you.
    Apologies for whatever snark colored my response upthread.

  22. nm Says:

    HBK, Rome was sacked several times over the centuries. Including during the Republic and the Empire. The change after the 4th century was in who was doing the sacking, is all. I’m just not sure that your ordinary Roman in the streets perceived all that much difference. I think it’s pretty off target to suggest that there was some big change in the way people lived, in some basic “civilization,” that started over a short historical period, ushered in the world we are now living in, and is now about to come to an end.

    I think you could make a much better case for the end of a cheap fuel civilization (started in the 1750s), or for the end of a Euro-American dominated civilization (started 1420s–1450s). But I can’t quite figure out what civilization it is you’re trying to characterize with your long-drawn-out beginning points, so I can’t accept that anything about it is going to be ended by current economic or even ecological crises.

  23. H.B. Keats Says:

    nm:
    I am talking about the christian dominated Western Civilization that emerged in the wake of the former Western Roman Empire.

    BTW, If I was a professional historian in search of facts, I would certainly have an axe to grind regarding the influence of christidolatry.

    Mr. Culpa:

    Believe me; I am used to snarkiness way above and beyond what I could have read into your comment.

    People criticize me for being shrill and snarky regarding religion but I think that stems from a sense of cultural hegemony.

    I hope you are not suggesting that the only alternative to belief in the supernatural is to reduce life to material consumption. But I will admit survival is a priority. I’ll take a little comfort if I can get it, too.

    Faith is like a drug. It can provide benefits, or not.

    I can find wisdom in mythologies such as scripture as long as human reason is allowed take part in drawing conclusions. I think the doctrine of truth by revelation is wrong, and extremely dangerous when married with power. Politics is the struggle for power.

    Health and happiness to you.

  24. nm Says:

    Which Christian dominated Western Civilization? There have been, and are now, several of them. That’s half my point. And why is it now coming to an end? That’s the other half, which you still haven’t addressed. You can’t seriously think that poverty and ecological collapse are going to make Christians more rational or ditch their beliefs. The West may well become less powerful, sure, but the local beliefs will go on, right or wrong. Look at China and India: centuries of powerlessness, domination by imported ideologies, but give them a little breathing space and what emerges? Exactly what was there before the foreigners showed up.

  25. H.B. Keats Says:

    Perhaps there will be a resurgence of Native American ideology springing up amidst the ruins in the New World.

    Hopefully human sacrifice won’t be a part of the agenda if that happens. I will say this about christians, they only need one human sacrifice to appease their god.

    As far as providing detailed analysis of the historical situation, I will leave that to professionals like you.

    I am predicting that “christendom” won’t be recognizable as such, in the way it has been and still is, and that there will be plenty of ruins for future historians to sift through and try to figure out exactly what happened.

  26. H.B. Keats Says:

    Plenty of ruins assuming they aren’t all vaporized, that is.

  27. bridgett Says:

    H.B., I think you’re underestimating the Christian body count rather substantially, more’s the pity. Exterminating the heathen has been an animating rationale of many a war.

  28. felix culpa Says:

    —Not to forget other Christians, or the heathen within. (Ambiguity intended.)

  29. H.B. Keats Says:

    Nm is just trying to discredit me by using her superior historical knowledge to play a pointless game of gotcha.

    My premise is indisputably true, namely that there was a large, technologically advanced centralized empire, with a common currency and language, the disintegration of which roughly coincided with the rapid rise of what is now the dominant religion in the West.

  30. nm Says:

    Have you been brooding about this all this time? Awwww.

    Actually, I’m pointing out that your premise is NOT true. Because neither centralization nor technology disintegrated the way you claim. And, if you had read anything about Late Antiquity written in the last generation or so, you would be aware of that little problem with your argument.

  31. bridgett Says:

    Historical knowledge comes in handy that way…

  32. H.B. Keats Says:

    Tell me what to read. I’ll check it out.
    Hopefully, it will provide evidence that the Roman tax base did not erode, latin did not decline in use, no technology was lost, knowledge was not lost or destroyed, and trade did not decline.

  33. bridgett Says:

    I’ll let the period expert do the recomendations, but I can predict that any well-researched survey will definitely show that all those things happened — over a period of about a thousand years, none of which was coincident with the “rapid rise of the West”. It will also capably demonstrate that trade routes reoriented (as they always do), that new technologies developed (because humans innovate constantly), and that scientific, humanistic, and philosophical inquiry flourished (because we are a curious species and we could no more stop asking “why” than we could voluntarily stop breathing).

    If you want to do a thought experiment, though, ask yourself “under what conditions could an empire exercise such total centralizing control of provinces as I theorize, given the technological capacities of the day? What might be the outer limit of imperial power and how might it have been maintained? Now, with that limit in mind, how plausible is it that the strategies, cultural ideologies, technologies of domination, and actual architecture of empire would collapse rapidly — say, within a generation?” If you walk yourself through what you’re arguing, I think you’ll find that it just doesn’t make any sense. Either the Roman empire was not as centralized and dominant in all places at all times as you suggest (undercutting your thesis) or it maintained its dominance through a variety of techniques, most of which are not likely to have fizzled out. (I’ll leave the whole “rise of the West” hoo-hah to another day…but from someone who studies the Atlantic World, I’d have to say that you’re speeding up the timeline for European dominance over the Atlantic littoral and colonial peripheries by about 250 to 300 years.)

  34. H.B. Keats Says:

    Wow, you have completely misrepresented my “thesis”. “Rapid rise of the West”. Not in there.

    “Western Rome fell in a generation” Not in there.

    It will also capably demonstrate that trade routes reoriented (as they always do), that new technologies developed (because humans innovate constantly), and that scientific, humanistic, and philosophical inquiry flourished

    Does not even contracdict anything I am saying.

    Anyway, I just looked at the Article Late Antiquity: Before and After from 2004, where James O’Donnel compared the sacking of Rome in 410 to 9/11.

    Also, I’ll be adding The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization by Bryan Ward-Perkins from 2005 to my reading list. I’ll add anything you suggest as well; I enjoy learning about this stuff. Please try to be as concise as possible in your recommendations; obviously I don’t have a lifetime to devote to this subject.

  35. H.B. Keats Says:

    Basically, the time frame I am talking about is roughly 300-600, C.E.

    I mention the “birth” of christ in a metaphorical sense, referring to the rapid spread and institutionalization of christidolatry.

  36. H.B. Keats Says:

    It will also capably demonstrate that trade routes reoriented (as they always do), that new technologies developed (because humans innovate constantly), and that scientific, humanistic, and philosophical inquiry flourished

    Come to think of it, this actually reinforces my contention that a new a phase of civilization, complete with a brand-spankin’ new religion, had commenced.

    But I really appreciate the education I’m getting here. It seems to be supporting the idea that I was right to begin with, as usual.

  37. nm Says:

    Look at Peter Brown’s books The World of Late Antiquity: AD 150–750, especially the revised edition, or his (The Making of Late Antiquity for starters. Brown’s is the best summing up of the period.

    Then, take any textbook (written in the past 20 years or so) of European or Middle Eastern national history, and peruse the section that discusses that country under Roman rule. You’ll find that only elites spoke Latin as a native tongue and many didn’t speak it at all, that centralization was often ineffective and constantly challenged, that huge parts of the Empire kept breaking away and setting up their own regional governments, that the tax base was always eroding (sort of in contrast to the middle class, which is always rising), that trade routes were frequently interfere with, and that, in short, the Roman Empire didn’t function the way you think it did. Conversely, you’ll also find that the pull of vernacular language, law, and technological innovation was always strong.

    Next, move on in that textbook to read more about the area during the middle ages. You’ll find that Latin continued to be the language of government and of the elite, that useful Roman technology was maintained and even expanded on, and, possibly most important, that Roman trade routes continued to function (at a lower level of use, connected to widespread population decline which can be traced to a cyclical drop in world temperatures) until disrupted by Islamic conquests in the seventh century.

    You will also find that the fiction that all of Christendom was and ought to be part of a single state was abandoned after the sixth century or so, and I suppose that that could tie in with your argument somehow. If first century, third/fourth century, and sixth century are taken as being more or less the same thing.

  38. bridgett Says:

    “rapid rise of what is now the dominant religion in the West.” That’s a direct quote from you on 7/16. That’s how I concluded that you believed in the “rapid rise” thesis — because you said you did, in those words. I concluded that you believed that the Roman empire fell rapidly because you said it did — right around the time of the birth of Christ — when we talked about this in late April. I inferred your use of the time period of a generation because that was the time span you accorded our society before it all fell to hell in a handbasket as you were making a historical analogy.

    Because you commented on a friend’s blog and perhaps you are a friend of his, I’ve tried to help you sort this out twice now, but I’m done. There are interesting classes at local colleges and on-line that can provide you with the knowledge you seek. Best of luck with your reading.

  39. H.B. Keats Says:

    I’ll check it out, thanks. It may be a bit, but I’ll get back to you.

    BTW, you make a lot of unwarranted assumptions about what I think. I admit I haven’t cared to take the time to express myself in a detailed, meticulous fashion, but jeez, gimmie a break.

    I haven’t assumed anything that contradicts the factors you mentioned. I guess you assume that because I am a dilettante I must be an idiot, but if that’s true you won’t be the first expert to find out otherwise. Experts always act like they know everything, until the next generation proves them “wrong”. But more knowledge is a good thing.

    Again, so far everything I’ve learned reinforces, rather than undermines, my point: to put it very generally; namely that Late Antiquity was a “particularly rough patch” for the Western Roman Empire, one that could reasonably be referred to as a “fall”, that during this same period christidolatry spread rapidly and was institutionalized, these events are more than significant enough to warrant periodization, and there are parallels to our current situation that will reveal themselves in due course.

  40. H.B. Keats Says:

    Bridgett:

    “rapid rise of what is now the dominant religion in the West.”

    Not the same as “rapid rise of the West”

    So christidolatry did not spread rapidly during late antiquity?

    The “birth” of christ is in quotation marks for a reason, because is it merely alleged.

    I can see the confusion over the time frame but things do move faster nowadays.

  41. H.B. Keats Says:

    Wow, I googled Peter Brown and discovered that he is part of the “christian revisionist movement”. LOL I’ll keep his work next to Madden’s history of the Crusades. 😉
    But seriously, I’ll keep an open mind. A skeptical, but open mind.

  42. nm Says:

    The revisionist movement that the historian Peter Brown is a part of is historical revisionism. He is involved in revising an important historical narrative (one to which you subscribe), part of which involves the meaning and role of Christianity in its early centuries. I’m not sure why that provokes a LOL.

    Like Bridgett, I’ve been taking my cues to what you think from what you’ve written; and, like Bridgett, I see no future in continuing to discuss this topic with you, since you don’t own your own words and reject a priori any facts or ideas that challenge the narrative you prefer. I, too, am through here.

  43. HBK Says:

    No, you are confusing “taking cues” with making unwarranted assumptions. I haven’t rejected anything, and I have made that clear. I have only pointed out that your “facts and ideas” don’t necessarily prove that I am wrong.

    The erroneous notion that “there was no fall of Rome” has been debunked. But really, that should be blindingly obvious to anyone that has even seen pictures of the ruins.

    Sometimes only an “expert” can be blind to the obvious.

  44. HBK Says:

    I should say that my LOL was not intended to be disparaging of the work of these scholars. It’s merely an acknowledgement that people have a tendency to present things in a certain light. And there is nothing wrong with that. No body of work or single perspective can or should pretend to be representative of all relevant information. Your statement that I “reject a priori any facts or ideas that challenge the narrative I prefer”, is just not right.


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