John Green’s Crash Course on World History #24


28 Responses

  1. I have watched each of these as you have posted them, Mark. Each has had its own horrifying moments; this, I confess, has few except horrifying moments.

    I noted the bit where early Americans said that taxation that they objected to would make them slaves … and I thought of modern, first world problem, claims of the same sort – like, oh, requiring me to wear a mask, or to be vaccinated makes me a slave.

    1. There is no bigger butthurt, self-pitying, bully and sociopathic narcissist on the face of the earth than a white, conservative Christian MAGA cultist. They stain the gospel black with their lies and selfishness.

      1. I agree with the last sentence, but I hope you will not come to regret the first one. Too many of my in-laws are brown narcissists who bully their slaves – excuse me, housemaids, drivers and dog walkers – and then spend the rest of the day moping about how ungrateful these lower caste servants are, in a grotesque display of self-pity and butthurt.

    1. Yah, I saw that, too. I was bummed when most of the atheist/skeptic/freethinker community left Patheos – having apparently been ordered to stop criticizing religions – but many of them have now moved over to OnlySky. I’ve got that site bookmarked now.

      – joel

    2. A book I strongly recommend to progressives and atheists who often seem stone blind to the massively culturally conditioned nature of what they take for granted as just inevitable human evolution is this one: Western liberals and progressives are what they are today because Christianity and its assumptions is, without any possible rival, the most successful revolution in the history of the world.

      1. After reading it I will put that book on my shelf right next to “Jesus and John Wayne”. That’s a promise, by the way: I really will read it, just as I have already read JaJW, and then put them next to each other on my shelf. Because the legacy of Christianity is, um, mixed. On this very blog, in your very next posting you tout the honor of Russell Moore. Why? Because he is fighting the good fight – against the church. Which is frequently a necessary thing for good people to do.
        Now, you may retort that the cultural legacy of Christianity is overall more positive than negative, and you may even be right about that, though it is highly debatable. But that is all separate from the question of whether Christianity is *true*, which is by far the most important question to this particular atheist, as it is also to Mr. Holland.

        – joel

      2. Of course the legacy is mixed. Jesus specifically said that would be the case in the parable of the wheat and the tares. But Holland makes a helluva strong case that even the critics of Christianity rely overwhelmingly on Christian thought in order to accuse it of its failures and that the massively culturally conditioned morality liberals and progressive take for granted are *overwhelmingly* the product of the Christian revolution. As to whether Christianity is true–i.e. whether Jesus is a) the Son of God and b) rose from the dead, regardless of how well or poorly his followers obey him–I recommend THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD by NT Wright.

        You need to make up your mind: Is your quarrel with shitty believers who betray the risen Son of God or with him?

      3. “You need to make up your mind: Is your quarrel with shitty believers who betray the risen Son of God or with him?”
        The shitty believers are a problem, absolutely. But I can’t have any quarrel with Jesus, for the same reason I can’t have a quarrel with Allah or Shiva.
        My primary quarrel is with faith. Faith is the reason huge numbers of people live as though something is true even though it is unsupported by evidence, and in some of its particulars actually contradicted by evidence. Faith undermines critical thinking and makes it harder to find the truth. I spent 3/4 of my life living by faith – I will do so no more. Faith is a vice.

        – joel

      4. Speaking of faith, your deep faith that Jesus apparently did not even exist and that we can know absolutely nothing about him is of a piece with Henry Ford’s confident declaration that all of history is bunk.

        It is not possible for you to live without faith. Your faith (not knowledge, since you have to believe it as an axiom and can never prove if from reason) is that your capacity to reason is real and that you can know about reality by the reportage of your senses. More than this, you believe and can never prove that your reason can discern the existence of laws built into nature.

        Faith is the foundation of critical thinking. You can’t avoid it. You can only exercise it poorly or well.

      5. Those who, in an act of Promethean hubris, think they have detached themselves from their own cultural legacy, stumble around blindly. They also lose elections.

      6. Mark, I have NOT said that Jesus never existed. Of course he did. I also believe that Muhammad and Buddha existed, because religions don’t grow out of a vacuum.
        What we can actually know about him is a very different question, which you and I have sparred over previously.
        My belief in my own reason is based on evidence: I can function in my job (engineering), and I can do math at a high level. If you can do math, or even just solve logic puzzles, then your reason is probably intact.
        Nice try. But please do not attempt again to gaslight me.

        – joel

      7. You did not compare Jesus to Mohammed or Buddha, but to Allah and Shiva, both of whom you deny exist. If you don’t want to be taken as denying the existence of Jesus, then don’t lump him in with gods you expressly deny exist. That’s not gaslighting. That reading your words and taking you to mean them.

    3. very wrong. Only a truly authoritarian education breeds liberal minds. Anti-authoritarian education breeds bewildered MAGA-hat wearers.

      1. I think you’re conflating anti-authoritarianism with some idea about the rejection of the very concept of authority as something that should be adhered to or that has any value. That’s not it at all. When we’re talking about “authoritarianism”, we’re talking about a form of governance that does not allow room for any kind inquiry or dissent that could potentially challenge such a rule in any way.

        Its the difference between establishing an authority through reason, compromise and consent, as opposed to doing so though threats, intimidation and violence.

        So, despite using the same words, I don’t think you’re referring to the same things at all.

      2. @ 5striker

        Perhaps the way I used the word does not have the same meaning entirely, I grant you that. A lot hinges on what kind of governance we’re discussing. The authority exercised over a three year old should differ from that exercised over a 16-year old, and is altogether different from the rule of law and governance in a republic of free citizens.

        I don’t think we would disagree too much on the particulars, but I remain more than somewhat sceptical when I hear the words education and anti-authoritarian being mentioned in the same sentence. I’m referring to school, that is, less so to family life and definitely not to government. And even schooling should start with discipline, but never end there. The end goal is not the creation of an uncritical person.

        But you know, I’ve seen ‘hippie’ parents claim that teaching kids to wipe their nose and tie their shoes is authoritarian. The results were .. not pretty.

      3. @Atrevelde: Still, that’s not what most people mean when they talk about anti-authoritarian education. How about this: lets stop engaging with a conveniently weak, to the point of being a caricature, version of anti-authoritarian education, in other words, a strawman, and instead engage with reasonable and charitable interpretation of what that might mean.

        After all, maybe it escaped your notice, but neither the author or any of the readers and commenters who agreed with him, are bewildered MAGA-hat wearers, so they must be doing something right, don’t you think?

        So I’ll refer you to this primer on “Positive Parenting”, that was a part of the now inactive blog from Patheos Non-Religious, “Love, Joy, Feminism”:

        I’m not saying that you have to agree with every precept of it, but at the very least, I think we can agree that its a far cry from this “crazy hippie, anything goes” ideology that you’ve characterized anti-authoritarian education as.

        I hope you’ll find the articles to be helpful and informative in some way.

      4. @5triker

        Thank you.

        As you suspected, I agree with some elements and disagree with others. On the whole though, I lean towards a more authoritarian style, though perhaps not overly much so. I certainly don’t want anyone to feel unsafe. Sounds scary.

        Libby Anne’s post ”Child Rearing: From Cog to Individual” was particularly revealing. On the whole, I would say, her evolution is a positive one. The way she tells the story, it seems both she and her daughter(s) have benefited from it.

        She comes from a place I’ve never been though. Almost nothing she describes is even remotely recognizable to me. I barely know what homeschooling is, I don’t know any evangelicals, and absolute obedience is something for monastic orders only in my book. Good job on her part in taking the trash out, I guess. I just need something more recognizable to be able to empathize, like moms who cannot let go when their son reaches adulthood. *that* I understand all too well. Not a good thing, though perhaps not entirely related to an authoritarian style.

        Back to your criticism: if it’s a strawman, feel free to take it down. It shouldn’t be hard. I myself don’t think that particular example is representative for all anti-authoritarian literature.

        As for being charitable: I’ve heard this word too often in debates among Catholics. It has its uses, but I am generally not inclined to answer a request to read or listen charitably positively, when the other side opens with a frontal attack. For the record, this does not refer to you, but to the author of the original article. Workbeastie has already addressed this, so I don’t need to.

    4. Not saying McGowan is doing this, but just to be sure, let’s not build up any strawmen regarding religious home life.

      “I felt safe growing up. My parents were not authoritarian, my economic and racial bubbles were permeable, and I never attended a dogmatic church that spent Sundays and Wednesdays replacing my curiosity and empathy with tribalism and fear. I was never frightened with hell or made to question my own worth.”

      Strawman fallacies

      Not all atheist homes are safe.
      Not all religious homes are authoritarian.
      Not all religious homes are impermeable to race and economics.
      Dogmatic churches do not always replace curiosity and empathy with tribalism and fear.
      Hell is frightening but heck life is frightening. Unless you’re some spoiled atheist brat I guess.
      Fear and/or poor self esteem can be caused in atheist or religious homes.

      1. I think a more charitable interpretation of that paragraph would be to take each attribute as something that stands on its own, not as a collective description of religious homes in general. Not feeling safe growing up, that is a problem. Having authoritarian parents, that is another problem.

        Honestly, it didn’t even occur to me to take any of it as trying to imply that these problems were intrinsic to all religious homes. I sincerely doubt any of the atheists reading and commenting on the piece took it that way either.

        As for the concept of Hell being comparable to life, Hell is often portrayed as a place of pure suffering with no hope and no escape, that alone makes it far worse than anything that life could possibly throw at you.

      2. @5triker

        The main argument i have with anti-authoritarianism as an educational principle is that it doesn’t produce the results it claims to produce. Linked to that is, in my opinion, the dangerously false notion that phenomena like Trump and right-wing populism are rooted in authoritarianism.

        I think it is precisely the lack of authority and a rigid education that is the core of the problem. Kant says somewhere that those who deny children discipline in the first phase do greater harm than those who deny them cultivation in the later phases of the upbringing.

        I have lived through changes in the Belgian education system, changes that we authoritarian curmudgeons ridicule as ”don’t tell kids what is true, teach them to google it”.

        If you’re fine with seemingly free but undisciplined adults who find their wisdom and knowledge on Google and Facebook, have at it. But then don’t complain when a bewildered and restless people eventually start yearning for a firm hand to guide and lead them, because they will.

      1. You might be right – maybe – but the fact remains that there is a large audience out there that does believe it, and the writer and editors know it.

        – joel

      2. Rather small audience, I think, but it doesn’t matter. The most important things for me is not to see this as a ”religious” article. It may be fun to mock those superstitious fools, but that’s merely amusement. The important paragraph is not the one about idols. It’s the one that repeats the GOP talking points about liberty, vaccines etc. etc.

        In other words, It’s not Christian marketing. It’s GOP marketing targeting Christians.

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