December 11

Ep. 0087: Grain and the State

Wheat close-up

Join CJ as he discusses:

  • How people lived in the Paleolithic Era, which actually encompasses the vast majority of human existence
  • The Neolithic Revolution and the coming of agriculture
  • The domestication of grains and their rise to dominate global food production
  • The rise of “civilization,” including its downsides
  • The characteristics of grains which make them the preferred food crops of states
  • Alternatives to sedentary, fixed-field, grain-dominated agriculture, which states tend to discourage
  • A few thoughts and observations about grains and states in the modern world

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Wheat photo attribution: By User:Bluemoose (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

August 28

Ep. 0074: The Western Way of War vs the Eastern Way of War

To begin laying some of the groundwork for the upcoming miniseries on the history of modern guerrilla and unconventional war, here’s a discussion of two different paradigms of what war is supposed to be and how it is supposed to be fought.  One is the Western (or European) Way, which originated in Greece and from there filtered through the Romans to become the dominant paradigm among Westerners to this day. The other is the Eastern (or Asian) Way, which originated in China and from there filtered to other parts of the Asian world and beyond, and which forms the intellectual basis of much of modern guerrilla tactics and strategy.

Join CJ as he discusses:

  • The origins of the Western Way and how it has evolved over the centuries
  • The origins of the Eastern Way and how it has evolved over the centuries
  • Why this matters to understanding the modern world in general, and the history of modern unconventional warfare in particular

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July 25

Ep. 0070: DHP Villains: Sargon of Akkad

Often described as the world’s first empire-builder, Sargon of Akkad may not entirely deserve that title.  But he’s the earliest empire-builder to achieve lasting notoriety.

Join CJ as he discusses:

  • A brief excerpt from “The Legend of Sargon”
  • The historical context of ancient Mesopotamia and the Sumerians who peopled most of the southern part of the region which Sargon later conquered
  • Sargon’s rise from obscurity to the throne of Kish
  • His subsequent conquest of virtually all of Mesopotamia into one empire
  • The efforts of Sargon & his heirs to centralize their rule over this empire, with partial success
  • Sargon’s death, and a little bit about some of his successors, including Naram-Sin
  • Some thoughts about the degree to which Sargon was a prototype for many of the “great” rulers and conquerors who came later, and whether conventional notions of “greatness” might in fact have a tinge of psychopathy that serves the rulers’ interests

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