July 10

Ep. 0011: DHP Hero: Karl Hess

From time to time, I’m going to cover some people I see as Heroes and Villains.  These will be individuals whom I find very intriguing (and therefore think/hope you’ll find them intriguing as well), either in a good or bad way.

In the case of Heroes, I think it’s important to mention that I don’t believe in fawning hero-worship type stuff.  I also think that “hero worship” can be very dangerous, because it can prevent you from being your own hero.  It’s very easy (I know because I’ve been there) to start deifying your ‘heroes’ (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many people use the word ‘idol’ in this context), and in so doing feel that you are not and never could be their equal, let alone their better, when the reality is that you can equal or better almost anyone in almost any regard, provided you have the will to put in the work in whatever field it is that you want to be a hero.

Nonetheless and all that said, I think it’s important to have some positive examples of individuals whom you admire for some reason(s).  History is so replete with villains that every now and then you have to stop and smell the roses, by which I mean read or listen or learn about a Good Guy or Gal.

Our first Dangerous History Podcast Hero that we’ll cover is Karl Hess (1923-1994), who I think is a strong contender for a real-life Most Interesting Man in the World.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • Karl’s early childhood, and how his mother put him on the path to being an autodidact
  • His early success as a writer and entry into politics, including work as a speechwriter and platform writer for the Republican Party
  • His involvement with the ill-fated 1964 presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater, and how Karl left the GOP in its aftermath
  • Karl’s involvement with the New Left and Counterculture, and his ultimate embrace of libertarianism and anarchism, during which time he wrote an influential essay entitled “The Death of Politics” and became a tax protestor, hounded for the rest of his life by the IRS
  • His involvement in the early phases of what today we think of as the prepper/self-sufficiency movement, including his relocation to a self-made home in rural West Virginia
  • Karl’s love of tools, including guns
  • Some parting thoughts from Prof CJ on Karl, including Karl’s DIY ethic, and his embodiment of three of Prof CJ’s ideals:  the Autodidact, the Polymath, and the Renaissance Man

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External links:

  • Karl’s famous 1969 essay, “The Death of Politics”
  • An excerpt featuring Karl from the 1983 documentary (which is definitely worth watching in its entirety) Anarchism in America
  • A playlist of segments from the 1981 short documentary Karl Hess:  Toward Liberty (not sure if/where the full film can be found, but I think these clips cover most of it, as the full film is supposedly under 1/2 hour long.)  BTW, clip #6 is in my opinion the best — it’s where Hess talks the most about alternative technology & liberty, and also sounds the most Zen/Taoist.

July 7

Ep. 0010: The Myth of Reagan

Ah, the Gipper!  He reversed (or at least significantly slowed) the growth of the post-New Deal/Great Society Leviathan federal government in the US, right?  I mean, he sure did take a rhetorical ax to the government….

But what if it was all just talk?  What if conservatives love and liberals hate Ronald Wilson Reagan, but for things that aren’t even real?

(BTW, I apologize for the intermittent background noise.  A cable was rubbing on the mic and I didn’t notice it until after I’d recorded the whole episode!)

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  •  The Mythical Story of Reagan-as-Gov’t-Cutter
  • Supply Side theory & practice
  • Candidate Reagan’s platform c. 1980
  • Reagan’s record on such things as deregulation, taxes, spending, borrowing, money, and federal programs & departments
  • Some excerpts from David Stockman’s excellent book, The Triumph of Politics, on how & why the Reagan Revolution didn’t really happen
  • The Prof’s thoughts on how figures like Reagan (and Obama) seem to emerge whenever there’s a real possibility of the Anti-Establishment Left & Anti-Establishment Right getting together (such as in the late-70s & circa the end of George W. Bush’s presidency), and successfully 1) re-divide the Left and Right sides of Anti-Establishmentarianism and 2) co-opt & defuse the energy and anger of their respective side (as Reagan did for much of the Anti-Est. Right of the 1980s and Obama did for much of the Anti-Est. Left in recent years.)

Prof CJ’s Picks (buy from Amazon via these links to help support the show)

External links:

 

July 3

Ep. 0009: The Philippines War, Part II

Here it is — part II of Prof CJ’s take on the American war against the Filipinos.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • How Americans had little to no sympathy for Filipinos
  • The ‘pacification’ of the island of Samar & the court-martial of Major Waller
  • How imperialists vilified their political opponents as unpatriotic traitors rather than principled dissenters
  • Characteristics of imperialists, including their youth & their Progressive ideology (in other words, Imperialists were Progressives & vice-versa – exhibit A being Teddy Roosevelt himself)
  • How the US declared victory in 1902 (even though fighting wasn’t quite done in some places)
  • Quotes looking back on the war from contemporary imperialists & anti-imperialists
  • Some closing thoughts and observations about this war and its troubling legacy, including Americans’ eagerness then (as now) to quickly self-induce amnesia in order to forget morally dubious wars
  • How unhappy truths are some of the most important truths with which one must come to grips, if one wishes to avoid future ills
  • In the words of Patrick Henry:  “For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it.”

Prof CJ’s Picks (buy from Amazon via these links to help support the show at no additional cost to you)

 

June 30

Ep. 0008: The Philippines War, Part I

I started off intending this to be a single episode, but after working on it for only a short while, I realized it was going to take two to get through everything I wanted to say about this war.

This is not a happy subject, but sometimes uncomfortable truths are among the most necessary to come to grips with.  Be warned:  My coverage of this war is brutally honest, and at times I’ll use some rough language (generally when quoting commentators of the time period.)

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The outbreak of fighting between Filipino nationalists and American occupying forces
  • How the Treaty of Paris passed & the United States ‘acquired’ the Philippines
  • Contemporary quotes both for and against keeping the Philippines
  • How American military leaders led the Filipino leaders (during the war with Spain) to believe that America supported Filipino independence, but then denied anything of the type once McKinley decided to keep the archipelago for the US – alienating and angering many Filipinos who initially regarded the US in a friendly, positive light
  • How the war against the Filipinos quickly turned nasty, characterized by war crimes & atrocities (including, but not limited to, the “water cure” depicted in the photo above)
  • The capture of Emilio Aguinaldo 1901, and how that seemed to signal the beginning of the end (though it really wasn’t)

Prof CJ’s Picks (buy from Amazon via these links to help support the show at no additional cost to you)

 

June 26

Ep. 0007: The Spanish-American War

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • How tensions between the US and Spain over Cuba escalated in 1898, giving the Large Policy clique (covered in our last episode) the opportunity they’d been waiting for
  • Spanish abuses (real, exaggerated, and fabricated) in Cuba, including those by Spanish General Weyler (a professed admirer of the American General W. T. Sherman), culminating in a policy of reconcentracion
  • The explosion of the USS Maine in Havana, and some evidence as to what probably happened
  • How the jingoistic Large Policy clique, uninterested in evidence, immediately pinned it on the Spanish and upped their drive for war (assisted by the press)
  • How Theodore Roosevelt used his job as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to put the Philippine Islands in Uncle Sam’s crosshairs, though it was on the other side of the world from Cuba
  • Quotes from the warhawks, many of which are dripping with references to manliness and virility (see the George Carlin routine linked in last episode)
  • How many Southerners were happy to assist the US federal government (which had brutally subjugated them just 30 years previously) to conquer Spaniards, and after them, Filipinos
  • A smattering of antiwar quotes
  • How Spain bent over backwards trying to avoid war and conceded to almost every American demand, to no avail – the American war party got its war
  • The real story of the Teller Amendment
  • A brief overview of the brief war against Spain
  • The highlights & lowlights of the American war effort
  • A cynical (realistic?) look at TR’s wartime experience
  • Side effects of the war, including a major effect on the state of Florida; a new cocktail (the Cuba libre); and the North-South reconciliation brought about by the two regions teaming up against foreign enemies; and its role in Anglo-American rapprochement
  • This war led directly to a nastier, longer, and costlier war, against the Filipinos, which we’ll cover next episode

Prof CJ’s Picks (buy from Amazon via these links to help support the show at no additional cost to you)

June 23

Ep. 0006 The “Large Policy”

How did the United States go from being a country that, in the words of then-Secretary of State (and future President) John Quincy Adams in 1821, “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy,” to being, dare I say it, Team America:  World Police?  This podcast will tell you how a small, elite (and elitist) clique of American leaders and intellectuals made the country change its foreign policy course one-hundred-and-eighty degrees from that charted by our Founders and their sons and grandsons, and a country founded on anti-imperialism began acting blatantly imperialistic.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The foreign policy prescriptions of America’s founding generations, which were (for the most part) reiterated and followed by America’s leaders for most of the nineteenth century
  • The emergence of the “Large Policy” clique that steered America (mostly against the wishes of most average Americans) down the road toward emulating the European Empires of the day (especially the British)
  • Members of that clique, including:  Adm. Alfred T. Mahan, Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore Roosevelt, Brooks Adams, John Hay
  • The ideology and motives of these men
  • Also, press tycoon William Randolph Hearst, who though not a member of the clique, shared their eagerness for war for his own reasons
  • Some interesting & revealing quotes from the Large Policy clique
  • Some of the late-nineteenth-century American leaders (generally of an older generation than the Large Policy guys) who opposed American overseas expansionism and war, including Thomas Brackett Reed & Grover Cleveland
  • How tensions with Spain over Cuba would give the Large Policy clique the opportunity to start getting their way. (This war will be covered next episode.)

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External Links

June 20

Ep. 0005: Fall of Rome Follow-Up

Normally, this show will be Mondays & Thursdays, but here’s a half-size-or-slightly-less follow up to yesterday’s episode on the Fall of Rome & its Aftermath, with a little more elaboration on the lessons of that historical episode for us today.

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The Prof’s answer to the question, “Why bother learning history?”
  • Why those who rise to the top of the state inevitably are stupid and/or evil
  • Let go of the idea of trying to change “the System”
  • Focus on what you can do in your life that actually matter
  • Prof CJ advocates being a moderate prepper/survivalist
  • Do your own thinking to figure out the exact path that suits you and your resources to get you through the New Dark Age

(pic of Hadrian’s Wall courtesy Dr. Joseph Valks/freedigitalphotos.net)

Prof CJ’s Picks (buy from Amazon via these links to help support the show at no additional cost to you)

June 19

Ep. 0004: The Fall of Rome and its Aftermath

Ah, yes, a big, grand, sweeping overview of several centuries for our first historical narrative/analysis podcast!  (This one starts in the car and continues at the home office, so the audio quality gets way better about halfway through.)

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • The Western Roman Empire’s economic woes
  • How the state debased Roman money (the silver denarius) and the effects of that debasement
  • State meddling in the grain market
  • The creation of a huge dependent class
  • The coming of hyperinflation
  • How the state blamed everyone but itself
  • The Emperor Diocletian’s “reforms,” including wage & price controls and anti-hoarding laws
  • How even the state didn’t want the worthless money anymore & resorted to assessing taxes “in kind”
  • How the Emperor Constantine rehabilitated the Eastern Empire’s economy (though not that of the West) with sound money
  • The role of taxes in destroying the Western Empire’s economy
  • How Rome’s economic troubles weakened its military, making it vulnerable to barbarian incursions
  • The downsides of specialization if & when the S starts to hit the F
  • The material costs of Rome’s fall in Europe, including: a sudden & severe decline in standard of living; the disappearance of comfort; shrinkage in the average size of livestock animals; a major decline in literacy
  • The possibility of parallels to the decline of the United States
  • The Prof’s thoughts on what (if anything) can be done

(pic of Colosseum at night courtesy Vichaya Kiatying-Ansule/freedigitalphotos.net)

Prof CJ’s Picks (buy from Amazon via these links to help support the show at no additional cost to you)

June 12

Ep. 0002: Prof CJ’s Approach to History, Part I

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • Some interesting/important quotes that relate to his approach
  • His personal intellectual journey
  • Why Prof CJ is disappointed with most mainstream history
  • Using Cynical Structural Functionalism to understand and analyze the world
  • The Iron Triangle of Academic History (Race, Class, & Gender) vs. Prof CJ’s Iron Triangle (Money, Power, & Violence)