History

"The 60-Year-Old Scientific Screwup That Helped Covid Kill"

Remarkable story of the overturning of long-established, unquestioned "scientific" wisdom

It reminds me of a story Deirdre McCloskey tells about the late, great Milton Friedman. McCloskey wrote that as a new assistant professor at Chicago he remarked that professional sports was a "Terrible Monopoly" and Friedman asked, "How do you know?" It's a question that should be asked early and often.


"Sitting Bull"

I hadn't known that those so very nice Canadians tried to starve the Lakota Sioux:

However, the Canadian government, fearful that the chief’s presence would incite intertribal warfare and eager to clear the Prairies for white settlement (see Numbered Treaties), refused Sitting Bull’s request for a reserve for his people. Using starvation as a tool for subjugation, official government policy directed that Indigenous peoples of the Prairies could be moved wherever best suited the interests of the government.


"The road from Rome"

Argument that Western history is explained by the fall of the Roman Empire: it fostered intense political competition which, in turn, explains much else.

Hardened by conflict, the European states became more integrated, slowly morphing into the nation-states of the modern era. Universal empire on a Roman scale was no longer an option. Like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, these rival states had to keep running just to stay in place – and speed up if they wanted to get ahead. Those that did – the Dutch, the British – became pioneers of a global capitalist order, while others laboured to catch up. . . .

They’re deeply rooted in the fact that, after Rome fell, Europe was intensely fragmented, both between and within different countries. Pluralism is the common denominator.