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Textbooks



Textbooks: to return to an earlier theme, last year I worked my way through two official textbooks for undergraduates—one about the English Civil War and the other about Ancient Egypt. From these we can extract some information about the frame in which our regime operates. So the English Civil War book started off with economics—economics comes first; even though the author was not, from his asides, a Marxist; but I had the impression he was harried by Marxists to always give an “historical materialist” explanation for events.


After an introduction to England’s 17th-century economy, there was a section on religion—the first point that was driven home was that English people weren’t particularly religious at the time, except that was such a ridiculous statement the author had to quickly backtrack. Obviously, religion was a huge factor in the Civil War—men like Cromwell took it absolutely seriously, took ideas like Providence seriously, and really feared (with a mortal dread for their souls) that there would be a Catholic on the throne. Yet the professor who authored the textbook hedged the religious issue by talking about how irreligious people in very remote parts of England were and how one country squire declared himself an atheist—well, it amounted to two sources (which I’d seen reproduced elsewhere, the same jam spread very thin).


On the other hand, you have pamphlet after pamphlet after pamphlet harping on the religious theme from the time—and all sorts of cults, from the Muggletonians to the Fifth Monarchists, roaming the country and, in the case of the Ranters, literally ranting at people about religion (with the Quakers, meanwhile, literally shaking—or quaking). I saw a similar trend in a textbook about social change in the Victorian era, the academic mentioned that something like 75% of popular magazines and periodicals had evangelical Christian themes—and then as soon as he gave this statistic boldly claimed that “religion was not important in late Victorian England”. Just flatly stated it, contradicted the evidence he had he himself just put down.


It’s more like, well, a dogma that reads back contemporary irreligiosity into the past—much as “Britain was always a country of immigrants” is read back into the past, with similarly flimsy evidence (someone saw a black man in Dover, a major port city, in 1560—therefore, there was a “substantial and continuous” black presence in England since the 16th century).


Further, the Stuart state was weak because it “lacked trained bureaucrats”—this theme was taken up in the book on Ancient Egypt as well. In a Keynesian or Marxist twist, states are weak because they lack bureaucrats—if only the state employed more people, perhaps to “prime the pump”, it would avoid crises. Indeed, “efficiency” and “trained state-employed bureaucrats” are seen as synonymous—a very tendentious claim, to say the least. Final cherry: “new and exciting” research about women, minorities, and “ordinary people” (social history) during the Civil War is in the works and will soon “provide a valuable new perspective” on the events discussed.


You might think Ancient Egypt would be less politically contentious—after all, the progressives have a definite beef with Christians but, to my knowledge, not with Horus or Isis (nor the priests of). Sure enough, this book was less “political” but the content was still there.


It was there in this fashion: the author refused to concede that Ancient Egypt was ever invaded, or that these invasions caused population replacement—so far as they were concerned there was no “decline and fall” of Egypt. However, because the Egyptian civilisation did fall in the end, the author was finally, at the last possible moment, forced to concede that in some undefinable way—“on a spectrum”, as we might say—there ceased to be an entity that was recognisable as “Ancient Egypt” (you notice how this chimes with “genderfluid” ideas).


The basic themes were as follows:


1. There was no such thing as “the Egyptian race”—“indigenous groups” that preceded the people who arrived in the territory and eventually built the pyramids were “as Egyptian” as the Egyptians proper, somehow were connected to the pyramids (when they obviously were not).


2. Invasions aren’t “real”—if a territory is invaded by another group that can be described as a “confluence of populations” that leads to “diverse developments in culture”—it is not an invasion, there was no rapine or slaughter (no tensions between invaded Egyptians and their new rulers).


3. There is no such thing as “decline”—there are just “different ways of doing things”, so the author shows artefacts that demonstrate a clear decline in workmanship, were identified as “in decline” by Victorian archaeologists, and claims that these were just “a new direction” in Egyptian artistry (although they were finally, right at the very end, when the artefacts became like a nursery infant’s clay mouldings, forced to concede that “the artistry of the Old Kingdom had vanished”).


So let’s put these two textbooks together and summarise the metapolitical position that underlies the study of history under our regime:


1. Religious factors were negligible in the past (as were all non-material factors in general: individuals, charisma, initiative)—despite all evidence to the contrary, people in the past were about as secular as your average Briton circa 2000 (any actual evidence of religious influence must be admitted through the skin of your teeth, or, as with the evangelical periodicals, flatly denied).


2. Economic factors, on the other hand, are absolutely central and can be used to explain all human behaviour—if you know about wool production in 1600s England, you know most of what you need to know about the Civil War (i.e. it’s class conflict, no other economic factors are admitted). This is basically just a massive hangover from Marxism’s influence in the 20th century, but it is the only other admissible “materialist” explanation for history. The other materialist option—explanations derived from evolutionary biology, such as sexual competition—just doesn’t exist for modern historians at all.


3. When the state expands, that is an axiomatic good—a larger bureaucracy means better and more efficient administration; if the “early Stuart state” was weak, this can be explained by a “lack of administrators” or “lack of a trained bureaucracy”—in line with Keynesian or Marxist thought, the idea that a large state bureaucracy might be a problem is not considered.


4. Races don’t exist—hence if another group invades a territory and subjugates another people then it is not really possible to admit that it has happened; it has to be described as a “confluence of populations” or some such euphemism—basically, it just doesn’t happen; no tribe has ever invaded another tribe, so far as our official historians are concerned. This is such a departure from reality it makes the narrative difficult to follow—like there’s a big bump in the middle, like distorted burnt plastic. In the end, it has to be admitted—but it is hedged round and framed for paragraphs beforehand so that you’re somewhat distracted from the actual event, in doubt that it was an “invasion” after all.


5. There is no “seasonality” to an historical unit. There is no spring, summer, autumn, and winter—civilisations do not “decline and fall”. Hence there cannot be a “decline” in artistry, technology, or administration—there was just a “a radical departure in styles” (once you built pyramids, now you draw stick men in the mud with two little dots for eyes and a little half-moon smile). The historical unit—which is not called a “civilisation”, since that itself suggests some hierarchy in human social organisation—at some point becomes “differently abled” to a radical degree. Again, as with the invasions, at some point it must be admitted that Ancient Egypt no longer existed—yet when it is admitted it is done so with the utmost reluctance and all signs of decline in the lead up have been interpreted so as not to indicate it is so.


6. Women and minorities have been overlooked in the past—as has “social history”, the history of “the people” as opposed to “the nobs” who made all the decisions and held all the power. “New and exciting” (always so described, like Soviet jargon) research in this area is “changing perspectives” (always) on these issues. The two textbooks I read came out in 2000 and 2005 respectively—both intimated as to “the wave” of “new and exciting” (read: tendentious and dishonest) research into women and minorities that must by now have deluged their respective fields. I can only imagine that the contemporary textbooks have several chapters on LGBT, women, and blacks in Ancient Egypt and the English Civil War (making much hay from little material).


So, in summary, official history has this to say about all time periods: “Humans have never really been motivated by religious factors or great men, only purely economic factors connected to class conflict (there is no other materialist explanation). No group of humans has ever invaded another group of humans—populations have ‘mixed’ over time. When populations mix or there’s a change in technology or artistry that just represents ‘a novel development’—it’s not good or bad, there’s no such thing as a decline (or a ‘civilisation’). If there’s a cause for a crisis in a state, it’s that the state isn’t large enough and doesn’t have more ‘trained administrators’ (bureaucrats). The role of women, minorities, and ‘ordinary people’ has been overlooked, new and exciting research (of which more is required—always) will soon lead to major breakthroughs in the field.”


That’s the narrative that is overlaid on all history, and, as you’d expect, it’s a narrative that supports the worldview of our regime—atheistic, state-based, universal. I think it’s worth noting that what this worldview really has a problem with is death—it can’t admit that civilisations and peoples die, hence it can’t study history properly (it’s divorced from the cycles of nature); and it can’t admit that death exists because, for an atheist, that prospect is too terrible to countenance.



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