Review: The Rule of the Clan

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“] Rule of the Clan by Mark Weiner I often review good books. Sometimes I review great ones. The Rule of the Clan: What an Ancient Form of Social Organization Reveals about the Future of Individual Freedom  by Mark S. Weiner gets the highest compliment of all: it is an academic book that […] Read more »

Human Sacrifice and State-Building

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“] A while back I had a longish post that argued that the mass executions practiced by ISIS drew from the long pagan tradition of ritualistic human sacrifice. Today in the news, some social scientists see evidence of human sacrifice as the catalyst for establishing and maintaining stratified, hierarchical and (usually) oppressive […] Read more »

ISIS: Paganism with an Islamic Face?

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a “zen“] “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Moloch, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 18:21  “They rejected the commandments of the Lord … and served Baal. They consigned their sons and daughters to the fire” – 2 […] Read more »

The third greatest story ever told

[by Lynn C. Rees] Colleen McCullough is dead (props Razib Khan). It’s a sign of George Lucas’ complete incompetence as a storyteller that he found the third greatest story ever told and left it an abomination. It is a sign of McCullough’s greatness as a storyteller that she took the third greatest story ever told and lifted […] Read more »

Arrow of mass

[by master-archer, Lynn C. Rees] The Strategikon, a Byzantine Roman military manual attributed to the Emperor Maurice Flavius Mauricius Tiberius, summarized Roman calvary training towards the end of the sixth century: He should be trained to shoot rapidly on foot, either in the Roman or the Persian manner. Speed is important in shaking the arrow loose and […] Read more »

T. Greer on Sun Tzu the Radical

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] T. Greer at Scholar’s Stage had an outstanding post on Sun Tzu and his classic The Art of War the other day in which I learned a number of things that were new to me, which is the best kind of blog post! The Radical Sunzi When translated into English, the Sunzi […] Read more »

Phineas Priesthood 2: The Tanakh

[ by Charles Cameron — continuing exploration of the Phineas story as it leads to the recent Larry McQuilliams incident among others ] . Phineas vs Zimri & Cozbi . I Paradise is depicted in many traditions as a garden — indeed the very word “paradise” (pardes) means “garden” or “orchard” in Hebrew. It is […] Read more »

The prime directive

[cut and pasted by Lynn C. Rees] It has been the uniform policy of this Government, from its foundation to the present day, to abstain from all interference in the domestic affairs of other nations. The consequence has been that while the nations of Europe have been engaged in desolating wars our country has pursued its […] Read more »

Humanitarian intervention in the Mesozoic: lukewarm

[by Lynn C. Rees] Article II, Section 3 of our Constitution opens with this strongly worded suggestion: He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient. As a people, we underutilize the President’s Annual Messages [...] Read more »

Seydlitz89: “The US Needs to Re-discover the Concept of Strategy”

[by Mark Safranski a.k.a. "zen"] Our Clausewitzian friend, Seydlitz89 commented on my recent post on politics and strategy and has a new one of his own that accurately frames a solution to the geopolitical disarray in which the United States finds itself today. Seydlitz89 asked for my comments so I will be making some where [...] Read more »