Vicksburg National Military Park

Maj Samuel H. Lockett monumen, Vicksburg MS - Alabama Dept of Archives & History

Often a visit to old battlefields is a disappointing experience. The visitor wanders around trying to visualize past events without much satisfaction. The masses of soldiers are missing, along with the banners and trumpets and guns. Little can be done to bring back the soldiers and guns, and most visitors would lose interest in that case anyway. The Park Service at Vicksburg, however, has managed in a few places to restore a sense of awe to parts of that Civil War battlefield. And they did it by just clearing away some trees.

Ideological Pox

pox virus

A TV talking head just made the statement that 'you can't destroy an ideology.'

That is an arguable assertion. For example, there aren't many practitioners of militant Shintoism working today. If the ideology is not completely dead, it has certainly evolved peaceably since 1945. Similar arguments can be made about Nazism on a large scale.

Progressive Dementia

According to Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, written in 1841, by Charles Mackay, groups of people sometimes go crazy. The Wisdom of Crowds is presumably the mirror condition, which suggests that--as science--these are probably not serious candidates. Still, it turns out that there are subgroups to these delusional groups.

Must Reads

The Telegraph lists "100 novels everyone should read," claiming them 'The best novels of all time from Tolkien to Proust and Middlemarch.

On this list I'm at about fourteen or fifteen. I'm not certain, but I take credit for reading Frankenstein in the past. Why is it that there are so many titles that I just find unappealing?

Thumb Rule

"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize." Voltaire (1694-1778)

Voltaire was the pseudonym used by François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), the French Enlightenment philosopher who was also author of the satire, Candide, ou l'Optimisme, which tells the story of a young man who finally, after several fruitless attempts, finds happiness and fulfillment in a simple life of physical work that leaves no time for philosophy and other useless pursuits.

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