Sunday, February 1, 2015

History: The Year is 1510

I've uploaded year 1510 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Emperor's Tax Collector is Dying to Come to Dinner -- Prince Zhu see an opportunity to overthrow the Emperor when one of the Emperor's eunuchs raises taxes on the military. I also talk about the morals of the state when they execute the eunuch.

Sunflowers in Spain, Random Does Not Equal Good -- I mostly talk about sunflowers as an ornamental and the myth that random planting somehow "random and chaotic" means "natural and good."

Fahrenheit 451: The Burning of Hebrew Books -- Johannes Pfefferkorn believes that the problem with Jews is the Hebrew books. But like Fahrenheit 451, burning the words doesn't eliminate the ideas contained therein.

The Emperor's Tax Collector is Dying to Come to Dinner

The Emperor of China's eunuch, Liu Jin, has initiated tax reform so naturally, taxes are going up, especially for the military. Enforcers are sent out to catch tax evaders and this has made the military unhappy. Prince Zhu sees this as an opportunity to overthrow the Emperor so government officials in his district are invited to a lavish dinner. Sometime between the drinks and the appetizers, the local military rush in and slaughter everyone in attendance. Those who failed to show are hunted down the next day. The "Prince of Anhua Rebellion" is in full swing. Prince Zhu releases his justifications for rebellion in the hope of convincing the regional commanders to join him, but it doesn't work. Not all the lower-level officers are with him either, so after a few weeks the Prince is captured. By next year Prince Zhu will kill himself rather than be executed by the state. Execution at this time is slow, painful and not very pretty. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The eunuch who instituted "tax reform" was blamed for pushing the military into rebellion and was given the sentence of "death by a thousand cuts". Essentially, one is tied to a framework in the public square and small pieces of one's body are slowly cut away. Execution-by-torture is considered the state norm for treason. There are too many examples like this in history (even US History) for me to be looking to the state for moral advice. Thus when someone says to me, "The Supreme Court allowed XYZ," as if that made it morally acceptable, I respond, "The Supreme Court also allowed slavery and forced sterilization." (Explicative deleted.) This is why the state needs to stay out of the "moral-standards and charity" business. [2]

Sunflowers in Spain, Random Does Not Equal Good

Any number of plants are being carried from the New World to the Old, mostly for their ornamental value. They look strange and pretty. The sunflower comes to Spain in 1510, but it has been thousands of years in the making. The first domesticated sunflower seeds were found in caves on the east coast of North America about 3000 years ago. Indians have been using them for food and a cure for rheumatism. The English will finally start pressing oil from sunflowers in 1716. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Many years ago my friend grew a few sunflowers in his front yard. Longhorns graze a few blocks away from his home. General agriculture is hardly unknown in our area. Yet, the neighbors complained about "weeds" probably because they didn't like the layout. My friend seemed to equate "random and chaotic" with "natural and good." Most people believe the myth that if you just let things "happen" everything will reach a balance but if you take that too literally what you will have are choking weeds. The Indians were not doing that. Their efforts only looked natural to the Spaniards because they used mono-crop agriculture. The Indians were acting on the environment, planting several species that supported each other throughout the year and managing the herd animals.

Fahrenheit 451: The Burning of Hebrew Books

Johannes Pfefferkorn believes that the Jews would convert to Christianity if they didn't have Hebrew books, so he is calling for the burning of the Talmud and the confiscation of all Hebrew books. Maximilian the 1st, Holy Roman Emperor is avoiding supporting him. The only one who seems to oppose Johannes is a German fellow name Johann Reuchlin. He is a Christian who has published a Hebrew grammar and lexicon. He has also delved into Kabbalah (which is Jewish mysticism) to find support for the Christian faith. In a couple of years he will come before the Inquisition and fight them by legal means. It will cause much disharmony and division within the Church and though Johann Reuchlin will win his case in the end the whole episode will be swept under the rug. [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the modern day, I've seen people focus on the Koran as if it is the source of trouble with Islam. I must admit that I've read some of the more controversial passages in the Koran and I had no sense that I was about the fly out of control. Words are representations of ideas and the ideas sometime inspire action. It might be the wrong action, but eliminating the words does not eliminate the ideas, nor the actions. This was the point of Ray Bradbury's novel, "Fahrenheit 451." They believed that the problem with the world was words... printed words, so they burned the words, but the problems remained and eventually the words returned. [11] [12]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1510, Wikipedia.

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