Thursday, May 21, 2015

History: The Year is 1579

I've uploaded year 1579 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Akbar's Dream and the Right to Tax-Exempt Worship -- The Muslim Emperor of India has lifted the tax on being a non-Muslim. He wants freedom of worship. I talk about our tax code and how it limits religious freedom today.

The Laws of War and Musketeer Roll Call -- The Spanish siege is a bloody mess with many abuses we would see as wrong in the modern day. I talk a little bit about the Three Musketeers and the Geneva Conventions.

Akbar's Dream and the Right to Tax-Exempt Worship

Emperor Akbar, the Muslim leader of India, has had a revelation: "Let men worship as they will." Under Muslim rule, non-Muslims must pay a special tax to continue their worship, but Emperor Akbar has lifted the tax. He believes in the tolerance of different religions, even those he would consider as pagan. He allows Hindus who had been forced to convert to Islam to return to Hinduism if they wish it. As a result he has become very popular amongst the Hindus. Even Tennyson will write a favorable poem entitled "Akbar's Dream". Akbar is the third of what will be a long line of Mughal emperors. In time the emperors will lose control of their vast empire but they will retain their riches and influence. In the modern day, the word "Mughal" has been transformed into "mogul". It means "a rich and powerful person." Apparently it also means "an influential person" since the religious tax did not return until ISIS recently reintroduced the tax. Any who refuses to pay the tax is beheaded. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It may seem medieval to execute a person for not paying a tax, but try not paying your taxes. Soon the sheriff will show up at your door and if you resist him too strenuously, he will shoot you. Often pastors will not speak their minds on certain subjects for fear of losing their congregation's tax exempt status. Without donations, a church can't pay the mortgage or the light bill. The IRS can hassle church donors by questioning whether their donations are tax deductible or not. According to an IRS pamphlet (see below), a church has automatic tax-exempt status but many congregations can apply for a 501c3 status so that tax deductible donations will be hassle-free. (What a convenience!) Unfortunately, like signing a contract with Satan, the devil is in the details. Because of a condition placed in the law by Lyndon B. Johnson, a 501c3 organization limits their right to free speech when they apply. The solution is for churches not to apply but then they lose that nifty pre-approval status for their donations. (WARNING: I am not a lawyer. I don't even play one on TV.) [7] [8] [9]

The Laws of War and Musketeer Roll Call

The city of Maastricht (MAH-strict) has been a center of trade since the Middle Ages. In the 16th century it is also a militarily strategic city. Fortifications have been built as the Spaniards lay siege to this city held by Dutch rebels. Tunnels are dug under the fortifications so that sappers can set charges. The Dutch set fires in the tunnels to suck out the oxygen and suffocate the sappers. Also boiling water is poured down the tunnels with the obvious result. Then, 500 Spaniards are killed when one of their own charges goes off before it is set in place. It is exhausting and bloody work. As the Dutch are sleeping, the Spanish troops find a breech in the wall and attack. Without a formal surrender, the laws of war at this time allow the Spaniards to loot with impunity, but as the Spanish did at Antwerp, they needed no excuse to loot. [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, the main character in the novel "The Three Musketeers" is a man named d'Artagnan (tar-TAN-yon). The character is based on a real life musketeer who died at a different Siege of Maastricht in 1673. I can say without fear of contradiction that the man's real life was quite exciting but bears little resemblance to the character in the novel or in the movies. Regarding any international law of war, the nations have been trying to work something out since biblical times. Passages in Deuteronomy lay out rules such as not destroying fruit trees because they cannot run away from the battle. The Catholic Church has tried to define what a just war is, and after the 30 Year's War (and the 80 Year's War) they will define more rules for war. In fact, the four Geneva Convention treaties beginning in 1864 grew out of this need to limit the abuses we see in war. Of course, those who do not sign on to the treaties do not get the benefits and that was the whole debate on whether the jihadists at Gitmo could claim rights under the Geneva Conventions. (Technically: no. Practically: yes because on the modern battlefield it is too complex to treat the enemy in various ways depending on what their country signed or not.) [12] [13] [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1579, Wikipedia.

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