Monday, December 14, 2015

History: The Year is 1693

I've uploaded year 1693 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Penn's Plan for Peace and 'a Short Victorious War' -- William Penn suggests a European court or parliament to resolve disputes before they break down into war. I talk about war and how war is sometimes a venue for a sales pitch.

The Failing Quaker Oat Harvest and Mass Migration -- Scot Quakers are moving away from Scotland as the oat harvest fails again and again. I talk about problems with mass migration, declining birth rates and doing the right thing.

The Amish Split from the Mennonites -- The split seems to be a disagreement over the penalty of shunning. I talk about shunning within the history of Judaism.

Penn's Plan for Peace and 'a Short Victorious War'

William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, is a Quaker and he despairs of the war in Europe. France has pushed into the Holy Roman Empire to create a defensive buffer zone for itself. The treaties make it unclear where the legal border is, but legal or not, the remaining nations, including England, have formed "The Grand Alliance" to oppose France's incursion. The fighting has been nowhere near as bad as the 30 years' War, but many of the refugees have escaped to Pennsylvania. William Penn contends that modern war stems from inequities between states that have no way to be resolved except through the aggressive use of force. He proposes a special court or parliament to resolve these inequities so that nations will have an alternative to war. He is not proposing a Federation, nor a United States of Europe. He is suggesting an official body that can define borders and resolve disputes before war ensues. Eventually the War of the Grand Alliance will grind to a halt as the economy of the European nations deteriorate, but for now, the war drags on. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The reality is that war was considered an acceptable way to expand one's tax base, and to divert the population from revolution. In 1904 the Russo-Japanese war started because the Russian Minister of the Interior said, "What this country needs is a short, victorious war to stem the tide of revolution." In the 1980's the Argentinian economy was in turmoil yet again, so they started a war with the UK over the Falkland Islands. It was ironic that Margaret Thatcher had recently offered to lease the Falkland Islands to Argentina with an option to buy, but once the war started she had no choice but to kick their backsides. Incidentally, sales of British war planes skyrocketed after they won. The Harrier Jump Jet had been a bit of a joke because it was SLOW compared to the French Mirage Jets that Argentina was using, but 20 Mirages took a nose dive in that war vs 1 Harrier. Recently, after the terror attacks in France, I was "informed" by the news media that France had finally joined the fight against terror by bombing ISIS in Syria. But I remembered France bombing ISIS almost a year ago using their new fighter jet! War sales always pick up after a weapon is "proven" in battle. This was not French revenge for the terrorist bombings. This was an attempt to boost sales and the news media accommodated France the same way that they accommodate McDonald's when their burgers need a boost. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

The Failing Quaker Oat Harvest and Mass Migration

From now until the end of the century, every oat harvest in Scotland will fail except one. Famine will force the Scots to migrate. France is a logical destination for them, but France is going through a similar famine. One would think that the New World would be an ideal destination, but the Scots are not enthusiastic colonists as yet. The Scot Quakers have recently established colonies in East Jersey and Carolina but not in large numbers compared to the English Quakers or the Dutch. As the famine continues, most will jump to Ireland. England will pass laws in order to prop up the Scottish economy and in particular granting tax breaks for farmers, but nothing can make up for the loss of manpower. In the 17th century, 200,000 out of a million Scots have left for other countries. Twenty percent of those emigrants are the young men needed to maintain the Old Scotland. Instead they will be building a New Scotland far away. [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Losing 20% of your population is devastating. For comparison, Japan has actually gained in population, but the ratio between the elderly and the young is out of balance, and the birthrate is in decline so they are worried about having enough young people in the future to keep the machinery running. Their solution has been to build up their robotics industry. The Germans have a similar population problem and it occurred to me that the German Prime Minister might be inviting Syrian refugees to Germany in order to solve Germany's labor problem. Certainly the United States does something similar by allowing illegal aliens to waltz across the border. Business owners want cheap labor. Having a labor force that knows it is illegal reduces a lot of employee complaints. By design, the labor law makes it difficult to hire foreign labor LEGALLY, so businesses often do it illegally just to save the headache. When I do something wrong, it usually creates a cascade of wrong things, and the only way to stop that cascade is by doing the right thing in the first place. This new generation wants to do the right thing. The robotic factory, the automatic harvester and phone-app restaurant are ways to do the right thing without changing the law and without costing your soul. [15] [16]

The Amish Split from the Mennonites

War has ravaged much of central Europe including Switzerland. The Mennonites have been scattered as refugees and as one might imagine, their smaller, less organized groups have drifted away from the original central faith outlined by Menno Simons. That is why Jakob Ammann feels compelled to tighten up religious observance. Specifically he is concerned that the punishment of "shunning" has been neglected. When a member of their group is sinning and refuses to repent, they will avoid talking to that person and stay separated from that person until they do repent. Jakob Ammann applies this punishment even between husband and wife, thus making meals very difficult between them. The other Mennonites find strict shunning to be too serious a punishment and this causes a rift. Those Mennonites who agree with Jakob Ammann are called Amish Mennonites or simply Amish. The Amish will begin emigrating to Pennsylvania in the 18th century. [17]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I'm not familiar enough with Mennonite observance to make a judgment on whether Jakob Ammann was right or wrong. Shunning as a religious penalty is an ancient procedure and it exists within Judaism, though I'm not aware of it having been used in recent times. I am a Modern Orthodox Jew so I don't claim to know everything that my more right-wing brethren are doing. I hear rumors, though. In the 1800s, shunning happened, but it was rare because it could be so devastating. If you had a public business, how could your fellows buy things from you? Usually, there was a time limit placed on the shunning. Let's say... 30 days. How many businesses could afford to lose a month's worth of business? So... it was a severe punishment but everyone knew it was severe. Rabbis tried to avoid imposing the punishment and people tried to avoid deserving the punishment. And if you think shunning is the correct penalty then certainly one's spouse should shun you. The rule is the rule. If everyone must shun you, then that means everyone.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1693, Wikipedia.

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