History’s hit new show “Vikings” has drawn a fair amount of praise from critics who have hailed it as the next “Game of Thrones” and the show that will rescue the network formerly known as The History Channel from its “Ancient Aliens” past. The show follows the saga of Ragnar Lothbrok, a legendary 8th century Viking who carved out a small kingdom for himself. “Vikings” has been renewed for a second season, and its unclear whether they’ll stay with Ragnar or jump ahead to show Viking quests to Iceland, Greenland, and beyond. Personally, I’d love to see them tackle the attempt by some eastern Vikings to sack Constantinople, but that will probably have to wait for season 67 at this rate. Either way, despite the praise from critics and viewers, the show has come under fire from historians. Often the criticism focuses on how the Vikings are dressed, whether Iceland Spar was really used , or what type of government they had. All these concerns are fine for the nit-picking historian, yet they omit quite possibly the most egregious error – that the Viking world had no knowledge of the British Isles or anything outside the Baltic.
This is something I’ve been pondering for some time. I started writing this piece a couple months ago but stopped because it didn’t seem that relevant and I didn’t really care too much. Now I think it’s different. First and foremost is the emergence of the so-called drone memos and the Rand Paul filibuster follow-up which has served to expose some serious hypocrisy in both political parties. The other is the increased (and perhaps overuse) of the term “false equivalency” by the left. There’s no question that the media tends to “report the debate” and often gives an impression of equivalency, but understanding the structures of both parties might better help to explain why such a false equivalency might exist.
Since emerging as a term in 1992, “RINO” or “Republican in name only” has become increasingly common in right-wing political discourse. With the emergence of the Tea Party and the recent rejection of their candidates in the last election, the term has become even more meaningful as a troubled party tries to redefine itself. Politicians or pundits often get called RINO’s if their positions don’t live up to the hardline stance of the party. Any Republican compromising with Democrats is now viewed as a RINO by many on the right.
RINO vs. Blue Dog
On the other side, you have the term “Blue Dog Democrat” to denote Democrats that lean conservative. Continue reading “LINO or DINO? Structural Differences Between the Parties”
File this under the category of what’s mildly annoying me this week, or annoying me enough to write about it here.
Whenever someone mentions that the US is a democracy, even in passing, someone will undoubtedly chime in with, “the US is a republic, not a democracy,” as if that somehow negates everything previously said.
How people got this notion remains a mystery. I first recall one of my high school history teachers telling me it, and I’m undoubtedly guilty of repeating the statement as a teenager. Anyway, (before I start discussing my teenage years) it appears that people see a republic and a democracy as two distinct forms of government. Democracies supposedly elect everyone directly while republics elect representatives to vote in their place. By these definitions America is a republic – too bad these definitions are wrong. Continue reading ““The US is a Republic, not a Democracy!””
In my last post I talked about how to really win an argument with creationists. Not to leave anyone out I’ll talk more casually about how to win an argument with an evolutionist. Let’s say you’re a young earth creationist.
You find yourself on the internet and you’re feeling adventurous enough to trade-in your allowed daily hour of GodTube for its more risque older sister YouTube. You check out the latest hit from the album “Death Metal and Resurrection” from Knights of Bethlehem when you notice a recommended video titled “How to win an argument with an atheist.” You click on it and it’s just a guy with a terribly-accented drawl making fun of creationists. This now has you belligerently enraged with love for Jesus and you decide to pick a fight in the comments. You begin by citing the Bible and that’s where you immediately lose. This tragic situation happens every day. Continue reading “How to Really Win an Argument with a Darwinian Evolutionist”