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Conservapedia:World History Lecture Ten

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World History – Post-Industrial Revolution, Imperialism and World War I
Tenth Lecture
Instructor, Andy Schlafly


After the industrial revolution, many European nations extended their power through “imperialism”, which means one nation trying to control other people. Imperialism makes the bigger nation feel more powerful and more influential. It can also be very profitable for the imperialistic nation as it exploits the natural resources and labor of the other people. But subjugated people began to resent rule by another nation, and imperialism became a huge problem worldwide.

Before moving on to Andy's account of the Victorian era, let's pause. We've come a long way since Lecture One - some 5,000 years - and we've earned a well-deserved break. Particularly as we need to answer a couple of questions.

Humour me while I break into a first-person narrative for a second. I was asked the other day, why am I doing this? Why am I spending time refuting Andrew Schlafly's nonsense? Indeed, why does anyone here at RationalWiki even bother? This is a legitimate question, and deserves an answer. After all, it is unlikely in the extreme that Mr Schlafly actually reads anything on this site, and the same can be said for his brainless acolytes. And even if they were to take a moment to venture out of their cotton-wool-encased Christoservative mindset, they would not accept any of the material presented at this site, including these Lecture analyses. Their reaction would be indistinguishable from a "Creationist v. Naturalist" debate on YouTube - they'd simply ignore, deny, and turn to childish name-calling and references to Hitler, ultimately leaving with no change whatsoever to their mindset.

Now this is a problem for anything here at RationalWiki, or Wikipedia, or - God forbid people should read them - actual books. No amount of rational analysis will change the mind of a person who doesn't want to change it, and ultimately it might well be interpreted - as it was by the person in the Faculty the other day who said I was wasting my time - as a doomed effort. I must confess that these lectures do take up a lot of time, and after a daily eight hours in the office and three hours in the gym, I have precious little of that to spare. But it's rather fun, and I'll actually be quite sad when there's no more to do. More to the point, there is a purpose in doing these analyses, and indeed in offering rationalist responses to any fundamentalist, authoritarianist, politically-charged bullshit. Let's briefly consider these.

  • In the contemporary struggle between Christoservatism and rationalism, the focus is overwhelmingly on science. This is fine, but the constant focus on technical scientific terms and problems can be quite a turn-off for many people. Not all of us are scientists, not all of us understand the ins and outs of such esoteric fields as abiogenesis, thermodynamics, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, etc. And it must be said, a lot of us don't care. Not everyone has the time, the training nor the inclination to read and understand the work of Stephen Jay Gould or Richard Lenski, just as not everyone has the time, the training or the inclination to plod through heavy books on the Thirty Years' War or the History of Philosophy. We can't all be scientists, after all.
  • One consequence of this is that the rationalists end up as a small knot of people, while the Fundafascists just increase in numbers. They don't need to understand science, they simply exist, and through sheer weight of numbers they bugger up the world. Not just on your side of the Atlantic, either. When the Fundies turn up en masse to American polling stations, and through their sheer ignorance elect another Dubya or another Palin, then it is not just America which suffers. Everyone on this little mudball suffers, and one factor (only one, admittedly) in this is that we rationalists are very frequently restricted to science - and to be honest, when faced with equations and periodic tables, the man on the street simply doesn't care. But there are other weapons than science, with which to fight Christoservatism. We all have a smattering of history, and history is just as powerful as science.
  • Studying history is essential. It is not simply a parlour game, or something pursued by lazy students and bored old men. We cannot make sense of the present, and we cannot plan for the future, unless we first understand the past. Why do the Israelis and Palestinians kill each other? Why is there a civil war going on in Libya? How do we climb our way out of the current economic recession? We cannot answer these questions unless we understand history - what caused these problems, how people tried to solve them in the past, and what has been tried that only made things worse. But by twisting and warping history, Fundafascists not only fail to understand the world around them, but they propose, vote for, and implement policies which make things much worse. Andrew Schlafly has never read real history about the Crusades, hence he thinks the War on Terror is noble. Andrew Schlafly hasn't read the history of the Wall Street Crash, the South Sea Bubble, the Great Depression, or the East Asian financial crisis, so he thinks that unfettered free-market capitalism and state retreat will haul us up from the current financial shitheap onto which those very policies have tossed us all. Andrew Schlafly hasn't read the history of Nazi persecution of homosexuals, so he thinks it's fine - indeed, a duty - to condemn and actively oppress those who have a genetic predisposition to their own gender. Andrew Schlafly hasn't read the histories of nationalism, imperialism, and mercantilism, hence he doesn't understand why some people feel the desire to strike back at what they perceive as arrogant Western dominance of the planet. We could go on. Suffice it to say, to understand the present we must understand the past. Not lie, misrepresent, award top marks to brainwashed zombies who will simply spout this crap in turn, and then on the basis of those appalling misconceptions, vote into office borderline-psychotic born-again Christofascists whose first actions are to slash the state, blame the gays, and bomb the foreigners.
  • Fundies' foul lies seep into every field of human knowledge, and history is one area which has the potential not only to appeal to a broader spectrum of the population (both to broader-minded rationalists and psychotically patriotic Inquisitorial religio-fascists), but also is a perfect place in which to see the reality of the "moral values" which lie at the heart of their movement. These are things which rarely come out in Kent Hovind-esque polemics about allele frequencies and DNA base pairs, but are bared naked in such overlooked pieces as these History Lectures. Thus far, we have identified a lot of deeply unpleasant things about Andrew Schlafly, which we can presume with a fair degree of confidence, are shared by many similar Fundafascists. He is obsessed with abortion and homosexuality, as we all knew, and while he endlessly whines about human freedom he pursues an endless campaign to strip away the rights of other people. These lectures have also revealed a lot about his latent racism. His depiction of black people and his version of the Slave Trade are especially unsettling - we face enough overt racism in the modern world without there being a wellspring of hatred just simmering beneath the placid veneer of happy-clappy fundamentalist Christianity and "family values" political conservatism. His discussion of the Crusades reads like a pamphlet exhorting Americans to go out and shoot anyone who doesn't worship one specific, twisted version of Jesus (it must be noted that the "Christianity" pursued by Schlafly and his ilk bears little or no resemblance whatsoever to the actual teachings of Christ). His portrayal of women is shockingly misogynistic, and his view of what men should be is, in its way, equally unpleasant. In Andy's envisioned utopia, men are expected to bear the burden of work all on their own, women are meant to be cringeing subordinates, gays are to be removed from society (exactly how, is something I don't really want to think about), blacks are to be treated as primitive subhumans, and non-Fundamentalist "Christians" (particularly Muslims) are apparently to be deported or otherwise receive some sort of final solution. This is a deeply unpleasant vision. I personally fall across multiple categories, and as you are reading this now, remember that you too will fall short of Andy's dream. If you're not a lily-white, heterosexual, fertile, married, hyper-conservative, hyper-fundamentalist, anti-intellectual, middle-aged, middle-class, free-market capitalist male of Anglo-Saxon descent, born within a small town in the central continental mass of the mainland United States of America, who votes Republican or Tea Party and adores (though almost certainly has not served in) the US military, then you're not only an inferior, second-class citizen; you're a threat to their utopia, and you must be somehow neutralised. That's about 99% of the human population who must be bullied by Christofascists, removed from office, restricted in daily activities, imprisoned, sterilised, detained, deported, put on the death rows of of the Deep South, or simply killed in overseas wars. And while we may seem to have sufficiently large numbers to keep us safe, remember that that 1% of right-wing fundies control a disturbing amount of power in the world's most militarily powerful country. By rewriting history to suit their personal beliefs and political agendas, the Fundafascist leaders justify to their uneducated, gullible, troglodyte followers the need and right to implement policies which negatively affect the lives of billions of people, from their own home towns to the other side of the planet. This may seem a paranoid and exaggerated argument, but the historical record proves that given the chance, this is exactly what these people do. From not letting certain people sit on the same buses as whites, to shepherding certain people into gas chambers, people who have been fed a twisted version of history and a twisted version of morality, will happily discriminate, enslave, torture, burn, execute, and commit genocide. Just because we Westerners currently live in nice, cushy lives with video games and microwave dinners and the right to vote, does not mean that we are safe. Life only sixty years ago, if you were black or gay or female or working-class, was very different. And if the likes of Andrew Schlafly gain sufficient political power, life will go right back to the "Good Old Days" when blacks couldn't vote, women were chained to the kitchen sink, gays were imprisoned, corporations were allowed to treat the environment and their employees in any way they wanted; and society was awash with moralistic witch-hunts, geopolitical crusades, and a right-wing McCarthyist "family-friendly" Inquisition. Just look at what went on during Dubya's tenure, listen to the chilling exhortations vomited forth by the cultists in American fundamentalist megachurches, or read the Newsfeed on Conservapedia's main page. Complacency is our worst enemy, and if we sit back and allow people like Andrew Schlafly to indoctrinate a new generation of people in political bullshit loaded with exhortations to treat other people as inferiors, we will be setting the stage for something unpleasant to happen before long.

Hence, these analyses of the Conservapedia History Lectures.

Right, that's enough prosletysing. Bodybuilders are heavy men, and my over-used soapbox is now creaking alarmingly. Time to get down and crack on with the Virtuous and Noble History of the Nineteenth Century of Our Lord, by A.L. Schlafly, Esq. And as Mister Schlafly takes his wards for a gentle Sunday afternoon perambulation through the municipal park, we shall play the dirty, unwashed, anarchist footpads luring in the bushes, ready to leap out and relieve the git of his pocket watch, purse of shillings, and dignity. Ahh. This is fun!

Andy has started off with a matchbook definition of "imperialism". It isn't surprising, then, to hear that "imperialism" is one of those concepts which historians and political scientists grapple with all their careers, and speaking as one of those scholars, it's fair to say that scholars cannot agree what "imperialism", "empire", and "imperial" actually mean. Let's cross our fingers and hope that Andy doesn't trundle out his Mirriam-Webster online dictionary...

Prior to the 1800s, strongly independent nations had not yet arisen in continental Europe. The Holy Roman Empire held much power until the Reformation in the 1500s, and even afterwards. The Hapsburg ruling family was a powerful ruling dynasty throughout Europe, especially in Austria where it ruled from 1278 to 1918. This family served as Kings of Germany for several centuries (until 1806), as Holy Roman Emperors, and as Kings of Croatia, Hungary, Portugal, Spain and Bohemia. They even installed the Emperor of Mexico from 1864 to 1867! Andy started harping on about "The Growth of Nation-States and Monarchs", claiming they arose in the High Middle Ages, back in Lecture Five. Now, all of sudden, they're an invention of the nineteenth century. His first claim got a big fat "F". Now, he's upgraded to a "D-". Austria was a separate political entity only between 1804-1867. Prior to 1804, the Habsburg territories (colloquially known as "Austria" throughout the Middle Ages) were divided into various semi-autonomous entities within the Holy Roman Empire following the Treaty of Westphalia. After 1867, Austria merged with the Hungarians under the Dual Monarchy to become the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which lasted through to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. He's also wrong about an unbroken Habsburg dynasty; the short-lived Wittelsbach dynasty ruled the Empire from 1742-1745. He is at least right about the political dominance of the Habsburgs. Here's a factoid for Andy - earlier this year (2011), the last Habsburg who had been born during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; Otto von Habsburg, a former greengrocer and a founding member of the European Parliament; died. Rather sad. But hey, maybe there's a conspiracy in there somewhere about the European Union being a reincarnation of the Holy Roman Empire! See, Andy? Research is great.

But Napoleon conquered most of continental Europe in the early 1800s, and after his defeat other nations began to grow in power. France itself grew again in power under Napoleon III, who was the third son of a stepdaughter of Napoleon. After several unsuccessful attempts, Napoleon III finally seized power in France after the failed revolutions of 1848 swept Europe. Napoleon III became emperor of the French in 1852, and served for nearly twenty years until he foolishly fell for the bait of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to fight a war against the Prussians (Germans). The Prussians defeated Napoleon III and shipped him off to exile in England, and soon Bismarck formed the new nation of Germany. Ever since, Germany has been the leading power in continental Europe, rather than France. Andy remains at the level of D-, for skimming over the "Year of Revolutions" in 1848 and for portraying Napoleon III as some sort of bumbling megalomaniac. When the French monarchy was overthrown, again, in 1848, General Napoleon Bonaparte (not to be confused with his uncle Napoleon Bonaparte I), was declared President of the Second Republic. Emulating his uncle, this Napoleon held a referendum which showed overwhelming support for him to become Emperor. His gamble in the Franco-Prussian War was misguided, as a combination of over-centralisation and poor foreign policy meant that when France went to war in 1870, she had no allies and minimal preparation. As for claiming that Germany has always been the dominant power of Europe, that is inherently subjective. No place for that, Andy, without evidence.

The European nations grew bigger and stronger in the 1800s and early 1900s. These industrialized nations (Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and also the United States and Japan) sought natural resources and raw materials for their factories and new markets to sell their finished goods. In England and Germany, people who believed in Darwin’s theory of evolution felt a racial superiority and sought conquest (survival-of-the-fittest) to force other races into submission. When Andy says they grew bigger, what does he mean? In terms of territory? Colonies weren't considered part of the national homeland. He would have gained a point for getting the root causes of colonial expansion - the desire for raw materials and captive markets - vaguely right. However, we're going to withhold that point for his pissy little claim that a biology book published in 1859, was the origin of colonial wars in the later Victorian period, without any consideration of the geopolitical, historical, diplomatic, economic, cultural, religious, military, strategic, industrial, jingoistic nationalist, and mission civilatrice elements of the Western conquest of the world c.1850-1914. Christ, Andy. There was more going on at that time than Darwin writing a single book.

Post-Industrial Revolution[edit]

Much changed due to the industrial revolution, and not all of the change was good. A debate arose over whether the government should regulate businesses that ran factories. Most of the economic thinkers in the 1800s were in England, where the industrial revolution initially occurred. Andy starts off with an accurate assertion that the Industrial Revolution was a mixed blessing, but then predictably wanders off in order to bitch about Big Government. Industrialisation of the United Kingdom and later, the world, wrought immense social, economic, and political changes for both good and bad. Their legacies are still very much with us, and they still aren't over. The Third World is, by fits and starts, industrialising, while the West is coming to terms with the unclear future of post-industrialism. Anyway, suffice it to say that the period c.1750-1900 in the West was one of very, very significant changes. There were debates about everything, but Andy only chooses to mention lib'rul meddling. Notice his assertion that contemporary Britain (for Christ's sake, Andy, not "England") was home to the key economic thinkers of the period c.1750-1850, despite his claim in the previous Lecture that we Britons haven't produced any noteworthy thinkers other than Adam Smith and Isaac Newton. Great work, Mr. Anglophobe Schlalfy.

The British Thinkers[edit]

After the Industrial Revolution, many European nations extended their power through “imperialism”, which means one nation trying to control or heavily influence other people in another land. Imperialism makes the bigger nation feel more powerful and more influential. It can also be very profitable for the imperialistic nation as it exploits the natural resources and labor of the other people. But subjugated people began to resent rule by another nation, and imperialism became a huge problem worldwide.

Oh Lord, where do I start? Like "empire", "imperialism" is a very, very nebulous term which means all manner of different things. All a scholar has to do is give their definition of what the word means, and go from there. There is no set definition. For crying out loud, I spent an entire bloody chapter of my PhD explaining how the word is one of the pinnacles of vagueness. Yet instead of acknowledging the careful subtleties and hair-tearing frustrations of the term, Andy opts for some weird definition which sounds like a schoolroom bully. He also claims that imperialism only occured after the Industrial Revolution. This is hugely problematic. Andy seems to think that imperialism (which we shall take here to mean the forceful acquisition of non-native territories and resources) was only perpetrated by Europeans after industrialisation. Considering that his own time parameters for industrialisation were the late eighteenth to mid nineteenth century, this is an exemplar of self-contradiction. Dismissing for the moment the problem of defining "Europeans" (does the Roman Empire count in that, Andy?), it is safe to say that European expansion into the non-European world was a phenomenon occuring from the late fifteenth century onwards. Not the post-industrial age. For God's sake Andy, we had already lost the Thirteen Colonies to George Washington before a single steam engine was fitted into a factory anywhere in Britain. This... this is truly terrible.

Anyway, Andy - very surprisingly - throws a bone to the non-white world by expressing sympathy for them. Thankin' you Sir, Massa Andy Sir! We are so grateful. It'd be interesting to know how Andy reconciles this acknowledgement that Victorian imperialism was bad, with his Lecture Five assertion that imperialism in the War on Terror is a holy crusade. Tosser.

At least the above is how imperialism is usually described. There is another side to this coin. Imperialism could also be described a powerful nation trying to make things better for an underdeveloped region, by building hospitals and churches and distributing food, the Bible, and ideas that promote success. The British colonization of America was imperialistic, but not all bad. In fact, many would say that the British colonies brought much that was good to America, and that we are still benefiting from it today. We will discuss imperialism again in more detail later in this lecture.

Europe's expansion and conquest of the world from c.1492-c.1945 (arbitrary dates, but roughly corresponding with the beginning of the Columbian Era and the end of European expansion following the war) was indeed an unsettling mixture of good, bad, and neutral. While the Victorians preached the mission civilatrice and the White Man's Burden, this was inevitably just a pretext for annexation in the name of economy, international prestige, or personal whim. There were some Victorians who genuinely believed that it was their duty and right to watch over the non-white world, educating them along European lines until they were able to govern themselves, but in the majority of cases the protagonists were simply pig-headed blue-bloods who couldn't give a rat's ass whether the locals starved or were shot or were worked to death in the mines and the fields, so long as the right purses were filled. This is, sadly, far from unique to nineteenth-century Europeans, as it is a trait discernable in just about every society in every part of the world, at every point in history. No matter where or when you live, there will always be some bastard trying to take away what is yours. Whether or not they offer to build hospitals is irrelevant. And as for spreading Christianity, that's hardly something to applaud. We have Victorian missionaries to thank for the fact that all but one of the countries in Africa prohibit homosexuality, on pain of imprisonment or death, because it says so in the Bible (Andy really should consider moving to Uganda. Not as lily-white as he'd like, but far, far more fundamentalist Christian than the USA). Oh and as for creating infrastructure, that's a dubious claim at best. It is true that in parts of India and southeast Asia the Europeans did invest in roads, railways, bridges, ports, and even occassional civilian infrastruture like hospitals, but in the rest of the colonised world, it was simply a case of seizing resources, using the locals as virtual slaves, and not deigning to spend any money in the area itself. Read Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Andy.

On a final note - is Andy suddenly trampling the Stars and Stripes and waving the Union Jack? Hooray! Let's sing Rule Britannia. But even this about-turn won't save Andy from divine punishment for supporting a nation which rebelled against a divinely-appointed monarch...

Laissez-faire, or Regulation?

The “laissez-faire” economists like Adam Smith wanted the government to stay out of business. They felt that the “invisible hand” would produce the best outcome, and that supply and demand would be far better at allocating resources to their best use than government planning or regulation could.

And now we move on to Political Economy, Schlafly-style. Expect a lot of piss-poor drivel and TeaBagger bullshit crammed into snippets so short, and so head-deskingly bad (to paraphrase a comment on the talk page), that Andy might well have constructed these thumbnail sketches from a magazine he found at the bus station.

Here, Andy is completely unable to use the proper term for advocates of laissez-faire - "Liberals". Oh no! Lib'rals! Lock the chil'ren in the cellar, Ma, and git me ma shotgun! Obviously Andy can't use the L- word for fear that even typing it outside of a snarky Conservapedia main-page comment will cause his locale to degenerate into taxpayer-funded kitten-eating, but that's the term that is appropriate. Classical Liberals, in an economic sense, are so called precisely because they advocate the government not meddling in trade. Instead of the state setting quotas and moving resources, they argue, the market itself ensures the most efficient distribution of resources, the most appropriate prices, etc, as it automatically responds to fluctuations in supply and demand. The Invisible Hand. We're not here to discuss the pros and cons of economic systems, as that is a matter of personal opinion. However what is not a matter of personal opinion is that Andy really should have done better than offer this shitty little two-liner. He hasn't even mentioned any of the mercantilist thinkers who preceded Adam Smith. Christ, does he know any political economists other than Smith?

Classical Economics

Inspired by Adam Smith, classical economics is the economic theory emphasizing self-interest along with the operation of basic economic principles. For example, classical economics predicts full employment if the government does not interfere by requiring minimum wage laws or other imposing regulations. In addition to Adam Smith, leading proponents of classical economics included David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, Jean Baptiste Say, Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill. They advocated “capitalism”, by which ownership of private property helps create profits for the owners and greater wealth for all of society. We next describe several of the more important “classical economists.” Oh, he does know some. Or at least is able to parrot their names. Suffice it to say that none of these men advocated capitalism. The concept may have existed at the time, but that doesn't mean that people were all automatically aware of it. And the bloody word wasn't even coined until the 1850s. Andy's definition of capitalism - that private property generates wealth - is frankly bizarre. Capitalism is yet another of those vague words, but political economists can at least agree that what differentiated late eighteenth-century capitalism from earlier mercantilism was the rejection of the idea that surpluses should be accumulated, and the acceptance of the idea that surpluses should be re-invested in order to create more surplus. In a nutshell, that wealth was not a fixed value, but could be created or destroyed. Andy really should know this, for a man who can't go twenty seconds without kissing Milton Friedman's arse.

David Ricardo (1772-1823), was a pessimistic British economist most famous for developing the theory of “comparative advantage” to support more trade between nations. He explained that it might be advantageous for England to produce cloth and Portugal to produce wine, and to trade to obtain what each lacks, even though Portugal might have produced both wine and cloth at a lower cost than England could. This would be true, for example, if Portugal is particularly good at producing wine, perhaps because of its climate or expertise; Portugal and England would be better off if Portugal spent all its time and money producing wine for both nations. (This insight is similar to the concept of “do what you do best”). Apparently David Ricardo was gloomy. Poor man. All those long nights at his kitchen table, crying over his bottle of port. What the hell? Does Andy mean that Ricardo was depressed, or is he just bitching because he doesn't like trading with other countries? Listen closely, and you'll hear Andy's supremely irritating voice mumbling about them darned ferriners. It doesn't help that his description of Ricardo's economics seems preoccupied with port. Isn't booze a tool of the Devil, Andy? And the Lusophonic Portugese don't speak Amerikun Ingerlish as their first language, therefore they must be evil.

Unfortunately, David Ricardo also proposed incorrect theories like the gloomy “iron law of wages,” which claimed that wages would never rise above the bare minimum necessary to sustain a worker. Opponents of Adam Smith and free enterprise used some of these incorrect theories to argue for government control and regulation of business. Oh, God forbid that a famous economist should say something with which Andy disagrees. Actually it's hard to tell here whether Andy is all in favour of a fair deal for the working man, or just wants to kick we grubby proletarian scum back into the mills to toil until death in order to line his pockets. No surprises which bet my money is on...

Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) was another British classical economist, but he was so pessimistic that he caused the entire field of economics to be called “the dismal science,” because Malthus felt that the failure and collapse of the economy are inevitable. Malthus insisted that population increases by the geometric ratio but that the means of subsistence increases by only the arithmetic ratio, and thus population would outgrow the food supply and many would die (unless a war kills them first!). This was completely false as even the poorest countries like India produce far more food than they can consume, and obesity is a bigger problem than hunger today.

No, no, NO. There's so much wrong with this it's hard to know where to begin.

Reverend Thomas Malthus (why didn't Andy mention that he was a churchman?) combined theology and scholarly research. He started with the premise that mankind cannot control its urge to reproduce. In Genesis, God commands Adam and Eve to go forth and multiply, and as we're all such randy sex-fiends, the result is rapid population growth. He then looked back through history at demographic and political crises - namely the Great Famine from 1315-1317, but other famines, wars, etc - and formulated a theory. His model stated that in an agricultural society, the population will rise at a geometric rate (1, 2, 4, 8, 16) while the food supply will rise at an arithmetic rate (1, 2, 3, 4 ,5). Andy mentions these terms, but doesn't bother to explain them. Now, Malthus' theory says; initial population growth isn't a problem. One unit of people, one unit of food. Two units of people, two units of food. Four units of people, three units of food. Not ideal, but if we all tighten our belts a little, it'll be fine. Next, it's eight units of people, four units of food. Rather bad. Everyone's on half-rations, and it just gets worse from there. According to Malthus' theory, this exponential population growth outstrips the food supply - this leads to wars over resources, deaths from famine, and widespread disease among the malnourished population. At the same time, he claimed, people stop having children because they can't feed them. These are what he gave the unsettling name "Positive Checks"; events and practices which remove the excess population and restore equilibrium between food supply and number of mouths to feed.

Malthus formulated this theory largely in order to justify Christian ethics of abstaining from sex, at least until wedlock. But to be fair to him, Malthus was genuinely trying to help. He didn't want to see more of these Positive Checks. He couldn't advocate contraception because 1) it was against certain interpretations of the Bible, and 2) contraception at the turn of the nineteenth century was little better than the Rhythm Method based on female menstruation; so to avoid future wars and famines caused by population growth, he urged people not to have sex until they were married, and then to use marriage (with its stability facilitating the Rhythm Method) to provide an outlet for the saucy bedroom shenanigans we all like to get up to, and which God in His infinite wisdom hardwired into our brains.

Yet from the moment his theory was published, Malthusianism has been challenged, and constantly surfaces in an endless round of criticism and defence. Unsurprisingly, Andy ignores all of this in order to cram his own opinion down our throats. Yes, it is true that more food is produced per year than is necessary - at a general level. But the distribution of food is a far different issue than the production of food. Oh, and India is not one of the poorest countries in the world. Along with China and the European Union, India is going to be one of the superpowers of the twenty-first century. Better start learning Hindi, Mensaab Sclafly.


The last of the English classical economists was John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). Homeschooled in an atheistic way by his father, Mill supported laissez-faire but with social reforms like redistribution of wealth, shorter working days, and regulation of monopolies. Today he would be called a “moderate” due to his support of some government controls over the economy. Mill was ahead of his time in advocating the development of labor unions and farm cooperatives, and emancipation (voting) by women.

Ahh, Utilitarianism. Can we ignore this section and just start talking about the Tau Empire from Warhammer 40,000? For the Greater Good!! Sadly, no. Instead we must deal with Andy, who evidently adores the Imperium of Man instead. One fascist theocracy is much like another. Oh well. [Rolls eyes] For the Emperor! No-one likes the Tau anyway.

How does one homeschool a child in "an atheistic way"? Answers on a postcard, please. Evidently Andy snarls upon any form of homeschooling which does not involve beating children with a rubber hose until they believe that Earth was formed last Thursday, and that dinosaurs are alive and well in downtown Madrid. Note Andy's negative depiction of such nightmarish evils as shorter working days, redistribution of wealth, and regulation of monopolies. Oh God, no!! What sort of world is it where people don't toil eighteen hours a day to line the pockets of some fat bastard in a cushy house? Recall Andy's misty-eyed nostalgia for feudalism back in Lecture Five. Evidently his envisioned Christofascist utopia is one where he relaxes in decadence which would shame the Roman Emperors as miserly penny-pinchers, while we plebs live in conditions that would make an 1820's workhouse look like the Playboy Mansion. And judging by Andy's covert dislike of certain folk, I'd probably be out on the plantation fields. Oh well. At least it'll be a fair distance from his pulpit. Immediately following this condemnation, note Andy's strange praise for trade unions, Soviet-style collective farms, and female liberation. Does this man have multiple personality disorder?

Mill advocated utilitarianism, a concept previously proposed by the atheist Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). Utilitarianism means that government should do whatever maximizes overall “utility” (benefits minus costs). If killing one innocent man saves ten other lives, then utilitarianism would favor it. Under utilitarianism there is no Christian morality, and it is replaced by comparing benefits versus costs. Under this view government should experiment on embryonic stem cells today if benefits are greater than costs.[1] In another book On Liberty, Mill advocated that “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others,” which is also contrary to most Christian views. Oh for crying out loud. Benthamite utilitarianism is rather dry and boring, but it is a legitimate model of political economy which deserves more attention than Andy's god-awful job here. Basically, Utilitarianism preaches that the actions of the individual are only morally acceptable if they are for the good of society as a whole. Or failing that, for the greatest number possible. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few", as Star Trek's Vulcans put it. Let's take an economic example. A company whose factory workers are paid low wages. For the company's owners, this is great - their purses are getting fatter all the time - but for the workers, it's no good, as they can't make ends meet. Utilitarianism states that the needs of the more numerous workers are greater than the desires of the less numerous owners, hence wages should be increased as this will benefit more people. Of course, the company won't want to do this, so the State must make them. The issue of moral relativity is indeed a significant one in critiques of Benthamite Utilitarianism, especially as the historical record demonstrates that the human cost of utilitarian economic progress is very high. It's also problematic as there is not a single group whose needs are greater - not all of humanity thinks the same and has the same priorities, and may not consider that they share the needs of others. Typical of Andy to ignore all of this simply in order to whine about Christianity. Given Christianity's track record - and the "morality" espoused in the pages of Deuteronomy and Leviticus (see Lecture Four for a list of "immoralities" in the Bible which warrant execution) - he hasn't got a bloody leg to stand on. Note, however, that this is the first time thus far that dear old Emperor Schlafly has made a reference to stem cell research. That's a new one! His final sentence is rather odd. Is he implying, contrary to Mill, that the State should not restrain a person who wishes to harm others? Chilling, Andy. Chilling. And frankly weird.


There were other new ideas during this time, not all of them good. There was “utopian socialism,” which English and French philosophers proposed. In England, Robert Owen (1771-1858) was the leading proponent, while in France Charles Fourier (1772-1837) was the leader. They suggested the creation of self-contained communities in which the government owned the instruments of production (e.g., land and money) and politics was run by a voluntary, democratic process.

Oh no. Socialism, as described by Andrew Johnavich Schlaflavsky, Peoples' Commissar for Crap. Instantly, he demonsises a concept and gets it wrong at the same time. That takes work.

Like all right-wing [expletive]s, Andy evidently hasn't got a clue what socialism is, opting instead to throw the word around to describe anything which he doesn't like. "Obama's policies are socialist!". "The European Union is socialist!" "Deep Space Nine is socialist!" "Custard-filled doughnuts are socialist!" Why didn't he wheel out his sacred Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary? Unsurprisingly, socialism is yet another of those political concepts whose meaning is contested (you can see a theme emerging here), but we can offer a very, very, very rough definition by saying that socialism is a way of organising society whereby the means of production and the products themselves, are publicly owned. In layman's terms, such entities as factories, railways, mines, schools, hospitals, etc, are controlled by public corporations or the government, answerable to we the public, so that the handful of rich bastards at the top can't screw us any longer. The origins of socialism are extremely vague. Like so many concepts, the word didn't appear until the nineteenth century, but the basic principles are much, much older. We can see elements of socialism in the Early Modern Period, the Middle Ages, and the Roman Empire - and that's just European history. If we look at Pharaonic Egypt, a society in which everything was owned by a monarch who taxed heavily in order to redistribute wealth around the whole kingdom, we see a form of socialism as far back as the Bronze Age. Trying to pin it down to two eighteenth-century thinkers is, to use one of Andy's favourite words, silly. He doesn't even bother to define "Utopian Socialism" - a concept of the later nineteenth century whereby thinkers such as Friederich Engels mocked the sort of happy-clappy champagne socialists who thought that the proletariate could assume power through jolly, thoroughly nice tactics. Fourier and Owen did not refer to themselves as "Utopian Socialists".

This led to the notion of “socialism” for everyone, not just self-contained communities, also developed as a so-called reform of capitalism. Under socialism, government owns or controls many factors of production, including business property and money, and also controls the distribution of goods. The invisible hand is replaced by government control, supposedly for the common good. Workers are able to keep what they make as needed to survive. Is this it? Socialism was one of the most powerful legacies of the Industrial Revolution, as class identities crystallised in the factory-cities of Europe, and was exported across the globe by colonialism, intellectuals, and grass-roots movements. We'll resist the temptation to start singing L'Internationale and raising the red flags, as this is meant to be a discussion of Andy's skills rather than a political soapbox (and mine can't hold me up for much longer); but really, this is absolutely piss-poor. Andy has given the weakest of definitions for what socialism is, thrown in a couple of random names from the early nineteenth century, and left it at that. Considering how frequently the word crops up among the sloping-browed Republican neanderthals of the US of A, and how often it is plastered all over the front page of Conservapedia, you'd think Andy would at least have wandered off into a ranting tirade about the horrors of public ownership. But no. It's unclear why, but it seems that Andy thinks if he even mentions certain terms, they will corrupt his mind. He probably wrote this then went to flagellate himself in the back garden while reciting the Libertarian Creed. His poor neighbours.


German thinkers named Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, who were about to move to England, promoted the radical idea that all private property should be eliminated and that society would be better off under “communism”. Karl Marx published these ideas in 1848 in a booklet called The Communist Manifesto. “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class [economic] struggles,” Marx declared in that book. Later he developed a motto for communism: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Marx predicted that the proletariat (working class) would overthrow the wealthy in a capitalistic society, and then establish a new system that would be socialism in its early stage and pure communism in its later stage.

Oh God. Communism. Keep a frightened eye out for the Conservapedian Sysop KGB, the {Republican} Party apparatchiks, and the Political Commissars of Fox News....

Why is it important that Marx and Engels were about to move to Britain? Andy makes them sound like a gay couple. Aww, they would have been a cute pair! In what is now becoming a tiringly familiar style, Andy doesn't bother to say anything whatsoever about what influenced Marx and Engels - not a single word about Georg Hegel, historicism and idealism, material philosophy, or any of the other factors which prompted Marx and Engels to publish The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. It's worth noting that Marxism is different from Communism, as the latter is a vague philosophy while the former is one of several explanations within that philosophy. We're not going to wander off into a discussion of Marxist philosophy, largely as that is overkill in order to examine Andy the Apostate's tiny little snippet. Suffice it to say that Andy paints a strangely favourable picture of a classless society, and remarkably, gets something right! Marx indeed did not advocate revolution, he simply explained why, in his theory, it was inevitable. Well done, Andy! The first thing you've got right in this Lecture; and it's on communism!! Quick, someone ring the Commissariat at Fox News! Comrade Schlafly is clearly a devoted follower of the communist cause and an ardent student of Marxian thought - he deserves public mention!


Another Englishman, Charles Darwin (1809-1882), promoted a theory of evolution. Darwin’s own family considered him to be a disgrace, and felt that way even before he failed at an attempt to become a doctor. His father later sought for him to become an Anglican parson (pastor), but Darwin abandoned the Christian faith instead. He was unable to earn a degree in science and he struggled in scientific subjects such as physics (and math). But after collecting some plant and animal specimens on a voyage (on the H.M.S. Beagle ship) around the world, in 1859 Darwin published a radical (and racist) book entitled On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. It proposed that species had evolved into complex forms of life over millions of years through “natural selection.” Darwin had not observed any transitional forms (fossils reflecting evolution between species), and he said his theory would fail if no transitional forms were found. None were ever found, but his theory is still taught anyway for political reasons.

Oh GOD!!! Wait, wait. We're not doing this just yet. We needed a bottle of Chambertin in order to survive Andy's version of the French Revolution; we're going to need something much stronger here. Go out and buy a half-bottle of good brandy before attempting to read Andy's version of Charles Darwin. Seriously. Believe me, you'll need it.

The only thing that Andy has got right in this train-wreck of a paragraph is the dates - Darwin's birth, death, and year of publication. The rest is bullshit in its purest, most concentrated form. As Darwin is being mercilessly slaughtered here, let's briefly review Darwin's life up to age of 22, when he set off with Captain Robert Fitzroy, RN, on HMS Beagle.

Darwin was the fifth of six children in his family. As his father was a doctor - a very respectable and secure job in the 1810s - young Charles was prodded by his dad towards the medical profession; not only because it was a good job, but because it was standard at the time for sons to follow in their father's footsteps. However by the time he went to Edinburgh Medical School at the age of 16, Charles was far more interested in botany than medicine, particularly as - like most people at that age - he found the long lectures rather boring and the dissections quite unnerving. Andy paints young Darwin as some sort of pathetic layabout or out-of-control problem child, whilst in fact he seems to have just been an ordinary boy with a geeky interest in biology and a rebellious stomach when told to cut open a decomposing corpse. At Edinburgh, Charles spent more time studying biology than medicine. And frankly, that's not half bad (a relevant anecdeote - while I was studying history at Cambridge, a colleague of mine was studying student diaries from the 1830s. They revealed that students of the 1830s were little different from students of the 2000s; all-night booze-ups and shuffling, hungover, to morning lectures. Darwin will have been surrounded by similar revelry at Edinburgh, but instead of drinking wine all night, he chose to study. Not quite the picture of failure which Andy paints). Darwin's father, though, was not impressed. Bear in mind that this was the 1820s; there was no call for botanists and biologists, not unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and your father's bloodline boasted half a dozen Presidents of the Royal Society. But also, Darwin's father was a man who, like all good fathers, wanted the best for his son. The best way for Charles to pursue his interest in botany was to become a country parson, with its low workload, regular income, and ample opportunity for studying wildlife. So, out of annoyance and sympathy, Darwin Sr sent Darwin Jr to Cambridge to train as a priest. Following his graduation, Darwin was recommended by a botany professor as a travelling-companion to Captain Fitzroy, who was headed off on a five-year voyage of exploration and, as naval captains were (and still are) expected to keep a professional distance between themselves and their crews, had written to Cambridge asking for an educated, erudite, and amicable companion who could keep Fitzroy company on the long voyage. So, let's review. By the age of 22, Charles Darwin had gained a Cambridge degree (he graduated tenth out of 178 pupils), had had illustrations and articles on biology published in journals, had read voraciously on contemporary theories of biological adaptation as part of God's plan, and had been recommended by Cambridge to the Admiralty as a good explorer. Not bad for a country boy in 1831, and certainly not the black sheep of the Darwin family as Andy believes.

Andy mocks Darwin for not attaining a scientific degree; yet Andy should be aware that students are generally not cybernetic superhumans, and are not capable of pursuing every degree course offered by their university. In the same vein, we could mock Stephen Hawking for not having attained a history degree. It is also worth pointing out that "science" in 1820s Britain was not considered a separate field. Rather, the natural world was studied as "Natural Philosophy", a combination of religious education and what we would call science, seeing God's work as manifest in Nature. Indeed, ecclesiastics encouraged the study of science, as each new discovery revealed the marvels of God. The contemporary hostility between Christianity and science in our world is something which simply did not exist in the early nineteenth century. As for Andy's claim that Darwin was bad at physics and maths, that claim is neither relevant nor probably true. Who cares if Darwin wasn't good at maths? Neither was Einstein, by some accounts. Stephen Jay Gould wasn't good at playing the trombone - does that decredit his work?

Anyway, back to Darwin. It's two days after Christmas 1831, and "the H.M.S. Beagle ship", known in reality as HMS Beagle, is leaving Plymouth for a two-year voyage of scientific discovery, cartography, and a bit of spying thrown in for good measure. Ultimately the voyuage lasted five years, in which Darwin collected an enormous amount of biological specimens and made copious notes on the apparently perfectly-suited nature of some creatures to their native habitats. Andy could at least have mentioned the finches whose various beaks made Darwin wonder if they had been adapted for different environments from an original population of identical birds. When Darwin returned in 1837 he was an academic celebrity (and that's a rarity!), introduced to anatomists, botanists, and biologists whose theories he read voraciously - including Malthus', whose "Positive Checks" through overpopulation might, Darwin thought, have been the genesis for some creatures surviving and passing on their traits. The voyage had been essential in helping Darwin formulate, over the next twenty years, the idea that the infinite diversity of creatures today was due to earlier creatures having become adapted to their environments through adaptation (Captain Fitzroy had a sadder ending - he invented a device to forecast the weather, but when the first weather forecasts in The Times, using his "Tempest Prognosticator", were ridiculed for being so hopelessly wrong, poor Fitzroy became deeply depressed and cut his throat with a razor). Darwin wrestled for two decades with his own conscience as to whether he should publish his theory. Yet he was far from the first to suggest that adaptation had occured among species; Darwin was unsure whether to publish, as he was perhaps the first to argue that we humans evolved from earlier creatures, rather than being formed from dust and spare ribs in the Garden of Eden. He rushed into publication in 1859 when it appeared his friend and rival, Alfred Russel Wallace, was about to publish much the same idea. The book, as we all know, was an instant success - even among the clergy, who saw evolution as in no way contradictory to the infinite abilities of a God who apparently works in mysterious ways.

Transitional fossils have been found. This isn't a scientific polemic so we won't go into the ins and outs of fossils, but it can fairly be argued that every fossil is transitional. Evolution isn't a set sequence from A to E, passing through transitional stages B, C, and D. All species are somewhere between what they evolved from, and what they will evolve into. We humans are a transitional form. So there, Andy.

Now, as for Darwin's book being racist. I'm the first one who should get pissed off by claims that black people are inferior, as is so often accredited to Darwin. But let's examine this.

  • It is true that Darwin's book is fully titled On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. In the semantic context of the mid-nineteenth century, "race" was synonymous with "species". It could refer to divisions within humanity, but could also refer to animal groups. We can't peer into Darwin's mind to see what he meant.
  • In the 1850s, beliefs that white people were superior were rather prevalent. Racialism hadn't quite morphed into the racism of the later nineteenth century, with its insistence that non-whites were deviant and dangerous, but was still at the stage of "Noble Savages", wherein indigenous peoples were perceived as simple and childlike, but untainted by the political squabblings of Europe. If we must brand Darwin as a racist, he belongs to the mission civilatrice movement (the idea that Europeans had a responsibility to help the non-whites "develop"), rather than the Ku Klux Klan String 'Em Up movement.
  • There is little evidence to suggest that Darwin was racist. In his time at Edinburgh University he wrote passages in his diary which greatly praised a freed black slave called John Edmonstone, with whom young Darwin studied anatomy. Considering that Edmonstone was one of about twenty black people in Britain at the time, treated with a miture of curiosity and suspicion, it says a lot that Darwin was eager to spend a lot of time with the man. Similarly, his diaries from the HMS Beagle, in which he recounts his experiences with South American natives, are very flattering and paint a nostalgic picture of "the Noble Savage"; Man untainted by corruption.
  • If Darwin had been writing Humanities or Social Sciences, we might have cared about his personal opinions. But he was a Natural Scientist, and his personal opinions don't affect his discovery of things which remain constant regardless of human activity or perceptions. Darwin could have believed that the moon is made of cheese, and it wouldn't have affected the Theory of Evolution. It's irrelevant.
So, was Charles Darwin a racist? Well, yes and no. Yes, in that he was a product of early nineteenth-century Britain, and if we must pass judgement over the man, consider the societal norms in which he grew up. No, in that there is evidence of him seeing past the colour barrier, even if what he saw was a Noble Savage rather than an equal. It would be far better if, instead of trying to demonise the man, right-wing Fundafascists - who all-too-frequently display latent racism anyway - concentrated on his achievements regardless of his racial views. And that, Mr Schlafly, has been typed by fingers which are as black as coal.

The greatest scientists and mathematicians, from Louis Pasteur to Bernhard Riemann, viewed Darwin’s theory as absurd. The French described Darwin’s theory as “a fairy tale for grown-ups.” Darwin’s explanation for an evolution of the whale (a mammal) was that it somehow came from black bears swimming with their mouths open. Darwin’s theory conflicts with the Flood, the fact that all mutations are harmful, the fact that species have been going extinct rather than being generated, and the fact that all unaided things become more disordered and scattered over time. Today Darwin’s theory is most popular among people who, like Darwin himself, have some superficial education in science without any depth of study or insight. Darwin’s theory ignores the vast beauty in the world; Darwin’s theory is based only on functionality, without any recognition of artistic design. Is this Riemann the mathematician? Who cares what a mathematician says about biology? Would anyone care if a music professor passed judgement on the theories of a politics professor? No! It's hard to tell whether, by "the French", Andy is referring just to Louis Pasteur or the whole French nation. As for bitching about grown-up fairy tales, that's pretty rich for a man who believes that Noah built an ark. Note the random, uncited "example" from Darwin's book, then Andy is straight on to whining about the Flood without mentioning that since the early 1830s, geologists and geographers such as Charles Lyell had published immense quantities of material proving - often reluctantly - that Earth was a lot, lot older than the Bible says. A quick tangent which ignores speciation, and Andy tosses in a crude misrepresentation of Newtonian thermodynamics - hallmarks of Young-Earth Creationism. Note Andy's claim that Darwinian evolution only appeals to those with "superficial education": if this Lecture series isn't proof of just how piss-poor Fundafascists' grasp of reality is, I don't know what could prove it better. Finally, in what seems to be a common theme on Conservapedia, Andy implies that the entirety of the Universe was created just to look pretty. This man's arrogance knows no bounds.

It was for political reasons that Darwin’s theory has been taught in schools, aided by frauds like the Piltdown Man (a fake fossil combination that was taught for 40 years as the "missing link" between man and apes). Darwin, an Englishman, is promoted heavily in England and even buried next to Isaac Newton. Germany also promoted the theory of evolution heavily until the Darwinists engaged in racial cleansing and experimentation to “perfect” the Aryan race under Adolf Hitler. In the United States, evolution has been taught in public schools for nearly 100 years, yet 90% of Americans continue to reject the theory as it is being taught. Oh for Christ's sake, this is worse than Kent Hovind's "dissertation". And considering that in the hierarchy of writing, Hovind's work is only slightly higher than shit smeared on toilet paper, that isn't an enviable position for Andy's work to occupy. Andy doesn't actually say what these purported political reasons are (obviously, Darwinian evolution is taught in order to turn children away from Republican Jeezuz and into a drugged, drunken orgy of incestuous cannibalism, homosexual necrophilia, and kitten-killin' Satanism), insted whining about Britain again (Darwin is on the back of our £10 banknote, too! And who is Andy to bitch about where we can and cannot bury our own dead? Do we whinge about Thomas Jefferson being buried close to Abraham Lincoln?) before slapping down his Ace of Spades - Hitler. We'll leave Hitler for the relevant lecture, and simply state here that if Andy genuinely believes that Darwin was the prime motive for the Holocaust, he is both contradicting himself (earlier, he claimed it was Martin Luther), and full of ripe, stinking shit. Honestly, whenever this man opens his mouth or puts fingers to keyboard, it's like watching a septic tank explode. And the depressing thing is, there are far, far too many like him. So depressing that we can't even be bothered with the Schlafly Statistic nailed on at the end. Sigh. What happened to that brandy?

The link between Darwinism, atheism and politics grew strong in the late 1800s and is even stronger today. Beginning in 1887, social scientists were using the term “social Darwinism” to apply a barbaric survival-of-the-fittest theory to social situations. Under this theory, the wealthiest or most powerful in society must be biologically superior, and less “fit” persons should die or simply be killed like weak animals. Soon many began to view racial struggles, and war itself, as a perfectly natural example of survival-of-the-fittest in the human race. The horrific wars of the 20th century, employing shockingly brutal tactics, were encouraged by a belief in survival-of-the-fittest among humans. Oh for fuck's sake. "Social Darwinism" is a retrospective term and did not exist at the time. It's curious why Andy witters on about this hopeless misrepresentation, when he is of the opinion that the wealthiest and most powerful in society should indeed dictate matters of life and death to us. From the ramparts of his ivory tower, he screams out that unborn babies must not be aborted, but that anyone who doesn't worship according to the diktats of his weird little cult must be cluster-bombed, tortured, or hurled onto death row. If he is claiming that the death toll of twentieth-century wars is due not to technology and scale, nor even to political ideologies like those which he skimmed over earlier on, but to a biology book published in 1859, then he is even more stupid than we thought. And our opinion of him wasn't exactly exalted to start with.

Today, there is a strong correlation between belief in evolution and belief in a controlling government. England was the strongest nation in the world at the time of Darwin, but its embrace of forms of socialism and evolution weakened it dramatically. The United States, where the vast majority has always rejected Darwinism, rose from being a relatively weak country at the time of Darwin to becoming by far the strongest nation today. "belief in a controlling government". What, like the Patriot Act? It'll be interesting to see how Fundafascists respond when Obama sadly loses the next election to the hordes of slack-jawed yokels and redneck twats, and a Republican government starts meddling in everyone's affairs. Isn't that a controlling government? Oh well. Andy finishes off this segment by erroneously claiming that the United States is the strongest nation in the world (**cough**China**cough**) and proclaiming that there was only one reason for the decline and fall of the British Empire, and that reason was Charles Darwin. Ugh. What a depressing little section.

Social Reform

Labor unions arose in the late 1800s, as John Stuart Mill suggested, in order to combat a perceived exploitation of workers. “Collective bargaining” between workers (the “collective” side) and their opponents, the owners, became popular and continues to exist today. Collective bargaining usually works like this: the workers demand a raise in their salaries, or the workers will go on strike. It was collective bargaining in the late 1900s that helped enable American baseball players to increase their salaries to astronomical levels. Devastating strikes by auto workers in Detroit in the 1970s, demanding higher wages, had a huge effect on the competitiveness of the auto industry, and it is going bankrupt today. The Pogo-Stick of History™ has returned. We have bounced from a biology lecture hall of the late nineteenth century, back to JS Mill, then forwards to a baseball stadium, and finally back to 1970s Detroit. Why? Why is Andy discussing social reform again, when he could have inserted this cruddy little segment into the sections preceding his hatchet-job on Darwin. Why do we give a damn about baseball players' salaries, especially in a segment which is meant to be about the social impact of the Industrial Revolution? And finally, why is Detroit in here? This is the second or third time Andy has mentioned this city (his best was throwing in a reference to Detroit in a section in eighth-century Islam). Does he work for the Detroit Tourist Board? By the tone of this paragraph it is evident that Andy has a pathological hatred of organised labour. It wouldn't be surprising to see Andy walking through the streets of New Jersey in top hat and tails, kicking a child worker repeatedly in the face. As for his gripe about the American automobile manufacturing industry, there are more important factors, such as overseas competition and the transformation of the West into a post-industrial civilisation, than simply blaming it on the grubby, unwashed proles.

The abolition movement, which was motivated mostly by Christianity rather than by non-Christian reform movements, wiped out slavery and slave trade in much of the world by 1888. The pogo-stick now makes a gargantuan leap from 1970s Detroit to the House of Commons, circa 1833. Abolition of slavery was, as has already been discussed in the preceding lecture, a variegated and largely ad hoc movement with significant chronological and geographical variations, and a variety of arguments based on morality, economy, and geopolitics. Simply praising Christianity isn't acceptable, particularly as the slave-traders claimed to be Christian and frequently drew upon the Biblical story of the [[1]] as Biblical justification for the enslavement of black Africans. Perhaps if Andy stopped patting himself on the back for the work of William Wilberforce, and opened a book, he might learn something. We can but hope.

Other social reforms in the late 1800s included “free” public education in Western Europe, Japan and the United States (you might disagree whether public schools qualify as a “reform”); rehabilitation for prisoners; and child labor laws to control working conditions for children. Dear God, free education for children? Rehabilitation of criminals? Regulation of child labour? What sort of a society is that? Don't people realise that in Utopia, children are illiterate and must toil in factories and mines, while anyone who commits the slightest infringement of any law deserves to be hanged, drawn, and quartered? Sigh...

In 1848, women suffragettes (supporters of the right to vote for women) met in Seneca Falls, New York, where they issued their own version of the Declaration of Independence called the “Declaration of Sentiments.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott of the United States and the British Emmeline Pankhurst protested for suffrage. Britain and the United States gave the right to vote to all women shortly after World War I. Oh, now it's female suffrage! But in Utopia, women are barefoot and pregnant, chained to the kitchen sink! Dear God, Andy. We didn't realise that when you waxed lyrical about medieval feudalism back in lecture Five, that you actually meant it. Points off for the disjointed narrative about suffragettes which has no sense of historical continuity or geographical specificity. It might be noted that in spite of Andy's prissy self-adulation of all things American, it was in the Antipodes that females gained the right to vote - New Zealand in 1895, followed by Australia (1901, but not for Aborigines). The first European women allowed to vote, the Finns, didn't get their right until 1905; and that was early. The United States didn't grant women the right until 1920, while British women had to wait until 1918 (over 30) or 1928 (over 18). Get it right, Andy.

Growth in Democracy

The industrial revolution led to the growth of cities, which in turn led to demands for greater amounts of democracy or “suffrage” (rights to vote). In England the right to vote was limited to those who owned property until Parliament reduced these restrictions with the Reform Bill of 1832. That reform also eliminated “rotten boroughs,” in which relatively few residents had the power to elect a representative with the same vote as much bigger districts. Parliament then redistricted the cities to reflect their growing populations.

Andy is vaguely right here. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, Britian's restricted voting system was a rather strange mishmash, an evolution of our slow transition towards democracy. Six types of constituencies existed, with different voting rights in each. In some boroughs, only heads of families could vote; in others, only those with a certain income; in some, only members of the town council; and in a couple of boroughs, anybody who turned up on polling day had the right to vote. Some corporations could vote (the East India Company had its own Members of Parliament), and any graduate of Oxford or Cambridge University got to vote for university MPs. So no, Andy, it wasn't restricted only to property-owners. It was all rather confusing, prompting many to demand reform but others to claim that the variation enabled all types of people to be represented. Yet as Andy is right to point out, one of the biggest complaints in the Reform Movement was the existence of "rotten boroughs". These were Parliamentary constituencies which had once been prosperous towns, back in the 1600s, but by 1800 were largely empty. The three most notorious were Gatton (a field in Surrey inhabited by a handful of people), Old Sarum (a hill in Wiltshire occupied by one person), and Dunwich (a port in Norfolk which, by the early 1800s, had fallen victim to coastal erosion and was underwater). All of these places were represented by two MPs, while the big cities of the Industrial Revolution - Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Swansea, Sunderland, etc - had no representation in Parliament. The system was heavily biased towards southern England, which had historically been the most heavily-populated area of the United Kingdom, but by the early 1800s the north, along with central Scotland and southern Wales, were industrialised, urbanised, heavily-populated areas whose middle classes demanded the right to vote for their own MPs. It didn't help that many of the rotten boroughs were also "pocket boroughs", wherein the handful of voters simply voted for whoever their landlord told them to - an easy way for corrupt or feckless politicians to hold on to their Ministerial jobs (William Pitt, Prime Minister from 1804-1806, was the MP for Old Sarum). The combination of all of these factors, along with widespread dissatisfaction at the government in general, and demands for such things as the abolition of slavery, labour regulation laws, and an end to such practices as the Corn Laws whereby foreign food imports were subject to enormous taxes in order to line the pockets of British aristocrats, was a growing Reform Movement in Britain through the first three decades of the nineteenth century, which gained significantly in power and popularity during the economic recession and political shenanigans following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815.

Andy could have told his students this. It's important, and rather fun, so we'll examine in in greater detail.

By the late 1820s, the political situation in Britain had badly decayed. Luddism had broken out in the cities, the Whigs' stronghold, whereby people were smashing machinery and burning factories out of fear that the machines would put them out of work. In the countryside, the Tories' stronghold, the Swing Riots were taking effect as farmers burned steam-powered agricultural machinery for the same reason. Anger at the government had been high since the "Peterloo Massacre" of 1819, when a huge pro-Reform rally in downtown Manchester was broken up using a cavalry charge, resulting in 15 protesters killed and up to 700 wounded. The government had subsequently passed a series of laws prohibiting large gatherings and seditious pamphlets, which were still in effect. Britain's economy was still stagnant following a trade depression in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, and attempts to even mention Reform in Parliament were shouted down. In 1830 King George IV died and was replaced with William IV, but more importantly, a General Election had to be called. The electoral campaign was dominated by demands for Reform from the Whigs (the pro-Reform, middle-class faction) and opposed by the Tories (the upper-class, anti-Reformists). The Election was a Tory landslide, resulting in even more bitter complaints from Reformists that the Tories had only won because of their control of pocket boroughs, the lack of representation for the heavily-populated and pro-Whig cities, and government corruption. The new Tory Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington (yes, the same one who won the Battle of Waterloo), was so anti-reform he was unpopular even among his own faction, and in March 1831 he was forced to resign. King William IV invited the leader of the Whigs, Charles Grey, to become Prime Minister - that's how the system worked at the time; the King could invite whoever he wanted to become Prime Minister. Through Earl Grey, Lord Russell proposed a Reform Bill which would abolish the rotten boroughs and redraw the constituencies, disenfranchising many small southern seats and giving those seats to the cities in all four of the United Kingdom's constituent states. The Bill passed the House of Commons (by a single vote), but before it could reach the House of Lords, it got bogged down in committees. Annoyed at the slow progress and reactionist opposition, Earl Grey dissolved Parliament and called another General Election, hoping to return a Whig majority. The 1831 election indeed returned a Whig landslide in the House of Commons, but despite passing the House of Commons a second time, this time by a huge majority, the Reform Bill was rejected by the Tory-dominated House of Lords.

The Lords' rejection of the Bill became headline news and within days, violence had broken out in many cities. In Nottingham, mobs stormed the prison and killed several constables. In Derby, aristocratic manors were torched. In Bristol, riots lasted for three days and burned down much of the city centre, and were only stopped when the army was sent in. Seeing popular anger at the Tories, the Whigs in the House of Commons passed a Vote of Confidence in Earl Grey's favour, forcing the Bill to be read again in the Lords. The reactionaries in the Lords again tried to bog the Bill down in committees, and proposed amendments to curb its reforming measures, which the Whigs were not happy about. Earl Grey, though, was a very clever politician, and set a scheme in motion. He approached the King and asked him to appoint fifty Whig Lords, whose presence would ensure the Bill would pass the House of Lords. Grey knew the King would never agree, and so made a big show of resigning from office. The King then asked the extremely anti-Reform Duke of Wellington to once again become Prime Minister. The result was chaos.

For the next two weeks, the "Days of May", political unrest was severe. Riots in the cities, barn-burnings in the countryside and machine-smashing in the factories. The House of Lords was flooded with pro-Reform petitions, aristocratic estates were burned down, and in Nottingham, the army refused to go in and crush the riots. In the northern industrial cities immense political rallies were held, which upper-class people feared would instantly turn into armed rebellions. Pro-Reform newspapers urged a middle-class rush on the banks, withdrawing their savings in order to financially cripple Wellington's government. "To stop the Duke, go for gold!" they proclaimed. The government, meanwhile, was deadlocked as the Whig majority in the Commons blocked Wellington's effort to govern the country. This dragged on throughout early May until, on the 15th, Wellington realised that he could not govern a country and a Parliament hostile to him, and resigned. The King invited Earl Grey to become Prime Minister again, but Grey refused unless the King appointed the fifty Whig Lords necessary to pass the Reform Bill. The King again refused, so Grey made the situation very clear. He produced a copy of The Times - which was reporting on the ongoing riots, machine-smashing, estate-burnings, and the rush on the banks - and told King William IV that Britain was on the verge of a full-scale Revolution. Unless the Reform Bill was passed, he said, Britain would descend into the terrors which France had experienced - guillotines, shootings, and war.

Historians today disagree on how severe this threat actually was, but there is little doubt, from reading records of the time, that the British people in May 1832 genuinely did think that a full-scale Revolution was imminent. Accepting the lesser of two evils, William IV appointed the fifty Whig peers, the Reform Bill passed the House of Lords, and became law. Britain's voting population increased from 5% to 11% - not much, but most significantly, seats were redistributed to represent the cities, rotten boroughs were abolished (along with MPs for corporations and universities), and the voting system was standardised across the country. Subsequent Reform Acts in 1867, 1889, 1918, 1928, and 1969 gradually extended voting rights, established rules for elections, further redistributed seats, and led to the party system we currently enjoy in the United Kingdom: one person, one vote.

See, Andy? Wasn't that a nice story? It had all of your favourite themes! Liberals and conservatives, rioting crowds and the threat of revolution, military crackdowns and social reform. If only you'd done your research!

By 1838 the Chartist movement demanded that Parliament extend suffrage to all men based on the secret ballot. The Chartist movement also sought annual elections for Parliament, salaries for its members (so that the middle class could afford to serve), and the elimination of property requirements as a condition for belonging to Parliament. But Parliament did not enact these reforms until 1900. Ah yes, the Chartists. The Great Reform Act of 1832 had not gone far enough for many people, especially working-class political leaders who perceived the 1832 Act as a means of enfranchising only the middle classes, and not the ordinary man in the street. Organised by Feargus O'Connor and William Cuffay (another of Britain's early black citizens), the Chartists were a well-organised Christian movement (strange that Andy didn't mention that) whose initial acts were to send petitions for further reform to Parliament, signed by tens of thousands of people. However when these petitions were examined, it was found that many of the names were written in the same handwriting, or were registered at non-existent addresses, or were signed as "Mr Punch" (a popular nineteenth-century political cartoon character) or "Queen Victoria". Parliament ignored the Chartists' petitions in 1838, 1842, and 1848. The rejection of the 1848 petition coincided with the outbreak of revolutions in several major European cities; riots broke out in Manchester and Yorkshire, and consequently, O'Connor called for a mass march on London to present their demands to Parliament and, if rejected again, form a National Assembly and petition Queen Victoria herself to recognise them as the new Parliament. However, this march was a bit of a washout, and the movement fizzled out. Historians point to Chartism as a "knife and fork" movement - it was popular during periods of economic decline, but when the national economy perked up in the late 1840s due to the Railway Boom, people lost interest. A final note - Feargus O'Connor went from celebrity to laughing-stock overnight, and died in an insane asylum. William Cuffay had the dubious honour of becoming one of the first non-Aboriginal black men in Australia, as he was found guilty of treason against Parliament and transported to Australia, where he died in poverty. A gloomy little conclusion, but one which deserved telling. The history of democracy is not all happy. People fought and died for democracy; the very democrac which Fundafascists will take away from us if we let - whoops, sorry. My soapbox is looking a bit frail. Better not try and step onto it...

Gradually the power of the monarchy in England was reduced to that of a figurehead, which is all it is today. Parliament increased in power, and much of that power went to the elected lower house (the House of Commons) rather than the upper, unelected House of Lords. Yes, one of lasting consequences of the Great Reform Act of 1832 was that another long nail was driven into the coffin of monarchy. The 1867 Reform Act extended the vote much more broadly, enfranchising arounf 60% of the population and thereby giving the elected House of Commons much more sway. The Lords still remembered their impotence in the face of the Commons back in May 1832. Oh, and it needs to be pointed out to Andy that we no longer have an unelected House of Lords. All hereditary seats in the Lords have now ben abolished, and the majority of Lords are elected by political parties. So there, Andy.

Democracy came much later to other European countries. The great potato famine of the 1840s killed many in Ireland and caused many more to immigrate to the United States. But Ireland was ruled by Britain then, and the Irish did not obtain any substantial level of self-government until the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. Many in Ireland and many Americans of Irish descent blame British leaders for allowing that horrific potato famine to happen, and without home rule there was little the Irish people could do to stop it. No, no, no. Has Andy already forgotten his segment on the French Revolution? Admittedly, the Revolution was short-lived before the return of de facto absolute monarchy under Napoleon and the reinstated Kings (after 1815). The "Year of Revolutions" in 1848 was integral in re-establishing the French Republic (until that was snuffed out a few years later by Napoleon III) and short-lived republican movements in Vienna and Berlin which, while soon crushed, became martyr movements for democracy on the continent. Andy could have mentioned this, but instead opts for some bitchy, Mel Gibson-esque rant about the British. Ireland did have representation in Parliament - one of the clauses of the 1832 Reform Act was to greatly increase the number of constituencies in Ireland, and throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century the issue of Irish Home Rule was a major contest between the pro-Irish independence Whigs/Liberals, and the anti-Irish independence Tories/Conservatives (no surprise that Andy chose to omit this). The Potato Famine of 1845-1852 was indeed a catastrophe, as Ireland's main crop was devastated by potato blight (a disease) and as the absentee landlords were too busy pissing it up in London clubs, no-one in London paid much attention to how bad it was until the death toll was truly staggering. The worst harvest, in 1846, saw the potato crop fall by 80%, and in spite of this disaster, absentee landlords continued to export food to England even while the Irish were starving. It is indeed arguable that the Famine would not have occured simply due to the blight, but due to mismanagement by the State. The British government's response to the Famine was half-arsed and a case of too little, too late. A million died of malnutrition and another million emigrated, causing the Irish population to drop by between one-fifth and one-quarter in a few years. Andy really should have mentioned the context of blaming Britain, but as usual, instead opts to ignore the consequences of his beloved libertarianism in order to simply bitch about us, using the Irish as no more than a weapon to hurl against John Bull. Anyway, what's this doing in a section on "The Growth of Democracy"? Shouldn't it be in "Social Reform"?

Canada achieved effective independence (as a Dominion within the British Empire) in 1867, but still remained within the British empire (Newfoundland remained a British territory and did not join Canada until 1949). Australia, which was originally settled by prisoners from England, did not obtain self-rule for its separate colonies until the 1850s; it obtained independence as a united Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. New Zealand also won self-rule in the 1850s and Dominion status (effective independence) in 1907. Alright, crash-course on the British Empire's system of administration. The British Isles (including Ireland) were classified as the Home Islands. Canada, Australia, Newfoundland, New Zealand, and South Africa (after 1910) had semi-autonomy as "Dominions", or white colonies. The rest of the Empire, from Jamaica to Hong Kong, were colonies run entirely from London. India was a separate case as most of British India was in truth still governed by local rulers on behalf of Britain, and until 1846, India was technically run not by Great Britain, but by the East India Company. Andy completely skims over the First Fleet carrying convicts to Australia (let's take a moment to remember poor Thomas Chaddick, a black man captured in West Africa, shipped over to Jamaica as a slave, taken to Britain as a body-slave to his master and then dumped in the streets with nothing, caught stealing a cucumber from a greengrocer's barrow while starving to death, and sentenced to life imprisonment as a convict-slave in Australia. Poor man), which is an exciting and simultaneously depressing story which right-wingers really should read before they start whining about the contemporary criminal justice system. No mention of the British colonists', and later the Australians' and New Zealanders', horrific treatment of the Australian Aborigines and New Zealand Maoris, which amounted to genocide in the late nineteenth century and in the early twentieth century, far, far worse treatment than that experienced by contemporary African-Americans. Andy has also completely ignored South Africa, which deserves special mention. A colony divided between British settlers, black Africans, and white Boers - all three of which groups disliked each other - South Africa was the setting for the First Anglo-Boer War of 1880-1881, which spread widespread dissatisfaction among the Boers towards the British, leading to the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. This was arguably, and not just for chronological reasons, the first "twentieth-century war" - the British Army used professional logistics, soldiers went into battle wearing khaki, artillery and machine-guns dominated the few battlefields, and - one of its worst legacies - concentration camps were invented for detaining Boer and African civilians, with hundreds of thousands of deaths as a result. It was also a wake-up call to the British as to the impact of the Industrial Revolution, as so many recruits were discovered to be malnourished and diseased from life in industrial cities, and marked a watershed in imperial finances as, for the first time ever, the British Government was forced to float a loan on the New York Stock Exchange to pay for the war (see, Andy? If you'd done your research, you could have had a field day with that!). And famously, as historians tell us, the British won the war but the Boers won the peace, resulting in 1910 with the creation of the Union of ASouth Africa, which instituted the long-lived apartheid which we all remember. What a shame that Andy didn't bother with any of this.

In France, its Third Republic ruled from 1870 until the German Occupation in 1940.

What? This it?? Over a hundred years of history for one of the most powerful nations at the time, reduced to a single bloody sentence??? Jesus Christ, Andy!!

This has been covered before, so we'll just briefly remind ourselves of what happened. Following the defeat of Napoleon I in 1815, the Allies reinstituted the French monarchy, which was very unpopular. The Second Republic was instituted in France in 1848, following the overthrowal of the hated monarchy. In 1851, a referendum proclaimed popular support for the reestablishment of the Empire, transforming President Napoleon Bonaparte (the famous Napoleon's nephew) into Emperor Napoleon III. The Second Empire was a vague form of constitutional monarchy but the National Assembly had limited powers. Following the defeat of the Emperor in the opening stages of the Franco-Prussian War, a Third Republic was proclaimed in Paris, with the "Government of National Defence" running what was left of the country for the remainder of the war. Following France's surrender in January 1871, and the suppression of a communist revolution in the summer, France once again became a constitutional Republic - one with deep internal divisions and a hatred of its new neighbour, Germany. Events such as the Dreyfus Affair of 1894-1906, in which a Jewish officer of the French General Staff was scapegoated as a traitor working for Germany, revealed just how deep these social divisions and international suspicion ran in French society. No surprise that Andy doesn't know of these events. It's unclear why he has just mentioned the British Empire but ignores the overseas territories of the French Empire, and why he mentions the fall of the Third Republic in 1940. Why mention just the Third Republic? Why no mention of the French system of constitutional monarchy? Why no mention of the major political events in contemporary France - the 1848 Revolution, the referendum of 1851, the Second Empire, the Government of National Defence and the Franco-Prussian War, the Paris Commune and its bloody crushing by the government, the Dreyfus Affair, the French colonisation of Africa and southeast Asia?

Christ, Andy...

Technology and Science

Capitalism and freedom unleashed a burst of creative activity in science and technology. Beginning in the 1870s, Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, motion pictures and, even though he was mostly deaf, the phonograph. In 1895 Guglielmo Marconi invented the radio, while Nikola Tesla patented a wireless radio transmitter. Henry Ford perfected the assembly line and manufactured the first automobiles in the early 1900s. Wilbur and Orville Wright flew the first gasoline-powered airplane in 1903. Oh, so technological wasn't due to science, it was due to capitalism. Uh-huh. Well, Marxist historians do argue that the competitive nature of commercial capitalism results in technological innovation in order to raise production and lower costs (hence, they argue, technology advanced very slowly in the pre-capitalist world); but ignoring the roles played by public education and scientific research is frankly moronic. Andy gives us a grocery list of random inventions which he gets wrong. The light bulb was invented more or less simultaneously in America and Britain by Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan, respectively; Gottleib Daimler and Karl Benz invented the gasoline-powered automobile in 1880s Germany, not Henry Ford in 1900s America; the genesis of the assembly-line production method can be identified in the Venice Arsenal of the 1500s, not 1900s America; and motion pictures preceded Edison by some forty years. Hasn't Andy even heard of the stereopticon? Oh, and while the Wright Brothers did indeed the first petroleum-powered aeroplane, the first powered flight was made in 1848 by John Stringfellow using his prototype "Aerial Steam Carriage", He even set up the world's first airline, fifty years before the Wright Brothers' flight at Kittyhawk (although it was a financial disaster as neither the technology nor the public attitude of late 1840s Britain were up to the idea of commercial powered aircraft). Do your research, Andy.

Scientific and mathematical discoveries were equally marvelous. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), the greatest experimental scientist who ever lived, discovered how to kill bacteria in milk and in all liquids through pasteurization. He also developed a rabies vaccine, first using it in response to a mother who begged him to save her young son, who had been just bitten by a rabid animal. Pasteur then saved her son’s life with his new vaccine (and he later served as a watchman for Pasteur’s tomb). Perhaps greatest of all was Pasteur’s discovery of the germ theory of disease, which more than anything has reduced illness and the spread of disease. Pasteur explained that diseases are transmitted through germs. Had people known this when the Black Death (bubonic plague) hit the world, far fewer would have died.

Louis Pasteur makes another cameo appearance, but this time he isn't wheeled out in order to slag off Charles Darwin. Calling him "the greatest experimental scientist who ever lives" is rather nice for Louis himself, but is entirely subjective and has no place in a history lecture, particularly as Andy doesn't say by what criteria he is ranking scientists (undoubtedly, his decision is based solely on the fact that Pasteur raised an eyebrow at Darwinian evolution). The cutesy anecdotal quip about the cured boy is equally out-of-place, but is overshadowed by Andy making a monumental error - he refers to a scientific Theory as a fact!! Oh, how drole. Doesn't Andy realise that scientific theories have no merit? It's not called the Germ Fact of Disease, it's only the Germ Theory! Like evolution, germ theory is just something pulled out of an atheist failure's arse and pedalled to the gullible sheeple in order to justify abortion, gay marriage, and eating kittens! Won't somebody think of the kittens??

Andy could have mentioned John Snow, who in the 1840s proved that diseases such as cholera were spread not through the air but through contaminated water, and whose controversial theory was the basis for Pasteur's equally controversial claim that the reason the water was diseased was that it contained tiny lifeforms harmful to humans. Yet instead of acknowledging the contet and reasons for the acceptance of Pasteur's life-saving contributions, Andy wanders off onto some weird tangent about the Black Death which is neither relevant nor accurate. Bubonic plague is not spread through liquids or even (to a degree) germs; it is spread through fleas which carry the disease from rats to humans. People in the Middle Ages could have pasteurised their milk until it turned to cheese, and it wouldn't have saved them from the Black Death. Nice work there, Andy.

Pasteur was a devout Christian, and did not see any conflict between science and Christianity, remarking that “science brings men nearer to God.” Pasteur experienced many hardships throughout his life, including the death of three of his five children to childhood diseases, but these hardships only served to strengthen his faith and his determination to find cures. Through it all Pasteur gave God the glory, stating that “the more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.” Oh hooray, uncited quote-mines! It's been a while since we saw these. I have had to take out Andy's few footnotes in the rest of this lecture as they bugger up the formatting on the page, but this paragraph had no footnotes to start with anyway. Go and check the actual version of Conservapedia if you don't believe me. Note how Andy gives us a sob-story about Pasteur's personal life, but completely ignored the similar sadnesses of Charles Darwin losing several children to Victorian diseases. Evidently dead babies are only worth mourning if they are sired by someone deemed acceptable by Christoservatives. Charming, Andy.

Another devout Christian was the brilliant mathematician Bernhard Riemann (1826-1866), who was perhaps second only to the Greek Archimedes as the greatest mathematician of all time. When Riemann was sent as a teenager to an advanced German school, he quickly became bored with his math class. He went to the principal and requested more advanced material, whereupon the principal gave him the lengthy and most advanced math book known. Riemann returned in a just few days declaring, “I have mastered it!” He went on to create a new type of geometry that became useful in the 20th century, and he formulated the most famous unsolved hypothesis that remains in mathematics today. Another unsourced quote-mine! And another unnecessary shoehorning-in of someone's personal beliefs! Evidently Andy knows nothing about Riemann, as he is unable to say anything at all about his contributions to mathematics, except that he made some. What, Andy? We'd love to know.

The devout Christian James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) was a Scottish physicist who advanced the fields of electricity and magnetism, also known as electromagnetism. His insights, published as A Treatise on Electricity & Magnetism, became known as the four "Maxwell's Equations" and are taught to advanced high school and college students today as the basic laws of electromagnetism. This paragraph actually did contain a footnote, right after the word "Scottish". Andy apparently deems it critical that his student knows the geographical origin of these people, but accrediting them with Tea Party propaganda is not necessary. Again, Andy tries to look clever by mentioning a scientific term, but fails to explain it.

Marie Curie, a brilliant female Polish scientist who moved to Paris, discovered radioactivity along with her (less-talented) husband Pierre. Dmitri Mendeleev, a Russian chemist, put together the periodic table of elements that is still taught today. British physician Joseph Lister applied Pasteur’s germ theory of disease and implemented an antibacterial cleaning technique for hospital tools and facilities, greatly reducing the number of infections.

More geography! And what's this; praising a woman over a man?! But Andy, in Lecture Five you made it crystal clear that according to the rules of Conservapedian Chivalry, a female must never, under any circumstances, consider themselves (or be considered) as intellectually superior to males! Points off there, young Master Schlafly. This paragraph is like a crowded elevator in a science faculty, with poor Mendeleev and Lister just shoved in next to Marie and Pierre Curie (and why are Edison, Mendeleev, Pasteur, and the Curies crammed into a section entitled "The British Thinkers"?). Are these the only scientists Andy knows about? Surely he could have trotted out a few more quote mines? Evidently not. He must have got bored and decided to go and nitpick Kendoll's latest revelation about Homosexuality and Star Signs.

Wow, that was a lengthy section. And hopelessly confused. What's next? Oh great, imperialism. Let's all get ready to hear Andy foam at the mouth as he rants about the British, while wiping patriotic tears from his eyes while singing the praises of Uncle Sam. Cue Dr Zoidberg: "I'm filling with patriotic mucus!" Or will he instead venerate the colonial empires while ranting about how us darkies never had it so good? Hmm. Only one way to find out...


The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “imperialism” as “the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas.” . More simply, imperialism is one nation trying to control another nation or people. Examples include Spanish imperialism towards Mexico and perhaps American imperialism towards the Philippines.

Oh God, it's back. Andy's beloved online dictionary. We don't need to rehash the fact that "imperialism" is a very broad word whose meaning social scientists cannot agree on (if only I'd used the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. My PhD would be 33 words long!). "Imperialism" is as vague as "Empire", with an infinite number of meanings. Indeed in my own work I argue that Empire is not a "thing", a system of government, but is in fact simply an imagination. "Empire" can mean whatever we want, there is nothing to distinguish an empire from a non-empire or imperialism from non-imperialism, and ultimatly empire exists only in our heads as a framework with which to try and understand the world. To paraphrase Jay-Z, empire is a state of mind (I really wanted to put that in my thesis, but I don't think my supervisor would approve!).

However, in the face of this lack of consensus it is standard for a writer to set out their definition of imperialism at the beginning, and run with it from there. Andy has unwittingly done this, so we'll accept his definition of the concept from hereon in. Note Andy's overt criticism of the Spanish alongside his attempt to justify Teddy Roosevelt's own brand of imperialism. We can see a theme developing here...

The motivations for imperialism were obvious: power and money. Every ruler dreams of an empire, and imperialism meant more territory to wield power over. Every ruler wants to be like Caesar or Napoleon. There were financial incentives for imperialism also. Industrial Europe needed raw materials to use in manufacturing, and also wanted customers to sell their finished products to. Colonies gave the mother countries both the raw materials at the beginning of the industrial process and new markets for selling the products at the end of the process. Well... it is true that European countries pursued colonialism in the nineteenth century for the purposes of acquiring raw materials and new markets, but this is only one factor. Similarly, Andy is right to point out the international prestige that was gained by posssessing an empire at the time, but again, this was merely one factor. He ignores the mission civiliatrice, whereby (some) Europeans genuinely believed that they had a responsibility to mould the rest of the world in their own image; what Rudyard Kipling later termed "The White Man's Burden". He ignores (strangely) Christian missionaries who, then as now, believed that they had to spread the Word of the Lord in order to save souls from Hell. And most crucially, he ignores the role of what historians term "the man on the ground". Frequently, imperial expansion was entirely due to the whims of generals and bureaucrats a long way from the mother country. In the 1840s, Sir Charles Napier annexed the Indian provinces of Sindh and Punjab without any authorisation from London. In 1879, Sir Henry Bartle Frere invaded the Zulu Kingdom without bothering to tell the Colonial Office. In 1912 during the Agadir Crisis, General Auguste Dubail received a telegram from Paris explicitly ordering him not to invade Morocco - he put the telegram in his pocket, launched the invasion, and then sent a telegram back to Paris claiming that he had not received the order until after his troops had already taken Casablanca. Very frequently, politicians in London and Paris found themselves suddenly in charge of a territory they didn't want but unable to relinquish because of international embarrasment, or, as in the case of the Zulu War, received messages begging for help in wars they didn't know had started. European colonialism in the Victorian period was very ad hoc, and rarely (if ever) followed some grand strategy. As for Andy's claim that all politicians are power-hungry megalomaniacs, this is disputable. And it implies that his heroes Ronald Reagan and Dubya, were no better than bewhsikered Victorian ideologues. Shot yourself in the foot there, Andy.

In general, there were four patterns that Europeans used in their imperialism:

1. Establish colonies, like the British colonies in America, whereby the European power had direct influence or control over the colonies.

2. Establish protectorates, whereby the region has its own government and is an independent country, but is protected by a larger country. Puerto Rico and Guam today would be an example of that, as they are protected by the United States.

3. An even less direct form of imperialism was “spheres of influence,” in which the European country had special trading privileges over the region.

4. Finally, there was “economic imperialism,” whereby the outside influence was exerted not by a country but by a private business over a region.
No, no, no. As explained, imperial expansion did not follow a grand strategy. Victorian imperialism was not a neat, tidy affair which can be compartmentalised into nice little categories. It was generally made up on the spur of the moment, frequently chaotic, and there were huge variations in geography and chronology. The French occupation of Algeria in 1830 was, in terms of motives, military tactics, international context, diplomacy, and aftermath, a world away from the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1896 or the British occupation of Hong Kong in 1842. Imperialism was a vague mishmash of motives and methods, which cannot be structured like this. Andy gets a point for trying, but the chaos of nineteenth-century foreign policies is a chaos which defies order.


Perhaps the roots of European imperialism date back as early as 1492, when Columbus discovered the New World and Spain soon sent conquistadors. But in the 1800s European imperialism began to focus in particular on Africa, for the following reasons. It's kind of Andy to give black Africans pole position, but it's an odd place to start with a discussion of colonialism. European meddling in Africa is indeed traceable to the beginning of the Columbian Epoch, in which Portugese expeditions opened up trade with West African kingdoms and the sudden, severe depopulation of the New World prompted the Europeans to establish slave-trading agreements with powerful West African polities, but Europeans didn't try to control Africa (with the exception of South Africa) until the end of the nineteenth century. It would have been far better for Andy to start with Indonesia, which had been colonised by the Dutch in the 1500s, South America and its Spanish colonisation in the 1500s and 1600s, or the British East India Company's gradual annexation of India throughout the latter half of the 1700s. Africa was a sideshow for most of the nineteenth century, as there were far richer pickings in Asia. But hey, let's plod on with Mungo Park here, and explore European colonisation of Africa.

The invention of the steam engine encouraged Europeans to explore the interior of the African continent, and cables and railroads facilitated communications and transportation as well. What? How did the steam engine facilitate exploration? Bear in mind that until the 1840s, portable steam engines (as in those used on locomotives and steamships) were rather inefficient and weak - the big buggers were stationary engines driving equipment in factories. Steamboats were used to explore the larger rivers of Africa - but this was for cartographic reasons, not commercial, and one-off journeys of mapmaking weren't exactly helpful in facilitating long-term transportation. Railways were few and far between in Africa, and quickly fell into disuse. Cecil Rhodes' dream of a Cape-to-Cairo railway never materialised, as there simply wasn't the demand. Andy is at least right about telegraph cables, although as he doesn't use the word "telegraph", he might be talking about cable cars. Which would be more fun.

Africa was an easy and attractive target for the Europeans. It was easy because Europeans had better weapons and could easily defeat African tribes, who were divided among themselves. The many different ethnic groups and languages spoken in Africa also made it difficult for the continent to unify and defend itself. Meanwhile, Africa was attractive because it had a profitable slave trade, and the rivalries created by the slave trade made it easier for European countries to divide and conquer.

Ugh. This tapestry of crap (ooh, a "crapestry"!) needs to be unpicked one strand at a time.

  • Africa was not a particularly appealing target to Europeans until much later in the nineteenth century. Commercial links had long been established between West African and European polities, and both sides were quite satisfied with simply trading first in slaves, then later in palm oil, until geopolitical and strategic rivalries in Europe prompted the 1880s "Scramble for Africa".
  • The idea that Europeans had better weapons is again only true for the last decades of the nineteenth century. From the fifteenth to the late nineteenth century, European military technology was no better than that used by most non-Europeans. Cue Edmund Blackadder from Blackadder Goes Forth:

"When I joined the army we were still fighting colonial wars, which were fought on the insistence that under no circumstances should the enemy carry guns. Even spears made us think twice. The sort of people we like to fight were two feet tall and armed with dry grass."

The Europeans were able to conquer the Americas in the 1500s and 1600s, and Oceania in the 1700s and 1800s, as the indidenous peoples did have inferior weapons technology; but in Asia and Africa, native peoples used the same weapons as the Europeans - gunpowder firearms (often purchased from the very same Europeans who later tried to take over) and iron blades. With technology equal, the advantage went to whoever had the most troops - and in this regard, European expeditionary forces were badly outnumbered. It was only with the invention of machine guns, breech-loading rifles, and light artillery in the 1870s and 1880s - to say nothing of tinned food and anti-malaria medicines - which enabled smaller forces of white troops to defeat much larger African armies.

  • Andy's bloody linguistic determinism rears its ugly head once more. He is right that African societies - which are infinitely more diverse than most Westerners think - spoke many languages. But y'know, Andy, so did the Europeans. If he's going to claim that linguistic variance in Africa prevented collective defence, he might as well claim that linguistic variance in Europe prevented collective attack. Putting up a mass pan-African resistance to the Europeans was impossible because African states were simply so diverse. Some were in league with the Europeans, some were negotiating, and some were fighting among themselves. Just as in Europe. Also consider the very low population density in most of nineteenth-century Africa, which made it hard for African kings to summon large military forces to respond to European incursions. He also seems to think that every society in Africa was aware of every other. For the majority of societies, the only other people they knew of were their immediate neighbours and the whites in their coastal trading-forts. There was no notion of pan-African identity in the nineteenth century for the exact same reason that there was no notion of pan-European identity in the seventh century: they didn't know wo existed beyond their immediate frontiers.
  • Some West African kingdoms - namely Ashanti (roughly analogous to modern Ghana), Dahomey (modern Togo), and Oyo (most of modern Nigeria) - did indeed profit from the Slave Trade, but the rest of Africa was mostly unaffected (barring the smaller but still profitable Eastern Slave Trade). The end of large-scale slave-trading in the 1830s - enforced by British and French warships patrolling the Western African coast for slavers (although Spanish and Portugese slaveships still often slipped through) - had a significant impact on these West African kingdoms, which responded in a variety of ways. The Ashanti were able to adapt to the sudden drop in income from slave-trading by cultivating large-scale plantations of palm oil trees, then selling the palm oil to Europeans for use as an industrial lubricant and in manufacturing soap (we British still have a popular soap brand called "Palmolive"). The Kingdom of Dahomey survived the 1830s and 1840s through illegal slave-trading with France, and using its firearm-equipped, European-trained infantry to plunder resources from the decaying Oyo. The Oyo themselves had been a powerful federation of societies in what is now Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon, with central control maintained by a large (and enormously expensive) army of armoured cavalry. When the Slave Trade with Britain ground to a halt in 1833, the Oyo were unable to pay for their army and the federation, which itself relied on an immense slave population, experienced widespread slave revolts and fractured into warring fiefdoms - those in the west repeatedly attacked and plundered by the Dahomian infantry. The British eventually stepped in and took advantage of the resulting power vacuum in Oyo, but Ashanti and Dahomey maintained their independence until their conquest by the British and French respectively, much later in the nineteenth century, and for entirely different reasons.
Get it right, Andy...

Malaria was historically a problem in Africa (and still is today), but the antidote “quinine” was discovered that immunized Europeans against contracting it. Yes, malaria is a severe problem. The United Nations is doing the best it can to combat the apocalyptic global death toll, something which critics of the UN never consider. It was far worse in the nineteenth century, for both Europeans and native Africans. Take a trip to any old European slave-fort on the West African coast, and you'll see graveyards filled with European traders and soldiers who died within days of arriving in Africa. Of course, the millions of Africans who died from it (and European meddling), didn't get graves. Andy could have mentioned that quinine was not a European invention. It comes from the bark of a South American tree, and long before they knew what a European was, the peoples of South America were chewing tree bark as a folk medicine. As South America was under Spanish and Portugese dominion, the nineteenth century saw bizarre cases of industrial espionage whereby British and French explorers sneaked seeds and saplings out of Brazil and Venezuela, to grow trees in greenhouses and botanical gardens in Europe in order to produce medicine. That would have been fun to mention, Andy.

Aided by all of the above, the Scotsman explorer and missionary David Livingston explored central Africa in the late 1860s. He was searching for the source of the mighty Nile River. Because the Nile is unusual in flowing south-to-north, its source could only be in central Africa in the vicinity of the Congo. No mention of Mungo Park, Andy? He was a much more skilful explorer. This is the second time that Andy has claimed that the Nile is "unique" in flowing south-to-north (he said it in Lecture One, too). Why is that unique? Lots of rivers flow northwards! We can only presume that Andy is basing his riverine knowledge on a childrens' map of the world which only shows the biggest rivers. I hope said map has cute pictures of zebras and parrots, and people in stereotypical native dress. That's about Andy's level of intellectual engagement.

But Livingstone was gone for years without any communication. A news reporter from America, Henry Stanley, decided to travel to Africa to look for him. Upon finding a stranger who stuck out like a sore thumb in the middle of central Africa, Stanley uttered the famous line, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Indeed, Stanley had found Livingstone alive and well, and Stanley later returned to Africa to sign treaties with chiefs near the Congo River. Belgium King Leopold II used these treaties to gain control for himself (not Belgium) over the region. In a trademark style, Andy has devoted more space discussing one person than discussing broad themes. He did the same with Galileo and Newton, a while back. This anecdote is only worth telling in a long book which actually pays attention to African history, and not in this three-minute stub.

Leopold II exploited the region for personal profit, building large rubber plantations for the natives to work on. This destroyed the farming community and compelled the workers to toil for unreasonably low wages. The working conditions on these plantations were very harsh. Eventually an international outcry caused the Belgian government to take over the region, and rename it the Belgian Congo. But this also increased competition among European powers for African colonies. Yes, Leopold's Congo was so ghastly that even contemporary colonists criticised the Belgians' abhorrent treatment of the Congolese. Note Andy's sympathy for low-wage workers, even though he bitched about wages nary two segments ago.

France was another European power competing for control of the Congo, which contained valuable copper and tin deposits. Further to the south, in what is South Africa today, there were even richer gold and silver deposits. The European powers saw much wealth in Africa in the form of minerals and wanted this for themselves. They also wanted plantations that could produce rubber, palm oil and even cocoa (chocolate) for the European factories. Andy is attempting to explain the commercial penetration of Africa prior to full-scale government annexation. Unsurprisingly, he's done a half-arsed job. He hasn't mentioned Cecil Rhodes, the British industrialist whose commercial ventures from Cairo to Capetown laid the path for the British government to walk in in the 1880s and claim what was essentially British-ruled territory already. Equally, he hasn't mentioned the Mineral Revolution in South Africa, whereby the colony underwent its own rapid industrialisation of goldmines and diamond fields, forciby transforming the native Xhosa and Khoisan from itinerant farmers in agricultural settlements, into a black working class corraled into industrial cities - the roots of apartheid. At least he mentions palm oil and cocoa (no mention of other cash crops like tobacco, cotton, and coffee whose cultivation had a negative impact on Africans' food production), but rubber wasn't important until the very end of the 1800s, and even then was a predominantly Indonesian and South American crop, not African.

To minimize armed conflict the Europeans held the Berlin Conference in 1884-1885 to divide Africa among themselves, without regard to what the tribes of Africa wanted. Ethnic and cultural differences within Africa were also ignored, and lines of demarcation were arbitrarily drawn for the sole benefit of the European nations. All of Africa except for Ethiopia (which successfullly resisted Italian control in 1896) and Liberia were divided and taken by European nations.

Well, at least he actually mentions the Berlin Conference at which the major powers of Europe redrew the map of Africa. It goes without saying that nobody asked the Africans themselves. Points off for not giving the name of the Battle of Adowa in 1896, when 15,000 Italians and their Eritrean allies were defeated by an Ethiopian army equipped with artillery and rifles which the Italians had sold them decades before. Andy knew the name of the obscure Battle of Yarmouk in 636 AD, so we know that he can do research. Evidently he couldn't be bothered here. It must also be mentioned that the Scramble for Africa was not the complete takeover of the continent. Just because the various empires claimed territories on the map, does not mean that they actually controlled the territory in reality. Large swathes of Algeria, Sudan, and Chad were outside of French and British control as late as the 1940s, despite the maps having claimed those territories in 1885.

Andy is remarkably sensitive here - he acknowledges the partioning of Africa along entirely arbitrary lines, giving rise to one of the depressing ironies of modern Africa: the existence of nation-states, "The Black Man's Burden", whereby Africans kill each other in the name of nations which were completely made up by the Europeans. Andy also uses the word "tribes" - a dangerous choice. The Primordialist argument does indeed claim that African tribal identities existed long before the first white man set foot on an African beach, but the persuasive Constructivist viewpoint holds that tribal identities in modern Africa are largely products of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as native Africans emphasised vague ethnicities in order to give them a sense of group identity, and belonging, in a rapidly-changing world. It is certainly arguable that the Europeans encouraged tribal identities, as it kept Africans suspicious of each other in the same colonies, and therefore less likely to unify against the colonists. Yet even that argument is contested, as it implies that the Africans were stupid and simply believed whatever the Europeans told them. We could go on like this for the rest of the Lecture, but we won't. It is sufficient to say that Andy has overlooked crucial arguments although, in fairness to him, he has at least tried. Sometimes Andy surprises us - he can do research, and he can be sensitive to issues in world history. That's what makes these Lectures so hair-wrenchingly frustrating - he could do them well, but he chooses not to.

One of Africa’s biggest and wealthiest countries today is South Africa, located on the southern tip of the continent. It has a very advantageous location for trade routes by sea from Western Europe to India and the Far East. As a result, there was far more immigration by Europeans to South Africa than any other region of Africa, and whites of European ancestry completely ruled South Africa until the late 1900s. Since then, democracy has brought representative government to the African ethnic groups. The World Cup (soccer) will be played in 2010 in South Africa, the first time it has ever been held in Africa. Andy could have mentioned the Mineral Revolution - the industrialisation of South Africa's goldmines and diamond fields. He could have mentioned Dutch settlement of South Africa in the early 1600s and gradual Dutch expansion into the interior, until the British seized Cape Colony during the Napoleonic Wars. He could have mentioned Apartheid. Instead, he mentions the bloody World Cup, and makes a suspicious comment about race which comes unpleasantly close to a lament for Boer Nationalist control. Thin ice, Andy.

The Dutch (or Boers) were the first to establish a European settlement in southern Africa, at Cape Colony on the very southern tip in 1652. This port supplied ships on the way to the Indian Ocean. The Dutch exploited the labor of African slaves and set up farming communities that displaced the native Africans. In the 1800s the British arrived and took over Cape Colony, and disfavored the continuation of the Dutch slavery system. The Dutch then moved inland, further north, in what is called the Great Trek. This created further conflict with the native Africans. Oh, he did mention Dutch settlement in the 1600s! And the British! Apparently, though, the history of South Africa is less important than World Cup fixtures. The Voortrek of the 1840s was a migration of Afrikaaners (Boers) who did not want to live under British rule; they founded the Transvaal and Orange Free State, the Boer protagonists in the later Anglo-Boer Wars, and also brought the whites into contact with the Zulus via Xhosa and Khoisan refugees fleeing the mfecane, or expansion of the Zulu Kingdom. Facts, Andy! Facts!!

In the late 1800s, an African ethnic group known as the Zulus rose to power in southern Africa, led by a military African genius named Shaka. But his successors could not retain power. By 1887 the British, with better military technology, defeated the Zulus. Shaka Zulu's mfecane was in the early 1800s, not the late. Having made enemies of every African society around them, the Zulu Kingdom ceased expansion following the death of Shaka Zulu and consolidated their conquests. However, the existence of the Zulu Kingdom was a problem for the British in neighbouring Cape Colony - their new industries in the goldfields needed workers, and the Zulus were interfering with itinerant workers who would work in the mines in the summer, before returning home to collect the harvest. The presence of a such a militarily powerful Kingdom right next door was a little unnerving as well - the British had a remarkably high respect for the Zulus, but the devious geopolitics between the British, the Boers, and the Zulus obliged all sides to maintain substantial military forces, which were a drain on Cape Colony's economy. It's unclear why Andy mentions 1887 - the British defeated the Zulus in 1879, not 1887. Having sent an ultimatum to the Zulu King Cetshwayo that he disband his Kingdom, the British invaded (without approval from London) in January 1879. The Zulu military commander, Mantshonga, refused to fight an open battle and forced the British to stretch their supply lines by invading deep into Zululand, heading for the Royal kraal at Ulundi. When Mantshonga tricked the British commander, Lord Chelmsford, into splitting his forces, the Zulu impis annhilated the British-Basuto army at Isandhlwana, one of the rare occasions when Africans armed with spears defeated a European army . It was, however, a Pyhrric Victory, and when the British re-invaded in the summer, a series of Zulu defeats culminated in the utter destruction of the Zulu military at the Battle of Ulundi, as warriors with spears were cut down by artillery shells and Gatling guns. Great moment for the British there (I'll neglect saying "we British" for once, as I could be on either side). Read your history books, Andy. Or even Wikipedia. Dates aren't that hard to find.

The Boer War broke out between the British and the Boers in 1899. The dispute was sparked by disagreements over land, access to diamonds and gold discovered in South Africa, and whether immigrants should have political rights. The British won this brutal war, and in 1902 established the Union of South Africa to include all the Boers republics. This country was controlled by the British but enjoyed some self-rule. The Second Anglo-Boer War began in 1899. There was onc nearly twenty years before that. The British did indeed win the war but the Boers won the peace - the Treaty of Veerenginegen in 1910 was an embarassment for the British, as they were forced to grant rights to a people they had just defeated.

European imperialism on the African continent had both good and bad effects. On the good side, the Europeans brought advances in technology, built hospitals, and improved the infrastructure, such as railroads, telephones, telegraphs, sanitation and other public works. This improved trade and communications, and reduced disease. Europeans also built schools, but used them to teach European language and culture rather than respecting local traditions. Literacy did improve as a result, however. On the bad side, the Europeans displaced Africans from their individual farms and shifted them into working for European businesses. Africans lost control of their land and saw a reduction in their own food crops. Europeans also completely disrupted African cultural groups and village life, resulting in arbitrary geographical boundaries that continue to cause war and strife to this day. Again, Andy is surprisingly sensitive. Victorian colonialism was a mixed bag of nuts, and nowhere more so than in Africa. The Europeans brought literacy, modern medicine, international commerce, and Abolition, but they also brought disease, war, exploitation, and the worst legacy - nation-states. It is a genuine shame that Andy can't be like this more often. If nothing else, this section has demonstrated that he does have the ability to narrate history without crowbarring in Tea Party propaganda and generally being an arse - why can't he be like that all the time? Or at least more often. This just makes it all the more tragic. It's one thing to be a moron spouting shit because he doesn't know any better, but it's quite another to be aware of better styles, yet choose not to adopt them. That's quite sad, Andy. And nefarious. Choosing to knowingly lie rather than just lying accidentally. We don't smile upon that. And neither does the Christian God.

Ottoman Empire[edit]

In the 1800s, the powerful Europeans and even the Russians took on the Islamic powers, most notably the Ottoman empire. Andy makes it sound strange that the Russians pursued an aggressive foreign policy, as though he didn't think they would be capable. This man really has a knife in the back of Uncle Ivan. A lot of points off for implying that tensions between the Ottoman Empire and the Russians/Western powers were grounded in religion. Hasn't Andy heard of geopolitics?

The Russians were the first in challenging the Ottoman empire in the Russian attempt to gain access to the Mediterranean Sea through the Black Sea. In 1853 the Russians fought the Ottoman empire in the Crimean War. The British and French fought on the side of the Ottomans, however, and they defeated the Russians. But the Russians gained alliances with Slavs in the Balkan area of the Ottoman empire, which weakened further. The Ottoman empire continued to lose territory in the Balkans and northern Africa, and was only a shell of its original power by the beginning of World War I. Western technology had far outpaced Muslim know-how. Oh Christ. In the previous segment we were just - just - beginning to think that there might be a glimmer of hope for Andy. That fragile bubble, though, has now popped. Let's see, how many things can Andy get wrong in a single paragraph? He starts off by claiming that the Russians were the first to challenge the Ottoman Empire - in reality, Christian Europe had experienced tensions with the Ottoman Turks since the fifteenth century. He evidently hasn't heard of the Battle of Lepanto between the Ottoman fleet and the ships of the Holy League; he hasn't heard of the wars between the Holy Roman Empire/Hungary against the Ottomans in the Balkans (although, strangely, he did earlier reference the Ottoman Siege of Vienna); he hasn't heard of Romanian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Slavic, Greek, Arab, Syrian, Egyptian, Jewish, Armenian, Moroccan, and Cypriot uprisings against the Ottomans prior to the 1800s. He then shoots himself in the foot by describing (accurately) how Britain and France sided with the Ottomans in the 1853-1857 Crimean War, despite having just said that Europeans "took on...the Ottoman Empire". He then takes the opportunity to casually snipe at Ottoman technology, despite the fact that in the nineteenth century, the Ottomans instituted a broad spectrum of civil, legal, industrial, imperial, and commercial reforms which meant that by the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, people could walk down the street in Istanbul and see a thoroughly European city. Ottoman technology was easily the equal of the Europeans, as demonstrated by the fact that the Ottoman Empire managed to fight the Allies all throughout the First World War, often resulting - as at Gallipoli in 1915 and al-Kut in Iraq in 1916 - in crushing defeats for the Allies. But anyway, let's stick with the nineteenth century.

Muslims in Egypt, led by Muhammad Ali (not the American boxer!) and his son, Isma’il, arranged for the French to build the Suez Canal to connect the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. The idea of the canal was originally Napoleon’s, but he was mistakenly told that the Red Sea had an elevation too much higher than the Mediterranean Sea to make it work. The canal opened in 1869 and the British became particularly dependent on it to avoid the long trip around the southern tip of Africa. The British took over control of the canal (and Egypt) in 1882, when Egypt failed to repay the debts it incurred to build it.

Ok, the Ottomans. In 1800 the Ottoman Empire was still a very powerful state, consisting of North Africa from Morocco to Egypt, all of the Middle East, Turkey, some of the Caucasus, and most of south-east Europe. The Ottomans had been in a state of more or less perpetual war with the Austrians and Russians throughout the 1700s, but in the late eighteenth century a series of treaties between the Holy Roman Emperor, the Czar, and the Sultan brought lengthy periods of peace, and trade links, between Catholic Austria, Orthodox Russia, and the Muslim Ottomans. By the time Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798 in order to disrupt British trade, the Sublime Porte (a catch-all phrase for the Ottoman government, based on the Sultan's residence) had established friendly relations with the British and Austrians, and a calm mutual suspicion with the Russians. When the Ottomans and British threw Napoleon out of Egypt, the situation had indeed changed there. The powerful Mameluke class - nobles of Egyptian descent rather than Turkish - saw their opportunity to break away from the rule of Constantinople (which, as the song reminds us, was also Istanbul). Under Mehmet Ali (is Andy trying to make a joke here?) the Mamelukes gained a sort of semi-independence: Ali technically ruled as the Pasha, the Ottoman Viceroy, but in reality was a mostly independent ruler. Egypt's breakaway encouraged other governors and resistance leaders across the Ottoman realm to try the same, meaning that by the 1850s, the Ottoman Empire was widely known as "The Sick Man of Europe" - Constantinople could not control its decaying empire, and two opposing factions emerged at the Sublime Porte. Those who favoured a return to Islamic traditionalism, and those who favoured sweeping reforms along European lines. The reformists won the ear of the Sultans, who remodelled the Ottoman Empire in the image of Europe. However these reforms were not popular with everyone, and Constantinople was obliged to use increasing violence to maintain Turkish control of its disparate empire. Popular movements in the Balkans and growling threats from Russia and Austria forced the Empire to cede territories in southeastern Europe, and in 1854 the Empire was neither fully traditional nor fully reformed. This was the situation when the Crimean War broke out.

The cause of the war, believe it or not, was a petty dispute between Russia and France over who should hold the keys to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Seriously. The French claimed the keys belonged to them, as France had been given a Papal mandate over the area during the Crusades, while the Russians argued it should be them because the dominant Christian sect in the area was Orthodox, not Catholic. This childish spat was, of course, only a pretext. Much bigger geopolitical issues were at stake. The Russians wanted free access for their warships from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean - France and Britain didn't much like this. The Ottomans had also recently granted independence - very grudgingly - to the Balkan provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia, which the Russians had immediately tried to draw into their orbit, much to the chagrin of Paris and London. Both France and Britian were additionally concerned about growing Russian power in the East, with Britain fearing a Russian encroachment towards India and France fearing Russian dominance of the entire eastern Mediterranean. While Paris and London had little love for the Ottomans, the Sick Man of Europe, they nevertheless preferred Ottoman control of the region to Russian control. So, when negotiations broke down as the Russians demanded naval access and the French and British refused, and as France and Britain demanded Russian withdrawal from Wallachia and Moldavia and the Russians refused, the two sides went to war. The resulting Crimean War was important not just because it revealed the hideous inefficiency of European armies at the time (and the failures of the 1815 "Concert of Europe", to which the Ottomans hadn't even been invited), but it also demonstrated just how badly ailing the Ottomans were, and soured relations between Russia and the West for decades to come (when the Prussians invaded France in 1870, the Russians refused to come to France's aid - even though Russia could have seized territory from the Prussians - precisely because they were still angry at the Crimean War). After the war, the Ottomans stumbled on through periods of strength and weakness until the looming imminence of war in 1914 pushed the Ottomans onto the side of the Germans, where it all ended. So, there is the (very) brief history of the Ottoman Empire and its slow, lingering death, which Andy didn't bother to explain. Now, for the rest.

Napoleon did indeed want to build a Mediterranean-Red Sea canal, but like so many of his projects, it never got past the drawing board. However, he was not the first to imagine it. A canal had existed in the Late Period of Ancient Egypt - Herodotus even wrote about it, and it was used in the Egyptian/Phoenecian circumnavigation of Africa in the sixth century BCE (Using BCE just to annoy Andy). The French, under Ferdinand de Lessepes and Gustav Eiffel (later of Eiffel Tower fame) constructed a canal in 1869 largely funded by France and Britain, who held majority shares in the Suez Canal Company. Egypt also contributed a lot of money, which it earned from selling to Britain during the cotton crisis caused by the American Civil War, and on the back of this trade took out extensive loans from British banks for modernisation projects. However the end of the Civil War in America re-opened the South's ports to cotton exports, and Egyptian cotton exports plummetted. Increasingly unable to pay the interest on its debts, the Egyptians did indeed temporarily withhold payments from Britain, and nationalised the Suez Canal to pay the debts. Britain, fearing loss of its control of the Canal (the French had sold their shares to Britain during an earlier financial crisis) used this as a pretext to invade. However the public reasons for the invasion were the (real) persecutions of Christians in Alexandria and Cairo at the hands of anti-reform, anti-Western Islamic groups. If only Andy had done his research, he could have had a great time telling the truth there! So in 1882, British warships shelled Alexandria while British and French troops took control of the cities and the Canal. Egypt spent the next thirty years as a de jure province of the Ottoman Empire, but a de facto colony of both Britain and France, until it became a full British protectorate at the end of the First World War.

See what you could have turned up, Andy, had you done your bloody homework.

Britain argued with Russia over dominance in Persia (now Iran). In 1907 they divided that region after there were riots protesting the exporting of tobacco to Britain. When some gold was discovered in Persia in 1908, British influence increased.

Andy now reduces the "Great Game" to "they argued". Huh. "The Great Game" was a term used at the time to denote the geopolitical rivalry between Russia and Britain over central Asia. What it all boiled down to was that the British feared Russian encroachment towards India, and so in a long policy of diplomacy, intervention, financial support, and outright war for, in, and against central Asian societies, tried to outfox the Russians who were expanding their own Empire into the region. Andy has completely missed out something with which he could have had a field day - the First Anglo-Afghan War of 1839-1842, when in an attempt to beat the Russians to it, the British in India launched an invasion of Afghanistan. The British captured Kabul but, through bumbling diplomacy with their Afghan allies and a sneering derision of Afghans' fighting abilities, the British so pissed off their allies that the Afghans turned on the British. The British army of some 4,500 troops, along with nearly 15,000 Indian and Afghani men, women and children, tried to retreat from Kabul back to what is now Pakistan. Out of those nearly 20,000 people, only one man - one man - a Dr William Brydon, with half his skull missing, made it back alive (and he only survived because an Afghan warrior took pity on him, hid him, and gave the doctor his own horse so he could make it back to the British fortress at Jalalabad). It was one of the worst disasters in military history, particularly due to the appalling civilian casualties. See what I meant earlier about studying history to understand the present and plan for the future? Britain tried to conquer Afghanistan in 1842, and failed. Then again in 1880, and failed. Then again in 1919 (this time with aircraft and tanks), and failed. The Soviets tried in 1978, and failed. Perhaps if George Bush and Tony Blair had read their history books, they might have thought twice about invading Afghanistan in 2001 - another failure. Afghanistan is an unconquerable land.

Anyway, Andy reduces the history of nineteenth-century Persia to three pithy little sentences. Persia, a close ally of the Ottomans and an Ottoman protectorate in all but name, was a very minor consideration throughout the nineteenth century, only viewed by the British and Russians as a pawn in their Great Game. Note a very significant blunder by Andy - what was discovered in 1908 was not gold, it was "black gold". Oil. The discovery of substantial oil deposits in the country coincided with the growing demand in the West for petroleum, and the Shah essentially became a British puppet as British Petroleum all but took over the country, as the East India Company had with India fifty years previously. Additionally, the British and Russians divided Persia into two Spheres of Influence, turning Persia into an independent state in name only. It remained this way until the Western-supported Shah was ousted by Ayatollah Khomeini.

Why didn't Andy mention any of this? Doesn't he want to shove in references to the War on Terror and the Iranian Hostage Crisis? What happened to his style?

China and Japan[edit]

China and Japan have always been very different from each other, and are longtime enemies. China has historically been a more philosophical and peaceful country, while Japan has traditionally been nationalistic and militaristic. Andy makes the Chinese and Japanese sound like the Vulcans and Klingons. Everyone do the Mr Spock salute! Or break into Klingon opera. Note his reduction of six thousand years of recorded history around the Sea of Japan to "they are different, and they fight". Great work there, baktag Andy.


China deliberately isolated itself from the West, allowing only one port in southern China to conduct trade with Europe: Guangzhou. But the British learned that the Chinese people (like many people worldwide) became easily addicted to opium, a terrible drug that is illegal today. In the late 1700s the British took advantage of this addiction and began sending massive amounts of opium to China. At one point a Chinese government official wrote a letter to Queen Victoria begging her to stop this. In 1839 the Opium War broke out over this issue, but the British defeated the Chinese and the Treaty of Nanjing gave the British the key port of Hong Kong, which it held until just a few years ago. Another treaty in 1844 gave other western powers, including France, Germany, Russia and even the United States, extraterritorial or foreign rights to four additional ports, along with special exemptions from Chinese law.

This simply isn't true. China did not isolate itself from the West. China and Europe had been trading with each other - first through central Asian intermediaries and later through direct maritime contact - since the Iron Age. The European Age of Discovery was largely propelled by the desire to find cheaper, faster trade routes to India and China, and the two civilisations maintained commercial contact all throughout. What Andy means is that the Chinese were, to be blunt, rather snooty in their attitudes towards Europeans. And rightly so. Throughout the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Early Modern Period, China was by far the most powerful civilisation in the world. Europeans had slightly better technology, along with capitalism and the beginnings of democracy, but China was immensely more powerful in every other way. As trade between East and West Eurasia grew in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, though, the Chinese Imperial Court's attitude to the Europeans went from one of condescending patronisation of these grubby, unwashed sailors, to one of suspicion; largely caused by the sheer annoyance caused by aggressive Christian proseltysing in China. China still very much wanted to trade with the Europeans - the Emperor was making a fortune by offloading spices, silk, and porcelain to Europeans who paid literal shiploads of silver bullion - but also wanted to limit the activities of the Europeans. It was one thing for Europeans to just hover around the quaysides of Shanghai and Canton waiting to offload their silver bars; it was quite another for these barbarians to start shoving their noses into Chinese affairs, demand free access to the country to make their precious maps, and for men dressed in black to stand on street corners haranguing the Celestial Emperor's subjects about some man nailed to a piece of wood and claiming it was God. Hence, throughout the 1700s and early 1800s, the Imperial Court gradually restricted the Europeans to trade and missionary work in the port of Canton, which the Emperor oh-so-graciously allowed to become a semi-European enclave in the Celestial Empire. This suited both sides - the Chinese got their silver and the Europeans got their fancy goods - until Europeans in the earlu 1800s tried to initiate the sort of diplomatic relations which existed in contemporary Europe. Ambassadors sent by Napoleon and Czar Alexander were unsuccesful, and when King George III sent an ambassador loaded with lots of high-tech European gadgets as presents for the Emperor and a request to exchange ambasadors, the Emperor sent the ambassador packing with the answer that China had no interest in dickering with the foreigners, but he softened the blow by saying that if King George wished to surrender his sovereignty and swear allegiance to the Celestial Emperor, then China would happily take the British Empire under its wing. Not the most tactful thing to say to the British...

Opium had been traded in China since the early 1700s, and its spread into Chinese cities along the coast was another reason the Emperors restricted European activity to Canton, where Chinese customs officials could check that the foreigners weren't making a few extra quid by selling opium to Chinese merchants. This annoyed British merchants who, like all drug dealers, were making a fortune selling adulterated shit to addicts, and they repeatedly whined to the British authorities. Historically the East India Company had ignored their complaints as they didn't want to upset the Chinese Imperial Court, but following Britain's humiliation over the incident of the ambassador, the East India Company began complaining in Parliament (until 1832, it had its own MPs) and gained support. The British government was getting concerned about the amount of silver they were haemmoraghing into China, and saw opium as a useful way to bypass the Qing government's insistence of specific trade relations. Britain also found itself supported by the French and Russians, who had also been getting the cold shoulder from Peking. When Britain and France pressured Peking with demands for naval access to China's main rivers (on the pretext of trade, but the Emperor knew they would be sending warships up the rivers), the Emperor refused, and in March 1839 the First Opium War began. Despite having by far the largest army in the world the Qing Empire's navy was far behind the British with their steam-powered wooden ships and breech-loading heavy artillery, and the Royal Navy was able to sink half the Chinese navy with a ration of 20,000 Chinese sailors killed, to 69 British sailors killed - most of those killed when their own cannons accidentally exploded. Evidence of just how vulnerable the Chinese were at sea. In 1842 the Emperor did indeed sign the Treaty of Nanjing, which gave the British aggressive commercial rights and a lease on Hong Kong island which, with renewals, lasted until 1997. Additional pressures and further demands resulted in the Second Opium War of 1856-1860, in which both the British and the French sank the rebuilt Chinese navy and sent armies equipped with Gatling guns and artillery to attack Chinese cities. The Qing Empire, by now fighting rebellions and civil wars far more devastating than the European incursions, was unable to respond effectively and when the war ended, the Chinese were again at a disadvantage. The Treaty of Tientsin forced the Qing regime to grant Europeans extraterritoriality (exemption from Chinese law), demanded that all government documents in China be written in English or French rather than Chinese, and granted grossly unfair trade rights in the Europeans' favour. But, as Andy is bound to tell us, this was the least of the Celestial Emperor's worries...

The opium drug problem continued and in 1850 a Christian heretic named Hong Xiuquan led the Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864) in order to rid the country of opium and establish a “Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace.” Declaring himself to be the second son of God and the younger brother of the Messiah, Hong conquered much of southeastern China, but lost it back to the Qing Empire in 1864. Historians estimate that 20 million were left dead from these conflicts, and consider this Rebellion to have been one of the most deadly in all of history.

The Opium Wars, in particular the Second, were largely just sideshows to what was going on in China itself. Remember the Qing government's attempt to restrict aggressive Christian proseltysing? Well, they had good reason. By 1850 China's Christian populaton was not only vast, it was increasingly hostile to the distant (in both geography and class) regime in Peking. The Emperor had a Heavenly Mandate to care for his people, but when the Yellow River burst its banks twice in the late 1840s, flooding millions of hectares, drowning hundreds of thousands, and leaving millions more destitute, the Imperial Court was unable to pay for reconstruction and aid as Qing finances had been depleted by the First Opium War, post-war reparations to the British, and paying to rapidly rebuild the Chinese navy. Chinese anger at the Qing government increased, and when Hong Xiquan proclaimed a breakaway movement in southern China, to establish a separate society able to govern itself and not required to ship vast quantities of food, money, and tribute to an uncaring and incompetent government far, far away in Peking, the Taiping Rebellion began.

The Taiping Rebellion, which lasted the better part of twenty-five years, was one of the worst wars in human history although few people outside of China have even heard of it. By the time it petered out in 1864, between twenty to thirty million people had died. Even taking the lower estimate, this was nearly three times more deaths than the Napoleonic Wars, and more than twenty-two times the death toll of the American Civil War. The Qing government, which spent those twenty-four years fighting the Taipings, the similarly huge (but slightly smaller) Nien Rebellion in central China, the Mongols, and often the Europeans - all at the same time - finally won, but at appalling costs. Southeast China, traditionally the richest and most populous, was economically and demographically devastated. Suppressing the Nien Rebellion did the same to central China, crisscrossing the rich agricultural zones with earthworks and trenches as the Qing infantry closed in on the Nien cavalry (historians frequently point to the American Civil War as the genesis of trench warfare, but consider the Chinese rebellions. There's something very, very surreal about soldiers in medieval Chinese costumes fighting First World War-style trench war). The Qing government was forced to purchase artillery and Gatling guns from the West, and frequently relied on European mercenary forces such as the "Ever-Victorious Army" led by General Gordon (the same one killed at Khartoum) to help them out. That is, when the Europeans weren't shelling the shit out of Chinese cities. The Qing economy collapsed in various places, and by the time the fighting fizzled out in the 1860s, China had been transformed from the world's most powerful civilisation to a battered, brutalised, society reliant on the Europeans and struggling to control its angry population.

So, that's what Andy should have said. He at least got the dates and figures vaguely right, but that's all. Oh, and it's rather rich of him to scream "Heretic" at Hong Xiquan. Xiquan may have claimed to be Jesus' younger brother, but at least he didn't censor the Bible to fit in with Conservapedian political views.

Chinese leaders then called for a new educational system to prevent a repeat of these conflicts, by training young people not to engage in such rebellions. They also sought a modernization of the Chinese military. The Dowager Empress Cixi (1861-1908) started a modernization program that included gunboats and factory-made weapons. Foreigners operated these factories, and foreign influence increased. Yes, post-Rebellion China became split, like all the major powers at some point in the 1800s, between reformists and traditionalists. Under the "Self-Strengthening Movement", prominent Chinese officials led by Prince Yixin Gong and Li Hongzhang, the Imperial Chancellor, initiated economic and military reforms, and invited European industrial and military specialists to help China set up arsenals and factories, train a European-style army, educate middle-class Chinese in economy, politics, history, and languages, and build a European-style battlefleet. However, their efforts at reform were met with increasing hostility at the Imperial Court and from much of the populace; Empress Cixi herself was hardly an ideal ruler. She promised half-hearted reform but never followed through. Indeed, the government's savings accumulated for the construction of steam-powered, steel-plated battleships - the long-awaited Beiyang Navy - were spent by Cixi on her 60th birthday party. Throughout all of this, Western meddling in China grew worse as the legitimacy of the Qing government weakened in the eyes of its own people. The Japanese seized Korea, Russians encroached towards Peking, and the French and British demanded even more trade concessions which left the Qing government in an increasingly unpleasant situation.

In 1899 the United States, fearing further foreign influence in China, announced the Open Door Policy demanding that China’s ports be open to all foreign traders. European powers agreed and foreign contact increased further in China. A secret Chinese society known as the Boxers rebelled against Beijing, China’s main city, in 1900. The foreign powers joined forces to quash (put down) this Boxer Rebellion.

Ah yes, the Righteous Society of Harmonious Fists - known in the West as the Boxer Rebellion. The latest manifestation of Chinese anger at their own government, and the Westerners whose greedy meddling was buggering up China beyond all belief. The Western powers had, by 1900, divided China up into spheres of influence - the British, French, Russians, Americans, Germans, Japanese, and Italians all got their own little slices of China, and made no secret of this. The Qing government, powerless to respond, became deeply, deeply unpopular with its own people. In response to the Spheres, and to a fresh wave of opium and Christianity in the cities, the Boxers in Peking besieged the Westerners in their embassies. The embassies held out through a long siege, while the Qing government claimed that they were mobilising troops to rescue the embassies but in reality waiting to see what would happen. When the Westerners sent a multi-national army of British, French, Americans, Russians, Japanese, Italians, Germans, and Austro-Hungarians to relieve their besieged embassies, the Qing government threw in their lot with the Boxers in a last stand against the West. As you can guess, they lost. The Westerners reached Peking, the Qing government lost all remaining credibility with the international community and its own people, and the Qing Empire went the same way as the Roman Empire. The last emperor, the child Puyi, was quietly dethroned in 1911 and nobody much cared. Like the Romans, the Chinese Empire went not with a bang, but with a whimper. And the only thing that stopped the Europeans dividing up China as they had down with the rest of the world was that before they could do so, the First World War began.

Andy could have said this. Couldn't he? He was so eager to talk about China back in Lecture Three, but now apparently he can't be bothered. Shame.


Japan was one of the imperialistic powers that eventually threatened China. Even though much smaller than China, Japan has a military culture that seemed invincible until the United States dropped two atom bombs on it in August 1945. Oh, great. Starting a segment on nineteenth-century Japan by mentioning the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Honestly, every time Andy mentions Japan, he has to chuck in a nuclear bomb. Why? Is it necessary? Does he not understand history without reference to nuclear fission? Or does he just like reminiscing about the ashen streets and immolated babies? Just another indication of the man's latent racism. We already knew how much he dislikes blacks; now it's increasingly obvious how much he dislikes the East Asians, too. And also, where's Korea in all this? Don't you need to mention the place to get a basic grip in East Asia of the late 19th century?

But Japan was similar to China in one respect: both were very suspicious of Europeans and both preferred isolation over European influence. In 1543, shipwrecked Portuguese sailors discovered Japan and they were welcomed. In 1549, some Japanese welcomed European Christian missionaries and liked the European technology that they brought to the island. European technology, especially firearms, helped the Tokugawa Shogunate unify Japan in 1603 and establish its capital at Edo (now Tokyo), and that family ruled Japan until 1868. European cannons easily punched through the castle walls of the daimyo or large Japanese landowners. In some areas fortified walls were built, which sheltered communities for artisans, merchants and government bureaucracy. What? Does Andy think that the Europeans were unaware of Japan until 1543? Marco Polo possibly visited it in the thirteenth century (he was certainly aware of its existence); European maps displayed the islands of "Cipangu" in the Late Middle Ages; and both Christober Columbus and Giovanni Caboto accidentally bumped into America while trying to sail for the harbours of Japan. Oh, and the sailors in 1543 weren't shipwrecked, they were just blown off course while sailing for China. As for the rest, it's mostly accurate. The Chinese didn't try to be isolationist, they just wanted to limit European meddling in Chinese affairs, particularly as the Europeans were pushing drugs. Japan had been very open to European trade in the late 1500s and early 1600s, but by the mid 1600s the Shogun saw what was happening. These damned foreigners were buggering everything up with their armaments trade, Christian proseltysing, and taking sides in internal Japanese conflict, often with disastrous results. The Shimambra Rebellion against the Shogunate in 1637, for instance, was a catastrophe for the Shogun's forces as the rebels were armed and reinforced by firearm-wielding Europeans. So in 1635, the Shogun closed of all contact with the outsiders, expelling all foreigners bar a few Chinese and Dutch merchants on an island in Nagasaki harbour. Having used European technology to unify Japan, the Japanese then cut off relations. Well, mostly.

But by 1637, the spread of Christianity in Japan caused a retaliation and persecution of Christians. Japan then closed its doors to the West and kept only one port, Nagasaki (hit with an atom bomb in 1945), open for merchants from China and the Netherlands. 1635, Andy. Not 1637. Points off for whining about persecution of Christians, when the main reason the Japanese isolated themselves was that the new Edo Shoguns feared that if their newly-conquered subjects got their hands on European guns, Japan would descend back into civil wars. He mentions the atom bomb again. If I was Japanese, I'd be really, really pissed off now. Even more so than we all are already. Andy seems to think that there is nothing worth telling in Japanese history that doesn't involve mushroom clouds sprouting over civilians. We'll discuss why the Americans dropped the atom bombs at the appropriate point in these shitty, god-awful diatribes, so suffice it to say for now that Andrew Layton Schlafly is, by dint of gloating over The Bomb, an absolute ****.

American Commodore Matthew Perry attempted to break the isolation of Japan by sailing into Edo (Tokyo) harbor in 1853. His trip was successful, causing the Treaty of Kanagawa to be signed in 1854 to allow the United States to use two ports and also to open an embassy. European nations then gained similar access by 1860.

Ahh, Commodore Perry and his "Black Ships". Let's start singing "Please, Hello" from Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures.

"Last time we visit too short,"

"This time we visit for slow!"

"Last time we come, come with warships,"

"Now with more ships,"

"Say Hello!"

[Gotta love Sondheim!!] Anyway, Andy completely ignores that Commodore Perry's mission was a classic example of Victorian "gunboat diplomacy", whereby the Westerners turned up with big smiles and trade agreements, and persuaded local societies to sign grotesquely unfair trade agreements by pointing guns at them. Perry wasn't the first to try and open up relations with Japan - the Russians and Dutch had tried but were fired at as they tried to enter Nagasaki harbour, while European cartography expeditions were repeatedly driven away. In 1854 Perry muscled his way into Yokohama harbour with a fleet of steamships and at gunpoint, forced the Japanese to sign the Convention of Kanagawa, whereby Japan was forced to open its ports to Western trade. The Russians, Dutch, French, British, and Americans all signed separate treaties with the Japanese. The Japaense, keeping an eye on what was happening at that moment to the ailing and embattled Qing Empire over in China, saw the writing on the wall, and realised that to avoid becoming the West's next target, they had to join the West.

Japan urbanized during the 1700s, causing families to leave farms and begin to work in cities, and some of the Japanese women worked in city jobs for the first time. The Pogo-Stick of History™ now jumps us back to the 1700s. Why? Why is this here?

The Japanese ultimately revolted against the Tokugawa shogun, which abdicated power in November 1867. The cause was complaints about too much foreign influence. A new emperor Mutsuhito established the Meiji government in the spring of 1868, which lasted until 1912. During this Meiji period feudal lords gave their land back to the emperor, and Mutsuhito industrialized Japan, strengthened its national military, centralized its government and established universal public education. In the late 1800s the Japanese produced coal and built railroads and many factories. By the early 1900s Japan was a world power that could compete militarily and economically with the greatest nations in the world. The Meiji Restoration, whereby Japan quickly Westernised, was dominated by urbanisation, rapid industrialisation, and cultural Westernisation. A large Western-trained, Western-organised, Western-equipped army crushed the traditionalists - the remaining samurai - in the Satsuma Rebellion. The Shogun was forced to resign and the Emperor established a quasi-democratic parliament, which ratified Japan's first constitution. Western investment in railways and factories greatly boosted the Japanese economy until, in 1898, the Westerners acknowledged Japan's new status by removing the last of the Unequal Treaties of commerce. It's too late of Andy to now praise Japan as a great nation. We all know what he thinks.

Japan first defeated China, which had invaded Korea in 1894. Japan beat the Chinese back, causing them to retreat from Korea and then Japan invaded and conquered Manchuria in the Sino-Japanese War. The peace treaty (signed in 1895) gave the Pescadores Islands and Taiwan to Japan. Andy proves his lack of knowledge in basic Korean history. No, China came to suppress the Donghak Peasant Revolution, which left 300,000 Koreans dead. But Andy can't discuss this because HE DOESN'T KNOW!!! He also portrays the picture like Japan helped Korea. Well, why did the Japanese then kill 300,000 Koreans? To HELP them? Points off for showing off a lack of knowledge in the subject. Get it right, Andy.

Japan felt it was invincible. It next took on Russia and defeated it in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. Japan destroyed the Russian fleet and received control of the southern portion of the Chinese Eastern Railway and a lease on the Liaodong Peninsula, including Port Arthur, in its Treaty of Portsmouth with Russia. Russia withdrew from Manchuria and promised to stay out of Korea. The Russo-Japanese War of 1905 was a watershed in international relations. It revealed the hopeless state of the Russian military and precipitated an attempted revolution in St Petersburg, which was a major factor in the outbreak of the later 1917 Revolution. The Russian Pacific Fleet was destroyed and the Russian Baltic Fleet, which sailed all the way from St Petersburg, round Africa, and up into the Sea of Japan, arrived in such a ragged state that at the Battle of Tsushima Straits, the fleet was annhilated by the Japanese ironclads. Tsushima also changed the naval balance of power, which we'll discuss soon as it is crucial to understanding why the First World War began.

There was even more to Japan’s aggression. It took over Korea and annexed it to Japan in 1910. This alarmed the rest of the world, making everyone wonder if and when Japan would stop expanding. Japan took over Korea’s schools and taught the children in a way that favored Japan. Japan also took over the presses (media) in Korea, thereby controlling what was said. Japan completely dominated Korea. Japan’s land policies favored Japanese settlers. An underground nationalist movement in Korea began to grow, with resentment towards Japan. Andy continues with his unflattering portrayal of Japan. Yes, Japan was aggressive at this point in history - as was every other major power. This paragraph could replace "Japanese" with "British" or "French" or "American", and still be valid in their contexts. Note how he completely ignored American aggression at the Convention of Kanagawa, and is now picking on the Japanese.

The story of Japan can be summed up in one sentence: Japan started out as a target of imperialism and ended up as one of the most imperialistic nations of all.

Oh great. Why didn't Andy tell us this at the beginning? It would have saved a lot of time. Although it wouldn't have given him nearly enough opportunity to gloat over the atomic bombings of 1945.


Latin America[edit]

“Latin America” includes all of the Americas south of the United States. Put another way, Latin America consists of the Spanish-speaking countries plus Brazil, which speaks Portuguese. Poor Canada. It always gets overlooked when speaking of "the Americas". Andy gives us a geographical and linguistic definition of Latin America. Really Andy, one would have done. Oh, and a lot of US citizens speak Spanish too, so the latter definition is inaccurate (plus there's French Guiana, which speaks French, Guyana, which speaks English, and Suriname, which speaks Dutch). Petty, but it had to be said.

Prosperity did not come to Latin America when the people won their independence from European powers. Even after successful revolutions, land ownership remained in the control of a very small group of people. Even today, in Mexico almost half of the nation’s wealth is owned by only 10% of its population, and 20% of the people earn too little to pay for a healthy diet. The country as a whole is not poor, it is just that the wealth is poorly distributed. Is Andy sympathising with the Latins, or slagging them off? It's hard to tell. For a man who worships Adam Smith more than Jesus, it's curious that Andy suddenly ascends the revolutionary pulpit to preach about unequal wealth distribution. Isn't that what he wants?

For hundreds of years, Latin Americans have accepted rule by an elite, and often corrupt, few. The revolutionary leaders ruled as caudillos (dictators). Eventually democracy took root, but a narrow few would still hold power no matter what the outcome of the voting was. This could be said about any society, anywhere in the world, at any point in human history. Putting it in here just paints South America as an irretreivably corrupt continent. Nice, Andy.

Few Latin American countries developed their own economies and banking after obtaining independence. Instead, they would import goods from the United States and Europe and take on large foreign debt that they would be unable to pay. Latin American countries did begin to export agriculture to the United States and Europe once the refrigerated car was invented in 1882, which kept the food from spoiling. The weather seasons are the opposite in South America from the United States, enabling us to purchase fresh fruit in the wintertime from South American countries such as Chile. Ahh, how predictable. It's Uncle Sam to the rescue! Apparently with refrigerated railway cars. Strange. Andy doesn't seem to know that agriculture is a concept and an activity, not a product which can be shipped around. Finally, he reduces South America to Uncle Sam's breadbasket, and implies that Latin Americans are only good for providing overweight Americans with melon boats at Christmas. Really, why do we care about the Southern Hemisphere's metereological systems? Andy hasn't mentiond weather before. Why now? Perhaps he's just running out of things to write about Latin America.

United States President James Monroe ended European imperialism in Latin America with his famous “Monroe Doctrine” in 1823, which demanded that Europe not colonize any more areas in the Western Hemisphere. Britain quickly agreed and the other European countries followed suit. Spain pulled out of its last remaining colonies (Cuba and Puerto Rico) in 1901, when the United States defeated it in the six-week-long Spanish-American War. All that the Monroe Doctrine did was switch South America from European imperialism to American imperialism, effectively becoming a continental-scale protectorate of the United States. Andy makes it sound as though James Monroe was a crusading hero who made the cowardly British back down in cringeing terror. In reality, it was a negotiated settlement whereby Britain retained exclusive commercial rights to import cheap food from South America - then, as now, a crucial exporter of food without which British city-dwellers would have starved - in exchange for import monopolies of British goods, while the United States got the exclusive right to meddle in the continent's political affairs. Of course, nobody asked the South Americans. Andy then misses out half of the nineteenth century in order to fast-forward to the Spanish-American War of 1898; an imperial gamble if ever there was one.

Some in Latin America complain about imperialism by the United States there. After the French unsuccessfully attempted in the 1880s to build a canal across the thin isthmus of Panama to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Americans were ready to apply our “can do” determination and innovation to the project. President Teddy Roosevelt rejected a demand by Colombia to sell the land to us, and waited until after Panama won its independence from Colombia. Panama then granted the United States a ten-mile-wide path across its country. The United States completed the Panama Canal in 1914 and it became an instant success for shipping. Look at the phrasing here - Andy implies that the French are a bunch of bumbling morons for being unable to dig a little ditch. The Isthmus of Panama is big, and it's mountainous. While it looks insignificant on a wall map, it was bloody hard to excavate, even with the massive steam-powered machines of the 1880s and the engineers who had built the Suez Canal. Andy can shove his "can do" determination back up the orifice from which he pulled it - the American completion of the canal was an economic venture to gain exclusive ownership rights (as Britain and France had done with Suez), not a "roll-our-sleeves-up" Sunday outing. There was no innovation either - the Americans simply re-excavated the French ditch using railways to carry away the earth and rocks. Oh, and lest we forget, some 20,000 workers - South Americans, Chinese, Africans, and Irish - died during its construction, mostly from disease.

Democratic President Jimmy Carter arranged for the United States to agree to give the canal back to Panama, even though Americans paid for its construction, beginning in 1979 and culminating in 1999. President Carter claimed the canal was part of improper imperialism or colonization by the United States in Latin America. In New Jersey, a Republican Senator who favored the give-back treaty was defeated in his own primary for reelection, reflecting enormous public disapproval of the treaty. Today Panama allows communist China to run the canal, making many wonder if the United States would even be able to use it in wartime. Oh, Christ on His Cross. We're back on the AndyTrack corporation's flagship locomotive, the "Train of Thought", which has yet again derailed. Why is he wittering on about Jimmy Carter? This is meant to be about nineteenth-century South America, not the 1970s Oval Office! Notice the cheap snipe at the Democrat Party - it's been a while since we last saw that. Andy also comes out as a supporter of colonialism ("Grr, we paid for it, it's our land! Who cares what the natives think?"), before wheeling out some nameless Republican, bitching about the Chinese, and finally revealing that he thinks this is still 1905, and control of shipping lanes is vital to national defence. Honestly, Andy. We don't fight wars like that anymore. We have these things called "aeroplanes". The Pentagon released a new strategic defence plan back in 2007 which revealed that the USA has the ability to deploy military forces to any part of the planetary surface - including central Antarctica - from bases in the United States, within 24 hours' notice. And only the Americans have that ability. When Uncle Sam has that sort of power, who cares about ownership of a canal? Catch up, Andy.

The Monroe Doctrine has an important corollary today, known as the Roosevelt Corollary, announced by the aggressive President Teddy Roosevelt in 1904. Under the Roosevelt Corollary the United States may intervene in and occupy any country in Latin America to protect interests of the United States. Communism remains a threat to the United States in the Latin American countries of Cuba and Venezuela, and very recently the president of Venezuela (Hugo Chavez) called President Bush the “devil” in a speech given before the United Nations. In December 2006, Chavez then won reelection in Venezuela by a 61-38% margin (based on early election returns), and promised more socialism for that country and perhaps others in the region. Now AndyTrack's favourite locomotive is reversing back to 1904. He snipes at Theodore Roosevelt for daring to support colonialism, even though Andy has been praising it so far, and then returns to dropping cluster-bombs of political rhetoric on communists. Honestly Andy, can you go five minutes without screaming "Red Alert"? The tangent about Hugo Chavez is completely irrelevant here, but we can actually agree with Andy. Chavez was wrong to call Dubya the Devil. Being the Dark Lord of the Infernal Legions of Hell, controlling a vast web of evil and subversion against the petty, emotionally unstable Judeao-Christian God, requires substantial wit, intelligence, and a modicum of charm. But Georgey Boy, as we all know, has all the intelligence and appeal of a decomposing turd.


In India, the story is of British imperialism followed by Indian nationalism and independence. Beginning as early as the 1600s, the British established trading posts in India. When the Mughal empire weakened in the 1700s, British influence (especially the East India Company) became more influential. By the early 1800s British dominance over the subcontinent was immense. The British imposed rules that limited the internal operations of the Indian economy, and the British decimated the local Indian industry in handmade textiles by flooding the market with cheap manufactured clothing from Britain. A famine resulted when the British displaced many farmers in India through economic changes similar to what happened in Africa, with cash-crop and big business plantation techniques destroying small farms.

All of the European powers in the 1600s - the English/British, Dutch, French, Swedes, and Portugese (but not the Spanish, who were prohibited by the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas) - established trading stations on the Indian coasts, not just the English. The Mughal Empire had unified most of India barring the southern tip of the triangle, and was a very fair regime. The Mughal Raj tolerated multiple religions, defended the Empire against raiders from Afghanistan, and established friendly commercial and diplomatic relations with the Europeans and other southeast Asians. However, the reign of Aurangzeb (1658-1707) saw a weakening of the Empire as he tried to conquer the southern areas of India. His military campaigns overtaxed the population and - in an echo of what had happened to the Romans - local governors sought to break away from the Empire. Internally, he implemented Islamic law across the entire Mughal realm, which hardly went down well among the Hindus and Sikhs. Andy could have had a great time here talking about the horrors of tax and Islam - but because he didn't do his homework, he's lost that opportunity. By the time of his death in 1707, the Mughal Empire was crumbling as various regions looked to their own economies and defence, and sought their own trade agreements with the Europeans, rather than listening to central government in (Old) Delhi. The Maratha Confederacy and the Kingdom of Mysore emerged as rivals to the decaying Mughal Empire, while other areas fractured into local fiefdoms. British expansion into India followed, but as happened in West Africa, this was not an aggressive invasion against an organised native society but a filling-in of a local power vacuum. Local elites, fearing that the breakdown of Mughal rule would destroy them, frequently invited the British to come in and take over. It worked well for both sides - the local Indians received military protection by the East India Company's private army, and the Company saw its profits soar. Better to live under foreign order, many Indian elites concluded, than to live under domestic chaos.

Of course, it wasn't all so happy and nice. In Bengal, the richest province of the old Mughal realm, the East India Company pursued aggressive expansion against the Mughals and Marathas. Andy could have mentioned the 1757 Battle of Plassey, when the Company defeated the last Mughal field army and took all of Bengal. He could even have thrown in a cute factoid. After the Battle of Plassey the British commander, Robert Clive, acquired a pet tortoise which he called Adwaita. Adwaita lived at Alipore Zoo in India and in 2000, for his two hundred and fiftieth birthday, the zoo staff made him a special birthday cake of bread, lettuce leaves, and his favourite flower petals. Isn't that adorable!! When he died in 2006, the BBC ran a story on him and The Times even published a full obituary complete with an eighteenth-century painting of Robert Clive holding a young tortoise thought to be Adwaita himself. Isn't that amazing!!!

Alright, back to Andy. Not nearly as cute as Adwaita. By the late 1700s the East India Company had assumed, either through direct rule or indirect rule through allied princes, control of around a third of the subcontinent, mostly the coasts. Diplomacy with the Kingdom of Mysore broke down and Arthur Wellesley - later the Duke of Wellington - defeated Mysore's ruler, the Tipu Sultan, at the Siege of Seringapatam in 1803. When Wellesley was recalled to fight the French in Europe, the Company ruled half of India. Through careful diplomacy and outright war over the next forty years (including the conquest of Sindh by Charles Napier, who didn't bother telling London what he was up to until he had already conquered the region), the Company acquired control of essentially all of what is now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. British economic policies did indeed devastate the Indian textile industry, while cash-cropping (the practice of cultivating crops for sale on the market - like coffee, cotton, tobacco, tea, and opium for sale in China - rather than edible food crops) did cause famines in regions of India. Uttar Pradesh, a region close to the Himalayas and previously India's breadbasket, experienced such food shortages that the population rose up in armed rebellion throughout the early 1850s, put down by Sikh troops in the Company army. Bear this in mind - as well as the fact that India was ruled by a corporation rather than a national government - as it is crucial to understanding the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

When the Civil War broke out in America, and the South expected Britain to intervene on its side in order to protect the production of cotton, Britain turned to Indian cotton instead. Britain also benefited from many other forms of agriculture or raw materials from India: indigo, coffee, tea, jute and even opium (now an illegal drug). The British would profit by selling the opium to the Chinese, which caused addiction and severe problems for China. Britain actually turned to Egyptian cotton, and continued exporting manufactured textiles to India, as India's cotton plantations had not yet grown to maximum productivity.

To be fair, the British also brought immense improvements in India, building roads, railroads, hospitals, schools, and improving the overall infrastructure and sanitation. The British also encouraged Christian missionaries in India, although they had only limited success in converting Indians from Hinduism and Islam, both of which remain more popular than Christianity there. The British also brought the English language to India, where it is spoken widely today. Certainly the British conferred enormous benefits on India, and there is a friendly relationship between the two countries to this day. The two nations have a friendly rivalry in cricket, which is the British counterpart of American baseball. Hmm. The legacies of the British Raj are as mixed as any colonial legacy. Yes, the British brought development to India - but India had already been developed before the British turned up. That's the whole reason the British occupied India - they wanted control of an already-rich, heavily-populated, advanced society. What the British did was try to remould India in their own image. But lest we fell tempted to slag off the British, bear in mind that very frequently they were invited in as the lesser of two evils, the Indian elites preferring British order to no order at all. Andy is right that Britain and India continue to have close ties, as our histories for the last three centuries have been closely intermingled. Britain changed India, and India changed Britain. It is no coincidence that the official language of India is English, while the national dish of Britain is chicken tikka masala. Empire is a two-way process. Andy's attempt to compare cricket to baseball is hopeless. He evidently doesn't know what cricket is, and the British game closer to baseball is called Rounders. But hey, baseball is a British invention of the mid 1700s (although there is evidence that we simply stole the idea from the French). So there, Andy. Do your damned research.

In fact, Christianity pre-dates the British Empire in India by a long way. The Oriental Orthodox religion was established in Kerala, a state in south-west India, very early in the history of Christianity, reputedly by St Thomas ("Doubting Thomas"). The Portuguese, who established trading posts in western India in the 15th Century, introduced Roman Catholicism. Nowadays, about 5% of Indians are Christian, mostly in the southern states, and the majority of these are Catholic. Christianity continues to be the most common religion in Kerala. Outside Kerala, most Christians belong to the poorest, most downtrodden castes, but some have achieved distinction as politicians, academics and sportsmen. The Christian churches - Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant - have an important role in running charities such as hospitals and schools in India, especially the South, second only to the Gandhian movement. Oh, Christianity. We'd been wondering what role Republican Jesus played in all of this. Andy loses points for discussing modern Christianity (using Schlafly Statistics!) and misrepresenting the caste system. He did the same in Lecture Three. Oh well, at least he didn't start harping upon about the Indian "Best of the Public".

British rule in India lasted for a 200-year period known as the Raj (1757-1947). Inevitable demands for independence in India began as early as 1857, when Indian soldiers (“sepoys”) acquired new cartridge-based rifles. Soldiers were instructed to bite off the cartridge seals before loading the cartridges into the rifles and firing them. But then a rumor spread that the cartridges were sealed with beef fat (prohibited by Hinduism) and pork fat (prohibited by Islam). Many were angered by this rumor, and in the Sepoy Rebellion or Sepoy Mutiny, Indians revolted against the British in northern India. The British suppressed it and continued to rule India directly.

Oh my. Serious misunderstanding of the Indian Mutiny.

Let's recap. By 1857, the British East India Company was in control of virtually all of the Indian subcontinent. This was largely due to its private army of Sepoy troops, and good relations between the British and Indians. In the 1700s, the British had been obliged to intermingle with the Indians - there were few Britons other than soldiers, traders, and bureaucrats, and so British officers and elites mixed in Indian society. They ate Indian food, married Indian women, and through constant exposure to Indian culture, gained tolerance and respect for native society. Yet by the 1840s, British immigration to India had reached self-sustaining levels, whereby a native white population had become established. British elites increasingly married British women, lived in British-style houses in British-style districts, and in every way created mini-Britains in which to wall themselves up. A gulf opened between the British and the Indians. At the same time, the Company's Board of Directors, in penny-pinching moves precipitated by a fall in share prices, implemented a series of reforms to the Sepoy army. These included ending the free mail system, officially prohibiting Indians from serving as officers, and requiring that Sepoy troops be available for deployment overseas. These did not go down well, especially combined with the ongoing food riots and economic downturn. At the same time, rumours began to spread that the British planned to end their toleration of Hinudism and Islam, and were marshalling the Sikhs as a native army with which to transform India along foreign lines. When the British deposed the last Mughal Emperor - who had been hanging on as a somewhat useful ceremonial figurehead - the situation was already extremely volatile. The rumour about pork and beef fat on the musket cartridge-papers (a rumour which, depending on which history book you read, is claimed to be either true or false) was the final straw and when Sepoy soldiers refused to bite the papers, their officers retailated with floggings and executions. The Sepoys responded with an armed uprising which, within weeks in the summer of 1857, resulted in outbreaks of violence in many areas of India. British officers and civilians were killed, and the mutineers attempted to foment a continental-scale uprising.

The mutiny, though, never caught on across all of India. The Sikhs stuck by the British, as did the majority of the Indian population. The Indian Mutiny was an overwhelmingly military affair, as civilians still preferred British rule to the threat of civil war if the British left. The Company did eventually end the mutiny, as military uprisings fizzled out when the mutineers realised they had no civilian support and occasionally - as at kKndahar - the population actually supported the Company. It died down rather quickly, and its biggest legacy was that the British government removed the Company from power and assumed State control of India.

Finally, the claim that the british ruled India directly, is simply not true. This is a legend exacerbated by British imperial cartography, which showed India in a bright British red. But in truth, most of India was ruled indirectly by local princes and potentates who were allied with the British, ruling on behalf of Britain in exchange for British military protection.

I grow tired of saying this, Andy. Get it right.

There were peaceful calls for independence for India dating back from the early 1800s. Educated leaders such as Ram Mohun Roy sought an end to the caste system and the practice of sati by widows who would throw themselves on the funeral pyres of their deceased husbands. The British did prohibit sati and it is debatable how widespread that practice really was. In the late 1800s, a nationalist group called the Indian National Congress formed to demand independence, and in the early 1900s the Muslim League made similar demands. Sati, or suttee, was a practice which had died out in India before the British appeared. It only cropped up, with extreme rarity, in ceremonies for the very richest princes. It's unclear why Andy chose to mention this, only to say that "it is debatable how widespread that practice was".

But all attempts at independence for India failed throughout the 1800s because of religious divisions. The Hindus and Muslims could never agree, and the Sikhs, a military offshoot of the Hindus that resisted Islam, remained loyal to the British. Real independence for India would not occur until after World War II, in the middle of the 20th century. There were many reasons that India did not gain independence until the mid-twentieth century, involving factors in Britain and India itself. If we must be Reductivist about this, let's sum it up for Andy. In the 1800s the Indians didn't want the British to go, and in the 1900s the British didn't want to let the Indians go. There we go, Andy. A nice little snippet like your one on Japan.

Southeast Asia[edit]

As trade expanded beyond Africa and India to Southeast Asia, so did imperialism. Britain established a trading post and supply station at Singapore, the French acquired influence over Indochina, the Dutch grabbed Indonesia, and the Germans dominated New Guinea, the Marshalls, and the Solomons. The United States even got into this game, as it acquired the Philippines and Hawaiian Islands. The only country that successfully resisted western imperialism was Siam, which is now Thailand. It was respected as a buffer zone between the British colony of Burma and the French colony of Indochina. In a sense that gave Siam the best of both worlds: it enjoyed western advances in technology (hospitals, railroads, communications, etc.) while retaining its own culture. Andy's choice of vocabulary here is... interesting. "Grabbed", "dominated", "game". He makes Victorian imperialism sound like a game of Hungry Hippos. People died, Andy. A lot of people. Unless he is tacitly referring to "The Great Game", but as that is geographically and chronologically specific, and as he has never heard of it, that is unlikely. As for his shopping-list of countries; Siam did indeed resist direct colonisation but was, like Persia, heavily influenced by the British via the East India Company. Hasn't Andy seen Anna and the King, or even Disney's "The King and I"? Come on, one's got Jodie Foster and one has songs. Something for everyone there! Note his brief mention of American imperialism as something of a jolly jape. Nice.

The story of French imperialism in Southeast Asia is simple: since the 1800s France has dominated several countries, including Vietnam, known as French Indochina. Rubber and rice were the key crops for France, and the harvesting and exporting of these crops caused Vietnamese to resent the French. In the mid-1900s, communists in Vietnam overthrew French influence and forced the United States to pull out of the country also. Oh, so the British Empire warrants the better part of an entire Lecture (damn right, considering how much, for better or for worse, the Imperium Britannicum influenced the world we live in today), but the French Empire is reduced to "simple". The French Empire was every bit as influential as the British - we can but assume that, not speaking French, Andy has deemed it unworthy of investigation. His claim that rubber and rice were important is ridiculous. Europeans didn't care about rubber until the end of the nineteenth century while rice was far too bulky and low-value to be a worthwhile export, and like all European colonists, the French were more interested in valuable resources like minerals, and acquiring colonies for strategic purposes. And let's not forget that the French had their share of generals who would telegram Paris to say they had just acquired some new territory, and the French government was now lumbered with it. Andy decides to end this little snippet by mentioning Dien Bien Phu and bowdlerising the Vietnam War. Exemplary, young Master Schlafly. It's a shame there isn't a grade lower than F. But probably safer. Andy's grades would require a whole new alphabet.

The Dutch had influence over Indonesia beginning in the 1600s, enjoying full dominance by the 1800s over this region, calling it the Dutch East Indies. The Dutch harvested rubber and extracted tin and oil from the area. Many Dutch immigrated to the region and worked in trading posts and managed plantations.

Why didn't Andy mention the East Indies first? That would have made much more sense. Note his implicit claim that as far back as the 1600s, the Dutch were extracting oil. What the hell would people in the seventeenth century do with petroleum? Try to remain in reality, Andy. He also neglects to mention that Indonesia became one of the world's biggest exporters of rubber under the Dutch in the late 1800s - he's been wittering on about the stuff for ages, but in the one place he would be justified in mentioning it, he doesn't.


The British, meanwhile, took control of the port of Malaysia, Burma and the port of Singapore near the Malay Peninsula. This region had a surplus of rubber, teak and tin. The British attracted many Chinese immigrants to this region, who eventually outnumbered the native Malay people and conflict with them to this day. Whoops, here's rubber again! And in the wrong place. Again. He also has a preoccupation with tin. Is it the only metal he knows?

The United States engaged in some imperialism of its own around 1900 in acquiring the Philippines (and also Puerto Rico and Guam) from Spain as a result of the Spanish-American War. Separately, the United States also picked up Hawaii (also spelled as Hawai’i), even making it a state after World War II. Again, note the language here. "picked up Hawaii". By "picked up", Andy means "annexed". That's a more appropriate word. Annexed from the natives. Speaking of American treatment of natives, where's the discussion of American imperialism on the continental landmass? Where's Manifest Destiny? Where's the Battle of Wounded Knee? Where's the Trail of Tears? The Native Americans always get overlooked in these colonial discussions, even though they suffered just as much. Why Andy neglects to mention them, points to something dark in his heart. Note, again, the representation of America merely dabbling in a bit of light colonialism, like a Sunday afternoon parlour game. This is getting ugly.

In 1899, Emilio Aguinaldo led an intense rebellion against the United States in order to establish independence for the Philippines (the “Filipinos”). The insurgents were brutal and unrelenting in their tactics and the American commanders concluded that they simply had to kill them all to suppress the rebellion, which the Americans did, causing some criticism back in the United States. But the Philippines are probably a free and Christian nation today as a result of that decision not to let the insurgents take control of it. American businesses did exploit the Philippines, displacing farms with large sugar plantations. But Americans also vastly improved the island. Decades later the United States granted the Philippines its full independence.

Right. Sod it, I don't care how badly damaged the thing is, I'm getting on my soapbox again.

Andy's portrayal of the Filipinos is unflattering in the extreme. In his view, they "were brutal and unrelenting", and therefore warranted total extermination at the hands of the Americans. This man has just spent a Lecture pointing out all of the ghastly things thaw we Europeans did in the Victorian Era - namely his favourite next-door neighbours, the British - but when it comes to discussing American imperialism, all of a sudden America is the sweet, innocent, sinless country which was savagely attacked by hordes of slavering natives. And lest I be accused of slagging off the Americans wholesale, Andy covers me on that by referring to the extremely vocal American population at the time who rightly decried the atrocities being carried out by their government; something he reduces to "some criticism".

The job of a historian is to represent what they believe, based on the evidence, happened in the past. Subjectivity is frowned upon, but in issues like imperialism and colonialism it is impossible to avoid getting caught up in the moral issues, which are still extremely powerful today. That has been evidenced by my responses thus far to Andy's shit - I have tried to remain relatively neutral when possible, but as a black Briton discussing the nineteenth century, it is impossible for me to avoid taking sides (which one, I'm not sure). But while this subjectivity is not entirely appropriate from any historian, it is made slightly less unacceptable when it is applied to all scenarios - hence we have thus far criticised the policies pursued by the British, the French, the Dutch, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Russians, and the Americans (or at least, their governments; which are not always representative of the poeple). Andy has also done this, but when it comes to the Americans, he tries to weasel out by portraying the US of A as a noble nation untainted by sin. The American government at the time was every bit as bad as regimes in Europe. And this is not simply a case of Presentism, imposing modern morals on the past - the existence of Abolition and anti-Imperial societies throughout the nineteenth century are evidence that at least some people at the time thought that what their governments were doing was wrong. By deliberately misrepresenting the United States' involvement in imperialism, Andy is morally repugnant. And what makes this even worse is the fact that he couches it in such jolly language. They "picked up Hawaii", and the Filipinos were "brutal and unrelenting". This sort of shit is precisely why the Fundafascist version of history is to be purged. If a new generation of Republican dickheads grow up believing that the United States is, and always has been, a flawless country, then the mistakes and atrocities of history will just come round again. Andy is not merely making mistakes - he is deliberately lying in order to peddle the vision of America as the saviour of humanity. Well that's simply not true, and the more that crap is perpetuated, the more non-Americans view the United States - just as they viewed the Europeans - as arrogant, condescending, and completely uninterested in the world beyond the US border. That's a deeply unpleasant situation for all of us. The lieks of Andrew Schlafly are not representative of the entire United States population, not by a long shot, but they are a large and very vocal group, and the more they push their bullshit on the world, the more the world pushes back.

Most of these Lectures have been facepalmingly bad or rather funny - we've all had a few laugh-out-loud moments. But this is, after Andy's version of the Crusades (I, unlike Andy, actually served in the War on Terror as a younger and more politically naive man, and find it sickening that his type praise the horrific slaughter that I witnessed), the only time that I have actually been angry at the Conservapedian vision of history. And not simply because it's so downright offensive, but because lying about the past only sows the seeds for the tragedies of history to be repeated in the future. I write these responses to the lectures in the hope that a few people on both sides of the fence will share my glimpse into the Fundafascist mind - something which rarely comes out in scientific debates - and I am extremely pleased to hear from other RationalWiki users that they actually do read this stuff. It is vital that we refute this sort of bullshit if we want to stop going round in historical cycles of violence and hatred - the violence and hatred which, all too often, is spawned in response to the sort of crass, heartless, propaganda-filled shit which Andrew Schlafly spouts.

American businesses also set up sugar plantations in Hawaii. They demanded that Hawaii be annexed to the United States so that the businesses could avoid paying high tariffs on sugar imports. In 1893 Queen Liliuokalani, a native Hawaiian, attempted to increase the political power of herself and the natives at the expense of the Americans on the island, but the American businesses overthrew her and in 1898 Hawaii was annexed to the United States as a territory. It became our 50th state in 1959. An interesting bit of trivia is that one spot in Hawaii has the most rainfall in the entire United States (460 inches of rain per year, or an average of more than one inch of rain per day). Oh great, so we end with a pointless bit of trivia. Here's another Hawaiian factoid for loyal Conservapedians - Barack Obama was born there. Deal with it.

Early Modern Period[edit]

We now enter the Modern era in world history: from 1900 to today. In this lecture we will cover from 1900 to World War I.

Dear me. When historians refer to the "Modern Period", they mean the late fifteenth century to the Present (or, depending on where among the historians you plant your flag, to the mid-twentieth century before the "Postmodern Period"), with the "Early Modern Period" corresponding to some point between the 1500s-1600s, or 1500s-1700s. It most certainly does not refer to the twentieth century.

Note: following Andy's post-2008 reshuffling of the World History Lectures - a rather pointless attempt to restructure his crap without bothering to scrape out the bullshit - this is (as of September 2011) the beginning of Conservapedia's World History Lecture Eleven. I thought about amending these RationalWiki copies to match Conservapedia, but frankly I can't be arsed. So let's crack on.

Rivalries in Europe[edit]

The relationship among European nations was strained and tense at the turn of the 20th century (1900). They had much to disagree about. The imperialism cause conflicts to arise. Economic competition intensified, and the quest for raw materials like gold, oil and agriculture heightened the tension. Andy is right here (thanks for letting us know what year the twentieth century began, too). In 1800 Europe was disparate and squabbling - in 1900 Europe was disparate and squabbling, but by this time the major nations had industrialised, acquired colonial empires, and seen rapid population growth. We'll try to ignore Andy's rather bizarre grammar ("the imperialism cause conflicts to arise" - what?) and admit that he is accurate in stating that economic competition between the Europeans had intensified signifincantly. In 1815 at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Britain led the world - by far - in economic output and merchant shipping. Yet by 1900, the economies of Germany, the United States, and France had caught up with (and in some areas like coal and steel, outpaced) Britain, and merchant and naval fleets were much more diversified. Andy's grocery list is wrong - yet again, he thinks agriculture is a commodity - as oil was not a significant military resource (warships used coal or diesel, and tanks hadn't yet been invented), and gold was not worth fighting over by 1914. Western economies were moving away from the Gold Standard, whereby the value of currency remained relative to how many bars of shiny yellow metal were in the Treasury, and were increasingly determined by commercial rates and industrial averages, like the contemporary Dow Jones or Nasdaq. Andy neglects to mention the severe financial crisis of 1887, precipitated by the collapse of the French Panama Canal Company and its domino-effect on world banks, which, like the crises of 1928 and 2007, buggered up the global finance markets. This simply intensified the ferocity of global trading, prompting nations to try to outfox one another in order to survive in the increasingly dog-eat-dog financial jungle of the late nineteenth century.

Nationalism increased, whereby the countries of Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russian, France and Italy began to feel pride in themselves and dislike for the others. The balance of power that was set up after Napoleon was no longer effective. It seemed inevitable that a future Napoleon-like dictator would try to rule the world again. In sum, there were three causes of increased rivalries among European nations: nationalism, militarism and imperialism. Remember those three causes of problems. At first, Andy is half-right. Nationalism in Europe did indeed intensify. Historians disagree as to the reasons why, but they generally point to such things as wars (the Crimean War, the Franco-Prussian War, etc) solidifying popular identity, and the increasing economic, financial, military, and imperial equilibrium of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Japan creating a sense of belonging. Simultaneously, pro- and anti-reform movements in the major countries, along with the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, engendered a sense of national identity as Britons, French, Turks, Americans, Germans, etc. It's unclear why Andy then goes on to say that a dictator was imminent. Why? Why was that inevitable, Andy? Andy was just harping on about the Balance of Power as a means to prevent any one power from gaining hegemony - now he's contradicting himself. As usual.

Nations built up massive militaries, and bragged about them. Germany sought to have the largest navy to compete with Britain’s claim that it had the best navy. Rulers found it popular to have a huge standing army that could be mobilized at any time.

A professor of mine was fond of comparing the late nineteenth-century naval arms race to the computer race of the 1990s. You design a better machine to outdo your competitors, but before the first model even rolls off the assembly line, it's obsolete. This is exactly what was happening in the late 1800s. As this involves my namesake, indulge me while we examine the critical role of ironclads.

When the Napoleonic Wars ened in 1815, the Royal Navy was by far the dominant naval power. The Americans had scored several impressive victories against British warships in the War of 1812, but even the "Jonathans" (as, for some reason, the British called Americans at the time) couldn't compete with the sheer tonnage of ships operated by the Royal Navy. This continued until, in 1859, the French launched La Gloire. A wooden warship plated with iron armour (an "ironclad"), La Gloire instantly rendered the entire Royal Navy obsolete. Every British warship on the water could fire every cannon at La Gloire, and the cannonballs would just ping off the armour. Britain, never one to be outdone, responded the next year with HMS Warrior, and when both sides got the chance to play with their fancy new toys in the Crimean War (they never saw combat; the British and French Admiralties were far too wily to risk scuffing their shiny ships), the naval arms race began. For the remainder of the nineteenth century, Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Japan, China, Germany (after 1871), Spain, the Netherlands, and the United States, all raced to build fleets of ironclads. They believed that ships were vital to war; this was confirmed, in their minds, by Alfred Thayer Mahan's 1890 publication of The Influence of Sea Power upon History, a bestselling book which claimed that control of shipping lanes was vital to victory in war. Remember, all those merchant ships were ferrying raw materials and food from the colonies to feed and fuel the industrial cities of the West; if the enemy could disrupt your shipping, you wouldn't be in the war very long. Throughout the late 1800s, ironclad technology advanced by leaps and bounds. Better armour, better weapons, better engines, and each time a ship was launched, someone somewhere else was planning a better one. By 1887 the British government was spending 40% of its total annual budget on the Royal Navy, something which helped precipitate political reforms in that year, and the figure was much the same in other nations. And even though the Westerners didn't fight naval battles among themselves at this point to actually see whether their ships worked, they didn't dare cease warship construction. After all, nobody wants to be left with potentially inferior warships when your enemies are steaming towards you armed with God knows what. Through grotesque expenditure, the Royal Navy stayed a few steps ahead of the rest of the world, until 1905 changed the situation.

Recall earlier on, we discussed the Battle of Tsushima Straits between the Russian and Japanese navies. Well, I'll restrain my geeky excitement at talking about ironclads and simply state that the battle (which was watched by international military attachés on board the Japanese flagship) changed the course of the naval arms race. Prior to Tsushima, ironclads bristled with all sorts of guns of different calibres, and thick, heavy armour, in the anticipation that ironclad battles would be close-quarters fights like Trafalgar, a hundred years before. Yet Tsushima demonstrated that all of these different-sized guns and heavy armour were unnecessary - all that mattered were the big, long-range guns with which to pound the enemy from afar, and speed to run rings around the opposing fleet. To take advantage of these discoveries, Britain launched HMS Dreadnought in 1906; an "all-big gun" battleship which, like La Gloire forty years before, immediately rendered all other warships obsolete. However, this was a chronic oversight for the British as it effectively reset the counter to zero. The other nations no longer needed to build fleets of ironclads, they just needed to build dreadnoughts. Britain no longer had a lead of fifty or sixty ships, it had a lead of one ship, and the others were rapidly catching up. By this time Britain was no longer the industrial giant because, as Martin Daunton points out, the new generation of nouveaux-riches factory-owners and industrialists were more interested in pissing it up in London nightclubs and trying to hobnob with Old Money, than actually going in to work and improving their businesses. The result was that the German fleet quickly caught up with the British. And for Britain, which relied on hundreds of ships docking each ay to keep its population fed and fuelled, this was a very, very dangerous situation.

Now, as for the army. Technological improvements in ground forces had also rapidly progressed. Well, if you can call it progress. Take it from me; there's nothing impressive about artillery shells whistling towards you. Anyway, the technology of artillery in particular saw significant advances. In 1815, everyone was using muzzle-loading bronze cannons. The gunners rammed a load of gunpowder into the gaping cannon barrel, rolled in a spherical iron ball, ignited it with a burning stick, and prayed that it (a) hit the enemy and (b) didn't blow up in their faces. Alright, that's being mean to the skills of mathematically-trained gunners, but you know what I mean. By 1900, in comparison, the situation was totally different. The artillery used in 1914 would have looked like Martian death-rays to Napoleon's gunners. Artillery crews could fire much further, much faster, and had the ability to lob all sorts of nasty projectiles. Worst among these was basic shrapnel (named for Lieutenant Henry Shrapnel, a British artilleryman). These ugly buggers detonated a few metres above the ground and sprayed the area in a hail of viciously sharp steel pellets. Nasty little bastards. At the same time, infantry weapons had advanced. Gatling guns were long-gone by 1914; the Maxim machine-gun ruled, with its high rate of fire and simple operation allowing untrained soldiers to use it (recall how the French mitrailleuse, the secret weapon of the Franco-Prussian War, had frequently broken because crews didn't know how to use it). Rifles had come a long, long way. In 1815, your standard infantryman was equipped with a basic musket. It was loaded the same way as a cannon; a good soldier could fire three bullets a minute, to range of between twenty metres (vaguely accurate) and fifty metres (wildly inaccurate). By 1914, your average infantryman was equipped with a rifle with which an untrained soldier could fire fifty shots a minute, with a range of one hundred metres (very accurate) to three hundred metres (vaguely accurate). And let's not forget logistics. That infantryman in 1815 had to march everywhere on foot, eat whatever he could scavenge from the local population or the corrupt and tiny Commissariat, had little or no hope of medical care, and his commanders communicated by horse-rider. In 1914, the average infantryman was whisked at great distances and high speeds by train, ate regular supplies of tinned food, had whole divisions of aneasthetic- and antiseptic-equipped doctors and nurses behind him, and his commanders had instant communication via telegraph or telephone.

At least (for all of this), in theory.

So, thus was the military situation by 1914. But the soldier is merely a servant of the State. He fights only when his government tells him to. So why did they fight? Let's see what Andy claims.

The Problem with Alliances[edit]

You may recall that European nations entered into many alliances beginning as early as the fall of Napoleon (the “Concert of Europe” established at the Congress of Vienna). We Europeans have been fighting, warring, massacring, burning, torturing, and generally kicking the shit out of each other for thousands of years. Our alliances are just as old (Britain and Portugal, for instance, have been allies for the better part of a thousand years). Thank Christ for the European Union, whose presence helps ensure that we Europeans are now experiencing the longest period of peace in our continent's recorded history. Long may it remain so, and may it expand to the rest of our species. So Andy is wrong in claiming that European alliances are only as old as the Napoleonic Wars. Really, Andy. Not everyone is as parvenu as your version of the United States.

But later suspicions caused new alliances, some of them secret. German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck entered into the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary in 1879 as a way of protecting those countries against possible aggression by France. Italy joined this alliance against France in 1882, making it the Triple Alliance. He's actually right here. Secret diplomacy was one of the key causes of the First World War, even though everyone knew who was allied with whom. Austria-Hungary, recognising that it no longer ruled Central Europe, did indeed grow closer to Germany as Germany offered discount trade and preached pan-Germanic nationalism. Italy, a newcomer to the European arena, prevaricated between France and Germany. France had helped Italy unify, but French troops had prevented the Italians from incorporating Rome (until those French troops were withdrawn to throw against the Prussians in 1870). Plus, Italy and Austria weren't good neighbours as they were constantly squabbling over the Tyrol in the southern Alps. Italy's entrance into the Triple Alliance was half-hearted at best, and Rome maintained secret relations with Paris throughout.

Bismarck was a very skilled statesman and diplomat, and was one of the most influential in European history. He is credited with unifying Germany as a nation in the 1860s (ironically, while the United States was torn by the Civil War). Bismarck even arranged for wars against Denmark, then Austria and finally France to help unify the Germans. Unified as a nation in 1871, Germany made Bismarck its first Chancellor, whereupon he consolidated Germany’s power in Europe by entering into the above alliances with other countries. He was eventually forced to resign in 1890 after having a policy dispute with Wilhelm II, who as the “Kaiser” or Caesar of Germany wanted more power for himself. Bismarck indeed was an impressive, if unpleasant, statesman, and Andy should have discussed him properly in a dedicated section to France and/or the Franco-Prussian War. However his only mention of France in this Lecture was a single sentence - evidently he considers France unworthy of discussion (I bet he still orders "Freedom Fries" with his Big Mac) - so this segment comes as something of a surprise. We have fortunately covere the 1866 Prusso-Danish War and 1867 Prusso-Austrian War, so we don't need to rehash the Unification of Germany. Bismarck indeed fell foul of the jealous Kaiser Wilhelm II, who pushed for aggressive naval construction to rival the Royal Navy while Bismarck recommended not ruffling Britain's feathers. Of course, Andy didn't know that.

Kaiser Wilhelm II immediately ended Germany’s alliance with Russia, causing it to form an alliance with France in 1891. In 1907 Great Britain, feeling threatened by Germany’s growing navy, joined France and Russia in their alliance, or entente, and this became the Triple Entente. Britain was not expressly required to defend France and Russia, but it promised not to fight against them. Again, Andy is mostly right here. Shame he can't do this more often. Points off for not calling it the Entente Cordiale, though.

Therefore one powerful group of three nations (Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary), known as the Triple Alliance, stood against another powerful group of three nations (Britain, France and Russia), known as the Triple Entente. It was like one football team standing on a field opposite another football team, with both teams fully suited up. It doesn’t take much for someone to shout, “let’s play,” and the battle will begin.

Ohh, Andy. Master of Piss-Poor Analogies. The image of two teams of hunky, delightfully muscular American footballers psyched for a bit of rough-and-tumble (a lot of fun, but in bodybuilding we are spared the shattered bones) is a rather inappropriate setting for the cravat-wearing, cigarillo-smoking, quintessential 1890s English gentleman on the sidelines quipping "I say, chaps. Let's play!" It's also an inappropriately genial image for a war in which close to forty million people died.

Historians since 1914 have argued over whether the First World War was inevitable, and it would take us the rest of our lives to read all the literature written on the subject. Suffice it to say - at the risk of grossly generalising - that just because the two alliances existed didn't mean that war was imminent. There were much more significant diplomatic and geopolitical issues at stake in 1914, all of which collided at once. Hopefully Andy will shed some light on these, but let's not get our hopes up.

World War I Begins[edit]

Within ten years of the formation of those alliances, something did ignite a war. And what a devastating war it was. Never before in the history of the world was a war fought in such a deadly manner. With Christians on both sides, one might wonder how this could have happened. But this was long past the feudal times when fighting stopped on every Christian holiday. By 1914, leaders in both Germany on one side and Britain on the other had embraced concepts of survival-of-the-fittest, and many educated people felt that war was an essential part of the improvement of the human race. Let the stronger race win, according to this theory. Andy sounds as though he's about to break into the chorus from "Oh! What a lovely war!" He chooses, rather oddly, to mention Christians, and badly misrepresents the Feudal Age. Again. Considering that most of the days in the year are some sort of Christian festival (mostly Saints' days), it is frankly ridiculous to claim that medieval combatants stopped fighting on religious days. Anyway, why is he wittering on about the Middle Ages? Oh, and he obviously doesn't know that on Christmas Day 1914, there was an informal truce between both sides on the Western Front, with British and German soldiers playing games of football in the no-man's-land between the trenches. Points off for blaming Darwinian evolution for the outbreak of war 1914. Andy might as well go the whole hog and blame every conflict since 1859 on Darwin. Yeah, I remember that we all sat reading On the Origin of Species in the barracks, Andy. Just like our ancestors in 1914. Jesus Christ...

What Ignited the War[edit]

The Balkans in Eastern Europe was where the war began. The Ottoman empire had declined, leaving a power vacuum that European nations tried to fill. The Slavs in Serbia, with Russian support, wanted to unite all the Slavs in the Balkans. Austria-Hungary, which has a very small Slavic population, opposed this. Instead, Austria-Hungary wanted to control the Balkans rather than Russia. Andy is accurate that the war began in the Balkans, but wrong in asserting that there was a power vacuum. He then moves on to badly misrepresent the philosophy of Pan-Slavic nationalism. Austria-Hungary didn't want to let its Empire go, so Andy is at least right about this.

In 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia (and Herzogovina), a region adjacent to its southeast (and east of Italy across the Adriatic Sea). But Bosnia was mostly Slavic while Austria was not, and this greatly angered the Slavic Serbia, which wanted to take Bosnia back. Why did Austria act at this particular time? Because there was a rebellion by the Committee of Union and Progress (the so-called “Young Turks”) that overthrew the Ottoman government at that time, and the foreign minister Baron Aloys von Aerenthal saw a rare opportunity to act. Russia, which was Austria’s main adversary, was weakened by its defeat in the Russo-Japanese War and by an internal revolution in 1905. Austria-Hungary had controlled modern Bosnia and Herzegovina since the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and they were not a recent annexation as Andy implies. Andy surprises us by mentioning the coup d'etat by reformists in Istanbul - remember that all of the Eurasian empires at this time were split between reformists and traditionalists.

In January 1909, the chief of staff of the Austrian army approached his German counterpart and asked what Germany would do if Austria next invaded Serbia and caused Russia to intervene on behalf of Serbia. Despite the original defensive nature of the Austria-German alliance, the Germany army officer said Germany would back Austria and Germany would also invade France because it was Russia’s ally. This happened in the summer of 1914, as the struggle in the Balkans exploded into the First World War. Andy confuses the words "German" and "Germany", which is rich for a man who whines constantly about perceived decline in linguistic standards. His paragraph here is rather confusing, so let's just wait for the next section to discuss the outbreak of the war.

The War ignited on June 28, 1914, when the heir to the Austrian throne (Archduke Franz Ferdinand) was visiting the Bosnian capital city of Sarajevo along with his wife Sophie. It was an official visit, not a vacation, and crowds gathered to greet the couple. But a 19-year-old member of a youthful Bosnian resistance movement devoted to self-rule, Gavrilo Princip, shot the couple to death as they rode in an open automobile through the streets of Sarajevo. The killer was part of a large conspiracy and a bit earlier that day another member of the conspiracy had thrown a hand grenade at the Archduke. Princip was quickly captured and imprisoned, where he died of pneumonia a few years later.

The Black Hand's assassination of Franz Ferdinand was merely a pretext for military action. Let's briefly consider the positions of the two alliances.

  • The Entente Cordiale: France was extremely antagonistic towards Germany. Having been beaten in 1871, and having lost the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, pursued a moralistic crusade against its neighbour across the Rhine. Paris was itching for the chance to declare war on the national enemy and take back the provinces of La Patrie. Russia feared the growing power of Germany both militarily and commercially. German products and exports dominated central and eastern Europe, and the German military was bigger, better equipped, and able to mobilise much faster. St Petersburg was eager for the chance to snuff Germany out before it could grow any stronger. Britain disliked the fact that the German High Seas Fleet was almost as big as the British Grand Fleet. Britain had the advantage in quantity with more ships, but Germany had the advantage in quality with fewer bigger, stronger vessels. London, fearing German dominance of international commerce and the threat of the High Seas Fleet, wanted to send the Kaiserliche Marine to the bottom of the North Sea before it could grow any stronger.
  • The Central Powers: Germany was aware of its unpopularity in Europe; having defeated France in 1871, frightened Russia with its rapid industrialisation, and unnerved Britain by constantly flexing its commercial and naval muscles, Germany was not the most popular nation on the map. The Kaiser knew that France and Russia were itching to go to war and despite Germany's high population, large military, and industrial power, the thought of fighting the Russians and the French on two fronts at the same time was not an attractive prospect. Berlin, therefore, was eager to knock out the French and the Russians before they could threaten Germany with a two-front war. Austria-Hungary, still chafing from its defeat by the Prussians in 1867, was in all ways the junior partner of the Alliance. Austria's economy and military were inferior to Germany's, and although the Dual Monarchy was a popular government which showed remarkable sensitivity to its multi-ethnic populace, internal tensions were high as non-Austrians within the Empire were increasingly agitating for independence. Vienna was not exactly eager to go to war, but was so tied to Berlin that German actions would invariably drag in the Austrians too. The Ottoman Empire was still the Sick Man of Europe, and although reforms in Istanbul had modernised the Empire along Western lines, Istanbul still had trouble maintaining control of its own multi-ethnic populace who were increasingly agitating for independence - and the Ottomans suspected that the French and British were stirring the shit for their own advantage. Additionally, the Ottoman economy was heavily dependent upon discount imports from Germany and was tied to Berlin by a web of commercial and diplomatic treaties. Eager to maintain its friendship with the Kaiser, the Sublime Porte agreed to go along with German policies. Finally, Italy. The most reluctant member of the Central Powers, Italy was only grudgingly a member of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. Italy still had a good relationship with France, and wanted some territory from Austria. So, Italy was more willing to hang back as a neutral observer and, if the two alliances did go to war, Rome intended to simply wait and see who looked like the likely winner, and join them.

Austria was obviously furious about the assassination and, with Germany’s support, demanded that Serbia end all resistance to Austria. Serbia agreed to some of the demands and offered to submit other demands to arbitration (decision) by an impartial international panel. But Austria would not wait and on July 28, 1914, it declared war against Serbia. Russian responded by mobilizing its army towards Austria and Germany. As we said earlier' it is entirely debatable whether or not war was inevitable. Historians spend their whole lives discussing why the world went to war in 1914, and whether war could have been avoided. Without wishing to take sides in the academic debate, it is fair to say that in 1914 a wide spectrum of factors collided. National self-defence had become an obsession and by 1914, the major powers could wait no longer. When Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, it was a flimsy pretext for war. It could all have ended right there, right then. Gavrilo Principe was caught, the Austrians and Serbs could have mediated via a neutral power, and everyone could have settled down. After all, worse crises had passed over - the Fashoda Crisis of 1895, the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1901, the Moroccan Crisis of 1911, the Balkan War of 1912. One heir to the throne getting shot was a weak excuse, but it was enough. European nations, not daring to wait any longer, mobilised. And the war began.

This triggered the alliances. Germany responded to Russia’s mobilization of troops by declaring war on Russia four days later (on August 1st) and then Germany declared war on France another two days later (on August 3rd). Germany decided to invade and defeat France first before it had to fight Russia, and thereby avoid fighting a war on two fronts at the same time. This was the Schlieffen Plan to avoid a two-front war.

The Schlieffen Plan has gone down in history as one of the biggest planning errors of all time. The German General Staff had learned from its wars against Denmark, Austria, and France in 1866, 1867, and 1870 respectively, that modern warfare demanded trains. Trains to get soldiers from their homes in Germany to their barracks. Trains to move regiments to the assembly points along the border. Trains to move the vast quantities of food, fodder, and ammunition required by modern armies. Germany had a lot of railway tracks: to fight a war with trains, timetables were required, and timetables require planning. Hence, the Schlieffen Plan.

Berlin knew that it could not fight both the French and the Russians at the same time, but there was a way out. Russia's mobilisation, dependant on fewer trains, was estimated to take perhaps six to eight weeks. Thus the Germans had to invade France, defeat the French army, and get the troops to the eastern frontier with Russia, within six weeks. The Chief of the German General Staff, Alfred von Schlieffen, formulated a plan as far back as 1905. The meticulously-detailed plan set out, in excruciating detail, the scheme for invading and defeating France. It was a monument of good planning, but in war, things never go to plan. Most notoriously, the Plan contained almost no contingencies - if the slightest thing went wrong, the whole thing had the potentual to turn into a disaster. And go wrong, it did.

But Belgium, which was neutral, would not allow Germany to pass through its borders to invade France. So Germany invaded and defeated Belgium. Britain had a relationship with Belgium and Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914.

The week of 28th July - 4th August 1914 was indeed one of crisis as Czars, Kings, Kaisers, Presidents, and Prime Ministers sent a flurry of telegrams, threats, offers of mediation, ultimata, and affirmations to stand together. Andy loses a point for making Britain and Belgium sound like a flirtatious couple, and for not describing the "Rape of Belgium".

The Schlieffen Plan demanded that in order to defeat France, the Germans would have to go through Belgium as the Franco-German frontier was far too heavily fortified. Belgium's neutrality and independence had been guaranteed by an international treaty in 1830 - a treaty which von Schlieffen famously dismissed as "just a piece of paper". So the German Army invaded Belgium. Now, here's where the Schlieffen Plan all starts to go wrong.

The Plan assumed that the Belgians would be crushed without the Germans even breaking into a sweat. However, the Belgian Army put up a very fierce resistance, delaying the German troops sent forward to capture the railway lines and stations necessary for bringing in the main army. With Belgian troops blowing up bridges, tearing up rail tracks, and ambushing German infantry, the advance stalled. Instead of racing across Belgium on trains, the Germans found themselves required to tramp through on foot - and these were not professional soldiers, but civilian conscripts. Factory workers, greengrocers, bank clerks; marching in the hot sun in boots which hadn't been broken in, their officers unable to supply them with decent hot food, their wdraught animals dying from insufficent fodder and hay, their trucks breaking down. In late July and early August, Belgium became the scene of what was essentially the worst traffic jam in human history - roads clogged with exhausted soldiers, broken-down vehicles, and dead horses; the railways clogged with trains (carrying the food and fodder whose absence was crippling the footsoldiers) which had nowhere to go. And every minute that passed, the French Army was making its own push across the frontier into Germany.

Now, let's paraphrase historian Niall Ferguson. Put yourself in the position of a German officer. You only know a tiny bit of the plan, that your men have to get from Point A to Point B within a certain amount of time, or else the fate of the whole country is on the line. But you can't move forward, because pockets of Belgian troops who have become trapped behind the front lines (and who are being sheltered by the local population) are shooting at you. You desperately need to move forward, but you need to crush all resistance in order to do so. Solution - shoot some civilians.

Newspaper reports on the Rape of Belgium, as it came to be known, was the single most important factor in mobilising British support for the war. By the time the lead elements of the German Army staggered into France, they were facing the vast French Army and the British. The British Expeditionary Force was extremely small - a mere 30,000 men to the millions of Germans and French racing to fight each other - but many, many more were on the way, backed up by the entire British and French Empires. Meanwhile, in the east, the Russians had mobilised far faster than even they themselves had expected, and had invaded the tip of eastern Germany. The Austro-Hungarians, conversely, were far slower to mobilise than expected. The Schlieffen Plan had failed spectacularly. Berlin had gone to war thinking that after six weeks they would have taken Paris, defeated the French Army, and rushed across to Russia while the Austro-Hungarians held the line in the east. Instead, the bulk of the German Army was still limping through Belgium, the French had attacked the German frontier in the West, the British had joined the war, the Austrians were still bumbling around, and the Russian Army had crossed the German frontier in the east. The war which should have been over before Christmas, had escalated beyond all imagination.

In a mere week a small dispute between Austria and Serbia over an assassination escalated into a world war between Britain, France and Russia (Allied Powers) and Germany and Austria-Hungary (Central Powers). Italy left the German side when it invaded the neutral Belgium, and Italy eventually joined the Allied Powers along with Japan. The Ottoman empire and Bulgaria eventually joined the Central Powers. Italy remained neutral until 1915, Andy. Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando managed to keep the Germans and Austrians convinced that Italy was mobilising against France to open up a second Western Front, but in truth the Italians were simply waiting to see what would happen. The Bulgarians and Ottomans also waited to see what would happen, and after the Germans won series of victories on the Eastern Front in late 1914, threw in their lot with Berlin. Japan also waited for a little while, but joined the Allies when London and Paris offered Tokyo the chance to snap up Germany's vulnerable Pacific colonies and trading-stations in China.

Initial Stages of the War[edit]

The fighting in the “Great War,” as it was called then (it is now called World War I), was savage and brutal. Army casualties totaled more than 37 million people, and there were another 10 million in civilian deaths. For weeks armies would be in trenches opposite each other, spending day after day trying to kill their opponents in the opposite trench. This was known as trench warfare. Movement of ten or twenty feet in advance of a trench was a big success. Barbed wire marked off an area known as “no man’s land” between the two trenches, where any visitor would be shot on sight. Also, a deadly flu virus spread among the soldiers and infected the world, killing a huge number.

It's unclear where Andy is getting this figure from. His arse, probably. World War One casualties are estimated according to the Lower (non-flu) and Higher (flu) Counts. This is because towards the end of the war and immediately afterwards, the Spanish Flu epidemic killed some 25-50 million people worldwide. Military casualties from the war were in the vicinity of 10 million killed and 20 million wounded, with civilian casualties numbering around 7 million - mostly deaths from malnutrition towards the end of the war, and the Turkish genocide of the Armenians.

Andy badly - badly - misrepresents the style of fighting, and completely ignores the war beyond the Western Front. When the war began, opposing armies fought nineteenth-century style battles on open ground, with lots of soldiers shooting at one another. However the munitions technology of 1914 - heavy machine guns, magazine-fire rifles, and especially long-rang artillery raining shards of steel and high explosives down on the men struggling through the mud, caused truly horrific casualties. The French equivalent to the Schlieffen Plan - Plan 17, which called for a full French invasion of Alsace and Lorraine, failed after a few weeks, with French dead and wounded amounting to nearly a million men by Noveember 1914. In Belgium and northern France, the French and British were able to hold the Germans away from Paris (the garrison of Paris famously being ferried to the battlefields in convoys of buses and taxis, the "Taxicabs of the Marne"), and the appalling casualties from artillery and rifle fire prompted commanders to start digging their men down in trenches. By November 1914, parallel lines of German and Franco-British trenches ran all the way from the Swiss frontier to the Belgian beaches, increasingly fortified with barbed wire and bunkers. But this did not happen on other fronts - the Eastern Front, the Alpine Front, and of course theatres of war in the Ottoman Empire, Pacific, and Africa. Andy makes no-man's-land sound like an extreme tourist destination, with "visitors shot on sight". Points off for mentioning the Spanish Flu already - that was 1918 and 1919, not 1914.

At the end of the war the peace agreement caused another great war to occur (World War II). So this World War I was bad news all around. In terms of military strategy, it is not terribly interesting either. The first year and a half (1914-15) is known as “Entrenchment”. The next year, 1916, is known as “Continued Stalemate”. Get the idea? The following year, 1917, is known for the entrance by the United States and the withdrawal by Russia due to its communist revolution. In 1918 more nations withdrew, and the major remaining nations of Britain, France, Germany and the United States ended the war with an armistice in November of that year. Is this a summary of the war, or Andy's entire discussion of it? Let's hope he actually discusses more than this in the next Lecture. A classic problem in claiming that World War II was an inevitable consequence of World War I, Andy. The language here is truly bizarre. "So this World War I was bad news all rounf". "Get the idea?". How childish. As for claiming that the First World War was "not terribly interesting", that is a very odd claim to make. Evidently Andy finds the turning-points of the twentieth century dull. Probably because the Great War doesn't give him much opportunity to shoehorn in propaganda about abortion, gays, Muslims, and kitten-eating lib'ruls. Well, at least he was able to bitch about Darwin.

In detail, the first year of the war finished with terrible casualties but no knock-out punches. France won a key initial Battle of the Marne, and that forced Germany to fight on two fronts after all. But while the Allied Powers were holding their own on the Western Front, Russia was losing on the Eastern Front. Russia was not as industrialized as the West and its military was inferior, but Russians were tenacious in battle. This is even worse! Andy's "detail" is to make a shitty analogy from boxing? Jesus. He misrepresents the failure of the Schlieffen Plan, and the Eastern Front. The Russians managed to invade Germany in 1914 but at the Battle of Tannenberg, were pushed back. Despite facing millions of German, Austro-Hungarian, and Bulgarian troops, and despite the abysmal incompetence of Russian High Command, the Imperial Russian Army managed to hold the line throughout 1914-1917, albeit with terrible casualties.

The Colonies[edit]

Britain drew upon its colonies of Canada, Australia and New Zealand to supply a failed Gallipoli campaign, which attempted to forge a supply line to Russia by capturing the Dardanelles. Instead, these three colonies suffered heavy losses that left them bitter about Britain, and desirous of independence from the British empire. Andy misrepresents the Gallipoli Campaign; an attempt to force complete Ottoman withdrawal from the war by landing British, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealander troops at Gallipoli, not far from Istanbul. It was a hopeless disaster for the Allies, who were driven back to their ships by Turkish artillery firing from entrenched positions. And remember, Andy, that the Dominions already had semi-independence from London.

However, Britain was successful in enlisting troops from the colonies of Egypt, India, Australia and New Zealand to defeat the weakened Ottomans. An Arab revolt against the Turks (German allies) was led by a British soldier named T. E. (Thomas Edward) Lawrence, known as “Lawrence of Arabia.” His guerrilla warfare campaign against the Turks kept large numbers of troops tied up trying to suppress it, and it helped the British capture Aqaba and Damascus. Meanwhile, the Indian Mohandas Gandhi encouraged support of the British in the war as a way of building good will towards the Indian cause for independence. French colonies also lent support. The Palestinian and Syrian campaigns, whereby Britain and France loaned financial, diplomatic, and military support to the Arabs in their uprising against the Turks, were indeed important. Not least because, in the Balfour Declaration of 1915, the british promised to establish an Arab homeland which they later reneged upon. No mention, strangely, of the Mesopotamian Campaign, whereby the British invaded Iraq. British and Indian troops sailed up the Tigris towards Baghdad but at Ctesiphon in 1915, were driven back and besieged in the city of al-Kut. When the British commander, the criminally incompetent and utterly uncaring Lord Townshend, finally surrendered, most of the British-Indian soldiers had starved to death. Andy makes no mention of the importance of the French Empire - French Africans from Senegal, Cameroon, and Algeria were deployed en masse to the Western Front, as were British Africans and Afro-Carribeans from Jamaica to Kenya. Indian troops were vital to British campaigns against the Ottomans, in the colonies, and on the Western Front itself. Let's not forget them.

The German colonies could not help the Germans, because these colonies were captured by Allied Powers.

Ugh. It is true that the German colonies of Togoland, Rwanda, and German South-East Africa (modern Namibia) fell to French, British, and Belgian imperial troops whil New Guinea and the Bismarck Islands fell to the Japanese with very little resistance (before the war, Berlin had had very little interest in its small colonies), but there was fighting in German East Africa (later Tanganyika, and now Tanzania). General von Lettow-Lorbeck, with 3,500 German soldiers and 12,000 Askaris, native East Africans fighting for Germany, held off British Imperial forces far, far outnumbering his own. At the Battle of Tanga, close to 80,000 Imperial troops led by Jan Smuts (who had previously fought against the British in the Second Boer War) were routed by Lettow-Lorbeck, who used heavy artillery scavanged from a wrecked German battlecruiser and mounted on wheels. There was also a small flotilla campaign on Lake Tanganyika itself. Lettow-Lorbeck held out until the end of the war in November 1918; so while the German colonies were unable to provide Germany with materials and men, Andy could at least have mentioned the campaign in East Africa. Oh, and on a side note. When Germany's colonies were divvied up by the post-war Allies, large numbers of Askari officers migrated to Germany on their state pensions, where, like Jews who had fought for the Kaiser, they were eventually rounded up and exterminated by the Nazis. A depressing note to end on; but there's not much cheerful about the First World War.

So, that was Andy's version of the late Georgian, Victorian, and early Edwardian periods. What a trial that was. Even by his low standards, this was badly planned, poorly executed, and failed at every turn. A mirror of the Schlieffen Plan. He seems to have just thrown in random, disconnected topics, and any attempt at genuine history-telling simply collapsed into errors, misinterpretations, sweeping ignorance, terrible oversights, Tea Party propagada, poorly-disguised racism, and outright lies. How unsurprising, yet how depressing nevertheless. I've skipped ahead to glance at the next Lecture, which may well take the prize for the most bizzare one yet. It's going to be fun trying to clean up that train wreck.

Oh, on a related note. Conservapedia's "World History Class" started up the other day (1st September 2011). I have registered an account with CP and look forward to doing Andy's "homework". Keep your eyes peeled!

Until next time,