The Bell

I remember reading when I was young an account of The Conquest and the occupation that followed from the standpoint of the defeated Anglo-Saxons. Permeating the story was hoarding of every spare penny and such for the day the bell would be rungen. That was the day that the Saxon would arise and throw off the Norman yoke. It never came of course and the yoke grew lighter as the Norman became the Saxon, as the Dane, and the Angle, and the Jute all had before him.

And in the last thousand years millions more of us have joined the group as well and it seems that the attitude of the Saxon has pretty much followed the language, all over the world. If you would find a freeman, find a man who speaks English, if you scratch him, you will find a Saxon. As usual Kipling puts the attitude well.

And that leaves us with a couple of questions,

Does the bell exist?

What happens if it is rungen in a time of great distress?

Those who play the role of would-be Normans would be well advised to think deeply on the questions, because those who have always identified with the Saxon are.

Hat tip to Moe Lane

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Thanksgiving, and Freedom

FVhF8GUWe write a lot here about politics and we write even more (I hope) about history. We try, sometimes well, and sometimes probably not so well, to connect one to the other.

Tomorrow will be that most truly American of holidays, Thanksgiving. Rightly it is the day we stop and give thanks to God, or whatever or whoever we each individually think most appropriate for all the good things we have. This early post is sort of a political history thanksgiving post.

We really have had a good run over the last 400 years, and I refuse to believe we are quite done, either. We have lots of problems but we always have, and in large measure, the mark of American greatness is that we have not only survived, but thrived on them. Always they have forced us to think, and act, and persevere until we worked through them.

Dan Hannan has a new book out, it’s called Inventing Freedom, and in it he discusses how the English-speaking peoples have invented freedom in our stormy trip since before there was an England, let alone America. I’m not going to say too much about it, because I haven’t read it yet. But as the video below shows, his views appear to pretty much parallel mine. And it made me think that we have much to be thankful for, and I’d thought I’d share a few of mine.

First, I’m grateful for you few, you wonderful few, who read my drivel, in the often forlorn hope that I have something useful to say. Thanks 🙂

Second, I’m grateful for all the rest of you wonderful bloggers and writers that have opened up a world of thinking for us all.

Third, I’m thankful that conservatism has, and always has had such wonderful thinkers and writers, I mean, really: Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, St Augustine, St.Thomas Aquinas, Sir Thomas More, Adam Smith, Locke, Voltaire, David Hume, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and such right on down to guys like Dan Hannan, Mark Levin, and all the others. It makes quite a contrast to Marx, Hitler, and Lenin.

And you, know, I’m grateful to Barack Obama, his ineptitude and attempt to reduce American power and europeanize America has had us in crisis mode for about five years now, fighting what has often felt like a rear guard action. A crisis is, of course, a time of danger, but I think we all know that the other side of crisis is opportunity.

And the day is coming when the American revolution will happen again, I think. No, I’m not talking about an armed rebellion, although it’s possible, I think it unlikely. I mean in the same sense as the first one, finishing the circle, putting what has been put on its head back on its feet. I think America is going to see a rebirth of individual liberty.

I’m grateful for the wonderful leadership in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, which right now have the best leadership in the English-speaking world, and hope both America and Britain will soon emulate them.

Here’s a bit from Charles Moore’s Telegraph review of Hannan’s book

Edmund Burke, who wrote the greatest British encomium to conservatism, was a Whig. Now Daniel Hannan, who is a Tory (an ultra-sceptic MEP, in fact), has written a great encomium to Whiggery. With the eloquence of Macaulay or Trevelyan – both of whom are liberally quoted here – Hannan sweeps us through English history to show the triumph of law-based liberty and “that total understanding which can only exist between people speaking the same tongue”. With incredible ingenuity, he finds the marks of this genius in almost everything the English have done.

I say “the English”. Hannan has no race theory – pointing out, for example, how “English” oriental people can be in Hong Kong, Singapore or India – but he certainly believes in the Anglo-Saxon tradition. The Norman Conquest was, in his view, a “calamity”. It is because of Saxon Witans, and Saxon law, and Kipling’s Saxon yeoman who “stands like an ox in his furrow” demanding fair dealing, that we are a free people today, he thinks. He even complains that the Normans, being more snooty, let us keep plain Saxon words – cow, pig, lamb – for living animals, but imposed their own French-derived ones for the cooked version – beef, pork, mutton.

Norman and Saxon

"The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice
When he stands like an ox in the furrow--with his sullen set eyes 
     on your own,
And grumbles, 'This isn't fair dealing,' my son, leave the Saxon
     alone."You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your
      Picardy spears;
But don't try that game on the Saxon; you'll have the whole 
     brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained 
              serf in the field,
They'll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise,
                  you  will  yield.

And a bit of Hannan himself

We are still experiencing the after-effects of an astonishing event. The inhabitants of a damp island at the western tip of the Eurasian landmass stumbled upon the idea that the government ought to be subject to the law, not the other way around. The rule of law created security of property and contract, which in turn led to industrialisation and modern capitalism. For the first time in the history of the species, a system grew up that, on the whole, rewarded production better than predation.

Why did it happen? Why, after thousands of years of oligarchy and tyranny, did a system evolve that lifted the individual above the tribe rather than the reverse? How did that system see off rival models that elevated collective endeavour, martial glory, faith and sacrifice over liberty and property? How did the world come to speak our language?

Continue reading How we invented freedom – and why it matters – Telegraph Blogs.

And Daniel Hannan at Heritage

Did You Know? 5 Stories I’ll Bet You Missed

Stuff you’ve probably missed and I found interesting.

More on ‘ancient astronauts’ maybe, or something. Yep, here comes 21 DEC 12 again.

WTF1?! – The temperature inside The Great Pyramid remains constant at 68 degrees F, the same as earth’s internal temperature.

WTF2?! – A planetary alignment between the Orion belt and the pyramids of Giza will take place at…. that’s right – 21.12.2012

Continue reading  Did You Know? 5 Cool Facts About The Pyramids Of Giza.

Next, the Telegraph tells us that they may have built Battle Abbey on the wrong hill, and they think they know where the casualties are buried.

The site of where the Battle of Hastings has been commemorated for the last 1,000 years is in the wrong place, it has been claimed.

Ever since the 1066 battle that led to the Norman Conquest, history has recorded the event as happening at what is now Battle Abbey in the East Sussex town.

But although some 10,000 men are believed to have been killed in the historic conflict, no human remains or artefects from the battle have ever been found at the location.

This has given rise to several historians to examine alternative sites for the battle that was a decisive victory for William the Conqueror and saw the death of King Harold.

Now historian and author John Grehan believes he has finally found the actual location – on a steep hill one mile north west of Battle.

But Mr Grehan believes his research shows Harold never left his defensive hilltop position and the Normans took the battle to the English.

He has studied contemporaneous documents in the national archives and built up a dossier of circumstantial evidence that, when put together, make a more than convincing argument in his favour.

Witness accounts from 1066 state the battle was fought on steep and unploughed terrain, consistent with Caldbec Hill. Senlac Hill was cultivated and had gentle slopes.

Continue reading Are bodies of 10,000 lost warriors from Battle of Hastings buried in this field? – Telegraph.

The Telegraph also tells us that Hadrian’s Wall was good for business, which actually make sense. Most likely Legionnaires tended to buy things from the locals.

The 73-mile long Roman wall, built in AD 122 to defend the Roman Empire from hostile Celtic tribes, created a thriving economy to serve the occupying army, according to aerial surveys.

Farmers, traders, craftsmen, labourers and prostitutes seized the occasion to make money from the presence of hundreds of Roman troops.

“Some of the local population will have seen the opportunity presented by the occupying forces and gone for it,” said David MacLeod, of English Heritage. “There are entrepreneurs in every society ready to go for the main chance.”

The research carried out by English Heritage has revealed over 2,700 previously unrecorded historic features, including prehistoric burial mounds and first century farmsteads, medieval sheep farms, 19th century lead mines and even a WWII gun battery, sited along the 15 foot high wall which stretched from Wallsend on the English east coast to Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast.

The study, based on over 30,000 aerial photographs taken over the last 60 years, offers an insight into the impact of the wall on the area’s history and landscape.

Continue reading

The Telegraph is also telling us that Neanderthals died out because of… wait for it…Global Warming.

Analysis of DNA obtained from Neanderthal remains has revealed key differences from modern humans that suggest their bodies produced excess heat.

Neanderthal DNA reveals key differences from modern humans

Neanderthal DNA reveals key differences from modern humans

While in the cold climate of an ice age this would have provided the species with an advantage, as the earth warmed they would have been less able to cope. Ultimately this would have caused their extinction around 24,000 years ago.

Scientists at Newcastle University have put forward the theory after examining a particular form of genetic material which was obtained from the fossilised bones of Neanderthals.

By comparing it with that found in modern humans, they discovered that Neanderthals had key differences in the sections responsible for producing energy in all living cells.

Professor Patrick Chinnery, a neurogeneticist at Newcastle University, believes the differences in this mitochondrial DNA could have caused Neanderthals to be inefficient at producing energy, meaning their cells leaked heat.

Continue reading

And one more from the Telegraph, this time via History News Network. You remember we talked a while back that the University of Leicester thinks the have found Richard III’s body? Link here. Well, they seem to think they know who the second body they found is, too.

Archaeologists from Leicester University announced in September that two sets of human remains had been found amid the foundations of a historic church, located underneath a council car park in the city.

The find captured the nation’s attention after it was revealed that one of the skeletons was that of a man with battle wounds and a curved spine, a description fitting accounts of the Plantagenet king.

Now researchers believe the second set of bones could be the remains of the female founder of the Franciscan friary in which the church was located.

Experts said that historical records only name one woman buried within the Church of Grey Friars – Ellen Luenor, who is thought to have helped found or support the friary….

Link here

There’s a few stories that I’ll bet you missed.


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