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Waking Up on the Wrong Side of History

Posted by V the K at 11:36 am - March 26, 2014.
Filed under: History

Like Jonah Goldberg, I am also curious about this business of “Our opponents are on the wrong side of history!” which has become the preferred schoolyard taunt of the arrogant left. Supporters of gay marriage have taunted opponents with it. Supporters of Amnesty have taunted opponents with it. Democrat Senator Chris Dodd, back in the Reagan Era, said that those who opposed Soviet Communism were on the wrong side of history. And, more recently, both Mr. Obama and his Secretary of State, Mr. Kerry, have taunted Russian President Putin with it.

So, my question is, if progressive leftists know how history is going to work out, why did they not use this knowledge to predict the massive failure of Obamacare, Obama’s economic policies, and Obama’s foreign policies? Or is it just that complete and total disaster happens to be the *right side* of history?

Can America Ever Recover From Obama?

I’m not being facetious here. I am asking this as a serious question. The damage done to the United States by the President and his Party – not just in this term, but over the last 40 years – may be too great for the country to ever recover. I am increasingly doubtful that it is even possible to avoid national collapse.

Our economy has been devastated by 100 years of creeping socialism and is currently functioning at or near Great Depression levels, masked only by massive public borrowing and spending and a sycophantic state media that would embarrass Leni Riefenstahl. Our public debt is unsustainable, or economy is strangled in regulations, yet Obama and the Democrats keep piling on spending, regulation and entitlements.

Left-wing social and economic policy works no better at the national level than at the municipal level; Detroit is the inevitably outcome of prolonged liberal Government.

I can’t help but notice the resemblance between present-day USA and the USSR in the 1980′s:

  • A bloated, over-leveraged national government whose expenditures have long exceeded the ability of the underlying economy to finance them. In other words, the USSR had a bloated military that consumed more of its GDP than the Government could afford. The USA has a bloated welfare state that requires massive borrowing because our economy cannot support it.
  • An aged decrepit leadership (Reid, Pelosi, Hillary) stuck in old socialist paradigms and making fatefully bad decisions out of rigid ideology. (In the USSR, it was the decision to invade Afghanistan. In the USA, it was passing Obamacare).
  • Growing internal self-rule movements. The USSR eventually split into its constituent states. Self-rule movements in Maryland, Colorado, Texas, and Calidornia suggest that similar faultlines are showing up in our own politics.

That’s basically the trap we are in. The only remedy to our situation would be austerity, a severe pruning of the regulatory/welfare state, and restoration of limited Constitutional Government. There is no other path to avoid destruction; but these things, we are told, are politically impossible.

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About that Fox News interview…

If you know a lot of leftists, as I do, chances are you’ve encountered a link to this interview of Reza Aslan by Lauren Green at some point in the past two days or so.  They see the interview as an example of the evil of Fox News.  They claim it illustrates the bias of the network, and that it illustrates how “smart” the author is and how he “totally pwns the interviewer’s assumptions.”

I watched the interview, and I encourage you to do the same, but my main reaction to their claims about it is to think:  Excuse me?  Did we even watch the same interview?  I believe neither the interviewer nor the guest came off particularly well in this exchange.

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Lauren Green comes across as someone who likely hasn’t read the book, but who has read many reviews of the book, and is trying to provoke a response from the author. Reza Aslan, though, comes across as the ultimate disingenuous academic who says, “I am just a historian, I have no agenda whatsoever.”  He keeps reiterating that he is an academic with a PhD, as though that is an adequate defense against bias.  Green could have done a more skillful job challenging his assumptions or his arguments; her questions only serve to make him defensive, and so the interview doesn’t appear to accomplish much for either party.

Nevertheless, I didn’t view the interview as a complete failure for Fox News.  Quite to the contrary, I thought it illustrated that there is more journalistic spirit alive at Fox News than at most of the mainstream press outlets who have interviewed the author or reported on the book.  Why do I say that?  Because, the other morning I had to endure this NPR interview with the same author of the same book, and I heard a lot of claims by Aslan about his book, and his beliefs, but no one challenged those claims or tried to interrogate Aslan’s motivations for writing the book that he wrote.  The NPR interview was so concerned with helping him make his points, that it could have just as easily come from the public relations office of his publisher.

Not surprisingly, the other day NPR’s website featured this story entitled “Reza Aslan Hearts NPR”: “Author and religious scholar Reza Aslan is one of those people who’s at NPR West so often that he blurs the line between guest and employee. We always joke with our regulars that they should have a punch card, and when it’s full, they get their own cubicle.”  Even less surprisingly, today NPR has this sympathetic story about the reaction on the left to the Fox News  interview.

When you compare NPR’s very sympathetic pieces helping Aslan promote both his book and his talking points, with Lauren Green’s somewhat awkward attempt to interrogate him, though, it’s pretty clear to me which “news” outlet is more interested in informing its viewers and letting them decide for themselves.   Green’s interview told us much more about Aslan than NPR’s pieces: it showed us something of his character, it introduced us to some of the controversies surrounding the book, and it raised the question of his worldview and its influence on his writing.

And as it turns out, there is a lot of reason for controversy, as Pamela Geller Robert Spencer points out in her his own detailed post about the controversy (hat tip: Pamela Geller).   Geller Spencer writes:

I don’t care about his scholarly credentials. Even if everything he had said about his degrees had been true, it would confer on his book no presumption of accuracy or truth. I am constantly assailed for lacking scholarly credentials, but as it happens, when it comes to writing about religion I have exactly the same credentials as Aslan, a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.A. in Religious Studies. His other two degrees are in other fields.

But anyway, it doesn’t matter: there are plenty of fools with degrees, and plenty of geniuses without them. My work, and Aslan’s, stands or falls on its merits, not on the number of degrees we have. Aslan’s pulling rank on Lauren Green and starting to reel off (inaccurately) his degrees was a sign of insecurity: it implied that he didn’t think his book could stand on its merits, and had to be accepted because he had a lot of degrees. And indeed, his book doesn’t stand on its merits.

I encourage you to be sure to read Geller’s Spencer’s whole post.

To my mind, the reaction on the left tells us more about their fondness for credentials and their disdain for Fox News than anything else;  that the same people who view this interview as an instance of intolerable bias think nothing of the swill served up regularly by NPR and MSNBC should tell us all we need to know.

Food for thought

Happy Memorial Day, er, weekend! And a big Thank You to GP commenter heliotrope for the following, which he posted as part of a longer comment, some ten days ago. I must warn that it’s not exactly cheery; but neither is the state of America these days.

In an environment of enabling corruption, these words are tested:

“Experience has shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”
― Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

“A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

“Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.”
― Edmund Burke

“Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.”
― George Bernard Shaw

“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy.”
― Aristophanes, Plutus

“Might and wrong combined, like iron magnetized, are endowed with irresistible attraction.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables

“Why should he watch the hideous corruption of his soul?”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Obama, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder have made “not knowing” an art form. They learn of bad things by an occasional glance at the TV where the news is reporting it. That is the modus operandi of corruption. Unlike Ghandi, their minds are open to walking through by all manner of dirty feet, so long as there is no record kept or chain of evidence linking to them.

Filtered History vs. the Political Wheel of Fortune

Henry David Thoreau once wrote: “There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers.”  I thought of that recently in seeing some of the media pushback against the publicity generated by the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Texas this week.  Thoreau’s quote is as true as ever about the state of contemporary philosophy, but it is also true about the state of historical inquiry:  these days we have professors of history more than historians.

The professoriate is a class with its own interests and its own agenda, an agenda that largely overlaps with that pursued by the majority of our lamestream media.  That agenda does not include the practice of history in the abstract, insofar as that involves presenting the evidence, weighing the options, employing reason, and drawing conclusions.  To most professors of history and folks in the media these days, history is only useful insofar as it serves their left-wing agenda.  Hence their resistance to the displays in the Bush library.

Consider this article from Yahoo! News:

DALLAS—As former President George W. Bush prepares to officially open his presidential library on Thursday, a question arises as it has for his predecessors: How objective will it be about his time in the White House?
Bush left office five years ago as one of the most unpopular presidents in history, his poll numbers weighed down by public discontent over his handling of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and worries about the economy.
But the former president wanted to take the controversies about his presidency head-on, say several former aides who worked closely with him on the library. One way of addressing the challenge is an interactive exhibit allowing visitors to see what it was like for him to make decisions as leader of the free world. People will hear information Bush was given by aides, then be asked to make their own choices. Afterward, the former president’s image will appear on a screen to explain what decision he ultimately made and why.
“He really wants people to go in there and get a sense of what it was like to be president during that time and to use that to make an informed decision about his presidency,” said Karen Hughes, a longtime Bush adviser.

In some respects,  the article strives to be slightly more balanced than I’m giving it credit for being, since it does point out controversies over the presentation of material in both the Clinton library and the LBJ library, as well, but I think it is materially different, too, in that Bush is trying to present the information that influenced his decisions and both the media and some so-called historians are crying foul over the fact that he is doing so.

One reason they don’t want Bush to tell his version of the story is that as the nightmare that is the Obama administration continues to develop, Bush is regaining popularity.  While I don’t often share Dan’s enthusiasm for Peggy Noonan’s writings, I was intrigued to see her recognizing the depth of the differences between the two men in her column this week where she wrote:

But to the point. Mr. Obama was elected because he wasn’t Bush.

Mr. Bush is popular now because he’s not Obama.

The wheel turns, doesn’t it?

Here’s a hunch: The day of the opening of the Bush library was the day Obama fatigue became apparent as a fact of America’s political life.

And she isn’t the only one.  Writing for Politico this week, Keith Koffler complained  about “Obama’s hubris problem,” prompting Neo-Neocon to ask the question that is on many of our minds: “And he thinks it’s only a second-term phenomenon? Where has he been, on planet Xenon?”

It seems like the media is unhappy this week because Bush is getting a fresh chance to tell his story independent of their filter, whereas the public is increasingly growing tired of the combination of arrogance, divisiveness, imperiousness, incompetence, and the need to politicize everything for which President Obama is increasingly known.

Perhaps, to modify Noonan a bit, the opening of the Bush library was uncomfortable for many of his admirers because, in seeing all five living presidents together again, the public got a chance to see them and to size them up, and as Joseph Curl wrote in the Washington Times W. easily outclassed Obama.

 

 

LIVE FROM THE GOP DEBATE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

Good evening folks! Long time, no see (unless you follow me on Twitter!!!!)

I’m dashing off this quick post from the media room at Wofford College, site of the Republican Presidential Debate. They let me in! LOL. The debate airs live on the CBS television network at 8:00PM Eastern Time. I’ll be live-tweeting and blogging as long as the power on my iPad lasts.

Photos should follow later, too!

For UP TO THE MINUTE reports from the SC GOP Debate, please follow me on Twitter – @GayPatriot – (www.twitter.com/gaypatriot)

UPDATE!

Two early debate photos….

The mostly empty “spin room”…

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The FOX News satellite truck outside the auditorum…

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-Bruce (GayPatriot)

On the nobility inherent in men & its needed nurturing

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:10 pm - March 4, 2010.
Filed under: History,Sex Difference

Yesterday on AOL’s Politics Daily, Ria Misra wrote a piece on a study comparing the sinkings of the Titanic and the Lusitania, now nearly a century ago which, well, I can’t get out of my head.  Perhaps because it relates to a matter I address in my dissertation, the civilizing of men.

According to a “study published in the journal Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences

On the Titanic, children were about 15 percent more likely to survive and women approximately 50 percent more likely to survive than men on the ship. Young men were more likely to die on the Titanic, but on the Lusitania, young men were almost 8 percent more likely to survive than other passengers. Researchers attribute the difference to the extra time — just 2 hours 22 minutes — in which they say that social norms (“women and children first”) made it more likely that they were given seats on lifeboats.

You see

The Titanic sank slowly, over a period of 2 hours 40 minutes, while the Lusitania slipped beneath the waters in a matter of just 18 minutes. And that difference in time had a huge impact on who survived — a discrepancy researchers attribute to passengers on the Lusitania acting instinctively in self-preservation, and on the Titanic, passengers first helping other passengers.

Our first instinct as men is self-preservation, but when we have time to think, as did the passengers on the Titanic, we consider others.

We men do have noble instincts; they just need developing nurturing.

Was Homosexuality Responsible for Rise of Greece and Rome?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:00 pm - February 20, 2010.
Filed under: History,Random Thoughts

Yesterday, while reviewing countless scholarly articles for my dissertation, I frequently encountered references to homosexual liaisons in ancient Greece, most of these taking place in the Archaic and early Classical Age, just as Greece was preparing to defeat the Persians and “define” Western Civilization.

These references reminded me how regularly I came across such homosexual hanky-panky in studying Roman history in the era preceding its imperial greatness. And I thought of all the times I had read or heard certain extreme social conservatives attribute social acceptance of homosexuality as signaling the fall of these great civilizations.

So, I wondered, I mean, if homosexuality was the cause of their decline, why didn’t these civilizations fall sooner when homosexuality was more prevalent. And how the heck did they rise in the first place if they had been so accepting of homosexuality?

By their (extreme social conservatives’) logic then, homosexuality contributed to the rise of these civilizations . Now, I don’t think homosexuality alone led to the rise of Greece and Rome, but do find it interesting that they rose to greatness while tolerant of expressions of homosexuality even if they didn’t accord same-sex relationships the same status as they accorded to different-sex ones.

Was the Emperor Hadrian “Gay”?

Whenever I read some “accepted” text on homosexuality or see the section on homosexuality throughout history, I’ll be astounded by how many historical figures it labels as “gay.”  Now, to be sure, with many of them, there is some evidence they took a same-sex lover, described the beauty of members of their own sex or had otherwise manifested such attraction.  What was troublesome about the tactic of labeling such individuals as “gay” was the application of an identity established in our era to describe individuals from a period long gone.

The Native American berdache (or two-spirit) lived a far different lifestyle from that of modern gay men and lesbian.  A berdache was an individual who lived in the guise of the opposite sex, marrying a member of his (or her) biological sex, but (usually) assuming the social responsibilities of his assumed sex and always wearing its costume.  In many cases, this was not by choice.

But, could we say that they were “gay”?

Now, from what we know about Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde, the evidence is pretty strong that each great writer was exclusively attracted to members of his own gender.  And while some gay people want to claim Abraham Lincoln as their own, all available evidence suggests that he was bisexual at best (as it does for Cary Grant).

We today believe that our sexuality is an immutable characteristic, that someone is either born straight or gay, or that it is determined very early in our childhood.  But, was our sexuality always so?  We can peruse the documents that have survived of the world that existed before our forebears began considering the immutability of this characteristic.  While the ancient Greeks allowed men to take a young male lover outside the bonds of matrimony, with strict rules governing their sexual expression.  Aristophanes in the Symposium, posited that some people are drawn to members of their own sex, indeed pointing to the host of the gathering, Agathon, a just such an individual.  That tragic poet lived together with Pausanias and did not marry a woman.

More than five centuries after Agathon’s death, the Roman Emperor Hadrian maintained the pretense of marriage while taking a Greek (male) lover Antinous.  (All evidence suggests that his marriage was a most unhappy one.)  But, was he, by contemporary standards, “gay”?   Was he only attracted to men? (more…)

“Gay” Pashtuns, or Social Acceptance of Homosexual Behavior

Welcome Instapundit Readers!!!

Maybe I shouldn’t read Instapundit on days when I oversleep.   While I was eating my breakfast, I kept chancing upon posts which inspired me to pen three of my own (including this one).

This morning, Glenn linked an article that addresses an issue that has long fascinated me, particularly as it relates to the ancient Greeks, but also because it deals with the complexity of human sexuality.  The article considers the homosexual practices of ethnic Pushtuns in Afghanistan:

An unclassified study from a military research unit in southern Afghanistan details how homosexual behavior is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns — though they seem to be in complete denial about it.

The study, obtained by Fox News, found that Pashtun men commonly have sex with other men, admire other men physically, have sexual relationships with boys and shun women both socially and sexually — yet they completely reject the label of “homosexual.”

Sounds a lot like the ancient Greeks where older men often took a younger man (really a teen) as a lover and sought to educate him while enjoying the pleasures of his body.

But, can we call them “gay”?

It is only recently in human history that we have considered the notion of sexual orientation as an immutable characteristic, with most people physically attracted to members of the opposite sex, a certain percentage (which may well vary across history and culture) are physically and emotionally drawn exclusively to their own sex.  To be sure, in the Symposium, Aristophanes was did articulate a view of human sexuality similar to the current notion.  But, his ideas didn’t gain much currency until recently.  In many cultures, when men had sex with other men, this recreation was just an extracurricular past time.  It did not define their sexual identity.

The Greeks of mythology and history, Achilles and Alexander, respectively, held up as gay exemplars, were anything but.  While each had a male lover*, neither steered clearer of the “fairer sex.”   (more…)

David Gergen’s Connection to Princess Diana

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:00 pm - January 17, 2009.
Filed under: History,Literature & Ideas

I have taken a break from reading books about the two historical periods which most fascinate me of late, the collapse of the Roman Republic and the rise of our own to read Michael Barone’s Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America’s Founding Fathers.

When Barone introduced one man who figured into the British Upheaval, a certain Robert Spencer, the Earl of Sutherland, one of the most remarkable characters of the period,” I thought I was reading about David Gergen. While temperamentally different from the man who now offers bland commentary on CNN, the ill-tempered Sutherland served James II and William III, two kings with very different governing philosophies at the close of the seventeenth century.

He had even voted to exclude the former from the throne.

Similarly, Gergen served two very different presidents (and a few others to boot) at the close of the twentieth. Barone writes that “Sunderland needed office for the money it would bring, and he had learned from his dismissal in 1681 never to oppose a king.”

Maybe Gergen didn’t need the money, but he seemed to long for the prestige of being associated with a President of the United States. And he does seem to have offered some opposition to the outgoing chief executive, though in terms more muted than many of his CNN colleagues.

It seems certain people delight in being close to power, no matter what the purpose of that power.

Sutherland, by the way, is ancestor of Diana, the late Princess of Wales.

Podcast on the “Greatest Generation”

Posted by Average Gay Joe at 4:33 pm - July 22, 2008.
Filed under: History,Military

I’ve been listening to many differents shows from Mormon Stories Podcast lately, which may seem ironic given my strong disagreements with the Mormon religion. Yet John Dehlin has provided a very interesting and critical examination of Mormon history that I find to be quite appealing. I’ve just finished listening to 3 shows that deal with an infamous chapter of World War II: the Bataan Death March. Japanese soldiers brutalized and murdered thousands of Americans captured after the fall of the Philippines in 1941. Dehlin interviews his cousin, lawyer James Parkinson, and his efforts on behalf of surviving veterans like Harold Poole. A fascinating and moving 3 shows I highly recommend.

Part I, Part II, Part III.

UPDATE: Parkinson co-authored a book discussed in the podcast called Soldier Slaves: Abandoned by the White House, Courts and Congress about the Bataan Death March and surviving veterans like Poole, along with the legal challenges seeking redress.

– John (Average Gay Joe)

Will Britain Surrender To Islamic Rule?

I have to admit that even as a long-time forecaster of the perils of the global Islamist movement these developments in Britain completely shocked me.

Archbishop of Canterbury Calls for Sharia Law in UK - Evening Standard (London)

The Archbishop of Canterbury caused consternation yesterday by calling for Islamic law to be recognised in Britain.

He declared that sharia and Parliamentary law should be given equal legal status so the people could choose which governs their lives.

This raised the prospect of Islamic courts in Britain with full legal powers to approve polygamous marriages, grant easy divorce for men and prevent finance firms from charging interest.

Sharia Law in UK is “unavoidable” – BBC

The Archbishop of Canterbury says the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK “seems unavoidable”.

Dr Rowan Williams told Radio 4′s World at One that the UK has to “face up to the fact” that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.  Dr Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion.  For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court.

He says Muslims should not have to choose between “the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty”.

From the ARCHIBISHOP OF CANTERBURY?  The head of the Church of England?!?   What strange kind of hell is this?  Is he willing to accept that British gays will be hanged in the shadows of Westminster Abbey under Sharia law?

I guess I shouldn’t be shocked since 20% of British teens polled think Winston Churchill was a mythological figure.  PM Churchill would never have surrendered this easily to any form of fascism that threatened British sovereignty.

Nevertheless, I am simply stunned by this news… at the same time US troops are fighting back Islamic extremism and dying for freedom around the world.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Medieval DNA To Help With HIV/AIDS Research?

Posted by Average Gay Joe at 10:57 am - January 27, 2008.
Filed under: Amazing Stories,History,HIV/AIDS,Science

The remains of what DNA analysis showed to be a boy found in the Dutch Medieval village Eindhoven, could prove to be revolutionary for both archaeology and modern research on HIV/AIDS:

This chance discovery of ancient DNA has led to one of the most ambitious archaeological projects ever to come out of the Netherlands–a massive excavation in the St. Catherine’s Church cemetery and the establishment of a major ancient human DNA databank. With $3.4 million in funding, Arts and a team of archaeologists and physical anthropologists have now unearthed the skeletons of more than 750 Eindhoven citizens. And over the next two years, University of Leiden geneticist Peter de Knijff will attempt to recover DNA from these remains. “We expect that at least 75 percent of all individuals will have ancient DNA and proteins,” says [Eindhoven Municipal Archaeologist, Nico] Arts.

For researchers, the Eindhoven DNA bank could prove a major windfall, paving the way for a host of new studies. To unravel the mysteries of human disease, researchers are increasingly studying genetic variations in human populations that increase the risk of illnesses, such as diabetes, or boost resistance to infections such as malaria. By studying the variants over time, researchers hope to advance knowledge of these diseases and gather clues to produce vaccines or new drug treatments. And such medical research is where the Eindhoven DNA bank, which spans 600 years of history, could really shine.

The Dutch team hopes, for example, that their project will reveal the origin and prevalence of a genetic variant that increases resistance to one of the world’s most lethal viruses–HIV. Today, nearly 10 percent of people of northern European descent possess this variant, known as the CCR5D32 allele, and the discovery is sparking the development of a new class of AIDS-fighting drugs. Evidence suggests that this mutation first arose 3,100 to 7,800 years ago, but how did it become so prevalent across Europe in an age before the AIDS epidemic? Could this mutation also have boosted resistance to an earlier epidemic, such as smallpox or the Black Death? In search of new data, Knijff and his team will search for this variant in the DNA of Eindhoven’s citizens. “There is no doubt that these studies are valuable,” says Susan Scott, a University of Liverpool historian who has written extensively on the Black Death and its possible connection to the HIV-resistance variant. “Whilst I don’t think [ancient DNA] studies will yield a vaccine for AIDS, they may assist molecular geneticists to develop some gene therapy.” (Archaeology magazine)

Investigations into “why so many residents of Eyam, England, survived the black death when it hit the remote village in 1665″, produced similar evidence for this genetic resistance. All in all, a fascinating blending of archaeology and modern medicine which has the potential of not only providing us more understanding of our ancestors, but possibly could assist in research for diseases like HIV/AIDS today.

For more on the excavation at Eindhoven, click here.

h/t Per Omnia Saecula

– John (Average Gay Joe)

First U.S. Soldier Discharged For Homosexuality

Posted by Average Gay Joe at 10:54 am - January 21, 2008.
Filed under: Gays In Military,History,Military

It’s amazing what one can find via Google sometimes. I was curious who the first recorded gay soldier was that faced disciplinary action in the military and found this interesting excerpt from Conduct Unbecoming: Gays & Lesbians in the U.S. Military by Randy Shilts:

On March 11, 1778, just sixteen days after [Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von] Steuben arrived at Valley Forge, drums and fifes assembled on the Grand Parade in the brisk morning air to conclude the punishment ordered by a general court-martial and approved by General Washington himself. On that morning Lieutenant Gotthold Frederick Enslin became the first known soldier to be dismissed from the U.S. military for homosexuality.

Enslin had arrived in the United States on September 30, 1774, aboard the ship Union, which had sailed from Rotterdam to Philadelphia. He was in his late twenties or early thirties. He arrived alone, according to the ship’s records, suggesting that he was single. Three years later he enlisted in the Continental Army; within a few months he was serving as an officer in Colonel William Malcom’s regiment.

Though little is known of Enslin’s earlier life, the exact penmanship he used on his company’s muster sheets and his command of the English language indicate that he was an educated man of some financial means. The Continental Army preferred its officers to be educated and able to provide their own supplies.

Under the bunking arrangements at Valley Forge, enlisted men lived in communal barracks while officers resided in small cabins with officers of similar rank. It was in Enslin’s cabin that Ensign Anthony Maxwell apparently discovered the lieutenant with Private John Monhart. Maxwell reported this to his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Burr. Enslin responded that Maxwell was lying in an attempt to impugn his character.
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