French Enlightenment and Scottish Enlightenment

Adam Smith and Rousseau are both considered writers of the Enlightenment. Except the Enlightenment was purely French, wasn’t it? Rousseau, Diderot, Condorcet, Voltaire were the primary writers of the Enlightenment, brushing away the cobwebs of superstition and medieval thinking to cast a new light on how people thought about education, society, politics, and the law. At least, that’s what the textbooks and popular wisdom insist. Except…

There were actually two groups of thinkers working at almost the same time, and they went in rather different directions. I’m omitting the Germans (Die Aufklärung) and Italians for the sake of brevity and because English-speakers are far more familiar and more influenced in many ways by the French and English/Scottish Enlightenments. A lot of what was refined by the Germans—for good and for ill—was seeded by the French and either disproven or elaborated upon. The Anglo-Enlightenment went a different way, much as England and Scotland were charging away from Continental political thinking at the same time. Continue reading

Saturday Story: Reaping the Harvest, Part 1

This would have been the last Colplatschki book. I do not anticipate releasing it in the foreseeable future, so I will run it here. The next Colplatschki book out will be #8, Fountains of Mercy, about the Great Fires.

Chapter One: The Long Grey Sea


The little girl cleared her throat. “Most honored Mama—”

“Oh, go away, girl.”

Kiara Sonja Basilia drooped, holding her stuffed lagom by the one remaining front leg. She wanted to protest, to ask her mother to help her, but she knew better. Instead she tip-toed out of the room, looked left and right for M’dame Lorana, and hurried down the hallway. If she could get to the place where the hired maid was mending things, maybe Francie could show her how to mend her lagom’s leg. Kiara hadn’t meant to tear it, she just wanted to pull the lagom out of the big chest where M’dame Lorana had stuffed it, but the lid of the chest was heavy and had fallen down just as Kiara pulled Sweetie free.

The cold air seeping into the hall from the high windows encouraged Kiara to hurry and she did her best to stay close to the wall so no pit-a-pat of her slippers on stone would give her away. M’dame Lorana slept, Mama did not want to be bothered, but if Kiara hurried . . . She trotted down the back stairs, the servant stairs, dodged two soldiers carrying messages for her father, and raced to the mending room. She had a stitch in her side and she panted, quietly, then snuck into the warm, well-lit room.

Francie must have heard her despite Kiara’s attempts to be quiet. “Yes?” She looked over the top of her nose lenses.

“M’dame Francie,” Kiara bobbed a curtsey. You didn’t have to curtsy to servants, but Francis wasn’t a servant, not to Kiara. “Might you have a moment to show me how to render a slight repair?”

The old woman sighed. “Plain speech for a plain woman, Miss Castello, please.” Continue reading

Re-write Done!


I removed three chapters from In Sheltering Talons and added two more, with the needed modifications to other chapters for better fit and flow. I had not planned on the battle scene, or at least had not planned on it transpiring in this book, but it’s in there.

The Traders poked Rada once too often. They really should not have done that.

Changing History or Changing How We Understand History?

I accidentally spooked a colleague this week. We were in the work room. I was reading a new history of the Russian Revolution and shaking my head because of how much recent archival research has changed understandings about the events (for those willing to read the resulting books and papers). I grumbled, “I wish people would stop doing research and changing history.” The other teacher stared and said something along the lines of “When I hear people talking about changing history, I think of 1984.” I agreed with her, and assured her that I would be updating the material in the book with the new evidence, not changing the overall story.

Except, at least in European history, sometimes the evidence found later does shift the understood story around. Then what do you do? Continue reading

Book Review: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism

Welcome, Instapundit readers! Thanks for visiting.

Kengor, Paul. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism: The Killingest Idea Ever (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2017) print edition

I’ve been a reader of the P.I.G. guides since the inaugural volume, Robert Spencer’s Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades. Some books are better than others, but this one is among the best. Yes, it is opinionated. Yes, it is brutal about some things, quoting first-hand accounts of the horrors of Communism in the USSR, Cambodia, and elsewhere. But the sources are excellent, the presentation is good, and you get a lot of information in a relatively compact package. Continue reading

The Perfect Fish?

Not for everyone, I know, and not really compared to what most people think of as piscatorial perfection. But herring has some advantages over salmon and trout, which helps explain why it is now the fish of the North Sea coast. Let’s just say you will find one or two salmon things at most on the breakfast buffet, and at least four different herring dishes, and entire fillets are very popular tinned fish.

I’ve had salmon since I was rather young and it came in cans. And trout I first met in Montana. I enjoy it, but it does not travel well, so you have to be in places where trout is raised, or go fishing with a friend in a trout stream that allows you to keep the fish.

I had not encountered herring in large quantities before this past summer. I’d walked past the cans of tinned herring at World Market (aka Temptation Market), and had tried Rollmops once or twice even though I was not suffering from a hangover at the time.*


And I’d collided with pike-perch and lost while in the Czech Republic. The problem wasn’t the fish, it was me. I was presented at dinner with a very large plate bearing a very large and bony fish (complete with eye), a fish knife, and a fork. What little I managed to de-bone before we had to leave for our next stop was not bad, albeit bland and a little dry.

Zander, or pike-perch.

Continue reading

Blackbirds and the Playa

October morning playa.

As I mentioned last month, this has been a very good year for late-season plants around the playa lake. You can see that the native grasses are even taller, growing rather briskly before they went dormant for the year a few weeks ago. And the sunflowers have all shed their petals. Instead of yellow faces, they now have black, red, and yellow birds in them. Continue reading

The Itchy Foot Itches

I did not want to go back to work on Tuesday afternoon. I wanted to put my pick-up in four and just keep going west, over the horizon, as the cold, crisp air blew into the cab, heading into the grasslands that lead to the edge of the Caprock and then down into the mesa country. It had nothing to do with the classes I was substituting for, nothing to do with the students per se, and everything to do with a cold front’s passage, the brisk afternoon air, the clear skies, and an old, old itch. The westering urge had been woken, the whisper of “Something hidden. Go and find it… Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!”* Continue reading

Statism and the Anointed

I was once informed that I was one of fifteen intellectuals in a small city. My first reaction was to balk, then look for the closest exit. I’m not an intellectual! I’m well-read, curious, and I’m coming to slowly acknowledge that I’m a polymath (but not nearly as much of one as most of my friends), but I’m not an intellectual.

Which is funny, because most people, if told they are intellectual, would take pride in this. Why did I recoil? Because to me, even 20 years ago, Intellectual has political connotations as well as cultural, and I wanted no part in either of them. Only later did I learn the words I wanted to explain my reaction. They come from Thomas Sowell, and describe “the Anointed.” Since then, I’ve watched the Anointed race to be the first to embrace the philosophies and dreams of statism, and I am even more unhappy when someone calls me an intellectual.* Continue reading