14th November 2012
Jerry Pournelle has some thoughts.
Given the state of historical knowledge – abysmal – stretching from the White House and Cabinet through many level of University scholars and down into the public school system, even I am not at all convinced that it is absurd to explain to young American people how terrible cold and hunger can be. We have immigrant children who know these truths in their bones, but the middle class American teen agers who watch the National Geographic Channel are not likely to have experienced such things at first hand. More, concentration on battles and military history cannot be a bad thing. I suspect that “Mankind” will not show the crucial scene in the education of Alexander of Macedon (not yet The Great) who as a teenager was sent with one of Phillip’s marshals with a small force to deal with insurgents and raids on the frontier. On the way they encountered a stream of refugees, young people, women well raped, carrying everything they had as the fled toward the order represented by King Phillip. The old marshal pointed to the stream of misery and said “That is defeat. Avoid it.” Alexander remembered that all his life. It is a lesson every free person should learn.