A historian is battling all the time to remember as much as possible.
All empires have depended on local legitimacy and local collaboration; they are not based primarily on coercion. An imperial rule that relies wholly on coercion can't endure. It's too expensive.
American Empire- it is an empire that lacks the drive to export its capital, its people and its culture to those backward regions which need them most urgently and which, if they are neglected, will breed the greatest threats to its security. It is an empire, in short, that dare not speak its name. It is an empire in denial.
Empires, essentially, create order. In their absence, you don't end up with lots of happy, little nation-states full of people sitting around campfires singing John Lennon's 'Imagine.' What you end up with is civil war, anarchy.
For 500 years the West patented six killer applications that set it apart. The first to download them was Japan. Over the last century, one Asian country after another has downloaded these killer apps- competition, modern science, the rule of law and private property rights, modern medicine, the consumer society and the work ethic. Those six things are the secret sauce of Western civilization.
History is not politically correct. Many on the left therefore struggle with its findings.
I can't imagine having a conversation about 'Celebrity Big Brother' in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
I refuse to accept that Western civilization is like some hopeless old version of Microsoft DOS, doomed to freeze, then crash. I still cling to the hope that the United States is the Mac to Europe's PC, and that if one part of the West can successfully update and reboot itself, it's America.
I think that it is important to be gregarious, and that friendships are not just a leisure pursuit, that they are an integral part of what it is to be human, and one does better work if one has a circle of friends that is active.
If the financial system has a defect, it is that it reflects and magnifies what we human beings are like. Money amplifies our tendency to overreact, to swing from exuberance when things are going well to deep depression when they go wrong. Booms and busts are products, at root, of our emotional volatility.
In the financial sector, those whom the gods want to destroy they first teach math.
It's our generation that is witnessing the end of Western predominance. The average American used to be more than 20 times richer than the average Chinese. Now it's just five times, and soon it will be 2.5 times.
No civilization, no matter how mighty it may appear to itself, is indestructible.
Oral history is a recipe for complete misrepresentation because almost no one tells the truth, even when they intend to.
So much of liberalism in its classical sense is taken for granted in the West today and even disrespected. We take freedom for granted, and because of this we don't understand how incredibly vulnerable it is.
The ascent of money has been essential to the ascent of man.
The consumer society is so all-pervasive today that it is easy to assume it has always existed. Yet in reality it is one of the more recent innovations that propelled the West ahead of the Rest. Its most striking characteristic is its seemingly irresistible appeal... The result is one of the greatest paradoxes of modern history: that an economic system designed to offer infinite choice to the individual has ended up homogenizing humanity.
The law of unintended consequences is the only real law of history.
The West may collapse very suddenly. Complex civilizations do that, because they operate, most of the time, on the edge of chaos.
To make a living space, there first had to be a killing space.
You really struggle to be a successful empire if you are also the world's biggest debtor.
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