This Day in History: the sinking of the White Star liner RMS TITANIC

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The steamship RMS Titanic sank in the early hours of April 15, 1912, in the North Atlantic after striking an iceberg during its maiden voyage. Of the 2,240 people on board, more than 1,500 lost their lives in the disaster.

Source: Titanic | Sinking and Survivors | HISTORY.com

In the wee small hours of April 15, 1912, 106 years ago today, the mighty RMS TITANIC, pride of the White Star Line and one of a class of luxury ocean liners that were the biggest on the sea at their time, slipped beneath the waters of the frigid North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg. Previously billed as “unsinkable,” the TITANIC’s hull was divided into multiple watertight compartments… but they only went partway up.

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Titanic: Belfast Built

She was designed to survive the breaching of four of those compartments. Unfortunately, when she sideswiped an iceberg, late on the night of April 14th, five compartments were breached. The cascading effect of water pouring over the top of the breached compartments and into the next dragged the bow down and made her eventual sinking an inevitability. Over two-thirds of her passengers and crew went down with the ship, drowned, or died of exposure in the ice-cold water. The loss of the TITANIC is still one of the greatest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

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RMS TITANIC begins her final plunge – from the James Cameron movie “Titanic”

Equipped with a powerful Marconi wireless set, TITANIC was in touch with many – including her sister-ship, the RMS OLYMPIC, racing to the site but too far away to arrive in time. Indeed, the only vessel near enough to have effected a rescue before TITANIC went down, the SS CALIFORNIAN, had shut down her Marconi station after a brief exchange with TITANIC and thereafter ignored her – even when, in her last desperation, she began firing distress rockets. Incidentally, the actions of CALIFORNIAN’s captain, Stanley Lord, were later found by both American and British courts of inquiry to have been unprofessional and negligent, and while formal charges were never filed, his career was – understandably! – over.

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TITANIC fires distress rockets as she settles low into the water.

Only Captain Arthur Rostron, of the Cunard liner RMS CARPATHIA – a much smaller, slower, and older ship than TITANIC – was close enough to attempt a rescue, and did so. Racing at full speed – indeed, at a speed several knots higher than her rated maximum! – CARPATHIA sliced through the cold Atlantic waters that had just claimed the “unsinkable” TITANIC, launching her own rockets to reassure TITANIC survivors that help was on the way, and dodging at least five icebergs – that her lookouts detected. Captain Rostron (a religious man, which was unusual among ship-captains of the era, and known as “the Electric Spark” for his energy) would later reflect, “another Hand than mine was on the tiller, that night.”

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Captain Arthur Henry Rostron – Brief Portrait of a Hero

Yet even with CARPATHIA’s almost superhuman efforts, they arrived as dawn was breaking, an hour after the TITANIC had sunk. It was well that they got there when they did, though, as the survivors – dressed for ballroom dancing, or for bedtime, not for surviving in freezing temperatures – would surely have begun succumbing to hypothermia had they been forced to remain in the lifeboats (tragically few in number, and even if they had all been launched, at maximum capacity, insufficient for the number of passengers and crew) for very much longer.

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TITANIC’s lifeboats row toward RMS CARPATHIA

Though there were many technical issues that contributed to the disaster – brittle steel in the hull-plates, the aforementioned “watertight” compartments that didn’t go all the way up to the main deck, insufficient lookouts with insufficient binoculars, and an inexperienced officer-of-the-deck on duty, at night, in iceberg-infested waters – TITANIC and those aboard her ultimately fell victim to the hubris of the age. Her loss was the beginning of the end of many things.

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Banning Civil War Re-Enactments Will Only Increase Ignorance, Prejudice | The Federalist

Civil War Reenactors – Confederate

It’s a mistake to ignore the complexities of history in the name of social justice. Obscuring the past will not make our country better or more just.

Source: Banning Civil War Re-Enactments Will Only Increase Ignorance, Prejudice

“The rush to obscure the past will not make our country better and more just. It is a tremendous mistake to refuse to examine the complexities of history in the name of social justice. It is culturally suicidal to reduce life into the binary categories of ‘correct’ and ‘unmentionable.’ Furthermore, it is a mistake to fail to recognize the benefits that historical reenacting can and does bring to America.”

It is truly disgusting, depressing, heart-breaking, and yes, anger-inducing to see the depths to which we have plunged as a society in only a couple of years, to the point that the idea of banning reenactments – living history – is even thinkable.

The ignorance, arrogance, and authoritarian attitudes demonstrated by (some of) those who call themselves “liberal” or “progressive” are a disgrace to the terms. Such people, and such a worldview, have more in common with Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, or today’s ISIS than they do with classical liberalism or progressivism.

And it is appallingly ironic that some of those who claim that it’s possible, even admirable, to be “non-binary” where “gender” is concerned, have no trouble insisting on, as Ms Mussman accurately phrases it, reducing life into the binary categories of “correct” and “unmentionable.” If we continue down this path, we are doomed as a society. Doomed.

In such an environment, this essay by Anna Mussman is a ray of light and hope. Her list of the benefits of reenacting / living history to society are perfectly on-point. Kudos to her for writing this excellent essay! I just wish I didn’t have the sinking feeling that she’s preaching to the choir…

Ancient Egyptians more closely related to Europeans than modern Egyptians, scientists claim | The Independent

Scientists who managed to obtain full genome sequences of Ancient Egyptians for the first time have concluded the people of the pharaohs were more closely related to modern Europeans and inhabitants of the Near East rather than present-day Egyptians.

Source: Ancient Egyptians more closely related to Europeans than modern Egyptians, scientists claim | The Independent

The researchers, writing in the journal Nature Communications, admitted their sample “may not be representative for all of ancient Egypt.” Nevertheless, they concluded the mummified people were “distinct from modern Egyptians, and closer towards Near Eastern and European samples”.

“Our analyses reveal that ancient Egyptians shared more ancestry with Near Easterners than present-day Egyptians,” they wrote. And they added: “We find that ancient Egyptians are most closely related to Neolithic and Bronze Age samples in the Levant, as well as to Neolithic Anatolian and European populations. 

“When comparing this pattern with modern Egyptians, we find that the ancient Egyptians are more closely related to all modern and ancient European populations that we tested, likely due to the additional African component in the modern population.”

Some of us would not find this particularly surprising. I don’t! But the dissenter they found for this article, this Professor Stephen Quirke, “an Egyptologist at University College London,” is “quirky” all right. Regarding his comment that “When we are discussing it, we have to be much more sensitive to how these kinds of statements are read outside where we are at the moment,” it’s not hard to read between the lines: a less careful and euphemistic way of stating that would be along the lines of, “we have to be careful not to offend those people who have bought into the Afro-centric narrative.”

In other words, preserving a Leftist narrative that privileges sub-Saharan Africans over people of European and Middle Eastern ancestry with respect to the high culture of Egypt – and the “multiculturalist” (read: anti-Western) agenda that entails – is the most important consideration, even if the science clearly demonstrates that that’s a load of bull-puckey. Once again, it’s ironic how the Left trumpets “science” when they think they can use it to discredit traditionalist ideas, but abandon it in a hurry when it supports traditional understandings, rather than their revisionist agenda!

At any rate, it seems fairly clear that the primary survivors of the “original” ancient Egyptians are the Copts, who survive as an often-persecuted minority of Christians in modern Egypt, having been converted by the missionary work of St. Mark the Apostle. It should not be forgotten that Egypt was host to a thriving Christian civilization – centered on Alexandria, one of the five ancient Patriarchates and a major center of Christian learning and devotion – prior to Egypt’s violent subjugation by Islam.

And it was with that shift that the genetic composition of Egyptians, which as this article points out had remained “genetically relatively unaffected by foreign conquest and rule” prior to the Islamic invasion, shifted as well.

Glories of the West: English Castles from Above | YouTube

Source: English Castles from Above – Our Top Picks (HD)

It is one thing – an essential thing – to bring attention to assaults against the West, and to oppose them by one’s words. It is another to remind ourselves, each other, and those who may not know much about the West why it’s worth defending!

Here is my first entry in “Glories of the West,” an occasional series of (primarily) videos which puts the lie to the oft-repeated contemporary bromide that “white people have no culture.” On the contrary, we do indeed – and a glorious and magnificent heritage of culture, at that! Architectural, musical, political, philosophical, artistic, and in many other realms as well.

Even the ruins of European structures – such as cathedrals, castles, and abbeys – are glorious, calling to mind what they must have been like in their prime. Part of our vocation, we who are defenders of the West, is to strive, to the best of our abilities and by the grace God gives us, to protect, preserve, and (where possible) restore our patrimony, for our own sakes but more importantly, for our descendants.

Revolt Against the Modern World

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“Go forth in the pathway our forefathers trod;
We too fight for freedom, our Captain is God,
Their blood in our veins with the honours we vie;
Theirs too was the watchword, ‘We conquer or die.'”

— James Pierpoint

This is the rootedness in the strength of our past, and the resulting confidence in ourselves and our future, that we of the West have too-largely lost, these days. We need to get it back! We are of proud heritage – Greco-Roman and Germano-Celtic antiquity, and Medieval and Renaissance Christendom – which we badly need to re-embrace.

And yes, there are elements of the modern world which are also worth embracing and preserving: I wouldn’t be alive today without modern medicine, for one thing. But we need to sift the wheat from the chaff – not simply accept the whole programme uncritically – and that is something we have not been doing a very good job of accomplishing.

 


 

Nota Bene:  The young lad, dressed in the uniform of a Scout, is being supported, encouraged, and inspired by figures representative of the three classes of people Western Christendom – and indeed, the pre-Christian West as well – have always considered to be essential to the proper functioning of a society: those who work, those who fight, and those who pray.

Those who work, support and maintain the society through the fruits of their labours. Those who fight, support and maintain the society by defending it from its enemies. And those who pray, support and maintain the society by offering supplication to God on its behalf, invoking God’s blessings upon it, and tending to its spiritual well-being.

Lacking any of these, a society is unbalanced and in danger of defeat or collapse. A principle we might do well to keep in mind!

History isn’t a ‘useless’ major. It teaches critical thinking, something America needs plenty more of.

History isn't a 'useless' major. It teaches critical thinking, something America needs plenty more of

Why are college students turning away from studying history as preparation for a future as citizens and workers?

Source: History isn’t a ‘useless’ major. It teaches critical thinking, something America needs plenty more of | LA Times

Unfortunately, history – and other humanities majors – are not being “sold” to students / prospective students (or anyone else, for that matter) because they do not appear to have an immediate, direct “practical” application. The extreme push to channel everyone into “higher education” – regardless of temperament or aptitude – has exacerbated the problem, while cheapening (as I have discussed many times previously) the value of the degree received.

Unfortunately, I fear we are turning out a passel of graduates who may well be prepared to work in the IT, health-care, or other “STEM” fields, but have little-to-no breadth or depth of knowledge in the areas – history, literature, philosophy – that are necessary to function effectively (learning from history in order to make sense of the present and intelligently plan for the future) in the polis: the public square, as citizens of a functioning representative republic.

Trade schools would be the more appropriate venue for those who want skills alone, but a working republic needs a core of critical thinkers, and persons well-grounded in the wisdom and experience of the past. Instead, we are turning out, as others have commented on many occasions and in many fora, a herd of sheep, easily swayed by demagoguery: whether you consider the demagogue in question to be Trump or (for instance) Hogg is immaterial.

Of course, adding to the problem is the fact that, in the words of one commentator, “the history curriculum at most schools [teaches] indoctrination instead of critical thinking.” I was fortunate to have received my undergraduate training at a time when, despite inroads from the late ’60s, ’70s, and early ’80s, the humanities were still being taught with a strong sense of passing on worthwhile traditions (and, yes, cautionary lessons) and teaching critical thinking.

That is less true, now… to put it mildly!

Research: The Industrial Revolution Left Psychological Scars That Can Still Be Seen Today

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Our research shows that a region’s historical industries leave a lasting imprint on the local psychology, which remains even when those industries are no longer dominant or have almost completely disappeared.

Source: Research: The Industrial Revolution Left Psychological Scars That Can Still Be Seen Today | Harvard Business Review

I have long believed, and occasionally commented, that industrialization (and I would include its close ally, urbanization, since the two are closely and perhaps inextricably linked) is an unnatural and therefore intrinsically harmful condition for human beings. This study tends to give credence to that belief.

I certainly concur with its conclusion, that “the effect of the Industrial Revolution seems to be more toxic and far-reaching than previously thought. While massive industrialization brought unprecedented technological and economic progress, it also left a [negative] psychological legacy that continues to shape the personality traits and well-being of people currently in these regions.”

It is true that some people seem to thrive in urban environments. But if you look at the phenomenon closer, I believe you will discover that most, if not all, of these are people who occupy a sufficiently high socio-economic bracket that urban living is a choice, not a necessity – that is, they come to the city, or even live there, for the cultural and other amenities, but are able to escape to less-congested areas on a regular basis – or whose personality is such that the more diverse and intense opportunities found in urban areas outweigh the more negative aspects.

(Or, in some cases, who are highly predatory, and find urban areas to be an amenable hunting ground!)

Also, at least in the United States, most urban areas these days are post-industrial, the U.S. having – for better or for worse – managed to “off-shore” or automate a lot of its heavy manufacturing and other industrial production; so that the worst effects of the industrial era, from extreme pollution to grinding assembly-line work, are largely things of the past.

That does not make urban living benign, however. For most people, most of the time, studies have shown repeatedly that urban environments have more negative effects – psycho-emotionally, physiologically, and even cognitively – than more natural areas. Indeed, there is a large and growing body of research conclusively demonstrating the benefits of nature on physical and mental health and overall well-being.

I am reminded of G.M. Trevelyan’s warning that,

“We are literally children of the earth, and removed from her our spirits wither or run to various forms of insanity. Unless we can refresh ourselves at least by intermittent contact with nature, we grow awry.”

Indeed.