The Old, the Conservative, and the Crusades

Join Victor Davis Hanson and cohost Sami Winc for this weekend episode: the Democratic Party’s old face, the history of the Crusades, and conservativism of traditional college disciplines.

Share This

24 thoughts on “The Old, the Conservative, and the Crusades”

  1. Wow, these discussions are such valuable treasures of analysis of our society’s illness.
    Thank you.

    Imv, they should be made required, quiet, attentive listening for each and every local and national politician right after taking their respective Oaths of Office and prior to their first day officially representing constituents.

  2. I had to pause this podcast in real time to shout loudly a single word reaction to victor’s assessment of the bargain or more appropriate, the threat these radicals exposed on the dem party ———BINGO!!!!! I have been arguing this point for years with my conservative friends who don’t see it. Frankly and bluntly Biden and Pelosi and Chuck and Mitch and all the rest of them will be dead and not have to see the consequences nor care about them for what they are doing and their families will be immune because of their wealth. It is so plain and obvious. Thank you Victor for once again articulating this. I can only hope that you are grooming your successor for my young adult common sense children who deal with this garbage in the trenches of life in America today

  3. A few comments and a little nitpicking:

    * Good points on the Ottomans: by the 18th century, the Ottoman elite were only “homeopathic Turks” — reduced by many cycles of dilution. Each Sultan was typically the offspring of a non-Turkish (Circassian, Georgian, Serbian…) concubine or wife. So after ten generations of that, a Sultan would only be (0.5)^10 = .01% Turkish. As noted, the Janissaries and most Viziers were mostly Greeks, Balkans, or other Europeans, levied through the devshirme.

    * Castles on Rhodes are indeed excellent and well-preserved. They were, BTW, mostly built by Hospitalers rather than Templars

    * Crusader castles at Kerak and Azraq in Jordan are also excellent and well worth visiting.

    * Saladin’s Kurdish origins were neither certain nor relevant at the time. Most of the Islamic regimes were curiously unconcerned about ethnic origins (see homeopathic Turks above). It has only been with the increasing focus on ethnicity in the last few decades that anyone has cared about Saladin being Kurdish.

    The far more important distinction was that Saladin was devout Sunni, whereas the Fatimids who governed Egypt at the time were Ismaili Shiites. That’s where the real challenge for Saladin was.

    Keep up the great work. No way I could talk about anything for an hour and not generate a few pages of errata.


      1. Google is your friend. 😉 I’m an easy search because there are only about a dozen people in the world with my last name.

  4. Anyone gonna argue that the Crusades really began in the religious wars between the Byzantines and Sassanians? Just checkin’… anyhow, Victor’s talk about the humanities is the reason I and my old Classics buddy are stuck with M.A.s. I had one proff stop writing me letters of rec simply because I wasn’t the right profile to be accepted (race, gender, religion, sexuality, marital status). They did me a painful favor by squelching false hope! One note: Eidolon did print a laudatory piece on Victor that suggested liberals hated him so much because he went and did what they only talked about.

  5. There needs to be a discussion about “racism”, what it means and what it is. I contend that racism is a state of mind. No one knows what is in my mind. No matter what anyone says, reading my mind is not possible. Every time the word “racism” is used, it should be challenged by the victim of the word. PROVE IT! Prove that I am a racist. What specific act did I do that makes me a racist? I want the reverse racists to answer for their racism. The black population are the “slaves” of today. The democrats tell them what to do and what to think.

    1. Linda, “Racism” used to be pretty technical too. It was something that people could only have engaged in for the last 500 years at most -really only the last 200 or so. The concept of “Racism” is deeply rooted in European Colonialism and the rise of Social Darwinism. Humans have always suffered from prejudice, tribalism, and plain old bigotry, but Racism is a limited and recent phenomenon.

  6. Victor and Sami,
    You are correct about the manipulation of rioters organized by the marxists to serve their purposes. If they need to have a crisis, then their thugs will “burn it down”. I’m sure we’ll again see the same intimidation if the leftists start to lose their power in the next couple of years leading up to and beyond the election. Your discussion about the importance of history and English in post secondary education is correct. The younger generations are abandoning scholarly endeavors, preferring social media to reading the classics. Finally, thank you for the history lesson this week. Also appreciate the recommendations of historical sites to visit and hoping to someday be able to see these. Excellent podcast.

  7. Yes, social media harms cognition, perception, and a few other activities.
    It is stunning to consider the percentage of the population that gets national/international news off social media. Yes, indeed, therefore, as a nation, we “is” dumbed down. 😉

  8. As I understand it, the dilemma is that Joe Biden won’t be impeached because Kamala Harris will take his place. Perhaps a bigger dilemma is what may happen between now and 2024. Would Patton call the bluff?
    Joe is impeached, he leaves and Kamala takes his place. What then? How would she handle the presidency; would she abdicate, become hysterical or make a blunder and be impeached herself? Who would be her Vice President?

    Thinking about the women who spearhead the transgender movement and hearing about Don Lemon’s pathogenic sexuality boast, I’ve concluded that the women are a coven and Don is a patron – ridiculous, until one considers they turn little boys into girls and it all seems to have come about by magic.

    The future looks grimm.

    1. IF we had sufficient numbers in the House and, dreaming, in the Senate, then:

      1) Impeach China/Ukraine Joe;
      2) Ms. Harris stumbles in;
      3) Impeach Her right away;
      4) The House Speaker (currently leans conservative) steps in;
      5) Assess until the next election season, then select, and vote appropriately;
      6) Award ourselves participation medals for saving the Nation.

  9. Nearly fifty years ago I took and anthropology class entitled Indians of Meso America. In that class I was taught that Cortés’s victory over the enormously numerically superior Aztecs was in part due to him (his?) being mistakenly identified as the long expected fair skinned god, Quetzalcoatl. As luck would have it for Cortés, he and his army showed up out of the East in the very year the, and from the very direction that the Aztecs were expecting.

    Yet, VDH made no mention of these significant coincidences when he listed a number of advantages (e.g., technological, Indian allies, etc.) that Cortés had over the Aztecs. I was surprised that this would be omitted by VDH. So, I did a google search, and found an article dismissing the whole assertion that the Aztecs ever considered Cortés a god.

    Is this really true?

    I must wonder. One can read also sorts of stuff on the internet. If this god identity assertion has now been discredited by scholars, I wish VDH had said so. This way one would know whether or not his omission of it was simply due to an oversight.

    Will someone with a far better Aztec background please set me straight on this? I hope so. THANK YOU!

    1. Thomas,

      The conquistadors-as-gods theory is rubbish. I think VDH didn’t waste time on it because it was debunked so long ago. It is mostly based on an account by Cortez’s biographer, Gomara, who never traveled to Mexico and had fantastical notions about the superiority of the Spanish and the noble savagery of the Aztecs.

      Other Spaniards visited Mexico before Cortez. Many were captured: some ended up serving the Aztecs as slaves in the fields…. others served them on the dinner table (drenched in a mouthwatering Mole sauce). So the Aztecs had no misconceptions about the Spanish being gods.

      1. Thank you, Jens, for straightening this out. Much of learning, is subsequent unlearning, right?

        Also, I did not know some other Spaniards, preceded Cortez. I thought he was their first exposure to Europeans, and they even thought the blasts of gunpowder were sounds out of their horses’ mouths.

        As you told James, you are a very easy person to find on the internet (no offenses, but ignorant me thought Jens was a female name). With the expertise you bring to this site, it is easy for me to take what you say “to the bank”. I appreciate it.

    2. I certainly have no better background even though having taken a couple anthropology classes including an interesting Physical Anthropology class from an Indian National PhD and, being married to an indigenous lady from just north of the pyramid for a few decades, nevertheless, my worthless opinion and everything I read indicates that Moctezuma, while shocked at the sight, had no such misconception of those “damn” Spanish.

    3. Joel Savransky

      Thomas, I was always under the assumption that the Aztecs considered Cortez the bearded white God who said one day he would return to them, I believe we both come from the same era of the 60’s? What is even more interesting is looking into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and how that all correlates in the Book of Morman being that Christ appeared onto the people who lived on this continent after his resurrection, people who came from Israel around 600bc who were of the tribes of Israel……it would all make sense then cause the book is a record of these people and also who all the different tribes that were living here were descendants of…..A thought for you to look into? Joel

      1. I’m not Mormon, but I bet BYU would have some good resources on that topic. Used to be, and maybe still is, that they had some very devout professors that were not afraid of objective research even if it seemed to disprove or cast a shadow on their religious position -Faith seeking understanding, and all that.

  10. William Parrot

    waymazing how the Beltway blather boys occasionally call for ‘ethics’ probes …

    on fellow miscreants firmly ensconced in the cesspool known as D.C. ..

    much akin to freakish voices demanding manslaughter charges be brought …
    into a combat theater shooting war in which only rules of Darwin prevail ..

    quite laughable at its core ..
    with glass-house dwellers hurling stones at their political foes .. pitiful whining & frothing

    in the meantime character assassination reigns supreme ..
    while principled citizens struggle amidst the debris to sort out the truth adroitly camouflaged by opinion fueled media celebrities ..

    in desperate pursuit of career-sustaining ratings

    the OFF/MUTE button rocks ..

    as we collectively ..

    disinfect the swamp & take back this great nation

  11. Yes we are. Just like the germans in 1933.
    Hitler at the high point of his power never had more than 2% of the 80 million population as members of the NAZI party.
    The 98 % stood by and looked the other way.
    Here’s an excellent presentation of why we are too.

  12. subject matter ‘experts’ commiserate over the celebrity inquisition thru cable news .. spy novel pseudo drama ..
    Tucker lands on his feet

    the heretofore ‘deep-sixed’ laptop story resurfaces for all to reconnoiter …

    by now everyone inside the Beltway has a thumb drive copy of the sordid data ..

    attention-starved pundits handicap pursuit of a second term .. pre-recorded announcement of same being rehearsed & choreographed in private .. go figure

    loyal citizenry disgusted by a three-year pandemic of disinformation, conflicting ‘guidance’ & cancerous absence of leadership

    searching in earnest for truth … ?
    .. welcome aboard
    .. buckle up

  13. Michael Fisher

    In response to Sami’s query about English and History majors, you said that history is about tragedy. Who caused that tragedy? Civilized human beings. Who causes current tragedy? Civilized human beings. Human civilization has existed for about 6000 years, Technological achievements aside, our track record is not very impressive. You repeatedly talk about a return to pre-civilization conditions and the detrimental effects of affluence. Maybe that is not such a bad thing. Like you, I am a product of what you call the “muscular class.” Like you I have surpassed by father’s muscular class life. I have not forgotten it. Maybe a return to a time when everyone must engage in physical labor to keep a roof over their head, clothes on their back, and food on the table is a good thing. If history is about tragedy, then our tragedy is of our own making. Ironic.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *