Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sons of Confederate Veterans Commander-in-Chief R. Michael Givens on the "darkness and indolence" of Asian culture

R. Micheal Givens, Commander-in-Chief, (C-i-C) of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) is wrote on the battle of Thermopylae and the defeat of the Persians in the July/Aug 2013 issue of the Confederate Veteran, pages 4,5,26. The Battle of Thermopylae was a legendary battle in history and kept European Greece free of the Persian Empire. Ionian Greece was part of the Persian Empire.

I am glad of the defeat of the Persians and the victory of the Greeks since it did allow the Athenian and other democracies to survive. The successes and the notable failures of Greek democracy figured in the thinking which created our modern democracies. I like Greek Civilization, and when I was an undergraduate I was a double major in engineering and ancient history. There was not charge for an additional class since I was a full time student and I graduated with 5 1/2 years of credits in 4 years of school.

However, I rather doubt that the slaves in Greece or Persia cared much who won. It would be interesting to know what the Helots thought of the Spartan victory. It wasn't until the Spartans were later defeated that the Helots became free Greeks again.

However, what is interesting is the following comment on page 5 by Givens:
All this advancement may have never evolved had Greece become a Persian satrapy, and been assimilated into the darkness and indolence which was Asian, 2,492 years ago. 
Givens is talking about 480 BCE.

A lot is happening in Asia at that time. For starters Judaism is developing and will become Christianity. Buddhism is starting in the 5th Century BCE. Confucius is writing in the 6th and 4th Century BCE. Asian civilization is developing.

I don't know what the "darkness" and "indolence" Givens is talking about. It is this type of writing that tends to give interest in Classical history, the period of the Greeks and Romans a bad reputation. That is that an interest and appreciation of civilizations in the past of which lead to the development of modern Western civilization is about asserting superiority over others and assuming superiority for ones self. You can appreciate the accomplishments of a civilization without running down another. However, since the SCV glorifies the white supremacist Confederacy, they very likely have a world history view which supports white supremacy.

It shows Givens historical sense is ethnocentric and ill informed at best, but it is likely part of a larger racist view of world history. It is like something out of the 19th century where history is employed to justify colonial domination. It is also an example of the mentality of the SCV and Ben C. Sewell III who as an editor of the Confederate Veteran didn't point this out.

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