Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by SkyTrooper

  1. I don't really know much about China in Alexander's day, except that at the time it wasn't actually China yet. I doubt that Alexander knew much else. Attempting to conquer the various chinese states during the Waring States Period would be tantamount to insanity (like trying to rule a bee's nest) so yes I will take the position that it was not "worth conquering." Obviously there were a great many developing cultures in the world that Alexander did not conquer. Not only would it have been highly irrational for him to try it, but it would have been impossible given the technological limitations of the time. Unless Alexander had invented cargo planes to transport his troops, he could not have conquered the Aztecs, Incas, Vikings, etc. I believe Alexander could have ordered his troops to continue and they would have. Read Arrian pp.292-298 and decide for yourself. Alexander accepted Coenus's reasoned appeal to end the campaign and return home.
  2. I'll agree that the Kahn started with less, but not that much less. The tribes of the Steepe were no harder to unite for conquest than all of the Greek states. The reason that Kahn was an exile was because he had a claim to be the chief of his tribe (since his father had been) so this was not a case of him rising up from "absolutely nothing." I'm honestly in no position to be critical of either leader: their achievements were impressive. This might be true. Personally I've read books about both, so thats not where I'm coming from. Your information is somewhat lacking. Alexander ceased his campaign in India, at the urging of his officers (who were homesick), but never lost a battle there. I will qualify the statement "Alexander conquered the known world" by stating "Alexander conquered every geopolitical power in existence at the time that was worth conquering." Alexander had little interest in conquering the remainder of India because he did not see the Hindu philosophy as a serious threat to his empire or to even the freedom of those living under it, and he had absolutely no interest in "sub-Saharan Africa." So I think your evidence that shows the Kahn as better than Alexander is wrong, but there are certainly other points to be made. If the criteria is "land area conquered" you might be right (I don't know those particular statistics). I generally have a great amount of respect for the governments installed by Ghengis Kahn, which were secular and respected individual rights (as did those of Alexander). Unfortunately these institutions had no hope of lasting because of their poor philosophical basis. Since the Mongols were illiterate they were extremely susceptible to Islam, which even by the time of the Kahn's conquests had become a sophisticated urban religion. This marriage of the brilliance of the Kahn's military tactics to the expansionist version of Islam led to the creation of a leader of pure evil: Timur.
  3. I'm a full time student right now, but I'll commission as an Army 2nd Lieutenant in two months. My first assignment will be running supply convoys for the 1st CAV; keeping the Forward Arming and Refueling Points supplied while fighting off IEDs and ambushes. In four years I'll either go on to company command or join the Special Forces. I might also write some non-fiction in an attempt to revive western military strategy and foreign policy.
  4. I disagree with your negative revision of Sparta and your positive revision of the Achaeminid Empire. True, the Persians had many cultural innovations (including a recognition of human rights), but by the time of Thermopolye it was in serious decline. By 500 b.c. the Persian empire was a nation of conquest and subjugation, let by despots who claimed rule by divine right. Also, lets not forget who was invading who. I will revise the idea that the Spartans aimed for freedom, since obviously individual freedom was not their first goal. They above all aimed for personal safety for their families and national autonomy. Their foreign policy was not one of conquest, unlike the Achaeminid Empire. In the early life of Greece, the various cities would often invade one another, sack the enemies cities, kill all the men, and sell the women into slavery. The militarism of Sparta is a direct reaction to this. Just some facts you clearly overlooked: men with three or more sons were exempt from military service, by Spartan law no foreign power could command their army, there was a democratic assembly that checked the power of the kings and elders, and Spartans could renounce their citizenship and go elsewhere. Also, military training did not start until age 20, although they were taken to the Agoge at 7 where their "training consisted for the most part in physical exercises, such as dancing, gymnastics, and ball-games." (the horrors of the totalitarian state!) As for being sent out into the woods, that was only a test extended to a small group of future elite soldiers, think: the extra survival training Green Berets have to go through. So I hate to be in a position of defending what was clearly a statist and oppressive culture, but I still maintain the Spartans had the moral high ground at Thermopolye.
  5. Granted my understanding of Spartan history is weak but I don't recall them "enslaving" other cultures. They often made their conquered enemies into "Helots," which was basically equivalent to a medieval serf. This seems like a rather progressive idea when compared to some of Spartans' contemporaries who did not take prisoners. The Persians on the other hand had chattel slaves (a practice that the Greeks did not undertake) and slave soldiers. Sparta did not attempt to build an empire or collect tribute from other Greek states while the Persians (during the Achaeminid empire at least) attempted to enslave the world. Here is Aristotle's commentary on the Spartan Constitution: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/aristotle-sparta.html To say that there are no purely"good guys" in the Greco-Persian Wars may be right, but I submit that the Spartans (who were somewhat free) and the Athenians (who were the freest culture yet seen in the world) were the "better guys" vs. the Persian Achaeminid Empire, which was a second-hander culture at the height of its decline.
  6. Alexander was clearly the Greatest Military Leader in history. He stands out as the only great battle captain never to loose a battle (reference "Understanding Defeat" by COL T.N. Dupuy), and was cited by most other great generals as a primary influence. Aristotle was Alexander's tutor, and Alexander's philosophy of War was Aristotelean thought come to military fruition. Just a sampling of the diverse operations that Alexander excelled at: Maneuver Warfare, best exemplified at the Battle of Isus Counterinsurgency, especially efficient in Bactria Suppressing Rebellions, at Thebes Siege, at Tyre Logistics, keeping a massive Army supplied as it conquered the known world Hunting Down Fugitive Despots, Darius and Bessus River Crossing, of the Oxus (an impressive feat of engineering) Establishment of Just Laws and Governments, everywhere You'll have to forgive any errors since its been a while since I've read Arrian, but you get the idea.
  7. I have to act as a Spartan apologist here. The Spartans primary value was "freedom," and their culture was entirely oriented on achieving that value. The Spartans believed that there were many other cultures that wished to enslave them that could not be reasoned with (and were in fact correct at the time) so naturally put a large emphasis on their military culture. Yes they had slaves, but even their slaves had more rights than most of the Persians did at the time. If I remember correctly there was even a way for slaves to gain citizenship through merit. Ultimately their mindset did elevate the Polus above the individual, but as far as the various constitutions found in antiquity are concerned the Lacedaemian Constitution was rather progressive. Also there is no reason why a Persian should be offended by the movie, unless he was deterministic and believed that his race determined his personality (eg. this movie says the Persian empire was evil, I am Persian, therefore this movie says I am evil). By any objective standard, the Persian empire in 500 b.c. was evil... probably more so than could be shown using Miller's special effects.
  8. The best way to overcome "Platonic brainwashing" is using Plato: have your brother read Plato's Parmenides. Plato is painted as an evil person by a lot of Objectivists, but he was really his own best critic. I honestly think I gained tremendously and had the groundwork laid for my study of Aristotle and Ayn Rand by studying Plato first. Plato identifies all the key topics in Philosophy, prepares students for the frustration that comes from seeing various Philosophers contradicting each other, and supports Philosophy as a science. He proposes the Forms as a solution to essences and builds a complete Philosophical system based on them, then he goes on to refute the Forms in Parmenides. It's really an incomplete reading of Plato's works that caused so much disaster throughout history, since Plato's final message is "I was wrong."
  9. I liked it for what it was, but I would have preferred something more along the lines of "Gates of Fire" since this was a story about a real event. The real Battle of Thermopolye was about Greeks who were willing to die in a delaying action because they would rather be dead than live as Persian slaves. The movie 300 was about computer generated cartoon characters motivated by bloodlust and militarism. Such was the power of the original event that there is no way to tell the story without giving some lip service to the value of liberty and the dangers of mysticism, but I think the director managed to do a lot to downplay both.
  • Create New...