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Potential Subjects For Future History Speaks Today Books

History speaks to us on a wide scope of subjects that relate to national security, national solidarity, social progress, etc.

Suggestions for and comments on subjects are welcome via email or by leaving comments.

History’s lessons are most easily remembered when expressed in simple terms, such as the following (which, if valid, will stand up under critical examination).

HST Potential Subjects - Subject Hypotheses

National Security
  • Citizens support winning military ventures; they oppose military actions perceived to be losing.
  • The most effective soldiers are those who believe in the cause and/or country for which they fight.
  • Truces are always broken.
  • When you are weaker, never fight for honor's sake; choose surrender instead to gain time to recover, time to torment and irritate your enemy, time to wait for his power to wane.  (see truce)
  • Crush a feared enemy completely.  More is lost through stopping halfway than through total annihilation:  The enemy will recover, and will seek revenge.
  • Warfare consumes enormous resources, impoverishing losers and, often, victors.
Nationhood / Solidarity
  • Peoples become united through common adversity, common identity and/or common goals.  Lack of common or shared experience among its people weakens or destroys unity within a nation.
  • An important element in any country’s national identity is what its citizens have in common – language, race, religion, shared experiences, etc.  The more dramatic or traumatic the shared experiences, the more they bind people together.
  • A nation or organization is in decline when a majority of its citizens or members do not believe their actions have any significance on the health or vitality of that entity.
  • Generations systematically educated or conditioned to believe or think a certain way will act in accordance with such throughout their lives.
  • When a government fails to provide security and order for its people, it loses the allegiance of those people.  In the social contract between a government and its people, security and order are at the top of government’s obligations.  When government breaks that contract, the people are forced to look elsewhere for order and personal security.
  • A government or movement that ignores the provisions of its own constitution devalues that constitution in the minds of its people.
  • A society stagnates when 'safety' becomes more important than 'adventure'.  ‘Safety’ includes entitlements, guaranteed outcomes, welfare programs, compensation for bad luck or bad planning, risk-avoidance, etc.  ‘Adventure’ involves risk-taking for a chance at significant achievement.
  • Signs of a sick society include multicultural particularism - when peoples stop identifiying themselves more with the country than with a group - racial, religious, language, ethnic, political, etc.  (Not to be confused with a planned multiculturalism that, while eschewing a single dominant social and/or ethnic culture, places national identity first.)
  • Governments that conspire against their own citizens are ultimately doomed.
  • A nation or organization begins to decline when a significant number of its members become involved in non-productive, counterproductive or hurtful activities (vandalism, destruction, drugs, gambling, crime, violence, etc.).
  • A government cannot spend its way into prosperity.  A republic begins to decline when its citizens legislate entitlements for themselves.
  • Endemic corruption within a government and its institutions withers the authority and acceptance of that government, leading to its ultimate downfall.
Social Progress
  • Freedom, security and pride lead to good and beautiful works.
  • The presence of a wealthy class enables great art and beauty through its patronage of the arts and artists.
  • Social welfare and progress is greater under the pursuit of enlightened individual self-interest than under centralized control and/or collectivism.
  • A balance between wealth and want, power and responsibility, freedom and control is required for maximum happiness and productivity.
Other Matters
  • Success of any venture requires ‘critical mass’ - timely concentration of material and resources, demand, public acceptance, etc.  Failure to ensure critical mass dooms any enterprise – business, government, military, political, scientific, social, etc.
  • Short-term trumps long-term.
  • Peoples respond self-destructively to environmental circumstances whenever near-term survival or well-being is perceived to be at stake.
  • Unchecked power leads people and nations to do harm to others.
  • Hatred extinguishes reason.
  • Revolutions create nothing that has not been fully discussed, planned, thought out and explained beforehand. Absent those things they merely destroy.
  • Not planning all the way to the end of an initiative risks being overwhelmed by circumstances.
  • Initiatives are best financed by governments when perceived costs exceed perceived private returns.  Initiatives are best eschewed by governments when potential private returns exceed perceived costs.
  • Hungry and fearful people will listen to anyone claiming to know how to end their hunger and fear.
  • A nation that goes into unsustainable debt will inevitably collapse.

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