Suggested Discussion Outline

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Suggested Discussion Outline

Post by johnkarls »


The following outline is respectfully suggested –

A. Comments About Specific Chapters of The Square and The Tower

1. Part I: Introduction: Networks and Hierarchies (Chapters 1-10)
2. Part II: Emperors and Explorers (Chapters 11-16)
3. Part III: Letters and Lodges (Chapters 17-20)
4. Part IV: The Restoration of Hierarchy (Chapters 21-27)
5. Part V: Knights of the Round Table (Chapters 28-34)
6. Part VI: Plagues and Pipers (Chapters 35-41)
7. Part VII: Own the Jungle (Chapters 42-49)
8. Part VIII: The Library of Babel (Chapters 50-56)

NB: Please see below for Part IX: Conclusion: Facing Ciberia

B. Slavery vs. Revolution: Basic Social Anatomy

It is respectfully suggested that this month’s Short Quiz entitled “Slavery vs. Revolution: Basic Social Anatomy” – 8 of whose 15 questions were answered with “What do you think???” – is worthy of discussion.

The Short Quiz follows immediately below (the Suggested Answers are available at viewtopic.php?f=610&t=1985&sid=09598361 ... 6bbbea9325).

1. Do you think the Egyptian pyramids were built by slaves or by well-paid unionized workers?

2. Do you think the Acropolis of Athens was built by slaves or by well-paid unionized workers?

3. Do you think those Roman triremes (seagoing war galleys with three decks of oarsmen) were powered by slaves or well-paid unionized workers?

4. Was Spartacus a Roman slave-gladiator who led a famous slave revolt which eventually attracted 30,000 rebel slaves and whose defeat required THREE Roman military campaigns, the last involving 40,000 highly-trained Roman soldiers? Was this imbroglio portrayed in a 1960 epic Hollywood movie starring Kirk Douglas that received the Golden Globe for Best Picture and 4 Oscars?

5. BTW, have historians recorded that during the THIRD Roman military campaign, the 40,000 Roman soldiers in the legions facing Spartacus HAD TO BE REPEATEDLY “DECIMATED” in order to force them to fight the slaves?

6. Is “decimated” one of those words in the English language whose meaning has undergone a radical change over time?

7. Was it necessary to REPEATEDLY “DECIMATE” the Roman legions in order to force them to fight the slaves BECAUSE THE ROMAN SOLDIERS SYMPATHIZED WITH THE SLAVES???

8. How did the Roman slaves learn about Spartacus’ revolt in order to join it? The internet? Television? Radio? Telephone? Telegraph? Pamphlets following the invention of the printing press? Smoke signals? Or “word of mouth”?

9. In getting slaves to revolt, does the communication have to be truthful? For example, could it have been a ruse perpetrated by the Roman government to identify disloyal slaves?

10. In getting slaves to revolt, do the slaves need an expert appraisal of the chance of success in order to join – for example, based on relative numbers and available weapons? In this regard, was Nelson Mandela who led the successful South Africa independence movement, astounded at the success of the American Civil Rights Movement in obtaining its legislative successes of the 1960’s – because Mandela could NOT believe a racial minority could achieve such objectives?

11. Does the title of our focus book (“The Square and The Tower: Networks and Power From The Freemasons to Facebook”) describe one of the world’s foremost historians taking a second look at history through the lens of (1) vertical hierarchies (“The Tower”) comprising governments, armies, corporations, etc., versus (2) horizontal networks (The Public Square) comprising the people?

12. Does he provide a zillion historical examples of the tension between hierarchies and the people – sometimes erupting into revolution and sometimes not?

13. Is his “Part IX: Conclusion” humorously entitled “Facing Cyberia”?

14. Is he optimistic that the people can use their new tools, primarily cyber, to achieve their goals?

15. BTW, is Yours Truly guilty of extending our author’s historical analysis back to the ancient Egyptian/Greek/Roman civilizations that were built on slavery, whereas our focus book’s title ending in “From The Freemasons to Facebook” implies that our author wanted to confine his analysis to FREE common people and their horizontal networks?

C. The Square and The Tower’s Part IX: Conclusion: Facing Ciberia - Order vs. Democracy

On p. 395, Prof. Ferguson succinctly states the thesis of The Square and The Tower –

“Can a networked world have order? As we have seen, some say that it can. In the light of historical experience, I very much doubt it.”

1. Did Prof. Ferguson prove, in your opinion, that in the light of historical experience a networked world can NOT have order?

2. Although historians (including my ex-wife of 33 years who was, for three decades and 6 editions, the co-author of the nation’s most popular High School World History Textbook – McGraw-Hill with National Geographic illustrations) might consider it heresy to even entertain this question, much less a negative answer -- is the future limited by history??? In other words, just because a networked world has NEVER BEFORE had order, does that necessarily mean that a networked world can NOT have order IN THE FUTURE???

3. Is “order” such a laudable goal???

4. In other words, what does Prof. Ferguson mean by “order” and should that be preferred to, say, “democracy”??? Even if “democracy” is “disorderly”???

5. Isn’t “democracy,” even if somewhat disorderly, preferable to pervasive human misery??? And to revolution (the ultimate lack of “order”) that human misery might produce???

6. Bringing us back to earth, does the U.S. have, BTW, a democracy???

7. In this regard, haven’t we always agreed with Dana Milbank (Washington Post OpEd Columnist 2000-present, syndicated in more than 200 newspapers) and Robert Kuttner (Business Week’s Liberal Columnist 1984-2005, Brandeis U Prof 2005-present and author of 12 books) ever since our 2/14/2008 meeting 12.5 years ago which focused on their newly-minted best-sellers “Homo Politicus: The Strange and Scary Tribes That Run Our Government” and “The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity” -- the thesis of both Messrs. Milbank and Kuttner being that NOTHING IS DONE (OR NOT DONE) IN THE CESSPOOL KNOWN AS WASHINGTON DC EXCEPT AS THE RESULT OF CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS WHICH COMPRISE EITHER BRIBERY OF THE POLS OR EXTORTION BY THE POLS???!!!

8. And wasn’t our most recent campaign on the topic of “McCain-Feingold – Money & Politics” launched on 3/31/2020 in the form of a letter entitled “Worth Fighting For – The Honorable U.S. Senator John S. McCain III – His Dream of Campaign-Finance Reform and What You Can Do To Help” sent to his daughter, Meghan McCain, and to each of her co-hosts and producers on ABC’s “The View”???

[A copy of that letter is available for download at viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1910&sid=095983615 ... 6bbbea9325.]

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