Swagnarok---AMA

Author: Swagnarok ,

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Swagnarok
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As a history major who's (hopefully) about to graduate after three years, ask me anything about history. Alternately, ask me questions about myself or about religion/politics.
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What historical figure is most interesting to you?

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Ugh. I'm not sure if I'd be able to answer that. For sure there are "great men" (re: Jesus, Alexander of Macedon, Theodosius, Muhammad, Charles Martel, Genghis Khan, Gutenberg, Columbus, Martin Luther, Napoleon, Gavrilo Princip, Lenin, Hitler, Gorbachev, Tim Berners-Lee, etc) who shaped the course of history, but for the most part history is the story of trends. Europe was made great by stuff like the mercantile revolution and geographical/cultural factors (which divided the continent into a number of densely populated kingdoms which had to compete with each other militarily and economically, but which at the same time were part of a common ecumene united by the use of Latin, which allowed for discoveries to easily diffuse from one kingdom to the other). These kinds of things, as mundane as they are, really don't get enough credit.

Really, it's just whoever I might find interesting at any given time. There's nobody in particular right now.
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Er, answers like that do not encourage Gentle Readers to chime in.
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What the fuck makes you call Columbus and Khan great? They were cancers to our species. Oh god, Hitler too.
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Historically great=/=Morally good or beneficial to humanity
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I mean, I guess the "Ugh" part was uncalled for. But other than that I don't think I was too rude (and in any event my gripe was not with his question but with my own inability to answer). Got any questions for me?
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Er... Yes it does mean both and I will admit it means more the latter than the former.

I would agree on Napoleon with you, that's about it. ML Sr. Isn't that great in my eyes.
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It was an "er", not a "ugh". Like, "err" pause while I think, not an "ugh" expressing disgust.

Got any questions for me?

You are a very unusual person in that your positions on issues are not readily apparent in your posts. I don't think you hide your position, you just seem to genuinely be one of those people who aren't militant at all.

So my question is, is there any belief you hold strongly? Do you have any belief you would take off the gloves for, here on the board?
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He caused over 100 years of religious civil war in Europe and inadvertently gave birth to the English Puritan movement, which would settle New England and branch off into the Baptist denominations. Without these, America would be a very different place, in ways probably unimaginable. He also caused the Counter-Reformation, which led to the Catholic Church being significantly less corrupt, while conversely more anti-science, up until the 20th century, which I'm sure harmed the scientific and economic advancement of Europe somewhat.
Perhaps most of all, however, the religious wrangling between Catholics and Protestants led to the Dutch convincing the Shogunate to/assisting them in the wholesale slaughter of the Catholic Kirishitans, leading to the virtual extinction of Christianity in Japan. If not for that then the country might be Christian today, or even never have engaged in any lasting strict isolationist policies, which might mean no Meiji Restoration, no ultranationalism, and/or no (or at least a very different) Pacific War.


Martin Luther was definitely a historical giant. There's no question about it.
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That's strange, because the way I see it I've been way too transparent about my views. Like I just repeat the same mantras over and over again. Ask me some specifics and I'll be glad to tell you whatever I think about that thing.
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Do you think if you type it, it becomes true or something? Do you ever consider you can be wrong?
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I think we can also attribute to Luther some of the messed up views Baptists have about grace. My dad, easily one of the most Godly and admirable people I know, believes that he was saved during his wild teenage years on the grounds that he prayed a prayer of salvation as a kid.
I mean, I guess that's where Sola Gratia leads when taken to an extreme, which is what Martin Luther pretty much encouraged Protestants to do.
It'd certainly be nice if he was right. But I just don't think so.
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I don't believe that typing something up magically makes it true, no, save the statement "I typed that up." And of course I could be wrong about anything. But I'm highly confident that I'm not wrong on the issues that I fret about near-constantly.
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Q: What historical figure is most interesting to you?

A: Really, it's just whoever I might find interesting at any given time. There's nobody in particular right now.
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Q:  is there any belief you hold strongly?

A: Ask me some specifics and I'll be glad to tell you whatever I think about that thing.
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I've been way too transparent about my views. 
We must have different definitions of "transparent".

Thanks man, you're a nice guy, and I'd love to ask about history to someone who knows it, but if your AMA is like pulling teeth, I pass.
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What do you think was the extent of Hitler's involvement in the Holocaust? Where do you stand concerning functionalism vs intentionalism? I'll copy Wikipedia's explanation:

  1. Was there a master plan on the part of Adolf Hitler to launch the Holocaust? Intentionalists argue there was such a plan, while functionalists argue there was not.
  2. Did the initiative for the Holocaust come from above with orders from Adolf Hitler or from below within the ranks of the German bureaucracy? Although neither side disputes the reality of the Holocaust, nor is there serious dispute over the premise that Hitler (as Fuhrer) was personally responsible for encouraging the anti-Semitism that allowed the Holocaust to take place, intentionalists argue the initiative came from above, while functionalists contend it came from lower ranks within the bureaucracy.


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I don't really know, so all I can give here is my opinion:

1. Hitler saw the Jews as an impediment to Germany's greatness, and as a 2,000 year old cancer on the white race. He sought to remove them from Europe, and especially from Germany (defined as the large area in central and eastern Europe which Nazi Germany claimed as its territory). As for how he originally planned to go about this is up for debate. It's possible that he regularly engaged in an (to use so crude a term) exercise in mental masturbation, priding himself in his leniency in his plans to relocate those cursed Jews rather than just killing them all. Alternately, he may have prided himself in the perceived sincerity and purity of his desire to fight for Germany, which meant killing all its enemies for their slights against his Fatherland. And he might've done both, as I'm sure his views fluctuated wildly over the years, since ideological formation was a fun way to occupy his time.
Either way, it soon became apparent that even if Hitler wanted to peacefully remove the Jews from Europe there wasn't really anywhere to put them. And wherever they went they would've eventually ended up manipulating the white race once more via their saavy banker skills (these are not my views on Jewish people, mind you).
2. Hitler was the driving force behind everything big. He came up with the state ideology; at most he received extra input in certain areas (though let's be honest: this was probably the case in a lot of areas, as Hitler was a hedonist who didn't like heavy workloads) where he was too intellectually lazy to come up with a comprehensive and unique direction. That is, Hitler was a macro-thinker, but there may've been room for other people to fill in the micro-details. It just depended on who had his ear.
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Sprite or Sierra Mist?
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Sierra Mist. I used to get that every time I ate at Subway. That was years ago, but I recall it tasting so good.
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Everything on my campus is pepsi products. Sierra Mist is the closest thing to sprite they have. Makes me sad