By Anthony Bavaria
If you subscribe, even remotely, to the great man theory of history, then you cede to the basic fact of a hierarchy amongst men.
Not all of humankind has equal potential; yes, trends and forces aid in elevating certain types of men that are ripe for the occasion, but this truism still speaks to the notion that we are different from each other. We’ve all seen the memes of a burly man that would have once been at the head of some crew of pagan marauders now relegated to a cubicle. Conversely, personalities that were probably once candidates to be eunuchs in the queen’s chambers are now running society. This leads to an understanding that not all men destined for greatness necessarily succeed. Many try and fail, and though their greatness may not have impacted history in a meaningful, long-term way, their cause and effort are no less worth celebrating. One such man was William Walker and his enterprise was filibustering.
Of all the grand historical narratives that have recently entered the political realm, the myth of medieval European “backwardness” and concurrent Islamic “progress” is perhaps the most egregious. The popular view of the Middle Ages holds that it was an era of immense suffering, religious fanaticism, oppression, and a time of cultural “backsliding”, in that European society lost the virtues and advancements of Greek and Roman civilization. At best this is a misconception, and at worst it is a lie upheld for political purposes.
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