Guardian ivermectine smear
In fairness to the Guardian, the Genghis Khan article does not strike me as any sort of adulation. It notes Genghis’ murderous progress across the steppes and the regrowth of forests as a consequence, and adds that this is hardly something to copy today.
I advice you to read some books about Temujin. Much of the current lore is pretty biased, partly because now we have different morals, partly because of how history works. There is more in western culture that we owe to the rule of the Gengis than most people are aware of. And if you are interested in what makes innovation work, you really should open up your mind to his plight.
No, I’m not an admirer, but it is weird to see how history treated him: he created the worlds largest empire, and in doing so created an equivalent of the current internet: now bits, then people. In the travel stories of monks you will read that anyone: mongol, chinese, european, was able to rise in the ranks of the Mongols: what matter was talent and loyalty. In the whole enpire there was freedom of religion, women could savely travel along the silk roads throughout the empire: rape was rewarded with the death penalty. Diplomats had a special status (guess where the diplomatic immunity comes from), and try to find out who introduced something like a passport. The number of casualties is vastly overrated, but still pretty horrific, but I think that the causualties due to wars of say, the American empire after WW2, are pretty comparable. Geoffery Chaucer was a hugh admirer, actually, most of his work was about Gengis Khan. The change in western view was due to Rousseau, that French guy that talked about freedom and morals and stuff, but who left his child behind on a road. He wrote about Louis 14 but he did not want to loose his head, so he used the name of Gengis Khan instead. That kind of changed the Western view, then, as now, most people lack a critical thinking faculty: most p ople believed what authorities said or wrote. Thanks to the mongols, Europe was able to leave the feodal age behind: in a huge battle the whole Teutonic knighthood was erased from the face of the earth. Additionally, the first truly international hospitals were founded by the Mongols: chinese shared their knowledge with Arabs and Europeans, and on and on.
I think that we cannot look at history with our myopic current view. Morals change, ethics change, everything changes. To me, the biggest lesson of the life of Gengis Khan is that to really innovate, opinion, believes and perceptions do not matter. That is imo a lesson that we need to remember fast, especially when you see in what direction we are headed. Or, to put it more bluntly, maybe we need a Gengis Khan. The Khan in the age of crusades destroyed the order of the Hashhasin. Nowadays we have the equivalent of the Hashashin and the feodal knights who need to have their asses kicked: people and companies who want to control what we think and say, and people and companies who treat us like the feodal slaves of the past.
From the article:
Genghis Khan, in fact, may have been not just the greatest warrior but the greatest eco-warrior of all time, according to a study by the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Energy. It has concluded that the 13th-century Mongol leader’s bloody advance, laying waste to vast swaths of territory and wiping out entire civilisations en route, may have scrubbed 700m tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere – roughly the quantity of carbon dioxide generated in a year through global petrol consumption – by allowing previously populated and cultivated land to return to carbon-absorbing forest.
Laying waste to entire civilisations? Let’s see what that means:
Ancient sources described Genghis Khan’s conquests as wholesale destruction on an unprecedented scale in certain geographical regions, causing great demographic changes in Asia. According to the works of the Iranian historian Rashid al-Din (1247–1318), the Mongols killed more than 700,000 people in Merv and more than 1,000,000 in Nishapur. The total population of Persia may have dropped from 2,500,000 to 250,000 as a result of mass extermination and famine. Population exchanges also sometimes occurred.
“With one stroke,” wrote a Persian historian, “a world which billowed with fertility was laid desolate, and the regions thereof became a desert, and the greater part of the living dead, and their skin and bones crumbling dust; and the mighty were humbled…” [Juvaini, The History of the World Conquerors, vol. 1, translated by Boyle, Cambridge, 1958.] “
My sense is that history de-humanises victims, probably why totalitarian ideals are repeated time and time again with the inevitable suffering that follows.
Thanks to the mongols, Europe was able to leave the feodal age behind.
European serfdom (feudal age), didn’t end in the 14th century, just saying…
In Eastern Europe the institution persisted until the mid-19th century. In the Austrian Empire serfdom was abolished by the 1781 Serfdom Patent; corvée continued to exist until 1848. Serfdom was abolished in Russia in the 1860s.
And I think you maybe attributing its end to the wrong general:
In the later Middle Ages serfdom began to disappear west of the Rhine even as it spread through eastern Europe. Serfdom reached Eastern Europe centuries later than Western Europe – it became dominant around the 15th century. In many of these countries serfdom was abolished during the Napoleonic invasions of the early 19th century, though in some it persisted until mid- or late- 19th century.
I would advance that there are better role-models than Genghis Khan for dealing with our current predicament. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe it will come down to us all fighting over critical resources. I am guessing the outcome of events such as this will determine what direction we head in.