“The German Question” of the 19th century

I know most of NOL‘s American readers are familiar with the German question that puzzled the Allies after World War II, but there was a different German Question that puzzled statesmen and policymakers in the 19th century:

From 1815 to 1866, about 37 independent German-speaking states existed within the German Confederation. The Großdeutsche Lösung (“Greater German solution”) favored unifying all German-speaking peoples under one state, and was promoted by the Austrian Empire and its supporters. The Kleindeutsche Lösung (“Little German solution”) sought only to unify the northern German states and did not include any part of Austria (either its German-inhabited areas or its areas dominated by other ethnic groups); this proposal was favored by the Kingdom of Prussia.

And this:

While a number of factors swayed allegiances in the debate, the most prominent was religion. The Großdeutsche Lösung would have implied a dominant position for Catholic Austria, the largest and most powerful German state of the early 19th century. As a result, Catholics and Austria-friendly states usually favored Großdeutschland. A unification of Germany led by Prussia would mean the domination of the new state by the Protestant House of Hohenzollern, a more palatable option to Protestant northern German states. Another complicating factor was the Austrian Empire’s inclusion of a large number of non-Germans, such as Hungarians, Czechs, South Slavs, Italians, Poles, Ruthenians, Romanians and Slovaks. The Austrians were reluctant to enter a unified Germany if it meant giving up their non-German speaking territories.

This is from Wikipedia, and it appears that the German Question of the 20th century was still the same one as the 19th century. It took an invasion by the Soviet Union and the United States to decisively answer the question. Happy Easter!

How the abolition of slavery led to imperialism

I’ve been saying this for years, so it’s nice to see this out in the open. Behold:

Far from meaning the end of slavery as Western demand for enslaved persons fell, the 19th century saw slavery’s increase in West Africa as a different type of external demand arose. The abolition of the Atlantic slave trade north of the Equator in the first two decades of the 19th century transformed West African economies. It was one of the major factors in the series of economic crises and political revolutions that shaped West African politics until the advent of formal colonialism in the 1880s

This is from Toby Green, an excellent scholar of Africa in the UK.

“The Legacy of Colonial Medicine in Central Africa”

Between 1921 and 1956, French colonial governments organized medical campaigns to treat and prevent sleeping sickness. Villagers were forcibly examined and injected with medications with severe, sometimes fatal, side effects. We digitized 30 years of archival records to document the locations of campaign visits at a granular geographic level for five central African countries. We find that greater campaign exposure reduces vaccination rates and trust in medicine, as measured by willingness to consent to a blood test. We examine relevance for present-day health initiatives; World Bank projects in the health sector are less successful in areas with greater exposure.

Woah, this, from Sara Lowes and Edward Montero, is crazy (link fixed) and hopefully gives pause to colonialism’s few living defenders…

Nighttime blurb

I’ll be honest with you guys, this whole no “nightcap” thing is weird. Every day I have to remind myself that I don’t do nightcaps anymore. I wonder if I have any other habits that I don’t think about. I’m sure I do, but I don’t what they are.

I’ve got a piece on the pre-Westphalian interpolity order I’m working on. It’s slow going, but it’s going. If any of you are experts or (especially) enthusiasts on the Holy Roman Empire, I’d be obliged if you send tips my way. The best read on the Holy Roman Empire so far, for me, has been this one (pdf).

Go Bruins!

Charter cities aren’t all that libertarian, and I doubt they’ll work either

Is economist Tyler Cowen bullish on a new charter city in Honduras? He says he’ll go and report on it if it ever gets off the ground. But let’s be honest with ourselves, it’s not going to ever get off the ground. Why? Two reasons. First (from Cowen’s excerpt):

It has its own constitution of sorts and a 3,500-page legal code with frameworks for political representation and the resolution of legal disputes

This is too many rules and not enough boundaries. A constitution of sorts? 3,500 pages of legal code, based off of…what, exactly? Some guys decided that they could purchase sovereignty (not a bad idea, actually) and then create – out of thin air and by using heterodox economic theory as their guide – all of the rules and regulations that this sovereign body would need to govern effectively? Did I get this right?

Second, when has a top-down central planning ever worked for something like this? Top-down central planning barely works for corporations when they reach a certain size threshold, and we all know how well this type of planning works in the public sphere. Even the U.S. federation – which can be considered a sort of top-down plan from a certain point of view – was built on top of already existing politico-legal institutions. Hong Kong and Singapore, two city-states that have long been the apple of libertarian eyes, were around long before they became city-states in the Westphalian state system. The British just grafted their imperial system onto already-existing indigenous politico-legal orders.

This charter city in Honduras is (I am assuming) not grafting itself onto an already existing indigenous politico-legal order. It is trying to forge an entirely new system out of thin air. That’s too rich for my blood.

Who invented chicken nuggets?

Some dude named Robert C Baker:

Baker’s innovation was to mold boneless bite-size morsels from ground, skinless chicken (often from the little-used parts of the bird), and encase them in a breading perfectly engineered to solve two key problems: It stayed put through both frying and freezing, critical for mass production and transportation. 

Like all things “American,” chicken nuggets started with World War II:

During World War II, chicken became many Americans’ primary source of protein after the U.S. military commandeered red meat for soldiers, creating a beef shortage at home. The massive chicken demand incentivized businesses to produce the birds more cheaply, says anthropologist Steve Striffler

Read the rest, and I’d be in big trouble without Chicken McNuggets on road trips…

Nightcap: the end

Folks, I’ve got a ton of writing projects on my plate. I am trying to make the switch from non-fiction to fiction, too. Oh, and I have a small family now. And a career in the private sector that is going quite well. My priorities have changed.

I’ll still be blogging here, of course, but the “nightcaps” are done.

It’s weird how life changes. It’s weird to think that I’ve hitchhiked through Mexico, the U.S., Spain, Italy, Portugal, and France. I lived in Ghana. I did drugs. I listened to political hip-hop and punk rock. I’m a dad now. My oldest child will be 4 soon. I don’t even listen to music anymore. I just sing along with the kids to Mary Poppins songs. Did any of that stuff I learned while young mean anything?

My devotion to liberty has changed, too. I’m not as political as I once was. I’m not as important as I once thought. My voice really doesn’t matter all that much, at least in the public sphere. I don’t vote in American elections, but I do vote at shareholder meetings. My life has shifted inward. My private lives are much more fulfilling than the public ones. At least in this new phase of my life.

Have a good weekend!

Nightcap

  1. The red pill for philosophers and scientists Nick Nielsen, Grand Strategy Annex
  2. “Lived experience” and the Word of God Brendan O’Neill, spiked!
  3. The immigrant’s vote of confidence in America John McGinnis, Law & Liberty
  4. How the world gave up on the stateless Udi Greenberg, New Republic

Nightcap

  1. Biden turns up the heat on America’s cold wars Connor Freeman, Libertarian Institute
  2. Anarchy, security, and changing material contexts (pdf) Daniel Deudney, Security Studies
  3. Leningrad’s rock scene was pretty damn cool Coilin O’Connor, Radio Free Europe
  4. Nations within states and the future of history (pdf) Anthony Reid, ARI WP

Nightcap

  1. Frederick Douglass and a glorious liberty Tony Williams, Law & Liberty
  2. Dealing with terrorists Michael Koplow, Ottomans & Zionists
  3. An oral history of Texas punk Pat Blashill, Southwest Review
  4. Institutions, machines, and complex orders Federico Sosa Valle, NOL

Nightcap

  1. What have we seen in a year of lockdown? Philip Ball, homunculus
  2. The myth of the impartial juror Sonali Chakravarti, Boston Review
  3. June in Arkansas Chloe Honum, Bat City Review
  4. Go Bruins!

Nightcap

  1. Four myths about World War I Mark Harrison, VOXEU
  2. The Spanish electrician who sabotaged the Nazis Tereixa Constenla, El Pais
  3. Liberal piety and power-hungry unscrupulousness Irfan Khawaja, Policy of Truth
  4. Fifty years of fear and loathing David Wills, Quillette

Nightcap

  1. Our very British brand of totalitarianism James Jeffrey, Critic
  2. Federalist versus democratic peace (pdf) Daniel Deudney, EJIR
  3. Go Bruins!

Nightcap

  1. British and American fascism, past and present Priya Satia, Los Angeles Review of Books
  2. Why a world state is inevitable: the logic of anarchy (pdf) Alexander Wendt, EJIR
  3. Greater Britain or greater synthesis? (pdf) Daniel Deudney, RIS
  4. The Sung empire vs. the Byzantine “republic” Branko Milanovic, globalinequality

Nightcap

  1. Conventional economics is more radical than Marxism Chris Dillow, Stumbling & Mumbling
  2. What is “conservatism” in the US these days? Daniel McCarthy, Claremont Review of Books
  3. The cultural contradictions of American education Kay Hymowitz, National Affairs
  4. Political bargaining in a federation: Buchanan meets Coase (pdf) Mark Gradstein, CEPR