from the world's big
The lessons we've learned here on Earth will affect how we govern a new world.
- The colonization of Mars is a real possibility for the not-too-distant future. A big question that author Michael Shermer and others are considering is how what we know about government on Earth will shape the politics of a new planet.
- Favored by Elon Musk, Shermer shoots down the suggestion of a direct democracy because he says that historically it does not work. Direct democracy can lead to a "mob mentality" where hysterics overtake logic, leading to witch hunts and other bad consequences.
- Shermer explains why he thinks the government on Mars will, in many ways, mirror what we know as a representative democracy. There will be constitutional republic and a Bill of Rights that determines what people can and can't do.
How will the current challenges to the global economy pressure it to change?
- Life is different everywhere—it is determined by the context of a unique culture and a unique geography. The same goes for economies. Local economies are unique to their contexts, says John Fullerton, founder and president of Capital Institute.
- "[I]magine if you thought about human economic development from a place-based perspective," says Fullerton. "You would have, instead of a global corporation like Apple, thought of as a single thing, you would have Apple's manufacturing plant in China as part of the Chinese bioregional economy."
- The pressure on the current global economy will cause it to shift and evolve into a healthier state of community-based economic development.
These maps show surprising juxtapositions of ancient and modern toponyms of the Mother Continent.
- "Africa" is just one of the ancient names that competed to define the entire continent.
- Geographical terms like Sudan, Maghreb, and Guinea have remarkably wide and changeable areas of application.
- Newly independent African nations sometimes adopted names of former kingdoms – even faraway ones.
Vast and varied<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjA1MDQyNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5NDc4ODMzM30.ACOYSPn8Z4AUxFbb--bCQel53R9Q7xJObxRBm1kRXyk/img.jpg?width=980" id="4a333" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e64d7be822b21be4abef6fcdd903201b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="The place-name pairs come in three categories: ancient, geographical and pre-colonial" />
The place-name pairs come in three categories: ancient, geographical and pre-colonial.<p>The names of continents are so well-established that we forget how obscure their origins really are. America is named after an Italian explorer, but not the one historically credited with its discovery. Europe and Asia may derive from the Akkadian words for "sunset" and "sunrise," but there are a host of other etymologies. </p><p>And, as these maps show, Africa is just one of the many names that have been used to describe this vast and varied land mass. The maps come in three categories – names of ancient, geographical and pre-colonial origin – and show the areas to which those names apply: dark, for the old version; and outlined, for the current one. </p>
Ancient toponyms<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjA1MDQzMy9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0ODQ5MTM3NH0.aFFQf4hcBbBFyQ3z-ftyrNoGt4E-DEguUSy8id4zFNQ/img.png?width=980" id="93944" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="78ec2cf9c1b3abb1c627021737f0d752" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Libya, Ethiopia and Africa are all local names that at one time applied to the entire continent" />
Libya, Ethiopia and Africa are all local names that at one time applied to the entire continent.<ul> <li><strong>Libya</strong> is an ancient Greek toponym for the lands between the Nile and the Atlantic Ocean, and sometimes by extension for the entire continent. The name may derive from the local Libu tribe. Libya is also the name of the modern North African country between Tunisia and Egypt, formerly infamous for the violent surrealism of Colonel Ghadaffi's decades-long dictatorship and currently for its lawlessness and low-intensity civil war.</li></ul><ul> <li><strong>Ethiopia</strong> derives from the classical Greek for "burnt-face" (possibly in contrast to the lighter-skinned inhabitants of Libya). It first appears in Homer's Iliad and was used by the historian Herodotus to denote those areas of Africa south of the Sahara part of the "Ecumene" (i.e. the inhabitable world). But the Greek term originally applied to Nubia (a.k.a. Kush). Later, it was adopted by the kingdom of Axum, a distant precursor to present-day Ethiopia.</li></ul><ul><li>In 148 BCE, the Romans established the province of <strong>Africa Proconsularis</strong>, which covered most of present-day Tunisia and adjoining coastal bits of Algeria and Libya. The etymology is uncertain: "Africa" might mean "sunny," "birthplace," "cave-dwelling," or "rainwind;" refer to the ancient Afri tribe, the biblical port of Ophir, a grandson of Abraham named Epher, or a Himyarite king named Afrikin. Over time, perhaps because of its solid Roman pedigree, "Africa" became (European) cartographers' preferred term for the entire continent. </li></ul>
'Furthest sunset'<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjA1MDQzNy9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNTYyMTY0OX0.0j8C7qGAHwyxaROogIwWNfpuv_DtZo7krmt3dgG6N8Y/img.png?width=980" id="33241" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1bb5afc6a0cbd583878166392915001a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Three African countries \u2013 and one in Oceania \u2013 carry the name Guinea." />
Three African countries – and one in Oceania – carry the name Guinea.<ul> <li><strong>Bilad as-Sudaan</strong> is Arabic for "Land of Black People." Once referring to all of sub-Saharan Africa, the name latterly applied to the savannah belt running south of the Sahara from the Atlantic to the edge of the country that came in the British sphere of influence in 1899 as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Following a successful referendum, South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011. The other country outlined here is Mali, which until independence was known as French Soudan. </li></ul><ul> <li><strong>Guiné</strong> was the Portuguese geographical term for West Africa. Its zone of application covers two of the three African countries named after it: Guinea (the larger country in the west) and Equatorial Guinea (in the east). Guinea Bissau, the smaller neighbor of Guinea, falls just outside the ancient domain of Guiné. A fourth country, Papua New Guinea, just north of Australia, was named after the region by Spanish explorer Yñigo Ortiz de Retez. In 1545, he first used the term "New Guinea" because of the similarities in appearance between the natives of both regions.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>Maghreb</strong> is Arabic for "sunset." In some definitions, the wider region of this name includes Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania. A narrower definition (the one current in France, for example) only encompasses Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The narrowest definition is Maghreb al-Aqsa, "the Furthest Sunset," i.e. Morocco. </li></ul>
No overlap<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjA1MDQ0MS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMTU5OTI3M30.NDDraUE2itQsjbzgTgUOHqZjVLujj634HorMXs-cdgM/img.png?width=980" id="bb359" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="343832a0f7a6cd4e4ea0917ddec0de35" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Some new African countries adopted the names of kingdoms with ancient pedigree, even if they were located somewhere else entirely." />
Some new African countries adopted the names of kingdoms with ancient pedigree, even if they were located somewhere else entirely.<ul> <li>Mauretania was the portion of the Maghreb the Berber inhabitants of which were known to the Romans as Mauri. The local kingdoms became vassals of Rome and were later annexed. The current Islamic Republic of <strong>Mauritania</strong> derives its name from ancient Mauretania but shares no territory and little else with its nominal predecessor. </li></ul><ul> <li>"<strong>Ghana"</strong> means "warrior king," a title conferred to the kings of the so-called Ghana Empire (it called itself "Wagadou"), which existed from around 700 to 1240 CE in an area covering parts of the modern states of Mauritania and Mali. There is no overlap with the modern country – the British colony of the Gold Coast adopted the name upon gaining independence in 1957. </li></ul><ul><li>Benin City, now in Nigeria, was the capital of the old kingdom of <strong>Benin</strong>. The modern kingdom of Benin, formerly the French colony of Dahomey, is located a few hundred miles to the west. </li></ul>
We are constantly trying to force the world to look like us — we need to move on.
- When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many Americans jumped for joy. At the time, some believed there weren't going to be any more political disagreements anywhere in the world. They thought American democracy had won the "war of ideas."
- American exceptionalism has sought to create a world order that's really a mirror image of ourselves — a liberal world order founded on the DNA of American thinking. To many abroad this looks like ethnic chauvinism.
- We need to move on from this way of thinking, and consider that sometimes "problem-solving," in global affairs, means the world makes us look like how it wants to be.
Is Juche an ideology, a scam, or a very strange religion?
- North Koreans are known for fanatical dedication to their tyrannical rulers.
- Some have argued that this is because the ideology of Juche is less an ideology than it is a religion.
- Several elements of Juche were clearly influenced not by Marx, but by Confucius.
The religious elements of Juche<p>More than a few scholars have pointed out that Juche has more than a few religious parts to it. It includes a national savior with superhuman traits in the nation's long-dead founder Kim Il-sung, an elaborate series of rituals, the promise of immortality through the eternal continuation of the social system you are a part of, an ordained class of officials who carry out the orders of the divine, and a large group of people who seem fanatically dedicated to its teachings.</p><p>It is also <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/berkley-center/030101LeePoliticalPhilosophyJuche.pdf" target="_blank">infallible</a>, or so it tells us.</p><p>The regime has also ritualized several aspects of its rule in ways not dissimilar to how major religions create ritual themselves. Major festivals such as the <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/23943356?read-now=1&refreqid=excelsior%3Aa55e3f93f130284f2f2752dd3ac6d821&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents" target="_blank">Arirang Mass Games</a><strong> </strong>have been compared to religious events filled with symbolism glorifying the regime, complete with elaborate dance numbers, gargantuan images of Kim Il-sung depicted as a savior, and ham-fisted metaphors describing the Korean people as the children of the eternally caring leader.</p><p>You can understand why anthropologist <a href="http://www.anthropology.or.kr/eng/02_faculty/faculty01.htm?&pd_no=41" target="_blank">Jung Hyang Jin</a> dubbed the festival "The High Mass of Juche." </p>
Where does it get these ideas from? They seem unusual for a political ideology.<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="z17Ppooe" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="9e1d747ad163196f1b5cde225193eff0"> <div id="botr_z17Ppooe_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/z17Ppooe-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/z17Ppooe-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/z17Ppooe-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>While some of these ideas are clearly intended to create a cult of personality around the leaders, the religious influences are apparent to students of Eastern thought.</p><p>Dr. Alzo David-West points to <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/23719456?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents" target="_blank">several studies</a> that explain how Juche shares many key elements with Confucianism, including its "structures of authority, bureaucracy, hierarchy, familism, filial piety, man-centeredness, mentalism, moral education, patriarchy, and respect for elders." It's no wonder why <a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=yKN_q-TqYYgC&pg=PA423&lpg=PA423&dq=%22Confucianism+in+a+communist+bottle.%22&source=bl&ots=BhmNe86LUQ&sig=ACfU3U2Glg95MFiXN7mhqYqyncanWkaBSA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjG9fml_pviAhXSJt8KHXuOC1QQ6AEwAnoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Confucianism%20in%20a%20communist%20bottle.%22&f=false" target="_blank">historian Bruce Cummings</a> referred to the ideology as "Neo-Confucianism in a communist bottle." </p><p>Dr. David-West also argues that Kim Il-sung understood Confucius better than he grasped Marx or Hegel and that it would make sense for him to endorse an ideology that was essentially a repackaged version of what the population was already familiar with and turn its tenets and traditions toward the state. Historian Charles K. Armstrong deems this effort successful, as Juche even managed to steal filial piety, a core virtue of Confucianism, and redirect its use towards worship of the state and supreme leader.</p><p>Those leaders are also more than just the brains behind the revolution that will lead Korea to greatness. </p>
The sacred tenets of Juche concerning the Great Leaders<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTQ2NjM4MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjQxNjE0MH0.zE3AUcJecVfc0i7wAsiJKHoB0bnK7c_eyAm5kGW0UoU/img.jpg?width=980" id="b1b80" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ae667c86c78a3cd8bd5b566411ad80d0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
North Korea says Kim Jong-il was born on Mount Paektu, an important place in North Korean mythology, but there's evidence to show he was born in Soviet Siberia.
Image: Wikimedia Commons<p>Some of the things that the North Korean state tells people are a little out there but are held to be divine truths. These tend to relate to the greatness of the Kim family, whose rule is justified through Juche's other tenets.</p><p>For starters, Kim Il-sung, the founder of the North Korean state, is revered as a nearly God-like being. Koreans are taught that he nearly single-handedly drove the Japanese out of Korea during World War Two, and come up with all manner of great ideas for rebuilding the country all by himself. The Georgian calendar was replaced with the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korean_calendar" target="_blank">Juche era system</a>, which begins on the date of his birth. The cult of his personality is all-pervasive, and he is regarded as the "Eternal President" whose powers are executed through the living. </p><p>His son Kim Jong-il is often reported to have invented the <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2611998/Bizarre-lifestyle-North-Korean-women-convinced-burgers-local-treat-Lady-Gaga-MAN.html" target="_blank">hamburger</a>. No, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2011/dec/19/kim-jong-il-things-never-knew" target="_blank">seriously</a>. It is said his birth took place on a sacred mountain accompanied by a double rainbow and the swooping of majestic birds. Perhaps most impressively, he once nailed 11 holes-in-one in a single game of golf. His 17 bodyguards all confirmed it. This would make him one of the <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/golfer-records-his-51st-hole-in-one-3971649" target="_blank">greatest golfers of all time</a>.</p><p>The current leader, Kim Jong-un has had less time to build up a personality cult. He does enjoy several large signs and monuments dedicated to him and is referred to as a military genius even though he never served. It is said he is able <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/12/11/not-even-north-koreas-kim-jong-un-can-control-weather/939609001/" target="_blank">to control the weather</a>. His authority remains absolute and has been codified in law. The veneration of all three Kims, both in life and in death, has been compared to the treatment of imperial Japanese emperors who were regarded as divine beings. </p>