What Was Positive About the Crusades?

While not an area of expertise, I would say that one very positive thing about the Crusades was the historical prominence achieved by Salah ad-Din (a.k.a. "Saladin") as a "noble warrior" while leading the Muslim military campaign against the Crusaders, refusing to engage in bloody retributions even when warranted, and exhibiting values that are to be greatly admired.To briefly quote a couple of passages from Wikipedia:"In the nineteenth century, Saladin achieved a great reputation in Europe as a chivalrous knight, due to his fierce struggle against the crusaders and his generosity. Although Saladin faded into history after the Middle Ages, he appears in a sympathetic light in Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's play Nathan the Wise (1779) and in Sir Walter Scott's novel The Talisman (1825). The contemporary view of Saladin originates mainly from these texts. According to Jonathan Riley-Smith, Scott's portrayal of Saladin was that of a "modern 19th-century liberal European gentlemen, beside whom medieval Westerners would always have made a poor showing". Despite the Crusaders' slaughter when they originally conquered Jerusalem in 1099, Saladin granted amnesty and free passage to all common Catholics and even to the defeated Christian army, as long as they were able to pay the aforementioned ransom (the Greek Orthodox Christians were treated even better, because they often opposed the western Crusaders)."Notwithstanding the differences in beliefs, the Muslim Saladin was respected by Christian lords, Richard especially. Richard once praised Saladin as a great prince, saying that he was without doubt the greatest and most powerful leader in the Islamic world. Saladin in turn stated that there was not a more honorable Christian lord than Richard. After the treaty, Saladin and Richard sent each other many gifts as tokens of respect but never met face to face. In April 1191, a Frankish woman's three-month-old baby had been stolen from her camp and sold on the market. The Franks urged her to approach Saladin herself with her grievance. According to Bah' al-Dn, Saladin used his own money to buy the child back...URL: there are not nearly enough examples of such chivalry and honor stemming from that period of history, but the example set by Saladin as the "noble warrior" will always be timeless.

• Other Questions

Will Joe Biden be worse than Trump?

Joe Biden has consistently held a wide polling lead over US President Donald Trump ahead of Novembers election. But, despite Trumps botched response to the Covid-19 pandemic a failure that has left the economy far weaker than it otherwise would have been he has maintained a marginal edge on the question of which candidate would be better for the US economy. Thanks to Trump, a country with just 4% of the worlds population now accounts for more than 20% of total Covid-19 deaths an utterly shameful outcome, given Americas advanced (albeit expensive) healthcare system.

The presumption that Republicans are better than Democrats at economic stewardship is a longstanding myth that must be debunked. In our 1997 book, Political Cycles and the Macroeconomy, the late (and great) Alberto Alesina and I showed that Democratic administrations tend to preside over faster growth, lower unemployment and stronger stock markets than Republican presidents do.In fact, US recessions almost always occur under Republican administrations a pattern that has persisted since our book appeared. The recessions of 1970, 1980-82, 1990, 2001, 2008-09, and, now, 2020 all occurred when a Republican was in the White House (with the exception of the double-dip recession of 1980-82, which started under Jimmy Carter but continued under Ronald Reagan). Likewise, the Great Recession of 2008-09 was triggered by the 2007-08 financial crisis, which also occurred on the GOPs watch.This tendency is not random: loose regulatory policies lead to financial crises and recessions. And, compounding matters, Republicans consistently pursue reckless fiscal policies, spending as much as Democrats do, but refusing to raise taxes to make up for the resulting budget shortfalls.Owing to such mismanagement under the George W Bush presidency, President Barack Obama and Vice-president Biden inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression. In early 2009, the US unemployment rate surpassed 10%, growth was in free fall, the budget deficit had already exceeded $1.

2tn, and the stock market was down almost 60%. Yet, by the end of Obamas second term in early 2017, all of those indicators had massively improved.In fact, even before the Covid-19 recession, US employment and GDP growth, as well as the stock markets performance, were better under Obama than under Trump. Just as Trump inherited millions from his father, only to squander it on business failures, so he inherited a strong economy from his predecessor, only to wreck it within a single term


How would you explain the Theory of Relativity in layman's terms? How can you explain it to a child or teenager?

I would explain the Lorentz transformation simply as a method to construct new solutions of the standard wave equation if one already has such a solution. The resulting solution is a Doppler-shifted one. This works for every wave equation, for water waves as well as sound waves, with c being the relevant speed of the waves. So this is nothing but a nice math trick to find new solutions.The same trick works not only for a simple wave equations, but for some more complex variants of wave equations too. It appears that it works for all the fields we need to describe our most fundamental particles and their interactions - the standard model of particle physics.

Then, one can find out what this means for clocks and rulers, constructed completely out of things which follow those special wave equations. Once such a clock at rest is a solution, the trick gives another solution, namely a moving clock. And it appears that the moving clock is time-dilated. Similarly, a ruler at rest is such a solution. The transformation gives a moving ruler, and this moving ruler is Lorentz-contracted. A device which measures absolute contemporaneity if at rest fails, for the same reason, to identify absolute contemporaneity if moving. And, similarly, a device which establishes absolute rest fails too - if moved, it would identify absolute rest differently. This is the physical part of relativity.Then, one can interpret this failure as an unfortunate consequence of our restricted possibilities, but without any fundamental relevance. For water waves or sound waves we have other, independent possibilities to measure something, not constructed out of configurations of these physical waves, for the standard model of particle physics, we have no such abilities. Our problem, but reality does not care. This would be the Lorentz ether interpretation.Or one thinks that this inability to identify absolute rest is some deep fundamental insight, that this mathematical trick named Lorentz symmetry is a deep fundamental symmetry, and everything which does not follow this Lorentz symmetry does not even exist. The positivist what cannot be observed does not exist. This would be a world without contemporaneity. Once I cannot measure what is now on Andromeda, it means, the whole history of Andromeda is somehow in the same status of existence. That means, the whole history of Andromeda exists, as a whole. That is the spacetime. If this construction makes sense, I doubt. But it is the accepted mainstream interpretation.For more details, with some formulas, see here.


How do we as conservatives overcome the ideological civil war that's tearing us apart?

The first thing we do is, realize that conservatism is a philosophy, not a party.Conservatives arent being torn apart. The Republican Party is. And thats happening because the lunatics, in some sense, have taken hold of the asylum.We need to differentiate between two types of conservatives: Social and fiscal. Social conservatives are mostly evangelical Christian and fight against social changes (e.g., gay marriage, the drift of society towards more secularism, etc.). Fiscal conservatives want the government to spend less, yet still keep its core functions.

Right now, its the social conservatives whove taken over, and to put it bluntly, theyre getting their asses kicked, on an electoral basis.Gay marriage is a settled issue. However you might feel about it (and I happen to support it), it just is. Most people under 40 simply dont understand why were talking about gay marriage as a controversial issue in 2016.

People are increasingly, across the board, less sympathetic to religious arguments. We live in an increasingly diverse society with a great number of religious beliefs even within Christianity and without so that calling the U.S. a Christian nation has no more power, because a) a lot of people arent Christian, and b) what it means to be a Christian is a personal thing.

Its also true that theres a Southern Strategy legacy that the Republican party has to overcome. A lot of the people who left the Democratic Party over the Civil Rights Act ended up in the Republican party. Of these, the ones who were successful opposed civil rights. So theres a legacy there of opposing civil rights. That doesnt go over so well with a population thats changing and becoming more diverse.So Ive listed a lot of the problems. Whats the solution?Jettison social conservatism. Theres a path forward with fiscal conservatism, because people want to know that their money isnt wasted, and is spent well. Theres no path forward with social conservatism.The conservative movement will survive this, as long as it sticks to fiscal conservatism. Either the Republican party will destroy itself and become a former shadow of itself (with a third party made up of fiscal conservatives), or once Trump gets smacked around in the election, the fiscal conservatives will regain control of the party.Theres a path forward for being conservative with how you spend money. Theres no path forward for being conservative with peoples rights.

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