Takeaways from Hard Core History: Prophets of Doom

in history •  last year

Dan Carlin's Hard Core History podcast is one of my favorite sources of edutainment. As I was cleaning the house Sunday morning, I listened to Show 48: Profits of Doom.

Here's the iTunes description:

Murderous millennial preachers and prophets take over the German city of Munster after Martin Luther unleashes a Pandora's Box of religious anarchy with the Protestant Reformation.

There's something in this episode for everyone, and I highly recommend you listen to it. Here are some of my thoughts for various audiences.

Religious Friends

Please understand history so you don't repeat its horrors. Not everything you believe is true. Be comfortable questioning what you believe. Some of what your pastor, your imam, your shaman, your pope, or your rabbi tells you is provable false. Don't blindly follow the authorities your religion sets up for you but instead come up with a rational, logical system which helps you know when to reject lies and when to hold on to true moral faith and tenants of faith which define your community. Accept that at some points in your life, you may need to reject the community you are in because you can no longer accept their tenants at face value.

Atheist Friends

As mentioned multiple times in the show, this is more about tyranny and the failures of the human brain than about the dangers of religious belief. Yes, I agree with you: no one should pretend to know things they don't know. Faith itself has some serious issues from a strong epistemology perspective... but also recognize "faith" is just a word. Many argue your belief and trust in the scientific method is also "faith." While we're talking about beliefs, what are you doing to prevent the belief in authority in human minds (and yes, that includes belief in government)? How are you preventing tyranny in all forms from spreading?

Voluntaryist Friends

What do you make of the "They can't handle the truth" argument? How often do seemingly "good" ideas (such as the NAP: non-aggression principle), get twisted into the very trouble they are trying to solve? How often is the original message distorted by followers? If voluntaryism led to a net decrease in human well-being compared to government rulers, would you still advocate for it and if so, under what timescale would you be okay to let things evolve because of your ideological belief? In what ways are you different than those in this history and why?

To All

Work to improve your epistemology and your own understanding of the moral framework you operate with. Test, evaluate, and improve your moral framework at all times. Resist black and white ideologies in a world of grey + 10M other colors.

My Takeaway

Get yourself up Maslow's Hierarchy in the most ethical way you can so you can enjoy some self actualization and throw off the need to follow anyone, no matter how much the society around you accepts their crazy ideas. While you're at it, be careful to ensure others aren't following and twisting your own ideas as you go along.

If you enjoyed Dan's show, please donate to him. He accepts bitcoin here: 1LjBQSHrtY5pXaNp4WWJ2MSZHZduc2yF9z

Image Credit: © 2016 Orator LLC via dancarlin.com


Luke Stokes is a father, husband, business owner, programmer, voluntaryist, and blockchain enthusiast. He wants to help create a world we all want to live in.

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Nice article Luke. I am sure you are aware these are things that pop around in my head to as I posts blogs. You've commented on some of mine that hit on some of these subjects.

Good post.

I also sometimes call Prophets of Doom... Doom Sayers...

We have another form too. We have people panicking and claiming what politicians WILL do based upon the words that come out of their mouth. We have people also saying what WILL happen in a positive light. Yet, if history has taught me anything it is that what a politician says often has nothing to do with what they do. Often they do the opposite of what they say, or they don't do anything at all related to what they said. Therefore, being a prophet based upon what a politician says is a waste of time too. All we can really work off of with them is their actual actions. Wait for them to actually do something, or at least know they are about to do something they actually have the power to do.