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Pyracy Pub Book Group

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HOBBES’ LEVIATHAN

Huh. The thing that strikes me the most about this work is its justification of what I would normally consider a frightening form of ‘groupthink’. I hadn’t read through it for a long time, and I kind of remember why; the last time I read it I found it disturbing.

The concept of humans deliberately surrendering liberty in exchange for security has not long roots, and I do believe that the method of looking at this phenomenon by Hobbes was new.

Previous beliefs had been that of uppers and lowers, with strictly observed social structures, dictated by higher powers or God; Hobbes came up with a social structure in which all understood and committed to the common ‘good’ by the surrendering of some liberties in exchange for physical safety.

The bit about how obedience in social structure leads to entry into Heaven is interesting; and I think people forget that about half of this book deals with religion and its relationship with social structure.

Believing in a voluntary dedication to a social impulse could (and does) lead to powerful behavior, fueled by confidence in identity and total belief in rightness. The attraction of Hobbesian logic to Englandmen fanning out over the world is obvious; it gave an ability to maintain a strict and discrete identity or soul no matter the geography; and eliminates any problems of identity. It has the power to gift endless confidence in the Self as part of a greater, powerful Entity, in which the representative of Leviathan is not a single figurehead, but ALL members of it, no matter where they happen to be, and regardless of whether they are alone or in groups.

Fascinating.

Be that as it may, I find the urge to not only explicate this idea, but actually to take the trouble to CODIFY it, frightening. A voluntary slave is a slave still.

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I can see why Defoe is considered the author of The General History of Pyracy after reading the introduction. This is part history, part sensationalism and part political handbill. While the prose is fun to read at first it is slow to read after a while. I will endeavor to persevere. The sentences that begin, "I will not weary the reader..." are starting to weary me.

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LEVIATHAN, Part 2

Well, I guess the other thing about Hobbes that I thought about all those years ago, and have to admit I think a little differently about now, is the flip side of the previously mentioned issue, that of the surrender of certain levels of liberty in exchange for security. There are other aspects to that, more so than the poster I saw today on the road, a quote from Patrick Henry.

Hobbes makes a persuasive argument that lack of cohesiveness leads to threats from without; and he has a point. He discusses the concept of ‘all against all’, and gives his solution to it, which is an ordered society in which the common good is paramount over personal liberties, but which situation is acknowledged and supported by its members.

And that is the unanswerable question:

What is the proper balance of personal liberty vs. common good?

I was raised in the more extreme strain of right-wing ‘patriotism’ in the United States, taught that personal freedoms were paramount over all. Later on in life, I was given the opportunity to watch (and for that matter, participate in) the cataclysmic implosion of an entire nation. That episode wrecked my belief in the solidity of social structures of any kind, and led me to believe for quite a while that human beings weren’t much more than a particularly unpredictable, intelligent, and stunningly dangerous form of monkey.

This is quite similar in spirit to Hobbes’ argument, that humans are dangerous and unpredictable, and that without strong guidance and control, they will degenerate into chaotic, mutually homicidal packs, tearing at each other to no purpose.

Is he right? Tell you the truth, I don’t know. I would rather not believe that. But I’m willing to countenance the idea it may very well be true.

And that’s enough of LEVIATHAN.

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I still haven't even started the book everyone else is reading, and now forgot to take it out while at the library earlier today. I'll get it later on in the week and read it.

Promise.

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Not to beat a dead horse but for a person beginning into this topic,

'Under a Black Flag" is an okay start and if you can get past the lack of editing it serves as such.

So the next book to find is "X marks the Spot" perhaps i missed it but is the author known so as to ease the finding of it?

or to discourse upon another book have any read " The Republic of Pirates" by Colin woodard. I happened by it at my last trip to local bookshop and wondered if any ones here had thoughts on it.

Shall endeavour to find "X marks the Spot" as well, Cheers mates and back to reading :lol:

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If you all don't mind, I'll hop in as well. I've started reading 'Under the Black Flag'. I don't have a problem with the lack of organization since my primary reading time is stolen when I get a chance to actually take a nice bath without interruptions. A 5-year-old and only one bathroom tends to negate 'private time'. So, if you look at it as a collection of 'short stories', it's not so bad. I'm rather enjoying it for its anecdotal style.

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tis a good description :blink:

would X marks the spot: the archaeology of piracy editied by russell k skowronek and charles r ewen be acceptable as said book afore mentioned?

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Regarding Chapman's post on "Against the Gods"

"What this guy proposes is that the accumulation of statistics, and the subsequent development of the Law of Large Numbers, resulted in a previously unknown (or unrecognized) phenomena: the ability to more or less accurately PREDICT THE FUTURE. He considers this event revolutionary; and I think he’s got something of a point."

I found it interesting that this kind of math/science approach to telling the future is exactly the premise behind the great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" trilogy

""The premise of the series is that scientist Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept devised by Asimov and Campbell. Using the law of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale;""

Another case of Science fiction actually predicting the future,,,, again?

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I WILL NOW RAMBLE. FAIR WARNING. NOTHING COMING AFTER THIS WARNING IS TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.

SERIOUSLY.

I'M NOT KIDDING.

I WILL NOW RAMBLE.

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!

MR. FOXE, NO OFFENSE! I've offended enough Englishmen for one week so far. Mr. Foley is not pleased with me.

Well, why else collect statistics?

Why is Mr. Foxe so in love with numbers? Names, dates, places? This to me is so much trainspotting. Football scores for Man U. Or in my neck of the global woods, The Pack! I personally detest that brand of 'history' study. It is bred in classrooms (see above disclaimer).

I refer specifically to the 'nationality' statistics in crew lists. How is this reliable, in the first place ("There are lies, damned lies, and statistics"), and who's to say these numbers are not skewed by the reporters? The census in the US is NOTORIOUSLY unreliable. Everyone lies. We all lie to the census taker. How can that have changed?

Oh; and where are the 'minorities' in the US of A? The colonies of the time? People of color are notoriously under-represented. Or unrepresented at all. Is a slave owned by a Scotsman counted as a Scot, or is he a possession? Like a vase, or a snuffbox? This is, I know, especially in the USA, explosive stuff; but I don't care. It is a major part of my history too, as a white guy. It's important.

Interjection:

I went to a picnic some time ago. I was the only white (Caucasian) male there the entire day, and there were a lot of people. The most awkward question I got was from a woman with MY SAME LAST NAME. She figured (I know a little better now) that the only way she got my last name was through slavery. This was doubly awkward for me, as I am one of the few white people I know in the north who will freely admit that my family, by way of Virginia in the early 1700s (guess their social status) to modern-day Arkansas, owned slaves. I was told explicitly 'we' did. I know my family history on the 'Brit' side; and we were able to determine we were not 'related'. That was fun. But a fine time was had by all, and how those mothers do their daughters' hair, I'll never know. Magicians.

Okay; to LITTLENECKHALFSHELL; boy, next time, pick a shorter ID. When we've all been drinking, it'll be easier to type.

Anyway, You've in fact hit the nail on the head with science fiction. Why collect numbers of nationalities, if not to predict the behaviour of the concerned 'sailors'? So many Scots; so many Irish; so many Bulgarians. Why collect that kind of info if not to use it to predict the future?

What are these people going to do?

When you sign these folks on to a compressed environment, who is to say, 'What is the risk of mutiny'? well, it's entirely possible that statistics, as reported by the responders, may give you some clue as to that.

I was thinking about this today. Why does anyone collect data, specifically about human beings, if not to make an attempt to predict the future behaviour of those human beings?

Don't we all want to know where we are going?

It'd be nice, wouldn't it?

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I'm reading MIRROR MIRROR by Mark Pendergrast, which is brilliant, and thinking I'm not taking word one of anything from anyone who abandoned their job six months ago due to God knows what. I don't give a shit about the Whydah.

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I just finished reading "Seafaring Women" by Linda Grant De Pauw. I'm not convinced of it's 100% accuracy, but it was a fascinating read. The chapter on pirates was woefully short, although it had some interesting bits about Mary Read and Madame Ching that I hadn't known before.

I particularly enjoyed reading about how involved (or not) the women were in actual ship operations.

It's out of print, so you may have to go to the library for it, or ebay.

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I have been reading some good stuff so far IMHO:

Book of Pyrates by Howard Pyle; a little enthusiastic at times but one of the books that started pirate lore.

A History of Pirates by Nigel Cawthorne

The Bounty : The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty by Caroline Alexander; not piratical, but I love general maritime history, too

The Pirates Laffite: The Treacherous World of the Corsairs of the Gulf by William C. Davis; his other books are good, and this is outside the GAoP, so I am giving it a try

Many more that I am not actively reading right now...including:

Complete Idiot's Guide to Pirates (yes, I know...but I like general overview books from time to time)

And on the way I have:

Empire of Blue Water: Captain Morgan's Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws' Bloody Reign by Stephan Talty

The Sea Rover's Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730 by Benerson Little

I am ALWAYS welcome to tips for good books...much to my wife's dismay...

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Any more upcoming book discussion groups? A new semester is starting soon but I cannot read history textbooks every day--I can make room for some piratical reading, too.

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Hmm... will have to look into that when I get the coinage. Thank ye. :)

Haven't obtained any new books lately.

I did read that A History of Pirates: Blood and Thunder on the High Seas by Nigel Cathorwne. I liked it lots.

A friend sent me "The Searover's Practice" and I haven't yet finished that, barely started on it actually.

I'm looking at other books if I can find them.

~Lady B

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...

Edited by pyrat

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...have any read " The Republic of Pirates" by Colin woodard. I happened by it at my last trip to local bookshop and wondered if any ones here had thoughts on it...

I just picked this up at the Castillo de San Marcos here in Saint Augustine and have just started reading it so take these comments with a grain of salt. It does seem very readable and interesting, I'm just not sure if the motivations Woodard attributes to the pirates are accurate although I would like them to be The first democracy in the new world was that of a pirate ship and it isn't much of a leap of logic to see this as a precursor to the American Revolution but whether or not the pirates saw themselves as some kind of noble social experiment remains questionable to me.

pirates200long.jpg

NPR Review (click on "Life in 'The Republic of Pirates'" under MY PLAYLIST)

Amazon Link

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I have been on a wooden boat building tangent for a while and thought I should check in on the pyrates.

The Republic of Pirates: Agree with Joe Pyrate, lots of intentions that are attributed but not documented. fun to read the speculation though.

A thought on idiots guide to Pirates. It was given to me as a gift, as I have a collection of pirate history, and I thought you got to be kidding.

One hung over morning I started reading because I couldn't really focus on a novel or any history text, and found the short chapters and sidebars enjoyable. I recall finding two inconsistencies with other history I had read, but over all it was better than I expected.

Empire of blue Water: I liked that the author put so much of the story into context with other more widely know events at the time, that was very helpful to fill in the mental picture of what it was like. One of my favorites.

I keep noticing that the bibliographies all come back to the same few books, so I'm reading Goss.

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Here's some books I'm reading right now, I love to read three or four books at a time, since I love the history of the Pirates.

Here's a great Pirate fiction book:

"SILVER" My own Tale As Written by Me with a Goodly Amount of Murder. a novel by Edward Chupack.

It's the life of Long John Silver of "Treasure Island" fame, it starts out with his life as a young boy in Bristol, England, to years later with him being shipped back to England to be hanged, while on the ship to England he writes his life story.

Great Book !

JOLLY ROGER, The Story of the Great Age of Piracy, by Patrick Pringle.

THE REAL PIRATE OF THE CARIBBEAN, BLACK BARTY, by Aubrey Burl.

BLACK BART ROBERTS, THE GREATEST PIRATE OF THEM ALL, by Terry Breverton.

THE BOOK OF WELSH PIRATES & BUCCANEERS, by Terry Breverton. ( I order this one from a used book dealer in London, England )

My dads ancestors were from Wales, so I love reading anything about the Welsh Pirates.

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tis been awhile since book shave been discoursed.

here are two ideas up for your consideration: Patroit pirates, and the sea rovers guide. the fisrt deals with the role of pirateing to win the revolution and how much looking the other way our noble goverment officials looked the ohter way. the latter seems a general purpose reading.

ye ships potter,

salty

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Has anyone read X marks the spot: the archaeology of piracy?

I was wondering if it's worth getting?

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I've just started listening on CD to Daniel DeFoe's Moll Flanders, getting a slice of life in the Golden Age by somebody who actually lived through it. I'm so busy these days that I have more time to listen to books on CD or tape in the car than to sit down and actually read.

There's a long preface, supposedly addressed to the reader, but I think it's actually meant for the censor, pleading that the book will be morally uplifting.

Surprise! Chapter 1 has a reference to Moll Flanders's mom pleading her belly when she was going to be executed for some kind of petty theft. After Moll is born, her mom manages to cop a plea of some kind and get herself transported (to Jamaica, I guess? It's too early for Botany Bay) instead of hanged.

There's also an interesting reference to gypsies, with whom Moll spent a short time as a child. Apparently gypsies at the time were also called Egyptians, and it was believed that they somehow blackened or darkened children's faces after a certain time, Moll remarking that she could not have been with them long because her face had not been blackened yet.

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Update on Moll Flanders: there is a brief scene where Moll Flanders' ship gets boarded by an unnamed pirate. He doesn't hurt anyone, but steals all their stuff. He also threatens to force her husband to join his crew. This strikes me as a bit unrealistic; Moll's husband at that point is a plantation owner who probably wouldn't have any skills that the pirates would want.

There's also reference to the punishment of "branding in the hand," Moll's mother-in-law remarking that half the population of Virginia is ex-Newgate felons who've been branded on their palms.

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