Thanks to an unreliable internet connection, I’ve finally gotten around to finishing Count Ernst zu Reventlow’s Vampire of the Continent, which I started on September 9. Watch for the conservative German nationalist being put in the odd (though perhaps not too unprecendented) position of lionizing Napoleon against traditional Prussian enmity. Also chuckle at the Irish translator complaining that the German Count fails to put enough focus on the all-important Emerald Isle. I’ve long thought of myself as an Anglophile in the dissenting/Puritan Calvinist tradition, about as proud of being Irish as this girl is of being black. Admitting to myself I had ceased believing in God and reading paleo versions of history in contrast to Whiggish ones has eroded some of my prior prejudices (which I use the non-derogatory sense as Burke did). I’m still enough of a Whig that Reventlow’s unthinking mercantilism (though there certainly is room for revisionism on English trade) gives me very little confidence in the accuracy of his view of the world (along with the lack of support for claims he knows are controversial, though perhaps some of the “documents” he occasionally mentions were well-known at the time), but I think it’s worthwhile to hear the other side on the Great War, a topic that was very important historically but we don’t care much about today.

The discussion of Russia’s expansion into the Far East during the late 19th century (which Reventlow claims was a great headache to perfidious Albion) reminded me of a passage I recently read in Anthony de Jasay’s The State. Jasay portrays this expansion as the work of entrepreneurial proto-capitalist serfs, though they live under a pre-capitalist regime. I have an earlier post on de Tocqueville’s view of Russian expansion. He contrasts the westward expansion in America (which he portrays as the work of individualist settlers with axes) to the eastward expansion in Russia (which the work of the military of an authoritarian regime). As mentioned in that post, I know pretty much nothing about the subject. Those who know of any are invited to recommend a good history in the comments.