I was tripping the light fantastic across the internet and came across this fantastic piece of work: That Time We Beat the Americansa piece of writing by a Canadian, referencing the War of 1812. The logical faults of the article are legion, but for a quick look at them:
- Canada wasn’t even Canada then. It was several mostly empty British colonies.
- Saying anyone beyond the arms dealers in the USA, England and on the European continent “won” the War of 1812 is either enormous hubris or sheer ignorance, take your pick.
- I’ve yet to see any nation not far isolated from others that exists for “natural reasons”. Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines being among the few with a semi reasonable claim at the distinction.
- The math that counts the number of citizens in the USA vs the British subjects up north is highly spurious, the British used a lot of mercenaries in the American Revolution, and outnumbered the proto-Americans by a wide margin and had a level of wealth even further apart.
- As just about any military strategy book will tell you, taking a fortified position with only two to one odds when they know you’re coming probably isn’t the clearest path to success.
- Trying to claim a national identity was forged on something that you saw was largely discarded in a generation in the same paragraph requires a bit of flexibility of mind that is quite impressive and while certainly creative probably not constructive.
One look at stuff like this shows you how views of a nation, real or fictitious, can be affected by ones position in it. An ivory tower intellectual who probably didn’t make any serious study of a topic they are pontificating about is slightly less qualified to talk about a topic authoritatively than a specialist in that, regardless of degrees, general knowledge base or who they know, this will rarely stop them running off at the lips of finger tips. The impact a character with ah, odd views of reality will have on their world largely depends on how many people listen to them and how much impact their actions can have. A monarch or other ruler who’s ideas of warfare are…understudied is more dangerous than someone selling cure-alls in the back of beyond with the same opinions.
However ridiculous an opinion a person has, it both reflects and influences the choices they make and what they are likely to gravitate away from. Perspectives like this give an alternative view that might be the exact element needed to inject some humor, or introduce a new or background character that might know a little something about the problem at hand for your character(s) benefit.