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The Townspeople are Philistines!

The University of Jena (in present day Germany) is a source of prestige for the town. Aristocrats send their sons for a good education and along with their sons comes their money. But like young men everywhere, they have more on their minds than their studies. After classes, they come into town to drink, laugh and pinch the girls. This produces a lot of resentment amongst the townspeople and when someone throws a punch, it all comes apart. The next Sunday, the local preacher gives a sermon drawn from the Hebrew Scriptures: the story of Sampson and Delia. Sampson is a mighty Jewish warrior. Delilah is a temptress who betrays Sampson to the Philistines. The lesson is that a man should not let his base desires get him into trouble, but the students walk away with a different lesson. All the "Delilahs" are living in town so the students start referring to the townspeople as the "Philistines." This trend spreads to other universities and it soon becomes popular to refer to anyone who is uneducated or vulgar as a "Philistine." [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
College towns always take on a character different from their surroundings. Austin, Texas is a college town so if you wear Birkenstock shoes, love beads, and like to vote for expensive bike lanes that only 20 people use, while forcing automobile traffic into narrow and confusing lanes that increase accidents and if you love a commuter train that doesn't actually go to anywhere people wish to commute, then Austin is the place for you. On the other hand, if you want government to generally leave you alone, you live just outside of Austin, in Bastrop, Williamson or Hayes counties. While it is true that these counties lack the lavish amenities that you can find in Austin, Texas, it is also true that the local government isn't haranguing you about obscure building code violations or arresting you for eating a hamburger in a high crime area. [5] [6]

Husqvarna... for all your Gun and Garden Needs

Sweden's main arsenal has a problem supplying muskets for their troops. The metal-works that is located near the arsenal uses water-powered machinery, so when the local stream is low or is clogged with ice the production of muskets grinds to a halt. The King of Sweden has moved the metal-works to the town of Husqvarna where the water supply is more reliable and now musket production has jumped 800%. Husqvarna Weapons Factory Limited has begun as a government manufacturer of military weapons, but by 1757, the foundry will be privatized. The weapons business will drop off in the 1870s. Since the machinery used to make rifles can be used to create other metal products, Husqvarna will start making sewing machines, and then cast iron ovens, bicycles, lawnmowers and in 1959 they will enter the chainsaw business. By the late 1960s their gun business will be sold off to the Swedish arms manufacturer Bofors Carl Gustaf. [7] [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Husqvarna had to adapt their existing machinery to other tasks as their weapons market dwindled. I am reminded of the history of the Glock which followed an entirely opposite path. Wikipedia lists Gaston Glock as an Austrian engineer, but he had been using his engineering skills to make curtain rods and knives with a small metal press in his garage! While he was trying to sell knives to the Austrian military he got a tip that they were looking for a new pistol. Steyr was the obvious choice as an Austrian gun manufacturer, but their pistol had a complex mechanism, and it tended to malfunction when dropped. Glock had never built a gun in his life and he didn't have the machines to do it, but without preconceptions, he could plan it out based on the most efficient manufacturing methods for the product. The result was a pistol that a soldier could use without forgetting to release the safety. It also had a simple mechanism so that if it needed small repairs you didn't need a machine shop. Glock submitted his prototypes in 1982 and they bought it. Sometimes not being burdened with a long history of manufacturing can be an advantage. [10] [11] [12]

The Bill of Rights *

The English Parliamentary Convention has decided to charge King James the 2nd (just a few weeks escaped to France) with violations of the rights and liberties of the people of Great Britain. But someone has pointed out that one cannot charge the missing King with a violation of rights and liberties until the Parliament has defined what rights and liberties the people have in the first place. They create a Bill of Rights based largely on the writings of John Locke. This is more than a simple listing of rights. They are establishing a constitutional monarchy and the new King and Queen, William and Mary, must swear a new oath to enforce and follow the laws of Parliament and to follow the Anglican Church. [13] [14] [15] [16]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
What they produced is specific to the time, but what is implied are the rights and liberties of the people. In summary they are...
* The King must enforce and follow the laws of Parliament.
* The King cannot repeal a law without consent of the Parliament.
* The King cannot establish a Catholic Church or its institutions.
* The King cannot tax without consent of the Parliament.
* The King cannot raise an army in peacetime without consent of the Parliament.
* The right of the King's subjects to bear arms
* The right of free elections of the Parliament.
* The right of freedom of speech within Parliament.
* The right to be free of abusive fines and cruel or unusual punishment.
* The right to redress of grievances.

These and other rights are listed. One can see the beginnings of the Bill of Rights of the United States.

Fair is Fair

* The first trade fair is held in Holland. With a Dutch prince and princess on the throne of England, English and Dutch businesses are going to get a lot closer to each other. [17]
* Boston revolts! The Dominion is history. A mob grabs the unloved Governor of the New England Dominion. He will live and William and Mary will restore the original colony charters. [18]
* The English hearth tax is repealed! This was something like a property tax except that it counted chimneys and stoves. It was resented, and frankly, England did not have a long history of this type of tax, so bye-bye. [19]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1689, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. "Philistine", Words from History (PDF), Books on Words, Houghton Mifflin. “In the town of Jena in central Germany in 1689, there was a pitched battle between students and townsmen and the outnumbered students suffered several fatalities.” 
  2. Jena - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 3 July 2015. “During the Little Ice Age, wine-growing declined in the 17th century, so that the new university became one of the most important sources of income for the city. The same century brought a boom in printing business caused by the rising importance of books (and the population's ability to read) in the Lutheran doctrine, and Jena was the second-largest printing location in Germany after Leipzig.”
  3. 1632. Baen. ISBN 0671578499. “Jena was a university town, famed throughout Germany as a center of learning. Its Collegium Jenense had been founded in 1558 with the help of the Protestant reformer Melanchthon. Jena had a population numbering in the thousands but, unlike Badenburg, the town was unwalled and essentially unprotected.” 
  4. University of Jena - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 3 July 2015. “Founded as a home for the new religious opinions of the sixteenth century, it has since been one of the most politically radical universities in Germany. Jena was noted among other German universities at the time for allowing students to duel and to have a passion for Freiheit, which were popularly regarded as the necessary characteristics of German student life.”
  5. Austin Police Arrests Man For Eating A Hamburger. PhotographyIsNotaCrime.com (2015). Retrieved on 6 December 2015. “When Rick said that he was eating a hamburger, the officer was completely bereft of probable cause to search the citizen, since no arrest under the local ordinance would be then possible.”
  6. Alex Shrugged notes: My post office is in Austin, but I don't live in Austin proper. Therefore I am not subject to the city building codes. Nevertheless, when my water heater needed replacement, I had to struggle to convince the plumber that he was not required to install a $250 extra flow tank of some sort that the City of Austin requires. He had some other suggestions that seemed reasonable, but the extra tank makes no sense, and is not required by the Uniform Building Code. It is a city requirement and I don't live within the city limits. The plumber was very upset but he did what he was told.
  7. 325 years of innovation - Husqvarna Group. husqvarnagroup.com (2015). Retrieved on 28 August 2015. “The first Husqvarna plant was established in 1689 as a weapons foundry. In the course of the centuries, Husqvarna has produced a large range of different products, including sewing machines, bicycles, motorcycles and kitchen equipment.”
  8. Husqvarna Group - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 28 August 2015. “1689 - Rifle factory The drillingwork at the waterfalls in Huskvarna, southern Sweden, is the first large plant. The state-owned rifle factory had some 1,000 employees at the beginning of the 18th century. The company was spun off from Husqvarna Vapenfabriks Aktiebolag in 1959. Shot-guns were produced for 300 years, the last was produced in 1989.”
  9. The History of the Husqvarna Chainsaw. eHow.com (2015). Retrieved on 7 December 2015. “The first chainsaw was a big, awkward, dangerous machine that two people had to operate together. Husqvarna, a Swedish company, began manufacturing chainsaws in 1959. Since then, the company has led the way in improving chainsaws, making them lighter, safer and easier to handle.”
  10. Barrett, Paul. Glock: The Rise of the American Gun. Crown Publishers. ISBN 9780307719942. “One day in February 1980, he overheard a hallway conversation between two colonels that jolted his imagination: The Army needed a new sidearm for officers, pilots, and drivers, to replace the antiquated World War II Walther P-38. Steyr, an Austrian arms maker since the mid-1800s, had offered to sell the military a modern pistol, but the gun fell short of the ministry's stringent specifications.” 
  11. Glock - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 8 December 2015. “The Glock pistol, sometimes referred to by the manufacturer as a Glock 'Safe Action' Pistol, is a series of polymer-framed, short recoil operated, locked breech semi-automatic pistols designed and produced by Glock Ges.m.b.H., located in Deutsch-Wagram, Austria. It entered Austrian military and police service by 1982 after it was the top performer on an exhaustive series of reliability and safety tests.”
  12. Alex Shrugged notes: Please forgive me for simplifying the history of the Glock. I'm leaving out a lot, such as how he consulted closely with actual shooters to find out what they needed. Some might say that he was ingratiating himself to the military, and no doubt there was a lot of that, but he learned what they wanted, what they needed and he provided it. That is what a business does for a customer.
  13. English Bill of Rights 1689. The Avalon Project (February 13, 1689). Retrieved on 23 September 2015.
  14. Bill of Rights 1689 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 1 December 2015. “The Bill of Rights lays down limits on the powers of the monarch and sets out the rights of Parliament, including the requirement for regular parliaments, free elections, and freedom of speech in Parliament. It sets out certain rights of individuals including the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and reestablished the liberty of Protestants to have arms for their defence within the rule of law. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights described and condemned several misdeeds of James II of England. These ideas reflected those of the political thinker John Locke and they quickly became popular in England.”
  15. Coronation Oath Act 1688 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 8 December 2015. “It established a single uniform oath to be taken by future monarchs at their coronation, and also established that this oath was to be taken by William III and Mary II when they were crowned. The oath was fundamentally different from the traditional coronation oath which recognized laws as being the grant of the King whereas the Act's oath sought to bind the King to rule according to the law agreed in parliament.”
  16. Coronation Oath Act 1688. legislation.gov.uk (2015). Retrieved on 8 December 2015. “The Arch-Bishop or Bishop shall say, Will You solemnely Promise and Sweare to Governe the People of this Kingdome of England and the Dominions thereto belonging according to the Statutes in Parlyament Agreed on and the Laws and Customs of the same? The King and Queene shall say, I solemnly Promise soe to doe. Arch Bishop or Bishop, Will You to Your power cause Law and Justice in Mercy to be Executed in all Your Judgements. King and Queene, I will. Arch Bishop or Bishop. Will You to the utmost of Your power Maintaine the Laws of God the true Profession of the Gospell and the Protestant Reformed Religion Established by Law? And will You Preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of this Realme and to the Churches committed to their Charge all such Rights and Priviledges as by Law doe or shall appertaine unto them or any of them. King and Queene. All this I Promise to doe. After this the King and Queene laying His and Her Hand upon the Holy Gospells, shall say, King and Queene The things which I have here before promised I will performe and Keepe Soe help me God. Then the King and Queene shall kisse the Booke.”
  17. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 314-315. “First modern trade fair held in Leiden, Holland” 
  18. 1689 Boston revolt - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 8 December 2015. “The 1689 Boston revolt was a popular uprising on April 18, 1689, against the rule of Sir Edmund Andros, the governor of the Dominion of New England. A well-organized 'mob' of provincial militia and citizens formed in the city and arrested dominion officials.”
  19. Hearth tax: Stuart Period - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 8 December 2015. “In England, hearth tax, also known as hearth money, chimney tax, or chimney money, was a tax imposed by Parliament in 1662,[5] to support the Royal Household of King Charles II.”

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