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High objects of State (letters patent from Queen Victoria, each w/ Great Seal):
Author of Balfour Declaration - 1898 diplomatic credentials, for talks with Germany
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Chancellor of the Exchequer letters patent of Gladstone, 1873 

The (Swedish General) Viktor Balck Olympic Games- Founding Archive
Swedish gold and bronze medals honoring Viktor Balck | Viktor Balck 1912 Stockholm Olympics book Tower and Sword collar of Viktor Balck

Civil War Gillmore Medal to Jewish officer who helped 1863 "Glory" charge toward Ft. Wagner 1863                                                                        
Statesmen |Koerber - 1920s friend, then foe of Hitler |The Viktor von Koerber WWI Aviation Archive|
Presentation keys, gold medal to major U.K. statesman  Award Documents to important 19th century European diplomats

The JFK and staffers convention badges etc. ArchiveI.D. Badges to JFK and Secretary Ev Lincoln Mass. Labor Federation badge (major speech)  1960 Democratic Nomination campaign: aide Bob Troutman

Heroines | "Girl who defied Hitler" at 1936 Olympics: biography  Inge Sorensen Archive: items                 First ever (gold NYC) Women's Club Medal of Honor
  Award Diplomas to great Jewess opera singer
The Poignant Mayer family Jewish Heroism for (in WWI) and Flight from (pre-WWII) Germany Archive 
Presentation trowel etc. to president of "philanthropic" society for troubled girls

Concepts | News |
Historical commentary

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historical
commentary)

For most of human history, important ideas were generally spread from one cultural area to another by verbal prostletization (ie. force of personality) or by military might; only if the audience was heretofore illiterate did the written word have decisive impact, as when the Bible had impact amidst the heretofore illiterate peoples of Eastern and Northern Europe, and the Koran had impact in sub-Saharan Africa. Christians were no more swayed by the written story of Gabriel's purported words to Mohammed than Moslems were swayed by the written story of Jesus' resurrection; if one were brought up on these stories, one probably believed them, otherwise one bought them only at sword-point, or if one were in the mood to hear out some infidel prostletizer. As Hitler, one of the most shrewd rabble-rousers, exaggerated it in Mein Kampf, the births of all great mass movements were due to "the magic of the spoken word, and that alone." If one was not inspired by a moving Testimonial (or by force) to take the Koran's word for it that Gabriel spoke to Mohammed, and that the latter had seen to it that Gabriel's message was accurately recorded, one would not accept Islam.

Statecraft and the Evolution of Crosscultural Standards of Communication (and the War Against bin Laden)

.................................................-- Introduction

Thus statecraft involved mainly efforts to produce unity within each cultural area, (eg. The Moslem World or Christendom) and to produce prostletizers, armed or unarmed, to spread the faith in a, so to speak, retail manner outside of one's cultural area; in this environment, writers (those with the potential to spread ideas in a "wholesale manner) had little direct effect on cross-cultural statecraft. Paul personally went west, not east, so Europe, not Mesopotamia and Persia, became Christian; Moslem armies got north of the Pyrenees only briefly, so Islam hardly got north of the Pyrenees at all. The number of Bibles, brought to the Holy Land by the Crusaders, meant much less than the number of swords, so that Saladin hardly needed stage a bonfire of Bibles, or to make their possession a crime. Sometimes even conquest failed to sway a culture from its roots; Judaism, Hinduism, and Confucianism each managed to survive potentially devastating conquests. The written word had a significant role in statecraft only within a cultural area, as when copies of Luther's 95 Theses stirred up a hornets' nest within Christendom.

Intermittently, though, there were indications as to the greater potential of the written word, such as with impact in Europe of Marco Polo's reporting of the ways of China, but in the main, inter-cultural statecraft relied on more time-tested methods. The change to statecraft, when it came, would be led, not by what we now call journalists, but by scientists and philosophers.

In the Age of Enlightenment, the nature of statecraft began to change, since writers like Newton, Locke, and Smith said, not, "it's true because God's agent told me, or my teacher, so", but rather, "you can determine the truth of what I write by consulting evidence which is publicly available and which compels cross-cultural assent; you can verify my theories via your own experience". If one did not believe the empirical (eg. astronomical) claims on which Newton based his theories, one could, with the right equipment, verify those claims for oneself, unlike the claims of Islam about Gabriel and Mohammed, which could only be rejected or taken on faith. This Enlightenment line of argument could have cross-cultural appeal, without the results being decisively skewed by verbal prostletization or physical compulsion. Reason became the main criterion of cross-cultural distribution, because reason was an effective tool, eg. for arbitrating disputes, within all cultures, even though its use within these cultures was often circumscribed by other factors. With the emergence of international standards in such fields as science, there would evolve international norms for recognizing achievement, such as the distinctions in education (between secondary and primary, and between undergraduate and postgraduate), the five-class system in national orders begun by the French with their Legion of Honor, and the Nobel Prize.

From Force and In-person Prostletization to the Cross-cultural-influential Written Word

Cross-cultural Written Word Threatens Traditional Regimes

The dissemination of such international standards would have striking effects beyond the intent of at least some of those involved in the original dissemination. Japan would massively incorporate Enlightenment (esp. scientific) ideas despite an effective centuries-long policy of excluding foreign prostletizers, armed or otherwise, from Japanese soil, during which time Christianity and Islam made no progress in Japan; this incorporation happened, not because armies of Enlightenment prostletizers were allowed to descend upon Japan from Europe (they were not), but because Enlightenment ideas had inherent cross-cultural appeal to Japanese leaders, who determined on their own that such ideas were objectively the best means to make Japan capable of avoiding the fate of those Asian countries which were succumbing to colonial subjugation. Those like Hitler who opposed Enlightenment ideas had to resort to spectacles such as burnings of numerous books, and had to create secret police forces to investigate, among other things, whether anyone possessed or distributed such books; regimes such as that of the Manchus, which failed to create effective secret police forces, were undermined by the ideas espoused in Enlightenment books.

The spread of Enlightenment was not geographically limited in the way that prior efforts of cultural dissemination had been. One culture could, from now on, effectively influence others solely by exporting books, if those books met the new cross-cultural standards. Particularly after the American and French Revolutions, no tyrant could assume that his position would remain unchallenged by ideas appealing to our common human desire for freedom and knowledge; such tyrants either created momentarily successful secret police agencies, as did the Romanovs, or saw their authority crumble, as happened to the Qajars in Persia. Before the middle of the 19th century, very few countries had stable constitutional regimes; all the rest were generally military dictatorships, authoritarian monarchies, or aristocracies. In the subsequent decisive generations, real constitutionalism had spread across the Rhine and around the world, so that by 1991 all but a small percentage of the world's population, excepting China, had seen authoritarian regimes be replaced by more-or-less constitutional systems, because constitutionalism had been shown by sometimes bitter cross-cultural experience to be the most effective means to bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number of persons; as Churchill put it, constitutional democracy has been shown to be "the worst form of government, except for all the others." Among other things, such happiness was produced by an absence of war between constitutional regimes, partly insofar as those regimes subjected their military establishments to effective popular civilian oversight. The Chinese situation is arguably in play, but few would regard the present Chinese system as a model which inspires others to imitate it as Lockean constitutionalism has inspired so much imitation around the world since roughly 1870, when France permanently abandoned monarchy.

Cross-culturalism, Multi-culturalism, Tradition, and bin Laden

Notwithstanding the vast cultural differences between predominately Catholic France, Hindu India , and Shinto (etc.) Japan, all three countries have ended up adopting political systems with similarities which dwarf whatever similarities one might find in the three cultural backgrounds; thus the world-wide coalition against the Fundamentalist terrorism of bin Laden should not be called a "Western coalition", even if the majority of participating countries are Western. The naming of the coalition by leaders of public opinion is of considerable import in the war against bin Laden, since it would be much to his advantage if the war could be framed as Islam vs. the West; such a framing, apart from effectively marginalizing the stakes for states like India and Japan, would give honorable Moslems little choice but to side with him.

Such framing, sadly, has been encouraged by the writings of analysts like Sam Huntington, whose view of the coming Clash of Civilizations has received much more media attention than the view of such students of history as William McNeil, author of such works as Past and Future and The Rise of the West. This Rise described by McNeil occurred, not because the West was intrinsically superior to other cultures, but because, over time, the West became better than other cultures at learning from other cultures, particularly about those matters which would determine which culture would prevail if a clash came. Thus the West abandoned (1) a native numerical system, the Latin, in favor of the "Arabic" from India, (2) a time-honored military system, the knight in shining armor, for organized platoons, battalions, etc., using gunpowder from China, and (3) the time-honored political system of feudal obligations, in favor of (variations on) the Bill of Rights, which was derived from an analysis of such data about world-wide political history as was available at the time. The West became better than other cultures at learning from other cultures only after bitter struggles within the West over the extent to which ideas derived from encounters with other cultures should be given priority over time-honored ways. This sort of clash within a culture, which exploded into the West in the so-called Early Modern period generally said to have ended in the 1780's, is exploding in our time in the Moslem World, as syndicated columnist Georgie Ann Geyer has taken pains to point out. If bin Laden's effort to produce a Clash of Civilizations is to fail, Moslems and non-Moslems will have to understand that the real clash is between his idolatry of time-honored ways vs. the prospect that Moslems can learn from others, as others have learned from them.



This emphasis on cross-cultural education should not be confused with so-called multi-culturalism, which generally seems to discourage cultures from learning from each other in any other than superficial ways. There are, of course, multi-culturalists who urge the West to learn from those cultures which have suffered oppression from the West, but few if any who urge the reverse; that, after all, would be to indulge in cultural imperialism. Rather, as Alan Bloom describes it in The Closing of the American Mind, multi-culturalism seems to involve a view of a "republic of cultures", with each citizen of the republic irrevocably equal to all others, as a matter of basic right, in their immunity from scrutiny, esp. by those who were recently imperialists. The Enlightenment, in contrast, regarded all cultures as equal only in the sense that all cultures have much to learn, and, possibly, much to teach.


 


 


Relevant works (aside from those mentioned in text):

Kaufmann, Walter, Religion in Four Dimensions, 1976
Saul, John Ralston, Voltaire's Bastards, 1992


In presenting awards, including those to statesmen, we at Awards of Outstanding International Importance emphasize those of the last 200 years, both because these last two centuries have been "the Age of Awards" in an important sense, and (a related point) because the human condition has arguably changed more in these last two centuries than in the entire prior span of recorded history. Furthermore, (and a related point) we include as statesmen not only diplomats and politicians, but also those writers and other cross- cultural communicators who effected the environment in which politicians and diplomats operated; we do so because, as we shall explain, this environment was much more likely to be altered by writers, etc., in recent times than was so in prior centuries. In the 20th Century, cross-cultural communication came to include audio- visual as well as written media, but at issue is, less the specific media, than the standards of debate which are assumed or propagated within a message by whatever medium.   In our view, the greatest turning point in history was the strengthening, if not the birth, of a substantial consensus on standards of cross-cultural debate amongst writers about important issues, in the "Age of Enlightenment", which is defined broadly as the period 1650-1850, narrowly as the period 1687-1789; this emerging consensus has, in the last two centuries, been subjected to strong challenges from the Left and the Right, but has at least partly weathered these challenges . The nature of this consensus will be summarized in the ensuing paragraphs, in the context of an analysis of the way in which statecraft was changing from its prior modus operandi. In the process, we will show that how this history is understood has great consequence for the propaganda war being waged around the world between the anti-terror coalition and bin Laden and his supporters. First, however, we will explain the rationales for emphasizing awards, including those to statesmen, of the past 200 years.

The first of these rationales, the notion that these last two centuries have been "the Age of Awards", does not deny that there were significant awards before 200 years ago, but holds only that the relative social role of awards has expanded greatly in these last two centuries.  This is so not only because more people receive more awards than was so before, but because the media have gotten into a position from where they could, and do, show award presentations for what such presentations often are, namely, events of broad public significance.  Before this Age of Awards, in the span of the over  three centuries between Gutenberg and Napoleon, books and paintings were the most significant categories of objects in the Zeitgeist of this era:  books, because they were the vehicle for mass literacy, and paintings, because they had just become an effective vehicle for distribution of the visual image of individual statesmen and others.  One could now get a very good idea of what Luther looked like without having to catch up with where he was at a particular time, but awards were almost exclusively the monopoly of the ruling classes.  In the decades between the French Revolution and the Crimean War, awards to members of other classes began to proliferate, not only to statesmen and soldiers, but, with the massive expansion of institutions of formal education and (later) medical treatment, to students and scholars, and (later) writers and nurses. The first awards issued by the thousands appear to have been the French Legion of Honor and the British Waterloo Medal. Moreover, the expansion of the mass media, from daily newspapers and weekly magazines to newsreels and television, allowed for wide publicization of award presentations; in Britain, there emerged the London Gazette and the Times' Queens Honors List.  Eventually, tickets to the Nobel Prize ceremonies became the hottest tickets on the planet.  In the U.S., various presentation ceremonies, such as of professional sports championship trophies and Academy Awards, are televised live, and sometimes draw vast audiences.

All these considerations also help show a larger point, that the human condition has arguably changed more in these last few centuries than in the entire prior span of recorded history.  Aside from the expansion of media to which reference has already been made, the modes and quality of transportation have likewise expanded; aside from creating a truly world economy, this transportation network has enabled the majority of persons to live, not in the countryside near their means of sustenance (eg. fields), but in cities and suburbs often miles from where they are employed, but within convenient distances of theaters, universities, and other institutions of entertainment and edification.  Of course, such new opportunities, including the increase of opportunities for women, have been accompanied by new dangers, notably the possibility of being killed by a weapon of mass destruction launched from the other side of the globe.  Overall, no period of comparable length came close to bringing such profound changes.

Of all these profound changes, the one most pertinent to the definition of "statesmen" used by us at World-Class Awards is the emergence of writers as major factors in statecraft. This change actually began over a century before Napoleon, but accelerated in early Victorian times, once printing became more efficient and less expensive, and it became possible to send essays across the globe via telegraph.  Of course, the point is not to editorialize about the content of the statecraft or writing.  The context, nature, and significance of this change will be the focus of the following paragraphs.

Awards of Outstanding International Importance to Statesmen and Heroines

Historical Commentary

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40 page booklet,
published 1942.

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