The Golden Age is over

Right-wing alarmists complain that political correctness runs amok. Imagine their despair to learn the Amsterdam Museum banned the phrase “Golden Age.” The reason: the golden years weren’t golden for everyone. But terms like “Golden Age” make history more accessible, and god help us, we need to talk about our history more if we want to change our future.

Pulp non-fiction: the world’s first best-seller

In the 1590s, the newly independent Dutch Republic looked to flex its economic muscle, but stronger, more-established nations like Spain and Portugal stood in its way. Their ships blocked the way to wealthy trading ports in Asian nations. Besides, even without their interference, the trip to the Spice Islands (now known as Indonesia) took the better part of a year. What was desperately needed was a faster route to the wealth of Asia that bypassed the military threats of European rivals.

Enter Willem Barentsz.

Divided by a Common Faith

If there’s one thing that separates humans from the other animals, I’d say it’s our immense talent for creating divisions among ourselves. Of creating an “us” vs. a “them.” Of tribalism.

Jews, I’m sorry to say, are no different.