The Public Humanist

The Public Humanist contributor: PM Vitalone

Patrick VitalonePatrick Vitalone is a foreign affairs columnist from Massachusetts contributing to MassHumanities since 2010. He writes on political and cultural issues across the world, having been published in such additional outlets as 3AM Magazine, Il Nuovo Aronese and QMT. Outside of his journalism, Patrick also serves as a political-military strategy intern for the Hudson Institute, a foreign policy think tank based in Washington D.C. In the past, he has provided research and editing for both the BBC and History Channel. Patrick earned an MA in Modern History from the University of York in the United Kingdom.

Chaos is a Ladder: Why The European Union Must Survive

Over the past several years, the European Union’s stability and future have seemed uncertain. But given Europe’s two thousand-year history of cataclysmic war, should the idea of a consensual peace be so quickly discarded?


What is a Terrorist?: Modern War

Guy Fawkes, caught in an attempted bombing, proclaimed that declared that “a dangerous disease required a desperate remedy,” evincing the asymmetry of power and terrorism.

Terrorism may be modern warfare’s brutal apotheosis; a simple strategy in an asymmetrical environment.


What is a Terrorist?: The Difficulty in a Definition

Images via Google news

The standards by which we call someone a terrorist may be part religious and racial discrimination; hesitating to label individual or group violence as domestic terror appears wise when looking into history.


What is a Terrorist? An Introduction

“Terrorist” in English texts dating from 1800 to 2008: Image via Google Books Ngram viewer

After 9/11, the word “terrorist” dramatically increased in American discourse, and yet for many—including the United States government—its definition still lacks clarity.


Crisis in Gaza: A Look to Quebecois History for Guidance

In 1763 Great Britain had won the Seven Years’ War against France. With the Treaty of Paris that followed, Britain maintained its American territories and all of Canada was surrendered by the French. This vast, newly-acquired area increased the size of British North America and the tiny island’s empire as a result. That is not to say, however, that Canada’s shift from France to Great Britain was an easy transaction.It was a precarious situation because of the social differences between the two powers.


European Parliamentary Elections 2014: Why Nigel Farange is Both Right and Gravely Wrong

In May of this year, the various nations comprising the EU held their parliamentary elections. Despite more moderate parties taking the majority of seats, the surge in popularity of far-right, anti-EU candidates in several countries made headlines, being termed as an “earthquake” in European politics.Denmark’s Danish People’s Party, France’s National Front, and other such parties in Greece, Italy, and Germany all elected far right candidates to the EU Parliament.


How Russian Nationalism is at Odds with an Increasingly Global World

Under the pretext of saving ethnic Russians, Vladimir Putin has been making headlines recently for his aggressive takeover of the Crimea and impending invasion of Eastern Ukraine. As a result, the United States and Europe have threatened increasingly severe economic sanctions. These sanctions are complex, as parts of Europe depend of Russia for oil, quite literally fueling its economy. If Europe were to impose sanctions on Russia, it would be imposing sanctions on itself.


Are We Still Living in Britain’s World?

If I had to select the most prominent takeaway from both working and going to grad school in Britain, it would have to be the impression that many English men and women consider the modern world very much their own. That the luxuries and conveniences of the present are a testament to their civilization, that America is a kind of brash upstart exaggerating British concepts, and that things before and outside of a British world are looked upon with a haughty fascination.


The Not-So-Dark-Age: Light in 14th Century Britain

Despite certain advances in medieval historiography, there is still a general assumption that the middle ages were a period of despair, a time when the innovations of the Roman Empire crumbled, a commitment to knowledge and inquiry ceased, and of a dark atmosphere and general malaise.


After Patriotism: Britain’s Ushering of a Post-Nationalistic Era

In both Western and Eastern civilisation, Britain has paved the way for many cultural advances that are now commonplace. The island nation has influenced the world with its free-market economics, industrial technology, language, social customs, and so on. Despite falling behind other nations such as the United States and China both economically and militarily, a modern phenomenon in Britain has once again shown it to be a leader of cultural standards and of forward thinking.


Is China’s Political Economy Fascist?

With a series of reforms that began in 1978, China discarded its staunchly Communist economy. These reforms allowed for the privatization of certain areas of the Chinese economy, and for China to enter into the Western world. China’s move away from Communism proved to be of considerable foresight, as the USSR and Eastern bloc nations collapsed under similar economic modalities a mere decade later.


Rome is Dead: A Historic Struggle of Imperial Identity and the 150th Anniversary of the Modern Italian State

“The word ‘Italy’ is a geographical expression, a description which is useful shorthand, but has none of the political significance the efforts of the revolutionary ideologues try to put on it, and which is full of dangers for the very existence of the states which make up the peninsula.” These were the words of Austrian diplomat Prince Klemens von Metternich in 1847.


Historic Preservation: Beauty or Honesty?

If you happened to be walking about any town or city with historic buildings, roads, and structures from several different periods, then chances are that there is an organization tasked with their preservation. Not only a tool for protecting the history of a locality, historic preservation also ensures the fluctuating character of a nation.


“Fascist”: A Modern Insult and Historic Movement

As the political atmosphere in the United States has become increasingly heated and divisive, a prominent strategy of debate is to reveal that an opponent’s beliefs are somehow un-American. The labels employed in doing so are often quite broad and not given much thought; usually, they serve as a rudimentary exaggeration of a moderate standpoint.


Oh, You Were There, Too? American War Films in Britain

Although the term special relationship traditionally defines a bond of friendship between the United States and Britain, I find it is much more appropriate in describing a long-standing bitterness. After all, the two nations were enemies for over 100 years: starting with the American Revolution, proceeding to war again in 1812, up to the American Civil War when Britain assisted the Confederates, and continuing on through the turn of the century.