I’ve written before how the Left longs for a static, legible world, like the one the feudal system theoretically produced — everyone is exactly what he looks like and nothing else, forever, world without end amen. Conservative blacks, say, or non-feminist women fry their circuits, which is why they hate them with an especially venomous hate. Having spent long years in and around the ivory tower, I’ve seen the process firsthand — they’re getting damn close to achieving their goal, in the following ways:
Fuzzy Numbers: As any book about the Middle Ages will tell you straight off, medieval numbers are Rachel Maddow-level accurate. “We were opposed by fifty thousand Saracens” means anything from “there were enemies as far as the eye could see” to “we were probably slightly outnumbered” to “it wasn’t our day, so we ran.” Ditto every other unit of measurement, and as for prices, the best economic historians can do is along the lines of “a livre tournois would get you three chickens and a duck, maybe, in most parts of rural France between 1100-1300.” So, too, with our modern medievals — nonsense like “women are paid 75 cents on the dollar” and “one in four college girls is raped” means “we’re peeved about our poor performance, but it can’t be our fault, because there were Saracens, like, everywhere.”
No Causality: “Folk beliefs in the Middle Ages” have gotten yards of heavy scholarly treatments, but they’re still frustratingly vague for most readers. We want to know how things work — “you’re telling me that if I piss in a bottle, mumble some mumbo-jumbo, and throw it in a river, I’ll be de-hexed? Please for to explain this.” But they can’t, because medieval brains didn’t work like that. It’s doubly frustrating, because medieval logic is a wonder to behold. They can tease out consequences, conditions, and entailments we’d need a Cray to process, but they never applied those skills to the real world. The modern analogue is, of course, “privilege” — your average college kid can find “privilege” in, and feel guilty about, the fact that some people are smarter than others, but he can’t use those finely-honed powers of thought to realize how bum-fucking stupid that is.
Heraldry: Historians generally leave to antiquarians the question of who had to do homage to whom at a given time, because it’s nightmarishly complicated and, frankly, not all that important. When it mattered, it was obvious — the King of England has to do homage to the King of France for England’s possessions in France, and boom, there’s your Hundred Years’ War. Your low-rent minor noble, though must’ve had a rough time of it, as he might be called to do service for two or more lords who were currently fighting each other, despite both being vassals of the same king (this is “bastard feudalism,” as pretentious Game of Thrones fans (BIRM) probably know). The obvious modern analogue: The Victim Pyramid. Like feudalism, there’s theoretically a nice clear, clean org chart — gays outrank blacks outrank women, the way a duke outranks an earl outranks a baron. The reality, though, is very messy — does a lesbian outrank a heterosexual black male? What about Muslims? And then there’s the trannies… There’s no Burke’s Peerage for our Sob Sisters, alas.
Heresy: Ever read any medieval philosophy? The stuff is recondite to say the least. They thought so, too, which is why some of their greatest minds — including the Angelic Doctor himself — had certain propositions condemned as heretical. Even getting a handle on the drift of the points in question is enough to make your eyes bleed, but if you fuck it up, you get burnt at the stake. The obvious modern analogue: Do I even need to say it? Fortunately, just as the really bad stuff re: heresy fell mainly on the church’s academic elite — no, really, most peasants got off if they did penance and pinkie swore not to do it again — so, too, is blue-on-blue fire the most common today.
I’m sure there’s more… feel free to add in the comments.