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The Problem with Danegeld

Here is a link to an excellent piece written by Victor David Hanson for National Review titled President Ethelred.

The title caught my eye because I knew that the Anglo-Saxon King named Ethelred had an attached nickname-the unready, basically meaning, “I have no real plan to deal with these nasty Danes.” (unready does not mean “unready” as it does in modern English. It means”bad plan”,  “bad counsel”, “foolish”, or “taker of bad advice.)

Danegeld or else?

The nasty Danes were Vikings who coveted two things, Anglo-Saxon gold and Anglo-Saxon land. Eventually, they would be so successful that most of what we know as England would be called Danelaw, meaning, all the places Danish law would prevail as opposed to Anglo-Saxon law. Only the Kingdom of Wessex under another king, Alfred the Great, successfully resisted the Scandinavian conquerors and that really only lasted while Alfred lived.

Ethelred lived long after (968-1016 a.d.) the more famous Alfred although he belonged to the same House of Wessex. In a very real sense, “the unready” was merely a surrogate for the King of Denmark whom Ethelred paid Danegeld (Dane Gold)  in exchange for peace.

On one level this was understandable since the Danes won most of the battles and had a significant long-term presence in Britain, especially in the northern portions centered around the City of York. Rather than risk the total conquest of Britain Ethelred decided to try to buy off the Danes by paying the Danegeld in exchange for peace and for the House of Wessex to rule something at least nominally.

It was a type of appeasement. The problem was, it did not work.

It made the Danish king rather wealthy and many of his followers but it also created more demands from the Danes. The idea seemed to be from the Danish point of view if the Anglo-Saxons would pay them 10,000 pounds of gold to leave them alone then they probably would pay 20,000 pounds of gold to leave them alone. And in the meantime, we’ll allow other Danes to raid the Anlgo-Saxons mercilessly to grease the wheels of appeasement.

Not a bad  arrangement if you are a Danish Viking. Not  so good if you are a Anglo-Saxon peasant who gets to pay and pay and then pay some more. (kind of like the American taxpayer if you think about it)

The politics of appeasement didn’t work with the Danes and our politics of appeasement won’t work with Islam.

The problem with Ethelred the Unready was underestimating his enemies goals and purpose. So it is with the USA and most of the West in dealing with Islam. We underestimate our enemies goals and purpose and hope to appease them with the currency of Danegeld. The Danegeld we pay comes in the form of foreign aide to countries that hate us and through the appeasement policy of political correctness that does not criticize Islam ever, even when it’s painfully apparent that the Jihadists are more influential than the “small band of extremists that really do not represent Islam anyway” that we constantly here from the administration and other appeasers.

Hence, President Ethelred the Unready will continue to pay Danegeld to Islam until it becomes Shariageld and Islam gets what it wants.

And that’s the way I see it.

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