PROGRESSIVISM IS THE FRANK ESSENCE OF THE USA. ANYTHING ELSE IS A CONTRADICTION.
Abstract: Progressivism is the essence of the most successful civilizations. Progressivism was the piece that the Greco-Roman civilization did not have enough of, so it degenerated in slavery, intellectual and political fascism, unending war in the Middle East, theocracy, chaos. But progressivism was the strategy of the Franks, and its superiority explains why the Franks replaced the Greco-Romans. Progressivism grew moral progress, and, in turn, from it, it blossomed ever more. Progressivism is why the West, including the USA, has succeeded. So far.
However, the USA has lost its way. Decades of deliberate philosophical obscurantism and anti-intellectual propaganda by the plutocracy did it. It is time to apply the antidote, the philosophical source of Western civilization. Hint: it is not crucifixion, and it is not slavery. Nor is it found among merchants.
A plutocrat, Bernard Madoff, stole 65 billion dollars, and got caught. After a few months hanging around his seven million dollars penthouse, enjoying his 900 million dollar stolen fortune, justice was finally served, and he went to jail. Celebrating, the financial markets rallied 10%.
This is no accident: plutocracy unchained, stealing hundreds of billions, even trillions, in full view, is bad our civilization, and bad for the markets. When people discovered that hedge funds and private equity could keep on feeding at the trough of taxpayer money, a form of officially sanctioned theft, they understood that the game was rigged. So they rushed for the exit. Of course it helped the financial collapse that the hedge funds were given full latitude to keep on doing naked shorting, and on a down tick, with president Obama’s apparent benediction. (Such conspiracies against the public had been outlawed during the Great Depression of the 1930s, but, starting with Summers and then Bush, they were reintroduced, because it was felt that the task of the government was to serve the oligarchy.)
Our materialistic civilization is founded on technology and science, which are supported by a view of morality where man is free, or, as they used to say, Frank.
The USA itself was formed from a confused rivalry of Britain and France, then the most advanced and powerful empires in the world. The two countries themselves had been created by the Franks, seven and thirteen centuries earlier, respectively. The philosophy of the Franks, progressivism, is pervasive in the spiritual fundaments of France and Britain. The Greco-Roman civilization had not been guided by that philosophy, far from it.
Socrates’ philosophy was all about a better oligarchy, there was little progress. Whereas the Franks freed the slaves: that was progress.
How did the reign of progressivism come to be?
Some French love to evoke their “ancestors the Gauls”. Well, that is funny, but obviously there is got to be a good reason for the country to be called France (“FRANCIA”), and not Gaul (“GALLIA”). The French may mostly have Gallic genes (and also German and Semitic genes), but what matters is where the philosophy of France came from. That philosophy came from the Franks, not Plato. Here is the basic story:
1) The Gauls were Celts, and the Celts invaded all of Western Europe. They came from the northeast: those Celts were Germans. This became clear when the Romans got into Belgium, and were surprised that Germanic tribes attacked them to help their fellow Celts. The Celts were very fierce militarily: they invaded from Ireland to Anatolia, seizing Rome on the way. The Romans took 350 years to get even.
The name “Gaul” comes from the Romans making fun of the Celts by deprecating them as “cocks” (“Gallia”). Cocks are nonavian dinosaurs who are combative, not too bright, except in appearance, diminutive, loud and into self advertising. The Romans saw these characteristics in the Celts. The newly denominated “Gauls”, with a great sense of humor, did not mind flaunting as qualities what the Romans saw as defects.
To flaunt them some more, they made the point to keep their hair long (“Gallia Comida”), spiting the Roman artifice to keep hair close to zero, to facilitate hand to hand combat.
2) Celtic society, for all their technological innovations (pants, barrel, Gallic reaper, tall ocean going sail ships) was led by an oligarchy and a theocracy (the “Druids”). It mixed a mild plutocracy with a hysterical theocracy.
Writing existed, but was limited to the Druids. Human sacrifices in horrible fires were lively performances (that disgusted the Romans, especially when they got themselves roasted). Elections happened but power tended to be hereditary. This Celtic society was very far from the egalitarian and mass educated Roman republic, with its millions of voting citizens.
When the Romans came in, progressive Gauls welcomed them. Then Caesar, anxious to emulate Alexander, in spite of his advanced age, seized three quarters of Gaul, all of Gallia Comida, by force. There was a massive war. Caesar won, but he had exceeded orders and was called back to Rome for war crimes. Interestingly, that was it: Gaul would not revolt again against Roman civilization (although it did against bad emperors). Instead, apparently happy to have embraced superior features of the Roman civilization, a Gallo-Roman society thrived, and was soon richer than Italy.
3) The Franks were in a league by themselves. They were maritime Germans, Dutch, actually, primitive, but used to trade along the rivers. They were all about progressivism, to achieve superiority. As the Gallo-Romans before them, they embraced the progress Roman civilization brought. Roman lawyers (probably Roman army generals) wrote the law of the Franks, in original Latin, the “Lex Salica” (Salica, from salt, the sea…). Formidable warriors, the Franks played Viking for a while, raiding estuaries and rivers of the Roman empire, all the way into Iberia, while fighting and cooperating with elements of the Roman army. After fighting Constantine, they made a pact with him, and gaily helped him conquer the entire empire for himself.
4) The Franks were clearly latently anti-Christian, probably because, having helped Constantine grab power, they knew that Christianity was just a sham, a fraud, an instrument for acquiring more power. Later the main general of the Roman army, Argobast, a Frank, went to war against Constantius II, Constantine’s son and sole emperor of the Romans (circa 350 CE). Argobast opposed Constantius II’s fanatical Catholicism. Argobast was defeated, by a miracle, of course. But soon Frankish generals and their children were all over the empire. Soon the entire empire was Christian. The Catholics proceeded to physically eliminate all the other Christians, all the Neo-Platonists, most of the Jews, all the thinkers, the books, etc. The Catholics eliminated all, but they could not touch the Franks. The Franks flaunted their paganism, but they were the strongest element of the Roman army (Clovis’ father was buried in the immensely expensive Roman imperial purple, which can only mean he had the rank of imperator in the Roman army).
5) At that point, the Roman empire was a total mess. Starved of revenues, the government was ever weaker. To compensate, it got ever more fascist, and ever more theocratic. In the “Occidental Part”, the bishops tried to govern. In the Orient, Caesaropapism reigned: the emperor was playing head of the church. Christianism flew from church to church, wings drenched in blood. An example: emperor Justinian’s rabid Christianism brought tremendous suffering and destruction to most of the Orient, holocausting entire regions from religious hatred, opening the way to the Persian armies, and then to the Arabs’ astoundingly ferocious little army.
Having colonized a sizable part of northern Gaul with their farmers, the Franks, whose population was growing fast, finally made their move to clean the mess German invaders and Catholic fanatics had made of Gaul.
From their trading past, having interfaced with roughly all the actors, they negotiated with everybody. The rest, they chopped their heads off. They declared themselves Catholics, and soon fabricated a new society on a basis that kept only a reinterpretation of the best from Catholic philosophy (”love your friends and family, and as many women as you can, ” etc.).
6) The Franks believed in progress, probably because, in a few centuries, while they progressed civilizationally so much, the world fell into their lap, so they naturally deduced that the former led to the later. That was self reinforcing, and they kept going in the same way. Since Germania did not know slavery (at least not to the grotesque extent of the Greco-Romans), the Franks outlawed it, and pushed high technology to compensate for cheap labor.
The Franks numbers were small relatively to the millions of Gallo-Romans, so it was vital that superiority rested on the world’s best weapons, and that included the most ferocious and domineering philosophy they could contrive. Catholicism was made to serve secularism. When the Muslims invaded, the rich, and especially the church, were nationalized, to finance the war, and so on. (It is titillating to see Obama struggle with the concept of nationalization, when it was a no brainier for Charles Martel, Charles The Hammer, inventor of industrial strength Muslim “martyrdom”.)
7) Ever since Francia (now “France”) has been, overall, progressive.
Born as a strategy, progressivism may have become epigenetical in nature. Due to the Frankish conquest of most of Europe, and crushing influence on the rest, it became the core European nature. The Frankish intellectual impact went everywhere, as in the “Carolingian minuscule” most of the planet uses to write with. Any distinction between Francia and Germania is irrelevant, because, well, the Franks not only made central and eastern Europe as one country, but they even created German as a written language. Conquering every single last piece of Germania had been one of the Franks’ main obsessions, it lasted four centuries, and, after they satisfied it, they did not see the need for an empire anymore (Western Franks left Eastern Franks to their own instruments, not even bothering to send them an emperor to elect.).
8] The progressivism of the Franks helps to explain the conquest of Germania: they could, and did present themselves as the advocates of progress, by brandishing their newly fanged version of God. (Something the fascist, fanatically Christian, but non progressive Romans could not do!) The progressivism of the Franks also explains the easy conquest of England by the Duke of Normandy and his French army. They delivered the 20% of the population who were slaves, and Guillaume, Guglielmus Dux Normanniae, set up an intricate and advanced political system, inspired by the Roman republic. Later southern French such as Montfort pushed the parliament back up to Roman power levels (as in the Toulouse Montfort came from).
9) Of course the USA is an addendum to this story. Even some of the most brutal and cynical American ways originated directly from the Franks, who invented them to succeed where the Romans had failed (conquering Germany). The USA inherited the progressivism of the Franks, but undermined it by being too lenient to plutocracy. This later, perverse tradition goes on to this day, as the lamentable story of the giant banks, which were used to leverage plutocracy, demonstrates.
The reason for this weakness is that English America was founded as a plutocracy (that is by the evil rich) in 1608 CE, as the “London company”. The “London Company” used slave labor. Those “servants” lived under terror. They were drawn and quartered if they eloped with the Native Americans. Later real slaves were imported from Africa, burning some alive from time to time kept them in line. Tobacco made English America rich.
So the USA is animated by a self contradiction, and differs deeply from its Franco-British parents (or the rest of Europe, which never officially reintroduced slavery on European soil).
Progressive thinking has been the underlying philosophy of France for more than 15 centuries. It spectacularly abated sometimes, in a vain attempt to achieve control of the rambunctious natives, or during emergencies (such as the Black Plague). Sometimes, the leader was incredibly stupid. Saint Louis is a good example. He was the son of his formidable mother, often reigning queen, a fanatical catholic straight from Castile. Although this Louis IX was all for justice, and progress that way, he engaged in ruinous and criminal crusades against southern French, Middle Easterners, and extreme anti-Judaism.
Progressivism was used as a weapon in the civil war between the various provinces of France and England. The rebellious French nobles who led England, and various huge provinces they owned on the continent, finally beat Paris at its own game, by installing an even more progressive regime. The six centuries of glorified civil that ensued between England and France were not for the best. As they sat among the ruins in 1815, the leaders in France and England finally understood that war between them attacked progress itself, and dismantled civilization. The silly Franco-British civil war was given up. To celebrate, hand in hand, they went to attack China, destroy some of the world best architecture, and then, still hand in hand, invaded Crimea. The mental leadership of Germany, that is Francia, Pars Orientalis, took another few generations to get the message that the European civil war and division was over.
The case of the rambunctious child of France and Britain, the USA, is not clear. To have been founded four centuries ago as private equity using human flesh for leverage does not help. Intellectual and emotional habits were then formed that Europe tried very hard to quit for centuries, if not millennia.
Like Germany when she was going the wrong way, the USA tends to insist it is different, and its definition of “progressive” tends to involve military technology unchained, primitive philosophy, full speed backwards, and exuberant self glorification to the point of ignoring all and any instruction from other countries, or history itself. Or at least so it was before the USA came under Obama’s merciful skill and tender care. And so it was, before the USA discovered the hard way that the oligarchy leading it is a corrupt plutocracy that led the entire planet astray, and made it closer to a banana republic than to a leading European democracy.
Under the Greco-Romans, the top civilization extended from Scotland to Mesopotamia. Unfortunately under general fascism boosted by diabolical Christian terror, progressivism was given up, and the few surviving intellectuals fled for their lives. Persia to the East became more intellectually advanced than the mess Caesaropapism imposed next door. Caesaropapism became Caliphism, that Islamism with the exact same consequences: mental stagnation. The poor Muslims imitated the “Oriental Part” of the Roman empire, all too well. So did Moscow. Advanced civilization retreated to Western Europe, where, under Frankish, Celtic and Germanic influence, and plain lack of influence of Roman fascism, Christianism became a tool rather than a soul, and progressivism reigned.
Progressivism is the essence of the spirit of Western civilization. Although deeply influenced by what happened before, it is profoundly non Greco-Roman, and non Judeo-Christian. The Franks abstracted this by claiming their own ancestors escaped from burning Troy, ready to form a free, non sexist society.
We need to escape back to the future, as they did.
Addenda: 1) The FBI conceded in early March that it had 530 Madoff-like (big fraud) enquiries ongoing. Another large fraud surfaced, around 10 billion dollars, from Sanford Investment. The president of Ecuador claimed the CIA was involved. Unsurprisingly, Sanford was not targeted by the FBI. the rot is deep.
2) An American friend made fun of my assertion that Western Europe had outlawed slavery, by claiming he was “serfing” the Internet. His idea being that serfdom was a form of slavery. This is a popular sentiment in the USA, because it allows Americans to claim Europeans were slave masters too, they just did not figure it out yet.
Well, first, there was no racial component in serfdom.
Second, serfs could not be sold, and were not owned. Families were leased a piece of land divided among villagers according to the numbers of capable hands. Some days of the year, the entire production went to the local lord. In exchange the lord had duties: defense, police, judiciary, etc… Some serfs resented farming, and fled. After 30 days, if not caught, they were free of their obligations, for life. As the cities grew, serfdom became ever more irrelevant and was formally on its way out by 1,300 CE (it was officially outlawed by the French revolution, but it had disappeared already by 1500 CE from France, and 1574 CE in England; the story in Eastern Europe was different (“later serfdom”), as usual, for some of the reasons quoted above next to the word “Moscow”; by the way, Christianity was very friendly to slavery: bishops were some of the biggest slave owners around 400 CE.)