Save Kobani, Remember Ibn Khaldun

October 8, 2014

Before the Syrian civil war, 400,000 people lived in, and around the Kurdish city of Kobani. The region is now mostly under Islamic State, aka “Caliphate”, ISIL, Daech, control. Hundreds of villages around have been evacuated. The Turkish border is along the city, just to the north. An estimated 180,000 from the region fled to Turkey in recent weeks. But many civilians are still stuck inside Kobani.

Defenders have only light weapons. The Islamists used bigger and better weapons, such as infantry hiding behind and around modern tanks.

Turkish tanks have been staying just outside, but have not intervened yet.

Erdogan, the new Turkish president (and strongman of Turkey) knows that its Western Allies, in Europe and NATO, wants him to order its tanks to roll inside Syria, and kill the Islamists.

Kurds inside Turkey have been furious against Erdogan’s inaction and demonstrated violently. More than a dozen died, just in one night. The Kurds know that Ankara fears and dislikes them: naturally Armenia and Kurdistan, nations which are several times older than Ottoman Turkey, ought to be made into free states recognized by the United Nations. Ankara, in that way, is similar to Putin’s Kremlin.

Thus Erdogan, all too happy to find an excuse to let a lot of Kurds die, does not want to intervene, he says, as long as its Western Allies do not formally establish a “No Fly” zone over Northern Syria. He claims to be afraid that Assad’s Air Force will intervene (Turkey has only heavy F16s not necessarily capable against more recent Russian fighters).

Hypocritically the USA claims that Erdogan is an hypocrite, because he should have noticed there is a de facto “No Fly” zone over Northern Syria. But, of course, Erdogan wins that one: he wants a FORMAL declaration, just to MAKE SURE.

For Erdogan to decide to use his army to help the Kurds is a huge decision, smacking of a near contradiction. For Washington, “No Fly” is just a signature on an order.

Erdogan is also peeved that he is asked to send ground forces officially and massively, into combat, while its Allies crow that they would not do such a thing, on a matter of principle (although the Western Allies do officially have “advisers” on the ground).

The question is this: If the USA and company are proud of refusing to fight on the ground, claiming that’s Politically Correct, why would they expect Turkey to do any differently?

The latest airstrikes were spectacular, they looked like mini nukes. And they may well work. And Kobani, were many Kurdish civilians are apparently still stuck, maybe saved. And it better be (although Erdogan announced it will fall, and so did some of its Allies).

However, moral superiority is where winning a war is at.

Moral superiority starts with moral coherence. So don’t ask the Turkish army to do the dirty work, while claiming urbi et orbi, that it is not Politically Correct, to do said dirty work.

The Tunisian born historian and philosopher Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406 CE), comes to the rescue here, to explain what is going on. Khaldun was from an upper class political and judicial Arab family who had just been expelled from Andalusia by the Reconquista.

This to say that his cultural background was rich, as is often the case with superior thinkers.

Ibn Khaldun explained his way, and correctly the growth of plutocracy (he nearly said what I said). He also disserted at length on the nature of (some) empires.

Basically Khaldun said empires were about peace (this is certainly true for the large empires which lasted long. Here is an example: before the Goths stormed the core of the Greco-Roman empire, around 250 CE, the region had known 300 years of Pax Romana).

Thus, says Ibn Khaldun, the empire becomes so peaceful inside, that it is forced to recruit barbarians, outside, to defend it. Certainly, the Greco-Roman empire switched to that model after Princeps Augustus decided he was best defended by devoted, and very well paid, German troops.

Ibn Khaldun no doubt had the vivid example of the Muslim plutocrats in Spain calling to the rescue savages from Africa such as the Almoravides; I mentioned in “Walls Of Common Lies” that the ferocity of the Almoravides explains much of the bad moods that arose later in Europe, against, well, Islamists.

Ibn Khaldun thought that the high point of a civilization entails a period of decay (from the growth of a luxury economy, something I rephrase as the growth of plutocracy). The next cohesive group that conquers the diminishing civilization comes from the barbarians who were asked to defend it.

Then Khaldun says the barbarians then become refined, repeating the cycle; this is no doubt the story of the Muslim empire.

However, Khaldun’s cycles do not apply to Europe. Yes, indeed, the Franks became more refined: some Roman lawyers wrote in Latin a law for the Franks, a Lex Sallica, and Roman generals (starting with Constantine), incorporated them as the elite of the Roman army.

Yet, the Franks did not repeat the cycle… As they have clung to power ever since: all the present Western regimes descend from the Frankish empire (except for Russia’s Putin, and it shows; right, he is not really Western).

How did the Franks not repeat the cycle? By staying sufficiently barbarian; by cutting regularly, by force, the growth of plutocracy (hence the French passion for revolution). Equality under inheritance and near-equality in gender (and thus near equality in the inheritance of women… Although not as much as in Sparta), led to constant wars among factions, and wealthy, powerful families, thus preventing the growth of full blown plutocracy (that took nearly a millennium to blossom… And was soon under threat of multiple revolutions).

By the Fourth Century, the Franks fought their wars by themselves, and for themselves (although the French used a majority of German and Polish forces in the ill fated attack on Moscow in 1812, and then again, more successfully, massive amounts of African troops in the Twentieth Century against Prussian racist fascism… Including my own dad).

What Ibn Khaldun did not say was that the peace inside a vast empire is not just a benefit (as it sure was in Rome, or China, or India). Torpor inside was also a plutocratic trick to put to sleep an increasingly subjugated population.

When the West asks Turkey to send ground troops while refusing to send its own, it is therefore engaged in a plutocratic trick so old, that Ibn Khaldun already had described it, black on white, more than 6 centuries ago. It’s already bad enough that the Kurds are asked to fight with inferior weapons.

There is nothing wrong, but everything good, to fight the Islamists to death. And if it causes dormant cells and sympathizers to engage in terrorism, so much the better: being terrorized of irking terrorists is exactly how terrorism works.

And if fighting plutocrats in the Middle Earth makes Western youth impatient to fight those plutocrats who rule at home, that will be an even more striking progress.

Wanting to crush infamy, is an absolute good. Infamous is the belief that it does not matter what happens to children who live a few hours away. Protecting children is an absolute good. Protecting children, even other people’s children, carries  primordial moral weight.

Patrice Ayme’

Philosophy Is Moody

October 7, 2014

Philosophy Is About Moods, Systems of Moods, Not Just Systems of Thoughts

Science creates extremely precise systems of thoughts. This is why it is obsessed with equations, which are, first of all, rigid structures.

Philosophy is the domain of guess work. That makes it crucial to all new fields of enquiry: they all have to start somewhere, most often with guesswork (although serendipity can play a role, as when Fleming discovered penicillin).

As it is rich with possibility, rather than been just tied to precise logic, new philosophy is more about vague emotion, per force, than the new science, or the new law, it will orient towards, and give rise to.

If philosophy cannot teach precise things, precise things comparable to Einstein’s gravitational equation, what does it teach?

Some have accused me of making the mistake of judging a philosophy by the philosopher who created it. However, I am not that naïve. Instead, I enlighten the former with the later.

Montaigne’s philosophy may sound plutocratic friendly to a sharp critic (much of his essays have to do with the lives of plutocrats, generally heaping praise on them for astounding prowess on the battlefield, or the fairness of their magnanimous rule). A look at Montaigne’s life confirms that here was a man of wealth and means, closest, and most obsequious, to the highest (such as his friend and accomplice Henri IV), and who knew how to advance himself that way. So Montaigne’s plutophile tendencies are confirmed by the considerable interest he had to wallop in the mud.

In striking contrast with the haughty objections of my critics, many hold that philosophies are ways of life, they are nothing without the examples of the lives of those who proposed them.

Some have tried to make philosophy scientific, thus throwing unwittingly, the stillborn baby with the bath.

Verily, science itself is often not that scientific, except in a very restricted sense. Much scientific progress is about finding that science one thought was well established, urbi et orbi, is actually false, in some circumstances.

On second inspection, Einstein’s equation is not that precise: as Einstein himself admitted, the right hand side of the equation, the mass-energy tensor, is junk. (Quantum Field Theory has confirmed this.)

But Einstein’s equation is at least very precise in a very restricted domain (say in Earth’s orbit).

Not so with philosophy.

Instead of building systems of thoughts with extremely pointed relevance, philosophies are more general: they build systems of mood. Perhaps, instead of just living inside neuronal networks, philosophy will be tied to more vague emotional structures: organs such as the amygdala, or glial networks.

Philosophers create moods. Philosophies are, to a great extent, moods.

What a better example than “Stoicism”? “Stoic”, initially a place, a portico, from which a philosopher taught, became an adjective, a noun, a concept. And certainly a mood.

Same for Mr. Sade, and Mr. Maso.

It ought to be obvious that nature did not wait for the guy from the portico, or Sade, or Maso, to invent stoicism, masochism, or sadism. All what the philosophers found was labels, distinctions, and the revelation of the moods to go with them. They did not replace 600 million years of evolution.

Creating a nefarious mood is how Heidegger helped to generate Nazism: in conjunction with the respect he was endowed with, as the young rector of his university, and his aura as master thinker, by writing an unreadable book, Heidegger sang the praises of Nazi philosophy.

Heidegger extolled the Führerprinzip, the exact core of Nazism. Thus Heidegger made many clear statements supporting Nazism before critical junctures. Such as a major referendum in Fall 1933.

Heidegger’s philosophy (love of Führerprinzip), and Heidegger himself, the philosopher, helped the establishment of Hitler’s dictatorship. Big time.

Similarly Aristotle celebrated what he celebrated as the “first and most divine“, and… “straightest” regime, kingship.

Unbelievably, some philosophers assert that these political positions of Aristotle have nothing to do, and did not help the man closest to Aristotle, and also the worst king ever, Antipater, the single handed destroyer of all Greek civilization.

Aristotle clearly asserted that democracy was the “least bad of the deviant regimes”. Yes, deviant. Aristotle said democracy was the “rule of the indigent”.

Certainly those clear, stridently anti-democratic statements of Aristotle generated a mood of admiration for kings such as Aristotle’s closest souls, or aristocracy in general, (“straight” regimes), while heaping contempt on “devious” democracy.

Aristotle created a mood, as the Nazi philosopher Rosenberg created a mood. Rosenberg was, rightfully, hanged at Nuremberg. Heidegger should have been punished, at the very least, with a long prison sentence.

While Aristotle’s closest associates established “aristocracy”, and plutocracy, all over, Zeno was born.

Zeno was born in an age when stoicism was as far as one could disagree with what came to be known as the “Hellenistic” regimes. The mood was definitively to let kings and aristocrats rule.

And to view We The People as “indigent” (to call the master aristocrat, Aristotle). Was Aristotle the Rosenberg of the Greek world? Just asking.

“Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. (It’s named after the portico from which he taught.) The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of “moral and intellectual perfection”, would not suffer such emotions.” (Per Wikipedia.)

What is a “destructive emotion”? Is anger a destructive emotion? Is anger towards a lion destructive? Is that bad? Shall we go on our four and bleat peacefully instead? Notice the naivety: persons of moral and intellectual description do not suffer “destructive emotions”.

So if you want to destroy Xerxes’ fleet at Salamis, are you imperfect?

Clearly Stoicism was the perfect emotion, the perfect mood, for the Hellenistic dictatorships. In the entire Greek world, youngsters who aspire to wisdom were taught that they should not destroy… their masters, the heirs of the closest friends of Aristotle, the heirs of the court which Aristotle knew as a child.

Naturally most Hellenistic regimes allied themselves with Carthage against the Republic. The one and only directly democratic republic in existence at the time. Rome.

The Roman Republic wiped out Aristotle’s insufferable children of greed.

We The People won then. But, before soon, the leading classes of Rome, including Cicero, were worshipping at the altar of Aristotle’s mood: kingship is “first and most divine”. Hence the Princeps (“First”) and most divine Augustus, soon to smother civilization below his family.

Time to learn something.

Aristotle put us in a very bad mood. And Zeno’s sulking did not help.

Patrice Ayme’

Stoicism Is All Too Natural

October 6, 2014

All we animals have to be stoic, at one point or another, whether we like it, or not, whether human, or not. At some point we have to decide that, whatever it is, will be, and that’s fine. This maximizes happiness. Especially in dismal circumstances. It’s all the eudemonia the abyss offers.

Stoicism is evolutionary given. It would not help to sustain ecology if prey animals systematically fought beyond any hope of surviving, as it would hurt predators (and thus kill them, as the job of predator is highly demanding). Without predators around, there is no more ecology.

Thus animals come complete with endorphins, pain killing hormones related to morphine. When the fighting is hopeless, endorphins suddenly permeate the prey, and it accepts calmly to be eaten alive. That’s often a very long process. It is striking to see an antelope resting on the ground, alert, head high, standing perfectly still, while a lion is feasting deep inside its abdominal cavity.

Hence evolution itself has selected stoicism as a strategy to reach an optimal ecology.

Experiments in human ethology have shown moral monism is a no-go: not all morality comes from just one moral principle. Far from it. Instead, human beings travel a vast moral manifold, with many moral strategies, as opportunity and necessity arise. Thus the attached philosophies are to vary accordingly. Philosophical pluralism is fact and practice. Yet, stoicism will always be a part of the mix (as it is evolutionary given, it’s part of what we are).

***

But one has to be careful not to confuse appropriate stoicism, and amor fati, with gross selfishness. Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and author of the Meditations is a case in point. He claimed, in his Thoughts that one ought:

“Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things that exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the structure of the web.”

Strange mumbo-jumbo.

Although this train of thought seems to partly anticipate ecological balance theory, the emperor’s motivation, according to all appearances, from historical evidence, was most base. If true, this is extremely shocking: Marcus Aurelius is often viewed as the archetype stoic, in his full glory.

And this is a warning to all those who get carried away with Stoicism, Buddhism, Zen, and the closely related Confucianism and “Inch Allah” religion.

If it’s all one movement, one may as well leave it alone, and go along with the flow. Thus Marcus Aurelius opted to not go into a complicated process to select the next best future emperor, as had been the tradition under the Antonine emperors (and how he himself became Princeps, Imperator, Augustus and what not).

It was simpler, more craftily stoic, to make his son Commodus Caesar at the age of 5, the youngest Consul ever at the age of 15. Then Marcus made Commodus co-emperor at the precocious age of 16. That teenager became perhaps the worst emperor ever.

Why? First, out of apparent stoicism, not to say epicureanism, Commodus gave up territory dearly gained on the Marcomanni, and that it was crucial for Rome to keep (as history showed within a generation).

***

Stoicism is the acceptance of what cannot be avoided, surrender. It has its place, but only as a mean to not hurt higher values which a disorganized frenzy could compromise.

One should not surrender, especially to evil, in a hurry, affecting haughty indifference. Doing so makes one an accomplice, a collaborator of evil. Stoicism is a help in the abyss, when hope is forever gone, and only pain is left. But stoicism is also an invitation to the abyss, if used inappropriately.

This is not just a problem for those who abide by Stoicism and Buddhism. The religions of Abraham celebrate the submission of their hero (Abraham) to the most monstrous deity imaginable, the one who asks him to slit the throat of his son. In other words, if the boss asks you for the worst crime imaginable, stoically submit.

This is immensely unacceptable to those who have the religion of man, instead of the religion of the boss, fascism.

Stoicism is one misappropriation away from accepting fascism, infamy, or both.

***

Progress is a more human value strategy than stoicism. All animals are prone to stoicism, as they muddle along. Only humans wish to rise well above Prometheus, and smash fate into a better world.

We created god(s), and should act accordingly.

Patrice Ayme’

The West: Hong Kong In Reverse?

October 5, 2014

In Hong Kong, students are demonstrating. Beijing plutocrats are throwing at them what they can: professional politicians, popular singers, and professional gangsters from the renowned triads.

This is what happens when you educate your youths too well: they get ideas, and contest the rule of the alpha male, in this case the omnipotent president Xi (who claims an official right to rig elections by choosing the three candidates to lead Hong Kong; in the West, the process is the same, but behind closed doors).

Cynics will sneer that this was the whole idea about degenerating the educational system in the West since the (world) disturbances of 1968 (which topped in the USA, France, and Prague). Precisely to avoid what is happening in Hong-Kong now.

How come the left in the West is a right? The answer is obvious: “democracy” is just a sham.

Let’s nevertheless waste a few minutes to describe the right that calls itself a left…. Now that France has a so called “socialist” government which governs on the right of the official French right, this burning question comes back to the fore, six years after Obama sold himself, body and soul, to the greediest financial sector in the history of civilization.

In the last 20 years, the self-described “left” came to power in the USA (twice: Clinton, Obama; moreover Reagan had to govern with a Congress controlled by democrats), in Germany (Schroeder, and now an union government of CDU and SPD), in Britain (a decade of Blair, Brown). France is the extreme of that: she enjoyed decades of “socialist” rule (Mitterrand, Jospin, Hollande).

The result is everywhere the same: plutocracy has kept encroaching (as depicted in Piketty’s “capital). There is even worse: the educational systems have collapsed, all over the West.

Indeed, in 1900, the West had, by far the best educational systems in the World. Now the results are eloquent. They are established by PISA, a subdivision of the OECD (the Organisation De Co-operation Economique et Development, in its original French; it was founded, and is based, in Paris).

France, Britain and the USA completely fail their new generations. Refined tests on problem solving show that the youngsters of these nations are three years late in their mental development on Asian students.

Apparently, the mental retardation has set quite a while ago, because present date politicians do not understand the problem. It’s simple, though: these countries made a huge effort in national education a century ago. Not so much anymore.

To get a good education in 1950, one went to public school. Now one goes to private school. The quality of education is just as abysmal, studies suggest. But the networking is everything

Valls is a theoretician of greed: he can’t imagine anything else as a human motivation. At least that’s what he said as much about GPA.

It’s a bit like Lenin’s apology of dictatorship. Lenin could not imagine a more effective government than dictatorship.

Valls is not pecuniary greedy, or let’s say he can wait, as the greed for power is even more direct than the one for money. My tolerance exhausted itself after he made Macron economy minister. Macron’s career is a short resume’ of the genetics of the cancer that infects the West most: a know-nothing, made into a top finance inspector who teaches the world’s most notorious bank how to evade taxes and financially conspire, thus putting himself into orbit for highest rule.

The Romans had the Cursus Honorum, we now have the Cursus Damnarum. In the Cursus Honorum, would-be politicians, after a top education, became first top officers in the Roman army. And then, only then, would go back to politics.

Because Rome had strict term limits, politics was spread among the many. For example a Consul had full power for just a month, and then, after his one year term, could not be re-elected for another year.

Here, of course I am talking of the full Roman Republic, not the diseased system which agonized for centuries after Augustus came to power. Conventional historians prefer to talk about the latter, because they are the Gibbons of the plutocratic system we have the dubious honor to enjoy.

How could the so-called left not be a right?

It’s all about how politicians are selected. First, they are most greedy. They are all about the Will To Power.

Second, if not 100% greedy, they are somewhat deranged: they really believe that, with their puny minds, and extravagantly modest propositions, in these most alarming circumstances, they will really make a difference.

Third, they give themselves what scientific psychologists, the ethologists, call “moral license”. That’s the idea that, if one has made what one perceives as a good deal, or has the right to trample others, somewhat.

Indeed, the leaders of the West now, in their collective, have rights not really different from that of the omni-president Xi and his colleagues. It is for example against the law in France to insult one of the goons of the government. The powers that the top politicians in the USA have, are awesome.

And forget about checks and balances, as the presidency of W. Bush demonstrated! The entire USA was committed to a war crime course in 2003 with as much ease as Nazi Germany in 1933.

And please don’t tell me that’s ancient history. The present war against ISIS/ISIL/ “Caliphate”/Daech springs directly from this. The essence of the power of that organization is that the tribes that the USA struck against in 2003 are now sitting on their hands at best (when they are not outright helping the Islamist insurgents).

This entire political system of the West rests on greed and delusion. It’s a system of thoughts and moods, where greed, sugar-coated with the appearance of altruism, rules.

Blossoming plutocracy is a consequence. And the more it goes, the more education, reflection and civilization, degenerate.

The type of remedy needed can be observed in the streets of Hong-Kong.

It is easy for the Hong-Kong protesters: they want what the West already has. In the West what is needed has to be invented. Looking around (Switzerland), or learning history (fully Republican Rome, Athens), will help the imagination.

The real problem is that there is no progressive guidance. A proof is my struggle in philosophical circles right now to impose the correct view on Aristotle. Aristotle was first and foremost, the greatest architect of plutocracy ever. That’s how, and why, he got to be viewed as the greatest philosopher ever.

Everybody drank the poisonous cool-aid, ever since.

Something similar is happening now, live: Krugman’s position of Quantitative Easing (giving money to the largest, most powerful banks) is (still) viewed as highly progressive… And so apparently, is austerity.

And where is the money found to fund all this austerity? Some of it is found all the way into the bone. Fundamental education (That’s now called the “Common Core” in the USA), and fundamental research.

Obama is urging schools to teach the Common Core, and that’s good. (It’s even better that it costs him nothing, as the Federal Education budget is just 1%. Always this 1% thing.)

Maybe, if he had been taught the Common Core, Prime Minister Valls would be able to logically determine he stands on the right of the National Front’s Marine Le Pen, in several dimensions.

Maybe, if he had been taught the Common Core, Obama would fund fundamental research: unbelievably, he has been cutting into the bone there… Just when everything is becoming possible, the leadership of the West is trying to make the impossible possible, by closing the future to progress.

Patrice Ayme’

French PM: Vile, Sexist?

October 4, 2014

The regimes we have now all over the West are not what would have been called democracy in Antiquity. They are oligarchic republics with, arguably a lower democratic index than the anti-plutocratic Roman Republic in its heyday. They attract the most wretched race, to lead us all astray.

One of the failings of Rome was sexism. If women are poorly treated, they end up as mental retards. That no doubt sounds fine to ardent misogynists, grossest machos and unreconstructed Islamists. However, women are on the frontline of child rearing until the age of seven or so. So mental retardation, or, at least, cultural retardation, is transmitted from generation to generation, the more sexist the society.

This is why the less sexist a civilization, the more advanced it tends to get.. And why, contrarily to all the flattery from orientalists and various exploiters have tried to make us believe, Islamist countries have mightily stagnated (in depth inspection reveals that most discoveries attributed to “Islam” have nothing to do with it).

The defeat of the Romans at the hands of the Germans may have had to do with sexism. The involvement of German women in war augmented the punch of small German nations considerably.

The Catalan born and raised Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, said: « La France est opposée à la légalisation de la GPA. Une pratique intolérable de marchandisation du corps des femmes ». Translation: surrogate motherhood is intolerable merchantization.

A mentally towering lady, who wants to stay anonymous, read my preceding essay and denounced it privately for being too mild. She said: Most women who engage in surrogacy do not do so out of greed, but out of generosity, altruism. They want other people to enjoy parenthood.”

She pursued relentlessly: ”What does the French Prime Minister say to those who give a kidney? That they are intolerable merchants? And what of those who give blood, and are given a meal in exchange? Are they also engaged in intolerable merchantization?”

Another commenter, Gmax, piped in:”… Valls is a sexist, greed obsessed pig. Yes, pig…”

I stand corrected, and I agree. The problem of Valls is that he is from a system that finds normal to put Macron, an investment banker, the worst sort of bankster, in charge of the French economy. Valls lives, and has always lived, in a world of greed. As a youngster, he wanted already to lead people, tell them what to do, receive money from bankers (what else?), and make that his profession.

This is pretty much representative the sort of persons who make politics into their profession. All they can conceive of, is greed.

It does not help that Mr. Valls is a man. Men, by psychobiological definition, culturally boosted, tend to be more imbued by the Will To Power, grabbing, selling, possessing.

Generosity eludes them.

Generosity, altruism, giving, are more feminine qualities. They escape the French Prime Minster totally. All he knows is merchantization, so that’s what he talks about. He believes that, like himself, all women are for sale.

In general, the very way the present representative oligarchy works, the lowest motivation, greed, is how the representatives such as Mr. Valls are selected. We are selecting for ravenous scums, who cannot imagine any nobler emotions anymore than crocodiles can.

Nietzsche reconstituted it, conflating Sophocles, and a few others, into the wisdom of Silenus, the companion, and, some say, the mentor, of Dionysus, the god of loss of control (thus imaginative wisdom).

Says Nietzsche in the Birth of Tragedy:

”Wretched, ephemeral race, children of chance and tribulation, why do you force me to tell you the very thing which it would be most profitable for you not to hear? The very best thing is utterly beyond your reach: not to have been born, not to be, to be nothing. However, the second best thing for you is: to die soon.”

Did Nietzsche think of out great leaders? What better thing to tell to those who have the arrogance to believe they can lead us, as if we were living in the Chinese dictatorship?

At some point, it’s useless to negotiate with obsolete systems of thought: they should be bulldozed over. Lincoln did not negotiate with slavery, nor Martin Luther King with the racists.

By being unable to imagine a world without greed, as the one and only significant motivation, the French leadership shows that it does not conceive of anything different from what Thatcher or Reagan advocated.

Patrice Ayme’

French God No Surrogate For Rights

October 3, 2014

French Prime Minister Valls just declared that surrogate motherhood (in French: GPA, “Gestation Pour Autrui”) is to be condemned so vigorously that the world ought to draw legislation against it. Greedy banksters are OK, and welcome in the French (or American) government, but those criminally pregnant women ought to be outlawed, and these innocent children ought to have no rights.

Who needs Marine Le Pen, when France has already worse?

Why is pregnancy criminal? Because surrogate motherhood, during which a woman brings to term somebody’s else child is “intolerable commercialization of human beings and merchantization of women’s bodies” (“merchandisation”).

Is the PM saying that there is such a thing as tolerable commercialization and merchantization of human bodies? Bad-breaking work is tolerable, but carrying someone’s else child, a crime? And these children are criminals under punishment for their existence, without having ever been convicted in a court of law?

Some will pontificate that PM Valls had to say that, because 500,000 Christianoid fanatics of the hateful persuasion, having learned nothing since the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, were going to demonstrate.

The cause of the fury of these half-wits? The European Court of Human Rights has condemned France for not recognizing the relationship parents and children, if surrogacy was involved.

How does that differ from recognizing as non-human people of color? Same idea, no? The way they were born!

So, forced by European Justice, France will recognize those relationships… But only those, and will keep on with its criminal behavior denying other human rights. France will affect to consider that even those children whose parents the European Court forced France to recognize, will have no right to nationality, or to inheritance, etc.

This atrocious French behavior relative to some children is a warning to those who affect to believe that the European Union has no merit. For years, the European Union judicial system forced Great Britain to recognize it was violating human rights in Northern Ireland, and finally the UK relented (so, lo and behold, peace came). Now it’s France and its God-enraged fanatics, which violate human rights.

Prior to the European decision, the French government had recognized the parents-child relationship in the case of the USA alone (that means, not with, say, Ukraine).

This fanaticism of Catholics given free rein, of course, undermines the struggle against Jihadism. Indeed, if the craziness of Catholic extremists has to be respected, why not that of Muslim extremists?

The fundamental reasoning of the Catholics is that, if a couple wants children, but cannot get any without surrogacy, it’s evidence that God did not want it. God, in Arabic, that’s Allah. So, in other words, surrogacy contradicts Allah.

Same story if a couple of lesbians want a child.

That reasoning about Allah is itself contradictory, in a meta way. Indeed, if God is almighty, that is, all-mighty, He (it’s never a “She”) has obviously created surrogacy. So, by denying surrogacy, one denies God’s work to God.

Moreover, by the same token, if the fanatics consider that any human technology is the work of Satan, and an effort to undermine Allah, then the fanatics should refuse all medical treatment, modern transportation, starting with using the wheel, etc. They should study this more carefully, and act accordingly.

However, chimpanzees, and even baboons, use technology: the ways of God are impenetrable.

In Japan in the Nineteenth Century, Emperor Meiji insisted on dramatic modernization. Some of the Samurai class resisted, and Meiji used massive bloody force to effect the change. He had to: Japan had to modernize if it wanted to survive. As I always say, survival is the primary moral imperative, and all what the concept of morality boils down to.

France, to some extent, and all of Europe, even the entire planet, is engaged in a similar situation: inappropriate morals have to be swept away, to be replaced by the fresh, new, and more sustainable.

Sometimes a clash of forces is all it takes. This is the sense of the bombing campaign against the so-called “Caliphate” in Mesopotamia (but it will not be complete if it cannot come to agreeable terms with progressive Sunis).

This is what both Thatcher and Reagan did to implement their long lasting counter-revolutions, and the triumph of greed: Thatcher broke the miners, Reagan put the air controllers in chains. Both destroyed the unions thus.

Great force has always to be used against great difficulties. It could be pure mental force (as intellectual Jihadists would point out). Still, one has to start somewhere. One may as well start with a cause that goes with progress.

Clearly, denying the right for some adults to have a child, if they are prevented to do so, for, say, medical reasons, is a human right violation.

Tolerating the right to violate other people’s rights  is all it takes to go down the road of infamy. The Catholics insist that they have it. They are an easier nut to break than hard core Wahhabists, so they should be done first, as a warm-up.

It is pretty pathetic to see that today’s France is on the wrong side of human rights in an Union she was long the main conceptual motor of.

Now this is no surprise: the better human rights are enforced in a nation, the higher its mental, hence economic, performance. Thus the economic weakening of France (blatant in comparison to the, in many-ways-comparable Switzerland) is entangled with increasing violation of the spirit of human rights there. I am sure that many a Jihadist will feel just that way. And correctly, however perversely, so.

Patrice Ayme’

Nuke That Comet

October 2, 2014

Many are not held back about being strident. Why should not intellectuals do the same? After all, what they do is most important. So Nietzsche was strident, for example against German racist, anti-Semite, mediocre nationalistic, herd like aspiring bourgeois. Apparently that was not strident enough, and, somehow, the Nazis succeeded to make many believe that their worst enemy (Nietzsche) was their prophet.

The herd approves of those who are peaceful. So, to be taken seriously by the herd, to be a bovine intellectual, so to speak, one needs to be for peace, against conflict and anything violent. In particular, nuclear power, you know, from the nuclei which are all over matter, is not kosher.

Asteroid, 500 Kilotons, 17 Meters Across, 25 Miles Away.

Asteroid, 500 Kilotons, 17 Meters Across, 25 Miles Away.

The wall of a zinc plant in Chelyabinsk, Russia, was damaged by a shockwave from the meteor exploding 40 kilometers away, in 2013. With a mass of around 10,000 tons, 50% more than the Eiffel Tower, its explosion at 30 kilometers altitude damaged 7,200 buildings in 6 cities, injuring 1,500 people. Just a warning. It was the fiercest impact known since the Tunguska event… That destroyed 80 million trees in a radius of around 30 kilometers… Yet left not even a fleck of dust we know of. But there may have been others over the oceans, or even… Amazonia in the 1930s, where an object brighter than the sun impacted!

A 100 meters across asteroid would explode with around 100 Megatons of TNT energy, around double the largest nuclear device ever exploded (the notorious “Czar Bomba”; see the picture inside “The Worst)

For years would-be wise men, in scientist clothing claimed that nuclear weapons would not be efficient against asteroids. That was obviously an idiotic, and even dangerous position to have. in most plausible scenarios of a bolide impact, we would have little warning. A typical case is that of a comet on an hyperbolic trajectory, falling at enormous speed from the Oort Cloud.

Such bolides are attracted by planets like flies to honey. After all, gravitation is not called “universal attraction” for no good reason.

One such comets is going to graze Mars. It may as well have headed straight to Earth.

And then what?

Nukes. Big, fat, thermonuclear nukes.

Indeed, soft options then don’t work. Forget “gravity tractor” and “impactor.” The former involves using gravitational tug from a large spaceship to tweak an asteroid’s course. The impactor would crash at high speed into the asteroid to effect the same purpose… both may well fail, as asteroid are bizarrely constituted. Some are little more than rubble piles.

Soft methods would only work if the asteroid were small enough and seen soon enough. Many, as the one above, come from the Sun’s direction, so cannot be seen from Earth, as they catch up with her.

For large objects, short response times, or a comet, a nuclear explosion “is the only option,” (said, for asteroids, Bong Wie, a professor and director of Iowa State University’s Asteroid Deflection Research Center).

I wrote entire essays on this in the past. Now I am happy to announce that this point of view has been heard.

Some U.S. nuclear-warhead components, scheduled for disassembly, have gotten a new lease on life. Reason: possible use in defending the Earth against killer asteroids, or comets.

The National Nuclear Security Administration manages the U.S. atomic-weapons arsenal. The warhead components, containing highly enriched uranium, are being retained “pending a senior-level government evaluation of their use in planetary defense against earthbound asteroids,” an April 2014 report reveals. (A reason to keep components is that particularly powerful H bombs may have to be fabricated quickly, in the case of a looming large object, such as a comet; bombs in present arsenals can be delivered precisely, so are not very powerful, although they would be effective against very small asteroids.)

Asteroids with a diameter of about a kilometer or bigger, could “produce global devastation,” said the National Research Council in 2010. Hundreds cross Earth’s orbit, yet none are expected to impact for at least 100 years.

However at least 100,000 or more asteroids at least 50 meters in diameter cross Earth’s orbit. Probably no more than 5% of these “Near-Earth Objects” have been detected. A 50 meter asteroid exploding over a large city could kill up to 30 million people.

Those beasts tend to explode in the atmosphere, leaving no material remnants, as happened in Tunguska. So the statistics we have about how frequently they come knocking, are suspect.

It’s a world of forces, a violent world, out there. Better be ready.

When flying a civilization, we have to assume that, if it may happen, it will happen.  Especially if it’s very catastrophic. That’s the essence of Catastrophic Calculus, fundamental to flying planes, and civilizations.

Patrice Ayme’

Scathing Thinking

October 1, 2014

It is easy to be ironical, pose as a saint, and ponder:”Why stop at Isis when we could bomb the whole Muslim world? Humanitarian arguments, if consistently applied, could be used to flatten the entire Middle East.”

I generally  like The Guardian’s Mr. Monbiot, and I understand he has to be funny and controversial to earn his keep. Yet, is that ethical? No. If “ISIS” (Daesh) could get its hands on Mr. Monbiot, they would saw through his throat as if he were another sheep (or Abraham’s son, whoever!). It’s something Fundamentalist Muslims have to do. I pointed  this dynamic feature in many essays in the past, such as “Violence in the Holy Qur’an“. It’s best addressed this way:

French Rafale Hunting True Believers In Ultimate Violence

French Rafale Hunting True Believers In Ultimate Violence

Here are a few quotes from the first real chapter (“sura”) in the Qur’an. “the Cow”:

“A fire has been prepared for the disbelievers, whose fuel is men and stones.’ [Qur'an s. 2: v. 24]

“Disbelievers will be burned with fire.” [Koran, S. 2:39, v. 90]

“Jews are the greediest of all humankind. They’d like to live 1000 years. But they are going to hell.” [Koran, s. 2: v.96]

“Allah will leave the disbelievers alone for a while, but then he will compel them to the doom of Fire.” [Koran, s. 2:v. 126]

“Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (But if they desist in their unbelief, then don’t kill them.) [Qur'an s.2:v. 191-2]

“War is ordained by Allah, and all Muslims must be willing to fight, whether they like it or not.” [s. 2: v. 216]

“Those who marry unbelievers will burn in the Fire.” [2:221]

“Disbelievers worship false gods. They will burn forever in the Fire.” 2:257″

That’s just the first chapter, sura 2, as I said. Nothing wrong with it, of course, if you don’t take it too seriously. But apparently too many take it all too seriously, as they learn little else.

The same problem arose with Christianity: was the Bible to be taken literally? It was solved by the Church’s Founding Fathers, around 400 CE, by deciding it was all allegoric, metaphorical, etc. The exact opposite decision was taken by one Caliph around 850 CE.

Hence the on-going need to flatten completely some systems of thoughts and moods infesting the Middle East, as Ebola does West Africa. As Monbiot points out unwittingly.

Says Monbiot:”Let’s bomb the Muslim world – all of it – to save the lives of its people. Surely this is the only consistent moral course? Why stop at Islamic State (Isis), when the Syrian government has murdered and tortured so many? This, after all, was last year’s moral imperative. What’s changed?

How about blasting the Shia militias in Iraq? One of them selected 40 people from the streets of Baghdad in June and murdered them for being Sunnis. Another massacred 68 people at a mosque in August. They now talk openly of “cleansing” and “erasure” once Isis has been defeated. As a senior Shia politician warns, “we are in the process of creating Shia al-Qaida radical groups equal in their radicalisation to the Sunni Qaida”.

What humanitarian principle instructs you to stop there?”

Then Monbiot in his stupidity, proposes to bomb Israel, Iran, etc. He forgets that Israel is an ally, and Iran used to be one, and could be one again. Besides both have more or less free elections. After the French started to bomb in Iraq, the Iranian president came over, and visited with the French president, in peaceful agreement about the necessity to flatten terrorists.

The leaders of the West made no mystery that they are destroying fanatics according to the prime moral directive, namely survival. Saving the Middle Earth is secondary.

It is true that, as I have been saying for decades, and now Monbiot repeats, the plutocratic connections between Assad and London, or the Saudi family and Washington, ought to be brought to light (actually Monbiot does not mention the former: too close to his employer, and his social circles, I guess…). There is a global plutocracy problem, and it has impacted the Middle Earth, from Ukraine, to Pakistan, Libya…

However, it is useful to consult with a bit of history, Mr. Monbiot. In 1936, similar arguments to the ones you brandish, under the guise of irony, were used to do nothing about the Civil War in Spain. The first step is the hardest, and that’s getting into the fray, and flattening those who want to flatten much of what passes for civilization, in this world.

Another point is that there was certainly something very wrong with the Christianity of the Inquisition. If such ferocious Christians existed today, had an army, and invaded, one should certainly intervene, and flatten them. It would be a matter of security of the Republic, civilization, and… peace. I am all for sending some Rafales against Louis IX, the so-called Saint Louis, a rabid murderous fanatic of the worse type, and give him the Qaddafi treatment. However, as he died nearly 750 years ago in Tunis, I will have to content myself with scathing criticism.

Islam is also a religion of Europe, and the USA, and ferocious, murderous Islamist organizations ought to be treated just as ferocious, murderous Christian fundamentalist organizations would be, if they were still around, killing and torturing.

By the way the present Pope is more than an hypocrite. He loves Opus Dei, the closest thing we have to the Inquisition, which took part in the massacre of millions of Spaniards, and has entangled itself with the West’s plutocratic circles… And probably Putin. The Pope just “beatified” the founder of Opus Dei. Opus Satanas is more like it.

This, of course indicates that the present Pope, below his benevolent smile, was in hock with the Argentinian dictatorship, as charged.

The present bombing in Iraq and Syria is highly targeted. The big bombs below that Rafale above are guided by laser beams, they land within a meter of the target. We are very far from the area bombing which flattened Hitler’s Reich. The French Air Force Rafale depicted can, and does, hunt, identify and destroyed individual vehicles (that’s how Qaddafi was targeted, hit, and, later died, after spending some time in a tunnel like a bleeding rat).

Scathing irony does not replace deep thinking, or, for that matter, scathing thinking.

Patrice Ayme’.

ARISTOTLE DESTROYED DEMOCRACY

September 28, 2014

Abstract: Aristotle replaced the supremacy, and rule, of freedom, openness, intelligence, by the “pursuit of happiness”, or general “feel good” (eudemonia). So doing, Aristotle demolished the natural, instinctual, human ethics which had triumphed in Athens earlier.

This fatally weakened the animal spirits, the human ethology, without which democracy is impossible. Thus, more fundamentally than even Christianity, and not just by defending slavery extensively, Aristotle and his atrocious, mass murdering, yet trusted, and beloved, students, launched the mental process that set civilization back by millennia.

It’s high time to understand how much of this Aristotelian garbage festers at the root of today’s systems of thoughts and moods. All the more as plutocracy, Aristotle’s baby, is going all out, once again, to seize power absolutely.

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were master thinkers. Their influence was so great, they changed human psychology. And the way they changed it, in some important ways civilization cannot like.

***

Aristotle Taught These Guys Democracy Was A Devious Beast

Aristotle Taught These Guys Democracy Was A Devious Beast

[Painting Allegedly Representing Macedonian Plutocrats Antipater and Craterus Killing a Lion; these are the Antipater and Craterus found in the present text; top predators, indeed; shortly before Alexander The Great died, Alexander had ordered Antipater, then ruling Europe, to come to Babylon to answer the charges of Olympias, Alexander's mom, that Antipater was conspiring to seize power; Antipater refused to come, and sent another of his sons in his stead; his youngest son was Alexander's closest valet... More on this further down. Yes, at the time, there were lions in the Middle East, and in Europe.]

***

WHEN ATHENS BETRAYED DEMOCRACY, THAT IS, HERSELF:

In 330 CE, the Spartans, led by king Agis, made an all-out effort to destroy Macedonian hegemony. The prospects were good: Antipater had only 13,500 genuine Macedonian soldiers, as Alexander, then fighting the Persian plutocracy, had mobilized all the manpower he could find, to fight far away all over Eurasia. Alexander, though, sent lots of gold in a hurry, so that Antipater could recruit a huge army of northern barbarians to boost his small force.

These were strange times: for about a century much of the elite of the Persian army consisted of Greek mercenaries. Moreover, most Greeks had refused to follow Alexander. No doubt that the fact Alexander had annihilated the city-state of Thebes, and sold 30,000 surviving women and children into slavery, had to do with it. Some of the Persian plutocrats were bad, but the Macedonian plutocrats, in many ways, were worse. The Persians managed an immensely complicated empire, the Macedonians just had to keep (their slaves) extracting the gold, while breeding horses to keep invading further with ever more violence.

The Battle of Megalopolis against Antipater’s 40,000 mercenaries was bloody, long indecisive. But, from the sheer weight of numbers, the 20,000 Spartans, after breaking Antipater’s lines, lost. 5,300 of the best ones died. Diodorus comments:

“Agis III had fought gloriously and fell with many frontal wounds. As he was being carried by his soldiers back to Sparta, he found himself surrounded by the enemy. Despairing of his own life, he ordered the rest to make their escape with all speed and to save themselves for the service of their country, but he himself armed and rising to his knees defended himself, killed some of the enemy and was himself slain by a javelin cast.”

So what was Athens doing while Sparta led the entire Peloponnese against Macedonia? Nothing. Athens sat on her hands. A wounded Spartan king fought, even on his knees, while Athens watched. Some derangement had infected Athena’s city. Was it still Athena’s city? Or was it the city of admirers, friends, lovers, advisers and teachers to tyrants? In spite of a blitz by Demosthenes, the pseudo-Demosthenes, and other philosophers, who saw the terrible danger civilization was in, Athens did not send an army to help Sparta. There is no doubt that the smallest Athenian army would have allowed to extirpate the Macedonian metastatic cancer, all the way to where it festered from, Macedonian gold mines.

If that had happened, the history of the world would have been different, and the event would be barely mentioned in Alpha Centauri libraries. (Just before the Macedonian tyrannical takeover, Greek science was expanding at an astounding rate.)

Once he was rid of Alexander, the senior Macedonian general and dictator Antipater, turned against Athens.

The fate of democracy was decided on the sea. The Athenian fleet, having suffered losses in two battles, surrendered. It did not even try to fight to death. The captains of the Athenian ships were not as determined as their ancestors, who, 170 years earlier, had confronted the Persian fleet and its Greek allies, under incomparably greater odds.

***

THE PHILOSOPHICAL TROIKA FROM HELL CHANGED ATHENS’ MIND ABOUT THE HIGHEST GOOD:

Historians are at a loss to explain that massive change of psychology. Why did Athens not fight for freedom in 330 CE, while it had gone all out for it in 500 CE?

Some may suggest that Alexander and Antipater were not as antipathic as Darius and Xerxes. Well that is not even true: the massacres the two Macedonians engaged in were worse. The Persian plutocracy found plenty of Greeks to help it, over a century, including all of Sparta for decades, and generations of top notch mercenaries. By contrast, very few Greeks accepted to work for the Greek speaking Macedonian tyrants, and Sparta always refused to do so.

So, when the Athenian captains decided to surrender to Antipater, without much fighting, it was not because they did not perceive him to be a monster. They knew he was a monster. It was widely suspected, for excellent reasons and strong circumstantial evidence, that Antipater had used one of his sons to empoison Alexander.

Something else had happened to change the psychology of the Athenian elite: accepting monstrosity had become acceptable. Thanks to whom? Aristotle’s student, Alexander (“the great”)? No, he was too busy crucifying thousands in Tyr for having dared to resist him. Nor was Alexander known for intellectual babbling (whereas Antipater was an author).

My explanation for this degeneracy in the minds of Athenian warriors, and statesmen, is that, thanks to the pernicious influence of the troika Socrates-Plato-Aristotle, Athenians changed their notion of superior wisdom.

***

ARISTOTLE’S EUDEMONIA, OR BEING GOOD TO ONESELF AS THE HIGHEST PRINCIPLE:

The freedom that had made their ancestors, and other Greeks stand on the pinnacle of civilization, had been displaced by an obsession with self-flourishing (“Eudaimonism”).

An ethical system where Eudaimonia, that is good (eu) spirits (daimon) is viewed as the highest good, is the door to materialism and the lowest passions.

the problem about the pursuit of happiness as the highest good, is that human beings out-lion, lions. Let’s have Conan the Barbarian (1982) lead the charge against Aristotle’s pursuit of happiness:

“Mongol General: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?

Mongol: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.

Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?

Conan: Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.

Mongol General: That is good! That is good.”

[Thanks “Wtquinn” a commenter from Scientia Salon!]

The point: our ancestors have been top predators for a few million years. A top predator, at some point, will take pleasure in deploying top ferocity. Lionesses and wolves have been seen adopting orphan baby preys, out of goodness, and that clearly make them happy. But, still, their business is ferocity.

One needs to base one’s ethics on a more stable base than one’s own perception of what constitute happiness.

***

PROPER ETHICS: SALAMIS. DYING FOR FREEDOM AS THE HIGHEST CALLING: :

An ethical system where dying for freedom is the highest calling is very different from one where one is pursuing the vague notion of “happiness”, and “self-flourishing”. Were the 300 with king Leonidas happy at Thermopylae? Yes! Why? They were happy to die for freedom. They were not just into their little self-flourishing as the Athenian captains confronting Antipater’s armada would be 170 years later.

The happiness of Themistocles’ sailors at the Battle of Salamis while their city burned in the background, and the invader Xerxes watched from a throne, came from fighting for causes bigger than themselves, freedom and justice. If they had been pursuing happiness, they would have fled, as Aristotle, faced with freedom and justice, did. Instead Themistocles’ men confronted a thousand ships.

Human beings cannot just pursue self-flourishing, because, instinctually, or as we moderns say, ethologically, human beings have evolved to make others in the group flourish, as an even higher good.

Salamis was perhaps the most important battle in the history of civilization. That’s when freedom looked for a fight, and broke the back of plutocracy, in spite of overwhelming odds.

375 freedom ships confronted a plutocratic armada of 1200. But the Greeks had better equipment, better training, better spirits, their cause was just, freedom on their sides. Born free, they knew how to swim (most Persians did not). The narrow confines prevented the vast Persian fleet to maneuver, and surround them.

The entire population of Athens had been moved to the island of Salamis. Themistocles had around 200 Athenian warships. When his Peloponnesian allies threatened to fold, he threatened to move the entire population of Athens to the Western Mediterranean (this is how Marseilles, Massilia, had been founded from Phocea). Athens had a colony there, Athenopolis (unfortunately called Saint Tropez nowadays).

Or, at least, this is what the immensely clever Themistocles succeeded to make Xerxes believe.

In one of the best plots ever written, Themistocles, using this sort of subtle disinformation and outright lies, misled emperor Xerxes into battle, in spite of the objections of the much more clever Artemisia, evil queen of Halicarnassus, commanding the fiercest squadron of the plutocratic fleet.

It does not take much to influence a human mind. Themistocles knew this, and played with Xerxes’ as a cat with a mouse. Artemisia, an experienced warrior, clearly saw that the battle in the narrow confines between the island and the mainland was an unnecessary risk.

***

SOCRATES, PLATO AND ARISTOTLE WERE LOVERS OF PLUTOCRACY:

Those who advocate that Socrates, Plato and Aristotle could not have possibly sabotaged civilization understand little to the power of the mind.

Generally, it goes like this: when one points at their philosophical failures, such as the advocacy of dictatorship by Plato, their partisans smirk that the fact that the fact the philosopher spent years with the tyrant of Syracuse has nothing to do with it (see Massimo’s intervention in the preceding essay).

However, the failure of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were not personal accidents (such as Francois Villon murdering a priest). Socrates’ courageous battle exploits and death are shining examples. Plato, and Aristotle exhibited personal courage, close and personal, licking the toes, of some of the worst tyrants in history.

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle’s failure was systemic, not personal. And it’s all of the same kind. They replaced freedom, equality, and brotherhood with an obsession with taking care of the oligarchic self. Instead it is the greater primacy that they accorded to some values which devalued.

The Athenian fleet was defeated at the Battle of Amorgos (322 BCE) and failed in stopping reinforcements to reach Antipater.

The Athenian and allied democrats were finally defeated in 322 BCE at the Battle of Crannon in central Thessaly helped by another Macedonian gangster, Craterus. They beat back the weary Athenians in a long series of cavalry and hoplite engagements. Once again, their spirits failed the Athenians. While they were not routed, Athens and her allies, spurning Demosthenes strident, and cogent warnings, sued for peace on Antipater’s terms.

Antipater forced Athens to dissolve her government and establish a plutocratic system in its stead. Only those possessing 2,000 drachmas or more could remain citizens. The Demos was viewed, correctly, by the Macedonians, as the cause of the war.

But the Demos wanted to be free, and Aristotle wanted slaves.

***

23 CENTURIES OF PLUTOCRACY FOLLOWED, BUT THAT’S NOT US, ETHICALLY, & ETHOLOGICALLY:

The very failure of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, made their success. The common denominator ethics that they promoted was favorable to tyrants, and that it is precisely why their work survived through the Dark Ages. Whereas those who defended freedom, equality and democracy were extinguished by the Christian censors and their plutocratic sponsors.

Am I advocating a return to some kind of paleo-state and, or, instinctual ethics?

Well, yes. Except it’s not a return, because we never left. We are what we are. Human ethology exists, and is a subset of primate ethology. We are 60 million years of evolution as primates.

What is the basic principle, the fundamental evolutionary force, of a primate? Higher, superior intelligence. How do we get it? Through independent minds then allowing their ideas to compete inside vast cultural system. Only openness, freedom and justice enable this independence. This was all pointed out in Pericles’ famous Funeral Oration. So it’s not like the plutocratic troika of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, never heard of the notion.

Instead, what Pericles celebrated, the glory of the all-thinking Demos, was exactly the opposite of what Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Antipater wanted.

Pericles was on the winning side, the side of Instinctual Ethics.

Monkey studies show that “instinctual ethics” is a fact. (Whatever “instinct” really mean: it could actually be logic masquerading as innate!) To talk about ethics without that fact front and central would be like talking about atoms, while discounting anything that may have been discovered after Lucretius.

Aristotle was the first biologist. He invented categories, now at the forefront of mathematics, where they increasingly replace old fashion algebra, by lifting up its essence into richer structures.

The ethical attacks of Socrates against (direct) democracy were always justified. What was not justified was the lack of temperance that made him throw the baby, democracy, with some of the problems it caused.

The intellectual troika from hell was all the more dangerous, that those were master thinkers. Aristotle was the first biologist. He invented categories, now at the forefront of mathematics, where they increasingly replace old fashion algebra, by lifting up its essence into richer structures.

The ethical attacks of Socrates against (direct) democracy were justified. What was not justified was the lack of temperance that made him throw the baby, democracy, with the bath, into the trash.

***

TOLERATING ARISTOTLE’S ETHICS IS TOLERATING PLUTOCRACY:

Their influence is still all too great, and solidly tied to minimizing the phenomenon of plutocracy, and how it influences people. A few hours ago, I met with an engineer, who reigns over a major international airport, a man of many languages and many countries. I fumed against Aristotle, but he told me: ”Yes, but we owe him everything!”

The exact opposite is true. Although the troika from hell made important contributions, it was much more important to have democracy survive and prosper.

Democracy is intelligence. If Athens had survived, and established a second, larger empire, displaced and replaced Rome, civilization could well have got millennia ahead… Although, of course, slavery would have had to be outlawed, be it only because it blocked technological progress (by discouraging and out-competing it).

So let’s sink the ethics of good spirits. Aristotle’s eudemonia. Instead let’s pursue the grim war of freedom against plutocracy, and the hellish superstitions which support it.

Some will smirk that plutocracy is not everything. But that’s like saying metastatic cancer is not everything. By killing the freedom of spirits, plutocracy kills what makes humans human and replaces it with the stupidity of primitive beasts.

History demonstrates this: Greek science, not just philosophy, tragedy (etc.) peaked immediately before Antipater, as Alexander’s executive regent, organized the fascist “Hellenistic” plutocratic dictatorships which ruled until the Roman Republic, a democracy, swept them away.

And peaked science did. In the last year of the Fourth Century BCE, Aristarchus proposed the heliocentric system, Euclid wrote the Elements, Archimedes invented Infinitesimal Calculus, and the Greek number system came very close to the one we use today.

Aristotle classifies democracy, the rule of We The People, as a deviant constitution. Being a crafty polemicist, he gives it a bone by saying in Politics III.11, that the multitude may be better than the virtuous few, sometimes. But that’s in an ocean of praise for aristocracy.

When he died in 322 BC, Aristotle named his student Antipater as executor-in-charge of his will. And what a will: destroy democracy, establish plutocracy. Enough said about Aristotle’s ethics.

Patrice Ayme’

Virtue Ethics Devalued

September 25, 2014

Virtue ethics consists into worshipping abstractly defined virtues: wisdom, prudence, courage, temperance, justice, happiness (Eudaimonia)… I will explain why this is erroneous.

Virtue ethics was founded by Aristotle, who considered slavery to be necessary… (Let me add immediately that Greco-Roman slavery was apparently by far the worst of those suffered by the Middle Earth in the last 5,000 years; only the Muslim habit of impaling slaves who had attempted to flee compares: and look what Islam did with civilization; in other ways the Muslims did not treat their slaves as badly as the Greco-Romans; the fact both civilizations collapsed is no coincidence.)

By approving of slavery Aristotle contradicted several of the eight virtues he claimed to found ethics on. The fact that the founder of virtue ethics could not make virtue ethics work, is telling. Indeed the “virtues” are derivative, not absolute. I have, and will show, this in other essays. Let me offer just a few words here.

It was virtuous for Aristotle to enslave. Yet slavery is unnatural.

It was so unnatural that, arguably, it caused the fall of the Greco-Roman empire (by enabling Senatorial plutocracy, which undermined the Republic). A civilizational collapse is no way to survive.

The Franks, who took control of the West, soon outlawed slavery, thus contradicting Aristotle, and enabling a civilizational system which survives to this day. So debating the nature of ethics is all very practical: it’s about why, when, how, and for whom, or what, to go to war. Look towards the Middle East for practical applications.

Naturalist ethics is much better than abstractly defined “virtues”. If one thinks about deeply, surviving as a species (or group) is the fundamental purpose of moral behavior. Ethics, or “mores” comes from “habitual character”. What’s more “habitual” than what insures the survival of the species. True, wisdom, foresight, prudence, fortitude are necessary to insure survival. But they are consequences.

Some brandish “religion” as something natural ethicists ought to respect. But there is more than 10,000 “religions” known, each of them actually a set of superstitions to enable the rule of some oligarchy (who adores the Hummingbird god of the Aztecs, nowadays?).

“Religion” means to tie (the people) together. A secular set of beliefs can do this very well, as long as it embraces the Republic of Human Rights, and, thus, survival. Indeed, human rights are best to insure long term survival of the species. They define the virtues Aristotle extolled, but could not define properly enough to insure the survival of his civilization (which was soon destroyed by Alexander, Aristotle’s student and friend).

The Republic of Human Rights is the only religion upon which all human beings can agree on, and, thus, the only one to respect, and found ethics on.

To this the editor of Scientia Salon objected (September 25) that:

“This idea that because Aristotle lived in a society that condoned slavery therefore virtue ethics is bullocks keeps rearing its ugly head, but seems to me a total non sequitur. You might as well say that we should throw out Newtonian mechanics because, after all, Newton was also interested in alchemy and the Bible.”

My reply:

I was unaware that I was ambling down a well-trodden road. Thus I can only observe that the notion that virtue ethics was a personal sin of Aristotle, although admittedly ugly, is entirely natural (as a naïve, untutored, independent mind, such as mine, discovers it readily).

Slavery, as practiced in Athens’ silver mines, and, later, Roman ore mines, was the worst. It was quickly lethal. And it did not stop with treating foreigners as less than animals. Aristotle’s student, and others he was familiar with (senior Macedonian general Antipater) enslaved all of Greece, shortly thereafter.

When the mood is to enslave, it does not stop anywhere, short of the brute force of invaders (and that’s exactly what happened).

Greco-Roman slavery was particularly harsh. There were much milder forms of slavery in Babylon, a millennium earlier, and Egypt used no slavery (except for captured enemy armies).

Peter Do Smith claimed that I suffered from “presentism” by condemning slavery. I guess, in the USA, slavery is just yesterday, and condemning it, so today.

But the Germans, at the time, condemned slavery, at least to the industrial scale the Greco-Romans engaged into it. Archeology has confirmed that small German farms did not use slaves.

Resting all of society upon slavery was not cautious: as soon as the Greco-Romans ran out of conquest, they ran out of slaves, and the GDP collapsed (it peaked within a couple of decades from Augustus’ accession to permanent Princeps and censor status). Another problem was the rise of enormous slavery propelled latifundia, giant Senatorial farms which put most Romans out of employment, and fed plutocracy.

Newton’s researches in… shall we call it proto-chemistry? Or Biblical considerations, were not viewed by him, or any smart observer, as consequences of his mechanics.

Aristotle’s ethical shortcomings were not restricted to his opinion on slavery, and one can only assume that they were consequences of his general ethics. Whereas Demosthenes was a philosophical, and physical hero, ethically, Aristotle sounds like someone raised at the court of the fascist plutocrats, Philippe and Alexander of Macedonia. As, indeed, happened (his father was physician to the Macedonian crown).

There were consequences to Aristotle’s ethics. Alexander had ethical reasons to annihilate Thebes, and sell surviving women and children into slavery. It’s natural to wonder if he shared them with his teacher. Another example of even heavier import: Aristotle’s enormous influence on Rome’s first moralist, Cicero. Cicero, literally, invented the word “morality” by translating the Greek “ethics”.

Aristotle comforted important Romans, centuries later, into the comfortable mood that ethics was all about feeling virtuous.

When Consul Cicero repressed savagely the Conspiracy of Cataline, without bothering with proper judicial procedure, he felt himself to be the incarnation of the eight virtues.

Cicero’s enormous ethical breach helped demolish the democratic Republic.

At all times, tyrants have proclaimed themselves virtuous. That’s tyranny 101. Proclaiming that, from now on, virtue will dominate ethics, besides being self-evident, and thus empty, is just self-congratulatory. Self-congratulations lay at the evil end of the spectrum of the examined life.

Instead, as Demosthenes pointed out, ethics ought to rest on survival. If the aim was survival, the non-conflictual, disunited approach to Aristotle’s bankrollers (Philippe and Alexander) was suicide.

Greece recovered freedom 23 centuries later. Thanks to the European Union.

Patrice Ayme’


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