Archive for August, 2010

Teleprompter Plutocracy

August 29, 2010

 

ASK NOT WHO READS THE TELEPROMPTER, ASK WHOM HE IS READING FOR.

***

Tele = Greek for "At A Distance". Prompt comes from the Latin "promere", which means to bring forth. So when a politician uses a teleprompter, the question is: who is bringing forth that politician from afar? Answer therein.

***

Here is the president of the USA on TV, announcing the "end" of the Iraq war. Whatever. Obama has announced many things before, and delivered the opposite, while calling it still something else (it’s no more operation "Iraqi Freedom", but operation "New Dawn"). The top US general in the Middle East (who looks like a villain in an horror movie, with the appropriate verbal delivery) already declared the USA would use force if things got out of control again. Meaning USA control, of course.

Of course Obama needs to read a teleprompter about the end of the Iraq war, because, otherwise, he would not know what to say. He called the Iraq war a "dumb war" in 2002. But the plan he is presiding over is to enjoy indefinitively the fruits, or rather the oil, of that dumb war with 50,000 soldiers and thousands of mercenaries. How clever is that?

But forget about Iraq. What is interesting is the presidential verbal delivery: big exorbited eyes reading the teleprompter, a machine sitting above the camera, with an haphazard gluing of invented emotions, while a hand delivers the J F Kennedy routine of waving, an index and thumb together for calm precision. A magical trick.

Certainly, if a lawyer came in front of a judge, and read from a teleprompter, that would not be tolerated. What is the difference between teleprompter reading and reading from notes? Well, when one reads from notes, there are basically two behavioral strategies: that of the old Stalinists, and that of readers who want their audience to believe that they genuinely believe in one what they read.

The old Stalinists read from a text, for hours. That looked completely canned. Everybody could see they were not genuine. They did not care, because they had the power, and that was their message. Being so obviously disingenuous was part of their oppression scheme. It said: ‘Look at us, we don’t believe in what we say, so we have to read it carefully, because it’s so disingenuous. But we can do so, because you can do nothing about it, and the proof is that we don’t care that we look so disingenuous. So don’t try a thing, you don’t have a chance.’

Indeed, it took 50 years to get rid of most Stalinist regimes.

If one wants, or needs, to read from a text when speaking, because one has a bad memory, while one wants to shows one’s face, eyes and emotions, to demonstrate to one’s audience one’s authenticity, one has to engage in a complicated mental gymnastic between reading a fragment of the notes, and projecting one’s mind, while recalling the corresponding emotions, when one verbalizes that fragment.

One uses the notes to make a memory recall, emotional and logical, each time one looks at a fragment of the notes. One reads a fragment quickly, then, having disengaged from the text, to look up at the audience, one goes back to the set of ideas and emotions connected to that fragment. The point is that part of one’s mind is recycled to some extent, and rises to the surface, at the moment of speaking. The notes act as a spark, the mind is engaged in fabricating the speech that is delivered, fragment by fragment. Spark, re-creation, spark, etc.

IT OUGHT TO BE UNLAWFUL FOR POLITICIANS TO READ FROM A TELEPROMPTER, JUST AS IT IS UNLAWFUL TO USE PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS. Normally intelligent persons do not use a teleprompter when speaking. A teleprompter is a performance enhancing device. Leave aside the fact only well financed politicians can afford them. A teleprompter allows to fake authenticity more than reading from a text. Indeed the politician can be much more of a complete puppet, while faking much more genuiness, when using a teleprompter.

Suppose you want a tall, lanky young man who is brown and looks like a sort of model at a distance. Suppose you find one who is willing to read whatever text you prepare for him, as long as you fork the money over, and offer power on a platter. Suppose you are a plutocrat. You have found your agent of misguidance. You will bring forth (prompt) the telegenic young man to present whatever misinformation you concocted to mislead and misinform the public, you will do it from afar: tele. You are using a "teleprompter" to do so. While filling your own pockets. As a plutocrat, you make war to the people. Nothing better than a Trojan Horse to ride in.

" In war, practice dissimulation, and you will succeed." (SunTzu; circa 500 BCE.)

Now suppose you are a voter, and you listen to the puppet saying whatever you want to hear. You will vote for the puppet, as long as you believe he is genuine. You will vote for the puppet, as long as you believe that the puppet is not a puppet. But it is much more difficult to find that out, when the puppet reads from a teleprompter. You observe his mechanical delivery, and emotional disengagement, and you naturally think: ‘It’s just the teleprompter.’ You would not tolerate such a masquerade from a normal speaker.

Somebody who is reading from a teleprompter is not processing the information. Such a person does not necessarily believe in anything he or she says. It is worse than in acting: at least an actor memorizes her, or his lines, and a good actor weaves them with emotion, just to effect recollection. So the mind of an actor mixes with her, or his discourse. Not so with a teleprompter reading robot.

Seeing Obama reading from his teleprompter that he was announcing the end of the war in Iraq, two things were obvious: he did not believe in anything he said, and he did not care. He was just reading what he had been told to read, that was his job, and he found it boring, and a bit uncomfortable, perhaps because there are limits to the sort of lying a gentleman will do. But it required careful observation to figure all that out, because of the teleprompter.

In any case, removing teleprompters from politicians will make the puppeteering harder. It is as many invisible strings cut off.

Meanwhile, there is little to do about Obama. His stimulus on infrastructure was only 66 billions (paid by July 2010, says the WSJ). Moreover there was no plan, besides helping the banking plutocrats, helping the military-industrial plutocrats, and the health industry plutocrats. Obama has professed his admiration for Reagan, and Reagan, another plutocratic puppet, knew that power trickled from the top (Reagan’s own life was a testimony to this, so it had got to be right: it felt good).

Obama’s strategy of helping the banks is sinking the economy. Trillions of dollars have been sent to the banks. At this point they get money for free, and reinvest it with the government on so called longer maturities to make more money, and call that profits. Toxic mortgages held by banks are sold to nationalized FNMA and Freddie Mac, which swallow them greedily, as ordered. Of course banks do not provide any money for the economy, although that is their FIDUCIARY DUTY, in exchange for the exorbitant privilege they have, and abuse, of creating most of the money of the realm.

Why should they provide money for the economy? The Obama economic team is their friend. Moreover the bank surge has created a fake GDP surge.

So, instead, one talks about side issues, such as China’s debasing of its currency. Changing the Chinese currency by even 100% would not change the problem: China has a plan, the USA does not. Obama’s stimulus on infrastructure (only $66 billion, as I said) was even then not concentrated on the edge of competiveness and efficiency, as it should have been (and is in China, or Germany, or France, and now Britain). Most of the enormous financial effort is in making war in the Middle East, and in allowing the banksters to stay so powerful that it was worth being friends to them.

Indeed, GDP reflects nothing important. Dues to the malignant growth of the financial sector, as that tumor gets enlarged, so does GDP.

Frank Rich denounce in an editorial on the Billionaires Financing The Tea Party. One will recognize in them, the one I used to call on the Tyranosopher web site, "Murderoch" (for his rabid pushing for the Iraq butchery). But there are other, like the immensely rich Koch brothers.

Obama got financed, at great sacrifice, by plenty of small people (including the author and his family). Some small people I know very well gave even more than the Fat Cats on Wall Street. Still Obama listened only to the later. Because the Fat Cats did not just offer money, they offered a future. They offered Obama and his economic team a dream: read the teleprompter, and all your wildest dreams will come true; vacations in 5 star hotels forever!

That was the surprise. Famous democrats in the past, such as LBJ, JFK, and FDR did not behave that way, as if greed were the  ultimate personal good. Instead, great democratic presidents of the past turned against the plutocratic class with a bellow and a vengeance. There were no less than four presidents of the USA in the twentieth century who took on the plutocrats. Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt "welcomed their hatred".

None of these presidents were naïve: three belonged to the plutocratic class itself materially, but they were free from it, spiritually. And Lyndon Johnson had seen it all, had seen the dirt before. Of course those presidents had not been selected as teleprompter reading robots; that particular trait of character did not exist yet. Now it does, and it’s most convenient to the plutocratic masters.

The great strategist Von Clausewitz points out that surprise demoralizes the enemy: “the surprise is, therefore, not only the means to the attainment of numerical superiority; but it is also to be regarded as a substantive principle in itself, on account of its moral effect.(Von Clausewitz’s "On War", "General Strategy".)

Obama has been the surprise the masters needed. Obama has done well for the plutocracy: he has demoralized the left. A deeply undermining job.

When Hitler came to power, his crucial trick was to gather support from the unemployed, the working class, and all those who desperately wanted change, from the bad economy. Behind Hitler were American, and German plutocrats (this is explained here and there on my sites). We have seen that movie before, but people were told it was not what it was. So it’s happening again. The fish rots by the head, so does a country.

Patrice Ayme

Advertisements

TASMANIAN EFFECT.

August 19, 2010

TECHNOLOGIES & SOCIETIES LIVE AND DIE ACCORDING TO THE PRINCIPLES WHICH RULE THEM.

Examples From Tasmania, Greenland, Greece, Europe, Islam, Among Other Times And Places.

And How They Relate.

***

People are born free, but are soon chained within the culture that made them. A man can think of himself as a master, but remains slave to what culture he enslaves other with. Principles are to culture what genes are to life. But they can be changed, forming all the freewill that counts, as cultures live and die by them.

(Thanks for the little help provided by Jean Jacques Rousseau.)

***

Abstract: TASMANIAN & GREENLAND DEGENERACIES, ATHENIAN & EUROPEAN SUPREMACIES, WERE FIRST ABOUT THE MENTAL PRINCIPLES GUIDING THOSE SOCIETIES.

What is culture? What does culture really do? How does culture arise? How does culture relate to technology? What is superstition? Why superstition? How do they relate to collapse and supremacy? Are cultures driven by principles? Are some principles more fundamental than others? And, ultimately, what is the definition of man? A few of the notions broached therein.

What drives a culture? A case in point is Tasmania. Tasmania is the paradigm of what some call the “TASMANIAN EFFECT”. It should be called the TASMANIAN DEVOLUTION (devolution is evolution in reverse). It is a very general effect. The West, as Rome declined, and the area controlled by Islam, as it also declined, have been affected at least by mysterious, somewhat similar degeneracies, and devolutions (in particular in the Late Roman empire, and then Islam, people were killed, on a genocidal scale, for religious reasons, which was a barbarity unimaginable during the heydays of the Roman empire; some Roman technologies, even for procuring food, also completely disappeared for 2,000 years).

It seems that forces of devolution are strong all over the West, and in particular in the USA (many technologies are stagnating, from deliberate political decisions). Devolution when the environment is strongly evolving is no solution, but impending demolition.

The devolution of the Greenland Vikings is blatant. Greenland Vikings were in the most exacting environment. One would have expected them to evolve superbly. Instead, they devolved. Their leaders were professional religious fanatics known as bishops. Naturally enough, the Vikings suffered the apocalypse predicted by Jesus. Unable to think of anything much besides Saint Paul would freeze any mind to death. The Vikings forgot that fishes were edible. Rather curious for a Norwegian colony. Now, of course, advanced, professorial, brainy Obama’s ethical adviser does not eat shrimp either. It is all too natural for hubris to replace intelligence.

A fascinating aspect of Tasmanian culture is that it is about three times longer than the entire history of civilization. Tasmania was colonized at least 34,000 years ago, with, what were at the time, advanced paleolithic technologies. In the last 10,000 years, though, Tasmanian know-how regressed so spectacularly that Tasmania became twice more primitive than the next most primitive society. Worldwide.

One can measure the complexity of a society by looking at the complexity of its tools. For example, some Inuits up north, where the ice used to be thick, invented the toggle harpoon, one of the world’s most complex weapon before the modern age. Toggle harpoons could consist of 33 parts. Viking died from not knowing of it. Inuits thrived, thanks to it.

clip_image002
Various toggle harpoon heads, in different sizes to capture seals (in blowholes!), walruses, whales. Notice the different materials and the hole for the line.

 

The main argument against those who believe that superior numbers are what makes a superior culture is that toggle heads were evolved by extremely small populations, at very low densities. I hold instead that supremacy comes from superior metaprinciples framing culture by harnessing successfully human deep evolutionary nature. [Eskimos, Bering Sea.]

 

American academic Henrich proposed that the Tasmanian devolution occurred from the small population of Tasmania, in combination with its absolute isolation. Thus quantity of a population would bring quality to its culture. Although there is something to the idea, obviously, I will show that numbers, per se, are neither necessary, nor sufficient for cultural supremacy. To believe otherwise is in absolute contradiction with the most basic history of civilization, and an advocacy for termites as cultural leaders.

Henrich’s work justifies a posteriori the essential character of the USA as a society in the last 40 years: enormous immigration, metastatic globalization. The primacy of number over quality justifies the demographic built-up of the USA. Making growth of the population, and growth of the economy, of the money, of the imperium, an absolute good has been a mainstay of the politics of the USA (and also Australia and Canada). The Tasmanian Effect also informs the growth of the European Union as a club and lichen, instead of a culture, and depth (metastatic growth is another prescription of Anglo-Saxon plutocratic elite, this time for the EU).

To believe that the more one is, the more technology one has, the more clever one is, is a sorry excuse for imperialism and plutocratic rule. It also causes indirectly cultural devolution. And I do believe that the plutocratic elite views that devolution as an absolute good (the dumber the folks, the easier to reign over them!)

In particular, American authorities have viewed controlling big numbers more important than controlling cultural quality (the federal support for immigration and the expansion of globalization has been is enormous, that for education, tiny, 1% GDP). Disrespect for cultural quality is deliberate as the increasing respect for superstition demonstrate (“God Bless America!”, “In Dog we Thrust”, etc.; in his first Oval Office discourse, Obama invoked the Abrahamic deity 17 times). Thus the Tasmanian Effect, and how to explain it, may sound academic, but it connects to very practical principles.

Instead of mistaking quantity for quality I defend the CULTURAL SUPREMACY theory. It’s not really something new: the Greeks already believed in it, 28 centuries ago. It may be argued, and I have argued, that they believed in it so much, they believed in it too much. However, we can make cultural supremacy work much better than the Greeks themselves. Instead of just learning Homer like clever parrots, we now have at our disposal an enormous body of knowledge made of true facts, and historical errors, and terrors, of all kinds. Homer has become a detail of history, and it is not even true.

According to cultural supremacy, higher culture and domination come from the superior nature of crucial metaprinciples, and ultraprinciples, and their “well ordering”(which values are superior to others and why). For example “God Is Great” or “Fish and Shrimps Are Abominations” are inferior ultraprinciples to “Freedom” and “Equality”. Because they are not ethologically compatible (as superstition tends to be).

I am perfectly aware that cultural supremacy seem to be rather more along the lines of Sade and Nietzsche, those “evil” philosophers, than along the lines of the heart throbbing conventional interpretation of “multiculturalism“. But appearances can be misleading (and Sade and Nietzsche have been severely anti-understood, the former being a saint, and the later a prophetic accuser of German devolution).

Cultural Supremacy theory may sound arrogant, and it is. However, arrogance does not have only the pejorative connotation associated to it. The major root of the word arrogant is “reg”, the straight line (hence “regal”). Cultural Supremacy goes straight to the core of what being human means. Human beings are quantum nanotechnological supremacy machines. It matters how concepts are connected in our minds. The core of humanism rests, deeper than wisdom, on power, just like on the rest of physics. It matters how power flows. Metaprinciples and ultraprinciples act as sources, and sinks. Choose them well, and culture thrives. Choose them wrong, and it sinks to the point it can be gobbled by a bottom feeder.

Granted, it is difficult to find out what sort of philosophy was guiding Tasmania, 5,000 years ago. So, to explain the otherwise unexplainable, we look somewhere else. Revealingly, recent examples of debilitating philosophies abound. That abundance provides with a ready explanation for devolution. Tasmania brings up the question of how low mankind can go, and why. History and ecology answer both. Lower than Auschwitz, and because of the basest ultraprinciples, is the answer.

Stupidity and superstition are be taught by elites with personal agendas of material selfishness. This is no arcane debate: one of Obama’s advisers is exhibited as the advocate of the sort of primitive superstition that brought down Tasmania, 5,000 years ago. Or brought down Viking Greenland, 600 years ago. In both cases, we have proof. It can only be horrifying to realize that such primitives are now whispering around nukes, and the great leader find them deep (how deep is the great leader?)

Clearly, within 1,000 years, Earth will be uninhabitable if we go on with the present culture promoted by the existing plutocracy to extend its power ever more. The reigning paradigm, claiming to be a way of life, has become the way to death. Why this way of life, and not another? Many cultures and civilizations have degenerated, or collapsed in the past. But this time, it is the entire biosphere, which man has enslaved, which is at risk of eradication. Inquiring minds want to know why devolution is so attractive, surviving minds will have known.

Solace is to be found in the successful defense of the highest principles that the best of the Greeks made against gigantic Persia, and the self-described Europeans did against rabid kleptocracy hiding behind superstition starting in 721 CE at Toulouse (when Islam’s armies suffered their first crushing defeat on land). Solace is to be found in observing progress against those metaprinciples which advocated devolution and regression as religion (the exhibit number one here being Christianity, which helped Rome torpedoed itself).

***

***

TASMANIAN DEGENERACY:

Tasmania used to be part of the Australian continent during the last enormous glaciation, when sea levels were much lower (then the Tasmanian region was 140,000 square kilometers, it is 91,000 square kilometers now). Homo Sapiens of the Australian variety arrived in Tasmania at least 34,000 years ago. Australia itself was colonized by sea voyage. The Tasmania peninsula which became an insula when the ice receded, about 16,000 years ago. Sea level went up about 120 meters.

Something strange happened, many millennia later: for no indisputable reason, Tasmanian technology devolved. It is not as if the Vandals, Huns, Mongols, the Black Plague, Conquistadores, or smallpox came around to destroy Tasmanian society. Nobody, nothing came around. Tasmanians forgot what their ancestors knew.

When Europeans discovered Tasmania, the natives had by far the world’s most primitive technology . Tasmanians had stopped fishing for 3,800 years (although women dived for crustaceans). Tasmanians were not even wearing much clothing anymore (although Australians just 200 kilometers north, in a warmer climate, did). A clue: the Europeans offered fish to the natives, and the natives recoiled in disgust.

We are sure that the Tasmanians dressed warmly in the past, because the wetter part of the island was heavily glaciated up to 16,000 years ago. The Tasmanians also lost bone technology (hooks, harpoons, bone points for sewing). They also had lost Australian technologies such as spear throwers, nets, boomerangs.

Amazingly, the Tasmanians had lost hafted tool technology (it allows to fix a hard head such as a stone or a piece of antler to a wooden object such as a spear, arrow, or ax). Hafting was independently evolved in Europe by Neanderthals (ancestors of the Germans; see *) and Cro Magnon (ancestors of the French, before Muslims conquered France, see below). Amazingly, the Hobbits had hafted technology. Now Tasmanians were Homo Sapiens Sapiens. But the Hobbits, Homo Florensis, the tiny, super clever hominids living on Flores island, with their completely different brains, invented hafting 90,000 years ago. Homo Florensis’ ancestors had been a different species for at least 2 million years.

*[Let me specify explicitly that the French/German mock origin specified above is a misleading, tasteless, not to say racist, joke, meant to relax the atmosphere; just to keep readers awake; however, Cro Magnons, who looked, it seems, like typical tall Scandinavians, evolved in what is now France, when the place was a tundra surrounded by glaciers… They probably had some Neanderthal genes; technological advances made the specific genetic adaptations to cold characteristic of Neanderthals obsolete, that maybe why they “disappeared”.]

***

ARE NUMBERS IS ALL WHAT COUNTS?

Joseph Henrich argues, in an interesting essay, that complex skills will be lost in a society, if the number of individuals gets too small. In particular, if a society is completely isolated, it will devolve below a threshold in the number of its individuals. Henrich derives an equation to demonstrate that. His idea seduced science fiction writer Stross (who concluded that we would need 100 million people to found a Martian colony), or Paul Krugman (who used to have the global agenda of the more, the merrier). Henrich is an ethnologist, young and bright: he got some prize to encourage him and his kind. He is influential.

Henrich’s idea, that societies with too few people will lose their most complex skills is, at first appealing and intuitive. If a family gets too small, its tradition and knowledge will be lost. The European aristocracy and the Rothschilds knew this, and thus they intermarried heavily. So did Pharaohs and Incas. However, it is curious that survival skills such as fishing fishes and putting on clothing in a cool climate would be lost if a population falls below a few thousands. It seems that this cannot be true (as Inuits come to mind, see below).

Moreover, serious mathematicians and physicists, know one thing: one can be deluded by equations. Equations derive consequences, they do not prove assumptions. During the Middle Ages a known objection to the heliocentric theory of planetary motion is that theories of motions of planets circularly around the sun were not as precise as Ptolemy’s silly epicycles. Henrich’s mathematics is full of dubious assumptions about how and why knowledge is transmitted. False assumptions do not make a conclusion true, even if the equation is.

The idea that numbers are what matters most in cultural evolution is in blatant contradiction with ethnology and history. Let alone the theory that the values of a culture matter. The main, obvious objection to Henrich’s work: it is grossly contradicted by experimental data.

Another American scholar, Dwight Read, has already made a detailed refutation of some of the hypotheses laden assumptions allowing Henrich to write his equations (so I do not have to do this: interested readers can read Read readily).

***

TASMANIA DID NOT DEGENERATE BECAUSE OF NUMBERS:

Why it is unlikely that Tasmania’s technological collapse was caused by having not enough people around? First, the technological regression occurred many millennia after Tasmania became an island. Serious Tasmanian devolution incurred after a lapse of time in isolation superior to the entire history of civilization (and that’s more than 10,000 years). Henrich has to explain why, after 13,000 years, or so, of fishing the fishes, Tasmanians decided that fishes were an abomination.

The minimum number of Tasmanians was 4,000 (that’s a bit more than one individual for one kilometer of coast). It is known that some Inuits with very advanced paleolithic technology had populations of only 600. On much larger territories, with much more gigantic coasts, full of immense fjords.

Henrich will have to demonstrate that the Indonesian island of Flores (area: 13,540 square km) had more Homo Florensis than Tasmania (area: 90,758 square km) had Homo Sapiens. Because the Hobbits’ technology was not going down. Flores is equatorial, Tasmania cool temperate maritime, surrounded by seals. Seals were the most important part of Tasmanian diet.

Henrich claims that the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, similar in many ways to Tasmanians, did not similarly degenerate in their technological knowledge, because the Fuegans still communicated with people on the continent. He uses a similar argument for the Inuits. However, Henrich admits that some Pacific islanders in the northern Vanuatu lost their ship making skills. Although northern Vanuatuans were not as isolated as Inuits (and construction materials were readily available).

***

WHY DID TASMANIA FALL OFF THE WORLD? WEIRD ULTRAPRINCIPLES.

If Tasmania did not devolve because of low numbers, what happened? Did Tasmania devolve for the same reason as the Umayyad Caliphate in Spain devolve? It would be enlightening to find a common cause of devolution, between a paleolithic culture and one of the world’s most sophisticated civilizations (for its time), the object of bin Laden’s uncomprehending admiration.

When the Europeans arrived in Tasmania, they found seas teeming with fishes, perhaps the highest density in the world of those maritime creatures. Europeans offered fishes to the Tasmanians, but the Tasmanian, disgusted by fish, and refused to eat it. Disgust for fishes is certainly not in Henrich’s equation. Either as an assumption, or as a conclusion.

Disgust for fishes seems to be more a religious superstition, what I call an ultraprinciple, a basic element of Tasmanian culture: “fish an abomination, avoid it“.

The so-called “Bible” (“the Book“, as if there was just one, as if there had been just one “holocaust”) has exactly a similar interdiction about crustaceans. The Tasmanians, not having read the bible in a timely manner, ate those.

Crustaceans are depicted in the bible as an “abomination” of some sort (there are other “abominations“, such as homosexuality, a subject those who wrote the bible were apparently familiar, or obsessed, with). The call against “abominations” was even wider than that: all sea foods which do not have fins or scales were abominations. I guess eating algae was out.

***

FISHY MINDS GO STARVING:

The history of Greenland is sparsely documented (many crucial manuscripts have been lost). The Norwegian Vikings established colonies there before 1,000 CE (during a warm episode). For centuries, those colonies were thriving. The Viking colonies faced war with the invading Inuits (who had just eliminated other natives, up north, the Dorset culture). Soon some of the survivors went starving after the climate cooled seriously, starting in 1300 CE.

Ultimately Viking cattle and sheep could not survive. Finally many Vikings probably left (at least so did they retreat from Newfoundland, where the evacuation was orderly, down to the last nail). Nevertheless many starved to death in Greenland (forensics have shown, studying the insects which ate the corpses). Consecutive to the Little Ice Age, plague, war. conquest, there was lost and confusion in Europe The fate of Greenland became a mystery for 3 centuries. Some Europeans assumed that the Vikings had somehow transmutated into Inuits!

Weirdly, as the Vikings went starving inside their farms, the rivers and lakes of Greenland were teeming with fish, all around, and seals were abundant. The dangerous Inuits who had appeared from the north, fished the fishes, ate the seals, maneuvered their kayaks astoundingly, and destroyed the Western Viking settlement. Still, as generations went by, the Viking adopted not one technology from the Inuits.

The Greenland Vikings, who were Europeans in good standing, with full contact and trade with Europe, and even Rome, the Vikings, who brought timber from North America, those literate Greenland Vikings, with its leaders who enjoyed reading the bible, proved itself more stupid than the Tasmanians, because they could not adapt to the cooling climate, even when it meant as little as going fishing, something all normal Europeans did, especially in Norway.

Why did the Greenland Viking refuse to eat fish? Viking to the east, in Iceland and other northern archipelagos, all the way to Norway, ate plenty of fish.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the fortune of Norway came from freeze dried cod exported to the rest of Europe to the south (places like the Lofoten islands specialized in it). However the Greenland Vikings behaved as if fishes were abominations. How did that come to be? It was not a superstition due to some religious stupidity: the Vikings were catholic, had bishops and at least one cathedral, and were so observant they had their own inquisition style horrors. The bible is even partial to fishes.

The repugnance of Vikings for fishes and sea mammals was definitively a strong cultural bias, but it did not originate directly from the Christian superstition (which is however responsible by rigidifying the minds of Greenlanders). Avoiding fish was a cultural bias unique to Greenland, a principle specific to Greenland, because all the rest of Europe ate fish. Religiously (on Fridays). Something really strange happened in Greenland, even stranger than what happened in Tasmania, and probably even more instructive.

***

THE HIGHEST PRINCIPLES GUIDING GREENLAND CHANGED:

One has to visualize the principles under which the Greenland colony was founded to understand why it collapsed. The Greenland colony had been created under what turned out to be an UNSUSTAINABLE hypothesis: GREEN land. Greenland was founded by Eric the Red. Eric was a bloody murderer, thus, “red”. Eric had all the recognizable features of the most ferocious conquistador. Calling Greenland green was a good marketing ploy. The North Atlantic was in full warming as Eric showed up. Farmers were invited in, with cattle and sheep. Greenland had been pretty much ravaged by glaciers for a few million years, leaving little soil: irreversible deforestation and soil erosion resulted (as in Iceland, but even worse).

Then Green-land, not that green anymore, morphed into still another society under four working assumptions: trees from North America, money from walruses’ ivory (thanks to the Islamist blockade of Europe, walrus ivory was profitable), rich trade from Europe, and overall, the Christian religion, and its pernicious influence. All this came crashing down as the climates changed for the worst. For about a century, people have tried to plant again trees in Greenland, and there were just four of them, or so, and they barely survived. Nowadays, though, the greenhouse is bringing higher temperatures, and suddenly not only are those four trees thriving, but forests of various conifers can be grown (and even harvested).

Christianity, as understood then, meant the Semite Jesus from the desert and his palm fronds, was supposed to have all the answers for arctic Greenland and its blond, blue eyed Vikings. Vikings, like Jesus, clang to lambs and cows. And they clang more, because the church was all over Greenland, including the Western Settlement. That settlement was more north, and had a cathedral with a bishop inside, probably with his thinking cap. All the bishop could do was trust in Jesus. Instead of thinking harpoons and fishes. Archeology has demonstrated that this “Western” Settlement starved to death (after losing many to the Inuits).

The money from the walrus ivory sales was used, in turn, to import a lot of important things from Europe. Such as wine. But not hooks. The raison dêtre of the Greenland colony had become that trade. At least, the elite giving the orders saw it that way. No doubt common Vikings born in Greenland saw it differently, but they were not giving the orders, not anymore than the average American would be obeyed if he told Goldman Sachs what to do, and if she required the industrial-military complex to pipe it down, so that common issues for common Americans could be addressed instead of the glory of the imperial plutocracy.

The Greenland Viking colony depended upon long-range relations, both spiritually (Christianism) and materially (wood). It was not fully engaged with the reality of a cooling Greenland, anymore than the present USA is engaged with the reality of a warming and acidifying world.

Obama used the concept of the importance of climate change to help with his selection, but now that he has accomplished his personal mission, he has fallen silent, on the CO2 problem, distracting all instead with the drama of his hot fight in Afghanistan’s sand box. That’s called a change of conversation. No doubt, Greenland fell victim to a lot of changes of conversation (the king of Norway considered Greenland its private monopoly, and forbade direct private trade with it).

***

HIGHER PRINCIPLES DECIDE A CULTURE’S SURVIVAL:

By 1300 CE, the climate that affected the Greenland colony had changed both geophysically and geopolitically. And Jesus’ admirers were in the way.

Negotiations around the Crusades, in which Saladin, the Franco-British kings, and even the Mongols, were involved, led to a lessening of the ivory blockade. So ivory from the northern seas became much less valuable. The elite left the expensive Greenland colony to its own sad fate. It is no coincidence that the same death by disinterest happened, at the same time to the kingdom of Jerusalem. It just cost too much to maintain these outposts. Maybe the same could happen to Israel someday: death by disinterest, when the oil is exhausted or not to be used anymore, and Israel’s role as a bastion of the West is not profitable anymore.

It is true, though, that the dramatic freezing up of the seas around Greenland played the most important role: Greenland got literally cut off, and frozen off. The Inuits would not have appeared without the cooling. (Therein another important lesson: only a fraction of a degree change in temperatures over the North Atlantic can have dramatic effects. This is true both for warming, or cooling.)

The remaining Greenland Vikings’ refusal to fish is more akin to a locally evolved superstition. An irrational habit is roughly equivalent to a superstition. The Tasmanians, no doubt, evolved a similar superstition about fishes. One can imagine what happened for the Greenlanders. Somehow, it had become unbecoming for a Greenlander to fish. Better to import from Europe wine for communion and stained glass for cathedrals.

The Vikings were also spurning many sea mammals (although, the Inuits were eating whatever moved). That was probably caused by deficient Viking technology, though: an incapacity, rather than a superstition. The Inuits used advanced, appropriate technology to hunt sea mammals. To kill cetaceans toggle harpoons with lines connecting to bladders full of air fatigued the whales as they tried to dive; when the whales were exhausted, the Inuits would finished them with lances.

Seals, for millennia, were the most important part of the Tasmanian diet. So Tasmanians were not just avoiding fish, which they had all around as they hunted seals, but they studiously avoided it. Just as the Greenland Vikings were (lakes full of fishes were next to some Viking settlements, but analysis of Viking remains show basically no fish in their diet).

The Viking Greenlanders hunted seals, but not the most abundant species, the Ring Seal. That seal is very hard to catch. It makes several blow holes, hidden by snow cones. It comes to breathe below the cone. It go to another cone if the cone is disturbed.

Ring Seals were hunted by Inuits in winter, using toggle harpoons. The toggle, connected to a line, allowed to let the seal try to swim away, and die, before trying to recover it (by widening the breathing hole). The Vikings never figured out the toggle harpoon technique. It would have been most useful though, as winters got colder and longer, and starvation became ever greater, as millions of ring seals breathed heavily below their snow cones.

***

SO WHY DID VIKING GREENLAND COLLAPSE?

The Vikings would have survived with a few Inuits techniques. Actually when the Danes came back for good to Greenland in 1721, within the maximum cooling of the Little Ice Age, they adopted in a few years several crucial Inuit technologies that the Vikings had never acquired, including kayaks and sleds. Of course the Danes could ask the Inuits to show them, how it was done, at the point of a gun. And the Danes had plenty of steel (which the Vikings were deficient of) to further induce Inuit cooperation. negotiating skills are underestimated: I kill you, if you do not show me how it’s done.

Viking Greenland probably viewed itself as the freest country. When, and if, it became clear to survivors that fishing and hunting seals was the only way to survive, they neither knew enough about how the Inuits did it, nor could they accede to usual European technology anymore (although a lot of it would have been useless in ice choked waters). Instead it looks as if they tried to make their sheep and cattle system work until they had to eat their own hunting dogs (thus forsaking caribou meat) .

The exact mechanism of how and why the Viking colony in Greenland disappeared is a mystery. There were strong extraneous factors. A monopoly of the king of Norway for trading with Greenland (Greenland was forbidden to private boats, which were free to go to Iceland). The black plague of 1349-1350 CE, which killed half of Norway. The forceful unification of Scandinavia under the Danes (who then neglected Norway as the poorest province, hence Greenland even more so). The Inuits also invaded Greenland, replacing (and/or eliminating) the native Dorsets from the northern areas). We know, from historical records, that the Inuits did kill many Vikings, and enslaved some. As the Vikings had to live in close circuit with not enough iron, they were at a technological dead-end.

But the fundamental reason is that the initial technological economy under which Greenland was founded at the top of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) became inappropriate for the Little Ice Age, five centuries later. (Something similar may well happen nowadays, as the planetary economy is not ready for serious warming, acidification, poisoning, methane eruption, and overpricing of past energy sources, among other problems.) When Eric arrived, there were (some) forests and soil. Viking activity, even before the Little Ice Age, destroyed or damaged both.

The North Atlantic, choked by ice, became mostly impassable during the Little Ice Age. If the climate had warmed instead of cooled, Greenland would have become another Norway.

***

LESSONS FROM GREENLAND COLLAPSE:

There are many lessons to be drawn from the Norwegian collapse in Greenland. The first one being that the Viking colony did not maximize the variety of the technologies at its disposal. Technology is not just fun, it’s capital, and insurance. Viking Greenland did not bother to develop a sustainable technological set. Instead, it clang in its highest spirituality to Christian fanaticism (a man was burned at the stake for having used witchcraft for seducing a woman in 1408 CE). This is the point: instead of worrying about sustainability, their hunting dogs on the ground, the fishes in the lakes, the seals in the sea, the Vikings worried about god, the great dog in the sky (one is reminded of Aristophanes’ “The Birds”, about Athenians founding a colony in the sky). Instead of looking at what was going on, on the ground, the Greenlanders worried about what above-stood (super-stitio). Over-standing was preferred to under-standing.

Just as it is unbecoming the American way of life to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions, it was unbecoming Viking Greenland to worry about sustainability if things got worse.

Can we see a modern causative analogy to the frantic avoidance of fish by Tasmanians and Greenlanders alike? The weird Judeo-Islamist prejudices against eating some foods jump to mind. Interestingly, these are ideas which go well together with several contemporary attempted devolutions. One has to remember that people love to hate. Starting by hating fishes is innocuous looking enough an introduction to the world of intolerance.

***

POWER OF INTELLIGENCE VERSUS POWER OF FASCISM:

The core of the concept of civilization is that what matters most is the number and power of superior ideas and elevated emotions. Living in cities (civis) makes that CONCENTRATION OF SUPERIORITY easier. (The Internet being a recent development; cities were the Internet of the past.)

 

The core of the concept of civilization is not that numbers count, but that there is such a thing as mental superiority, and mastering it matters most in nearly all ways. Thus, above some obviously necessary levels, societies don’t regress because they have too few individuals, but because they become too dumb for their own good. Or because something like the Huns, the Muslims, the Mongols or the Tartars has barreled out of the desert (with a due respect, of course, for some relatively superior traits Muslims and Mongols had acquired, mainly from their victims’ prior degeneracies, a very complicated history from Al Andalus to Indonesia and Korea).

One of my master concepts is fascism as an instinct allowing a superior form of war. Arguably, chimpanzees already exhibit it when they get on the war path. They act as one, and are careful to use their numbers, acting as one, to kill aliens. human beings are better at using fascism than chimps are, and civilization is better at it than paleolithic society.

The instinct of fascism has made dictatorship possible and powerful. But not, under the best conditions, as powerful as the mind. It is a tale of two ways to use the city: one can use numbers to make superior fascism, or use numbers to make superior intelligence. The later is more difficult to achieve than the former, because its ways are more complex.

***

EUROPE AS THE ANTI-FASCIST PRINCIPLE:

Europe has known many major philosophers since the Enlightenment. They can be grouped in two categories: those favorable, whether they understood it, or not, to fascism (in the present sense) and/or the paleolithic (Hobbes, Rousseau, Herder, Marx, various French thinkers) and those who believed in progress, against human nature (Locke, Voltaire, Sade, Hugo, Nietzsche, being the most influential).

The later, genuine believers in progress, are of course more cynical. Cynicism has a long and honorable past, and dates at least from the classical age of Greece.

A cynical appraisal of human nature explains why the Athenians and the Franks armed themselves to the hilt, as they saw giant fascist empires blossoming in the distance.

 

Two defensive wars made the West, more than any other adventure: the war of the Greeks resisting Achaemenid Persia (which lasted roughly two centuries, and finished with the complete destruction of the Achaemenids), and the war of the Franks against the invading Muslim Syrian army and the Berber army that had conquered Spain (and wanted to catch Constantinople from behind). That first war in Francia lasted more than a generation: from 721CE (crushing the Muslim army at Toulouse) to 759 CE (recovering Narbonne).

Both the war of Greeks against Achaemenids, and the war of the Franks against the Muslim Abrahamic invaders, were part of a long-winded confrontation between fascism and democracy (or, more exactly, the more fascist side of the political and cultural spectrum, against its more democracy side). The Greeks fought it, the Romans fought it (before becoming even more theological fascist than their Zoroastrian Persian adversaries!), the Franks and their descendant regimes fought it (for 13 centuries, and counting).

The Middle East, because of climate change, survived as a civilization through an increasing amount of fascism. Fascism makes strong: if the leadership has the right ideas, and this is a huge “if”, fascism is best (as Hitler pointed out ad nauseam). Fascism in the Middle East was embodied by the well documented “hydraulic dictatorships“. I did not invent the concept, Braudel had it. Judeo-Christo-Islamism, the Abrahamic religion, is the religious fruit of these conceptual entrails, as it organizes the entire universe as a macho fascist system, with no god but the only one god at its head, and the top guy as its prophet, or “successor” (which is what “caliph” means.) This all the clearer since the Abrahamic religion with its crazed males was preceded by the Great Mother cult, Cybele, with leopards crouching at her feet.

In complete opposition to fascism, as found in the struggling cities of the desertifying Middle East, the West, first with the Cretans, then the Phoenicians and the Greeks, founded a thought system, that of the navy captain and his crew, founded on private initiative, team work consent, and high technology. In other words, PROGRESS DEMOCRACY. Progress democracy went hand in hand with small command units as found throughout Anatolia (not yet desiccated), and Germano-Celtic lands.

Thus the West, understood that way, has been at war with Middle Eastern fascism since Persia started to overrun Anatolia, 26 centuries ago. The fundament of the quarrel is whether progress democracy resting on mental supremacy is better for survival than god given fascist rigidity of mind. Tasmania and Greenland are experimental part of the answer.

***

EUROPE UEBER ALLES:

The Asian Greeks fought Persia, but they lost, and had to submit, and were used quite a bit like Czechoslovakia and France were used by the Nazis, enslaving their industry for military use; the Persian fleet was greatly made of enslaved powers.

The European Greeks then picked the fight with Persia, with extreme ferocity, in the name of the same meta principles which made the West: liberty, equality, fraternity, life, and pursuit of happiness. Nothing about submitting to a deity, to shrimps, or to Lords of Finance and a big army. It would be the same with the Franks, 13 centuries later: after the battle of Poitier (732 CE), the Franks did not bury Muslim corpses. They let them to rot. (OK, there may have been too many, and the Frankish army was to busy extirpating the occupying Arab and Syrian forces out of south-west France.)

There is an amazing similarity between the ferocity of the Greeks and the ferocity of the Franks. The reason is that the Persians and the Muslims were plunderers fighting by greed, whereas Greeks and Franks were fighting for the essence of man, knowing they were at the top of civilization and culture (actually the Franks had got more ambitious, and they called themselves “EUROPEANS”, in honor, precisely, of those Greeks who had fought Persia, who were the original self-described “Europeans”. It is even more interesting than that: in Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician lady of high lineage, who was kidnapped by Zeus. no doubt an allusion to where the Greek alphabet came from.

In any case one can see here that high metaprinciples lead to the highest, strongest emotions. Man is a lion best fed by the raw meat of freedom.

Achaemenid Persia was the archetype multinational plutocratic fascist empire. It was a giant coalition of lords of all origins, all nations, ruled by the metaprinciple of money, enforced by death at the slightest pretext (Hitler’s Reich tended to become similar in its last extremity, as it attracted fascists from all over to fight with him, including French, Norwegians, and Palestinians). The top lords of Persia were immensely wealthy, immensely powerful, and could muster national armies which contributed to the giant Persian coalition.

***

ATHENS, TINY AND SMART, PERSIA, DUMB AND BIG:

Athens was just the opposite of Persia. Athens was a comfortable democracy, with a small gap between the poor and the rich (and even between the poor and the slaves manning the silver mines from which a lot of Athens’ riches came; we know this as slaves were used to man the fleet at some point, something unimaginable later in Rome, Roman slaves with military capability being resentful and dangerous).

Greece versus Persia is the template of the difference between a superior society with superior ideas, and its opposite. Athens embodies the physical superiority of the higher minds over the big numbers.

Athens maintained the highest high technology with a maximum of 80,000 citizens, whereas Persia failed to do it with 80 million subjects (or something of this order: Achaemenid Persia extended from Libya to India, and Central Asia to Ethiopia). Superior technology, superior emotions, superior ideas, and superior mental involvement is why Athens won. Superior everything, but for the numbers. The superior Athenian technology involved not just the construction of hundreds of state of the art triremes, but also a sophisticated financial scheme to accomplish the task (which the national assembly approved, of course).

What motivated Athens do fight to death for liberty, equality, fraternity, the pursuit of life and happiness of free individuals? It was not an easy choice. Persia was relentless, and mobilized armies which were larger than the entire population of Greece. Athens got entirely destroyed by fire. Ultimately, though, Achaemenid Persia got completely destroyed (by Alexander)… but not before fatally weakening Athens (which allowed the genocidal Alexander to seize control). Similarly, the Franks would destroy the Syrian caliphate (by destroying its armies and fleet, until the… Shiite Persians could overthrow them with the Abbasids).

Athens had made a succession of deliberate mental choices, thanks to a few men who persuaded the national assembly to reach spiritually, culturally, technologically, financially and militarily higher by discourses we still have.

Athens became, first, under the poet-philosopher statesman Solon, a land of revolution (Solon pushed for “Equality”, as he organized a reform to break the back of the Athenian plutocracy which existed before him, and which had subjugated Athens). This happened two generations before building the trireme fleet. Athens brandished its superior metaprinciples, the ones refurbished by Solon, and lived accordingly. They were clamored with arrogant, dangerous hubris by Pericles.

Greece was often very anti-plutocratic. Even fascist, racist Sparta resented plutocracy so much, it refused to use anything but iron as currency (that was until Achaemenid Persia offered an envious Sparta so much gold that it was able to build an entire war fleet to destroy Athens with…)

The Athenian metaprinciples are still with us. When the Franks rose to prominence, they added to the best ideas coming from the Greeks and the Romans, metaprinciples which, they claimed, came from their distant ancestors the Trojans. Thus they justified that their equalitarianism and anti-sexism s were in no way inferior to those of the Greeks and Romans.

***

ROME TRIUMPHED BECAUSE OF THE METAPRINCIPLE OF TOLERANCE:

Not all societies are the same. Some are mediocre, some are exceptional. Some are even suicidal: Israeli fanatics under imperial Rome (the well named “Zealots”), the Nazis of Germany, the Assyrians of old. They had all embraced some sort of principle of the elected people at the point of their army.

Mediocre is a society with mediocre feelings and mediocre ideas, guided by mediocre principles, or dangerous principles. Such a society goes down. Israeli soldiers may take an oath where the last fanatics of some sort of Biblical creed suicided their own children (the Masada:“fortress”), but fanaticism, to that extent, for no good reason, but superstition, is a crime. Most Jews actually collaborated during the conflict with Rome. Just like most Gauls did. Or most Germans. Rome’s strength, during the republic, is that it was hiding its greed behind higher principles. Higher than the ones of the places it conquered. As exceptions to that meta strategy appeared, Rome degenerated into plutocracy.

Intolerance is learned. It starts with calling shrimps, fishes, may be pigs “abominations”. Then it goes into more sinister turns. Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”

What is going on here? Well, one learned the metaprinciple of HATING FOR NO GOOD REASON (starting with shrimps). One is then ready for hating with some reason.

During the siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, the legions bombarded the temple with pigs’ heads. Tolerance is also learned. During the heydays of the Roman Imperium, all religions were tolerated (as long as they did not involve human sacrifices). After a few centuries of that, Roman citizenship was offered to all free men (that implied no torture during judicial proceedings). tolerance, just as hatred, is learned. Both are metaprinciples.

***

I RAGE, THEREFORE I THINK. WHAT PUTS ME TO SLEEP, MAKES ME WEAKER:

I have a much more sinister explanation than relying on numbers, to explain devolution. My explanation subtends plenty of devolutions, here, there and everywhere. I can explain Tasmania and Nazism in the same breath. Devolution is all about not being led by the most superior ideas, but the most superior idiots.

My explanation resides purely in intellectual architecture, instead of abused mathematics. Much of the Tasmanian devolution can be traced to the curious abandonment of fishing. And the lack of fishing may have been enough to make the difference between life and death in Greenland. Far from being about forgotten culture, Tasmanian devolution may have been about the learned comfort of laziness. A similar form of laziness in the definition of one’s comfort explained why the Vikings were still obsessing about the Crucified, when the Inuits and starvation were rolling them up.

The weird prejudices and obsession of the Greenland Viking and arrogant dumbness from a superstitious adviser of Obama show how much cultural behavior can overrule basic instincts in humans (cultural behavior is also called “phenotype” by those who want to distinguish it from “genotype”, while correctly pointing out to its equal importance).

People think Auschwitz is strange, unexplainable, but starving with fishes teeming all around, just because Jesus rules, is even stranger, and less explainable.

As long as one has not understood that minds are organized from, and towards, meta and ultra principles. So whatever higher principles one believes in, become what we are, and not just spiritually, but even physically.

***

ULTIMATE METAPRINCIPLE: “LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY”.

Mental supremacy is natural to man. It is the selective advantage of man. For millions of years of drastic co-evolution, it went hand in hand, literally, with technology.

Man, the genus Homo, was always free of all, but physics, so man studied physics (“physis” is nature in Greek). Both Australian natives and Inuits used spear throwers, which allowed to throw a spear further and more powerfully than without. Spear throwers: that’s physics. Experimental physics, true, but there is no physics, but experimental physics (Aztecs had extremely sophisticated dart throwers, using elasticity, and transverse waves, in several ways: even more physics). Inuit throwing arms were overdeveloped.

To use his mind fully, man needs freedom. Physical and mental freedom. Freedom is not just pleasure, it’s power. Man is more powerful when clinging to freedom, the freedom of the mind. One also needs equality, because without equality, there is no freedom, and youth does not grow mentally to the max.

When men called “leaders” want to enslave other men, they have to limit the freedom of their followers and subjects. Dictatorship, fascism, inequality, oligarchy, plutocracy all depend upon rejecting “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”. Be it in the realm of ideas, and the realm of emotions. Thus the men who enslave other men promote any thought system which goes against “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”.

It is no accident that the USA does not have “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” as ultimate metaprinciple, but instead either the vacuous proclamation of “life” as a “right”, or Aristotelian notions such as “the pursuit of happiness”. And then there is the essence of fascism: “E Pluribus Unum”. Or, worse of all: “In Dog We Trust.” This partial absence of the ultimate metaprinciples at psychological helm of the USA explains the ever encroaching invasion of the plutocracy.

If there is one meta-lesson from science, it is that ideas, far from being equally respectable, are not necessarily friendly to each other, nor to mankind. Man is a strange species which loves to destroy itself: somebody, something has got to do it. Hence the human appetite for injurious, and even suicidal, superstitions. Israel is a case in point. Hence also leaders who, like Hitler, fight wars just so that they will lose them, dragging a maximum of unfortunate into hell.

That people would starve and self destroy because they have voices in their heads, learned from their parents, and are in contradiction from the observable world is nothing new. Voices in the head allow to annihilate enemies more readily, thus the aptitude to listen to them is a strong evolutionary advantage… as long as one is smart about it.

Let’s be clear. If all Tasmanians became as stupid about fish and clothing as Dr. Zeke Emanuel, the ethical guru of Obama, is about various innocent behaviors that the bible he goes by insists are “abominations”, it’s no wonder Tasmania devolved. (Therein an important difficulty for Israel, as it lets itself be dominated by superstitious crazies.)

In other words, I propose that Tasmanian devolution was caused by what, from the supremacist point of view, is an erroneous, debilitating philosophy, at the deepest level, even deeper than religion, the ultimate level of metaprinciples.

Now some, like the Crucified, claim that excrements will turn into caviar, and caviar into excrements (the first shall be the last, the last shall be first, etc.). Cute. But in contradiction with evolution, which is a fact. Evolution says that the strong eats the weak, and becomes stronger that way. So the weak is the first to gets to the bottom of the stomach of the strong. As most of the earth’s biomass is now in the service of Homo sapiens, only hypocrites can blurt that it is not so. Billions of Christians and Buddhists devouring billions of tons of rice, wheat and herbs, such is the state of affairs.

Is there anything to keep from the theory that quantity brings quality, and isolation, devolution? Yes. Obviously having more people potentially brings more ideas. But potentiality does not mean reality. There is something to the isolation theory, but it’s not about numbers. It is actually very complicated; isolation generally brings evolution, not devolution (Galapagos finches, and isolated culture tends to become more original)

Absence of fierce challenges, mental and physical, caused Tasmanian devolution. Tasmania may have been too comfortable. Not enough lions, not enough exciting opportunities, not enough evil enemies to worry about. As Nietzsche put it: “What does not kill me, makes me stronger.” Smaller, isolated populations have evolved extremely strong cultures. Homo Floresiensis (“Hobbits”) is a perfect counter-example.

Thus war, under all its forms, may help, when it is just so: too much, as the Maya brutally experienced, and the civilization falls apart and burns. Not enough, and it falls asleep. Erroneous, as in the Assyrian, Achaemenid Persian, Roman, German empires, and countless other empires, and war does not just cause imperial overstretch, but the smothering by political and intellectual fascism. Verily, mental war may prevent the fall into intellectual fascism the related plutocracy.

Tasmania was too cool, for too long. Tasmania was no drama, for too long. Tasmania adapted to the laziness, and some coolness, both mental and physical. It was cut off from the challenges the struggle for survival presented, probably from an arsenal of superstitions (they found fish “disgusting”, although they were around fish all the time). Therein a lesson: too much blah blah, not enough drama, and evolution turns into devolution (all resemblance to the Obama administration is pure and unadulterated).

***

IDEAS ARE LOGICAL, BUT NOT ALL LOGIC IS SUPERIOR:

Are some cultures superior to others? The loud answer of most intellectuals in the twentieth century, many of them French, was a resounding no. It is not reassuring that Rousseau and Herder, who both mightily influenced the logical chains that led to Nazism, had that position too.

The fundamental justification for that position, blindly in love with all cultures, equally respectful of all superstitions, lays with an… emotion. Many French intellectuals had noticed, and condemned the indubitable connection between the self-proclaimed crushing superiority of some ideologies (Occidentalism, Leninism, Nazism, Mussolinism) and various holocausts (Native Americans, Namibians, Jews, Gypsies), wars (WWI and WWII), and insufferable exploitation of various indigenes, worldwide (from Kirgizstan to Patagonia). But it is not because the lion is bad, that one should embrace the buffalo.

It is not also because criminal idiots of the smart type (Mussolini, Hitler, countless more mildly racist leaders in Britain and France) proclaimed some ideologies to be crushingly superior, and they were murderously wrong about what they thought was superior, that no ideology is crushingly superior.

They were actually defeated thanks to the superior ideology of democracy. Hitler made long reasonings to explain why and how dictatorship was superior to democracy. Those reasonings were erroneous, or, otherwise said, inferior, not just to other reasonings, but in violation of reality itself.

Come to think of it, the word “ideology” is a pleonasm: each and any idea is a piece of logic, a connection between unequals (as Nietzsche, a philologist, pointed out). On the largest scale, science itself is a crushingly superior ideology.

***

WHAT’S CULTURE? WHAT’S LEARNING? WHAT IS IMPORTANT?

Human beings have strong learning, and, I believe, even mental supremacy instincts. This being said, thinking is hard, costly in energy terms. When the thinker thinks, the thinker does not, in general, do something more directly profitable and pleasurable in an animal sense. Thus the question of the motivation for thinking, especially abstract thinking is at the core of cultural progress… or maintenance of culture (as the next generation has to make the effort to acquire it).

Advanced societies have created prizes, honors and compensations for abstract thinking, so that the animal will entice the mental. One motivation, and success, behind the Christianism of monasteries (and, later, cathedrals) was precisely to create a space for thinking, protected and rewarded. Thus the great philosophers of the Middle Ages, until Dante, were churchmen (even if they doubled as rock star as Abelard did, or prime minister, as Alcuin did).

In any case, it is impossible to separate reflection and the motivation which animates it. That, in turn, depends upon circumstances, themselves determined by prior actions and motivations. This is true, both in individuals, and in society. Some societies are clever, and want to become more clever, some are stupid, and want to become more stupid. When the president of the USA evokes god and his special relationship with the USA, that is a stupid pressure in American society, for example, because not only is it in contradiction with the secular constitution (no god amendment was passed!), but it also reminds Americans that their fate is not in their hands.

Nietzsche deemed intellectual posturing to be mere surface waves from more basic (often unconscious, and physiological) undercurrents. [This train of thought is generally attributed to Freud, who, like Heidegger, got most of his good ideas and semantics from Nietzsche. In truth, it originated with the Marquis de Sade, 100 years before Nietzsche].

Nietzsche, following Sade, thought that the most genuine communication takes place not from one’s speech, but from one’s actions and lifestyle [Sade in his writings insisted that the leaders of France led a monstrous lifestyle, so he was put in prison from a special king’s “lettre de cachet”].

A culture is not just a set of achievements, but a set of moods and unconscious undercurrents. And the later lead the former. In particular, any superstitious culture, by definition, will not stand in the world as well as a secular country (other things being equal).

***

MODERN DEVOLUTION: DEATH PANELS & THE MIND THAT BRINGS THEM FORTH.

Zeke Emanuel, the “death panel” adviser of Obama (brother to the chief of staff of Obama and of the agent of Mel Gibson) is offended by the concept of “death panels” that has been attributed to him. Zeke was accused of death paneling by me first, and later by Sarah Palin, and other right wing funnies. the good doctor Zeke says that it is a “lie”. But he does not explain what people like me or Palin are lying about in this respect.

Why should he explain himself? Explanations do not come naturally to doctor Zeke. Why? Because he is used not to explain himself at the deepest level. Indeed he does not explain, either, why he refuses to eat shrimps. In both cases, probably a communication from his god, direct. God told him to set-up death panels, and not to call them that way, and God told him not to eat shrimp, and not to explain that either.

In either case, doctor Zeke Emanuel is offensive to those who think reason ought to come before superstition.

This Emanuel, son of Emanuel, of Irgoun fame, brother to Emanuels, is the ethical director of Obama. This tells us who Obama admire ethically: the one who does not eat shrimps, because God told him not to.

You would expect that Obama wants to inspire himself with state of the art thinking. Instead Obama prefers to call ethical someone parroting something found in a book of superstition, 2,500 years old.

Not everything old is about superstition. Certainly not the work of Zoroaster, which is a full millennium older than the Bible.

So Obama admire his anti-shrimp adviser. No wonder we get a fishy mind, exactly what may have made the Tasmanians so primitive. Emanuel’s ethics rests on unreal stuff, stuff standing above the world (which is what superstition means).

I think that clinging to principles from above this world, above reality, is what happened to Tasmania. Tasmania was probably led at some point by enough influential Zeke Emanuels, complete with death panels and refusals to eat that and the other thing, because local God(s) told them not to. (Throughout the Pacific area, and many other places, many taboos were enforced by death sentences; god is not just about Iranian Muslim fundamentalists lapidating women for “infidelity”. Obviously, as in Iran, often the objective of the religious taboo is for the elite to impose the terror of death, and the taboo is just a pretext.)

***

SUPERSTITION AS PROTO SCIENCE

Why do superstitions such as not eating fish, or not eating shrimps, or refusing technology appear? Well, even more basic than the will to know, there is the will to believe.

Superstition is important to man. Indeed , not everything can be demonstrated, but many things have to believed. Explaining science is hard, imposing superstition, easier. This is even more true when the elite guesses truths that the commons cannot possibly understand (some of the elite has time to think, the commons has neither the time nor the inclination).

Thus an instinct for gullibility, straight from so-called “god(s)” has evolved, SUPERSTITIONISM. It’s easier to explain a taboo to island dwellers than establish to their satisfaction the elaborated science of ecological balance.

We need that neologism, superstitionism, because loving superstition is a more important -ism, a more important concept, and instinct than, say, nihilism, anarchism, terrorism, romanticism, sexism, capitalism, communism, socialism, or racism. Human beings cannot function without superstition. Sometimes, they call it other things, such as traditionalism, or even tribalism.

***

FISHY TASMANIAN SUPERSTITION:

Hence I believe that the devolution of Tasmania, especially the abandonment of fishing, was a cultural phenomenon not caused by the sheer number of cultural vectors, but by the nature of the Tasmanian culture, whilst superstitionism ran rampant, and the local Zeke Emanuel/God evoking Obama seized power on that will to devolution. Devolution is always seductive, because it is lazy: the easiest way is down.

Tasmanians could only wear small wallabies furs for clothing, which had to be stitched together (with bone point work). They could not wrap themselves in wolves and bears’ furs (which are more worth the effort!) During the 15,000 years of extremely glacial climate (until 16,000 BCE), the Tasmanians, poorly protected by their wallabies furs, had plenty of time to evolve cold adaptation, more than anyone on earth. So, when the climate warmed up, they could do with less clothing, more than anyone on earth (especially the men; the women, may be less active, wore more clothes).

Thus Henrich’s explanation cannot be the whole story, or even most of it. He forgot that men love to live by, and die for, the weirdest superstitions.

A contemporary example is presented by Israel. For superstitious reason (“Zionism”) it does not hesitate to endanger its survival, by making itself appear heartless, when throwing out Israel born children of the wrong race, bringing the question of the ethical nature of Israel (see note).

This behavior against children ties in to superstitionism, and terrorism; after all Zeke Emanuel’s father was a major Zionist terrorist. Thus we have in evidence an infernal cycle of unjustified food taboos, unjustified mistreatment of children, and the fate of nation, not to say reason. Superstition can be good, but not when it does demonstrably nasty things. After all, the Jewish superstition holds certain truths about holocaust as good and self-evident, and should not have been too surprised when it convinced Adolf Hitler of the same (the start of “Mein Kampf” is straight out of the Bible, except the elected people is German, and the nasties are French and Jews).

***

METAPRINCIPLES DO, AND UNDO, CULTURES & CIVILIZATIONS:

Sometimes metaprinciples are pretty useless. To go around saying “God is great!” or “If God wants It!, Insha’ Allah!” has no direct impact on animal behavior: one has first to define what God is. The Qur’an does this.

It is by accepting several times, very officially, to be guided by unacceptable principles, that the Nazis built up the Nazi state. Unacceptable metaprinciples, incompatible with existing Western civilization, were brandished, and then tolerated, accommodated. Germans learned not to talk of these evil principles too much, because, after all the metaprinciples in question were unacceptable, so it was better to hide it all, and that secrecy in turn made ever more crimes possible.

Everything indicates that the Germans could have degenerated for 1,000 years. However, in the end, Great Britain woke up to smell the horror, and France found finally the ally she needed to declare war to the Nazis, and the nearly 6 year effort to get rid of the Nazi metaprinciples got finally started (no thanks to the USA, though!)

Thus I hold that it is not numbers, but the exact nature of the metaprinciples which guide a society that informs the difference between thriving civilization and despondent devolution.

***

AMERICAN DEVOLUTION AS GOLD MAN SACKS:

Examples of my thesis, that METAPRINCIPLES RULE THE MINDS HENCE ANYTHING WHICH FLOWS FROM THEM abound, and extend all the way to Rome, or even Obama’s USA. No need for fishy math.

Charles V’s motto (metaprinciple) was “Plus Ultra” (“Plus Oultre“, more beyond). When Charles learned that Spanish conquest facilitated a genocide in the Americas, he ordered the conquest stopped. English colonists would, centuries later, finish the conquest, and the genocide.

Look at the bad doctor Zeke Emanuel. When he is finished not eating shrimps, he brandishes his major metaprinciple: COST TRUMPS LIFE. This would be widely viewed as anti-civilizational in Europe, and it has become the “Death Panel” flag on top of Obama’s health plot (perhaps just so to make it easy for the republican Congress to dismantle Obamacare, but I digress).

Why is COST TRUMPS LIFE so anti-civilizational? Because our civilization rests on a few meta principles. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness(Aristotle/USA) and “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” (France). Both metaprinciples establish the sanctity of life as ultimate metaprinciple.

But not so for Zeke. He is rather biblical, avoiding shrimps, cultivating the honor of moneyed life. Shrimps have to be avoided at any cost, but not so other people’s death. People have taken the place of shrimps, and shrimps, the place of people.

What Zeke Emanuel says is that money rules all, ultimately. But, in the present privately appropriated fractional reserve system, money is created by private banks. So, ultimately, Doctor Emanuel evaluates whether the life of a child is worthy enough, according to Goldman Sachs. And if the Gold Man sacks you, you die. Like in the Bible. it’s all very biblical.

***

MULTICULTURALISM WITHOUT MULTIVALUATIONISM IS NEUROLOGY WITHOUT TOPOLOGY:

Some have said that Obama is strangely incoherent; it tends to be for it, before he is against it. Whatever “it” is.

Maybe Obama has an illness that has not been well identified before: multicultural disease (although it was long reproached to the Jews, and although Herder waxed lyrical about it). I have a more extensive multicultural background than B. Obama or J. Diamond, and I have discovered that strong exposure to many cultural systems requires, for neurological coherence, to establish one’s own reordering of all values, or one does not have a mind of one’s own.

 

What Nietzsche recommended in his books is a necessity for the cultural traveler, and patriot to all too many abodes.

The same thing is happening on a worldwide basis: civilization, confused by the interaction of so many cultures, is in danger of losing its mind from a lack of valuations. The mechanism is simple: a culture comes with a valuation system. Two cultures, two valuation systems. But how do the two valuation systems compare?

The ideology of multiculturalism, which claims that all cultures are equivalent, to be respected equivalently, rose after World War Two. (It was a reaction to colonization and the concomitant ravenous exploitation of some third world countries.)

A massive attempt has been made to establish multiculturalism as United Nation law. To its full extent, multiculturalism means, say, that abusing, excising and torturing women is all right and that, say, Idi Amin’s taste for human meat, would be viewed as a matter of cultural difference, and disapproving of it, a form of racism. MULTICULTURALISM IS VIABLE IF AND ONLY IF IT IS ORDERED BY AN OVERALL VALUE SYSTEM. Hitler said that value was given by god and the German people, his one-Germany theory. So Hitler denied Germany was multicultural.

***

CULTURES HAVE TOPOLOGICAL STRUCTURES, AND ARE DEFINED BY ULTRAPRINCIPLES:

A mathematical description is underlying the nature of culture. A culture is a set of ideas, emotions, images, associations, all of them more or less close to each other. And the facts of what is close to what are all important. When a set comes equipped with a set of neighborhoods, this is called a topology. Thus any culture comes equipped with a topological structure.

Now, in mathematics, to be given the set of all neighborhoods, the topology, and the set of all its ultrafilters amount to the same.

The ULTRAPRINCIPLES CORRESPOND TO THE ULTRAFILTERS OF CULTURE VIEWED AS A TOPOLOGY. No ultraprinciples, no ultrafilters, no notion of friend, foe, or even of what is close, or far. (This is a case where modern mathematics helps neurophilosophy a lot.)

This brings the question of whether what I have called often in the past “metaprinciples” ought to be rather called ultraprinciples, to fit the mathematical semantics better. That in turn leads to wonder if general ethologically given mechanisms such as fairness, or the “pursuit of happiness” should not been viewed as the real metaprinciples. A METAPRINCIPLE, SUCH AS FAIRNESS, IS ETHOLOGICALLY GIVEN. Ultraprinciples do not have to be metaprinciples, but when they are closely related to them, they are the strongest principles there are. Liberty, equality, fraternity are both ultraprinciples, and metaprinciples; Capuchin monkeys understand them, the United Nations can defend them. Metaprinciples form their own topology, and the topology of purely cultural ultraprinciples is more or less successfully grafted onto it.

“God willing”, or “in god we trust” are ultraprinciples. But they are not metaprinciples, and are not even close to metaprinciples. Although they are used as such, and therein the error and the terror (see below). The reason is that to be understood, such superstitious slogans require the preliminary reading of sacred book first, which define a bit what is meant by “god”.

Another obvious observation is that, just as not all topologies are equivalent, nor are all cultures. Cultures can be topologically inequivalent.

***

A DIAMOND LOST IN THE ROUGH OF MULTICULTURALISM FOUND SALVATION IN VALUATION:

A blatant advocacy of multiculturalism is found in Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs, and Steel”. According to Diamond, in that book, all the superiority of Europe in particular and Eurasia in general, is all about the plants and beasts there. Diamond says that the plethora of “cargo” in the West is not about culture.

It is as if Diamond did not know how to associate the word culture, but to something pejorative. Never mind that, arguably similar plants and beasts existed in the Americas, or in Africa. Or even Australia. It is not exactly a coincidence that the boar became the pig in Eurasia, and the Aurochs, cattle, or that Indians domesticated mighty Indian elephants, whereas Africans did not. But Diamond makes long lists of supposedly untamable animals in the Americas.

However there is little doubt that the Euro-Africans had a biological advantage in that they resisted to more diseases, because the Euro-Africo-Asiatico-Pacific area is pretty much one biological block in its temperate-subtropical area, thus Euro-Africans had more immunological capability. But the argument does not hold with New Guinea. What actually happened is that all sorts of interbreeding of multicultures throughout Eurasia resulted in a superior culture, known as Western culture, which, naturally enough, appeared roughly in the center of the world, the Med-Terra.

Diamond was in error when he viewed culture only in a negative light. And so were many in the West. A multicultural event, 9/11, led many, worldwide, to question the supine acceptance for others’ quirks. Indeed, Diamond’s next book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed concluded with marked suspicion that some cultural forms invite collapse. Towards the end of “Collapse” Diamond points at aloof, physically separated oligarchies as the most prominent cause of the demise of imploding societies .

The fact is, all cultures which have ever existed have collapsed, or are twitching in their death throes, except one. we are witnessing the success of many parts of Western European culture, worldwide. Some societies, though, such as Russia and China, have not established sustainable Western European models yet… And the USA is clearly stepping back towards the abyss (with Obama looking the other way, he claims).

Many cultures have imploded. Rome and the Mayas are the most famous examples of internal collapse. Many other societies came close to collapse, and then got nudged by invaders. That part of the theory exposed here is not only not new, but was used as a pretext for holocausts (the Mongols, after mass murdering all of Bagdad, decapitating the Muslim caliphate, and most of its culture, had the impudence to accuse the Muslims of degeneracy.

***

KILLING FOR ULTRAPRINCIPLES IS ROUTINE:

Human beings often kill when their ultraprinciples differ. (OK, it’s the nature of man to always find something t kill about.) This is not surprising, be it only because ultraprinciples correspond to mental organization, and it costs a lot, if it is at all possible, to reorganize one’s mind. Here is an example.

Fundamentalist Islam does not maintain the highest ultraprinciples, since they can only be understood by learning a superstition first (same problem with the dying religion known as Christianity). The ultraprinciples of Islam depends upon the definition of its god’s psychology, which is described in the Qur’an. Islam is not ethological. It is even worse than that: Islam is anti-ethological, since it does not treat all human beings equally (only so-called “believers”, a poorly defined sub-category, are treated equally). Hence Islam, like predatory finance, had to enforce its ultraprinciples by terror.

When the Sharia was imposed on Iberia, pointing out alleged errors of Islam, criticizing Muhammad, or just depicting Him (PBUH!) was a capital crime. We know about the deadly repression in Cordoba between 850 CE and 859 CE, because Eulogius wrote about it, and one, just one, of his texts directly survived (while visiting French provided corroborating evidence; one of the executed was a 13 year old Christian boy from Albi, a French Christian, who had been captured and who then refused the Emir’s sexual advances, thus contradicting Muhammad: S 33, v 50). One of the Emir’s advisers addressed Eulogius:

“If stupid and idiotic individuals have been carried away to such lamentable ruin, what is it that compels you, who are outstanding in wisdom and illustrious in manner of life, to commit yourself to this deadly ruin, suppressing the natural love of life? Hear me, I beseech you, I beg you, lest you fall headlong to destruction. Say something in this the hour of your need, so that afterward you may be able to practice your faith. We promise that we will not bother you again anywhere.”

But Eulogius clang to his principles. He kept on extolling the virtues of Christianity. On March 11, 859, he was decapitated (after that all documents were destroyed, so we don’t know what happened next).

Between 850 and 859 CE, Christian believers in Cordoba, some men, some women, some virgins, some boys, were decapitated, scourged to death, or thrown alive into molten lead. Why so many horrible deaths? Because Christians found the Quranic ultraprinciples unbearable (to have sex with prisoners is one of the commands of the Qur’an, as I already hinted: Sura 33, verse 50).

Symmetrically, the Muslim rulers had to impose the terror of their ways, if they wanted to keep on ruling. So insufferable Muslim ultraprinciples were brandished, such as having sex with children (Qur’an: Sura 65, verse 4), precisely to injure the spirit of liberty and fairness (and crush its associated metaprinciples).

There was a lasting cultural impact of the horrible martyrdom of too many innocent Christians, though, because the Muslim rulers of Iberia had to compose with the Christians and their bishops in the next two centuries to alleviate the horror. Full blown war with the Christian kingdoms to the north resumed after that, and the Muslims asked desert savages from way south to come help them. At that point it was all over for Al Andalus, because, after two centuries of Almoravid and Almohad terror, the Christian counterattack was terrible (Granada got a reprieve because of the Black Death).

Not to say that Al Andalus was not the most advanced civilization, for a few centuries. It was. Because, but also in spite of Islam. (The Umayyads in Spain were also in close contact, in close war, with Abbasids who controlled the rest of Islam, and similarly with the Franks and their march states to the north.) The richness of the ultraprinciples guiding Al Andalus was unequalled as the Muslim rulers often used crucially the Christians to rule, and fight each other (that equilibrium collapsed when the Almoravids were called in).

***

Conclusion: THERE IS NO CULTURE, BUT SUPREMACY, AND TRUTH IS ITS PROPHET:

Many have tried to qualify the genus Homo. Bergson coined the concept of “Homo Faber”. Bergson’s idea was man was characterized by tool (“faber”) usage, or tool making. We know now that the some birds actually make tools, and fly around with them. Chimpanzees not only crush nuts on well-defined rocks, they make fishing rods for termites, and also spears to kill bushbabies.

Chimpanzee culture vary enormously from place to place. Far from being a pacific meditative primate, chimpanzees enjoy hunting. Some groups have been observed eating mostly meat. Exchanging meat for sex is routine among chimpanzees.

Culture is also massively present in our more distant relative, the Orangutan. In general brainy animals seem to learn by leaning on phenotype heavily (phenotype being the fancy word to express the fact that genotype without phenotype is like a button without anything to push it).

Some have claimed that love (as found in Christianity, the modestly self described religion of love) is uniquely human, but that’s obviously erroneous. Even a sense of fairness, and the associated indignation when it is not respected, is found in small monkeys.

So the real situation is not that we have culture, and elevated passions, whereas animals don’t. It is not that we make tools, and they don’t. The difference between humans and the rest of the animal realm is that culture is our tool, and we make it as we think we need it, or, absent need, as we fancy it.

Free will, the free will to make the world as we see fit, whether it fits or not, is uniquely human. Our main instrument is the fabrication of ultraprinciples that organize our value system, and sheperd our metaaprinciples. Judeo-Christo-Islamists call them “commandments“. Ultraprinciples give stable topologies only when they translate, depict, or are compatible with ethological metaprinciples. Even a lion, a wolf, a bear, or a goat understands “liberty”, whereas they would find more difficult to crouch down to pray five times a day, or go all around the world to turn around an old meteorite in a box.

“Liberty” is an ultraprinciple, so is submission. But the former is natural, ethological, the later is not.

Verily what characterize humans is the ability to force culture into the weirdest forms, on the most exotic soils, by planting the most bizarre metaprinciples wherever. Actually one of the world’ most successful culture was entirely founded on the anti-ethological will to submission (Islam comes from aslama “he resigned, he surrendered, he submitted”… the exact opposite cultural framework of Eric The Red). Actually Islam worked well when submission was used to submit others, from more advanced cultures. When it came to form a culture of submissives, it did not work. So Islamic cultures have been oscillating between submitting and submissiveness, invasion and prosternation, not to say prostration.

Some will say that it seems clear that Tasmanians and Greenland Vikings were too insulated, and the absence of challenges made them take it easy, until the whip came down. Sure. But that forceful devolution was principle driven (no fish!). Similarly, the great unhappiness that the Jewish Zealots caused was also principle driven (most Jews thought they were crazy and criminal). The Nazis were also ultraprinciples driven (“ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuerer”). A lot of contemporary USA’ weirdness is driven by the principle of American exceptionalism (dear to right wing fanatics, such as Rush Limbaugh, and, thus, the president of the USA, I observe).

Fighting insularity and prostration is precisely why Nietzsche was so endeared with war, and mountain climbing: “what does not kill me, makes me stronger”. Or rather, why Nietzsche observed that war was the moving force of higher pursuits.r However, there are fine lines everywhere between good and bad wars, whilst climbing tends to kill, lest one is very careful, and lucky.

 

Some will ask: why are degenerative or suicidal metaprinciples so popular among so many cultures? Why does man have such a strange inclination? Because humans have a degenerative, and self destructive streak, this is how the species keeps in balance with earth’s biosphere. Humans do not achieve that mission of human self destruction through the Will to Power alone. It can be boring to submit submissives. But if the submissives become really outrageous, one is more motivated to go destroy them.

That is the price of the reign of man; not just predatory and self deprecating, but so self destructive that even devolution can sound like a worthy objective. (And what may look like devolution may actually sometimes be the invention of new, valid forms, as most of the history of arts shows. The line between devolution and evolution is not always clear. The Tasmanians became cold resistant, and, conversely, the cold adaptations of Neanderthals may have become overkill as they evolved new technology, and lighter forms could reproduce more; some even say the human brain has been shrinking over the last 20,000 years, which would correspond to the rise of advanced paleolithic technology, the kind the Tasmanians rejected.)

 

So the appropriate ultraprinciples are launched as a new axiomatics, just to satisfy the self destructive streak: don’t eat fish, impose senseless taboos, just because you can, call yourself the elected people, impose that only those who submit will be treated well, pretend that global warming is a hoax, claim that only plutocrats can create riches.

And then watch the massacre. Devolving ultraprinciples: one more trick to keep the numbers of humans low. Oligarchies are naturally favorable to them, because they make their subjects more stupid, emotionally and logically. It’s the entire idea of submitting to what is inferior. Inferior ideas and superior oligarchies go hand in hand, because the later reign from inferiority imposed (Jean Jacques Rousseau observed this already, it seems).

It is not the low numbers that make the low culture, but the other way around. The low culture fabricate the low numbers, because it brings mayhem, and, or, powerlessness: in either case, ecological balance is to be served by massacring a lot of humans, or diminishing a lot of opportunity. That is the truth, and another name for it is hell.

***

Patrice Ayme.

***

(more…)

Crazies In A White House

August 11, 2010

Abstract: The modestly intelligent Gibbs has declared that people like me are from the professional left…and are crazies that ought to be tested for drugs. A friend sent me a long letter related to this, in a more cogent style. I reply point by point. Not for those that the present sinking state of American politics bores to death.

***

I have long hesitated, and balanced between the personal and the truth in these matters… I started to complain loudly about the advisers which were selected for Obama, as soon as Nov 5, 2008. A friend accuses me of undermining the ship of state:

" Gibbs’ remarks (see below) sound pretty sarcastic, but they contain some truths as well and demonstrate clearly the White House’s frustrations with its critics on the left, of which you are one whether you are willing to admit it or not.  Your ideas are not middle-of-the-road, neither are they from the right.  I don’t hold it against you as long as you do not deny which side of the political spectrum you are writing for.  As for agreeing with Glenn Beck, make me laugh.  You envy his audience, but I’m not sure your views have much in common with his.  Maybe you’d like to explain this further because I don’t listen to talk radio personalities who make millions by pandering to people’s worst instincts."

Well, here is my answer:

1) I am not from the political spectrum, but from the philosophical one. Now, according to me, politics is practical philosophy, true. But my philosophy is one of truth, power, and expected consequences. In France, Sarkozy has been pretty much capable of capturing the entire political spectrum (he is disliked nevertheless, perhaps precisely for that reason). Many around Sarkozy have been making the point that many of the old categories do not apply. For example, I am anti-plutocratic, but not anti-capitalist. I do believe small people ought to pay zero percent on capital gains, or inheritance tax.

2) philosophers are not middle of the road, except to stop the train. That is why countless philosophers were assassinated.

3) I do agree occasionally with Glenn Beck. For example he recently pointed out that US president Wilson was a racist (Teddy Roosevelt too). I have long argued that Wilson’s racism was the tipping point in the German attack on France in August 1914. Nobody else has been making that argument, or even has dared to relate Wilson’s exuberant racism… Until Glenn Beck on the later point. Beck has pounded on Wilson’s racism. I don’t know whether Beck and me were made for each other, or he just read my site(s). And it is irrelevant, whether it’s one, or the other. Just, when Beck starts to talk about god, being the devil, I become incandescent, and switch channels.

4) I am not adopting truths because I am in love with whom proffers them. I am not 4 months old. Nor do I hate truths from people I hate. I have learned to separate truth and emotion. A truth can be sad, but it’s still the truth. When Palin says that Obama is in above his head, it’s the truth, and it is sad, but it is obviously the truth. This is an example of a recent Obama couple of sentences: " Say, well, you know, I don’t know, I wish we had gotten that public option. Well, that’s great, but we got 31 million people health insurance."

Does he know, or does he not know? “you know, I don’t know”??? Apparently, neither. And he did not get 31 million people health insurance: he got to order 31 million people to pay for private health insurance, by 2014, who cannot pay for it in 2010. I am sure the republican Congress will love it, and will not know how to change what pie in the sky O Bambi got for them in 2014.

5) I do not envy Glenn Beck’s audience, be it simply out of self preservation. My god of truth and human power is very far removed from their god of Abraham (the child molester, to put it mildly, since Abraham’s god is ready to kill his son, because of voices in his head). The god of Abraham of the self proclaimed ex drug addict Beck. It is the same god of the self proclaimed (ex?) drug addict in chief. It’s also the god of bin Laden, and I despise Judeo-Christianism and Muslim Fundamentalist Literalism in their fanatical variants (although I love beautiful churches and mosques, and have visited quite a few… even the most beautiful, in Iran).

6) To finish with Beck, if he, or his staff, reads good stuff, I am not going to condemn him for that. Well after me, but ahead of the rest of the media, ahead of Jon Steward and Steven Colbert, or the "left", Beck demonstrated many of the amazing, quasi hilarious connections between White House and Goldman Sachs House.

7) Worst instincts are bad, but worst lies are worse.

8] Paul Krugman thinks, correctly I think, that bad or mediocre actors such as Gibbs, Emanuel, and company, are talking for themselves. As Krugman puts it:

"Think about it. Complaints that the administration should have pursued a bigger stimulus, or fought harder for the public option, or taken a different position on Afghanistan aren’t going to matter in the midterms. But they might hurt White House aides who argued against a bigger stimulus (to the point of not even passing the option on to the president), or argued against a harder push on health reform, or have argued that continuation of Bush foreign policy is a political winner. The point is that the president might actually take those criticisms to heart, and rethink who he listens to."

Talking to corrupt idiots produces indeed nothing to write history books about. In the fullness of time, the idiocy of Obama’s policies, often strict continuation of Bush policies, in a "black" package, will be incomprehensible in their mediocrity. Even Bush, in the end, knew that many were wrong.

***

My friend persists: is not expediency better than the truth?

He says: "You are doing your best to put the Obama administration’s shortcomings under a spotlight, but consider how short his time in the White House is going to be when he decides to resign because he no longer has a constituency and gives in to the temptation to let partisan politics reign again like they did under Bush.  Obama is already fast losing middle class voters because of very high unemployment.  If you win the argument you will then have a pyrrhic victory.  What kind of President are you going to get then instead of Obama?  Somebody worse, maybe someone more opaque but not better I suspect.  Probably somebody more to the middle or the right, which will make your ideas even more unlikely to gain a larger following though I agree you have some good ideas."

The answer to this is simple:

1) Obama was supposed to be an excellent plane to carry us towards a better future. Instead, he is crashing, from deliberate, repeated and persistent pilot errors. I saw it come. I explain how and why he will crash, should he persist on his present, flaming wreckage course. Now he is going down in flames. I am doing forensics, point by point.

Many Germans had the best hopes for Hitler, having listened to what Hitler said. But, shortly after he came to power Hitler engaged in a number of unsavory policies, and many Germans regretted their choice. They tried to invert, but it could not be done legally. So they did nothing on a large scale until July 1944, when a large part of the army rebelled. People will find the comparison unreal, but the USA is literally held by the throat by its plutocracy, which buys elections handily.

2) I sincerely doubt that Sarah Palin could do worse than Obama. Obama is clearly following scripts not written by him (he repeats the same exact points, themes and sentences: the four sentences quoted by Obama in this essay have been used before; they look spontaneous, they are not; I can compare with some prominent European leaders, who are not scripted… nor do they read their text, as Reagan did, and Obama does.) What would Palin do which would be worse? If president Palin had sent 3 times more soldiers in Afghanistan, and trillions to banks, she would be in serious trouble.

3) Partisan politics are already reigning. The democrats have been in power for 4 years (presidency for 2 years, but the presidency is weak in the USA, unlike say, France). And what did they do? The plutocrats pay as little taxes as ever, and they can spend more money than ever for their servants to win elections.

***

My friend persists: "So while I endorse your efforts I encourage you to be more honest with yourself about the political culture of the U.S.  The left has been repeatedly "run over by a truck" during the last 3 decades as you recognize happened as well under Clinton.  You describe Clinton as having been no friend to the middle class and in some ways this is true.  But judging him by the performance of the stock market (what Wall St. likes to do) and the economy he didn’t do badly despite his many shortcomings.  And middle class American households have not insignificant investments in stocks and bonds.  Not significant compared to the richest 1%, but significant nonetheless.  Now they’re scared because of the effects and still vivid memory of the finance crisis and they’re saving more and using credit cards less.  But the left by itself cannot get a President elected in the U.S. because it can’t agree on anything."

Socrates balanced between obeying Athens and repudiating Athens. Aristotle just fled Athens when Athens became aggressive towards him, ironically claiming to want to spare the noble city another crime against philosophy.

I am very honest relative to the political culture of the USA: it stinks. 80% of people, or so, find that money in politics is OK. They have learned nothing. Most other countries, with the exception of Burma and North Korea, are cracking down on money in politics. And I view Obama as a traitor. At least to his own discourse, which was similar to my discourse, when he was campaigning.

Soon, as this assessment spreads worldwide, Obama will see his notoriety joining that of Bush, and he will get as effective. After all, progress will be worldwide, or will not be. The USA has proven an enemy of progress for the better, even under Obama, so the regressive policies have to be rendered ineffective. This blog is in English, mostly a variant of French read worldwide (except in France, a question of pride and laziness).

Obama talked the talk, but, when he came to walking, he walked the other way. At this point, as the situation gets worse, I wonder if even Bush would have been that perseverant in ever greater errors. After all, Bush reverted some his policies, whereas Obama just extended all those he found (except some with his tongue, which goes the other way occasionally, to try to distinguish him from Bush).

It is amazing: we had nearly 4 years of senate and Congress control by democrats, and what did they do exactly? If the republicans come back to power, they will be much faster at dismantling than the democrats have been at constructing. And it is not that it was so hard to tax the hyper rich. It is simply that democrats did not want to. Take hedge fund managers and private equity taxed at 15%. Obama and his Congress could pass a law in ten minutes, applying normal taxation, above, say, a million dollars of income. They did not do it, they still do not do it. Why? Because they are no different from Bush. Simplest logical explanation. They feed at the same trough. Don’t forget Obama is a very rich multimillionaire already.

Here is my little incantation.

***

THE ULTIMATE CHARLATAN:

char·la·tan –noun "a person who pretends or claims to have more knowledge or skill than he or she possesses. "

Charlatans can’t have courage: they don’t know the difference between babble (the Italian origin of charlatan), and a honest discourse. For example what are the reasons for Obama to send three times more soldiers in Afghanistan? Mission [To Be] accomplished? Like bringing back home rogue CIA employees (bin Laden, etc.)? But that’s babbling: Bush said it before, so the next child tries to repeat the same words, let alone the same gestures.

So courage is not easy. One needs enough smarts to have courage. Charlatans have neither courage, nor true smarts, just the power of gab. Who is the ultimate charlatan? After 1945, it was clearly Stalin. Before May 1945, it was Hitler. In 1914, the Kaiser. In 1917, Lenin. Who is the ultimate charlatan now?

The ultimate charlatan is the one who talks about redressing injustice, and does not do anything, but keeping the 15% maximum tax rate for hedge fund managers and private equity, and sent 3,700 billion dollars to the bank managers who caused the problem. The ultimate charlatan talks change, and brings back the Clinton-Rubin team which dismantled Franklin Roosevelt’s financial safeguards.

The ultimate charlatan talks change one can believe in, and, indeed finance the military-industrial complex like never before, while refusing to prosecute war mongers and torturers from the Bush era.

The ultimate charlatan depicts himself as an historian, and sends the legions into Afghanistan, supposedly to hunt ex-employees of the CIA. The ultimate charlatan claims to help homeowners, but the total debt of homeowners to banks is just as bad as at its worst, several years ago. The ultimate charlatan claims to fix health care not now, but by now, he means 2014, and in such a way that the republicans can invert it all (but for details they will like such as the treatment-reducing panels, forcing all to pay private monopolies always more).

The ultimate charlatanism thrives with democrats so bad, that nobody needs the worst republicans.

***

HITLER WAS NEITHER NATIONALIST, NOR SOCIALIST, HE JUST CLAIMED TO BE:

Hitler’s accession to power was a long and windy road. Hitler claimed to be a nationalist, and a socialist. He was neither: a lot of his money came from American plutocrats. That way he was similar to an American presidential candidate.

Although Hitler was Austrian born, he was a sincere German nationalist, but, if he had been a more intelligent nationalist he would have questioned his dependency upon American plutocratic support. One thing Hitler was not was a socialist, he just played one on TV. Claiming to be a socialist was a cynical ploy on his part. He knew, and explained, that many Germans were socialist, so he decided to woo them, and get elected that way. Hitler admitted to have put the red of revolutionary left in his flag, just to seduce the hard left. Propped by American plutocratic money, and a private army, supported by the lying chief of the imperial German army, Ludendorff, Hitler tried a coup in 1923. It failed, several plotters died under army bullets. Then Hitler tried more carefully, and got all his plutocrats carefully aligned, first. Mr. Schacht, the most important Lord of Finance in Germany, a pawn of JP Morgan (who he had met already in 1905), helped a lot.

THERE IS ONLY ONE GERMANY:

The German right tried to seduce Hitler, and, so doing, gave in to many of his theses. The more the right agreed with Hitler, the more honorable it made him (Obama has this problem with today’s American right: the more it does its policy, the more honorable it makes it look). Hitler was very bipartisan: a socialist, but also a nationalist, and from the right, and amazingly well financed by the plutocracy (just as Obama had a famous conference in the Silicon Valley to seduce the plutocrats, boasting of how well he would run his campaign, Hitler had done a similar conference, decades earlier, in front of German plutocrats, about how well he would run his campaign; then Krupp rose, and wrote the first check).

Hitler’s main campaign theme, in a speech repeated countless time, was that there was just ONE Amerika, sorry, I meant, ONE Germany: there was not a black Germany, there was not a Jewish Germany, there was just the united state of Germany. sorry: the united people of Germany. EIN VOLK. Etc. Notice that I am not accusing Obama of plagiarism. Not everybody can be as creative as Hitler, and write his own speeches.

Funny how the same speech works throughout history, though. I guess the great unwashed, economically stressed, tends to react the same, after they have dreamed of their national dream, sang about the exceptionalism of their country, and their leaders tell them, ALL THEY NEED IS WAR. (Hitler was talking peace all the time; he was just defending Germany against the terrorists… according to him; similarly Obama is defending the free world against ex CIA employees in the woods of unknown mountains.)

With Hitler, we know the rest: 75 million dead later, the American Lords of Finance were controlling the world in 1945. Europe, with more than 50 million dead and sometimes the deliberate annihilation, by bomber fleets, of non military objectives, even the cities of allies such as France, laid in ruins.

Keynes, chief of the world financial conference (Bretton-Woods), objected to the making of the dollar as the world reserve currency, blocking the Americans twice. So the Americans substituted the documents to be signed by the chiefs of states: voila.

All this to say that American plutocracy did not start its manipulations yesterday. They made the "American Century". American plutocracy knows how to use stooges and puppets.

***

CRAZY DRUGGIES IN A WHITE HOUSE:

During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, modestly intelligent White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

OK, wait a minute. What is crazy is that many of Obama’s advisers, advising policies often to the right of Sarah Palin. I would like to be shown an Obama policy that Bush did not start, or was not compatible with. OK, I found one: Afghanistan. G. W. Bush was simply not stupid enough to try nation building, with a Muslim constitution, while tripling the legions there.

By "right of Sarah Palin" I mean the so called "death panels". Zeke Emanuel is offended by that label. I doubt that he knows that Hitler started his death program by eliminating degenerated, irreversibly damaged Germans. (Unsurprisingly, cynics will say, a close relative of Hitler was eliminated that way). I have read the German program, pre-World War Two, and the way it is expressed is strikingly similar to some of Dr. Zeke Emanuel’s statements. Protest were so strident, the Nazis had to stop their death panels.

Now, I have never used any drug, beyond coffee and tea. No alcohol, no wine, no tobacco, no pot, no "blow". "Blow" is slang for cocaine, and I learned that from Obama himself. "Blow" is one the illicit drugs Obama used. Obama said. Probably damaged his brain, resulting in his selection of the entire team that destroyed the USA’s economy as his own economic team… to go back to an infernal cycle of the same.

The only drugs I abuse are knowledge and truth. I did not spend two decades, or more, as a drug addict, trying to get high, because I was low. I particularly resent that Obama, a drug user, then uses the argument that he knows better, and wants to forbid Afghans, who have no income otherwise, to grow poppies. If Afghans disagree, Afghans get killed. Not cool, and quite a drama.

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms identical to those used by the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.” Of course, it is not surprising that Gibbs talks like the extreme right; he is the extreme right. What is wrong with Canadian health care, anyway? There are other health care system. I have argued that the closest system to the American would be the FRENCH system, using Medicare to morph into it.

Of those who complain that Obama caved on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”

The White House claims to be frustrated by attacks on cable news shows catering to the left, where Obama and top lieutenants like Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have been excoriated for abandoning the public option in healthcare reform.

Rahm Emanuel is the very definition of a corrupt politician: without any knowledge of, or degree in, banking, finance, economics, or accounting, he got 17 million dollars from a bank for two years’ work. He paid back the banks well.

"Sometimes Democrats, we’re our own worst enemies, because we can do great stuff and somehow still feel depressed," Obama said. "Sometimes we do a little too much handwringing. Say, well, you know, I don’t know, I wish we had gotten that public option. Well, that’s great, but we got 31 million people health insurance."

Obama loves to use that opening sentence: as innovative as the same squeaking door. As it is, there is NO health care reform. The USA system of tying up employment and health care cannot work. Obamacare is all smoke and mirrors. Obamacare is an unconstitutional attempt at forcing Americans to give more money to private operators of the plutocratic pharmaceutical right. It is in particular UNCONSTITUTIONAL because you cannot force private individuals to give money to private, for profit companies (car insurance is mandatory, but the AAA provides insurance all over, and is not for profit).

So what is going to happen? Sometimes before 2014, the republicans will acquire control of Congress. Then they will throw out the whole thing, except the pieces they like. Lo and behold, the health care profiteers will claim that was not the deal, and they will bolt out too. Obamacare will be in ruins. But don’t worry: everybody you see in the White House will be doing fine for themselves. It’s all about the charming smile. Modestly intelligent Gibbs will be richly rewarded for his modest intelligence.

; for not moving faster to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay; and for failing, so far, to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

***

My friend conclude his critique:"Bottom line: the left is a part of the political spectrum in the U.S. consisting of groups that do not agree on much and which cannot get along with each other most of the time.  The right takes every opportunity to turn this to its advantage by voting as one block against reforms that might otherwise have a better prospect of getting through Congress.  Obama may not have gotten elected without the careful stage managing of his career by Goldman Sachs.  But consider the alternative to Obama.  John McCain inveighing against economic stimulus because his party’s standard line is that it consists mostly of wasteful spending (something his party is already famous for but always quick to deny).  What Obama has done hasn’t been great for the economy but McCain might have done much worse because he doesn’t understand the first thing about economics and the need for massive fiscal stimulus when the economy crashes.  McCain has some of the instincts of a reform politician, but has never been gain wide support for his views in his own party.  He was the "red-headed stepchild" to whom fell the sorry task of running for President in an election year when no GOP candidate stood much of a chance of getting elected because of Bush’s unpopularity.  Because some baby boomers are still nostalgic for Kennedy and the idealistic generation he encouraged to go into politics doesn’t mean their prayers are going to be answered when another Democrat finally wins the Presidency. "

Well. Philosophy drives civilization. As it is the USA is becoming more insignificant every single second it spends $10,000 in Afghanistan, which is every second there is, under Obama’s childish leadership. Me, and my family, are immensely disappointed by Obama. We spent a huge effort trying to get him elected. (A close family member, and his family are nearly destitute after volunteering for Obama for a year.) And we probably would not have done that, had we known that Obama was just a social climber of the Goldman Sachs type. That does not mean we would have voted for McCain. McCain may have been fiercer with Wall Street and the banks. He is a fighter pilot, not just a basket ball player. Wall Street detested McCain. In any case, once again it is hard to find something bad that Mc Cain could have done that Obama did not already do.

The worst situation right now is Pakistan, not Iran. To solve it for the best requires the nuclear disarmament of Pakistan. Nobody ever talks of that. The policy of the USA, so far with Pakistan, ever since Pakistan exists, has been to make a bad situation worse.

It’s a big planet, there are other powerful countries than the USA. The USA is not Athens, which was basically alone and unique. Nor is the USA the plutocratic Roman republic, when Greece was occupied by, and rebelling against, fascist Macedonia. Except for its extravagant military spending, as if it intended to attack something else, soon, the USA is quickly becoming an unexceptional country (sorry to contradict Rush Limbaugh, another ex (?) addict).

In the threat of imminent collapse of the USA, there are many lessons. Let those lessons thrive. There is a future to irrigate with good wisdom.

***

Patrice Ayme

Simulating Stimulus, Undervaluing Values

August 5, 2010

SIMULATING STIMULUS, SAVING SERFDOM, UNDERVALUING SKILLS.

***

OBAMA KEPT THE SERFS IN SERVITUDE:

How did the financial crisis start? By Americans having to pay more than ten trillion of mortgage debt. That was simply too much. Don’t forget that if you owe a million (say) to a bank with a 30 year mortgage, you end up paying about 3 times that.

So now we are 5 years after the crisis started. The Bush-Obama administration threw 3,700 billion dollars at the banks to save them from the crisis (said the TARP inspector, an independent government official, July 2010). The Obama administration in particular tried to preserve the value of the homes (as Obama says at every occasion).

Obama is a funny guy, very cool, that his job. The great terror of the banks was that all mortgage holders would default, and buy the house to the left. Say the house to the left was worth 30% of what it was worth before. The total sum of all mortgages in the USA would have been divided by 3. Big banks, instead of getting 600 billions annually, would get only 200 billions.

But Obama saved the value of the homes, that is the value of the mortgages, that is, the extent of the servitude to banks. 5 years after the crisis started, indeed, the total value of all home mortgages is still above ten trillion dollars. In other words, Obama did nothing, strictly nothing, to solve the housing crisis. It’s still here, just as big as it was before. But Obama kept the serfs in place, paying the same as they did before. His lenifying discourses have mesmerized Americans. Very cool, indeed.

***

SIMULATING STIMULUS WITH GAB:

As I have said many times in the past, as soon as February 2009, there was no Obama stimulus. Obama goes around saying just this, without understanding what he says: ‘I saved the states’. Saving is not stimulating.

I did the arithmetic, long ago. But then, I am not a lawyer (like Obama), or a failed journalist (like Axelrod), or a super, overnight multimillionaire banker (like Rahm Emanuel). I can add. Now finally Krugman did a graph (he has plenty of slave students to make them). Here it is:

clip_image002BEA, CBO

As Krugman says in "Hey, Small Spender!": "Feel the surge!". The far right microscopic tilt up is Obama’s stimulus. And it is entirely due to spending on unemployment benefits and the like. It goes without saying that, if you removed the military spending (which has augmented enormously under the bipartisan president), you would get a sharp hook, DOWN.

***

NO ENGINEERING, BUT TALKING UP A STORM:

Obama is a lawyer who is viewed as black. So he showed up at Harvard, was bipartisan with the conservative Law Review, and was elected president of it, just as Ulysses elected to make the gift of a horse for Troy. I wonder if it was a black horse. Anyway, in three years, Obama was done. Three years is enough to sharpen the tongue in the skill of false beliefs giving hope to the naïve, unwary and good natured.

But, whereas it is easy to form a specialist of gab, it takes more than a decade to form an engineer, or some technology specialists. Therein the pitfall of the Wall Street directed economics: as engineers get yanked about, and finance replaces thinking, engineering skills get lost. They are hard to replace.

Some will say: so what? But GM (cost 60 billion dollars to taxpayers) will fail, because it needs as good automotive technology as there is anywhere, just to survive (in spite of American nationalism, I do not see too many Americans spending giant money on the unworkable Volt car). This is caused, in part, by world overproduction of cars, and a pretty open market… in combination with an attenuation, in the USA, or, at least upper management in the USA, of thinking excellence.

***

SUPER KILLER ROBOTS STIMULATE THE ENEMY:

Now, make no mistake, the USA is still a technological leader. thanks to a government program known as the military-industrial complex. American killer robots are by far the best in the world, thanks to the war in the Middle East.

So the war in the Middle East is Obama’s true and only stimulus. It is also the USA’s high tech and engineering insurance program. However, in the meantime, the school and university systems are giving signs of stress, and they underlay engineering supremacy. Why? Money is disappearing, as it is all sucked up by the military-pharmaceutical-financial-congressional complex, leaving crumbs for the crucial parts.

***

TOO MUCH IMBALANCE, NOT ENOUGH INTELLIGENCE:

Advanced skills can be lost. Henrich has it that not enough numbers will do it, and thus he explains the Tasmanian effect (science fiction writers and Krugman have jumped on this, concluding that millions of people are needed to colonize … Mars). I have an essay on this coming. My explanation is completely different, and argues that ideas are more important than numbers: many are the ants, few are the philosophers.

In recent decades, tendentious commentators, sociologists, ethnologists, and philosophers (many of the original ones being famous French philosophers) have painted European civilization under an erroneous light, describing it first as a place of imperialism, sucking the innocent world dry. In this those advocates of "multiculturalism" strangely followed the line invented by Herder and Rousseau. That line of thought which produced Hitler.

I am extremely multicultural myself, so multicultural that I need a valuation system to order all my multicultural ideas. This is what happens when Murid, Greek, European, American, mathematical, historical, scientific and countless other value system have to cohabit together in the same brain. Multiculturalism without multivaluationism is a chicken with a thousand heads.

By overdeveloping its military skills, the USA is dangerously losing more important skills. And thinking, foremost. Not to see, not to feel that plutocracy and democracy are incompatible is exhibit number one.

***

TOO MUCH MILITARY, NOT ENOUGH INTELLIGENCE:

Pushing technology as military technology is not necessarily best for society. This is probably a difference between Britain and France during the last 600 years. As a continental land power, France had to maintain a vast, expensive, high tech army. Britain could do most of the time with little, or no army.

So, for example, the ramshackle fleet of Elizabeth I, with a handful of expert navigators (Drake, etc.), using brazen, desperate methods, and a lot of luck, were able to stop the Grand Armada. But, if the irresistible Spanish army had crossed over, it would have quickly ended in Edinburgh. Spending little on army and fleet, relative to France, Britain was able to develop a less militarized society.

Meanwhile, each time the Spanish army was entering the Netherlands to submit the recalcitrant Dutch, there would be war with France. It’s really the French army which, after 70 years or so, finished that imperialistic fascism Philip II had started. Fine, but this establishment in perpetuity of the Dutch republic cost a lot.

Later, it was more of the same, in reverse; the heirless Spanish king offered his throne to the Bourbon, uniting in some sense France and Spain. This started the War Of The Spanish Succession, where all of Europe united against France and Spain. There, again, Britain, just as in the Middle Ages, per its position as an island, was able to bring in cheaply a lot of expensive troubles to France.

It sounds all very picturesque, but these wars created enormous destructions, deaths, and lasting impoverishments on French territory.

All of plutocratic Europe would unite again against France in 1792, to try to destroy the ("French") Human Rights Revolution. The invention of new explosives for the battle of Valmy allowed the French rabble to stop the Prussian army.

Meanwhile the "nation of shopkeepers" that the dictator Napoleon underestimated, was developing its civilian industrial economy frantically, leaving France in the dust. It is not that the French were backward relative to the Brit. To a great extent, it was the other way around. The breakthrough on steam power was made by a Frenchman working in England.

A century later, in 1769, a French military program tried to develop tanks (under the good king Louis XV!). They worked, but the military lost interest. In the following century another French military program financed the first planes (built by Ader, who also invented the word "avion", "aviation", etc.).

In WWI and WWII, Great Britain declared war immediately, but, having basically no army, France was left to fight alone fascist Germany twice her size, for all too long (hence the defeat of 1940).

It’s not that Britain was nasty and treacherous. It’s simply that the British empire was run with a big Navy (a necessary condition) and a shoestring budget. That cheapness allowed British industry to dominate. As the French were busy with giant military spending, the chemistry of dies was developing in England, soon stolen by the Germans, founding the powerful German chemical industry.

Military technology programs do not improve the efficiency of the overall economy. This is a major problem, at least for the USA as old energy systems are quickly becoming too expensive on the face of it, in indirect costs and pollution costs. Although there is no doubt that plenty of robotic technology will come out of the war effort, it is probable that other countries developing robots directly for the civilian sector will come ahead. A famous example is that a Frenchman, Bear de Rochas, developed the first gasoline internal combustion engine, but forgot to patent it (1862). Daimler and Benz became what they did, by using that loophole.

***

SERIOUS STIMULUS: SUPER FAST ATOMIC TRAINS:

I have argued that the USA ought to develop advanced nuclear technology. It can be made safe, very efficient, and such that proliferation problems would be resolved. But for all this to happen, American nuclear tech has to be at the forefront, which it is not right now. It even uses a primitive, and extremely wasteful, dangerous and polluting open cycle, the same as in the 1940s. France’s atomic energy runs completely on a closed cycle, generating much smaller waste (which could be burned in more advanced reactors).

Developing and leading in nuclear arts also a moral necessity, because efforts to prevent the rise of nuclear tech in other countries is bound to fail. All what the leading countries of the West can do (including Japan) is lead the process to a safe and effective nuclear world.

Fast forward now to electric trains.

The USA, alone in the world among the most developed, significant countries with high density population corridors, which is not developing high speed rail. China, by contrast, is developing it at break neck speed (it is alleged that China uses more or less stolen German tech, but the same can be said perhaps for Bombardier and Alstom).

First of all the fastest trains are really fast. The world record has been held by French electric trains since 1954 (except for a few months in 1988 when German trains became insolent). The speed record is now 574.9 km/h. This was obtained by a TGV with AGV motorization, on the TGV Est line, which is designed and homologated for 250 miles per hour.

Most of French electricity is nuclear, and most of the rest of renewable origin. Thus the French trains are actually nuclear trains. They create not even 3% of the CO2 other transport modes create.

The magnetic levitation (maglev) record, obtained only for a second or two on a short experimental track, is only 6 kilometers per hour higher. Maglevs are not suitable, because they cannot run on conventional tracks, their magnetic fields are dangerous, and their hyper light construction makes them extremely flammable and fragile (more than 2 dozen people got killed on an experimental German maglev). Moreover, they are much more costly to operate (due in part to their unforgiving concrete tracks; fast Franco-German trains use ballast, which is elastic). And they have no advantage whatsoever.

Air is very dense close to the ground, that is why planes fly high. At sea level, maximum speed by military jets is much less than the cruise speed of Concorde (the SR71 was also flying very high).

The factor limiting the French train record speed was aerodynamics. The Alstom engineers were surprised by this. Resonances and vibrations in rail and piloted pantograph can be mastered up to 660 km/h with present technology. The AGV has better aerodynamics, but has not been tested at maximum speed yet.

Many routes in the USA are French scale. Chicago-New York and Boston-Washington, or San Francisco-LA are similar to Paris-Marseilles. London-Marseilles will beat the plane once a more direct High Speed Line is built through Picardie. At 252 miles per hour, it takes only 10 hours to go from Los Angeles to New York, arguably faster and more convenient than taking the plane. Siemens’ Velaro has reached such speeds on the Madrid-Barcelona Very High Speed line in conventional operations with a conventional train. So none of this is science-fiction. And better French and German high speed train sets are coming.

Russia, the world’s largest country, has a vast program of equipment and technology transfers from Alstom (pendular trains) and Siemens (Velaro), for the next 20 years. Pendular trains can reached very high speeds (up to 200 mph) on conventional lines. They lean in turns.

Trains can be made very safe. TGVs will stop if they are ahead, or ignore signals. It’s a system similar to the metro, with no current between the train sets. Al Qaeda bombed a TGV, with lots of explosives, destroying a cab, but the rest of the train survived untouched. TGVs are made to stay upright, even if they leave the tracks (which has happened after some collisions with trucks). The energy is absorbed by the zigzags of the train out of tracks.

***

NO VISION, NO MEMORY, NO NOTHING:

The secretary of transportation said that Obama has a "vision" of high speed rail, and some lines at 110 mph are being financed (in Europe high speed is higher than that, and VHS is double that). And then there is the idea of putting high speed on slow freight lines, which is impossible (even 100mph lines .would cost a lot of money if built for freight).

Instead Obama should have spent lots of money on one true Very High Speed line, to demonstrate to all Americans how superior High Speed Train was. That is what Russia did on the Moscow-Saint Petersburg line, which is equipped with Velaro trains running at 155 mph (250kmh), covering the 400 miles in 3 hours.

Hoover had the Hoover dam (and many other large construction projects). What will the Obama administration be remembered for? For its health plan, to come on line in 2014, after the republicans have completely gutted it of any relevant meaning? For saving GM which will fail within 2 or 3 years? For the financial cover-up over the inability to put back in place the Banking Act of Roosevelt of 1933? For putting back in power the same exact people who destroyed the banking act, ten years ago? Will the Obama administration be remembered for having delayed the collapse of the insufferable enormity of the ensemble of all mortgages due? Will the Obama administration be remembered for its lack of reading on Afghanistan before deciding to move mountains there? Or for viewing Afghanistan as a proper stimulus for the USA? Will the Obama administration be remembered for having augmented enormously the already unsustainable military spending? Is this lack of anything positive to be remembered by related to the fact that only 42% of Americans think Obama is American born (August 2010)?

In any case, the Obama administration will not be remembered for having put the USA back on the rails.

Patrice Ayme

Contexts Vary, Ideas Stay.

August 1, 2010

 

Abstract: Even dedicated readers have complained about my essays being too long and hydras of logical complexity. So I am going to inject some Nietzschean wisdom, by bringing out, from time to time, sets of aphorisms. After all, Pascal and Montaigne did this before Nietzsche.

***

THE APHORISM, OR CONTEXT AS VARIABLE:

…"it is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a book. What others do not say in a book…" Nietzsche declared in the "Twilight of the idols". The idea of the aphorism method is that ideas can hold in a few symbols. In that case, it’s the context which becomes the variable. That will of course sound erroneous to the inflexible, simplistic mind. A crab feels it has it all figured out: it knows what the context is.

But the wise knows that the context is precisely what we cannot be sure of. A given, short idea, can always be made better by tweaking the context. Example: Dirac had a theory of holes with negative energy; it all became much clearer by broadening the context with the new concept of antimatter.

Thus Obama decided to move an enormous army to Afghanistan, because he was sure of the context. Then, but only then, a few months later, he found out a few realities about Afghanistan, which prevented his plan to work. Obama’s context had been entirely erroneous. (But, by then, Obama’s plan was on. Too bad Obama does not interface with someone with a deep, alien culture; now millions will get hurt, trillions will be wasted, just because of Obama’s Americano-American cultural little box, and mental inertia.)

Oh, OK, here is the neurological angle: in my vision, ideas are neurological connections, and each of these connections can be described by a few symbols. So, fundamentally the aphorism is a piece of neurology. Since we arbitrarily bind it and limit it by giving it an horizon, we exclude the wider neurology, i.e., what we call in sheer philosophical parlance, the context (the verb "horizein" in the Greek "aphorismos"; it means to demarcate, define, bind, limit).

Nietzsche, and others before him, thought that to build a philosophical "system" was hubristic, erroneous. Research in fundamental logic supports that position, ever since Godel and company showed that no logical system was complete.

***

Aphorisms can be only a few words, or a few pages. They are pieces of logics, floating free in the atmosphere of dynamic contexts. Here is an example:

OBAMA IS CONFUSING STABILIZATION WITH STIMULATION:

Recently Obama said that his "stimulus" saved the states (who were going to fire essential personnel). True, but also part of the problem: when you save crucial state jobs, you are not stimulating, just saving the ship.

***

And another:

WHAT RACISM IS:

Racism consists in making hateful generalities about people one has previously somehow grouped up together, whether they like it, or not.

Therefore communautarism, tribalism, and the like, avowed or imputed, are necessary conditions for racism. In that sense, when the victims engage deliberately in communautarism, and tribalism, the victims often cooperate with their oppressors. Equality eschews deliberate inequality in "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity".

***

WEALTH IS GOOD, FLAUNTING IT IS BETTER, SEEING HOW FAR ONE CAN GO, ECSTASY:

What we have here now is plutocracy. Capitalism, per se, is not the problem. Capitalism existed for a very long time before private banks were given the quasi monopoly of money creation. Banks have monopolized all the money that could possibly exist, and more. And, unsurprisingly, and related to the preceding, we also have a depression, as the sinking long term averages of the median income shows.

The hyper wealthy are embarked in a race of hubris. They want to see how much they can get away with. The more they get away with it, the happier they feel, because they feel ever more powerful, and the obsession they develop with that feeling of superiority allows them to forget their pathos, and the human condition. Money is an aphrodisiac, flaunting it, even more so.

So here we are: money ever more impudent, ever more happy with its impudence. How to get out of it? Well, first, cognition. But Americans are taught early on in life to admire the rich, and that believing in conspiracy is a mental disease. So when Clinton and Obama were told to select the same people from Goldman Sachs to lead the USA, Americans see no conspiracy. Verily, they do not even know that "conspire" means breathing together. All they know is that seeing conspiracies is bad, even dangerous.

It does not matter that even Clinton admitted, even before he was sworn into office, that he had been told by Goldman Sachs’ Rubin that "… my reelection hinges on the Federal Reserve and a bunch of fucking bond traders?" Got to be hard for Clinton, with his tendency for cheap fornication, to see the traders getting all the action.

81% of Americans, supposedly, according to a recent poll, see no problem with money in politics. Little American minds have been well conditioned for servitude. Time to spring the trap.

***

THE CLINTONS’ TROUBLING WEALTH:

In the meantime, feel awe for the fortune of the Clintons and their 5 million dollar marriage for their hedge fund manager daughter and her Goldman Sachs husband. Respect. Admire. Kneel. After all, that this the future of America. We see no Teddy Roosevelt this time, ready to crack down on exploding hyper wealth. Just bipartisan traitors playing wimps to give themselves an excuse. At best.

And we see nobody wondering how come the Clintons, long elected politicians and civil servants with modest, or moderate income, came into so much extravagant money. Explaining it all by the touring circuit of Clinton (where, officially, he made 40 million dollars over the years) does not come near explaining the outrageous spending on the wedding. I believe in conspiracies: history is so full of them, it is not much besides that. And I believe that when people who cannot possibly be that rich, are that rich, that they are getting pay-backs.

After all, it’s Clinton who allowed the Goldman Sachs guys to dismantle FDR’s work and spirit (even Summers has made a lot of money from Goldman, and Rubin chaired it). Clinton has been a major traitor to the middle class, and that is why he poses so well as its friend. Clinton is a big fat bait, with a hook inside.

Chelsea Clinton, 30 years old, a hedge fund manager, is marrying a Goldman Sachs investment banker, age 32. What does the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration do? It forbids flying below 2,000 feet in part of New York State, at the behest of the Secret Service. In the Secret Service’s mind, Chelsea is some great princess. And it wants to impress this on us. We are very far here from Norway, a democracy where politicians have to pay their way, down to the last dime. (It’s no coincidence that Norway is twice wealthier, per capita.)

Elevating those who have no rights is exactly how aristocracies were always born out of plutocracy: look up here, small people, these are your lords, even over the heavens they reign, and to you, pathetic insects, the heavens themselves are closed. Who elected the Secret Service, that institution which closes the heavens themselves?

In the next step down, people will have to go on their knees as Princess Chelsea Clinton passes by. Her dad, with a symbolic bag of rice on his shoulder, is a giant of hypocrisy, double dealing, treachery, a real life Janus.

No wonder Obama is so well inspired. Michelle Obama is taking a little vacation to Spain, with "minimal staff". Who elected her, where is it in the constitution? (Answer: nowhere; Ms Washington was not queen of America. By the way, the word "first" as in "first man" (in the Senate), was Augustus’ title. Augustus was Rome’s first real dictator for life.)

Minimal staff: Michelle only reserved 30 rooms in a five star hotel (we are told).

***

ALL THE COMMENTS ONE DARES TO PRINT, AND NO MORE:

I comment a lot on the New York Times, which is gracious enough to publish me a lot. I appreciate the difference with 2003, when I had to send to the New York Times enlightening, but ominous parallels with Nazi propaganda. Then the NYT was pushing for war, by believing and spreading all the obvious lies of Bush. Ingratiating itself to Bush and his lovers (most of the USA at the time), was mission numero uno. Some of these editorialists (Tom Friedman, Roger Cohen, among others) have, since, operated a 180 degree turn. Friedman has written an excellent editorial on Afghanistan [NYT, July 31], where he picks up on the theme familiar in these pages of double dealings, conspiracies within conspiracies, etc..

Paul Krugman, though, was always against the war. Last year he was for a much larger stimulus. Although, differently from me, he did not explain on what the much bigger stimulus was going to be spent on.

The New York Times censored my comment on Krugman’s muscular, and excellent editorial. Said Krugman: "President Obama rode into office on a wave of progressive enthusiasm. But, for many reasons, that has given way to progressive disillusionment. Krugman wonders, as we all have: "Why does the Obama administration keep looking for love in all the wrong places? Why does it go out of its way to alienate its friends, while wooing people who will never waver in their hatred?…

But Mr. Obama has a responsibility, too. He can’t expect strong support from people his administration keeps ignoring and insulting. "

In all of this, Obama’s persona is the deep, although boring question. He made a campaign profoundly compatible with my ideas, as expressed on this website (and its predecessor, Tyranosopher.com). But, once he was sure to get to power, he embraced the plutocrats with a vengeance.

Why did Obama embrace the plutocrats? He obviously loves money and power. Most ambitious people do. But, with the people of high moral standards, there are other, higher, more domineering values. However, Clinton had shown before that Janus was the way to (considerable) riches.

To answer the honorable Krugman’s question, I sent the following comment, which was censored by the New York Times. OK, I called Obama a "child", gravely injuring the elected dictatorship’s dignity.

But, if anything, Obama’s behavior in Afghanistan is a demonstration that he is a child. A child with big toys. One of his toys is the U.S. Army. After he decided to triple the legions there, the child discovered that Afghanistan was not at all as he thought it was. If he had not been a child, he would have been endowed with enough cynicism to suspect that all his sycophantic advisers, all of the old school, and the military-industrial complex could perhaps not be trusted. So I sent the following, to help Krugman:

Something is deeply wrong with Obama’s psychology. He is apparently looking for his father among the fatherly figures of the republican party. Why fatherly? Because they are so sure of themselves. Obama is not. He did not have a real father, at home, so he did not grow up as children who have a father do, and hides it behind grand airs. One grows from having a dad, by learning to oppose him intelligently. From there self assurance comes.

Meanwhile Obama’s economics reigns: stimulus in Afghanistan and saving the plutocrats, whatever it takes. It is leading to a deepening depression. Of course, Obama’s economics is not really Obama’s, it is, as under Clinton, that of the Goldman crowd.

Sad, childish, pathetic.

I will add this: Obama was not at his mother death bed (I flew around the world to get to my dad’s unexpected death bed; it’s still a major pain, but also a major anchor of my value system, and always will be, as it should; if you betray your own, you will betray all, any, and whatever). Tellingly, Obama visited his dying grandmother, his practical mother in Hawai’i.

Obama had refused to follow back his mom to Indonesia, after re-establishing his roots in Hawaii (I can understand this). So he was, de facto, abandoned by both his dad and his mom. Thus he probably, deep inside, wants to punish those who love him (or claim to). Hence his attitude relative to his supporters (and relative to Europe, as disillusioned Europeans have started to say). Hence his insistence that Michelle is "his rock", because he had to lay a foundation somewhere, since he even rejected his… cultural race.

***

WANDERER AND HER SHADOW:

The same day that the NYT rejected my Obama pop psychology, Roger Cohen in "Modern Odysseys" described beautifully his family’s wandering-Jew adventures, on three continents, including Africa… A bit like Obama, quite a bit like me. So I sent the following comment:

"The wanderer has to learn to love her shadow."

which the NYT published, and recommended. Sometimes we don’t just do the best, but what is necessary (Churchill).

***

Patrice Ayme