Archive for the ‘Direct Democracy’ Category

Direct Democracy: Crucial Counterbalance To Vital Security State

January 12, 2015

So Obama was too scared to go to Paris (that’s the charitable explanation; the non-charitable theory is that he listens to dimwits too much). What when the self-declared leader of the Free, is a scared rabbit? Here is one drawback of Representative Democracy, “democracy” through “representatives”, or so-called “leaders”. Have you see a rabbit lead? When I run in the mountains, I see dozens of rabbits leading straight to the bushes (as in George W. Bush).

Not everybody can be as courageous as Israel’s Netanyahu (the only leader with

Franco-Germania Faces Hard Philosophy Ahead

Franco-Germania Faces Hard Philosophy Ahead

a personal guard in Paris, at his side always), Abbas (Palestinian president), Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Renzi (Italia), Rajoy (Espana), the Malian, Ukrainian presidents, and tens of other heads of state, who were also demonstrating in Paris. Even Russia sent to the Paris demonstration its fiercest specimen (short, maybe, of Putin), the Siberian hard man, Putin’s mentor, Ukrainian thirsty Foreign Minister Lavrov. Hopefully, Lavrov’s heart learned something.

The attack against Charlie Hebdo was, philosophically speaking, worst than 9/11: bin Laden was surprised that the towers fell, and 9/11 was construed by some hearts of stone, as a counter-attack against big capital, Wall Street, and the exploitative system of the Middle East financiers had helped to set-up.

But clearly the attack against satire is a direct attack against intelligence, and cannot be construed as an attack against exploiters (or an anti-racist attack: several collaborators of Charlie Hebdo were “Muslim”, two got assassinated, two survived). And the attack was planned by a collaboration of Al Qaeda and the Islamist State: the terrorists themselves said it. A video shot by one of the criminals AFTER killing a black policewoman, and grievously wounding others, was edited by ISIS, and put on the Internet two days later… From the Middle East.

The Security State cannot be avoided: as technology keeps exponentiating (a good thing), more and more lethal power can come in the hands of lunatics (a bad thing).

Thus the need to prevent mighty weapons to get in bad hands, and even very bad ideas to get installed in otherwise innocent minds. Hence the need for THOUGHT CONTROL (this means that Islam has to be put on rails which are defined by the Republic; it also means Internet control; some countries, such as the UK, already have it, France will get there within 6 weeks).

“Thought Control” is, of course, a very delicate problem: imagination, irreverence, satire have to be allowed, but not systems of thought leading to lethal issues.

Who is going to watch the watchers?

Well, We The People, directly.

Some of the commenters on this site rolled out the usual objection to Direct Democracy: the so-called “Madness Of The Crowds”.

Wisdom Of Crowds: Paris, 01/11/15.

Wisdom Of Crowds: Paris, 01/11/15.

Hazxan from the UK said: “Patrice, what really is “Democracy”? All my life, every day, it was programmed into me that we had a “democracy” that it was a rare and special thing that meant we lived in the best of possible worlds. Even that those who didn’t have this Democracy should be bombed and crushed until they had this Democracy whether they chose it or not (we chose it for them – begin to see the paradox?)”

Agreed that seems a paradox, but, when people do not live in democracy, they live in plutocratic dictatorships. It starts with dictators, but dictatorship is not stable, if it does not use demonic means, hence the adjective “plutocratic”.

This is not just theory, but practical considerations: look at Egypt now. Chief of the Army All Sissi had to make a coup against the Islamists. He went from military dictator (bad, but necessary) to elected president (re-establishment of representative democracy).

If Al Sissi had stayed a dictator (instead of becoming an elected president), he would have had to use more demonic means (because all those who voted for him would have been more or less against him, thus they would have had to be repressed).

Another frequent commenter, EugenR Lowy: “I have to disagree with you about direct democracy. Direct democracy is possible only at the local level and not at the level of big states. More than that I do not believe in the wisdom of the masses, as some obscure decision making theories claim. The masses at the end have tendency to turn to certain authority to lead them, when the situation is becoming too unstable and insecure, and we are back in the worst form of political leadership. To make right political decisions, the decision making must be aware of existence of realities as long term processes and not a stand-still state, which can be immediately corrected. How many among the masses understand this? Even the educated ones not necessarily are aware of this.”

I deeply believe in knowledge and wisdom, but I am not sure even a highly professional scientist is aware of the problematics of political and historical processes, knowledge that is necessary to formulate right opinion in the major political issues.”

There is every reason to believe that scientists are no experts at politics. Several Nobel Prize level scientists became Nazi Party members before Adolf Hitler (at least one of these Nobels had worked closely with Einstein).

Eugen’s point of view does not just condemn Direct Democracy, but even Representative Democracy: after all, in Representative Democracy it’s We The People who elects the representatives, all the way to the head of state.

Hitler’s Nazi Party got enough votes to control the Second Reich (!) Parliament. President Hindenburg thought he had no choice but to select Hitler as Chancellor, in a coalition government. Then the Nazis were able, through their “Patriot Act” to mangle German society enough to acquire total control.

Another example is the nephew of Napoleon I. Elected president of France, he made a coup against himself and baptized himself “Emperor”. Hitler actually copied that method, which had been inaugurated by Napoleon I.

Thus, when Eugen says We The People can make bad choices, it’s true, but it condemns all Democracy, Direct or not. It’s easy to make the argument that “Representative Democracy” is more dangerous than the direct form. Indeed, bad legislation can be reversed, whereas really bad leaders can’t be, once they have seized the Security apparatus.

Socrates and Plato had disserted about the subject of leadership ad nauseam. And incompetently. Whereas Pericles, earlier, advised by better philosophers, including his wife, made a splendid exposition of the “Open Society”. So it’s not a question of times long gone: Pericles expressed the thoughts of Progressive philosophers, whereas Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were of an increasingly fascist and plutocratic persuasion.

Plato’s solution was the Philosopher-King”. That’s an idiotic notion, because a real philosopher has neither the time, nor the inclination, to be king. Similarly a real king has no time, nor inclination, to be a philosopher.

There were many attempts in the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century, to make philosopher-kings. Those who really contributed to civilization positively were few: mostly Henri III and Henri IV of France (and perhaps Francois I, or, paradoxically Louis XVI). Then, of course, Peter the Great.

Both Henri III and Peter were great because they did not hesitate to assassinate execute whom they viewed as the most potent enemies of the very progressive States they led… Against determined Salafists (The Catholic League for Henri III, the “Old Believers” for Peter).

Aristotle, a student of Plato, wrote quite a bit about politics. Differently from Plato who hypocritically brandished the concept of philosophy, Aristotle went all-out for monarchy. His students, friends, executors of his will, were the plutocrats who destroyed Greek democracies, and launched the “Hellenistic States” (which lost on the battlefield, but later won the battles of ideas with the Roman Republic). So Aristotle Destroyed Democracy.

Modern Solution: The Grand Democratic Synthesis:

Socrates bemoaned that Athens voted on anything, and elected everybody, including generals. That, he said, made people who did not know how to make shoes in charge of making shoes.

The solution to this was found by the Roman State, and blossomed during the Middle-Ages. It was what I called DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS.

Those use the principles of representative democracy and meritocracy inside, while, outside, being strictly subordinated to the government. Guilds, Academic, Medical, Judicial, Engineering organizations are examples. And the Army and Police ought to be foremost.

Example: In the modern German army, soldiers are supposed not just to obey the Military Code, but the German Constitution. In general, all armies ought to take their oath to the Constitution first… Or even its spirit (hence Egypt’s Al Sissi was correct).

Modern Solution: We The People Ought To Legislate:

The model is very simple: Switzerland.

Whereas plutocrats need, with the present system, to just buy 2,000 “representatives” to control the entire planet, they cannot buy billions of people: that would defeat their motivation, which is to rule over We The People, not buy them (that’s the taxation we need to apply to them).

So Who Is The Government?

There, to some extent, Switzerland again comes to the fore: it has an executive council of seven, and the president is elected for a year. The Army has only colonels. Generals are elected in case of imminent war.

The historical model here is the Roman Republic. Its executive system ought to be greatly imitated: A Consul had full powers for just one month (on the following month the other Consul had the powers).

In truth, the Roman Republic worked pretty much as a Direct Democracy, although this system was immensely, and way too complicated.

Instead, we should imitate the Athenian Directly Democratic system. With the Internet, the main problem of Athens, namely that voters found very difficult to come speak, debate, and vote at the National Assembly, can be easily solved.

So what about the objection that We The People is dumb, ill-informed, fickle, prone to madness? As I said, this is Plato-Aristotle objection, and just an excuse for plutocracy (preferably with the “philosopher” on top, gorging himself, as Aristotle did).

Those who do not get educated, and are not motivated for education, stay, indeed, dumb, ill-informed, fickle, prone to madness. But what we see in Switzerland is that the Direct Democracy has made We The People ever more motivated to learn stuff, ever more knowledgeable and wise. One can see the Swiss electorate think and change: as a proposition goes to a “votation”, the polls show opinions changing wildly as the weeks go by, and the debate evolves.

We The People can be educated, learn, and grow in wisdom as children do. Given a chance. The 2,000 individuals who presently rule the world, and their sponsors, who telerobotize them, and increasingly own the planet, quite a bit as the Saudi family does, do not want We The People to be given that chance. So let’s grab it.

Patrice Ayme

Censoring “Electrocoal”, Violating Democracy

November 26, 2014

“Scientific American” Censors “Electrocoal”, Violating Free Speech, the Status of the Internet as Public Utility, And, More Generally, Democracy:

President Obama declared last week that the Internet was a Public Utility. Rightly so. Say you build up a bridge. Does that give you the right to do whatever you want with the bridge when people use it? Not so, especially if the bridge has become a Public Utility.

Any media using the Internet is, to some extent, a Public Utility, because the Internet is a Public Utility.

Expression on the Internet is what Free Speech has become now.

A fundamental democratic right in Athens was that of addressing the Assembly.

There should be a right of free speech answer, especially when a site allows public comments.

More generally, the Internet is in need of laws, with the core aim of enabling Free Speech, and disallowing Hate Speech. Commercial, For-Profit Speech ought to be regulated: commerce is always regulated.

As it is, the Internet is the Wild West, and those with the biggest guns rule. Comments, rankings, private information and access are manipulated all over. Some companies’ business is actually to write fake comments and reviews, while passing for non-profit oriented free speech individuals: this ought to be considered consumer fraud, and the appropriate laws ought to be passed to criminalize the activity.

Scientific American is in the habit of censoring comments: “deciding what material is displayed on our website is our right”. They have censored strict scientific comments from me (without explanation).

A law ought to be passed forbidding public utilities to censor comments without some excellent reason. (Journalists are above the law in the sense that they do not have to reveal their sources, nor can be tried for opinion; so journalism always has a public utility aspect at its root.)

Take the example of Free Speech in the street: it is a right of democracy. Yet it can be curtailed by the police if, and only if, it “disrupts the peace”, or violates other laws. In practice, the police rarely intervenes (in democracy, it would have to justify its intervention!)

Scientific American censors, and others, such as Facebook, have argued that their website is their own property, they can do what they want. Well, not really. The problem is that they are in position of monopoly (or more exactly, oligarchy). Then, to empower their oligarchy, they use, and need to use, a Public Utility. That means they are financed by the citizenry in general. Moreover, they got a fiduciary duty: informing and debating in a non grossly misleading, non injurious way.

I related that The Economist censored me for quoting the Qur’an (no, I did not join the Jihad; my aim was to show that, at face value, the Qur’an calls for violent acts, and, thus, the need for Imams to inform believers that this is all allegorical, and outlawing interpretations that are stricto sensu).

In an article on fuel cell cars, the SA Master allowed dozens of comments from (taxpayer financed) Elon Musk’s minions, calling fuel cell cars “fool cars”. That was not censored. I replied in kind.

Scientific American censored me for calling electric cars, ELECTROCOAL. So doing, I claim that Scientific American violated the notion of PUBLIC UTILITY.

Scientific American sent me the following email:

“This comment has been deleted. Scientific American reserves the right to delete comments and revoke commenting privileges without notice. A subscription does not exempt you from our rules, and deciding what material is displayed on our website is our right, not censorship. You can create your own website for your own opinions and views, to share with the world. Scientific American does not owe anyone a platform – anyone may create a website of their own.

This comment is off-topic. Further violations will result in the loss of your commenting privileges, so please review our guidelines carefully. This help desk will not provide another warning.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/page/sa-community-guidelines/

Regards,

SA Webmaster”

[Notice the contradictions and the weasel words, Big Brother speech: censorship desk is called “help desk”, and “further violations…no other warning”.] “Webmaster” is an interesting Freudian slip: in a free society, the Internet should have laws, not “masters”.

Calling Tesla Electric Cars “electrocoal” is an allusion to the fact that electric cars in the USA are loaded with electricity that is half produced in coal thermal plants. So their global efficiency is that of a coal burning installation (more on this in another essay).

The Masters at Scientific American don’t like “electrocoal”. So they censor it, and call me a “violator”. And threaten to unilaterally cancel a contract with me, while still taking my money. No law prevents them to indulge in all these abuses of power.

Just as no law prevents Uber, an Internet based car-rental company, to use the private information it gathers on its clients, tracking them, selling the data.

Uber has apologized. But there should be a law, and employees, and owners, who have violated that law ought to go to jail. Yes, shareholders ought to be punished, as those who owned shares in companies that make money from slaves, ought to be punished; believe or not, those are still around!

Laws are not censorship, they are the common rules which apply equally. Private censorship, though, while using the Public Utility of the Internet, is a violation of said equality, which is the essence of democracy. Violation of democracy ought to be unlawful, just as the equally vaguely defined “hate speech”, or “genocide” are unlawful.

The problem is the same as when plutocrats use publicly financed research to increase their wealth or power (thus scientific publishing ought to be open source, and subsidies from the likes of NASA to private enterprises subject to serious examination… same as subsidies to big banks).

The ultimate reason for democracy, is not fairness, but intelligence. That makes even dictators long for democracy. Democracy allows the group to reach higher intelligence than any other society. The Internet is a tool to further the debate of ideas (ideas which do not violate the law, including hate speech, that is).

Violating the free debate of ideas ought to be left to dictators, and other “Masters”. It ought to be illegal in democracy.

The right of reply ought to be enshrined in democracy. The manipulations of commentary, and censorship for profit or bullies’ sake, or for perverting the minds of the public or children (see Islamism) ought to be illegal, even if done under the cover of higher morality, or hypocrisy.

Internet policing will not solve all the problems of vicious thinking, but it will allow to threaten to address the most egregious of them.

Patrice Ayme’

Elect Ideas, Not Clowns

November 6, 2014

Obama Versus Brown. Obama’s  Inexistence Made Blatant. Last Twitches Coming?

Obama, the Resident of the White House, said something particularly deep and clever today:”… to the two-thirds of Americans who did not take part in the process yesterday, I hear you too!”

Which process is Obama alluding to? Voting. Two-thirds of eligible Americans did not vote. American citizens are voting out the conventional electoral process. Although I always voted, and although I spent two years, and a fortune, in effort and treasure, to get Obama elected, eight years ago, this time I did not vote.

Your humble servant, and We The People have had enough of electing little dictators.

Antares Rocket, One Of Obama's Pluto Pet, Goes The Way Of His Presidency

Antares Rocket, One Of Obama’s Pluto Pet, Goes The Way Of His Presidency

If one wants democracy, We The People has got to vote on (most) laws. Politicians ought not to be called “legislators”. Instead, they should be just in charge of the details.

In the meantime, refusing to vote is a king of sitting in the middle of the street.

Brown is Obama’s skin: it turned out that color of the skin did not bring change. Duh. Brown is also the name of the governor of California, re-elected in a triumph, for the FOURTH time.

Brown did two terms as California governor, three decade ago. When he was re-elected 4 years ago, the situation was abysmal. Several governors could do anything to the California deficit. To raise taxes required 2/3 majority (66% for).

What did Brown do? He said: ”I’m raising taxes on the rich. You better vote for it. If you, Californians do not vote at more than 66% for that, I will close all your state parks.”

Californians love their parks. They screamed, and then voted as told. Plutocrats had said they would flee California. Guess what? They found they had nowhere else to go.

(BTW, had a referendum about taxing the plutocrats been proposed, I would have gone to vote.)

Brown spent 4 years training as a Jesuit for priesthood, in silence, prayer, and Latin. Later he went to UCB, became a lawyer, and worked, and studied (including Zen) in many countries (including Mexico and Japan).

He was not born yesterday.

Obama looked condemned to me the day after he got elected, 6 years ago: he went to work at a hedge fund. Hedge Fund: money changers, as president Roosevelt called them contemptuously (and FDR was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and basically brought up by Teddy Roosevelt, himself president of the USA).

That Obama went to work at a hedge fund told me he had understood nothing. Or, rather, strong supporters such as me, had understood nothing: Obama was the plutocrats’ candidate.

(That Obama was facing the wealthy Senator McCain, who did not even know how many mansions he had, does not make him any less the plutocrats’ candidate. Passing remark: Seneca, the philosopher, and Nero’s teacher, chuckled that he had no idea how many giant agribusinesses and properties he had on the various continents. Those who partake in the Stoic Religion, worship Seneca. And that’s a basic problem with the (hypocrisy of) stoicism.)

The leader of the Republicans, McConnell, Senior Senator of Kentucky, just said the Senate needed to be fixed. “We have an obligation to change the Senate”. He said he was going to fix the Senate, making it work on Fridays, even at midnight, and also Saturday, if need be.

McConnell’s head is entirely white: he has been elected to the Senate continuously, for 30 years. Hardly not an insider.

Question: what happened to the Tea Party? Well, it never really existed. It was one of the tricks used by Obama’s political allies to do nothing.

McConnell was asked whether he was afraid of Obama’s veto. He smiled: “the president vetoed 2 little bills in 6 years. In the first 2 years, he loved everything he saw.”

And nothing happened.

(Obama would say Obamacare happened. Or, as he calls it, proudly, in a marked cognitive dissonance, Romneycare. Even November 4, 2014, Obama gave a whole lesson to the press corps on how much Obamacare was actually his “former opponent” creation. That Obamacare was actually Romneycare should have told progressives something. In truth, Obamacare is an excellent deal for health care plutocrats. Everybody else? Not that much: the deductible on my health insurance is something like $9,000. So my family has to spent $9,000 from our pockets, before reimbursements kick in. That means if I spend $9,000 in the next 7 weeks in a hospital, I have to pay the whole thing. The clock restarts January 1. That, by the way, is on an expensive plan, $1,500/month.)

Nothing could happen under Obama, because he was, whether he realized it, or not, an agent of Wall Street, and various other plutocrats. Same problem with the Clinton. The Clintons’ “Global Initiative” has offices a rock throw from Wall Street.

Obama showed this in a telling way, supporting short term tweak to existing and past technologies, calling this support for Research (support for private entrepreneurs to get to orbit, such as the Antares rocket which exploded a week ago, is exhibit number one; the government of the USA ought to support only fundamental research, such as for thermonuclear fusion, or through schools).

We are still waiting for the reform of the financial system. It was not difficult: president Roosevelt’s system had to be dismantled. But then that would have dismantled Clinton Global Financial Initiative (I’m ironical).

And this is not just a USA problem. The European Central Bank just mentioned hundreds of billions of “financial derivatives” that European banks hold. Well, that cancer which spread form Chicago ought to be unlawful: banks ought to invest in the real economy, not in a parallel universe.

In case you wonder why financial derivatives billionaires give multi-million dollar prices for the Multiverse in physics, I just gave you the reason.

Is there anything to save from this Obama shipwreck?

Well, and this is what the colossal abstention vote is suggesting, we have to change the Constitution (all over; not just the USA and France, or Britain). No need to scream in my face, as a very busy San Francisco’s architect once did, and pontificate that this is not serious, and nobody would take me seriously, if I persist with my folly. It is. The best way is to do as Switzerland is doing, that is sensibly, and insensibly.

The Swiss Constitution was not designed for direct democracy, it’s just growing into one, with ever more referenda of We The People, on all important issues.

Interestingly (one of the) the “votation” coming in three weeks has to do with limiting immigration. It will not pass, but it has furthered an even more sophisticated reflection on the subject (a Swiss referendum against immigration from (the rest of) the European Union passed last year; negotiations Swiss-EU on it are intense).

Referenda are healthy. In Great Britain, immigration is a burning hot subject (people hate it). But because We The British People cannot vote directly on the issue, they have made the European Union (which has little to do with it) into the scapegoat.

We have to ask more from politics. This starts by voting out the conventional electoral process.

Elect grand ideas, not clowns.

Patrice Ayme’

ARISTOTLE DESTROYED DEMOCRACY

September 28, 2014

Abstract: Aristotle was, in many ways, a great philosopher, and even, one should say, scientist. However, Aristotle replaced the supremacy, and rule, of freedom, openness, intelligence, and the vote of We The People, by the “pursuit of happiness“, or general “feel good” (eudemonia). So doing, Aristotle demolished the natural, instinctual, debating human ethics, which had triumphed in Athens in the two preceding centuries.

The love of Aristotle for dictatorship (“monarchy”, he called it) fatally weakened the animal spirits, the human ethology, without which democracy is impossible (that involves the love of debate, a form of combat distinct from eudemonia). Thus, more fundamentally than even Christianity, and not just by defending slavery extensively, Aristotle and his atrocious, mass murdering, yet trusted, and beloved, pupils, students and friends, launched the mental processes that set civilization back by millennia.

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

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were master thinkers. Their influence was so great, they changed human psychology, for millennia to come. However the way they changed it, in some important ways civilization cannot like, because if it did, and it did all too much already, it would be self-destructive.

***

Aristotle Taught These Guys Democracy Was A Devious Beast

Aristotle Taught These Guys Democracy Was A Devious Beast

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

***

WHEN ATHENS BETRAYED DEMOCRACY, THAT IS, HERSELF:

In 330 BCE, more than 23 centuries ago, the Spartans, led by king Agis, made an all-out effort to destroy Macedonian hegemony. The prospects were good: Antipater had only 13,500 genuine Macedonian soldiers, as Alexander, then fighting the Persian plutocracy, had mobilized all the manpower he could find, to fight far away all over Eurasia. Alexander, though, sent lots of gold in a hurry, so that Antipater could recruit a huge army of northern barbarians to boost his small force.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

SOCRATES, PLATO AND ARISTOTLE WERE LOVERS OF PLUTOCRACY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

TOLERATING ARISTOTLE’S ETHICS IS TOLERATING PLUTOCRACY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrice Ayme’


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