Archive for the ‘Democracy’ Category

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’

Anti-plutocratic Tirolean to Common Sense?

October 13, 2014

Is this site attributing the Nobels?

It sure looks like it: I approve strongly of three Nobels in a row. Amazing. On Friday, the Nobel was attributed to a French writer who worries a lot about Nazism, Modiano. Then there was the anti-sexist, anti-Islamist Peace Prize to Malala.

Today professor Tirole, a French economist at the public university in Toulouse, got the Nobel in economics. Mr. Tirole pondered the best regulations so that large, powerful firms in industries such as banking and communications would act in society’s interest. that’s one of my familiar themes, and I go much further.

It’s the first Nobel in economy in 10 years who is not a citizen of the USA. Are we in an increasingly terrible socio-economic situation just from that monopoly? Tirole is the most American of French economists: a “polytechnicien”, he got an economy PhD from MIT.

He is depicted as “liberal” (right wing pro-capitalist in French parlance), because he believes in share holders’ rights, and that corporations should just worry about profits. As an extreme left wing progressive nut, I, paradoxically, agree with both points.

However how do I reconcile this with what I call “governmentalism”? Well, they go hand in hand.

According to governmentalism, the main actor in economics is the government. That’s pretty much obvious and was even true on Caribbean islands ruled by pirates: pirates, too, had government, and it ruled their economy (and that’s true to this day, except the pirates use finance instead of swords).

Much of what passes today for the free market is little more than global monopolies, organized crime and deregulated madness.

Jean Tirole, defending the real owners, the shareholders, has done important work exposing executive overcompensation, what I call the CEO class, and over-greedy corporate hegemony.

Here is the introduction of Roland Bénabou and Jean Tirole’s “working” paper on the “Bonus Culture: Competitive Pay, Screening, and Multitasking”. (Executive overcompensation, etc.):

“Recent years have seen a literal explosion of pay, both in levels and in di¤erentials, at the top echelons of many occupations. Large bonuses and salaries are needed, it is typically said, to retain “talent” and “top performers” in finance, corporations, medicine, academia, as well as to incentivize them to perform to the best of their high abilities. Paradoxically, this trend has been accompanied by mounting revelations of poor actual performance, severe moral hazard and even outright fraud in those same sectors. Oftentimes these behaviors impose negative spillovers on the rest of society (e.g., bank bailouts), but even when not, the firms involved themselves ultimately suffer: large trading losses, declines in stock value, loss of reputation and consumer goodwill, regulatory fines and legal liabilities, or even bankruptcy.

This paper proposes a resolution of the puzzle, by showing how competition for the most productive workers can interact with the incentive structure inside firms to undermine work ethics–the extent to which agents “do the right thing” beyond what their material self-interest commands. More generally, the underlying idea is that highly competitive labor markets make it difficult for employers to strike the proper balance between the benefits and costs of high-powered incentives. The result is a “bonus culture” that takes over the workplace, generating distorted decisions and significant efficiency losses, particularly in the long run. To make this point we develop a model that combines multitasking, screening and imperfect competition, thus making a methodological contribution in the process.”

Philosophically it can be explained and said much more simply: a culture of greed has taken over.

One should even say a MOOD of greed takes over. Considering recent discoveries in ethology and epigenetics, hell itself is the bottom of that abyss.

Indeed. Just like some fishes, according to circumstances, modify their genetics, and females turn into males, and some males even in “super males”, the top officers of today’s society turned into predators predating onto the rest of society.

It was high time that some authorities (and the Nobel committee is a small sort of authority) recognizes something in that direction. The work of reflection is just beginning.

The philosophy of banking has not been mulled enough. Nor that, more generally, of mighty corporations.

Those are gigantic institutions with a para-governmental role. They are big enough to influence governments, society, law enforcement, and the law itself. The immensely rich heads of major corporations are received by heads of states, as if they were other heads of state.

Yet, officially, banks and corporations are not led by the social good, and other higher principles, but by greed. Just greed. When those greedsters are celebrated as if they were statesmen, “philanthropists”, or even philosophers or “geniuses”, greed is recognized as philanthropic, and genial.

The less we regulate those giant corporations, the more powerful they get, and the more they can change the mind of civilization itself, towards greed. For example executives of Google were loud, clear, and acknowledged by the British government itself, to be of great influence in deciding educational programs: they are credited for making coding mandatory at age 5 in all schools.

Are Britons to become all little googlers? Ogling the mighty founders of Google, who travel the world in their personal jumbo jets, while paying no significant taxes, and being received by heads of states on their knees, another proof of their genius?

Yet Google siphons its multi-billion Euros profits in Europe through Ireland, to lower its tax bill, and then send said profits to paradise islands with no taxation whatsoever. In other words, Google seems to be an organized crime corporation, as it avoids paying tax nearly entirely. Mafias, and other crime syndicates can only admire such brazen arrogance, and no doubt envy Google after tax profit margins.

European regulators condemned Google for cheating with its search engine, to bring itself even more profits, and now say that Google is ignoring their pleas. Yet, we are putting the fate of youngsters under Google’s maniacal guidance.

This is just Google, the Do Evil company.

All other mighty corporations are applying similar tricks. GE, the oldest company in the Dow Jones, paid no tax for years. Disneyland France, the number one entertainment center in Europe, claimed giant losses, and had to be rescued by Disney (while forgetting to say said losses were from paying giant fees to Disney itself, probably re-routed through some tax heaven).

The situation with the banking system is even worse. As Marx noticed, banks have a monopoly. He left it at that. Now we need to talk.

A monopoly of what? Banks create most of the money. Thanks to the states.

So here we have people, the bankers, unelected and unsupervised, who do not have to justify themselves, operating in secrecy, who, through credit, give most of the money which exists in the world, to whoever they like. It turns out, they love themselves.

And, officially, all the motivation that this sort of secret government, by corporations, for corporations, has, is greed.

Time to ask them question, observe, study, and regulate them.

Economy does not need any more equation to burnish its reputation as a pseudo-science. Economy needs a thorough rethinking, of a philosophical nature.

Otherwise the employment situation, which Tirole, after getting his prize, just described as “catastrophic” will only get worse.

Employment is, of course, a crucial pillar of democracy: no employment, no democracy. The economy is more now about plutocracy than anything else: Tirole and company have lifted just a little bit of the veil.

Patrice Ayme’

Philosophy Is Moody

October 7, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not so with philosophy.

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

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

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

Same for Mr. Sade, and Mr. Maso.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to learn something.

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

Patrice Ayme’

The West: Hong Kong In Reverse?

October 5, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everybody drank the poisonous cool-aid, ever since.

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

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

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

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

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

Patrice Ayme’

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’

Scottish Lessons; Catalonia Next

September 19, 2014

Scotland’s vote was a victory of democracy: 84% of the potential voters, voted. Nothing will be as it was before. The “No, tanks”, I mean, “No, thanks” scared rabbits won, with an impressive 55%. The “No, Thanks” were helped by enormous propaganda from the London elite, and promises never meant to keep. Yet, the debate is just starting. Worldwide.

It was independence from the London plutocracy which was demanded, and partially obtained further, even before voting, when London finally panicked, and offered whatever the Scots wanted.

It was pretty much plutocracy against Scotland: the financial markets rallied after they learned Scotland was nominally to stay subjugated to wealth friendly Westminster. Sir Mick Jagger and his fiscal paradises won (“Please to meet you, hope you guess my name…“).

The real fun is going to be when Catalonia proceeds with its independence referendum. This is going to be less civilized. The right wing Spanish Prime Minister is much less reasonable than David Cameron, the British PM. Of course, this is because Cameron was (erroneously, as he found out) sure to win, whereas the Spanish PM knows that Catalonia will vote for independence: a recent march for independence had 1.8 million Catalans in the streets, more than voted for independence in Scotland.

And the present French Prime Minister, the head strong Valls, in charge of saving France from herself, is Catalan born and raised. The French PM went to Catalonia, and made vibrant pro-European speeches there, in Catalan. For centuries, Catalonia, freed by Renovated Roman Emperor Charlemagne’s armies, was part of “France” (whatever “France” means), while Spain enjoyed an horrendous Islamist occupation. In practice, that meant Catalonia was independent for centuries… Until the German, Italian and Spanish fascists conquered the Catalan nation by force, massacres and gore, during their war against the Spanish republic (1936-1939).

Nationalism is obsolete. Yet direct democracy ought to be the future. There was an important transnational component in the Scottish vote, all for “independence”. Unsurprisingly, the anti-European hysteria in London pushed Scots away, and towards Europe.

“Independence” is all relative, as the Scottish National Party, like the Catalan one, is very pro-European.

In Athens, people had power: they voted themselves on the laws they wanted. Athenians did not “vote” through an oligarchy supposedly, and somehow, representing them. The “democracies” we have now are not democracies, but representative oligarchies. It’s joining insult to injury to call the regimes we suffer under, “democracies”.

Only the Swiss have a direct legislative democracy. Each of the 26 Cantons, has its own Constitution.

The independence referendum brought considerable concessions from London to Scotland. At least rhetorically. The UK now ought to equip itself with a federal constitution. No doubt that if London does not deliver, London will be punished.

Scotland is already a nation. Should it be a state? The average state in the USA is of the same size: 6 million people. The least to do is to give Scotland much more independence than the average American state enjoys, considering Scotland’s independent history (and resistance to the Romans, who never conquered it, although they tried, hard).

This is arguably even more true with Catalonia (more or less founded by Carthage, Catalonia was long independent, or part of the Frankish empire; Barcelona is named after Hamilcar Barca, a prominent Carthaginian plutocrat).

In general, as We The People vote by themselves, for themselves, the present oligarchies will have to make concessions. Thus just driving towards real democracy will have immediate effects, as it did in Scotland.

The lesson will resonate around the world. Time to ask for more than what the Scots already have. More independence from the powers that be.

Patrice Ayme’

Geo-historical Civilizational Logic

September 15, 2014

Abstract: Geography can dominate history. Examples abound. Civilization cannot just clash: it has to be defended by the sword, and by ideas which are even sharper than steel. Unfortunately plutocracy hate to see force, physical and intellectual, in command of We the People. This betrayal from class interest is how top civilizations go down: when plutocracy gnaws into civilization as the gangrene it is. The death blow is then given by the savages who are sure to come circling like hyenas. The latter is a symptom of the former.

Such hyenas brought down the Roman and Chinese state. Lest we be careful now, the Union of Savages and Thugs, with big titles, like president of Syria, or Russia, or the “Caliphate”, will engulf civilization. Let’s crush them when we still can (the “Caliphate” is only 20,000 strong, so could be literally exterminated, at this point). But we will crush them better if we also extinguish our plutocratic form of government.

Not Conquering Germania Magna Was The Proximal Cause Of Rome's Failure

Not Conquering Germania Magna Was The Proximal Cause Of Rome’s Failure

THE TEUTOBURG FOREST DISASTER:

The plutocratized Roman republic (aka “Principate”) suffered a psychologically shattering defeat at the Teutoburg Forest in 12 CE (just left of the G in Germania above).

Rome, as a real republic and democracy, had suffered much worse, even terrifying, defeats. However it was then, being a direct democracy, of a much stronger, much clearer frame of mind, and it rebounded with astounding efficiency.

Instead the Teutoburg defeat marked and accelerated an irreversible decay, as the Roman polity was taken in a pincer between exterior enemies and interior plutocrats. An army led by “princes” is much less effective than an army by the people, for the people… As the conquest of Germany required.

Some will object that the Franks, who conquered Germany after 507 CE, were led by kings. Right. But those kings were elected (more or less by the people). Nobody elected Augustus. Moreover, Frankish society was submitted to the equalitarian principle: the richest Frank was often elected king, but there was, or ought to be, no “nobilitas” notion among them; that point was made to the Pope around 740 CE by the son of Charles Martel, Pepin Le Bref.

Notice that the traitor (he had been a Roman officer) Arminius and his German army chose the location and time of the battle (which lasted three days). The miserable rain hindered the usage of Roman artillery; a swamp and a rise, the Kalkreise, prevented the maneuvering of the legions.

The treachery of it all (the legions were trekking back to their winter quarters) took Varus’ army was complete surprise.

GEOGRAPHY IS HISTORY:

The steppe which goes from Manchuria to Hungary allowed the Mongols to spill at least three times, in nine centuries, all the way to Central Europe (thus, having gathered immense power, they were able to build a giant empire, all the way to India, Japan and Indonesia).

Isolation from the Afro-Eurasian hyper continent, or, should I say, cesspool, meant that the Americas were not going to win the biological war between the former and the later. And so on.

I explained that a lot of the effervescent mentality which has festered around the place presently known as France has to do with the three giant trade routes between Southern and Northern Europe. The Alps and Carpathians, mighty mountain ranges, extend to the east over a thousand miles, blocking the way. Until the crisscrossing of wide rivers in the Ukraine-Russian plains. That, also blocked civilization’s penetration until the Vikings (“Rus”) used the waterways to enable profitable trade between Scandinavia and “Rome” (meaning Constantinople).

Nowadays, we are confronted to an old fashion modern Genghis Khan, Vladimir Putin, playing fast and loose, in a calculus where human lives are nothing. Putin has said a great number of things which should be taken literally: that Kazakhstan was not a state, that the Baltic countries had been a gift to the West, that the disappearance of the “Big Country” (USSR) was the “greatest tragedy of the Twentieth Century“, etc. His agenda is clearly to reconstitute the empire of the Czars at it maximal extent: he said as much, he will keep on coming for as much as he can get. This is not the “Cold War“. This is not a drill, either. This is war.

HISTORY AS A STAB IN THE BACK:

Scotland’s push towards independence from the London plutocracy is related to the struggle of Ukraine against the age old, vicious mentality in Moscow. That viciousness is how Moscow grew against, but also thanks to, the occupying Mongols (aka “Tartars”, or “Golden Horde”). Now that viciousness needs to be destroyed, as it is only compatible with a world war.

As facts of preceding centuries, even millennia, determine the flow of psycho-history, looking forward, it’s important to find out what those facts exactly were. In particular the exact history of the giant Greco-Roman republic-empire and its innovative successor, the “Imperium Francorum”-Renovated Roman Empire, is paramount.

Exactitude reveals that things could have turned completely differently, from small details: that’s known as the butterfly effect. From the flapping of a butterfly, a hurricane started (that’s probably impossible, for Quantum reasons, but let’s ignore that).

Out of the many penetrations by sharp objects which put an end to Julius Caesar’s life, only one was lethal, said his personal physician. Had Caesar survived, the history of Europe, and, probably, the world, would have been very different. Caesar had been on his way to a very ambitious military campaign which, knowing him, and his army, the best Rome ever had, may well have succeeded. The anticipated result was the extension of Rome over Persia, and all of Europe, west of the Caspian Sea.

THE MORE EXACT HISTORY, THE MORE FASCINATING:

Here is Eugen R Lowy, commenting on my site along these lines:

“The tragedy of Europe was caused by its two major rivers, the Rhine and the Danube. Since The Roman times it divided the Continent. Charlemagne was the first to unite Europe across the Rhine. Unfortunately it was not long lasting. The next one who would try to do it was Napoleon. But he was too eager to fight wars. Unfortunately at the time bungee jumping did not exist, that could potentially have pacified him.

The 20th century brought three unification experiences, the WWII of Hitler, then the Soviet- Stalin ( SS ) experiment, and the last one, the EU. Fortunately this one was the only successful one.

Let us hope that this time the [European] unification will thrive in spite of all those short sighted, petty minded but loud speakers.”

Eugen has it right, at least as far as the conclusion is concerned.

But the devil is in the details. Napoleon was tough: he charged at the head of his troops when his plan against the invading British was enacted at the siege of Toulon (1792), and was severely wounded in hand to hand combat. Later, as self proclaimed “emperor”, he took great risks, and had horses killed under him no less than 19 times.

Real history is often all too different, from what legends have it: the Romans were established across the Rhine, for centuries. As the Salian Franks were from one of the zones the Romans controlled (more or less), one could argue that they never left.

But, indeed, the (lack of) junction between Rhine and Danube was a huge military problem (especially as it extended the “Fulda Gap”: go ask Putin what it is, he knows!).

The Franks, three centuries before Charlemagne, had already united most of Franco-Germania, across the Rhine. What Charlemagne did was to mop up the last resistance in the most distant part of Germany, among the Saxons, and to push the frontier of Europe as far as (much of) the present European Union to the East. That made the European frontier short and defensible, stopping indeed Genghis Khan’s Mongols (the Central Asiatic invaders penetrated Poland, and Hungary, but collided there with united European forces, and, although they won in memorable battles, suffered unsustainable losses).

Calling WWII and Stalin “unifications” is farfetched: they were standard occupations and not the nicest. The situation with Napoleon was more complicated. Although he was a scum, he did not get the catastrophe started. Even greater scums, such as the pseudo-philosopher Burke, got the ball rolling.

WHY DID ROME NOT EXTEND MUCH INTO GERMANY?

The first Roman to cross into Germany was Caesar. He build a bridge across the Rhine, and went in to punish the Germans for having raided Gaul. He did this twice. However, the perpetrators tended to flee deep inside the immense forests.

Caesar thought about it, and rightly deduced it would never end. So he decided to catch the Germans from behind. A conspiracy of corrupt, idiotic plutocrats inside the Senate decided otherwise. 300 years later, the Goths were at the gates of Roma, the city of Rome herself (they finally conquered Roma another 160 years later).

Caesar’s grand-nephew and heir, Augustus, went back to the unimaginative method of the slow grind. The Roman penetration extended well beyond the Rhine, and even Danube. When three legions (18,000 elite legionaires, plus the supporting army) were annihilated by Arminius (“Herman”), they were going back to their winter quarters, and that trek back, along a narrow path, was in extreme Northern Germany, exactly were the hills met the immense swamp which preceded the North Sea. Over three days, in very bad weather, hindering Roman artillery, and a geography that prevented their maneuvering, the legions fought, until they met a final trap. Those survivors who had not escaped or committed suicide, were assassinated in human sacrifices.

So what happened after that?

Three things:

1) Augustus plunged into a nervous breakdown, losing his composure completely. He butted his head on the wall of the palace, begging general Varus to give him back his legions (Varus died at Teutoburg).

Against all common sense, Augustus counseled his successors to not try to control all of Germany. Yet, Germanicus (grand nephew Augustus, nephew and adoptive son Tiberius) knew better. He overruled the recommendation of Augustus to stay on the Rhine. Beyond the orders he got, he drove deep into Germany, with eight legions, and defeated Arminius for years. However, Germanicus was poisoned (by Sejanus; that was revealed only 15 years later, although widely suspected at the time, making Tiberius the object of hatred).

2) Increasing plutocracy in Rome meant ever less power for the army: that was evident by Marcus Aurelius’ reign (180 CE), when new German nations tried to break through the Danube towards Italia. Soon pieces of the army, starting with the Pretorian Guard, behaved increasingly like occupying and plundering bodies: this was the situation after the demise of the Severus dynasty (“Barrack emperors” period).

That enfeeblement, in turn, made the Germans ever bolder. By 250 CE, the Franks were raiding from ships, Viking style, throughout not just Gaul, but Spain and even North Africa, where they struck the populations by their appearance of blonde giants.

At the same time, the Goths commandeered a fleet of non-sea worthy ships, and rampaged for years all around the Euxine Sea (Black Sea), and even all the way down to Athens (which they plundered and burned).

3) Why were there so many Germans? Obviously agriculture in the North was getting more and more productive, allowing to support more and more people. At the same time, exposition to the Greco-Roman empire had partly changed, and militarized the German savages, and they yearned for civilization and the wealth of Rome. Spectacular victories over the Roman army inside the empire persuaded the Germans that the empire was richer, and weaker, than expected. The Persians deduced the same simultaneously, invading Mesopotamia and Armenia.

***

WE ARE ALL ROMANS NOW:

It’s nice to philosophize about the demise of the Greco-Roman fascist plutocracy known to itself as the republic. What is the morality of all this, looking forward? Two main things:

1) The strength of Rome was its republic, its direct democracy, before the lamentable Augustus tinkered with it to transform it in a military dictatorship. The real, original republic, was a direct democracy.

2) Vladimir Putin is much more dangerous than the Europeans realize. Not just because of himself, the quickly expanding forces at his command, and the will he has proclaimed to establish a much larger empire all over Eurasia (which he calls the “Eurasian Union”). But also because he demonstrates to the world that Europe is much richer, and much weaker, than it was thought to be. And it makes the entire world, including the Europeans, used to this idea.

Fortunately some in Europe understand this vaguely: the French sent to the Kurds very effective, easy to use armor piercing weapons, that were used very effectively by the Peshmerga. French military advisers are on the ground. The Americans, who were not exactly born yesterday, are in the lead this time (differently from the Saturday when Obama made an about face about bombing Assad, while French pilots cooked in their cockpits).

A question is what can the USA do to help rise the bellicose spirit of Europeans?

The answer is to advantage the French Republic and loudly cooperate with it, for all to see. When the Germans and other neutrals realize that France is getting rewarded because of her effective role in defending civilization, they may be keener in following suit.

There is also no way that France can play an important military role while being held back by the 3% deficit Eurozone spending rule (the USA turns around the deficit through Quantitative Easing, a stealth nationalization of much of the economy that does not augment the deficit, technically, while having the same effect, under another name, balancing the Fed’s books).

Ultimately, who decapitates whom at will, is what history is all about. Facts don’t have to be nice, they can just stand there, impervious.

It will be European Unification, under a superior philosophy, or it will be war, under superior barbarity: Putin knows this, and opted for the latter. That’s how professionally trained assassins tend to be.

One may ponder why it is that Augustus took the wrong turn. First he wanted peace and control. Second, he did not have a grand plan (as his reaction to the Teutoburg massacre showed).

Institutionally, Augustus decided little besides making Tiberius his heir (under (one of his wives) Livia’s influence). That was informal, and for many weeks which dragged by, after the Princeps’ death in 14 CE, nothing was done about the exact status of the Roman Republic: a nervous Tiberius, although the top general did not dare say he was taking command (“of the Senate”: Princeps), before he was begged to do so by an official delegation.

Some historians have suggested the obvious: the (informal) Roman Constitution was made for the City of Rome, not an empire with a fourth of humanity. The only way for the empire to go on was to militarize and dictatorize the Republic as much as necessary, as Augustus did.

That’s not true. The empire actually morphed in a galaxy of local cities and provinces which were rather free. The central Roman administration was very efficient. However, when the central state could not pay for the armies, trouble ensued (and this was true by 150 BCE). The armies did public works, not just defense. Augustus did not fix the problem of paying for a Republican army, instead he instituted a moral decaying dictatorship.

That moral decay presided the fall of Rome is not just my opinion: emperor Decius, in the Third Century held it, and asked the Senate to re-establish the office of censor: Valerian got the job (Valerian became emperor later, and made history by becoming the first and only captured Roman emperor; he was rumored to have become the stool Sasanian emperor Shapur I used to mount his horse).

FREE AS A PEACEFUL BIRD:

On the positive side, the strength of Rome was local self-determination, and the ensuing peace: before the Goths rampaged in the central empire (Illyricum, the present Balkans, and Greece), the region had known three centuries of peace.

This is why letting local nations (Scotland, Catalonia, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Kurdistan) being free is important: it was one of the ingredient of the Roman success. Notice also that the Franks duplicated that regionalization later. Yet, the Franks did the latter to excess: regionalization got so extreme, that it led to alienation, nationalism, and finally, war.

This is what the European construction wants to correct: a millennium, or more, of alienation. But it will not happen without weapons. Intellectual weapons, but also, against thugs such as Putin, real weapons.

Intellectual weapons are the most powerful: when Bush’s USA destroyed the Iraqi republic of Saddam Hussein, it fostered the sort of thugs that now reign there (the expression “Iraqi republic” is similar to the one, “republic”, that the Greco-Romans used to qualify the Greco-Roman state for centuries after Augustus). This was highly predictable for anyone with enough of a brain.

Republics work, but only when they can strike in their defense. Nowadays, whether know-nothing Americans, and half boiled Europeans realize it, the republic has no borders, it’s all over the planet.

It’s easy for Germany to be tired of the French deficit (4.4% predicted, whereas Germany is at 0%). Germany’s fate, and course correction, was determined by bombs, not deficit.

Work works, but, in the ultimate cases, war is irreplaceable.

Consider the invasion of China by the Mongols over 60 years. The Jin dynasty, Western Xia, the Dali Kingdom and the Southern Song (which fell in 1279 CE) worked hard, and were on the top of civilization (the Xia was the most powerful Buddhist state ever). Their successive defeats were not caused by lack of industry, but by lack of military skill caused by the asinine stupor a lazy plutocracy prefers in the People they subjugate (that observation was made by Mongol generals themselves, again and again).

That, in turn, was caused by the wrong ideas all over.

Wrong ideas are all over nowadays. Examples: the fact that children should be less educated in the West than in Shanghai; that the Qur’an is a book of peace; that international law does not apply to Moscow (or George Bush), and that’s not a civilization threatening event; that we are not at war with Putin; that there are (military) borders; that banks are not public utilities, that the fractional reserve system is not a subsidy to plutocrats; that Quantitative Easing is not communism for the wealthiest; that greed will solve everything; that Earth’s biosphere is not in the greatest crisis in 65 million years; that the parliamentary system in most of the West can be called “democracy”. And so on.

All these very erroneous ideas need to be beaten into shape.

Without getting the right axiomatic first, we won’t know where, or even why, to strike. This was the problem Rome had after Augustus. This is why most of Europe is supine, as threats add to injury. That’s why Obama admitted he had “no strategy” in Iraq and Syria.

That was, at least, honest. Let’s give him a hint: hit the enemy in Iraq and Syria, while extending peace feelers to the ex-supporters of Saddam Hussein’s regime (thus splitting the enemy). That’s the most moral thing to do.

The most moral thing to do, is always the best strategy.

Patrice Ayme

Macron, Bankster, Executioner

September 7, 2014

Humanity is facing its greatest crisis, ever. Clearly the situation of the biosphere is the most dangerous in 65 million years. And what do we do? We put in charge of everything individuals such as Mr. Hollande, an obvious half-wit with a vicious sense of contradiction (his ex-mistress revealed that “socialist” Hollande calls the poor “Sans-Dents”: “No-Teeth”).

Krugman wrote in the “Fall Of France”: “At this point, Europe is doing worse than it did at a comparable stage of the Great Depression. And even more bad news may lie ahead, as Europe shows every sign of sliding into a Japanese-style deflationary trap.” That has long been clear, as I pointed out in GREATER DEPRESSION, more than three years ago.

Hollande: Bankster To Lead France

Hollande: Bankster To Lead France

Krugman: “[Hollande] was elected on a promise to turn away from the austerity policies… Since the intellectual justification for these policies was weak and would soon collapse, he could have led a bloc of nations demanding a change of course. But it was not to be. Once in office, Mr. Hollande promptly folded…

Let it not be said, however, that he is entirely spineless. Earlier this week, he took decisive action… Mr. Hollande’s force was focused on purging members of his government daring to question his subservience… you need to understand two things. First, Europe, as a whole, is in deep trouble. Second, however, within that overall pattern of disaster, France’s performance is much better than you would guess from news reports. France isn’t Greece; it isn’t even Italy. But it is letting itself be bullied as if it were a basket case…”

(Actually French employment rate in the prime slice from 25 to 55 years of age is better than the USA’s!)

Hollande nominated an entire team of half-wits to lead France; several of whom apparently hoped that, being at the top of the state would put them above any suspicion, and allow them to engage in massive tax evasion.

The latest of these low lives was Trade Secretary only nine days before it came to light he did not declare his income for years. Not to worry: he is back to Member of Parliament again, where he will be presumably able to make discourses attacking those in the Middle Class who complain about confiscatory taxes, as he used to.

Hollande’s fate is reminiscent of Obama’s. Here are two presidents elected to enact real change profiting We The People. Yet, they soon surrounded themselves with people from the other side, the side of very high finance. Then they surrender to the reality they had themselves created.

In both cases, it has been a triumph of the bankers. In both cases individuals who worked in, and for banks, became pillars of the administrations. And not just any banks. The major banks, those entrusted by society to create massive credit, that is money, to support the economy.

Instead those giant banks spend all their muscles engaging of a casino of their own making, in which they make money off each other and a secretive universe of hedge funds and so called “Dark Pools” (more than half the world’s money).

Hollande just nominated Mr. Macron, 36 year old, Economy Minister. Macron is a graduate of ENA who worked as a Finance Inspector, before being employed by the Rothschild Bank for four years. Presumably Macron was using his know-how of the Finance Inspectorate to tell Rothschild how to avoid taxes and prosper. Macron made a huge fortune.

Rothschild had already pulled this trick over a twenty year period in the 1960s and 1970s, when another of its equally ignorant creatures, Pompidou, came to lead France as PM and then President.

The Daily Beast, in a burp of propaganda: …”[Macron] got rich on his wits. He is, by all accounts, brilliant; a dashing, urbane go-getter who exudes charm. A sharp intellectual. A prodigy. He is even a prize-winning classical pianist. The guy’s a winner… Nicknamed “the Mozart of Finance,” Macron spent short but extremely lucrative years as an investment banker at Rothschild Group. His key role in shepherding Nestlé’s $12-billion purchase of Pfizer’s infant-nutrition unit is said to have set Macron up financially for years to come.… ”

Key role? Let me laugh. One of the main reason for acquisitions right and left is so-called inversion, in other words, tax evasion. Sharp wits? No doubt it’s smart to be a crook, when being a creep puts the world at one’s feet.

This all begs the question: how extensive is corruption in the democracies? When all the leaders are bankrolled so extensively by the most powerful, most perverse financial system ever created, is it surprising that the leaders’ decisions favor private banking?

And how come that banks, those daily beasts, have acquired that much power?

Lest Americans congratulate themselves about such things not happening in the USA, let them know that what is going on in the USA is even worse. In the USA many of the tax avoidance schemes which are unlawful in France, are perfectly legal.

In all and any cases, the conclusion is the same: the definition of plutocrats is that they do not pay taxes.

This is exactly what happened with the French Ancient Regime aristocracy. Now top public servants (that is top politicians) are on the take from said plutocrats.

Even the educational system has been thoroughly tweaked: no instruction is ever given revealing the role bankers and plutocrats (most of them US plutocrats) played in the rise, one should even say the creation of Nazism and even World War One.

What remedy is there now? Why not try democracy? Real democracy, not the representative oligarchy we have, which insults us by calling itself democracy.

Direct democracy works in Switzerland (where banks have been reined in better than anywhere else, contrarily to repute). It could be tried in other countries. It is too bad that a call to direct democracy has not been made the main axis of the Scottish Independence referendum.

But it is not too late for more local entities to shake the slavery to extreme finance.

A last hilarious note about Macron. When “Macron” was named finance dictator of France, I could not believe it. Macro, in French “Macron”, was one of Tiberius sidekicks. Macron, a Roman prodigy similar to the French Macron, organized emperor Tiberius’ passing, and nominated Caligula. According to Tacitus and Suetonius, Tiberius was in no hurry to depart this world, and Macron, in the end, smothered the old Princeps below blankets and pillows.

But do not expect any of the French intelligentsia to react to this amusing historical connection: France used to be a place of high esprit and culture, but now it’s fading fast (with the USA) in the PISA OCDE classification of 65 countries. (Latest results: PISA 2012.)

In both the case of France and the USA, it was found that the elites themselves (the top fifth) are sinking fast in their ability to hold a rational discourse in math, science and reading. The differences are not small: Chinese students were found to be three years ahead of their somewhat lamentable Franco-American colleagues.

Moral, and then mental degeneracy has proven a strong force, throughout history. The Greco-Roman empire went down that way. So did the Jin and Song dynasties, let alone the Baghdad Caliphate.

So long live the prodigiously immoral Macron, fit for a brainless age, Caligula should be around the corner.

Patrice Ayme’

Multibrain: Republic, Democracy

July 29, 2014

Some brainiacs such as the philosopher Michel Serres (of “France decapitated”), make a big deal that France is a “Republic”, and the USA a “Democracy”. It’s the sort of mock sophisticated distinction that those who want to look intellectual embrace. Serres has taught in plutocratic universities of the USA, he should know better. Or, maybe, he knows better how to serve his masters than yours truly. The distinction is without merit.

First it blows up the differences between France and the USA. In truth, both Republics are much more similar to each other than they are, to any other regime in the world (including the United Kingdom).

Differently from Rome and Athens, the USA and France were born as entangled republics. Both Republics have recent imitators, namely dozens of modern states.

Second, the main difference between “Republic” and “Democracy”, as it happened 25 centuries ago, was just a matter of language and esthetics. The beauty of how the concept sounded in Greek did not translate in Latin (‘Populus-Imperium” has six syllables).

Athens called itself a “demokratia”, because demokratia was a Greek word. Greek spoke Greek, Romans spoke Latin.

Too Big For Debate Killed Respublica

Too Big For Debate Killed Respublica

But democracy was not exclusively a Greek concept. It was as strong, if not stronger, in Rome.

Indeed, the “rule of the People” is how human societies have always worked best (except during war): distributed intelligence, creating the super-brain effect, from the many brains debating. TheMultibrain effect. Whereas, indeed, I do not believe in the “Multiverse”, the human brain, and, even better, any human society, is a multiverse onto itself.

Democracy allows to tap in this multiverse of the multibrain. Democracy is a multiverse. For real.

So the Romans spoke Latin. They had two words for “power” in the sense of “rule”. “Potestas” for lower magistrates, Imperium” for higher magistrates (Consuls, Proconsuls, Praetors; “Censors”, although higher magistrates, did not have the “Imperium”).

It would have been all too long, thus awkward to make a single word with “populus”, “potestas”, and “imperium”. Thus the romans instead used the Thing Public (Res Publica). Later the Demos-Kratos of the Greeks, Latinized into “democracia”, was used.

But that does not mean the Romans did not practice democracy. They did. Real democracy, that is, direct democracy. In practice, there was little difference between direct democracy as practiced in Athens, and that practiced in Rome.

(But for the fact that Athenian democracy lasted two centuries, and the Roman one, around five. Also, even under the Principate founded by Augustus, many Republican functions kept on going, and it was not clear that the Republic had stopped, as the weird transition between Augustus and Tiberius amply demonstrated.)

The various Roman “Magistrates” were masters of diverse functions, and represented those functions. They implemented People Power, they did not displace it. They did not represent people, just functions.

Rome, or at least the Roman Republic, which lasted five centuries, ignored that oxymoron, “Representative Democracy”. SPQR, the Senate and People of Rome, lasted so long, precisely because the Romans refused to be represented in some theater, by professional liars. (For those who don’t know, oxymoron is Greek for “sharply stupid”.)

Athens’ democracy failed, because, as Demosthenes pointed out, the Greek city-states refused to make the tremendous war that was required to get rid of the fascist plutocrats from Macedonia. In the end the war came to them, and Antipater, one of Philippe’s senior generals, took Greece over thanks to enough torture and execution to terrorize the Greeks into submission (130 years later, the Roman Republic freed Greece, and the legions were then withdrawn).

If it was so good, why did Rome quit Direct Democracy?

I have argued that it was because of the rise of plutocracy. That’s entirely correct, but then the question occurs of what allowed this rise.

I have written detailed essays pointing the finger at the Second Punic War, the rise of the war profiteers, the death, or dilution of the really noble Patrician families’ spirit (whose ancestors had conducted the Roman Revolution in the Sixth Century BCE). I also pointed out to the fact that the Roman Republic became, thanks to that war, around 200 BCE, a global power.

All too many rich, powerful families were then able to do what is now called “inversion”. Namely rule from abroad (where Roman Law did not apply). So they escaped confiscating taxation that was meant, precisely, to decapitate the plutocratic effect.

But there was another pernicious effect of the vastness of the Roman Imperium.

Athens had met it already. In the Athenian Assembly (of the People), important decisions needed a high quorum. That meant distant farmers had to travel to Athens for a few days. That was expensive, so the Athenian Republic paid for distant farmers to come to vote.

The situation was much worse in Rome.

The Athenian City-States ruled Attica, which is about 100 kilometers long. The Athenian Imperium extended at some point to the Black Sea (to insure the wehat supply). Moreover, all Athenain dependencies could be quickly reached by boat.

Not so with Rome. Cities such as Numance (Numentia) sat in the middle of Northern Spain, weeks of travel from the sea.

Rome was physically incapable of maintaining communications fast enough to maintain direct democracy (in any case the old democratic set-up in Rome depended of the detailed status of citizens within “tribes”, and would have had to be severely modified just to extend to Italia).

Very slow communications was the deep down root killer of Roman direct democracy.

We don’t have this excuse. Not anymore.

Quite the opposite. Whereas Rome experienced a loss of opportunity as the empire extended, modern technology, the Internet, offers us the ability to do as the Romans did under the Republic: vote all the time, about anything.

We don’t need no stinking representatives. Freedom is a mouse click away.

Patrice Ayme’