Posts Tagged ‘Alexander’

NAPOLEON: DIRTY & Only Memorable That Way

November 2, 2019

NAPOLEON ENVY & ADMIRATION IS A GRAVE DISEASE THAT NEEDS TREATMENT. Here is some cure against this still rampant affliction:

Napoleon was no Caesar:

To immediately focus away from what is not at issue here, let me remind the reader I am an admirer of Caesar (although aware of Julius’ flaws, including deporting millions, seizing the last free Greek city-state, Marseilles, and exterminating entire cities). The point though is that Caesar lived in the most difficult times, and, although “Dictator For Life” (a stupid, but understandable idea considering the circumstances; he should have put a ten year limit), Caesar had left the Republic intact (and that cost him his life, as he had not measured the full depth of corruption of his opponents).

Napoleon had none of the excuses of Caesar. And none of his achievements. Even as a general, Caesar was vastly superior, tactically and especially strategically.

Although Caesar led a revolution (complete with redistribution of wealth: consider his Agrarian Reform of 59 BCE), Napoleon buried one. Caesar wanted to save the Republic, Napoleon killed it.

***

Why is Napoleon Bonaparte considered a hero?
N
apoleon is admired because most people are tempted to become nasty nuts, and are mesmerized by Napoleon for having done so. That’s the positive side. On the negative side, Napoleon’s admirers are plain ignorant. They attribute to him things he wanted gone, while other things he did, they have no idea.

On one thing they are right:  Napoleon was an authentic hero in combat, on the battlefield (as Caesar, a “savage” fighter, “like a wild beast” was). Napoleon was also an expert in calculus… and geometry (there is such a thing as the intriguing Napoleon’s theorem). 

Could Napoleon have been Caesar? Did Napoleon simply chose to be a cretin? I doubt it. Caesar’s background was unequaled; he was the nephew of seven times Consul, populist and supreme general Marius, savior of Rome. Caesar got the best teachers. His first and last words were in Greek, not Latin. 

In comparison, Napoleon, with due respect to Corsican savages, was just one of them. And it showed.

Napoleon in a nutshell: A grandeur deluded, macho, sex-obsessed, misogynistic, vain-glorious, self-obsessed, tyrannical, cruel, jealous, god-crazed, mass-homicidal greedy mafioso assassin disease ridden revolution diverting slave master… What could have gone wrong?

German philosopher Hegel, a philosopher of history who made some valid points in a sea of massively lethal delusion, was transfixed by the dictator. In a letter from Iena to his friend Niethammer, October 13th, 1806, when he had just finished writing The Phenomenology of Mind : ”I saw the Emperor -this soul of the world- go out from the city to survey his realm; it is a truly wonderful sensation to see such an individual, who, concentrating on one point while seated on a horse, stretches over the world and dominates it.” (Correspondance, T. I, p.114) [1].

History top biologist, Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck handing the book ‘Zoological Philosophy‘ to Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, 1809 (pastel on paper, 1920 by Ezuchevsky, Mikhail Dmitrievich (1880-1928); 32.5×24.5 cm; State Darwin Museum, Moscow; The French “naturalist historian” Lamarck (1744-1829) published ‘Philosophie zoologique‘ in 1809, in which he outlined the theory of evolution and in particular the smart mechanism now known as Lamarckism (soon to be proven right). [Russian, out of copyright. Soviets were favorable to Lamarckism, for obvious reasons, just as Napoleon had excellent reasons to hate it, preferring Cuvier’s catastrophism… Both Lamarck and Cuvier were right… ]

How Hegel Justified Hitler:

Hegel explains quite a bit the apparition of the likes of Bismarck, and, worse, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Hitler. For Hegel, Napoleon is a hero because he knows “what is necessary and what to do when the time comes” (Lectures, p.35). The historical heroes, including Napoleon, know ”the truth of their times and their worlds because they are aware of the historical necessity : that is why, like Alexander and Caesar, Napoleon is a wise man because he knows the nature of his era.

Well, actually Caesar is one thing, Alexander, another. Caesar found a collapsing Republic, infused with righteous plutocrats, thoroughly corrupt at a lethal level (Cassius and Brutus, the two  main Caesar assassins, committed serious, even attempted murderous crimes against the Greeks… and that was, by sheer greed, although they were among the wealthiest men in the Republic, so powerful, their corruption was not seriously prosecuted).

Alexander, instead, found a Republic and Direct Democracy, Athens, still recovering from her near-death experience of the Peloponnese War. Alexander actually visited, as the world’s most famous tourist. The truth of the times was that Athens was the treasure. Had he really embraced progress, and the cutting edge of civilization, Alexander would have become Athens’ main weapon. Instead, Alexander adopted an ambiguous role… Which enabled Antipater, Alexander’s senior and successor, to defeat Athens and turned her into a… plutocracy. Also Alexander annihilated Thebes, and Tyre, crimes of the sort not even Hitler committed. Tyre was at the origin of the entire Greek civilization: that’s where Europe came from, or, at least, the alphabet.

For Hegel, annihilating cities such as Thebes, Tyre was a “historical necessity” which made Alexander a hero. Is there anybody reading this who still ponders why Hitler appeared where he did, speaking the same language? How come such a little jerk is viewed as a great philosopher?

Following Hegel like the sheep the shepherd to the slaughterhouse, some say Napoleon made France into a great power. False, even ridiculous, quite the opposite. It’s the Republic which won the minds, and it is the Republic which is still winning them, not the Corsican mafioso. 

Watch Brexit for further edification: in the present UK electoral campaign, all parties are running on populism, that is, Republicanism

***

France had been the superpower of Europe, nearly since the early Franks: 

Roman emperor Julian was elected Augustus by the Parisians in 360 CE (and tried to stem the slide of the empire into superstition). 

Over the next 800 years, the Franks would conquer what they called Europe, from Scotland to Sicily and from the Spanish March to Poland. The Viking even got started after the Franks gave an ultimatum to Denmark (about recovering fleeing, plotting Anglo-Saxons).

One could even say that the Franks, a confederation of Romanophile Germans were created around principles which went beyond what Rome was capable of. So no wonder they conquered Europe, succeeding where the Romans had crucially failed, with the worst consequences for the empire (maybe because conspirators assassinated Caesar five years early)

***

Napoleone di Buonaparte, from artillery officer to genius general: 

The future dictator of France didn’t learn to speak their language until he was sent to boarding school at the age of 9. It was not his second language, but his third. Napoleon, that little plutocrat from Corsica, was recognized as noble by the plutocratic Ancient Regime, so he was admitted to artillery (boarding) school (after passing an exam). Bonaparte came out an officer, and a good one: he triumphed at the siege of Toulon, which was occupied by the plutocratic, invading British. Napoleon’s attack plan worked perfectly, and the Brits, finding themselves under French guns, had to flee, giving up on their invasion of France from the south. 

Severely wounded during the Toulon assault, Napoleon was promoted from captain directly to general. Soon, the republican Directoire wisely came to hate Napoleon, and sent it to Egypt, hoping he would die there. After a lunatic and mass murdering campaign, Napoleon couldn’t take an Ottoman fort full of ammunition at Saint Jean d’Acre, in his little completely demented plan to take over the entire Ottoman empire with his small army cut from its bases petered out, and he had to flee. On the positive side, he had freed Egypt from the Ottomans, and offered it to the United Kingdom…

***

The legal system set-up by Napoleon was extremely misogynistic. He cracked a joke about it: women had all the power already, so his legal code removed all their rights. This was all the more remarkable as women played a central role in the Revolution and nearly got the right to vote. But Napoleon loved to enslave: he actually re-established slavery, which the Revolution had outlawed.

There is no doubt Napoleon was physically courageous, behaving as a hero many times, in many ways. But one can find plenty of heroes, in the sense of risking one’s life or limb, with many abominable causes.

Much is made of Napoleon’s military genius. However, other French revolutionary generals won great battles before him. A lot of these battles were won from the enthusiasm of the French revolutionary draftees, and also the fact that France had the best engineering, in particular the best explosives. The Polytechnique School, a branch of the military was created during the Revolution just to make sure French military tech was superior.

 

The enormous achievements of the French Revolution (the basis of modern egalitarian law, and UN Charter) are often considered to be due to Napoleon, by the ignorant. For example, on 7 April 1795 the metric system was formally defined in French law: nothing to do with Napoleon. Actually Napoleon hijacked the Revolution, and greatly demolished it, in fact and spirit. Instead of letting Europe unite as a Republic, he grabbed it as a plutocrat, and pressed it like a lemon.

The fact so many admire Napoleon, from Hegel, to all too many people around the planet, and implicitly, the structure of the French state (widely copied worldwide, even by the USA) is a serious problem. Indeed, it’s a glorification of fascism and the Dark Side. 

***

Why Napoleon hated evolution: because, by removing “God”, evolution made him responsible for his abominable deeds, his despicable character, and childish impulses:

Lamarck, by then immensely prestigious, offered to the self-declared emperor one of his books on evolution. Napoleon made the research professor who discovered evolution, cry. No doubt Lamarck cried seeing the world at the feet of such an unwise, primitive maniac. Napoleon suggested, even with his favorite Laplace, that the universe had been created by “God”,no doubt to justify his own primitivism: Napoleon’s crude behavior was an act of god, Napoleon was not truly responsible. Not really Napoleon’s fault that he had to kill innocent people he disliked.

Lamarck’s suggested that complexity and the striving for solutions drove evolution. In other words, intelligence drove the universe, not the happenstance of god, and thus, as Napoleon invaded Spain and caused havoc there, and thus, as Napoleon invaded Spain and caused havoc there, Napoleon, not “God”, was responsible for the atrocities in the Iberian peninsula. Spain was among other places that Napoleon, in the guise of propagating the Republican revolution, peppered, as the rest of Europe with his relatives made into the local tyrants…

This being said, the conflict between Napoleon and Lamarck was complicated… And at a very high level of mental debate: Napoleon sided with Lamarck’s deadly enemy Cuvier, himself a top evolutionist, but who believed in evolution generated by catastrophes (like the one which destroyed the dinosaurs). Cuvier has certainly been proven right, yet Lamarck, of course is a towering giant whose time is yet to fully come (Quantum Mechanics makes evolution intelligent, I reckon…) 

***

Come general, the affair is over, we have lost the day,” Napoleon told one of his officers. “Let us be off.” The day was June 18, 1815. Around 8 p.m., the emperor of France knew he had been decisively defeated at a northern French village called Waterloo, and he wanted to escape from his enemies, some of whom—such as the Prussians—had sworn to execute him (the Prussians had been keen to execute the French since 1792…). By 5 a.m. the next day, they stopped by a fire some soldiers had made in a meadow. As Napoleon warmed himself he said to one of his generals, “Eh bien, monsieur, we have done a fine thing.” Extraordinary sangfroid that even then, in the midst of catastrophe, Napoleon was able to joke. However, it was not funny: thanks, in great part, to his antics, racism and oppression were to rule over central Europe, masterminded by Prussia. And British plutocracy was on a roll, and would stay that way for another 204 years (and counting).

What?

***

Like Augustus in Rome, Napoleon had not fully defeated the Republic; instead both used the Republic as leverage. As with Augustus, that was good for the tyrant, but it wore out the Republic:

In 1815, after Napoleon, and thus French Republicanism defeat, racism, anti-Judaism, oppression, occupation of Eastern Europe by Prussia and company was reestablished. 

Let me quote from: “Why We’d Be Better Off if Napoleon Never Lost at Waterloo

On the bicentennial of the most famous battle in world history, a distinguished historian looks at what could have been. 

If Napoleon had remained emperor of France for the six years remaining in his natural life, European civilization would have benefited inestimably. The reactionary Holy Alliance of Russia, Prussia and Austria would not have been able to crush liberal constitutionalist movements in Spain, Greece, Eastern Europe and elsewhere; pressure to join France in abolishing slavery in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean would have grown; the benefits of meritocracy over feudalism would have had time to become more widely appreciated; Jews would not have been forced back into their ghettos in the Papal States and made to wear the yellow star again; encouragement of the arts and sciences would have been better understood and copied; and the plans to rebuild Paris would have been implemented, making it the most gorgeous city in the world.

Napoleon deserved to lose Waterloo, and Wellington to win it, but the essential point in this bicentenary year is that the epic battle did not need to be fought—and the world would have been better off if it hadn’t been.[2]

Yes, but plutocracy would have suffered, and plutocrats don’t like that, do they? if nothing else, their perverse admiration for Napoleon rested on the evidence that Napoleon was the best weapon against the Republican Revolution. There is evidence that, starting in 1812, with the Russian campaign, Napoleon military genius deserted him. In 1812, the Grande Armee, more than 600,000 strong, full of idealistic young Germans and Poles, was poorly managed: too many stupid, frontal battles (instead of the subtle victories an outmanned Caesar had no problem producing). Moreover, the Grand Army had typhus, soldiers were dying like flies, and the campaign should have been delayed. 

At Waterloo, Napoleon split stupidly the French army, and then committed a long succession of mistakes, including the charge of the French horse at the wrong moment, not ordered by him, and waiting for general Crouchy, at the risk of getting the Prussian army instead (as happened). In spite of its remaining revolutionary zeal which had been Napoleon’s not so secret fuel, this was too much for the French veterans.

And why did Napoleon attack the Czar? Long story. And the Czar, allied to perfidious Albion, managed a country with awful serfdom, close to slavery without the possibility of being sold. 

The basic irony, though, is that Napoleon, following earlier revolutionaries, wanted to unite Europe. The philosopher proximally culprit of the French Revolution, personal enemy of Napoleon, Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade, had warned them all: don’t try to impose the Republic upon Europe. Fight mostly defensely. Revolution, the Republic, would come all over in time. The revolutionaries didn’t obey Sade. Napoleon sent Sade to a mental asylum. 

However Sade was right: the Republican revolution would self-propagate. It’s now Great British plutocracy itself which is self-imploding, and Europe can be united under Republican, that is French, principles, all over. 

So, now, for the case of Russia… 

Meanwhile, please remember: Napoleon is not even worth forgetting.

Patrice Ayme

***

***

[1]  Hegel in Elements of the Philosophy of Right (& 348) : ” At the forefront of all actions, hence of historical actions, stand individuals or subjectivities which effectively cause the substantial reality to occur. ” In Lectures on the Philosophy of History, a few years later, Hegel teaches that historical heroes ” are practical-minded men. ” (p.35). Napoleon, like Alexander and Caesar, is thus a man of action : he is not what he thinks, neither what he hides, but what he does. In The Phenomenology of Mind, he wrote: ” The real being of man lies rather in his deed; it is in this deed that individuality is effective… the individual is what this deed is. ” (p.231).

You are what you do, not what you eat? Neither: historical heroes act according to what they feel and what they think, most of it, imprinted into them as children: Alexander’s was the exact prolongation of his father Philippe, just even more nutty (bold). Caesar was essentially Marius reborn, just newer and better… And Napoleon was just according to his formation: a classical glorified island bandit, from an island famous for its piracy… by comparison, a young Caesar was captured and held hostage by pirates allied to Mithridates (and Roman plutocrats). After a second kidnapping, Caesar, held for 38 days, promised to his captors that he would seem them crucified, and he did

Long after his defeat, Hegel admired in Napoleon the founder of the modern State. In Lectures on the Philosophy of History, Hegel relates and then justifies the coup of Brumaire, 18th. : “Again arises a government organized like the old one ; but the leader and monarch is now a changeable Directoire of five people forming undoubtedly a moral, but not individual, unity. Mistrust was prevailing among them as well and the government was in the hands of the legislative assemblies. It had therefore the same fatal destiny, because the absolute need of a governmental power had made itself felt. Napoleon reinstated it under the form of military power and then placed himself again at the head of the State as a source of individual will ; he knew how to govern and was soon done with the internal. ” (p.342).
Napoleon is thus, to Hegel, the founder of the modern State because its principle is henceforth not the will of all, not the will of a few but the will of the Prince. There is no difference with, say, Alexander the Great, Augustus, Diocletian, Clovis, Philippe Le Bel, Louis XI, Henry VIII, Louis XIV, so Hegel is either an idiot, or a clever merchant who knew all to little history to pretend teaching it, except to the deeply ignorant.

***

[2] This is only a very small list of the satanic (Pluto!) ways which arose after Napoleon’s defeat, and thus the Republican Revolution coup d’arret. Jews were racially tortured all over Europe (except France, Britain) after Napoleon/French revolution’s, defeat. As I said, Eastern Europe would not be freed until after the Versailles Treaty of 1919… And the 1914-1945 war can be seen as Waterloo’s revenge, part one. Part two is Brexit.

 

 

 

WHY & HOW CIVILIZATION COLLAPSE (Part 1): Alexander, Greeks, Romans, Franks, Vikings, Macron, Mali

July 2, 2017

WHY DO CIVILIZATIONS “COLLAPSE”?

(I wrote “collapse”, not collapse, because the two most important civilizations, the Greco-Roman-Indo-European and the Chinese did NOT fully collapse, ever, although they partly collapsed spectacularly: the Indus (“Harappan”) civilization’s collapse through aridification being one example!)

Many have tried to say something on this subject, but their knowledge of Deep History was superficial, and Political Correctness prevented them to think in full. They didn’t do as good a job as the British historian Edward Gibbon, in his “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, published 241 years ago, by an extremely long shot. Gibbon understood the importance of system of thoughts. To understand history, one had to understand the importance of system of moods. Submissive mentalities such as Confucianism and Islamism dug their own graves. All too many success authors recently, did the same, by not understanding by not admitting that mindsets and metaphysics rule civilizations.

Why have Western Civilization and China not collapsed? Well, China was both very incompetent and very lucky. Intellectually incompetent, in no small part, because it was intellectually isolated (not anymore!) Lucky, because savages from north of the Great Wall ruled China for most of last millenium, and still, Chinese civilization didn’t collapse, , thanks to it high degree of intellect, also known as civilization… Although it was a close call (some of Genghis Khan’s generals proposed to annihilate China).

Western Civilization, although messier, and more aggressive, and because it was messier, and more aggressive, was smarter than China, and stayed univaded for more than a millennium, that’s the NON Politically Correct revelation which nobody wants to draw: non-collapse is all about intelligence… And intelligence arises from non PC circumstances and behaviors.

Europe got smarter in great part because, Europe, the labyrinthine extremity of Eurasia, is less isolated than China: Europe is smack dab in the Middle Earth. Thus Europe had the opportunity to learn much more history than China, isolated by a whole array of giant mountain ranges and deserts. Those societies which learned history better did better. For example, Europe learned in various ways why its ancestors, the Sumerian cities, Egypt, Babylon, Tyr, flooded, dried up, became unrecognizable after invasions, degenerated into quasi-oblivion, were completely annihilated (Hittites, Phrygia, Assyria, Tyr, Carthage), or became irrelevant (Eastern Roman empire, and all parts of the Roman empire conquered by the Islamists and not wrestled back).

This continual learning was applied live, as events unfolded, by the master leaders. Alexander had a deep appreciation of the higher principles which made a highest civilization tick: he was tolerant and forgiving, qualities that Julius Caesar, who had studied Alexander’s life extensively, copied to excess! Julian would also sin in the same exact superior way. Clovis didn’t study the Greeks to the extent Caesar and Julian had,  yet he expressed his determination to use force to rewrite the fundamentals of Christianism, upside down (keep the good, throw away the bad!) Charlemagne took himself for a reincarnation of King David, and operated accordingly. Hence the Romans, when they took control of Hellas were careful not to annihilate their cultural ancestors and superiors, the Greeks. Instead, they just put their foot on them, and the Greeks despised them back (until they regained control, 800 years later).

***

There Is Just One Master REASON FOR THE COLLAPSE OF THE ROMAN STATE: OLIGARCHY!

And the dementia it both incarnates, and brings forth. More than two hundred (200) reasons have been evoked to explain the collapse of the Roman State. I have basically just one, but it’s a master reason which, modulo long, devious logical chains and happenstance, implies and causes the other 200 reasons. That master reason’s main effect was to make the Roman State, and the Roman society, completely senile (the details are fascinating: Octavian, aka “Caesar” and aka “Augustus” allied himself to the rebellious army, and then the Plebs to impose his tyranny ever more… in the situation of another revolution gone amok).

And we are repeating it now, the Roman drift towards tyrannical idiocy, by letting just a few do all the thinking, supposing they can think (and not just follow a public opinion which has itself been informed by plutocratic media), and having just a few do all the ordering around.

The senile, superstitious Roman empire, and its well-meaning, yet evil leaders, and founding church fathers, was wiped out, or more exactly shredded, and replaced by the frankly philosophically brutal Franks. However, as we will see, similarly to the Yuans, or the Romans of the morbid Republic, or the Romans of the late empire, by the Ninth Century, the Franks lost track of whom the Barbarians to be fought were. They forgot that smashing Barbarians was number one top priority.

Just like now.

And the reason for forgetting the evil of Barbarians is that we are led by an oligarchy who know all too well it’s evil (Bill Clinton surprised me by admitting that said oligarchy was nothing if it didn’t do good, at the Kohl funeral in the European Parliament; I guess he was burying himself alive? I noticed the absence of Obama, by the way…) Oligarchies are always anxious to entertain Barbarians even more abominable than it is. So that they shine, and are excused, relatively speaking.

We are indeed going through a similar process right now.  I watched ex-Kanzler Helmut Kohl funeral ceremony at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Kohl unified Germany, held hands with the French president and consented to the French idea of the common currency (“Euro”). A great European, who had learned his fundamental lesson among the ruins of the 1000 Year Fascist-Racist Nationalist-Socialist Reich, to which the French Republic had declared war, six years prior.

Superficially it was a great Franco-German European get-together. What I saw was an assembly of potentates, some notoriously corrupt, kissy kissy with each other. Kanzlerin Merkel and French President Macron talked well. However: Words are empty at best, full of poison, at worst, when thought by only a few, they feed too much power in too few hands.

Some will object. They will say the obvious, thinking they are very smart when charging windmills. They will smirk, not knowing their prove the point they want to deride.

***

“REPRESENTATIVE” DEMOCRACY IS NOT DEMOCRACY:

One guy in Strasbourg was Russian Prime Minister Medvedev. He is apparently nearly as wealthy as Bill Clinton. Not bad for a guy who was only always in government jobs. Even when they are not wealthy in properties, those oligarchs who have all the power, are wealthy in outrageous power, and we don’t have the means to talk back (several major media in the USA and the UK ban me, for example, as they are seemingly terrified that their readers would read me in a comment… And then realize I am more free, better informed, and all together more interesting).

Representative “democracy” is all about a few elected individuals taking all the decisions. Right. That’s exactly how and why Rome went down. Accepting the Earthly rule of just a few individuals is accepting the rule of a few minds, unexamined. It is accepting the rule of idiocy. The pure Republic was rather a direct democracy; the impure Republic which Augustus set-up was rather a fascist dictatorship. The pure Republic established the empire, and dreamed to extend over the whole planet! It could, and would, have done it, had it found a way to preserve direct democracy, globally. That was, on paper, easy: to conquer the world, Rome just had to globalize the anti-plutocracy mindset! That would have required to refurbish the absolute legal limit on wealth, and also to end slavery (the Franks would do the latter; absolute limit on wealth was less crucial with the Franks because of fair inheritance laws).

Rome all the way to India, China, reaching the Pacific? It didn’t happen because Roman direct democracy collapsed in a plutocratic crisis.

***

Notice that, most the Western Mediterranean, is divided between the Carthaginian empire and the Marseilles empire. Rome is still tiny. The logical thing to do was for Alexander to conquer all of Arabia (the south had agriculture). He intended to do just that, before taking care of Rome and Carthage (not Marseilles, or Magna Grecia in south Italy, both of which were Greek). However Alexander died at 32, while preparing the mixed sea-land invasion of Arabia. Also notice the hole in the middle, uncolored in purple: this represents Athens and her allies, which Alexander did not force to submit. The fiend Antipater, older than Alexander by half a century did, though, after he probably had the Alexander poisoned! The real Game of Throne is so complex, we don’t know yet where it started, nor how it will end…

ALEXANDER, HALF CIVILIZED, HALF GENIUS, CUT SHORT:

Conquering the was tried by Alexander the Great first, but his Greek and Macedonian army longed for home, and found that India was much more powerful militarily than expected. Indians could, and were defeated, but clearly the resources were too stretched out. On his way back, Alexander, infuriated with his men, led the army through the terrible, absolute deserts of Southern Iran, suffering enormous losses. Back in Babylon, Alexander apparently decided to get more organized, conquering first all of Arabia. Then he would turn to the west, and take care of Carthage and Rome.

Then Alexander listened to his mom, the redoubtable Olympia, a royal from a kingdom west of Macedonia, whom his father Philippe had divorced to marry a youngster with whom he had an infant son. Alexander didn’t have to kill his father himself, the chief of the security detail did , and before you know it, Alexander was heading east at the head of the army his father had prepared to deal with Persia’s Achaemenid plutocracy. Greek valor, Macedonian horse, and Alexander’s military genius did the rest. In a matter of years, Alexander had created a hybrid empire with the locals. The elites would talk Greek for centuries, from Central Asia to India.

Olympia wrote to Alexander that Antipater, the most important general of Philippe, was plotting against him. Alexander ordered Antipater to come to Babylon, from Greece. Antipater refused. Next thing, Alexander is dying mysteriously. His closest helper was Antipater’s youngest son. Many (including myself) feel that it is likely that Alexander was poisoned under Antipater’s orders.

Antipater then went to destroy Athens’ direct democracy (everybody debate and vote on all important decisions), replacing it by a plutocracy (only those who are rich enough vote, and it’s to approve what the bosses have determined is to be done).

Notice that Alexander had left Athenian direct democracy alone (and Athens had not rebelled against Alexander, but did, against Antipater).

This is the problem with monarchy, or oligarchy: only a few take the decisions. If those few are excellent and not in error, it works great. But a few minds can’t get it right all the time, however smart.

***

HOW THE RENOVATED ROMAN EMPIRE DISINTEGRATED:

An example of this ineptitude of monarchy, or oligarchy, with only a few minds thinking, is provided by Charlemagne. Charlemagne had pretty much a no-fault reign (however his gift of a large estate to the Pope would give the fascist theocrats a power base, for many centuries to come, enabling them to devastate much of Europe with their ludicrous superstition).

However, when advanced in years, Charlemagne saw the first Viking raids. He didn’t know what to do. Neither did his successors, his son and grandsons. Worse: his grandsons fought each other for control (of pieces) of the empire. That was ridiculous, all the more as Charlemagne had a potential Navy, and certainly expertise, from the Venetian Republic, a subsidiary, “march” state.

The Franks should have known what to do with the Viking raiders: after all, the Franks themselves started their career, so to speak, raiding up rivers in Hispania and Gallia, more than five centuries before the Viking imitated them!

What Charlemagne would have done, had he been a young man, and had he thought correctly, was to set-up a Navy, and go to colonize the Scandinavians. Instead, the Vikings made hundreds of major raids, ravaging about a third of “Renovated Roman Empire” before they were finally subdued, through a combination of force and civilizational persuasion.

Notice that the Franco-Romans, when they went on to (re)conquer Britannia, two centuries later, put an end to the Viking kingdoms there. William the Conqueror made his military force irresistible, by advancing democracy in England (the Franks outlawed slavery, and established a sort of monarchy-of-the-people).

By the Eleventh Century, the Franks knew all too well that wild Vikings had to be subdued. But, in 800 CE, they didn’t take the Viking seriously. And then the Viking started first by mostly raiding rich churches, that didn’t bother the half-Pagan Franks too much: the Franks liked to use the Roman Catholic churches as libraries and secular schools, but they weren’t feeling the pain of churches’ treasures being carted away… By 888 CE, when the emperor was deposed for paying the Barbarians, that mood had changed!

***

NINTH CENTURY & GREEK LESSONS ARE MOST INSTRUCTIVE TODAY:

Some will scoff: why should they care about all these Greeks, Romans, Franks, Viking and Renovated Romans?

Because we are encountering the same sort of situation today.

The Renovated Roman Empire (“Carolingians as conventional historians have it) had to search, attack and destroy Scandinavian power, the “Fair” (Norway) and “Dark” (Denmark) Vikings. The Vikings had the same ideology: basically they saw easy pickings among the “Renovated Romans”, the world’s richest empire. Similarly the refugees nowadays see easy pickings in Europe. Just show up, get welfare.

A refugee from the wastes out there, if she can sneak into France, say on a tourist visa, can  have a child, for free: the French state will pay for everything. Whereas a French citizen from overseas (there are more than three millions) will go to France, have a child, and pay full fare.

Fine, some will say. But then there is this massive refugee crisis, millions of refugees, thousands dying a month, vaguely reminiscent of when all the Vikings, Muslims, Magyar, Avars, wanted to grab a piece of Europe for free. They were able to stay in peace after they changed their ideology.

However, the Ninth Century was an apocalypse for the Renovated Roman citizens living in West Francia (pretty much today’s France, Benelux, and Western Germany. It got so bad, that the citizens lost all respect for the authorities.

The last overall Renovated Roman emperor,  Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Fat, was reproached his inaction against the Viking: asked by We The People, to free Europe’s capital, Paris, from the Viking. Paris had been the de facto capital of Francia since the army there elected Julian The Apostate Augustus, in the Fourth Century.

Charles, great grandson of Charles I (Carlus Magnus, Charlemagne) chose to buy off the Vikings, instead of massacring them into submission (the proper course of action). As a result, the Vikings were right back. Again and again.

Charles III actually paid  the Vikings to attack Burgundy (then in revolt). He subsequently failed to deal with revolts in Swabia, Saxony, Thuringia, Franconia, and Bavaria. The nobles of the Empire deposed Charles the Fat  in 887, and he died two months later in 888. He was the last single head of the united Renovated Roman Empire (decomposing West Francia went her own way).

An anti-Viking superhero, who fought in the frontlines, close and personal, Odo, Count of Paris, nominally succeeded the deposed Charles III as king of West Francia (Neustria, Austrasia, etc.). I say nominally, because, locally, people have had enough of global governance. Imagine Brexit to the power six (2^6 = 64…)

Ultimately, as I said, a combination of military force and force of civilization, would make the Vikings submit (they got to stay in the places they had so well depopulated).

However the population of West Francia had lost all respect for the capacity of imperial authorities to protect them. Local power was seen the best protector of We The People. West Francia (the western two-thirds of present day France, and the Benelux) exploded into 60 different states (the same number of states which Julius Caesar had found there, a millennium earlier!).

***

IT LOOKS AS IF MACRON LEARNED DEEP LESSONS FROM  EUROPEAN HISTORY:

Emmanuel Macron, the latest elected French king, is going around, speaking eloquently of a “Europe which protects”. Ah, yes. High time. It’s not 888 CE anymore?

Macron has learned the right lesson from the debacle of the Ninth Century: the “Renovated Roman Empire”, after 800 CE, made a terrible job at protecting its citizenry. Armies were more used to see who was top dog among the Franks than to fight the invaders (one of these battles among siblings, Fontenoy, killed more than 50,000 of the best Frankish warriors, in a few hours in 841 CE).

So what to do now? The Barbarians are at the gates, and breaching through. Europe paid the Muslim potentate, the Sultan Erdogan, billions, to keep the Barbarians away and out. The Roman empire used exactly the same method for decades, before it failed spectacularly. It had only made the Barbarians more barbaric and more demanding, and more powerful.

The way to handle the Barbarians is to go out, and destroy whatever makes them so barbaric. When Rome had its terminal refugee crisis, from too many Goths at the gates, Christianized Rome was welcoming, and thus found itself at war on its own territory. Instead, Rome should have projected force outside, and help the Germans, and Scythians, outside, against the Huns.

Right after his election, king Macron went to Mali, a country twice the size of France, where France wages war against the Barbarians. And now the king has gone there again. Good. This is the way to do it. Project force. China was doing best when projecting force outside, it’s not just a European thing. As China found out, not projecting force can result in having can result in a situation where the whim of one man could have annihilated the entire Chinese population, the entire Chinese civilization, language, everything Chinese.

However Genghis Khan was intelligent enough to have a high opinion of civilization. He brushed off the proposal of his generals to exterminate China, turn it into a steppe.

Wage war outside, exterminate the Barbarians. Let the ignorant call that “colonialism”. History knows better, they don’t.

Patrice Ayme’

Beyond Cynicism, Reason

October 27, 2015

We have a lot to learn from the history of ideas and moods in Greco-Roman antiquity, and how it was entangled with the history of battles, empires, and the near destruction of civilization. We are clearly in a similar scheme. Except now it’s the biosphere itself, not just civilization, which is in peril. So let’s have no pity for our so-called “leaders”, and those who admire them.

In that light, Diogenes and the mental topology around him ought to be contemplated. The founding cynic Diogenes of Sinope, was of the opinion that people ought to behave more like dogs (or, even, mice). To this, I would add baboons. Understand what moves a baboon, shine a light on the human soul.

In particular, Diogenes’ followers would have sex in public. This was viewed as a much ridiculed oddity at the time. But Diogenes persisted loud and clear, even in the marketplace, responding: “he wished it were as easy to relieve hunger by rubbing an empty stomach” (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Book 6, Chapter 46).

Diogenes believed that each individual would either be guided by reason, or, like a domesticated animal, she would be led by a leash. Diogenes, did not despise knowledge per se, but spited pretensions to knowledge which serve only domestication. He had the intuition that the logic of behavior (human and animal) was the master wisdom. And more can be said. Why don’t human beings poop in public? (Aside from “Sun King” Louis XIV, but he was certainly not human.)

A dog has got to do what a dog has got to do. However, the point of human, is that human does not have to do what a dog has got to do. A human ought not to do what a human ought to do: this is the difference with dogs. We are free, free to go against the grain, and that’s all the freedom we have, as free human beings.

Diogenes was labeled mad for acting against convention to the extent he did (allegedly by Plato). To this, Diogenes retorted that conventions often lacked reason: “Most people, are so nearly mad that a finger makes all the difference. For if you go along with your middle finger stretched out, someone will think you mad, but, if it’s the little finger, he will not think so” (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Book 6, Chapter 35).

For Diogenes, reason clearly plays the central role. There is a report that Diogenes “would continually say that for the conduct of life we need the right reason or a halter”.  (Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Book 6, Chapter 24). A halter is something one puts around the head of a dog or horse to lead them around. So either the truth will make you free, or you are just cattle. Cattle ready to trample over civilization.

Diogenes’ influence was deep. He started a line of argument which denied motion (it evolved into Zeno’s paradoxes which have caught a second wind with Quantum Physics; Zeno founded the philosophical school known as Stoicism; probably being a stoic was best when subjugated by the “Hellenistic Kingdoms”, the dictatorship Antipater imposed by naval battle).

Diogenes was a harsh critic of Plato, disparaging Plato’s metaphysics and breaking away from theoretical ethics which only justified oligarchy.

“Plato had defined the human being as an animal, biped and featherless, and was applauded. Diogenes plucked a fowl and brought it into the lecture-room with the words, ‘Here is Plato’s human being.’ In consequence of which there was added to the definition, ‘having broad nails’” (LOEP, chap 40).

Diogenes insisted that true human beings lived in accordance with nature. He lit a candle in broad daylight, and proclaimed he was searching for a human being, as so few lived in accordance with nature. Life in accordance with nature made human beings fully rational.

This was indeed true. Plato the chicken let to Aristotle, who was worse: that famed philosopher played a direct role in the destruction of civilization, and why there are still “royals” in England, leading, at least symbolically, the worldwide plutocratic charade.

That Diogenes had an anti-plutocratic bend is clear. He was captured at some  point by pirates (long story), and ended his life in Corinth. Alexander so-called the Great, was thrilled to meet the famous philosopher. The thinker was basking in the sun. ‘Could I do anything for you’, asked Alexander. Diogenes replied to the exterminator of cities and states alike: “You could stand out of my sun”.

Not easily defeated, Alexander tried the rejoinder: “Were I not Alexander, I wish I could be Diogenes”. In answer, Diogenes stared at a pile of bones: “I am looking for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave.”

You have to understand that this was the turning point of civilization in Greco-Roman antiquity: Greek philosophy, at its sharpest, was meeting the fascists, wealthy savage gangsters from the north, the Macedonians, rich from horses and gold mines. Macedonia was the world’s foremost sophisticated military.

Yet, the Greeks, led by Athens and Corinth, had the brains. Alexander, taught by Aristotle, was not too sure where he was standing. In the east was monstrous Persia, a hyperpower made of an archipelago of plutocracies (satrapies).

Alexander was hesitant about which course to follow, clearly. Alexander respected demographically vanishing Sparta, and fully resurgent Athens. Yet he annihilated Thebes (a move that would have helped Athens, actually, had a mild Alexander stuck around). Alexander went on to destroy Persia. He gave up on his attempt to reach the Pacific, after he discovered that India’s kingdoms could defend themselves.

Alexander then died, all too soon (a conquest of Arabia was being prepared). Alexander was perhaps assassinated by Antipater, Aristotle’s estate executor. Antipater, senior even to Alexander, certainly replaced Alexander and encouraged by Aristotle, destroyed Athenian democracy, replacing it by a plutocracy (only the rich could vote).

Antipater and the world Aristotle created, that of monarchies, thereafter ruled for around two millennia (although the Franks allowed small republics here and there, starting with Venice, then Firenze, Genoa, Switzerland, Escartons, Netherlands, etc., the first big break was the French Republic, a full acknowledgment that the Roman Republic was right all along).

Monarchies make no sense: if anything, being just the brain of one, they are dumb and weak against democracies (as the Swiss Canton demonstrated when they rebelled against the (Germanized)Roman empire ). So, for peoples to accept to be subjugated by individuals and their families, one has to make them stupid.

According to Diogenes, nature makes intelligent.

Thus, to reign monarchs (the Roman emperors in this case) had to fight nature and its gods. Switching to the fascist, cruel, demented and jealous Christian god was not enough. One had also to destroy the interface with nature, the body. Making it gross and smelly, reeked with lice and infections, was a good start.

In the fullness of time, the Catholics decided that anything having to do with the body was dirty. Some woman became a saint just because she never washed, and waited for her clothes to rot of as she piled more clothes on top. Her face was black with grime: she was lauded for that.

The Catholics were after the entire mood of the Greco-Roman civilization, and kept at it for more than eleven centuries: when they took the last Muslim kingdom in Grenada, their very fascist, cruel and demented majesties, Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon, inventors of the Inquisition in Spain, closed all the 2,000 or so baths therein (disclaimer: an ancestor was ennobled by the Aragon king, 12 centuries ago).

So Diogenes was right: if one wants unreason, behaving unnaturally is a good start.

But now let’s go further than Diogenes: what is the interest of a sharp dichotomy between the public and private spheres? It enforces a morality, a sort of hygiene: just as it is good to wash one hands. Recent studies show that just washing hands would cut down child mortality by 40%, in the most destitute countries  (diarrhea kills more children than all other diseases combined). Symbolically, preserving a private sphere is a king of conceptual washing: it keeps some bodily functions and activities out of the public morality, thus segregates and hence weakens their influence, allowing for a more elevated society, let alone diarrhea free..

Any question?

Patrice Ayme’

 

 

When Dog Turned Into God

December 18, 2014

We have a striking historical case of someone, whom history ought to treat as a dog, and who was famously told he was a dog (but in a way too sophisticated for him to understand), who later came to consider himself as a god.

Alexander, son of Philippe, visited Diogenes. He stood in front of Diogenes’ barrel, and told him he would do for him whatever he wanted. Great leaders like to pose as helpful, and open minded.

Diogenes told him to stop making a shadow.

These were the times when a shadow was been thrown over all of civilization.

In the USA, Church And State Are Not Separated. Anymore.

In the USA, Church And State Are Not Separated. Anymore.

A correct trajectory is one according to the Principle of Least Action. Correct thinking may be the one achieving the most, while supposing the least.

Cynics know the theists have a dog in the fight, and his name, or that of his Representative, Messenger, Archangel, Son, Demiurge, or whatever, is Sacrosanct. Sacrosanct is a concept coming from Republican Rome: Tribunes were sacrosanct: attacking them physically meant death.

Cynics know theists insist upon a particular name, because they want to make their champions more respected and powerful than anybody else. Alexander went back east where Orientalism thrived. Alexander saw his blood flow. He wondered: “Is that the blood of a God?” His fellow Macedonians, and a few Greeks, companion in arms, laughed.

In the Orient, Godism was strong (sorry, let’s be polite with those who come from the fanum, the temple: Theism). Because, in a Hydraulic Dictatorship, you need a great dictator, and thus a great god created in His image, thus demonstrating that the dictatorship on the ground is ordained by the dictatorship in heavens.

The original cynicism was a reaction to the rising plutocracy: it’s no accident that the fundamental plutocrat, this follower of the demonic instinct, who had annihilated the entire City-State of Thebes, Alexander the Great, was viewed by the fundamental cynic, Diogenes, as a blot on an otherwise cloudless sky.

Reminding Alexander that humans were just dogs, was a way to remind Alexander that he himself was just a dog. (And a dog who kills tens of thousands in a city which has surrounded, is indeed rabid; Alexander the “Great” also crucified thousands in Tyr, and annihilated that City-Civilization too.)

Alexander’s reply: I am a God, not a Dog.

If humans are dogs are not their deities in their image too? Are not, thus, the gods, dogs? It’s hilarious to see debates about cynicism in the USA being transformed into the usual my-god-is-bigger-than-your-dog quarrel. As one commenter said, “continental” philosophy is pretty ignored. Too anti-God, of course, to survive deep down in the American aquarium.

To kill the Dog who wants to rule us (Alexander and his countless imitators, some contemporary), we have to kill the God they pretend to be, or in the image of (or live according to, thus giving them divine power, while bringing to life the ahistorical Jesus)

Nietzsche famously said: “Man is a rope, stretched between beast and Übermensch.” I prefer the truth: “Man is a hope, stretched between beast and Übermensch.”

But there is no hope, when all the hope there is to follow the Dog, especially when he strive to make himself believe he is a so-called “God” (As Alexander did, until Antipater told his valet, Antipater’s youngest son to do away with him… At least so it is pleasant to believe).

There is the paradox of the (make-)believer. Somebody who goes through life, assuming more than s/he needs, to gain theoretical advantage.

In the blessed USA, churches don’t pay tax, and thus legions believing the American world is the will of God (or, as Diogenes implicitly said, Dog) are ready to serve a government of plutocrats, by plutocrats, for plutocrats.

Don’t tell me what your society is: tell me what your gods are, and I will tell you what your elites do claim they believe in, and what they can get away with.

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’