Posts Tagged ‘Athens’

Athens, Direct Democracy, Now.

February 2, 2017

To Rekindle The Fire Of Civilization, Direct Democracy Needs To Be Re-Activated. Besides, It’s A Question Of Survival:

In Eighteenth Century Great Britain, as in the European Middle Ages, seven years old was considered to be the “Age of Reason”. Thus, if an 18C English child was found to have caused a fire (a very dangerous thing then), the child would be tried, and, if found guilty, would be hanged (this really happened).

Nowadays, we are more civilized, and we protect childhood better. Human brains become mature only around 25 years old. There have been minimum ages for political offices since Republican Rome and Athens, 25 centuries ago.

The Economist, in an access, and excess of disinformation, suggests to lower the voting age to 16. That would motivate the youth, it disingenuously claims. I have a better idea. In its golden age, the Parthenon, other monuments, and all statues were covered with colors, sometimes realistic, sometimes spectacular:

At her greatest, Athens was colorful in all ways. The city tolerated radically opposed philosophies, and they debated each other.

At her greatest, Athens was colorful in all ways. The city tolerated radically opposed philosophies, and they debated each other.

Pericles directed the construction of the Parthenon and other fabulous monuments. Pericles was re-elected nearly 30 times over 30 years. He was the talking head to  a group of civilization-class philosophers, all them extremely close friends with whom he debated continually, including his own second wife, who wrote his most famous speech. (As historians of antiquity explained, the rise of the Athenian empire launched Sparta in an all-out war; Pericles’ passive way of fighting, using only fortress Athens and her fleet, backfired, when a plague appeared. “I had not anticipated that.” he bemoaned… The plague killed Pericles and two of his three sons; the war lasted 30 years, and Athens lost it, in a roll of the dice gone wrong.)

Lowering the voting age to 16 (why not 15?) is somewhat silly. That’s not the problem. Having more and more immature voters is not the solution.

Verily, the youth is disgusted by politics to the point of turning away from it. Being interested by politics at this point is like being interested by corruption. Financial, ethical, mental, intellectual, political corruption.

The problem is that representative democracy is intrinsically immoral, hopelessly satanic (or as is also said, plutocratic). Why? Because it elects people who are automatically tyrants. I suspect that youth is suspecting this, and thus finds politics ever more unpalatable.

Elections, as they are, give divine powers to a few people. Mitigate and discontinue that immoral madness. Debate and elect ideas instead. That will motivate people to mature and think. This is what happened in the greatest age of Athens, our present civilization owes so much to.

Instead, as it is now, even adults are treated like children. Whereas, if youth believes it can get to power, it will be interested by in democracy. As in Athens, where some offices were attributed by lot, so anyone could lead! So everyone learned much more as much as they could about everything (to be ready, just in case they would be promoted to leadership overnight).

A weakened, dispirited and unmotivated Athens was subjugated by the Macedonian tyrant Antipater in 322 BCE, with the help of another Macedonian general, Craterus. Antipater, personal friend, lover and executor of the will of Aristotle, was very smart and vicious (he may have assassinated Alexander through his youngest son). Whereas Alexander respected an exsanguinous Athens, Antipater, a typical uber-plutocrat, enforced plutocracy in Athens, and assassinated his highest intellectuals. Athens became free again in 1834 CE. For a while, the Parthenon had been turned into a mosque.

Athens was freed in a ferocious war against the (Turkish) Islamists The Islamists had turned the Parthenon into an explosive storage facility, during a war with Venice, and it had exploded: Islamists have a pattern of hatred to monuments (as anything that makes man a competitor to god).

All adults nowadays feel like children, all the more as they get led by the nose. Nassim Taleb points this out in ‘Trump makes sense to a grocery store owner’. He adds that, for years, the world was led by an “actor”, Obama. An actor who solved nothing, but for making the rich richer. I could not agree more, unfortunately.

There are not just pseudo-experts, as Taleb correctly says (pseudo-experts who pontificate about what the universe had for breakfast, 13.76 billion years ago… Or that only the economy they feast on serves We The People best, contrarily to evidence and mortality graphs…).

There are also pseudo-leftists, pseudo-thinkers, pseudo-intellectuals, pseudo-empaths (Bill Clinton an example of the latter). All thoroughly fake and fat. There are also pseudo-universities, even richer in their folds, which are real centers of plutocratic power (to attend many of them, one needs the median US family income).

We also have plenty of intellectual fascists, people who are led by just a few ideas, and refuse civilized debate with anyone not obeying those ideas. The paradigm there is “Islamophobia”, which is viewed as a form of racism, whereas it’s just the critique of a system of thought (Christianophobia is institutionalized in the West, thank god…).  

We need a debating society. Debates motivate human beings. Now we are suffering from so much intellectual fascism, that we cannot debate what is necessary for survival. This is what Trump and his tweets answer to. And every time one of my erstwhile, new-born pseudo-leftist friends smother me with insults and blocks me, it’s another proof of this evidence.

Reality shall proceed, the survivors will debate it, and will survive, probably because the debated it, the old fashion way, as Athens did it, in her greatest age.

Patrice Ayme’

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy

December 27, 2016

In the Real World, Foundations Saved Civilization Before:

The combination of imperial collapse followed by re-birth from Foundations within happened several times already, for real.

Civilizations collapsing into Dark Ages from the actions of dozens of millions of people occurred more than once. And then very small groups arose, often within the collapsing empire, and imposed new ways of thinking which enabled civilization to restart. One such case was the Mongol takeover of China, and the subsequent collapse of the Yuan dynasty replaced, within a century, by the Ming dynasty (appropriately founded by a Buddhist monk).

Yet the most striking examples of collapses are in the West, and the most spectacular ones come with two foundations.

The first collapse was that of the seven superpowers which made the Bronze Age civilization. They were attacked by nations which made “a conspiracy in their islands” (said Pharaoh Ramses III in 1175 BCE). Besides the calamitous invasions by these “Peoples of the Sea”, a number of disasters striking simultaneously (calamitous climate change, including super drought, quake swarm, etc.) brought the entire trading system down, upon which some civilizations depended for survival, and then generalized destruction followed. The Foundation consisted in a number of Greek city states, mostly on the Ionian coast. The Second Foundation was Athens.

However soon enough, an unserious Greece was taken over by the fascist Macedonian empire, and its successor regimes, the Hellenistic kingdoms.

The Second Foundation was the Roman Republic itself. Rome had been created where the shock waves from Magna Grecia, Italian Greece, and the Etruscans collided. That positive interference brought herdsmen to civilization. The Etruscans were themselves one of these roaming “Peoples of the Sea”, and they had settled in Syria for a while, before grabbing the part of Italy with the richest iron deposits: Foundations everywhere.

Rome freed Greece, and then turned into an evil empire itself. Rome degenerated ever more into all sorts of fascisms… and progressively collapsed ever more, as one major system after another became dysfunctional.

Then emperor Constantine re-founded Rome by imposing the Catholic Church, which had grown semi-secretly for two centuries, as a favored institution within the empire.

At the same time, other Roman generals cum lawyers equipped the savage Germans constituting the Frankish Confederation with a Latin written law, the Lex Salica. The Franks were opposed to Christianism. In a further twist, Constantine and his successors used the Franks as shock troops of the empire (Once the Franks staged a full civil war to give back control of the empire to secularists).

Meanwhile the First Foundation, Catholicism, collapsed Rome, and then it gave control to the Second Foundation, that of the Franks, which had opposed them. In a complete turn-around, the Franks then adopted Catholicism, modifying it extensively to eliminate all its bad aspects (no more apocalypse around the corner, total tolerance for fellow religions, mandating secular education, etc.), while keeping the good ones (charity, altruism, Christian Republic mentality, etc.). Within 150 years, the Franks would outlaw slavery in Europe (there had been no slavery in Germany, so this is more the German than Christian influence: all bishops were very rich and they had dozens, or hundreds, of slaves).

Small foundations can, and will always, save civilizations. For two main reasons: 1) their small size enable them to think democratically, thus better. 2) the excellency their struggle for survival forces on small foundations, require them to think straight and true (otherwise they won’t survive).

It is likely that some of the real events I just related inspired Asimov: he was a very knowledgeable person (and the Foundational aspects of Rome and Athens were well-known, as was the social failure to oppose Macedonia in a timely manner, in spite of the strident warnings of the philosopher Demosthenes).

When I read the Foundation Trilogy, long ago, I found, even then, some of its aspects very dated. But in a way, that is the entire point.

Psychohistory was not invented yesterday, we have crucially depended upon it, for millennia.
Patrice Ayme’

Skulls in the Stars

I’ve recently been trying to become more acquainted with science fiction as a genre, as most of my life I’ve been focused primarily on horror fiction.  A natural and obvious place to place some emphasis is on classic works from the golden age of science fiction, and a natural and obvious place to start there is with the work of Isaac Asimov.  A few weeks ago, I read Asimov’s Foundation (1951), and blogged my thoughts about it.

Asimov has written seven books set in the Foundation setting; I figured that I would be content reading the first one, to get a feel for it, and then move on to other authors and other series…

… and, as of today, I’ve started reading the fifth of the Foundation novels.

As the first three books, Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952), and Second Foundation (1953), form the original trilogy, and I thought it…

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Socrates A Poisonous, Unexamined Fascist?

September 22, 2016

The Pathos Of Truth Seeked & Violated. Unexamined Fascist, Unexamined Prostitute? Both. Why Was That Covered Up, So Long? For The Same Exact Cause Which Made Socrates Famous!

The death of Socrates keeps haunting philosophy. And that, per se, is a sad, yet very revealing tale. The old common wisdom was that Socrates died, as a martyr to truth (as Hypatia, Boetius, Giordano Bruno, and many others certainly did). You want a hero for philosophy? Pick Jean Cavaillès. In the presence of Cavaillès, Sartre nearly wetted his pants. We will see that the mood behind Socrates’ actions is significantly different. Socrates was on the side of those who killed Cavaillès.

Indeed, a casual look at the basic setup of Socrates’ trial contradicts the theme that Socrates was mostly a martyr for truth. Socrates was simply accused to be the mastermind of the young dictators who ruled Athens after her tremendous defeat, and half annihilation. Socrates was also mentor, friend and lover (!) of the young Alcibiades who, deprived of a generalship by Athens, then betrayed her for her lethal enemy, fascist, ultra-racist Sparta.

Agreed, philosophy needs heroes, and has plenty. Here is one:

Jean Cavaillès. Here Is A Hero For Truth & Philosophy. Socrates Was Nearly The Exact Opposite.

Jean Cavaillès, Anti-Fascist Martyr. Here Is A Hero For Truth & Philosophy. Socrates Was Nearly The Exact Opposite.

[Jean Cavaillès was tortured and assassinated by the Gestapo in 1943-1944. He is buried in the crypt of the Sorbonne.]

Thus Socrates was a sort of Charlie Manson of serial traitors and killers, whose mental actions led, or accompanied, Athens’ near-death experience in losing a devastating war, and the resulting dictatorship by Socrates’ students. Temples of democracy such as Britain, France, and the USA have gaily executed traitors, or incompetents, for much less than that.

Socrates Used To Look At People As A bull Does. Ugly Inside Out? To Reveal the Truth, Some Will Say Torture Works Even Better

Socrates Used To Look At People As A bull Does. Ugly Inside Out? To Reveal the Truth, Some Will Say Torture Works Even Better

Stanford political science and classics professor, Josiah Ober opines in “The Civic Drama Of Socrates’ Trial” that:  “Conventional wisdom sees Socrates as a martyr for free speech, but he accepted his death sentence for a different cause… In his influential interpretation The Trial of Socrates (1988), the US journalist-turned-classicist I F Stone saw this trial as an embattled democracy defending itself. In Stone’s view, Socrates had helped to justify the junta’s savage programme of oligarchic misrule and was a traitor. More commonly, Socrates is seen as a victim of an opportunistic prosecutor and a wilfully ignorant citizenry. In truth, politics is indispensable to understanding the trial of Socrates, but in a slightly more sophisticated way.”

I love sophistication, philosophy is all about increased sophistication (so is science). Sophistication, translated, is wisdomization: sticking to reality ever better by ever more subtle, complex logic.

The point was not so much that Socrates justified the savage programme, but that he formed the minds who organized said programme, “corrupting the youth”. And he was at it again, even after being amnestied. Professor Ober describes the problem well (although he fails to fathom the enormity of what he describes).

Stanford’s Josiah: For what people today call ‘the wisdom of crowds’, Socrates had nothing but scorn. Athenian democrats who argued that the many, the group, were collectively more likely to get important matters right than any individual expert earned his antipathy. Whether or not anyone actually was expert in the art of politics, Socrates certainly supposed that there could be such an expert, and that the Athenians were deluded in thinking themselves collectively wise.”

The “experts” would have been naturally his rich, best (“aristos”) boyfriends. Professor Ober is led to the obvious question, but fail to recognize that he does not answer it:

“How did Socrates both scorn the idea of collective wisdom and yet maintain obedience to Athens’ laws, even when he disagreed with how they were interpreted? The rudimentary answer lay in the foundation that Athens (as opposed to, for example, Sparta) provided in its laws and political culture. Athens mandated liberty of public speech and tolerance for a wide range of private behaviour.”

Yes, but public incompetence could lead to trial (as happened to Pericles and many strategoi, generals and admirals). Anyway, that is not an answer. I will give a better answer: Socrates himself had no answer to his drastic self-contradictions, so hise self-delusion fatally committed him to self-destruction. Yet political science professor Ober sees the problem:

“By 399 BCE, however, four years after the end of the tyranny, and with Socrates doing the same things in public that had seemingly inspired the junta’s leaders, the Athenians regarded his speech very differently. In the eyes of the majority of his fellow citizens, Socrates was no longer an eccentric with potential for contributing to public life. He was now either a malevolent public enemy, or deluded and dangerously unable to recognise that his speech predictably produced seriously bad outcomes. And so the way was left open for Meletus to launch his prosecution.”

Right. What professor Ober fails to mention is that only the intervention of mighty Sparta prevented Athens’ annihilation after she surrendered, having lost already half of her population (other cities wanted to do to Athens what Athens did to Melos). Try to imagine this: the city-state half annihilated, democracy destroyed by Socrates’ students, and then? The strongest mood that Socrates had been instilling was to oppose democracy. And he was again at it, after the amnesty he had profited from. What could motivate such a rage?

Unsurprisingly, Socrates was put on trial for “corrupting the youth and impiety”. (The City was to some extent divinized, with Athena as her protecting goddess.)

“With unsettling metaphors and logical demonstrations, he made it clear that he [Socrates] opposed democracy… Xenophon implies that Socrates chose that sort of speech as a method of jury-assisted suicide: he was… tired of life and allowed the Athenians to end it for him.”

This is what I believe. And I go further than Xenophon, by explaining the cause of Socrates’ depression. Socrates may have been tired of his own contradictions.And may have been ravaged by regret. (Regret, I reckon, is a powerful human instinct.)

The Socrates’ worship interpretation is due to Plato. It poses Socrates as martyr to civic duty. But, as it turns out, “civic duty”, for Socrates, seems to be mostly blind obedience to “the Laws”, while viciously criticizing the Direct Democracy which gave birth to them.

That Socrates respected the laws of Athens while despising the Direct Democracy which had passed them is illogical in the extreme. Yes, I know Socrates said he respected “the Laws”, as if they were disembodied gods with a life of their own. But We The People passed said laws, and they lived only because We The People had created them, and We thge People could extinguish them just the same.

The “Laws” were nothing. We The People was everything. Socrates behaved as if he could not understand that.

Insisting that the Laws were everything reveals that the concept of blind obedience was more important to Socrates than arguing about the nature of what one should be obeying to, and why. Blind obedience is also the traditional ultimate value of standard fascism: law and order as supreme.

Blind obedience had been what the junta’s rule was all about. What the rule of Socrates’ young students and lovers had been all about. That’s also what fascism is all about. However, arguing, debating, fighting is how to get to the thorough examination necessary for the “examined life”.   

The contradiction was, and is, blatant. Socrates’ mental system was shorting out. Socrates had been shorting out for half a decade or more: he ambitiously wanted to “examine life”, but he could not even examine the minds of his followers, let alone his own, or why he was hanging around them. Why was he hanging around them? They were rich, he was not, but he lived off their backs and crumbs. And the feeling of power they provided with (after Obama got to power I saw some in his entourage becoming drunk with power).  

Arguably, Socrates was a martyr to fascism, a Jihadist without god. There is nothing remarkable about that. The very instinct of fascism is to give one’s life, just because fanatical combat is the ultimate value, when one gets in the fascist mood. In this case, the fanatical combat was against We The People.

Posing Socrates as a martyr for intellectual freedom is farfetched: fascism, blind obedience, passion for oligarchs are all opposed to the broad mind searching for wisdom requires.

Some will sneer: you accuse Socrates to be a fascist, why not a racist? Well, I will do this too. The golden youth Socrates loved so much and drank with were hereditary so. Socrates believed knowledge was innate (so an ignorant shepherd boy knew all of math: this is the example he rolled out!) If knowledge was innate, one can guess that the “aristos”, the best, were also innately superior. That is the essence of racism.

Logically enough, Socrates disliked science: nothing was truly new under the sun (as all knowledge was innate). So much for examining life.

It is more probable that Socrates was indeed, just a stinging insect buzzing around, stinging the idea of Direct Democracy. In exchange, his rich, young, plutocratic boyfriends would fete and feed him. Such was Socrates’ life, a rather sad state of affair, something that needed to be examined, indeed, by the head doctor.

Socrates may have been clever enough to feel that he was an ethical wreck. His suicidal submission may have been an attempt to redeem himself, or whatever was left of his honor (which he also tried to regain with his insolence to the jury).

Plato would pursue the fight for fascism (“kingship”). Aristotle, by teaching, mentoring, educating, befriending, advising a number of extremely close, family-like friends, the abominable Alexander, Craterus and Antipater, finally fulfilled Socrates’ wet dream: Athenian Direct Democracy was destroyed and replaced by an official plutocracy overlorded by Antipater (supremo dictator, and executor of Aristotle’s will, in more ways than one).

This trio of philosophical malefactors became the heroes 22 centuries of dictatorship (“monarchy”) needed as a justification. A justification where “civic duty” was defined as blind obedience to the “Laws” (whatever they were, even unjust “Laws”). This amplified Socrates’ hatred of Direct Democracy. So the works of the trio were preciously preserved, and elevated to the rank of the admirable.

It is rather a basket of deplorables. We owe them the destruction of Direct Democracy for 23 centuries, and counting.

And what Of Socrates’ regret for being so deplorable? (Which I alleged he had to experience.) A dying Socrates lying on a couch, uncovered his face and uttered— “Crito, I owe the sacrifice of a rooster to Asklepios; will you pay that debt and not neglect to do so?”  Asklepios cured disease, and provided with rebirth, symbolized by the singing of the rooster calling the new day. This has been traditionally interpreted (by Nietzsche) as meaning that (Socrates’?) death was a cure for (his?) life. Nietzsche accused Socrates to be culprit of the subsequent degeneracy of civilization (and I do agree with that thesis). Certainly, Socrates, a self-described “gadfly” was deprived of gravitas.

Wisdom needs to dance, but cannot be altogether deprived of gravitas, as it is, after all, the gravest thing.. Maybe Socrates felt this confusedly, besides having regrets for his status of thinking insect. Socrates could have easily escaped, and Crito had an evasion ready. By killing himself Socrates behaved like a serious Japanese Lord opening his belly to show his insides were clean, and its intent good. Well, many a scoundrel has committed seppuku, and hemlock is nothing like cutting the belly.

Human beings are endowed with the instinct of regret, because we are the thinking species. It is crucial that we find the truth, and when we have lived a lie, indulged in error, the best of use are haunted by the past, and revisit it to find what the truth really was. Regrets has many stages, like cancer. The most correct philosophical form of regret is to re-established the truth. The cheap way out is to flee from reality, as Socrates did.

How to explain Socrates’ insolence to the jury? There again, it was a desperate attempt at reaching the sensation of self-righteousness and trying to impart it to the jury (this is often seen  on the Internet, with the glib one-liners and vacuous logic which pass for depth nowadays).

The inexperienced democracy in Athens did not always behave well. Athens behaved terribly with Melos (see link above). But the case of Socrates is different. Ultimately, the train of thoughts and moods promoted by Socrates weakened those who wanted to defend the free republics of Greece against the fascist, exterminationist Macedonian plutocracy. Demosthenes and Athenian Direct Democracy was mortally poisoned by Socrates.

Thus, Socrates execution was not just tit for tat. It was not enough of tit for tat. It was a preventive measure, in defense of Direct Democracy, which failed, because it was too meek.

Democracy does not mean to turn the other cheek, to have the golden beast eat that one too. In ultimate circumstances, democracy has an ultimate weapon too, and that is fascism. This is why the Roman, French and American republics prominently brandish the fasces. Fascism is the ultimate war weapon. But fascism is not the ultimate society. Far from it: political fascism, just a few individuals leading entails intellectual fascism, namely just a few moods and ideas leading. Before one knows it, one is in plutocracy, where not only wealth rules, but so does the cortege of the worst ideas and moods which characterize it.

Socrates often talk the talk, contradicting completely the way he lived (for example he said one should never return an injury, but, as a hoplite, he killed at least four men in combat!)

Socrates spoke so well sometimes, that he can stay a symbol of truth persecuted. But, because it is a lie, replacing him by Hypatia, Boetius, Bruno and, or Cavaillès, and, or, others, is urgent. Indeed, the reality is that Socrates was not just inimical to democracy. The current of thought he floated by was inimical to science, mental progress, and the truth he claimed to be pining for.  And even him may have been so overwhelmed by these astounding contradictions, that, in the end, assisted suicide for his pathetic mental writhing was, indeed, the optimal outcome.

Patrice Ayme’

 

Military Industrial Complex: A Necessary Danger To Civilization

April 16, 2016

Military Industrial Complexes are necessary, and have existed since cities came to be, 10,000 years ago. President Eisenhower warned against the danger the US Military Industrial Complex presented to the USA, and the world, in all sorts of ways. Now we can say we are right in the midst of what Ike was afraid of. However, there is another face to that coin.

Great Military Industrial Complexes (“MIC”) are characteristic of great civilizations. One can argue, that’s what civilizations are all about. Rome, the Franks and the Chinese had MICs. So did Japan. The Japanese Military Industrial Complex was able to confine behind walls the invading Mongols (who already had captured China). The Samurai, and their excellent steel, destroyed the Mongol beachheads, and Japan stayed Japan.

In The USA, The Military Industrial Complex, With The Exception Of WWI and WWII, Has long Been At The Service Of Plutocracy, and Its Corporations

In The USA, The Military Industrial Complex, With The Exception Of WWI and WWII, Has long Been At The Service Of Plutocracy, and Its Corporations

Interesting cases of Military Industrial Complexes were entangled with Greek civilization: Greece would not have existed without MICs.

The importance of war during the rise of Western Civilization was colossal. It could never have risen without it.

For example Sparta intervened and threw out Athens’ tyranny, establishing the great age of Athens’ direct democracy. The first thing the newly liberated Athenians did, was to establish a powerful MIC. Themistocles ran for office on a massive MIC program, to establish a powerful war fleet (after the first Persian invasion this grew to a 200 warships fleet). In the process the Athenian state ran a massive debt, and devastated the forests of Attica (to build the triremes). Themistocles’ argument was that Persia was going to attack. It did attack, twice, and was defeated, twice, in a number of battles, including the one at Marathon.

If anything, not enough violence was applied against plutocrats, early enough. Especially against the enemies of the Athenian and Roman empires. This is something peaceniks understand not at all, making them dedicated enemies of what they pretend to defend.

Twelve (12) centuries later, the Muslim invaders, having suffered grievous defeats from the Roman fleet and its Grecian fire, decided to use their military superiority on land: take Constantinople from behind, by invading Europe from West to East. The Islamists invaded Spain, and then attacked Francia (thrice). The Franks replied by boosting the size of their already considerable MIC. Propelled by a nationalization of the church, the Franks established the greatest army since the heydays of the Roman Republic, and mobilized all of Francia.

Ever since, France has been at war with Literal Islam. It was, it is, hard work: just in the second week of April 2016, three French soldiers died in combat in the middle of the Sahara. Frankish armies delivered Rome in 846 CE. The Islamists landed by surprise several armies in several places, and converged on Rome. The outskirts of the imperial capital were sacked, including the Vatican, but the formidable, 16 metres tall, 19 kilometer long Aurelian Wall held the invaders out of the city’s most sacred core. The Aurelian Wall is a beautiful example of MIC: it was used as a military asset, and involved in combat, for 17 centuries. The Aurelian Wall gave enough time for the Frankish Dux, Guy, grandson of Charlemagne, to arrive, and throw the Islamists out of the Latium.

When Genghis Khan and his Mongols invaded Northern China, some of his generals suggested to kill all the Chinese, and also kill the Chinese ecology (by destroying forests, etc.), and make Northern China like Mongolia. Genghis Khan refused to do so. However, notice that China came very close to extermination. Exterminated civilizations have existed before: Genghis Khan exterminated two, including the largest Buddhist empire, ever. The Hittites, and others, were exterminated during the invasion of the “People of the Sea”.

So civilization needs MICs. No MIC, no civilization.

However, a mighty MIC implies a deep militarization of society. The fundamental principle of militarization is the Fascist Principle: obey your superior as if s/he were god.

The fascist principle has long been an instinct with primates. Or at least those who invaded the savannah: baboons are intrinsically military, they move in armies, and the alpha males, the baboons are zoological equivalents to Roman generals. Complete with the right of death inflicted, whenever contradicted severely.

The fascist principle allows a social animal to behave as if it were a super-organism, with just one coordinated mind.

That principle is explicitly stated in the Qur’an. It was also the fundamental principle of organization of the Roman army, and, later, under the empire, of all of Roman society: the superior Roman officer had right of life and death on its subordinates, and would inflict it to encourage the others.

O YE WHO BELIEVE! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and Obey Those Of You Who Are In Power.” (Qur’an’s fascist principle, Sura 4; verse 59).

The principal drawback of a fascist society is that intellectual progress comes only from contradicting what was known before, hence, from contradicting one’s superiors. Thus, a society organized around the fascist principle will stagnate intellectually. And, in particular scientifically and, thus, technologically. Hence, being ruled by a MIC brings lethal stupidity (and a very inegalitarian society).

Thus the Barbarians will catch up in technological military prowess. This is exactly what happened to the Romans: under the Republic, buying the best military metallurgy from the (highly divided) Gauls, the Romans dominated in the quality of their weapons (Hannibal defeated the Romans many times, but, arguably, his best troops were Gallic). Under the empire, the savages, such as the Franks, had better weapons than the standard Roman army (so they were co-opted into it!)

However, by the time of Marcus Aurelius, that wind bag, a certified intellectual fascist with a sugar-coating still mesmerizing the naive, the barbarians caught up with Roman military technology… In no small measure because Roman emperors, those professional fascists, paid inventors not to invent.

Nowadays we can observe similar phenomena: US corruption has brought the reign of the F35, an obsolete, but extremely expensive weapon. Meanwhile, the Barbarians, including Kim of Korea, are catching up technologically, at a torrid space.

Civilization has to keep a balance between MIC and innovation in all ways, lest imagination collapses, bringing a weaker MIC.

Reciprocally, though, a MIC is a friend of fascist rule, and thus of oligarchy. But oligarchy is sustainable only in a satanic form, known as the rule of Satan (an older name of which being Pluto). So uncontrolled MICs bring plutocracy: Rome was the paradigm there.

We are in the process of creating another such example, because we did not heed general-president Eisenhower’s warning, that the Military Industrial Complex:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.”

http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html

Eisenhower stays modern to this day. He saw the rise of plutocratic universities coming, with their fake thinkers, all dedicated to the power of money:

Eisenhower: “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.”

A few days before democrats are going to surrender democracy to the power of money, once again, let me remind them, that this can happen only so many times.

Democracy needs to be defended, but, first, some will say that it needs to be worthy of a defense. Right.

However, democracy needs a strong enough Military Industrial Complex. The Athenians and other Greek democrats were initially successful at defeating Antipater. But then Krateros, hyper dangerous with his hardened troops arrived from the Orient, and the Athenian fleet, of 170 triremes, the largest since the wars against Persia, was defeated. Twice.

As I explained in “Aristotle Destroyed Democracy” the friendliness of Aristotle to Alexander, Antipater and Krateros, and thus, to the idea of monarchy, goes a long way to explain that the Greek MIC came short of the Macedonian MIC. The philosopher Demosthenes was not heard enough, in his strident, fully justified, prescient warnings against the savage, tyrannical Macedonians.

So here we are: pretty much 23 centuries of trampling of direct democracy, the one and only, by the forces of oligarchy, and, or, when oligarchy is not enough to rule, plutocracy. Ever since official plutocracy was installed in Athens by Antipater.

All this because the direct democratic military industrial complex came short to the one of the Macedonians. So let’s not despise the MIC. It can save the best. But now, we don’t have to worry about foreign enemies first: the plutocrats are already in power.

Patrice Ayme’

Is Oligarchy Intrinsically Evil?

January 28, 2016

Yes and no. Unjustifiable Oligarchy Is Intrinsically Evil. Unfortunately, be it in China, Russia, the USA, the EU, and nearly all states, this is what we are enjoying now. Here is a little recapitulation of why it’s deeply inhuman, and unfathomably stupid. Considering the mental crisis out there, it’s something to fix as a priority.

Oligarchy is the rule of the few (oligo in Greek). The fundamental problems of the concept of oligarchy are two:

First, the rule of the few is fundamentally anti-humanistic. Human beings evolved in smallish groups. Various experiments have shown people cannot know more than around 150 people. Beyond that human neurology cannot handle it.

Second, in these small human groups, brains were made to be used in parallel: everybody think, their thinking is considered more or less equally, and the best ideas blossom out of debates. One can see this, if one thinks carefully. Moreover, an experimental proof has recently surfaced. It has been discovered, last year, that the most important decision making in baboon societies, where to go, is made DEMOCRATICALLY.

The Problem Was Not Just With Hitler. All Present Regimes Have It, More Or Less. One People, One Kingdom, One Guide. However One Brain For Tens of Millions Proves, Unsurprisingly, Brainless

The Problem Was Not Just With Hitler. All Present Regimes Have It, More Or Less. One People, One Kingdom, One Guide. However One Brain For Tens of Millions Proves, Unsurprisingly, Brainless

Let me give a few details on research recently published. It was made possible by fitting all the 25 adults of a baboon troop with GPS receptors endowed with a precision of 30 centimeters (a “foot”), recorded every second. It is well known that alpha males often dominate the rest of the troop for acquiring food or mates (they are also prominent for defending the troop) . However, and that is stunning, the alpha males do not  monopolize the decision-making for the all-important function of determining where to go!

A new distinction has appeared in baboon society: the “INITIATORS”. Just as there are alpha males (and alpha females, often mothers of alpha males), there are baboons who specialize in showing the way.

Notice the difference with today’s human society where the alpha males (those Obama, and not just Obama, calls the “leaders”), and the “initiators” are the same who lead the way to implementing new ideas.

In all of the world’s countries, politicians dominate. Even in the USA. The USA has the world’s largest government in money spent, as it spends more, than the entire GDP of Russia. It is actually about as large as Germany’s GDP. In fiscal year 2015, the federal budget is $3.8 trillion. These trillions of dollars make up about 21 percent of the U.S. economy. Much of them are distributed at the discretion of a handful of politicians, who, in turn decide who to finance (Elon Musk’s Space X, Tesla, and Sun City being examples of firms partly financed by the state) or who not to prosecute (the various technology monopolies being another example; in another times, under other governments, they would have been broken up).

Another way to think about it is that one fifth of the U.S. economy is directly controlled by the a few politicians. (Or maybe just one, the president!) That’s about 65 million people whose livelihood depends only upon the government of the USA, at the whim of just… one man.

Instead of going into detailed examples, as I often do, squeezed between bronchitis, antibiotics and a lack of time, I will just evoke fateful choices presidents of the USA made recently. To wit: deregulating finance (Clinton), invading Iraq, without, moreover, imposing order there (Bush), letting the derivative madness and banks run amok (Clinton-Bush), a liberal killer drones policy (early Obama), dropping fuel cell research (Obama), privatizing space (Obama), cutting down taxes on the hyper rich (Bush-first term Obama) etc. Obama did just one notable positive (besides following France on Libya): breaking the incredibly disgusting practice of American health insurance companies to insurance only healthy people… (OK, that was a tiny, but decisive step.)

Instead I will wax philosophical, going back to Socrates. The executed philosopher spent a lot of his philosophical time whining that Athenian Direct Democracy could not work. Socrates’ arguments were correct: if you want a good general, you should not elect him because somebody who talked well wanted to be a general.

The Roman Empire, followed by the European Middle Ages, and especially France, the successor state of Rome, found a solution. What I call “Democratic Institutions”. Those are meritocracies of expertise, organized as oligarchies. Guilds were examples in the Middle Ages. Medical Associations, for centuries, have decided who was a medical doctor in good standing, and who was not. Similarly for masons (free or not), architects, barbers, etc.

Philippe Le Bel arrested all the Templar at daybreak on Friday, 13 October 1307. It was a beautiful, and the first, example of a national police in action. The police of a state is another democratic institution.

Direct Democracy has to work hand in hand with Democratic Institutions. One cannot just decide what is the truth, just because it happens to be popular. Otherwise Kim Kardashian’s buns would be the only truth to be had.

But one has to keep in mind that Oligarchy is intrinsically anti-human. Not just anti-humanistic. It is deeply averse not just to our species, not just to our genus, but even to the order of primates.

And why is that? Because intelligence has been the evolutive strategy which has propelled the humanoids to supremacy over the biosphere, and now made us strong enough to be the main factor influencing it. Intelligence is higher, the higher, better, more subtle, richer, more powerful the ideas it produces are. Such ideas are born from the minds of the many, because they need debates, the equivalent of sex for ideas, to advance towards greater understanding.

Direct Democracy enables initiators all over, initiators of ideas, it’s the best enabler higher civilization ever had. And believing that oligarchy is better, the greatest enemy civilization has: not only it ends up promoting plutocracy, but, first of all, and worst of all, stupidity itself.

Notice this, though: most of the world society and economy is organized along oligarchic lines (although they are often hidden in suitably dark pools). It’s time to turn politics on its head.

Patrice Ayme’

Democracy Flouted: No Ridicule Is High Enough

August 20, 2015

Democracy by representation can work in a factory, school or a homeowner association: those communities are small enough, and have reduced opportunity of choice. Their leaders’ decisions will not destroy the planet.

We need a concept: let’s introduce the DEMOCRATIC INDEX. It has a simple definition: DI is the quotient of the number of representatives, R, over the total population, P. So: Democratic Index: DI = R/P.

In a Direct Democracy (such as Ancient Athens), DI is one, because each citizen represents herself, or himself.

In modern so-called “representative democracies”, the Democratic Index is basically zero. Athenian Direct Democracy has been replaced by a celebrity circus where oligarchy is presented as the one and only show of greatest interest.

Eva Longoria, An Actress Whom Obama Consults At 2AM In The White House, To “Map” The Future

Eva Longoria, An Actress Whom Obama Consults At 2AM In The White House, To “Map” The Future

In giant countries, government by (“elected“) representatives certainly does not work, and not just because it vests enormous powers in a handful of individuals. The Obama circus of continual fund-raising and frolicking with plutocrats whose business is only possible through government, has made plenty clear that those who took part in an election were the plutocrats, and only them, not “We The People”. (Plutocrats also elected, again and again, Putin to ever more authoritative positions… Until they discovered to their dismay, that he had elected himself to plutocrat in chief.)

At the scale of a country, government by representatives is the power of a few. In Greek: few-rule: oligo-arkhein: oligarchy. Thus:

Theorem: All and any nation claiming to be a representative democracy is, actually, an oligarchy.

That does not mean it’s a plutocracy. For an oligarchy to be a plutocracy, great wealth, and, or great diabolicity, needs to rule.  

How does one hide all this nastiness? One hides it as a kabuki theater, a dictatorship of celebrities.

The New York Times just gave a striking example of this. It wrote a long article relating what Obama views as one of the main functions of his presidency. Times is the “newspaper of report”: it’s striking it presents a movie star as part of Obama’s 2am braintrust.

In “With High-Profile Help, Obama Plots Life After Presidency

“President Obama… is privately mapping out a postpresidential infrastructure that could cost as much as $1 billion.

One is obviously very far from the mentality of president Harry Truman. After holding office, as Senator, VP, and President, Truman lived in modest circumstances. When he was asked why he did not cash on his aura, Truman replied that it would demean the office of the presidency. Now things have changed: the presidency is apparently viewed by the beholder as all about money:

WASHINGTON — The dinner in the private upstairs dining room of the White House went so late that Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn billionaire, finally suggested around midnight that President Obama might like to go to bed.

“Feel free to kick us out,” Mr. Hoffman recalled telling the president.

But Mr. Obama was just getting started. “I’ll kick you out when it’s time,” he replied.

“Good manners in present higher American society, is all about who kicks whom, and timing is everything. If they spend their time kicking each other, and laughing about it, imagine what they really do the average losers, such as you and me. The vulgarity was just getting started, though:

[President Obama] then lingered with his wife, Michelle, and their 13 guests — among them the novelist Toni Morrison, the hedge fund manager Marc Lasry and the Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr — well past 2 a.m.

Mr. Obama “seemed incredibly relaxed,” said another guest, the writer Malcolm Gladwell. He recalled how the group, which also included the actress Eva Longoria and Vinod Khosla, a founder of Sun Microsystems, tossed out ideas about what Mr. Obama should do after he leaves the White House.”

Khosla is the self-proclaimed ecologist who bought for himself part of the undeveloped Californian Coast, and then barred nature lovers to hike and swim there, just because he owned it. He fought in court for years to block access to the public (who, in theory, has the right to walk California’s beaches).

Whatever Obama’s future is, it’s something Internet billionaires, part NSA, part vulgar, and hedge fund conspirators, venture plotters, and actresses can profitably manage.

“So far, Mr. Obama has raised just over $5.4 million from 12 donors, with gifts ranging from $100,000 to $1 million. Michael J. Sacks, a Chicago businessman, gave $666,666. Fred Eychaner, the founder of Chicago-based Newsweb Corp., which owns community newspapers and radio stations, donated $1 million. Mark T. Gallogly, a private equity executive, and James H. Simons, a technology entrepreneur, each contributed $340,000 to a foundation set up to oversee development of the library.”

“666” is the “Mark of the Beast”:, some robber barons have an undeniable sense of humor. Lucky is a country where the wealthiest can make enormous gifts to the Great Leader. At least, so they say in North Korea. And the New York Times goes on:

“The heart of the postpresidential planning is Mr. Obama’s own outreach to eclectic, often extraordinarily rich groups of people. Several aides close to Mr. Obama said his extended conversations over the lengthy dinners — guests say his drink of choice at the gatherings is an extra-dry Grey Goose martini — reminded them of the private consultations Mr. Obama had with donors and business leaders as he sought to build a winning campaign.

The process started as early as the week after Mr. Obama’s re-election in 2012, when the director Steven Spielberg and the actor Daniel Day-Lewis went to a White House screening of the movie “Lincoln.” Mr. Spielberg held the president spellbound, guests said, when he spoke about the use of technology to tell stories. Mr. Obama has continued those conversations, most recently with Mr. Spielberg and the studio executive Jeffrey Katzenberg over dinner at a Beverly Hills hotel in California in June, according to some of Mr. Obama’s close advisers.

The advisers said Mr. Spielberg was focused on helping to develop a “narrative” for Mr. Obama in the years after he leaves office.”

Katzenberg, in case you would be so naïve that you would need to ask, is a billionaire, and his jobs is selling dreams (not really different from Putin, just much more modest). It’s all about ‘narrative”

“In response to a question from Mr. Doerr at the February White House dinner, the president told the group that he wanted to focus on civic engagement and opportunities for youths, pushing guests for ideas about how to make government work better, Mr. Hoffman recalled in an interview. The president asked if social networks could improve the way society confronted problems.”

Well, let me tell, you, Mr. President, how the Internet could improve the way society confronts problems: by doing away with you, your actresses, moguls, hedge fund conspirators, bankers, Silicon plotters, and various oligarchs and plutocrats. How? We don’t need you, and your fellow 2 am brains.

We can just vote on the issues, instead of having you and your lapdogs decided everything. Say all propositions gathering more than a million signatures, as long as they don’t violate the Constitution, would be submitted to a national plebiscite.

What would happen?

American Lawyer, the most respected law magazine, just pointed out that for banks:”Fined. But business as usual.”

Banks are mandated by so-called representative democracies to create money (by extending credit). Thus they should be under fierce democratic control. However, they don’t even have to respect the law, they can just bribe their way out of it. And they have no limit: official accusations against the huge world bank HSBC were, after the usual tax evasion, money laundering and drug trafficking that it financed terrorist networks. So what? HSBC distributed some cash around, as suggested.

A plebiscite proposing that, when a banker steals, say, a billion dollar, he goes to jail, would certainly pass. After all, California had passed “Three Strikes You Are Out”, a law imposing a mandatory life sentence on the third condemnation, even if it were about stealing a pizza slice (a plebiscite, Prop 36, modified the “3 strikes” law in California in 2012, to impose drastic punishment only if the third strike was violent).

We are governed by oligarchs and plutocrats. That they look amusing and distracting is part of their oppression. Dire oppression with a comic face. We need to elevate ourselves, and find immoral, to be thrilled by the politicians’ ridiculous antics.

It is illegal for politicians to accept significant gifts. So what are politicians doing at 2am, with those who can give the most significant gifts? And are given the most significant gifts, such as evading the law on a plutocratic scale? Why is that legal?

Patrice Ayme’

SEXISM HOBBLES CIVILIZATION

November 4, 2014

DISCRIMINATING AGAINST FEMALES IS UNSAFE FOR CIVILIZATION:

Why did Athenian direct democracy fail? A case can be made that it did, because Athens was too sexist.

Some will raise their eyebrows, as I accused Aristotle to have fostered monarchism and plutocracy, by teaching directly the plutocrats who extinguished Greek democracy (for 22 centuries!) Thus, Aristotle destroyed democracy.

However, in the history I narrated, Sparta, urged by the (Athenian philosopher) Demosthenes and his friends, went to war against Macedonia’s Antipater, and his army of mercenaries… And Sparta nearly won. Athens sat on her hands (Athens went to war later, way too late, after Sparta had been completely defeated).

Why did Athens not support Sparta in a timely manner against Aristotle’s Executor (that’s Antipater)? It may have had to do with sexism.

Delphi's Sanctuary Of Apollo (Who Spoke Through The Pythia)

Delphi’s Sanctuary Of Apollo (Who Spoke Through The Pythia)

[The Pythia was a woman; the sanctuary started with the worship of Gaia. Ethylene vapors helped…]

Sparta was a fascist system, but, in some ways, it was way more advanced than Athens, or all other Greek cities. In particular, Sparta was a very anti-sexist society: girls were trained like boys, in the nude, for the toughest physical activities. They had lots of freedom, in many ways.

The enmity between Athens and Sparta may have been born from the former being sexist, and the other, just the opposite. The crowd of thinkers around Socrates, which was very attracted to Sparta’s charms, may have been so, because of this trait precisely: see below.

In any case, Athenian society suffered from an excess of aggressivity at the start of the Peloponnesian war, and  more caution from a feminine input may have made the difference (Athens’ annihilation of Melos, and attack against Syracuse, after throwing Alcibiades in Sparta’s arms are example of ill conceived aggression which voting mothers in the Assembly would have certainly voted down).

A sexist society is at a disadvantage: not only are the women forced to be moronic, but they can only teach their children moronically, being morons themselves.

Maybe that’s why the Middle East, thanks to the sexist interpretation of the Qur’an has been so stupid, for so long, overall. Sexism does not just oppress women, it oppresses boys: it makes them less intellectually performing than if their mothers were fully endowed. In any case, it clearly does not help. (The same argument can be extended in favor of direct democracy: in a direct democracy people vote directly on laws and decisions, as they did in Athens; so they are motivated to become more intelligent, creating a virtuous spiral up of ever greater smarts, as evidenced in Switzerland.)

Giant corporations imposing the notion that female nipples are unsafe, are not just moronic, but are themselves, considering their enormous clout and power, unsafe for civilization (be it only because they foster stupidity).

Why we need sexual equality to be institutionally imposed has to do, ultimately, with brains. Yes, female brains may be different in some genetic ways, from males ones (because, maybe, of different neurohormones, sometimes). And it’s true that, overall, female mental performance in the last 3,000 years, has come short.

The latter situation is entirely due to sexism, the poor man’s plutocratic impulse. Up to around 1850, even in the USA and Britain, a woman who married entered what was called “civil death.

The general abuse women were submitted to is in striking contrast with the long recognized fact that top female brains have been as capable as males ones: this is evidenced by the many leaders, who, even millennia ago, were women. The Magna Mater, Great Mother, Cybele Cult, which reigned over Middle Earth for millennia had God as a woman (the Virgin Mary of the Christians is a pale echo of that).

Carthage was founded by a queen, Dido, nearly 29 centuries ago. Even earlier, there had been famous, important, female pharaohs. When the Frankish empire became Western civilization, in the Sixth Century, replacing the decaying Roman State, there were no less than seven reigning queens in a century (I counted them). The last Frankish Queen, Bathilda, is the world’s first monarch on record, who had slavery outlawed. (That’s how slavery disappeared from Europe.)

Even Plato had recognized that females were the intellectual equivalent of men. And he may even have implicitly stated that they were superior: Plato adulated Socrates. And yet…

It is striking that all teachers of Socrates are women. And some are listened to religiously. By everybody. Pythia, the oracle at Delphi, was a towering figure of Ancient Greece: “Know Thyself and nothing in excess” was her motto. Delphi’s Oracle was actually an institution of wisdom managed by women over centuries. Delphic puzzling wisdom taught Socrates what came to be known later as the Socratic method. Socrates claims that the Pythia launched him on his quest for wisdom.

Asphasia of Miletus was Socrate’s teacher of rhetoric. She was a top philosopher (and became Pericles’ second wife, after he divorced, and married away his first one!)

In Plato’s symposium, Socrates says: “…the philosophy of love I learned from Diotima of Mantinea… [she] was my instructress in the art of love, and I shall repeat to you what she said to me….”

The Pythia invented the Socratic method, and Diotema Platonic love.

For the longest time, we were told women could not do science, or mathematics. However Emilie du Chatelet discovered ENERGY, and distinguished it from momentum.

Newton had confused momentum and energy; discovering energy makes Emilie more important than her boyfriend Voltaire… and a more original, and important, thinker than Einstein.

Energy is the core concept of contemporary physics. No less.

In the Twentieth Century, Emmy Noether was a towering mathematician.

There is a problem with women, though: Emilie du Chatelet went one boyfriend too far, and died from the birth of her fourth child, at age 42 (and, slowed down by three children, she had blossomed late as an intellectual; she was a global thinker). Emmy Noether died of an ovarian cyst at only 53.

The fragility of women’s health was greatly due to childbirth. In the European Middle Ages, the average child bearing woman would survive only ten years to the birth of her first child (who would die soon, too!) Now this is history, thanks to higher technology.

In prehistoric tribes, women collaborated intellectually as much as men. A civilization which can make female brains all that they can be, is a civilization with twice more brains… And intelligent children (as women are in the closest contact, and educate them for the first few years). Sexist societies are in contradiction with basic human ethology (the normal behavior of humans, their default state, what they are made to operate optimally in).

The easiest way to a superior civilization, is to let women become as brainy as men are allowed to be.

There are encouraging signs, such as more women registered now in universities of the USA than there are men.

Yet… How can we preach against sexual discrimination while discriminating against female skin?

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’

Representation Is No Democracy

October 25, 2013

Imposing Representation Is Not Real Democracy

In 1789 the USA settled on a Constitution of “We The People” that set-up a “Congress” elected by the rich of the right color and religion. The president was elected by a few representatives (something that allowed to select the plutocrat G.W. Bush instead of the one who had won the election, by a few million votes, Gore).

A few people, easily bought, selected for their vainglorious greed, and anxiety to please, are in charge of the planet. This is not the rule of the People, it’s the rule of a few (=”oligarchy”). Can we do better? Yes.

Elevate Yourself With Towering Examples

Elevate Yourself With Towering Examples

Simultaneously, in 1789, France distinguished herself by the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen“. Although those Rights looked a product of the enlightenment, that Enlightenment was an outgrowth, a renaissance, of the spirit of the empire of the Franks (Imperium Francorum), that started around 300 CE with the “Lex Salica” (that went later through dozens of revisions, as it quickly grew to 65 chapters).

An example of this rediscovery of old values: the slave trade was made unlawful again, nearly 12 centuries after the Franks had done it the first time around.

The Rights of Man more or less grew into the Charter of the United Nations. The European Union made mandatory the “democratic” form of governance to belong to the EU.

Yet the problem is: what does democracy mean? The last law forbidding marriages of “mixed races” was outlawed in the 2000s.

The USA outlawed slavery only in December 1865. One cannot say the USA was a democracy before that. It was just the democracy of a particular We The People, before that.

How did the Athenian system work? Well, everybody had the same right of vote, and… speech. Mandates were widely spread (more than a thousand judges sometimes), and short. The Roman Republic used similar tricks (Consuls were elected in pair, but had full power alternatively, for a month, during just a year!).

The Athenian Assembly was open to the entire population. It had a quorum of 6,000 for some decisions.

Athens’ Democratic Index was ONE: one man, one vote, one voice.

The democratic index of the USA is roughly 600/200,000,000. 600 representatives (Congress plus Senate plus President), 200 million adults. That’s roughly one three divided by one million. In other words: ZERO, for the democratic index of the USA. No wonder the long faces.

Could we establish a democracy such as Athens’ nowadays?

Of course. It exists to some extent already: Confederatio Helveticae  (CH), Switzerland. The Swiss suggest, and vote on all the big decisions. Then elected representatives are in charge of enacting the decisions of the People. In Switzerland, the government officials of the seven members governing councils are really servants of the People, not big masters (by the way, the four most popular such officers are women).

Switzerland has more than eight million inhabitants, thus of the order of one hundred times the population of Athens. Modern telecommunications allow to conduct national debates before the “votations”. The results are often unexpected, as when a recent referendum prevented the further sprouting of speculative secondary residences for the rich in the magnificent landscapes.

Land speculators, especially in scenic Valais (see Matterhorn/Cervin above), were disgusted. They wasted big money fighting the measure. But, whereas in the USA, it’s easy to buy a big fat Clinton, or two, how do you buy six million Swiss voters?

So why is the rest of the so called “democracies” deprived of this direct, real democracy? The answer is obvious. Recently, the Swiss People voted systematically for anti-plutocratic measures. In the next referendum, in November, a proposed law would limit salaries to one million Francs (roughly one million dollars).

Representative democracy is not democracy. It’s a parody of democracy, perfect for the enormous buying power of the plutocrats, who can easily afford to buy body and soul a few hundred representatives.

The Dark Side’s secret will, is not the will to power. Nietzsche was naïve that way. The Dark Side’s secret will is the will to extermination. Ignore at your own risk. Or subjugate with real democracy: one person, one vote, one voice.

***

Patrice Ayme

*** 

P/S: The Salic Law born in 300 CE, broke the back of Greco-Roman self-destructive inhuman madness, that had ended devouring itself. The Salic Law replaced very systematically the death penalty by fines, and outlawing the slave trade. The law also re-established total religious tolerance, allowing Jews, Pagans, Atheists, and even Muslims to worship whichever way they wanted.

(I say “even Muslims” because the Muslims came in through violent full scale military invasions, starting around 715 CE until the end of the Tenth century. Yet, Muslim inhabitants were left alone, after the armies were thrown out; they were absorbed, leaving only African and Arab genetic markers behind.)

PLUTOCRACY: NEW WORLD ORDER

May 4, 2013

Western Intelligence, Oriental Despotism; Redux? Democratic Occident, Fascist Orient, & Vice Versed?

Obama just  nominated Commerce Secretary the billionaire heiress who discovered him, and introduced him to the Rubin-Summers-Goldman-Sachs-Citigroup conspiracy. Penny Priztker was condemned to pay a 460 million dollar fine by the Federal government in 2001, for financial malfeasance. 460 million, that’s more than Mitt Romney’s fortune… a fortune which made small rank and file democrats huff and puff, in indignation, a few months ago, just like their mighty masters told them to do (plutocrats such as the Pritzkers are the real thing, and Obama, their boy, not to say, servant).

Now, if the 460 million dollars fine felon becomes chief of commerce, that’s fine, as long as the masters of the people don’t ask the People to huff and puff about the fine. The finer the fine, the finer the master, say the little People, and they bleat, satisfied. As a grateful, and hopeful, Obama put it:”Priztker is one of the most eminent personalities of our country“. When Pluto reigns, down is up.

When Common Decency Is A Hindrance

When Common Decency Is A Hindrance

Plutocracy is the New World Order. The New World Thinking. The New World Emoting.

To get some perspective on this, it’s good to have a retrospective look at the greatest plutocratic realms of the past, and ponder why extremely wealthy fascism rose, increasingly, in the Orient, while clever democracy rose, occasionally, in the West. And sometimes fell, disastrously, for reasons related.

It turns out that, when Rome became fascist and plutocratic, it turned to, and into, Oriental despotism, and criminals, indeed, came to command and control. Criminality became morality.

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PERSIA REIGNED WITH ALL CRAFTS; YET NOT SMART ENOUGH:

Establishing  giant, metastatic empires in the Orient is nothing new: the Hittites tried it, they proceeded to invade Lebanon and the rich valleys behind, Egyptian territory. However young Pharaoh Ramses II, defeated them at Qadesh, next to present day Damascus. Through courageous combat in that battle which defined his long rule, Ramses rescued victory from the jaws of defeat, somewhat miraculously.

Ramses lost ground, though, and later made a loving peace with his enemies. Then, the Hittites having been destroyed by the mysterious coalition of the Peoples of the Sea, the Assyrians tried to impose their own giant metastatic empire, using the harshest methods. That brought them so many enemies that they got invaded from all quarters, annihilated as a nation first, and an army, later.

Then the union of Medes and Persians, thanks to three remarkable leaders, established a giant fascist empire, from Ethiopia to Central Asia, Libya to India. The third emperor, Darius, besides being excellent at sword-play in the dark, and a great general, proved capable of using a free market economy, switching to so called Keynesianism, and then a command and control economy, as needed. Darius established a giant “Royal” road network (ancestral to the one the Romans would build, four centuries later).

A Persian Pony Express, with posts every five miles, would bring news from distant corners of the empire in a week. Darius went on to invade the Scythians, land of the Amazons, present day Ukraine.

Darius’ Persia was the greatest empire, so far, larger than the present day continental USA. It became so, thanks to a great variety of methods of socio-economic governance. Some of these methods would later be used by the West, massively. Not just the communication network, the free market, the command and control, but also a crafty diplomacy of seduction, cooptation and local autonomy (that’s how the Ionian Greeks and Phoenicians became collaborators of Persia; whereas Alexander would annihilate Tyr).

However, unbelievably, tiny Athens broke the Persian empire, inaugurating the next great event, still on-going, the rise of the West. Again and again, minuscule Greek armies routed the juggernauts of professional giant armies. Again and again, small democracies proved superior to large fascist foes. I claimed that mental superiority entailed military superiority.

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FREE IN THE WEST, SLAVES IN THE EAST:

Herodotus explained the Greeks’ military superiority: free men are more motivated in battle, as they fight for themselves, he said. But it’s not clear that elite Persian soldiers did not feel free. They no doubt felt rather free, but not as much.

I hold something slightly different, a new dimension of understanding: free men, living in an “open society” are not just more motivated, but, simply, more intelligent. Yes, intelligent.

Yet how come that the free men tended to be in the West, and the subjugated ones, in the East? And this for 4,000 years, defining the “West” as anything west of Mount Lebanon. Why did so much of the Mediterranean turn out propitious to freedom and individual initiative? What of the enormous Celto-German forests, from Spain to the Baltics?

Two factors played a role:

1) Trade, with the big man, the leader being the ship owner-captain (Tyr, Phoenicia, Crete, Athens, Carthage, etc.). This required to excel at technology and adaptative intelligence, confronting nature.

2) Small owner-peasants. The West’s agricultural system did better thanks to small, free owner-peasants.  The owner peasant was captain of his own plot of land, and found himself in a situation roughly similar to the ship captain. Such people worked hard, and thought hard about outwitting nature. All of Germany was this way, until the military encroachment of Rome in the beginning of its plutocratic phase, brought, by reaction, a militarization of German society (this is what archeology shows).

A demographic core of owner-peasants was the core of the success of the Roman republic, and its successors, the Imperium Francorum, and France, or anything working along French lines (most of Europe). When enjoying this basic culture, of free, independent peasants, the West did very well. Why so? Because thinking by oneself, for oneself, makes one more intelligent.

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WHY THE ORIENT IS DUMBER:

The Orient did better when the peasants could cultivate. That meant, when they had water. That was not obvious in the increasingly parched lands, from the Maghreb to India. First, there, one needed to bring water to agricultural lands. Whereas in the West, both water and arable land were in the same place, not so in the East. In the East water was on rocky mountains, arable lands in parts of plains at the bottom of said mountains. To bring the former to the latter, one needed great hydraulic works. Underground canalizations, sometimes fifty feet deep, could extend dozens of miles.

Such extensive works meant armies of workers and maintenance people. And also standing armies to establish and protect the necessary order. Plus a field army to roam around the empire, and keep the static defenses obedient.

In other words, food on the carpet in the parched, basin and range Orient meant a large fascist system to make it possible, and everybody enslaved to it, in a military organization (Christianity and Islam, both oriental religions, kept much of this essential psychological character: fascist god on top, giving absolute, even capricious  orders to its slaves below).

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ALL TOGETHER NOW, DOWN THE ROMAN ROAD TO HELL?

What consequences today? Western countries do not depend upon small owner-peasants anymore, but upon giant farms, or agribusinesses, for food procurement. Even trade has become unbalanced: production on one end of the Earth, increasing unemployment, at the other end.

Giant agribusinesses, and unbalanced trade became facts of empire in Rome, and lasted centuries. It was a deliberate plot of Roman plutocracy. At some point, six senatorial families owned most of North Africa. Seneca, Nero’s tutor, the plutocratic philosopher of note, used to boast that he had no idea how many giant properties he owned on the various continents.

That delocalization and globalization made Rome, and Italy into an empty shell of its former self. As those who had the power, the senatorial families, wished. What they feared first, was a proud, potent, empowered People.

(Part of) Italy would resurrect as independent republics, more than a millennium later.

What’s the morality of the story? Men have a strong instinct for doing things right. In a plutocratic system, though, men who do things wrong get rewarded, and this goes on, until the situation exponentiates and breaks down. Thus plutocratic systems are intrinsically pathological: they reward criminals. Not just criminal according to the laws of men, but criminals according to the laws of nature.

In the Orient, life is harder, less natural, militarization exploits part of the Dark Side, because human beings, by living there, live in a less optimal situation. In the West, the rise of plutocracy did not have these excuses.

The Romans knew this well. The Roman republic was the product of a revolution against Tarquinus Superbus, the king of Rome, of Etruscan origin. So the founding act of five centuries of Roman republic was an anti-plutocratic revolt. Same for Athens (several times, during the same centuries).

The Romans passed a strong anti-plutocratic law. That law limited, by force the size of a family’s fortune; it fixed an upper bound on how much one could own. The Second Punic war saw the death, on the battlefield, of too many of the best leading Romans. Meanwhile the conspirators of wealth, back behind the walls of the fortified cities, as Hannibal was roaming the countryside, established a New World order of rents.

When Carthage got defeated, those men of greed kept on pushing, and tried to grab control of the state. After several wars of distraction against Macedonia, Carthage, Numantia, Corinth, etc. it became clear that was what was going on to thousands of the best Romans, led by top nobles (in mind and ancestry), the Gracchi.

The Gracchis mostly tried to impose the wealth limitation law. They also succeeded to impose a land redistribution (an unthinkable socialist measure in the post Thatcher-Reagan world!). Yet, the Gracchi and their supporters lost a civil war. All got killed, by the private armies of the plutocrats. By 100 BCE, when Caesar was born, the dice had long been thrown. Only extreme measures could address the situation (extreme measures that Caesar and Cicero, on the good side, would try).

Now what? Losing democracy, means, ultimately, that we will lose not just freedom, but intelligence itself. It is difficult to imagine how the Americans will pull out of their present death spiral into furthering the wealth of the .1%. When bandits are called “philanthropists”, all values have been inverted in a country: gangsters are in control, the mafia has got metastatic. It will go on, all inverted, until it explodes, or get trampled over. The commerce chief will be a certified felon.

The situation in Europe is not as desperate: conditions for a revolt exist. Although Goldman Sachs has its servants in place all over, the Italians threw out one of them, a Goldman Sachs partner, Mario Monti, at the first chance they got.

Some may sneer, as they notice that, once again I used “Orient” and “Occident” according to old Greco-Roman semantics. What of the true Orient, the far-out East, China and company? Well, I will hide behind my usual observation: it’s Western culture that conquered the world. Present day China’s ideology has very little that is specifically Chinese, besides what the West and China had in common, such as the more or less free market. The idea of “People” (Populus) and “Republic” (Respublica) are Roman. So the very title of China, the “People Republic of China” is, well, (Greco-)Roman.

The dangers threatening China, accordingly, like those threatening us, are those that devastated the Roman republic. For the reasons exposed above, the development in the West, of a more advanced civilization was first, thus why everybody adopted it later.  Rome was first to rise as high as it did. But, the greater the rise, the greater the fall. By 700 CE, the fall of Rome had been so great, that China had risen higher, on many indicators. The West, invaded by hordes of savages for more than six hundred years (beyond even 400 CE to 1000 CE) was fighting for survival.

Plutocracy as a New World Order is not just the end of many things. In the fullness of time, plutocracy is the end of everything.

Even the Will to Power. Slave masters are not so masterful. After all, they are enslaved to their slaves.

When Rome went down, Roman plutocrats whined that the “world was getting old“. By this they meant that resources were being exhausted. Unbeknownst to them, they were the cause of this aging, of this lack of renewal. Its stupidity plutocratic civilization could not find a way out of the box it had built. It needed really new technologies; it did not have the brains to discover them. And it could not have acquired these brains without losing control.

Right now, the world is not getting old, it’s getting killed. And that’s worst.

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Patrice Ayme