Posts Tagged ‘Rome’

Is Liberalism Illiberal? Is Liberalism A Cover-Up For Plutocracy Using Racism As A Ploy?

July 6, 2021

In Europe, “liberal” has a slight pejorative meaning, free market as the prominent value, diminishing other, deeper values, while covered up by a quixotic parody of freedom, absolute belief in the “free market’, in one word, “American”… American supremacy masquerading, in drags, as monkey business. Whereas in the USA, “liberal” is supposed to incarnate the left, and progressive, it is therefore supposed to mean the opposite of the European interpretation of what “liberal” has become [1]…  

So which vision is right? Is liberalism just facilitating world plutocracy, as the European believe, or is it a real “left”, as “Democrats” pretend in the USA?

The record shows that “liberal” as interpreted by US citizens is, in fact, as seen from a world perspective, closer to “liberal” as interpreted by Europeans: US capitalist domination, masquerading as liberty. Indeed most hegemonic, often Xi collaborating firms, from the financial giant Black Rock to Microsoft, have embraced “liberal” values… while fostering much of the present worst abuse on the planet (such as kids extracting cobalt and coltan in Congo, or Xi’s dictatorship extracting resources from its genocidal colonial empire). Obviously the embrace of US political leaders of “liberalism” is rather reminiscent of Hitler’s embrace of “socialism”.

Naturally, although US liberalism’s abuse of the world has been greater than its domestic abuse, it remains that, under their leadership which is the opposite of what they advertise, the US middle and lower classes have been going down, in health, wealth, and prospects. To replace them the “liberal” machinery has been keen to import, at high price, educated immigrants from countries which extensively trained them, such countries now to be painfully robbed from their human resources… And US liberals… applaud this new slave trade… being careful NOT to see the analogy. 

Under Obama, a “liberal”, thousands of billions of dollars were transferred to failing banks owned by the wealthiest. This Transfer of Assets to Rich People replenished the coffers of the wealthiest. This is how “liberal” Obama saved the economy: by enriching the rich. Lo and behold, when Obama was finished with his reign, inequality in the USA was the greatest ever, and life expectancy was going down. Confronted to a similar crisis, Reagan and Bush Senior, both conservative exploiters of the people, nationalized thousands of banks first, depriving their wealthy owners of property. So Reagan was a leftist compared to Obama, the “liberal”. So why do “Democrats” still call Obama “liberal”? Because of the color of his skin? (Same as the color of the skin of my beloved spouse, BTW, so no turning around to call me a white supremacist… for pointing out at the skin color argument!)

The result of liberalism as a masquerade can be observed in California: sky high taxes, except for billionaires who pay none, with thousands of the world’s worst slums (worst, said the UN!) kept at a distance from the residences of the world’s most powerful men. But then Zuckerberg went around Lake Tahoe with an electric foil, while holding a US flag, probably in honor of the liberal sheep who voted for his employees (to manage the country). The symbol of a class for which having no shame is the best defense. 

That inversion of all values is going full bore: those who fear Islam as the Middle Age enemy of civilization, are described as “haters”. “Liberal” values have come to embrace Islam, and hate those for fear Islam… A few centuries after Europe finally got rid of Islam’s initial model, Catholicism (and its inquisition)… And a few centuries after the Enlightenment excoriated both Islamism and Christianism. Now literary works of the Eighteenth Century criticizing Islam are de facto outlawed! 

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Embracing the enemies of civilization, foreign, abusive religions and fostering inequality, insufficient education, and declining wealth, health and employment outcomes is exactly how Roman plutocracy put under increasing control the Roman people, while making a show of self-defeating liberalism (citizenship for all under emperor Caracalla).

A society where the most important corporations are monopolies controlling the tech sector is a dictatorship (more exactly, an oligarchy). 

The racist explanation, obsessively claiming people are upset because a change of the color of the skin of… people… is obviously a coverup. For example in California, pure white race gatherings seem to be found nowhere. In my own California family, some are white (one from the UK), some are very brown “African-American”, some are (brown) pacific islanders, some are white Asians (Korea, Japan), some are nearly white “hispanic” (from Mexico)… and one is even from Africa (yours truly). And this is typical. Yesterday I was on a boat and an island, and the kaleidoscope of races, skin, eye, and hair color was amazing. In one concept: nobody is racist. In wealthy northern California, many are millionaires (from real estate) and feel like honorary, if not outright, masters, in other words, whites.

 The less amusing part is that yesterday on “60 Minutes” some white guy from an exclusively white family, with exclusively white assistants (it seemed), who has been making documentaries for PBS for 40 years, came on TV to tell us we are all racists. In truth, he is a racist from a racist milieu, and this is often the case in the east… and thus sincerely believes the whole world is like his world: racist. 

Talking obsessively about racism during an intense class struggle, the attempted take over of the world by global plutocracy, is a cover-up. Racism has become the opium of liberals.

Rome was not racist. Actually, genetic analysis and other evidence show that the Roman population became mostly eastern genetically, as Rome became an illiberal empire, imbued with ideologies and religions from the Eastern Mediterranean. Thus the Roman turn-for-the-worst was taken not for racial, but for class reasons: the wealthiest against the rest.  

The paradox is this: as We The People are treated illberally by a dictating class, the natural reaction is to fight fire with fire and become illiberal oneself. This is exactly what happened when Roman civilization went down, and dictatorship kept on rising: monks, “men in black” would ravage all they could ravage, and vast armed rebellions arose (Brigantes in the West, Nikka riots in Constantinople). Something similar happened in the Middle Ages (Jacqueries, when nobles got butchered and butchered back) and, after centuries of turmoil, culminated in the French Revolution four centuries later. 

The gap between the rich and poor is not accidental, or incidental. It is not a consequence. Instead, it is the engine. The wealthiest, as they get ever wealthier and more powerful, thus evil and deluded, correctly perceive the poor and the middle class as their enemies, and conspire to weaken them ever more, the more evil they themselves become. Reciprocally the poor and the middle class have started to realize that they are preyed upon, and that a mechanism similar to the downfall of the Roman republic is at work. So they are starting to react… with increasing ferocity, through their ‘populism”… 

As Rome declined and fell, We The People lost democracy (=people-power), and we have been recovering much of it recently (more or less culminating around the GI Bill after World War Two). What is going to happen next? Power, that is knowledge, will guide. Telling people why they are becoming illiberal against their loud, but fake, “liberal” oppressors liberally exploiting them, is an indispensable start. 

Know thy enemy and thyself! Thus your big stick will carry a long way!

Patrice Ayme

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[1] The understanding of what “liberal” meant was the same in the US and Europe up to the 18th century. The divergence started after this, and, I claim, slavery (a US practice) had everything to do with it)…. As the next essay will show…

Tax To Block Private Power Absolutely. The Example of Republican Rome.

June 12, 2021

Roman Democracy Failed From Private Power Escaping 100% Taxation

Too much power in a family is iniquitous, dangerous for the society at large. Thus, tax power. The fundamental reason for taxation is not, contrarily to common opinion, to raise money for the government.

The fundamental reason for taxation is to prevent a few families from grabbing all the power of society for themselves, making an oligarchy... 

Money and power exponentiate: they grow proportionally to themselves. So if power is not limited in a timely manner, one individual, the monarch, will grab all power.

Fully sovereign states can decide where power shall be directed, by passing appropriate laws: the Inca empire worked very well without tax or currency. Just like the Roman empire and the feudal system, the USSR, or the UK or USA in WW2, workers or companies, in a fully sovereign state, can be mobilized to do necessary work, by command and control. A fully sovereign state has so much power, it does not need to purchase it.

However, if families acquire enormous wealth, they can acquire so much power that they can direct the public discourse to their liking, and, ultimately, purchase armies. This is exactly what happened in the Roman republic, in violation of old Republican laws which limited power, and wealth absolutely. This happened greatly because global Roman plutocrats were able to escape Roman taxation and jurisdiction by going and thriving overseas [1]. 

Coming back quickly the overseas Roman plutocrats used propaganda to buy for themselves a large part of Italy, and manned those monopolistic agribusinesses with armies of slaves. Gracchi laws passed too late to stop the phenomenon [2]. We are in exactly the same situation. Tax power now!

The imperial Roman Republic could have been saved, and transmogrified. First it needed a different attitude to ideas, by realizing and emotionally integrating, that one should be ruled by a society where nothing can, and should, beat a superior idea into submission. Instead emperor Vespasian paid an inventor to not reveal a machine which could have saved enormous amount of work. So, by 80 CE, the official Roman policy was anti-tech investment.

Second the nefarious side of the entanglement with slavery should have been revealed. Slavery perverted society in more ways than one, including not just from its inequity, but by favoring an ever more oligarchic society leveraging inequity, and thus discouraging technological progress, an absolute good (everything else being equal). When the Latin speaking Queen Bathilde from the Roman successor state, the Imperium Francorum, outlawed slavery in 657 CE, the forces of progress were unleashed: not just tech, but mandatory secular education.

(Outlawing slavery was not just a Frankish idea, Chinese emperors tried it several times; but differently from what happened in Francia, the reform did not hold.)

The monopolists who now dominate the world propaganda and most of its information economy, have acquired those positions in the worst possible way: through complicity with the darkest part of the state of the dominant nation-state, the US.

The fabulously powerful plutocrats and their worldwide conspiracy, which include the dictatorship in China, have to be stopped now. No more excuses. The “Democrats” control the Congress and the Senate. The least they can do is to try to break the power of the most powerful families, their countless plots, foundations, and accomplices in academia. Yeah, just try, that’s the decent thing to do.

One should not want to risk the Republic, as Rome did by trying to control too late the wealthiest, the self-described “best” (as the Gracchi did).

Notice that Trump’s Justice Department launched pursuits against Google and Facebook…. And couldn’t do more, because the “Democrats” then focused on Trump instead of focusing on the monopolists. That was a bad mistake, but no doubt, as the monopolists have greatly helped the “Democrats” they saw it as the right move at the time. Well, this is now, no more excuses…

If the power of the wealthiest is not curbed immediately, civilization is in peril. Tax severely very great wealth, enough to prevent exponentiation of society into degeneracy and Armageddon for everybody. As happened so many times in the past.

Patrice Ayme

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[1] Roman rentiers became wealthy during the Second Punic War: to escape Hannibal’s forces, peasants took refuge in the cities behind fortifications (Rome’s walls were so formidable, Hannibal didn’t even try to besiege it)… But they had to rent lodgings. An aggravating factor is that many, if not most of the most noble families died on the battlefield, and with them, their Republican, democratic mentality. If anything, it was demonstrated that high republican spirits kill, and base mentality enriches. 

Rome also found itself with an empire after defeating Hannibal and his Macedonian ally. The Republic had a light touch, and preserved local elites and local laws (in most cases). Roman generals expanding the Roman civilization’s security sphere were able to enrich themselves considerably by acquiring, say, mines in Iberia, as Marius did (that enabled him to run for Consul).

Conquests made Rome, and especially its elite, very wealthy. Roman public land had been acquired by wealthy members of the Senate starting in 180 BCE. Senators used the public land to create large farms worked by slaves, to produce cash crops, such as olive oil and wine. These giant farms became known as latifundia and the Senators or wealthy individuals (Equites) who owned these were not concerned with feeding the city’s populace, but instead were obsessed to become ever more wealthy. They could leverage this further by escaping the Roman absolute wealth limit from making money in other jurisdictions, overseas.

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[2] The plutocrats of Rome who wanted to override the spirit of the laws of the 350 years old Republic called themselves, ironically enough, the “Optimates”. Those self-declared optimal types, were the exact opposite of what their description entailed. They used massive propaganda to depict themselves as they were not. In truth, they were the most vile and degenerate. They were an offense to the spirit of countless noble Romans of centuries passed, including the six (elected) Roman kings (the one who was not, Tarquinius Superbus, the assassin of the great king Servius Tullius, caused a civil war, and was the last king), and (elected) dictators Camillus, Cincinnatus, tremendously courageous generals such as Regulus, etc. The propaganda worked…

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That the Roman Republic lasted as long as it did, five centuries, is greatly attributable to limit put on the wealth and power of individual families:

Direct Democracy Made Rome, The Middle Ages, More Inventive

May 9, 2021

Roman engineering is still amazing: the Pantheon in Rome is still the largest unreinforced concrete building. We are still trying to duplicate Roman concrete, some varieties of which were much more energy efficient to make, could settle under water, etc… CO2 is massively produced by concrete making, and a big problem as we decarbonize our energy production. After the Roman state collapsed, buildings got built in a more ephemeral manner…

Ian Miller responded:
In fairness, one of the better ones used a pozzolan from Vesuvius (and burnt lime) so in a sense Vesuvius did much of the heating. Another interesting one was the testa, effectively from heated kaolin, but unlike the clay cements we use, it only had to be heated to 600 degrees C (and with added burnt lime.)

Roman engineering was not the only engineering around: for centuries, the Romans purchased their better weapons among the Gauls, who had superior metallurgy.

In either case, the (relative) superior inventiveness was caused by (relatively superior) direct democracy. That may surprise: Rome is not known for its direct democracy… And it was a strange one, as it reflected the addition of further “tribes”, over the centuries, to those which founded the city itself. So older tribes had priority in voting in the so-called “Centuriate Assembly”… which was actually the National Assembly of the “Populus Romanus”.

Rome was known for its inventiveness in engineering, and it generally happened because some Roman soldier or more typically, an officer, had a bright idea, which quickly went up the chain of command. Other bright ideas were debated politically, sometimes for centuries, sometimes in the fiercest fashion (say taxation of the hyper wealthy and confiscation of said wealth by the Ager Publicus, the public agricultural lands). This makes obvious that debates were intense and their interest beyond any suspicion.

The cathedral and the Brunelleschi dome at sunset, Florence Italy. The balcony at the very top is around one hundred meters in circumference (personal estimate), and the dome is 115 meters high. It was begun in 1296 CE. The Republic invented bonds to finance itself and its army…

The situation changed completely during the empire. Emperors started to pay inventors to NOT divulge their inventions. The idea was that machines took away employment. The reality was that emperors did not want a dynamic society. The most terrible consequence was that the barbarians caught up, or even surpassed, Roman military engineering, with the otherwise incomprehensible results that tiny Germanic bands came to defeat the empire on the battlefield… another cause, tied in directly to the lack of direct democracy in the Late Empire, is that Roman armies were then smaller than at the apex of the Republic, when the Roman population was less than a tenth of what it was in the Late empire… Emperors and their attending plutocrats did not want the proverbial, levée en masse, the mass national military conscription, which would have toppled them… And which had been the rule already under king Servius Tullius, (assassinated 535 BCE) a generation before the formal inception of the Roman Republic…

Fast forward six centuries and now the great leader of the Franks, mother to three kings, queen Bathilde, fierce and absolute regent of the Frankish empire in 657 CE, outlaws slave trading when said slaves reside in Francia, thus are “Franks”. That demolished the Roman latifundia system (giant agribusinesses manned by slaves) which had risen its ugly head towards the end of the Roman Republic, helping to kill it (form the powers it conferred to the plutocrats who owned it). next thing which happened is that Gallic metallurgy, already second to none, became even better. Combined with mechanical advantage (replacing the waning slave workforce), it brought hydraulic hammers, which were then used to give metallic skeletons to great buildings (for example cathedrals and domes.

To build the Duomo in Florence, architect Brunelleschi came up with an impressively complicated design that featured two domes, one on top of the other, using a special herringbone brick pattern. he also used an system of internal iron chains that ringed the outer dome like the metal rings on a barrel to help evenly distribute the weight. Up until that point the only option to make such a dome was to using flying buttresses, a Frankish invention (Italy was part of the Frankish empire, now rebaptized the “Renovated Roman Empire” since 800 CE). The same method was used in Frankish cathedrals, especially after they bulged out and threatened to collapse (see Amiens).

Florence was a resurgence of People Power, as it became a republic in the middle of the Middle Ages. One of many in Italy. The Franks had been favorable to Republics: Venice was one of them, and the spawn of Roman refugees from the Hunnic and Germanic invasions. Charlemagne put it under his wing, but did not subdue her, in spite of the fact she had a gigantic fleet the rest of the empire sorely depended upon.

The Feudal system itself was both a degenerescence of empire, but also a resurgence of local democracy: the Roman empire was united by the Roman army, and communications, plus some basic laws in common, and enough tax base redistribution to keep the army fed, trained and equipped… But otherwise it was pretty much a galaxy of cities… When Caesar invade Gallia Comida (Long Haired Gaul), it has 60 states… the exact same number, in exactly the same region as it would have, a millennium later…

When people talk about Western Europe, and they ponder what made it different, they should pay more attention to the local democracy character it long possessed, and how it generate technological innovation.

Why it failed in Rome has to do with the absence of a revered, endogenous intellectual class. Greece had it, and Rome imported brains from Greece. Higher thoughts are different from engineering, but neither of them can live without the other, and progress, as they must, in always degenerating ecological circumstances…

Patrice Ayme

Anti-Intellectualism Is Why Rome Went Down, And So Could We

December 17, 2020

Thinking completely new thoughts is highly disturbing, even to professionally creative thinkers. Systems of thoughts are systems of neural networks, and changing them requires a lot of energy, thus will. So, at the first sign of really new ideas, or emotions, those with little experience in the dynamical systems of thought, and why it is important to improve them, feel under personal attack. And they are. So they panic, get enraged, and hurl anti-ideas and insults, all the more as they see reason, their sort of reason, under assault.  

The question then, for creative thinkers who have to interface with the Commons, is always the same: should we accommodate lesser minds and their brutish inclinations? And the answer, from Socrates, to Demosthenes, to Hypatia, Boetius, Abelard, Giordano Bruno, the historian Marc Bloch, the philosopher and logician Jean Cavaillès, is always the same: never accommodate those  who want to kill creative thinking. Never, ever. Death is the better way.

Why? Because the will to new and better thinking is the distinctive essence of humanity. This is what babies and children do. And if we stop doing it, all we hold dear will disappear. All that will be left will be nihilism, ex nihilo.

This sort of consideration, how intellectual Rome was, may sound arcane, but it is all very pragmatic: Rome never succeeded to foster creative thinking of civilization class. Rome did not have this sort of meta-cultural tradition. Romans were very intelligent, but pragmatic. And perished as a result. Importing Greek thinkers, as Rome did for generations, did not really work, as, in the end, Roman generals outlawed creative thinking in general, and the Greek sort, in particular. You see, creative thinking was inconvenient, too hard, not respectful enough of the established order… too unmasked… 

Imperial Rome was so anti-intellectual that engineers and inventors were paid by the state to not divulge their inventions, especially if they improved productivity. The theory is that such inventions would have augmented unemployment. Europeans, once they cancelled slavery (Bathilde, circa 655 CE) had no such qualms. By 1,000 CE, windmills and watermills were found by the dozens of thousands (6,000 watermills in England alone by 1068 CE).

The final result of this anti-intellectualism was that Rome could not see far in the distance, or deep in its own structures. But then, of course, it could not happen once the Republic existed only in name, because it was fairly clear that it had been captured by a gang of bandits.

Basilica Of Maxentius And Constantine (the former died in the Milvian bridge battle against the latter…). The trees are huge, by the way. A 15 meters tall statue of Constantine used to stand in front of it. Only its head survived. Basilica were buildings with multiple functions in Rome; they became strictly religious under Christianism.

Bis repetita with the Muslim Caliphates. The reason why the Caliphates went down was, basically, the same anti-intellectualism as Rome (for the good and simple reason that islam learned this anti-intellectualism from Rome). Why did Europe not succumb to anti-intellectualism too? 

Because after the Roman state demise, the legal establishment, the religious establishments (Christian and Jew), the military establishment, all parted ways, while the Roman plutocracy embraced the barbarians: it was all a big mess… which gave a modicum of freedom, competition, diversity and the spark of intellectual debates (after all, Charlemagne talked three languages, Frankish, Latin and Greek… and took himself for King David!) 

For example, 250 years after Charlemagne, a maverick such as the Normandy Duke, William the Bastard, soon to be a Conqueror, supported maverick intellectuals who identified god with reason… Or more exactly, reduced god to reason (the Pope was furious, but couldn’t do anything as William had a much bigger army). 

Whereas in Islam until recently one could not say that the combination of hydrogen and oxygen makes water, but only that hydrogen and oxygen, god willing, result in water. Allah supervised all of Islam, including the simplest gestures, even during the so-called “Golden Age of Islam”. Whereas in contemporaneous Europe, blasphemy came as naturally as sex jokes, and everything was for the better when both got mixed and the lecherous local priest ended emasculated… (See the “Fabliaux”)     

Capture by a gang of evils and devils, war criminals and criminals against humanity, not just bandits, is the condition sine qua non of plutocracy. 

In the recent elections in the USA, strong bias, in many ways was exerted by the plutocratic monopolies. Those monopolies had been created by the preceding regime (“Bush-Obama” [1]). They have a vested interest in seeing the friendliness to monopolies resurrected (Trump is suing Google and Facebook). 

The politics the tech monopolies pushed was not just to eliminate their tormentor, Trump. They also pushed an agenda of voting favorable to themselves. It is striking that, in California, rabidly “democratic” (Biden plus 5.5 million!), the pro-plutocracy propositions passed. Deep thinking shows something is wrong here: is California pro-democracy, and “left” (as it claims) or pro-plutocracy and pro-Neofeudalism (as the voting for plutocratic propositions indicates)? Further twist: the “Democratic” Party was officially against these plutocratic propositions, by the way, it’s not just me…

Deep thinking ponders: is not something fishy going on? How come a Trump hating California votes for plutocrats? Is this another proof that the pro-Biden vote was fundamentally pro-plutocracy? Right, it’s a point I have been trying to convey, approaching with a granular analysis… Or maybe Californians just do what their masters tell them to do?   

Indeed a population seemingly addicted to demonstrating obedience, wear masks even in the wilderness, a new form of debasing voodoo in which even Europe at the peak of the Black Plague of 1347 CE, did not fall (then only doctors wore masks). Thorough stupidification precedes ultimate plutocratization: we are no doubt on our way…

Fundamentally, leading civilizations lead from leading thinking. For example, Rome led Italy, Greater Greece, Etruria, so all her competitors, neighbors and adversaries by being the first to introduce a hoplite army, under, and thanks to king Sergius Tulius. Not only this endowed Rome with the best army in Italy, it made Rome into a democracy (after a delay from the insane reign of Tarquinius Superbus). Later, when Rome fought powers, she was typically the democracy and certainly the republic… from better thinking, and won, by better thinking.

Reciprocally, when the government of imperial Rome after Augustus, now a plutocracy, refused to think to solve Rome’s problems, no doubt that was for the obvious reason. Indeed, the most lucid of the plutocrats in total power could guess that deep thinking would have led the people to conclude that they, the plutocrats, consisted in the deepest problem intelligence was affected by. So, the problems went unsolved, festered ever more. Rome first deperished in its analytical capability, and then perished. 

If a civilization cannot sustain leading, progressing thinking, it will perish, one way, or another. Not just that, but the thinking has to be good enough to master the problems at hand. The problems we have now, a potential climate catastrophe, nuclear weapons, the Neo-Feudalism plutocracy is enthusiastically cruising towards, and an on-going Sixth Mass Extinction are all potentially biosphere terminating events. So we are going a bigger boat for our intellectual adventure as we face this tsunami of man-made cataclysms…

And yes, it will hurt to think new ideas, and foster new emotions. But there is no other way. Humanity reminds me of a solo climber way off the deck, and no matter the pain and the fright, the only way, no matter what is up… At all and any cost.

Patrice Ayme

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[1] Obama adopted the plan of Bush which consisted in giving public money to private financing firms of his own liking… Instead of nationalizing them, first (as Reagan had done in a similar crisis). That was the most important, and fateful, decision of Obama’s reign: it brought increasing financial influence, plutocratization and inequality. As the launching of this deplorable policy was from Bush, it is cogent of evoking the regime of Bush-Obama. Truly what else did Obama do? Aside from augmenting the profits of the healthcare industry?  

Why The US 1979 Attack On Afghanistan? Hubris!

September 28, 2020

The US attacked Afghanistan in 1979? Most US citizens know only of 9/11, when US mercenary Bin Laden turned against its ex-employer the USA. Plutocratic propaganda “fact checking” will tell you all the precedent statements are unfounded or even know to be false; they are lying; the best way to see they are lying is that the Saudis could not have established an army of at least 35,000 Arabs Muslim Fundamentalist fighters without the approbation of Pakistan, itself a Washington puppet at the time)

National Security Adviser Harvard University (PhD) Zbigniew  Brzezinski, father of professional Trump hater and MSNBC talking head Harvard’s visiting fellow Mika Brzezinski: “Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secret until now, is completely different. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.”

So the Afghan war was launched, millions died, millions got exiled, an entire country got tortured for now more than 40 years. But Harvard University (PhD) Zbigniew Brzezinski had no regrets:

Brzezinski: “Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire…. What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”

Afghanistan in 1979, before the full US attack, on the left. Afghanistan in 201o, after 31 years of US led war.  Until the US DEEP STATE unleashed Muslim Fundamentalist terrorists in Afghanistan through Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan was a quickly modernizing, safe country, with little sexism. My parents, in geological missions to Afghanistan, visited it many times, and travelled all over (without bodyguards…) Picture sent by Don Kemmerling. US war in Afghanistan destroyed the country completely and made it drug dependent.

The US Deep State and its greedy plutocracy attacked Afghanistan in 1979 for reasons so shallow that there is bound to be another, deeper mechanism at work. And that is one well known of the Ancient Greeks, the reason which, perhaps more than any other, defeated Greek Democracy, hubris. Human beings are made to live dangerously. The leaders of America, visible or not, were bored. So, full of hubris, they organized for themselves a war which would pull them out of their routine. Beats golf, any day. They got away with it, from a general lack of morality and attention to detail.

Another reason is that individuals such as Mika Brzezinski are at the levers of command of US opinion making. Mika is a visiting fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics. “MSNBC’S Morning Joe Hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski Join Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics as Fellows”. Harvard Kennedy School. The President and Fellows of Harvard College. Retrieved May 31, 2017 (the information was recently scrubbed, because it exposes the connection between plutocratic Harvard and plutocratic MSNBC).

The individuals at the helm of the US are used to get money and power for nothing. Rwanda, using their tool Kagame, produced cheaply, plenty of Coltan and other rare minerals indispensable for modern electronics (smartphones, etc.) The likes of Susan Rice, another daughter of a prestigious father, made it so that the war in Congo to get all these minerals out without paying Congolese tax could proceed for the best. Rice represented, in a lucrative manner, Kagame (himself formed in the USA, before being sent back to make war in Rwanda) in Washington. Only six million Congolese killed, long live Rice!

Then all the parrots out there repeat what they are told, but not in these words: global plutocracy is good for you, as long as you say, feel and think the right things.

Is there a way out? Time will tell. However historical precedent is not encouraging. If the Roman state collapsed, it was fundamentally because the Roman plutocracy preferred to deal with the barbarians than to empower, We The People. Potentially, Rome could have raised armies of millions of citizens, which would have crushed the tiny barbarian armies… But Roman plutocrats and their children preferred to marry barbarians than to resist them. Actually Roman plutocrats turned out to have been more hellish than the Barbarians: the Roman empire was reestablished,” renovated” by the Franks, ex-barbarians who were adoptive Romans, not by the original ancient Roman lineages (which had been physically destroyed by the victorious plutocrats…) 

William, Duke of Normandy, established in England the most modern state in the world at the time, in 1066 CE. The first thing he did was to outlaw slavery, per Frankish law, as he had to, because it was the law. Followed an amazing succession of smart measures. A bit of digging shows why: William was part of, and encouraged, a whole movement towards greater intellect in north-west France. Those individuals believed that Earth was circling the sun, and logic was god.

Similarly, the rise of ancient Greek democracies was preceded by serious intellectual forrays in deeper understanding. So, when looking at civilizations, one has to look at their intellectual classes to guess their future: Rome (for a long time) and China (several times)  went down because of insufficient mental performance. Similarly, when Western Europe recovered, it was led by its intellectuals… as early as the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eight centuries…

In the case of Rome, one may wonder why the administration could not stop the plutocratic rot. This intellectual class was of a lesser sort: the Romans never created intellectuals of the same class as the Greeks. Even when the Roman Republic or the Roman empire were at their peaks, except for a few historians, Romans never produced an intellectual class. Greece did, and Rome employed them, rewarding them handsomely. This was the time of the billionaire (Greek) intellectuals. But those intellectuals were themselves of the lesser sort: they got wealthy, as long as they sang the praises of the collapsing empire, collapsing ecology, collapsing morals, and collapsing free speech… Everybody agreed that, as they put it then:”the world is getting old”.

Well, the world was not getting old, the Roman intellectual class had got senile. By the Eight Century, the Franks made universal schooling mandatory and a condition for religious establishments to operate. It was a time of basic inventions, to enable society to work without slaves…

America has never produced a serious intellectual class. The very wealth and influence of top US, or Chinese, universities is a warning sign: closer examination indeed shows full agreement with the plutocracies in power. 

So Americans don’t know that they saintly president Carter attacked Afghanistan in 1979. They don’t know that it had severe consequences (9/11 being a relatively minor one…). So why would they mind that Biden attacked Iraq? 

Better. One loses all credibility by pointing at such significant facts as murdering entire nations: smarts disqualify, among idiots, naturally enough. If one wants respectability nowadays, one has to go do the monkey on Tik Tok, gains millions of followers. Any text more than ten words taxes the minds of those who have none.

Patrice Ayme

Slavery And The Question Of Rome’s Economic Decline And Non-Sustainability

August 31, 2020

Rome sustained an advanced mass civilization which was not replicated for millennia: the usage of ceramics was ubiquitous and massive; after the Roman state collapse, wooden utensils reappeared. To this day, most Californians cannot afford tile roofs, so their houses burn readily; a law to impose tile roofs, to reduce the loss of California cities to fire was abandoned, because… California can’t afford it; in the Roman empire, tile roofs were standard, so houses resisted forest fires; Romans were wealthier than Californians that way. Many historians have claimed that Greco-Roman civilization was not sustainable: there was not high enough a productivity to support such a mass civilization… So how could it be supported for 11 centuries?

Some historians, often of the Marxist persuasion, insist that Rome needed slavery to keep on going. As slavery was unsustainable, so was Rome, those economic historians insist. Indeed they claimed that only wars could bring slaves: as wars waned, so did the capture of slaves, hence the Roman economy also shrunk. This is obviously a disingenuous reasoning as the proximal cause of the collapse of Athens and Rome were military defeats, not lack of slaves… and after the Roman state collapsed, the wealthiest Romans, for example the families adorned with bishops (!) had plenty of slaves.

Moreover, archeology has found great economic prosperity until the uncough hordes of barbarian warriors showed up to destroy the economy, so as to destroy the society… and those invasive aliens collaborated with local Athenian, or Roman plutocrats..

Moreover, a careful examination of the known facts shows that Roman civilization was not founded on slavery… nor was Athens; although slavery was important for Athens’ silver mines, slaves constituted only a minor fraction of the Athenian population; sailors of the fleet were free men, differently from Louis XIV’s galleys, or many California fire crews in the Twenty-first century…

Roman Patrician Cincinnatus, twice elected dictator, had nothing to hide. He was deeply anti-plebeian, but not to the point of degrading public discourse with massive lying. Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, Francia, Rome successor state…

Indeed, the early Roman City-State expanded without much slavery for centuries. So slavery was not needed. For centuries, the strength of Rome was the plebeian farmer cultivating his own land. Even Cincinatus cultivated three acres of land with his own hands, on the other side of the Tiber, when the Senate asked him to become dictator to save the nation from invaders… something Cincinatus did in two weeks, thanks to a military innovation and absolute power, then resigned. 

A second reason to believe that slavery was not crucial to Greco-Roman civilization is that it backfired. The central argument of Tiberius Gracchus, read between the lines, is that, at the time, in the Second Century BCE, mass-slavery had backfired on middle class Roman citizen-soldiers, “making their lives worse than that of wild beasts” (who, at least, had dens to go back to, Tiberius Gracchus pointed out, with relentless insistence). 

Land redistribution from land grabbed by the wealthiest which should have been public land was the central conflict of the Roman Republic. However, a sort of steady state was attained for 375 years, before global plutocratization made the wealthy so much wealthier that the worst of them got completely out of control. 

Consul Julius Caesar’s successful land redistribution law of 59 BCE was a distribution of public land to plebeians. It was not a distribution of slaves. Land, not slaves, was where the wealth of Rome was. Mass slave owners in the Senate were enraged. They never forgave Caesar, in spite of his subsequent generosity, and their hatred was inextinguishable. They would kill Caesar, and would die themselves in the conflagration they caused… But the mood of rapacity and suicidal greed they installed, survived them, thrived and perdured until the Republic sank under the blows of fascism. 

Third point to show why Rome could have existed and even thrived without slavery: the successor state to Rome, the Franks’ Imperium Francorum, within 175 years of the formal demise of the Roman state in Occident, outlawed slavery, and the result was the Carolingian Renaissance

In spite of tremendous synchronized invasions by barbarians from all sides, the Vikings, the Muslims, the Avars and Hungarians, this “Renovated Roman empire” survived, and came out roaring, achieving objective levels of mass civilization Rome had not achieved, by the Eleventh Century. This shows the superiority of anti-slavery civilization. Aside from technological advances in agriculture, a consequence of the outlawing of slavery, the major difference of the Renovated Roman empire with the original Roman empire was the… outlawing of slavery.  

***

The leverage that mass slavery provided appeared much later in Roman history, and then quickly backfired within a generation or two, by 150 BCE: the wealthiest who used to possess so much public lands… illegally the national assembly, the Centuriate assembly as it was called, insisted… started to exploit those immense domains with armies of slaves, bringing the state of things Tiberius Grachus condemned. 

***

Vicious Opposition To The “Populares” Degraded Public Discourse And Changed It To Civil War:

The vicious opposition to Tiberius Gracchus was at the instigation of the self-declared “Best”, the “Optimates”, made of many of the families in Rome rendered wealthy by globalization and mass slavery. Those plutocrats were anti-nationalists, anti-populist, and fanatical organizers of plutocratic globalization. 

The global plutocrats wanted to make war all, conquer all, stabilizing the situation by making alliances with local plutocracies, all over. In other words, they were “Neocons”… And that’s exactly what they proceeded to do until the Republic became a fascist imperial plutocracy headed by a few families (much admired to this day, by the same perverse academics in charge of duplicating the same state of affairs). The enemy of the Optimates was the “Populares” Party.  Except The Gracchus family had been hyper establishment Patrician for generations. No gens was more famous in Rome. Yet the hatred deployed against Tiberius Grachus, including the baseless accusation that he wanted to become king, reminds one of the stridency deployed against Trump., The analogies go very deep.

The Optimates said, and paid others to say, horrible things about Tiberius, which were horrendous lies… But those lies worked: a mentality was created, similar to any self-referential insults throughout history… Like accusing the Jews of human sacrifices (whereas all the historical evidence we have is rather of Christians doing precisely that… to Jews). 

The Optimates did not accuse Tiberius to be friends of the Russians, Carthaginians or Numantians (Tiberius had been one of the top officers commanding in the successful siege of Numantia… However, this sort of accusation was levelled by Octavian against Marcus Antonius, with the Egyptians in place of Russians). In any case, the wild, unfounded accusations against Tiberius were believed by many people, or they found it convenient to pretend to believe them… (Mass) Assassinations followed soon thereafter… In the modern USA, when the president is accused to be a Russian agent, or to have caused a virus, the Trump virus, Pelosi called it, a similar degradation of civic discourse is engaged. 

The degradation of the public discourse by hurling grievous lies at Tiberius, his brother, their collaborators and followers hurt, forever, Greco-Roman civilization, because the grossest lying became an accepted  form of management of the Republic. Genuine discourse would not come back under the modern era, two thousand years later. Without it, there can’t be a Republic.

Patrice Ayme  

Barbarian Invasions and the Fall of the Western Roman Empire

May 15, 2020

Why did the Roman Empire end in the West during the Fifth Century? Let’s assume it did (in truth, it didn’t: zombies don’t die easily). According to The Eighteenth Century historian, Gibbon, “instead of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted so long.”

A simple, directly observable reason for the fall was a domino effect causing a military-economic avalanche propelled by Germanic invasions.

The domino effect occurs when dominoes on their sides, one next to another, knock one after the other, starting with the first one in the line over into its neighboring domino. This creates a chain reaction and all of the dominoes fall down, one after another. For the fall of Rome, it was the Huns invading from the east who launched the domino effect; they invaded (pushed into) the Goths, who then invaded (pushed into) the Roman Empire. The Huns had composite bows with tiny supplements added at the extremities which augmented their power. The Huns learned to transform this apparently small advantage of weaponry into an entire industry of invasion of western central Asia. 

If one looks in more detail, as the professional Roman army had to be paid, and its equipment was expensive, the army depended heavily upon tax receipts. As those diminished, because territories were lost, domino style, the army was less paid and less equipped, had to be withdrawn, and became weaker. All the north-west (Britannia, the two Germania and Gallia) were evacuated by the legions, to save money.

Notice that the money problem occurs more in  a fascist empire organized around and from greed, which, in its most developed form, is called corruption. In a Republic, the problem would not have arisen: no corruption because of the law, and soldiers could volunteer, because they were patriots, and making money was secondary. Roman republican soldiers were paid, since 405 BCE, but, as the republic became a fascist empire, and military dictatorship, the pay became much more important was tripled by Augustus. Actually, the perverse revolution headed by Octavian/Augustus was mostly motivated by pay.

Vast Was The Empire. Actually, at full extent, the empire was even larger, as it owned or controlled the Black Sea shore, including Crimea. the Franks would reconquer the entire north west corner, plus Germany and Eastern Europe, creating a more defensible ensemble, which was indeed never invaded again in the following 16 centuries…

The fall of the Western Roman Empire is a great lesson of an exponentiating cause and effect chain. A cause leads to an effect, but the cause-effect relation can EXPONENTIATE, when the effect creates more of the same cause.

The Romans hired barbarian mercenaries to guard the borders… Not just this, but the Germans were motivated to serve in the Roman military than the Native Romans were. Just below the emperor Gratian, the main commanders in Occident were all Franks: Richomeres (who became Consul), and then Flavius Arbogast and the king of the Franks Mellobaudes (comes domesticorum).

Because, to save money, the Franks were put in charge of defending the Germano-Gallic frontiers (the local legions having been sent to Italy to defend against invasions there), and there were not enough Franks, or they were surprised by the weather, the German nations galloped across the frozen Rhine on December 31, in 406 CE. Because Roman legions evacuated Britannia in AD 410, the Anglo-Saxons moved into Britannia. You could also say the word “so” in between the cause and effect, like this: The Huns pushed other groups westward, so the Vandals invaded Spain, north Africa, set-up a maritime empire, cut off the grain supply to Rome, and sacked Rome in 455 CE.

Here is a brief (criticized) list of the generally admitted internal causes for the Fall of Rome:

Christianism was less tolerant of other cultures and religions, than had been the norm with religions under Republican and Principate Rome. Constantine imposed it, of course, precisely because it was less tolerant. Somebody who had his wife steamed and his son and nephew executed, for obscure reasons he was unwilling to describe, didn’t view tolerance has an asset. 

Starting with Gratian and Theodosius, state imposed Christianism made everybody stupid, under the penalty of death, if one didn’t join the exponentiating stupidity by “exerting choice” (heresy, Greek hairesis “a choosing for oneself).

This fanatical cult conducive to tyranny didn’t hesitate to cut into the muscle. Example: Emperor Theodosius ended the Olympic Games, a purely sportive event, 12 centuries old… officially because the olympiades honored Zeus. A petty reason hiding a much sinister truth: the Christian theoreticians hated the body… as the body is the source of common sense… and the essence of Christianism was to refute reason, thus, common sense! Thus, Christianism cut into not just the bone, but the brain. It was like a praying mantis eating the brain of a hummingbird: pretty clever at feeding itself.

As Gibbon put it:

“The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world [before Christianism] were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosophers as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.”

(Hearing of such accusations about the fanaticism of their sect, the Christians generally whine disingenuously that they were persecuted by Pagans, and died in great numbers. Well, not really. There was deliberately no prosecution under Trajan whatsoever. Six (6) Christians died under Marcus Aurelius, in twenty years… And under the most terrible persecution organized (and then lifted) by Galerius in the early Fourth Century, maybe a grand total of 3,000 (and this only for those who refused to take an oath to the State).

Whereas, soon enough the Christians, directly or indirectly, would kill millions. They warmed up by hunting and killing intellectuals (something they would do again in the late middle ages and renaissance).  

The split of the empire into two parts and many emperors and an unelected miasma of powerful officials weakened the empire: it was all too often not clear who was in charge. Successful generals were often executed, lest they become a threat to those in power above them. The more honest, the greater the threat, the more executed valuable generals were.

Roman soldiers were loyal to their military leaders, who often paid them, or decided if they could sack a city, not necessarily the emperor, or whoever, or whatever was supposedly in command. This problem of dependency upon the local commander started with Marius, seven times Consul, under the Republic, and was itself a reaction to the fact that Roman farmer-soldiers were treated very poorly… Something Tiberius Gracchus condemned as early as 150 BCE.

From 211 CE through 284 CE, there were at least twenty-seven emperors (and even more “usurpers”). Only four of these emperors died of natural causes. One cause for his turnover being that drastic problems, such as pandemics, inflation shrinking the real economy, and invasions could not be solved, so there was great dissatisfaction. There was no calm way to remove an emperor, so most were murdered. Loyal soldiers picked emperors by murdering them and placing their prefered general on the throne. This weakened Rome, and signaled the decline of its Empire. Diocletian re-established the aura of the emperor by closing the gap between God (Sol Invictus) and monarch. Constantine went further, inventing Christianism as we know it (“Nicene Creed”), full of unreason, and reverence for “The Lord” (implicitly, the emperor himself).

Legend has it that Romans had become lazy and all too comfortable. There is some elements of truth in this, but this despondency was engineered by the Roman plutocracy, which wanted to achieve such a despondency. Actually, the failing economy of the middle class in Italy was greatly due to a Machiavellian maneuver, one which can be observed today: jobs were sent overseas, Italians were paid to do nothing.

The idea was that, this way, the 99% would not rebel against the 1%, at least where it mattered, in the richest part, Italy. It worked. After a few centuries of this feeding for nothing, to make sure that they really would never rebel, the Roman plutocracy, that is, the Senate, decided that Italians couldn’t serve in the army. So italians couldn’t even defend themselves. Once the richest part, Italy became poorer.

Peripheral zones of the empire, archeology has shown, stayed wealthy… as long as they were not invaded.

The Roman army in the Late Empire was paid from high taxes. There was little respect for the state, and there was little sense of patriotism (differently to what happened under the Roman Republic). All the more as local democratic councils were dependent upon local wealthy elected officials, the Curiae. As the hyper rich became wealthier, complete with a bishop in the family, the lower upper class disappeared, and nobody could, or was willing to serve in the Curiae.

Nowadays, everybody admits that the fall(s) of the city of Rome and the Western Empire did not put an end to the entire Roman Empire. The Eastern Empire survived for another thousand years. The Eastern Empire is sometimes called the Byzantine Empire, after the ancient capital city of Byzantium, a city-state crucial ally of Athens, guarding the entry to the Black Sea, where Athens got grain.

Greek was the main language in the Byzantine Empire, not Latin. Yet, those Greeks called themselves “Romans”. And they were. So were the Franks in the West, busy rebuilding, “renovating” the empire, just better. The Franks in the West were all speaking latin by 600 CE, and every citizen was a Frank. A generation later, slavery was outlawed. Slavery had caused enormous problems to the middle class in Republican Rome, as the usage of slaves had made the hyper wealthy even wealthier, thus ever more powerful and perverse. 

Right, the violent Muslim invasion of the Seventh Century nearly put an end to this beautiful adventure. Yet, the city of Constantinople on one side, and the empire of the Franks on the other, were able to resist the onslaught. Frankish armies and their proxies or allies were able to reconquer much of the West (but not North Africa), and domesticate Eastern and Northern Europe. In the Tenth Century the Saxons conquered by Charlemagne would become lead two-third of the empire, defending Europe against the Avars. Meanwhile, the Greco-Romans expanded their Christian Cesaro-Patriarchism into Russia.

One of the reasons suggested for the Fall of the West has been that it was impoverished relative to the Orient. This is false (in spite of vast transfer of art east by Constantine). Quite the opposite. Indeed, recent genetic studies have hinted the opposite: there was little immigration of Western Europe into Italy during fascist imperial Rome. But there was an ultra massive Oriental immigration, to the point that Rome became full of Orientals. Generally people migrate towards richer areas.

In truth, as we will see, the reasons for the Fall of the West are purely military: it was easier to invade, geographically… and, curiously scrupulously ignored by traditional historians, Occidental Rome had no more army. Why was that not noted? Because Christian fanaticism has everything to do with the disappearance of the Occidental army.  

Amazingly, and very tellingly, many comprehensive treatises on the history of Rome, or even the fall of Rome fail, to mention the battle of Frigidus, where the Occidental Roman army was annihilated. Although, the following campaign season, in 395 CE, the Barbarians  attacked the core of the empire massively and Stilicho, the half-Vandal, by then Regent of the entire Roman empire had to scramble against them with whatever (victorious) forces  were left after Frigidus (a battle Theodosius should have lost… But there was this Bora wind, Arbogast made several mistakes in commandment… and Theodosius had offered the empire to the Goths, so they were motivated…)

Christianism and Oligarchism are biases against reason profitable to the worst, which keep on going, once well launched… And this is why books, for millennia, keep on representing them to their best advantage: powers that be prefer books which make them look good. Dissecting the ideologies which support them do not please the powers. Hence the superficial explanations for the fall of Rome, when the simplest and the earliest is for all to see: a takeover by the wealthiest, those “Optimates”… Just like Tiberius Gracchus said.

Patrice Ayme

No Science, No Existence: Why Roman Tech And Science Was Parroted and Imported Too Much

April 19, 2020

Roman Republican ARMY equipment was PURCHASED in Celtic lands (swords, helmets, etc.). Talk about depending upon the enemy… When fighting allies of Carthage in Spain during the first Punic War (264-241 BCE), legions met, and then adopted the gladius Hispaniensis, the “Spanish sword”.  

Then in time for Second Punic War, the Roman gladius was made with the finest-quality steel then available in western Europe, the ferrum Noricum, from the Alpine kingdom of Noricum (roughly modern Austria).  The Roman conquest of Cisalpine Gaul in the period 220-180 BC exposed legionaries to the Celtic lorica hamata, or mail coat. It replaced the bronze cuirass they wore previously.

“Imperial Gallic” helmets were made of fine steel, forged in one piece. They were the products of Celtic craftsmen in Gaul. Featuring a pair of distinctive embossed eyebrows reinforcements in different metals on the forehead region, they were carefully made and elaborately decorated. “Imperial Italic” helmets  were weaker, not made of steel. They lacked the eyebrows and were roughly made, with chisel metal work appearing, by less-skilled copycats in Italy and elsewhere in the Empire.

The Celts had better metallurgy… and this would keep on being true all the way until Frankish steel confronted the three Muslim massive invasions of 721 CE (Toulouse) to 748 CE (Narbonne). To pursue the Gallic tradition, the “100 years war” with the Anglo-Norman-Angevin monarchy finished badly for the English when two engineers, the Bureau brothers, invented field guns.. No doubt another metallurgical exploit. 

Notice also that Spain had also been taken over by the Celts. So the Spanish glavius, which became the main weapon of the Roman legions, was also a Celtic weapon.

The Romans were excellent engineers. And they invented at least one remarkable product: Roman concrete. It mixed in volcanic material from south of Rome. Modern scientists have been trying to reproduce it, as it solidifies at low temperatures and produces much less CO2 than 20 C cement. To this day, the largest non metallically reinforced concrete building in the world is the Parthenon in Rome. 

Pantheon, Rome: Still the largest non reinforced concrete building in the world, 19 centuries later…

However, in other mental matters of the highest standing, the Romans were superb at DUPLICATING the technologies and ways of others, and making technological improvements: they copied admirably Carthage military ship tech. 

But mostly the Romans copied others’ tech (it’s no accident that the Gregian fire, as its name indicates, was a Greek invention). Copying worked well, until the Romans terminated the Greek city-states socio-economy and freedom, thus creativity and motivation (Second and First Century BCE). Then the Romans found themselves unable to copy anybody but themselves. Monkeys without masters to inspire them, soon to the jungle returned. Seriously: there is no Roman science (Alexandria was a Greek city). 

This came back to bite them: Barbarians caught up in military technology. There was a general military tech stagnation: actually even the Germans got caught up in tech by the Mongols. The Huns invaded the Germans (in what is now Ukraine, Russia), because they had slightly better composite bows… with arrows which could penetrate Roman armor. Yet, eight centuries later, when the Huns were back, after costly victories in Poland and Hungary, top Mongol generals remembered what had happened to their ancestors in France (a succession of defeats, the first one inside Aurelianium/Orleans, at the hand of Celts and Francks). They thought their weapons would not be good enough… and went back to Mongolia (under the pretext of the Khan’s election; the Golden Horde stayed to occupy Ukraine and Russia…)

So what went wrong with Rome? … Besides allying itself with the Huns (at some point; paradoxically, when Attila, king of the Huns, died, it reduced the pressure on the Germans, and Rome was unable to recover North Africa, seized by the Vandals…) There was something wrong with the Roman notion of what it meant to be noble and intelligent. Simply, Roman standards were not high enough, they were barking up the wrong tree. They barked up the tree of vaingloriousness, instead of the tree of knowledge. .

The Romans were expert rhetoricians. The Romans were long expert sociologists: they ended up with the world’s largest Democratic Republic (and basically the only one, as Hellenistic regimes were mostly authoritarian oligarchies, or oppressed by tyrants as Athens or the island of Rhodes were…)… The Roman Republic lasted five centuries greatly because it had been smartly engineered, with a number of wealth limits… When those failed, so did the Republic. 

What Romans didn’t have was philosophical and scientific ambition. The Bureau brother invented field guns… But that was generations after Buridan in Paris had overthrown Aristotelian physics… Jean Bureau led research efforts into a more potent powder that could fire projectiles at a much greater velocity, without mixing in the field. Innovations in casting created stronger barrels that were less likely to explode… Four centuries later, when the french Republic got attacked by the coalition of plutocracies known as Europe’s monarchies, the Polytechnique School would be created, precisely to improve the world’s best artillery (which defeated the invading Prussians at Valmy in 1792, not far from Paris).

Also the Franks had learned to forge (with force multiplying hydraulic hammers) massive steel, centuries prior. When the enormous Amiens cathedral started to slowly bulge, crushed by its own mass, a massive steel belt was devised to hold it together. The cathedral is still standing….

What was missing with the Romans was to desire the stars. This is also, perhaps why, when Caesar rolled the most ambitious military plan to insure the safety of the Republic (seize Iran, ram through the Caucasus, take Germany from behind)… He got assassinated by traitors who didn’t have the safety of the Republic foremost (although they pretended that this was their main motivation). 

As it turned out, the Parthians attacked Rome a couple of years after the assassination of Caesar, and Antonius, with around a small fraction of the Roman forces that Caesar would have had, was defeated in north-west Iran during the counter-attack, a few years after that. After that, it was pretty much downhill: the war with Iran would go another six centuries… Until those crafty desert Arabs (by opposition to more civilized Arabs, to the north…) won it….

The Republic needs to be defended, but it’s best defended by understanding. And understanding has no limits, no “limes”… This is what the dictators of China have all too often forgotten, as all dictators are wont to… And why China spent most of the last millennium occupied, or managed by foreign invaders, and their descendants…

Roman existence was not intellectual enough. This is why, ultimately the Roman state collapsed… A headless chicken can’t run out of trouble. 

The Franks, empowered by Roman Consular Imperium, were smarter (or at least elected kings and imperators Childeric and his son Consul Clovis were). The Franks first, concentrated on what was wrong with the Roman dominant ideology known as Roman Orthodox Catholicism. It turned out that Christianism was making children stupid, by outlawing secular education. That, in turn, became the greatest military advantage, and in no small measure why the Franks were able to conquer Europe, including the Eastern Europe which had eluded Rome. 

There is such a thing as the culture of innovation. The Romans had it in many ways, including engineering, under the Republic… But excluding science, philosophy and most other highest intellectual pursuits… Once the Principate ruled, innovation, and the debates which precede it, were increasingly focused on ever deeper and better fascism. The last time the People’s Assembly took a decision was in second part of the First Century…

Science is not just about the honor of the human spirit. 

No science no existence…

Patrice Ayme

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2017/09/09/why-the-roman-state-collapsed-contemporary-analogy-quick-version/

“Neoliberalism” Is Neither Liberal, Nor New. Plain Old Plutocracy.

November 12, 2019

“Neoliberalism” is neither. It is not attached to liberty, but to slavery. And it is nothing new. Plutocracy is the cancer of civilizations, and kills them readily. But this time, the entire biosphere is going down.

A better name for “Neoliberalism” would be “plutophilia”, the love of the darkest passions, the love of plutocracy, which is etymologically and in reality, the rule of evil (as this is exactly what pluto-kratia means: the rule of wealth being a particular case of Pluto’s propensities).

“Neoliberalism”, was initially called “trickle down”. One of its axioms was as professor Stiglitz says: “the credibility of neoliberalism’s faith in unfettered markets as the surest road to shared prosperity[1]. However, by “markets” one really meant “merchants”.

When only a few have all the disposable cash, they have all the power, It’s not just bad for ethics, democracy and the sense of fairness we primates all share. It’s also terrible for incentive, motivation, and the blossoming of ideas.

Indeed, what is a market? Who dominates a market? Well, those with enough capital to do so. In other words, the wealthy, or those that banks have decided to lend to… typically, again, those with collateral, namely the wealthy. So the banking system, if it looks for a profit, makes the wealthy wealthier. Hence the so-called “unfettered markets” were, in truth, the unfettered wealthiest, while the fetters were put on everybody else.  

But, unfettered, wealth grows exponentially (as the wealthiest have nearly all the money and lend it, leveraged, to the wealthiest, namely themselves). 

This is exactly what happened: the wealthy got wealthier. And what is wealth? It is power onto others. So the powers of a few grew, onto most people, helped along by a government by “representatives” which learned to act in its own best interest, serving power, that is, wealth. 

“Neoliberalism” fostered, in turn, other myths, first of which was that, unfettered globalization, worldwide, was good for the Republic. Actually, globalization was a disaster: it undermined social rights and taxation. 

The most spectacular example of the disaster engineered by unfettered globalization was the Roman Republic. The Roman REPUBLIC, which lasted 5 centuries, had an absolute wealth limit. And the Roman Republic lasted 5 centuries because it had an absolute wealth limit.

One could argue, and it was argued at the time, that the Res Publica kept on going, in many ways until the end of the “Principate” Diocletian insisted to be called “Dominus” and be considered a living god; in any case, the political regime inaugurated by Augustus should be called a “plutocratic Republic”, and there was a famous dinner, under Domitian, circa 80 CE, where the principal plutocrats of Rome, Domitian among them, argued just that!)

The Florence Republic fell to plutocrats, the Medici, a family of bankers, after exactly 417 years, precisely because it had no wealth limit. (In that case the collapse into plutocratic dictatorship was more brutal than with Rome.) 

There was an absolute wealth limit, because the wealth tax, during the Roman Republic, was 100% above a  threshold (the threshold was pretty low, at most 30 million 2019 dollars, and maybe as low as ten million). Above that threshold, 100% of the property was transferred to the Ager Publicus.

After 200 BCE, and the Second Punic war, having had to fight extremely hard, at immense cost and sacrifice, in Greece, Spain, Africa, the Roman republic became global. Yet, taxation was still local, so wealthy Romans were able to escape the wealth limit, by residing overseas, and Roman billionaires appeared.

The plutocrats immediately started to plot against the Republic. The best way to do that was to corrupt it, by buying politicians. It took many generations, but the Republic declined and collapsed, in spite of the life endangering efforts of many heroes, including the Gracchi brothers, Marius, and his nephew Caesar (Caesar passed a wealth distribution law in 59 BCE).

***

Plutocracy expects We The People to believe that a few know best, and deserve all the wealth, all the powers. As a result calamitous policies are engaged into, because only a few brains, without debate, devoured by greed, don’t think too well. Moreover, plutocratic policies look accidentally bad, but they are actually so by design: the worse things get, the more the worst gets going. The more evil things get, the more at home plutocracy is, the more evil can rule… 

***

A particular example of these satanic policies is the climate catastrophe, which is part of a mass extinction, the likes of which have not been seen in 70 million years. There were technologies, at the ready already in 1990, to prevent the CO2 catastrophe: in 2019, France pollutes 5 tons of CO2 per capita (the world average), California 9.2 tons, the USA 16 tons, Canada and Australia more than 16… So France knows how to do it, and the others chose not to (the UK, Spain and Italy are around 6 tons; whereas hysterically pro-coal Germany is at 10 tons…) The mood in France is more ecological, more egalitarian, more social… All this is related: respect the environment, just as, and because, you respect your neighbor. Disrespect the environment, as countries like the US, Australia and Canada do, disrespect the neighbor.    

The global plutocracy is indeed intensely related to its fossil fuel component: fossil fuel money is recycled through Wall Street. US President FD Roosevelt set-up that system, meeting with Ibn Saud on the Great Bitter lake in Egypt, shortly before his death. Similarly, when Obama became president, he presented fracking as “the bridge fuel to the future”, and Wall Street, applauding, made massive fracking investments on the lands and water Obama put at its disposal. Thus, once again, the US is the world’s greatest fossil fuel producer: alleluia, say the “America First” crowd, and one expects them to make dark secret masses to their hero Obama, who made fracking into the lifeblood of the US.

***

Plutocracy rules through minds. Careful disinformation, and lack of significant information needs to be fed to the masses. Here is an example: 

The New York Times just woke up to the fact that climate scientists systematically underestimated the gravity of the climate crisis we are in. The paper couldn’t explain why this happened, but showed with great clarity how much it happened. I sent a comment basically explaining that the “Neoliberal” regime paid the salaries of those scientists, so they couldn’t be too alarmist, if they wanted to be employed. 

The New York Times apparently found my explanation alarming, a danger to the elite, and refused to publish it. Just as, over the years, much of the MainStream Media has found any discourse against the “Neoliberal” order deranged and alarming (and censored thousands of my comments). Here my comment explaining why scientists were not too alarmed by the climate catastrophe:

The problem has been that scientists are paid by governments which are manipulated by plutocrats, most of them part of the establishment… And the establishment is fossil fuel plutocracy dependent (say, Wall Street, as an example).

So scientists do not want to bite the hand that feed them. And this is still true. The real truth is that the giant masses of ice of Antarctica will melt with a warming of just a few more degrees. I have explained the exact mechanism in essays on my site, in great detail, for more than a decade. The reason is that half of Antarctica is under water… And the densest water is at 4 degrees Centigrade (roughly 40 Fahrenheit)… 

Thus a hyper catastrophic melting is entirely possible… Millennia before what the old, baseless, “scientific” analyses pretended. 

Also a serious diminution of the oxygen content of the atmosphere, ridiculed by well-fed scientists, is actually entirely possible under very plausible (yet complex) scenarios. And so on.

The plutocracy which rules over us is mostly fossil-fuel based. Any plutocracy knows that it needs to control the minds. Nowadays this means controlling the scientists. The gross attack, “climate denier” style, are there only to confuse us.

The real danger is the subtle disinformation that the situation is not dire, that we have time, it’s a question for the grandchildren. I have lived in smoke for weeks on end in the tech metropolis of the San Francisco Bay Area: the burning climate catastrophe is upon us now. One can see it very clearly when one looks outside, and all one sees is smoke.

To free ourselves from “Neoliberalism”, which is economic neofascism by another name, will require a great intellectual effort. I don’t see our schools, including universities, committed to it.

Patrice Ayme

***

***

[1] The End of Neoliberalism and the Rebirth of History
Nov 4, 2019 JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ
For 40 years, elites in rich and poor countries alike promised that neoliberal policies would lead to faster economic growth, and that the benefits would trickle down so that everyone, including the poorest, would be better off. Now that the evidence is in, is it any wonder that trust in elites and confidence in democracy have plummeted?

NEW YORK – At the end of the Cold War, political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote a celebrated essay called “The End of History?” Communism’s collapse, he argued, would clear the last obstacle separating the entire world from its destiny of liberal democracy and market economies. Many people agreed.

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, open societies were triumphant and international cooperation became the dominant creed. Thirty years later, however, nationalism has turned out to be much more powerful and disruptive than internationalism.

Today, as we face a retreat from the rules-based, liberal global order, with autocratic rulers and demagogues leading countries that contain well over half the world’s population, Fukuyama’s idea seems quaint and naive. But it reinforced the neoliberal economic doctrine that has prevailed for the last 40 years.”

Fukuyama, a Fukushima of the intellect was, and is an idiot, as a would-be master thinker, but extremely intelligent in the satisfaction of his greed, and a very useful idiot for the global plutocracy. Yes, an idiot: how can one be more idiotic that claiming nothing new will happen in history ever again, because “Neoliberalism” was , and is, the best of all possible worlds? The best of all possible worlds for Fukuyama himself, yes. Of course. As for many idiots, the rule of one, the rule of the self, is the rule of all.

Fukuyama is swimming in a sea of honors (…or horrors, depending upon the perspective). I am surprised he didn’t get a Nobel yet, considering how useful he is for the establishment.

Recently Fukuyama/shima was, among other things, “Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law” at Stanford University. A rattlesnake teaching medical care. In August 2019 he was named director of the “Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy” at Stanford. (That Ford plutocrat, aka “philanthropist” seems to have no relation with the original sponsor of Adolf Hitler, Henry Ford… I perfidiously checked, already chuckling…)

Before that, he served as a professor and director of the International Development program at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. Yes, there are plutocratic universities (I used to teach at Stanford, by the way…)

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/tag/plutocratic-universities/

Banality of Rogues

January 1, 2017

The famous Prussian Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt, an anti-Nazi who slept assiduously with the Nazi Heidegger, her thesis advisor, married to someone else, wrote about the “banality of evil”, a concept that became famous… Although Arendt’s “discovery” would have made the Catholic Inquisition shrug and smirk, five centuries prior (the Inquisition would have said:’This is exactly what we have been talking about, evil everywhere!’)

Today I will speak of the banality of rogues. You see rogues tie in with the (re-)Foundation Principle. No rogues, no civilization. (There goes one of the main critiques against Donald Trump! Yes, I just saw the movie “Rogue One”…)

We have a real, huge example in history, the very base of our present civilization: the Franks were both rogues, and “renovators”, as they themselves described themselves, of the Roman empire. No less. But actually the Franks did much more, founding Western civilization in full, by outlawing slavery, making secular education mandatory, and running an imperial, military society which, somehow, saved and overcame antiquity, while preserving an open society (the whole picture got in trouble with the First Crusade: see, it’s the fault of Islam, once again, ha-ha-ha).

I was reading in a history publication, how the Roman empire went down, and they mentioned all sorts of barbarians: Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Burgundians, Vandals, Alans, Huns… They forgot to mention the most important ones, the ones vested with Roman power, more than any others, the Franks… It was as if they talked about breathing, but forgot to mention air.

Ignoring the re-foundation of Rome by the Franks is ignoring, not just history, but the re-foundation of civilization, no less. Indeed the Franks removed the most glaring defects of Rome.  (That “renovated” empire officially went on until Napoleon, emperor of the rogue imperial part of said Roman empire called Francia, then France, shut it down in 1804.)  

Habitable Exoplanet With Ring In the Movie Rogue One: In Our World, Our Mental World, There Are Now Exoplanets Everywhere. In 1600 CE, Giordano Bruno got burned, just for suggesting that.

Habitable Exoplanet With Ring In the Movie Rogue One: In Our World, Our Mental World, There Are Now Exoplanets Everywhere. In 1600 CE, Giordano Bruno got burned, just for suggesting that.

[Earth may have had a ring at some point in the past (some scientist have speculated, looking at some otherwise weird data). Thousands of exoplanets have been found since the first one, 51 Pegasi b, at the University of Geneva eleven years ago. An exoplanet was found, in 2016, around the closest star, Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf; the planet is in the habitable zone. Details are unknown, as the planet does not seem to come between us and its star; good spending in astronomy would allow to look at it directly, using existing technology.But our corrupt leaders have prefered to give money to our plutocratic masters, and, thus, crumbs to themselves, rather than making science all it can be. Science is the one job for all, and necessary for survival, moreover.] 

How did Rome die? Basically from sclerotic thinking, mental paralysis, senility: the establishment by Augustus of his damned “Principate”, with a permanent “First Man” (Princeps) at the helm, was the fundamental cause of mental decay. We The People got completely disinterested from the most interesting question, and the few families at the helm were too idiotic to have any new ideas.

Once mental decay is at the helm, and pervades the base, nothing can save a society: when problems occur, they can’t be solved. This is what happened to Rome. Confronted with worse problems in the Fourteenth Century France sailed right through, as nothing had happened, because Fourteenth Century France was an intellectual power machine, greatest in civilization so far, ever.

Buridan, who was worth ten Newtons, at least, having overturned Aristotelian physics, discovered ⅔ of “Newton’s” laws, and justified, as a result, the heliocentric system, was not just chief of the university of Paris, but counselor to four French kings. That was typical of the situation in France, England, Germany and Italy at the time. Buridan’s network of students and collaborators extended throughout Europe. Meanwhile Florence’s bankers funded that Italian Republic’s mighty army with national bonds…

So the fierce, swift and abominable Black Plague killed half of Europe, and no aristocrats… So what? Rome, affected by smaller plagues, tottered on the brink of extinction…

Yes, one can point to the sorry state of the Demoncratic Party, with its entrenched interests, drinking the elixir served by self-serving plutocrats (such as those who set-up Obamacare without cost control. And no, don’t point at Trump; he and his Kellyanne Conway, among others, are a breath of fresh air, after decades of increasingly metastatic plutocracy. We will see what they do.

Sometimes heavy destruction is the only way to construction. It is alway the case, when the construction is huge. (And this is true for brains too, explaining why philosophers have it hard, when they interact with the commons… and reciprocally!)

Oh yes, it can hurt: this is the implicit theme in the last Star War saga (“Rogue One”). The rebellion has done evil things we are informed, and we see it trying its very best, to do some more (the father of the heroine is assassinated by the rebellion, although he works against the empire; the movie is notable also for the fact the main hero and character is a human female in her full glory, second to males in no way whatsoever!)

It is a complicated world. It will get ever more complicated. Mastering its complexity is the most crucial part in fighting evil. To master complexity, one has to understand it first. Thus, standing in the way of understanding is the greatest, deepest meta-evil.

Only rogues dare to understand, and act upon, what others refuse to understand, or even see. Rogues are necessary to progress, forward, and civilization is riding a bicycle: no forward motion means collapse. Because a ruined ecology is always biting at the heels of civilization.

Civilization may not like rogues, but it needs them, to be born again, with a better intelligent design, necessary for survival.

Being a rogue is not just a neurohormonal state. It is a mental architecture. Studies just published showed that first mothers get their brains permanently modified (details another time). Similarly a rogue brain is different from the brain of a servant of the establishment like Obama. It is permanently different. Giordano Bruno, or Galileo, or Descartes, or Montaigne or Abelard, were permanently different.

The superiority of the “West” (“Pars Occidentalis” as the Romans said) is due to its being just enough of a host medium to rogues. The fate of rogues was not as good in Islam, by orders of magnitude; after he got in so much trouble for fighting the Church, Abelard, in the Twelfth Century, toyed with the idea of going to live among the Islamists (so he wrote). Wisely, he did not do it: he would have been killed there (instead, in the West, his ideas won, over the centuries…)

Happy New Year To All (even the abysmal Obama, basking in Oahu, and his cohort of the corrupt!)

Rogues watch ants with sympathy…

Patrice Ayme’


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in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Rise, Republic, Plutocracy, Degeneracy, Fall And Transmutation Of Rome

Power Exponentiation By A Few Destroyed Greco-Roman Civilization. Are We Next?

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

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Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

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Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century