|Today Seattle Is Conducting Unity Meetings||Storm Signals Mean Political Change Ahead|
by Christopher Chantrill
August 06, 2006 at 9:53 am
SMELL THE WHIFF of panic? Iraq has/may/will soon collapse into civil war! Israel may not be able to fully dismantle Hezbollah! Like Falstaff before battle we whine to Prince Hal that we would twere bed-time, Hal, and all well.
Its as if Europe never had its tribal politics and terrorist warfare, with roving militias camped out in weak states lacking the power to suppress them. In the Hundred Years War, the English did a splendid job of reducing France to a wasted land. As the Black Prince went raiding deep into France what was he but a prototype of Iranian President Ahmadinejad whose proxies are wasting Iraq and Lebanon? Then the Brits came home and laid waste to their homeland in the Wars of the Roses. Shakespeare gave us a picture of that period.
Feel sorry for the French? Dont waste your sympathy. Two hundred years after the Hundred Years War the French under Cardinal Richelieu help lay waste to Germany in the Thirty Years War as armies from several nations march to and fro across that unhappy land, eating all the food and looting all the wealth as they went. It is estimated that the population in Germany declined by at least one third from 1608 to 1648, a disaster far worse than the butchery of the Second Thirty Years War of 1914 to 1945, leaving aside the special attention paid to the Jews.
It was in the aftermath of the first Thirty Years War that the Europeans tried to put a limit on all-out war and its rampaging militias. They tried to make warfare civilized. It cant have hurt that shortly afterwards the British brought home from India the civilizing cotton textiles of Indiamuslins, calicos, and chintz. All of Europe fell in love with these exotic eastern fabrics.
But love had nothing to do with it. It was British tinkerers that made the newly civilized world go round. Men like promoter Richard Arkwright invented power cotton spinning and Rev. Edmund Cartwright invented a power loom. When the Yanks stole the British power spinning and weaving technology and brought it to the United States they immediately lowered the cost of cotton cloth from 40-50 cents a yard to 10 cents a yard, according to Stephen Yafa in Cotton: The Biography of a Revolutionary Fiber.
Want to start a revolution? Lower prices by 80 percent.
Up until that time all the world had been ruled by thug warrior dynasties except in highly refined city states like Venice and Florence or the free German cities where the rising bourgeoisie ruled. Now, as a result of the cotton revolution and its incredible wealth potential, political power needed to achieve a delicate accommodation with economic power if it wanted to strut upon the world stage. It was a new world order.
Just ask thug dictator Mao Tse-Tung if you arent convinced. He tested to destruction the notion that all political power grew out of the barrel of a gun. He tried to make China into a world power by starving the peasants to buy guns and by keeping the Chinese people in constant revolutionary turmoil. Instead he succeeded in completing the transformation of China from the richest country in the world into a political, economic, and cultural backwater.
Again and again thug dictators have tried to turn the clock back and revive the good old days of thug rule. Think of Robespierre and Napoleon in France, Kaiser Bill and Hitler in Germany.
Learning nothing from the French and the Germans the pan-Arab nationalists tried and failed in the Middle East. The Fidelistas failed in Cuba. Thug Nkrumah failed in Ghana. Thug Mugabe failed in Zimbabwe. Now thug Ayatollahs in Persia are trying one last time to build a world thug empire.
The beauty of the modern era is that any political regime that departs from the recipe of democratic capitalism, the system that grew out of the eighteenth century cotton revolution, immediately starts downhill fast. But there turns out to be one exception to this rule.
Thug regimes sitting on top of oil wells are able to mainline oil revenue, the only true unearned income in the world. Leaders of oil nations seem to share a narcotic addiction to dreams of world conquest that dies, as the habit of the drug addict, only in the ruin of everything around them.
As we all run around flapping our hands over the disproportion in Lebanon and the mess in Iraq let us not lose faith in our glorious democratic capitalism that has tamed, in Europe and North America at least, the sway of thug political power.
But let us not forget the grim lesson of the last two hundred years. It seems that nobody will accept democratic capitalism without trying everything else first.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America