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Political and Economic Philosophy
Of All Times
To Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of the Americas. Also to my parents—who gave me the incomparable blessings of Catholic Faith. And to my wife, who made great sacrifices in generously embracing the same Faith, being as well my proofreader, editor, research assistant and a major source of ideas. Together with our children Nicholas, Edith and Therese, the latter of whom drew the picture for the cover. Croatia, the Catholic Land of my ancestors, is with equal love honored in these pages. And likewise the young people with whom I have studied upon my recent return to university studies: men and women magnificently-promising. Innocent as well of responsibility for outlooks and imposed burdens which dominate the world around them, and within which they must struggle both intellectually and in the pursuit of a normal human life. A generation to be saddled with a national debt they haven't caused: often in support of wars they are however forced to fight. Young people for whom government—or the false surrogates that are steadily taking its place—is destined to be the most exacting of taskmasters. While being quite bare of necessary services for benefit of overburdened citizens. Unless critical changes such as are proposed here are swiftly initiated.
In this edition I strive to keep all the original inspirations, my wish being only to make the book more readable, dispensing with drawbacks of a writing style still in development in editions one and two. If there is a major new departure or contribution being made then I will put it into brackets, so as to show the development of my thoughts on the subject since 2007, intervening years during which my hypothesis has developed a great deal and many era-defining things have likewise come clean. Due to noted stylistic problems I have taken the novel liberty to revise the follow two prefaces as well, again keeping the inspiration and themes intact but removing a verbiage and a sort of choppiness which were daunting in the extreme.
The painful process of blundering is essential to the development of any hypothesis worth its salt: the pay-dirt of pure gold always being attended by the flash-in-the-pan of the facile, of momentarily-celebrated fool’s gold. Handy here too being the old adage that those alone can afford to be flawless who do nothing, while the doers of this world frequently look clumsy, make a great many humbling mistakes. This time of painful preparation however, thankfully, in the case of this second edition has been succeeded by certain profound satisfactions of both a substantial bearing-out and a notional fleshing-out of the original “hunch” or hypothesis that first set this work in gear. A task begun back then in initial seminal times, some eight years ago, when I first heard incredible, astonishing falsehoods and saw weird and revulsive spectacles upon my return to university—as well as in the wider world—after a nearly-two-decade absence from formal studies. Those years when I first wrote this Meditation: largely in early morning hours on the edge of the little-known aviary of Queen Creek in Arizona, where the latter begins to climb up into the Pinal Mountains, at Superior, and harbors a rare assortment of birds and other wildlife about half of the year. A time which saw the thunderous collapse of the contrived “bonanza” of the computer revolution: a time when in fact real wealth was being systematically drained away, and America was being put in inconceivably-heavy shackles of debt. While finally, as the first edition drew toward completion, I watched the USA begin to morally, economically and politically disintegrate before my very eyes, with the invasion of Iraq and the commencement of a dictatorship of such onerous yet jocular and impenitent control as has seldom if ever before been witnessed by men. An insidious treason and tyranny during whose opening years I developed my thesis, no mere set of dry conclusions but an unfurling of the liveries of hope, as of those carried so valiantly by Charlemagne, by St. Louis of France or by St. Joan of Arc.
All this was done, of course, amid a much-vaunted “freedom to even print such words”: twin that this has been to a raped and mauled Iraqi “freedom of assembly” much bragged about as well. Indeed and for that matter the very same liberty Congressmen enjoy today: to make grand speeches resembling the last act of defiance of the mouse surrounded by the enclosing arms of the all-attentive cat.
The hypothesis of the book—that a nation which first and foremost pursues the greater honor and glory of God, while proving responsive at the same time to the culturally-specified self-governing drives and agencies embedded in each people—that such a nation must survive and thrive, that that nation’s enemies will be overcome on all sides—this declaration is only new in the sense that it hasn't been heard in a long time, and certainly not on these shores. Such a nation resonating not only with man’s individual interior liberty and self-realization but also with his social and political coming-of-age: a quite-attainable objective not built on stirring declarations but on the nature of man, of his relationship with God, such as obtains in their own way among pride of lions or hive of bees. A freedom in our case partaking of the angelic, the path to which God has revealed in Holy Pages, and “recalled to our minds” in Catholic Tradition: twin lanes of a “narrow road” easily lost in the thick forests of this life, a trace this work is put forward as an attempt to reclaim sociopolitically, through a clearing away of twisted undergrowth of both tyranny and falsehoods of many kinds.
The rediscovery of this vine-obscured sociopolitical path has also been accompanied by an interior “coming clean” of my own: this in an event-proven confirmation of ideas originally put forward with a bewildered sense of being the lone sheep out on the windswept ledge of the familiar artistic masterpiece. Knowing I was probing pathless promontories, perhaps having gone too far in some direction, not knowing how to return, needing the Good Shepherd’s firm grasp to pull me clear: yet knowing the trail would prove worth following in the end. Ideas in that first writing forming indeed “as I wrote”, and needing the perspective of intervening years to discover their deeper significance, sifting out unrealistic conjectures or assertions, stemming from bewilderment over domestic and international trends. A state-of-shock quite common today, as noted by writers in the Catholic counter-reform against the overwhelming Panzer attack of Vatican II. Quick-fixes being frequently put forward during such times, out of a wish to hack through the darkening forest, to finally “get things done”.
Thus essentially the changes to be found here can be summed up as a fuller grasp of the agency of the whole body politic in its own governing: central to which vitality is the direct input of culturally-determined industrial/vocational and other popular groups, on the one hand, and a revisited balance of powers. Power-balancing finding its most effective place in contrapuntal tensions of city, state and national levels, of local, regional and national entities of all kinds, rather than in the much-acclaimed set-to among the three intrinsic functions of government itself: the legislative, executive and judicial. These latter powers in any sane, peaceful and productive system being marked far more by unity and cooperation than by the adversarial. The well-tuned polity, like Bach’s Well Tuned Clavier, striving toward an habitual official replication of essentially-unitary workings of the human mind, in its own judging, deciding and executing of personal deeds: hardly prudently struggling heroically to be some model of dialectic/adversarial forces, out of whose confrontations freedom is somehow held to be uniquely born. “The process itself” hardly being the matter-at-hand, with visceral division taking the place of any positive and productive result: this adversarial model of government however being the very battle-cry of liberal democracy, especially as practiced in a pitifully-hamstrung two-party-system USA. The idea that government itself is evil—the very crux of the whole Tea Party irruption of the past five or six years—being only another example of an anti-matter Calvinist/Albigensian radicalism which unfortunately is definitive to the USA. States after all being formed to put into effect the will of a people, being essentially a positive rather than a negative, popularly-restrictive thing: so that any serious delimiting of government functions can easily carry with it an inseparable note of treachery. With few aside from astute enemies casting the state—as if by its very nature—into such a villainous tyrannical role. While a faithfully-maintained and properly-conceived state, although requiring vigilance for its preservation, contains within itself delimiting facets of the most substantial kind. The need being not so much for a counterbalancing as for a confluence: namely of private interest as co-terminal with the public at all levels. Here being a goal achievable not by paper mechanisms but by a wisdom less-and-less known to our age. Admittedly no easy matter—but of such importance as hardly to justify defeatism, or the application of some desperately-heroic quick-fix which is obviously ill-conceived, properly-conceived human systems hardly need some action-frustrating ideological nanny to keep them limply and obediently in line, rather always wanting to see their citizens grow and thrive, hardly wishing solely to "take them to the woodshed", or the "cleaners", all the time. As they are so sanctimoniously accused—as if guilty of their very nature—by "conservatives" and libertarians of today.
In this reorientation of this second edition is cleared up at the same time any notions that the executive needs some superior species of power: an assertion not clearly enunciated in the first edition, but strongly suggested nonetheless. An illusion which commonly surfaces in times of calamity, when everyone looks for a human savior: a facile notion which I believe was deliberately media-inculcated to prepare far in advance the advent of George Bush, this during the bizarre, radical-liberal, anti-life-instituting anarchism which reigned from the assassination of John Kennedy until the election of Ronald Reagan. The militant reaction of good men against some fifteen years of moral and social, economic and political chaos being used against them, as it were, provoking a radical backlash which had been engineered into a whole fanatical program-of-change from the very start. This whipsawing being intrinsic to the approach of order-overthrowing revolutionaries, followers of Marx's dialectic that they all most-basically are, desiring to destroy state and citizen alike jujitsu-style, as by their own main force, leading us all into a catastrophe-borne slavery almost utterly unopposed. Good men everywhere embracing their own demise in admiration of “the Great Communicator”, allegedly the long-absent upright leader, the deliverer provided at long last. He who was however only the pre-cursor of the self-made “hero” of 9/11, George Bush, in a sequence common one throughout history: of a short time of chaos and moral disorder followed by a much longer one of a carefully prepared regimentation. Even if both men did cultivate some good and moral positions, plainly more as "selling points" than anything else. Traitors, slave-drivers and the devil himself first dissolving our self-respect, together with our thinking-power, immersing the good in abominable chaos, before shackling us all of any persuasion to our oar in their ocean-going galley. Prime among which pirate vessels for more than a century and a half has been that Skull and Bones or Thule Society cabal or global cartel of which both Adolph Hitler and the Bush family have been proud members, and most of America's top leadership for that long as well.
Other than the above, dispensed-with in this new writing are a great number of questions or considerations of a directly religious or devotional nature, focusing instead on practical life, thereby actually sharpening moral and eternal considerations by letting things common and pedestrian make testimony on their own realistic plane, giving glory to God in their own graphic way.
This book is in many ways a return to a very old way of thinking and doing things: an attempt to comprehend or embrace the meaning of a subject: in the process raising the flag of rebellion against a more-recent linguistics, semiotics and other post-modern preoccupations among academics of all kinds. Life-stifling, abstract and arcane approaches, these, which have sterile mathematical and statistical counterparts in the field of economics as well: all but so many examples of post-modern professional-academia's dissecting of ideas into atomized parts. The desire here being rather to examine a living, breathing whole, to relate each part or organ back to same: in this case a fully-lived, politically-and-economically-articulated Catholicism, one closely-adapted to our times, both as a religion and an organizational way of life. Our method being modeled on the holistic way God Himself apprehends things, seeing them all in Himself, the Simultaneous Whole. This latter being one of God's most revealing names, and the univocal model our minds should follow at every turn.
However, present-day verbal and “constructural” divisions and dissections fit uncannily-well with "divide and conquer" policies of autocrats from hometown USA to the other side of the globe: a pitting of word against word facilitating that of nation against nation and class against class, of the citizen divorced from any say-so at all. A division of thoughts against their notional neighbors in minds and sentences alike putting man in a strange notional quandary, notably allowing argumentation to be confined to some narrow topic to the total exclusion of other things perhaps much more important by far. Here being a polemical factotum of the most potent kind, allowing the interjection of a wealth of stonewalling qualifiers, not at all for precision but rather for obfuscation. Being direct offspring of Bertrand Russell and his logical positivism, an omnibus managerial and polemical device which has in many ways been the enemy of sanity and world peace since the surreal anti-Japanese "Yellow Peril" scare of the early twentieth century. The whole process ultimately settling into a collective form of the complex reactions of human guilt, in a desire not to see the full significance of our own thoughts, words or deeds. A pseudo-intellectuality which must keep things in sealed compartments of the mind so that the desired global, domestic or academic booty can be the more easily and complacently procured.
Rather here is an attempt at the polar opposite of all such divisive exercises, answered by a holistic view of the body politic which corresponds to the intricate oneness of the human composite of soul and body. Here being a consonance which while expressing itself congenially in economic, cultural and political forms yet gravitates as well toward the salvation of souls: being an essential practical corollary to the preaching of the Holy Gospel. This sociopolitical and economic Catholicism modeling the human body much as does the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church: being itself an universal body-politic, indeed a cosmic one, taking in souls in Heaven and Purgatory as well as on earth, in an economy of grace and efforts nowhere else to be found. While in another aerial departure from soil-salting concepts and hamstrung-bureaucratic procedures of today, this Catholic geo-political model displays gradually-more intensity or immediacy of power as one proceeds away from the throne or capitol, ceding authority in its ruddiest vitality to local spheres that are most congenial to the human person—the only actual will-possessing actor involved—thus departing dramatically and decidedly from organizational monoliths of today. Government itself—far from being "too big", as Tea Partiers say—everywhere now being bullied by supranational finance-based forces which utterly pervert the whole meaning and purpose of money, taking it rightful humbler purposes of a medium-of-exchange to an instrument of dominion of the most totalitarian kind. This apocalyptic impasse prevailing everywhere except to a degree in Russia: as little as our propaganda-mill-media would admit such a virtue in the land beyond the Don. Genuine government being no cancerous aggressive-warrior and dominator-of-homes, as is the USA today, but rather solidly and unassumingly founded on the positive local input of small groups and entities like the family, neighborhood, city and region. Good government scarcely wishing a curiously-apotheosized efficiency to overpower the dignity and destiny of the human mind, will and soul. While reasonable amounts of study reveal that much the same humane organizational inspiration has in many important ways motivated every truly great system in history.
In terms of argumentation, the holism pursued here isn’t so much supported by proofs, which the modern linguistically-frustrated mind too often loathes to admit in any case on any score, but as it were by many divergent testimonies, proportionalities, fitnesses and degrees of congruency: arriving at the true relationship of actors through a triangulation from many points of view. Hopefully piecing together a picture which holds together in an unique and convincing way, desiring to partake the very same noted cogency which informs the human body itself. This perennial holism—native to sane and integral human thought and body politic alike—which imitates the carpenter who knows he has accurately reproduced a needed polygon when the last leg of the drawing on his material closes accurately with the starting-point of the first. A manner of correlation that is as well a workable description of creative or productive processes of all kinds, including artistic ones, of which I have also done my own small share.
Hence in pursuit of this same wide casting of conceptually-dense nets do I for one thing avoid the modern obsession with primary evidence or sources since this fixation on the minutely, even torturously empirical easily causes one to "lose the forest for the trees". In the mottled light of which gropings one may indeed get a research grant, but is unlikely to enlighten critical organizational subjects by very scope. Thing vital to human polity needing a true comprehension: that wholesome perspective in which modern corporate-sponsored academia however seems to take singularly-little interest at all. Strategic piecemeal bewilderment, when it comes to these vital subjects, seeming affectionately-at-home in academic circles much as is groundless geo-strategic fear on the Senate floor, when it comes to a military-appropriations bill. A sort of ongoing calamity-mindset, treading the borders of chaos and despair, gratuitously dominating a time of unprecedented organizational and economic disintegration for most of the globe, brought about like a self-fulfilling prophesy by the very same things. Professors and potentates everywhere preferring to play around the edges of central and most-urgent notional dartboards: letting-fly false issues among whose broad reaches however many strictly-private profits are to be had. So that although there is indeed in this work a page or two of original sources, one or two no doubt on impressively-miniscule subjects, in the bibliography, yet I have on the whole found it much more fruitful to "stand on the shoulders of those who went before": not hesitating to use penetrating and comprehensive insights found in many of my secondary sources for yet-bolder interpretive flights. These writers have indeed sifted and refined much primary evidence and thereafter come forward with rare artifacts of insight and interpretation, something which anyone aspiring to scholarship cannot possibly despise. And in the absence of which we are left with the near-invariable amateurish quality of much of modern so-called scholarship: especially in social fields like economics or urban planning. With great cries of "eureka!" echoing in grad-school halls over the most insignificant or inconclusive of things. Attempts being bravely made to reproduce the earthy world of the anthropologist—or the magical numbers-game of the actuary—or the quantum-physics-level integrals of the nuclear physicist—however typically-enough with only middle-school contributions to the matter at hand. Lacking entirely a dense and complex mutual correlation wherein the only feasible solutions of broader issues actually lay.
In the same striving toward an embracing holism, I also take generous advantage here of traditional prerogatives of writers in spiritual works, yet as indicated I hope at the same time to achieve at least a semblance of anchoring to various sources of evidence. Thus are citings not always held to be perfectly supportive of some contention brought forward, but typically only provide some positive background, or even suggested reading, for same, while there is also recognized a broad body of facts which form a sort of public intellectual domain, many of whose specific points of revelation some would claim as their own, although it would actually be prohibitively-hard to pinpoint them to any one originating source. References too, are almost always made from memory and to a whole book or article rather than to page number: since I must admit the shortcoming that the laborious recording of such items was beyond the scope of my allotted time, considering the time-consuming reflective methodology being employed. The addition of which cataloguing procedure would have seen a book that was never written, both by way of conflicting energies and lack-of-time. The eclectic nature of the partial bibliography, too, reveals a work largely dedicated to the needs of the human soul, yet equally concerned with many technical and instrumental things, being an amalgamation against which the sum total of atomized, artificial, haste-harried elements of modern life and scholarship alike tend to make common cause. While conversely had I chosen to leave the writing simply and entirely “philosophical” and “spiritual” it would have done singularly poor service to the subject chosen.
Many of the facts referred to herein were also learned in the library of life and during extensive travels, as well as in university lectures at various levels and in many different subjects. Lectures which the professors involved might easily not wish to have acknowledged in this eminently-politically-incorrect work. But I feel that it is important to get it into print immediately: given the rapidly-developing organizational morass into which both globe and nation are everyday deeper falling, being thus obviously convinced that it has some important things to say about such matters. While if in the process of using my own peculiar above-described method I am inevitably accused of "jumping to drastic conclusions", I feel that that danger is well worth the cost. Desiring to put forward nothing drastic or unfounded, nor yet to jump through fiery but-for-all-that arcane and irrelevant academic hoops, but rather into a long-overdue admission of things readily made quite obvious to any truly thinking mind.
The first chapter of this book in particular considers many particulars briefly and in fairly-rapid succession, mostly pointing out and tracing the origins of social and scale-related maladies of our day which bear upon our subject. Such haste stemming from a wish to avoid today's all-too-typical hand-wringing: that which seems more and more to define most works which call for dramatic improvements. Such writers often not even bothering to specify the practical steps that would be involved in arriving at urgently-advocated modifications, or conversely calling for things so unrealistic as to render the whole a long and rather dull sermon. A homily marked by trenchant cynicism which rings through hallways of academia around the land. Rather do these pages evince a desire to get on quickly to things more constructive and alive.
This is also a writing which goes well beyond formal religious matters, rather aspiring as the title indeed indicates to enter into the shared philosophical and organizational legacy of humanity as a whole: a treasure accessible to people of many persuasions. While finally the main hope I entertain in this writing is that it will act as a spur to many to begin to think and act in the fundamental manner outlined herein: one for which the noted method of conceptualizing is only the first beginning. The totality of which way of thinking—indeed of living—is termed Integral Catholicism, regarded as the very pinnacle of human thought and aspirations concerning organized earthly life, given a divine engine toward its most thorough consummation. A Pauline "more excellent way" which can double as an avenue by which even today's basically poor forms may do at least marginally-better service, while also making singularly possible their gradual and incremental modification, and eventual replacement, in the most natural and peaceful of ways.
Finally, with respect to occasional quotations from the Holy Bible: I hope I may be excused, by both God and man, for doing this entirely from memory, faithfully capturing what the lines convey but not always perfectly literally. These words being the remnants which have remained in my mind after decades of sermons by Carmelite and other Catholic priests, who long before "the Council" preached much more often from a scriptural base than do present-day pastors: so that I resemble in this detail those often-illiterate Medievals who preserved inwardly the pithy essence of Scripture in the very same way. Yet those wishing to be more precise are of course urged to do so for themselves, while likewise there is no intention whatever in this to lend support to the current trend toward the bane of loosely-translated editions of Holy Scripture.
Money is designed to put into play a comprehensive multiplier process, a coordination of human energies and capacities, in a productive alliance with material resources: specie being meant to expand apace with a growing economy. However today the medium of exchange has primarily become a tool of wealth extraction rather than of economic facilitation: in an irrational system of investment and money-creation which seriously inhibits the multipliers of a vigorous economy. The end result of the whole of modern money/investment rather reserving the resources of the earth, and the fruit of modern means, principally in the hands of a first-world few, with the penury of the earth’s majority bearing witness to the radical stultification of both human agency and innovative potential. What real wealth, productivity and advancement there is thus takes place in spite of rather than because of this system of money and finance, straining as it does continually against human dynamisms that are innately reciprocal and multiplicative in nature. Even as the apologists of the same irrational system, capitalism, give it credit for the whole of historical progress: that which on the contrary has its roots in far different things. The logic of the developmentally-sterile being especially inherent to today's oceanic speculation in hedges and continuous drain of derivatives: an extractive levy upon productive elements in society inseparable as well from more basic banking and corporate or government instruments. This whether in stocks, bonds, notes, debentures or the simple charging of interest on loans.
Right from the start, at the very launching of some modern African or Southeast-Asian state, in the unfurling-of-sails of the open-market selling of treasury issues, used to finance critical public spending: even in these first official acts the newly-inaugurated government sets sail under the burden of an onerous cargo of expanding debt. While any present-day state’s capital account “surplus” is based on the phantom possession of that which must be repaid at considerable interest: in a running-in-the-red on both sides of the ledger hidden in a maze of complex, misleading terminology. This anomaly of money paying for money, and at a high premium, involves not only an inevitable day of reckoning for some future generation but also a present-day draining out of life-giving aggregate circulation of vast amounts of capital, whether in bonds or other financial instruments. Funds that are mobilized privately or publicly according to time-series and other herd-marketed projections comprising a phenomenon which is impossible to either measure or appreciate for all its massive and disturbing society-altering consequences, as for one thing these take place in a to-some-convenient gradualism over immense lengths-of-time. Modern finance being increasingly an elite-level dynamic, inscrutable, maddeningly indirect, a kind of gamble or speculation in its application, rather than a force toward immediate positive goals of ordinary men, working changes and developments in which they have an agency-oriented share. The gigantic, long-running, improvement-regressive frauds that have so commonly been involved, discovered long after mammoth larcenous fortunes are made, renders the whole entirely exclusionary, absolute-power-oriented, confining tyrannical power in a few private hands, an unjustly-held might which controls armies and sovereign states. With today’s market philosophy thus proving itself perpetually self-reinforcing in rote and routine ways, with spending itself at noted elitist levels tending increasingly often toward various kinds of strategic takeovers, the purchase of luxury goods, the funding of arcane or bizarre experimental projects, with few-if-any wealth-multiplying properties at all. The whole being a complicated way for a small few to enrich and entertain themselves at the expense of the many, through the manipulation of a medium of exchange which at times appears to leave the latter with little more than the wrappings of effete frivolities to dispose-of. Investment-plus-return in all its forms, received back at maturity, likewise of course being subject to a lengthy time-lag, lying in massive aggregate hoards, flying in the face of the fact that money, truly-earned only with effort, finds its timely purpose in being quickly applied to the economy, in order to facilitate and enable life-giving transactions at all levels. True development being a critical tide which waits for no man. This using of money as an instrument of profit-taking in its own sole right, in ever-more-ingenious coin-clipping ways, being consistently condemned both by the Law of Moses and by the teaching authority of the Church, and plainly inimical to a certain critical timely correlation of human activities which is alone just as well as integral to the needs and nature of man.
Thus under the present system the idea of true expansion is a dead letter: rosy statements of neo-classical economists notwithstanding, these latter academics again rampant after an elite-cultivated forgetfulness of their ignominious discrediting in the Great Depression. Wealth today being almost entirely mobilized toward inscrutable geo-schemes and essentially private wars, with men like the ”Nobel Prize winning” Milton Friedman nowadays focusing on the micro-economics of the corporation in bouts of epic myopia, with the award itself only a clever pseudonym for an august name. (Note: the Prize’s full title, never used, discloses an obscure fund established by certain elements in the Norwegian banking community: too often a booby prize for bogus ideas which amounts to a blank-faced embezzlement of the more-familiar grant’s prestige-value. A global-media-enabled falsification here, after the manner of myriad other gags of a notoriously-cynical global idea-marketing and investment world.) In the neoclassicism thus falsely honored the exigencies of the firm are thus treated as if they apply directly to whole economies, in a simplification by which is entirely denied the massive socioeconomic and political realities the latter must continually address, or be ignominiously condemned. Popular mandates by such means being starved of commensurate fulfillment, both through a gratuitously-restrictive monetary policy and a host of treacherous trade-related mechanisms to be discussed below. This all the while “Horatio Alger” go-getter gains at the level of the global corporation, which by a singular statute must narrowly pursue innately cut-and-run stockholder profit, are disingenuously confused on the nightly news with a national or popular “economic prosperity” which shrivels by the day.
Hence over and above the popular passivity inherent to such a system, profit-taking both short- and long-term leaves future-building infrastructure in stark decay, and rail, road and air-traffic control accident-prone, with the whole of “built space” furthermore mega-designed in weird, space-ship-like fashion with little reference to human tastes or needs. The whole encompassing a veritable nightmare of custom-related, aesthetical totalitarianism, with insidious ramifications in behavioral-control experimentations of many kinds, hardly doing justice to noble and rational man. This fulminating phenomenology marked by an all-enveloping but woefully-contrived air of “security”-related secrecy, a Stalin-Era-reminiscent close-cousin to a popular economic desperation which is the first fruit of maturing mega-debt, incurred in an astronomical way during recent Republican Administrations. (Note of 2014: and multiplied under the Obama Democrats in an even more radical way). The ultimate moral and practical implications of the capitalist system and philosophy thus reveal themselves, as they ultimately must, in the starkest of outlines, with a media-encouraged sense of brash policy-abandon favoring ever-newer and more-panicky forms of irresponsible speculative innovation, poised for an unprecedented “crash” even as I write. And with spin-offs in related geo-political and geo-military policy-expedients of the most cynical and precipitous kind. This in turn, in a third round adventure, further revving up the rate of consumption of the earth’s resources in the most inefficient, ill-allocated, wasteful and destructive way possible. A false militaristic heroism finally poised to “burn it all up and start over again”: that “ultimate solution”, actually boasted in certain quarters, of a system billed as supremely “rational” and realistic, as a marvelous boon to man.
Of course it isn't really possible to trace down what happens to every dollar printed, or entered into some electronic transaction, but the evidence is everywhere that there is taking place by the above-enumerated means not a healthy multiplier effect but rather a mammoth and unprecedented public impoverishment, a laboriously-“legal” larceny. Modern means fully unleashed—which could be prodigally wealth-creative in their nearly-untapped potential—being in fact nowhere in evidence: high-pressure corporate and presidential advertising to the contrary notwithstanding. While an endemic historical inflation doesn't at all, contrary to the claims of many, relieve over time this interest-related draining away of wealth, private and public, since the indexing of bonds, floating rates and various forms of arbitrage keep the stream of supply side subtractions flowing rapidly apace. So that by this and other means popular wealth, the only legitimate aim of any money system, tends to diminish in real terms, and public debt to mount. With increasing numbers of gargantuan private hoards alone growing in size: fed by myriad clever cornering devices in both good times and bad.
Hence the underlying philosophy of such a system isn't even conservative—as it is much boasted of as being—but rather diminutive in nature over time. A kind of destruction of wealth and even of the exchange medium, and indeed of matter and energy as well: a principle not of Einstein but of a "classical" economics intrinsically-radical, indeed at its hidden essence nihilistic, in nature. A soil-salting ideology which refuses to acknowledge that the earth can be cultivated, as is indeed implied in the biblical injunction, in such a way as to vigorously "multiply" wealth and wellbeing. Herein being an incredibly-bleak economic dogma, one historically associated with false ideologies and religious beliefs equally grim to support its exclusionary logic and behavior. The whole world now being dominated by an elite which, in some cases by a ridiculously-self-serving misinterpretations of Scripture, actually believes that it is meant to thus systematically control and increasingly own "the wealth of nations": false-constructions here being placed on this and similar passages of an Old Testament historically factual yet largely symbolic and allegorical in character. Words meant to predict not the extraction but rather the multiplication and diffusion of earthly wealth, under the Royal/Priestly authority of Christ and the explosive developmental philosophy of the Christian Faith. A once and coming cornucopia in polar opposition to the miserly hiatus the modern world has proven to be, with its twin methodologies of a recurrent Napoleonic militarism and various gross and subtle instruments of financial and managerial control. In an all-encompassing if scarcely-acknowledged piracy against the common man which preemptively crowds out that popular global burgeoning which would otherwise naturally take place, given human ingenuity and the grace of God. Today’s financial markets more-recently even coming under suspicion of providing manufactured upturns that are driven largely by peculation and/or desperation, by stop-gap schemes of further indebtedness that only put off the final day of reckoning. Or by a tapping into an international labor pool which idles our own working classes. As the logic of aggregate capitalistic debt becomes moribund, feeds on itself, grows larger at astronomical rates by the day. With increasing rapidity dismembering, dissolving and metabolizing mutually-enriching combinants and configurations for day-traded gains. While by contrast traditional, accurately-conceived money, spread abroad through public work and private endeavor alike, would quickly find its managerial, laboring and materials counterparts, and second and third round multiplier spin offs. And this in the most stable of ways, as history has indeed in its many brighter moments borne witness. A phenomenon we do our best to at least sketchily portray.
But today an ongoing systemic wealth annihilation hides amid impressive displays of larger and larger scale, whether in mall, mega-store, military hardware or windowless grease-mill. In a rigid systemic "path dependency" (expression taken from Weitzman, 1998) which brings inevitably in its train the growing tyranny of the whole of modern life; this amid hovering concerns over the mental health of modern man. The state, together with a multinational corporation which is its increasingly-undisputed master, steadily over time taking on behavioral and profit-target disciplines more and more openly human-experimental and humanity-trivializing in nature. A patent sadism being built into the very way things are done, and the way children from nursery-school through grade 19 are taught, a program which follows the curve of a universal groupie-behavioral-indoctrination into whatever mass or individual horrors to which it might lead. Capitalism having infused the modern pseudo-polity with its own peculiar impersonal, assembly-line or workstation method and spirit, terminating in a joint infrastructural and product-market sleigh-ride down a dependency-path which—far from being a genuine source of progressive innovation, of betterment of the human lot—in important ways becomes narrower and narrower as time goes on (ibid). Any concession to freer, more-rational and wealth-prolific forms and ideas by the twin drivers of such an economic, social and political troika becoming progressively less admissible as the furious momentum gains. Even if Star Trek “progress” fantasies related to eagerly-marketed product-lines multiply apace. The proponents of humane divergences being rather today increasingly labeled as enemies of the state, or of public safety, likely to be trampled under the hooves of blinder-wearing steeds. In a system which however must ultimately destroy most of its doughtiest beneficiaries just as thoroughly as its first and humblest victims.
Now and again the capitalist system seems to be adjuring its former excesses, in reforms generally undertaken at a moment when popular feelings are about to become decisively outraged: being a financial/economic syndicate—irrupting even in ancient times—that is intrinsically global and united, at the head of which are a relative few. Its huge and integrated scale thus able to facilitate marvelously-impressive turnarounds, especially under the spur of modern means: although in the end oligarchy and autocracy are the inevitable configuration in such an extractive finance/power empire. Hence, as an example of these systemic-palliatives, the Keynesian interlude of the mid-twentieth century, whose enlightened qualities are agreed to by all but a few radicals like the above-noted Friedman, who produced his first illogical ravings back in the early forties: reforms however which were easily-enough abandoned after popular fears have been for several decades appeased, thus circumventing the popular rediscovery of that true generator of wealth and prosperity: distributism. That economically-moral and prodigally-fruitful system of the civilized ages which is the polar opposite, indeed the death knell, of capitalism, even if it maintains some random surface similarities: being driven by a starkly-contrasting set-of-values and frame-of-mind. Communism, in global scale, financing and all else that really matters, being only a subset, a sort of outrider enforcer or bully-boy of the capitalist system. An alternative which acts rather as an efficient revulsive, propelling mankind back toward its more-typical demise.
Distributism is rather a system of popular wealth and vigorous political participation: one which, once well-established, generally requires centuries of near-ceaseless chicanery and warfare for its undoing. Distributism's central principle requiring that the smallest possible unit of organization be ceded the greatest possible free agency to accomplish the most substantial possible things that can be accommodated under its purview. This being an organizational configuration that finds application at every level, and that tends to render higher authorities uniquely unencumbered by duties of detail and rote routine, and far freer for the pursuit of truly noble and uplifting, otherwise-uncontemplated, common goals. Thus giving due recognition that practical societal vitality is from the bottom up: implicitly acknowledging that the subject and object alike of organization, the human person, is best and most-immediately served by those small-scale structures and vehicles that are by nature most congenial to him. And that aid in actualizing a social, economic, political and personal renaissance of which he is alone the source, the genius and the valid beneficiary. All structures large or small, local or at any other level, thus operating basically as enablers of the human mind, will and inner and outer worlds: while in the process serving as stubborn, redundant sources of the vigor of the whole. While today by contrast those organizational structures and tools that familiarly and congenially enable the individual are being artificially driven into obsolescence and neglect-related decay, or an equally common radical-redefinition toward a sort of auto-destruction. Even as the human person himself is falling into various forms of a new kind of slavery.
Similarly, in distributism’s functional recognition of intermediate and higher levels of legitimate power and authority is avoided over-centralization's baneful polar opposites, anarchism and deconstructionism: even as conversely the function of mounting levels is understood as increasingly protective the higher they go, characteristically expeditive, negotiative and coordinative, and not at all engrossed in the giving of direct commands. So that the reestablishment of distributism involves a whole organizational culture of constructive restraint, recalling to us such auspicious moments in human history as the mild reign of St. Louis IX, marked by an intellectual renaissance and popular agency both of the fullest kind. Distributism being a goal which is in some ways actually uniquely-realizable under present circumstances, albeit given certain extensive and highly-intuitive practical adjustments.
But perhaps the most intolerable of modern man’s injuries at the hands of capitalism is a recent universally-promoted Neo-Con doctrine, a non-sequitur ironic and unjust in the extreme, of his absolute individual responsibility for the sum total of his personal circumstances. This ideological gratuity making its appearance at a time when man's list of realistic personal, practical prerogatives is steadily shrinking toward zero, with the only avenue to “success” being a rigid, all-encompassing conformity in thought, word and deed. A social-homage delivered in profound obeisance to various idols of style and status, which amounts to a veritable act of religion given legitimately to God alone, constituting that species of idolatry identified in the Epistles. While nonetheless today anything short of this personality-prostration will typically find one in unstable circumstances indeed. Even as the noted assertion of an all-inclusive personal autarchy, in the midst of these prostrations, constitutes the flip-side of a much-touted, mega-marketed consumer sovereignty: both however actually being only mocking dual counterparts to the same modern-day individual powerlessness. The modern non-agency being in many ways trebled as well by the ultra-centralizing computer, an all-enveloping institution which steadily usurps basic, critical functions of human minds, while conversely leaving qualitatively-inadequate tasks generously at the doorstep of the individual client, job-seeker or consumer. Who must scramble to become a kind of jack-of-all-secretaries: spending countless unproductive, demotivating hours pushing buttons on telephones or keyboards, increasingly finding social life itself sucked into the black hole of this factotum. While finally the dynamisms of such a wired-up progress are now being imposed on an entire globe not previously thus formed—as of an unproductive template morbidly required—with the Anglo/American/Israeli foreign-policy alliance—with monumental impudence claiming to be the conscience of humanity—driving these artificial determinisms at a growing speed.
But behind all the “progress”-oriented moralizing is in many ways only an attempt by ruling elites to stay ahead of capitalism's day of reckoning, even to convince others to step forward and pay its frightful costs. A program bursting with new and old "enemies" to fight, and cleverly-manipulated "friends". Russia in particular having been negatively zeroed-in upon of late, the victim of a media propaganda-blitzkrieg such as the modern communications industry alone can mount. A continuing radically-unified assault against a Russia which barely survived a financial and political campaign-of-extermination in the early nineties: a geo-ambush in which that nation was destined for an asset-cannibalization of the most barbaric kind. That same Russia whose Orthodox Christian cultivation still retains a great many fervent customs and traditions of the past: faithfulness to which is construed as the worst possible offense against the Pharaohs of the geo-corporate world. A nation-defining and preserving religious-fervor analogous to that for which Islam has for decades now been so ruthlessly under attack as well. This combination of Christianity and custom making the Land beyond the Don a much more formidable foe to these big-leaguers than any other nation or region: a potential holocaust likewise targeted by a strange variety of imported Islam, with bomb-throwing activists seemingly from every nation on earth. A salient thus resembling remarkably the influx of pan-national American Lower East Side Jews into the same Russia just prior to the October Revolution of 1917, to overnight become gloriously-“patriotic” Bolshevik proletarians. And which added reflection furthermore makes one wonder if the chief of these new nihilists, some of whom have been lavishly wined and dined by members of Congress, are Muslims at all, but rather Mossadists and corporate “contractors” in disguise. Both of which are heavily involved as well “sectarian” violence in Iraq: as a comprehensive time-depth evaluation of events in that war-torn land unerringly testifies, for one thing employing cutting-edge method and precision execution which can hardly characterize a primitive, rag-tag insurgency. And for which a noisy blaming of Iran and Syria only acts as a gaudy, guilt-revealing flag, confirming these deeds of cynicism in an especially twisted and inverted way.
According to this systemic war on the individual human, that person whom true national forms of every kind do so much to defend, it is only “the breaks of the game” if the disabled or the elderly suffer grave disadvantages. As in dealings with a new privatized human services or vocational rehabilitation bureaucracy, in which a string of clients or “customers” typically become in effect a mere column of numbers on the barometer of some corporate-outsourced job developer's promotion or salary schedule. Or of his/her vanguard or laggard position as a leader in the invasion of new commercial turf. Capitalism's exacting of pounds-of-flesh leaving the disabled person entirely on his own in such a brave new world: a universe most intrepid in thwarting the interests of the least-equipped and most vulnerable of any kind. The disadvantaged falling under the heels of a rapidly-developing veritable master race mentality which consolidates itself more and more disturbingly over time. Its many apparatchiks being indoctrinated in incremental numbers by an educational system which actually short-circuits human sensitivity and productive/creative capacities. And increasingly favors the brute, insensitive or insensate: polar-antagonists to the values of human life.
A strange variant too of the personal autarchy doctrine is a corollary by which authority is gradually being redefined toward a kind of group dynamics in which the individual more or less carves out his own place in the organizational scheme of things, involving a bizarre behavioral declaration-of-independence which actually destroys the dignity of the individual worker: ultimately making him into the sort of callous, characterless cog with which capitalism is most at home. A hard-nosed work-place sociology being invoked, full of hyper-aggressive demi-bosses and straw-bosses, trained in a sort of daily guerilla warfare of “one-upmanship”: a worksite or cubical combat trebled in viciousness and intensity since the debut of the best-selling book of some decades ago which glorified that very thing. An organizational lead-pipe street-fighting to which the foreman or immediate superior invariably gives full rein: with those workers not so belligerently inclined being quickly marginalized in such an environment, and if not cynically terminated then consigned to the most miserable sorts of treatment on every side. Here however being contained the seed of the total breakdown of all of society's much-lauded recent advances, in a universal social anarchy which matches well the pervasive legal-or-illegal drug addiction, a hyper-aggressive homosexuality and the tumbling quality of manufactured goods and commercial services alike. With the sociology of the prison yard, where an incredible percentage of Americans spend varying amounts of time, intruding itself into previously-sacred facets of life. These being among the host of anti-human consequences of a system whose basic dynamisms must break the human person, both its prime victim and most formidable enemy.
Catholic scholars and activists have traditionally been at the forefront of efforts against capitalism's worst excesses, as among those in the United States who in past decades worked indefatigably in some connection with the National Catholic Welfare Conference. These being joined by many others in Europe and Latin America in a campaign that was especially effective during the early and middle decades of the twentieth century. Yet unfortunately these men and women seem to have regarded as unavoidably-necessary an in-kind response to a system of massive and impersonal forms, countervailing versions of which were to varying degrees enlisted among these opposing ranks, notably on the part of organized labor. Even as modern popes continued to express reservations about the size-related anomalies of labor's "universal brotherhoods": those very pontiffs, in a burgeoning world of such paradoxes, under the influence of whose encyclicals these labor leaders and social advocates formed their ideas. Popes who pointed out the ongoing lamentable lack in modern economic justice efforts of the sort of localized, organic, personal-level mutual social support which the Medieval guilds once so well embodied. While the same popes have also been uniquely cognizant of the government-devouring propensities of the often deceptively-harmless-looking capitalist financial and organizational Venus-fly-trap vegetation. That to which ultimately even organized labor here in the United States would later frequently ally itself: among others most notably the Teamsters (Moldea, Dan E., 1978; Kennedy, Robert, 1960). Not uncommonly in a three-way partnership with organized crime in the devouring of the national good.
Nonetheless such Catholic writers as G.K. Chesterton, Father Andrew Fahey, Amintore Fanfani and many others in Europe and Latin America did echo pontifical acknowledgements that it is not natural for smaller units of society “to be absorbed” by either government or the giant corporation: however seemingly-noble might be the latters’ intentions, or however reputedly-indispensable a role these heavyweights might have cut out for themselves. But rather that the identities and potencies of intermediate and micro-units are to be kept intact, indeed developed to their highest potential. Herein being a grassroots reality at the very basis of human life, one perfectly indispensable to the human condition, without which humanity must progressively approach its personal and aggregate doom. While cut from the same vital piece of cloth, and discounting whatever economic soothsayers might hold, was the contemporary papal affirmation that “in every law wherever possible government must rely on the economic organization of the people themselves”. (Pius XI, Social Order). This configuration naturally being unique to each people, taking on a different form according to native spirit, peculiarity of historical perspective, climate, geography and so on. Without which native milieu again and ultimately humanity simply cannot survive. Likewise that “instead of government walking alone it is to walk along with the organizations of the people”. Or again, “The social order is not a sudden blue-print creation” (N.C.W.C.), but rather naturally depends upon pre-existing cumulative, locally-specific elements. A social organism which is primarily composed of the noted smaller groups, these in turn vigorously enabled by an adequate understanding and diffusive employment of money.
Of course given the pre-conceptions of the times, notably held among the vast majority of the very distributists named above, who generally-speaking were quite overawed by modern industrial and communicational scale and means, which had yet to reveal their final trends and orientations, had these popes insisted upon too great of a departure from prevalent conceptions of socioeconomic life—in the direction of smallness of scale and particularity of organization—their words would probably have been even less heeded than they were. Considering especially the extensive systemic revamp that would already at such an earlier date have been required. Even as few knew how counterproductive, at levels more profound, not always readily self-revealing, that the whole bewildering, self-accreting, path-dependent monolith would ultimately tend to be: a titan which as suggested above can take immense lengths-of-time certain deeper and more troubling aspects to come clean. Then too, the kind of papal social teaching employed was mostly concerned with the application of eternal truths to the here and now: to hungry and oppressed men, women and children who cannot afford to wait the time required for the wholesale re-design of infrastructures and economies, as progressively unjust and unnatural as they might indeed be.
And so it was late in the day before it became apparent, at least to a certain steadily growing number, that whatever might be the cost we can no longer afford to allow the universal ascendancy of modern “capital”-driven scale to hold sway. Now basically with mankind as a whole, in one way or another, trapped in a circular, self-reinforcing determinism, driven by the “progress” of an uncontrollable downward acceleration of multiplying debt. That which as noted is the system's perfect negative-mirror-image of a true economic multiplier, and with political ramifications proportionally-huge and negative in nature. All the while there has continued to be heard the same self-perpetuating rationale—or self-fulfilling prophesy—of an all encompassing “it’s too late to turn back now” imperative. The discovery rather having at last been made that the diameter of the scale-related bore of the opposing batteries of organizational artillery, Catholic/distributive and capital-driven, is not really what matters, in this most peculiar and consequential of battles. For the whole modern monolith is ultimately “a horse that won’t run”: a principle demonstrated daily in venues great and small, with rag-tag Hezbollah fighters for instance continually dealing crushing blows to the state-of-the-art equipped Israeli invader (Note: second edition was being written at the time of the barbaric Israeli invasion and demolition of the state-of-the-art modern nation of Lebanon). The Jews reduced to telling lies about Syrian “high-tech” involvement, this for one thing to excuse the dropping of ever-bigger and more-sophisticated bombs on helpless civilian populations. Being far too proud to admit defeat at the hands of such a primitive, organizationally distributive force. That form namely which patriots like the Old Testament Jewish Machabees themselves invariably use in wars against tyrant-conquerors. All this holding true no matter how much a tail-wagging-the-dog USA echoes charges of terrorism against these humble defenders of their own land.
An analog to tiny indigenous military initiatives as avenues of escape from the modern muscle-bound monolith is to be found in today’s cutting-edge micro-firms: partnerships and sole-proprietorships most active in the laying of the creative, imaginative groundwork at the base of the recent explosion of technology. Showing us the lie in the usual jingle about the modern world's inevitable and indispensable huge scale: whether in terms of production, labor, automotive traffic or anything else. Even as these kinds of smaller and more rational ventures are typically snapped up by today's multinational-corporate Venus fly-trap at a time when they have as yet barely seen the light of day, or achieved anything like their innate potential toward a truly-intelligent product development, let alone the social/organizational enhancement of workplace and community. Small-and medium-scale ventures whose free and dynamic political significance will be investigated at much greater length in chapter five, fated however for now to be sacrificed on the altars of Wall Street ten-digit incomes.
Just as convincing a reason for a move away from mammoth scale has been the near-complete auto-collapse of nationwide and international efforts on behalf of labor and the common man over the past several decades. The ponderous approach of the modern gigantism, readily taking on many aspects of the pyramid-building of Egypt, proving itself at least as poorly-adaptable to his interests as they are to the genuine advantages of management. Even if mammoth structures did at one time, in moments of Industrial Age optimism, seem to hold forth promise for the unlimited attainment of material well-being. People with such infrastructural stars in their eyes being little able to foresee that the top-down national or international organization of labor and management into polar sectors, separately or with servile "internal" unions (a concept made notorious today especially at Wal-Mart), would inevitably produce not universal wellbeing but rather a wealth and productivity sapping corruption. Among which are to be found such supply-side phenomena as insider stock options, cooked-books, corporate accounting, and the over-inflation of stock values; while more plebian realms would continue to see a burgeoning of sweetheart contracts between crooked labor and industry representatives. The "sweetheart" involved not being any overly-remunerated workforce, as some on Fox news would glibly misinterpret the expression, but rather signaling a management shielded from just demands of labor by crooked union officials after the classical pattern of Jimmy Hoffa, Sr. and his associates. "Lovers" of these "sweethearts" who firebombed the residences of those intrepid workers who wouldn't go along, giving half their pay, most of their hard-fought working conditions. While not to be forgotten too is that protection racket gradually become all-pervasive in character, another aspect of the same goon-driven corporate universe which would gradually take over many a bigger town. Even as in divergent settings the same exaggerations of scale would find the lumbering, command-oriented societies of a Franco or a Peron. While finally and as suggested seemingly-benign centrally-administered programs like the New Deal actually served to re-solidify the advantages of a Depression-discredited corporate financial, commercial and industrial hegemony (Hawley, Ellis W., 1966) far more than to help the common man.
As might be gathered from the above, to actually be beneficial practical authority must for the most part reside at lower levels: with these smaller-scale units then ceding the remainder in an upward direction. This even as responsibility resides in major part on high: in a stewardship, towel and washbasin in hand, for which there is a successively-more-severe accounting, both by God and men, at each succeeding ledge on the upward official climb. So that within such a pyramid the local and smaller unit isn’t at all "empowered" from above but rather painstakingly fostered and enabled in that which is from the start rightfully its own. Implying a singularly-vigorous sovereignty which finds its native source in the human person, whose immediacies and potentialities are in turn most alive at the local milieu. A contrary “power-sharing” or “revenue-sharing” concept—of the much-made-over return to localities of a fraction of previously-surrender tax-money, perhaps with some fraction of oversight as well—this being an organizational falsehood of the past decade or two that is quite perverse in character. Highly-perishable commodities of human life, freedom and vitality tending to die in transit in gratuitous upward flights of wealth, substantive power or freedom-of-action: let alone in the limp, worked-over, bureaucracy-patronized descending return of their merest remnant. Machiavellian mounting ambitions ironically involving a proportional loss of responsibility and accountability, less-celebrated things eagerly left behind at lower levels.
Today’s world culture of cell-phones, computer-driven communication and entertainment-marketing, in a much-touted "people's market choice" abandonment of the whole idea of place, might seem very brave and exciting at first, especially to a marketing-saturated pubescent mind: until one grows old, mature or experienced enough to realize that the very person being abandoned is oneself. This in a dizzy anti-human adventure against which local life is one of the few erosion-impeding dams one has. With a “progress”-vindicating Dr. Spock and Captain Kirk nowhere in sight to rescue us, to “beam us up”, from the disaster that presently ensues. Something in turn most readily appreciable after one is unceremoniously dumped from such a high-tech space-vessel, likely-enough after a terrifying and far-from-satisfying ride, a wake-up-call perhaps not that many years after leaving high school. This latter for some the last truly meaningful, if ironically and in many ways woefully-artificial, experience in an otherwise frustrated life. Especially if one fails to keep one's rigidly predetermined place in this calcifying organizational monstrosity, or passes a certain generally-short span of optimally-exploitable years. A time of exit when however and in most cases one has scarcely begun to reach ones true contributory potential.
As follows from above reflections, I write most directly for the readership of the “man on the street”: someone who tends on the whole to be more intelligently-pause-taking than today’s standard scholar or power-broker. The same common man being the main driving, productive force in society, even as he has been consistently excluded from significant consultation or reward. He who remains the true font of political and organizational wisdom, contrary to the long-dominant Enlightenment-era "rule of the technocrat" paradigm. Belittled though he be today in school and workplace, and even by way of a condescending show of “citizen participation”, that which is put forward as quite egalitarian in planning circles. An involvement however carefully circumscribed and largely-ceremonial in character. The ordinary person’s real and ready access to such public processes hardly being automatically forthcoming by way of our “best-possible” form of democracy, as is so often maintained. A system, as good as it is here and there, which has however largely been overcome by the infiltration of organized enemies. A condition for which I offer some remedies in later chapters. Positive modifications of any authorship however finding major obstacles in inherited illusions of radical-Calvinist dissenters of Plymouth and Jamestown, fruitful in innumerable national pathologies which, rather than receding, seem in many ways to grow worse by the day. As in an endemic racism and a veritable Religion of America in which the USA can make no mistakes and do no wrong. A blindness evident in the statement of one author in a textbook on urban planning, claiming that because of self-evident systemic boons the common citizen had better stand on his own two feet and have his say-so. For otherwise he deserves for others to plan for him (Kelly, Becker and Wo, 2000).
Essential to the thesis presented here, and developed more-intensely and in detail in ensuing chapters, is the principle that true freedom, wealth and prosperity are in basic ways geographically non-mobile. That the appropriate model for development and political life alike is the fruit tree, with its roots solidly in the immediately-surrounding material and interpersonal soil. With only its branches, and these in diminishing diameter, reaching far and wide. The present fervent belief in a world radically united by geo-finance, the computer and the U.S. military having proven an avenue for job and capital flight far more than for a much-predicted “universal knowledge-pooling and understanding”. These latter indeed receding from us daily in direct proportion to the number of cell phones and an increasingly-exclusive corporate-driven and -sponsored teaching and speaking of the English language. While our own model also assumes an unrestricted right of immigration, in conformity with the Biblical command to "increase and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it". This right-of-resettlement together however with ironclad guarantees of the obvious natural claim of the native citizen on first choice of jobs, complete with training where necessary: if of course within reasonable limits where professional credentials, as in fields like medicine, are required. So that by such a just and natural allowance of the flow of labor areas not feasibly open to extensive development might mostly be left as they are, or even largely reserved as naturalistic havens and habitat refuges. Even as others draw to themselves those populations needed toward the realization of their fullest potential, while remaining respectful of local citizen rights. Such a localized model being likewise uniquely able to dovetail with the reciprocal interaction of plant, animal and mineral forms in watersheds and regional ecosystems alike. Resource roots that are extremely vulnerable to capitalism's in-some-ways incurably-random development and endless strip-mining, profit-taking, catastrophic change. A localized model which far from being rendered obsolete by modern comparative-advantage-driven world trade is actually further vitalized and activated by a more rational and proportional understanding of same. For instance even generous vacation-spending of the rich tends to bring aggregate accumulations to lovely, far-away but typically-poor places, providing unencumbered seed-money for them to develop in ways appropriate to them, according to their own plan.
Furthermore, there is implicit in this modeling of the human political organism on natural life-giving processes a uniquely-supple integrity at every level: imaging that phenomenon by which each sphere of nature opens out to the next higher and larger one, but only in those ways that are mutually beneficial. Being primarily geared to the good of the lower and more fundamental unit in any relationship, trading or otherwise, like rain for a thirsty earth, falling in turn from the looming clouds. This while all reciprocally conspire toward the good of the whole human and natural biosphere. This integral model extending to the point of an analogy to tiny, capsulated fruit or offspring, which are meant to survive natural or even catastrophic separation from or destruction of the parent organism. Representing universal organizational realities modern-day divergences from which have proven barren by comparison, and perilous in the extreme. While essential to this tree-model is a basically-pollution-free resource conservation: since much like the natural, unaided trickle-irrigation of desert watersheds and tributaries left-in-place, it would require no more than about one-fifth of the energy now consumed. The factor of five being my own rough estimate for the inverted, substance-extractive reverse-multiplier that comes of the debt-financed non-economy we have globally today. The very reverse-image of one which loves and cooperates with the earth and its ecosystems.
Hence as these perceptions of a natural modeling suggest, some aspects of which have been recognized among some developmental economists and planners for decades: human organizations, constructs, means, etc. are only instrumental to something much more fundamental. An underlying, unifying reality essentially indestructible: a kind of society of all living and inanimate things. A brotherhood with which human intelligence itself is quite at home, as in its own comprehensive inner modeling of the humility, flexibility and openness of nature. Both nature and true intelligence being liberal, generous and unitary, avoiding the dissecting pseudo-precision of today’s commonly employed methodologies. These latter much-made-over intellectual tools being in fact properly applicable to little outside of purely physical or mathematical phenomena, with their attempted adaptation to economic and social realities only favoring the resumption of the fractured eighteenth and nineteenth century moral and socioeconomic worlds of Malthus and Marx. Since for one thing the physical and mathematical partake of an innate “principle of division” which strictly applies to math or materiality themselves: while the social and philosophical must be understood as unitary and even horizontally-expansive if they are to be understood at all. These higher sciences, properly evaluated, rather being capable of gathering up the physical, material and mathematical into one living, integrated whole. One above all supple, free, interdependent: ultimately mirroring a Reality in turn infinitely higher than earthly life. Such a multi-level, loose-knit congruency being appropriate to a world created by that very same internally-reciprocal, prodigally-generous Something: and indeed according to His own very likeness.
Appropriately to all the above, the aim of the Divine Sovereignty is that we operate as responsible, voluntaristic actor at every level, and this indeed for the saving of our immortal souls. A Deity little desiring us to be the mere objects of command-and-control structures, or related phobia-driven surveillance. Obedience for the layperson in the Catholic moral system being directed quite unerringly to conserving and constructive goals, while in the formal religious life having a strong spiritually-mortifying aspect which for others doesn’t properly obtain. Neither of which states, however, having anything to do with the abject prostrations of the slave-society in George Orwell’s 1984. For whose debut Ronald Reagan provided the most wildly “democratic” of coming-out parties. He during whose Administration that highly-symbolic year was lived out, and who was the grand-initiator of an enslaving public debt.
The divine "more excellent way" of St. Paul, the way of divine love, of “the freedom of the children of God”, rather than serving the whims of grim taskmasters, is less concerned with output than with the all-encompassing good, especially in an agency-oriented and intellectual sense, of all those involved in any social, political or productive activity. A holistic good which includes and vastly exceeds productivity, profits or market share. One which does indeed deal with all persons as having in-a-certain-sense tradable resources, including those of intellect and will: not however as mere limp objects of some process or police state, but rather that through their agency-packed employment they might bring to bear their full potential toward the achievement of common goals. Involving a morally and culturally enabled common good of which density-of-contribution is the very soul, whose innate division-of-labor and uninhibited agency, seen to their degrees in societies throughout history, is however summarily dismissed by neo-conservative pundits, unwilling to abandon their grim supply-side constructs and doomsday-progressive paradigms.
According to this outline distributism is recognizable as the fundamental social, industrial and political inspiration of Western life, while likewise having been the basic organizational wisdom of the Eastern ages. Equally perceivable in many of its most-salient features in the Imperial Roman delegation of authority, the immemorial, politically-representative Islamic guild system, or the frequently-recurring grassroots reform movements of China. So that for instance the groundbreaking distributism of the early Han rulers, from about 200 to 150 B.C., made it possible to cut taxes "to one thirtieth of the crop. Even so…state granaries bulged, and the central government had vast cash reserves" (Hucker, Charles O., 1975, p. 123). In China throughout most of its history local government at the county level, especially in terms of non-criminal law, was expected to operate quite autonomously. While starting from the second century A.D. Ch'in dynasty a minutely-localized system of jurisdictions—one strikingly-similar to the Western Medieval ten-family Frankpledge political unit and the larger Hundred—kept the system distributively geared (ibid, p. 170-171). During which mounting prosperity the population likewise expanded dramatically.
But whether in Ch'in China or thirteenth century Europe this most rational and constructive organizational mode has been assaulted unceasingly by that of a completely different inspiration. In fact, the adversity between the two eternally-opposing systems represents in a striking way the antipathy between God and mammon, which latter might be interpreted as the rule of money. Or between Saint Augustine's City of God and the fallen City of Man. Laying bare for us as this Father of the Church did—in spiritual and scholarly attempts to bring meaning out of a fifth-century definable as the clashing of these two systems—the falsehood of cleverly-convincing maxims of an encroaching, benighted view. An outlook which, like some poisonous perennial, would later gain renewed predominance during Late-Medieval times. The Western distributive, Integrally-Catholic way of thinking and doing things being thus gradually cut short before it could attain anything like its full, multi-faceted potential. Due nonetheless to be accomplished in the ultimately-incontestable plan of God.
The originality and vitality of the eleventh through thirteenth centuries still lives on in a remarkable number of durable, sometimes still-in-use structures, while having in turn during the intervening time had a profound formative and motivating effect on Europe's law, literature, art and architecture and the wisdom and the individuality of markets, towns, city streets and political structures alike. Where the smaller and more-intimate organizational unit has been instinctively fostered, even as larger scale was capably used where necessary in such cases as the Spanish Peninsula-wide Mesta, continentally-developed cathedral-building or the village-wide three-field system of cultivation. Among forerunners of Europeans who even today often instinctively avoid the unwieldy, and have traditionally passed down this aversion to a remarkable degree to younger generations. This even amid ceaseless economic, and now media/commercial, pressures toward colossal, consolidated forms.
It is often contended that the personalism involved in older, small-scale systems invariably becomes a sort of an egocentric hunger for dominion, of the “big fish in a little pond” variety. An accusation which for a long time now has been leveled at even the most tender and intimate of traditional relationships and institutions, like the family. Parents, for instance, the epitome of personalized, localized authority, having become the objects of endless humorous parody under such a characterization: the only safe refuge from which is often thought to be in becoming one's own worst critic or mocking mime. While basically the same process has likewise taken place with respect to many other close-at-hand, identifiable authority positions. The destruction of the force and meaning of a role being assured by such a course: an outcome indeed forecast in the much-anticipated replacement of the family's itself—of which the parents are the definitive root or trunk—by social units more capitalistically-user-friendly. Like the heterogeneous household or the sodomite "marriage". Things of course noised by the corporate-driven media/publishing/educator coalition in particular as being “in the works”: in other words by way of processes over which—by direct admission of the ultra-liberal John Edwards—the common man is permitted no control.
But in fact such a belittling or indictment against older and smaller forms is hardly born out in places where traditional cultures still to a considerable degree prevail, and where in fact their bitterest critics most love to take their vacations. As in remote cantons of Switzerland, with their still-quite-typical family-based economic organization. Where distributive economies and ways of doing things in turn set the stage for a vibrant popular political life. Similarly have locally-determined scale methodologies prospered, although applied in limited ways, in places like Denmark and France: if locked in combat even there with others more global in nature. While finally there is the noted micro-firm, whose phenomenally-successful personalism embodies the complete rebuttal of rote/heroic oratory on behalf of a “progress” in terms of gratuitously-integrated scale.
Gradually developing out of a network of Byzantine, Moslem, Central European and Italian connection and standing good as the central dynamic of world history since about the Fourteenth Century would be the counter-inspirational capitalist system: in the first instance with the workman becoming progressively less independent, increasingly dominated by guilds that were originally his own free associations. These in turn ultimately coming to be managed by a class of proto-capitalist middle men displaying a growing subservience to international trading interests (Nicholas, David, 1997). An organizational configuration which ceaselessly exaggerates the power of higher levels, straining early on toward a rigid, preemptive control, thus employing the very opposite of the locally-focused approach of distributism. This repellent hierarchical pyramid not however to be thoroughly achieved until after the Enlightenment, and only after centuries of recurrent popular resistance. This sort of management—which by nature and laws-of-probability tends to incorporate blank-faced injustices and inefficiencies of every kind—bringing with it too the familiar polar opposition between capital and labor. The abstractive counting houses of capital for one tending by default to favor grand organizational rosters rather than the noted interactive dynamisms of human or spiritual life: in a phenomenon that might indeed turn out easily-calculated commodities-in-gross, but that would even-more-surely accommodate the bomb-throwing thesis/antithesis polarities of the Marxian dialectic. An adversarial tautology which models preternaturally-well a worldview based entirely on the noted mathematical principle-of-division, and which as a consequence sees little beyond a socially-divisive misery in history's ages and eras. While the good that has actually come of such a devolving "progress", in this and other forms, is only a tribute to the human spirit, which commonly brings good from bad, ever attempting to turn the destructive to positive ends. Even as all the more so "for him who loves God (do) all things work together unto good". There being little to wonder at, then, over the fact that something so dominant and long-standing as capitalism should have yielded some unique and significant benefits. As do all things which know for any length of time the touch of the human hand, or the warm light of the human mind, however slight.
Much of the ample darker side of such a progress is a certain "path dependency" (Weitzman, 1998): so that engineering and investment quickly find themselves restricted in method, process and species of product. This by an increasingly-entrenched material and infrastructural determinism: one which comes especially of capitalism’s defining narrowly-focused, debt-determined horizon. Since we are speaking here of a basically-artificial plant, supply-chain, transport and resource mobilization which necessarily become increasingly permanent in their general outlines over time, being mainlined into the needs and desires of a certain financial/managerial few. Manufacture, particularly under capitalism, being after all a contrived process, the larger and more all-inclusive its scale and its markets become the more it ultimately requires the construction of a whole world of its own. A world of dies and circuitry, running mills and work stations, global employees, supply chains, mammoth freeway and utilities infrastructure: with these material institutions being joined to familiar, related, quasi-social ones. The whole composite being in important ways less and less alterable as time goes on: indeed a huge monolith, potentially a Tower of Babel. For one thing any fundamental change requiring increasingly-prohibitive costs: nature having been as it were remade, but hardly at a mere nod, as had been the case with Almighty God, and further change everywhere multiplying monumental tasks and resource-waste. So that such a scale can scarcely expect to retain a certain suppleness that serves well the subtleties of true human needs. As well as intimately-related truly-productive goals.
Thus for instance the linear historical obsession with "weapons of mass destruction": these however to be found far more often among Americans than modern-day Iraqis or Central-Asians and Middle-Easterners in tent and shacks. The capitalist continuum augmenting in force as the centuries unfold, leaving behind, essentially bypassed, unexplored and unexploited, innumerable positive, creative and pacific “combinants" or “idea cultivars”, as they are termed by the noted Harvard Economist Weitzman. These like the production function itself quadratic in terms of their multiplicative potential (ibid). Discoveries rather being methodologically restricted increasingly over time, as the latter author points out, to the mindsets and worldviews that cumulatively motivated their predecessors. Suggesting conversely in my own view that had we retained the contrary innately-free and prolific Medieval approach of intense local idea-cultivation, within the developing technological greenhouse of the modern world, we would have many advanced semi-independent productive modules rather than “all our eggs in one basket”, and might easily by now have solved the social and material shortcomings of the entire globe. Rather than being so single-mindedly engrossed in the manufacture of military conflict.
Gone unmentioned today among radical feminists are the remarkable numbers of women who worked at various levels among the medieval craft guilds (R.G. Ferrell, internet source) and who found a parallel ongoing involvement in the contemporary political-leadership sphere. As during military campaigns and other extensive off-site feudal/official duties, sometimes of protracted duration, during which their husbands were gone from their ranging, attention-demanding estates (Labarge, Margaret Wade, 1980). While concerning these celebrated laboring associations themselves, the guilds were only a later historical development preceded in time by less-formal groupings of workers and artisans generally called fraternities. Invariably religious in character, these associations concerned themselves with every sort of mutual support for members and their families, not the least of which was the saving of their souls, a pursuit which in truly-Catholic cultures is always implicitly, motivationally interwoven with material development. This as an inevitable byproduct of a society based on Catholicism’s defining good works. The gradual succumbing of this loose-knit, multi-purpose system to the homogenizing, largely-extractive influence of the merchant class bringing with it as well the barren and impersonal debt-constraints of an evolving capitalism, ultimately to be found an infinitely-more-demanding faith-all-its-own, having been popularly struggled against every inch of the way. This often at great cost by guild-members and other workers themselves. The purely-commercial class being one which Catholic theologians and Chinese Mandarins alike had consistently and accurately regarded as a woefully-unproductive element in society, even if the growing preponderance of such wide-ranging commercial interests, in East and West alike, would ultimately lead in certain quarters to the construction of elaborate theological arguments on their behalf. In that plague-like corruption of religion which is ever the threatening lot of mortal man.
Having themselves at last come to be used largely as a tool of commercial elitism and repression, by the 18th Century—and even by the early fourteenth in some cases, as is seen in Chaucer's celebrated character sketch—the guilds had indeed and as frequently noted by their critics become restrictive of membership. And furthermore the same forces which had wrested the marketing of goods away from autonomous groups of free-agent craftsmen—of which the fraternities and guilds in essence originally consisted—would use such a privileged fulcrum to eventually gain control of everything from banking to political structures in Europe and England—in a gradual devolution away from immemorial free forms. Thus was there a quiet but titanic struggle going on, one never very far below the surface: one indeed very much like that taking place here since the Reagan Administration, in the crushing of the independent businessman, in the wholesale disappearance of worker bargaining power, perhaps most notably that of the native, citizen worker. Really only a part of that struggle of the ages for souls, and a parallel one for spiritual, intellectual and material freedom, in each era taking its own peculiar form. In the midst of which combats and across several of which time-frames largely-sinister and highly-significant roles would be played by a "Christian" Venice, Vienna and Byzantium. For all their magnificent Churches and ecclesiastical endowments in major part quite indifferent to practical religion. Being joined in such a grand picture by Jewish and Islamic worlds which had developed complementary destructive efficiencies to a refined science, rich in a shared global slave trade from early medieval to early-modern (and in some cases mid-modern) times, and this from Ireland to the Nile. From out of the close or remote influence of which labor-cheapening, predominating alliance would of necessity flow the loss among peasants and urban commoners alike of a beloved small-scale life amid familiar domestic concerns: that cultivar which had proven a veritable garden for souls in every era and clime. That economic localism against which slavery always provides an especially-fatal blow: with the bull-whip and the harem seeming to some to require the counterbalancing organization of vast scale economies in order to compete with their heinous and unnatural economic power. Although in fact, if on second thought not surprisingly, the prime stockholders of the burgeoning capitalism were also principle dealers in the slave-market from East to West.
Thus essentially the Christian-Era loss among the people of the management of their own affairs: gradually becoming less and less fully and directly represented in local assemblies, having been progressively reduced to a fourth, legally and politically disenfranchised class from the fourteenth century onward (Nicholas). Even the pasturing of a few animals on village or town commons coming to be denied them, together in many cases with their accustomed ready access to local streams, lakes and forests. Sources not only of game and recreation but also of such simple things as wood, sand and other building material. A former facilitation of reasonable habits and wishes—indeed still today desired or pursued by many under the form of hiking, camping, fishing, home-improvement projects and the like—being increasingly denied in favor of a way of life more and more rote, regimented and constricted in character. A deterioration-of-conditions which hasn’t really changed that much since those times: an apotheosized twentieth century American Middle Class, albeit bearing the novel title of “the successful”, finding more-than-countervailing numbers in races, nationalities and income groups locked into positions of more-or-less galling or humiliating poverty and subservience. And saddled with the further unfair, unprecedented insinuation that they had lazily or from “lack of a positive attitude” failed to “hitch their wagon to a star”. When in fact poverty in our system is much more typically the result of a “failure” to adopt a craven or juvenile “anything goes” character, to “fit in” with peer-group or boss at any expense in terms of loyalty to God or spouse. Or at the sacrifice of key elements of a critical and inviolable personal identity: that once-common commodity for lack of which today our society miserably starves for leadership, vision and direction. While those not willing to pay this Orwellian cost sometimes react to mounting petty and unnatural pressures in an explosive and irrational way, as exponentially-increasing jobsite slayings, as well as the massacre at Virginia Tech in April of 2007 (Note of 9/2014: and a host of others to follow), illustrate in so sanguinary a way. The search for a historical parallel to which profoundly-demeaning condition would be a difficult one indeed: since the debilities of older times always had some rational and unavoidable practical basis, while to find a system in which a class of full citizens was supported by an understructure of right-less menials would take one back to the Ancient world, in a parallel which would still remain woefully imperfect on a number of further scores.
Along the lines of march of such a progress, the abandonment of colorful village patois, of regional American accents and colloquialisms would give way to artificial and impersonal protocols for every school, worksite or cubicle venue, a semi-literate Star-Trek existence of unearthly logos and barked commands. A non-communication become near-irreversibly ingrained through a school-, rapper- and media-learned conversational and conceptual illiteracy, together with a rising youthful abuse of drugs. Producing a young society unable to convey the deeper or subtler nuances of human needs and personality, and least of all of truth itself. Since the human personality, the mystifying cosmos of the ancient ages, can hardly be reduced to these easily-placated, tractable proportions without incalculable harm. A power-pyramid thus ultimately surmounted by a brazen, corrupt element, the worst of "the children of this world", the mortal enemies of the children of God. While there is furthermore obviously involved here not only a loss of the religious, metaphysical, picturesque and intimately-regarded, but also of some of the very things which make life and organization genuinely and constructively functional and worthwhile. This in an ongoing redefinition that was to radically accelerate during the course of the 1990s.
This path of capitalism's inescapable radical non-communication was amply blazed by Bertrand Russell's logical positivism—in which we “strain over the gnat” of every single word—and paved by Marshall MacCluhan's "the medium is the message", as well as by those other non-sequiturs of “linguists”, futurists and other theorists, including men like Leotard and Toffler. Producing a milieu of the most studied sorts of intellectual posturing in which reason would at length become a hair-splitting "analysis", friendship or consensus become “networking”, society-building be trans-mutated into mere “regime theory” of policy/planning geniuses of our times. Unctuous pseudo-communicability, or an equally-impervious stonewalling, gaining new life through the utility-related divorce of word from thought or meaning. Artifices glibly pretending to fill the apocalyptic voids of the new human existence, and to muffle the cry of the aborted child. This institution of the modern convenience and efficiency blithely taking the place of the old infanticide, before analogous altars of pagan preoccupation. Representing a totality which few can have wished, and in which are found echoes of Marx's poetry of despair. Required reading if one is to fathom the depths of the insincerity of his more universally acknowledged published works.
All this slavishness before a surreal and singularly unworthy new agenda stands in stark relief against the principle that in any legitimate organizational structure the higher are meant to actually serve the lower, and the strong to harbor the weak and defenseless: else we lose the whole positive utility of society, industry and the like. These coming quickly or by stages to resemble robber or pirate cartels. This distributive truism finding a parallel in the higher processes of material creation, belying capitalism's Spencerian glorification of the combat of animal species, which however must consume each other unceasingly, else the whole animal phyla itself be destroyed. A contrasting sheltering or harboring paradigm finding its home among ecosystems, angels and men, in a worldview whose relics still exist in every oath of Western political office, and in the whole patrimony of Western law.
The various plagues did indeed play their part in the disorders of Late Medieval centuries: joining their horrors to a riot and dynastic war at whose roots however lay primarily this wresting of the wealth of nations away from the common man. An usurpation of the most fundamental kind which although begun under the banners of absolute kings was possessed of a regal dynamism all its own, one destined to surpass and violently displace comparatively-naïve arrogations of typical late-Medieval and Early-Modern royalty. A mercantile empire which would consolidate itself along international sea-lanes, inland waterways and overland trade routes, eventually achieving a monolithic private command over global earnings and development which, in a long but direct time-progression, would culminate today in the 40+ million dollar income-packages of major American CEOs, as well as a more than one trillion a year spent on advertising and other forms of marketing. While if we add to the above today’s hefty incomes of the super-rich from their stocks and bonds, and the hundreds of billions that go for corporate lobbying, as well as the derivative revenues earned through options, day-trading and other forms of arbitrage, we come to see that comparatively-humble government officials are likely to become the merest handmaidens to the power figures, priorities and chains-of-command of global capital.
Strangely enough, today’s moguls often embrace a “tough love” view which during life won’t share substance even with the closest of kin, rather ceaselessly reinvesting their wealth, leaving it generously at the disposal of Wall Street’s titanic goals. Herd-marketed wealth being readily released like an avalanche in some pre-determined way: as represented for instance in the near absolute sway of George Soros over the affairs of what was once the Soviet-satellite world. An individual monopoly which at least until the elections of Putin in Russia and Sanader in Croatia extended to both these two countries as well, on the east and west respectively of a private empire then easily covering a quarter of the earth’s landmass. A dominion approaching dictatorship, if one most evident in harmless-looking “non-profit” and corporate NGOs: a power-agglomeration which owns or controls the more powerful media found among Eastern European, Caucasus-regional or “Central Asian” territories. From which fulcrum are toppled leaders and enveloped and caustically-dissolved struggling states and embattled political structures almost at will. A rule by a revolution-oriented, ideologically-driven “democrat” which calls uncannily to mind the rule of another George, surnamed Bush, over the rest of the globe. In both cases in commandeered economies in which the one who actually does the productive work involved receives only the barest fraction of the sizeable marginal positive fruits of his labor (see American analogies in Perrucci and Wysong, 1999; Myers and Kent, 2001). In a globe where an older, less-obviously-developed, but much-more-highly-renewable organic wealth in lands, buildings, materials and human resources is being converted into a path-dependent grey gulag of identical massive structures and infrastructures, luxury-market production and elite control. A “New World” in which working managers and blue collar workers harvest for themselves only the tiniest fraction of the fruits of their contributions. Laborers who resemble a globe-supporting Atlas themselves often living in some third world country, where they support a family on an income counted in hundreds rather than thousands of dollars a year (http://www.maketradefair.org/).
Obviously there is no “zero growth” philosophy being advanced here: the anti-life panacea of the bulk of today’s global elites. Rather do we advocate expansion of a healthy sort, such as is necessary to keep up with a vigorous and natural rate of population increase. On broad average historically seldom more, and until recently considerably less, than one percent per year: but capable of going much higher without adverse effect. Provided capitalism’s processes of political dissolution and progressively-greater economic extraction are curtailed, and a modicum of distribution, and a certain steady amount of infrastructural development, are maintained. Especially in a world which cultivates less than two percent of its arable soil yet nonetheless keeps surplus food in gigantic warehouses: one apparently become little concerned any longer with its prime God-given task of the "peopling of Heaven". While as suggested above and as history amply teaches a system which organizes economic structures in such a way as to shut out vast numbers is doomed to fail.
Thus as illustrated above, although a debt-driven economy does indeed require a radically-accelerated rate of expansion it is one innately prejudicial to the interests of the common man, as well as to a closely-related population increase. Rather signaling a blind pursuit of purely-finance-oriented goals into which the worker must fit where he may, and populations be progressively-starved of nourishment. A scenario likewise tailor-made for shoddy workmanship, dishonest scales, overly-leavened bread. These being long-standing historical accompaniments to the ongoing predatory invasions of regional and national markets of Late-Medieval and Early-Modern times. This same aggressive marketing of mercantilism ultimately introducing substance-sapping graft and inefficiency on a massive scale among its customs officials (Fischer, John R, 1997; Lynch, John, 1991). The “Spanish” Habsburgs no doubt giving us one of the first major examples of the modern pervasive, if usually well-camouflaged, malfeasance.
Ultimately benefiting Northern Europeans far more than Spaniards would be Spanish-American precious metals and other colonial resources, as in the payment of contractors and middlemen for mostly-commercially-motivated wars. Peninsular peoples, for some sixty years including Portugal, being fated to endure the two-century-long rule of that precocious global elite, the Dutch/Austrian/Burgundian Habsburgs, whose oppressive taxation with massive incongruity continued to grow apace with gargantuan shipments of New World bullion. 90% of which combined revenues typically went for the needs of such a military. A bleeding-dry of Spain which substantially contributed to frequent starvation among Castilian peasants for a whole century (Lynch, John, 1992): even as the rest of Europe, fed by Habsburg-connected bankers, vendors and contractors, wallowed in an inflation-producing surplus of silver and gold. This same segment of the Spanish population where the Catholic religion was strong and doctrinally resilient as in few other places of those times being likewise exploited to provide the bulk of the Habsburg soldiery for these "Wars of Religion". While in a striking parallel proverbially-Catholic Croats were literally used up in staving-off the Turks, performing heroic exploits for which generally-un-blooded and unenthused Hungarians and Austrians get all the historical credit. Croatia rarely even being named (Guldescu, Stanko, History of Medieval Croatia, 1964; Coxe, William, History of the House of Austria, vol. I, reprinting 1971): a legendary land of chivalry whose already-near-millennium-old national crown was only held by the reigning Hungarian monarch, with no loss-by-absorption of national identity ever legitimately implied. Precisely as in arrangements between an early-modern satellite Poland and Russia (Grey, Ian, 1970). This uniquely distributive political arrangement having been designed to project a protective power-scale over a Croatia whose woeful lack of geographical barriers and position on prime geo-strategic land make her to this day an unparalleled object of political intrigue on the part of her neighbors, and of global big leaguers from as far away as the USA. The noted state-relationship for the peace and security of the entire region having been faithfully honored with utter consistency by Croatia, but honored mostly in the breach by Hungary and later Austro-Hungary, subsequent joint heir to the same singularly-beneficial alignment. Such policies, misadventures and misappropriations over proverbially-Catholic Lands hardly seeming to signify a much-vaunted Habsburg desire to perpetuate the Catholic creed. While during the same Early Modern period other likewise-prodigal mercantile policies in France provoked the nobility there into a highly-practical reaction in favor of the truly-free markets which had characterized Medieval times: aristocrats having themselves scarce sympathy with the parasitic outgrowth on the body-politic that the new mercantile economics represented (Collins, James B., 1995). Being even in later centuries at least on occasion, and in earlier centuries quite commonly, animated by a natural, custom-determined attachment to the common good which is seldom recognized by historians.
Within such grand expenditures of a nascent capitalism is explained the gradual, onerous increase in labor duties of the Late-Medieval peasant: whose energies were wrung out to provide the public and private revenues for a cancerously-growing mercantile/militaristic economy and its inseparable major wars. As in the payment of taxes to cover a burgeoning interest-driven national debt, a crushing burden placed disproportionately on the backs of peasants from England to Spain, and later to Russia and still later Japan. This during the today-highly-romanticized but in reality largely-dismal and not always successful rise of each toward the dizzy heights of capitalism. A peasant who in the thirteenth century West had typically worked only two or at most three days a week for his lord, if he had major villein holdings, and usually also his own employees, but only a mere day or less if he were a humble cottager. Yet who by the dawn of Modern Times was thoroughly introduced to the onerous hours of our own day. While having in the interval lost a previous proprietary association with the land or trade he worked. An earlier unique sort of joint-proprietorship having quite typically allowed for lateral entrepreneurial profits as well: vigorously putting to good use often-abundant personally-disposed-of time, basically unencumbered use of tenant property, and direct access to materials and markets for the sale of his own finished goods and services (Nicholas, David, 1997).
An essentially-Medieval sort of constructive and conservation-oriented land use was likewise carried to the New World by Jesuit missionaries, where it was employed for the benefit of Indians on their Latin American Reductions. As well as in dealings of the same Jesuits with Black slaves in eighteenth century Maryland, “purchased” primarily to save them from mistreatment, while also instructing them in the Faith (Garraghan, 1938). The expression “priest’s slave” or “Jesuit’s slave” finally becoming a contemporary North American Colonial colloquialism for one who lived a life of leisure. By such means the Jesuits established both races in a prosperity of which many others would prove mortally-jealous, as the trite epithet indeed mildly suggests. Giving Blacks the opportunity to become independent farmers and craftsmen and Latin American Indians joint tribal owners of immense, prodigally-wealthy cattle ranches by the time of the universal Jesuit suppression of the late eighteenth century. Achievements which are hardly the fruits of a leisurely way of life. An unprecedented abundance in the case of Latin America fated ultimately to fall into the hands of political cronies of Masonic revolutionaries. This Jesuit advocacy of downtrodden peoples, and in particular the championing of their proprietary rights, being after the painstaking manner of Integral Catholicism: that highest development of the distributive mode which as suggested takes into account the socio-legal, economic and psychological aspects of life as thoroughly as the needs of the human soul. Here being a broad clue as to motive for the ceaseless persecution of, and indefatigable slander against, Jesuits in particular at the hands of less-worthily-motivated religionists, secret societies and financier-backed governments and universities alike.
The overcoming of such natural economies by capitalism’s debt-income-driven way of life has had a long history: earlier forms being ceaselessly portrayed as backward. Supposedly epic advances of capitalism issuing however mostly in an inability of consumers to absorb an overproduction which impoverishes rather than enriches (http://www.maketradefair.org/, Trade Report Summary, 2003). With an output remarkably-often of the irrational, and of things substantially irrelevant to the needs of men. This whole composite phenomenon being in turn and as suggested above the underlying cause of modern warfare: even if “incidents” abound toward its provocation. And of course from these wars results even more indebtedness as well.
Clearly understandable from such a perspective is the divine prohibition of the charging of interest: a meditation on the Catholic and Biblical tradition revealing for us a divine frowning on any earning of an income through the mere effortless disposition of ones money, without some further contribution to the enterprise at question. That sort of purely-extractive profit-making which is at the very base of capitalistic expansion, as the name indeed implies. For besides the lack of the moral training of work there is involved in such detached arrangements the progressive removal of a host of consequential matters from the ambit of realistic personal responsibility, and their steady if at times imperceptible transfer to the hands of armies, financiers and puppet heads-of-state. Indeed with veritable modern institutions like a household-word stock-diversification, joined to the multiplication of options and new generations of other hyper-sophisticated instruments, together removing finance yet further from traceable relations of agency and accountability of any kind. And effective power and policy-direction into the hands of titanic prime-movers and lethally-efficient provocateurs and other agents unseen. An immense, lithely-coordinated, glibly “patriotic” and unified economic/political/military totality which ably overshadows the extractions and oppressions of Muslim overlords in all their vast Medieval and Early-Modern global holdings. A system built entirely upon a usury whose biblical expression plainly refers to the charging of any sort of interest at all.
Operating as an exact opposite of capitalism's often-crippling extractions, the Medieval manor united land, labor and management in what amounted to a kind of social joint-stewardship and mutual augmentation of the wealth of each estate, in a distributional profile at which we arrive in any fair assessment of Medieval charters or account rolls. A way of life too in which most wars were purely local affairs, usually involving a relative handful of men. For which however the era is nonetheless inevitably termed "lawless" by most modern academics: indicating the degree to which such scholars know how to miss the forest for the trees. Scribes who apparently prefer the World Wars, pogroms, A-bombs and abortuaries of the past century, which with their sum total victims, if we count the systemically-related abortions, which may easily exceed a half-billion souls. (Even as the less-acknowledged abortion of the "birth control pill", which denies attachment of the living embryo to the uterine wall, undoubtedly numbers in the tens of billions as well, if allowed to continue living easily populating whole new worlds). Attended by a rapidly-developing, fittingly-sharp-edged "rule of law", one which with deterministic precision issues in these and many other unlawful consequences.
By contrast under the older system, until well into the 13th Century in some places, compensation was still often and by passionate worker preference exchanged in kind: with such informal arrangements, often contemptuously-mocked by modern economists, helping to keep a robust market reciprocation largely inviolate against the leakages of parasitic elements of the above kind, and others besides. All of Western Europe having developed into a marvelously non-commoditized macro-economy in which technical advances and improvements were typically of equal benefit to society as to the individual entrepreneur. Being essentially motivated by a desire to increase the common good rather than to put people out of work: the real aim of so many modern inventions. These serving at the vanguard of a modern system/dynamic which critically requires the recoup of borrowed money plus interest: a machine whose phased accelerations increasingly demand the profit-goal-streamlining of heroic levels of “progress”. All this often-enough at venture-capital rates. The repayment of which multiple and ever-expanding quantities seems in many cases and by simple calculation to require organized-crime-level “profits” to “fill the bill”. As in the now-classical case of the cocaine-, heroine-, meth-, and human-person-trafficking-driven Southeastern and Southwestern “investment”-housing boom. In view of which, incredibly, the laborer, for the most part the very human end and term, producer and consumer, of the whole economy, is by an inverse proportion of the same rate-of-increase looked upon as being more of a liability than an asset.
Then too the necessary manually-self-actualizing nature of most traditional forms of work is gratuitously thwarted in all the above as well, with little compensatory benefit to mankind as a whole. As amply testified by fond remembrances of the material-rooted-ness and personal-agency of prior eras, as once ably portrayed for instance in TV programs like Gunsmoke, which seems to have depicted rather accurately the life in a Western frontier town. Actual elements of this profoundly-satisfying communal existence—for all its studio and real-life-Calvinist/Americana imperfections—survived in certain nooks and crannies until as late as the early 1970s in some areas of Kansas, Arizona or even small-town northern or western Illinois. While the viewing of the original 50s to early-60s TV series of Perry Mason, the legendary attorney, introduces us to the same era’s singular probity and mild sophistication, that moral seedbed that would bear characteristic fruits in the Kennedy Brothers, Dirksen, Douglas and Martin Luther King, flavoring every institution from Washington to city hall. “One brief, shining (largely Keynsian) moment” that would call fleetingly to mind nothing so much as the Medieval idea of prosperity, one naturally diffusive in character, implying a "hands on" agency of the human person, one which has room for the fertile wedding of both technical advancement and the input of the manually-intensive. Capitalism by contrast bringing with it an all-encompassing standardization that would steadily invade man's social, spiritual and political life as well: for one thing because he is essentially a composite, and the false, superficial or instrumentally-superfluous of one plane inevitably affects all others as well. While any amount of comfort or convenience of a purely physical kind can hardly compensate for a trivializing of man's existence which such a loss of agency implies.
Little to be surprised at in view of the above, economic expansion is achieved only at the direct expense of labor under modern forms: as witnessed in the growth of real GDP in whole national economies as measured in the long-run aggregate supply curve (Gordon, Robert J., 1998, 209-210): the worker being compelled to stay at a wage level, for considerable periods of time, that does not keep up with the rest of the economy, not even according to his accustomed miniscule proportion. Only to “catch up” later, after the more general amelioration has been accomplished. A phenomenon duplicated on the aggregate-national level, as noted above, in the penury of farmers and peasants in the modern or early-modern rise of capitalism from Spain to Russia to Japan. A “great leap forward” in which however and in actual fact the worker, taken as an individual, rarely or only briefly shares. Thus being made into a sort of money-lender all of his own kind: but the interest for which is taken "out of his own hide". This being another perverse consequence of the same veritable “absentee” investment system: a skimmer of profits, a remover of that generalized economic substantiality and expansion that to be sustainable must needs be generous to all.
Furthermore, what the investors don’t take away landlords in many major properties do. Here being however only another of capitalism’s many empty distinctions, since these proprietors, taken as a whole, are invariably the self-same people as the major corporate stockholders, individuals who in fact use land exactly as if it were but so many blue chip assets, to be held or traded indifferently. Thus for one accounting for the many one-family and other structures that lie in immaculate vacancy, while grossly-under-calculated numbers of families huddle in homeless shelters and cars. Thus if there is a landlord involved he takes whatever “positive profits” accrue to productive activities, leaving to tenant firms that “zero economic profit” which is considered “normal”. This being at the essence of that "bid-rent cycle" which causes rents to skyrocket as one approaches the central business districts of major cities. While of course today (April 2007) land has been further functionally-trivialized into another mere day- and hedge-fund-traded item, tossed into an unaccountable global-finance hopper which dutifully grinds out wars and Trade Tower crashes to keep workers, managers and newly-invaded lands obediently and “productively” in line. (Note of September 2014: today the rent situation is much worse, while the number of vacant-but-highly-useable single-family houses, no doubt largely due to continuing unresolved issues related to the sub-prime-lending crash of 2008, is a national scandal of the highest order, especially when viewed in connection with a homeless population which grows apace. Plainly, there is something more sinister involved here than mere profit-margins or shylock landlords.)
Hence it is evident that there is really nothing zero about economic profits of either stockholders, CEOs or landlords, rather only about the benefit of the whole transfusion-taking structure to the economy at large that come of their mammoth extractions. Zero economic profit merely indicating that investor revenues haven’t exceeded the going level they could have attained in a typical average venture. Hence the term “opportunity cost”, implying as it does the tradeoffs involved in keeping or disposing of a business, to the degree it exceeds or falls short of such expectations. These byzantine semantics serving admirably well however the purpose of politely concealing revenues after genuine operating costs—such as labor, materials and fixed in-plant expenditures—of “average” businesses, profits which have been known to go well over 1000%. As for instance in auto manufacturing, where the actual cost of the typical $7000.00 end product, including parts, labor and fixed plant costs, was revealed in lectures I attended around 1980 to have been well-under $500 in most cases. A proportion which modern computerized technology has no doubt cut still more drastically. All this business-as-usual landlord/financier/stockholder absorption of the bulk of socially-produced wealth then being used disproportionately and as noted for effete lifestyles, unproductive market power-plays, and more-lately for idle-curiosity-driven socially-experimental behavioral and built-environment projects of a host of forms. These anomalies in turn account in major part and from the word go for the stagnation that characterizes our cities and the economy at large: both of which are starved of multiplier-rich, constructively-utilized assets and investment capital.
The intuitive and only accountable answer is to make all manner of profit internal to the firm or enterprise in each case: so that the same entity may generously pursue its critical human-personality-directed, life-giving and creative goals. Its economic life no longer dominated by essentially-parasitical, motivationally-detached, profit-taking investors, day-trading speculators, or tinker-toy social visionaries. These latter, depending upon their blocks-of-stock, their holding companies, or their secret-society membership, acting out their dreams or nightmares on a fragile and defenseless geopolitical, eco-systemic and workaday world. So that were true efficiencies mobilized it would make possible revenues much higher than those enjoyed at present, with investment capital thus being relegated to a service function, a sane stimulus to the realization of a cross-fertilizing wealth. As was in fact quite typically the case in Medieval times, and even throughout many of the prior immemorial ages. Rather than investment being the prime means of funneling off profits, in a kind of global and back-yard economic colonialism.
It is interesting too that beneath all the hype and hyperbole of the "weapons of mass destruction" hysteria there lay the little-known fact that in the Islamic world, possessed of an admirable banking-related practical-moral integrity which the Catholic Church once championed forthrightly as well, the dominant form of finance accrues no actual interest for its funds, while likewise bypassing other major wealth-extractive mechanisms so at the heart of capitalism and modern tyranny alike. And although in many cases "making money from money" is still achieved in a roundabout way there exists nonetheless, typically in various parts of the southern hemisphere, an informal sort of perfectly-non-extractive, wealth-multiplicative finance, involving significant proportions of the funds of various countries, reaching GDP-determining proportions in Pakistan, and no doubt as well in the former-Taliban Afghanistan, and even for the big-power-throttled life of a brief, turn-of-the-millennium, post-U.S.-invasion Islamic Somalia. (cf. Carstens, Catherine Mansell, Las Finanzas Populares en Mexico. S.A. de C.V.: CEMLA, 1995, a book not confined to Mexico in its treatment of the subject.) Involved being a trust-based lifeblood of mutual financial underwriting which is no doubt presently being clamped down upon by a host of other governments anxious to receive the political sanction, and flood the commodity markets, of the USA. A desired end result of capitalism's very inner dynamisms—and of those persons and nations most driven by them—being always the control of every slightest movement of wealth and capital. A goal to certain members of this effete country club well-worth a black-ops-engineered military or “seismic” disaster or three: the technology for the latter having already apparently been utilized during World War II, and having been perfected by the '60s.
But perhaps most significantly of all the kind of equity-based worker and manager wealth envisioned in this writing would recognize no threat in an ordinary downturn: that which today strikes horror in so many hearts. Being after all and essentially only a healthy sign that the economy's needs and desires have been temporarily met. Calling in turn for nothing more painful than a reduction in the days of the work week: a blessing that as indicated above was shared by the Medieval peasant, when, as was typical, productive needs had been with time-efficiency met. Historically, vested-worker compensations, even if perhaps experiencing occasional cyclical reductions, and realized in less visibly-advanced forms, having been of a savings-enabling substantiality far beyond present-day servitude-oriented subsistence wages. So that the risks—the "business cycles" if you will—so inseparable from this life could once again be reduced to those built into it by a good God: not for our despair but rather for our generally-mild correction and the salvation of our souls. Calling forth, besides a salutary virtue, also that prudence which lays aside portions of an ample means for drought or disease, pest or slowdown. The old peasants too finding in the five-or-six-month-long Fall to Spring leisure a chance for every sort of ordinary or cultivated social or personal pursuit, as well as a generous prayer and meditation essential to the saving of ones soul. A leisure however which would be staggeringly, prohibitively expensive to procure today.
Good fortune of any stable sort, then, naturally and necessarily tends to be shared, and only in this way augmented, and this not always directly out of compassion or altruism. Rather than being wrung from the labors of others, and then tossed back and forth across the globe like a football: this largely between a few privileged international-league players. But a yet more fundamental realization, bred amid earlier, saner times, was that the most valuable possessions of all are within us, such as indeed our very ability to enjoy an accumulation of goods: this made possible largely by an unhurried opportunity to put them in perspective with, and to render them instrumental to, things more profound. In this way actually enjoying them as human beings, not as insensate animals or cogs in a machine. A critically-necessary contemplation, not only for the sake of our souls but indeed for our very minds as well. A reflection which Chesterton aptly describes, in reference both to material and spiritual things, as an “unpacking” of onerous baggage which we carry around with us wherever we go. But under the present system never have time to open up, let alone properly enjoy (Chesterton, Gilbert K., 1935). A reflective enjoyment and consumption which of course also require that these things, both material and interior, stay put long enough for such purposes.
Yet more, the finest of all earthly consumables is found in giving joy to others, for one thing because given the peculiarities of our rational human composition it is generally speaking only when we introduce some good and pleasant thing into someone else's world—some item interior or sense-oriented, but more-often in an existential blending of the two—that we can properly and humanly objectify our own happiness or agency. Seeing these things thereby in the mirror image of a neighbor who is realistically apprehended as being our "other self", all this too being experienced at subtle reaches of the mind and heart proportionally less accessible when succoring activities take place in impersonal institutional settings, to which sadly today they are almost entirely confined. Little able as we are, because of defining elements in our makeup, to achieve any much substantial positive fruition outside some positive and genuinely-personal relationship to others, constitutionally gaining nothing, it goes without saying, from goods more or less consciously taken from the hands and mouths of powerless neighbors. In a much-made-over bovine, solitary consumption for which the USA has unfortunately become renowned, and for which occasion generous "care packages", increasingly delivered under a candid U.S.-corporation-inserting military occupation in some disaster-stricken land, is no answer at all. Generally ridiculously officious, unwieldy, over-centralized, ironically-primitive—viz., depending upon snail-pace, expensive, corporation-enriching road-transport for delivery of crucial water, food, generators, field tent-hospitals, and so on, while people sometimes die like flies, among other things getting cholera from tainted water and food, when air-dropping of such vitals has been going on successfully since the Korean War. Veritable Civil War era logistics marking mammoth enterprises which typically find Haliburton there to stay, almost always doing an ultimate cumulative greater harm than good, while obvious hardly satisfying an inner personal void inseparable from all such things.
Indeed, as some of the droll and civilized Catholic writers of early-to-mid twentieth-century decades used to say, to be generous from such a perspective is in a way to be selfish in an especially-profound way. The moguls of modern finance being more obviously miserable than anyone else: each in his separate world of alienated wealth. As we may see for ourselves on those rare occasions when we chance to glimpse their furtive figures on the TV screen. Or have the misfortune of crossing their paths on one of their vacations. While even in purely organizational terms it is difficult to take heart and get things properly done within a set of command structures and investment processes which are overbearing, heartless and ruthless in the extreme. And, as intimated, these morsels of Thomism and common sense likewise and readily join hands with the multiplier-axiom at the basis of the thinking of Keynes: "rich markets demand rich consumers and lots of them". While as suggested akin to such a market axiom is that most fundamental selfishness of all: the paramount need to save ones own immortal soul. These basic principles, all of them both practical and sublime, being however greatly minimized today amid media and official delirium over wildly-oscillating stock valuations and corporate profits. While their re-affirmation invokes the image of Scrooge poking his head excitedly out his Fleet street window, looking for someone with whom to share the frightful burdens of his wealth.
Marx actually provided the first-yet thoroughgoing cosmology of modern progress-oriented values, even as he remained a capitalist ideologue of the first water: investing as he did the restless, destructive evolutions of capitalism with a self-conscious, even sanctimonious sense of direction: as if toward some infinitely-better goal. As if to lend to the taking of substance from widows and orphans a new and profound meaning. Undermining in the process a philosophically-and-morally coherent and painstakingly-compassionate Christian social ethic which he and his kind so hated: nihilists of which his era had so many. Taking up for his purposes that Hegelian dialectic which could be made to claim, as if by a new mathematical law, that something in-the-main bitter and destructive must necessarily culminate in something else immensely, predictably and dependably good. Presuming to reverse the Gospel parable, positing the bad tree bearing good fruit, this uniquely-cynical equation is in some ways the granddaddy of noted formulas of modern economists. Differentials that would divide the world's wealth in such uncannily-unequal ways. The whole new approach involving a sort of act-of-faith, one which would brand the Chestertonian question, "progress toward what?", as an apostasy of the worst sort.
Once such purposes are fixed upon a mythical hero is easy enough to invent: no doubt depicted in crudely-heroic colors, flushed face perhaps reflecting the glow from the blast-furnaces of Soviet art. A titan redundantly up to the task of plowing up the soft, yielding soil of the Christian sociopolitical heritage: this for the planting of a singularly brave, futuristic harvest. Ultimately however only reaping abundant cockle, or according to the partisan foundry image only casting in iron, as is now only too apparent, the seemingly-final brutal dominion of the neo-capitalism of today. Representing a more-concentrated version of that which the old tireless comrade had most hated, a final reverse brought about amid grand feints and false overtures, the scale of capitalism having by the late 1980s gained complete control of actors, props and background music alike on such a stage. In the process achieving the seemingly-final, systematic destruction of the albeit at times vestigial remnants of that which in fact had alone appreciably stood in its path: the socioeconomic and organizational institutions of Christendom. Things which need no stage or props however having over the course of centuries been reduced to a “rotten door easily kicked in”, according to the revolutionary phrase. This largely by the corrosive influence of developing forms of the capitalist ethic, allowed gradually to drive out practical aspects of Christian life, making it for most purposes mere "tinkling brass". A barbarous foot being supplied by way of both ruthless methods of Eastern party dictatorships and the more polite and comfortably Marxism of Western politician, bureaucrats, social workers, and politically-correct educators and intellectuals. A somewhat similar historical analysis being offered by the prominent and in his own day controverted European economic historian of the 1930s Fanfani (reprint 1972), as well as being clearly illustrated by history itself. This dialectic bringing inseparably in its frothy wake the most intractable of social and behavioral institutions, things far beyond the unaided powers of men to humanize. This bewildering totality, cast in ever-thicker concrete foundations of structure, pavement and false-institution alike, constituting a destructive "progressive" machine which as noted above, and as its apologists can be heard to mutter after each fresh disaster, has purportedly “gone much too far to turn back now”.
Surely man, possessing heart, soul, mind, will, can do better than all of that, can organize earthly things for the good of these higher faculties first—these inestimable powers which make earthly life livable or enjoyable at all—and then let all other things follow somewhere suitably and fittingly behind.
But as suggested above, inevitably yet greater and more inward catastrophes follow in the wake of such a negative progression: civilization itself being destined to fall under the sway of capitalistic deadlines and market-coups. All of the magnificent variety of life little-by-little being confined to an ever-narrower, more-grasping and -demanding debt-driven ambiance or path. One which as suggested works its way into every detail of human existence, into its very soul. Mankind indeed increasingly coming to be thought of in terms of a kind of “normal distribution": with only the broad 90% at the rump in the middle of this oceanic “bell curve” of prescribed priorities and preoccupations being considered of any account. The methods of product marketing and salesmanship being brought to dominate even the world of souls and minds. Men growing accustomed to regard as strange, dangerous or destructive those true and ever-individualistic geniuses, heroes and saints who tend by definition and in many ways to occupy the five percent on either side of the broad center of any population. And to give to mankind its true and positive leadership. The needs and inputs of the “normal” middling or mediocre—whether rich or poor—being all there is time left to consider in such a herd-marketed world. One which would provide its own grim and impersonal leadership, of a kind more and more bovine and insensitive, and indeed ultimately more and more depraved, even satanic, nihilistic and Orwellian, as time went on. (Note of 9/14: witness for instance this irruption of the so-called Islamic State, which in our opinion is a mere brutal outrider to enforce a totalitarianism which is a Western invention from first to last, and cryptically organized and enabled by the Jews. They whose responsibility for present trends we have come to more candidly acknowledge since the second edition of this book. Hence the need of these "Islamists" for masks and full-body covering, likely somehow put forward as a sort of romantic "masked man" disguise, but in fact largely to hide features traceable to Jewish names, in disclosures which would throw prohibitive cold water over bloody appetites being aroused.)
Such a swollen river of the insensitive would thus quickly find the well-seasoned human mind and soul to be its most mortal enemy: a positive obstacle in its path to be brutally pushed aside, shattered into shards, or incredibly classed as being itself unbalanced or insane. While as noted such a breathless, indiscriminate approach would likewise readily adapt itself to any number of patriotic parades or brushfire wars: these latter in turn, in a weird and hellish sort of compensation, serving to “keep factories rolling”. Or if the time is right, and the underlying, all-determining system calls for some radical change of direction, avant-garde agitators and demonstrators are suddenly the order of the day. Their shock-oriented persuasions being called forth by a colossal and controlled, bought-and-sold media. Hyperventilating flushed faces and televised sex or substance-abuse of a new, reversible Valley Forge, with some small exercise of a usually dormant or phlegmatic modern imagination, readily standing in for difficult and heroic deeds of men-at-arms. While the prevalent Christian acquiescence in this flood of events recalls to our minds a like complacency which Our Lord observed to have continued in unabated merriment until the very closing of the doors of the Ark. This against a people of hardened heart and darkened mind.
Hence following the hump of the normal curve, and of massive scale, like a giddy roller-coaster ride to Hell, do we have much of the genesis of the Great Apostasy of today. One amply foretold in Holy Scripture. Since, for one thing, moral goodness is irreconcilable to any deliberate aiming at behavioral mediocrity or thoughtless conformity: a dual sine qua non of the herd-marketed and herd-invested capitalistic worldview. This lukewarmness being a personal moral policy which ultimately causes God to “vomit (such a person) out of his mouth”. But neither does mediocrity stop there, since in spiritual things, as in all of life, we “never stand still”, but either progress or fall back. So that conformity-related mediocrity is an all-purpose shovel with which to dig ourselves a deep hole indeed.
Actually, this morally-good, individually-unique, productive, often-enough reserved and unassuming minority finds striking parallels within the world of invention and product-development. Such persons, when collaborating with others of like quality, being an analog to those diverse "idea combinants" that Poincare found so fruitful in innovative advances, especially when "drawn from domains that are furthest apart" (quoted in Weitzman, Martin L., 1998). Human persons of such an individual temper, thus combined, typically catalyzing a marvelous productivity, aided by the oxidant of mild and innocent "personability". While such a penchant for the prolific understandably gains little from rigidly-and-centrally managed chains of finance, production and supply. A virtuous and desirable interplay of natural-but-heterogeneous elements being equally applicable as well to spiritual, spatial and material phenomena of many sorts.
Much earlier strides toward the noted strangely-humped world order capitalism’s more aggressive proponents found it convenient to promote and finance a religion, Protestantism, to give it all an acceptable sanction: a creed to take its place staunchly beside Judaism, in a kind of moral streamlining, a doctrinal vagueness uniquely fit for new and ever-changing demands. A tack indeed fated to be taken up with unseemly eagerness by a heavily-synagogue-infiltrated Catholic Church at Vatican II. Part of a groping after convenient embodiments of the new morality and quasi-virtue which is the crowning motif of modern life, Protestantism proliferating new religions—a mass-produced growth industry all its own—which would especially thrive among former Catholics whose faith had become a mere formality. Fanfani making the point that the material way of life underlying the Protestant creed—embraced in certain practical essentials at Vatican II—with its denial of the essential place of good and hence truly-constructive works in our salvation and in our earthly life—was already in the bud in the mean-spirited economic behavior of many “successful” Catholics at the close of the High Middle Ages. And over the intervening centuries these first faint beginnings were to become a thundering torrent by the opening of the sixteenth, becoming a rampaging river-in-flood at Vatican II, veritably bursting open the dam of the millennial, painstakingly-elaborated Catholic-Gospel "Way", particularly regarding institutional political/economic life. Early modern Catholic practical life however already running the gamut from a collaboration with a phenomenally-reinvigorated chattel slavery, on the one hand—something which even ancient Rome increasingly scorned to allow, and typically defined in much milder terms—to a mounting cynical official disregard of the common good, on the other. All of this coming to flower some years before Luther nailed up his famous theses and the supposed father of the capitalist ethic, John Calvin, made his doctrinal debut. This Catholic moral/practical capitulation also contributing immensely to the fact that they ever did so, and succeeded so well in their subsequent activities.
For, manifestly, true religion first and foremost among all things must be lived and practiced, else it quickly loses its vigor and force among men, its lukewarm and facile proponents destined to be “trodden underfoot”. Even as in itself the Faith remains ever pristine and pure, as in the Mind of God from whence it sprang. And even as there is promised to always remain a "remnant" of courageous, faithful adherents, at all times.
But there were endless further steps in this modern downward devolution of forms, even as “progressive” slogans ricochet and rebound. One leg in particular in such a journey being destined to lend such a sloping chute a concrete foundation of juridical permanence. And just as in the case of the philosophical progressivism of a somewhat-later Marx there was found a man to supply it: namely the English jurist William Blackstone, his rabidly-fulminating anti-Catholicism already a dated anachronism even in his own late-seventeenth-century time. His whole radical contribution being by way of his legal redefinition of a single word: property. The new late-seventeenth-century understanding of the pivotal concept of ownership, especially in a United States which quickly took his teachings uniquely to heart, thenceforth being in absolute, “sole and despotic” terms (Lai, Richard Tseng-Yu, 1988). This mutation of meaning representing in its singular, concentrated way easily the most complete moral and intellectual reversal in man’s history. A redefinition of property and with it much of practical life which tends uncannily and with grand vindictive sanctimony to feed in the wake of American trans-oceanic political, military and economic might and influence.
But quite the contrary, since time immemorial men have recognized that property, aside from certain purely-personal chattels, has a social dimension, brokering the need, the intrinsic propriety, of unity and mutual betterment where they are most palpable and consequential: in the world of material things. Property always by definition known to have a social component, belying Enlightenment-era notions of a rarified, non-material unity of man, and an abstract sort of freedom and progress to go with it, a state-of-being with which some imaginary nation of angelic spirits might well be quite contented. But for human beings with bodies and all the humble necessities that go with them it is all piously deceptive words unless accompanied by some fundamental, definitive unity of benefit at the practical level. Both for its own obvious advantages and as a necessary concrete enabler and embodiment of things like freedom, and other things both mundane and profound. Hence has the sharing of the benefits of “the Garden”, to use the lovely appellation of Genesis, among those of all shapes and descriptions, potentialities and limitations—in substantial if not equal proportions, prior to such a new departure—hence has this been the whole thrust of the developing political will and consciousness of peoples. Without which any notion of advancement can have no honest meaning at all.
Even the frail or mentally-deficient have irreplaceable contributions to make within such a polity, especially under the encouraging influence of the Christian leaven, in the formation of a society modeled after the very Heart of its Redeemer, one full of compassion and fatherly appreciation for its members. The more comely and prominent limbs shielding and marvelously-enabling the more hidden and vulnerable, according to the Pauline parallel. The humbler members yet having their own and typically in many ways more provenant strengths and purposes, in ways both moral and practical, in any truly-civilized land. Members all of whom are however by their very inescapable mortality destined to suffer some tragedy or infirmity during their earthly careers, coming upon many in the most sudden of ways. But who must not be discarded like some useless refuse at the moment of their disadvantage. Such a solicitude, full of many reciprocal advantages, that upon which true Civilization indeed depends, bringing into being a secure society in which heavenly "birds of the air" might readily "make their nests". And in which the marvelously-sensitive human mind and spirit may find a fit place of contentment and rest. The "self-made men" of capitalism, being themselves typically the products of much unselfish care and solicitude at many levels, forming for the most part a singularly presumptuous and ungrateful historical anomaly.
In fact even into such times as our own Civilization has typically been understood in just such terms: namely of the more and more palpable diffusion of wealth, a fact which lends tones of mutual contradiction to our two central concepts of property and of civilization. While as suggested one of the oldest beliefs of many older systems has been that the most devastating limitations are those of the heart: vacancies found most often among those biblical "sleek and strong" whose outward circumstances are most impressive, and who ironically stand most in need of the inner bounty of the feeble or impecunious. Involved being a mutual compensation which is the very cement of a solid civic masonry, and corporate salvation of souls: real boons which the "successful" can little expect if they shut the physically or materially less-fortunate out in the cold.
But the revolutionary words of Smith in economics and Blackstone in property law were abstract foundations for a self-defeating cynicism not firmly established in the concrete until very recently: basically the last ten or twelve years. It having taken this long to fashion a generation which could tolerate the universal currency of the wrongs of which such ideas are only an earnest. The deepest socioeconomic instincts of mankind having been epitomized for future ages in the formula of the late-sixth-century Pope St. Gregory the Great, that the goods of the Earth are for all men, rather than being construed as the preserve of those alone who are strong or well-placed enough to preemptively claim them. The latter a ring-eared rogue philosophy at the base of piracy or anarchy, the polar-opposite of the above-capsulated, rational and pacific Christian and indeed universal-human way of life. A contrastingly sane and rational economic morality implicit to the historical material progress of mankind wherever its has truly prospered, if not always under the Christian name. Such a constructive morality having thus been succeeded by a catastrophic devolution, one marketed by a world order which since the time of the above papal utterance, not surprisingly, has been especially bent on discrediting Rome and Catholic Faith. More recently indeed remorselessly invading Catholicism's most sacred precincts, in a temporary eclipsing, to be succeeded by a glorious resurgency, as predicted for a millennia by saints and seers alike.
Thus the imminent collapse of the whole of the magnificent Western developmental edifice follows directly from the abandonment of the Catholic social, economic and political heritage: stubborn survivals of which have however and indeed preserved that formidable structure substantially thus far. So that the final overcoming of such a legacy would prove an act of collective suicide for our society, and ultimately our race. Redeemed only by Blood both precious and divine: and intellectually sustained by ideas reciprocal, rational and truly-sane. A humanity molded patiently and lovingly along divinely-wise paths, this in age-old customs and precepts of peoples established, if often in mysterious pre- and extra-Christian ways, but nonetheless at the price of the same Blood. The most genuine developmental philosophy of all times and all peoples stating that the various laws and conventions of each society that govern property are best understood, according to a truly prodigal and perennial progress, as but so many constructive enablers toward the diffusion of those goods: rather than as dams of privilege against proliferation of same.
For although private property is a natural law right it is not at all absolute in nature, its parameters and degrees of agency, its relations to contiguous entities and so on being modifiable according to a reasonable arbitration within each society. This concrete socio-legal negotiated elaboration being the proper province, indeed one of a handful of major functions, of government. Rather than the latter being limited to the mere upholding of abstract “natural rights”, let alone a grim “law and order in the marketplace”: rights to ring surreal, nightmare-like, in the minds and memories of the enthralled and dispossessed, given draconian punishments for coveting or attempting to redress their rightful share. So that it is not the place of government to find ways to make ownership more and more absolute: as if in so doing it were conquering some new, unprecedented ground for "inalienable" exclusivities of property-holders. Such a court and legislative philosophy as indeed drives much of the present-day neo-capitalist revival. Thus “the defining of private possessions has been left by God to man’s industry and to the laws of individual peoples” (Social Order, Pope Pius XI).
Indeed the whole thrust of the development of property law among the nations has been, with rare exception, to maintain that even if some may legitimately hold title to, and indeed consume, a great deal more than others, this very fact only makes their distributive obligations in justice, and not just in charity, that much the greater. A principle found to varying degrees in the ancient civilizations of Rome and Persia and the political institutions of American plains Indians alike. While herein lies as well the radical, fundamental difference between English-speaking peoples, led by the United States, and basically all the rest of the world. In departures from a universal, materially-arbitrated sense of community which Anglo-American foreign policy consistently regards as backward, and in open and subtle ways and as a consistent matter of policy systematically attempts to undermine. Even as a contrary genuine and humane rationality continued, until very recently, to survive in various likewise "backward" venues within the United States itself. A stubborn inheritance, one which in fact largely accounted for any degree to which we remained economically, morally and spiritually alive and well.
In fact it is only in the light of Medieval attempts to give concrete form to distributive values amid the dense interpersonal soil and within the material limitations of the times that that era's socio-political life can at all be adequately evaluated or understood. In the pursuit of a warm and responsive kind of justice which the Reformers would be instrumental in replacing with another lifeless, exacting, capitalistic. This in ironic contrast to claims of a generous faith-without-works divine indulgence toward human frailty or immorality. And the fact that men of earlier times did indeed establish charters, conventions and myriad freely-entered-upon contractual arrangements that embodied a universal, solidly-institutionalized social morality, both for the glory of God and because of its self-evident intrinsic merits, is to their credit and to that of their age. Even as others far-differently motivated did their grim, gradualistic, anti-civilizational work. And much of the reason for this writing is to show convincingly why such choices and reciprocal commitments were willingly, sometimes even eagerly, entered upon. And likewise fashioned into customs and conventions which cumulatively form Western statutory and constitutional law.
Hence did the new capitalistic understanding of property signal not just a return to the caves, prehistoric, embryonic societies with rudimentary forms of distributive justice all their own though they undoubtedly were: instead would the novel approaches involve an essentially-perverse and unprecedented inward-turning of individual man’s attentions and energies upon himself. A process which would however in the end completely destroy him as an individual, dependant upon an adequately-conceived society to keep him rational and whole. Even as no matter how high one climbs on such a lonely ladder—fraught with solitary and frightful psycho-pathologies of today—this self-absorption must in rapid succession accord pride of place to some task master, often-enough wielding in turn an interest-driven whip. Since selfishness breeds selfishness in double measure, indeed as dog begets dog. While once such a conceptual and motivational nightmare is given scope and universal recognition then any departure from it does indeed upset the marketplace apple cart. This not for Smith’s, Blackstone’s or Luther's principles being just, natural or even rational, but rather because of a radical deformation and brutalization of human personal, social and organizational character they must relentlessly bring into being.
But a further central building-block of the conceptual edifice being sketched here is an understanding of the connection between the above-cited papal teaching of the diffusive character of the goods of this earth, on the one hand, and the Old Testament prohibition against the charging of interest—or any passive use of money to gain effortless profits from the toil of others—on the other. Injunction and prohibition alike sharing the self-same social ethic, together forming a comprehensive economic morality that stretches majestically, like the hovering Biblical firmament, across both Old and New Testament eras. For if the making of a profit from the loaning of money is wrong then the obvious reason, made plain in the interpretive light of the papal teaching, has to be that every use of earthly things is required in justice to have the good of one’s neighbor likewise somehow at heart. While such an orientation accords in turn with man's intrinsic social nature, being metaphysically "one in Adam" and a-fortiori by grace, in Christ: all of us alike being called to conspire with His salutary redemptive deeds, with the “economy of grace” merging our human plane in the achievement of a diffusive spiritual/material horizontality. One which, as noted above, also extends itself generously to the animal and vegetative worlds, in a universal proliferation from the same tree of the Cross, ultimately to see “the lion lying down with the lamb”. This critically-necessary diffusive social phenomenon being noted in all its prodigal richness in the pages of Scripture, in a reciprocity whose sublimity bears no relation at all to today’s sitcom-honored propensity toward being a "party animal", as such concepts as "social nature" are crassly interpreted today. Brokering a trivialization which would destroy all deeper relationships of mind and soul. This Franciscan human spiritual and creaturely-familial co-identification or brotherhood among the creatures of God being shareable in equal measure by the gregarious and the reclusive and taciturn among plants, animals and men alike: a configuration by its very nature requiring the one as much as the other. While it must constantly be pointed out that far from writing here of the brilliant and beautiful but idealistic and unattainable we rather describe that which is most realistically appropriate to the real world: a vital exchange whose main features are readily within society's routine grasp, and by whose constraints human culture and civilization is indeed fashioned and maintained. While it is the present system which is only sustained by top-heavy means which strain directly against both the nature of man and the realities imbedded in things at large.
From the above it follows that the ownership of money or anything else is not so absolute as to justly allow one to use it as a sort of sharp instrument for the effortless extraction of any amount of the common weal, of which money itself is a symbol, while it may chiefly be the very abandonment of this on-the-face-of-it easily-abandoned kind of justice—one which lends such clear instrumental embodiment to the practices of the Christian Faith—which made the Good Lord look forward to our latter times and ask sorrowfully: “When the Son of Man returns, will He find Faith on the earth?” Since the same Faith can hardly be thought of as so many pious but easily-forgotten words, or again as something concerning little else besides the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. This in the religion of a Nazarene, Immaculate Purity Itself, Who nonetheless relatively-rarely speaks of such subjects in Holy Scripture: a sexual purity which in fact finds one of its most enduring foundations in a just and generous economic reciprocity: with injunctions toward goodness and purity alike sharing a love of neighbor which holds in horror any sort of moral or physical injury or exploitation.
Thus for instance do we find that, abstracting from the money-lending of the Jews, tolerated by the medieval state, according to Aquinas, as a lesser evil, among Christian landowners of the Middle Ages the loaning of money was typically repaid in kind: the amount of the repayment being no more than the amount of the loan itself, as by so many years revenue from an estate (Evergates, Theodore, translator and editor, 1993; Tierney, Brian, ed., 1992). Unless there were some charitable aspect to the transaction: the motivation in such cases being however to give, not to take. As in the donation of the revenues of lands to religious orders, this in return for a less-than-equivalent-sized loan. The implication in both cases being that generosity is something which parties to such transactions actually owe to one another, in a divinely-mandated mutual endowment. While there is also tremendous developmental significance to same, in view of the implication that any truly-legitimate economic arrangement between men should always have as its aim, in close correlation to such joint-enablement, the abundance-oriented cooperative “tending” or development of the earthly “garden”. This as commanded by God to our first parents in Genesis.
Thus too the prerogative by which a vassal might easily feel free to donate, or as it was termed “alienate”, parts of his fief, in turn held under the unique feudal-property jurisdiction of a "mesne" lord or higher level magnate, say to a neighboring abbey. Which could then in turn be depended upon to see to its most efficient and beneficial development. An economic policy whose generous return was often frankly anticipated, in the wise and patient Medieval long-run so different from that of modern economics, to be like "bread cast upon the water", divinely-guaranteed to return tenfold to its dispenser. Implying a discursive, unchained, unprecedented, full-operative investment multiplier, dependent upon divinely revealed compensations and the grace of God, which is potentially much greater than the "Keynsian" factor of four, or a more-typical "crowded-out" two-and-a-half or less. This by way of a whole gamut of stabilizing and enriching benefits to society at large. The very distributive justice of the whole maintaining its motivational integrity, as well as its resistance against erroneous impulses which would socialistically “level” incomes without any sense of reciprocal obligation. Some modest or even nominal material benefit to higher and lower magnate alike being typically involved in such a ceding, perhaps on the order of the levy of some percentage of the produce of a field or a mill (ibid), as well as in pious consideration of monastic prayers. This latter not at all entailing a simonious “buying” of spiritual things, but rather a fitting, charitable exchange of gifts. That counsel of the Savior to use the “mammon of iniquity” for the eternal good of souls being an integral part of Medieval developmental philosophy and the economy of grace alike.
The very idea of such a proliferation of agency tends toward the unique, so that there can have been little room in such times for today’s Orwellian uniformity in the urban built environment, nor any mandating of behavioral conformity. As is amply witnessed for instance in the endless and tireless varieties of surviving Medieval artistic or material forms, or even in the entertaining human personalities that often find a way to assert themselves, greeting us with a startling freshness amid otherwise dry formalities of centuries-old charters or account rolls. A spontaneous quality coming across as well in the nick-names of eleventh and twelfth century lists of witnesses to such documents, monikers which tell an interesting story all their own. Or the perfectly-direct and disingenuous ways in which these knights and forest-dwellers are in rare quotations recorded as expressing themselves, often seemingly as much at ease before the bar as at their own tables. While the noted generosity is also recorded in these same pages, although phrased in a local and period-related terminology which generally requires voluminous reading before the gist of beneficial arrangements becomes clear to one's mind.
As noted an overriding motivation of the whole era was the full and beneficial utilization of property and resources, serving the practical primacy of an abundantly-realized common good: that sine qua non of systemic-legitimacy expressed most definitively in the fullest possible free-agency of each human soul. A societal benchmark not at all detracting from a counsel-of-perfection striving of many others, in monastic retreats, toward evangelical poverty: this later indeed and as suggested only adding further self-sacrificing fuel to the popularly-enriching multiplier. Lord and friar alike providing not just aid but substance for widows, orphans and the poor: rendering them capable of being or becoming contributors-to rather than drains-upon society, if perhaps in humble ways. With gratitude indeed being expected in return, but hardly those groveling admissions of inferiority ceaselessly required of today’s needy, a whole ritual of obsequies rigidly accompanying today’s typically-meager aid. The concept of having ones appointed place suggesting much less than today any notion of the fatalistic or caste-related. Since for one thing and as cited elsewhere an unselfconscious, second-nature economic mobility was a common element of the times. Advancement to better circumstances being indeed the aim of the entire society-of-men: but within due reciprocities of love, loyalty and devotion. A vast and intricate social edifice being uncovered here, in any protracted reading of the sources, one which hardly lends itself to the “clean” and cleaver-like personal- and class-condemnations so endemic to our day. From such a vantage-point, then, of a unique and non-interest-bearing upward leveraging of one toward the other, did the privileges of benefactors carry a heavier burden in some ways than any penury of the poor. In scutages of war, in the maintenance of the public weal. A spirit which comes across strikingly in charters and account rolls from throughout the entire eleventh through thirteenth centuries: earlier indications, random fragments if anything indicative of even greater mutual cooperation and love. Disappearing, to the disappointment of fascinated minds, into the record-destructions of barbarian, and especially Viking, raids.
Here too was a way of life which concerned itself particularly with children: not only in their procreation for the "peopling of Heaven" but also in affording them a life experientially rich and, for the times, materially sustaining. Little ones who in our own society/economy are rather deposited in front of TV sets or shunted off to anonymity-producing day-care centers with little more ado. Or actually even more often aborted, so revoltingly hypocritical is a much-vaunted modern “child welfare” institution. Especially if we consider the true effect of all modern forms of artificial birth control: namely of denying umbilical attachment to the fertilized egg on the wall of the womb. So that it is a society of infanticide we have created, especially here in the USA: rather than of “no child left behind”. Notably if the marvelously-forming person would cause the least embarrassment or inconvenience. A child, whether or not the frequent result of the usual Friday-night fling, made in the image and likeness of God: whose today-routine cold-blooded dispatch can hardly come up to a contemptuously-condemned medieval fostering way-of-life. The USA rather launching a black-knight “crusade” we export around the globe, often at the point of a bayonet. Pristine humanity denied continued life by a system which at the same time is fanatically engrossed in health issues for the living, in abominations like human/animal cloning or a death-dealing embryonic stem cell research barren of wildly-anticipated cures. False claims of these being misappropriated from umbilical-cord or blood-supply stem-cell cures, simply by conveniently dropping the word embryonic, as if the one (form of murder) were the same as the other (form of cure).
Furthermore, characteristically-complex Medieval cooperative goals were of a nature which the holder of vast estates would be unable to accomplish with his/her own sole wit and effort: the elaborate cultivation of the innately-synergetic concept of "human capital" finding its zenith in these earlier times. Weaving an interdependent fabric from which today’s brave approach to technology can only offer so-called efficiency- and utility-related short-cuts and escapes. Communication too having been a far more comprehensive activity so long ago, little resembling today’s clipped commands and protocols toward some rote and highly-specialized task. In those times with a sharing-of-responsibility for land and its dependent inhabitants finding strong and significant expression in the ceaselessly-insisted-upon right of retainers to consultation with their lords: this both regularly and before major military or administrative decisions. That which however wasn’t at all mere discussion—as in today’s Iraq-War-making scenario, as a Bush White House would have it—but rather a shared decision-making power. (The only valid “independence” of the executive being in terms of practical or tactical moves which fit fully into overall strategies already painstakingly arrived-at in a concerted way.) Indicating a way-of-life of full-agency far different as well from wasteful and passive arrangements that would follow in Early Modern time, when land would be increasingly worked for the remittance of substance-extracting principle and interest. And with major parts of royal demesne or noble fiefdom alike routinely alienated as a means of rewarding mercantile favorites. Protégés who typically had little or no concern for the land’s cultivation, and all-too-often even less for the welfare of its human inhabitants. Let alone for traditional “feudal” time-demanding and mentally-engrossing subsidiary contributions to public policy.
Hence already at the waning of the thirteenth century would be inaugurated the now-standard view of property whereby a vassal, renter, sharecropper or proletarian would be allowed to use land or on-site capital goods only as something more or less totally foreign to himself, as belonging absolutely and in every sense to someone else. Having little or nothing to say regarding its care or disposition, even if it is he alone who actually uses it, and is familiar with its unique characteristics and certain random—and to others rather obscure—developmental capabilities. While in their own turn the middling and lower nobility of those transitional times, invariably scorned by historians as having been "rapacious opportunists", were left with little freedom of action to pursue former reciprocal policies. Having been left in the lurch in a highly-interwoven chain of interdependency, this by dukes, monarchs and emperors with immerging geo-strategic and global-economic stars in their eyes.
Earlier, more-generous property-disposing transactions were thus a kind of intelligent collaboration at all levels, as is indeed typically evident from the wording of the documents of donation. A disposition of land by which a lower-level tenant, peasant or lord, was hardly a mere pawn of his immediate liege, nor in turn was the latter thus dismissively regarded by his higher-level noble or prince. Few of those in this chain-of-possession, as it might be termed, actually held title, a lack which the name tenant indeed readily implies, a deeded ownership which would in turn have marked the land in question as allodial property somehow kept record of amid early and late barbarian invasions and usually from at least the time of Charlemagne. Deeds-of-title probably in many cases ultimately lost track of in a misty connection to ancient Rome. This while even firms operating much closer to our own times have been known to have retained points of departure away from the modern increasingly alien and impersonal employee/corporation relationship, positive disparities that paralleled these configurations of Medieval times. Notably in a distributive revival of the mid-twentieth-century, of some three or four decades duration, which is seldom if ever remarked upon in those terms today. Trusted employees of the characteristically-smaller firms of those quite-recent times having sometimes been given a property-disposing freedom of action, having proven their enterprising good judgment in day to day company operations. A trust which tended, far more than today, to mark the peculiar bailiwick of duties and privileges of all concerned. While by contrast were the modern-day corporate worker to take up any such prerogatives he would be terminated instantly, if not charged with felony misappropriation. An employee whose non-agency indeed includes non-spoken requirements of “soldiering” for his bosses, of “looking busy”, even of wearing arbitrary, basically-demeaning articles of clothing. With today’s corporate blue collar workers almost invariably constrained toward wearing the ultra-casual baseball cap, with its inescapable juvenile associations, an accessory which has become the veritable emblem of the American laboring male, and increasingly even female, and with little if any real input on their part. Signaling a bizarre mockery of the regimentation involved, regardless of how readily some took to this subliminal new encouragement toward a “fun loving” second childhood. Or the intensification of an already-alarming, mob-catering, Greek-hippodrome-like obsession with sports.
The restoration of a collaborative understanding of property would establish a kinship with Indians of the American frontier as well, while an informal co-utilization of land, capital and capital goods, in their typical rural settings, supported by necessity and custom, have here and there been know to reappear in approximate vernacular forms of American economic life. As in long-prevalent and sometimes surprisingly-fair reciprocal relationships between landowners and sharecroppers in states like North Dakota or Tennessee. As much as such unassuming co-utilizations and in-kind exchanges are ridiculed by today’s fast track players, who usually live well above their means, on mortgages and credit cards. Earlier reciprocal vitalities being likewise much at the core of the mid-twentieth-century co-op movement, founded and mentored in its first critical years by a much-maligned "populist" Father Coughlin.
It is actually in the reciprocal generosity of the Blessed Trinity, the very inner life both of God and of the Mystical Body of Christ, that we find the ultimate model of this true kind of society. Embodying, in Christ’s “making of all things new”, a true and genuine earthly progress. One designed for the good of bodies as well as souls. And even if this true progress, this transparent organizational philosophy, now suffers momentary eclipse, in the present-day mysterious triumph of evil, yet “His kingdom will come”, as Jesus assured Sister Josepha Menendez, the 20th century mystic messenger of the Divine Love. For this is an advancement, economic, political and spiritual, the volcanic force of which, to use the imagery of Our Blessed Lord Himself to this Spanish sister, cannot ultimately be contained or resisted (Menendez, Tan reprint, 1972, p. 365-6).
As might be expected, even man’s relationship to material things was to undergo an estrangement under the novel system of capitalism, in the same way as his socioeconomic relationship with his fellows. Rather than remaining familiar, deeply individual and mutually-self-identifying, as in the past. The "mature" and "brave" of the new age leaving behind them that childlike-wonder and motivational-innocence which Christ assures us—in His “unless you become as little children”—that we are meant to retain into adulthood, and carry with us to the grave. A childlike quality that alone adequately values and grasps the relative meaning and importance of things whether spiritual, material or interpersonal: a true understanding in which cynicism can have no part. A certain quality still eminently salvageable among the youth of today, before the "maturity" of workplace infighting or collegiate semiotic doubletalk take their deadly spiritual toll. Spiritual childhood, that which is retained in such abundance by the saints, being in many ways a state in which one's perceptions and capacities have not yet been dammed up, tampered with, nor turned in a maniacally-selfish direction, thus being made singularly-available for pursuits imaginative and prolifically-productive as well. While the modern systemic denial of this outward-looking self-realization, this chaste familiarity with all things, involves a frustration much more consequential than any other, since by it is thwarted the most essential assertiveness of all: of one’s apprehending, objectifying existence. The denial of this founding agency, of beings composite and sense-oriented—in relationships mounting upward from the humblest and most basic of material things even to friendship with the Divine Persons—this most basic of nihilisms being undoubtedly behind many of today's worst social and personal disorders. As in Cho’s Virginia Tech groupie-provoked rampage, of a person whose deeper agency was systematically frustrated and denied. Thwarting a sensitivity that is however and ironically blunted rather than enhanced by sensuality. An ownership of a cosmic kind being involved here, partaking the Pauline "owning nothing yet possessing all things". While paradoxically and in the noted chastity-of-purpose nonetheless “using the things of this world as if we used them not”: physical things functioning as mere servants, not masters, to an inner and infinitely higher life. Orchestrated here being feather-sensitive counterbalancing realities of our deepest existence, mediating a human life lifted by grace to planes divine. A life reflective, meditative and for some contemplative: or breathing within itself, by participation, the very life Trinitarian of God. With respect to that humble, tactile familiarity which initially enables ineffable things, it was one with which the peasant who worked a property might easily be far-better acquainted than his lord, or its rare formal deed-bearing owner. The new tyranny, which knows little and cares less about this fundamental kinship of creatures, being one of which more traditional and obvious varieties are in a way the merest shadows. Radically disenabling mankind: leaving us instead with that universal contempt which amply seasons modern man's "mess of pottage", crowning all relationships with persons, places and things. And that servitude which is its proper estate.
Presaging this ever-deeper and more-disturbing disconnect that was to come, as of the worker with the product of his hands, were newly-burgeoning forms of industry with which Medieval guilds quickly took umbrage: this to a degree because of an incipient capitalism’s notoriously-substandard materials and workmanship. The very same "wildcat" industries being typically owned by trading interests that had already gained remote control over the very same guilds. Thus do we come full circle to a guild-member aversion which ran much deeper than mere often-cited resentment at the competition offered by such new ventures. But the paucity of care and skill that went into the production of the newer brand of goods was only one of many unfortunate elements in the new economics of the late-medieval “Chicago boys” (Fanfani, reprint 1972; Fischer, H.E.S., and A.R.J. Jurica, editors, 1977). Investors in precocious “factories”, already on occasion employing thousands, especially in the perennial proto-capitalist textile industry. Springing up as these enterprises did conveniently beyond the jurisdiction of quality-guarding municipal craft regulation, being in a way just another variant of the age-old trick of “foreclosing” of markets by merchants, as it is referred to in countless medieval and even modern town-market codes, involving illegal sales somewhere between loading-dock and village or town, thus cutting all competition out of the picture. That which has nothing whatever to do with "free trade", but everything to do with the bullying out of existence of honest competitors. A void—of reason, of law, of simple civility—for which the consumer, the state, the common good pay in the gravest of terms.
As suggested above, today’s high-tech micro-firms, before their IPOs, can at times be like modern-day analogues to the social morality of the guilds. These “start-ups” frequently being found experimenting with employer/employee profit and even policy sharing, and thriving under the result. While being noted as well for the dispensing of equity-participating bonuses, as at Christmas or the end of the fiscal year, these sometimes approximating or exceeding overall annual earnings. Boons which however are too often strictly reserved for more-professionally trained and educated employees. These micro-firms likewise frequently being at the cutting-edge in terms of R&D, often in effect operating as the research outposts for major corporations: with their patents and operations typically being purchased by the latter at a time thought to be most strategic. The above generous bonuses then rather commonly disappearing into the expanded salary of some CEO.
Furthermore, the ability of men to work in an interwoven socioeconomic harmony with one another, captured graphically in intricate stone traceries of Cathedrals of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, finds further confirmation in the phenomenal overall success of Asian industrial/commercial culture. The whole actually being a faithful echo of that China which in earlier Medieval times had merchant ships which dwarfed those of the West. Ocean-going vessels which however under the orders of one emperor were systematically destroyed (Lattimore, Owen and Eleanor, 1968): no doubt at least to a degree out of fear of a loss of an uncompromised national economic and political sovereignty, falling sway to the interpenetration of hyper-aggressive Western and Near-Eastern commercial forms. All these historical facts suggesting that had post-medieval Europe not been formed so strongly under the dominion of capitalism projects of increasing technological sophistication could have been undertaken with far better result. High-medieval advances in agriculture and other fields revealing the beginnings of a progress that could have proceeded along far more positive and productive, if in hindsight difficult-to-image, paths. With further refinements thus solidly based to be arrived at yet more speedily, as more and more advanced means leveraged others of a thousand unique, non-path-dependent kinds. Incessant modern claims of the irreplaceable role of capitalistic scale in the march of progress being illusory in the extreme, unless we are speaking of the march of conquering armies and empires.
Thus contrary to typical sanguine assessments of historians, the Mercantile era, spanning roughly the period 1300-1540, that which saw the first extensive introduction of industrial/financial economies of scale, produced none of the major technical and methodological advances which would lay the groundwork for the progress of Early Modern times. The most significant of such strides in all areas, including the revolutions in wage labor, accounting procedures and water-borne transport, having been in place by the culminating decades of the thirteenth century (Britnell, Richard H. and Bruce M.S. Campbell, editors, 1995, p. 24-25). So that these facts serve to confirm my assertion that the inbuilt efficiencies and fertilities of spontaneous, reciprocal human life can never become outdated, but are in fact the very life of invention, of newer forms. While likewise requiring few of those “necessary evils” which attended each new phase of the rise to power of an incurably-linear capitalism, as in a vaunted “progress” which requires the typical family to hold down two or three full-time jobs. And even then, under the folly of attendant “space age” terms and conditions, barely subsisting, hardly making harried, threadbare, psychologically-jaded ends meet. Knowing nothing of the medieval’s abundant winter-time leisure for socializing and other unhurried, unharried pursuits. While at another corner of the modern system’s occupational spectrum, with many varieties of penury in between, lies the farm worker, if today being superceded in misery by the homeless- or semi-homeless, employed or unemployed. All of whose incredible ordeals continue to be hidden from view in battered vans or “RVs” on our highways, or in the packed, dreary rows of RV parks. Commonly-enough with the “pop-outs” of the Bush-era-censorious, ever-vacationing wealthy protruding to only an arm’s-length from their humble front doors. Paragons whose whole purpose in life might be summed up in ceaseless positively comparisons against the poor. Dispossessed persons also found miles behind barbed-wire fences on many of today’s farms and ranches, corporate or privately-owned. This while undeniable if vastly dissimilar hardships of earlier times were generally related to lower phases of technology rather than to a lack of such examples of "scientific" economic forms.
Largely monopolized by inane and dissipating recreational pursuits of today is the regenerative function meant to be supplied by work. True work, and for that matter even recreation itself, when fully understood and appreciated, containing subtle, sublime and in a way passionate elements of self-definition. An unfortunate American obsession with every sort of mass diversion or entertainment being to a significant degree drawn from a reactive Protestant identification of work or even effort, and especially manual labor, with Original Sin. Such a Reformer misconception historically contributing to a celebrated Yankee deification of “success”, and conversely to a culture of workplace abuse. Denying entirely the fact that by nature we humans must work in the same sense in which animals must run, swim or fly. Being innately, in the image of God, builders, planters and creators. The "sweat of your brow" aspect of work, of which the capitalist element of contest or struggle is actually a bizarre glorification, being in fact that alone which constitutes a punishment. And which is indeed mercifully diminished under distributive—and especially rational and pacific Integrally-Catholic—forms. This amelioration being a marked aspect of Redemption as inclusively and comprehensively understood, of Civilization "with a capital C", in a unitary orchestration of energies revealed as well in the above-noted intimacy-of-relationship with tools and materials. A self-identification which cannot at all be satisfied by mere fun, let alone by an aloof wealthy vacationing or investor or managerial non-engagement.
We present-day, supposedly-privileged, probably-baseball-cap-wearing descendants of Medievals also enjoy the rewards of old and more or less rotten meat and poultry, well-disguised with bleach and dyes or prodigally-administered seasonings. While this and other perishable food is likewise packed with malady-causing preservatives for long, ridiculously-unnecessary journeys, all for sacrosanct investment purposes of mostly-far-away insider-traders. Or we might wonder over stories of people being condemned unwittingly to consume milk that had been shipped in a tank-truck, barely rinsed out, which had just transported a highly-toxic chemical. To which one trucker was recorded as bearing witness, and who claimed further to have refused to haul such a load, and been instantly terminated for his qualms of conscience. For such worthy causes as well do we fell much of our timber, even if grown in increasingly predominating “tree farms”, whose dreary rows are claimed by some to somehow excuse the prodigal waste involved. Fiber largely employed for the cardboard packaging of globally-shipped commodities, in odysseys by ship, road and rail, and the paper required for "urgent" imperatives of modern advertising on their behalf.
Most unkind of all, however, has Capitalism been to Latin America: already centuries ago full of multi-faceted, rapidly-developing, in many ways already-wealthy economies. (Cf. Horgan, Paul, Lamy of Santa Fe: His Life and Times. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975., for an unique glimpse of the prodigal wealth of Mexico in the mid nineteenth century, even after the havoc and wastage of a Revolutionary era which had in many ways lasted for half-a-century, and which would continue for a half-century more. Archbishop Lamy of Santa Fe having been invited to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation over vast regions, into hermetically-isolated mountain villages, where he met everywhere with magnificent churches, lovely and prosperous villages and towns.) Pre-Monroe-Doctrine Latin America having been in vigorous-but-vulnerable processes of consolidation into an unique continental system, in an obscurely-recorded but especially-intense application of the prodigally-productive distributive way. (See paper on the Spanish trans-continental trading system in my Random Essays on Economic Development, louisdejolietpublishing.com, 2004.) On a continent of such untapped wealth as to easily have become the undisputed economic titan of the globe. However almost all these riches, as bitterly-disillusioned men like Simon Bolivar eventually foresaw, would ultimately come to serve the interests of other nations: at first primarily England, and later especially the United States. Two countries which, interestingly-enough, had eagerly aided and encouraged the Spanish colonies in what would prove in many ways to be a fatal secession. This pattern of a kind of seduction/enthrallment being destined to be endlessly repeated in subsequent Anglo/American foreign/economic relationships with other LDCs. Replacing genuine global sustained growth and development with the now-all-too-familiar perpetual "immerging-nation" economic and political malaise.
Hence the upshot of decades of revolutionary upheaval, Masonically-coordinated conflicts which left a vast region—an economically and communicationally interconnected southern continent and northern peninsula—with mines collapsed and flooded, with a recently-burgeoning industrial infrastructure and trade-routes in decay and disarray. Criollo-(native Caucasian)-elites with their stirring Masonic declarations—remarkably-often multi-nationality descendants of centuries-long Habsburg favorites—being no substitute for the innate sympathies of common language, religion and ways-of-doing-things. Positive formatives coming indeed to bear with growing intensity under the Spanish Bourbons, with the earlier departure of the wasteful and extravagant Habsburgs lending added momentum to the advances of the eighteenth century (Skidmore, Thomas E. and Peter H. Smith, 1997). Jesuit socioeconomic labors having quietly lain much of the foundation for epic advances of that century's last two decades, in prolific achievements for which they are however given scant credit indeed. And for which they were repaid with a 1770s expulsion, and for most of them also a barbaric imprisonment. While subsequent systemic dysfunctions were denied remedy by the noted universal post-revolutionary impoverishment, with little colonies inevitably fated to devolve into the many present-day, to-varying-degrees feeble and impecunious nations of Latin America. These losing not only wealth and resources but typically as well a good deal of prior values, under Masonic loyalties of a new and Northward-looking world. Opting for dreams of attempts at escape from the limitations of mortal life, in cloning, progressively-tinier computerized objects, and space-flight to another world. A progress however which during the past several decades would increasingly find Latin Americans with little besides the growing and refining of the marijuana and coca plants and the sale of their by-products, largely to U.S. citizens, upon which to sustain themselves (Guillermoprieto, Alma, 1994).
Hence is the efficiency of capitalism, at whose core is a rigid and ironic commitment to effete product-lines and lifestyles, one which harmfully over-stimulates some economies while leaving others full of desperation-breeding dislocations. A system whose very logic requires a few winners, or “success stories”, and many losers, both personal and national: with the past century in particular having been noted for its inconceivable levels of starvation and forced-criminality south of the Equator or across the Globe from conspicuous, and sometimes indeed crass and cynical, displays of high-tech luxury wealth. This being no “dependency theory,” as it is conventionally termed in textbooks, but a supremely-obvious historical fact.
The exceedingly-tidy economic doctrine called comparative advantage is of course the chief theoretical justification presented for a global orientation which is beneficial to so few. A doctrine by which the initial advantage—at the onset of trade—of third world economies obtaining over-priced manufactured goods, engineering input and capital equipment from nations like the United States—while selling us dirt-cheap their raw resources like timber, oil, coffee and bananas—is held to constitute a sacrosanct, immutable relationship, chiseled in stone. Even as the same “first world” nations benefit both coming and going, since there occurs as well an opposite flow or “brain drain” of both persons and patented processes: one which bent-backed third-world peon nations haven’t the legal “clout”, the glut of well-connected trade-attorney-firms, to curtail. Any attempt at the escape from which comprehensive exploitation, as for instance displayed in south-oriental “Asian Crisis” entrepreneurial business cultures, quickly falls victim to various high-handed and remorseless schemes. For instance the latter regional fiasco having been precipitated by the panic-breeding behavior of IMF staffers, the pressures of control-oriented U.S. economic policy-makers, and the maneuvers of private hedge-fund managers alike. The upshot of which was however only one facet of an ongoing across-the-board diminution of Asian-Pacific regional economic freedom-of-action, with mere American “market-bullishness” hardly being the root cause of a growing USA-based corporate regional ascendancy. That by which primarily our own stock market index is kept so high. Even as various Asian nations develop their own variety of the same sort of savvy which made us thus “great”, namely the tandem use of economic ascendancy with military and even clandestine forces, of course in “justifying incidents”. As in a global 30s Anglo-nation crowding-out of Japan from raw-materials and other markets, with the ever-necessary “terrorist act” being found in the strange and as-usual U.S.-misreported Chinese “bridge incident” that notionally preceded Pearl Harbor as the cause of World War II. In our day with North Korea, China and Japan brandishing threats-of-force in doughty Yankee style, rattling missiles and/or making claims to strategic territories under dispute. Some straying or tarrying over forbidden waters being a frequent method-of-choice there.
Hence a prime Eastern Hemispheric victim of this vaunted progress of capitalism has been a modern Japan in many ways tragically ill-starred, if energetic and upwardly-mobile as was a transatlantic Spanish Empire of early modern times. The latter having for nearly a century made the south Atlantic a veritable family lake for the Spanish-speaking world. Japan being a tiny underdog which never quits, and which since the late nineteenth century had in practical terms only wished to share in the development of the fantastic potential wealth of the Pacific (Iriye, Akira, 1972). A quiet, hard-working people unlike the gregarious Chinese, and thus easily made into an object of fear by self-interest policy-makers: this within a complex Calvinist-American psychodrama to be consider in due detail in a later chapter. Nippon being a nation which was gradually shedding purely mystical, devotional illusions of a world-hegemony under a deified Emperor, the kind of dreamy idyll to which peoples across the globe just emerging from ancient worldviews and isolated conditions are overwhelmingly prone: and this typically quite harmlessly so. Certain Indian tribes in the USA, like the Navajo, having remarkably similar sagas which place them at the very center of earthly life. This Japanese national myth having had non-existent or negligible effect on trade or military policy before immediate preliminaries of World War II (ibid).
Under Japan’s unencumbered contributions the whole Pacific region could by now have become a common-wealth trebled in its capacities, in benefits for all. This by way of a natural regional allocation of resources and human energies alike, not the least among which would have been the input of the tremendous Japanese inventive genius, organizational talent and energy. But rather did the United States and its inseparable commercial associates in the English-speaking world systematically thwart such innocent Japanese ambitions, largely, as noted, by creating an artificial Frankenstein. England, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and to a degree Canada, in basically-disingenuous processes, being the ones actually stepping up to new and strange levels of truly-predatory economic and political/military adventurism in this way. The perpetuity of religiously believed in superior/inferior arrangements being here involved, for the most part amounting to a clumsily-concealed and shameless endorsement of the ascendancy of the White Race. A bizarre supremacy-phenomenon—backward and inbred at its core—an emperor worship indeed, all of its own strange kind.
Thus as suggested above, to be found among the three or four simplistic concepts upon which capitalism is based is this idea that each nation is only a cog in a machine, meant to serve some specific, circumscribed component-supplying role in an intrinsically-global economy. A radical specialization which is regarded indeed as being at the very definitive heart of progress itself: without which it must allegedly die in the most miserable, cataclysmic way. But in fact this is only evidence of the incurably-remote nature of capitalism’s defining elitist control: one which would go so far as to invoke a contrived mystical world self-consciousness, pointedly as seen in those Marxian/Hegelian or Nietzschean/Spencerian secular-messianic ideologies which would make the whole world march in grim, Orwellian column and line, for purportedly uplifting goals. Since most obviously, upon the least amount of non-polemicized thought, such a radical channeling must needs leave some group directively in charge in the most unassailable, unaccountable, imperial, cosmic sort of way. A prize whose retention is held to be worthy of a global “progress”- and indeed “freedom”-crusading war or four.
But in fact and most fundamentally—and contrary to this massive, laboriously-sustained legend—processes like agriculture, viniculture, mining, oil exploration, manufacturing, crafts, and so on, involve much deeper and more enduring questions than simple profit or loss, or even a supposedly-sublime “global partnership”. For one thing because the more varieties of markets, products and enablers that a society has the more robust, vital and free its national life and institutions are likely to be or become. This after the manner of Poincare's principle of productively-fertile "cultivars" drawn from domains that are far apart (Weitzman, 1998), as well as by the obvious liberty-prohibitive effects of economic or any other uniformity. A monumental redundancy to have to point out to a supposedly freedom-obsessed modern mind. Such unique, locally-specific economic activities being the very capital in the bank of any nation's future. Vital, self-defining elements of the domestic life, in turn enabled and objectified by the complex social, cultural, educational and political ambiances, structures and interactions which come inseparably with them. Valid organizational relationships and contingencies that urgently call forth not a remorseless international-market rent-farming or competitive uprooting but rather a continual internal/external reciprocal development and improvement. A rational middle-ground upon which true national, regional and international imperatives can achieve due balance and mutually-amplifying fulfillment. A contrastingly-positive global reality—nurturing the precious quantity of human life in all its magnificent, counterbalancing, sovereign national forms—which at all levels of concern entirely surpasses in importance any accompanying and typically only temporary and product-specific loss in GDP or global market share. While of course also exceeding infinitely any loss of national pride from temporary negative comparisons with other countries, in essentially marginal matters involved. And even if the ultimate success of this true and unique development takes generations to accomplish, during which many sacrifices might be required, it spells the very survival of a nation as a living thing. While perhaps providing as a critical by-product a heroic saga—of an entirely positive kind—for ages to come.
But predictably, accepted economic theory claim these indigenous economic and cultural generators to be nothing better than absolute barriers to development (as in the Moses Abramovitz article in Seligson and Passe-Smith, 1998). An opinion however belied by those countries fortunate enough to have escaped the comparative advantage trap. The perfect example again being Japan: which even after a fiery/barbarously-punitive World War II still refused to be dictated to about what it would and would not produce. While also fortunately being at that time uniquely-situated geo-politically—astride the very borders of the Cold War—to make such a refusal. This while, less-fortunately, the laborers’ shanties of Latin America, and the decade-plus long and largely-worsening penury of former communist bloc Central and Eastern European nations, stand in stark contrast to the relative bustle of the present-day USA, Japan or Western Europe.
Rather obviously, then, scale so large and scope so generic as to require whole nations as suppliers of raw materials, and other whole nations as ultra-privileged producers of high-return finished goods, must ultimately serve other purposes besides mere commerce. Rather in such a scenario does control for the sake of market leadership inescapably become control for its own sake, as markets in themselves become increasingly meaningless in any realistic competitive terms. Since logically such a global scale-configuration is to make the entire earth into a single, tightly-disciplined enterprise, however with no Martians or extra-galactic visitors to drop in for a shopping spree. Earthlings rather necessarily functioning more-or-less entirely after the capacity of employees in such a global superstore, able themselves to consume only a meager share of the venture’s output. Total capacity obviously needing to be consumed in some “profitable” way and in solar-systemic proportions if this gigantic global mega-store is ultimately to stay open for business. While the prime concern is equally-plainly bound to be the identification of this geo-firm’s controller.
Space exploration and projected colonization really serve as a kind of ridiculous, romanticized substitute for putative global aggregate-profit goals: meanwhile giving barked commands and workplace sadisms a new and reputedly higher purpose, beyond thickening gray gulags of modern life. Something that if undertaken for the glory of God, of course minus the aberrations, might perhaps find some meaningful place in the scheme of human activity. Although there could be little room within such a godly enterprise for prodigally-expensive undertakings not ultimately productive of wealth within some predictable frame-of-time. The whole star-trek spectacle of the turn of the millennium being part and parcel of a mammoth deficit spending: with the global superstore—and attached launching-pad—having a load of debt—and corresponding required sales revenues—which as noted above can never be met. And which is just tacked on to the burdens to be borne in future by children and grandchildren alike. Even if this debt-imperative receives token attempts at satisfaction even now, in partial justification for the adding of a few more hours to the workers day, less and less commonly compensated by overtime-pay. As well as revving up more rpms on the worker's conveyor-belt or turn-table, the “energy” for which is far-too-often supplied by illegal drugs. With the practical-fact disappearance of the most fundamental of women’s rights providing the added opiate of a grueling sexual exploitation and moral despair to numb the mounting pain. A token debt-repayment likewise accomplished by way of an ongoing production in such poor quality as to require extremely rapid replacement, and hence purchasing velocity. With another fair percentage of such crucial sales being realized among those real-heroes and -heroines of the modern economy, those quasi-virtuous who believe they must simply buy and buy, while getting deeper and deeper into debt. Virtual-patriots resembling mere hopping, whirling parts in a vast global machinery. While as noted looming over the whole mad enterprise is the specter of totalitarian control of the most complete kind ever devised. Even as insult is added to injury in the institutionally-imposed requirement to joke, to make light or to be classed as mad: whether “depressive”, schizoid or terroristically-inclined. A mockery which amounts to a self-fulfilling prophesy of school-shootings and other forms of sudden doom. Imposed by a hyper-arrogant elite for whom profit and productivity goals, mind-breaking behavioral control, and war-motivating acts of black-ops agents provocateurs are in a way but so much sport, or so many bullwhips to hold the masses in line.
In such a scenario genuine national virtues, which once uniquely and marvelously defined native peoples, become mutated and more and more closely-identified with capitalistic jingles of profit-and-loss. Defining qualities, as this downward logic “progresses”, eventually becoming differentiated not by singularities of character, climate or terrain, but rather more and more exclusively by amply-reciprocated envies, hatreds and suspicions. With inimitable finishing-touches supplied by mocked native habit, accent or facial form, if not by laser-guided bombs. So that with diabolical fitness and as suggested above the ultimate answer in the face of such excess capacity, as we indeed see before us today, is war: whether concentrated with deadly media-guided precision on some unfortunate holocaust-nation, or mainlined conveniently into the Bush/Blair global/perpetual “security” crusade. The only real beneficiaries of this kind of triumphalism being the devil himself and those kindred spirits who extract a certain occult, power-related ego-exaltation, whether in war or in peace.
Thus have much-made-over investment revenues actually become largely irrelevant to those higher elites and technocrats who "know what's best", and who have a countervailing influence on both economic and political policy and its outcomes and consequences. Anti-life and secret-society lobbies being heavily involved—since the workers required for the noted cosmic factory are few—and armed conflict hideously invoked by key academics like the above-cited author (Abramovitz) as being among the more-noteworthy engines of progress. Likewise in the most transparent language suggesting the desirability of the violent wartime expiring of vast numbers of persons motivated by traditional values and attitudes: these regarded as being out-of-step with a sacrosanct capitalism’s apocalyptic visions and goals.
Coupled to the sanguinary syllogisms of various academics and other neo-cons, ideologues who contrary to vocal conservative Christian supporters seldom put practical efforts on behalf of pro-life very high on their agenda, is a closely-related ideology of less-than-zero population growth. The idea that there should not only be no more people but that there are already indeed far too many. A view held by numbers of honors-aspiring politically-correct professors and undergrads, as well as others less voluble but more powerful. People who lust after a deified “success” and who frequently, if with little fanfare, form much of the equally-anti-life pro-homosexual establishments. When in fact greater populations are exactly what we need to at least partially absorb some of the wonton excesses of productivity. Even as natural, lively population increase also has inbuilt benignly-self-limiting qualities, to be considered in due course later on.
But the waging of questionable or downright immoral wars is nothing new, having as forerunners the still-ongoing and efficient extermination of aboriginal peoples across the globe, over time having annihilated staggering numbers of human beings. A potential army of the noted badly-needed consumers, thought of as standing in the way of the strange progress of the modern system. Fellows often remarkably similar to our own tribal ancestors of a millennium and more past, the latter of whom however and as our own existence amply testifies survived in large numbers. This because of a type of progress far more humane, one inspired both by the Savior and the rational human mind. Marked by a relenting mercy toward which we descendants show ourselves so little inclined when dealing with others equally at the same time both promising and vulnerable.
But as if by an inbuilt retributive justice such a perverse economy-of-loyalties has a way of reverse-looping itself into the very intimate sanctuary of the modern-day American family itself. With household “winners”, typically the most insensitive and self-oriented, being picked out early in life by Mom, Dad and uncle Bob. And the inevitable “losers” and “black sheep”, of which every family is all-but-required to have at least one, as a kind of burnt-offering to the deity of capitalistic efficiencies, being consigned to a regimen of trivialization that easily breaks the strongest of minds, hearts and characters. The family scapegoat often in fact being the most gifted and worthy of its number, for one evincing little of the brain-drain of backstabbing or vain display. The family at last having been gutted of its true, God-given purpose and meaning—as a school of every virtue—rather being made into the prime vehicle of pseudo-values brave and new. The exploitations, treacheries and insincerities of capitalism thus having reaching beyond the tidy world of rolled-up sleeves, sainted self-reliance, or carefully-ignored Asian and African sweatshop workers and American homeless people. Since here we are dealing with an essentially universal matter of the heart and mind.
Amid such grim, hard-nosed imperatives most employment ads are placed by firms looking for a very specific sort of employee, with added qualifications which often have but little to do with tasks to be performed. Just as common, too, is the use of large, ornate, even depth-carved and obviously-permanent “help wanted” signs: with incredibly-rapid employee turnover rates accounting for a plurality of presidentially-boasted-over “newly created jobs”. And with reams of job-applications functioning after the nature of dark object-lessons for those already employed. A vivid awareness of which deeper meaning is equally-deeply etched across harried worker brows. Warnings geared in turn toward the eliciting of the most open-ended, unspecified sorts of employee “team playing” and “multi-tasking”. Gallingly-unjust demands signaling a radical deterioration in the standing of labor, in turn made possible largely by a systemic surmounting of the hump of the curve which measures job-creation against a perverse kind of modernization. This hump, no doubt only a highly-skewed version of the bell curve, being marked by a high point followed by a steep dive in employment-oriented returns.
Hence even the novel jobs of the cyber revolution are in the process of a rationalization that is drastically reducing their numbers: the radical digitalization of today being indeed the very epitome of such a job-shrinking process. An essentially-unnecessary diminution peculiar however and at a more basic level not really so much to technology as to the sterile, wealth-squandering logic of capitalism: the noted financially-determined path-dependency of which acts as a blight upon a previous employment-creating fertility of newly-conceived modes and techniques, market-creating tastes and trends. All these comprising an uninhibited, un-coerced natural incubation fruitful in entirely new product lines. A panoply only surely and richly attainable through a culturally-specific development of “human capital”, and a firm-and-locality-specific retention of earnings. The vigorous marriage of which, as history has often demonstrated, works a marvelous multiplier on more-purely material productive factors involved. Within which spatial scenario large scale could still be kept intact wherever necessary, for instance by way of input chains or cooperatively-shared enterprises under the patronage of government or the joint direction of up or downstream firms of several regions. Selective hugeness—whether in the form of critical insurance policies, transportation, the power-grid, and some few other mainstays—thus typically rendered a non-profit concession unlikely to multiply itself in other forms. The natural, creative, time-related breathing-space, the dependable, describable, self-sustaining market areas of the remaining bulk of such an economy: these being gradually redeemed from today’s artificial mainlining, its mooring of smaller firms in investment-starved backwaters, its elite-management by far-away portfolio, or “private asset” managers. Detached, pecking away at keyboards or cell-pads, lost somewhere in the surreal world of arbitrage. Representatives of an illegitimate tyranny of unprecedented arrogance, of staggering size and scope.
Gradually developed divergences of method and personality, even of touch or "throw" of a tool, these are real avenues into the new and groundbreaking. And not at all the preserve of the backward, the odd-ball or the eccentric, as is too often assumed in the modern developmentally-sterile, behaviorally-avant-garde American industrial sociology. A truly-productive scenario however not typically resulting in high short-term profits, which drive today's basically-hedge-market-obsessed financial management. With an economic and hiring philosophy “just in time”, according to the analogy of the supply-chain-management inventory method, for an inseparable slackening of opportunity. An assembly-line terminus which easily issues in a beauty contest or a search for homosexual partners, or practically anything else that dictatorial, perpetual-employment-downturn-empowered bosses might wish. People who become like judges at a felony trial, able by their withholding of a recommendation, commonly-enough for an employee refusal to be craven or obsequious, or on racial or regional prejudicial grounds, to permanently destroy a person’s ability to earn a reasonable living, and thus perhaps ultimately to terminate his family or even his life. With a likewise uncannily-on-time and cooperative deregulation establishment, joined by a growing loyalty-and-security-related atmosphere of martial law, substantially barring conventional exits of law, custom and morality from this growing institutional penury, debasement and slavery.
Too, the illusive prosperity, if it ever again gets beyond the precincts of Wall Street, is of a kind, impressive as it might appear, which can readily be curtailed to the exclusion of vast numbers of people. This without dire consequences, in fact with considerable benefit, to “those who count” within the global corporate profit infrastructure. Mounting profit and “productivity” among merging, staff-cutting corporations lending logic to job-market “rebounds” punctuated by accelerating numbers of homeless people. Implying the existence of a chosen few from among whom however even many of the especially well-placed have of late found themselves increasingly excluded. This strange new “commercial democracy” holding session under a Federal Reserve Chairman who, despite the decline of the dollar, still manages to be the kingpin of the world economy. A tsar who during the much of the 90s boom—in a policy initially taken up by his successor in more-recent quarters—steadily pruned away “excess” and burgeoning employment and wealth creation through steadily-rising interest rates. (Note of 9/14: now basically the same big-boy arbitrage-based hegemony is retained through the opposite recourse, of a U.S. economy which rules over the world through the near-interest-less printing of global-reserve-currency dollar bills, making U.S. goods more marketable, even as gigantic taxes-on-corporate-income drive some actual working-corporations from our shores. With the little guy of course in particular crowded out by mega-taxation, byzantine regulation and medical-insurance and other requirements which only the giant corporation can possibly meet.) All these liabilities being no barrier to irresponsible speculators, climactic elements of a harmfully-overheated economy, who have all the tools necessary—and then some—to deftly circumvent any problem at all. This rate-tampering—over fluctuations which by capitalism’s own sacrosanct laws should be left entirely to the market—being only a part of a standard U.S. monetary policy which has long favored the herd-investments of the already-wealthy over multiplier-enhancing and vanguard-innovator-enabling loans to some rising star, the driving power of the truly-dynamic Asian economy. By whose terms, with a Biblically-proscribed charging-of-interest largely in less-draconian forms, a whole continent is imbued with a rudimentary positive force which in substance and by nature cannot be planned. Loans in the U.S. financial universe coming increasingly and by contrast to serve as mere tools in the developmentally-lethargic, profit-taking workshops of hedge- and derivative-driven speculation. With the now-forgotten turn-of-the-millennium media-bashing of Asian financing methods having been grossly overstated in a host of post-Asian-Crisis assessments (Stolpe, Michael, 2002). But like all other such economic, political or military media-overheated spot-pronouncements—whether over a perpetually “emerging” Asia, Russian “energy tyranny” or Iraq—have already served their propaganda purposes yawningly long ago. While the reputed part played by the Trade Tower Crashes in the ongoing economic collapse fits only too well into the manufactured emergency scenario which for at least a century has occupied a determining place in the ongoing mammoth cover-up of the capitalist systemic failure. Or rather its deepest and most well hidden agenda. Growing depositaries of evidence having been uncovered which place this act of homegrown treachery in a separate league with The Maine, Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, and a host of other incidents and cataclysms. Events which by the very law of probability—and their “just in time” policy-related utility—can no longer be consigned to mere “fate”, to multiplying Lee-Harvey-Oswald-like “madmen”, or to rag-tag insurgents operating from the other side of the globe.
To the masses of today once-familiar phrases about universal freedom, progress and prosperity would be a cruel joke under such circumstances, and have thus for the most part been dispensed with, except of course for occasional mystic/triumphal pronouncements of Bush and the rest of his steadily-changing retinue. Slogans in a new “democratic” tradition being typically replaced, especially in those depressing places where the poor and the government meet, by droning, pseudo-pious admonitions toward citizen self-improvement. As for instance by way of the urging of the cultivation of the most self-demeaning, yet for all of that largely-fruitless, “job-seeking skills”. Often in stiff competition for positions whose trivial and sometimes criminally-abusive character, rather than physical or intellectual rigor, our grandparents would have spurned with contempt.
Is it right that so few should enjoy substantial advantages resulting from the employment of modern technologies? Especially in light of the fact that productive modes and material advances are social goods that belong in a basic sense to everyone in a society, if the word society is to have any comprehensible meaning at all. A basic principle which stands true even though any particular piece of machinery is still owned by and profits the firm that bought it. An axiom espoused by the more-enlightened among Soviet-era Eastern European economists, who often played leading roles in heroic but nonetheless futile attempts at truly rational free-market transformations after the fall of communism. Rather overwhelmingly-often securing instead a brutally-disappointing exchange of communist oppression for 21st century corporate colonialism. A bitter lesson in political-economy being learned by a neo-con-duped former Soviet-satellite Eastern Europe as I write. (Note of 9/14: hence the khanates of Poland and The Ukraine, ready playgrounds for inevitable Western-market-vanguard war-provocateurs of every shade.)
But much to the point is the fact that Deere, Bessemer, Tesla and more recent techno-pioneers are ancestors in the economic and intellectual family tree of us all, and not just of the stockholders of companies which benefit so lucratively from their discoveries or inventions. Certainly their motivations must have been enlightened enough, as we are in fact assured that they were, to wish to bring substantial, even revolutionary, improvements in lifestyle and living standards to everyone. But instead are whole global or internal regions, nationalities and classes virtually relegated to socioeconomic caves, with no meaningful access to modern forms of convenience and wealth creation. Signaling a “progress”, an exclusionary logic by which its proponents rather loudly proclaim themselves to be the moral and social Neanderthals of the ages.
Within the breathless, cost-cutting scenarios of today's economy if a firm or even a nation takes an approach which favors an across-the-board popular well-being, productive of endless amplification through stable and-yet-diverse sorts of economic multipliers, they quickly fall under the heels of some rival who is more "competitive”: which when translated honestly means miserly and unscrupulous. Explaining to a great extent the standard second and third place rating in the world economy of Japan and Western Europe, whose systems have always been marked by some semblance of an internal socioeconomic equity. (Because of the seismic rift over this very issue now evident in the EU, with Germany in particular riding herd on vulnerable, sovereignty-imperiled nations involved, even the specter of internal Western-and-Central-European war is mentioned now and again, if in media hushed tones.) While the dense populations of both Europe and Japan, equally cause and result of the production and diffusion of real wealth, still continue in many ways, if at a diminishing rate, to produce impressively as well as to provide critical saving: a prudent policy which is however ably brought-to-naught by a reserve dollar which handily obviates any such gains by simply printing more dollar bills, or engaging in analogous open-market maneuvers. Yet it took Japan nearly fifteen years to attain its present bullish recovery, a benchmark by this date basically not yet regained by the European Union. (Note of 9/14: This comment speaks of the pre-tsunami era, prior to that cataclysm which had a devastating effect on the Japanese economy, one which some contend was artificially induced by an atomic detonation on the nearby ocean floor, thus handily dispensing with an obscenely prosperous Japan. A likelihood fortified by wildly-oscillating "Richter readings" varying ridiculously from one another by as much as a factor of twenty or thirty. Criminal atomic detonations apparently being more difficult to quantify in their seismic footprint than are actual earthquakes.) Since as noted within the modern global trading scenario it is not genuine wealth creation which is rewarded but only the strategic pursuit of exclusively geo-corporate-elite advantages.
But a further complication is that these comparatively-prudent systems with their self-disciplined levels of saving have grown to radically depend on the more-debt-driven and/or artificial-growth-proliferating economies of the English-speaking world: this both as a market for high-quality goods and the venue for open-market investments of vast accumulations of American dollars. These Greenbacks however rendered significantly unusable—potential tasteless, gaudy wall-paper for halls-of-state in Beijing—by a denial of access to industries designated as “strategic” by Congress, or by some regulatory machine. As notably in the major Chinese desired acquisition of U.S. energy firms, controlling interest in one or two of which would substantially fulfill one of her dearest dreams, and at the same time obviate much of her need to rattle those rockets noted above. Again, the global-elite employment of the self-fulfilling prophesy, a potent tool-of-extortion whether at home or abroad. An economic blackmail whose only alternative is for the same China to take up the singularly-un-enviably task of becoming our national inn-keeper, massively invading our real estate market, one of the few places she is allowed to go. A recourse which causes much American popular/tenant alarm. Or to build any number of perfectly-unfrequented Chinese restaurants here, vacant-of-customers whose patronage might be thought a form of disloyalty to the jingoistic new anti-Chinese flag-waving American-exceptionalist cause. Thus in the larger monetary picture, vis-à-vis China and others as well, keeping the dollar devalued enough, through “adjustment mechanisms” like the above, to insure the sale of American goods. And the build-up of American armaments as financed by other lands.
Then too there is the noted global-superstore nature of modern commerce, an emporium which is constantly crying for insufficient numbers of consumers. A phenomenon given added force by the dynamism peculiar to capitalism which on the whole favors marketing to the wealthy, or to spendthrift children of the rich and poor alike: this largely of frivolous, highly-breakable or luxury-oriented value-added goods. The most important of these markets being of course the United States, massive source of global demand that it is, a revenue source which most nations are willing to keep afloat at almost any cost, whether moral/geopolitical or domestic-economic. A situation which is then in turn and predictably taken advantage of by Anglo-American-dominated multinationals, truly "lean and mean"; with their singular lack of socially-conscientious, safety and working-conditions "overhead" to be burdened with. (As witnessed dramatically in easily-preventable mining and other industrial disasters which frequently fill the news). This tag-team of the Anglo-corporate world then rather barbarically overawing the field. As noted a rapidly-weakening dollar, due to the lengthening shadow of a vast and maturing debt, balance of payments deficits and other problems, ironically making the American trade advantage at least temporarily stronger still: even if the looming financial day-of-reckoning brokers greater ambit to the "nation-making" bomb-thrower's arm. While finally the outward form much of this competition takes is often of the Chinese, Malaysian or North African subsidiaries, or South Asia's domestic contractor/sweatshop, adding insult to Euro-Asian injury. Anglo-American jingoistic statements about initiative, hard work and a putatively-pristine global military adventurism continuing meanwhile to multiply hoarsely apace. As the U.S. (not to be confused with a radically-dissimilar genuine “land that I love” of that same name) uses its proverbial “Big Stick”, both military and verbal, to keep other nations from collecting on a host of past-due bills, and in other ways to keep a global/colonial realm well-in-line. We are obviously no longer dealing with Adam Smith’s corner grocery store here.
Indeed this is a situation which may not "roll over" for decades to come, as a sinking global economy and the enterprising spirits of false-flag agents provocateurs always provide someone more-vulnerable than themselves upon which rampant Anglo-American hedge-managers and military invasion forces can tread. Even as rising interest rates endemic to these circumstances cause a growing thirst here in the United States itself, a different kettle of fish entirely from its imperiously-reigning corporate galaxy, for a life-giving monetary liquidity. With increasing numbers of American citizens, the supposed beneficiaries of such a vaunted progress, sinking into an ever-deepening poverty. International creditors at last necessarily coming to collect their due, daunting U.S. currency-related balance-of-payments imponderables notwithstanding: taking wind out of the sails of the citizen, transferring it to the frigates of a “new and improved” Opium Trade. During which time the unfair advantages of Anglo-American plutocrats become uncannily cast in concrete, according to primitive-savage "first-with-the-most" logic of capitalism. From the top of which heap terms of all kinds are increasingly and with gathering hauteur dictated to an entire globe, among which are of course amply represented the same American citizens. Dictums of course duly wrapped in the Stars and Stripes, and drenched in the blood of native sons. The looming U.S. national-debt day-of-reckoning, and brutally-disappointing scholastic scores, finally, lighting by far the biggest bonfire fire of all under the current big-stick economic and military precipitation and adventurism.
Predictably, product improvements that accompany a noted morbid market-dominion are frequently found to be only cosmetic in nature, hiding a more-basic deterioration, aided by expedients like the one-time massive sale of brightly-camouflaged but substandard goods, with flaws that invariably appear some short time after purchase, and whose partial remedy might require the buying of expensive warrantees. Among panaceas which have increasingly taken the place of brand-related dependability. The price of the item having lured the underpaid employee/consumer to make a purchase even after many prior misfortunes. In a great many cases buying substandard products of U.S.-dominated geo-firms—or of “Chinese” firms operating as U.S. corporate subsidiaries or FDI repositories—real "dumpings" and power-plays which pay off handsomely at the cutting edge of market share and stock growth or yield. This many-sided destructive economic manifestation finally helping produce two or three global, industry-wide titans, with budgets that rival or exceed national ones, mostly newly-formed conglomerates created through a Gingrich-to-Bush gutting of anti-trust laws. Mega-firms whose frequent reshuffling and renaming helps them to deftly escape the boycott of formerly-burnt customers.
Thus taking cue from the nineteenth century Opium Trade is capitalism’s feverish need to destructively penetrate and control markets: rotely repeating in ingenious new ways a Chinese forced-addiction backed by Western gunboats, creating previously nonexistent demand and indebtedness. And in perhaps the most memorable apologia on record, the fact that the whole Asian street-corner venture of more than a century and half ago was probably a net loss for England and the United States: this is put forth as a sort of proof of overall spotless intentions. As if somehow wicked or compromised schemes must always turn a profit before they can justly be condemned. Or perhaps even more to the point, as if the main matter at stake in such global-piracy trade ventures is the purely-temporary sunk costs involved: rather than the gaining of a permanent cutting edge in terms of the learning curve and of regional and global media, military and market dominion.
Whole continents were held under the lash by the 19th century, trembling at threats from the same people that had brought them word of the meek Christ. An anomaly that was to bear bitter fruits of many kinds, not the least of which have been the sanguinary revolutions that have marked the last two centuries in former colonial lands. Even if those that actually led them, like the capitalistic Criollo upper classes in Latin America, often did so for their own exclusive advantages. A violent vanguard who were often indeed, as in the classic case of the Bolsheviks, cynical and astute operatives of the same global investment coterie. Gangs of thugs wishing only to break the will of some freedom-aspiring nation on the wheel of a bloody domestic spree. In the case of an early nineteenth century Latin America, adventures at the expense in particular of the Mission Indians, in a free-for-all grab at their holdings in vast herds, lands and other yet-undiscovered, untapped resources. While much earlier, in the 16th century, the first beginnings of all of this inhuman exploitation left on the empathetic heart of the Apostle of the Orient, St. Frances Xavier, “a permanent wound”. And the spiritual and moral life of the many Catholics involved in such a dissociation of Christianity from the life and values of its Founder was bound in many ways to become warped in the process. For although Catholicism remains forever the same it is yet possible for its practice to become distorted by such means, and this among whole peoples.
All our lives we Americans are taught to believe in an inseparably-close identification of capitalism with self-government: a point of view lent a further note of infallibility by tent-revival tones of today's syndicated media. Opinion-herd-managing mega-conglomerates like that of Murdock and several others of their kind regularly promoting the fanciful notion of capitalism as being identifiable with a sort of folksy, turn-of-the-nineteenth-century American democratic-populism, or an eighteenth-century fife-and-drum. The Marxist principle of the constantly-repeated lie being in many ways employed with far greater effect here than it ever was in the Soviet Bloc, with a host of ingenious falsehoods that fill the public air. A corporate-controlled academia now adding its voice to this political exaltation of capitalism, toward the achievement of an artificial popular conviction. Methods especially effective among a people no longer schooled in the critical evaluation of oratory or ideas: something once learned admirably-well around pot-bellied stoves in neighborhood stores.
However, inconvenient and disagreeable facts nonetheless rudely assert themselves upon any thinking mind, even amid this stirring polemical association of freedom with capitalism. An impartial study of history revealing for one the open alliance of autocratic, globally-ambitious early-modern kings and princes with contemporary forms of that economic system: potentially providing a striking deterrence for today’s reverent credulity, a discouragement which historians tend however to demote to the level of another dull curiosity. While as being on the same “democratic” level must be assessed the nineteenth century seizure—and speedy consolidation by the interests of global capital—of Indian missions across Latin America: with an analogous radically-expropriating “Indian problem” policy being repeated with even greater force in the USA, hardly a democratic boon to those indigenous peoples most concerned. The modern study of history seeming to have been trivialized incredibly, becoming largely a passing-down of age-hoary anti-Catholic fables: these continuing to form the stoutest if sometimes-best-concealed foundations of modern and post-modern historical interpretation. Just as in the nineteenth century, if today typically in less-bombastic terms. Often-brilliant passages of prominent historians serving in the long run as mere foils and screens for the same old justifications of tyrannical sixteenth-century-English seizures of monastic lands, enlisting militant strains of a resurrected “Early Church” idealism in the very shadow of Henry’s incomparably-barbarous “quartering” of the human form. Largely in his lust to have so many likewise-butchered wives in a row. All these heroisms both now and then championed by pillaging or conquering armies, led by leaders claiming emergency executive powers. Even as the mercantile variant of capitalism that obtained during the fifteenth and sixteenth century Age of Discovery is minimized in its absolutist, slave-auctioning propensities: these being made to appear as little more than bored distraction in the toy-chests of sallow, inbred monarchs. Or somehow—dodging converging probabilities to the last—as isolated, irrelevant, displays of naked royal perfidy and greed.
Most mystifying of all is the way that a nascent capitalism's collaboration in the dismantling of the local and regional organs of Medieval socioeconomic and political life is cheered on as having been a byproduct of a relentlessly-marching libertarian progress: a claim which requires more than the usual amount of anti-“papist” body-language and linguistics to carry it across. A propaganda benchmark for which obtuse and misleading TV documentaries are duly scheduled every now and again. The new disturbingly-abstract republicanism of the American Revolution, by dint of such persuasions, being regarded as a miraculous rebirth—after an eighteen-hundred-year absence, since the Rome of the Republic—of self-rule. The Medieval Catholic localism and regionalism being adjudged, by a modern mankind thus so-amply-well-informed, as having been unbearably oppressive, the very polar-opposite of democracy.
But already centuries before Locke and Rousseau such Catholic Medieval and Early Modern theologians as Aquinas, Grossteste, Mariana, Ballermine, and Suarez—and hundreds of others less well-known today—were revealing the solid moral, intellectual and scriptural foundations of the right of popular resistance to abuses of power. Actually a practically-elaborated liberty that had already long been recognized, indeed taken for granted, in familiar institutions of time-obscured Western ages. The European, since early barbarian days, coalescing in the West from homelands in Scandinavia and the Caucasus, having believed in the sovereignty of the entire body politic: this as opposed to the absolute rule of a central government. Thus setting them off—like Persia and most nations of the Far East—from a tyranny espoused by the Pharaohs, Philistines, Carthaginians, Antiochene Greeks and history’s many attendant courtiers to absolute power. A contrary “more excellent way”, once Christianized, thereafter nurtured in monastic cloister, town assembly and religious confraternity alike. To such a degree indeed that to turn against Catholicism is in the deepest of senses to turn against our own very culture of liberty, and the root origins of its political and social institutions, and ultimately to see these treasures die. Unique offsprings that these popular instruments were from a wedding of True Faith and pristine, virginal barbarian forms.
Thus a central hypothesis here: that the old Frankish and Gothic moot-inspired polities, in their own simple outlines, were far more effectively self-governing, in all-important practical terms, than anything that would issue from the abstract theories of the Enlightenment. These latter reigning over civic and human institutions already vitiated in their popular character. The Philosophes rather more empowering discretely-imbedded Masonic and other secret-society prejudices than liberty, reason and rule-of-law. These “noble experiments” indeed exalting liberty convincingly on paper, but in the event invariably and from the beginning being uniquely defenseless against remote-control by financiers and other astute forces operating from on high.
Hence it follows that many forms of the alliance of the Church and its first Roman and barbarian sons must be confessed to have never been surpassed in their traditions of popular rule. A Church which was the birthplace of comprehensively-free political philosophy having seen the knitting-together in the darkness of the catacombs of Christian moral and political precept, barbarian equity, and an original, organically-developed Roman Law. Actually a kind of Roman Common Law all its own, now lost to human memory: something far different from formalistic distillations of the Code of Justinian. This blending of divine and secular wisdom being destined to surface for the first time in the above-ground historical record in a historian-ignored Papal Republic, headed by the Late-Ancient papacy (Noble, Thomas F.X., 1984). A secular/religious institution, thriving at Rome amid the mostly-obscure circumstances of the fourth through the tenth centuries, which was the true continuation of Ancient Roman republican traditions and political/organizational machinery alike. Destined in its own time to gradually stand out in ever-bolder contrast to the developing Byzantine-Greek despotism: itself in turn largely molded, from earliest Diocletian beginnings, not by Roman but by noted autocratic Mediterranean and West-Asiatic influences. This first organized Western-Christian experiment in democratic rule having stretched from the indomitable Pope St. Gregory the Great in the sixth century to the tenth-century appearance of a new and tumultuous political culture: basically a revising of the ancient Greek factional demagoguery A recrudescence dominated from the start by the Byzantine-schooled court of the mostly-autocratic Hohenstaufens of Germany (Noble, Thomas F.X., 1984).
Most to the point, the revival-movement/Deist American political paradigm of the eighteenth century (Gausted, Edwin S., 1993)—and a remarkably similar collaboration later in France, one indeed containing some of the same ocean-traversing principle actors—rather than providing a sound basis for genuine liberty, in the main only supplied a bureaucratically-centralized foundation for that economic colonialism, both at home and abroad, which would continue into our own day to be one of capitalism's main features. Here again, the Greek mob/demagogue legacy of the millennia would be quite decisive, with the intellectual basis of newer forms finding uncanny points of convergence as well with proto-absolutists like the Englishman Thomas Hobbes. While ironically too absolute rule had been taken for granted nearly a century earlier, in the developing laissez faire economics of the early-eighteenth-century Physiocrats (Rogister, John, 1995), at the time of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Thus revealing again the close association of capitalism with absolute, and later totalitarian, power. These latter thinkers, interestingly as well, holding forth their views in a France quite overrun by officials and scholars with quasi-Protestant Jansenist leanings: religious purists and zealots whose opposition to the old corporative French way of life would at length find them in league with agnostic Freemasons in the much-celebrated revolt against the French crown (ibid). An alliance which found striking contemporary similarities in the Freemasonry-flirting, radical-ideology-driven American Catholic Church of John Carroll: itself, in following centuries and yet more strangely, to prove an odd special protégé of a Rothschild-indebted Rome. This despite its entirely divergent spirit, its racism, its ready neglect of sound Catholic traditions and practices.
In a proto-capitalist England absolutism had actually been a long-developing political doctrine, determined medieval resistance to which kept that island in periodic civil war for more than two centuries, almost until the accession of Henry VIII. A struggle for total dominion by government, increasingly over all facets of life, to be renewed soon afterward, and for another century and more: but this time with the scale and methods of capitalism openly taking the lead in a commercially-oriented, all-determining Parliament, whose power was consolidated in the late 1600s. However these Whigs and Tories in their own turn and inexorably finding themselves becoming mere pawns in the grip of Jewish finance: from the late eighteenth century onward that primarily of the Rothschild family. Identical political developments across Europe, and analogous ones later in the New England Colonies, as I hold, representing the ill-admitted entrenchment of long-evolving elitist trends, much more than the establishment of a new form of democratic rule. A commercial-class-related transformation destined sooner or later to take place in each country of Europe.
But basically until the Second Vatican Council and the rule of those word-stirring but oddly deed-diffident anti-popes from John to Benedict (Note of 9/14: alas, the pseudo-papacy has now grotesquely grown two heads, with the advent of a co-sitting Francis) with whom that gathering is inseparably identified, Catholic political doctrine would forcefully and single-handedly hold the line: maintaining the paramount principle that matters of national import should be arbitrated from the bottom up in a popularly-participated way (Mariana, Juan de, Padre, ed. 1950; Reynolds, Susan, 1997, p. 21). Aggregate economic advantages, too, being held as properly accruing to the good of all, and substantially toward the same general basal direction. Both Mariana and St. Thomas, besides admitting the right of individuals and communities to resist and disobey unjust or unreasonable laws or policies, even went so far as to assert the right of the execution of a sufficiently tyrannical monarch. Yet at the same time these men of God were quite loyal to the kings under whom they lived: their coherent reasoning only calling for the immemorial Western distributive model of the state. One headed by a prince with his own circumscribed set of purviews and concerns, and few tools of intervention into levels of life or government much lower than his own.
Indeed and in stark contrast to its today-near-sole existence on a theatrical, polemical plane, true freedom doesn’t often advertise itself as having graced any particular age: liberties themselves being mostly embedded within dense and often disappointingly-dull and pedestrian details of organization, of sturdy, dependable vessels of the distribution of wealth, agency and power. And in this way the Medieval centuries are true to form. Indeed rather being a kind of inert mass of mute and patient generations when it comes to defending themselves against slanders, much after the manner of an innocent youth under accusation, unaccustomed to the stifling atmosphere of moral self-justification, standing in stumble-tongued confusion or livid silence before his or her accusers. Seeming by that very fact, according to the logic of the glib, callous and long-impenitent, to be making a confession of guilt. While the simple idea that there were indeed bad people, then as now, and some of them at various levels of authority, in itself hardly supports any particular interpretation of history or political institutions. Even as contemporary chronicles, like modern-day newspapers, inevitably emphasized the tragic and otherwise unusual, often-enough leaving numerous self-sacrificing kings and princes, after the pattern of Saints Edward, Henry and Wenceslas, to appear as lone figures in a bleak Medieval night. Kings sometimes in work-week-daily dress and manner more or less indistinguishable from their ordinary subjects, who found most of their many headaches in keeping within due bounds the prerogatives of the mighty, rather than in interfering in the mostly-unremarkable affairs of ordinary citizens. So that accordingly it is in the more disinterested sources, which some would consider hum-drum—the lives of saints, the court records, account-rolls and charters or constitutions of cities, abbeys, bishoprics and feudatories—that we get a truer and more favorable picture of the times. Documents that must be mulled over, meditated upon: often revealing startling incongruities when placed beside hasty, tenuous or highly-selective negative academic evaluations.
Granted, even during the High-Medieval 12th and 13th centuries the occasional king could be found who sought to further extend his power in the direction of an as yet only faintly-incipient statism: that evil, insidiously confused with progress, now taking un-monitorable corporate/privatized forms. Thus the Angevin monarchs of England: who were however paid back for their precocious arrogations with interest by the loss of both their ancestral home of Anjou and that brightest jewel of the contemporary Atlantic seaboard, Normandy. And at around the same time Brittany. Likewise did their rashness result in the creation of that epoch-making instrument of popular sovereignty, Magna Charta, when Angevin audacity had reached its zenith in the reign of King John. Just like another king a century later, who paid by losing Scotland for several centuries to the English throne, these monarchs typically sought to make their favorites into demi-kings with arbitrary rights over a nobility which had from time immemorial been the true sustaining arm of the realm. Harsh, preemptive "creatures", these protégés, a species of which history has so many, and of which Juan de Mariana tells in reproachful and compelling tones (ed. 1950).
As the appeal of usurping policies spread among the royal houses of Europe, the Fourteenth Century would see the France of Phillip the Fair flood semi-autonomous provinces with royal bureaucrats: of course providing an excuse for trebled taxation and an attendant gradually-growing royal domination. An anomaly which even in these vague first beginnings, the bones of the good St. Louis IX barely cold in the grave, saw the arbitrary curtailing of the liberties of the proverbially-loyal, chivalrous and prosperous county of Champagne (Collins, James B., 1995; Henneman, John Bell, 1973). Here being found the first installment of the ongoing replacement of a lively French organic regionalism, strong remnants of which however and in many places still stubbornly cling to the French national character. Representing as such moves did a decided departure from a locally-and-regionally reciprocal and consultative plethora which throughout Medieval times was universally accepted as being the most fundamental, definitive evidence, not only of freedom, but even of legitimacy itself in Western European lands.
The same Phillip’s insatiable ambitions, typically in search of revenues with which to pay creditors, finally also fixed upon the condemnation of the Knights Templars, and of course the confiscation of their vast holdings, as an incomparable source of debt-remitting wealth. Crusading religious defrocked, and hundreds executed, after a defamation campaign whose falsity and virulence amounted to an uncanny anticipation of that which was to follow in the eighteenth century against the Jesuits. The military skill of the thus-ungratefully-compensated Knights of the Temple having repeatedly saved crusading armies from dishonorable routs, in heroic maneuvers which often amounted to acts of collective martyrdom (Burman, Edward, 1986).
But few know that it was the Order's economic activities that were the most significant of all, a factor which indeed no doubt precipitated most of their draconian mistreatment, being for one thing a decided embarrassment to an incipiently-exploitative new scheme of things. The Templars by contrast having accomplished incalculable and truly-positive things for the burgeoning industrial and agrarian culture of a contemporary Europe (ibid): being arguably the prime initial enablers of the era’s much-misappropriated advancement. These clerics in their capacity as a universal source of credit on the most generous of terms gradually threatening to uproot the usurious Jews in their gouge-lending, slave-trading proclivities, while performing a service comparable, after its own pattern, to that later performed by Jesuits and other missionaries among the Indians of North and South America. Inestimable human capital of both Orders, which often attracted the best minds of their respective times, being employed for the generous good of popular socioeconomic life. Ventures amounting in each case to a phenomenal and truly diffusive wealth creation, one destined to amplify with each passing year. Accomplishments which if proceeding from some other quarter would today be greeted with the wildest enthusiasm by outsourced historians, but in the case of these Catholic servants of God predictably being darkly stigmatized as somehow entailing a nefarious self-aggrandizement. An accusation that was never even remotely substantiated in either case, even though today it is more or less universally assumed to have been so proven. Religious executed or delivered in chains in both eras who for one thing had taken a stringent evangelical vow of poverty, and whose only personal possessions were largely and fittingly represented by a threadbare change of clothing. Over which “treasures” they were however forbidden by the statutes of their Orders to even utter the word “mine”.
At both these divergent times, then, the lands and estates which Templars and Jesuits so selflessly administered were confiscated, after which they “slipped through the cracks” for the rewarding of favorites and to feed the inevitable growth of noted parasitical bureaucracies, more labyrinthine in their strangling complexity with each passing century. This neo-Byzantine organizational undergrowth being destined as noted to prove so instrumental to capitalism, if in each case at disparate stages in its development. While the ecclesiastical preliminaries for the secular condemnation of the Templars were extorted from a pope, Boniface VIII, held hostage, subject to mistreatments which led to his death, at Avignon: the kind of failing of which Catholic teaching finds pontiffs to be quite capable. And which present-day anti-popes display in full form. Our Blessed Lord having indeed patiently borne with the same failing, as well as a converse foolhardiness, in the very first (real) pope, St. Peter. He and his successors having been at the head of a Church which, like its Master, likewise generously forbears with human frailty in all its forms. Even as, true to the same magnanimous spirit, it has never itself, unlike Anglican or Byzantine-era and early-modern Orthodox Churches—as represented in their secular-ruler heads—administered capital punishment.
Historians and political scientists invariably regard the noted trend toward extraction, centralization and an inseparable mounting bureaucratization, in both economic and political realms, and typically attended by a cycle of resistance and bloody reprisals, as having signaled the first real beginnings of the rule of law. A goal held as especially epitomized in the remotely-installed officialdom of a twelfth century Henry II, or an even-more-firmly controlled and monitored England of a century and more later. Men who as suggested steadily preempted the nobility at every turn, asserting an “I am the state” doctrine, as it were, four and five hundred years before Louis XIV or XV: this in England, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Normandy and Anjou. Whereas in actual fact all that the rule of law can reasonably signify is that, first of all, laws be based on reason, and secondly, that legislation, dependant as it is on fallible human beings for its passage, interpretation and enforcement, be at least reasonably above-board in content and predictable in impact. Rather than commonly stemming from the chimerical whims of rulers. This predictability standard being that of the Nobel-prize-winning jurist Hayek: one however which history proves to thrive far better in identifiable personal authority, popular traditions and unwritten constitutions than in elite-loophole-ridden codes of top-heavy central governments.
Thus the rule of law, based essentially on the law of reason written on the human heart, frequently claimed as a singular legacy of our system, is often in fact much better realized in the most loose-knit and localized of settings. As among those American Indians who typically knew quite well how to keep faithful to its good spirit: especially after their centuries-long joint-civilization-building in league with the French and Spanish on this Hemisphere. A time of both desultory and intensive formation, inevitably contingent upon things geographic, geo-commercial and geo-political, during which, at the cost of hundreds of martyred missionaries, these sons of forest and plain shed non-egalitarian things like cannibalism and human sacrifice. A marvelous advancement working in the first place upon the Gospel good soil of Indian souls: a fact attested by their subsequent enlightened and devout domestic life and equitable and sophisticated diplomatic agreements alike. While by contrast today's special-interest-serving, minutely-literalized, micro-litigated, ideologically-driven American legalism, far from promoting welfare or advancement, quite-typically finds U.S. judges hamstrung from striking at the substance of an issue, or from mobilizing the unfettered spirit of Western law.
In the same way it is highly unlikely that the rule of law as seen in early twelfth century founding consolidations of a historically-underrated “Louis the Fat” of France would have gained much by way of the armies of lawyers and officials that were to come two centuries afterward. His laborious and ultimately effective pacification of rapacious principalities around the Isle de France having rather been due to his own strong right arm and the loyalty of his noble vassals (Abbot Suger, Life of Louis the Fat, and Suger, Abbot of St. Denis, 1081-1151, coll. trans. Jean Dunbabin, both online). While the same active reciprocity with local and regional elements may likewise have characterized even the unifications of a much-earlier Charlemagne: a consolidation more thorough for having been accomplished before the devastating raids of the Vikings. Charles' reputation among historians as the first of the great Western Medieval centralizers being in fact highly problematical: a historiographic paradigm which, like so many others, owes its perpetuation to ideology far more than to solid evidence. Namely to its having been an indispensable part of the Reformation-friendly Ghibbeline myth of a founding papal/Western-imperial power-struggle. A doubtfulness which likewise marks the near-universal characterization of a century of Charlemagne’s successors, notably from Louis the Pious onward, as representing an equal-but-opposite impotent degeneration. Einhard's brief summary of the rule of the first Charles (Fordham, Medieval Sourcebook, internet sources), and scattered fragmentary accounts by others, invariably being interpreted as revealing an autocratic and even harsh, but for-all-that supposedly-far-superior, spirit. However a monarch whose amicitia-based arrangements—analogous to identically-named equitable foreign policy relations of ancient Rome with its “client” states—appear rather, from what little record there is, to have been if anything even-milder in nature than their classical forerunners. A notion which might be gleaned in particular from those unique treaties of friendship with the papal Roman Republic, as finalized by the same Charlemagne and his sons, some of the few international agreements of the times and region which are well-documented. Revealing a spirit which as indicated supports the likelihood of similar relations with neighboring states as well (Noble, Thomas F.X., 1984).
Thus the traces of a characteristic probity in Charles' reluctance to undertake the conquest of the Lombards: having done so only after an injured papacy's repeated, long-standing entreaties. While at the same time the whole collection of papal/Early Carolingian documents reveals a sense of an unparalleled relationship between separate secular/ecclesiastical realms: actually with a distinctly-discernible papal supremacy being subtly and sensitively acknowledged. In agreements and related discussions which articulate a marvelous filial/imperial embrace of the paternal character of the Petrine Chair (ibid). One which, far from quibbling over jurisdictional boundaries, as modern historians would have it, rather reveals an Imperial mind singularly cognizant of the subtle lay-realm submissions and spiritual/secular distinctions involved. These Papal/Imperial communications thus highlighting the utter lack of any hint of a polar-opposite subordinate Church position vis-à-vis the state existing in Charles' mind. An Imperial ascendancy-paradigm which nonetheless would later be claimed as axiomatic by historians, as in the first place by so many German Emperors and eleventh and twelfth century Italian pre-Medici revolutionary communes.
Hence too does it seem unlikely that Charlemagne would have ordered the slaughtering of thousands of unarmed Saxon rebel warriors, as he has traditionally been credited with doing. All on the strength of a harsher translation of a hard-to-read word that could have been rendered with either of two completely different meanings . The kind of negative "benefit of the doubt", often sustained at the price of great illogical pains, that the post-Enlightenment history establishment has been so good at reading into the records of rulers and churchmen of the Catholic past.
As suggested in chapter one serious deviations from the more-typical law and order, liberty and equity of Medieval Europe were invariably related to some unforeseen and unavoidable upheaval, like the century-and-a-half-long raids of the Vikings, or that famine of the France of 1028 to 1034 at the culminating end of the same tumultuous era. One so severe that even bodies of the dead were said to have been dug up and eaten (Headlam, Cecil, reprint 1971). Such events of necessity bringing with them for one the changing-of-hands of estates in an intermittent and unstable set of circumstances. Together with a host of other disorders inherent in the sudden, disconcerting appearance of the Norsemen’s shallow-draft longboats in the most unexpected of places, being remarkably capable of swift penetration fairly deep into England and the European continent. Annihilating military resistance and carrying-off-captive the remaining populations of whole towns and cities. These unfortunates then bound for the era's cooperative Frisian, Anglo-Danish, Venetian, Jewish, Byzantine and Moslem sponsored slavery of centuries-long (alternately intact or partially-intact) duration (Ibid; Bates, David, 1982; Guldescu, Stanko, 1964). A vast enterprise which is an especially-significant indication of where global centralization—of which this world has seen its ample share in the past—can lead. Atrocities obviously causing chaos with respect to things otherwise taken for granted, especially when followed soon afterward by the prolonged and unpredictable depredations of hunger-crazed mobs. Together with myriad other attendant and unavoidable evils finally creating the noted confusion and conflict over land ownership, feudal loyalties, long-neglected obligations of tenure, and so on. Upheavals that many modern historians tend dutifully to blame on contemporary institutions themselves, and of course the Catholic leaders and churchmen who administered them.
In defense of a centralization required to bolster academia’s anti-Catholic, anti-medieval view, it might be pointed out that Henry II’s centralizing reforms aimed in great part at strengthening the very immemorial, tribally-inherited common law rights such as would so soon be reiterated so well-by way of the Great Charter against his own son John’s abuses of same. This developing written-constitutionality, and a post-Conquest centralization of a small-scale, increasingly-homogenous island Kingdom, seeming by such logic to be mutually-supporting. However a train of thought in which there is at work a considerable amount of circular reasoning. And then too and as noted there were the destabilizing vicissitudes of the day and time, to which England was no stranger, and which might perhaps seem to argue for such a centralization.
But none of these constraint is present today, so that our own ongoing organizational consolidation can hardly be so warranted. Especially in the light of a modern corporate/governmental ability to almost effortlessly monopolize power, alike physical, psychological and communicational. With noted decades-long, barefaced official capitulations to an utterly-un-monitorable corporate overlord-ship, whether in war or in peace, indicating an open and indeed jocularly-impenitent confession to a yet-“higher” fiefdom. In such a setting, which hardly serves the goals of either true order or rule-of-law, it goes without saying that a steadily-intensifying centralization or enlargement of scale, whether governmental or corporate, is practically and intuitively menacing in the extreme.
Interestingly, national-level trial-court prosecution of felonies and capital crimes, considered the world over to be an identifying element of civilization, is entirely lacking here in a United States which claims somehow to spread the “rule of law” with fire and sword. This particular kind of centralization, regarding the adjudication of major wrongdoing, being a process embryonic even to European Salic and other barbarian law, and developed notably under the consolidating influence of the Christian leaven. This higher-court jurisdiction over felony law being an area which hardly needs a vast officialdom to support it: a densely-bureaucratic, laboriously-litigated United States failing miserably, as noted, in this all-important matter. With even appeal here being not of the judgment itself but rather only of its procedural correctness. A legal novelty, a lack-of-follow-through devoid of precedent which leaves many-a well-connected gangster, wealthy rapist or celebrity murderer to go scot-free, and local “superior” courts and juries with their notorious prejudices and favoritisms to mete out ponderous death penalties and breezy acquittals with an autocratic abandon unique among modern nations. As seen for instance in the modern-day death row marathon in the state of Texas, or in a local court of jurisdiction in Arizona some years ago regarding an incredibly-brutal, sadistically-drawn-out teenage murder, one witnessed by a large percentage of a senior high school graduating class. "Superior court" judgment coming by way of a bribe, a series of long delays, a change of venue and finally a shameful acquittal. All of this being vaguely akin to the way that myriad local zoning boards hand down their likewise arbitrary, typically-class-biased decrees: not-infrequently also fatal to the critical interests of less-favored parties.
Hence an across-the-board bureaucratic centralization, something in which the United States is surely a global leader—and which a recent “privatization” has not at all diminished but only trebled in its byzantine lack-of-accountability—doesn't at all insure the sought-after touchstone of the rule of law. Rather needed being a certain habitual official specialization, as for instance a progressive functional focusing of higher levels of authority, albeit grounded in local consultation and consent, toward things of sovereign gravity or moment. No mean feat indeed, such an upward rarification is the story of two thousand years of patiently coalescing Western political wisdom and life. One which leaves to the daily province of lower units those duties that are of more direct consequence to the minutiae of everyday, pedestrian affairs: local particulars with which the bulk of our most-sought-after freedoms are nonetheless typically closely bound up. The higher realm thus becoming the guardian of higher things, yet typically as conveyed by inimitable colloquial peculiarities of the local scene. Each in its own inimitable, proportional way empowered to shame the less willing, to encourage nation-defining impulses. Noble instincts alien to a break-away laissez faire localism, as notably found not only in local death-sentences but also in suburban-America's thicket of municipal or "unincorporated" exclusionary policies. All together comprising a historical anomaly unworthy even of mutually-embattled city-states of ancient Greece.
Thus too, in an inventory of paper guarantees of our times, a rapidly-diminishing writ of habeas corpus must share pride of place with a sweeping new Supreme Court eminent domain ruling: one by which our property is liable to be summarily condemned and confiscated in favor of the land-development interests of some influential neighbor or official-rewarding racketeer or multinational firm. This pre-Alito decision being however only a main jewel ensconced in a century and a half old setting of property-law nearly as radical in its own long-standing right as this late-twentieth-century judicial coup. Creating an overall fluid quality to the nation’s real-estate perfectly foreign to distributive usage functions noted in chapter one, and equally little to be expected in a land which prides itself on a unique respect for private property and free-enterprise. Local governments by both “model statute” and case-developed means being endowed with prerogatives of a sovereign, even a divine character. Nor finally and for that matter do we tend to rave about our democratic good fortune if we are liable to be gunned down by someone careless or carrying a grudge, surrounded by numerous witnesses imbued with the new “no snitch” (Note of 9/14: or "stand your ground") idealism. A growing constituency peopled in divergent ways and at various times by everyone from rap-enthusiasts to U.S. soldiers to elitists ready to gun you down if you step up to their front door. Among the military in a loss of respect for life evident in mounting murders here at home and in ham-handedly-careless population-massacres and “friendly-fire” incidents in occupied Iraq.
Plainly from all the above, true government and authentic liberty lend themselves little to today’s Presidential or Congressional one-sentence acts of polemical heroism: being marvelously-sophisticated products of traditions, loyalties and time-imbedded inspirations obscurely developed, translated into the circumstantial dialect of ones times, put at the service of the human polity. The morally-universal within this overview being properly formalized and codified at higher levels of regional and national authority, nobly inspiring executive, legislative and judicial functions of those below, scarcely needing to keep cleaver-like divisions or counterbalancings of the three powers strongly in mind. Indeed, authority always assuming all three to reside in one mind, else such an intelligence be a sort of frightful monster in its own right. A higher authority keen on cultivating the unique interests peculiar to each region or locale, as indeed our bodily sense-of-pain or touch in the smallest member in its own way ample testifies: lower levels of such a true, undivided polity possessing a uniquely-potent kind of jurisdictional originality, even a kind of preemptive priority or immediacy of input, as of a sharp pain in a toe or thumb. But necessarily in harmony with the same national-identity-related values and species-of-apprehension. So that were our little finger to claim agony for being denied the reestablishment of Ante-bellum slavery, or for being refused a passionately-sought pledging of undying allegiance to the State of Israel, we would have to bring it back to its proper corporate sensitivities by whatever means required.
This hierarchy of input was to be found in a medieval city or village/manorial administration where the locally-particular, the immediately productive and action-oriented was typically the business of the day, however in a moral self-expression which found ultimate constituent voice in bodies like the Medieval Spanish Cortes or primitive French Etats General. Those more-or-less direct successors to the tribal moot where the vernacular of local socioeconomic and political institutions found collation into the morally and philosophically fundamental, and nation-defining. A sort of juridical “trickle-down”, if you will, which made its way marvelously if meanderingly well through the cipher of intermediate regional bodies: who had a substantial chartering function all their own. These contributing their singular collaborative insights, aims and purviews, the whole bent on sensitively nourishing the smallest swamp-reclaiming burgh. A sap finding potency in a grace of God participated daily at Holy Mass.
Rule-of-law having at each level thus once found its full and proper capacity and scope, generally the work of centuries yet marvelously recoverable within the living legacy of traditional Western law, then a real balancing-of-powers can take effect, replacing one largely of imagery. Such a configuration being highly intuitive, corporative, with geographically-ascending units of authority—as of nerve-center, spinal column, brain—which together arbitrate or balance, and sometimes indeed struggle-over the comprehensive public good. So that neither the family nor the national administration, at the lowest and highest ends respectively of this organizational interweave, nor any units in between, is properly able to stand alone, nor to dominate the others. There being required rather a realistic fabric in which each strand has its integral, responsible place: rather than three abstract-if-ubiquitous “branches” hunkered down in a three-cornered battle of opposing wills. So that although the two versions of a “balancing”—the traditional and the modern—may seem to be identical in substance, in fact, in the practical event, they are miles apart.
But capitalism is the undying universal enemy of genuine political culture, a hydra whose tentacles ultimately envelop all the institutions of men, a kind of organizational cancer which first paralyses and then kills the true and living polity. Namely that state or expression of the common good which, second only to Catholic Faith, it chiefly refuses to tolerate. Wishing ultimately to substitute the task-master’s whip—for all its hoarse boasting about freedom—for the subtle, sensitive, reverend reciprocities of human beings. Imposing in every case its own peculiar, stone-chiseled versions of the rule of law, around which however its innumerable great and penny-ante Pharaohs easily skirt. Faith and true polity being those inestimable riches at the direct expense of which the celebrated economic system gains all its seemingly-irreversible advantages, its vastness of unaccountable, monolithic scale. A Biblical “bad tree” which bears the ultimate foul fruit of the bribery, vice and extortion of the crooked labor leader or party politician, lording it over a powerless citizenry or laboring rank-and-file. This corrupt whole being closely tied in with a network of global financial/political control, holding the whole together in what is no doubt the devil’s own mockery of the Mystical Body of Christ. This gangland aspect of capitalism comprising a shadow world government of sorts which already by 1960 Robert Kennedy accurately predicted would within a mere ten years have a profound negative effect upon American economic life (Kennedy, Robert, 1960): this whether or not he adequately gauged its global dimensions. While certain modern-era popes, unaccountably departing from millennial precision and specificity, have indicted certain "supranational forces" whose financial and political might sometimes goes well beyond that of nation-states themselves, being sovereignty-inhibiting in scope and scale (Internet: Papal Encyclicals, Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X; Moldea, Dan E., 1978).
Clean and direct, by contrast, was the manner in which the Catholic-Medieval package of rights and reciprocal duties was put into force: this most commonly through the conditional issue or reissue of charters, written instruments of official recognition. Clearly distinct from the abstract mechanical precision of Enlightenment forms, these circumstance-adaptable “watchdog” prerogatives of higher levels of government having been granted both regularly and at especially symbolic or mutually-advantageous times. The status-establishing or -confirming requirement being that the previously-accepted, mostly-immemorial corpus of self-governing local or regional usages of each ascending entity has been shown to have remained in force. While at the same time the degree to which these local and regional customary observances continued to be inspired by universally-recognized principles of equity, liberty, justice and so on: this was no small part of the package being thus acknowledged or reconfirmed. Even as, finally, the purely-cultural ribbons or accoutrements native to the same local or regional political parcel, although held in high regard, were largely of its own sole concern, and were thus allowed to flourish in the most potent and original of terms.
Most significantly of all we see that tradition in this organic/institutional sense is the very root word of freedom and the realization of popular aspirations, and ironically-enough even of genuine innovation. Being that sole living reality, that ascending sap, that pliable specificity required to perpetuate the state’s comprehensive array of freedom-preserving yet stability-enhancing tasks. Uniquely preserving these latter two, freedom and stability, the very conditions under which innovation thrives, and over which so much rule-of-law printer’s ink is today spilled to so little avail. So that such a densely-elaborated tradition is not at all a reactionary tool toward the suppression of any such boons, the element of an actively embraced liberty among Medievals being interestingly attested by such details as the use of the very word freedom to describe a geographical cluster of organizational subdivisions in any one jurisdiction (Haslam, 1984). While otherwise this aspect of liberty, taken as an abstract ideal, seems to have been so taken for granted as to have merited relatively-little recorded mention. As in another sense love is sometimes seen in a unique degree of intensity among taciturn people who don't often speak the word: one which has become for them a substantive way of life that lends itself but rarely to verbal proclamation.
Yet more, this reissuing of charters also implies an efficient instrument of reciprocal recognition as well, in a uniquely-collaborative ongoing legitimation. Since by it the lower entity was likewise signaling its acknowledgment of equity at upper levels of authority in the acceptance, or indeed typically-enough the solicitation, of the highly enabling and legitimizing issue or reissue. This mutual confirmation having been a major burgeoning sociopolitical phenomenon of the twelfth century, and a formidable source of a genuine, generally-speaking non-violent, founding unification (Dunbabin, Jean, 1985). That blessing for which however a later radical bureaucratic centralization, the unique home of impressive declarations, would be given much undue credit. This reciprocal charter-related authority-recognition being a process readily open to sedulous negotiation, its ultimate successful conclusion so much to be desired by all concerned, and whose failure in any major way was historically rare, an anomaly indeed.
By earlier arrangements were incalculably-strong bonds of active mutual commitment fostered and kept in force, if of course lacking the radical material and communicational cogency of modern means. This latter increasingly digital interface however frequently being discovered, in a host of horrible catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina, or the recent Virginia Tech campus massacre, and other calamities of analogous scope, to be a moral, motivational and organizational curse rather than a blessing. The old flexible, colloquial, none-secret-protocol-oriented reciprocity being found by contrast to be applicable to trials of every shape and size. Carrying with it the creative, instantaneous adrenaline of human leadership and coordinative capacities of every kind. Needing no artificial electronic interface to keep it in force, or to keep demi-dictators in charge: being composed rather of near-unbreakable, instantly-responsive, modular-detachable bonds human, moral, spiritual in character. These supremely fit for emergency scenarios of many kinds. Historically speaking, an ebullient interface-all-its-own firmly established once a certain inevitable rogue-element had been soundly dealt with, this in most cases by the mid-twelfth century. In a close-fitting political armor which by the opening decades of the thirteenth offered but few chinks for the impositions of anything even vaguely resembling mobsters, racketeers, global-pirates, or corporate/official surveillance czars. Elements which by contrast universally vitiate the modern national life and emergency response systems alike.
As suggested under earlier forms higher authorities at all levels definitively commit themselves not only to enforce but also to respect and foster the more-local usage. A local-society-nurturing that was given the most prominent place in contemporary equivalents of an oath of office, in wording which has in some ways survived remarkably intact into modern times. Medieval multiple levels of authority being mutually-perpetuating in this manner, up to the very highest of realms, but within the noted progressive sophistication or synopsis of scope of concern. An extremely adaptable and modifiable arrangement, as well tuned to subtle as to seismic changes in developmental circumstances, and to the pacific accommodation of stable but lively local, regional and national peculiarities. This while customs that no longer had practical significance, or at least some cherished symbolic value, tended to be discarded rather easily. The Western-Medieval having been above all a living system, with little in common with later Medici or present-day Masonic lifeless but imposing forms.
Hardly is there room in this interwoven distributive fabric for that invasive alien vegetation in organizational terms: today’s capitalism-driven international-shadow-government, one to a marked degree Zionist in sympathies (Razzouk, Dr. Ass'ad, 1970). An association which arrogantly preempts local, regional and national interests across the globe: being the political embodiment of a commercial empire of debt/equity finance, oil and legal/illegal drugs. With the latter in particular serving analogous aims and interests as did the Chinese Opium Trade. The whole representing a foreign geo-political and geo-economic motivating-substance forcibly intruded into local and national institutions that are rapidly becoming mere impotent, subservient shells.
Enumerated custom-ordained enabling institutions of the Medieval system were in turn especially bent on the augmentation of a discursive individual human agency, one necessarily bounded, colored and objectified in noted place-specific points of reference. Exotic and pedestrian aspects of local culture alike by nature being arenas in which are alone securely maintained and articulated individual human liberties of every kind. With any living bill-of-rights being of necessity minutely-specified to local realities and conditions: whose deeper prerogatives and ancillary implications are grasped most thoroughly by those most intimately involved. Accounting, for one, for the fact that when we of today struggle through the reading of some surviving local charter, or even a national one like Magna Charta, we are generally daunted by the minutiae of references to time-bound, often place-specific customs and organizational mechanisms. Rendering the whole a sort of foreign dialect to the uninitiated. Giving us a glimpse of a sociopolitical world in which sweeping, precipitous theories or phrases would as noted have had little provenance or applicability. Thus too the sense gained from above-cited papal statements regarding the definition of property, an area of law of which charters, customs and usages or their equivalents form the rich organic source. The customary elaboration of property rights and arrangements being a central mode of expression of the unique personality of a people: an important aspect of that which we are supposedly making free.
Central government, then, if one would enter the lists in a modern-day attempt to describe such things in single ringing sentences, is most properly concerned with being a kind of agile protector and coordinator to lower units of authority and community life. Herein being contained an orientation toward authority itself which must be inculcated from infancy, around the family table, in relations of close-at-hand authorities/followers, of alderman and citizen, of grandfather and father, husband and wife, mother and child. A moderation of authority which thus depends upon culture and inner dispositions more than anything else: as our “Iraqi Freedom” laser-guided missile ministrations duly if conversely attest. This sovereign plethora—modified significantly only to the mortal danger of the state—being the avenue for the accomplishment of a nation’s unique and legitimate aims and ambitions. Hardly being the pursuit of some American Dream, of something inevitably better and better with each passing year or generation, it is rather the consolidation, and occasional further augmentation—of a people pitting itself heroically against the eroding winds of time—of human and Heavenly riches passed down. Else we be as fools who spit in the wind, or mere illegitimate clones or space-ship-crewmembers without home or estate.
Hence too the already-mentioned small armies and staffs of Early and High Medieval kingdoms, whose very physical limitations can be seen to have been providentially-conducive to the development of the heritage of efficient yet sometimes strikingly homely and innately-government-limiting Western political life. A certain marvelous something which a USA that remains undyingly devoted to the brave and abstract phrase can never hope to achieve. Requirements of brevity and frugality rather ministering wisdom where vaunted human ambition fails. The king and his small staff performing duties typically within the confines of the regal demesne, yet not infrequently coming to the aid of near or far-off regions in many a potent and popularly-beneficial way. By the mid-twelfth century, and notably under Louis VII and Phillip Augustus, extending this distributive and overwhelmingly-constructive authority to the farthest reaches of Southern France (Juan de Mariana, ed. 1950; Dunbabin, Jean, 1985; Suger, ed. 1904; Henneman, John Bell, editor, 1973). In ad hoc royal exercises of authority that were nonetheless universally recognized as valid in character. Typically involving a rallying of the loyal behind the throne, and the consummation of reciprocal contractual communications/security arrangements that were vital to the (genuine) progress of the times. The king hardly being able or willing to cow a developing nation of duchies, counties and principalities just for his own will and whim. Yet being capable of exerting a virile, decisive and beneficial influence, at a time when moral justification meant almost everything, and mighty mercenary armies proportionally less than they would in future.
In terms of our own vernacular, what is urged is that we glean what lessons we might from the past and apply them to the realities of our own day. Such an enterprise, if pursued in a locally-consultative and timely manner, containing few dangers of a return of internal struggles and disorders peculiar to prior eras. For one thing the whole sense of emergency that found it necessary to destroy the fortresses of local castellanies being obviously and redundantly a thing of the past. In the same way that there is equally little need any longer for Sherman to march to the sea, even if present-day slogans about a need for a mega-redundant unity seem to suggest such a bizarre, anachronistic specter. The danger today coming decidedly from above: a time when the ghosts of a now-presidentially-abetted anarchy and slavery once again raise their ugly heads, not just in the South but across the entire land. A national moral/organizational boil having been burst by 9/11, one which through Hurricane Katrina and other punishing disasters spilled its poison from coast to coast. Maintaining as we do the apprehension that present-day trends—not only in totalitarian government but also allied forms of education, media, even religion—may indeed, if they continue, bring about a feared disintegration and devolution of forms.
All the above suggests that there has really been very little thought given to the genuine organizational requirements of the modern state, paralleling a similar lack vis-à-vis modern finance and industry. With a vast array of misplaced functionalities coming about especially in the course of the past several centuries of piecemeal consolidation and subsequent, often-enough random bureaucratization. With jutting branch-of-power turf-projections oddly reminding one of the ragged edges of the urban/rural topography of today. A sort of inarticulate development of functions which not really by coincidence has been concomitant with contrastingly-disciplined stages of the progress of capitalism. The modern polity having a purely-organizational strain of an irrational path dependency all its own: readily providing to capitalism an emasculated sort of centralized state which is timidly hesitant to interfere in local or corporate hegemonies of all sorts. This even as it consistently meddles in the private affairs of common citizens and drives the little businessman to despair. So that the retention of today’s rambling, radically unaccountable, oddly symbiotic corporate/government bureaucracy is on its own account in many ways an invitation to tyranny, and even encourages the very kinds of thing nowadays allegedly most feared (since September 11, 2001): terrorism and treachery.
Hence is today’s piecemeal devouring of the small-brained dinosaur of the modern polity conducted by way of “less government” privatization by multinational corporate interests: the catering for which supper has been supplied by several recent presidents and their cabinet undersecretaries and congressional allies, many of whom have resembled corporate CEOs much more than statesmen in their style and loyalties. All however only members of that broad and swiftly-flowing stream of officials which for a long time now have been directly or indirectly chosen for us by a radically-undemocratic party nominating process. One that resembles not at all the innate legitimacy of the noted Medieval mutually-confirming continuity. Rather being productive of a well-oiled and controlled nationwide political machinery since the Republican-Party/big-business alliance of the late nineteenth century, if at various times involving different actors and scenarios. This while the Democrats have been analogously controlled by fringe-elite forces of the left since at least the McGovern and McCarthy candidacies: the Party of John Kennedy, although in many ways himself a "progressive" and a "one worlder", having been completely radicalized, in another coup, this one bloodless, almost immediately after his assassination. This sole organized harbor of the working man being miserably undermined—duplicating precisely the English process whereby the popularly-responsive Whigs were replaced by a fringe-radical, “man the barricades” Labor—left-leaning parties on both sides of the Atlantic having become champions of abortion, sodomy and every other perverse cause. Abominations which the martyred Kennedy brothers would have regarded with the utmost horror, as we may read indeed in Robert’s The Enemy Within. A perversion which elite-radical-catering Demo kingpins like John Edwards now indeed openly boast has been forced upon the electorate against the solemn American will. These anomalies revealing a generalized tyrannical tendency of American political life indeed clearly seen already in the Jacksonian/Masonic political monopoly of the 1830s: presenting us perpetually the noisily marketed “choice” of two equally-undesirable candidates for each office from which to choose.
Yet none of this hegemony, predictably taking on Yankee-Stalinist shades of an obsession with security—since the first impulse of the thief is to guard his hoard—is in any way unavoidable, nor to be meekly consented to. Since for one thing and by way of the noted capacity for instant communication and rapid transport we have before us today the unprecedented opportunity to confidently adopt freer and more loose-knit, yet actually far-more-secure, arrangements, and this within basically the same security framework that served us so well til this time. (Note of 9/14: My views on this score have become less sanguine, as speed and accessibility have lately been allowed to run counter to freedom and other fundamentals on many scores.) While a much-exaggerated irruption of terrorist incidents both at home and around the globe readily suggests a hijacking from above rather than from transported Middle Easterners: the alternate source indeed long posited by this author for 9/11 and for many-another terrorist or provocateur act as well. Starting with the Kennedy assassinations of the 60s, and indeed, if less frequently-spaced, seen a sizeable number of times before. Even as the eminently-safe yet lively public environment of the Kennedy years—relinquished for our era’s massive, almost-always-people-empty sidewalks, parking lots and civic centers—has been succeeded by a veritable hothouse garden of street gangs and (dutiful-surveillance-camera-recorded) assaults on women, the homeless and the old. The system advocated here being however capable of reproducing the biblical "strong man well-armed", and without need of further armament: presenting foils which the intruder could only with prohibitive difficulty hope to overcome.
But the creation of this benign and unselfconscious reverse-looping, self-monitoring and -maintaining system would be far too simple a thing for those who presently lead us. People who just like the old metropolitan burglar thrive on labyrinthine alley-ways of policy-related obscurity, who prefer a regimented, developmentally-soil-salting combination of bunker-mentality vigilance and group-paranoid citizen surveillance, eerily reminiscent of the Salem of centuries past. However all this within a perfectly-contradictory and hypocritical radical-left-wing bias that remains firmly-if-tacitly imbedded in the whole official approach to security and a host of other issues as well. A jerk-knee libertarianism—for instance with homosexuals cropping up in the most unexpected places in the Evangelical/Republican political/ideological machinery—which despite all the right-wing rhetoric still in many ways refuses to allow the most conventional alliance of security with intelligence over national or interstate crime. Nor a democratically-essential candid investigation of assassinations or crimes-against-humanity themselves, as noted above. Thus not only keeping Hoover's old dichotomy, with the FBI remaining a passive "evidence gatherer" which disdains to take the actively-consultative and coordinative role that such a capability obviously ordains (Senate security issues hearings, 12/03), but also priggishly refusing to employ simple tools of adjudication required in any non-tyrannical, non-autocratic approach. A long-familiar stonewalling hypocrisy ceaselessly citing “freedom’s price”: all the while the innocent citizen is stalked and morally-ambushed in a thousand direct or digitally-enabled ways. The Bush/good-ole-boy “trust me” mentality being implicit at every blind-sighted juncture in today’s take on critical events of national import, throwing out to the masses a patently-juvenile blanket of shock-extorted unanimity and “security” to cover the ongoing trauma of 11/63 to 9/11.
As if fanatical pains in some areas needed laxity as a counterweight in others, violence-prone illegals flow over our Southern borders without so much as a criminal-background check, and our ports are invaded by un-scanned “containers” large enough to hold tanks or atom bombs. All this blinders-wearing hocus-pocus guaranteeing, for one thing, that tyranny-enabling 9/11s will abound where required, and that we will never find out who it really was that ultimately and directively flew those (undoubtedly remote-controlled) Trade Tower planes. An investigative/crime-preventive outcome hardly encouraged as well by a lengthy Congressional brow-beating of those who “didn’t prevent it from happening”—stooges likely not to have been privy at all—of course always amid the nauseating high-dudgeon of patriotic display. Key figures assuming a disingenuous official air-of-confusion that in an uncannily-similar way and at another time served so well to hijack the solving of two heinous, nationally-prostrating presidential-level assassinations of two brothers. An official theatric bewilderment which continues to allow the unimpeded flow of drugs across our southern border, and which expeditiously reopened the Heroine route out of Afghanistan soon after it had been so ably interdicted by the Taliban.
No, there are obviously people in controlling positions who benefit from such a state of national prostration, with the cordoning-off of all truly-incriminating evidence, as against treasonous acts of terror and assassination, behind statutory-miles of yellow tape. This all the while TV-celebrated choke-on-a-gnat “profilings” of common citizens rigidly enforce “correct behavior standards”—namely of the mouthy, the blunt, the effeminate or the avant-garde—"safe" groupie vulgarities ramroded at schools and jobsites all along. With popular habits, impulses and reactions being morbidly analyzed, almost as if we the people were the real enemies, the entire population being under scrutiny through an in-practical-terms constantly expanding Patriot Act. In an information-gathering madness in which there is however much method on many scores. For one thing being a rich goldfield for global marketers and study-grant seekers of all descriptions, in a three way corporate/government/academic "privatized" interface in which you seldom really know with which of these institutions you are actually dealing. A melding of realms in which an American corporate-outsourced profile gathering establishment is always studying us, or, analogously to Margaret Thatcher's concerns over German and Pan-European unification, worrying over any possibility of our becoming at last truly united and whole. And thus no longer open to such a testing of highly-exploitable reflexes. All the while the unitary slogans abound.
Then too the professional people-studiers gain their most-prized results at the time-related ground-zero of public misfortune: when all reactions are held to be so much more candid and revealing. Never mentioning the fact that this is also when the masses—through personality-control-mechanisms taught at psyche departments and learned at gulags like Pitesti or Abu Ghraib—are easily further traumatized and made prone to intensive brainwash and social regimentation. A mass psychological condition that can be artificially-media-expanded-with "code orange" warnings and other high-shock-value admonitions helping to perpetuate a semi-suspended state-of-mind. Hence the public state of near-catalepsy after the Kennedy assassinations, one that in some important ways still remains intact to this very day. Especially in a once-initiated-then-easily-sustained downward spiral of public order and morality.
Indeed, any number of national-level travesties can be guaranteed to take place under such a free-wheeling dynamic, and such bewildering, unbridled power. The cavernous lack of security during John Kennedy's trip to Dallas in 1963, coupled with the criminal destruction of key evidence, and climaxed by decades of court-and-agency oblivion to these and a host of other related legal anomalies, probabilistically guarantees that there was a comprehensive anti-Kennedy blood-oath of sorts in high government, indeed supra-government, places. A conspiracy among whose members may easily have been Kennedy's vice-presidential successor, the proverbially-corrupt Lyndon Johnson (History Channel series on Kennedy Assassinations, 11/03). Especially considering the rather common perception that virtually nothing significant happened in Texas without his trademark or nod. Probability however being everywhere invoked today, as in herd-investment's time-series profit-projections, except in the defense of truth, justice and right. Thus giving evidence of the ultimate perversity, the paramount illegitimacy: of a government which is "swift to shed the blood of the innocent", according to the Old Testament phrase, but powerless even to effectively inform against violent crime. As revealed in a televised ambush interestingly enough to be followed in subsequent decades by the phenomenal rise of a family in Texas, the home of Lyndon Johnson and the state where the assassination took place, to an increasingly-dictatorial national eminence. Readily suggesting something for which you would hardly comb the borders, or frisk airline passengers, to find a remedy. Even as a comprehensive official/media coaching toward spurning the obvious truth in such high matters of state, regarding a bloody event seen before the eyes of many still living on national TV, represents the most abject surrender of all. A Sin Against the Holy Ghost which would subsequently entail bizarre, pathological, self-justifying legal and/or mass-moral repercussions at every level of life, culture and organization.
But the strategic employment of chaos is quite within the scope of today's mammoth scale, a corporate/official techno-monolith—the reverse image of inherited constructive modern forms—being far and away the greatest enemy of security, forming a gargantuan organizational monster whose forebearers brought us the hecatomic wars of the twentieth century, and which promises to bring us even bigger and bloodier surprises in the twenty-first. A multinational beast, an omivor able to take an infinitude of shapes, which has more recently taken special notice of tiny, spouting, “green field” local units of government: appetizing hors-devours after having gorged itself to disgust on the rich meat of Washington or the Middle East. In turn continuing in its lumbering, stalking way to wreak a domestic-welfare-related havoc on open spaces and historic structures alike. In an alliance with local, notoriously-elite-dominated entities dissociated since their late 1920s inception from an organic coordination with state and regional levels of legitimate power (Lai, Richard Tseng-yu, 1988). As evinced in a nationwide abysmal failure at the formation of an intelligent development policy at all levels, requiring a functional totality far beyond roads and suburbias, development for all concerned rather thriving under a multi-level distributive reciprocity. However being at present rigidly controlled by a carefully-concealed and radically-illegitimate alliance between local elite forces, various contractors and a radically-over-empowered national judiciary (Gerken, D.J., 2000). Local units of government, according to such a formula, being just as unresponsive to popular wishes as are exclusionary legislative, executive and judicial palaces on the Potomac. Little League units of power which can however be counted on to play ball especially enthusiastically with such stars as spangle the global corporate ambition.
With respect to much-honored-in-the-breach rule-of-law it is instructive that it was First Millennium Byzantium with its top-heavy bureaucratic despotism that was the all-time personification of chaotic military coups and palace overthrows: this at an average interval of something like five or ten years (Norwich, 1988). However not that great of a stretch from our own record of presidential assaults and assassinations. This while the “backward” Western Europe of the same period was far more concerned with the exigencies of local development than with overthrows or grand proto-Napoleonic visions. Accounting for the fact that when we do find some rare information about the Early Medieval Western European “Dark Age”, clouds of historical obscurity momentarily parting, there is revealed to us glimpses of stable, free and pacific—if on-occasion adversity-tested—social and economic institutions. Quite commonly already long intact and functioning by the tenth century. In a remarkable stability which is on occasion traceable back to at least the eighth or ninth (Hilton, R.H., 1992; Haslam, Jerry, editor, 1984).
Hence too the many Western Medieval charters formalizing the granting of land to the formerly-landless, or the frequent remissions of an often already-mild servitude. As in a 12th century when there proceeded apace under the mild, relenting auspices of monastic and episcopal authority a draining, settlement and cultivation of immemorial swamps and fens and the peopling of other peripheral reaches of Europe. With the villagers involved, generally-speaking previously-land-bound peasants, serfs or even “slaves”, all alike and from the start formally declared to be “freemen and burgers”. Possessing the inestimable rights that the latter title in particular conveyed. Many hundreds of essentially-free city and village administrations thus gradually coming into being amid dense forests, lowlands and heaths (Haverkamp, Alfred, 1992). These ecclesiastical foundations, together with substantially-similar royal burghs, being the typical manner of settlement of the burgeoning 11th and 12th centuries (Hilton, Haverkamp). With a pre-history that goes back much earlier (Haslam, 1994: Haase, 1969): and all this hardly at the price of bloody civil or revolutionary wars. While it was only later, and then only partially, that the unique independence and agency of many of these experiments in popular self-governing forms were to be absorbed from above amid the autocratic ambitions of the proto-capitalist Habsburgs and similar rulers.
The story of the frustration of this quilt-work of lively, locally-autonomous jurisdictions by ever-ambitious international-market-oriented merchants and financiers, a trend gradually coming to dominate Western life from the start of the fourteenth century onward, began with the path-of-least-resistance of a piecemeal progressive usurpation of noted charter-guaranteed political and economic prerogatives of the people. Since local and micro-local power is always the easiest to undermine, the least well-defended: although according to the command of Christ it should be precisely otherwise. This patent subversion being an agenda which in the West has always been principally powered by an ever-discrete Jewish hatred of the Catholic Faith: a loan-shark proclivity, capable of mounting formidable navies and armies against debtor-nations through the sheer critical mass of its mammoth, slave-trading treasure-hoards. A hegemony only expanding in scope to our own day, one which would go with Spanish and French galleons and corsairs wherever they went, undermining Catholicism’s love-inspired work among primitive tribes. This bitter and determined Jewish anti-Catholic antipathy accounting for the long-standing, unprecedented deep-rooted-ness of this strange campaign of heresy-sponsorship, infiltration and expropriation: this insurrection-fraught imposition of "a whole new way of doing things", an all-points assault whose equivalent is not really to be found at any other time in human history. And which will only end with the final conversion of the Jews to the true Judaism, within the loving confines of the Catholic fold.
Among initial encroachments of perennial global financiers would be the gradual re-conceiving of the gild merchant as purely-commercial, rather than independent-craftsman-oriented, in character: its increasingly-plutocratic members thereafter and from such a power-fulcrum ultimately monopolizing Medieval political life (Nicholas, 1998), shutting out the laborer from his locally-unique and organic political role. Financial elites in all ages considering working with ones hands to be a palpable sign of inferiority, and for the spare exertion of whose privileged limbs the radically-unified, homogeneous realm is ever the more congenial setting. With its characteristic uniformity of customs and commercial codes rendering debt incomes and the cornering of markets much easier and more lucrative, and vaunted airs much more likely to merit notice. This while the prerogatives of the common citizen, typically spelled out concretely in terms of myriad local nuances, as human nature indeed requires, became in turn progressively fewer and farther between as time went on. Rights which likewise and by nature require a highly-personalized forms of local authority, this in the above-noted lively interplay with others also personalized, but regional and national in character. Since, as has been demonstrated to us today so well, resistance to the pretensions of usurping forces requires the rigorous, multi-level exercise of individual human minds and wills. And not the cheaply-bought heroism of elite-installed puppet presidents, garrulous but ultimately-powerless assemblies, or oddly-manipulable "independent" courts of law.
As intimated above, Renaissance and Enlightenment declarations and revolutions would amply pave the way for the same custom-quashing, essentially-regressive, innately-globalist ascendancy of the commercial classes. Thus, for one, the immediate insertion, when the gun-smoke of sanguinary eighteenth century upheavals had as yet barely cleared away, of real-property deed-holding as a qualification for any least degree of participation in political life. A backward historical novelty in comparison with Medieval institutions, especially when these were in their full vigor. The very commercial class which led the revolutions in each case predictably tending to become a rigid, unyielding upper caste in the new order of things: now however with precious-little sense of noblesse oblige such as prevailed before. The scale of both government and business quickly taking on radically-centralized proportions as well, the philosophically-abstract 18th century republicanism being found as suggested above to fit admirably-well with a socially-detached world capital. Being indeed far more supportive toward the latter's aims than had been royal absolutism. Ultimately aiding banking, investment and corporate elites toward becoming the undisputed if unadmitted holders of the reins of an increasingly-global political power. A devolution whose permanent institutionalization had however already begun by around the early 16th century. This while noted hair-splitting struggles of a division-of-powers put at the service of radicalism or policy-frustration would prove conveniently powerless against capitalism's micro-managed, deterministic agenda. The recognition of which historical progression represents as noted no conspiracy theory at all but rather a candid assessment of the relentless logic of capitalist global, centralized scale. That which will ultimately tolerate no other coherent forms of power, culture or organization, whether national, regional or local in character.
Thus fatally—in the denial of a practical, economically-embodied, upwardly-ceding, custom-and-tradition-developed popular control over affairs of state—a living vine mounting a woven trellis of substantive power for the lowest levels of labor—would take place the most fundamental of polarizations: that between the government and the people. A cold, shadowy fissure where the sickly weed of capitalism would however grow most prolifically. This dichotomy remaining, for all the brassy patriotic slogans, the most common characteristic of the modern state. Popular government—superciliously misnamed “populism” by self-indulgent elites—being a prolific fruit-bearing vegetation which must necessarily die amid these overbearing practical disincentives. The precisely balanced phrases and razor-sharp abstractions of our constitutional and political system being no substitute for the living, negotiating reciprocities of men. That unity which St. Thomas Aquinas points out as essential to government, indeed to all of life, social or biological, rather necessarily binds together all alike, head and limb, root and branch, thought and emotion. A unity which however as found in nature and the distributive polity alike is flexible, functionally-diffusive and distributive rather than monolithic in character. For which principle reason the Angelic Doctor counsels the retention of an organic or non-absolute monarchy: that which most reasonably accompanies such a unity. That form of organization or authority which within the kingdom of nature itself presides over myriad supple, free and living forms. This whether we speak of the monarchy of the human mind, the beehive, the pride of lions or the whole created ensemble, governed by Almighty God. So that in the absence of such a liberal oneness there is produced a kind of death or dissolution, in political terms typically and paradoxically-enough accompanied by every type of (no doubt “freedom loving”) tyranny or enslavement.
Thus the strange gestation of the odd idea—for which generations of men have been quite willing to die—that freedoms must always come to us clothed in abstract theoretical perfection, capturable in a few precisely-counterpoised sentences. And furthermore that this Newtonian casuistry must be thought of as being far more important than the practical fact, of freedom or enslavement: this latter no doubt with equal tidy precision being assessed as a simple foreknown “breaks of the game”. Imperfect forms indeed being resolutely hijacked, for a lamentable lack of grammatical poise, perhaps for the sake of Lenin's or Marx's "next generation", one that has however and already largely paid its own doubtful tribute of being aborted. A multiple mutual-auto-immolation generally overseen by comfortable politicos and bureaucrats who manage uncannily-well to keep themselves well out of “harm’s way”. So that, almost predictably, once in place, the theoretically-perfect system callously ignores the people's wishes and robs them blind. Since according to Rousseau, incredibly-enough, they have generously “given over” their lives into the hands of their “rulers”, in a contract for which a controlled two party system and a highly-fraud-prone ballot booth are their only guarantees. This in the absence of an inseparably-interwoven popular-political agency and instrumentality which can alone give these devices any meaning at all. While this brave model or paradigm is accompanied by its usual corollary, that if this putatively-flawless freedom suffers any encroachment by boorishly-practical-minded men then this ipso facto constitutes just grounds for assassination or renewed civil war.
But in fact the only way to achieve true representative government, if it indeed be lacking, is through the concrete, pacific processes of a way of life. In which indeed well-conceived divisions-of-power may have their well-understood yet entire component part. In a concrete quest for an inseparable freedom/socioeconomic development which however suffers incalculably from upheavals and uprootings on behalf of a purist paradise of brave souls and abstract minds. Since government is properly embedded in ordinary, pedestrian, fallible life, and not legitimately separable from it. Ruling in itself not being a radically-specialized, impermeable function: popular participation rather being ensconced in the very way things are done. Being an organic or living proliferation of responsibilities, duties and functions that deserves to be universally recognized as the only legitimate and realistic vehicle of freedom and an inseparable genuine productivity alike. This immemorial, initially-tribal realization—as it were giving liberty a practical slurry or stream upon which to glide, else it remain a mere dream in the mariner’s mind—being as noted given new scope by the barbarian’s accession to Faith, as well as by the providential absence of an overpowering totalitarian regime. A hegemonic Constantinople being at this very prolific and embryonic time most often by contrast morbidly enmeshed in its own domestic conflicts and embroilments. The poor transport and communications, too—instrumental boons in disguise—largely preventing the exportation of this yin/yang chaos/oppression to Western realms. A domestic disorder being as we of today know so well quite typical of totalitarian regimes, a chaos which however by way of modern means is a highly-exportable commodity indeed, as Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia bear unrenderably-tragic witness. While what would later become the Ghibbeline-oriented German Empire, coached in tyranny by the same Byzantines Greeks, would only see its first beginnings well into the tenth century: that time-of-chaos no doubt related as much to this new and omen-bearing ascendancy as to typically-cited Viking raids. So that during the prior hiatus the foregoing organically-embedded distributism of the West was allowed to quietly flourish during much of the Medieval period, while providing a divinely-intended model for ages to come. Showing itself strong only as a whole, much like a root-woven square of turf. Secure against disentanglement and disunity, strong most especially by way of its very stubbornness or inertia: if one uncannily lively with religious and civic devotion and song. Evincing a relative invincibility against both blank-faced foreign overlord-ship and domestic abuses of power.
As suggested, rather than favoring such a hearty, densely-woven, private-adventure-resisting unity the new democracies would expedite the isolation over time of the supposedly glorified masses into one vast, amorphous economy of scale. One capable of shifting like tons of rootless earth in a landslide or flood: and this all-too-often in some private-interest-serving direction toward which it had been predisposed. A self-arrogating, institution-determining capitalism having an agenda all its own: its inhuman exclusions—judging for one thing by its inseparable lodge-hall and Jewish-Cabbala connections—arguably originating in anti-matter, Gnostic/purist, mystery-cult fanaticisms and homicidally-aloof diabolisms of the ages as much as in ancient Greco-Jewish usurious forms. Capitalism being basically an elitist anomaly which must sweep aside all popular forms or be swept aside by them, a force under whose dynamic the identifying of some moment in the distant, unrecorded past, referred to above, when the people are said to have transferred their right of self-government to their rulers in a hypothetical Social Contract, would thus easily represent rather more a capitulation to tyranny than an affirmation of self-rule. For as the foregoing suggests the terms of this across-the-board agreement can readily allow government to vanish from its substantial exercise among the ordinary citizenry, and to re-materialize, by a strange alchemy, in the evolving abstractions of "democratic" totalitarian states.
However despite tyrannical interludes, the noted locally-specific official/industrial units and ways-of-doing-things, methodological- and motivational-spores of the Middle Ages, are readily borne on the winds of time, with the least encouragement transplanting themselves across centuries, thriving anew in the fertile soil of the nature and institutions of men. Real government, as bears repeating, being a popularly participated reality which must be constantly partaken in, in its ruddiest organic integrity, if either liberty or civilization are ultimately to be maintained at all. That “fatherhood all of which comes from God" being itself an authority which among men in civil society is meant to be shared, as the biblical phrase indeed implies, rather than residing entirely in some chosen few. Even as there remains ever first and foremost that ultimate authority, reason, the definitive essence of that natural law written on the hearts of men. That which makes human government so marvelous a form: one at the same time so rewarding and so arduous of attainment. Needing the grace of God and the greatest of human care for its full realization. Political leadership when properly understood being the highest and finest of secular stewardships here on earth, by which the entry of the many to Heaven is in practical ways facilitated, in league with the Church’s Sacramental system made more sure. Under whose order and tranquility contemplative life is made accessible, the glory of God pursued, further aggregate blessings assured. As opposed to power more-or-less purely material and irrational in character, exercised largely by compromised men, productive only of despair, toward which today’s Post-Modern phenomenological, or Modernist Newtonian physics-lab inspired, political science, planning and policy-making alike gravitate or conspire.
In view of the above there can be understandably little in common between the plain-spoken forester or peasant of Western Medieval times and today's increasingly-typical fawning corporate courtiers or glowering blue-collar homosexual straw-bosses. While an earlier clerk or rustic, were he to re-appear in some new guise, complete with his ruddy or refined, culturally-specific, outspoken integrity, would no doubt be ridiculed into the safer route of the surrounding limp, jocular and emasculated—or shave-headed, paranoid/machismo—conformity. Or failing that, easily-enough quickly find himself homeless or in some form of confinement. A Medieval who indeed understood implicitly his own organic involvement in the workings of government (Reynolds, Susan, 1997). One who would by the same token have found many more points in common with a displaced Tennessee hillbilly or Croatian peasant of the mid-twentieth century than with those many jocular-yet-depressed, oddly-antagonistic of today who punch time-clocks or man low-walled cubicles from L.A. to New York.
Hence the people, in order actually to be self-governing, must not just reside as an abstract concept within an unquestionable and overpowering state-or corporate/bureaucratic complex: the social, political and economic power of each person rather being made real only through many points of mutual association and interlocking agency. So that the passing of more-recent, mid-twentieth-century sorts of employees, together with large numbers of farmer and rancher contemporaries, each with his own sort of personal, local and regional élan, was far more significant than so many deletions on so many corporate ledgers, or county property-tax roles. A nation having hardly progressed since the days when these geographically-and-socially, truly-and-healthily diverse sorts of people filled family-owned stores and cafes with their variety-loving, functionally-comprehensive, wealth-diffusive buying power. As well as their wealth of friendly nods, candid faces, infectious laughter and frank-but-penetrating political commentary.
Thus are such manifestations of locally-specific life and conviviality not just nice folksy luxuries but fundamental underpinnings to the political survival of a people, the freedom of their institutions and the wisdom and timeliness of their material development. Even as the old interwoven, intrinsically-innovative mutuality is a milieu uniquely capable of any number of new industrial expressions: hardly having been outmoded together with earlier technical forms. Rather having been overcome amid a dense cloud of stock-market and profit-regression euphoria, artificial emergencies and initiative-inhibiting pseudo-academic words. Productive in turn of the modern worker, one whose much-admired “cool” mystique, upon a closer evaluation, is seen to be little more than an inert by-product of prodigious amounts of social engineering. A worker who for all his group-sensitivity and group-dynamics and regarding all that really matters—having been stripped of genuine, congenial forms of social self-expression—must basically face an increasingly totalitarian system entirely on his own.
It can hardly be surprising that from noted sturdy sources there came forth the all-too-brief cultural flowering of the mid-twentieth century, one which gave us the Local Color authors, Robert Frost, Glen Miller, Jimmy Stewart and the Sons of the Pioneers. While from out of the same rich milieu many of the foundations of present-day technological prodigies were laid, often in a local, smaller scale environment which has frequently harbored inventions and advances from Kitty Hawk to the helicopter to the Apple Computer. Surprisingly-many times among rural folk who had learned the hard way to be jacks-of-all-trades, in a modern-day replay of the little-explored and less-appreciated town/hinterland economic reciprocity of Medieval times: providing the dynamic which spurred the development of many of our great cities. Even as in our own time a much-made-over, conformity-ridden networking has been found wanting as an explanation for the vigor of modern agglomeration economies, by researches not so bent as others on championing some new avant-garde collectivist corporate life-style (Anders and Maskull, 2000). Of giant firms which buy up cutting-edge micro-firms and assimilate them into their own digestive systems, revealing throughout an obsession with an open-ended human engineering far more than an eagerness for popular wealth or productive development.
By contrast do we have a correct, proportionate and sane understanding of organization in the words of Our Lord to the effect that although “the rulers of the heathen lord it over them it is not to be thus with you, but rather is the greatest of you to be as the least and the least as the greatest”. Words coming from the lips of One Who is not only the ultimate Exemplar of all who are in authority but Who at the same time closely identified Himself with the condition of the common man. By His humble birth place, laborious profession, and rustic companionship providing in Himself the human/spiritual Nexus of men; taking the position of the ultimate universal human-relational Mediator, as well as that between God and man. Thus singularly and with divine force enabling within Himself systems of the same cohesive, reciprocating kind. Good government accordingly requiring that those who hold official posts, or any other positions of authority, stand in as the ordinary citizen’s alter ego rather than become his masters: even by arrangement of never-so-exalted a social contract.
Neither is this approach to authority a “counsel of perfection”, meant only for members of religious orders, but obviously and by its very wording addressed in a special way to laypersons. Being too a resounding affirmation, and further development, of initiatives of self-government during pagan, pre-Christian ages. An approach which as indicated above finds support as well in the whole tone and tenor of Our Lord's deeds and sentiments regarding social life and institutions. A populist King of Kings sowing abroad this sociopolitical seed, one which readily took root in a Byzantium-despised Western Europe. The Christocentric nation being a political seedling germinating and developing among the newly-Christian peoples as the ages progressed, under the abiding influence of that Holy Ghost Who would as promised “call to your minds all that I have taught you”. Augmenting the humanity and equity of laws framed amid the exigencies of Early Medieval times, largely by clerical hands. And in many places in its earliest centuries almost exclusively administered by an ecclesiastical higher nobility (Internet sources: Gregory of Tours, 6th century). To gradually form a thick undergrowth upon which later-Medieval and modern man would ultimately tread, ‘‘lest he dash his foot against a stone”. Foundational blessings however appropriated by Enlightenment philosophers and freemasons alike without so much as a nod.
Granted, certain constraints of morality are assumed in the old freedoms, an alien license finally bringing down even the rarest of liberties and the most prudently conceived of states, as if by a natural law of gravity. Man becoming little by little more and more blind and confused, as he becomes less and less able to distinguish the good from the bad. Gradually losing that noted rationality which is the very main-spring of good government and self-rule alike. At last habituating his senses to enjoying that from which he was morally and rationally built to flee. Even claiming to be allowed, by an oddly-perverse understanding of nature itself, the sometimes-erratic behavior of animals in captivity, when he is in fact meant to be endowed with supernatural gifts which partake rather of the angelic. Even these lesser creatures however, as in moments of sexual frustration, never reproducing whole and complete homosexual acts, such as their human imitators contend, and so eagerly and shamefully perform. By such a disingenuous route carelessly excusing brute and irrational “imitations” of an animal life which must by nature consume itself, in a biospheric law of perpetual destruction/conservation. Cramped confines into which Marx, Freud, Spencer and Nietzsche would force-fit the children of God. The furtive pleasures and beastialities of modern man, going radically beyond the capers of innocent creatures, in many ways requiring the modern system’s huge scale, with its abundant hiding places, or Fort Lauderdale brand open anonymity. With man in all of this displaying little but contempt for his neighbor, spurning his only dependable joint-guarantor of freedoms that must needs be socially articulated, and in essence rationally and virtuously achieved. And so man prepares himself a sociopolitical hell on earth-amid fitful and unfulfilling excesses of all kinds, and a terrifying loneliness which is the inner atmosphere of the modern soul. A fitting antechamber for a final alienation, alike against himself, his God and his fellow-man, in an eternity in Hell.
Yet it is the uncompromising Catholic morality, once taught by every parish priest and theological doctor, which is at the same time almost indulgent to the sinner: in comparison to a modern American justice administration system positively draconian in its approach to a great many categories of crime. While Catholic lay guilds and fraternities, with their inseparable drinking-festivals, much like the prevalent modern-day German custom—if in those times even to the accompaniment of communal prayers—continued generally to be endorsed by the Church throughout Medieval times: this in spite of occasional and oft-lamented excesses to which frail humanity is, alas, prone. Celebrations which when conducted in an orderly, moderate way can hardly be differentiated from the Gospel sharing of the Pasch of the Last Supper, during which the fruit of the vine was partaken, and after which hymns were sung by Christ and His Apostles. Or those Early Christian dinners recorded in the Epistles, always keeping their religious character yet caring as well for the humbler needs of our humanity, social and individual. And obviously with the same fruit of the vine (as distinct from the Holy Sacrifice, in which bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ) taking its place as on that founding earlier eve. Medieval gatherings however tending to puzzle modern scholars as to their deepest cohesive causes, origins and motivations, many among these modern-day “scribes”, like ancient forerunners, struggling to fit them into some reprehensible framework. Fuller meanings of the word love, particularly in the sense of the Christian socio-mystical agape, having for one thing fled from the modern vocabulary, having been redefined mostly toward more-trivial connections. Since despite all the “party-animal” bonhomie, there is no longer any time left in the socially-austere neo-capitalist day for these often-lengthy, polity-strengthening, contrastingly-resource-conservative festivals of unity and mutual regard. All the while finally, as if to add insult to injury, wealthy elites while away whole mornings on exclusive golf courses or sail majestically on yachts, oblivious to the harried and exploited lot of the common man.
The weak human nature of those who hold positions of power will always be prone to various degrees of failure in living up to the Christian sociopolitical legacy, to its true and substantial sort of freedom and solidarity, in the imperfect world in which we live. Implying a perpetual but sweetly-rewarding official struggle to imitate Him Who first and foremost was and is “friend” and even “servant” to His fellow men. The popularly-self-expressive character of law and government, too, being a historical process that has yet to be fully realized. Yet in English court documents of Medieval times we read of the lowliest of laborers taking their own lord before the latter’s own Lilliputian manorial court, citing a customary right which he was attempting to transgress, and winning the case hands down (Gies, 1990). Similarly, across Western Europe proper to England and the reaches of eastern Germany, to Portugal and the French Midi and among the Italian city-states and the self-governing Bratsvos of Croatia (Guldescu, Stanko, 1964) the same kind of political philosophy was in ferment, in many cases from Late Ancient times. Among people independent, in charge of their own ordinary and more consequential affairs. Each and all firmly tied to one another and to the exercise of power in infinite numbers of ways that were humble and homely, together with some few others that were grand and proud. Much like the lowly but redoubtable turtle is tied to its shell.
No doubt to the endless debater of our times, a completely different species from the “little ones” of Christian Faith, or even of Oriental wisdom, such things as are recounted here will draw only scornful rebuttal. Facts of history among which there are some unavoidable gaps but which support one another intuitively and from many separate directions. A factually-collaborative kind of evidence in support of the existence of a substantially-free and economically-fertile Medieval Western European culture, one highly analogous to that which causes a child to trust its parents as it grows up, with "proofs" to be found in a certain abiding intergenerational Christian security and joy which "no one will take from you". This by way of events which confirm one another morally, in interior recesses of soul and mind. A simple trust far different from the blind loyalty demanded of the alienated citizen by today's neo-capitalist police-state, with its hyped-up slogans bare of any rational or truthful basis. And the growing insecurity to which the same citizen is left as a token of its gratitude. Indeed, all wisdom and sanity are based upon a certitude of concrete, generation-by-generation continuous, often-affectionate observation. Productive of an intuitive confidence analogous to that by which the craftsman, with little effort, mobilizes extensive abilities which issue in enduring creations. All involving an innate appreciation of inherited if sometimes barely-definable good things. The kinds of things which madmen are most noted for rejecting.
Do we really believe, then, that our ancestors of not that long ago, from whom we inherited so many marvelous creations, mild laws, warm-hearted traditions and light-hearted songs, could have been the tyrants or grovelers they are depicted as having been? In a politically-correct view of history so inimical to everything in our Christian, Western past? And indeed largely to the past of mankind as a whole? Granted, it is easy enough to conjure up instances of oppression in a society where military life was closely interwoven with ordinary daily existence. And which thus in the manner of military men often spoke directly, if graciously, and to the point. This in stark contrast to the corporate world’s unctuous disingenuity—or insipid jocularity—things which as noted have fatally poisoned American verbal culture. So that if a feudal lord, that most personalized of officials, wanted something from one of his vassals he said so, and undoubtedly most often with a straight face. But some scholars realize that the ubiquitous “fines” of those times, levied, for instance, when someone married “out of rank”, were probably more than anything else a means of tax collection for societies that had nothing so sophisticated—or oppressive—as an income tax (Ibid). These monetary or property-alienating penalties being at times substantial but hardly ever crushing. And thus not preventing ample numbers from entering into such marriages. Evidence of which fact is scattered among surviving feudal registries and other Medieval records.
Similar sanctions against ale brewing in England—in this case extremely small levies—were likewise clever forms of liquor taxation. While, as the same author has noted, exemption from such taxes can easily be interpreted as a kind of bonus or reward for marrying within ones rank, or for staunching an occasional immoderate flow of brew, rather than their payment being a punishment for the one or the other (Ibid). Certainly, too, if the benefit of years of training and sponsorship of all kinds, typically also involving land ownership, were suddenly to be lost to some lord through a vassal or one of his dependents marrying out of rank, or if the harvest of hops, barley, and domestic contentment were such that ale flowed liberally and convivially, then it can hardly be cause for surprise that he would want to be compensated in some way for his loss, or for being instrumental in conferring such boons. For this was a society whose members were first and foremost materially committed to one another, and keen on generous mutual compensation. Something far different from the radically-“utility”-related, highly-temporary, “modular” personal relationships of our times, wildly-celebrated by the futurist Alvin Toffler. With the polar personalities they no doubt act to produce.
An unquestionable survival from such times, and witnessed by myself in the late 60s, was the similar “fining” of shop-keepers of Lisbon for occasional failures to wash down the typically ceramic-tiled fronts of their boulevard-facing establishments every so often. Something which must have taken them all of a morning to do, with the long-poled squeegee you might even catch them with, if you rose early to enjoy the brisk Atlantic air. Thus were killed two birds with one stone: the city kept attractive for tourists and its tax coffers replenished by those unable or disinclined to comply. This and similar arrangements, as I gather from other personal sources, actually continue to be an integral part of taxation across Europe: by way of such a “tyranny” thriftily employing citizen efforts and synergies, this in a conservation-oriented approach far different from the rash but privately-remunerative downtown remakes that prevail across the sea. This to recapture things lost a generation or two ago in similar demolitions. Employing armies of generally-speaking addictive construction workers, among whom others differently disposed are increasingly less-likely to be found. All alike entailing incredible human, psychological, monetary, resource and environmental costs.
In view of all of the above there can be little surprise at the radical reinvigoration of chattel slavery in the mid-fifteenth century, a phenomenon to grow in importance until it threatens today, in increasingly-more-open forms, to engulf the entire blue-collar class, and indeed in many ways an ample segment of the white-collar as well. Capitalism having been joined during the Enlightenment by classical political forms, in a union oddly-fruitful in an ironically-elite-serving “egalitarianism”. A classicism conveniently-denuded of nearly eighteen hundred years of the mitigating, truly-and-fundamentally-egalitarian influence of the Christian leaven. The renewed ancient catering to a wealthy class of full citizens (like our openly-fawned-over middle class, and our secretly-worshipped upper) being at the same time symbolically announced in art and architecture from Paris to Monticello to Washington D.C. The plight of essentially disenfranchised masses, capitalism's critically-necessary "losers", needed to support in style such an elect, being essentially ignored. The beneficiaries of whose toils and burdens would swell in number until they reached the impressive dimensions of these self-same mid-twentieth century secure and/or comfortable classes: a constituency whose ranks have however diminished considerably since those days. An “American Dream” category which despite its shrinking numbers would nonetheless come to depend upon the groaning exertions of the better part of a whole globe, and not just half of the USA. The vast majority of Blacks, Indians, Hispanics and poor Whites, here, and literally billions of others in third world nations, hardly sharers in such a way of life, of course being readily and “righteously” condemned for their supposed lack of “hard work”, initiative, intelligence or entrepreneurial spirit.
Most intolerable of all, amid all the zany success euphoria, poorer populations especially among U.S. Blacks are being brutally marginalized, even by many of their own leaders: made to appear as a constituency that doesn’t even figure in the scheme of things. Having reputedly “missed the boat” in some infamous way. A “loser” condition however summed up in those generic terms which roll so easily off privileged tongues. These forgotten unfortunates then being smugly made into more-or-less permanent stepping-stones to higher things for flag-waving legal and illegal immigrants of many nations: first and second generation Americans who thereby make good their own escape from their own peculiar ghettoes. All the while above much-celebrated “successful” minority-members elbow their way forward, fill a White-welcomed “token” role. Inevitably displaying in full form the brashly aggressive go-getter élan: too-often coming thereby to resemble uniquely-twisted versions of their “betters”. Doubtful beneficiaries, whether immigrant or native, losing a much greater good: much of their own marvelous identity. Something which despised downtrodden masses both as groups and individuals often manage to keep firmly intact, if sometimes at crushing costs, and even by way of the very all-encompassing injustices themselves. Providing a kind of obscure retreat—even a kind of "baton of victory nobly won"—set off from the surrounding institutionalized perversity and madness: in a story as old as sainthood and sin.
Thus in a different and a more-complete way did the Catholic res publica of the Medieval West taken shape, “in the fullness of time”, with the very mercy, tolerance, magnanimity, and self-restraint that go into our deeper ideals of equality and self-government having only remote sources in the ancient political patrimony. Rather claiming as its own one ultimately flowing from the open wounds of that “Son of Man”, His own favorite title, Who is the very full budding forth of every human promise, potentiality and liberal impulse. So that we must undo so much of history, the highly-ironic preoccupation of many-a modern historian, in order to support the Enlightenment paradigm as the sole foundation of self-government.