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War And The Health of the State: What Causes War
« on: April 14, 2017, 04:03:51 AM »
http://www.globalresearch.ca/war-and-the-health-of-the-state-what-causes-war/5580595?print=1

War And The Health of the State: What Causes War
By Arthur D. Robbins
Global Research, March 19, 2017

Url of this article:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/war-and-the-health-of-the-state-what-causes-war/5580595

War has indeed become perpetual and peace no longer even a fleeting wish nor a distant memory. We have become habituated to the rumblings of war and the steady drum beat of propaganda about war’s necessity and the noble motives that inspire it. We will close hospitals. We will close schools. We will close libraries and museums. We will sell off our park lands and water supply. [1] People will sleep on the streets and go hungry. The war machine will go on.

What are we to do?

Randolph S. Bourne was born in 1886 in the town of Bloomfield, New Jersey, to an aristocratic family of proud New England heritage. The family attended the town’s first Presbyterian Church and raised their son on a Bible verse a day. Bourne was expected to honor these auspicious beginnings by attending college and then law school and establishing himself among the scions of wealth and respectability.

Bourne had other ideas. As a young child his body was twisted with a disease that left him with a double curvature of the spine that eventually retarded his growth. A birth injury had disfigured one side of his face, producing an impression in adulthood that inspired Theodore Dreiser to refer to him as “that frightening dwarf.“ The flu epidemic of 1918 took Bourne at the tender age of thirty-two.

In his brief tenure, that “frightening dwarf“ became one of the most articulate, independent and outspoken intellectuals of his generation, perhaps despite, perhaps because of his social and physical handicaps. Bourne had the audacity to put himself in opposition to  “The Great War, “ “The War To End All Wars, “ i.e., World War I, as bodies on both sides were being torn to shreds so the world might be “safe for democracy.” His independent mindedness cut him off from most of his intellectual peers, including such luminaries as Charles Beard and John Dewey of Columbia University. In many ways his writing was an attempt to make sense of what he saw as a betrayal of the truth by men for whom he had once had the deepest respect.

Perhaps Bourne’s most noteworthy achievement is an essay entitled, “The State.” Written in 1917, in the midst of war, Bourne takes an analytic look at the causes of war and its social consequences. He begins by establishing the basic concepts necessary for understanding the political functioning of a particular society. He speaks of “country, “ “government,“   “nation “  and “State.“  Each of these concepts has a meaning with specific consequences for domestic and international affairs.

Country is a plot of land inhabited by people who speak the same language — more or less — and share some common values, or as Emile Durkheim might say, “a collective common consciousness.” Country is the mountains, valleys, plains and rivers, the factories, golf clubs and bowling allies. Country expresses itself via its culture, its art, literature and political practices. “Country is a concept of peace, of tolerance, of living of letting live.” (Bourne, 68) It is loosely organized and diverse in its beliefs.

Government is the means by which a country organizes and structures itself. It is the means by which a society takes control of itself or fails to. Government divides the country into smaller units for purposes of administration and representation. Government can be highly centralized or it can rely on the strength and independence of the localities. The form government takes plays a critical role in determining the nature of the society and the character of the citizens who live under its dominion.

Nation is country taking consciousness of itself. Nation is country with an identity. “I am an American” has a certain meaning and significance when uttered by someone occupying a certain plot of land, especially when taken in the context other plots of land, occupied by other peoples. Nation is a benign concept. There can be national pride without any belligerence attached to it.

Unlike country, nation and government, State exists only under certain circumstances. And those circumstances are the circumstance of war.  “With the shock of war,” says Bourne, “the State comes into its own….” (Bourne, 66) Without war the State disappears and reverts to being a nation, which is another way of saying, “War is the health of the State.” (Bourne, 71) Or, in the words of Heinrich von Treitshke, “The concept of the state implies the concept of war, for the essence of the state is power.” (Popper, 276)

State is not a reality. It is an artifice, a myth, an ideology that is superimposed upon a social reality that it flouts and subsumes by means of manipulation and propaganda. Take away the State and country/nation are there intact. Take away country/nation and state vanishes. It has no existence of its own. One country does not go to war against another. “It is the country organized as a State that is fighting, and only as a State would it possibly fight.” (Bourne, 82-83) States make war on each other, not countries, not peoples.

German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) was a big fan of the Warrior State. Here he is inveighing against the “nation” as “rabble.”

The aggregate of private persons is often spoken of as the nation. But such an aggregate is a rabble, not a people; and with regard to it, it is the one aim of the state that a nation should not come into existence, to power and action, as such an aggregate. Such a condition of a nation is a condition of lawlessness, demoralization, brutishness [italics in original].” (Popper, 268)

As this quote makes clear, “Nation” and “State” are not one and the same and that in fact the two are mutually exclusive. State is government in the service of war, a society organized for the purpose of killing. Nation is a government organized for civic living. State is a killing machine, a parasite, a leech sucking the life out of government.

Three kinds of war and how they are financed

Basically there three kinds of wars: land wars, word wars and wars of extraction.

Land war

“I want that plot of land.” “Well, you can’t have it. It doesn’t belong to you.” “I am going to take it anyway.” War. Land is about power, personal power. Religion and reasons of State are simply pretexts for justifying the killing.

Feudal society was built around land wars. The king makes war and rewards his knights with land. The more war that is made the more land that is acquired by the king and the more he has to pass along to the knights that made war with him. And so land gets distributed and redistributed and eventually there is a land holding aristocracy.

Word war

“We believe the moon is made of green cheese.” “We believe it is made of solidified yogurt. And if you don’t change your mind, we are going to kill you and all your followers.” War.

In 1095, the Catholic Church in the person of Pope Urban II introduced word wars with his first crusade. The “infidels” in far off lands needed to be crushed. The “Holy Land” needed to be retaken by brute force. The crusaders — many were wealthy knights — were encouraged to hand over their land and wealth to the Church before leaving on a journey from which many did not return. With warring lords out of the picture and their wealth in Church coffers, the Church expanded its power and influence while crusaders were giving their lives over semantic differences.

In the south of France, there was a religious community known as the Cathari or Albigensians. There were a peaceful people who worshipped a god of love and peace. They believed that power and love cannot co-exist and specifically renounced the principle of power. When they persisted in living out their beliefs, Pope Innocent III (sic) saw to it that they were slaughtered, with a loss of life estimated to be as high as a million.

The 16th century “Wars of religion” are among the most odious “Word Wars” to date. Hundreds of thousands were killed. Barbarism reached new heights for the time. Who has the word, has the power.

War of Extraction

“We need oil to fuel our jets so we can bomb you into oblivion.” “But that oil is under our sands.” “We are going to take it anyway. And don’t try and stop us.” War. Endless war. War that becomes a word war in the name of “democracy” so the folks back home can be nudged into supporting the war with their lives and money.

Wars of extraction are a modern invention, a bi-product of the industrial revolution. Making war in modern times consumes enormous amounts of natural resources. When a country like the U.S. begins to run out of what it needs it seeks replenishment elsewhere.

Since its founding the United States has been at war for 214 out of 235 calendar years, which makes for one Healthy State! [2] According to retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) William J. Astore, “War Is The New Normal.” (TomDispatch, February 1, 2015) He is referring to the period since September 11, 2001, but of course there is nothing “new” about this normal. War has been “normal” from the get go. It is estimated that since WWII, US-led and instigated wars and conflicts around the globe have killed 35 to 40 million people; 10 to 12 million alone since 9/11. (Koenig, Global Research, November 3, 2015)

War depletes government. There is little or nothing of financial or social resources left over for addressing the needs of the citizenry. Cultural and intellectual life dwindle. “If the State’s chief function is war, then the State must suck out of the nation a large part of its energy for its purely sterile purposes of defense and aggression….The calling away of energy into military pursuits means a crippling of the productive and life-enhancing processes of the national life.” (Bourne, 81)

Financing war

As wars evolved so did the political structures necessary to feed them. In the Middle Ages when the Lord of the manor sought to make war he would call upon his knights to supply the troops and to arm them. These were mostly local skirmishes on a relatively small scale. As the violence of war became more extensive and more far-flung, as the machines of war became more complex and sophisticated, as the armies required more and more troops, there was an ever-increasing demand for more funds, which is where taxation comes in.

The population at large would be taxed from the upper echelons of the knighthood, which eventually became the nobility, all the way down to the sustenance farmer and the humble artisan who resided in town. The nobility would bear the heaviest burden since they had the most to offer. Each new military adventure required yet more revenues and a rise in taxes. [3] Predictably, there was increasing hostility among the nobility and the townspeople who lived under an ever-greater tax burden.  There would be armed resistance that would be successfully repressed, leading to an even more centralized and powerful State.

When revenues from taxation proved insufficient, the State would turn to borrowing. Initially the borrowing was from wealthy individuals, eventually these wealthy individuals balked, especially as the State was unable to repay its loans in a timely fashion. Banks were formed.

Banking activities can be traced all the way back to 2000 B.C. when farmers and traders needed money to support them in their effort to bring their product to market from one city to the next. Modern banking began to emerge in the Renaissance in wealthy Italian cities like Florence, Venice and Genoa and was dominated then — as it is now — by wealthy banking families. In 14th century Italy it was the Medici family. Today it is the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers.

In 1695, William III of England needed funds to rebuild his navy. His credit was so poor that no one would lend the money he needed. His solution was to form the Bank of England, perhaps the first Central Bank. The bank would lend money to the government, issue currency and set interest rates. It was established as a private institution whose board members were not to be revealed. Hamilton used this model in setting up the “Bank of the United States,” which evolved into today’s Federal Reserve Bank.

As war became more frequent and was conducted on an ever-grander scale, banks played a greater and greater role, making banking families critical members of the warrior class. Currently, in the year 2017, banks not only fund the wars, they have become the engines of war. War is good for business, so let’s make war. In WW II, the Rothschilds funded both sides. Currently, the United States spends trillions a year on war. Its national debt is at $16.3 trillion dollars. In 2015 the cost for servicing that debt was in excess of $405 billion, most of which was a consequence of borrowing money to make war. [4]

With all of the money coming in from different sources, there is a lot of bookkeeping and accounting that must take place to keep track of and enforce the collecting of funds from taxpayers and banks. Here is where bureaucracy comes in. How is one going to go about collecting those taxes, keeping track of who pays and how much, develop a means for compelling compliance? One needs personnel, more and more. Larger and more costly wars require more and more money and the bureaucracy necessary to supply and manage that money. Currently, in the United States, the IRS has a payroll of more than 82,000.

The Pentagon with 6,000,000 employees is the largest single employer in the world. The arsenal needs to be restocked, arms need to be invented and procured, strategic decisions need to be made.  Much of this takes place in the Pentagon, which, in essence, is the government. The Pentagon sucks up money at an astounding rate and spends it with reckless abandon. It is accountable to no one. There is very little in our social, political, economic, agricultural, cultural — even personal— life that the Pentagon doesn’t impinge upon.

Needless to say, the warrior class has little love for Mother Nature, and little concern for her failing eco-system. Their god is Thanatos, the god of death. Happily, they would oversee the extinction of the human species.

The State in control: How we are kept in line

The State has an internal structure, and that structure is derived from its primary function, making war. In discussing the nature of the State, and its relation to war, Porter speaks of “an iron triangle of arms, capital, and bureaucracy” (Porter, 58). I would add three elements, the warrior, the banker and the propagandists. I guess that gives us an iron hexagon.

The State started as monarchy and morphed into oligarchy at the end of the 18th century, probably because the aristocracy had been used up as a source of funding. The State needed to tap the middle class, which meant a form of government that would “include” — i.e. seem to include — them, hence the bastardized use of the word, “democracy.”

Although it is obvious, wars do not occur spontaneously, the way crocuses rise in springtime. Behind every war there is a warrior or several warriors or a class of warriors. There are the visible oligarchs — the men and women we put in office — and the invisible oligarchs, the deep state, George Soros, the Rothschild family, the Rockefeller family, the Koch brothers, people like Karl Rove, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Paul Wolfowitz, someone like Thomas Barnett, “military geostrategist,” an academic or two. But it doesn’t really matter who they are or if they are masons or Illuminati. What matters is that they have the power and we don’t.

The State — i.e. the warrior class who run the State — is a law unto itself, and is accountable to no one.  It is above and beyond the morals of civic virtue.  It only does wrong when it fails to fulfill its role as State, which is †o say make war.

The “Great Men” of history are not to be judged by the same standards we apply to civic society. The “Great Men” are “great” because they are efficient killers and for that we should honor them, not judge them. As Mao Zedong put it, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Who holds the gun, holds the power.

Peace, on the other hand, that brief interlude between wars, is government in the service of the civic community. Economic needs and social needs are the primary concern. Cultural and intellectual life flourish. The energy and resources that would have been spent in killing are devoted to nourishing life. There is no need for lying. There is no need for propaganda. Society is being called upon to act in its own best interests. There is nothing to hide.

It was Thomas Hobbes’ view — Leviathan (1651) — that the State — the mighty monster — is our savior and protector. Without it we would descend into a state of nature. “Without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man”. Life in this state of nature is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

One can argue that Hobbes has it all backwards. It is the Leviathan — the State — that is reducing us to this primitive, barbaric State of Nature by its endless wars. The State is not protecting us from the State of Nature as Hobbes predicted. Instead, by its endless war, it is reducing us to a State of Nature.

Fear and obedience

The State requires obeisance. It needs to get the country to do its bidding, which is to say it needs to get the population to accept and support the sacrifice that war entails. There are economic and social sacrifices. One will even be asked to sacrifice ones life.

Enter fear, the primary means by which the state retains its control. We are to be maintained in a constant state of anxiety. We are to feel weak and insecure, uncertain about what could happen next, overwhelmed with information about various germs, insects, plagues, infiltrations and assaults. Says Chris Hedges, “Terror, intimidation and violence are the glue that holds empire together.”

The enemy is everywhere and anywhere. He is ruthless and barbaric and will stop at nothing, which is why we need an all powerful, all knowing State to protect us. We see a poster on the subway, “If you see something, say something.” There is an image of a package underneath a seat. We are to assume it is a bomb that will blow us to smithereens. When we see such an object we are to inform a police officer or an employee of the MTA. There is an announcement that repeats the same message and ends, “Stay alert and have a safe day.”

There is a television program entitled “Homeland.” It is about a returning soldier who has spent eight years in captivity. The CIA believes he has gone over to the other side and is connected to a terror plot that is to be carried out on American soil.

There is the “Department of Homeland Security.” Its vital mission is “to secure the nation from the many threats we face,” “safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.” The Department employs 240,000 people in its determined effort to keep us safe.

And of course there is the NSA (National Security Agency) employing something like 50,000 experts trained to keep us safe, the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) with a work force of about 22,000 whose job it is to detect overseas threats to our domestic tranquility and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) whose job it is to root out terrorists on our home territory. They employ around 35,000 agents and the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) around 17,000. That adds up to around 365,000 men and women devoted to keeping us safe and secure.

We need constant reminders of who the enemy is and what he looks like. He is Muslim. He is wily. He is ruthless. He looks different from us and prays to a different god. He frightens us and we are grateful for the 365,000 men and women devoted to keeping us safe. Every so often there is an “event” in which it is claimed that a Muslim is responsible for loss of life. Conveniently there is a passport left behind identifying exactly which Muslim it was who committed the act of terror.

There is war over there, somewhere. We learn what the enemy is capable of. There are gory images and stories of beheadings and torture. So the enemy is demonized. The mission is glorified, often at the expense of the truth.

One example among many is what happened early in the first assault on Iraq, known as the Gulf War, when George I was President. On October 10, 1990, a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, known only by her first name of Nayirah, testified before the “Human Rights Caucus,” not a legitimate congressional committee. She alleged that she had seen “Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where … babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.” (Stauber and Rampton)

It turns out that “Nayirah” was daughter to the Kuwait’s Ambassador to the U.S. and that the story was a fabrication fed to “Nayirah” by the Lauri Fitz-Pegado, vice-president of Hill and Knowlton, the country’s largest public relations firm. One can only assume that similar stories have similar origins.

Thus, compliance with the State’s program of war requires constant lying by the State and the media that speak for it. It is doubtful that any people would go to war if they knew the whole story about the key figures involved and what their true motivations and values were and what the consequences were for the country being invaded. Truth is an enemy of the State. The State needs the lies, even more than it needs war. Take away the lies and the State disappears.

Obviously, free, independent, critical thinking is anathema to the State. It must control the word and will crush anyone who reveals the truth. Chelsea (Bradley) Manning was put in prison for releasing documents claimed to be detrimental to the war effort as well as a video showing a helicopter gunship gunning down two Reuters reporters and two men helping to evacuate the wounded.

In order to be believed and to be beyond question as to its integrity, the State must inspire devotion to the State qua State. This devotion goes by the word “patriotism.” Its symbolic representation is the flag, “primarily the banner of war.” (Bourne, 87) This belief in the State is no different from belief in God. And you would no more doubt or question the State than you would doubt or question God. To do so is blasphemy.

Anything that has a mind of its own is a menace to the State. The individual, qua individual, must disappear. The individual is merged with the mass and conforms to herd-like behavior that is controlled from above. This is life in the State.

Propaganda

He who has the word has the power and the license to kill on behalf of his countrymen, which is why lying — propaganda — is such a key ingredient in sustaining the modern State and gaining the support of the populace. “The State thus becomes an instrument by which the power of the whole herd is wielded for the benefit of a class.” (Bourne, 91)

In the good old days barbarians could go out on a killing spree without accounting to anyone or in any way explain or justify their actions. In 1494 Charles VIII of France invaded Italy. There were no news stories giving it just the right spin.  There were no protests in the streets. In the 21st century we are more “civilized,” i.e. we need to be soothed into acquiescing to the gratuitous violence committed in our name in far away lands, which is why propaganda plays such a key role in holding the State together in its primary mission of making war.

In 1928, Edward Bernays (1891- 1995)— nephew to Sigmund Freud — wrote a book entitled, “Propaganda.” His aim was to convince the reader that propaganda was a good thing. Since the masses don’t really know what they want, wouldn’t it be easier for everyone if rulers decided for them and then made it seem as if they had decided for themselves? “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind,” Bernays asks rhetorically, “is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?” (Bernays, 71) Not only is it possible, it is desirable. The manipulation of the masses “is an important element in democratic society,… if [we] are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.” Every aspect of our living is determined and controlled by those “who pull the wires which control the public mind.” (Bernays, 37)

This has all the trappings of the totalitarian State. Our very soul has been hijacked and appropriated by the State for purposes beyond our ken and will. The media are the most obvious means of manipulation and serve their purpose quite well, but they are not alone. Academics, movie and TV producers all conspire to control what we think is reality, which we then respond to as our State rulers desire.

There is a barrage of violence that makes us feel small and vulnerable. There are constant warnings about approaching danger. Most of what we hear about the wars being waged by the State in our name is pure fabrication. As but one small example, New York Times Pulitzer Prize winner Judith Miller fed the public a pack of lies about Sadam Hussein and “weapons of mass destruction,” which subsequently were thoroughly discredited, and which the Times retracted.  The harm had been done.

Initiated in the 1950’s, “Operation Mockingbird” was a secret campaign by the CIA to control media. The organization recruited leading American journalists into a network to help present the CIA’s views.  Student and cultural organizations were CIA funded. Magazines were used as fronts. According to Deborah Davis in Katharine the Great, (A biography of Katherine Graham, one-time owner of the Washington Post) “By the early 1950s, Wisner [head of covert action for the CIA] ‘owned’ respected members of The New York Times, Newsweek, CBS and other communications vehicles.” (Davis, 137-138) The NSA (National Student Organization), a confederation of college student governments and the literary journal Encounter were funded by the CIA.

This is but a very small sample of the cultural corruption that prevails in our society in the service of the State. Just about every resource we think we can count on for honest information is being controlled by the State for the sole purpose of advancing its agenda, i.e. War. Should we be suspicious, nay paranoid, in our disbelief about what we are being told? I am afraid so.

The welfare state

One way to way to get us to submit and obey is to show us a little kindness. Although it might seem oxymoronic to say so, as Porter points out, the Welfare State is one of the attributes of the Warfare State. “Curious,” you say, “how did that come about? Why would the warrior class have any interest in our well-being?” Truth is they don’t. However, they are practical minded people. In the last quarter of the 19th century there was a good deal of social unrest. Workers wanted better working conditions and better pay. They were organizing. In Paris there was an uprising of radical socialists. The Paris Commune took control of the government and ruled from March 18, 1871 to May 28 1871. The official French government responded with a siege that resulted in 15,000 – 20,000 deaths.

The wise thing to do for the ruling class was to co-opt the unrest by addressing some of the workers’ needs. What about returning soldiers? Shouldn’t their needs be addressed? We are asking them to risk their lives. If we want their cooperation we had best take care of their health and the health of their families. As Porter points out, “In general, the voice of the people is heard loudest when governments require either their gold or their bodies in defense of the state” (Porter, 10).

The collectivism that socialism advocated and the imperialistic doctrine of the State found a common meeting ground. Both required a strong central State to realize their goals. The imperialists reasoned that “domestic peace would facilitate expansion abroad” (Porter, 158). Germany, under Otto von Bismarck — the “Iron Chancellor” — was fast becoming the most industrialized country in the world. Bismarck, who considered humanitarian impulses to be “sentimental rubbish” (Porter, 159) nonetheless, for practical reasons, became the Welfare State’s standard-bearer. In 1883 he secured passage of compulsory sickness insurance for workers; in 1884 and 1885, an accident insurance plan; in 1889, a comprehensive Old Age Insurance Law. By the turn of the century Germany had the most advanced welfare system of any country in Europe.

Strange bedfellows indeed, war and welfare. Yet they seem to have gotten on quite well. It would never occur to us that we owe our welfare benefits to the killing of innocents abroad. Yet that seems to be the case. State does what is expedient when it comes to serving its ultimate cause: war. It cannot be otherwise.

But as we see in Part 2, there is an alternative to State and that is the Nation in the form of a Federated Government, a government based in local needs and local initiatives, a government designed to serve the common good.

The above essay is part I of six part analysis

1. War and the health of the State: What causes war
2. Federated governments: The Nation vs. the State
3. Origin of the State: Barbarians at the gate
4. End Game: War goes on
5. Critical Thinking: A bridge to the future
6. Deconstructing the State: Getting small

 

Sources

Benjamin Barber, Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age.
Frank Barlow, The Feudal Kingdom on England 1042-1216.

Edward Bernays, Propaganda.

Ellen Brown, The Public Bank Solution: From Austerity to Prosperity.

Smedly Butler, War Is A Racket.

James Carroll, House of War.

Gearoid O Colmain, “The Weaponisation of the Refugee,” Dissident Voice, January 20, 2016.

Rob Cooper, “Iceland’s former Prime Minister found guilty over country’s 2008 financial crisis but will avoid jail,” Daily Mail, April 23, 2012.

C.S., “Constitution Society,” Andrew Jackson, July 10, 1832.

Deborah Davis, Katherine The Great.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Real Lincoln.

M.I. Finley, The Portable Greek Historians.

F.P.  The Federalist Papers. Ed. Clinton Rossiter.

Mark H. Gaffney: “9/11: The Evidence for Insider Trading,” May 25, 2016: ICH (Information Clearing House).

GPF (Global Policy Forum,) “War and Occupation in Iraq,” Chapter 2.

Ramachandra Guha, India After Gandhi.

Victor David Hanson, Carnage and Culture.

Chris Hedges, “The American Empire: Murder Inc.” Truthdig, January 3, 2016.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of History (Dover, 1956).

J. Christopher  Herold, The Age of Napoleon.

Karl Hess, Community.

Peter Hoy, “The World’s Biggest Fuel Consumer,” Forbes, June 5, 2008.

J.H. Huizinga, Dutch Civilization in the 17th Century.

Peter Koenig, “Towards a Foreign Imposed “Political Transition” in Syria?” Global Research, November 3, 2015.

John Macpherson (1899). Mental affections; an introduction to the study of insanity.

Patrick Martin, 16 April 2003, wsws.org.

Edgar Lee Masters, Lincoln The Man.

Gaetano Mosca, The Ruling Class.

Ralph Nader, “Uncontrollable — Pentagon and Corporate Contractors Too Big to Audit,” Dandelionsalad, March 18, 2016.

Thomas Naylor and William H. Willikmon, Downsizing the U.S.A.

Karl Popper, The Open Society And Its Enemies.

Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age.

John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, “Lies Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry.” (Web)

Herbert J. Storing, The Anti-Federalist: Writings by the Opponents of the Constitution, edited by Herbert J. Storing.

Jay Syrmopoulus, October 15, 2015, “Iceland Just Jailed Dozens of Corrupt Bankers for 74 Years, The Opposite of What America Does.” Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/icelands-banksters-sentenced-74-years-prison-prosecution-u-s/#UHP3qHr1WIAuRFSs.99.

“The Economic Value of Peace, 2016” (PDF) Institute for Economics and Peace.

Washington Blog, February 23, 2015 “ICH”(Information
Clearing House) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41086.htm

Max Weber, Political Writings.

John W. Whitehead, March 29, 2016, “From Democracy to Pathocracy: The Rise of the Political Psychopath,” Intrepid Report, April 1, 2016.

Wikipedia, “Energy usage of the United States military.”

Wikiquote, Woodrow Wilson, Federal Reserve Act of 1913.
Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.

Notes

1 See Arthur D. Robbins, “Through The Looking Glass Darkly,” Intrepid Report, March 21, 2014 for a description of how even air can be privatized.

Through the looking glass darkly: Government … – Intrepid Report.com

2 See Washington Blog, February 23, 2015 “ICH”(Information Clearing House) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41086.htm for a comprehensive list of American wars.

3 Said Thomas Paine, in 1787, “War … has but one thing certain, and that is to increase taxes.” Said Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman statesman, “The sinews of war are infinite money.”

4 For a detailed discussion of the economic consequences of war and the value of peace, see, “The Economic Value of Peace,” Institute for Economics and Peace.

Arthur D. Robbins is the author of “Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained: The True Meaning of Democracy,” hailed by Ralph Nader as an “eye-opening, earth-shaking book,… a fresh, torrential shower of revealing insights and vibrant lessons we can use to pursue the blessings and pleasures of a just society through civic efforts that are not as difficult as we have been led to believe.” Visit http://acropolis-newyork.comto learn more.
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War and the State: Federated Governments, the Nation versus the State
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2017, 04:12:25 AM »
http://www.globalresearch.ca/war-and-the-state-federated-governments-the-nation-versus-the-state/5582857

War and the State: Federated Governments, the Nation versus the State
Part II of a Six Part Essay
By Arthur D. Robbins
Global Research, April 02, 2017
Region: Asia, Europe, USA
Theme: Culture, Society & History, Police State & Civil Rights


War has indeed become perpetual and peace no longer even a fleeting wish nor a distant memory. We have become habituated to the rumblings of war and the steady drum beat of propaganda about war’s necessity and the noble motives that inspire it.

We will close hospitals. We will close schools. We will close libraries and museums. We will sell off our parklands and water supply. People will sleep on the streets and go hungry. The war machine will go on.

What are we to do?  The following Text is Part II of a broader analysis entitled War and the State: Business as Usual

Link to Part 1

At a fundamental level government is a means for structuring the power dynamics of a given society. It is the means by which a society takes control of itself or fails to.There are centrifugal forces drawing energy to the center and centripetal forces drawing energy towards the periphery where local governments respond to social needs on a local basis.

Powerful militarized States require a strong central government if they are to take charge of social and economic resources in pursuit of war. Vibrant civic life requires strong, independent local governments that nourish cultural, economic and social needs. One can’t both make war and gain the benefits of peaceful living and so one has to be thoughtful about the government one chooses to live under.

Although the State has prevailed in the Western World for hundreds of years, there are some noteworthy exceptions both East and West, countries that were/are nations, not States: 1) India; 2) Holland in the 17th century; 3) the United States in the decade between 1776 — the Declaration of Independence — and 1787 — the signing of the Constitution; 4) Switzerland; 5) Iceland. In other words it is possible to have nations that aren’t States and this, I believe, should be our goal: to create a world of nations, a world that is State-free.

INDIA

In the winter of 1830-1831 the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel delivered his lectures on the philosophy of history. His goal was to understand the development of civilization around the world and across time. He believed that a civilization advances and reaches its highest level of development when it is able to take cognizance of itself as a collective whole with a purpose, that is to say when it writes its history. Hegel is a Statist and his measure of the State is its ability and willingness to conduct war. A nation without war has no history and is not a State.

When he comes upon Indian civilization, one of the richest in world history, he is thrown for a loss. He acknowledges the beauty of its culture, the importance of Sanskrit in the development of European languages. But “on the whole, the diffusion of Indian culture is only a dumb, deedless expansion; that is it presents no political action. The people of India have achieved no foreign conquests.” (Hegel, 142) In contrasting China with India, Hegel observes,

    “If China [with a strong central government] may be regarded as nothing else but a State, Hindu political existence presents us with a people, but no State.” (Hegel, 161).

So here we have what we are looking for, a people with a culture and a civilization but “no history,” no war making, no State. In fact, it was Gandhi’s view that the essence of Indian society was to be found not in its center but in the village life of the small, local communities. And it is the strength of these local bonds that have made the creation of a strong central government in India a constant struggle.

In 1888, Sir John Strachey wrote a book entitled India in which he declared that there really is no such thing as India. The name is simply a label of convenience, “a name which we give to a great region including a multitude of different countries.” (Guha, 3) There is no country of India, “possessing … any sort of unity, physical, political, social or religious.”

So here we have an example of a country that is all periphery and no center, i.e., the anti-State. The first thing Nehru did when India was liberated from British rule in 1947 was to invite his Eastern neighbors to a peace conference. The nation that Nehru cobbled together was a federation of many independent political entities, each tugging at the center to grant more local independence.

The diversity of sustenance farming and the village life that it engenders — for centuries the backbone of the Indian economy — are currently under attack by giant corporations that seek to set Indian farming in the direction of monoculture. Enormous spreads are devoted to corn that can be used to feed cattle in the U.S. and create biofuels that can be used to power an SUV on the other side of the world. The soil is depleted. The diet is impoverished. Indian farmers have been driven to suicide by the thousands. Neo-cons are trying to turn India into a State. They have their work cut out for them.

HOLLAND

What we call Holland would more aptly be referred to as the Republic of the Seven United Provinces or the Federated Dutch Provinces. Holland is just one of those provinces. And this is what makes the Netherlands unique. It is a grouping of strong, independent local governments that reluctantly yield to a central power in The Hague, only when necessary. Huizinga refers to this grouping as a conglomerate with no center and no periphery (Huizinga, 25). This system of government he calls “separatism” or “particularism,” words used to describe a form of government where local initiatives determine the distribution of power.

The Netherlands enjoy their unique form of freedom due in part to their geography. It is not a uniform, integrated land mass but rather a collection of plots, permeated with inlets, rivers, and canals. As such it was difficult to amass large holdings and create a landed aristocracy, which means that, for the most part, the Netherlands never really passed through feudalism. They skipped right ahead to a middle class society, which is why — for a full century — they were ahead of their European neighbors economically, socially and culturally.

Holland in the 17th century stands out by its material wealth, its high standard of living, the richness of its community and domestic life. The Dutch were very civic minded people, “citizen first and homo oeconomicus second. (Schama, 7) The Dutch Renaissance humanist and classical scholar, Erasmus, said of the Dutch,

    “…There is no race more open to humanity and kindness or less given to wildness or ferocious behavior…. There is no other country which holds so many towns in a small place.”

Like the Americans a century later, the Dutch became a nation by rebelling (1568 – 1648) against a European monarch, in this case Phillip II of Spain. Like the Americans they had no standing army. Individual regiments were raised in, supplied and funded by, individual provinces. “Rarely in history was a victorious war fought by an army so decentralized. (Porter, 95) The Dutch were seeking relief from the burdens of excessive taxation and the effects of religious oppression. Phillip, a devout Catholic, had no tolerance for Dutch Calvinism.

The war was run by a federation of provinces known as the “Council of States,” not unlike the United States under the “Continental Congress.” As in the United States, the war effort counted on the local provinces to tax their population and supply the funds necessary for the national defense. There was constant bickering among the Provinces, yet the Dutch united and persisted to victory despite the overwhelming odds against such an outcome. The resulting nation was not a highly centralized State with a cumbersome and costly bureaucracy but a “’peculiar jumble of medieval remains, Renaissance invention, and contemporary improvisation,’” ( Porter, 98) in other words, a non-State.

As the Dutch saw it the State was a dependency of the sovereign town, not the other way round. It is no accident that genre painting — the depiction of domestic life in all its richness and homeliness —played such a large role in 17th century Dutch art. Unlike other 17th century countries built around dynasty and war, in the Netherlands it was the family household that was the “‘fountain and source’ of authority.” (Schama, 386) Foreign visitors commented upon the kindness showed both women and children.

As Schama points out the Dutch had a prejudice against war and in favor of peace. The first Dutch ships of war were converted grain ships, manned by non-professionals who expected to return to their civic lives once the seas had been made safe. The navy developed not as a policy of State but out of the spontaneous needs of maritime communities. Huizinga speaks of the “unwarlike character of the Dutch people.” (Huizinga,33) “They suffered rather than waged the war [of independence].” (Huizinga, 34)

The Dutch fought a war of liberation that dragged on for eighty years. There was a twelve years’ truce that began in 1609, giving the Dutch the opportunity to develop a serious naval force, which, up to this time, they lacked. As a consequence this once peaceful nation became more bellicose and joined other European nations in colonizing Asia, the Caribbean and Africa.

Had not the military element been introduced into Dutch society via the war of liberation the likelihood is that the Netherlands would have escaped the militarization that plagued the rest of Europe. As it is the Netherlands never became the typical warrior State, heavy with bureaucracy and a strong central government. Let us say they became a quasi-State . To this day they remain a nation with considerable respect for individual rights.

THE UNITED STATES

The United States provides an unusual opportunity to observe a State in the process of its emergence. The U.S. began as a federated government in 1776, became a quasi-State in 1788 with the signing of the Constitution and emerged from the War of Secession — mistakenly referred to as the “Civil War” 1 — as a full blown State with all of its heavy duty, cumbersome and costly machinery.

With the signing of the Declaration of Independence the United States became a nation. Thirteen sovereign states were loosely united under the Articles of Confederation, a “league of friendship.” There was no attempt to form a unified, united whole. Each state retained its independence and its prerogatives. States like Massachusetts had restrictive voting rights. Others were more liberal. Some states — like Virginia — had a Bill of Rights. Others didn’t.

This period — from 1776 to 1788 — is one of the richest in American history. There were many thoughtful Americans whose ideas on government are as valid today as the day they were uttered. In the midst of a bitter war of liberation, there was little enthusiasm for the European version of society. Most Americans were opposed to maintaining a standing army, to the interminable warfare that empire building entails. Citizens were actively engaged in politics and resourceful in their efforts to have government respect the common good. Government was to be distrusted. Power was to be jealously guarded.

EARLY DISSENT

The Anti-Federalists were a group of independent minded men united in their opposition to the ratification of the U. S. Constitution. They had a deep understanding of government and the potential for power to be abused. They were eloquent in their defense of democratic values and offer us a legacy of political thought to draw on as we contemplate the modification of our current government.

War or peace? This was one of the major issues that dominated the discussion in the years leading up to the ratification of the Constitution. Says Alexander Hamilton, America’s first warrior, the powers necessary for common defense,

    “ought to exist without limitation, because it is impossible to foresee or define the extent and variety of national emergencies, and the correspondent extent and variety of the means which may be necessary to satisfy them.” (F.P., 153)

In response, Patrick Henry exhorts his readers to go among the common men, where “you will find … tranquil ease and contentment; you will find no alarms of disturbances: Why then tell us of dangers to terrify us into an adoption of this new Government?” (Storing, 305) “Fear is the passion of slaves,” he warns. “Let not our minds be led away by unfair misrepresentations and uncandid [sic] suggestions.”(Storing, 307)

Concerning Hamilton’s militaristic stance, “Brutus” maintains that the first business of government is “The preservation of internal peace and good order, and the due administration of law and justice. The happiness of a people depends infinitely more on this than it does upon all that glory and respect which nations acquire by the most brilliant martial achievement.” European governments are “administered with a view to arms, and war.” Their leaders fail to understand that the purpose of government is “to save lives, not to destroy them.… Let the monarchs in Europe, share among them the glory of depopulating countries, and butchering thousands of their innocent citizens.”

Let us set a different example, says “Brutus.” Let us give the world “an example of a great people, who in their civil institutions hold chiefly in view, the attainment of virtue, and happiness among ourselves.” Defense against external enemies is “not the most important, much less the only object” of government. (Storing, 146) Do we want a simple government or a splendid government? asks Patrick Henry. Do we want empire and glory, do we want to “make nations tremble,” or do we want liberty? (Storing, 305)

Long before Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke of the dangers of a military-industrial complex, the Anti-Federalists were opposed to granting Congress open-ended authority to maintain standing armies—“those baneful engines of ambition”(Storing, 289)—for reasons that were obvious to them almost two hundred years prior to Eisenhower.

Standing armies are “inconvenient and expensive,” (Storing, 284) says “The Impartial Examiner” from Virginia. “Brutus” declares, “The power in the federal legislative, to raise and support armies at pleasure, as well in peace as in war, and their con­trol over the militia, tend, not only to a consolidation of the government, but the destruction of liberty.” (Storing, 111) To protect against such an outcome, “Brutus” offers a stipulation to the Constitution, which reads as follows:

    No standing army, or troops of any description whatsoever, shall be raised or kept up by the legislature, except so many as shall be necessary for guards to arsenals of the United States, or for garrisons to such post on the frontiers, as it shall be deemed absolutely necessary to hold, to secure the inhabitants, and facilitate the trade with the Indians; unless when the United States are threatened with an attack or invasion from some foreign power, in which case the legislature shall be authorized to raise an army to be prepared to repel the attack; provided that no troops whatsoever shall be raised in time of peace, without the assent of two thirds of the members, composing both houses of the legislature. (Storing, 161)

The Anti-Federalists were quite prescient. They anticipated the emergence of the warrior State and did all they could to prevent it. The evils of modern government are not accidental. They are not brought on anew by one regime or another. They are inherent in the government put in place by its anti-democratic, oligarchic founders, a government conceived with an eye toward empire. [2]

A NATION BECOMES A STATE

It wasn’t until 1860 and the War of Secession that the United States moved from being a quasi-State to being a State. The War of 1860 catapulted the United States into Statehood and introduced a level of lawlessness and violence into American culture that had not been seen before. The natural outcome is war without end. America has been at war 93% of the time since 1776. Wars to build empire began after 1860. [3]

Just prior to 1860 the Federal budget was $63 million. There were a mere 2,199 persons working in the central offices in Washington, D.C. Four years after the attack on Fort Sumter, the budget had grown to $1.2 billion and the federal workforce to over 53,000 persons. The American government fielded the “most powerful war machine ever assembled in the history of the world to that date.” (Porter, 258) Lincoln mounted a million-man army that succeeded in butchering three quarters of a million American citizens and permanently maiming, another million and one half.

Prior to 1860, most industry operated independently of government patronage. Beginning in 1860 that changed dramatically. The national government became the largest purchaser in the country, thus laying the foundation for the fascist State, a nation with an economy based in Total War. Six iron mills were built in Pittsburgh in one year.

Prior to the war, 80% of federal revenue came from customs duties. In 1861, the first income tax in U.S. history went into effect. The Internal Revenue Act 1862 established the Bureau of Internal Revenue, “perhaps the single most effective vehicle of federal power ever created…. the most coercive civilian agency of the national government.” (Porter, 260)

War transforms a nation into a State, with all of its oppressive machinery, in large measure by requiring that citizens part with their money in support of the war effort. Once the revenue generating machinery is in place, it doesn’t go away. It just gets hungrier.

As also predicted, taxes and the printing of paper money did not nearly cover the enormous costs of the war, which is where borrowing comes in. The government borrowed 80% of the funds the war consumed, to the tune of $2.6 billion, leading to the establishment of a national banking system, with the central government as its hub.

Under Lincoln, the government put itself above the law and engaged in acts of repression that violated the Constitution and any sense of human decency. Newspapers disagreeing with Lincoln’s war policy were shut down; their editor’s imprisoned. Public officials who spoke against the war were put in jail. Federal forces were used to quell draft riots and labor strikes. The government was under the control of a tyrannical monarch, and to a greater or lesser degree has been so ever since.

Thus, in less than one hundred years, the United States passed from being a loose federation, with strong local governments responsive to the needs of their citizens, to a relatively benign quasi-State with a strong central government, to a full-fledged State with the attendant hunger for power, money and war. We have here an unusual opportunity to grasp the meaning of the word State and to understand its origins in terms of war and violence.

SWITZERLAND

Of all the Western oligarchies that pass for “democracies,” Switzerland comes closest to actually being one. It is a federated government of twenty-six independent cantons with strong local representation. To understand the difference between a centralized government and a federated government one has to but consider the issue of citizenship. In the United States, if you want to become a citizen you apply to the central government in Washington. In Switzerland, you apply to one of the cantons. If accepted there you are a Swiss citizen. Citizenship is a function of local, independent governments, not the central government.

For the first five hundred years of its existence, Switzerland functioned without a central government or state bureaucracy. There was an alliance of burghers and peasants. There were no aristocratic families assuming control and exercising their prerogatives.

Switzerland has fought wars of defense only and has done its best to remain neutral and disengaged from the various wars that reached its borders. It relies on strong local militia rather than a standing national army. It is leery of international organizations designed to participate in international power politics, and did not join the United Nations until 2002. It ranks at or near the top globally in government transparency, civil liberties and quality of life.

Switzerland is an oligarchy — until 1971, an all male oligarchy — with a bicameral parliamentary government housed in the capital of Bern. Among developed countries, Swiss legislators are the lowest paid. Serving in government for them is thus an act of sacrifice, an act of citizenship.

The legislature meets for four three-week periods annually. Most legislators return to their regular job for the forty weeks a year when parliament is not in session. As a consequence, the parlia­ment includes a broad spectrum of Swiss economic and social interests. In addition to lawyers, there are small businessmen and housewives. They work as legislators under modest, egalitarian circumstances. There are no special perks, special entrances, or numerous staffers as one finds in the halls of the U.S. Congress. One could say that it is an “amateur” legislature. From the point of view of a true democrat, that is its greatest asset.

There is no one all-powerful executive. Instead the executive comprises a committee of seven made up of the head of each ministry (cabinet posts in the United States), each of whom will serve as president for a period of one year. This committee of seven, which meets once a week, debates and then votes on policies. When visiting dignitaries come to Switzerland, they meet with all seven. There is no strong charismatic personality in charge. There is no executive veto power.

Referenda and initiatives are built into the Swiss governmental pro­cess. All proposals for constitutional amendments or international treaties are subject to an obligatory ref­erendum. The citizenry must express its approval both via a majority vote on the national level and a separate majority vote on the cantonal level.

Any Swiss law can be challenged within 90 days of pas­sage if 50,000 citizens demand that a popular vote be held.Finally, there is a popular initiative. With 100,000 signatures on a formal peti­tion citizens can demand a constitutional amendment or the removal or modification of an existing provision. For this initiative to pass, there must also be a double majority: one on the national level and the other on the cantonal or state level.

Is it possible to live in a world at war, to pursue peaceful, independent policies and survive? Switzerland has not only survived. It has thrived. Switzerland proves that Nationhood without Statehood is a viable alternative.

ICELAND

Iceland is a small plot of land (40,000 square miles) located between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. With a population a population of 332,529 it is the least densely populated country in Europe. Its parliamentary institutions go all the way back to 930 when the “Althing”(Alþingi) held its first outdoor meeting. For two weeks in June, people from all over the country gathered to celebrate and legislate.

There were thirty-nine chieftains (goðar, singular goði) comprising the legislative council (Lögrétta). Chieftains had districts over which they presided. A free man could choose which of the goðar in his district to support.Goðar supporters were known as Þingmenn or “assembly people.” Þingmenn attended local and national assemblies.

Goðar were responsible for reviewing and amending the nation’s laws. Once every three years the “Lawspeaker” (lögsögumaður) would make his way to the “Law Rock” (Lögberg) and recite the laws for the benefit of all those in attendance. Anyone could mount the “Law Rock” and address the gathering.

This form of government — known as the Icelandic Commonwealth, Icelandic Free State, or Republic of Iceland — is reminiscent of the government set up in Kiev, in a similar time frame as well as 5th century democracy in ancient Athens. In Athens there was also a “law stone” known as the pnyx. Anyone could mount the stone and address the gathering.

In mid-thirteenth century, power struggles emerged among the Goðar. The year 1220 marks the onset of a forty-year period of internal strife and bloody violence known as “Age of the Sturlungs,” after the most powerful clan in Iceland at the time. Iceland emerged in a weakened condition and in 1262 signed an agreement with the king of Norway, in which Iceland merged with Norway, and eventually Denmark.

Iceland lived through hard times and became one of the poorest countries in Europe. The country was hit by the plague twice, once at the beginning and once at the end of the 15th century, carrying away as much as 60% of the population. The 16th, 17th and 18th century were not much kinder. Volcanic eruption released millions of tons of hydrogen fluoride and sulfur dioxide killing off 50% of the livestock, which led to famine and the death of 25% of the Icelandic population. In the 19th century the country’s climate grew colder. Out of a population of 70,000, 15,000 emigrated to foreign lands in search of warmer clime.

Despite all of these hardship, Iceland began taking consciousness of itself as nation. In 1874, Denmark granted Iceland a constitution and limited home rule, which was expanded in 1904. In 1918 a twenty-five-year agreement was signed between Denmark and Iceland. Iceland was recognized as a fully sovereign state in union of Denmark. In 1944, Iceland became fully independent.

Iceland’s earliest settlers were proud of the their independence and succeeded over the centuries in retaining their identity despite the wishes of their overpowering neighbors. In many key areas — education, healthcare, ecology, civic responsibility —Iceland has become an example of how a nation can serve its people, when that nation is free to pursue its destiny, independently of the warrior State.

In the years 2003-2007 Iceland experienced an economic boom, based on shady banking practices. The boom ended in a bust when the economy collapsed and bankers expected to be reimbursed for their losses. Unlike the United States and other Western governments, Iceland did not reimburse the banksters for their bad debt. Instead, Iceland sentenced twenty-six of them to a combined seventy-four years in prison (See Syrmopoulus). The Icelandic government took over the three largest banks, let them run into bankruptcy and set up new banks on a solid financial basis. Geir Haard, prime minister at the time of the banking crisis was tried and found guilty of having failed to properly respond to the financial crisis.

Iceland was the first country in the world to have a political party formed and led entirely by women. In 2009 nearly one third of parliamentarians were women as opposed to a global average of 16%. Iceland uses proportional representation to select governors and has an 80% level of participation.

About 85 percent of total primary energy supply in Iceland is derived from domestically produced renewable energy sources. Iceland is one of the few countries that have filling stations dispensing hydrogen fuel for cars powered by fuel cells.

According to the Economist Intelligence Index of 2011, Iceland has the 2nd highest quality of life in the world and one of the lowest rates of income inequality. Iceland has a universal healthcare system. There are no private hospitals, and private insurance is practically nonexistent. Over all, the country’s health care system is one of the best performing in the world. Infant mortality is one of the lowest in the world.

Iceland is a nation, not a State, and offers us a robust example of good government, a government that is responsive to the needs of its citizenry and accountable for its conduct. Unfortunately, government around the world, especially the United States, stands in stark contrast to what is happening in Iceland. Our educational and healthcare systems are in decline, our infrastructure is crumbling. Our government is obsessed with war and concerned with little else, which makes sense if you consider the origin of the modern State.

As we see in Part 3, the modern State has its origins in barbarism. War making Germanic tribes descended into Europe, wreaking havoc as they went. Eventually they settled down and established stable societies. Incorporated into these new societies were the war making practices that the barbarians brought with them. The endless wars we fight today are simply a continuation of the barbarian tradition established more than a thousand years ago.

The above essay is part I of six part analysis

1. War and the health of the State: What causes war
2. Federated governments: The Nation vs. the State
3. Origin of the State: Barbarians at the gate
4. End Game: War goes on
5. Critical Thinking: A bridge to the future
6. Deconstructing the State: Getting small

SOURCES

Benjamin Barber, Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age.

Frank Barlow, The Feudal Kingdom on England 1042-1216.

Edward Bernays, Propaganda.

Ellen Brown, The Public Bank Solution: From Austerity to Prosperity.

Smedly Butler, War Is A Racket.

James Carroll, House of War.

Gearoid O Colmain, “The Weaponisation of the Refugee,” Dissident Voice, January 20, 2016.

Rob Cooper, “Iceland’s former Prime Minister found guilty over country’s 2008 financial crisis but will avoid jail,”Daily Mail, April 23, 2012.

C.S., “Constitution Society,” Andrew Jackson, July 10, 1832.

Deborah Davis, Katherine The Great.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Real Lincoln.

M.I. Finley, The Portable Greek Historians.

F.P.  The Federalist Papers. Ed. Clinton Rossiter.

Mark H. Gaffney: “9/11: The Evidence for Insider Trading,” May 25, 2016: ICH (Information Clearing House).

GPF (Global Policy Forum,) “War and Occupation in Iraq,” Chapter 2.

Ramachandra Guha, India After Gandhi.

Victor David Hanson, Carnage and Culture.

Chris Hedges, “The American Empire: Murder Inc.” Truthdig, January 3, 2016.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of History (Dover, 1956).

J. Christopher  Herold, The Age of Napoleon.

Karl Hess, Community.

Peter Hoy, “The World’s Biggest Fuel Consumer,” Forbes, June 5, 2008.

J.H. Huizinga, Dutch Civilization in the 17th Century.

Peter Koenig, “Towards a Foreign Imposed “Political Transition” in Syria?” Global Research, November 3, 2015.

John Macpherson (1899). Mental affections; an introduction to the study of insanity.

Patrick Martin, 16 April 2003, wsws.org.

Edgar Lee Masters, Lincoln The Man.

Gaetano Mosca, The Ruling Class.

Ralph Nader, “Uncontrollable — Pentagon and Corporate Contractors Too Big to Audit,” Dandelionsalad, March 18, 2016.

Thomas Naylor and William H. Willikmon, Downsizing the U.S.A.

Karl Popper, The Open Society And Its Enemies.

Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age.

John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton, “Lies Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry.” (Web)

Herbert J. Storing, The Anti-Federalist: Writings by the Opponents of the Constitution, edited by Herbert J. Storing.

Jay Syrmopoulus, October 15, 2015, “Iceland Just Jailed Dozens of Corrupt Bankers for 74 Years, The Opposite of What America Does.” Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/icelands-banksters-sentenced-74-years-prison-prosecution-u-s/#UHP3qHr1WIAuRFSs.99.

“The Economic Value of Peace, 2016” (PDF) Institute for Economics and Peace.

Washington Blog, February 23, 2015 “ICH”(Information
Clearing House) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41086.htm

Max Weber, Political Writings.

John W. Whitehead, March 29, 2016, “From Democracy to Pathocracy: The Rise of the Political Psychopath,”Intrepid Report, April 1, 2016.

Wikipedia, “Energy usage of the United States military.”

Wikiquote, Woodrow Wilson, Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.

ENDNOTES

[1] See Arthur D. Robbins, “Back To The Future: The Legacy of Abraham Lincoln,” Intrepid Report, September 29, 2015.   Back to the future: The legacy of Abraham Lincoln | Intrepid Report.com See Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Real Lincoln.

[2] See Arthur D. Robbins, “The Constitutional Hoax,” Intrepid Report, February 28, 2014. http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/12310

[3] See “Selected Death Tolls for Wars, Massacres and Atrocities before the 20th Century” Twentieth Century Atlas – Historical Body Count – Necrometrics for some of the details.

Arthur D. Robbins is the author of “Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained: The True Meaning of Democracy,” hailed by Ralph Nader as an “eye-opening, earth-shaking book,… a fresh, torrential shower of revealing insights and vibrant lessons we can use to pursue the blessings and pleasures of a just society through civic efforts that are not as difficult as we have been led to believe.” Visit http://acropolis-newyork.comto learn more
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Historical Origins of the State: Barbarians at the Gate
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Historical Origins of the State: Barbarians at the Gate
Part III of a Six Part Essay
By Arthur D. Robbins
Global Research, April 12, 2017
Region: Europe, Middle East & North Africa, USA
Theme: Culture, Society & History, Police State & Civil Rights


War has indeed become perpetual and peace no longer even a fleeting wish nor a distant memory. We have become habituated to the rumblings of war and the steady drum beat of propaganda about war’s necessity and the noble motives that inspire it. We will close hospitals. We will close schools. We will close libraries and museums. We will sell off our parklands and water supply. People will sleep on the streets and go hungry. The war machine will go on.

What are we to do? The following text is Part III of  a broader analysis entitled War and the State: Business as Usual.

Link to War and the State: Part 1

Link to War and the State: Part 2

The State is a modern invention. It was conceived in violence and has been true to its origins ever since. Rome was in its decline. The barbarians were at the gates. Beginning in the 5th century, Germanic tribes descended from the North, via Scandinavia.  Germanic tribes with names like Franks, Angles, Saxons, Lombards, Burgundians, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals plundered their way across Europe, destroying and killing at will, lending their names to the plots where they settled. “From these raw, belligerent kingdoms rose the first modern nation-states…”(Simons, 13). Their society was a simple one, “explicitly organized for one activity, the making of war.” (Simons, 16)

These are our ancestors, wantonly laying waste the land, giddy with rapine and the glory of conquest, whooping it up with yelps and war cries, the wandering herds tearing into each other with gusto, as do their modern counterparts. These are our ancestors and it is on their bones that our modern civilization (sic) has been erected. War is not incidental to modern society. It is at its core, inscribed in its DNA.

THE FRANKS

The Franks were one of the more civilized tribes, showing signs of Roman influence. However, they were persistent in asserting their power and establishing dominion. To them we owe the birth of the State. In 481, Clovis (of Merovingian lineage) became King of the Franks. “Brutal, ignorant and totally amoral, he stole treasure, split skulls and collected concubines with alarming gusto.” (Simons, 59) Shrewd, nonetheless, he took a Catholic bride and had himself baptized. Joining violence and faith, perhaps for the first time, Clovis succeeded in subduing the Visigoths, guilty of the Arian heresy, 1 driving them out of Gaul (latter day France) and thus endearing himself to the Catholic Church.

The Merovingians slipped into decline, “a dismal catalogue of treachery, murder and mutiliation” (Simons, 60) and were replaced by the Carolingians whose mighty leader, “big, bull-necked and pot-bellied,” (Simons, 101) inherited the throne in 768, expanded the Frankish realm to include much of Western Europe and ruled for forty-six years as Charlemagne (Charles the Great).

Next came the Vikings “who descended upon the continent in a wild orgy of plunder and mayhem” (Simons, 125). The Danes, Swedes and Norwegians were even scarier and more ferocious than the Germanic tribes whom they repeatedly crushed.  With leaders like Eric Bloodax, Harald Bluetooth, Ivar the Boneless, the Norsemen terrorized the population who found no escape and no reprieve. Carolingian rulers proved unequal to the task. In 987, Hugh Capet ascended to the throne. The House of Capet held power until 1328, to be replaced by the House of Valois (1328-1589).

In September of 1494 the French barbarian known to history as Charles VIII got it into his head to invade Italy. Ostensibly this adventure had as its purpose Charles’ wish to lay claim to a throne that he believed was legitimately his. In simpler terms Charles had time on his hands and was looking for some excitement, which, as is often the case, entailed killing off anyone who got in his way. He decimated the countryside and destabilized governments as he went. This is personal whim. It is sport, like hunting fox.

Over the next six decades, under three different kings, France invaded Italy six times. “The violence wreaked on Italy devastated its countryside and destabilized its city-states, which became hapless pawns in a vast chess game beyond their playing abilities (Porter, 41), with major consequences for Italian political development over the following four hundred years.

Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain were incensed about what was going on in Italy and so put their iron in the fire. Eventually England joined the fray. So, in essence, we had our first World War, which is why 1494 is considered to be the birth date of the modern era, the era of incessant warfare.

The modern era of warfare meant longer wars, wars waged at a distance, entailing the mobilization of men and equipment far from home and the killing of a lot of people in a short period of time. At Ravenna in 1512, a single cannon ball felled thirty-three men. In Novara in 1513, cannon fire killed seven hundred men in three minutes (Porter, 41).

The French extended their Statist reach via The House of Bourbon (1589-1792), which found its most thorough going Statist in the person of Louis XIV (1643-1715). Under Louis XIV power was consolidated and centralized in a way that had never been done before in the Western world. When Louis, “the Sun King” said “l’État, c’est moi,” [“I am the State”] he wasn’t kidding. He ruled for seventy-two years and 110 days, the longest of any major monarch in European history. Single handedly he created the modern State with its standing army, taxation and bureaucracy, its unrelenting quest for dominion and fealty.

THE ANGLES AND THE SAXONS

England —initially settled by Britons sometime in the Iron Age — has a similar barbaric ancestry. The Saxon tribe — renowned for their vicious cruelty —began their invasion in the 5th century. They met up with some stiff resistance, resulting in a piecemeal conquest and the formation of “a number of petty, contentious kingdoms rather than a single realm.” (Simons, 35)

The German tribes were followed by the Vikings — principally Danes — who at first confined themselves to pillaging and then fleeing with their booty. Around the middle of the 9th century they began to settle down in central and eastern England in a territory that came to be known as “Danelaw,” putting themselves in opposition to the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms to the south and west. The outcome was ongoing warfare that lasted for more than century.

“Edward the Confessor” ascended to the throne in 1043 and established “a political unity which could not be matched elsewhere in Europe.” (Barlow, 3) As in France there was a string of Houses — family lines — one replacing the other without substantially betraying their barbaric roots. Up to 1707, there were ten Houses in Britain, starting with the House of Wessex under Alfred the Great in 871, to be followed by Denmark, Normandy, Blois, Anjou, Plantagenet, Lancaster, York, Tudor and Stuart. And there was a gaggle of Edwards, Henrys and Richards to occupy the throne, often one replacing the other by means of treachery and bloodshed. (See Wikipedia, “List of monarchs of the British Isles by cause of death.”)

In 1296, Edward I invaded Scotland, a civilization that predated England’s and exceeded it in intellectual distinction. When the town of Berwick resisted, the town was sacked and its 8000 inhabitants slaughtered.

In 1327 Edward II was supposedly murdered in Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire after a metal tube and a red-hot poker were inserted into his anus. Allegedly by Sir John Maltravers of Dorset.

On December 10, 1394 James I was assassinated by a group of Scots led by Sir Robert Graham.

Henry VI was imprisoned in the Tower of London on December 6, 1421 and there  was murdered.

In 1537, Jane was beheaded.

Mary I was executed on December 8, 1542.

Charles I followed a similar fate on November 19, 1600

Richard II died in captivity in 1400 at Pontefract Castle where he was either murdered or starved to death.

In November 1470, Edward V was imprisoned in the Tower of London and died from unknown causes.

June 3 1865, George V was expedited by lethal injection administered by his doctor.

I don’t know about you but for me this all has a whiff of barbarism about it. But of course this is not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg if barbarism is what we are looking for.

The mentality of entitlement and empire building that characterize the British ruling class can be traced to their barbarian ancestors, of whom they are so proud, competing with each other for whose roots go deeper.

It was the barbarians who began the practice of invading other lands at will, ravaging the countryside and villages, making their own what belonged to someone else. The only justification for such actions was the wish to so behave, the blood lust of the barbaric nomad.

The blood lust of the barbaric nomad became the founding ethos of the British ruling class. After all, the British Empire was not a natural occurrence. Scotland, Ireland, India had to be occupied, resistance crushed, economies transformed to satisfy the wishes of the invading host. “What is yours is mine” is the barbarian mantra as it is of the British ruling class.

THE UNITED STATES IN THE MIDDLE EAST


Not to be outdone by its European ancestors, the United States of America has donned its barbaric mantel with great pride and has become the apotheosis of Statism. The sack of Rome by the Vandals in 410 was civilized when compared with the sack of Baghdad in 2003. (See GPF below) Americans oversaw the destruction and looting of libraries, museums and archaeological sites. About a quarter of the total book collection of the National Library of Baghdad was looted or burned, including rare books and newspapers.  The Central Library of the University of Basra went up in flames, with a loss of at least 70% of its collections.

Thieves looted the National Museum and took 14-15,000 objects altogether, including coins, sculpture, ceramics, metalwork, architectural fragments, cuneiform tablets and most of the Museum’s collection of valuable Sumerian cylindrical seals. Outside Baghdad, looters and thieves attacked the Mosul Museum. They stole hundreds of objects, including sixteen bronze Assyrian door panels from the city gates of Balawat dating back to the 9th century BC. Archaeological sites were destroyed and their contents sold to international dealers who were waiting, prepared for the organized looting that occurred. Some of the greatest Sumerian archaeological sites have disappeared.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq have resulted in the deaths of close to a million and the displacement of as many as four million. Most certainly this would have made Alaric, King of the Vandals quite proud. It is barbarism pure and simple, gratuitous killing, gratuitous destruction of a civilization.

As Patrick Martin observes, “Bush, Rumsfeld and company personify the new barbarians: a ‘leader’ who is himself only semi-literate and wallows in religious backwardness; an administration populated by former corporate CEOs for whom an artifact of ancient Sumer is of more interest as a tax shelter than as a key to the historical and cultural development of mankind.”

Here is another, more recent example of barbarism. In 2011, Presidential aspirant and then Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton unleashed the savage bombing of Libya destroying the country and leading to the ethnic cleansing of a million and a half of Sub-Sahara workers and Black Libyans of sub-Saharan descent.

Libya, once boasting one of the highest standards of living among Middle East and North African countries, has been reduced to a state of lawlessness and violence where terrorists and warlords compete with each other for local power. Ms. Clinton celebrated the death by anal impalement of popularly elected Libyan President, Muammar Gaddafi and the assassination of five of his grandchildren. (Petras, May 17)  Now that is barbarism for ya, the good old fashioned kind.

We have progressed not one micron in the intervening centuries since our barbarian ancestors roamed the planet at will. We are as gratuitously violent and as greedy for booty. And as proud of our weapons as were the barbarians. And yet we are worse, much worse. We lack the courage and daring of our barbarian ancestors. In our pinstriped suits, we strategize from the comfort of our wooden paneled, air conditioned offices. We are armchair warriors. Self-righteous armchair warriors. And so proud of the lives we have taken by the millions and the civilizations we have laid low.

DESCENT INTO HELL

War is about power, personal power. It is made by men with little self-respect and even less in intellectual integrity, with no sense of the meaning or value of a human life. All the rest is propaganda, the most harmful non-mortal effect of war on society. “We have been kneaded so successfully,” says Bourne, “that we approve of what our society approves, desire what our society desires, and add to the group our own passional inertia against change, against the effort of reason, and the adventure of beauty.” (Bourne, 90)

Speaking of WWI, Bourne observes, “The kind of war we are conducting is an enterprise which the American government does not have to carry on with the hearty cooperation of the American people but only with their acquiescence. And that acquiescence seems sufficient to float an indefinitely protracted war for vague or even largely uncomprehended and unaccepted purposes.” (Bourne, 36)

Personal lust for power has taken the lives of hundreds of millions, has decimated the countryside and obliterated civilizations. In the 20th century alone over 100 million have been lost to war and state genocide. 2

Of course, this does not account for the wounded and maimed, whose number is easily twice as large, nor the destructive impact on the economy, civic life, and psychic existence of those who survive “intact.”

In the United States today, we are ruled by power addicts. They will not be sated. They lie relentlessly. They are criminally inclined. They promote war without end. These warriors have been and will be defeated on the battlefield. It changes nothing.

Bertolt Brecht wrote a play entitled, Mother Courage and her Children (1939). It is the story of a woman who tries to support herself and three children by selling sundries and sweets to soldiers in time of war. She moves from one battle scene to the next with her traveling canteen. She befriends a chaplain who has this to say about war:

    Well, there’ve always been people going around saying some day the war will end. I say, you can’t be sure the war will ever end. Of course it may have to pause occasionally — for breath, as it were — it can even meet with an accident —nothing on this earth is perfect — a year of which we could say it left nothing to be desired will probably never exist. A war can come to a sudden halt — from unforeseen causes —you can’t think of everything —a little oversight, and the war’s in the hole and someone’s got to pull it out again! The someone is the Emperor or the King or the Pope. They’re such in need, the war has really nothing to worry about, it can look forward to a prosperous future.

One could argue that history is nothing but a vast battle­field after the battle is over—a mountain of the corpses of men, women, and children from around the world and across time who have been slaughtered to satisfy the warriors in their quest for blood and glory.

Finding the true meaning of war beneath the rubble is a difficult chal­lenge, because that meaning is too often obscured by those who write about it. Instead, we are offered endless volumes extolling the “heroes” who did the killing. We are taught to look up to these “great men” and to embrace a history drenched in blood. Very little is written about the dead or about the connection between the “glory” of conquest and its consequences for those who did survive—about its effects on civil soci­ety. That is, very little is written about the battlefield after the battle is over.

5TH CENTURY B.C.: THE GREEKS

We are indebted to the play­wright Aeschylus, who, in The Persians, described the aftermath of the battle of Salamis in 480 B.C.:

    The hulls of our ships rolled over, and it was no longer possible to glimpse the sea, strewn as it was with the wrecks of warships and the debris of what had been men. The shores and the reefs were full of our dead, and every ship that had once been part of the fleet now tried to row its way to safety through flight. But just as if our men were tunny-fish or some sort of netted catch, the enemy kept pound­ing them and hacking them with broken oars and the flotsam from the wrecked ships. And so shrieks together with sobbing echoed over the open sea until the face of black night ended the scene. (Hanson, 30-31)

Here is another example, in which Thucydides, writing in the fifth century B.C., portrays the physical suffering and the pathos of war. He is describing the decimation of the Athenians during the course of their invasion of Sicily:

    The dead lay unburied, and each man as he recognized a friend among them shuddered with grief and horror; while the living whom they were leaving behind, wounded or sick, were to the living far more shocking than the dead, and more to be pitied than those who had perished. These fell to entreating and bewailing until their friends knew not what to do, begging them to take them and loudly calling to each individual comrade or relative whom they could see, hanging upon the neck of their tent-fel­lows in the act of departure, and following as far as they could, and when their bodily strength failed them, calling again and again upon heaven and shrieking aloud as they were left behind. (Finley, 371)

The living have been taken prisoner by the enemy. Here is Thucydides’ description of their fate:

    Crowded in a narrow hole, without any roof to cover them, the heat of the sun and the stifling closeness of the air tormented them during the day, and then the nights, which came on autumnal and chilly, made them ill by the violence of the change; besides, as they had to do everything in the same place for want of room, and the bodies of those who died of their wounds or from the variation in the temperature, or from similar causes, were left heaped together one upon the other, intolerable stenches arose; while hunger and thirst never cease to afflict them, each man during eight months having only half a pint of water and a pint of grain given him daily. In short, no single suffering to be apprehended by men thrust into such a place was spared them. (Finley, 379)

16TH CENTURY: THE SPANISH

Early in the sixteenth century, Spanish conquistadores, led by Hernán Cortés, decided they wanted gold that wasn’t theirs. To get it, they pro­ceeded to destroy the Aztec culture and annihilate the native popula­tion. The capital of Mexico at that time was Tenochtitlan, and therein lay the Aztec treasure and Montezuma, the emperor of the Aztecs. Pedro de Alvarado, second in command, in Cortés’ absence massacred 8,000 unarmed Aztec nobility and was about to get to work on the women and children when Cortés appeared. Here is how a witness described the event:

    They attacked all the celebrants, stabbing them, spearing them from behind, and these fell instantly to the ground with their entrails hanging out. Others they beheaded: they cut off their heads, or split their head to pieces. They struck others in the shoulders, and their arms were torn from the bodies. They wounded some in the thigh and some in the calf. They slashed others in the abdomen, and their entrails all spilled to the ground. Some attempted to run away, but their intestines dragged as they ran; they seemed to tangle their feet in their own entrails. [Ref]

Tenochtitlan was under siege from May through August 1521. Cortés described the carnage in a letter to his king, Charles V:

    The people of the city had to walk upon their dead while others swam or drowned in the waters of that wide lake where they had their canoes; indeed, so great was their suffering that it was beyond our understand­ing how they could endure it. Countless numbers of men, women and children came toward us, and in their eagerness to escape many were pushed into the water where they drowned amid the multitude of corpses; and it seemed that more than fifty thousand had perished from the salt water they had drunk, their hunger and the vile stench. (Hanson, 192)

About 100,000 Aztecs perished in the fighting. The tally from the two-year struggle for Tenochtitlan was close to a million. Fifty years later, as a consequence of war and disease—the Europeans had brought with them measles, bubonic plague, flu, whooping cough, and mumps— the population of central Mexico had been reduced from 8 million to less than 1 million. The riches seized by the Spaniards were considerable. Between 1500 and 1650, 150 tons of gold and 16,000 tons of silver were shipped from Mexico and Peru to Spain.

19TH CENTURY: THE FRENCH

As the centuries pass, the carnage continues unabated. In 1809, Napoleon bombarded the city of Vienna. On May 21, he entered the city. A vicious battle with the Austrians ensued, just across the Danube. Napoleon got away with 19,000 in casualties, the Austrians with 24,000. In a subsequent battle on July 6, the Austrians lost 40,000, against 34,000 for the French. Thus, within a period of just six weeks, well over 100,000 men had been killed or wounded. Napo­leon’s disastrous Russian adventure of 1812 resulted in almost a million casualties. The battle of Borodino, alone, cost some 30,000 Frenchmen killed or wounded, some 45,000 Russians killed or wounded.

Inspecting the battlefield at Eylau, after what Napoleon counted as a victory, he wrote:

    To visualize the scene one must imagine, within the space of three square miles, nine or ten thousand corpses; four of five thousand dead horses; rows upon rows of Russian field packs; the remnants of muskets and swords; the ground covered with cannon balls, shells, and other ammu­nition; and twenty-four artillery pieces, near which could be seen the corpses of the drivers who were killed while trying to move them—all this sharply outlined against a background of snow. (Herold, 182)

And here is the battlefield at Borodino, six weeks after the battle, as described by Count Phillipe-Paul de Ségur:

    We all stared around us and saw a field, trampled, devastated, with every tree shorn off a few feet above the earth.… Everywhere the earth was lit­tered with battered helmets and breastplates, broken drums, fragments of weapons, shreds of uniforms, and blood-stained flags. Lying amid this desolation were thirty thousand half-devoured corpses. The scene was dominated by a number of skeletons lying on the crumbled slope of one of the hills; death seemed to have established its throne up there.  (Herold, 352)

The same Ségur described the French troops in retreat across a frozen Russian landscape, during the first heavy snowfall:

    Everything in sight became vague, unrecognizable. Objects changed their shape; we walked without knowing where we were or what lay ahead, and anything became an obstacle.… Yet the poor wretches [the soldiers] dragged themselves along, shivering, with chattering teeth, until the snow packed under the soles of their boots, a bit of debris, a branch, or the body of a fallen comrade tripped them and threw them down. Then their moans for help went unheeded. The snow soon cov­ered them up and only low white mounds showed where they lay. Our road was strewn with these hummocks, like a cemetery. (Herold, 352-352)

To warm themselves, the troops would set a whole house afire. Ségur’s description continues:

    The light of these conflagrations attracted some poor wretches whom the intensity of the cold and suffering had made delirious. They dashed for­ward in a fury, and with gnashing teeth and demoniacal laughter threw themselves into those raging furnaces, where they perished in dreadful convulsions. Their starving companions watched them die without appar­ent horror. There were even some who laid hold of the bodies disfigured and roasted by the flames, and—incredible as it may seem—ventured to carry this loathsome food to their mouths. (Herold, 356)

19TH CENTURY: THE AMERICANS

The American War of Secession in 1860, in which Northerners — under the command of the much revered Abraham Lincoln — invaded the South and obliterated its culture, destroying farms, lives and homesteads, creating mass migration and starvation, is as a good measure of what the warrior State is capable doing to its own people.

Here is a description by poet William Gilmore Simms of how things came to pass in Columbia, South Carolina.

    Daily did long trains of fugitives line the roads, with wives and children, and horses and stock and cattle, seeking refuge from the pursuers . . . Half naked people cowered from the winter under bush-tents in the thickets, under the eaves of houses, under the railroad sheds, and in old cars left them along the route. . . . Habitation after habitation, village after village—one sending up its signal flames to the other, presaging for it the same fate—lighted the winter and midnight sky with crimson horrors. (Masters, 458)

20TH CENTURY: THE GERMANS

Thanks to modern technology, its advanced weaponry and the advent of two world wars, the 20th century has committed unrivaled barbarie on a grand scale. Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970) has written a most compelling novel entitled, All Quiet on the Western Front (1928). Remarque takes the reader behind German lines during the First World War. We live out the terror of war and its gruesome horrors. We come to understand how men can be reduced to bestial savagery. Here are some excerpts from Chapter 6.

The waiting:

Night again. We are deadened by the strain–a deadly tension that scrapes along one’s spine like a gapped knife. Our legs refuse to move, our hands tremble, our bodies are a thin skin stretched painfully over repressed madness, over an almost irresistible, bursting roar. We have neither flesh nor muscles any longer, we dare not look at one another for fear of some incalculable thing. So we shut our teeth–it will end–it will end–perhaps we will come through.

The enemy:

We recognize the smooth distorted faces, the helmets: they are French. They have already suffered heavily when they reach the remnants of the barbed wire entanglements. A whole line has gone down before our machine-guns; then we have a lot of stoppages and they come nearer.

I see one of them, his face upturned, fall into a wire cradle. His body collapses, his hands remain suspended as though he were praying. Then his body drops clean away and only his hands with the stumps of his arms, shot off, now hang in the wire.

The moment we are about to retreat three faces rise up from the ground in front of us. Under one of the helmets a dark pointed beard and two eyes that are fastened on me. I raise my hand, but I cannot throw into those strange eyes; for one moment the whole slaughter whirls like a circus round me, and these two eyes alone are motionless; then the head rises up, a hand, a movement, and my hand-grenade flies through the air and into him.

The savagery:

We have become wild beasts. We do not fight, we defend ourselves against annihilation. It is not against men that we fling our bombs, what do we know of men in this moment when Death is hunting us down–now, for the first time in three days we can see his face, now for the first time in three days we can oppose him; we feel a mad anger. No longer do we lie helpless, waiting on the scaffold, we can destroy and kill, to save ourselves, to save ourselves and to be revenged.

We crouch behind every corner, behind every barrier of barbed wire, and hurl heaps of explosives at the feet of the advancing enemy before we run. The blast of the hand-grenades impinges powerfully on our arms and legs; crouching like cats we run on, overwhelmed by this wave that bears us along, that fills us with ferocity, turns us into thugs, into murderers, into God only knows what devils; this wave that multiplies our strength with fear and madness and greed of life, seeking and fighting for nothing but our deliverance. If your own father came over with them you would not hesitate to fling a bomb at him.

The lines behind us stop. They can advance no farther. The attack is crushed by our artillery. We watch. The fire lifts a hundred yards and we break forward. Beside me a lance-corporal has his head torn off. He runs a few steps more while the blood spouts from his neck like a fountain.

We have lost all feeling for one another. We can hardly control ourselves when our glance lights on the form of some other man. We are insensible, dead men, who through some trick, some dreadful magic, are still able to run and to kill.

A young Frenchman lags behind, he is overtaken, he puts up his hands, in one hand he still holds his revolver–does he mean to shoot or to give himself up!–a blow from a spade cleaves through his face. A second sees it and tries to run farther; a bayonet jabs into his back. He leaps in the air, his arms thrown wide, his mouth wide open, yelling; he staggers, in his back the bayonet quivers.

This is the reality of war, not the headlines, or news blurbs, or the propaganda pitches. This is what war is about. Bestiality and slaughter. Men gone mad and insensate. Death and survival reign. There is no purpose or meaning behind the mutilation. We can changes the names and places and the dates, war remains what it always been, senseless killing, i.e. barbarism.

VISIT WITH A FRIEND

While we are down here — i.e. in Hell — I thought I might pay visit to a friend of mine, Madeleine Albright. As Secretary of State, Maddy presided over the siege of Baghdad that began shortly after the United States invaded Iraq in August of 1990. The trade embargo denied foodstuffs and medicine to the people of Iraq, men, women and children. The conservative estimate is that 500,000 children under the age of five died of starvation and disease, as a consequence of the embargo.

For a moment, visualize, if you will, just one small child dying of starvation. Iraqi children — like children everywhere — are sweet, adorable creatures filled with a joy for living. Now imagine what it is like for an Iraqi mother — who has a soul and suffers, just like mothers everywhere — to watch her child wither before her eyes and then die. Now multiply this by 500,000, and this not an accident of nature, but the result of deliberate policy by American policy makers.  When asked in an interview whether the death of half a million Iraqi children was worth it, Ms. Albright replied, “We think the price is worth it.”

Dante Alighieri is responsible for the design of Hell as we know it. There are nine circles. If I had my way I would add a tenth circle and give Madeleine the privacy she deserves. But Dante gets the last word. It is the seventh circle that is home to Maddy, where she will remain into eternity, immersed in a river of boiling blood and fire.

It is reasonable to ask just what kind of person is Madeleine Albright and her cohorts in the warrior class. We can say with confidence that they are different from us, i.e., those with empathy for human suffering. The word psychopath comes to mind. The psychopath lacks empathy, loves to lie, and is skillful in impersonating what we consider to be a normal human being.

Psychopaths and politicians both have a tendency to be selfish, callous, remorseless users of others, irresponsible, pathological liars, glib, con artists, lacking in remorse and shallow.

Charismatic politicians, like criminal psychopaths, exhibit a failure to accept responsibility for their actions, have a high sense of self-worth, are chronically unstable, have socially deviant lifestyle, need constant stimulation, have parasitic lifestyles and possess unrealistic goals….

Political psychopaths are all largely cut from the same pathological cloth, brimming with seemingly easy charm and boasting, calculating minds. Such leaders eventually create pathocracies—totalitarian societies bent on power, control, and destruction of both freedom in general and those who exercise their freedoms. (Whitehead)

In 1835, the English physician, James Pritchard, wrote a treatise on mental illness in which he used the term “moral insanity,” which he defined as, “madness consisting in a morbid perversion of the natural feelings, affections, inclinations, temper, habits, moral dispositions, and natural impulses, without any remarkable disorder or defect of the interest or knowing and reasoning faculties, and particularly without any insane illusion or hallucinations.”(McPherson,300)

In other words those who suffer from moral insanity appear to be exactly like us. They are charming, likeable and coherent, which is what makes them so dangerous. What is rarely discussed, though obvious, is that those who suffer from moral insanity are filled with rage. And it is the rage that drives them to kill wherever and whenever they are given the opportunity.

“Well,” you say, “this can’t go on forever. There has to be an end in sight.” In Part 4, we consider what the end game possibilities might be.

Above text is part III of a six part essay.

1. War and the health of the State: What causes war

2. Federated governments: The Nation vs. the State

3. Origin of the State: Barbarians at the gate

4. End Game: War goes on

5. Critical Thinking: A bridge to the future

6. Deconstructing the State: Getting small

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Herbert J. Storing, The Anti-Federalist: Writings by the Opponents of the Constitution, edited by Herbert J. Storing.

Jay Syrmopoulus, October 15, 2015, “Iceland Just Jailed Dozens of Corrupt Bankers for 74 Years, The Opposite of What America Does.” Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/icelands-banksters-sentenced-74-years-prison-prosecution-u-s/#UHP3qHr1WIAuRFSs.99.

“The Economic Value of Peace, 2016” (PDF) Institute for Economics and Peace.

Washington Blog, February 23, 2015 “ICH”(Information
Clearing House) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41086.htm

Max Weber, Political Writings.

John W. Whitehead, March 29, 2016, “From Democracy to Pathocracy: The Rise of the Political Psychopath,”Intrepid Report, April 1, 2016.

Wikipedia, “Energy usage of the United States military.”

Wikiquote, Woodrow Wilson, Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.

ENDNOTES

1 Arianism asserts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God distinct from the Father and  therefore subordinate to the Father, but God nonetheless. Arian teachings were first attributed to the Egyptian priest Arius (256–336 ).

2 See “Selected Death Tolls for Wars, Massacres and Atrocities before the 20th Century” Twentieth Century Atlas – Historical Body Count – Necrometrics for some of the details.

Arthur D. Robbins is the author of “Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained: The True Meaning of Democracy,” hailed by Ralph Nader as an “eye-opening, earth-shaking book,… a fresh, torrential shower of revealing insights and vibrant lessons we can use to pursue the blessings and pleasures of a just society through civic efforts that are not as difficult as we have been led to believe.” Visit http://acropolis-newyork.comto learn more.

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Arthur D. Robbins, Global Research, 2017
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