A brief history of tomorrow…
How did we get to where are today? How did we get to economic stagnation, the slow strangulation of liberties? How did we get to where we will be tomorrow, with economic collapse and the war of words of all against all?
Here is a very rapid tour through the destruction of rationality.
We start with the ancient world, with Greece and Rome and Carthage. We start with all the hero-worshipping poetry of mass murderers such as Achilles and Hercules. The age of heroism, it is called, with all of its self-mutilating fetish for blood and swords and spilling intestines. The age of heroism is always entwined with the age of magic and gods – and also with the age of rape, where beautiful women, pursued by warriors, dragged off and pillaged. The basic poem is: ‘fight and fuck’, ‘fight and fuck’, and all must worship these Darwinian machines as they knife and rape in service of the creation of a more perfect murderer – these bronzed apes of bloody fantasies. Ulysses will forever be spoken of by stuttering academics as a metaphor for some sort of spiritual quest, as if he is not in fact a sociopathic hired killer turned loose on the world to murder for his master. (A more recent example is that of Macbeth – who the wonderfully corrupt Shakespeare shows slaughtering a hundred innocent peasants without blinking an eye – and then sinking into self-loathing for knifing the head of his criminal ruling gang.)
The age of heroism is also the age of the death cult. Life is portrayed as pain; tortured souls stride the stages, and comedians giggle and spit at the same time. Only three professions are portrayed as noble: the priest, the soldier and the politician. In other words, those who justify murder, those who perform it, and those who profit from it.
The highest goal of the age of heroism is the roar of the crowd, the command of armies and the murder of the innocent. The age of heroism is also the age of liars, since murder must be transformed into honour, cowering youths into murderous demons – and blood-spattered politicians into noble orators.
The age of heroism is always the age of stories, since only in stories can murderous lies be made to glow and roar. It is the age of martial music, false tears and sudden rages. It is the age of incoherence, of ink spilled in water to hide the bodies of children. It is, of course, the age of pomp and manipulation and lies that dwarf cynicism.
Finally, the age of heroism is always worships blood. Family loyalties trump all considerations, since there are no ethics in a world of lies. Fantasies take the place of solid eyesight. Countries, armies and souls rise up to swallow simple humanity. Men vanish in a cloud of blood, replaced by categories and raging labels.
In this age, the merchant is scorned as a coward, since he has not succumbed to the nightmare of a full commitment to self-destruction. The merchant is the man who wants a family, a profession, and a comfortable house. He wishes to trade, not invade. He is bourgeois. He has no spirit. He wishes for nothing but comfort. His love of life and desire for comfort and material success is scorned by the sneering nihilist, who lives only to lie and kill and rape and die. The nihilist supports war and the police and the military and government programs and violence in all his subtle symptoms – and then says that one must be afraid of advertising and voluntary exchange.
Thus Carthage, the trading society, is burned down by the Romans. Thus the false dichotomy between Athens and Sparta arises. Athens is considered rational because its politicians have invented longer words for shorter swords. Sparta is considered martial because they wage war openly – in armour, not robes – and give warning to those they will attack, and do not demand they be disarmed beforehand, as politicians do.
The self-destruction of the heroic societies is always follows the same pattern. The first is that the nihilist needs the producer, but cannot restrain the raging expansion of his own nihilism. The nihilist pillages the farmer until the farmer becomes a nihilist, and then all lay down to starve. The demon of violence, once unleashed, must run its course – often of centuries – until it has bitten the through the flesh of the people and finally broken the bones and lies of their sick imaginings. Only then can the rebuilding begin. In other words, the producers are consumed by the nihilists, so that both die – and then, with the nihilists dead, the honest begin to produce again, only to draw the hungry nihilists back to pillage them, to start the whole cycle once more. (Thus do we get the myth of the vampires who, after consuming the totality of their victims, go to sleep until the victims replenish themselves once more.)
Rome’s self-destruction came from enslaving young men into military service lasting a decade or two – and crippling taxes that, due to transportation limits, could only be levied on those living in towns and cities. Naturally, many young Roman men found the pleasures of city living not worth the price of enslavement and endless theft, and so fled to the country. And so the politicians found themselves with fewer conscripts, and so had to hire more mercenaries – which meant raising both taxes and the length of conscription. This vicious circle grew until, finally, the politicians ran out of money – at which point the ‘barbarian’ mercenaries returned to Rome in search of their paychecks and, finding the coffers empty, sacked the place. The nihilists destroyed another society, and the world returned to a more limited and peaceful existence. During the Dark Ages, men elevated themselves from Roman serfs of war to Christian serfs of agriculture – and, due to Christianity’s hostility to slavery (growing as it did as a religion among slaves), labour-productivity gains could occur without threatening the investment that the ruling classes had in their human chattel.
Then, through improvements in agricultural technologies – shoulder harnesses that did not choke, crop rotations, land consolidation through the Black Death etc. – cities grew again, and so of course did interest in Roman law, since the late Roman war of all-against-all had been forgotten. Laws are the future mirror of society, and yet little critical examination was given to laws which directly resulted in the death of the Republic, and so all the logical contradictions – always exploited by nihilists – were left firmly in place.
The discovery of the value of the scientific method – the true beginning of the Industrial Revolution – by Francis Bacon in the 16th Century marked the death knell of the universal Christian church. The printing press transmitted both the curiously logical rants of Luther and the growing desire to cast aside spurious fantasy for empirical observation.
All this, of course, culminated in the great desire to leash the murderous State and set it to work for the benefit of its traditional victims – to turn the voracious vampire into a placid cook. The growth of mobile capital in the 17th and 18th centuries undercut the traditional power of military might, since gold could be moved and smuggled at will, and did not need or respect the power of the sword. At any given time, only one person can really own a piece of land, and it requires great slaughter to assert and maintain that claim. Gold, however, is fluid, and passes easily under lowered swords. Taxing merchants soon became more profitable than taxing feudal Lords – and traders were far less of a martial threat to boot! Thus laws began to swing to the favour of the merchants, and since the power of the State corrupts everyone, even honest traders, the system which resulted was mercantilism.
Mercantilism was the standard ‘murder for profit’ scheme that always results from the existence of a State. Merchants bribed Kings, who then bribed the military to ensure exclusive trading territories for merchants. The brutal costs were diffused among silent, poverty-stricken and starving consumers, and the gains accrued, as always, to the murderous few.
This all began to die with the birth of the new world, wherein life could begin without the blood-crusted layers of historical slaughterers. The fact of the matter is that healthy people never even think of the need for a State – they are always provoked into surrendering their freedoms by the taunts and provocations of the nihilists, and because it is always their great-grandchildren who pay the most for their failures of integrity.
And then – and then, the nihilists were faced with a true horror, which was that through the success of the new world, it became abundantly clear that the State governed best which governed least. And so – why need a State at all?
And of course the American experiment was fatally flawed, in logic, reality and morality. If all men are equal, who can hold violent power over another? How can a State logically exist at all? The failure of the Founding Fathers to close this loop left it open for constant picking and mocking from the State-fed intellectuals of the Old World.
The slow widening of this logical hole resulted in the two great triumphs of governments in the 19th century. The first was the founding of State education, and the second was the creation of government banks. The first produced State slaves, while the second created a near-bottomless funding mechanisms for State wars.
Thus were the horrors of the 20th century produced. Wars need both money and men – the State banks produced the first, and the State schools the second. Nihilism ran rampant. The First World War achieved everything that was intended – a new class of war profiteers, a clear demonstration of multi-state genocides, and State-dependent women, children and wounded veterans.
Well, then, women got the vote. Women are many wonderful things, but political economists they are not. Women want food and shelter for their children, and don’t really care about abstract rights. Women have not had the direct experiences of war that men have had, and so did not fear the State to the same degree. The granting of female suffrage was followed within a few years by the creation of the welfare state – more accurately known as bribery politics. This was also made possible by the creation of paper currency and the expansion of State banking powers.
Now that the State could borrow against future multi-generational tax receipts, there was no possibility of preventing the inevitable collapse. Tax revolts were impossible, because the State had trained the children to believe that murder was virtue, and deductions-at-source masked the threat of murder at the root of taxation. The State now owned the poor, the sick, dependent women and children, unions, subsidized businesses, the military, farmers and a thousand other social groups. The average individual now has no chance to stem the growing tide of parasitism and the resulting spread of nihilism.
That is the quick tour – for those with the patience to sink deep into sentences, there is a lot to be gained from review. The source of our current misery and coming collapse is violence, of course, but it is a gang of smiling villains that holds our leash – and they will continue to smile as long as we obey. No society in the history of the planet has ever thrown off nihilism when it has advanced so far – and if anyone doubts this, they should remember that we are now in the terminal stages of our self-destruction, since we have finally entered the age of heroism. Not convinced? Read about the War on Terror and in Iraq, and then reread the first few chapters of this essay. The end is always in the beginning.
Stefan Molynuex, is the host of Freedomain Radio (www.freedomainradio.com), the most popular philosophy site on the Internet, and a “Top 10” Finalist in the 2007-2010 Podcast Awards.