Western Civilization

Western civilization is a bunch of things that tend to come together.

Christianity (forget that “Judeo Christian” crap, Judaism still has the problems Jesus complained about)

Classic Greek art, culture and philosophy (hey, compare our comic books with Greek statues, then compare with Indian statues or Japanese comic books, and no one except us and the Greeks does philosophy)

Western music descended from seventeenth and early eighteenth century composers, in particular and especially Bach. If you are fan of country and western, or Elvis, or whatever, it still a lot more like Bach than it is like anyone else’s music, except, like the Japanese, they have adopted western music. Indeed pretty much everyone has adopted western music, but they are all imitators and continue to be imitators. Note how much Engrish there is in East Asian pop music. Any music you hear is derived from someone, who derived it from someone, who derived it from someone, who derived it from Bach, and classic western music, such as the concert the Russians put on in Palmyra to remind us that the west was victorious, is that western music that is most directly derived from Bach. I think Handel is better than Bach, but everyone in the west winds up copying Bach even if they are punk rockers who do not know they are copying Bach, and pretty much everyone in the world winds up copying the west.

Science: The first statement of the scientific method comes from Roger Bacon, who proceeded to do a great deal of scientific research starting in 1247. Science really got going with the Royal Society in 1660. The King made science high status, so wealthy gentlemen proceeded to engage in or sponsor science, and the pirates who were conquering what became the British empire, who aspired to become wealthy respectable gentlemen, would sometimes take a break from shaking down Sultans for bloodstained gold to do scientific research. The best thing the Royal Society did was define the scientific method, give status to anyone who applied it successfully, and, more importantly deny status to those who falsely claimed to be applying it. When the Royal Society was subordinated to Harvard after World War II. no one with authority defined or enforced the scientific method, and these days the name of science is generally invoked by those who seek to restore the demon haunted dark, global warmerers and the like
Worshipper of the demon haunted dark:

Every year 47 million species go extinct

Fan of what used to be the scientific method

Name one that went extinct in the last few years

Worshipper of the demon haunted dark gives seventeen impeccably authoritative citations.
Fan of what used to be the scientific method

None of these name or describe a species that went extinct in the last few years.

Worshipper of the demon haunted dark gives twenty three more impeccably authoritative citations.

Enlightenment “Rationalism”. Enlightenment rationalism transliterates Christian beliefs about the next world, where they can never be disproven, into this world, where they are demonstrably false, which is the opposite of rationalism. For example “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”. The Enlightenment was western civilization taking a very bad turn, which may well be the end of us all. The scientific revolution gets identified as part of the enlightenment, but this is like Marxists telling us that Marxism is scientific socialism. Science predates the enlightenment in that science got started around 1247, and the enlightenment around 1750. The high period of science, 1660 to 1945, occurred during the enlightenment, but was caused by the reaction, not the enlightenment, in that King Charles gave the Royal Society status, and the Royal Society gave science and the scientific method status. If Western civilization is to survive, the Enlightenment must be thoroughly purged and erased. Eradicating the enlightenment make make restoring Christianity necessary and possible, but the urgent necessity is the thorough and complete erasure of the enlightenment. Western civilization cannot survive the enlightenment.

Adam Smith and capitalism. Adam Smith showed that capitalism, done right, channels impulses that can be immoral and destructive, into ends that are moral and constructive. Thus, Western Civilization is inherently capitalist, and National Socialism is stupid, not because racist, but because socialist. The ten commandments consist of four that deal with God, thereby defining the adherents as a different and separate people, and six that prescribe how to deal with one’s fellow man, and in those six the rule against covetousness is the rule that is particularly and specially emphasized. Covetousness is wanting that which is someone else’s. If you see someone’s pretty wife, and think, I should have her, he treats her badly, he does not appreciate her as I appreciate her, he is too old and ugly for her, if I were to sneakily kill him and take her, she would be happier with me”, that is covetousness. If you think “Perhaps she has a younger sister who is still single”, that is not covetousness. And similarly, if you look at a rich man and think “He got his wealth by doing bad things, so he deserves to be punished by me taking away his wealth and having it myself”, that is covetousness. If, instead, you inquire how he got rich, and think about what you could do similarly, that is not covetousness. Adam Smith explained why the latter approach is usually more appropriate to wealth. Whenever you think of excessively clever rationales why the excessively fortunate do not deserve what they have, and should be deprived of it, that is covetousness, and civilizations end when the mob is empowered to give effect to covetousness.

It is plausible to argue that the key element of Western Civilization, the killer app, was the rule of law, laws that Kings had to obey, and yet, there is something wrong with this story, in that the law in England began as common law, which was not law centric, but judge centric, and the judges were, pretty much, local aristocrats, and local aristocrats pretty much did what they wanted, so the common law was not literal law written down as laws, but generalizations made by lawyers about the common moral culture of the aristocrats. So distributed power, limits on the power of kings, gave rise to laws that kings had to obey, not the other way around. A key feature of Western civilization is that it has always had a lot of nation states, and these nation states tended to have within them subsidiarity, many dispersed powerful people, rather than one king, or one all powerful bureaucracy. This gave rise to competition that mostly peaceful, though far from entirely peaceful, and the from this competition, the best tended to win, and be imitated, and worst tended to lose, and be ignored or replaced It was not the rule of law, but rather the rule of law was one of the consequences of subsidiarity, of mostly peaceful competition between powerful people and groups. The overwhelming dominance of the Cathedral over a multitude of nominally independent nation states, and the centralization of each of these nation states means that madness goes unchallenged. Doctrine goes out from Harvard, and goes unchallenged by reality. Competition made the west great, and real competition has been silenced. The megacities grow because winners and losers are not made by the market, but by government. Housing is expensive because everyone needs to be close to the man who is close to the man who is close to the man who is close to the man who is in the revolving door between regulators and regulated. Decentralization of nation states is difficult and hard to define. Independence of nation states is easier to define and easier to attain, hence the neoreactionary position that there need to be more nation states, and those nation states independent. When we have more nation states, and more independence for them, then perhaps will be able to look at them and say what constitutes decentralization.

51 Responses to “Western Civilization”

  1. Greg says:

    > He got his wealth by doing bad things, so he deserves to be punished

    This is close to the core of Western Civilization, which is large scale trustful cooperation. It has to be carefully maintained by punishing free-riders and parasites. We have lost that capability, and we’re toast. The two are not unrelated.

    > by me taking away his wealth and having it myself

    The “having it myself” part is not necessary; a strawman really.

    OT question: What do you think of Nick Land?

  2. Jefferson says:

    This assumes that there is no causal link between science and the enlightenment. Spandrell has credibly argued that leftism is the natural result of material plenty, which also precipitated the enlightenment (and as any right prog can tell you, material wealth is the end result of technology and capitalism).

    What you describe as the common law is found clearly delineated in the Old Testament (Jethro suggests it to Moses, who takes the advice), and is shown unraveling in a very enlightenment style later on. If guys who spend their whole lives studying a book that warns of this can still end up with the problems the Jews have today, how is anyone rolling this idea back?

    • jim says:

      Was not a lot material plenty in France for their left singularity, Russia for its left singularity, Szechuan for the worst left singularity ever.

      • Jefferson says:

        They all happened after their cultures got past the point of simple Malthusian limits though. If you’re busy plowing fields you can’t really be a priest.

        • Jefferson says:

          Which brings me back to a point you’ve made before: a strong, hereditary priesthood is a requirement to reign in holiness spirals.

        • jim says:

          Szechuan was back in the days of simple Malthusian limits.

          • Jefferson says:

            I realized after my last post that you already covered the importance of a hereditary priest class in restraining holiness spirals. There seems to be some sort of correlation between material wealth and/or lack of overt existential threats and holiness spirals, but the best I’m coming up with is that social ratcheting speeds up with increased information exchange (which will correlate with wealth on some level).

  3. Wagemueller says:

    “The megacities grow because winners and losers are not made by the market, but by government. Housing is expensive because everyone needs to be close to the man who is close to the man who is close to the man who is close to the man who is in the revolving door between regulators and regulated.”

    This seems like a bit much. Gains from agglomeration are pretty universal since the Industrial Revolution, no? In the event of a restoration, I’d expect centers of economic gravity to be less strongly correlated with the presence of Fed branches, but I wouldn’t expect them to get smaller or less dense.

  4. A pint thereof says:

    Modern science began in 1210 with the Church’s condemnation and prohibition of Aristotelian doctrine.

    Pierre Duhem more specifically states that “if we must assign a date for the birth of modern science, we would, without doubt, choose the year 1277 when the bishop of Paris [Etienne Tempier] solemnly proclaimed that several worlds could exist, and that the whole of the heavens could, without contradiction, be moved with a rectilinear motion.”

    But science was hardly low-status before 1660.

  5. Thrasymachus says:

    Sorry Jim, if you believe in capitalism and the “rule of law” you’re a progressive.

    Capitalism and communism are both retarded because they define man as economic, and thus a consumer. They both allow man to deal with others however he wishes, to fill his stomach or satisfy his lust. Communists are right about the crimes of capitalists, just as capitalists are right about the crimes of communist. But why wouldn’t they be? Neither system is exactly criminal, but both are invitations to crime.

    Every man is member of a family and a nation, and thus social. National Socialism- by which you mean the German National Socialism of the NSDAP- was problematic, but any functional system will be both national and social.

    • jim says:

      How many more times shall we try socialism before you are convinced?

      • Chris B says:

        Science: There is no way to define who invented the scientific methods, as there isn’t “one”. Also, I really see no genuine claim that can be made that Marx, socialism, the american progressives et al are not scientific, especially if you maintain a liberal concept of man as an empirical individual which is found in all liberalism from the start. This understanding grounds modern social theory and economics – from classical liberalism to Marx and all of them claim to be analysis of objective reality according to set laws. SJWs and gay marriage are the symptoms of science in everything (which is the underlying disease.)

        Capitalism: Intellectually, philosophically and in every other possible way, the Adam Smith Capitalism you advocate is incoherent, and worse, a historical fabrication. As far as I can tell, Smith did not advocate anything really ascribed to him by subsequent apologists of laissez-faire economics, which is itself at heart a weird form of agrarian utopianism derived from the physiocrats. Its explosion with the passing of The Corn Laws also seems to me to have been a giant joke. The main culprits being factory owning/ industrialists Whigs who promoted laissez-faire as a battering ram against economic policy which did not favor them. It was never proven or coherently explained then, and it hasn’t gotten any clearer since. Just reading Peel’s speech on the issue shows it to be a pathetic veneer of justification for his actions. (Also advocating free trade when you have the most advanced economy is like calling a fight between Mike Tyson and a toddler fair because neither has weapons.)
        Common law: Here you stray into anti-racism. The quality of the population is key, and it wasn’t brought about through competition. It was through the application of very specific monopolies (feudal fiefs, kingdoms.) Competition in everything is an ideological position, not objective reality.

        • Contaminated NEET says:

          Oh please. As always, the rectification of names is what we need. What Jim is talking about is not simply anything that “claim[s] to be analysis of objective reality according to set laws.” By that definition, theology is a science, homeopathy is a science, feng shui is a science, the Shaver Mystery is a science, etc., etc. A lot of these things have been called “sciences,” and in one sense of the word they are, but that’s clearly not what Jim means, nor is it what Marxists, economists, progressives, and all the rest mean when they drape the mantle of “science” over their ideas.

        • peppermint says:

          — The quality of the population is key, and it wasn’t brought about through competition. It was through the application of very specific monopolies (feudal fiefs, kingdoms.)

          White supremacy is older than that. White supremacy comes from monogamy around ten thousand years ago.

          Meanwhile, everyone knows that capitalism means free enterprise, always exists to some extent, and always is successful where it exists.

          At the same time, free enterprise can’t run literally everything. The DNA of the nation and the individuals are the nation’s capital, and the leaders hold this capital in trust for future generations, which means nothing for how the government or military should be structured.

          Common law is cool except for the whole supreme court deciding what laws there are thing. Need to make whoever is formally tasked with making laws make the laws.

          • pdimov says:

            “Meanwhile, everyone knows that capitalism means free enterprise…”

            I held the same opinion, but…

            If a secure sovereign (an absolute monarch for instance) enforces property rights but otherwise doesn’t interfere in the economic affairs of his subjects, is (was) this capitalism?

            Property is power; what happens when some private citizens acquire enough property to become so powerful as to be able to challenge the monarch?

            Is not this the defining characteristic of capitalism that sets it apart from just “free enterprise”?

            • peppermint says:

              Capitalism is a code word for free enterprise just like law and order is a code word for White supremacy and crime and violence are code words for niggers. Last night Trump said that we will be a country of law and order and the plague of crime and violence will end very soon.

              Sure, you could interpret that differently and even argue that he didn’t mean what he said.

              Free enterprise can also be accused of being ancap or libertarian instead of good old capitalism. At some point words get so loaded up with meanings that communication becomes difficult.

              I like the old Roman republican system except that the patricians ended up replacing the plebs with cheap foreigners following which the Roman nation was extinguished. Post-Roman monarchies and the Roman monarchy also failed to be nationalist.

              How to guarantee that the government will continue to be nationalist? This has been the key question of White revolutionaries for millennia.

              • pdimov says:

                A good first step is to abolish democracy, which eliminates the primary reason for importing worthless foreigners.

                But you’re still left with the question of what to do when free enterprise produces vast fortunes which then start working against the state for some (((reason))) or other.

                • peppermint says:

                  » which eliminates the primary reason for importing worthless foreigners

                  that’s not why the Romans did it, or the Southrons who should have picked their own damn cotton. In fact, the Gracci were elected democratically but assassinated, and the Know Nothings did pretty well electorally.

            • jim says:

              Private fortunes never get powerful enough to challenge the monarch. Apart from the fact that the monarch is inevitably richer than anyone, he is also the fount of all honors, mortal and divine. Which means that rich people are his tools, since they use their money to compete in status games where he sets the rules.

              If we look at weak monarchs, for example Alexander the liberator, his weakness was not inability to execute people, or torture people, or private wealth, but that instead of being the fount of all honors, he and his country lost intellectual sovereignty. He competed in a status game where the rules were set by British intellectuals. As a PUA would say, he lost frame. As Putin would say, he lost spiritual security.

              • pdimov says:

                My point was that if private citizens can’t get wealthy enough to challenge the monarch, the system is (arguably) not capitalism.

                Most people do see a difference between “capitalism” and “free enterprise” but they can’t explain what it is. They would not agree that laissez-faire absolute monarchy is capitalism, even though they don’t know why. This is, in my opinion, why.

              • A pint thereof says:

                “Apart from the fact that the monarch is inevitably richer than anyone…..”

                What!!!

                Most of the key points of European history rest on the fact that the monarch is far poorer than his most powerful aristocratic enemies.

                • jim says:

                  The monarch is always passing the hat around. Does not mean he is poorer. Means he has big expenditures.

                • pdimov says:

                  Once you use “richer” or “poorer” to describe the monarch, you have capitalism. The monarch should be completely outside the scale, because sovereignty and primary property. Everything belongs to him, and you own what you own because he lets you.

                  In theory, that is. In practice, Magna Carta, rule of law, and consequently capitalism.

        • jim says:

          > There is no way to define who invented the scientific methods, as there isn’t “one”

          You are an idiot.

          There is one scientific method, and it is what Galileo and Feynman said that it is, and what the Royal Society used to say that it is back when they had the power to make what they said stick.

          And all the rest are pseudo science, cargo cult science, for example climate science, social science, scientific socialism, and the rest.

      • Thrasymachus says:

        Really, any system that is all-white will work pretty well. Communism, capitalism, socialism, fascism, parliamentary democracy- because it’s not the system, it’s the people. Systems are really imaginary, and don’t have any characteristics aside from the people they consist of.

        • peppermint says:

          communism only worked pretty well if pretty well means not actively destroying the White race after the ’40s

          The fact that commies weren’t sufficiently anti-White is the reason proggies turned on them, but commies did support the anti-White armies fighting the Portuguese fascists

        • pdimov says:

          Communism doesn’t work. Except maybe for bushmen. Socialism kind of works with white people, but is unsustainable.

        • Jack says:

          >it’s not the system, it’s the people.

          Binary thinking much?

          On principle, Whites can pull off any system. Long term, however, if the system incentivizes dysgenical breeding — the best reproduce the least, the worst reproduce the most — you’ll end up wrecked, homogeneous or not.

          When the best reproduce the least, and the worst reproduce the most, then even if you start out with pure Aryan ubermenschen, given long enough a period, you’ll end up with blonde blue-eyed niggers, and your system will collapse.

          So yes, White homogeneity is a preliminary condition for having a decent civilization, but the right incentives — brought about by the right system — are required as well.

        • Jack says:

          I’d go even further and remark that if you manage to impose a eugenic system where the best reproduce the most, and the worst reproduce the least, on a society composed entirely of niggers, then eventually after millennia those niggers will make for a great civilization.

          So short-term,you only need great people (Whites). Long-term, also need the right reproductive incentives.

  6. Dear Jim,

    The problem with fish talking about what the water is like is that while they have an extensive experience about it, they don’t have much else to compare it with. Sometimes it is better to ask a coastal amphibian about it. I know you are a well traveled man and far better qualified to make such comparisons as others, but still I think perspectives from the “coast” of the West could be interesting. One such coast or periphery, “half-West” is probably Russia and generally that region.

    In my experience their view of the West is twofold.

    The first part sounds like a James Clawell novel, King Rat, Tai Pan, Noble House – a strongly calculating, selfish, cold, trader, mercantile spirit, lacking all kinds of romantic, emotional, communal feeling they prefer to have. This is really astonishing – especially that half of your commentariat thinks “that’s not us, that’s the Jews” – it seems from that viewpoint that the whole Anglo-American-Dutch mercantile spirit is like that actually. But it is possible that their primary point of contact has always been the merchants, that’s why… Clawell was an Objectivist BTW and that sort of stuff seems almost like the parodical exaggeration of these features of the West.

    The second opinion I get from them is internal strife. For them it is natural that every nation, culture or ethny sticks together and competes with its neighbors. Internal fight, ideological fight, hating subsets of ones own people more than foreigners is something uniquely Western apparently. At least if it is done ideologically and not just one warlord against the other. We can give a lot of blame to the Left and Enlightenment for it, but it is at some level older. It is already there in Aristotle’s Politics. The unusual and unique part is that they weren’t absorbed entirely fighting non-Greeks or other Greek city-states. It seems the had energy left for internal strife, and so much internal strife that it was possible to identify patterns of power groups: monarchies, aristocracies/oligarchies, democracies and so on. This suggests the internal strife was so frequent that not each case was unique but with many repetitions such patterns, such general categories of who competes with power with whom could emerge. This is very unique. We can blame the Left for exclusive pushing the democratic, sometimes tyrannical element, but the seeds of the conflict were there 2300 years ago, the pattern already existed. And this is at some level really astonishing, given how much energy they put into fighting other city-states and non-Greeks and they still had a capacity for this. Many other cultures didn’t.

    Articles like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C4%AB%C3%BE and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malakia#Greek_attitude_toward_effeminacy suggest Westerners at the root having an unusually high-T “alpha” makeup and not easily accepting servitude. There is always some guy trying to be dominant and some others don’t put up with being dominated. In other cultures it seems there is always some guy trying to be dominant, wins, becomes god-king, the son of heaven and it is then for a few generations over. Not in the West. There are always challengers. Certain elements of democracy, such as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thing_(assembly) seem to be invented largely as a mitigating factor – a bit of an “everybody chill the fuck down, swords back into sheats and talk”. Too much fighting for power and the attempts to mitigate it by talking and by some sense of equality (that any free man may challenge a noble to a Holmgangr, thus elites were not sitting entirely safe) it may have created the perfect preconditions where leftie intellectuals, noblesse de robe, who were good at talking and turned that kind of pragmatic, peacekeeping minimal-equality into a huge ideology of egalitarianism. Parliaments are rooted in basically peace negotiations, and it seems everything else we have in politics is rooted in parliaments.

  7. Re: Cargo Cult Science

    On most questions where a majority with authority is facing a minority of dissenters or skeptics, the majority is delusional. IOW, you are living in the Matrix; much of what you and people believe is fundamentally wrong.
    This is an empirical (and eminently falsifiable) claim, but here are three reasons why it happened:

    Reason 1 is that the majority forms its view by circular reasoning, and rejects any attempt at logical discussion without considering it seriously, so it is prone to delusion.
    Reason 2 is a minority wouldn’t be holding out without a good reason, because they are punished for their opposition with scorn and hatred at least. The usual reason they are so stubborn is they are defending rational truth.
    Reason 3 is there’s often big money to be made or political power to be gained by influencing the majority opinion, and often has been for a very long time. Rationality doesn’t have a press agent, and there’s no money in swaying the minority position. For a more extensive discussion:
    http://lifeboat.com/blog/2016/07/3-reasons-you-are-living-in-the-matrix-how-to-make-a-red-pill

    TruthSift.com allows you to diagram debates and settle them point by point on the basis of whether they can be rationally demonstrated.

    • peppermint says:

      — On most questions where a majority with authority is facing a minority of dissenters or skeptics, the majority is delusional.

      This would be meaningless even if it could be properly quantified. The fact that it even sounds like a reasonable statement says something about the state of social sciences.

      NatSoc is right because it is true, not because it is popular, unpopular, old, new, or anything else.

      • Its not just social sciences. Vaccines. Climate “science”. Much of what you read in the newspapers: Ukraine, Syria, ISIS. Practically everything where there is a majority with authority and a minority opinion opposing it.

        • peppermint says:

          Cops and sovereign citizens. Christcucks and christcuck identarians. Feminists and MRAs. Progs and their commie and ancap debate partners. There are always stupid people without power, and many of them even have stupid communities.

  8. Pseudo-chrysostom says:

    He who owns a nations bank is the true sovereign of that nation. The rothschilds destroyed the ancien regime because they had the power of usury on their side, which was ignored or underestimated by the nobles of the time. Compound interest, most assuredly, is one of the most powerful forces in gods creation.

    If the formal sovereign of a territory is in charge of the bank and collected seignorage on his lending, he would hardly need to tax at all any more, save perhaps as a potential istrument of policy. 

    American economic imperialism during the cold war was often predicated on convicing third world governments to take out big loans for some big project, and, when they inevitably failed to pay them back competely, graciously excuse (ie, demand) the debts through economic, political, or military concessions (and a reasonable long term ‘payment plan’, of course).

    De facto power should be aligned with de jure power; anyone who is not the sovereign who practices usury is essentially declaring his own sovereignty and is a pretender to the throne.

  9. Zach says:

    If we take music as form, western music is nothing like Bach at all. Do you mean equal temperament? I am utterly confused by your commentary. Sure it’s simple tonal music, but like Bach it is not. Ask Yoda!

    Handel is good too. Most thought so. Many don’t think so now. His keyboard work is underrated.

    Glenn Gould has some really clever commentary about why Bach is good, and Beethoven is silly. I could never recommend Bach to normals, but cherry picking from his vast output one will find some incredible shit. Listening to the Art of Fugue imposes satisfaction on the listener. Just listen to how he elegantly closes the first few fugues. One might say all there is to like about music is right there in Prelude 1 of book 1 of the well tempered clavier.

    • Zach says:

      Oh, here’s the Glenn bit:

      https://youtu.be/exD8bhJP1eo?t=1838

      30:40

      (The entire conversation was prewritten by Glenn, had this on VHS)

    • jim says:

      Are you disagreeing with me or agreeing?

      • Zach says:

        Was in a somewhat chatty mood that night.

        Not agreeing, at least about Bach vs music today.

        From before:

        “If we take music as form, western music is nothing like Bach at all.”

        But I think you mean it follows the same harmonic rules which gives rise to the similarities of which you speak. I had a phase when equal temperament tuning bored the shit out of me. So I went all the way back, tried to write some Pythagorean tuning stuff myself. It’s quite limiting, musically, to restrict one to “just chords” and the complete absence of modulation.

  10. avraham says:

    Maimonides’s thought did provide the basis for Aquinas’s development of natural law.

  11. […] a magnificent essay on Western Civilization, giving honor where it went right, and noting where it went wrong—all offered in classic […]

  12. […] A. Donald: Western Civilization. An expansive overview of the great cultural and moral victories of Western Civ and how it all came […]

  13. Alrenous says:

    The Greeks who did philosophy were genetically wiped out by the 1400s or so. The original Ionian Greeks must have been ferociously smart to produce so many quality philosophers with such a small population.

    Aristotle on science: “the best way to understand nature is through reasoning and observation, and that knowledge is subject to examination.”
    Grosseteste, who immediately preceded Bacon, was explicitly building on Aristotle’s work.
    I will give Bacon credit for stating it clearly and, as I understand it, in one place.

    • avraham says:

      I think it was a general thing in the Greek world, not just the Ionians. I also think as you said that the people in Greece today have no connection with Attic Greece.

  14. avraham says:

    Also I think that it is true the Ionians started it, but the best of them were Athenians.

  15. JRM says:

    @jim:

    I’ll admit that I’ve not read every essay on this site, but if I may ask a question or two that could be considered “spoilers”, or maybe just CliffsNotes:

    Is your position that a “best” form of government exists, and is attainable?

    Obviously, most forms and instances of social administration rise and fall. Some civilizations have had their fall retroactively classified or explained in an almost infinite number of ways, everything from the importation of non-native populations as slaves to lead poisoning.

    It’s difficult to prove that all civilizations perish from the same cause, but it seems undeniable that none are historically immune to collapse, be it from within, without, or some combination thereof.

    Would you say that civilizations will naturally adhere to certain lifespans, a cyclical, Spenglerian view? Or would you posit that a perfected system with an optimum population in excellent health could go on indefinitely, properly stewarded?

    Just as an illustration, if we were to support, say, (for the sake of argument) a monarchical rule with limited free-enterprise, and a state-endorsed (or enforced) spiritual schema, what would keep it from collapsing (or drifting away from real monarchy) from some of the same maladies that previous monarchical systems did?

    It’s quite fine to hold Ancient Greece, or Rome, or 17th century England, or whatever, up for good examples, but can you select a system and with any other necessary concatenations to support it, say: “this is the goal”, or “this is the gold standard”?

    • peppermint says:

      Jim thinks there needs to be a king whose job it is to keep anyone else from claiming to be the fount of all authority and honors and delegates actual authority to an intelligent patriot prime minister, and an inquisitor whose job it is to prevent anyone else from claiming to be holier than the king and the inquisition.

    • jim says:

      All governments are terrible ad hoc emergency measures to deal with intolerable problems, which emergency measures then necessarily became entrenched. And if they don’t become entrenched the first time, then there is another intolerable problem pretty soon.

      I think that all the worst potentials of the state should be put in the hands of a single man, the King, because there is a limit to how much damage one man can do.

      Governments tend to become theocratic, and theocracies tend to become governments. One way of inspiring governments so that they are less apt to cause damage is to have them point to God. Thus, theoretically, the high priest anoints the King, and the Church is above the state. Of course in actual practice the King is usually above the church, and if he is not, the Church becomes quite obnoxious, but we should have the Church above the state in principle, and the state above the Church in practice.

      The church should be ruled by the communion of the saints, the consensus of the living and the dead. It should, however have a several independent regional hierarchies, each region corresponding to a state, and while the patriarch of each region is ultimately ruled by the consensus of his fellow patriarchs and the saints, he is in day to day matters highly cooperative with, and respectful of, the King of his region, who ultimately appoints the patriarch of his region with the advice, but not necessarily the consent, of the consensus of the patriarchs and the saints.

      The King is the fount of all honors, mortal and divine, meaning he sets the rules for status competitions, and himself does not participate in status competitions. Should he participate, he is automatically and immediately declared the winner – a subtle way of barring him from contending. Should the King fall off his horse, everyone falls off his horse. In Putin’s language, the state is spiritually secure – it does not have its state belief system set from outside, nor its status games controlled from outside.

      You don’t want your King participating in any genuine status competitions, because if he does, he is apt to wind up competing in a status competition judged from outside, in which case you lose spiritual sovereignty.

      • JRM says:

        Thank you for your responses, gentlemen!

        Would Napoleon be a good example of fit rule? His crowning of himself, yet allowing the crown to be handed over by the Pope seems an act worthy of some analysis on relative spheres of power. Napoleon was alas not of royal lineage, so that may be a argument against hereditary succession.

        Without the military overreach, is Napoleon a good example, or did he carry forward far too much of the ideology of the Revolution, and the contaminations of the Enlightenment? Cultural production and advancement of science prospered under Napoleon.

        • avraham says:

          Going back to Roman law and natural law. Napoleon seems like a great improvement of what came before him. This brings up the question what is natural law?

Leave a Reply