οὗτοι μέν εἰσι φύσει δοῦλοι... ἔστι γὰρ φύσει δοῦλος ὁ δυνάμενος ἄλλου εἶναι...
These are by nature slaves...for he is by nature a slave who is capable of belonging to another...
Aristotle, Politics, I.II.13, translated by H. Rackham [Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1932, 1998, pp.22-23].
Ἀπορήσας οὖν ὁ ῥὴξ Πιπῖνος, εἶπεν πρὸς τοὺς Βενετίκους, ὅτι·
«Ὑπὸ τὴν ἐμὴν χεῖρα καὶ πρόνοιαν γίνεσθε,
ἐπειδὴ ἀπὸ τὴς ἐμῆς χώρας καὶ ἐξουσίας ἐστέ».
Οἱ δὲ Βενέτικοι ἀντέλεγον αὐτῷ, ὅτι·
«Ἡμεῖς δοῦλοι θέλομεν εἶναι τοῦ βασιλέως Ῥωμαίων καὶ οὐχὶ σοῦ».
So then King Pipin, at a loss, said to the Venetians:
«You are beneath my hand and my providence,
since you are of my country and domain.»
But the Venetians answered him:
«We want to be slaves of the Emperor of Romans, and not of you.»
Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, "Story of the settlement of what is now called Venice" [De Administrando Imperio, Greek text edited by Gy. Moravcsik, Dumbarton Oaks Texts, 1967, 2008, pp.120-121], regarding the attempt of Pepin the Short, King of the Franks (751-768), to include Venice in his Kingdom; for the use of ῥὴξ for "king," see Feudal Hierarchy.
Οἱ κράκται· „πολλὰ, πολλὰ, πολλά·”
ὁ λαός· „πολλὰ ἔτη εἰς πολλά·”
οἱ κράκται· „πολλοὶ ὑμῖν χρόνοι... αὐτοκράτορες Ῥωμαίων·”
ὁ λαός· „πολλοὶ ὑμῖν χρόνοι.”
The criers, "Many, many, many,"
The people: "Many years upon many."
The criers, "Many years to you... Emperors of the Romans!"
The people: "Many years to you!"
Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (913-959 AD), "Acclamation by the People at the Coronation of an Emperor," De Ceremoniis, Book I, Chapter 38 [Constantine Porphyrogennetos, The Book of Ceremonies, translated by Ann Moffatt and Maxeme Tall, with the Greek edition of the Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae, Bonn, 1829, Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, Byzantina Australiensia 18, Canberra, 2012, Volume I, p.195, translation modified]
There is finally no significant distinction between Heidegger's call for submission to the whim of the Führer and [György] Lukács's similar betrayal of reason in the service of Stalinism. As concerns their voluntary subordination of philosophical criticism to political totalitarianism, both thinkers are outstanding examples of the betrayal of reason in our time.
Tom Rockmore, On Heidegger's Nazism and Philosophy [University of California Press, 1992, p.66].
The destructive work of totalitarian machinery, whether or not this word is used, is usually supported by a special kind of primitive social philosophy. It proclaims not only that the common good of 'society' has priority over the interests of individuals, but that the very existence of individuals as persons is reducible to the existence of the social 'whole'; in other words, personal existence is, in a strange sense, unreal. This is a convenient foundation for any ideology of slavery.
Leszek Kołakowski (1927-2009), "Totalitarianism and the Virtue of the Lie," Is God Happy? Selected Essays [Basic Books, 2013, p.57]; but nothing "primitive" about Hegel.
βασιλέως μέν ἐστι τρόπος ὁ νομός, τυράννου δὲ ὁ τρόπος νομός.
The law is the habit of a king; the habit of a tyrant is the law.
Synesius of Balagrae (c.373-c.414 AD), On Kingship, Ed. N. Terzaghi, Synesii Cyrenensis opuscula [Rome, 1944].
In 2020, it looks like dictatorship is making a comeback. China, Russia, Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela seem secure in the hands of their dictatorial, authoritarian, or totalitarian governments. In Venezuela and Iran there is visible and widespread opposition to the regimes, but it has been ineffective in deposing them. China, Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korean to all appearances are secure in police state systems of surveilance and repression, with little visible opposition -- an exception to the rule being in Hong Kong, where visible opposition, a lot of it, has retarded but not stopped repression.
Chinese rule, and even genocide, in Tibet meets occasional but brief, small acts of resistance, including dramatic self-immolations of Buddhist monks, nuns, and others. The future of the Tibetan people may be extermination and their actual replacement by Chinese colonists.
|The Immolation of|
Bồ Tát Thích Quảng Đức,
11 June 1963
The international response to the treatment of Tibet, which now is being extended to the Muslim Uighurs of Sinkiang, may be revealing. People who constantly and furiously scream about American "imperialism" or "Islamophobia" are curiously quiet when it comes to the Tibetans and the Uighurs. Self-immolations, which created a senation when seen in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, in Tibet are staunchly ignored by the international press and self-righteous activists.
Six Vietnamese monks ended up immolating themselves in protest of the (idiotic) persecution of Buddhism by the Francophone Catholic elite of Vietnam. Since 2009, 156 men and women have immolated themselves in Tibet, with 10 by Tibetans in exile. In immitation of the Vietnamese, five American "peace activists," three men and two women, none of them monks or nuns, themselves self-immolated between 1965 and 1970. No Americans have self-immolated in protest against China, even though the situation of Tibetans is many, many times worse than Buddhists ever experienced in Vietnam..
The Venezuelan dictatorship probably would not be surviving without support from Cuba, Russia, Sean Penn, and perhaps even the Pope -- the shamefully Peronist Francis. At the same time, the terrifying long-time fan of Cuba and the Soviet Union, Bernie Sanders, is a serious candiate for President in the United States, with support from clueless young fools and tenured radicals, i.e. the clueless old fools, like Bernie himself.
Even though Donald Trump has created or used no new Presidential powers, and has not even used existing powers to the extent seen under President Obama, Democrats have promoted a narrative that he wants to be a dictatorial "king"; and they tried impeaching him for actions that were unexceptional, familiar, and usually salutary, like asking the Ukraine to investigate the corruption of former Vice President Biden and his family -- something that needed, and still needs, doing, after Biden himself, as Vice President, threatened the Ukrainians until they stopped their own original investigation. No one ever considered impeaching Biden for that, even though it was far worse than anything Trump was accused of doing. At the same time, Trump's determination to enforce immigration law, his Constitutional duty, is denounced as the equivalent of Nazism, despite the laws being those left in place when the Democrats controlled Congress from 2009 to 2011. Trump's offer to legalize the "DACA" illegals ("Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals," a [dictatorial?] Obama Executive Order), in exchange for a Border Wall, was spurned by Democrats, who now see themselves as representives of foreigners rather than Americans ("AOC" = "Aliens Over Citizens"). Now Democrats even say that illegal aliens, including those convicted of serious crimes, are better people than American citizens, and that even illegal alien felons should not be deported. Gangsters who murder children with machetes are just ordinary kids.
Meanwhile, the unprecedented, dishonest, fraudulent, and farcical approach of impeachment by the Democrats includes an apologetic for the criminal means by which the FBI and CIA spied on the 2016 Trump Presidential campaign, including making prejurious applications to the Federal FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court for surveillance authorization. When warned about these absues by Republican Congressmen, the warnings were brushed off by the presiding FISA judge, with no proper response until it was all confirmed by an FBI Inspector General's report. However, while holdover, biased Democrat prosecutors had vindicatively gone after figures peripheral to the Trump campaign, usually trying to trap them with "process crimes," i.e. things, like lying to an FBI agent, that were only generated by the investigation itself, the criminal referral by the Inspector General for the prosecution of fired assistant FBI director Andrew McCabe, for just such lying, was not followed through with prosecution. Misconduct and crimes by similar "Deep State" actors, including the FBI agent identified by the Inspector General as falsifying the FISA application, still have not been prosecuted. The citizen might begin to wonder if the "insiders" of government have immunity from the (often obscure and incomprehensible) laws others are expected to obey. This is corruption and misgovernment at a profound level.
We should reflect that the mere attempt of Richard Nixon to use the IRS and other federal agencies against political enemies was regarded as grounds for impeachment, although such absuses had been common at least since Franklin Roosevelt. Nevertheless, when the agencies didn't respond to Nixon, a White House unit, the "Plumbers," led by G. Gordon Liddy, was formed and carried out a burglary of the offices of the Democratic National Committee, at the Watergate hotel and office building, in order to plant bugs and spy on the Committee. That led to nothing more than the historic "Watergate" scandal and the resignation of President Nixon. How much of this was dishonest and hypocritical, as the practices of Presidents Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Johnson come to light, becomes increasingly obvious.
As it happens, the Obama Administation itself actually used the IRS against political opponents, including, of all things, Zionist organizations -- for which no bureaucrat has been charged, not even the insolent Lois Lerner, who was criminally referred to the Department of Justice for Contempt of Congress. Instead, Lerner is off scott free, living off her fat government pension. Since then, many bad actors in the Justice Department, FBI, and CIA criminally conspired against the Trump campaign and succeeded in spying on it. While there have been many firings, so far there has been no prosecution of these people -- while the Democrats, of course, shamelessly tried to remove the victim, President Trump, of the misconduct. In ordinary life this is called "chutzpah" (, ḫutspâh). Remarkable also is the level of actual self-righteousness among people like Lerner and James Comey, the fired former Director of the FBI, who was also found guilty of misconduct by the Inspector General, and who was fired on the recommendation of a functionary, Rod Rosenstein, who then appointed a Special Counsel, a friend of Comey's, to investigate... President Trump. In their smug self-righeousness, such people make fundamentalist Christians look like Hugh Hefner. But Hefner and his hedonism (the "Playboy philosophy") did not suffer from either the self-deception or dishonesty of the others.
As the party of government and its minions, the Democrats promote an ever greater concentration of power and wealth in Washington, with less and less accountability. Bernie Sanders simply respects countries where this has been carried as far as it can -- with similar plans for the United States, including the corruption of the voting system to allow for voter fraud and sometimes the quite open and unapologetic theft of elections. The quest for power, as it happens, overrules and overcomes "democracy" -- while they accuse enemies, i.e. Americans, of doing exactly what they are doing.
However, my concern here is not so much the corrupt and vicious nature of these political practices, plans, and intentions, but the fact that, in a democracy, people actually vote for them -- often under absurd slogans that parties like the Democrats are promoting "democracy," even as they increasing seem to believe that an election is illegitimate unless they win it -- by any means necessary.
This is part of the larger problem where I began above. Regimes like Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and Russia, however unpopular, cannot survive without a cadre of loyalists. These need not be anywhere near a majority of the population, as long as it is a sufficient number, armed, that can suppress opposition. And in perhaps three of these, there was at least one moment when a popular vote could have changed the course of things. This has been called, "One man, one vote, once." But the most sobering thought is that, if people had known that Vladimir Putin, for instance, intended to become as powerful as Stalin, many Russians would have been happy to vote for him anyway.
The loyalists certainly derive benefits from their loyalty, but usually the majority, if sufficiently aroused, can get their way -- certainly when popular sentiment spreads into the military. We saw that in Romania, where a Stalinist police state, to all appearances absolutely secure in power, fell in little more than a day. But this is unusual. One of the astonishing things about the growth of dictatorship in Venezuela is the loyalty of rank and file soldiers, whose own families suffer from the poverty and hunger of the country, but who are more willing to shoot demonstrators rather than begin killing their loyalist officers (called "fragging" in the Vietnam War). The regime is clearly alert to this danger, but loyalty and discipline can be enforced if there are enough loyalists. Apparently there are. Soldiers flee the country rather than revolt.
Thus, how dictatorial regimes, in an era of information and communication, can survive, outside the hermetic and destitute prison state of North Korea, is a puzzle of the age.
When the Soviet Union fell, Francis Fukuyama figured that it was the "end of history," with liberal democracy and capitalism triumphant, secure, and unchallengeable, and he wrote a book that said so -- The End of History and the Last Man . This has turned out to be ludicrously wrong.
The growth of democracy has stalled, if not retreated; the remaining Communist countries have continued; socialism remains blindly and aggressively popular among intellectuals, academics, and the Pope; and new dictatorships have arisen, conspicuously in Russia and Venezuela -- with the former stumbling on its way to the democracy it had never had, and the latter tragically deluded into a "socialism" that has morphed into another Communist police state. Even worse, and in its own way sadder, the rebellions of the "Arab Spring," , ʾAr-Rabîʿu l-ʾArabî, starting in 2011, which began with such promise in Tunisia, have led to only one actual democracy -- in Tunisia, where, nevertheless, tourists have been murdered on the beach by Islamist fanatics.
Otherwise, civil wars continue to rage in Syria and Yemen, both promoted and supported by Iran, and by Russia in Syria (allied with Iran) and Saudi Arabia in Yemen (opposing Iran). The Syrian war has produced millions of refugees and perhaps even millions of dead, all but demolishing historic cities like Aleppo, with devastating, deliberate vandalism to Classical sites like Palmyra. This has destabilized even the politics of Germany, which admitted hundreds of thousands of refugees, without realizing that, culturally, the level of violence and misogyny among Syrians was incommensurable with what the Germans were used to -- at time when it is not politically correct for the German elite to admit that violence and misogyny might be a problem in Arab culture. The moral postulate of cultural relativism, after all, is that every culture is just as good as any other; and it is beyond the pale to notice that some cultures might be more violent, or less economically productive, than others. It's racism. Like everything.
More intriguing, in a way, is what happened in Egypt. Hosni Mubarrak, who had been in power since 1981, was forced out of office. By the next year (2012) an election was organized, and Muhammad Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, was elected President. Something like this had previously happened in Algeria, where elections had returned an Islamist government. When Morsi began obviously putting in place, as in Iran, the equivalent of an Islamic theocracy, the Army decided, as in Algeria, it was not going to tolerate it. There was a coup, and Morsi was overthrown. The people of Algeria and Egypt, intentionally or not, had voted for dictatorship, perhaps with the thought that Islamic government would be pious and virtuous. Anyone familiar with the recent history of Iran would believe nothing of the sort. But, no matter, the Egyptians ended up with a standard military dictatorship, like they had already had under Gamal Abdel Nasser (1954-1970). So much for democracy.
Meanwhile, in places where kinds of democracy limp along, as in Lebanon or Iraq, the promise and effectiveness of such a system is entirely undone by communal and confessional divisions. Lebanon remains a failed state with divisions between Christians, Druzes, Sunnis, and Shiites -- where the Shiites are supported with militias trained and financed by Iran. Iraq is a perilous balancing act between Shiites, Sunnis, and the Kurds. The Shiite dominated government so alienated Sunnis, that in 2014 the forces of the "Islamic State," ISIS, were all but welcomed when they invaded Iraq from Syria and occupied Mosul and much of the country -- and, of course, began murdering and raping people.
The Iraqi Army, trained by the United States but left to its own devices when American forces were evacuated in 2011, was ineffective, with the men often throwing down weapons, abandoning vehicles, and running away -- abandoning tanks in the face of pickup trucks with machine guns in the back. If not for the reintroduction of American help, the Shiites might have lost the whole country. Or Iran might have intervened in a big way. As it was, Iran supported and continues to support Shiite militias, which can't help attacking Americans even as the Americans help them recover Mosul and the rest of the territory that had fallen to ISIS.
Remarkably, enthusiasts from Europe and America had flocked to the ISIS standard, including young women, naive or otherwise, who wanted to marry Jihadist fighters. And did. With the ultimate defeat of ISIS, many of these, including the women, and their little Jihadi children, were suddenly stateless, expressing some kind of (insincere?) repentance to be received back into their former countries. Others, of course, had been killed, or simply disappeared, or traveled on to continuing Islamist hot spots, in Yemen, Libya, or Nigeria. Other Jihadis had never left, and ended up participating in terrorist acts in America, Britain, France, and elsewhere.
The Iranian terror mastermind, Qasem Soleimani, who conducted Iranian support and operations in Iraq (as elsewhere), including recent attacks on Americans, and who was illegally present in the country, was finally killed by a drone strike in January 2020. Democrat Presidential candidates, and the craven American media, who continue to praise President Obama for the killing of Osama bin Laden, and for drone stikes against many others, including American Jihadis, nevertheless voiced sober respect and support for Qasem Soleimani. Terrorist killers of Americans are now a protected class in this branch of American politics.
Thus, the theocracy of Iran, which shoots down anti-government demonstrators in the streets, promotes its form of regime in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also exerts pressure on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, where there are Shiite minorities and authoritarian monarchies that have nothing to do with democracy anyway -- which means that liberalism or democracy are not even in the political mix. The recent modest social liberalization in Saudi Arabia is associated with no political liberalization, and the regime was embarrassed by the clumsy murder of an expatriot critic in Turkey.
Speaking of Turkey, democracy is eroding there also. President Erdoğan has undermined all the sources of power independent of him: the Courts, the Army, the Press, etc. Turkey imprisons journalists at the level of a totalitarian government, even as Turkish police have already been using torture for many years. While at low levels so far, Erdoğan also pushes Islamism, while avoiding common cause with Sunni radicals like ISIS or conservatives like Saudi Arabia. But the anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic (and by implication, at least, anti-American) propaganda promoted by the regime betrays its agenda. Recent elections have begun to turn against Erdoğan, but it remains to be seen if this process will be allowed to continue.
The Turkish Army, which used to reset government to the ideological foundations of Kemal Atatürk, waited too long to try doing it, in 2016, with Erdoğan, who already had enough loyalists to crush the coup quickly, if the whole thing had not just been a hoax to justify further repression. Thus, we no longer hear about any possibility of Turkey joining the European Union; and even its membership in NATO becomes increasingly problematic. After shooting down a Russian plane over Syria, which had been attacking Turkomen (i.e. Turkish) rebels, Erdoğan and Putin have had a rapprochement, although there is still friction how this is supposed to work in Syria. None of this is good.
What is going on in this? Dictatorships have enough loyalists to stay in power. Arab voters vote in Islamists, before the army throws them back out. Venezuelan voters buy into the socialism of Hugo Chavez and vote themselves, now literally, into slavery, poverty, and hunger. Enough American voters are ready to do the same thing that socialist politicians, after returning from their devotions and abasements in Cuba, get elected to Congress and run for President. We now have a couple, at least, raving anti-Semitic Islamists in Congress itself, whom the Democratic Party is reluctant to disown or censure, while illegal alien murderers of Americans are staunchly protected from deportation -- with a law on the table to repatriate murderers already deported. "Aliens over citizens" again.
|The Apartments and Museum of Sigmund Freud, Vienna, 2018|
While the milieu of the 1974 Death Wish was the dramatic spike in crime beginning in the 1960's (cf. Little Murders, 1971, written by the grim cartoonist Jules Feiffer), and this was not the case for the 2018 movie, Democrats have recently been doing their best to restore the crime levels of the '70's -- with stunning levels of murder in Chicago and Baltimore and, for the first time in years, a Columbia University student murdered by three young thugs in the adjacent Morningside Park, which no students in their right mind would have entered alone in the past. But the young victim had not even been born yet in that past. Thus, the promotion of gun ownership and self-defense (if not vigilante justice) by the Bruce Willis movie becomes increasingly topical, even as the fury of Democrats to disarm citizens mounts -- with bizarre complaints, for instance, about the armed churchgoer who killed a shooter (with one shot!) who had invaded a Texas church (29 December 2019). The congregants, it seems, should have waited for the police, while the shooter was killing them.
As it happens, Freud did not live long enough to know about the Japanese suicide kamikaze pilots of World War II. But the cult of death of the kamikaze now seems a pale thing beside the suicide bombers of radical ʾIslâm, fanatics who are called "martyrs" even though their intentions and plans are to kill innocent civilians -- men, women, and children. Christian "martyrs" traditionally are those who are killed by persecutors, not those in the business of killing others. The Jihadist "martyrs" are thus simply murderers, not victims. So if there is a kind of Freudian "death wish," it ties together his psychology with part of the phenomenon of religious fanaticism, which has evolved into a totalitarian or fascist ideology, and thus dictatorship, in our time.
Freud's idea may suggest a corresponding hypothesis to explain the durability and appeal of dictatorship today, from Iranian theocracy to Vladimir Putin. Thus, liberal democracy is based on the argument or postulate that people want to be free and self-determining. They have a right to be free and will eagerly seize opportunities to live in freedom. But what if, like érōs, there is another side to this? An opposing instinct? What if people, or many people, actually do not really want to be free? What if they are willing to be ordered, governed, and ruled without any need for their consent, or any drive to protest or resist? Indeed, the evidence of nature, of history, and of various social practices might well be taken to support this.
What liberal democracy is suppose to stop is the phenomenon of social hierarchy and dominance. The United States Constitution prohibits titles of nobility. However, hierarchy and dominance are all but universal in nature, wherever animals exist in social groups. Most striking is where dominant males, or closely related males, drive all other males out of a group and then monopolize the breeding females. Most exemplary are prides of lions, which are not that large, and where brothers frequently share the females, who are generally sisters or cousins. More radical are kinds of seals or herbivores, where lone males dominate large groups of females, sometimes dozens of them. In smaller groups, the same thing occurs with gorillas, dominated by the single "silverback" older male. But just as interesting are canines, where packs include males and females, but only the dominant male and dominant female breed, and they kill the offspring of others. This seems a harsh and merciless level of enforcement, but it is also what we find when new males take over a pride of lions and kill all the young of the previous, defeated or killed, males. In the "pecking order" of chickens, a dominance hierarchy remarkably determines the rank of every single chicken. The damage caused by the enforcement of the hierarchy leads chicken farmers to trim the beaks of the chickens so that they cannot harm each other.
In human history dominance and hierarchy are also universal. The King of Egypt was the "good god," , although some people don't like acknowledging this. But much more recently, right until the end of World War II, the Emperor of Japan was a kami, , a god, himself.
|Chu Yüan-chang, the Hung-wu Emperor, 1368-1398|
How does one regard or address such a being? Well, there were Court rituals to address that problem. This applied fully to other rulers who were not quite divine, but were close, like the Emperors of China, the Caliphs, the Mediaeval Roman Emperors, and the Tsars of Russia. Indeed, much of the ritual of the Chinese Court was simply adopted by that of Japan, even with the same terminology, like "Son of Heaven," . And the title of the "Emperor" of China was already , the "August god" -- although you couldn't quite regard as a god a ruler who may have begun as a peasant, like Chu Yüan-chang, who founded the Ming Dynasty. Japan, with a single dynasty from the dim reaches of history, had a leg up on that.
Similarly, the Court of the Tsars inherited the identity, ideology, and ritual of Constantinople, which had fallen to the Turks in 1453. Moscow was the "Third Rome." The ceremonies of Mediaeval Romania are actually preserved in De Ceremoniis by the Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (913-959 AD). This is a remarkable source of information, with some examples, including more about Egypt and Japan, treated here at "Monarchical Acclamations." As a Christian, the Roman Emperor was nothing like a god, but he was "Equal to the Apostles," Ἰσαπόστολος, Isapóstolos, and was always represented with a halo, like the saints. This is much like what we see with the Moghul Emperors of India. However, unlike the Moghuls, Emperors in Constantinople were regularly overthrown in popular revolt, with the Emperor condemned as ἀνάξιος, "unworthy." I will return to the subject of this remarkable oscillation between monarchy and anarchy below.
The Catholic and then Protestant monarchs of Western Europe were never as exalted. Nevertheless, lèse majesté (Latin laesa majestas), insulting the majesty of a monarch, was still a crime. Even better, the "King's Touch" in England was the idea that the King could heal with his touch, although this became oddly restricted to one disease, scrofula, where tuberculosis infects lymph nodes in the neck. What may be the last documented case of such healing was when Queen Anne touched, of all people, a young Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). It is not clear that his ailment was actually healed. The "majesty" of such monarchy, depending so much on tradition and faith, proved to be something that occasionally might be easily punctured, as in Constantinople. Charles I of England and Louis XVI of France both lost their heads to execution, while Tsar Nicholas II and his entire family were ignominiously killed with machine guns in a basement, their bodies burned and thrown down a well
|Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825),|
"The Army takes an Oath to the Emperor after the Distribution of Eagles, 5 December 1804," Serment de l'armée fait à l'empereur après la distribution des aigles, 5 décembre 1804, 1810, Salle du Sacre du Château de Versailles
The worship of dictators by intellectuals left shameful and indelible stains on the 20th century, a phenomenon already identified in 1927 by Julian Benda, whose La Trahison des Clercs was ahead of some of its worst examples. The full cults of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and others were in the future. Yet every single one of such figures was no more than what the Greeks would have called a "tyrant," τύραννος, a ruler whose status has no ground in tradition or religion but derives only from force. The Greeks did not come to worship such men. Instead, they expected that they would become criminals, with offenses against men and gods -- with "criminal" a term that any sensible person would apply without hesitation to the modern dictators. But, as George Orwell (1903-1950) began to think, "sensible person" and "intellectual" are not expressions that often coincide in their referents.
Roman Emperors clearly began as tyrants, but after several centuries and a revolution in religion, the institution began to fit the Greek definition, not of a tyrant, but of a "king," βασιλεύς, whose power was limited by tradition and religion. As the language of Roman Court, Law, and Army shifted from Latin to Greek in the 7th century, this was indeed what the Emperor came to be called, with his power and authority, not only circumscribed by tradition and religion, but also by the confident citizenry of Constantinople and the occasional rebellious general. Indeed, neither the monarchs of Mediaeval Catholic Europe nor Russian Tsars were ever deposed by a furious urban populace or by rebellious generals. To have either you needed, in the former case, a substantial urban population, which didn't exist for centuries outside Constantinople, and, in the latter case, a professional army, which had generals. Such a thing didn't exist either, outside Romania. The first professional generals in the West were the condottieri of the Italian Renaissance, who commanded mercenary forces. Even commanders during the Thirty Years war, like the flamboyant Albrecht von Wallenstein (1583-1634), still seem relatively independent and theatrical in comparison to later generals, who become more dependant on government support and finance, rather than looting.
Earlier feudal armies could support rebellious nobles, but this was not quite the same thing. When the Duke of Normandy overthrew the King of England, in 1066, what kind of political action was this? It wasn't like the overthrow of Roman Emperors, either in the 1st century or in the 12th. And what Shakespeare saw as the epic sin of the deposition of a legitimate English King, Richard II, was done by his own cousin, Henry IV. This shocking disloyalty and betrayal was not resolved, as Shakespeare saw it, until the ultimate criminal, Richard III, was killed by Henry VII. This was certainly what we would now call Tudor propaganda, but it also fits the tradition of feudal and monarchical loyalty and legitimacy.
What now we might simply regard as patriotic allegiance is presented in the epigraph above about the Venetians with the term δοῦλοι, "slaves." The Venetians rebuffed the Frankish King Pepin the Short. Their loyalty was to the βασιλεὺς Ῥωμαίων, the "Emperor of the Romans." Yet there is no doubt that Venetians were actually ἐλευθέροι, "free men," not slaves. Hence, the Dumbarton Oaks translation was actually "servants" rather than "slaves." But subjects of the Emperors were not quite free the way 5th century Athenians, or even 8th century Venetians (whose allegiance to Constantinople became nominal and then empty) might be. The whole idea of "freedom" was transformed in modern reckoning.
Today, few would think any subject of Mediaeval monarchy to be free in any sense we are likely to take the word. The spirit in which the Venetians spoke to King Pepin is as lost to us as the world within which they lived. Yet allegiance to something far less personal, to the nation of one's birth or citizenship, i.e. "patriotism," is no longer fashionable among the cultural elite. The whole educational system of the United States, along with the voices of privileged public discourse, is now simply anti-American, holding, for instance, the United States eternally blameworthy for slavery, something that had always existed, that was introduced in the Colonies before the United States even existed itself, about which there were few voices at the time to even call it wrongful (John Locke didn't), and that was then abolished after decades of political conflict and a terrible war of unprecedented bloodletting. For this, the nation acrues no credit, and only blame. All this, again, despite the likelihood that, but for the ideals of the Enlightenment, America, and Britain, slavery would not have been abolished at all. There certainly was no movement against slavery in ʾIslâm, which fiercely resisted European abolitionists, and where some radicals wish to revive it, and have.
Curiously, those purverying the narrative of blame seem to be precisely the ones promoting regimes of slavery to the State in the modern world. There is a psychology to this that involves the puzzle addressed by this essay. Those damning and protesting an institution of slavery that has not existed for 150 years are the spiritual twins of those who once abased themselves before Stalin, even as their manifest practice at American universities is itself Stalinist in all its features -- short of actual concentration camps and executions -- although camps have indeed been proposed by staffers of socialist Presidential candidate, and fan of Communist regimes, Bernie Sanders.
I am tempted to believe that such people feel cheated by the modern world. Their vehemence about slavery, which is long gone (except among people with whom they actually sympathize), is actually a function of a kind of fascination and attraction. They certainly wish to enslave others; but I suspect that their real pain is not to be enslaved themselves. Bernie, after all, is clearly no Stalin. That is what is missing. As the Venetians said, "We want to be slaves of the Emperor of Romans." The promise of modern totalitarianism, founded on the ideas of Rousseau, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and others, to be absorbed into a numinous Whole, to find a radiant blast of meaning beyond their small, isolated selves, has had just enough moments of full development to obscure the hideous realities that soon follow -- especially when lies and not history are taught in "education." Faith, after all, doesn't need to worry about that. Next time it will work, and the Kingdom of Heaven, where individuality, will, and reason can be surrendered, will arrive. The heretics and unfaithful will be exterminated and everything will be perfect.
I think that the psychology of this may be revealed in the shadowy demimonde of unusual sexual practices. If there is a human drive or instinct contrary the desire for liberty and independence, we can see something of the sort among the practioners of what is called "bondage and discipline" (B&D) sexuality. There, some people are "dominants" ("doms") and others are "submissives" ("subs"). The sense seems to be that there are many more submissives than true dominants. The language about submissives can be quite open in regarding them as "sex slaves." This is what they want.
But, as with many psychological propensities, we must imagine that there is a mixture of a dominant instinct and a submissive instinct in everyone. At least in lore and hearsay, we hear of dominant and indeed domineering businessmen who relax under the ministrations of a classically clad, culturally iconic dominatrix. She might even be wearing some Nazi paraphernalia and, of course, holding a whip.
As Freud would say about his two instincts, we must imagine a conflict in the human psyche, with us being pulled in contrary directions. The will to live and the attactions of easeful, or heroic, death are both options, while our epic struggle for freedom may find fulfillment and apotheosis in the Great Man, whom we will accept as much like a god -- even as Hellenistic Kings openly sytled themselves gods, and Roman Emperors, although usually deified after death, nevertheless anticipated that with their living cult.
Elsewhere I have considered the surprising and disturbing popularity of the bondage and discipline, and even sado-masochism, in the books that began with Fifty Shades of Grey . The popularity of this among women would seem to contradict everything claimed or promoted by feminism. The claims of feminism, indeed, that the whole polarity of masculine and feminine is arbitrary and "socially constructed" seems unlikely to preposterous, as I have considered here. Nevertheless, I have never met a woman who, as far as I knew, wanted to be tied up and spanked. Things associated with bondage, however, like leather outfits, chains, and piercings have increasingly entered popular culture. Does this have any larger meaning for politics or civilization?
Without the psychological speculation, there is already a treatment in political science that uses some terminology of slavery and submission. That is book by Kenneth Minogue (1930-2013), The Servile Mind, How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life [Encounter Books, 2010]. The "moral life" for Minogue, of course, is the staunch Aristotelian citizen. Minogue studies a particular weakness of democracy, whereby the citizen is reduced to becoming a subject of the political elite, so that "while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them." The "servile mind," however, sounds like a bit more, the mind of the servus, the "slave." This is the kind of thing that leaves me curious whether, if the voters keep electing masters, it may be that something in human nature wants a master, a δεσπότης, despótēs.
Plato reasoned that democracy was an unstable form of government that would decay into tyranny. Scholars generally have dismissed this as contrary to the Greek political experience, where, as at Athens, democracy tended to follow, rather then precede, the occurrence of tyrants. That is true. However, there is a history of Plato being more or less correct. Julius Caesar became "Dictator for Life" and effectively ended the Roman Republic. His nephew, Augustus, did not rule on quite those terms, but he laid the foundation for what simply became a monarchy. There never was much in the way of a popular movement to restore anything like a democracy, which was at least a feature, an insitutional aspect of the Republic. Most notably, Caesar did not represent some kind of aristocratic or monarchical faction. Quite the opposite. His dictatorship was in the name and in the cause of the People, protecting them from the Senatorial class. Just as Plato would have said.
While Hitler, who ended the Weimar Republic, came to power through a political deal, without exactly a tide of popular support, Plato's formula more closely fits the rise of Hugh Chavez in Venezuela, where in successive elections enough Venezuelans were willing to vote themselves into slavery to further Chavez's program. Of course, did they know what they were doing? Did they realize what the "socialism" of Chavez would lead to, namely, tyranny, poverty, and hunger? That is certainly not, to be sure, what they were promised. Whatever it was that they were voting away, like Esau selling his birthright to Jacob (Genesis 25:29-34), it was for a tangible benefit, a "mess of pottage," i.e. lentil stew. That they now have neither the birthright (of freedom) nor the pottage is just the typical deception and folly of socialism -- just what is all the rage, apparently, among American youth, as they have been taught in school. They can hardly wait to be sex slaves of the State themselves, and perhaps find that heroic death when the next Stalin purges all the old Bosheviks again.
The success and durability of the Chavistas reveals one of the weakness of democracy. When politicians can buy votes with "benefits," people get used to the idea of giving up almost anything else, even if the "benefits" turn out to be pretty miserable, like the British National Health Service. By the time the "benefits" become all but worthless, as in the Soviet Union, it is too late.
But there are a couple of aspect of this. One is the folly of thinking that the government is something that can generate wealth and provide livings to the population. Out of ignorance, people might believe this. It is certainly what they are taught in American schools, despite the experience of places like the Soviet Union and Cuba, whose poverty can be forgotten, disguised, or actually justified ("ecotopia"). But the other aspect, of course, is the role of the charismatic leader, the Führer, Duce, Líder, Caudillo, , etc. This is all Fascist terminology, which tells us how recent it all is. And, as we might expect from the 20th century, the ideology that goes with this promises jobs, prosperity, security, and other "benefits," all in exchange for freedom. To Venezuelans, Hugh Chavez was articulate, attractive, and persuasive. It may have all been sophistry, but then that is what sophistry was for, to create an illusion, a cause, and a community that can absorb you in it. The essential stuff of demagogues, δημαγωγοί.
Again, after a few examples, the Greeks became alert to this. It helped discredit democracy as a form of government, that it allowed this sort of thing. It is how Hitler, despite both how he came to power and immediately began acts of tyranny, nevertheless became popular. He was a charismatic speaker -- something that may be hard to believe now but is undoubtedly true. And he had radio. Which Pericles did not have. That the German Army remained loyal to Hitler to the end, and often fought to the death, when victory was obviously impossible, should tell us something. Many officers, like the commander of the Admiral Graf Spee in 1939, and later Nazi leaders, including Hitler himself, committed suicide, even though this is a mortal sin in all forms of Christianity -- but it is not a sin in the neo-paganism promoted by the Nazis.
the Shôwa Emperor, 1926-1989,
With the Japanese, indeed, something older seems to be going on, despite its coincidence with the behavior of the Germans -- and levels of brutality that seem modern nevertheless often echo moments in Japanese history. A hint may come from John Boorman's Excalibur , where we hear that "the land cries out for a King." Although fictional, I think that is true to the era. When the land gets its King, Arthur, we notice that he does not go around handing out free stuff. The "benefits" of his rule are limited. Peace, justice, security. A Mediaeval monarch really couldn't promise much more. Most people lived from subsistent agriculture. Their fondest hope might be not to be robbed, murdered, or raped, and perhaps to have any feudals rights or personal disputes adjudicated by a just authority. Rather than selling their birthright, that was their birthright. It is certainly no more than what the Venetians, expected, if anything, from being the "slaves of the Emperor of the Romans." At the same time, only "robber barons" derived some wealth from traveling merchants, whose activities generated other kinds of wealth. The suppression of trade, however, helped keep the economy at a subsistence level.
What conclusions can we draw from all this? It is, I suspect, part of human nature to want that King. In the absence of traditional monarchy, this is perniciously manifest in suscepibility to demagogues, both in states without much democratic tradition, and even in established democracies, once the idea becomes current that the government should be handing out money and other "benefits." There was already a warning from Thomas Jefferson about this:
The public money and public liberty, intended to have been deposited with three branches of magistracy, but found inadvertently to be in the hands of one only, will soon be discovered to be sources of wealth and dominion to those who hold them; distinguished, too, by this tempting circumstance, that they are the instrument, as well as the object of acquisition. With money we will get men, said Caesar, and with men we will get money. Nor should our assembly be deluded by the integrity of their own purposes, and conclude that these unlimited powers will never be abused, because themselves are not disposed to abuse them. They should look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when a corruption in this, as in the country from which we derive our origin, will have seized the heads of government, and be spread by them through the body of the people; when they will purchase the voices of the people, and make them pay the price. [Notes on Virginia, 1784, boldface added]
What Jefferson might not have foreseen was that the suggestion of Alexander Hamilton would eventually be accepted by the New Deal Court that the "General Welfare" clause of the Constitution meant that the federal govenrnment could spend money on anything. Like buying votes. Which is what Franklin Roosevelt did. The reference to Caesar is telling, but the final prophecy is chilling. The people will pay the price for having sold their birthright. The charismatic demagogue is one thing. He can make all sorts of promises and blame all sorts of enemies. But when he is giving you money and that mess of pottage (for a while), he would be delivering what earlier leaders could only hope from the favor of the gods, or the Grace of God. Or your own hard work.
What Jefferson, Franklin, and many others believed was that Republican government could survive only so long as did the virtue of the citizens. "A Republic," Franklin said, "if you can keep it." A people unused to the responsibilities of government can be immediately attracted to demagogues. Thus, dictatorship may be the norm were democratic institutions never existed at all, or did so only in superficial forms. Thus, Wilhelmine Germany had political parties and elections, as did the Weimar Republic, but there was little respect for such things among most academics and intellectuals, as we see in Martin Heidegger. Many Germans, like President Hindenberg, wanted the monarchy back. What they got was Hitler.
And, curiously, the ideology that Hitler represented, which was broad and popular, sank roots deep enough that Germany went all the way down with the sinking ship, while committing some of the greatest crimes in all of history. The character of Dr. Srangelove in the eponymous movie  expresses real love for Hitler. This was dark comedy, and fictional. But how much truth was there in it? It is difficult to see Hitler as an attractive person now, but that makes it more difficult to understand his appeal to people like the Mitfords, whose political enthusiasms ran the spectrum from Communism to Fascism. And far from us being free of all this, the ideology of Nietzsche and Heidegger is still the most popular in academia -- properly characterized by Emmanuel Faye in the very title of his book: Heidegger, The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933-1935 [translated by Michael B. Smith, foreword by Tom Rockmore, Yale University Press, 2009]. Yes, the very people who like to see themselves as vanguard warriors against Fascism, have swallowed a Nazi philosopher and his nihilistic philosophy whole. They probably march in protest against Israel and prepare to vote for Bernie Sanders and his raving anti-Semitic supporters.
In a country like the United States, with a long traditional now of Republican government, it was Jefferson who understood how this could be corrupted and how the virtue of Americans could be undermined. With money. Not to mention lies. It is ultimately a matter of promises that cannot be kept. If enough people begin to think that hard work is a fraud, and that their Hero should just take wealth away from the rich and give it to them, this is a trick that will only work once. And then it will be too late. As in the Russian story, people will just want their neighbor's cow dead, rather than have one themselves. And the attacks on capitalism as "greed," turn into no more than a hysterical frenzy of envy, the true nature of Lenin's "festival of the oppressed."
Do the people long for a King? Do we need what Aristotle called the δεσποτικὴ ἀρχὴ καὶ πολιτικὴ, "the rule both of master and statesman" [Politics, I.II.11, op.cit., pp.20-21]. I'm not sure. And I am not sure how this is possible anymore, without the "king" becoming a fascist or communist dictator. Who is going to believe in, say, Prince Charles, as a proper δεσπότης, a "Master." A powerless, Constitutional monarch may be loved, may be viewed with contempt, but is never, as Machiavelli required of a Prince, going to be feared. For he is never going to be an actual Executive, which the King still was in the description of responsible government by John Locke. It was a slow but steady process by which the British monarch became nothing more than a figurehead; and, all things considered, it hard to see by what advantage a hereditary King or Queen warrants being anything more.
Yet the issue comes up occasonally. In Democracy: The God that Failed, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe [Routlege, 2001], a libertarian of the school of Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973), we have the consideration that the interest of a monarch, for the durable success and prosperity of the state, that it can be left safely to his successors, may be a consideration of the venal and mendacious politicians in a democracy, but is just as likely to be undercut by the political incentive to win reelection, reward interest groups, and perhaps escape from office before the negative consequences of their policies overtake them. Louis XV is famously supposed to have said, "Après moi, le déluge," largely because of the fiasco of French finances, which had helped fund the American Revolution.
Today, however, the irresponsible conduct of the finances of the United States government, buying all those votes, leaves terrible choices for the future. The extra-Constitutional programs of Social Security and Medicare face bankruptcy; but none of American politicians responsible for the fraud and negligence involved will have a grandson face the guillotine, as poor Louis XVI did for the failures of Bourbon rule. Instead, when the bill comes due, the politicians responsible will be long gone and will have no stake in the outcome -- unless, relaxing in retirement, their pensions cease in a general collapse. Perhaps they need not worry. When it comes to politics, the political payoffs come first. The Nation second.
I have previously discussed the considerable problems of democracy and the theory of the ways in which Republican governments have been designed to mitigate the harms and wrongs that democracy can generate. My conclusions were not entirely optimistic, both for the possibilty of such mitigation and for the possibility of even applying the obvious correctives to the harms and corruption that have already occurred.
|Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680),|
"L'Estasi di Santa Teresa," 1647-1652, Cornaro Chapel, Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome
Here I have considered a different problem. It may be that human nature is ambivalent about being the free citizen of a democracy or a Republic at all. The yearing for liberty in the human heart may contend against a countervailing force, which is a desire, not for dominance, even over oneself, but for submission. This would not be a remarkable observation, for instance, in religion, where the only proper attitude towards an omnipotent God is submission, to the point where that is the name of an entire religion, , ʾIslâm -- where the word simply means that. To be absorbed into God, and lose all sense of independent existence, and obtain a sense of the divine and eternal existence of God, is the goal of all mystics, as we see in the remarkable sculpture of St. Teresa of Ávila at right.
Indeed, to the religious, this is the ultimate crime and sin of both Fascism and Communism, and of the theoretician behind them, Georg Hegel, where the absorption is not into God, but into the State, which in practice means the loss of independent existence, and will, to the Hero Tyrant of the day. Who, of course, turns out to be a monster.
How does one balance dominance and submission, institutionally and in practice? In Constantinople, few rulers have ever been portrayed with such divine aura and sanction, yet few were ever so suspeptible to violent overthrow. Critics of the "Byzantine" state, from Gibbon to Voltaire and beyond, have trouble decided whether they were condemning the absolute power of the Emperor, or the ability of the People of Constantinople (the "mob") to get rid of him. While it became the custom to blind rather than kill deposed Emperors, the overthrow of Andronicus I was a revealing exception. While doing some popular things, Andronicus descended into a paranoia where he began murdering several members of the Imperial Family. This aroused such instense hatred that Andronicus was tortured, mutilated, and lynched by the "mob." This ended the dynasty of the Comneni; and the next Emperor, Isaac II Angelus, was chosen by the irregular Roman mechanism of acclamation by People, Army, and Senate. Isaac was then subsequently overthrown, and blinded, himself.
This rough and ready cycle of monarchy and democracy, or perhaps anarchy, had been going on since the assassination of Caligula. Byzantinist Anthony Kaldellis seems to think that this is actually preferable to modern democratic institutions. Yet the violence and destruction that could attend this process hardly seems such as to recommend itself. Even worse, it could weaken the state at critical moments. Alexius, the son of Isaac II, went to Venice to solicit help to restore his father. Venice then recuited the Fourth Crusade to do that, which it did, overthrowing the new Emperor, Alexius III. When the People of Constantinople then overthrew Isaac again, with his son (become Alexius IV), and killed them both, the Crusaders simply seized and looted the City, the greatest disaster in Roman history, and one of the worst in all of European history, short of the final Fall of Constantinople in 1453.
In those terms, the People of Constantinople had done their job, but the willingness of disloyal Angeli to bring in a foreign power was a catastrophe. Someone like Kaldellis is happy to blame the Crusaders, the Latin West, Catholicism, etc., but the villians are obviously both Venice and the irregular institutions of the Roman State. This is like the Democrats blaming their electoral loss in 2016 on the Russians, but then relying on Russian disinformation, by way of cut-out lawyers and a British spy, to try and delegitimize and depose Donald Trump. Even after the Russia Hoax was thoroughly discredited, by an investigation pursued with partisans and agents of the Democrats themselves, Democrat politicians continue to accuse Republicans, and some Democrats (Jill Stein, Tulsi Gabbard), of being Russian "assets." They can't help themselves. Yet some people do believe something so transparently fraudulent.
It is really possible to combine Monarchy and Democracy? Without, that is, a Constitutional monarchy where the King has been reduced to no more than a figurehead? Where this has happened, de facto, it seems to generate tremendous instability. A Head of Government, representing an elected institution, would need to be able to overrule the King; but then the King would need, at need, to be able to overrule the Head of Government.
Many in Britain actually believe that this is what their Monarchy is for. If the Prime Minister is actually treasonous, the Queen can withhold her consent from his Ministership, or from Parliament itself. This would precipitate, at least, elections. If the Prime Minister then won the election, what next? The abolition of the Monarchy? This has happened. Louis Phillipe, not a bad ruler, was overthrown in 1948. King Constantine II of Greece was deposed by the military dictators (1973), but then not restored by the democracy (1974), because, somehow, he was blamed for the dictators. He had gone into exile in 1967 after trying to depose the dictators, shortly after they came to power. This didn't make much sense; but then much the same can be said about most of the rest of Greek politics. After Louis Phillippe, the French soon got another Emperor (Napoleon III), but then finally settled for a Republic (1871). That was the Third. Now we are on the Fifth.
A more durable and successful symbiosis between monarchy and democracy may be found in the case of the Dutch Republic. The Dutch feared monarchy, but in need they would elect a monarchical executive, the Stadholder. William I, the Silent (1559-1567, 1572-1584), and Maurice (1585-1625) led the great revolt against Spain and secured Dutch independence (the Eighty Years War, 1568-1648). This was formalized at the end of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) by William II (1647-1650).
Each of these men was of the House of Orange and Nassau. But the Stadholdership was not hereditary, and the Orangists had been a too much monarchy for many Dutch. After the death of William II, leadership settled on the Grand Pensionary of Holland, Johan de Witt (1653-1672). This came to a bad end when Louis XIV invaded the Netherlands in 1672, beginning Louis's Dutch War (1672-1678). De Witt was blamed for Dutch defeats, and he and his brother were lynched and (apparently) dismembered by a (probably Orangist) mob -- reminding us of Andronicus I. The land seems to have called out for a King, and William III was elected Stadholder.
William held off Louis and in 1688 landed in England, deposed King James II, and claimed, with his wife Mary, the Throne of England. The names "Orange" and "Nassau" were then even scattered across the landscape of the American colonies. I write within a couple miles of a Nassau Street. At his death, however, the Dutch again had had too much of monarchy; and the next Stadholder, William IV Friso, was not chosen until 1747. William V (1751-1795) was deposed by the French, who simply annexed the Netherlands to France in 1810 (without asking the Dutch). William died in 1806; but his son, William VI, was installed as the actual King of the Netherlands (as William I) in 1813, confirmed at the Congress of Vienna. That was the end of the Dutch Republic, which has since simply evolved into a Constitutional monarchy, like Britain. However, although formally ruled by the House of Orange, the flag of the Netherlands is red, white, and blue, rather than orange, white, and blue -- colors nevertheless retained on the flag of the City of New York, which had been New Amsterdam. Even with the country formally as a monarchy, the Dutch still don't want too much of a reminder in their flag, proud as they are of Orange.
As the Great Republic of the United States decays, its structure may simply become a victim of the sport of history. The future really cannot be predicted, but no one with any public presence in American politics wants to restore Constitutional Government, or even seems to know what that is. Yet the Welfare State is a cancer that will eat the Body Politic whole. The result may well be that the Democrats get the totalitarian police state of their dreams. Youth are already trained for it by their "education," and we see its daily functioning at American universities and in the media, under the Orwellian motto, "Freedom is Slavery." I don't know. Perhaps the land cries out for a King. But how could the befuddled modern person distinguish between the true King and just another demagogue? Where is the Sword for Arthur to draw? Supernatural help may be needed.
The Problem of Democracy
The Kind of Libertarian I Am
The Paternal State, the Liberal State, and the Welfare State