Saturday, October 29, 2016

Some Ideas on Power and Human Governance


"Sovereignty and the right to rule cannot be conferred on anyone, no matter who, as a result of an academic discussion. Sovereignty is acquired by force, power, and violence." - Mustafa Kemal Ataturk


"The measure of a man is what he does with power." - Plato

"He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command." - Niccolo Machiavelli

"For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them." - Sir Thomas More

"During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man." - Sir Thomas Hobbes

"It is unnatural for a majority to rule, for a majority can seldom be organized and united for specific action, and a minority can." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love over liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates. The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort to repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free." - Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 8

"The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class." - Karl Marx

Some Philosophical Background 


"Every man is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, conveniences, and amusements of human life. The far greater part of them he must derive from the labour of other people, and he must be rich or poor according to the quantity of that labour which he can command, or which he can afford to purchase. Therefore, as Mr. Hobbes put it, 'Wealth is power.'" - Adam Smith

Plato's most storied piece of work in this realm of philosophy is, The Republic. It is a Socratic dialogue, written by Plato around 380 BC, concerning the definition of justice, the order and character of the just city-state, and the nature of the just man. In it, Socrates, along with various Athenians and some foreigners, discuss the meaning of justice and examine whether or not the just man is happier than the unjust man by considering a series of different cities coming into existence "in speech." This culminates in a city called Kallipolis, which is ruled by philosopher-kings. They combine this with an examination of the nature of existing philosophical regimes in their own time.

Niccolo Machiavelli's most famous piece of work is, The Prince. The book deals primarily with the construction, rule, and survival of autocratic regimes. For the period and region in which the book was written, the Sixteenth Century Italian Peninsula, this meant that he was concerned primarily with small principalities, though he did deal with republics in some small form. The book was part of a series political struggles between the Papacy, the Medici family of Florence, and Machiavelli himself. He was trying to retain employment, make a point, and stay alive, all at the same time. His ideal Prince was someone that was willing, able, and well known for doing whatever it took, no matter how brutal, to retain power. However, he was also for someone who could do so while maintaining a public image of grace, humility, and piety.

Sir Thomas More's seminal text is Utopia. It contrasts the contentious social life of European states with the perfectly orderly and reasonable social arrangements of Utopia and its substates, Tallstoria, Nolandia, and Aircastle. In Utopia, there would be no need for lawyers because the law would be kept simple, and because all social gatherings were to take place in public view, encouraging participants to behave well, communal ownership private property, equal education amongst both men and women, and the equal toleration of all religions, except for atheists, who are allowed but despised. More used monastic communalism as his model, although other concepts such as legalizing euthanasia, would remain far outside Church doctrine. Hythlodaeus asserts that a man who refuses to believe in a god or an afterlife could never be trusted, because he would not, then, acknowledge any authority or principle outside himself. Some take the novel's principal message to be the social need for order and discipline rather than liberty. Ironically, Hythlodaeus, who believes philosophers should not get involved in politics, addresses More's ultimate conflict between his humanistic beliefs and courtly duties as the King's servant, pointing out that one day those morals will come into conflict with the political reality. In that, one's morals may not coincide with those of one's ruler. Such a conflict cost More his life under the rule of King Henry VIII of England.

Sir Thomas Hobbes is most widely known for his text, The Leviathan, written during the English Civil War, which took place after the execution of King Charles I in 1649 CE. He argued that men exist, in their natural state, with the absence of formal laws. In such a state, people fear death, and lack both the things necessary to commodious living, and the hope of being able to toil to obtain them. So, in order to avoid this tenuous situation, people accede to a social contract and establish a civil society. According to Hobbes, a social society is a population beneath a sovereign authority, to whom all individuals in that society cede some rights for the sake of protection. Any power exercised by this authority cannot be resisted because the protector's sovereign power derives from individuals' surrendering their own sovereign power for protection. The individuals are thereby the authors of all decisions made by the sovereign. Hobbes argues that a person in this society cannot complain of injury from his sovereign because he would essentially be complaining against himself. Nor can he do himself personal sovereign injury, as he would be injuring himself. There is no doctrine of separation of powers in Hobbes' discussion. According to Hobbes, the sovereign must be in control of al civil, military, judicial, and ecclesiastical powers. This text did a lot to ferment the concept of the Divine Right of Kings, or the idea that a king's authority is derived directly from God, and thus, cannot be challenged unless a person wishes to risk the damnation of their eternal soul.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau is best known for his text, Of the Social Contract. In this desired social contract, everyone will be free because they all forfeit the same amount of rights and impose the same duties on all. Rousseau argues that it is absurd for a man to surrender his freedom for slavery; thus, the participants must have a right to choose the laws under which they live. Although the contract imposes new laws, including those safeguarding and regulating property, there are restrictions on how that property can be legitimately claimed. His example with land includes three conditions; that the land be uninhabited, that the owner claims only that which is needed for subsistence, and that labor and cultivation give the possession legitimacy. Pretty much, everyone has a right to the private use of land because everyone works the land. One of his biggest lines in the text is, "Let us then admit that force does not create right, and that we are obliged to obey only legitimate powers." Those legitimate powers are those chosen by the voting citizenry. There is some very important to note here, however. As democratic as this sounds, he is still an elitist. The voting citizenry does not include the peasantry, or even industrial workers. It includes only those citizens, on a flat plane. who have acquired enough wealth to own the required amount of property, of which he so 'nobly' speaks, to be able to earn a sufficient living without every having to set foot on the property.

Alexander Hamilton is one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. His face is on the Ten Dollar Bill, and he is known for killing Aaron Burr, the 3rd sitting Vice President of the United States, in an open air duel. What he is not as widely known for is his co-authorship of The Federalist Papers. Hamilton was the primary driving force behind the collection of essays. He is the one that brought both John Jay and James Madison on board with the project. He was also the primary author. He wrote fifty-one of the eighty-five essays now in the collection. He defended, most ardently, the Separation of Powers, Judicial Independence, and a powerful Executive within the bounds of the Constitution. Hamilton was not a proponent of popular democracy, as the above quote would suggest. In his lifetime, this would bring him into direct philosophical conflict with Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers, who found democracy from the bottom up to be more in the spirit of the Republic and the Revolution, for that matter. As proof for his disdain of popular democracy, one can look to the Alien and Sedition Acts passed into law in 1798. Though the bill was signed into law by President John Adams, Hamilton was the primary author of the bill, and he worked diligently to ensure that they were passed by Congress with very few issues..

There is, then, of course, Karl Marx, who is most commonly recognized for his work on The Communist Manifesto, with Frederick Engels. On his own, however, his largest work is Das Kapital. The Communist Manifesto is the most significant in its effect; however, for it provided, in combination with the work of others, like Vladimir Lenin's What's to be Done?, the foundation for one of the most dominant political philosophies of the past one hundred years. The text is divided into a preamble and four sections, the last of these a short conclusion. The introduction begins by proclaiming "A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre." Pointing out that parties everywhere, including those in government and those in the opposition, have flung the "branding reproach of communism" at each other, the Marx and Engels take from this that the powers that be of their day acknowledged communism to be a power in and of itself. Subsequently, the introduction exhorts Communists to openly publish their views and aims, to "meet this nursery tale of the spectre of communism with a manifesto of the party itself." Communism, or Socialism, was not able to unseat the rising capitalist powers of the mid 19th Century. However, since then, it has given rise to entire nations and provided a legitimate alternative to Capitalism. The only draw back is a key point made by Vladimir Lenin in What's to be Done?. He argued that in order for the revolution that is needed to end capitalism to be successful, a "Vanguard" of educated elites is needed to lead the movement. In this Vanguard, there also likely to be a conflict between the Labor Class and the Investment Class.

It would certainly be fitting, next, to mention The Wealth of Nations, written by Adam Smith, and published in 1776. This was almost seventy-five years before the writing of The Communist Manifesto. The Wealth of Nations was the product of seventeen years of notes. It also involved painstaking observations of conversations among economists of the time concerning economic and societal conditions during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The full text itself took Smith ten years to produce. The result, in its full title, An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations, was a treatise which sought to offer a practical application for reformed economic theory to replace the mercantilist and physiocratic economic theories that were becoming less relevant in this new time of industrial progress and innovation. It provided the foundation for new economists, politicians, mathematicians, biologists, and thinkers, of all fields, to build upon. Irrespective of historical influence, The Wealth of Nations represented a clear shift in the field of economics. An important theme that persists throughout the work is the idea that the economic system is automatic, and when left with substantial freedom, able to regulate itself. This is often referred to as the "invisible hand." The economic philosophy that was born out of this treatise, of course, was Capitalism. Smith, though he was convinced that capitalism could generate the wealth needed to draw a great many people out of poverty, was not ignorant. He knew that capitalism would be constantly under threat of contamination by social elites. He argued that capitalism's ability to self regulate and to ensure maximum efficiency would be regularly threatened by monopolies, tax preferences, lobbying groups, and other "privileges" extended to certain members, Elites, of the economy, would benefit adversely, at the expense of the others of society, aka, The Working Class.

Some Important Questions


"Instead of having a set of policies that are equipping people for the globalization of the economy, we have policies that are accelerating the most destructive trends of the global economy." - Barack Hussein Obama

If one pays extremely close attention to the sound of each of these individuals, they will notice a very distinct pattern in their use of rhetoric on power and human governance. Plato, Machiavelli, More, Hobbes, Rousseau, Hamilton, Marx, Smith, Lenin, and even Obama, seen in the theme of his quote above, all have a similar understanding of how things have worked, are working, and should work in the future. One might think this a little questionable, given that some of these philosophies are supposedly diametrically opposed to one another. On the surface, Hamilton and Marx, with Lenin, would have opposed one another, as would have Marx and Smith. Rousseau and Hamilton might have worked well together, but neither of them would have done well with Machiavelli or Hobbes. Obama and Smith would have stood well together, but neither would have been able to reconcile themselves with More's Utopian Regime. Despite these differences, there is still an imposing commonality between all of these men and their political propositions.

So, what is that stands out so glaringly about all of these writers, philosophers, and politicians? It seems that they are all beginning from a single basic premise that they consider to be universal, but what is it? It is quite simple, actually. Not one of these men, despite the universal language that some of them may employ, has any really significant amount of trust in the common people. A thorough understanding of these men leads one to understand that each of these men believes that there are only a certain few individuals that are capable of wielding the power necessary to govern the greater part of human society, and of course, those few individuals are those men who have been formerly prepared to do so by the elite of their society.

There is yet more to learn from this gathering of scholars, leaders, and philosophers. When these men talk about challenges to power, the government, or their ideas, from whom do they believe they are going to face the greatest challenge? Who among the people is going to be the greatest threat to their control? Are they most afraid of the general population? Are they afraid of the factory workers, the farm workers, or the lowly serfs? Not at all. The group of people that they fear the most are those people among their elite structure, who have received the same education and training that hey have, but for whatever reason, are not in power. If a civil war is going to break out, it is most likely going to be between these competing factions. If a rebellion or riot begins, among the lower classes, the response will likely be brutal and punitive, from the perspective of the elite punishing their lessers for misbehaving. The elites will only ever respect challenges from other elites. Anything else is nothing more than an inconvenience to settled quickly with as little inconvenience as possible.

So, on the occasions where the great masses of the people have been motivated by the elite, what was their purpose? Further, when these were motivated, was it voluntary, or were they motivated with the threat of force? The great majority of the time, the masses, when they are called upon to do service, are not called up so that they can serve some broad and noble purpose, even though such lingo may be used by the elites to get them motivated. The great majority of the time, it is their job be cannon fodder. It is their job to serve as a buffer between competing elites; so that, even if one side in a conflict suffers grievous losses, those losses will be felt most strongly amongst the lower orders, not the men who lead them. Now, consider how difficult it must be to motivate, sometimes, millions of people to put their lives on the line for what is not always something that effects them in their immediate daily lives. How difficult must it be to get people to leave their homes, travel thousands of miles, and then kill people that they never knew existed until that very day. Until the rise of mass media, nationalism, and organized propaganda machines, the primary method used to get the lower classes to fight was to threaten their lives or the lives of their families. They had two options. They either fight and risk death, or they refuse and risk the deaths of their entire families. This is brute force, plain and simple; and while one might expect that kind of behavior before the rise of modern technology, nations, and effective propaganda, many people would not expect that kind of behavior now. If they were accustomed to the appropriate propaganda, they would be surprised to learn otherwise.

Some Examples


“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?

No, I am not going ten thousand miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would put my prestige in jeopardy and could cause me to lose millions of dollars which should accrue to me as the champion.

But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is right here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality…

If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. But I either have to obey the laws of the land or the laws of Allah. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail. We’ve been in jail for four hundred years.” - Muhammad Ali

Throughout human history, the most common way that elites have gathered the needed troops together to compete with one another set of elites over limited resources has been to conscript the needed men. Conscription has taken many forms over the years, and none of them have been anything but forceful. Conscription, or drafting, is the compulsory enlistment of people into a national service, most often a military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names.

So, what are some of the places from which nations and empires have drafted men? One of the most common things to do throughout history, when large numbers were necessary, was for agents of whichever power was calling for men to enter a given area and collect anyone who has moving about the street. This was especially the case in highly urbanized civilizations. The homeless, vagrant, poor, and criminals were usually the primary targets, but this did not stop regular citizens from being whisked away to some distant battlefield to fight a battle against a random leader who they had never met. Speaking of criminals, it was also common for leaders in need of extra troops to empty out their prisons and send the men off to fight on the front. In many ancient armies, it was also common to send slaves into battle. In fact, well up into the times that the Ottoman Empire was at its height, there were entire divisions of highly trained slave units that were sent into battle. The punishment for refusing to fight was execution.

In medieval Europe, the swearing of fealty took the form of an oath made by a vassal, or subordinate, to his feudal Lord. Fealty also referred to the duties incumbent upon a vassal that were owed to the Lord, which consisted of service and aid. One part of the oath of fealty included swearing to always remain faithful to the Lord. The oath of fealty usually took place after the act of homage, when, by the symbolic act of kneeling before the lord and placing his hands between the hands of the lord, the vassal became the man of the Lord. Usually, the Lord also promised to provide for the vassal in some form, either through the granting of a fief or by some other manner of support. Typically, the oath took place upon a religious object such as a Bible or saint's relic, often contained within an altar, thus binding the oath taker before God. Fealty and homage were key elements of European Feudalism.

The Oath of Fealty was just what took place amongst the ruling elites of a nation. What about the rest of the people? What about the peasants working the fields or tending to the livestock? What happens to them when war times come around? What might one think would happen to them? They were forced to fight, no matter the conditions. All men, of appropriate fighting age, were expected to sacrifice life and limb and to do whatever their Lord called upon them to do. Failing to answer the call could harbor sever consequences. Many times the call to battle did not even involve the noble in question. Many times that noble was only required to provide for levies sent down from a higher noble in their country. This means, just like many soldiers today, peasants could be sent off to fight in wars many miles from their homes against people they had never even met before. What were the consequences for desertion or refusing to fight? Either the person would be killed, thrown off his Lord's land, or both. He may also have to watch his family be killed or starved to death.

The modern system of near-universal national conscription for young men dates to the French Revolution in the 1790s, where it became the basis of a very large and powerful military. Later, most European nations copied the system in peacetime, so that men at a certain age would serve one to eight years on active duty, and then possibly, transfer to the reserve force. Let us just take the United States as an example. During the Revolutionary War, the thirteen colonies each issued orders for their people to form into militias.  Though this resulted in the formation of both Patriot and Loyalist Militias, it was an early form of conscription, as a refusal to serve could have a list of negative consequences, to include a public execution on charges of treason, if the temperament in a given area was particularly high. After this, upon the legal ratification of the Constitution of the United States, the Second Amendment gave all states in the United States the right to draft, train, and enforce a well regulated militia for the defense of the their state, and when  needed, for the defense of the nation. By the time that the Civil War came around, the punishment for refusal to serve or desertion, was almost always prison or death. The only way to avoid the consequences was to either change your identity, pay your way out of service, or run far enough way that that your state's legal authority would be null. Even though this was least dangerous, it was not guaranteed to work. This was so; for, many states would purchase the services of federal marshals, who often doubled as bounty hunters, which meant that anyone they captured could be legally ordered to cross state lines.

The Civil War saw the first time in the United States when a national draft of was actually effective. It would not be until 1917, with the passage of the Selective Service Act, however, that a National Draft Board would exist to enact and enforce a federal draft when it was necessary. This law was, of course, passed just as the United States was in need of bodies for its commitment to World War I, an additional possibly commitment to the Mexican Revolution. Luckily, for citizens, by this point, it was no longer acceptable for the government to execute someone for refusing to serve. The punishment by then, normally, consisted of a lengthy prison sentence and a permanent bar from any future government employment or government issued social benefits. There were, actually, World War II veterans, who were denied federal benefits because they had dodged service in World War I. For popular figures who refused service, their punishment may have included a barring from their trade, ranging from a couple of years to a life time ban. Muhammad Ali, until his case was appealed, was banned from professional boxing for three years, subsequent to serving a five year prison term, which was later reduced to time served and probation, when lucrative contract bough his way out of jail. As the Fifties rolled around, there might also have begun to be social repercussions amongst one's family for refusing service. In that era, for popular figures at least, refusal usually drew the eye of the United States Congress' Committee on Un-American Activities, run by the likes of Senator Joseph McCarthy. For the general public, refusing the draft could cause someone a high paying job. They would either be fired or refused a previously promised position,

On July 1, 1973, just around the beginning of the final year and a half of the Vietnam War, the United States government announced that the United States military forces would be transitioning to into an All Volunteer Force. This marked the end of the 'Active compulsory Draft' in the United States. What it did not do, however, was end mandatory registration for the Selective Service. To this day, every male in the United States that is both mentally and physically able, must register for the Selective Service at the age of eighteen. The option is also now open for females; though, their registration is entirely voluntary. Since 1973, no draft notices have been issued, but since the beginning of the Second Iraq War, the government has attempted, on several occasions, to reignite the conversation. As of yet, they have done so to no avail. Hopefully, it will stay that way. There is one caveat to this; though, for those individuals, males only, who refuse to register for the Selective Service, do face repercussions. In a time of war, jail is still a possibility; however, now, the punishment tends to be more fiscally punitive. If a man wants to go to college and seeks federal or state aid to pay for tuition and expenses, if they have not registered for the Selective Service, they will be denied. If they seek state or federal employment of any kind, and some municipal employment, as well, and they have not registered for the Selective Service, their application will be denied, even if they are the most qualified person for the position.The only way for a man of sound mind and body can get out of signing up for the Selective Service is for him to voluntarily enlist in active duty military service. This trumps the Selective Service requirement.

Outside of Europe


"Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." - Lao Tzu

As of now, one would be able to accurately say that the discussion has been majorly focused on European philosophy and European culture. This is largely true, unless you include the first quote of this piece from Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first President of Turkey, and former Ottoman Empire army officer. This is largely because my education lies primarily with the history, politics, and philosophy of Europe, its satellites, and its local competitors, which most people collectively refer to as Western Civilization. This definition should, and in my book does, include the Muslim world. Thus, One of the most influential Muslim scholars on government, ever, was Ibn Khaldun. He was a Sunni scholar from the Sultanate of North Africa. He lived from 1332 to 1406 CE. One of his most famous lines on government is that government is "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself." This can be taken as meaning many things, but most scholars have taken it for what it really meant. It was essentially the Muslim version of a Machiavellian sense of rule. The rest of his work, the greatest of which is, Muqaddimah, translated as A Philosophy of History told the leader of his day to what was necessary; but going back to the line, when it served your the purpose of the state, do those things which would best secure face in the eyes of those you meant to rule. He, too, was writing to teach elites how to remain their elite status. Ruthless ideologies, such as this one, were one of the primary tools of survival for the elite.

This, however, still leaves a deficit. The East seems to be missing. However, if anyone knows me closely enough, they know that I am a Buddhist, which further means that the Eastern Philosophies are not unknown to me. In the context of Power and Human Governance, probably the most well known of the Eastern Philosophers is Sun Tzu, of China. He lived from 544 BCE to 496 BCE. In his day, he was an extremely successful General, and a trusted adviser to the Kings of the Chinese state of WU during the Spring and Autumn period of that region's history. During Sun Tzu's lifetime, China existed much the same as Machiavelli's Italy did; as a series of disjointed states vying for control of the entire geographical region. His text, known around the world, is The Art of War. The statement made by Sun Tzu that most relates in the context of this piece is, "Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death." Note, Sun Tzu is not speaking to the common man. He is directing his lessons towards elite military commanders and their civilian kings. Though he dose recommend that one treat their soldiers well, this does not mean that he recommends that senior leadership march out to the front line with them. In this line, and many like it, he makes out the regular troops, always pulled from the lower classes, out to be pawns. They are buffers between victory and defeat. They are resources to be expended, whose retention or loss, depend entirely upon the physical conditions of the battle.

One should also take head of the work of O'no Yasumaro. His date of birth is estimated to have been around the middle of the Seventh Century CE. He is known to have died in 723 CE. At the time of his death, he was the leader of his clan. He is best known for his authorship of the text entitled, Kojiki, also known as Furukotofumi. This is, by far, the oldest chronicle of the creation of Japan left in existence. The work was commissioned by the Empress Gemmei, the reigning monarch of Japan during this period. The work is a collection of myths and religious rituals that made up the core of Japanese social, religious, and cultural practices at the time. It was one of the texts that helped to form the code of conduct for early Samurai Culture, the class of warriors that would, not too much later, become the ruling class of all Japan. Notice how cultural, social, religious laws, and later, even military code, were the purview of the ruling class in Japan, as well. In Korea, there was Kim Busik, who lived from 1075 CE to 1151 CE. He was a statesman, a general, a Confucian scholar, and a writer during Korea's Goryeo period. A scion of the Silla royalty and a member of the Kyeongju Kim clan, he was the Supreme Chancellor from 1136 CE to 1142 CE and was in charge of the suppression of the Myo Cheong rebellion. Kim is best known for supervising the compilation of the Samguk Sagi, the oldest extant written history of Korea. This was, of course, a history that justified his family's rise to power, a long with all of the actions that they had to take to get there. Busik was brutal in the suppression of the Myo Cheong rebellion, and in his writings, he pretty much marked his ancestors as the inspiration for that brutality. In his eyes, peasants, monks, or anyone, who did not do their duty to their king, or who rebelled against their king, deserved nothing less than death.

There is then, of course, the matter of the Kingdom of Siam, now known as Thailand. The most famous export to ever come out of Thailand is the combat sport, Muay Thai. The origin of Muay Thai, as a fighting style, is thought to have developed for centuries as tribes migrated south from the steppes of China through what are now the nations of Vietnam, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia. The major tribes of that period, one of which was the, Tai, or the Siamese, fought fiercely to survive as they moved south and encountered other smaller tribes in what is now northern and central Thailand, and as far south as Malaysia. Through training, loss of life, military tactics, and hand to hand combat, techniques and tactics were honed to a razors edge, and the rudimentary elements of a fighting-style began to take root. Older soldiers and fathers taught their students and sons the offensive and defensive tactics and techniques, proper posture and position, and the skills to enhance mental awareness. Those students and sons went on to teach their children, and the roots and permanent structure of an effective fighting style began to strengthen. Proper technique and power strikes were a vital element in war that required hand to hand skills. Each strike and movement was meant to deliver a debilitating and crushing blow, and enable the fighter to move on to the next opponent quickly without leaving himself exposed to an attack.

Though Muay Thai is probably the most physical combat sport to date, it's true effectiveness does not come from the physical training. Its true effective lies in the intense mental and spiritual training that accompany the physical training. Now, if one does their research properly, they will find that there are only a scarce number of "Elite" Muay Thai academies left operating in Thailand. This is because the fathers, teachers, rulers, and soldiers who were passing down this training to the next generation were members of the Tai elite military caste, who lived and died in the service of their emperor. When not in war time, it was their job to perfect their craft and to maintain order in the empire, as for their faithful service, they were granted control of massive tracts of land. If they could not subdue a local rebellion, they risked the loss of all their earthy wealth, and possibly, their lives. Muay Thai has been reduced to a sport because of the advent of modern military technology, like rifles, pistols, missiles, artillery shells, and sea to shore bombing, which has made hand to hand combat less important.

Going back just a little further, one can also look to the writings of the ancient Hindi philosophers in India. There are men like Atri, Bharadwaja, Gautama, Jamadagni, Kasyapa, Vasishtha, Viswamitra; collectively known as, the Seven Rishis, who are thought to be amongst the earliest of the Hindi philosophers. It is difficult to date these men, however, because mentions of them only come from surviving texts, who tend to contradict one another. There are no surviving contemporary works from these men. There is also Kapila, the founder of the Sankhya philosophy, who is estimated to have live somewhere between 1000 BCE and 600 BCE. Then, there is Kanada, the founder of the Vaisheshika philosophy, who is thought to have lived somewhere between 600 BCE and 400 BCE. Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was also a significant Hindi scholar. He lived from approximately, 653 BCE to 483 BCE. Aksapada Gautama, author of the Nyaya Sutras, lived around the Second Century BCE. Badarayana, who is loosely dated between 200 BCE and 400 CE, was the author of the Brahma Sutra. Vatsyayana, author of the Kama Sutra, was estimated to have lived around the Second Century CE. Candrakirti, the founder of the Madhyamaka branch of Buddhism, was born around 600 CE. His date of death is unknown. Adi Shankara invented the Advaita Vedanta school of thought. He lived from approximately 788 to 820 CE. There was also Ramanuja, who lived from 1017 to 1137 CE. He qualified the philosophical concept of Non-Dualism and was one of the first Hindi philosophers to be influenced by the tenements of Islam.
The works written by these men have played a massive role on the development of human philosophy. They helped to develop, long before Europe reclaimed itself after the fall of Rome, the fields of Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics, Aesthetics, and much more. However, they too used their work to secure and boost the position of the elite classes of India. There are at least two difering perspectives for the origins of the caste system in ancient and medieval India, which focus on either ideological factors or on socio-economic factors. The first school focuses on the ideological factors which are claimed to drive the caste system and holds that the caste system is rooted in the four Varnas. In this school the system was ideologically perfected several thousand years ago and has remained the primary social reality ever since. The second school of thought focuses on socio-economic factors and claims that those factors drive the caste system. It believes caste to be rooted in the economic, political, and material history of India. This school describes the caste system as an ever-evolving social reality that can only be properly understood by the study of historical evidence of actual practice and the examination of circumstances verifiable in the economic, political and material history of India. Either way it developed, the Caste System in India was developed, supported, and enforced by its elites, to include its philosopher class, to secure their position and use the general masses for their own gain. What was the punishment dealt out to members of the lower castes if they refused to perform for their betters? Their punishment was potentially two fold. In life, they could face execution. In death, they could face spiritual condemnation to an even lower level of the caste system. So, according to the elites, it was in the lower castes' best interest do as they were told, as over time, it will improve their potential spiritual position in the caste system.

The Tools of the Elite


"And when the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, 'Come!' Then I looked and saw a pale horse. Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed close behind. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword, by famine, by plague, and by the beasts of the earth." - St. John, The Apostle, Revelation 6:8

"At the right time, there will be produced for them a great beast from the earth, made of the earthly parts themselves, declaring that the people are not certain about their revelations" - Quran 27:82

A number of things have been show here. First of all, there is not a point in written human history, where the masses were ever in sole control of the reigns of government. In fact, this has shown that the masses have never really gotten anywhere near to being able to actually govern themselves. In all the history of human governance, there has always been a minority ruling elite that has ruled over the majority of the masses. To this very day, and even in nations who espouse "Democratic Values," there are ruling elites who control the political values, social standards, economic values and physical outcomes of their nation's elections, never taking any real stock, if any, in the opinions of the general population. Second, it has also been shown that throughout history, most philosophers and scholars have reasoned that rule by an elite portion of society is not only natural but is also necessary to ensure social stability. Third, it has also been shown that these elites will always make use of whatever tools are made available to them to maintain their position at the top of their society. The two most common tools that have always been available to the elite to sway the actions of the general masses are force and violence. If people have been resistant to change or taking an undesirable action, the elites have used their power to make the people endure the change or perform the undesired action. If force was not enough, then violence was next. This normally resulted in the destruction of property and in the loss of life. Of course, these two tools have generally operated in tandem with one another.

There is also, of course; economic sanctions, which means the creation of money, and economic sanctions can take a great many forms. How better to keep someone down than to pay them so little money that they cannot survive in the world without being dependent upon your benevolence, kindness, or charity? How better to control someone's behavior than to maintain a death grip on the control of all the resources in a given area? Further, make it illegal to harvest, hunt, or consume anything in a given region unless it is received directly from the hands of the local ruler. The elite can also corner the market on social control by targeting those products, services, or resources that are considered vital to daily survival by the general population. They can make these items so expensive that the only way a regular person can have them is to take out a loan from a member of the wealthy class. This, once again, makes the people beholden to their rulers. In all periods of human history, this was one of the primary modes by which the elites, in any given society, maintained control of their people. It is used to this very day.

Everyone needs a place to live, everyone needs transportation, everyone wants to go to college to increase their potential income, and everyone needs to secure the minuscule amounts of monetary security that they have been able to accumulate from the job that barely pays them enough to survive. For these services, people go to the banks that are owned and ran by their social elites, and backed by their government, which is run by those very same social elites. By taking out a mortgage, a car loan, a school loan, and by opening a bank account to store the funds from their poor paying job, they have entered into a contract with their betters. In exchange for access to these modern "necessities," they promise to behave themselves. If they do not, the state brings in force to back themselves up, aka the police or debt collectors, or both. For the people that owe money to these banks, their lives are guaranteed to be full of harassment and stress, and long after they have paid off their debts, the damage of having taken on too much debt will continue show itself anytime they attempt to expand their social, political, or economic reach.

There is, however, a much more powerful tool that the elites of a given society possess. It dwarfs the threats of violence and death, and it makes the spectre of debt and financial loss seem like a newborn kitten. In the annals of human history, one will find that it is actually this tool that has been the most widely used by the elites. It has been the most effective tool of all in ensuring the compliance of the masses in whatever new conquest, thievery, or abominable action they have sought to embark upon. It affects the populace in a way that is so much deeper than any other of the elite's tools that non compliance, for many, is more fearful than death itself. In the recent past, the Scientific Revolution has begun crack this methods effectiveness, as it has begun to explain away all of the things that used to invoke a sort of mystical fear in the hearts of the uneducated, and the almost always desperately poor, masses. If the quotes at the beginning of this section have not given it away yet, then let it now be known that this most dramatically powerful tool, nee weapon, is none other than the spectre of religion. Do not mistake this for an attack on faith. Faith has been so historically misconstrued that a discussion on the topic could fill up a book.

This is just straight religion. It does not have to be any particular religion. It is just the accepted tale in a given society about what happens to people after they die, which is accompanied by a set of required practices and a list of behaviors that define what it meas to be an accepted practitioner of that religion. This is usually followed up by a story about what happens, after death, to those people who are not able to, or refuse to, perform their lives according to the text or group of texts that define the religion. Humans have, historically, had a very dramatic obsession with what happens to them after they die. The Egyptians built pyramids, and the Celts buried their leaders with all of their wealth in tow. This obsession has almost always manifested itself into a deeply seeded fear; especially amongst the lower orders of societies, so the ruling elites have always been able to control the behavior of the masses by suggesting that a failure to perform a given action might result in their eternal damnation. Do not mistake this for a fear of death, as there have been plenty of documented cases where people would be gladly willing to take their own lives, once they knew that their place in the good part of the afterlife had been secured. Elites have forever held the license on what the afterlife is, so the fear is not so strong for them. They have something to pass on, their wealth, which being among the elite, teaches them is what is mot important. The general masses usually do not have a whole lot to pass on, if anything, so they cling to their religion and teach the next generation to do the same.

Eliminate the Need to Compete for Survival


"Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill will you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along the path, your inability to generate ideas, the people around you who don't support and love your efforts, and whatever god you curse for your bad luck." - James Altucher

So, is there a way to end the madness? Is there way to create a human society that is truly governed by the governed? There seems to be three assumptions that can be made about how this would be possible. The first key to making such a society possible would be to eliminate the need to compete for survival. The second key would be to eliminate divisive political borders. The third key would be to eliminate organized religion. Right off the bat, it is pretty clear that accomplashing any one of these goals is something that should be considered next to impossible. Though such an assumption may have been valid in the past, making such an assumption now would be premature. Human's have had to compete for survival for their entire existence because they have been dependent upon resources, whether it be food, water, electricity, oil, natural gas, or anything else, that were finite in their availability. In that, control of such a source could mean life or death for a tribe, nation, or empire. 

The Twenty-First Century has the potential to make that economic competition unnecessary. Human's have the technology to harness water from thin air, to desalinate the ocean, and secure subterranean water sources. Further, the technology exists such that food can be produced to meet the needs of all human's without having to sacrifice them off to some war. Finally, and most importantly, however, humanity has the ability to make the energy needed to do these things completely free. Instead of relying on sources of energy like oil and natural gas, which are finite, humans can now rely on the energy produced by the sun, wind, its own garbage, biomass, waves, tides, and most infinitely, geothermal energy. In the life of a regular human and their progeny, these sources of energy are infinite, as they will be around, and still producing consumable energy, long after humans have moved on from this place. This basically means that charging for these energy sources would be ridiculous because there is no way to pretend that they could ever possibly be considered scarce, which is the motivation behind making money and securing the distribution of finite resources, in the first place.

The next key would be to eliminate the divisive political borders that artificially divide people from one another. This should not be a difficult task to complete once humans have given up their reliance on sources of energy that are genuinely finite. The purpose of creating reinforced borders, in the first place, was to ensure the security of certain finite resources. Rulers sought to ensure that the resources that they had control of would remain under their control so that they would have what they needed to survive, along with a surplus to trade for those needed resources that they did not possess. With it no longer necessary to forcefully secure access to obsolete finite resources, whether it be for consumption or trade, the need to enforce the required borders to protect them will fade away. The only real remaining attachment to the land will be a nostalgic one, a result of a people living on the same land for an extended period of time. Such an a attachment to the land that one was born to is not only natural, but is also spiritually important for many humans; however, such an attachment does not require that the land be restricted from all others and defended with the force of death. With the need to compete for finite resources removed from the human psyche, the land we are born to can become a shared heritage for all of humanity to enjoy.

Just as the need for organized borders will melt away, when the competition for survival and finite resources are no longer necessary, so to will the need for modern organized religions. It has already been shown that organized religions, as they exist today, were designed by the elites of human society to ensure that they could control the actions of the general masses over which they had secured a ruling position. They did so because they could not secure the finite resources over which they had control by themselves. They needed the help of has many people as they could motivate to assist them. Over years of practice, they found that violence, death, and money have nothing on religion when it comes to being able to control people's actions. For, it is religion that tells the uneducated man what is going to happened to their eternal souls after they die. Using this tool, rulers built massive armies to protect their resources and secure access to additional resources when peaceful trade was not a possibility. Eliminate the need to compete for resources, as well as, the divisive borders now separating humanity, and the need for all modern state organized religions, whether they are in state control now or not, will fade away. This does not mean that religion will fade away. It just means that religions based on the false dichotomy of economic scarcity will not have a place in a world where everyone has equal access to all needed resources, which are, in their turn, infinite in their availability.

Concluding Thoughts


"The essence of Christianity is told to us in the Garden of Eden story. The subtext is, all the suffering have you have is because you wanted to find out what was going on. You could be in the Garden of Eden if you had just kept your fucking mouth shut and hadn't asked any questions. Get smart and I'll fuck you over, sayeth the Lord. Is that not an absolute anti-intellectual religion?" - Frank Zappa

So, what would a world, where the need to compete for survival is no longer necessary, look like? What would a world, where access to needed resources is universal, look like? What would a world, with limitless sources of energy look like? What would a world, with no divisive political borders look like? What would a world, with no oppressive state built religions look like? Hopefully, it would be a world where the pursuit intellectual, physical, and true spiritual balance would be the primary pursuits for all humans. Training academies all over the world would accept students from all over the world and a more integrated human culture would develop, where natural competition would no longer be based on the need to survive, bur rather, the needs to improve oneself and to learn from ones opponent. This, of course, does not mean that humanity would not be done away with hierarchical social orders. It also means that there would be an open possibility for abuse and corruption. This would occur as varying academies compete for prestige on the global stage. Such competition could get viscous as dominant schools of thought attempt to dictate those philosophies that are acceptable and those that are not. 

It could reach the height of the meeting pictured above entitled, The Death of Socrates. It is such a famous piece because Socrates was forced to drink a vile of deathly poisonous hemlock. He had been charged and convicted of "Corrupting the Youth" because he refused to stop teaching the youth of Athens that the Gods supported by the city's ruling council were nothing more than artificial constructs meant to enslave their minds. Hopefully, in a new world where everyone is educated, physically fit, and spiritually in tune with the Earth, such behavior will be a thing of the past, and what we will see, instead, is a world where wise sages spend their days teaching, encouraging, and pushing their pupils to every increase their own abilities. It will further, hopefully be a world where people are not taught what to think, but rather, how to think. This would be a world where people can spend their lives perfecting their craft, continuously developing innovative technology, honing their physical abilities, and paying ever deeper homage to the planet that gave them life. Only time can tell when the "Brotherhood of Man" will finally be a reality.

Dedication


“Either we get responsible with what the Earth has given us, or we sit back, relax, and watch billions of years of evolution die right before our very eyes.” – Kent Allen Halliburton

"I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong. Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I'm one of those people. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it. If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace. Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one." - John Lennon

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

2 comments:

  1. Marx does not distrust the masses, and vanguardism is not elitism. Lenin is quite clear that the vanguard is made up of the masses of the working class itself not a seperate elite. And russia was the first place the masses were very much in control, control was very much not in the hands of a small elite. so no marx doesnt fit with these others at all but rather represents the first clear break with them.

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  2. I am viewing the institution post Apocalypse, if you will. In his later years, Marx was no longer convinced that the people could overcome religion, and the Soviet Union turned into an elitist run state with organizations like the KGB made available to keep the party in power.

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