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Monday, May 31, 2021

On Richard Lionheart’s Crusade

After mentioning that Richard Lionheart’s life came to a close when he was hit by a stray arrow shot from a rebel castle in France on 26 March 1199, Steven Runciman delivers his judgement on Lionheart’s life in a single line: “He was a bad son, a bad husband and a bad king, but a gallant and splendid soldier.” (A History of the Crusades III: The Kingdom of Acre; Chapter III, “Coeur-de-Lion”)

Lionheart was not fully committed to the war for the Holy Land since his priority was to safeguard the interests of his empire in England and France. He arrived in Acre on 8 June 1191 and departed for Europe on 9 October 1192. During his sixteen months in the Levant, Lionheart acted like a shrewd political operator and a pragmatic military commander—he carried out extensive negotiations with Emperor Saladin while fighting to defeat him in several battles. He and Saladin delighted in being respectful and generous to each other. Lionheart realized that with the kind of military commitment that Western Europe was in a position to make in the Levant, Saladin and other oriental forces could not be defeated. 

After a siege of about two years (started by King Guy in August 1189), the crusaders conquered Acre on 12 July 1191. Lionheart played a decisive role in the success at Acre. In September 1191, Lionheart defeated Saladin in a battle north of Arsuf. Towards the end of May 1192, the crusaders had taken all the coastal areas that they had lost to Saladin. In January 1192, and then for the second time in June 1192, the crusaders were just ten to twelve miles from Jerusalem, which was largely undefended since most of Saladin’s forces were committed to other parts of the battlefield. On both occasions, Lionheart refused to besiege Jerusalem. Apparently he believed that even if the crusader forces managed to conquer Jerusalem, they would not be able to hold it while Saladin continued to be the ruler of Egypt and Syria. 

Lionheart’s struggle to make it back to England proved as perilous as his struggle against Saladin. The ship in which he left Acre was wrecked by a storm near Venice, forcing him to continue his journey overland. To evade his European enemies, he was traveling in disguise, but he was captured by Duke Leopold of Austria. Leopold accused Lionheart of the murder of Conrad of Montferrat and locked him in a castle. On 28 March 1193, Lionheart was handed over to Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, who imprisoned him in a castle in Germany. After the payment of a huge ransom, Lionheart was released on 4 February 1194. On his release, King Philip of France sent a message to John, Lionheart’s brother: “Look to yourself; the devil is loose."

Sunday, May 30, 2021

A View of the Mahabharata’s Lunar Dynasty

The Mahabharata is the history of the Chandravansha (the Lunar dynasty), which originated with Soma, the Moon God. The son of Soma was Chandra. Chandra had a son called Pururava who ruled the kingdom of Prayaga, whose capital was located at Pratisthana. Pururava’s eldest son Āyu had a son called Nahusha. Nahusha married Viraja and they had six or seven sons. The second son was Yayati. According to another legend, Nahusha married Ashokasundari, the daughter of Shiva and Parvati, and she gave birth to Yayati and a hundred daughters. 

Yayati had five sons: Yadu and Turvasu through his first wife Devayani, and Druhyu, Anu and Puru through his second wife Sharmishtha. When Yayati became old, he continued to lust for the pleasures of a youthful life. He summoned his five sons and asked them to temporarily loan him their youth. Four of the sons refused and they were cursed by Yayati that they would never be kings—this curse impacted the Yadava dynasty too, since one of Yayati’s five sons was Yadu. Puru, Yayati’s youngest son, agreed to loan his youth to his father. After enjoying the pleasures of the senses for a thousand years, Yayati returned to Puru his youth and made him the king. The lunar dynasty goes forward with Puru. 

Puru’s son Duhshanta married Shakuntala and they had a son called Bharata (the founder of the empire called Bharatavarsha). Bharata had a grandson called Kuru, whose descendent Pratipa had a son called Shantanu. Shantanu married Satyavati and they had two sons, Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. Krishna Dvaipayana (Veda Vyasa) was already born through a union between Sage Parashara and Satyavati. A union between Shantanu and Ganga had already resulted in the birth of the powerful warrior Bhishma. Krishna Dvaipayana fathered Dhristarashtra on Vichitravirya’s first wife Ambika, and Pandu on Vichitravirya’s second wife Ambalika. He also fathered a son called Vidura on Vichitravirya’s maid. 

The hundred Kourava brothers were the sons of Dhristarashtra, and the five Pandava bothers were the acknowledged sons of Pandu. Since Kuru was the common ancestor of both the Kouravas and the Pandavas—in terms of bloodline, the five Pandava brothers too were Kouravas. Krishna was born in the Yadava branch of the Lunar dynasty.

Friday, May 28, 2021

The Fourth Crusade: The 1204 Sack of Constantinople

The claim that the crusaders “sacked” Constantinople in 1204 is not the complete truth. The crusaders didn’t sack Constantinople. They engineered a regime change in the Byzantine Empire, at the behest of a powerful faction in Byzantine politics and some Venetian and French nobles. Here’s a brief account of the Fourth Crusade:

Pope Innocent III was elected on 8 January 1198, and on 15 August 1198, he launched a new crusade (the fourth one). By the summer of 1200, a sizable crusading army had taken shape. Instead of taking a land route, which experience of the past crusades had shown was fraught with danger, the crusaders decided to take the route that Richard Lionheart and Philip II Augustus had taken during the Third Crusade. They planned to sail across the Mediterranean to Palestine.

The French Barons who were leading the Fourth Crusade entered into an agreement with Enrico Dandolo, the half-blind octogenarian Doge of Venice. Dandolo agreed to build ships for ferrying about forty-thousand crusaders, including the knights and their horses, across the Mediterranean for 85,000 silver marks. Pope Innocent III had exhorted the crusaders to conquer the Kingdom of Jerusalem, but without informing the Pope, the French Barons and Dandolo decided that the crusaders would conquer Egypt first. 

The crusaders had to arrive at the Venetian port no later than June 1202, but most of them were late. By August 1202, only eleven thousand men had gathered, and to make matters worse, they didn’t have enough money to pay the shipping charges to the Venetians. The Venetians suggested that they would postpone the payment if the crusaders helped Venice conquer its enemy, the Croatian port town of Zadar. Zadar was under a Christian king, and several crusaders, who thought that they were going to fight for the Kingdom of Jerusalem, were appalled by the idea of attacking a Christian state, but others went ahead. They conquered Zadar for the Venetians in November 1202. 

From Zadar, the crusader ships should have gone to Egypt—that is what the general mass of crusaders had been expecting. But the crusaders found themselves in Constantinople. Who made the decision to navigate the ships towards Constantinople is one of the great mysteries of history. A powerful faction of Byzantine politics certainly had a role to play. 

Alexius Angelus, son of the deposed and blinded Byzantine emperor Isaac II Angelus, had reached Europe before the Fourth Crusade departed from Venice. He offered to clear the Fourth Crusade’s entire debt to Venice, and equip the crusaders with enough manpower and funds to ensure the success of their campaign to conquer the Kingdom of Jerusalem, if they reinstated his father on the throne of the Byzantine Empire. He also offered to end the schism between Orthodox Christianity and Latin Christianity. 

A deal must have been struck between some leaders of the Fourth Crusade and Alexius Angelus. The deal certainly had Venetian support, since they controlled the shipping routes and without their cooperation the ships carrying the crusaders could not be diverted to Constantinople. The Venetians were in a position to gain a lot of commercial benefits if the regime change operation in Constantinople was successful. It is possible that the deal had German and French support since Alexius Angelus had meetings with German and French nobility before he arrived at Venice. Who was not part of the deal? Pope Innocent III and many of the crusaders. 

On June 24, 1203, the Fourth Crusade had reached Constantinople. They demanded that Isaac II Angelus and his son Alexius Angelus should be restored to the throne. When Alexius III, who was then the Emperor, refused, the crusaders went on a rampage. In July 1203, Alexius III fled from the city. Isaac II Angelus and Alexius Angelus were proclaimed the joint rulers of the Byzantine Empire. The crusaders had accomplished their mission. But now a new problem arose—the two new Emperors were unable to honor the lavish promises that they had made to the crusaders and the Venetians. This led to a rapid deterioration in the popularity of their regime. 

The two Emperors were arrested on 27 January 1204—apparently without the knowledge of the crusaders. Isaac II Angelus died soon after his arrest (perhaps due to poisoning). On 8 February 1204, Alexius III was killed by strangling. Despite the failure of Isaac II Angelus and Alexius Angelus to honor their commitments, the crusaders interpreted the deposition and murder of the two Emperors as a coup. They besieged Constantinople for more than a month. On 12 April 1204, they managed to enter the city. For three days, they rioted, vandalized, and looted, causing significant damage to life and property in Constantinople. 

The two regimes that the Fourth Crusade toppled were Christian: Zadar and the Byzantine Empire. The Fourth Crusade never went to Palestine. The crusaders never marched towards Jerusalem.. They stayed in Constantinople and founded a new kingdom to which they gave the name Romania. They first offered the imperial crown to Enrico Dandolo who refused it. Baldwin I was crowned as the first emperor of Romania on 9 May 1204. The surviving members of the Byzantine Empire’s aristocracy founded their own empire in Nicaea, where they awaited for an opportunity to win back the Empire that they had lost.

On Viking Wisdom

“Wake early if you want another man’s life or land. No land for the lazy wolf. No battle’s won in bed.” ~ A viking saying (Edda of Saemund the Wise, a collection of the sayings of Odin). This viking saying makes sense—a nation that does not awake early to the political realities will lose its land and culture. 

The vikings were not doctrinaires. Their religious and cultural tradition was wholly oral. But they were good political thinkers. There is a lot that can be learned from their history. Between the eighth and eleventh centuries, they played a significant role in awakening the West from the slumber in which it had fallen after the end of the Western Roman Empire.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

On Byzantine Intellectualism and Politics

Bulk of the Greek texts that are available today (around 40,000 of 55,000) have been transmitted through Greek scholars of the Byzantine Empire. In 1453, when the Byzantine Empire fell to the forces of the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, the Greek scholars fled to Western Europe with most of their texts, which must have contributed to the ongoing intellectual revolution (the Renaissance) happening in that part of Europe. In the area of intellectualism, the Byzantines were a success. Their failures are cultural and political. They wanted to be a great empire without fighting to defend their culture and the borders of their empire. 

The idea of a “holy war” was abhorrent to the Byzantines. They believed that though a war might sometimes be necessary, it could never be holy—since killing was a sinful activity. Their political strategy was devoted to maintaining political power without having to fight wars. The crusaders could not have done anything to help the Byzantines, who were overconfident that they would keep prevailing in the region by the virtue of their intellectualism. The Byzantines thought that they could neutralize every foreign adversary through diplomacy and negotiations, and if military force had to be deployed, they could rely on mercenaries to do the dirty work of fighting. They expected the crusaders who arrived in the First Crusade to act as their mercenary troops and were appalled when they realized that the crusaders intended to free the holy land. 

Despite their intellectualism, their knowledge of religion, culture, and history, the Byzantines could not develop a political and spiritual connection with the crusaders. During the time of the crusades, the intellectualism of the Byzantines had a rather negative impact—it prevented them from seeing the political reality that their Empire was doomed.

Kant: The Spectator of the French Revolution

Kant was supportive of the idea of a French Revolution before 1789, the year when the real French Revolution began. He was convinced that the revolution would lead to the rise of a culture of liberty, science, reason, and religious ethics in Europe. But he never publicly voiced his support for the French Revolution and he was shocked when he learned of the massive violence that the revolutionaries were unleashing in France. To his close associates, he used to say with agitation that the revolutionaries were children with weapons who had gone out of control. 

In her book Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy, Hannah Arendt writes: 

“[Kant’s] final position on the French Revolution, an event that played a central role in his old age, when he waited with great impatience every day for the newspapers, was decided by this attitude of the mere spectator, of those "who are not engaged in the game themselves" but only follow it with "wishful, passionate participation," which certainly did not mean, least of all for Kant, that they now wanted to make a revolution; their sym­pathy arose from mere "contemplative pleasure and inactive de­light.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

On The Political Influence Of Books

“Is it this simple to influence the world. If any ambitious man have a fancy to revolutionize at one effort the universal world of human thought, human opinion, and human sentiment, the opportunity is his own — the road to immortal renown lies straight, open, and unencumbered before him. All that he has to do is to write and publish a very little book. Its title should be simple — a few plain words — "My Heart Laid Bare." But — this little book must be true to its title.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe in 1844. 

I disagree with Edgar Allan Poe. It is not simple to influence the world. A book can influence the word only if it appears at the right place, at the right time, and is discovered by the right kind of politicians. Marx could become the great revolutionary philosopher of the twentieth century because politicians like Lenin and Trotsky realized that they could use Marxism to overthrow the regime of Emperor Nikolai II Alexandrovich Romanov. The success of Lenin and Trotsky in overthrowing the Russian monarchy turned Marxism into the most lethal political weapon of the twentieth century.

Every Marx needs men like Lenin and Trotsky for influencing the destiny of the world.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

My Faith in Barbarians

I have great faith in barbarians and none at all in intellectuals. Those who know me will understand that I am saying this because I have read history and philosophy. Civilizations are created by the barbarians and they decline and fall when the intellectuals take control of their politics and culture.

Holy Land: The Fountainhead of Civilization

The idea of a Holy Land is the fountainhead of civilization. The origin of every civilization can be traced to some parcel of land which the founders of that civilization revered as the Holy Land which is worth dying for. When people identify with a Holy Land, they develop a culture and a civilization. There has never been a civilization in which a majority of the people do not identify with a Holy Land. Even the communist nations, which believe in the myth of atheism, have their own Holy Land, where they gather to perform their communist rituals. In Russia (since the time of the Soviet Union), China, and other communist states, the area where the bodies of the communist elite are buried or preserved for display in an embalmed state (like Lenin’s and Mao’s body) are seen as holy shrines. The desire to believe in a Holy Land is the most basic of all desires.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Religion and Science

Science and technology do not possess the power to refute God and religion. This is because a belief in God and religion is not the mark of an irrational, uneducated, and naive mind, as the atheists claim. The religious people are often more well-read, rational, philosophical, and brilliant than those who reject religious belief. 

To prove the existence of their God, many religious thinkers have developed philosophical (theological) theories which are brilliant because they are rationally argued. People believe in God because they are driven by a biological instinct to transcend the material world and find a spiritual explanation for the universe. Some of the best philosophers, scientists, discoverers, and innovators in history were people with a religious bent of mind. The idea that religious people cannot make advancements in science and other intellectual endeavors is simply atheist propaganda. 

The need for God, theology (religion), and Holy Land is more fundamental to human beings than the lust for the marvels of technology.

History Does Not Vindicate The Truth

History is made by the historians and not by the people who participate in the political events of any particular period of time. You might feel certain that the political truth is on your side, that your cause is logical and workable, and that though your cause does not enjoy much support today, history will vindicate your political position. But if the historians of the future are against your type of politics, then you won’t find support in the pages of history either—you will be discarded by history just as, in the present, you are being discarded by your contemporaries.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Who is History’s Favorite Child: the USA or China?

The most important historical event of the nineteenth century was the defeat of Napoleon, since it set the stage for the Pax Britannica (the British Empire became the global hegemonic power). The decline and fall of the British Empire was the most important historical event of the twentieth century, since this century was not about the communist movements (the rise and fall of the Soviet Union) but about anti-imperialism. 

What will be the most important historical event of the twenty-first century? If the USA falls due to a combination of factors, which includes the collapse of its currency, soaring inflation, political scandals, massive civil unrest, and military pressure from its geopolitical adversaries, then that will be the most important historical event. Perhaps history will throw us a surprise and the empire that falls in the twenty-first century will be the one that most intellectuals think is destined to dominate the world in this century and the next: China. 

One thing is certain: Only one civilization will make it to the twenty-second century, either the USA or China. The world is too small for both to coexist.

Runciman’s Judgement of the Crusades

Steven Runciman concludes the final volume (Volume 3) of his A History of the Crusades with this judgement on the two centuries of the crusades: 

“The triumphs of the Crusade were the triumphs of faith. But faith without wisdom is a dangerous thing. By the inexorable laws of history the whole world pays for the crimes and follies of each of its citizens. In the long sequence of interaction and fusion between Orient and Occident out of which our civilization has grown, the Crusades were a tragic and destructive episode. The historian as he gazes back across the centuries at their gallant story must find his admiration overcast by sorrow at the witness that it bears to the limitations of human nature. There was so much courage and so little honor, so much devotion and so little understanding. High ideals were besmirched by cruelty and greed, enterprise and endurance by a blind and narrow self-righteousness; and the Holy War itself is nothing more than a long act of intolerance in the name of God, which is the sin against the Holy Ghost.”

In geopolitical terms, there is another way of judging the crusades. The massive warfare and colonization attempts during the period of the crusades revitalized the Western civilization which had been slumbering since the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century. The crusades enabled the West to develop an ideology, it gave them a cause to fight for, it made them aware of their own weaknesses and the strengths of their rivals, and eventually, the hard lessons learned from the crusades enabled the West to develop into a world power.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

The Battle of the Somme Versus the Iraq War

During the First World War, the Battle of the Somme, fought by the armies of the British Empire and the French Third Republic against the German Empire, began on July 1, 1916. On this single day of intense fighting, the British side suffered 57,470 casualties (worst in the history of the British army), out of which 19,240 died. But there were no calls for ending the battle in Britain and France. The battle went on for four months (till November 18, 1916 ) leading to over a million casualties on both sides, and the war itself continued for another two years. 

The majority of the people in the USA and the UK turned against the Iraq war when about 3000 of their soldiers died. In the twenty-first century, for good or for bad, the West is no longer the ruthless fighting machine that it used to be till the first half of the twentieth century. The twenty-first century Westerners are not willing to die in the name of a “Holy War” or “to save their nation” in large numbers. Yet they want to be regarded as a superpower—this is a sign of hubris. To be a superpower, you have to be prepared to make super-sacrifices. 

I have never supported the Western military interventions in the Middle East in the last two decades, because I knew that the West could not win against an old oriental civilization defending its home turf. But the point is that the people in the West thought that they could win these wars without suffering any casualty. They thought that a war is like a video game.

Cecil Rhodes Versus the Progressives

“The world is nearly all parceled out, and what there is left of it is being divided up, conquered and colonized. To think of these stars that you see overhead at night, these vast worlds which we can never reach. I would annex the planets if I could; I often think of that. It makes me sad to see them so clear and yet so far.” ~ Cecil Rhodes. This is the spirit of a visionary explorer. 

The progressives who are ranting against Rhodes, demanding that his statues be pulled down, that he should be purged from history textbooks, do not have a fraction of his vision, enterprise, brilliance, and courage. What have these progressives done for humanity? They are corrupt, immoral, weak, and incompetent—whichever country they touch turns into rubbish. But they want to revise the past. They want to rule the present. They want to control the future. 

Those who understand how a civilization is created will prefer people like Rhodes in positions of power. These progressives totalitarians are the architects of hell.

Friday, May 21, 2021

The Keynesian Ponzi Scheme

The balance sheet of the FED has now soared to $7.923 trillion. Next week it will cross $8 trillion, and by 2022 it is certain to surpass $10 trillion. Add to this the high balance sheets that the central banks in other nations, especially the democratic ones, are running. We are living in the age of the greatest ponzi scheme in history. When this ponzi scheme goes bust, which will be quite soon, it will hit human life on this planet with the force of a giant meteor. The world economy will be finished. A great depression like condition will prevail for at least thirty years. The Western countries, which have a consumer driven economy, will be the hardest hit. But look at the bright picture: With all these miseries we will finally disprove the Keynesian theory of economics.

Kritovoulos: On the Fall of Constantinople

Michael Kritovoulos, Greek politician and scholar, who was in the service of Ottoman Emperor Sultan Mehmed II, when the Byzantine Empire fell in 1453, wrote a history of the Ottoman Empire. The book has an account of the siege and fall of Constantinople. Even though he was employed by Mehmed II, Kritovoulos was sympathetic to Byzantine culture and its last emperor Constantine XI Dragases Palaiologos. He viewed the fall of Constantinople as an event far more worrisome than the fall of the last Crusader stronghold of Acre in 1291. Here’s an excerpt from Kritovoulos’s elegy over Emperor Palaiologos: 

“The Emperor Constantine himself, as I have said, died fighting. He was wise and moderate in his private life and diligent to the highest degree in prudence and virtue, sagacious as the most highly-trained of men. In political affairs and in matters of government he yielded to no one of the kings before him in preeminence. Quick to perceive his duty, and still more quick to do it, he was eloquent in speech, clever in thought, and very accomplished in talking of public affairs. He was exact in his judgments of the present, as someone has said of Pericles, and usually correct in regard to the future, a splendid worker, who chose to do and to suffer everything for the fatherland and his subjects. Therefore, when he saw with his own eyes the evident danger threatening the City, and was able to save himself, he did not choose to do so, although there were many who begged him to, but preferred to die with his country and his subjects, or rather to die beforehand himself, so that he might not see his country captured and all the inhabitants either cruelly murdered or made captive and ignominiously taken away. For when he saw the enemy pressing in on him and coming into the City through the broken wall, he is stated to have cried aloud this last word: “The city is taken and it is useless for me to live any longer.” So saying he hurled himself into the midst of the enemy and was cut to pieces. He was a splendid man and the guardian of the common good, but unfortunate all through his life and doubly unfortunate at its close.” (Source: Kritovoulos, History of Mehmed the Conqueror, trans. Charles Riggs)

Kritovoulos’s book includes an account of the past Ottoman conquests. He saw the crossing of the Hellespont (the capture of Gallipoli) in March 1354, by the troops led by Ottoman Emperor Orhan Ghazi, as a symbolic beginning of the Ottoman expansion into Europe. He uses Herodotus’s terminology to describe Orhan Ghaz’s crossing of the Hellespont, comparing that event with Xerxes’s foray into Ancient Greece. He even uses the term “Persians” to describe the troops led by Emperor Orhan Ghazi.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Brainy Byzantines Versus Brawny Westerners

In the Middle Ages, the Byzantine Empire saw itself as the “brainy people” who were the true guardians of the holy faith, and the inheritors of the legacy of the Roman Empire, while the Western Catholic nations saw themselves as the “brawny people” on whom had fallen the mantle of freeing the Holy Land. The Westerners saw weakness and amorality in the sophistication and erudition of the Byzantines, while the Byzantines saw barbarism and greed in the warlike nature of the West. 

Anna Komnene, the daughter of Alexius I Comnenus, the Byzantine Emperor who ruled from 1081 to 1118, wrote a biography of her father in which she commented extensively on the pilgrims and warriors who arrived during the First Crusade. She wrote: “Alexius had dreaded [the arrival of the Franks], knowing as he did their uncontrollable passion, their erratic character, and their irresolution, not to mention their greed.” But her comments were colored by hindsight—by the experience of the failures of the First Crusade. The narratives of the both sides have to be examined to find the truth about the First Crusade. 

While the Byzantines and the Westerners shared a common religion and history, the divide between the “brainy people” and the “brawny people” could not be reconciled.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Middle Ages War Over Aristotle

Ibn Rushd, the twelfth century Arab philosopher, who lived in Spain and is generally known by his Latinate name Averroes, was known in Middle Age Europe as “the Commentator,” since he was a renowned commentator on Aristotle. The distinctive aspect of his work is his atheistic interpretation of Aristotle. He believed that a harmony between reason and faith could never be achieved. While he claimed that the existence of God could be proved through reason, he rejected the idea of a “creator God,” or a God who builds and interferes in the affairs of men. He saw Aristotle’s theory of “Ultimate Mover” as a phenomena which transcended time and preached that the universe is eternal. He rejected the existence of a personal soul—death to him meant the final end. 

Thomas Aquinas, who came a century after Averroes, gave a distinctly theistic interpretation of Aristotle. His Aristotelian project was motivated by his belief that a harmony between reason and faith was possible. He believed that the existence of God could be proved through reason, and he attempted to do so in his work. He has interpreted the Aristotelian theory of “Ultimate Mover” as an act of God’s creation of the world at a definite point of time. He believed in the existence of a personal soul which survived man’s death and was judged by God. In his magnum opus, the massive Summa contra Gentiles, he has used reason, instead of the tenets of scriptures, to win over the unbelievers who were swayed by the false interpretation of Aristotle. Averroes has 503 mentions in the arguments of Summa contra Gentiles.

Averroes’s work was translated into Latin by Michael Scot in the early years of the thirteenth century and Averroism came to dominate the study of Aristotle in Europe till the fourteenth century. In this period, several top scholars claimed that they were fascinated by Averroes’s work. But in the fifteenth century, Averroes was dethroned, and Aquinas acquired the centerstage in Aristotelian scholarship. Some Renaissance scholars (the humanists) have stated that Averroes’s work on Aristotle must be rejected since it was clumsy and inaccurate. But in the twentieth century, several aspects of Averroes, especially his atheistic interpretations of Aristotle, have made a comeback in intellectual circles.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Herodotus The Barbarophile

Herodotus was viewed as a Barbarophile (a lover of barbarians) by the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans because in his Histories he has disparaged Greek culture and written about non-Greek cultures with remarkable enthusiasm, openness, and tolerance. The Histories contains a glowing account of the achievements of the Egyptian pharaohs and the grandeur of their kingdom, before their lands fell into the hands of the Persians. The book has lot of good things to say about the Persians too. 

Plutarch, who came almost four centuries after Herodotus, wrote an essay, “On the Malice of Herodotus,” which takes Herodotus to task for vilifying the Greek world while falsely praising non-Greek cultures. He accuses Herodotus of being obsessed with non-Greek cultures and ignoring the achievements of Greek culture. He calls Herodotus a “foreigner-lover,” by which he essentially means “Egyptian-lover” and “Persian-lover,” and a lair. Here’s an excerpt from Plutarch’s essay:

“Hitherto no one has dared to expose him [Herodotus] as a liar. Since his principal victims are the Boeotians and the Corinthians, though he spares no one, I think it is proper that I should now stand up for the cause of my ancestors and the cause of truth and show how dishonest this part of his work is; it would, of course, take many books if one wanted to describe all his other lies and fabrications.”

Along with being a historian, Plutarch served as the priest of Apollo at Delphi. Perhaps his antipathy to Herodotus is a result of Herodotus’s criticism of the role that the oracle played in the Persian Wars. Herodotus had suggested that the Delphic oracle was pro-Persian and he gave it no credit for the Hellenic victory at Platae, whereas Plutarch maintained that the Delphic oracle told the Hellenes where the battle must be be fought, and what gods and heroes were to be propitiated in order to ensure victory.

Technology and Tyranny

Who could have known that the digital industry would turn mankind into a joke! In the early days of the digital revolution, it seemed that the proliferation of digital technologies would lead to an improvement in the human condition but the entire industry fell into the hands of nihilists, communists, racketeers, looters, and psychopaths who want to control the world and create a digital utopia. Perhaps it is the fate of all new technologies to eventually become a tool for imposing a new kind of tyranny. 

In his 1945 article, Orwell lamented: “We were once told that the aeroplane had “abolished frontiers”; actually it is only since the aeroplane became a serious weapon that frontiers have become definitely impassable. The radio was once expected to promote international understanding and co-operation; it has turned out to be a means of insulating one nation from another. The atomic bomb may complete the process by robbing the exploited classes and peoples of all power to revolt…”

Monday, May 17, 2021

What is history?

What is history? The best answer is the despairing line that Macbeth speaks when he hears of Lady Macbeth's death: “It is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.” Emotional motivations, prejudices, jealousies, and chance events play a far bigger role in history than political, economic, and intellectual considerations. Large patterns and regularities are precisely the kind of things which cannot be found in the procession of historical events. We can learn lessons from history, but these lessons are useless in predicting the future.

Religion and Conservatism

Religion is more conservative than any other aspect of human life. Nations can rely upon religion to serve as a powerful counter to utopian and totalitarian movements. A nation which has lost its sense of religion can never be conservative. The movement against religion, modern atheism, started in France in the eighteenth century (the so-called Age of Enlightenment), and by the 1970s atheism had conquered Europe, North America, and significant parts of Asia. This has effectively finished conservatism. There still are a few political movements which claim to be conservative, but their conservatism is fake. In a society without religion, no political movement can survive unless it espouses liberal and leftist values.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

On The Word “Crusades”

The word “crusades” is not an invention of the people who lived in the period of the crusades. In his 27 November 1095 sermon, delivered in Clermont, to a clerical assembly comprising of twelve archbishop, eighty bishops, and ninety abbots, Pope Urban II called for a holy war to free the holy land and launched the First Crusade. But he did not use the word “crusade” in his sermon. His vision was to have a movement of pilgrims and warriors that would follow the tenets of existing religious practice while endeavoring to free the holy land. His contemporaries describe his appeal as a call for an “iter” (journey) or “peregrinatio” (pilgrimage). The terminology that would describe the crusader’s way of life was developed in the twelfth century, in the form of the word “crucesignatus” (one who is signed with the cross). In sixteenth century, the French word “croisade” (generally translated as the way of the cross) became popular. The modern word “crusades” was coined by the historians in the eighteenth century.

On Regimes That Are Impeached Before The Infinite

In the twenty-first century certain nations have been impeached before the infinite. They have vexed God by becoming ossified and decadent. Past performance does not matter to God—He looks at only the future potential. There is no room for these ossified and decadent nations in mankind’s story in the future. They will be annihilated in the next five to ten years, though their civilizations might survive and resurface in the form of new nations. I am taking an inspiration from Victor Hugo’s commentary, in his novel Les Misérables, on the fate of Napoleon. Here’s an excerpt: 

“Was it possible that Napoleon should have won that battle? We answer No. Why? Because of Wellington? Because of Blücher? No. Because of God. 

“Bonaparte victor at Waterloo; that does not come within the law of the nineteenth century. Another series of facts was in preparation, in which there was no longer any room for Napoleon. The ill will of events had declared itself long before. 

“It was time that this vast man should fall. 

“The excessive weight of this man in human destiny disturbed the balance. This individual alone counted for more than a universal group. These plethoras of all human vitality concentrated in a single head; the world mounting to the brain of one man,—this would be mortal to civilization were it to last. The moment had arrived for the incorruptible and supreme equity to alter its plan. Probably the principles and the elements, on which the regular gravitations of the moral, as of the material, world depend, had complained. Smoking blood, over-filled cemeteries, mothers in tears,—these are formidable pleaders. When the earth is suffering from too heavy a burden, there are mysterious groanings of the shades, to which the abyss lends an ear. 

“Napoleon had been denounced in the infinite and his fall had been decided on. 

“He embarrassed God. 

“Waterloo is not a battle; it is a change of front on the part of the Universe.”

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Why China Cannot Be A Superpower?

China cannot be a superpower. It faces the same problem that the former Soviet Union faced: the problem of language and culture. Russian language and culture are not popular outside the borders of Russia—this made it hard for the Soviet elite to develop cultural bonds with the people in other nations. For extending their domination over other nations, they had only two options: orchestrating a communist type bloody revolution or taking direct military action. Both options proved immensely costly for them. The funding of communist revolutions in South Asia and South America, and the endless wars in Afghanistan and other places, bankrupted the Soviet Union. 

After the dissolution of the British Empire in the 1940s, the USA gained the title of a superpower. But the American superpower status was to a large extent founded on the legacy of the British Empire. During the two hundred years of the British Empire, the British had firmly implanted their language and culture in several nations. English became a global language. The USA could take advantage of the linguistic and cultural achievements of the British Empire to exercise soft power on several nations. They didn’t have to fight too many battles to establish their dominance—much of their global power has always been exercised through cultural, linguistic, and economic systems. In fact, after 1950, whenever the USA has relied on military might to exercise power over other nations, it has failed to make any kind of headway: Vietnam, Cambodia, the Korean peninsula, parts of South America, the Middle East, parts of Africa. 

China does not have the linguistic and cultural legacy which the British Empire bequeathed on the USA. Therefore it is impossible for China to be a superpower without projecting its military might. But the military measures are unlikely to succeed in most instances, as the Soviet and American experience shows.

Victor Hugo: The Sound of Revolution

In 1831 Victor Hugo wrote that he was hearing “the dull sound of revolution, still deep down in the earth, pushing out under every kingdom in Europe its subterranean galleries from the central shaft of the mine which is Paris.” In 1847 the sound grew louder. In 1848 the revolution erupted, beginning in Sicily and spreading to France, Germany, Italy, and the Austrian Empire. Europe was on fire. In 2021, a dull sound of revolution can be heard. For whom the bell tolls, this time—we will soon find out.

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Renaissance Humanists Versus The Arabic Scholars

One less noticed aspect of the European Renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries is that it led to a large-scale rejection of Arabic scholarship. The humanist scholars of the Renaissance quested for the original texts of Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and other ancient masters. Many of these manuscripts were available to the European scholars of this period but in texts which had been translated into Latin from the previous Arabic translations. The Renaissance humanists rejected the translations which were based on Arabic texts—they claimed that the Arabic translations were not offering the true essence of the teaching of the ancient masters. 

To make their case against Arabic scholarship, the humanists cited the views of the thirteenth and fourteenth century scholars like Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, and Francesco Petrarch. For his work on Aristotle, Aquinas had gone beyond the Latin translations of the Arabic translations of Aristotle and relied upon William of Moerbeke's Latin translation from original Greek resources. Bacon had complained about the European hacks who lower the quality of scholarship by translating the old texts from Arabic to Latin. Petrarch, a trenchant critic of Arab culture, complained that the Arabic translations were clumsy and inaccurate, and he often targeted Averroes for propagating a weak version of Aristotle throughout Europe. 

With more original texts becoming available to the Renaissance humanists, they were able to establish that there were significant style-related and philosophy-related deviations between the teachings of the ancient masters and the Arabic translations. Thus, the Renaissance led to a considerable decline in Arabic scholarship in Europe.

Aristotle’s View of Persian Culture

In his treatise, The Politics, Aristotle’s focus is on the political structure of the Greek city-states, but in some passages he offers a scathing perspective on Persian despotism. Persia in those days was a great political rival of the Greek city-states, and Aristotle, a man deeply interested in politics, must have felt obliged to comment on their culture and political system. His anti-Persian sentiments might also be related to the torture and murder of his personal friend Hermeias (an associate of King Philip) by a Persian general. 

Aristotle lambasts Persia as a tyranny which keeps its citizens under surveillance and does not allow them to form private associations. He says that such tyranny is acceptable to the people of Persia because being barbarians, they are “by natural character more slavish than Greeks and they tolerate despotic rule without resentment.” 

In the final passages of The Politics, Aristotle reflects on the role that climate can exercise on people’s political inclinations. In Greek city-states, he says, climate makes people full of energy and lusting to be free, but in Persia, the climate is such that the Persians, though not lacking in brains and skill, become denuded of the courage and will to resist tyranny. Aristotle’s view of the impact of climate on the human mind has inspired the work of Montesquieu, Voltaire, and a few other eighteenth century philosophers.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Culture Wars of the Twentieth Century

“The culture wars have ended in America in a near-universal victory of the left. Many of those appointed as the guardians of Western culture will seize on any argument, however flawed, and any scholarship, however phony, in order to denigrate their cultural inheritance. We have entered a period of cultural suicide, comparable to that undergone by Islam after the ossification of the Ottoman Empire.” ~ writes Roger Scruton in his book Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands

There are two ways by which left acquires political power in a country: first, through a proletarian revolution (Russia, China, Cambodia, Cuba); second, through the subversion of culture (the UK, the USA). In the early decades of the twentieth century, the USA didn’t possess a proletariat, so there was no possibility of organizing a communist revolution here. The only way by which left could have conquered this country is by subverting its culture. American culture turned into a principal battleground between the left and the capitalist establishment which was being intellectually defended (in a feeble way) by the conservatives. 

Between the 1930s and 1990s, the left had managed to conclusively defeat the conservative intellectuals and gain control of American culture. When the conservatives were celebrating the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, they didn’t realize that in the intellectual battle for culture, they had lost, and that with their culture subverted, American capitalism had become a headless beast which would blindly obey the commands of its leftist masters.

The Winter of Despair for World Markets

What will be the point of no return for the global stock markets? There are several numbers that can be watched but I think two of the most crucial numbers are the DOW (Dow Jones Industrial Average) and the inflation figures in the USA. When the DOW goes below 15000 and the inflation in the USA edges close to 20%, then it will be a point of no return. 

Currently the DOW is above 33,000 and inflation is 4.2% (this is the official figure; the unofficial figure might be higher), and the talk of figures like 15000 and 20% will sound pessimistic, perhaps apocalyptic. But we live in pessimistic and apocalyptic times. The elites in the Western and Asian countries have lost their mind. They are doing everything that they can to destroy the economy of their country and destabilize the geopolitical balance of power. An apocalyptic downfall of several nations (especially the Western nations, since they have the maximum to lose) is now a certainty. 

I think that the figures of DOW at 15000 and inflation in the USA at 20% will be reached in the next two to five years. This will make it impossible for the multinational companies (including the banks and insurance companies) to continue their operations—some of them might find it impossible to even meet their salary and pension obligations. The Central Banks will not be able to come to the rescue as the high inflation will make it impossible for them to undertake the policies like quantitative easing.  

I call this the point of no return, because from here there will be possibility of recovery. This will herald the end of the America and British led world order. History will come to an end for the Western civilization.  

The famous line by Charles Dickens comes to my mind: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

A History Lesson for the Woke Liberals

The tectonic historical event of the twentieth century was not the rise and defeat of fascism and nazism, it was not the rise and fall of the Soviet Union either, but the end of colonization with the decimation of the British Empire and the empires of other Western powers. The end of colonization spawned several new nations, some of which made great progress after the 1970s and now they command a major slice of global economy and military strength. 

The woke liberals in Western countries today do not appreciate such facts of history and geopolitics. They do not appreciate that in the next five to ten years, the Western nations will be crushed by not just the collapse of their financial sector, the meltdown of their technology companies, the massive devaluation of their currencies, and the soaring inflation and unemployment which will lead to chaos in their urban areas but also the geopolitical adventurism of their former colonies which have acquired massive economic and military strength and now want to be regarded as the world’s superpower. 

History repeats itself but in unexpected ways: I won’t be surprised if in the twenty-first century, many of the Western powers become colonies of those nations which were the colonies of the West in the twentieth century. The world is a hard place—just how hard it is, the woke liberals will have enough opportunity to find out in the next five to ten years.

The Faith of the True Believers

There is no need to ask what wokism and critical race theory revolutions mean. Instead, ask who do these revolutions target for annihilation. In a leftist revolution, meanings are irrelevant. Only the intent to annihilate is relevant. The more meaningless the revolution, the more insanity it seems to conceal, the more potential it has to cause misery to the politically unworthy classes, the more effectively it inspires faith in leftism’s true believers. Wokism and critical race theory are intended to appear profound, original, and compassionate but they are meaningless, banal, and destructive. They are intended to be taken on faith. They are intended to annihilate the nonconformist folks who aspire to live in a civilized society. Do not look for the meaning, for you will never find it. Look for the faith of the true believers. Look for the victims of the true believers.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Incredible Faith of the Left

“The theories of Marx are true because they are correct.” ~ popular slogan among the Russian communists in the 1930s (generally attributed to Josef Stalin). This tautological slogan is a sign of the faith that defines all leftist movements. Communism might be a God that has failed, but the leftists will never lose their faith. Their devotion to their ideology becomes stronger with every political disaster which is caused by their own policies and methods. They keep learning from past failures. They keep evolving their intellectual and political strategies. Today, with the massive success of their woke and the critical race theory revolution, which unlike the previous leftist revolutions has been executed in purely intellectual and experimental settings, with academics and university students as the revolutionaries, and words and displays of emotion and feelings as their weapons of destruction, the leftists stand at a new peak of intellectual and political power. They have overthrown capitalism and are the masters of the world.

Kant: The Moral Norms are Priceless

“In the Kingdom of Ends everything has either a price or a dignity. If it has a price, something else can be put in its place as an equivalent; if it is exalted above all price and so admits of no equivalent, then it has a dignity.” ~ writes Immanuel Kant in his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. In Kant’s opinion, only morality, which is an offshoot of the religious and philosophical teachings of the past, has a dignity (and thus it has no price and is irreplaceable). In the twentieth century, the leftist and liberal intellectuals imposed their mastery (political power) over morality by taking mystery (religious and philosophical teachings of the past) out of it. They reduced the moral norms into a materialistic conception which has a price and hence can be discarded.

Monday, May 10, 2021

The Rubbish That Rules People's Mind

People venerate the rubbish that dehumanizes and enslaves them. This is why the mainstream media, the movie industry, and modern art, which show a profound indifference to the human condition and seek to impose frivolous and destructive remedies, are so popular and powerful.

The Two Enemies Who are in Love: Communism & Capitalism

Communism and capitalism are like two enemies who are in love with one another. Each claims that it will destroy the other, but they cannot bear to live without each other. Every capitalist country is driven by a natural instinct to embrace some form of communism, and every communist country is driven to embrace some form of capitalism.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Bulls are Getting Exhausted—The Bears are Coming

In November 2016, Paul Krugman said in an article that now that Trump is the president, he expected the stocks to plunge. He offered a bleak prognosis for the future: “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.” Krugman’s analysis of stock prices was obviously effected by his low opinion of Trump and the conservatives, but when I read his article, I thought that it would be a good thing if the stock prices in major economies were to crash and remain at a low level for at least two years. 

I have been rooting for a crash in the world markets since 2016. Like Krugman, I felt that a big crash would happen within a two or three months of Trump taking power, but my reason for rooting for a crash was different from his: I wanted to see the worldwide leftist establishment being decimated after being starved of funds. 

The left that has been dominating the world since 2010 is not an ideological or revolutionary left like the left in the twentieth century. It is a financial and industrial left. This left cannot be defeated through elections or through counterrevolutionary actions. There is only one way to defeat it: An economic crash which will starve the beast. Since 2010, the share markets have lost their connection with real economic activity. The stock prices are being driven by the low interest and high deficit regime which the central banks in most major countries (chiefly the USA) are following. If there is slightest rise in the interest rates, the markets will crash. 

In November 2016, I was convinced that Trump’s first priority would be to ask the FED to raise interest rates and manage the deficit—these actions, I believed, would suck the liquidity out of the global markets leading to a sharp fall. Trump made a strategic blunder when he continued with the low interest and high deficit regime. He could have taken the breath out of the left by crashing the worldwide markets. But he kept cheering the markets and tried to take credit for every rise. He allowed his political enemies in the leftist financial-industrial complex to make a lot of money at the cost of the middle class savers (his traditional supporters). 

But a big crash is now coming. The bulls have been running amok since 2009: for twelve years. Now bull fatigue is clearly visible. When the crash comes all the gains that the markets have made since 2009 will be wiped out in a flash. The bears will be merciless on the downside. The rule of the markets is that the duration of the bear market is approximately the same as the duration of the bull market. We can expect the coming bear market to last for around twelve years. In the lexicon of the likes of Krugman a bear market of twelve years will mean—forever. But this might free us from the financial and industrial left.

Orwell: Small Arms are Democratic

Orwell was a supporter of the right to bear small arms. He believed that the simple weapons (rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades) are conducive for a healthy democracy, while the advanced weapons lead to the rise of a totalitarian regime. In his 1945 essay, “You and the Atom Bomb,” he predicts that all nuclear powers will become like the “slave empires of antiquity.” Here’s an excerpt from his essay: 

“It is a commonplace that the history of civilization is largely the history of weapons. In particular, the connection between the discovery of gunpowder and the overthrow of feudalism by the bourgeoisie has been pointed out over and over again. And though I have no doubt exceptions can be brought forward, I think the following rule would be found generally true: that ages in which the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will tend to be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap and simple, the common people have a chance. Thus, for example, tanks, battleships and bombing planes are inherently tyrannical weapons, while rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon – so long as there is no answer to it – gives claws to the weak.

“The great age of democracy and of national self-determination was the age of the musket and the rifle. After the invention of the flintlock, and before the invention of the percussion cap, the musket was a fairly efficient weapon, and at the same time so simple that it could be produced almost anywhere. Its combination of qualities made possible the success of the American and French revolutions, and made a popular insurrection a more serious business than it could be in our own day. After the musket came the breech-loading rifle. This was a comparatively complex thing, but it could still be produced in scores of countries, and it was cheap, easily smuggled and economical of ammunition. Even the most backward nation could always get hold of rifles from one source or another, so that Boers, Bulgars, Abyssinians, Moroccans – even Tibetans – could put up a fight for their independence, sometimes with success. But thereafter every development in military technique has favored the State as against the individual, and the industrialized country as against the backward one.”

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Niall Ferguson: Why is the West imitating Beijing?

The utopians in the USA and the UK might see globalization as a project for linking the nations to facilitate a free movement of goods, services, technologies, and people. But to the Chinese, globalization is simply a tool for becoming a global superpower. In his article, “The China model: why is the West imitating Beijing?” historian Niall Ferguson quotes from a paper by a Chinese intellectual who says that globalization is a political weapon that will free the world from American and British control and deliver it to China. Here’s an excerpt from Ferguson’s article: 

“In a revealing essay published last year, the Chinese political theorist Jiang Shi-gong, a professor at Peking University Law School, spelled out the corollary of American decline. ‘The history of humanity is surely the history of competition for imperial hegemony,’ Jiang wrote, ‘which has gradually propelled the form of empires from their original local nature toward the current tendency toward global empires, and finally toward a single world empire.’ The globalization of our time, according to Jiang, is the ‘“single world empire” 1.0, the model of world empire established by England and the United States’. But that Anglo-American empire is ‘unraveling’ internally, because of ‘three great unsolvable problems: the ever-increasing inequality created by the liberal economy…ineffective governance caused by political liberalism, and decadence and nihilism created by cultural liberalism’. Moreover, the western empire is under external attack from ‘Russian resistance and Chinese competition’. This is not a bid to create an alternative Eurasian empire, but ‘a struggle to become the heart of the world empire’.”

Ferguson notes: "If you doubt that China is seeking to take over empire 1.0, the Anglo-American liberal version, and turn it into empire 2.0, based on an explicitly illiberal model, then you are not paying attention to all the ways this strategy is being executed."

History’s Happy Revolution: The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution which took place in Britain in the nineteenth century was not merely a steep rise in manufacturing activity but a steep rise in manufacturing activity due to tectonic social transformations in the country. The way of life of every class in Britain was transformed beyond recognition in the first fifty years of the nineteenth century. 

These social transformations were not met with social unrest. Most British in that period supported the social transformations and enthusiastically participated in the industrial activity. 

The intellectuals in our time claim that the religious and conservative people are against industrial development because they oppose all large-scale social transformations. But nineteenth century Britain was extremely religious and conservative. The question is: Why didn’t the religious and conservative people in nineteenth century Britain rebel? 

They didn’t rebel because along with social transformations, the Industrial Revolution led to an immense economic betterment. People started earning more. Their standard of living improved. They started enjoying more liberty. They had access to better goods and services. Better infrastructure came up in their country. 

The  lesson to be learned from the success of the Industrial Revolution is that if social transformations go hand in hand with economic betterment, people will cheer the revolution and happily participate in it.

Friday, May 7, 2021

The Pitfalls of Power and Brilliance

In the world of superheroes: With great power comes great responsibility. In the world of mere mortals: With great power comes great insanity. With great brilliance comes great stupidity. [This is the inference that I draw from the speech and performance of the politicians, intellectuals, experts, celebrities, journalists, and businessmen in most democratic countries in the last fifteen months.]

From the Cave Man to the Cosmic Man

From the cave man of the Stone Age to the wielders of electronic information and atomic power in the Industrial-Digital Age—mankind has come a long way. The future is uncharted territory. Mankind might one day reach the stage of the human phenomena: “the cosmic man.” But in a dystopian future, history will become the road to perdition, forcing mankind to travel backwards till the Stone Age cave from where its journey began is reached.

The politically inclined atheists are utopian people—when they acquire power, they create a dystopia. They are nihilistic, brutal, sadistic, and angry (example: communism, socialism, nazism, fascism, liberalism). At some stage of history, the atheists, in their quest for an utterly materialistic utopia, might manage to reverse all the industrial and intellectual progress and drive mankind back to the Stone Age cave. 

What passes as the religious forces (those religious forces which are inspired by good theological philosophy) are ideologically close to the realist, romanticist, pragmatic, and humane way of thinking that was developed between the thirteenth and the nineteenth centuries. The progress that mankind has seen in the last three hundred years has happened in the nations where politics is constrained by movements inspired by a religion founded on good theology. 

The “cosmic man” will be a wise “theistic man.” Atheism is dangerous. Cato, the politician of Ancient Rome, if he had been living in the modern age, might have said: Atheism delenda est.

Faulkner: To Transcend the Clock

Man invented the clock, and the clock made man its prisoner. Man became awed by the hands on the clock’s face, frequently looking at them for guidance, moulding his daily routine to fit their circular movements. 

Faulkner’s novel The Sound and the Fury is developed on the notion of the immense power that time exercises on man. Faulkner writes: “A man is the sum of his misfortunes. One day you'd think misfortune would get tired but then time is your misfortune.” In another passage, he writes, “And so as soon as I knew I couldn’t see it, I began to wonder what time it was. Father said that constant speculation regarding the position of mechanical hands on an arbitrary dial which is a symptom of mind-function.” He suggests that time cannot become alive until the clock is abandoned: “Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.” There is a symbolic significance to Quentin’s act of breaking his watch. 

In his brilliant novels, Proust reminisces time. But in The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner’s focus is not time but on absolution from the clock.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Dark Regime of the Brilliant Totalitarians

We don’t know where we are going in the twenty-first century. We only know that the people who are convinced of their own brilliance are in control of the destiny of the world. However, one thing is certain. If civilization is to survive, then this regime of “brilliant” totalitarians—politicians, intellectuals, experts, celebrities, journalists, and businessmen—has to be overthrown. Their “brilliance” has made them insane and blind to reality. They are creating darkness everywhere. They will not stop regulating; they will not stop imposing new restrictions; they will not stop propagating new fears. They will drive us into a new Stone Age. 

The stupid people are the wise people—they understand reality far better than the brilliant people. The world is safer when political power is being wielded by the stupid. There is much wisdom in what Ivan Karamazov says to his younger brother Alexei Karamazov in Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov: “the stupider one is, the closer one is to reality. The stupider one is, the clearer one is. Stupidity is brief and artless, while intelligence wriggles and hides itself. Intelligence is a knave, but stupidity is honest and straightforward. I’ve led the conversation to my despair, and the more stupidly I have presented it, the better for me.”

Socialism: The Politics of Santa Claus

Socialism is the God that has repeatedly failed to create a utopia, but since it is the God, it will always preside over our destiny. In his 1985 essay, “The Problems of a Successful American Foreign Policy,” Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn notes that in a democratic society, the socialist parties enjoy a massive political advantage. He writes: “Socialism is a leftist ideology and as such it has the advantage of creating radical "Santa Claus parties," (i.e., parties promising material gifts to the many—and "security" besides). These parties, all of them left—some way left—of center, are in a more favorable position than the ones which are right of center. Nobody wants to kill Santa Claus and thus these parties cannot be defeated. They can, however, terminate their rule by committing suicide....by proving utterly corrupt, by general failure, by putting up candidates who are obviously fools, bad orators or, worse still, ones who are unphotogenic. Yet, by appealing to one of the strongest (and lowest) human vices, envy, socialism-communism can arouse the masses anywhere, anytime, in the name of social justice.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Leftist Historiography of Hobsbawm

“In theory its [The Enlightenment] object was to set all human beings free. All progressive, rationalist and humanist ideologies are implicit in it and indeed come out of it.” ~ wrote Eric Hobsbawm in his 1962 book The Age of Revolution. He saw the Enlightenment as the first step towards the achievement of a global communist utopia. In his 1971 book Primitive Rebels, he posited that “utopianism is probably a necessary social device for generating the superhuman efforts without which no major revolution is achieved.” 

In a 1994 interview with Michael Ignatieff, Hobsbawm said that the death of fifteen to twenty million people for the achievement of a utopia is justified. With his history books, especially his four volume history of the modern age—The Age of Revolution (1789—1848); The Age of Capital (1848-1875); The Age of Empire (1875-1914); and The Age of Extremes (1914-1991)— Hobsbawm has laid the foundation of leftist historiography of the twentieth century. 

Hobsbawm joined the British Communist Party in 1936 and stayed with it until 1991, when the Party was dissolved. He never wavered in his commitment to the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union invaded Hungary in 1956, he wrote in an article stating that he approved of their action in Hungary, though “with a heavy heart.” In his 2002 autobiography Interesting Times, he wrote that being a communist means “utter emotional identification” and “total dedication” to communism. 

In 1990, when it became clear that the Soviet Union was on the verge of disintegrating, he lamented that the disintegration of the Soviet Union would revive the reactionary forces which the Soviet communists “have been kept frozen for up to 70 years.”

Have the Stock Indices Transcended the Economy?

One important function of the stock exchanges is information dissemination. When the stock indices rise, people get the sense that the economy is doing well. When the stock indices decline, they know that the economy is ailing and then they can put pressure on the government, regulatory bodies, and the business houses to do whatever is necessary to cure the economy. But these days, the stock exchanges are not distributing the right information. They seem to have transcended the fundamentals of economy. The movement of the stock indices is not showing any correlation to economic reality. 

In the last three months, there has been a 12% spike in commodity prices, which has resulted in a spike in the ex-factory prices of several goods and services, To keep the consumer level inflation under control, the USA and the West European countries are now sourcing a higher amount of cheaper goods and services from overseas which is resulting in less domestic manufacturing (resulting in loss of jobs) and a higher trade deficit (in March 2021, the trade deficit was $74.5 billion in the USA). Dollar is under pressure—at some point, it must fall. The Euro too is under immense pressure. Why is this information, and other bits of disturbing information, not having an impact on the stock indices? 

The S&P 500 Index, DJIA, NASDAQ 100, Nikkei 225, CAC 40, DAX, Hang Seng Index, and other indices have been “eerily” stable in the last five months. They have been moving in a range of just 2% to 7%, which, in my opinion, is quite unnatural—this is certainly in defiance of the laws of economics. The question is who is paying for keeping the world’s stock indices in a steady state at such high levels? The simplistic answer would be: The taxpayers. But the taxpayers do not control the tax money. Some other forces are managing this “brilliant” operation. Howsoever brilliant they maybe, I don’t think they can sustain the bubble for more than seven to ten months. 

All it takes is a little prick in the bubble economy to make the stock prices come down like a crashing meteor whose blast will decimate the civilization of the present day dinosaurs.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

If Everything is Ideology, Everything is Politics

The post-1950 generations in the Western countries experienced an abundance of freedom, prosperity, technological comforts, social stability, and opportunities for growth. Yet these generations were convinced by the leftist intellectuals that capitalism is an unfair system which is supported by those who possess only the semblance of a human existence, that Western culture is inherently evil and against minorities, and that the Western moral and political norms are antithetical to personal liberty and social progress. 

How did the left manage to convince the most “pampered” generations of the West that it is not possible to exist as a free and fair human in their society? In the 1950s, the left made the decisive intellectual move of declaring that the traditional language is anti-truth because it hides the wickedness of capitalist society and it must be discarded. They posited that everything is ideology: physics is the ideology of matter; biology is the ideology of living things; mathematics is the ideology of numbers; art is the ideology of ugliness and ennui masquerading as beauty and euphoria; culture is the ideology of the decadent bourgeoise who dreams of feasting on the blood of the poor; economics is the ideology of oppression. 

If everything is ideology, then everything is a political battlefield. By this intellectual move, the left took its political fight to the spheres of physics, biology, mathematics, art, culture, and economics, and attained the power to create confusion and corruption everywhere. They managed to destroy the capitalist and democratic model towards the end of the twentieth century, and in the twenty-first century, they are in control of all Western countries.

The Age of Mussolini

Mussolini’s fascist doctrine has come of age and is fueling the political system of most advanced democracies. In the last three decades (since the 1990s) a contradiction had developed between the global regulatory framework and the economic and cultural aspirations of a significant section of the masses. Both could not coexist—either the regulatory framework had to be obliterated or this section of the masses had to be coerced to give up their aspirations and become content with less freedom, a lower standard of living, and a significant dilution of their cultural norms. 

There was no question of the global power establishment (intellectuals, politicians, and key businessmen) giving up their powers and privileges by allowing the global regulatory framework to be obliterated. They feared that the old way of free and fair elections, good law and order, freedom for the people, and a high standard of living could fuel a populist revolt and bring a new political force to power. So they adopted the strategy of coercing the masses by taking control of the elections, distorting law and order, corrupting culture, and diluting the civil liberties that people have traditionally enjoyed. 

They recruited the minorities to act as the stormtroopers for creating a socially coercive infrastructure for fascism, and they used the newspeak of woke sensibilities to create the intellectual and bureaucratic infrastructure for fascism. This is the age of Mussolini.

Monday, May 3, 2021

The Communist True Believers

The intellectuals of the left, between the 1920s and 1990s (from the Russian Revolution to the fall of the Soviet Union), could not conceive that majority of a people would reject communism. H. G. Wells and Sidney and Beatrice Webb were convinced that communism is synonymous with progress, and if a nation is given a free choice, its people will opt for the communist model. 

In 1968, when there was a rebellion against the communist government in Czechoslovakia (the Prague Spring), Jean-Paul Sartre argued that the Czechs were not rebelling against communism but against the communist system with which they cannot identify since it is not “home grown.” He explained that the Soviet Union made a mistake when it compelled the “Czechs of the 1950s” to accept a communist system that was fit for the “Russian peasants of the 1920s,” and that the rebellion would not have happened if Czechoslovakia had been allowed to develop its own form of communism. 

Eric Hobsbawm refused to believe that the Czechs could be against communism. He firmly defended the cruelty with which the Soviet Union was suppressing the Czech rebellion as “a necessity of time.” Saving the communist government was for him the absolute priority.

The Problem of Writing History

History is similar to mythology in one sense; it is written as the story of a contest between good and evil—with the Godly forces trying to save the world from the machinations of the devilish forces. The historians often let their own political opinions influence their judgement regarding which side of the political contest represents the good and which side represents the evil. In the last two centuries, an immense amount of work on history has been done by Western scholars, but most of these scholars were leftists. This has led to a situation where the leftist movements (communists, socialists, and liberals) are almost always portrayed as the Godly forces, while the rightist movements (romanticists, conservatives, and populists) get portrayed as the devilish forces. The historians routinely blame the right for the sins of the left.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Mephistopheles: The Creature of the Left

In Goethe’s play Faust, when the demon Mephistopheles is asked to reveal his true nature, he says that he is the spirit who always invalidates, who reduces something to nothing, and who undoes the acts of creation. Here’s a translation of Mephistopheles’s words:   

“I am the spirit that negates.
And rightly so, for all that comes to be
Deserves to perish wretchedly;
'Twere better nothing would begin.
Thus everything that that your terms, sin,
Destruction, evil represent—
That is my proper element.” 

Mephistopheles is a natural leftist—he does everything that the leftists (Jacobins, communists, socialists, anarchists, and liberals) have been doing for close to three centuries. Leftist politics is devoted to saying no to the facts of reality, obliterating the traditional systems which have been working in the name of an ideological agenda which will never work, and undoing civilization to make space for a utopia where they will enjoy absolute political control.

Waiting for the Civilizational Apocalypse

“When an insecure, malleable, relativistic culture meets a culture that is anchored, confident and strengthened by common doctrines, it is generally the former that changes to suit the latter.” ~ writes Christopher Caldwell in his 2009 book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe.

A nation without a culture is like a body without a mind. The decline of Western culture began after the First World War, and by the 1990s the process was complete—Western culture was finished. The reason that the Western countries (chiefly the USA and the UK) are still standing is because they are far ahead of other nations in the areas of technology, finance, and military capabilities.  But with their culture gone, they are incapable of using their collective mind to make appropriate use of their technological, financial, and military strengths—and their polices have become self-destructive. They have discarded their republican and democratic model of politics and adopted a fascist system. Fascism is enabling them to preserve order in their society, but it has the side-effect of institutionalizing corruption and incompetence in their politics and economy.

The western countries have known (at a subconscious level), since the 1960s, that their civilization is coming to an end. That is why they have become obsessed with apocalyptic end of the world theories: Ice Age, Global Warming, Acid Rain, Ozone Layer Depletion, Climate Change, Global Pandemic, and a few others. They can’t think of anything except an apocalypse.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Liberty: The Collectivist Ideal

Liberty is never individualistic—it is a collectivist ideal which is found in societies where people are united under the umbrella of a good culture. A people cannot make liberty their aim unless they make the liberty of others in their society their aim. But to make the liberty of others their aim, a people have to identify with a good culture—which entails a shared sense of religion, morality, tradition, history, economic and political principles, and nationhood. 

Since the individualists are obsessed with themselves, they are incapable of making liberty of all their aim. They demand liberty for those who accept their brand of individualism and ignore rest of the population. Their liberty is founded on a sense of alienation from society. They become part of anarchist, atomist, and libertarian movements. Some individualists accept the pseudo-conception of “total freedom” and propagate fascism and cultural nihilism.

Heidegger: Greek Philosophy and Christian Theology

Why did Christian theology supplant Greek philosophy in the time of the Roman Empire? Heidegger briefly dwells on this issue in his 1929 lecture on metaphysics. He notes that metaphysics has a twofold character—first, it represents beings as beings, or the truth of beings in their universality; second, it tries to represent the truth of the highest being (which can be regarded as God, though Heidegger has not used the word “God” in his lecture). 

The first character of metaphysics (beings in their universality) is ontological, while the second character (being of the highest being) is theological. Thus, metaphysics as a whole has no choice but to be onto-theological. The Greek philosophy which was popular in the Roman Republic and the subsequent Roman Empire was primarily ontological—the theological element was missing from it. By supplying the crucial theological element, Christian theology fulfilled the vacuum in Greek metaphysics and supplanted Greek philosophy. 

In light of what Heidegger has said, Aquinas’s work in the thirteenth century can be viewed as a continuation of the Christian theological project, which began in the Roman era, on Greek (chiefly Aristotelian, in the case of Aquinas) philosophy. In my opinion, this theological project ended in the eighteenth century with the rise of atheistic and utopian Enlightenment philosophy.