The Brothers Karamazov

"Actually, people sometimes talk about man's 'bestial' cruelty, but that is being terribly unjust and offensive to the beasts..."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Friday, January 14, 2011

Democracy: The Pall Over Freedom That ...

Makes dancing, whoring, drinking, and hanging with riff-raff, less joyous and more de'classe'.

This very thing, democracy, we vend mercilessly to a mostly reluctant world was used by the Founding Fathers to 'calm' the free spirit in the 'lesser' classes after the Revolution.

So why is that a bad thing? Maybe there was way too much of that stuff happening at one time but we're past all that! So what's the point?

The point is how we got to be the way we are now and could we have been a different, happier, freer people if we had not been fobbed-off into a fantasy world of self-improvement and civic discipline called democracy.

The common folk were anathema to the new masters, the Founders; their life styles held in low esteem. There were few exceptions among the Fathers to this class bias and in some cases they exhibited downright loathing. For example:

Alexander Hamilton found Americans "vicious" and "vile".

Samuel Adams, "a torrent of vice".

John Adams: "Indeed, there is one enemy who is more formidable than famine, pestilence and the sword". His comment on the fitness of the average American. "I mean the corruptness which is prevalent in so many American hearts, a depravity that is more inconsistent with our republican governments than light is with darkness".

The rulers feared sex slightly more than drink as a distraction from their vision of docile, productive, well-behaved subjects. This from the staunchest friend of the common people amongst the Founders, Thomas Jefferson, on why the common man should be discouraged from visiting Europe: where,'' he is led by the strongest of all human passions, into a spirit for female intrigue,...or a passion for whores..."

It would appear then, the Founders actually feared and despised the concept of democracy but used it as a device to subtly control the masses, or rather to encourage them to self control, sans a large degree of personal freedom. Of course, they themselves would have no part of it... this democracy business. Fit only for the rabble, you see.

After the Revolution and during nation-building every barrier to the voting franchise they could devise was erected to exclude the people. Gender, males only; Race, white males only; Property ownership; all were requirements for the privilege of the ballot. John Jay infamously quipped,"Those who own the country ought to govern it." Thus, every opportunity to approach or influence the seat of power was kept from the common people.

This elitist spirit prevails even today in the bizarre Electoral College barrier between us and our direct vote for the Chief Executive.

Just a few years after the end of a bloody war waged partially in response to onerous taxation by the English Crown, the new elites resorted to the same tactic. A tax was levied on the production of alcohol to make it harder for the masses to obtain it cheaply, and thus, discourage drinking. The Patriots had reacted to the Crown levies with rebellion as did the farmers who made the whiskey. The result: more bloodshed, as the militia was called to force the taxation on the new (small 'p') patriots.

For a definitive, in depth, study of the history of the choice we've been offered between personal freedom or democracy, see, A Renegade History of the United States by Thaddeus Russell. Professor Russell has gone past the bounds hagiographers seldom dare cross in examining the covert motives of the Founders and what we may have lost as a result.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Once Knew a Man Who Knew a Man...

"I once new a man whose father was born when Jefferson was president of the United States."

This interesting, if somewhat prosaic statement, actually holds a wealth of historical promise. In fact, the man I knew, c. 1940, was my great-grandfather at about age 90. His father was born in 1803 during Thomas Jefferson's first term. Looking at the past in this manner demonstrates that three individual lifetimes link someone living in 2011 to almost the entire time span of our Republic.

I consider this simple chronological approach to history as using what might be regarded as giant steps through the wilderness of days keeping the past from us. Consider:

That 1803 man might have known a woman who also had known an elderly grand-parent and that person's parent was born when Shakespeare was writing King Lear and MacBeth in 1605 . Thus the addition of only three more human existences gets us back to the Golden Age of the Elizabethan Era. So now we have just six people and the continuity covers almost five hundred years of Western history.

Add three more long lived ancestors; it's 1415 and the English forces are victorious over the French at the Battle of Agincourt.

Just three more and, viola!'s 1215 and Magna Carta!

In summary:
Three human lives starting with the author's own in 2011 covers US history back to the founding fathers.

Six lives takes us to Shakespeare.

Nine to Agincourt.

and twelve lifetimes...the Magna Carta. The beginning of much we hold dear in the history of the West.

I've only touched upon our own Western History. Scholars and history buffs everywhere might use the same technique to retreive their own ages from what appears as a dauntingly remote and arcane past.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Winner, Still #1,is...Wow! Check Out #10,OMG

As most of us know or are not terribly surprised to learn, Christianity is number 1 in religious adherence worldwide and, although somewhat reluctantly these days, many do acknowledge Islam to be #2. So how come next to nobody knows what number 3 is? See chart for the big surprise and then ask yourself how 1.1 billion people can be ignored or denied equal standing when referencing religious adherence.

Thanks to for doing the accounting while keeping in mind all numbers are approximate. If the ranking of the Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist folks at #3 is a surprise; what rounds out the big ten at #10, is astounding. Slightly ahead of Spiritism and Judaism, is, what on Earth!, Juche, official religion on North Korea; 19 million admirers and growing; so who knew?

Charts from

1. Christianity: 2.1 billion
2. Islam: 1.5 billion
3. Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
4. Hinduism: 900 million
5. Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
6. Buddhism: 376 million
7. primal-indigenous: 300 million
8. African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
9. Sikhism: 23 million

10. Juche: 19 million
11. Spiritism: 15 million
12. Judaism: 14 million
13. Baha'i: 7 million

14. Jainism: 4.2 million
15. Shinto: 4 million
16. Cao Dai: 4 million
17. Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
18. Tenrikyo: 2 million
19. Neo-Paganism: 1 million
20. Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
21. Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
22. Scientology: 500 thousand

Quoth the Raving



Julius Caesar

Veni,Vedi,Vici...Sidi ( I stuck around )

Uncle Sam


....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

All I know, all any of us know, is what we're told.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

If it walks like a depression, talks like a depression, and looks like a depression; it's a recovery.

...Zero Gravitas

Nice paint job

Nice paint job
Watch your step!

Quoth the Raving

Full scale War in Korea; we called it a Police Action
Police Action in Iraq; we call it a War.

...Zero Gravitas


Gene Pool?

Gene Pool?

Quoth the Raving

Ecology is an impending Black Swan quagmire therefore incorporation is anathema to Economists.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

An incoming US President who does not immediately resign his office after having received eyes-only briefings of what's really going on is hopelessly co-opted or delusional.
....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

We are now a nation of middlemen. What becomes of us if the center cannot hold?

....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving


Why not use some of the red ink to make things Green?

....Zero Gravitas

"Ashes to Ashes"

"Ashes to Ashes"