• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Real Debate

While the US presidential candidates were engaging in their chronic gutter-sniping, Marine Le Pen, head of the French Front National was giving an interview to Stephen Sackur of BBC’s hard talk.

Let me ask you.. do you see yourself and your movement as part of world wide phenomenon?

Le Pen:
Yes; there is something happening in  the world. The people’s will is clearly emerging against either supranational political powers such as the EU or big financial powers and against a system which for too many years has been defending specific [special] interests and no longer defends the interests of people 

That is Brexit but also all these referenda in Europe which clearly show that the EU is being rejected — in Denmak, in the Netherlands and in Hungary some days ago, and soon enough probably in Italy.

Something fundamental is happening which is the comback of nations, of sovereign states with people and frontiers.  People want to be in charge of their destinies and for a long time they were prevented for doing so.

In so saying, Le Pen staked out a position diametrically opposed to the corporate globalism Hillary Clinton represents.  While Hillary, ever the duplicitous dodger and dissembler, has pretended to have “come around” to being against the trade treaties, she has come nowhere.

The position stated in both the Demorat Party platform and Hillary’s web page is nothing more than a bunch of weasel clauses in search of a stance.   Any fool can see that Hillary remains committed to the “four freedoms” the bottom line of which is that the rich get to buy wherever they want while the rest get to scramble for work wherever they can find it, even if 1000 miles away.

Hillary, no stranger to fanning outrage over politically incorrect transgressions, remained stunningly silent when Trans-Canada, availing itself of treaty-clauses, sued the U.S. government for $13 billion dollars in “damages” after Obama vetoed Keystone.  

While Sanders and Trump are also against the trade treaties, they failed to articulate the fundamentals.  Their opposition was stated in mostly in terms of job losses with Trump adding immigration.  Neither mentioned that NAFTA caused as much job-loss in Mexico as it did in the U.S., as a result of treaty mandated restriction's on Mexico's "right" to support its domestic agricultural sector.   Neither spoke to the fundamental evil of the current trade treaties which is that they are a threat to national sovereignty in all spheres.  It has been left to Le Pen to triumph the cause of nationalism as such front and forward. 

One of the inevitable concomitants of the mass consumer states is that it disables people from distinguishing what is fundamental from what is not.  The overriding habitus of the consumer state is the satisfaction of impulsive and idiocyncratic desires, albeit carefully cultivated and manipulated.  Social policy gets conceived of as a list of disconnected and often inconsistent wants.  SUMMUM WANNA

But some things are fundamental in that their existence or non existence determine all other ensuing issues.  The environment is fundamental because without a life sustaining environment nothing else exists and one’s desire for gender-free access to bathrooms becomes moot.

The nation state is fundamental because it acts as the environment for all subordinated political, economic and social decisions.

At this point, a qualification must be made. The nation state is not an eternal constant.  It was a specific historical phenomenon that began its formation in the 13th century with the Albigensian Crusade which was, at bottom, the suppression of local autonomy in favour of a centralized monarchy. In other words, the nation state was itself the emergence of a supra-manorial and supra-municipal power at a given point in history.

Indeed, the progress of history can  be viewed as the successive emergence over time of ever greater and more encompassing ambits of authority, although there are periodic retrograde retrenchments such as the so-called collapse of the Roman Empire, which in actuality represented a return of grass roots popular sovereignty.  Vive Asterix!

(We know that capitalist propaganda — aka the “enlightenment” — has obscured the true nature of feudalism so that all one can say at this point is that the reader will have to unenlighten himself as best she can.)

But what is a constant is that, at any given historical stage, a given unitary formation of a people (what the Greeks called a “polis”) retains sovereign control of their own destiny.

When nationalism usurped local freedoms what ensued over time was a reclamation of those freedoms in what are now known as the bourgeois revolutions of 1688 and 1789.  When Marine Le Pen refers to the French Republic she refers to fundamental political concord and control among and by the people of France at a given stage of historical development.

The obvious counter-point to Le Pen would be to assert that the new supra-national, global corporate state represents the ongoing evolution of human sovereignty.  The “next stage” as it were.

There are, no doubt, some socialists who might welcome the emergence of a global corporate state on the assumption that once in place it could be taken over by a triumphant proletariat working in the interests of the people.

The only difficulty with that long-term historical analysis is that by then no world will be left — or at least no world worth living on — because global corporate capitalism is not simply avaricious but fundamentally destructive.  It will in fact turn the world into a holocaust on Moloch’s altar.

The counterpoint between the national and the supra-national state boils down to the problem of size which, simply stated, is that you cannot have an infinitely large elephant.  At some point the skeletal structure required to support a mega-elephant is so thick and big that what exists, if it exists at all, is not an “elephant.”

The Roman Empire was a manifestation of the problem of size.  The idea (or at least the propaganda) of Julius Caesar for a Pan-Mediterranean (“global”) super-state of peoples united in peace and prosperity under aegis of Rome was simply not attainable.

Augustus rejected Caesar’s plan for a trans-national constituent assembly because, even if Roman jingoism could be overcome, the mechanics were all but impossible.  Instead, Augustus espoused a policy of “incremental romanization”.  As a result, what is called the Roman Empire was simply a class structure  — a band of romanized provincial middle classes adjunct to and supportive of a one percent elite in the four principal urban centers (Rome, Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria) ruling over millions of repressed and dispossessed people. 

According to Edward GibbonThe frontiers of that extensive monarchy were guarded by ancient renown and disciplined valour. The gentle but powerful influence of laws and manners had gradually cemented the union of the provinces. Their peaceful inhabitants enjoyed and abused the advantages of wealth and luxury.”    But assuming arguendo a “happy period” from A.D. 98-180, more recent research has  painted a far more brutal picture beneath the exceptionalist blarney.  The empire was organized rapine — urban centres sucking the life blood out of their hapless surroundings —  and that translated into the misery of many for the wealth and luxury of a few.

The official Christianization of the Empire did not humanize this global, predator super-state; the urban episcopacy simply joined the one percent. The humanising impact of Christianity occurred at the local and feudal level under diocesan bishops guiding and giving voice to popular aspirations.

By analogy, the notion that a humanising socialism could effect a proletarian coup d’etat over a once established global super-state is, in our opinion, an unfounded pipe dream.   There are simply limits as to how big a “democracy” can get and still be a democracy.   James Madison himself made this point in Federalist Paper No. 10 wherein he discussed how the nature and constitutional structure of a republic depended on its size and extent.

It is arguable, perhaps, that at 140 million spread out over a continent, the United States still preserved the features of a true representative democracy; or, at least a democracy that was possible except for the country’s deplorable counter-democratic electoral system.  At 300 million, no form of democracy is possible; what exists is simply a degraded Roman farce.

Extent is as critical as size.  The dream of the 1812 Spanish Liberals for an ultra-marine constituent assembly compromising all inhabitants of Spain and the Americas was unachievable both logistically and in terms of the normal focus of each its constituent parts.  People are naturally disposed to be concerned about things in their proximate environments.  They don’t care about and are in any case not in a position to familiarize themselves with local problems a thousand leagues away.  Thus, apart from the mechanics of communication, size impacts on what people are disposed and capable to communicate about. The Count of Aranda had prophetically made this point in 1788 when he proposed that the only way to save the Empire was to break it up into distinct (albeit allied) sovereign nations — united by ties of religion and commerce and “in all events to the exclusion of England.”

Had his advice been followed there is a chance that an Empire of Sovereign Nations might have survived the Anglo-American onslaught.

In all events, both Aranda and Madison were on to the same problem of size. The ideal size for a parliamentary nation state seems to lie somewhere between 40 and 80 million.  A more accurate assessment would most likely be based on a correlation of population to GDP and other factors. However, what is evident, as a positivist fact, is that the current sizes of the major European states allow each of them to come to an articulable consensus derived from manageable differences. 

European nationalism would never prevent trade; it would rather base trade on priorities established by each of the trading counterparts.  Since the claque that governs the United States cannot conceive of priorities other than the financial bottom line, globalists like Clinton can’t conceive of differing priorities.  Doesn’t everyone believe that happiness is profit?  Actually not.  Profit like manure is necessary to fertilize productivity but right thinking people do not idolize dung.

With these considerations in mind, it can be seen that Le Pen’s call for a devolution of powers and a return to nationalism is not as reactionary and counter-historical as socialists of the internationalist mode might make it out to be.  In fact, in Latin America, liberationist and leftist thought currently rejects one-world globalism in favour of national and local political-economies based on and congenial to ethno-historical formations. 

The Gazette would prefer a Le Pen who was more to the left than she apparently is, although by troglodyte U.S. standards she out-lefts even Sanders.  That said, Le Pen is  about fundamentals and, on that level, the real debate last night was not between Trump and Clinton but between Le Pen d’Arc and the Whore of Globalism.

There can be no doubt where the Gazette stands.