"It has often been found that profuse expenditures, heavy taxation, absurd commercial restrictions, corrupt tribunals, disastrous wars, sedition’s, persecutions, conflagrations, inundation, have not been able to destroy capital so fast as the exertions of private citizens have been able to create it."
~ Lord Thomas B. Macaulay, 1st Baron (1800—1859)
The Scythian Philosopher, Anacharsis (6th century BC), is claimed to have penned: "Written laws are like spiders’ webs, and will, like them, only entangle and hold the poor and weak, while the rich and powerful easily break through them."
Anacharsis’ truism contains the very essence of what we know as "Machiavellism." This philosophy historically asserts that in politics efficiency is paramount; political motives and actions should not be constrained by considerations of morality. Thus, the acts of the state are not to be held to any common standards of good and evil (i.e. law) but rather the actions of the state are in and of themselves justified, independent of civil and moral law.
The models contained in "Machiavellism" did not originate with Niccol Machiavelli but are as ancient as they are interminably evil. The very idea that political power was exempt from the norms of ethical behavior was rampant throughout the ancient world.
Both Cicero (De officiis — "On Obligations," Book 3: chapter 2) and Tacitus (Annals, Book 14: chapter 44) advance the idea that political violation of moral law was not only permissible but required for the "public welfare." Cicero declares that "there never can be such a thing as a conflict between expediency and moral rectitude." Both these ancient writer’s thoughts reverberate in Machiavelli’s instruction that "… it is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong, and to make use of it or not according to necessity." (The Prince, Chapter IV)
So here is the crux of the matter: "necessity" and "public welfare" stand as the excuses for the state to act outside the bounds of common decency and at the same time to become the archenemy of the population under its control.
It is "public welfare" and "necessity" that stood as the justification for the most barbaric acts of ancient state paganism: that of human sacrifice.
The ancient historian Sanchoniathon — who we know through the works of the Christian bishop, Eusebius of Caesarea — writes concerning the pagan Phoenician religion: “It was the custom among the ancients in times of great calamity, in order to prevent the ruin of all, for the rulers of the city or nation to sacrifice to the avenging deities the most beloved of their children as the price of their redemption.”
So also Julius Caesar, speaking of the Druidical religion in Gaul, says: “They who are engaged in battles and dangers, either sacrifice men as victims, or vow that they will sacrifice them, and employ the Druids as the performers of these sacrifices, because they think that unless the life of a man be offered for the life of a man, the mind of the immortal gods cannot be propitiated, and they have sacrifices of that kind ordained for national purposes. Others have figures of vast size, the limbs of which formed of osiers they fill with living men, which being set on fire; the men perish enveloped in the flames.”
Some authors have shown, with great skill and clarity, that this abhorrent practice was common among almost every civilization prior to the fall of Troy.
Nor were these atrocities confined to the ancient world. Archeologists and historians are now telling us that as late as 800 AD the Maya of Southern Mexico and Central America were known to sacrifice children. There is also the remarkable custom of the sacrificing priest tearing out the heart of the living victim and holding it up as an offering to the Sun god in the hopes of securing the "public welfare." How many died in such a horrific manner is anyone’s guess.
Some will argue that modern man is long removed from such inhuman acts. I would offer two thoughts to the contrary.
First, what is the ostensive difference between ecclesiastical rule, which claims the right of directing the lives of a people through "divine guidance" and that of a civil authority comprised of elitists who claim the same right through legislation?
If, as it has often been stated, both ecclesiastical law and civil law are obligatory because of the threat of civil force; is one less odious than the other? Don’t both set aside moral law for the benefit of the state?
Second, is a society, which will continually relinquish its freedoms, rights, and markets to a ruling authority, capable of refusing the ultimate demand of the state, i.e., the inhuman right to commit wholesale murder?
Ah, here is the real meat of the matter isn’t it? We as a collective have surrendered almost every aspect of our lives to state control and now are faced with the very real possibility of the unthinkable and we are the intended victims in waiting whether figuratively or in actuality.
We pretended to be the benefactors of the majestic Roman law, which some claim was the single greatest element responsible for bringing civilization back to Europe following the Dark Ages.
Yet, it was wantonly forgotten that Roman law left untouchable the power and authority of the emperor. It sanctioned slavery; it allowed that free men could be tortured and deprived of the right to a fair trial when suspected of treason, which then as now, was loosely defined and its definition relied on the whim of the emperor. Punishments for crime were cruel and could include being torn apart by wild beasts, to the crowds delight, and it was far more "just" when applied to the "connected" wealthy than to those of lower social, economic classes.
As a result we sit and watch as one Administration after another takes the mantel of emperor, and backed by congresses that even the Roman Senate would deem spineless cowards, prance and strut as if they are the authors of creation; untouchable gods of all they survey.
We complain about the gluttonous ways these same cretins consign us and future generations to abject slavery via mountains of debt, with numbers that are unfathomable.
We worry that these self-same leaders will release the dogs of war on our streets, accompanied by the same torture and depravity witnessed by those of foreign ancient civilizations under the guise of restoring social order.
We see judicial decisions, congressional law, and presidential orders that, like ancient Rome, deprive us of our property and wealth and label anyone who objects as "terrorist" while turning a blind eye to the criminal temerity of our deluded, nocuous saviors.
In truth, the English historian, Bishop William Stubbs says of Roman law that it was "a most pliant tool of oppression… no nation using the Civil Law has ever made its way to freedom… wherever it has been introduced the extinction of popular liberty has followed sooner or later." (Letters, p. 159) Few dispute that royal absolutism, as it developed in the Middle Ages, was directly due to the revival of the Roman law.
The Emperor Justinian codified Roman law but that law was nothing less than the common law of "pagan" Rome which had developed over the centuries and as we have seen "paganism" has predictable "pagan" consequences.
No longer is state intrusion into our private and business lives called "paganism." We have developed new titles — collectivism, socialism, communism, democracy etc… — to convey the state’s acts that equate with those ancient governmental systems, but the results are the same.
So we are facing a seemingly black hole, from which there is no apparent escape. Certainly, societies around the world are faced with hard times, which may last for decades. However, there is hope.
History, time and time again, shows that governments fail and disappear, societies along with their economies realign and adjust, governmental monetary systems evaporate returning to the abyss from which they came, and distribution systems collapse. Yet through it all the markets, while they may be suppressed, don’t stop working.
For as long as there is any market demand, human energies and resources will be employed in a productive manner to offer a supply. But as long as any society continues to accept government and its pagan policies over personal liberty, and the market place, laissez-faire will, by necessity, take a form the state will consider criminal and we will find foreign or uncomfortable.
Tim Case [send him mail] is a 30-year student of the ancient histories who agrees with the first-century stoic Epictetus on this one point: u201COnly the educated are free.u201D