Liberalism, consensus and tolerance allowed the emergence of the West.
The increase of the primitive tribes to a national size, the debilitating diet of the population due to the consumption of only two or three vegetables (carrots, onions, peas) without fish nor meat that was reserved to the elite, the availability of efficient weapons, the ease of organization of the nation with the help of a script, promoted temporal rulers who embody the State and assume absolute power by divine right. The philosophy that underlines this Unity is a relation of dominance of an anointed individual over other individuals and of an anointed nation over nations that are united by submission.
Figure 14.1. left to right
– Bronze, greater than nature, of the roman emperor Septimus severus (193-211 AD) found near the Cypriot city of Chytroi.
- Philip IV of Spain, 1631, by Velasquez. The National Gallery, London
- Louis XIV king of France, by H. Rigaud. Louvre. Louis (1638-1715) had himself called “le roi-Soleil” i.e. the Sun-king.
- Napoleon Emperor, 1806, by Ingres.- Napoleon (1761-1821) crowned himself Emperor of the French. Compare the modest vestment of the Roman emperor and the simplicity of his pose, the modest pose of Philip versus the asinine postures of the two Frenchmen at the zenith of their power.
At the limit, the moving philosophy is a deification of action, violence, power, contempt and hatred. After each war won by French armies, Louis XIV used to trample in great ceremonial the flags taken from the beaten enemy.
The State applies terror to achieve submission and expansion. In France, this drive became conscious when the king Henry IV claimed “all what speaks French is mine”. He was intelligent enough to respect the liberty of adhesion of his subjects and allowed Protestants to practice their religion. It rose with Louis XIV, who ruled according to “une foi, une loi, un roi” 1 (i.e. one creed, one law, one king). It went a step further with Napoleon who crowned himself emperor and reached an apotheosis with Hitler (fig 14.2), who best knew how to exploit antinomies, assertive creeds and elementary logic blended with passion to enforce the “ein Land, ein Volk, ein Fuehrer” credo (i.e. one country, one people, one leader).
Figure 14.2. Adolf Hitler, the Führer, i.e. the leader of Germany after 1933. He committed suicide in 1944, when the Russian army invested Berlin.
The true name of Hitler was Schicklgruber. But can one envision “Heil Schicklgruber!”? Tito, Trotski, Lenin, Stalin were not the true names of these people. Stalin means “of steel”.
Human responses to specific stimulations are governed by instinct. The human species, as other animal species, responds basically in a fixed-action pattern, in an automatic way, without flexibility, to the requirements of its biotope. Problems not foreseen by Primate evolutionary trends are solved in an appallingly and embarrassingly stupid way. Meek admiration of power is a constant of human behavior and almost inevitable in absolutist and dictatorial regimes (fig. 14.3).
Figure 14.3. Tout est grand chez les rois. “All is great by kings” affirmed Jesuit preacher Bossuet to Louis XIV and his court. The Belgian Felicien Rops, with this undated pen drawing (coll. Carlo de Poortere, Courtrai, Belgium) probably made around 1875, would have been a lifelong guest of the Bastille or of a nazi concentration camp had he lived in France under Louis XIV or in Germany under Hitler.
Daumier was imprisoned in 1832 for having made a caricature of the French king Louis-Philippe. Still today, such a biting criticism is better tolerated in Pakistan, India, the USA and some North European countries than in France, Germany and of course Islam. Yet, it is essential to keep the arrogance of the rulers in bonds.
Action based on assertive creeds clad in the ornaments of stark logic ended up in nihilistic terror worshiping violence and cruelty. Overpopulation, absolutist ideologies and creeds, the possibility to levy huge taxes mixed with inhumane logic applied to rationalize egotism (Machiavelli), are the murderous cocktail that has precipitated modern barbarism.