18.4.1 Guilds and Trade-Unions
The guilds of Flanders, Holland and Italy imposed a social justice of equality. Neither the quality nor solidity nor speed of delivery of the elaborated objects were favored: any individual who did his job earned his life, and individual enrichment was discouraged. The industries that attempted to escape the law of the guilds were combated, the production sites initiated in the countryside by pariahs (cottage industry) were destroyed, with the result that the high price of industrial production was maintained, and inventiveness and spirit of enterprise jugulated. The social protection was achieved at the expense of the revenue and this principle paralyzed selection through merit, individual initiative and dynamism.
In Florence, painters belonged to the ‘Doctors and Apothecaries’ Guild. The tendency to uniformity of practice and to a “Trade Union” mentality led to painters like Leonardo and Michelangelo insisting on the freedom and originality of the artist. The power of the guilds was such that the Painters’ Guild at Malines made itself ridiculous by trying to prevent in 1655 the painter Jan Cossiers from completing a commission, painted in his Antwerp studio, in situ in Malines on the grounds that he was not a resident and was therefore forbidden to work in their town. A similar situation arose in Toronto in 1960, when the Brotherhood of Painters attempted to prevent the completion of a mural cycle by its designer. Contemporary Guilds as the Order of Physicians and the Order of Apothecaries offer in France and Belgium a tremendous resistance to the improvement of medicine and the exploitation of better medicines (see La France malade de sa médecine, R. Maes Eds de Paris, 2005 for an analysis of the phenomenon). In 2008, the civil servants of France strenuously opposed pay and rewards linked to individual merit.
The French Crown paid no attention to the means of its policy of conquest. Louis XIV and Napoleon neglected the fleet and also any industrial improvement that did not in an immediate way improve the military capacities of the State. In the years 1800, the mean income of the peasant population was twice to trice lower than that of their forefathers during the middle ages. This was the tribute paid to war. At the end of the 18th century, a French traveler observed that English peasants heated their houses in winter with coal whereas the French peasants deprived of coal remained in bed, which increased their poverty. The corporations of artisans had the approval of the Crown for fiscal reasons and for social control: the corporations discouraged private initiatives and the State reigned everywhere.
The Napoleonic Code reinforced the imperial concept of a citizen without roots, without bounds, without spiritual convictions at the merci of the caprices of the rulers. About half of the code is dedicated to private property but Marx pointed out that this concern is a mystification inasmuch that the private property advocated and protected by the Code is restricted to individual rights, is the right of personal interest and excludes any societal perspective. It favors human exploitation. Napoleon ruled with the help of the free masons but these, contrary to the English free masons, had rejected any spirituality and build a repressive police state that jugulated any opposition. It was discovered in 1904 that the freemasonic “Grand Orient de France” centralized information about the opinions of the army officers. Today, the police of France is massively infiltrated by freemasons.
18.4.3 The rise of the English proletariat
The English Labor had been drastically impoverished by the Seven Years War waged between France and Austria against England and Prussia, which lasted from 1756 to 1763. Its misery increased when Napoleon opened hostilities. The American Republic favored Revolutionary France and Jefferson helped Napoleon in the rising of armies by purchasing Louisiana instead of annexing it.
Figure 18.5. Portrait of Jefferson made by renowned French sculptor J.B. Houdon in 1785, i.e. after American independence gained with the help of France, but before the French Revolution. Jefferson had been American Minister to France in 1784.
By 1810, war had devastated the whole of the European continent, and the annihilation was achieved by 1815. After 1815, the sentiment of alienation increased, amplified by hunger, the exploitation of a fragile workforce and the concentration of wealth in a few hands. War, the great consumer of superhuman human efforts often made in vain, had impoverished and stupefied to an extreme degree an English proletariat that had furnished to a large degree this effort in war.
The English workers refused to work in factories because they were subject there to control and supervision, and the State called on those who could not refuse: orphans, unwed mothers, indigents and even prisoners. In this way arose what Marx called “Modern Industry”, offspring of machine, mineral energy and political will. The only country that favored plebeian activity was England. In Great Britain, the mineral resources belonged to the owner of the land, not to the Crown. Contrary to other countries, roads and waterways were private, with toll. In France, the royal roads controlled commerce instead of promoting it. The industrial revolution consisted in a reduced cost of energy exploited from a central mineral fossil source in workshops, and a reduced cost of manpower servicing machines, the whole favored by the efficacy of market gardening and transport, both well organized. Industrialization, in England, Japan, Belgium and anywhere else is the history of toil and sweat, of efforts and sufferings that allowed success. Exploitation is not the payment of a salary inferior to the product of the work because otherwise there would be no profit for the capital but is the forced labor of people who are in no position to refuse the conditions offered, essentially because of hunger.
The concentration of the English proletariat in insalubrious suburbs, their scandalous exploitation, the simplicity of the tools in use, which might give the illusion that work was accomplished by workers and not by machines, and finally the continuous accumulation of capital in the hands of a few, gave the idea that it would ineluctably lead to a revolt of the proletariat and its dictatorship. The proletariat did all, possessed nothing and wanted all. The proletarian condition is a unique event and a new drama in History because the notion of caste, the notion of the place a man occupies in society was ruined by the French Revolution that proclaimed the absolute equality of all men. The proletarian alienation makes sense only in an atheist society that created a new man, master of his destiny. The proletariat cannot associate to the mastery of its destiny. The apparition of the proletariat justified in an apparently scientific way the dialectic materialism developed by Karl Marx (fig 18.6).
Figure 18.6. Student Karl Marx. He was of superior intelligence and industry.
18.4.4 Dialectic materialism
Hegel professed that any idea consists in a group of relations: according to him, we think of something only in relation with something similar or opposed. Any idea leads obligatorily to its opposite and allies to it to form a new idea of a superior order. Hegel thought that this dialectic movement oscillating between extremes to decrease toward the center commanded all intellectual progressions. Marx applied this concept to society.
This approach based on deductive logic was in those days thought “scientific” and was applied in all fields of human activity. Malraux has noted the propensity of French “Intellectuals” to deduce an idea from another idea, and so on for the construction of a whole tree of ideas deriving one from the other without ever showing a concern to verify, at any moment, the reality of things. In sciences, this method leads to monumental errors (La France malade de sa médecine, R. Maes, Eds de Paris, 2005). Zola described this method in literature: “posit a fact, accept it as an axiom and then deduce from it mathematically all its volume, and be then of an absolute veracity.” He followed the method applied in medicine by the physiologist Claude Bernard. This approach, which Zola thought scientific, does not resist analysis: the novelist who develops his arguments in a novel gives in fact free rein to his imagination and never receives any correction whereas the investigator who proceeds by induction sees his experimentation sanctioned by failure or success. Marx announced the dogma of dialectic materialism developed by Hegel on an irrecusable scientific mode that History should have confirmed immediately by the revolt and dictatorship of the British proletariat, but that History disproved.
Marx was convinced that he had published a scientific treatise based on proven facts, which he verified maniacally before including them within his argumentation. Marx homogenized the proletarian slavery in order to make from the fight of the classes a general explanation of universal History. Marx failed to see that the Nations of Christendom were divided into those that subordinate the citizen to the State and those where the State is subordinated to the citizen. The Marxist thinkers and statesmen preached by a method of deduction that lead to a negation of the facts, generating lies, bad faith, contradictions and absurdities.
The principal characteristic of those societies that avoided alienation is the spirit of competition that unites all the actors of the economic life, the winners and the losers, in a single social and national unit. It is only in the States indifferent to the aspirations of the citizens that the dogma of alienation, not restricted to the proletariat, could take hold. England and the US did not respond to the dogma of alienation, Belgium and Holland barely, France resorted to massacre in 1871 to annihilate the Commune, Russia succumbed in 1917 whereas Germany rejected the internationalism of the Communist Manifest, integrated racism and nationalism in its Weltanschauung and became National Socialist (Nazi) in 1933.
In the evening of 25 October 1917, at St Petersburg, the Communist Bolchevick Party seized power in Russia under the leadership of Lenin and Trotski. To them, on this 25th of October, with a society without classes and a coherent organization of society, the prehistory of humanity ended and the evolution of humanity could proceed on bases scientifically defined by Marx. There is no doubt that Lenin and Trotski were as sincere as Constantine and Mohamed. Contrary to Constantine and Mohamed, who believed, Lenin and Trotski believed they knew. It is fashionable to trace the atrocities committed by the USSR to Stalin. Communism is considered good and Stalin allegedly adulterated its goals. In fact, the atrocities started with Lenin in 1918. Jews were instrumental in the imposition of communism to Russia and their contribution amplified the hatred of Hitler for them. The immense destructions, the political upheavals and the death of 45 million people inflicted during 13 years of Nazi regime added to the 75 years of communist regime that laid waste a third of humanity with 100 million deaths. Ignoring the human tragedy, economic disaster, reactionary glaciation and intellectual mediocrity inflicted on the world by socialist regimes, the West looks with horror preferentially at the excesses of Nazi Germany. This blind spot and bias are due to the repulsive holocaust perpetrated by a Latin Christian country on Europeans, which demonstrated that the Christian values that governed the West during a thousand years had completely vanished.
The socialist experiments conducted by Germany and Russia ruined the continent and directly favored the rise of the United States.