A conundrum, metaphysically it is impossible to truly reign in hell.
And no one with any sense would want to.
The statement fits, whether you literally believe in hell or not, it works as a general analogy
I leave it to you, dear reader, to figure out why as fun exercise of intellection and ratiocination.
It was the late Charles le Gai Eaton who once quipped that men are only truly equal in two places, a monastery, and a brothel.
There may be an inverted hierarchy of sorts in hell, by the very nature of a hell-like condition there is no stability, no firmness. The absence of order.
On the Free West.
“I may be a peasant, but I’m a clever peasant” – John Constantine, Hellblazer
So this is likely to royally piss some people off. And this is a pity, these ideas can be debated but you might want to, well, think it over deeply a bit before letting yourself get emotionally carried away.
I might re-visit this idea in greater depth, but is it possible that one reason the Western World is so orderly and well managed may have less to do with certain genetic propensities (sure to make the HBD folk gnash their teeth) of Western populations – an idea that should be examined, whether there may be a role genetics plays, in averaged behavior of populations, but both sides of the essentialist versus environmentalist debate are prone to spates of dishonesty and stupidity in exploring the idea – and more to do with climate and feudalism.
This comes out of a friendly discourse over coffee with Khalid Bey. He pointed out, as a native of North Africa but having lived in Northern Europe and Scandinavia, the immense need for social organization in cold climes. Having visited Maine in the middle of one of the worst winters in recent history, I’m inclined to agree with this point. In near glacial environments there is no room for a lack of social organization.
Just keeping food and wood stocked, and a village’s streets clear of snow enough for the local doctor to make rounds is a feat of personal and social organization. “Home economics” acquires life and death significance when a miscalculation in drying or storing food leaves you 3 weeks short of victuals. If your fields are under 6 feet of snow and so is your roof, and you’ve improperly judged the strength of your support beams, then you and your family will be buried alive and your neighbors will not remotely be able to save you, or even notice your demise for quite some time.
Living in the far north requires certain skills of cognitive organization on both the individual level and the collective. And such collectivities will be small, due to environmental pressure. Extreme northern environments are incapable of hosting large human populations without modern technology. Eskimos display such skills, northern Mongols and Siberian populations do as well as Northern Europeans.
Among them is a type of individualism. in small populations surrounded by environmental extremes the need for individual personal judgment is immense. This has nothing to do with abstracted ideas such as IQ, I’m talking about something more solid and tangible. It is an adaptation beneficial in some environments and harmfully deleterious in other environments. Period.
Other equally rigorous conditions require different survival skills in other climes. Living in a desert for example. Desert populations have to cultivate specific cognitive skills to survive. Your average Swede, Dane, Yakut or Eskimo would have died rather quickly in pre-modern times if thrown into the middle of the Sahara or Hadhramaut Yemen (whose name literally means “presence of death”). In fact, they still will die in modern times if caught without modern technical aids or wild-craft training for these environments. Social organization in desert areas are adapted, and people cognitively and emotionally adjust in a way that assists in survival.
More temperate climes are less demanding and this will show up in social organization.
Next, you add a second factor of feudalism.
Khalid Bey made this point – pre Volkerwanderung Germanic Europe had modes of social organization that really weren’t terribly different from pre or barely literate village folk cultures anywhere. The only “civilization” in Europe of any appreciable level was in Greece and Italy, close to the Mediterranean sphere and thus part of a general civilization continuum that originated in the middle east, in the greater Arabian peninsula (Iraq) and down in Egypt. Gaulic peoples were certainly settled, and the Celts certainly had a high culture that in many ways rivaled or even exceeded the Greeks (the Greeks can be over-rated at times). Still, the Celts didn’t have civilization per se, or at least not in the Mediterranean and Near Eastern sense. And Northern Europeans had basically a village folk culture
There is nothing wrong with this.
If you find yourself getting defensive or offended over this patently obvious historical fact has not reflected on the nature of civilization itself. Sometimes it’s highly over-rated and is appropriate for certain modes of people at certain times, and in certain places. And not others.
“Civilizations” in the sense we are inclined to see them are not always what they are cracked up to be. There is both benefit and loss in simple barbarian folk culture, and similar modes of organization, just as there is in monumental highly organized civilization.
Rome was an anomaly in early European history, and a somewhat successful one – but it was a rather fragile success. Consider that barbarian and illiterate Huns only had to knock a couple of arches out of one aqueduct to subjugate civilized Christian Rome, in a matter of few short weeks. This is an immense weakness in their dependency infrastructure. Doesn’t sound too glamorous now, does it? The very fact of their high civilization achievement, wealth, and the resulting decadence precipitated the very seeds of their destruction.
But Rome’s nucleus of organizational institutions and structures produced far more lasting effects in the sense of breeding and cultivating an somewhat orderly and well managed population, when incubated in feudalism.
On the basis of the small local cultures of a few Hellenic city states, during a mere blip in time of human history (though a significant blip when you look at what the Hellenes and those inspired by them did in late antiquity) it is popular for some people to beat their chests, wax proud, and to talk about the great Western culture of freedom and democracy.
Khalid Bey pointed out that historically there was no such thing, or where there has been it’s been on an absurdly small level. The myth of the Greeks giving us democracy is pernicious, stupid, and historically inaccurate. Contrast the number of free men with agency in some non-Greek non-democratic ancient civilizations and cultures, with the absurdly small elite in Athens to whom alone democracy applied.
Most Westerners throughout history were slaves, or rather serfs which, if we drop a rather absurd general mendacity, it becomes readily clear that the two concepts are not only etymologically related but are pretty close to being identical.
In Greece, huge numbers of people were Hellots. In the Roman Empire a substantial portion of the population were Slaves, or plebs who frankly lived in sub-serf conditions. Ah, and then we come to the middle age Serf, from servus and the word slave from servus, plus or minus a few transformations here and there. The underlying concept is that you had a population that was legally owned by certain individuals and families and legally bound to do work for them.
Until fairly late in history almost the entire population of England, for example, outside of a narrow clerical and warrior class, were legally property. Owned by Lords. Entire populations were given away as marriage dowries in the middle ages. Only the most mendacious could possibly pretend this state was not servitude, and slavery. If the Duke of Lancaster literally owns you and your family, you can “work out the math” in your head.
Westerners, en masse didn’t largely gain the sort of legal freedom we think we enjoy, in the West, until rather late in history. In the case of Russia, feudalism persisted almost up to the 20th century. And arguably until the 1980s if Russian communism was simply a feudalism in the folk’s name.
Serfs are slaves. Whether you like it or not.
If you were speaking Arabic, the word that would have described most, if not all, of European peasantry would have been mamluke. What’s a mamluke? Why a slave, of course. And, in any case, urban slaves in the Arab world were treated better than even the early European Burgher middle-classes were in the late middle ages – many of whom were still legally owned by feudal lords for generations after ascending to the middle classes. For more on this, research the dynamics of the English peasant revolt for a fascinating look at this.
The term wage slave exists today for a reason. If you step back and remove the terms, and just look at the essential reality of things, you cannot escape noticing that, in a sense, the vast majority of us, myself included, are still trapped in a soft form of slavery. If you don’t believe me then stop giving the state a good deal of your labor, in the form of property taxes, and see how quickly a tax lien is slapped on your property.
Freedom is relative perhaps, and so is slavery
I’m not making a value judgment here, obviously the system persists because it works. For some anyway.
What I am doing is saying, let’s cut out the feel good myths, the pernicious identity politic myths, and call a spade a spade and realize that we are, by and large, still slaves in many ways – essentially. The greatest mistake is mistaking a term for essential reality.
The vast majority of people can be easily fooled by simply re-naming matters.
If you change the words, change the names of a situation then a large number of people will easily be suckered by this. It is all how you phrase it. The better schooled we become, the more we become weak to this ploy because of the very tendencies to abstraction that our schooling engenders. Sometimes, it is comforting to call a spade a pitchfork.
Feudalism was an extremely well organized social management system. It is no surprise that the descendants of feudal serfs, about 90% of the West’s population, are so good at following orders in an orderly manner. Whereas the recent descendants of hunter gatherer or formerly .. less urbanized populations with limited village structures are not quite so good at organizing matters in the Western way. Look at how third worlders often drive. Or cross the street.
To be polite I will go no further, other than to point out the universal recognition of “Arab People Time” “Black People Time” and the tendency to postpone some things por la mañana. Muslim People Time is a good international compromise between the general excesses of Black Folk Time and Arab People Time..
Neither approach to life is bad, both work in their respective spheres. It is all a matter of context. I believe less has to do with genetics (or whatever genetic hereditary influences there may be are more weak tendencies) and more to do with centuries of cultural and linguistic habit.
I’ve been to England and found it amazing how orderly the English are about their queues. Even the lower classes. I was and remain quite impressed. The English habitually stand in line with a discipline exceeding that of any other race or population I’ve observed.
Maybe feudalism wasn’t such a bad thing after all, for some people anyway.
For some people, anyway. There are always winners, and losers, in history.
It is possible to argue that feudalism never ended, but simply transformed into something else less recognizable, but essentially the same.
But that’s food for another day.