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Here is knowledge to enable you to become more successful, earn more money, feel good, enjoy great health (while cutting your health bills), and extend your life...

Power & Freedom

PPFE Part #1

Fundamental Question: What Revolutions are Necessary and How Can They be Engineered?


There are three PPFE pages:

If you haven't yet done so, you may want to quickly scan all three pages to get an overall idea of what's on them.

An important purpose of this page is to persuade readers to smash any "Godologist or Governmentologist idols or icons" that may still infect their brains as "idea or meme parasites." However, some readers may not be interested in "clearing Godologist and Governmentologist crap from their minds." That's OK. You could just skim this page to look for strategy suggestions of potential use to you.

Another important purpose of this page is to persuade freedom activists to use humor and ridicule as a strategy to promote freedom. Most people like to be entertained. As suggested by the section Freud on Crowds, appealing to reason may not be an effective strategy for freedom activists. You can skim this page to look for sections on humor. You may even find something amusing!

It may be possible for freedom activists to become considerably more effective. It may even be possible to create profitable businesses, promoting freedom, and providing alternatives such as private currencies. More on this on PPFE Part #2.

It's possible that the massive 2008-2009 bailout will result in hyperinflation, and that some financial and political systems will be greatly weakened, or will even collapse -- see Some Important Statistics.


Stefan Molyneux:
Man, Family and State

Stefan Molyneux:
Fearing Our Parents

Click to Watch Video!

Stefan Molyneux:
Concept Formation

Click to Watch Video!

Stefan Molyneux:
Does the government really exist?

Click to Watch Video!

Stefan Molyneux:
Politics as addiction...

Click to Watch Video!

Politics on Dumbtopia

"This is one of the most delightful things I've read in a while. Thanks." -- Robert Sterling (Editor, The Konformist)

Far, far away, on the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy, there's a beautiful planet called Dumbtopia.

Dumbtopia's inhabitants are called Idiots.

They believe in a Supernatural creature they call Skybless.

Dumbtopia is divided into Dumbcountries -- at least, that's what the Idiots believe. They sporadically fight and slaughter each other over some skyblessforsaken patch of land -- "For Skybless and Dumbcountry."

Apparently, each Dumbcountry is ruled by a Plusidiot. Plusidiots are wiser than Idiots because they have blue blood -- or so they say. Common Idiots have red blood and believe that Plusidiots are their Superiors.

Apparently, each Plusidiot has a Dumbcouncil to help rule the common Idiots. Plusidiots have a secret magic drink called Etherwise. They give it to selected Idiots to drink. It makes their heads spin. After they've been drinking Etherwise for about a month, they experience Dumbliss, become Halfwits, and qualify to serve on Dumbcouncils.

Plusidiots and Halfwits pretend to have the ability to speak and write magic words called Pluswords -- Pluws for short. Common Idiots believe that Pluws are special holy, sacred words that must be obeyed. To make sure this dumb superstition sticks, Plusidiots employ Dumbcops to punish and kill Idiots who "disobey The Pluw."

Many common Idiots campaign to "Improve the holy, sacred Pluws."

Every hundred years or so, as a result of an unusual evolutionary mutation, some common Idiot wakes up and realizes that all the political systems on Dumbtopia are scams, hoaxes, and frauds. The woken-up Idiot then suggests that Plusidiots really have red blood, just like all common Idiots, and that there's nothing special about so-called "Plusidiots" and "Halfwits" -- they're really common Idiots like everybody else.

As soon as the Dumbcops discover a woken-up Idiot, they kill him or her. "Skybless help us if the Idiots ever discover that so-called "Plusidiots" and "Halfwits" are really impostors and liars -- common Idiots like all the rest -- and that their pretended "Pluws" are hoaxes... strings of dumb lies written by "clever" Pluwyer Idiots!"

Three Stages of Human Development:

  1. Barbarism;
  2. Civilization;
  3. Individual Sovereignty (brought about through Personal Power & Freedom Engineering).


Although it may be a gross oversimplification, "barbarism" can be regarded as the "state of affairs" before humans became organized into so-called "nation states" with so-called "governments." Among many "pre-civilized" people, there was a great deal of tribal warfare. The following table is from Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. It depicts the percentage of male deaths resulting from tribal warfare for a number of primitive tribes.

The bottom item on the table is for "US & Europe -- 20th Century."

A most important "organizing principle" of Barbarism is the "Pecking Order Bully System" (POBS). You can observe POBS in action by watching wild-animal TV programs on baboons, lions, etc.


Pinker basically argues that concentrating the use of violence in a so-called "government" is a good idea because it reduced warfare deaths by 95%. He gives a number of 100 million killed during the 20th Century by "government warfare." If it hadn't been for Civilization's so-called "nation states" and so-called "governments," the number of warfare deaths would have been 2 billion!

Steven Pinker:
A brief history of violence

According to R.J. Rummel, DEMOCIDE = MURDER BY GOVERNMENT: "Just to give perspective on this incredible murder by government [262,000,000 from 1900 to 1999], if all these bodies were laid head to toe, with the average height being 5', then they would circle the earth ten times. Also, this democide murdered 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century."

If you add Rummels' number for the people who died in combat to his 262 million number, you get over 300 million -- about three times Pinker's number.

"All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
-- Voltaire

Humans in Civilizations are called "Citizens."

A most important "organizing principle" of Civilization is the "Pecking Order Bully System" (POBS). You can observe POBS in action by watching wild-animal TV programs on baboons, lions, etc. -- and by observing Citizens engaged in political elections. The 2008 election campaign between Obama and McCain was essentially the same as two (civilized) baboons beating their chests and shouting insults at each other to prove who was the "best bully."

At the end of the election, millions of Obama supporters hooted and hollered like (civilized) baboons because their favorite bully had been elected to the top of the "Pecking Order Bully System" (POBS), called the "US Federal Government." All these Citizens were completely unaware that they were unconsciously acting out their primitive and deep-seated POBS programs.

Headline in the Arizona Republic of 12/1/08: "Citizens are new slaves to government masters."

Citizens in Civilizations are partial slaves. Their bullies tell them what they may or may not eat and drink. Their bullies force them to send their children to "concentration campuses for brainwashing" -- see Dumbed Down by "Education! Their bullies force them to pay a percentage of their earnings to their bullies. If this is 50%, then the Citizens are essentially "50% slaves."

From the Preface to Foundations of Psychohistory by Lloyd DeMause: "The "psychogenic theory of history" which I set out in this book is simple to understand, though often difficult to believe. It can be summarized as the theory that history involves the acting-out by adults of group-fantasies which are based on motivations initially produced by the evolution of childhood."

It may be difficult for many (civilized) grown-ups to confront the proposition that much of what they regard as "rational life activities" could be better described as "adults acting-out group-fantasies rooted in maltreatment and abuse during childhood, as well as stemming from primitive animal programs in their brains!"

"...[R]eligions are best envisioned as a socially constructed haven for delusions that are not diagnosed as insanity due to majority acceptance. Those same beliefs would, however, receive the diagnosis of insanity if they were to appear outside of a religious framework." -- John F. Schumaker (The Corruption of Reality: A Unified Theory of Religion, Hypnosis, and Psychopathology)

Consider the proposition that 100% of "human religious belief and behavior" constitutes the pathological acting-out of group-fantasies!

Book: Wings of Illusion: The Origin, Nature and Future of Paranormal Belief by John F. Schumaker. Review on by Charles D. Hayes: "Understanding the nature of human belief systems is one of my principal preoccupations. I've read scores of books on this subject, and find John F. Schumaker to be in a league of his own in this discipline. He writes about beliefs with as much insight and clarity as Bryan Magee does with the complexities of philosophy. This book is timeless."

Book: The Corruption of Reality: A Unified Theory of Religion, Hypnosis, and Psychopathology by John F. Schumaker. Review on by Yahzi:

"This book is the most important book of the entire 20th century. Like Freud, it will define the next 100 years of psychological thinking. Unlike Freud, it will last beyond that, becuase it is more than visionary, it is also grounded in hard science.

If you ever wanted to understand how educated, rational adults can believe in the stupidist things imaginable, this book explains it.

The only weak point of the book is the final chapter, where Schumaker suggests we create a false religion to safely guide people's evolutionarily inescapable stupidity. This is John's own corruption of reality: thinking that we can actually find a painless solution. But he presents it half-heartedly enough that I think even he understands it will never work.

The only solution is expecting people to grow up and act like adults. Life isn't what you wanted it to be -- tough. Deal.

To put it another way: when you think about it long enough, this book explains 9/11, why we are in Iraq, and the current flap over Intelligent Design. That's a heck of an accomplishment for a book written many years ago."

Does the Schumaker quote on religion also apply to politics?: "Politics is best envisioned as a socially constructed haven for delusions that are not diagnosed as insanity due to majority acceptance. Those same beliefs would, however, receive the diagnosis of insanity if they were to appear outside of a political framework."

Consider the possibility that Citizens in Civilizations tend to suffer from religious and/or political delusions that result in some unpleasant consequences... including over 300 million violent deaths during the 20th Century.

Consider the proposition that 100% of "human coercive political behavior" constitutes the pathological acting-out of group-fantasies!

Individual Sovereignty (brought about through Personal Power & Freedom Engineering)

One of the purposes of this page is to persuade individuals to become "Personal Power & Freedom Engineers" (PPFEs). This may involve several steps. It is up to each prospective PPFE to decide which steps he or she needs to take to become a PPFE:

  1. Increase level of personal success as suggested by the GRSS;
  2. Raise your Mood Level and Improve Health;
  3. Develop Online Moneymaking Skills (or any other moneymaking skills largely or completely free from the savage shackles of Civilization);
  4. Improve thinking skills, starting with Project Learn to Think;
  5. Clear all religious nonsense, superstitions, and delusions from own mind;
  6. Clear all political nonsense, superstitions, and delusions from own mind (note that this may be 10-100 times as challenging as the previous item);
  7. Develop "practical freedom skills" -- how to live free in an unfree (civilized) world;
  8. Develop the kind of Champion Mindset that Jack Johnson had;
  9. Become More Conscious, following the example of Steve Biko;
  10. Team up with other Personal Power & Freedom Engineers to implement PPFE Actions (what these actions might be is open for PPFEs to decide).

Scientologists, Godologists & Governmentologists

A distinction can be made between "Mild Cults" -- involved with the killing of maybe fewer than 1,000 people -- and "Major-Killer-Cults" -- involved with killing tens of millions of people or more.

Under "Mild Cults" could be included Scientology and Scientologists (killed maybe about 100 people in 50 years) and Jonestown or "People's Temple" (killed about 900 people).

A PPFE may regard Scientology and Scientologists as at least mildly crazy.

Under "Major-Killer-Cults" could be included Godology and Godologists (killed at least tens of millions of people) and Governmentology and Governmentologists (killed over 300 million people during the 20th Cntury). The picture is complicated by the fact that many Governmentologists are also Godologists.

Because of the violent deaths resulting from their beliefs and behavior, a PPFE may regard Godology and Godologists as much crazier than Scientology and Scientologists.

For the same reason, a PPFE may regard Governmentology and Governmentologists as about ten times crazier than Godology and Godologists.

On Dr. Arthur Janov's Primal Healing website under "Books" and Beyond Belief! could be found on 11/11/08 (minor edits):

"This book examines what forces in us drive us to believe in mystics, healers and gurus. What unconscious impulses lead us to join cults, and reveals how feelings become beliefs in the brain. Dr. Janov discusses all of this through the autobiographies of patients who have lived it. He also examines how the government functions as a cult with the same dynamics as any cult leader from Jim Jones to Rajneesh and to Bin Laden.

There is a chapter on the born again, conversion experience and why that happens. Another on what makes a leader or healer and what makes a follower. He cites many research studies on how thinking something will kill pain actually does, and why that happens. He analyzes belief systems and how they function to keep us comfortable. That the brain doesn't care if it is Islam, the Republican Party or "the secret," it all works the same in the brain. What he points out is that the thought of a deity makes us believe in it whereas it is the thought itself that relieves and soothes us.

This is the first thorough account of how beliefs work in the brain to bring us comfort and calm. But it is a spurious calm since there is a seething cauldron of pain that lies below beliefs that will make us sick and shorten our lives."

A great deal has been written about the characteristics of cults. The following apply for our purposes:

  • Messianic, possibly maniacal, authoritarian bully-leaders who regard themselves as "popes," "presidents," "great deciders," (and/or other similar terms) and who claim that they "represent god," "consult with god," "have unique keys to higher knwledge," "are authorized by the constitution," "have a mandate from the people," etc. (Sometimes the same bully-leader is both a Godologist and a Governmentologist!)
  • Hierarchical, coercive control structures -- Pecking Order Bully Systems (POBSs).
  • Top cult staff members are selected primarily for their loyalty, and from whom very little dissent is tolerated. (Obama's first appoinment was Emanuel, generally regarded as "hard-nosed" and "sharp-elbowed," i.e., an effective bully!)
  • Some specially selected cult staff members perform all kinds of secret activities (often criminal), not communicated to the general membership.
  • Dissenting cult staff members are usually kicked out.
  • Cult leaders lie about their agendas and actions. (Governmentologist leaders are often controlled by Big Business interestes. Obama and his buddies paid hundreds of billions to insurance giant A.I.G. and to other Big Businesses.)
  • Deception and/or force is used by Governmentologists to gain new recruits -- also called "compulsory education" -- the deception includes not revealing to the victims that the purposes of their "education" include turning the victims into compliant factory or office workers, subservient "citizens of their cult," and/or obedient soldiers brainwashed to kill and be killed in wars organized for phoney reasons to benefit the businesses of cult leaders and their friends. Typically, Godologists use deception by making absurd promises of "eternal salvation." In some cases, they don't reveal that one of their purposes is to gain new recruits to ensure the availability of children for sexual abuse.
  • New recruits are removed from their families for long hours, kept confined in artificial environments ("schools"), where they are systematically dumbed down and brainwashed to "believe and obey authority."
  • Recruits are also brainwashed to become dependent and to believe that Governmentologists have "Godlike" powers to make a wide range of decisions for them and to "do for people what they can't do for themselves." Godologists use similar brainwashing techniques to make people dependent by using fear tactics, e.g., "eternal damnation," "burning in hell," etc.
  • Members are compelled (at the point of a gun if necessary) by Governmentologists to pay large portions of their earnings to cult leaders. Godologists typically use less violent methods, but still fraudelent, to obtain unearned money from their victims.
  • Some Governmentologists don't allow their members to leave their cult, in that they have to continue paying large amounts to the cult leaders, no matter where the members go. Godologists typically use fear tactics to prevent their cult members from leaving.

PPFEs involved in promoting freedom may be able to use strategies suggested by the above to good effect. They could condemn Scientology as a crazy cult... and then condemn Godology as and even crazier cult... and then condemn Governmentology as the craziest cult of all!

See also: Project Lord Reincarnated Hubbard (LRH).

Word-Controlled Humans

Following are extracts from the book Word Controlled Humans by John Harland:


"Words can be used to tell others what an individual perceives; they can also be used to override perception, condition or destroy thought, and control humans. When the first word trails were being made in the expanding growth of conscious ideas, there was a fork in the road of possibilities. The majority of humans turned off in a direction that has now been made into a broad highway. Nature's method of making individual perception a major factor affecting survival was the way rejected; acceptance of the individual by a word-conditioned group was made the dominant requirement affecting the individual's survival. As I see it, the fork we have taken can lead only to human extinction or biological regression; the other could have led to further evolutionary advance. I want to contrast the two directions, recommend the other fork, and set forth a procedure for getting over to it..."

"The idea implied by "authority" triggers action in those who have been word-conditioned to set aside their own innate will and accept the word-control of someone in "authority." As I see it, "authority," implying the "right" of individuals or groups to control or exercise power over others, has no meaning in the world of reality. I want to identify it as highly suspect by always enclosing it in quotation marks...."

"When orders were obeyed because coming from someone having "authority," mass warfare between groups of word-controlled people became the standard practice..."

"When humans create words that do not refer to a perceivable reality, there is likely to be confusion between the man-conceived fictional entity and something clearly perceived which is real..."

The fork taken by PPFEs is to primarily use their senses to discern reality. The other fork is to primarily use "subjective social agreement" to discern reality. PPFEs are very interested in words with physical referents that can be perceived by using their senses. Godologists and Governmentologists typically use words with no physical referents to control, subjugate, dominate, and exploit their victims.

"Man has such a predilection for systems and abstract deductions that he is ready to distort the truth intentionally, he is ready to deny the evidence of his senses only to justify his logic." -- Dostoevsky

Following are extracts from the book From Freedom to Slavery: The Rebirth of Tyranny in America by Gerry Spence:

"The breathing dead witness the murder of themselves. The breathing dead live within their own corpses, a horror beyond description, a horror that bears the agony of both murderer and victim and suffers the indescribable pain of the last rejection, of the self against the self..."

"The concrete boxes in which children are imprisoned will explode..."

"These Earthlings are insane according to their own definition -- dissociation from reality. Existing in nearly total fantasy, they murder each other over imaginary icons and destroy entire segments of their societies over beliefs founded in myth. Nowhere in the universe have we encountered such an abdication of reason than among the natives on Earth..."

"However, Earth provides a valuable laboratory by which to study the phenomenon of "teachable psychosis." Earthlings instruct their offspring that various myths are fact, that certain fables are historically true, that divers fictions and fairy tales must be believed, thereby rendering entire populations, by definition, mad. Heretofore we had believed insanity to be the product of informities of the central nervous system, but our observations of these Eathlings have demonstrated that insanity can be taught, that the psychosis that predominates the Earth is, in major part, a phenomenon of programming, a process the Earthlings themselves understand metaphorically as "brainwashing."..."

"Although the term "freedom" eludes precise definition, for what seems freedom for some becomes tyranny for others, yet quite inexplicably these Earthlings fight for freedom, die for it, make speeches about it and even celebrate a day in its honor, all the while understanding little if anything about this elusive notion. Moreover, many believe they are free when, in fact, they are bound in the most abject servitude imaginable..."

"In the end, the most deadly trap of all is a brainwashed mind, for the brain, washed against itself, is powerless..."

"Religions! Ah, what religions do to us! How they supplant thought! How they fence out reason! How they render us impotent! How they poison us..."

"I remember when I began to feel my own power. Somehow I had discovered the King within -- the King of self. I was fearful of the King, in awe of him. Yet in his presence I felt no servitude... I felt as if I could conquer any obstacle... I shudder to think what might occur if all of the earth's people awakened their own inner Kings. This much I can predict: Magically, overnight, the world would be free."

"When we acknowledge the kingdom of the self, we will no longer accept slavery either for ourselves or for others, no matter how it is disguised, for the King cannot tolerate slavery. When we acknowledge the kingdom of the self, we will no longer tolerate untruths, for the King cannot to;erate manipulations and lies. When we acknowledge the kingdom of the self, we will no longer permit the children of the world to be tarred with fear and feathered with guilt, for the King cannot tolerate such abuse of the world's children. And when we stop abusing our children we will finally enjoy peace..."

It may be more appropriate to replace the word "King" above with "Sovereign Individual."

In Chapter 8 -- "Keeping It All in Place" --of his book Restoring the American Dream, Robert J. Ringer refers to "The Arsenal" of words and phrases used by Governtologists to keep their Pecking Order Bully Systems (POBSs) in place. He analyses the following: "The people," "the public," "society," "government," "country," "taxation," "conscription" (the draft), "loophole," "windfall," "inflation," "patriotic," "apathetic," "obligation," "duty," "decent," "fair," "justice," "public morals," "public good," "public property," "public justice," "public interest," "good of society," "well-being of society," "welfare of society," "duty to society," "obligation to society," "good of the people," "welfare of the people," "rights of the people," "the people have chosen," "fair pay," "decent living," "your fair share," "moral duty," "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," "love it or leave it," and "all power to the people."

For a general analysis of words used by Governtologists to keep their Pecking Order Bully Systems (POBSs) in place, see The Anatomy of Slavespeak.

Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz has written a great deal about the use of words by Governtologist "mental-heath" pratitioners to establish, maintain, and strengthen their Pecking Order Bully Systems (POBSs) -- Thomas Szasz and Slavespeak.

Several authors -- including Peter Breggin (Medication Madness) and Peter Schrag (Mind Control) -- have written extensively on the use of words and drugs by Governtologist psychiatrists and psychologists to achieve mind control over their victims.

The Concept Factor
-- Breaking the Spell

Extracted and adapted from the original article -- © Robert Fritz 2006 -- that used to be on his website.

In his new book, philosopher and co-director of Tufts Center for Cognitive Studies Daniel C. Dennett describes an ant climbing up a blade of grass, but then falling, climbing up again, falling, and so the cycle continues. Dennett asks: "What benefit is the ant seeking for himself?" As it turns out, there is no biological benefit for the ant. Rather, its brain has been commandeered by a tiny parasite, a lancet fluke (Dicrocelium Dendriticum) that needs to get itself into the stomach of a sheep or cow in order to complete its reproductive cycle. The parasite is driving the ant into position to benefit its own offspring, not the ant's. Dennett points out that similar manipulative "hitchhiker" parasites infect many species, all for the benefit of the guest, not the host.

"Does anything like this ever happen with human beings?" Dennett asks. "Yes indeed," he answers. According to Dennett, concepts can act like parasites. "The comparison with which I began, between a parasitic worm invading an ant's brain and an idea invading a human brain, probably seems both far-fetched and outrageous. Unlike worms, ideas aren't alive, and don't invade brains; they are created by minds." Dennett goes on to show how "ideas and parasites have remarkable commonalities, including that ideas are spread from mind to mind, surviving translation between different languages, hitchhiking on songs and icons and statues and rituals, coming together in unlikely combinations in particular people's heads, where they give rise to yet further new 'creations,' bearing family resemblances to the ideas that inspired them but adding new features, new powers as they go." These parasitic ideas have their own agendas, ones that are independent from the health and well-being of the person. Some ideas obsess the brain, and their own cause can become more important than that of the individual host.

Entitled Breaking The Spell -- Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, the book is gutsy in that Dennett puts the phenomenon of religion under a scientific microscope. While his basic question is why do human beings have the instinct to adhere to religious doctrines, he is not attacking religion -- although some might think that asking questions about religion itself is an attack. His exploration is fair, open, and challenging. And his subject is timely in this day and age in which, in the name of religion, people prove themselves to be capable of the most repugnant behavior.

Dennett's subject is... about how and why people adopt religious dogmas, particularly when they may be harmful to the person who holds them...

What is of so much interest to me is Dennett's thesis that concepts can function as parasites that have their own agendas, their own aims, their own motivations -- ones that are independent from the benefits of "the host." This insight is consistent with some of the structural phenomena we have seen over the years, and why people can have patterns in which hard won success is eventually reversed to the detriment of the person him or herself.

Structural Dynamics [See Organize Your Life to Create Structural Tension so the Path of Least Resistance Leads You Where You Want to Go.]

A person's underlying structural dynamics determine his or her behavioral tendencies. One way that I have described this is by pointing out that energy moves along the path of least resistance, and that underlying structures will determine that path. Water flows where it most easily goes, and the riverbed -- the underlying structure -- determines that path. If the underlying structure remains the same, and if you are in an oscillating structure, your successes eventually will be neutralized. With a change of underlying structure, new possibilities emerge, and success does succeed both short and long-term. Life takes on a new direction and you experience momentum rather than inertia.

What Do Concepts Have To Do With Structure?

Oscillating structures are made up of three elements; advancing structures are made of only two. Advancing structures consists of the desired outcome in relationship to the current state: in other words -- structural tension. But oscillating structures have a third element: the various concepts the person holds.

These concepts fall into three major categories: fear of imagined (not real) danger; personal, social, or existential ideals; worldviews that explain the true mysteries in life, such as religious and metaphysical concepts that demand belief and compel certain behaviors. This third category is the one that concerns Dennett. Yet his notion of parasitic ideas might be extended to also include the other areas of concepts, such as ideals and conceptualized fears. These concepts do, indeed, have their own agendas that are independent of the "host" and do not advance the health and well-being of the person who holds them.

What we have discovered through structural consulting is that it is not the actual content of the concept itself that causes an oscillating structure. It is the way the concept is held, the way the concept takes hold of the mind, the dynamic of the concept in relationship to a person's aspirations, values, and reality. Dennett's focus on "belief in belief" seems to point to why a concept can function as a type of parasite.

A Change of Underlying Structure

Over the years, we have seen the remarkable, almost miraculous change of a person's life's possibilities when there is a change of underlying structure. The change invariably comes when a concept that was once built into a person's underlying structure is no longer part of that structure. the belief in the belief is gone. The "spell is broken." This is not a subtle change. Often people feel a weight lifted from their shoulders and a new sense of energy flowing through them. Their life patterns change and now they are in a position to organize their lives around their highest aspirations and deepest values. Their possibilities of success increase dramatically. Their patterns change from oscillation, in which success is reversed, to advancement, in which success becomes a platform for future success...

See also "Plato truth virus."

War Making and State Making as Organized Crime

by Charles Tilly

A Chapter from Bringing the State Back In, edited by Peter Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, and Theda Skocpol (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).

(Charles Tilly taught at the University of Delaware, Harvard University, the University of Toronto, the University of Michigan, the New School for Social Research, and Columbia University. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Sociological Research Association. See also: Charles Tilly in Wikipedia.)

If protection rackets represent organized crime at its smoothest, then war risking and state making -- quintessential protection rackets with the advantage of legitimacy -- qualify as our largest examples of organized crime. Without branding all generals and statesmen as murderers or thieves, I want to urge the value of that analogy. At least for the European experience of the past few centuries, a portrait of war makers and state makers as coercive and self-seeking entrepreneurs bears a far greater resemblance to the facts than do its chief alternatives: the idea of a social contract, the idea of an open market in which operators of armies and states offer services to willing consumers, the idea of a society whose shared norms and expectations call forth a certain kind of government.

The reflections that follow merely illustrate the analogy of war making and state making with organized crime from a few hundred years of European experience and offer tentative arguments concerning principles of change and variation underlying the experience. My reflections grow from contemporary concerns: worries about the increasing destructiveness of war, the expanding role of great powers as suppliers of arms and military organization to poor countries, and the growing importance of military rule in those same countries. They spring from the hope that the European experience, properly understood, will help us to grasp what is happening today, perhaps even to do something about it.

To continue, Click Here.

In addition to many benefits provided, the book God Wants You Dead may aid you in Smashing Idols in Your Head!

Reading the section on "Pretendities" may also help you to Smash Idols in Your Head!

Smash the Idols
of Civilization
in your Head!

Sally Kempton: "It is hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head."

Steve Biko: "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."

The enemy/oppressor plants IDOLS in your mind to serve as "outposts in your head." These "outposts" are used to gain control over your mind, so you can be controlled, manipulated, and exploited. Think of it this way: There are "Bullies of Civilization" who want to control you. If they plant their "god-idol," and/or "democracy idol," and/or "government-idol" inside your head, then you have your own "god-idol," and/or "democracy idol," and/or "government-idol" in your head to do the controlling. You do the controlling the way they want. So they can control you without doing anything further. You must smash the idols of civilization and get them out of your head!

You can also think of the idols as a "citizen mask," as described by Claude Steiner. So take off your "citizen mask!"

Éttiene de la Boétie: -- (Discourse of Voluntary Servitude - 1552/1553):

"Poor, wretched, and stupid peoples, nations determined on your own misfortune and blind to your own good! You let yourselves be deprived before your own eyes of the best part of your revenues; your fields are plundered, your homes robbed, your family heirlooms taken away. You live in such a way that you cannot claim a single thing as your own; and it would seem that you consider yourselves lucky to be loaned your property, your families, and your very lives. All this havoc, this misfortune, this ruin, descends upon you not from alien foes, but from the one enemy whom you yourselves render as powerful as he is, for whom you go bravely to war, for whose "greatness" you do not refuse to offer your own bodies unto death. He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you."

George Washington: -- "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master."

Thomas Jefferson: -- "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

H. L. Mencken: -- "A good politician under democracy is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar."

Lord Acton: -- "The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the party that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections."

James Bovard: -- "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."

Christian Michel: -- "Democratic law does not say, "Thou shalt not kill." Instead, it designates certain people who have the right to kill -- soldiers and state police. Democratic law does not order, "Thou shalt not steal." It says that only certain people have the right to steal -- tax and customs agents. What does "power to the people" mean when the people enjoy fewer rights than their supposed servants?"

Edward Bernays: -- "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country."

Oscar Wilde: -- "All authority is quite degrading. It degrades those who exercise it, and it degrades those over whom it is exercised... The form of government that is most suitable to the artist is no government at all. High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people."

L. Neil Smith: -- "The first and most important thing to understand about politics is this: forget Right, Left, Center, socialism, fascism, or democracy. Every government that exists -- or ever existed, or ever will exist -- is a kleptocracy, meaning "rule by thieves." Competing ideologies merely provide different excuses to separate the Productive Class from what they produce."

George Bernard Shaw: -- "A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."

Voltaire: -- "In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other."

Mark Twain: -- "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session."

Frederic Bastiat: -- "Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

Max Stirner: -- (edited from The Ego and His Own):

"I no longer humble myself before any supposed "power," and I recognize that all powers are only my power, which I have to subject at once if they threaten to become a power against or above me; each of them must be only one of my means to carry my point, as a hound is my power against game, but is killed by me if it should attack me personally. All "powers" that attempt to dominate me I then reduce to serving me. The idols exist through me; I need only refrain from creating them anew, then they exist no longer; so-called "higher powers" exist only through my exalting them and abasing myself.

Man, your head is haunted; you have idols in your head! You imagine great things, and depict to yourself a whole world of "gods" that has an existence for you, a "spirit-realm" to which you suppose yourself to be called, an "ideal" that beckons to you. You have fixed ideas!

Do not think that I jest or speak figuratively when I regard those persons who cling to the "higher" as veritable fools, fools in a madhouse. The vast majority belongs to this category. What is it, then, that is called a "fixed idea"? An idea to which a man has subjected himself. When you recognize such a fixed idea as folly, you lock its slave up in an asylum. And is the "truth of the faith," say, which we are not to doubt; the "majesty of the people," which we are not to strike at; "virtue," against which the censor is not to let a word pass, so that "morality" may be kept pure -- are these not fixed ideas? Is not all the stupid chatter of most of our newspapers the babble of fools who suffer from the fixed ideas of "morality," "legality," and so forth? Fools who only seem to go about free because the madhouse in which they walk takes in so broad a space?

Touch the fixed idea of such a fool, and you will at once have to guard your back against the lunatic's stealthy malice. These lunatics assail by stealth him who touches their fixed idea. They first steal his weapon -- free speech -- and then they fall upon him with their nails. Every day now lays bare the cowardice and vindictiveness of these maniacs, and the stupid populace hurrahs for their crazy measures. One only has to read today's journals to get the horrible conviction that one is shut up in a house with fools. But I do not fear their curses, and I say, my brothers are arch-fools.

Whether a poor (or rich) fool of this insane asylum is possessed by the fancy that he is "god the father," the "emperor of japan," the "holy spirit," the "president of the usa," or whatnot -- or whether a poor fool in comfortable circumstances conceives his mission as being a "good christian," a "faithful protestant," a "loyal citizen," or a "virtuous man" -- these are all fixed ideas.

Just as the schoolmen philosophized only inside the belief of the church; as "pope" (so-called) Benedict XIV wrote fat books inside the papist superstition, without throwing a single doubt upon these beliefs; as authors fill whole folios on the supposed "state" without calling into question the fixed idea of "the state" itself; as our newspapers are crammed with politics because they are manacled to the fancy that man was created a political zombie - so also "subjects" wallow in "subjection," "virtuous" people in "virtue," and "liberals" in "humanity"; without ever putting to these fixed ideas of theirs the searching knife of criticism. Undislodgeable, like a madman's delusion, those thoughts stand on a firm footing, and he who doubts them - lays hands on the "sacred!" Yes, the fixed idea, that is the truly "sacred"!"

"The decision having once been made not to let oneself be imposed on any longer by the extant and palpable, little scruple was felt about revolting against the existing State or overturning the existing laws; but to sin against the idea of the State, not to submit to the idea of law, who would have dared that?"

Friedrich Nietzsche: -- extracted from Thus Spoke Zarathustra -- Of the New Idol:

"The state? What is that?
The state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies, too; and this lie creeps from its mouth; 'I, the state, am the people.'
Where a people still exists, there the people do not understand the state and hate it as the evil eye and sin against custom and law.
But the state lies in all languages of good and evil; and whatever it says, it lies -- and whatever it has, it has stolen.
Everything about it is false; it bites with stolen teeth. Even its belly is false.

It would like to range heroes and honorable men about it, this new idol! It likes to sun itself in the sunshine of good consciences -- this cold monster!
It will give you everything if you worship it, this new idol: thus it buys for itself the luster of your virtues and the glance of your proud eyes.
Yes, a death for many has here been devised that glorifies itself as life: truly a heart-felt service to all preachers of death!
I call it the state where everyone, good and bad, is a poison-drinker: the state where everyone, good and bad, loses himself: the state where universal slow suicide is called... life."

Friedrich Nietzsche: -- (Ecce Homo):

"All questions of politics, the ordering of society, education have been falsified down to their foundations because the most injurious men have been taken for great men... I do not count these "pre-eminent men" as belonging to mankind at all -- to me, they are the refuse of mankind, abortive offspring of sickness and revengeful instincts: They are nothing but pernicious, fundamentally incurable monsters who take revenge on life..."

Jonathan Swift: -- (A Tale of a Tub: Written for the Universal Improvement of Mankind):

"...[A]t a grand committee, some days ago, this important discovery was made by a certain curious and refined observer; that sea-men have a custom when they met a whale, to fling him out an empty tub, by way of amusement, to divert him from laying violent hands upon the ship. This parable was immediately mythologiz'd: The whale was interpreted to be Hobbe's 'leviathan,' which tosses and plays with all other schemes of religion and government, whereof a great many are hollow, and dry, and empty, and noisy, and wooden, and given to rotation."

Jonathan Swift: -- (Gulliver's Travels):

"...[H]e was at a loss how it should come to pass, that the law, which was intended for every man's preservation, should be any man's ruin. Therefore he desired to be further satisfied what I meant by law, and the dispensers thereof, according to the present practice in my own country; because he thought nature and reason were sufficient guides for a reasonable animal, as we pretended to be, in showing us what he ought to do, and what to avoid."

Although it's obvious to any "reasonable animal" that the notion is absurd that "governments can make laws," do you have the intellectual courage to remove the "law idol" from your mind?

If you do remove the "law idol" from your mind, you may want to be careful about who you tell that you've done so. In particular, it's prudent to realize that there are millions of "lawnuts" out there, some with uniforms and guns!

Don Lancaster: -- (The Incredible Secret Money Machine):

"A "granfalloon" is any large bureaucratic figment of people's imagination. For instance, there's really no such thing as the Feds or the General Veeslefeltzer Corporation. There are a bunch of people out there who relate to each other, and there's some structures, and some paper. In fact, there's lots and lots of paper. The people sit in the structures and pass paper back and forth to each other and charge you to do so... All these people, structures, and paper are real; but nowhere can you point to the larger concept of "government" or "corporation" and say, "There it is, kiddies!" The monolithic, big "they" is all in your mind." (See also "Does the government really exist?")

Kurt Vonnegut: -- (Cat's Cradle):

"If you wish to study a 'granfalloon,' Just remove the skin of a toy balloon."

Timothy Leary: -- (Neuropolitics):

"We have been robot-trained to believe that democracy, as practiced in this country, is something sacred. Everything we have been taught is dangerously wrong... Everything printed in our newspapers is a selective fraud. (I know that you know this, but we have to keep reminding ourselves.)

Timothy Leary:
How to Operate Your Brain

Representative government, as practiced today, is a brief and now outmoded historical phase designed to bridge the period between the rise of national states and the emergence of globe-linking electrical-electronic communication...

Guilt, innocence, punishment, forgiveness, law and order, rehabilitation -- all constitute the mythology that masks the simple reality of badly-wired robots bumping into one another. Most agonizing -- and supposedly intractable -- social problems are caused solely by our ignorance of the brain's capacity for rote repetition and abrupt change.

Brainwashing is happening to all of us all the time. Knowledge of brain function is our only protection against it. The solutions to our predicament are neurological. We must assume responsibility for our nervous systems. Our robothood can remain static if we endlessly repeat the imprints of infancy to adolescence, or it can be drastically altered by brainwashers without our consent, or we can take control of our nervous systems. If we don't assume this personal responsibility, somebody else will; if we do take over the control board, we can each be any person we want to be."

James J. Martin: -- (Introduction to No Treason by Lysander Spooner):

"Since late Neolithic times, men in their political capacity have lived almost exclusively by myths. And these political myths have continued to evolve, proliferate, and grow more complex and intricate even though there has been a steady replacement of one by another, over the centuries. A series of entirely theoretical constructs, sometimes mystical, usually deductive and speculative, they seek to explain the status and relationships in the community since it became discernibly organized politically.

It is the assault upon the abstract and verbal underpinnings of this institution ("the State") which draws blood... those who seek to destroy the abstract/verbal justification for such "play" ...are its most formidable adversaries."

Francis Bacon: -- The Idols of Human Understanding (Novum Organum) (condensed and edited)

"The idols and false notions which are now in possession of the human understanding, and have taken deep root therein, not only so beset men's minds that truth can hardly find entrance, but even after entrance obtained, they will again in the very instauration of the sciences meet and trouble us, unless men being forewarned of the danger, fortify themselves as far as may be possible against their assaults.

There are four classes of idols which beset men's minds. To these, for distinction's sake, I have assigned names:

  1. Idols of the tribe;
  2. Idols of the cave;
  3. Idols of the marketplace;
  4. Idols of the theater.

The idols of the tribe have their foundation in human nature itself, and in the tribe, race, and culture of men. It is a false assertion that the measure of man is the measure of things. On the contrary, all perceptions as well as the sense of the mind are according to the measure of the individual and not according to the measure of the universe. And human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it.

The idols of the cave are the idols of the individual man. Everyone has a cave or a den of his own, which refracts and discolors the light of nature; owing to his personal and peculiar nature; or to his education and conversation with others; or to the reading of books, and the authority of those whom he esteems and admires; or to the differences of impressions, accordingly as they take place in a mind preoccupied and predisposed, or in a mind indifferent and settled; or the like. So that the spirit of man (according as it is meted out to different individuals) is in fact a thing variable and full of perturbation, and governed as it were by chance. Whence it was well observed by Heraclitus that men look for sciences in their own lesser worlds, and not in the greater or common world.

There are also idols formed by the intercourse and association of men with each other, which I call idols of the marketplace, on account of the commerce and consort of men there. For it is by discourse that men associate; and words are imposed according to the apprehension of the vulgar. And therefore the ill and unfit choice of words wonderfully obstructs the understanding.

Lastly, there are idols which have immigrated into men's minds from the various dogmas of philosophies, and also from wrong laws of demonstration. These I call idols of the theater; because in my judgment all the received systems are but so many stage-plays, representing worlds of their own creation after an unreal and scenic fashion."

Freud on Crowds

In Carl Rogers on Personal Power, the author quotes from Sigmund Freud's Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego:

"A group is extraordinarily credulous and open to influence. It has no critical faculty... Anyone who wishes to produce an effect upon it needs no logical adjustment to his arguments; he must paint in the most forcible colors, he must exaggerate, and he must repeat the same thing again and again... It respects force and can only be slightly influenced by kindness, which it regards merely as a form of weakness... It wants to be ruled and oppressed, and to fear its masters... And finally, groups have never thirsted after truth. They demand illusions, and cannot do without them. They constantly give what is unreal precedence over what is real; they are almost as strongly influenced by what is untrue as by what is true. They have an evident tendency not to distinguish between the two... A group is an obedient herd, which could never live without a master. It has such a thirst for obedience that it submits instinctively to anyone who appoints himself as its master."

What Freud describes here are essentially people whose minds have to some degree "snapped into subjective social agreement." This may apply to well over 99% of humans. Freedom activists typically attempt to use reason to appeal to their audience. This may not work very well. If you review some the Obama and McCain election speeches of 2008, you may discover that they used primarily emotional slogans and insults.

Just watch the Maher video. Now imagine a version of this performance that appeals purely to reason, with no humor whatsoever. What would work better?

The Mysterious Stranger:
A Romance
by Mark Twain
-- Satan explains the human race:

I know your race. It is made up of sheep. It is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong; but no matter, the crowd follows it. The vast majority of the race, whether savage or civilized, are secretly kind-hearted and shrink from inflicting pain, but in the presence of the aggressive and pitiless minority they don't dare to assert themselves. Think of it! One kind-hearted creature spies upon another, and sees to it that he loyally helps in iniquities which revolt both of them. Speaking as an expert, I know that ninety-nine out of a hundred of your race were strongly against the killing of witches when that foolishness was first agitated by a handful of pious lunatics in the long ago. And I know that even to-day, after ages of transmitted prejudice and silly teaching, only one person in twenty puts any real heart into harrying a witch. And yet apparently everybody hates witches and wants them killed. Some day a handfull will rise up on the other side and make the most noise -- perhaps even a single daring man with a big voice and a determined front will do it -- and in a week all the sheep will wheel and follow him, and witch-hunting will come to a sudden end.

Monarchies, aristocracies, and religions are all based upon that large defect in your race -- the individual's distrust of his neighbor, and his desire, for safety's or comfort's sake, to stand well in his neighbor's eye. These institutions will always remain, and always flourish, and always oppress you, affront you, and degrade you, because you will always be and remain slaves of minorities. There was never a country where the majority of the people were in their secret hearts loyal to any of these institutions...

Look at you in war -- what mutton you are, and how ridiculous!...

There has never been a just one, never an honorable one -- on the part of the instigator of the war... The loud little handful -- as usual -- will shout for the war. The pulpit will -- warily and cautiously -- object -- at first; the great, big, dull bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there is no necessity for it." Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the other side will argue and reason against the war with speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be applauded; but it will not last long; those others will outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will thin out and lose popularity...

Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

The Lemming Effect

Excerpted from various online sources:

Question Everything!

Socrates taught his students that the pursuit of truth can only begin once they start to question and analyze every belief that they ever held dear. If a certain belief passes the tests of evidence, deduction, and logic, it should be kept. If it doesn't, the belief should not only be discarded, but the thinker must also then question why he was led to believe the erroneous information in the first place. Not surprisingly, this type of teaching didn't sit well with the ruling elite of Greece. Many political leaders throughout history have always sought to mislead the thinking of the masses. Socrates was tried for "subversion" and for "corrupting the youth." He was then forced to take his own life by drinking poison. It's never easy being an independent thinker! Today, our ruling government/media complex doesn't kill people for pursuing the truth about the world (at least not yet!) They simply label them as "extremists" or "paranoid," destroying careers and reputations in the process.

There are of course those who have fallen under the hypnotic spell of the TV talking-heads and "experts" whom they worship as "authority figures." Unaccustomed to thinking for themselves, no amount of truth can sway them from their preconceived prejudices. They will even deny that which they see with their own eyes. They are victims of a psychological affliction known as the "lemming effect."

Lemmings are small rodents that have been known to follow each other as they charge to their deaths into raging rivers or off of cliffs. Lemminghood is an innate psychological phenomenon, present in most mammals and observable in common people as well as the most sophisticated and educated elites. Lemminghood is not an intellectual phenomenon -- it is psychological.

As such, no socio-economic class is immune to its strangulating effect. A grant-seeking university scientist can be a lemming just as much as a fashion obsessed teen-age girl. One blindly follows the latest trendy theory while the other blindly follows the latest trendy clothing style. What's the difference? Neither can resist the force of nature.

The pressure to fit in with one's social peers can be irresistible. To a human lemming, the logic behind an opinion doesn't count as much as the power and popularity behind an opinion.

Man, like lemming, behaves collectively. And it could be no other way. Naturally, the individual must be equipped with this trait. Otherwise, the smallest steps toward civilization could never have been made. Lemminghood is a survival trait, an inborn instinct in the majority of people. However, as with all natural phenomena, this tendency can be manipulated and used for harmful purposes.

It is this lemming effect which enables entire segments of a society to lose their sense of judgment all at the same time.

For lemmings, denial is a basic psychological defense mechanism used to not only shield themselves from unpleasant realities, but also to reassure themselves that they will still fit within the acceptable range of opinion held by their peer group. Lemmings are absolutely terrified at the thought of being labeled as an "extremist" or a "conspiracy theorist."

At all costs, their beliefs must always be on the "right" side of the issue and conform within the boundaries of their lemming peers. Lemmings simply cannot bear the burden of responsibility, or the discomfort, which comes with thinking independently. They'll resist any efforts to change their misguided beliefs with all their mental energy.

We can try to open their closed minds and free them from their self-imposed blindness, but it's not easy fighting the force of human nature. The chains of ideological conformity have too strong of a grip, and breaking them is a difficult task. With the limited resources at our disposal, it is next to impossible to compete with the media lemming-masters. Nevertheless, some of us must make the meager attempt, and thus lay the foundation upon which the truth might one day rise again.

Take off Your Citizen Mask!

Claude Steiner: -- (Scripts People Live):

"Imagine that human beings were, at birth, fitted with a mask which controlled the amount of air that was available to them. This mask would, at first, be left wide open; the child could breathe freely; but at the point at which the child was able to perform certain desired acts, the mask would be gradually closed down, and only opened for periods of time during which the child did whatever the grown-ups around it wanted it to do. Imagine, for instance, that a child was prohibited from manipulating his own air valve and that only other people would have control over it, and that the people allowed to control it would be rigorously specified. A situation of this sort could cause people to be quite responsive to the wishes of those who had control over their air supply; if punishment were severe enough, people would not remove their masks even though the mask might be easily removable.

Occasionally, some people would grow tired of their masks and take them off; but these people would be considered character disorders, criminals, foolish, or reckless. People would be quite willing to do considerable work and expend much effort to guarantee a continuous supply of air. Those who did not work and expend such effort would be cut off, would not be permitted to breathe freely, and would not be given enough air to live in an adequate way.

People who openly advocated taking off the masks would justifiably be accused of undermining the very fiber of the society which constructed these masks, for as people removed them, they would no longer be responsive to the many expectations and demands on them. Instead, these people would seek selfish, self-satisfying modes of life and relationships which could easily exclude a great deal of activity valued and even needed by a society based on the wearing of such masks. "Mask removers" would be seen as a threat to the society, and would probably be viciously dealt with. In an air-hungry but otherwise "free-wheeling" society, air substitutes could be sold at high prices, and individuals could, for a fee, sell clever circumventions of the anti-breathing rules."

"The only way you can control anybody is to lie to them."
-- L. Ron Hubbard

Legal Scholar Lysander Spooner Exposes the Pretended "U.S. Constitution" as a Hoax, Fraud, and Scam!

Quoted from No Treason No. I and No. VI, The Constitution of No Authority (1870) [emphases added]:

"...[T]wo men have no more natural right to exercise any kind of authority over one, than one has to exercise the same authority over two. A man's natural rights are his own, against the whole world; and any infringement of them is equally a crime, whether committed by one man, or by millions; whether committed by one man, calling himself a robber, (or by any other name indicating his true character), or by millions, calling themselves a government... Clearly all this is the work of force, or fraud, or both... The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between persons now existing... Those persons, if any, who did give their consent formally, are all dead now. Most of them have been dead forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years. And the constitution, so far as it was their contract, died with them... The proceedings of those robbers and murderers, who call themselves "the government"... The "nations," as they are called, with whom our pretended ambassadors, secretaries, presidents, and senators profess to make treaties, are as much myths as our own... Certainly, too, there is in existence no such firm, corporation, or association as "the United States," or "the people of the United States," formed by any open, written, or other authentic and voluntary contract... The lesson taught by all these facts is this: As long as mankind continue to pay "National Debts," so-called --- that is, so long as they are such dupes and cowards as to pay for being cheated, plundered, enslaved, and murdered --- so long there will be enough to lend the money for those purposes; and with that money a plenty of tools, called soldiers, can be hired to keep them in subjection. But when they refuse any longer to pay for being thus cheated, plundered, enslaved, and murdered, they will cease to have cheats, and usurpers, and robbers, and murderers and blood-money loan-mongers for masters. ...Inasmuch as the Constitution was never signed, nor agreed to, by anybody, as a contract, and therefore never bound anybody, and is now binding upon nobody; and is, moreover, such an one as no people can ever hereafter be expected to consent to, except as they may be forced to do so at the point of the bayonet, it is perhaps of no importance what its true legal meaning, as a contract, is. Nevertheless, the writer thinks it proper to say that, in his opinion, the Constitution is no such instrument as it has generally been assumed to be; but that by false interpretations, and naked usurpations, the government has been made in practice a very widely, and almost wholly, different thing from what the Constitution itself purports to authorize. He has heretofore written much, and could write much more, to prove that such is the truth. But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain --- that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist."

Potential Action Based on Lysander Spooner Surveys

Lysander Spooner (January 19, 1808 - May 14, 1887) "[W]as an American individualist anarchist, entrepreneur, political philosopher, abolitionist, and legal theorist of the 19th century." A Lysander Spooner website is maintained by Randy E. Barnett, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory, Georgetown University Law Center. On 9/19/07 there was a poll on the home page with the following results:

Do you agree with Spooner that the U.S. Constitution is without Authority?

Yes    - 61.8% - 21,247
No     - 24.7% -  8,501
Unsure - 13.5% -  4,648
Total:           34,397

Statistics for surveys on the Spooner site as of 12/12/07:

Do you agree with Spooner that the Constitution is without Authority? (Numbers on 12/12/07)

Yes    - 61.8% - 21,437
No     - 24.7% -  8,570
Unsure - 13.5% -  4,685
Total:           34,693

Do you agree with Spooner that government should not have a monopoly on the production of money?

Yes    - 71.2% - 1,608
No     - 15.8% -   356
Unsure - 13%   -   294
Total:           2,260

Do you agree with Spooner that authors and inventors obtain property rights in their ideas?

Yes    - 52.4% -   804
No     - 27%   -   415
Unsure - 20.6% -   316
Total:         - 1,537

Do you agree with Spooner that the postal monopoly is unconstitutional?

Yes    - 72.4% - 1,332
No     - 14.6% -   269
Unsure - 13%   -   240
Total:         - 1,843

Do you agree with Spooner that slavery was unconstitutional before the 13th Amendment?

Yes    - 80.1% - 2,344
No     - 11.4% -   334
Unsure -  8.5% -   248
Total:         - 2,928

We assume that Barnett maintains his Lysander Spooner website because he has a high regard for Spooner's writings and he therefore encourages others to read them. We wonder if Barnett agrees with the implications of Spooner's writings, particularly No Treason No. I and No. VI, The Constitution of No Authority (1870) -- partially quoted above.

"...[P]retended ambassadors, secretaries, presidents, and senators, ...robbers and murderers, who call themselves "the government."

"...[C]heats, and usurpers, and robbers, and murderers and blood-money loan-mongers for masters."

"...[S]uch dupes and cowards... [who] pay for being cheated, plundered, enslaved, and murdered."

Assuming that Spooner's "Constitution of No Authority" is correct, would it be reasonable to conclude that the entire "US Governmentologist system" is a fake, a fraud, a scam, and a hoax?

Would it also be resonable conclude that if Spooner is correct, then it would be absurd to believe that the Governmentologist "usurpers, robbers, and murderers" can make so-called "laws?"

We wonder how many people, after reading Spooner's No Treason No. VI: The Constitution of No Authority, still believe that the Governmentologist "usurpers, robbers, and murderers" can make so-called "laws?" -- and how many realize it's just a silly superstition?

We also wonder if, when Professor Barnett teaches "constitutional law" he does so with an inward smile or with his fingers crossed behind his back? Does he agree with Spooner and therefore think that in reality there's no such thing as "constitutional law?" -- just another part of the hoax? Or does he think Spooner got it all wrong? We find it very interesting that in the above polls, 21,000+ people (61.8% of respondents) thought Spooner got it right!

Barnett is a Senior Fellow of the Cato Institute -- a libertarian-leaning think tank. Spooner is well known among libertarians. In January 2004, Laissez Faire Books (a libertarian publisher) established the Lysander Spooner Award for advancing the literature of liberty.

According to the above polls, 21,000+ people (61.8% of respondents) had "agreed with Spooner that the U.S. Constitution is without Authority," i.e., a fake, a fraud, a scam, and a hoax. Now, how many of these 21,000+ people would go further and agree that, "If the U.S. Constitution is without authority," then the entire "US Governmentologist system" must be a hoax, and the idea that Governmentologist "usurpers, robbers, and murderers make laws" must be absurd?

It may depend on how many, and to what extent, the 21,247 are still intellectually trapped Citizens of Civilization -- for how many of them their logic continues to be trumped (overridden) by "subjective social agreement."

If a thousand of the 21,000+ (less than 5%) were to make a special attempt to expose the Governmentologist hoax -- for example, by posting videos to that effect on YouTube, Google, Yahoo, etc. -- would they have any success? Is it worth creating a political equivalent of "The Blasphemy Challenge?".


Howard Bloom's Lucifer Principle

The following is from the end of the Epilogue of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History by Howard Bloom:

"Superorganisms ["family," "tribe," "country," "nation," "state," "government," etc.], ideas ["killer memes"], and the pecking order -- the triad of human evil -- are not inventions "programmed" into us by Western society, consumerism, capitalism, television violence, blood-and-guts films, or rock and roll. They are built into our physiology. They have been with us since the dawn of the human race.

But there is hope that we may be able someday free ourselves of savagery. To our species, evolution has given something new -- the imagination. With that gift, we have dreamed of peace. Our task -- perhaps the only one that will save us -- is to turn what we have dreamed into reality. To fashion a world where violence ceases to be. If we can accomplish this goal, we may yet escape our fate as highly precocious offspring, as fitting inheritors of nature's highest gift and foulest curse, as the ultimate children of the Lucifer Principle."

The main idea of Personal Power & Freedom Engineering is to persuade individuals to:

  1. Regain the ability they were born with to use their senses to discern reality (rather than "subjective social agreement").
  2. Gain an advanced understanding of the dynamics of supposed "superorganisms" imagined or hallucinated by proto-conscious Citizens of Civilizations;
  3. Identify the relevant killer memes and understand their operation and consequences;
  4. Free themselves as far as possible from the unconscious acting out of Pecking Order Bully Systems (POBSs);
  5. Perform "garbage removal" from their minds, particularly pertaining to religion and politics;
  6. Improve their thinking skills;
  7. Become more conscious.

The process of individuals qualifying themselves as Personal Power & Freedom Engineers begins with Project "Learn to Think!" and continues with the suggestions on this page.

If several individuals can be persuaded to qualify themselves as Personal Power & Freedom Engineers, it may be possible to form one or more PPFE Teams who start taking practical steps to "fashion a world where violence ceases to be" (Bloom).

The following are extracts from Bloom's The Lucifer Principle [with some comments added]:

  • ...Daniel Goleman, paraphrasing Nietzsche, says, "Madness... is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups."
  • The ultimate evils are the mass murders that occur in revolutions and war, the large-scale savageries that arise when one agglomeration of humans tries to dominate another: the deeds of the social group.
  • ...[H]ow we, without the slightest sense of what the long-term results of our miniscule actions may be, contribute to the social organism's ponderous and sometimes earth shattering deeds. ...[H]ow, in our preoccupations with sex, our sometimes suicidal commitment to ideas, religions, and trivial details of cultural style, we become the unconscious creators of the social organism's exploits.
  • ...[H]umans are driven by many of the same instincts as our primate relatives.
  • Toward those beyond their tiny circle, they radiated only hatred. And they treated those they despised with remorseless brutality. [See The Monkeysphere.]
  • The reptile brain still sits inside our skull like the pit at the center of a peach. It is a vigorous participant in our mental affairs, pumping its primitive, instinctual orders to us at all hours of the day and night... The thinking human, no matter how exalted his sentiments, was still listening to the voices of a demanding reptile and a chattering ancient mammal. Both were speaking to him from the depths of his own skull.
  • Darwin saw competition taking place at several levels, including that which occurs between individuals and that which occurs between gropus. When discussing ants, he acknowledged that evolution could easily induce individuals to sarifice their self-interest to that of the larger social unit. In his later writings, he proposed that a similar process occurs among human beings.
  • ...[P]redators almost invariably go for a herd animal that is acting differently from the rest.
  • Like the sponge cells and the slime mold amoebas, you and I are parts of a vast population whose pooled efforts move some larger creature on its path through life. Like the sponge cells, we cannot live in total separation from the human clump. We are components of a superorganism.
  • Remove the sponge cell from the sponge, prevent it from finding its way back to its brethern, and it dies.
  • There are innumerable causes for frustration in human life. But the inability to fulfill one's potential is way up there on the list... Frustration... breeds rage. [See The 4-Step Anger Cure.]
  • Leaders like Orville Faubus [governor of Arkansas from 1955 to 1967] and Fidel Castro have skillfully manipulated a few basic rules of human nature: that every tribe regards outsiders as fair game; that every society gives permission to hate; that each culture dresses the demon of its hatred in the garb of righteousness; and that the man who channels this hatred can rouse the suprorganism and lead it around by the nose.
  • Memes stretch their tendrils through the fabric of each human brain, driving us to coagulate in the cooperative masses of family, tribe, and nation. And memes -- working together in theories, worldviews, or cultures -- can make a superorganism very hungry.
  • If you can convince enough people of your worldview, no matter how wrong you are, you're right! The real significance of a meme is its power to pull together a superorganism.
  • Why are humans drawn to ideas like filings to a magnet? Why do memes have the power to create, elevate, pacify, and kill?
  • Control is extremely powerful stuf... Contol, in humans and rats, energizes the mind. A lack of control can cripple mental powers.
  • This belief in magic is one clue to our need for memes. Religious and scientific schemes -- clusters of guesswork that sometimes seem like a madman's dreams -- offer the feeling of control, an indispensable fuel for the physiological powerhouses of life.
  • ...[M]odern doctors sell the illusion of control. [See Beware Medical Scams -- Take Control of Your Health.]
  • The memes of magic, medicine, medieval Christianity, and modern fundamentalism offer an illusion that duplicates the health-giving force that saved a rat in a cage from harm. They hold out the illusion of power over the shocks and pains of life. [Does this also apply to the memes of politics?]
  • Our cultures... are our collective fantasies about the worlds we cannot see [emphasis added]. They are tapestries of memes. [PPEs understand that the apparent "existence" of so-called "superorganisms" is due to the collective imaginations and/or hallucinations of proto-conscious Citizens of Civilizations.]
  • Humans grab at ideas [memes] because ideas knit them together in groups of people who agree with them. They provide the comfort of companionship and mutual aid. That's one way memes seduce humans into their power.
  • The pecking order can determine whether you live or die.
  • The struggle for position in a pecking order is not restricted to individuals. It also hits social groups... -- the pecking order of superoganisms.
  • A web of memes justifies the subjugation of those on the bottom, upholds the power of those on top... It sanctifies the pecking order.
  • Never be complacent about barbarians.
  • Stripped of their moral disguises, the slogans of freedom, peace, and justice are often weapons that those attempting to achieve hierarchical superiority use to stuff the rest of us into the lower ranks of the pecking order.

Some Important Statistics

Can the following charts be regarded as indicators of a descent into deeper mediocrity by the average so-called "American Citizen," and the decline of the so-called "American Empire?" And what about the gradual destruction of the so-called "US$?" Does this make it potentially useful to create and provide alternative currencies?

See also Grandfather Economic Report.

The more they spend on "education," the less productive it becomes!

War Making and State Making as Organized Crime

by Charles Tilly

Continued -- for beginning of article,
Click Here

The Third World of the twentieth century does not greatly resemble Europe of the sixteenth or seventeenth century. In no simple sense can we read the future of Third World countries from the pasts of European countries. Yet a thoughtful exploration of European experience will serve us well. It will show us that coercive exploitation played a large part in the creation of the European states. It will show us that popular resistance to coercive exploitation forced would-be power holders to concede protection and constraints on their own action. It will therefore help us to eliminate faulty implicit comparisons between today's Third World and yesterday's Europe. That clarification will make it easier to understand exactly how today's world is different and what we therefore have to explain. It may even help us to explain the current looming presence of military organization and action throughout the world. Although that result would delight me, I do not promise anything so grand.

This essay, then, concerns the place of organized means of violence in the growth and change of those peculiar forms of government we call national states: relatively centralized, differentiated organizations the officials of which more or less successfully claim control over the chief concentrated means of violence within a population inhabiting a large, contiguous territory. The argument grows from historical work on the formation of national states in Western Europe, especially on the growth of the French state from 1600 onward. But it takes several deliberate steps away from that work, wheels, and stares hard at it from theoretical ground. The argument brings with it few illustrations and no evidence worthy of the name.

Just as one repacks a hastily filled rucksack after a few days on the trail -- throwing out the waste, putting things in order of importance, and balancing the load -- I have repacked my theoretical baggage for the climb to come; the real test of the new packing arrives only with the next stretch of the trail. The trimmed-down argument stresses the interdependence of war making and state making and the analogy between both of those processes and what, when less successful and smaller in scale, we call organized crime. War makes states, I shall claim. Banditry, piracy, gangland rivalry, policing, and war making all belong on the same continuum -- that I shall claim as well. For the historically limited period in which national states were becoming the dominant organizations in Western countries, I shall also claim that mercantile capitalism and state making reinforced each other.

Double-Edged Protection

In contemporary American parlance, the word "protection" sounds two contrasting tones. One is comforting, the other ominous. With one tone, "protection" calls up images of the shelter against danger provided by a powerful friend, a large insurance policy, or a sturdy roof. With the other, it evokes the racket in which a local strong man forces merchants to pay tribute in order to avoid damage -- damage the strong man himself threatens to deliver. The difference, to be sure, is a matter of degree: A hell-and-damnation priest is likely to collect contributions from his parishioners only to the extent that they believe his predictions of brimstone for infidels; our neighborhood mobster may actually be, as he claims to be, a brothel's best guarantee of operation free of police interference.

Which image the word "protection" brings to mind depends mainly on our assessment of the reality and eternality of the threat. Someone who produces both the danger and, at a price, the shield against it is a racketeer. Someone who provides a needed shield but has little control over the danger's appearance qualifies as a legitimate protector, especially if his price is no higher than his competitors.' Someone who supplies reliable, low-priced shielding both from local racketeers and from outside marauders makes the best offer of all.

Apologists for particular governments and for government in general commonly argue, precisely, that they offer protection from local and external violence. They claim that the prices they charge barely cover the costs of protection. They call people who complain about the price of protection "anarchists," "subversives," or both at once. But consider the definition of a racketeer as someone who creates a threat and then charges for its reduction. Governments' provision of protection, by this standard, often qualifies as racketeering. To the extent that the threats against which a given government protects its citizens are imaginary or are consequences of its own activities, the government has organized a protection racket. Since governments themselves commonly simulate, stimulate, or even fabricate threats of external war and since the repressive and extractive activities of governments often constitute the largest current threats to the livelihoods of their own citizens, many governments operate in essentially the same ways as racketeers. There is, of course, a difference: Racketeers, by the conventional definition, operate without the sanctity of governments.

How do racketeer governments themselves acquire authority? As a question of fact and of ethics, that is one of the oldest conundrums of political analysis. Back to Machiavelli and Hobbes, nevertheless, political observers have recognized that, whatever else they do, governments organize and, wherever possible, monopolize violence. It matters little whether we take violence in a narrow sense, such as damage to persons and objects, or in a broad sense, such as violation of people's desires and interests; by either criterion, governments stand out from other organizations by their tendency to monopolize the concentrated means of violence. The distinction between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" force, furthermore, makes no difference to the fact. If we take legitimacy to depend on conformity to an abstract principle or on the assent of the governed (or both at once), these conditions may serve to justify, perhaps even to explain, the tendency to monopolize force; they do not contradict the fact.

In any case, Arthur Stinchcombe's agreeably cynical treatment of legitimacy serves the purposes of political analysis much more efficiently. Legitimacy, according to Stinchcombe, depends rather little on abstract principle or assent of the governed: "The person over whom power is exercised is not usually as important as other power-holders."1 Legitimacy is the probability that other authorities will act to confirm the decisions of a given authority. Other authorities, I would add, are much more likely to confirm the decisions of a challenged authority that controls substantial force; not only fear of retaliation, but also desire to maintain a stable environment recommend that general rule. The rule underscores the importance of the authority's monopoly of force. A tendency to monopolize the means of violence makes a government's claim to provide protection, in either the comforting or the ominous sense of the word, more credible and more difficult to resist.

Frank recognition of the central place of force in governmental activity does not require us to believe that governmental authority rests "only" or "ultimately" on the threat of violence. Nor does it entail the assumption that a government's only service is protection. Even when a government's use of force imposes a large cost, some people may well decide that the government's other services outbalance the costs of acceding to its monopoly of violence. Recognition of the centrality of force opens the way to an understanding of the growth and change of governmental forms.

Here is a preview of the most general argument: Power holders' pursuit of war involved them willy-nilly in the extraction of resources for war making from the populations over which they had control and in the promotion of capital accumulation by those who could help them borrow and buy. War making, extraction, and capital accumulation interacted to shape European state making. Power holders did not undertake those three momentous activities with the intention of creating national states -- centralized, differentiated, autonomous, extensive political organizations. Nor did they ordinarily foresee that national states would emerge from war making, extraction, and capital accumulation.

Instead, the people who controlled European states and states in the making warred in order to check or overcome their competitors and thus to enjoy the advantages of power within a secure or expanding territory. To make more effective war, they attempted to locate more capital. In the short run, they might acquire that capital by conquest, by selling off their assets, or by coercing or dispossessing accumulators of capital. In the long run, the quest inevitably involved them in establishing regular access to capitalists who could supply and arrange credit and in imposing one form of regular taxation or another on the people and activities within their spheres of control.

As the process continued, state makers developed a durable interest in promoting the accumulation of capital, sometimes in the guise of direct return to their own enterprises. Variations in the difficulty of collecting taxes, in the expense of the particular kind of armed force adopted, in the amount of war making required to hold off competitors, and so on resulted in the principal variations in the forms of European states. It all began with the effort to monopolize the means of violence within a delimited territory adjacent to a power holder's base.

Violence and Government

What distinguished the violence produced by states from the violence delivered by anyone else? In the long; run, enough to make the division between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" force credible. Eventually, the personnel of states purveyed violence on a larger scale, more effectively, more efficiently, with wider assent from their subject populations, and with readier collaboration from neighboring authorities than did the personnel of other organizations. But it took a long time for that series of distinctions to become established. Early in the state-making process, many parties shared the right to use violence, the practice of using it routinely to accomplish their ends, or both at once. The continuum ran from bandits and pirates to kings via tax collectors, regional power holders, and professional soldiers.

The uncertain, elastic line between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" violence appeared in the upper reaches of power. Early in the state-making process, many parties shared the right to use violence, its actual employment, or both at once. The long love-hate affair between aspiring state makers and pirates or bandits illustrates the division. "Behind piracy or the seas acted cities and city-states," writes Fernand Braudel of the sixteenth century. "Behind banditry, that terrestrial piracy, appeared the continual aid of lords."2 In times of war, indeed, the managers of full-fledged states often commissioned privateers, hired sometime bandits to raid their enemies, and encouraged their regular troops to take booty. In royal service, soldiers and sailors were often expected to provide for themselves by preying on the civilian population: commandeering, raping, looting, taking prizes. When demobilized, they commonly continued the same practices, but without the same royal protection; demobilized ships became pirate vessels, demobilized troops bandits.

It also worked the other way: A king's best source of armed supporters was sometimes the world of outlaws. Robin Hood's conversion to royal archer may be a myth, but the myth records a practice. The distinctions between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" users of violence came clear only very slowly, in the process during which the states armed forces became relatively unified and permanent.

Up to that point, as Braudel says, maritime cities and terrestrial lords commonly offered protection, or even sponsorship, to freebooters. Many lords who did not pretend to be kings, furthermore, successfully claimed the right to levy troops and maintain their own armed retainers. Without calling on some of those lords to bring their armies with them, no king could fight a war; yet the same armed lords constituted the king's rivals and opponents, his enemies' potential allies. For that reason, before the seventeenth century, regencies for child sovereigns reliably produced civil wars. For the same reason, disarming the great stood high on the agenda of every would-be state maker.

The Tudors, for example, accomplished that agenda through most England. "The greatest triumph of the Tudors," writes Lawrence Stone, was the ultimately successful assertion of a royal monopoly of violence both public and private, an achievement which profoundly altered not only the nature of politics but also the quality of daily life. There occurred a change in English habits that can only be compared with the further step taken in the nineteenth century, when the growth of a police force finally consolidated the monopoly and made it effective in the greatest cities and the smallest villages.3

Tudor demilitarization of the great lords entailed four complementary campaigns: eliminating their great personal bands of armed retainers, razing their fortresses, taming their habitual resort to violence for the settlement of disputes, and discouraging the cooperation of their dependents and tenants. In the Marches of England and Scotland, the task was more delicate, for the Percys and Dacres, who kept armies and castles along the border, threatened the Crown but also provided a buffer against Scottish invaders. Yet they, too, eventually fell into line.

In France, Richelieu began the great disarmament in the 1620s. With Richelieu's advice, Louis XIII systematically destroyed the castles of the great rebel lords, Protestant and Catholic, against whom his forces battled incessantly. He began to condemn dueling, the carrying of lethal weapons, and the maintenance of private armies. By the later 1620s, Richelieu was declaring the royal monopoly of force as doctrine. The doctrine took another half-century to become effective.

Once more the conflicts of the Fronde had witnessed armies assembled by the "grands." Only the last of the regencies, the one after the death of Louis XIV, did not lead to armed uprisings. By that time Richelieu's principle had become a reality. Likewise in the Empire after the Thirty Years' War only the territorial princes had the right of levying troops and of maintaining fortresses... Everywhere the razing of castles, the high cost of artillery, the attraction of court life, and the ensuing domestication of the nobility had its share in this development.4

By the later eighteenth century, through most of Europe, monarchs controlled permanent, professional military forces that rivaled those of their neighbors and far exceeded any other organized armed force within their own territories. The state's monopoly of large-scale violence was turning from theory to reality.

The elimination of local rivals, however, posed a serious problem. Beyond the scale of a small city-state, no monarch could govern a population with his armed force alone, nor could any monarch afford to create a professional staff large and strong enough to reach from him to the ordinary citizen. Before quite recently, no European government approached the completeness of articulation from top to bottom achieved by imperial China. Even the Roman Empire did not come close. In one way or another, every European government before the French Revolution relied on indirect rule via local magnates. The magnates collaborated with the government without becoming officials in any strong sense of the term, had some access to government-backed force, and exercised wide discretion within their own territories: junkers, justices of the peace, lords. Yet the same magnates were potential rivals, possible allies of a rebellious people.

Eventually, European governments reduced their reliance on indirect rule by means of two expensive but effective strategies: (a) extending their officialdom to the local community and (b) encouraging the creation of police forces that were subordinate to the government rather than to individual patrons, distinct from war-making forces, and therefore less useful as the tools of dissident magnates. In between, however, the builders of national power all played a mixed strategy: eliminating, subjugating, dividing, conquering, cajoling, buying as the occasions presented themselves. The buying manifested itself in exemptions from taxation, creations of honorific offices, the establishment of claims on the national treasury, and a variety of other devices that made a magnate's welfare dependent on the maintenance of the existing structure of power. In the long run, it all came down to massive pacification and monopolization of the means of coercion.

Protection as Business

In retrospect, the pacification, cooptation, or elimination of fractious rivals to the sovereign seems an awesome, noble, prescient enterprise, destined to bring peace to a people; yet it followed almost ineluctably from the logic of expanding power. If a power holder was to gain from the provision of protection, his competitors had to yield. As economic historian Frederic Lane put it twenty-five years ago, governments are in the business of selling protection... whether people want it or not. Lane argued that the very activity of producing and controlling violence favored monopoly, because competition within that realm generally raised costs, instead of lowering them. The production of violence, he suggested, enjoyed large economies of scale.

Working from there, Lane distinguished between (a) the monopoly profit, or tribute, coming to owners of the means of producing violence as a result of the difference between production costs and the price exacted from "customers" and (b) the protection rent accruing to those customers -- for example, merchants -- who drew effective protection against outside competitors. Lane, a superbly attentive historian of Venice, allowed specifically for the case of a government that generates protection rents for its merchants by deliberately attacking their competitors. In their adaptation of Lane's scheme, furthermore, Edward Ames and Richard Rapp substitute the apt word "extortion" for Lane's "tribute." In this model, predation, coercion, piracy, banditry, and racketeering share a home with their upright cousins in responsible government.

This is how Lane's model worked: If a prince could create a sufficient armed force to hold off his and his subjects' external enemies and to keep the subjects in line for 50 megapounds but was able to extract 75 megapounds in taxes from those subjects for that purpose, he gained a tribute of (75-50=) 25 megapounds. If the 10-pound share of those taxes paid by one of the prince's merchant-subjects gave hire assured access to world markets at less than the 15-pound shares paid by the merchant's foreign competitors to their princes, the merchant also gained a protection rent of (15 -10 =) 5 pounds by virtue of his prince's greater efficiency. That reasoning differs only in degree and in scale from the reasoning of violence-wielding criminals and their clients. Labor racketeering (in which, for example, a ship owner holds off trouble from longshoremen by means of a timely payment to the local union boss) works on exactly the same principle: The union boss receives tribute for his no-strike pressure on the longshoremen, while the ship owner avoids the strikes and slowdowns longshoremen impose on his competitors.

Lane pointed out the different behavior we might expect of the managers of a protection-providing government owned by

  1. Citizens in general
  2. A single self-interested monarch
  3. The managers themselves

If citizens in general exercised effective ownership of the government -- a distant ideal! -- we might expect the managers to minimize protection costs and tribute, thus maximizing protection rent. A single self-interested monarch, in contrast, would maximize tribute, set costs so as to accomplish that maximization of tribute, and be indifferent to the level of protection rent. If the managers owned the government, they would tend to keep costs high by maximizing their own wages, to maximize tribute over and above those costs by exacting a high price from their subjects, and likewise to be indifferent to the level of protection rent. The first model approximates a Jeffersonian democracy, the second a petty despotism, and the third a military junta.

Lane did not discuss the obvious fourth category of owner: a dominant class. If he had, his scheme would have yielded interesting empirical criteria for evaluating claims that a given government was "relatively autonomous" or strictly subordinate to the interests of a dominant class. Presumably, a subordinate government would tend to maximize monopoly profits -- returns to the dominant class resulting from the difference between the costs of protection and the price received for it -- as well as tuning protection rents nicely to the economic interests of the dominant class. An autonomous government, in contrast, would tend to maximize managers' wages and its own size as well and would be indifferent to protection rents. Lane's analysis immediately suggests fresh propositions and ways of testing them.

Lane also speculated that the logic of the situation produced four successive stages in the general history of capitalism:

  1. A period of anarchy and plunder
  2. A stage in which tribute takers attracted customers and established their monopolies by struggling to create exclusive, substantial states
  3. A stage in which merchants and landlords began to gain more from protection rents than governors did from tribute
  4. A period (fairly recent) in which technological changes surpassed protection rents as sources of profit for entrepreneurs

In their new economic history of the Western world, Douglass North and Robert Paul Thomas make stages 2 and 3 -- those in which state makers created their monopolies of force and established property rights that permitted individuals to capture much of the return from their own growth-generating innovations -- the pivotal moment for sustained economic growth. Protection, at this point, overwhelms tribute. If we recognize that the protected property rights were mainly those of capital and that the development of capitalism also facilitated the accumulation of the wherewithal to operate massive states, that extension of Lane's analysis provides a good deal of insight into the coincidence of war making, state making, and capital accumulation.

Unfortunately, Lane did not take full advantage of his own insight. Wanting to contain his analysis neatly within the neoclassical theory of industrial organization, Lane cramped his treatment of protection: treating all taxpayers as "customers" for the "service" provided by protection-manufacturing governments, brushing aside the objections to the idea of a forced sale by insisting that the "customer" always had the choice of not paying and taking the consequences of nonpayment, minimizing the problems of divisibility created by the public-goods character of protection, and deliberately neglecting the distinction between the costs of producing the means of violence in general and the costs of giving "customers" protection by means of that violence. Lane's ideas suffocate inside the neoclassical box .end breathe easily outside it. Nevertheless, inside or outside, they properly draw the economic analysis of government back to the chief activities that real governments have carried on historically: war, repression, protection, adjudication.

More recently, Richard Bean has applied a similar logic to the rise of European national states between 1400 and 1600. He appeals to economies of scale in the production of effective force, counteracted by diseconomies of scale in command and control. He then claims that the improvement of artillery in the fifteenth century (cannon made small medieval forts much more vulnerable to an organized force) shifted the curve of economies and diseconomies to make larger armies, standing armies, and centralized governments advantageous to their masters. Hence, according to Bean, military innovation promoted the creation of large, expensive, well-armed national states.

History Talks

Bean's summary does not stand up to historical scrutiny. As a matter of practice, the shift to infantry-backed artillery sieges of fortified cities occurred only during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Artillery did improve during the fifteenth century, but the invention of new fortifications, especially the trace italienne, rapidly countered the advantage of artillery. The arrival of effective artillery came too late to have caused the increase in the viable size of states. (However, the increased cost of fortifications to defend against artillery did give an advantage to states enjoying larger fiscal bases.)

Nor is it obvious that changes in land war had the sweeping influence Bean attributes to them. The increasing decisiveness of naval warfare, which occurred simultaneously, could well have shifted the military advantage to small maritime powers such as the Dutch Republic. Furthermore, although many city-states and other microscopic entities disappeared into larger political units before 1600, such events as the fractionation of the Habsburg Empire and such facts as the persistence of large but loosely knit Poland and Russia render ambiguous the claim of a significant increase in geographic scale. In short, both Bean's proposed explanation and his statement of what must be explained raise historical doubts.

Stripped of its technological determinism, nevertheless, Bean's logic provides a useful complement to Lane's, for different military formats do cost substantially different amounts to produce and do provide substantially different ranges of control over opponents, domestic and foreign. After 1400 the European pursuit of larger, more permanent, and more costly varieties of military organization did, in fact, drive spectacular increases in princely budgets, taxes, and staffs. After 1500 or so, princes who managed to create the costly varieties of military organization were, indeed, able to conquer new chunks of territory.

The word "territory" should not mislead us. Until the eighteenth century, the greatest powers were maritime states, and naval warfare remained crucial to international position. Consider Fernand Braudel's roll call of successive hegemonic powers within the capitalist world: Venice and its empire, Genoa and its empire, Antwerp-Spain, Amsterdam-Holland, LondonEngland, New York-the United States. Although Brandenburg-Prussia offers a partial exception, only in our own time have such essentially land-bound states as Russia and China achieved preponderant positions in the world's system of states. Naval warfare was by no means the only reason for that bias toward the sea. Before the later nineteenth century, land transportation was so expensive everywhere in Europe that no country could afford to supply a large army or a big city with grain and other heavy goods without having efficient water transport. Rulers fed major inland centers such as Berlin and Madrid only at great effort and at considerable cost to their hinterlands. The exceptional efficiency of waterways in the Netherlands undoubtedly gave the Dutch great advantages at peace and at war.

Access to water mattered in another important way. Those metropolises on Braudel's list were all major ports, great centers of commerce, and outstanding mobilizers of capital. Both the trade and the capital served the purposes of ambitious rulers. By a circuitous route, that observation brings us back to the arguments of Lane and Bean. Considering that both of them wrote as economic historians, the greatest weakness in their analyses comes as a surprise: Both of them understate the importance of capital accumulation to military expansion. As Jan de Vries says of the period after 1600.

Looking back, one cannot help but be struck by the seemingly symbiotic relationship existing between the state, military power, and the private economy's efficiency in the age of absolutism. Behind every successful dynasty stood an array of opulent banking families. Access to such bourgeois resources proved crucial to the princes' state-building and centralizing policies. Princes also needed direct access to agricultural resources, which could be mobilized only when agricultural productivity grew and an effective administrative and military power existed to enforce the princes' claims. But the lines of causation also ran in the opposite direction. Successful statebuilding and empire-building activities plus the associated tendency toward concentration of urban population and government expenditure, offered the private economy unique and invaluable opportunities to capture economies of scale. These economies of scale occasionally affected industrial production but were most significant in the development of trade and finance. In addition, the sheer pressure of central government taxation did as much as any other economic force to channel peasant production into the market and thereby augment the opportunities for trade creation and economic specialization.5

Nor does the "symbiotic relationship" hold only for the period after 1600. For the precocious case of France, we need only consider the increase in royal expenditures and revenues from 1515 to 1785. Although the rates of growth in both regards accelerated appropriately after 1600, they also rose substantially during the sixteenth century. After 1550, the internal Wars of Religion checked the work of international expansion that France had begun earlier in the century, but from the 1620 onward Louis XIII and Louis XIV (aided and abetted, to be sure, by Richelieu, Mazarin, Colbert, and other state-making wizards) resumed the task with a vengeance. "As always," comments V. G. Kiernan, "war had every political recommendation and every financial drawback."6

Borrowing and then paying interest on the debt accounts for much of the discrepancy between the two curves. Great capitalists played crucial parts on both sides of the transaction: as the principal sources of royal credit, especially in the short term, and as the most important contractors in the risky but lucrative business of collecting royal taxes. For this reason, it is worth noticing that for practical purposes the national debt began in the reign of Francis 1. Following the loss of Milan, the key to northern Italy, on September 15, 1522, Francis I borrowed 200,000 francs... at 12.5 percent from the merchants of Paris, to intensify the war against Charles V. Administered by the city government, this loan inaugurated the famous series of bonds based on 7 revenues from the capital and known as rentes sur l'Hotel de Ville.7

(The government's failure to pay those rentes, incidentally, helped align the Parisian bourgeoisie against the Crown during the Fronde, some twelve decades later.) By 1595, the national debt had risen to 300 million francs; despite governmental bankruptcies, currency manipulations, and the monumental rise in taxes, by Louis XIV's death in 1715 war-induced borrowing had inflated the total to about 3 billion francs, the equivalent of about eighteen years in royal revenues.8 War, state apparatus, taxation, and borrowing advanced in tight cadence.

Although France was precocious, it was by no means alone. "Even more than in the case of France," reports the ever-useful Earl J. Hamilton, the national debt of England originated and has grown during major wars. Except for an insignificant carry-over from the Stuarts, the debt began in 1689 with the reign of William and Mary. In the words of Adam Smith, "it was in the war which began in 1688, and was concluded by the treaty of Ryswick in 1697, that the foundation of the present enormous debt of Great Britain was first laid."9

Hamilton, it is true, goes on to quote the mercantilist Charles Davenant, who complained in 1698 that the high interest rates promoted by government borrowing were cramping English trade. Davenant's complaint suggests, however, that England was already entering Frederic Lane's third stage of state-capital relations, when merchants and landowners receive more of the surplus than do the suppliers of protection.

Until the sixteenth century, the English expected their kings to live on revenues from their own property and to levy taxes only for war. G. R. Elton marks the great innovation at Thomas Cromwell's drafting of Henry VIII's subsidy bills for 1534 and 1540: "1540 was very careful to continue the real innovation of 1534, namely that extraordinary contributions could be levied for reasons other than war."10 After that point as before, however, war making provided the main stimulus to increases in the level of taxation as well as of debt. Rarely did debt and taxes recede. What A. T. Peacock and J. Wiseman call a "displacement effect" (and others sometimes call a "ratchet effect") occurred: When public revenues and expenditures rose abruptly during war, they set a new, higher floor beneath which peacetime revenues and expenditures did not sink. During the Napoleonic Wars, British taxes rose from 15 to 24 percent of national income and to almost three times the French level of taxation.11

True, Britain had the double advantage of relying less on expensive land forces than its Continental rivals and of drawing more of its tax revenues from customs and excise -- taxes that were, despite evasion, significantly cheaper to collect than land taxes, property taxes, and poll taxes. Nevertheless, in England as well as elsewhere, both debt and taxes rose enormously from the seventeenth century onward. They rose mainly as a function of the increasing cost of war making.

What Do States Do?

As should now be clear, Lane's analysis of protection fails to distinguish among several different uses of state-controlled violence. Under the general heading of organized violence, the agents of states characteristically carry on four different activities:

  1. War making: Eliminating or neutralizing their own rivals outside the territories in which they have clear and continuous priority as wielders of force
  2. State making: Eliminating or neutralizing their rivals inside those territories
  3. Protection: Eliminating or neutralizing the enemies of their clients
  4. Extraction: Acquiring the means of carrying out the first three activities -- war making, state making, and protection

The third item corresponds to protection as analyzed by Lane, but the other three also involve the application of force. They overlap incompletely and to various degrees; for example, war making against the commercial rivals of the local bourgeoisie delivers protection to that bourgeoisie. To the extent that a population is divided into enemy classes and the state extends its favors partially to one class or another, state making actually reduces the protection given some classes.

War making, state making, protection, and extraction each take a number of forms. Extraction, for instance, ranges from outright plunder to regular tribute to bureaucratized taxation. Yet all four depend on the state's tendency to monopolize the concentrated means of coercion. From the perspectives of those who dominate the state, each of them -- if carried on effectively -- generally reinforces the others. Thus, a state that successfully eradicates its internal rivals strengthens its ability to extract resources, to wage war, and to protect its chief supporters. In the earlier European experience, broadly speaking, those supporters were typically landlords, armed retainers of the monarch, and churchmen.

Each of the major uses of violence produced characteristic forms of organization. War making yielded armies, navies, and supporting services. State making produced durable instruments of surveillance and control within the territory. Protection relied on the organization of war making and state making but added to it an apparatus by which the protected called forth the protection that was their due, notably through courts and representative assemblies. Extraction brought fiscal and accounting structures into being. The organization and deployment of violence themselves account for much of the characteristic structure of European states.

The general rule seems to have operated like this: The more costly the activity, all other things being equal, the greater was the organizational residue. To the extent, for example, that a given government invested in large standing armies -- a very costly, if effective, means of war making -- the bureaucracy created to service the army was likely to become bulky. Furthermore, a government building a standing army while controlling a small population was likely to incur greater costs, and therefore to build a bulkier structure, than a government within a populous country. Brandenburg-Prussia was the classic case of high cost for available resources. The Prussian effort to build an army matching those of its larger Continental neighbors created an immense structure; it militarized and bureaucratized much of German social life.

In the case of extraction, the smaller the pool of resources and the less commercialized the economy, other things being equal, the more difficult was the work of extracting resources to sustain war and other governmental activities; hence, the more extensive was the fiscal apparatus. England illustrated the corollary of that proposition, with a relatively large and commercialized pool of resources drawn on by a relatively small fiscal apparatus. As Gabriel Ardant has argued, the choice of fiscal strategy probably made an additional difference. On the whole, taxes on land were expensive to collect as compared with taxes on trade, especially large flows of trade past easily controlled checkpoints. Its position astride the entrance to the Baltic gave Denmark an extraordinary opportunity to profit from customs revenues.

With respect to state making (in the narrow sense of eliminating or neutralizing the local rivals of the people who controlled the state), a territory populated by great landlords or by distinct religious groups generally imposed larger costs on a conqueror than one of fragmented power or homogeneous culture. This time, fragmented and homogeneous Sweden, with its relatively small but effective apparatus of control, illustrates the corollary.

Finally, the cost of protection (in the sense of eliminating or neutralizing the enemies of the state makers' clients) mounted with the range over which that protection extended. Portugal's effort to bar the Mediterranean to its merchants' competitors in the spice trade provides a textbook case of an unsuccessful protection effort that nonetheless built up a massive structure.

Thus, the sheer size of the government varied directly with the effort devoted to extraction, state making, protection, and, especially, war making but inversely with the commercialization of the economy and the extent of the resource base. What is more, the relative bulk of different features of the government varied with the cost/resource ratios of extraction, state making, protection, and war making. In Spain we see hypertrophy of Court and courts as the outcome of centuries of effort at subduing internal enemies, whereas in Holland we are amazed to see how small a fiscal apparatus grows up with high taxes within a rich, commercialized economy.

Clearly, war making, extraction, state making, and protection were interdependent. Speaking very, very generally, the classic European statemaking experience followed this causal pattern:

in an idealized sequence, a great lord made war so effectively as to become dominant in a substantial territory, but that war making led to increased extraction of the means of war -- men, arms, food, lodging, transportation, supplies, and/or the money to buy them -- from the population within that territory. The building up of war-making capacity likewise increased the capacity to extract. The very activity of extraction, if successful, entailed the elimination, neutralization, or co-optation of the great lord's local rivals; thus, it led to state making. As a by-product, it created organization in the form of tax-collection agencies, police forces, courts, exchequers, account keepers; thus it again led to state making. To a lesser extent, war making likewise led to state making through the expansion of military organization itself, as a standing army, war industries, supporting bureaucracies, and (rather later) schools grew up within the state apparatus. All of these structures checked potential rivals and opponents. In the course of making war, extracting resources, and building up the state apparatus, the managers of states formed alliances with specific social classes. The members of those classes loaned resources, provided technical services, or helped ensure the compliance of the rest of the population, all in return for a measure of protection against their own rivals and enemies. As a result of these multiple strategic choices, a distinctive state apparatus grew up within each major section of Europe.

How States Formed

This analysis, if correct, has two strong implications for the development of national states. First, popular resistance to war making and state making made a difference. When ordinary people resisted vigorously, authorities made concessions: guarantees of rights, representative institutions, courts of appeal. Those concessions, in their turn, constrained the later paths of war making and state making. To be sure, alliances with fragments of the ruling class greatly increased the effects of popular action; the broad mobilization of gentry against Charles I helped give the English Revolution of 1640 a far greater impact on political institutions than did any of the multiple rebellions during the Tudor era.

Second, the relative balance among war making, protection, extraction, and state making significantly affected the organization of the states that emerged from the four activities. To the extent that war making went on with relatively little extraction, protection, and state making, for example, military forces ended up playing a larger and more autonomous part in national politics. Spain is perhaps the best European example. To the extent that protection, as in Venice or Holland, prevailed over war making, extraction, and state making, oligarchies of the protected classes tended to dominate subsequent national politics. From the relative predominance of state making sprang the disproportionate elaboration of policing and surveillance; the Papal States illustrate that extreme. Before the twentieth century, the range of viable imbalances was fairly small. Any state that failed to put considerable effort into war making was likely to disappear. As the twentieth century wore on, however, it became increasingly common for one state to lend, give, or sell war-making means to another; in those cases, the recipient state could put a disproportionate effort into extraction, protection, and/or state making and yet survive. In our own time, clients of the United States and the Soviet Union provide numerous examples.

This simplified model, however, neglects the external relations that shaped every national state. Early in the process, the distinction between "internal" and "external" remained as unclear as the distinction between state power and the power accruing to lords allied with the state. Later, three interlocking influences connected any given national state to the European network of states. First, there were the flows of resources in the form of loans and supplies, especially loans and supplies devoted to war making. Second, there was the competition among states for hegemony in disputed territories, which stimulated war making and temporarily erased the distinctions among war making, state making, and extraction. Third, there was the intermittent creation of coalitions of states that temporarily combined their efforts to force a given state into a certain form and position within the international network. The war-making coalition is one example, but the peace-making coalition played an even more crucial part: From 1648, if not before, at the ends of wars all effective European states coalesced temporarily to bargain over the boundaries and rulers of the recent belligerents. From that point on, periods of major reorganization of the European state system came in spurts, at the settlement of widespread wars. From each large war, in general, emerged fewer national states than had entered it.

War as International Relations

In these circumstances, war became the normal condition of the international system of states and the normal means of defending or enhancing a position within the system. Why war? No simple answer will do; war as a potent means served more than one end. But surely part of the answer goes back to the central mechanisms of state making: The very logic by which a local lord extended or defended the perimeter within which he monopolized the means of violence, and thereby increased his return from tribute, continued on a larger scale into the logic of war. Early in the process, external and internal rivals overlapped to a large degree. Only the establishment of large perimeters of control within which great lords had checked their rivals sharpened the line between internal and external. George Modelski sums up the competitive logic cogently:

Global power... strengthened those states that attained it relatively to all other political and other organizations. What is more, other states competing in the global power game developed similar organizational forms and similar hardiness: they too became nation-states -- in a defensive reaction, because forced to take issue with or to confront a global power, as France confronted Spain and later Britain, or in imitation of its obvious success and effectiveness, as Germany followed the example of Britain in Weltmacht, or as earlier Peter the Great had rebuilt Russia on Dutch precepts and examples. Thus not only Portugal, the Netherlands, Britain and the United States became nation-states, but also Spain, France, Germany, Russia and Japan. The short, and the most parsimonious, answer to the question of why these succeeded where "most of the European efforts to build states failed" is that they were either global powers or successfully fought with or against them.12

This logic of international state making acts out on a large scale the logic of local aggrandizement. The external complements the internal. If we allow that fragile distinction between "internal" and "external" state-making processes, then we might schematize the history of European state making as three stages: (a) The differential success of some power holders in "external" struggles establishes the difference between an "internal" and an "external" arena for the deployment of force; (b) "external" competition generates "internal" state making; (c) "external" compacts among states influence the form and locus of particular states ever more powerfully. In this perspective, state-certifying organizations such as the League of Nations and the United Nations simply extended the European-based process to the world as a whole. Whether forced or voluntary, bloody or peaceful, decolonization simply completed that process by which existing states leagued to create new ones.

The extension of the Europe-based state-making process to the rest of the world, however, did not result in the creation of states in the strict European image. Broadly speaking, internal struggles such as the checking of great regional lords and the imposition of taxation on peasant villages produced important organizational features of European states: the relative subordination of military power to civilian control, the extensive bureaucracy of fiscal surveillance, the representation of wronged interests via petition and parliament. On the whole, states elsewhere developed differently. The most telling feature of that difference appears in military organization. European states built up their military apparatuses through sustained struggles with their subject populations and by means of selective extension of protection to different classes within those populations. The agreements on protection constrained the rulers themselves, making them vulnerable to courts, to assemblies, to withdrawals of credit, services, and expertise.

To a larger degree, states that have come into being recently through decolonization or through reallocations of territory by dominant states have acquired their military organization from outside, without the same internal forging of mutual constraints between rulers and ruled. To the extent that outside states continue to supply military goods and expertise in return for commodities, military alliance or both, the new states harbor powerful, unconstrained organisations that easily overshadow all other organizations within their territories. To the extent that outside states guarantee their boundaries, the managers of those military organisations exercise extraordinary power within them. The advantages of military power become enormous, the incentives to seize power over the state as a whole by means of that advantage very strong. Despite the great place that war making occupied in the making of European states, the old national states of Europe almost never experienced the great disproportion between military organization and all other forms of organization that seems the fate of client states throughout the contemporary world. A century ago, Europeans might have congratulated themselves on the spread of civil government throughout the world. In our own time, the analogy between war making and state making, on the one hand, and organized crime, on the other, is becoming tragically apt.

1. Arthur L. Stinchcombe, Constructing Social Theories (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968), p. 150; italics in the original.

2. Fernand Braudel, La Mèditerranèe et le monde mèditerranèen á l'èpoque de Philippe II (Paris: Armand Colin, 1966), vol. 2, pp. 88-89.

3. Lawrence Stone, The Crisis of the Aristocracy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), p. 200.

4. Dietrich Gerhard, Old Europe: A Study of Continuity, 1000-1800 (New York: Academic Press, 1981), pp. 124-25.

5. Jan de Vries, The Economy of Europe in an Age of Crisis, 1600-1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976).

6. V. G. Kiernan, State and Society in Europe, 1550-1650 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1980), p. 104. For French finances, see Alain Guery, "Les Finances de la Monarchie Française sous l'Ancien Regime," Annales Economies, Societes, Civilisations 33 (1978), p. 227.

7. Earl J. Hamilton, "Origin and Growth of the National Debt in France and England," in Studi in onore di Gino Luzzato (Milan: Giuffre, 1950), vol. 2, p. 254.

8. Ibid., pp. 247, 249.

9. Ibid., p. 254.

10. G. R. Elton, "Taxation for War and Peace in Early-Tudor England," in War and Economic Development: Essays in Memory of David Joslin, ed. J. M. Winter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), p. 42.

11. Peter Mathias, The Transformation of England: Essays in the Economic and Social History of England in the Eighteenth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 122.

12. George Modelski, "The Long Cycle of Global Politics and the Nation State," Comparative Studies in Society and History 20 (1978): 231.

Ray Hanania: The Power of
Strategic Humor

Click to Watch Video!

Ray Hanania narrates his lecture on the Power of Humor. The 30 minute discussion addresses various aspects of humor and how it can help, ... all the forms of humor (self-deprecating, social commentary, cultural and political satire) and its role in helping to counter hate. Samples of various comedic form, descriptions of how humor can achieve change and more is discussed. Award winning journalist Hanania can be booked to address the points and information in the presentation by visiting

Why do leading actors, comics, musicians, sports professionals, and race car drivers earn so much? Because they are top perfomers who entertain. Most people value entertainment. Many don't hesitate to pay $100 for a Las Vegas show, or a ticket to a concert, football game, or race.

Humor can be used to entertain. As Ray Hanania indicates, humor can be used for political purposes. Maybe it can also be used to help cure people from their pathological paranormal, religious, and political beliefs and supersitions. What if humor can be used to this end in ways that are at least ten times more effective that the best results achievable by just appealing to reason? Maybe humor can be used to make a connection with people that will open a door to allow reason to enter.

Imagine a few thousand people and websites around the world using ridicule extensively as a weapon to undermine the influence of political and religious cult leaders.

"I have only ever made one prayer to God, a very short one: O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it." -- Voltaire

Bill Maher:
Victory Begins at Home

(Some PPFEs could temper the language a little -- "Not that there's anything wrong with it!," as Jerry Seinfeld would say!)

Tell your friends: Hubbard has reincarnated!

VERTICAL HUMAN DIMENSION (VHD) based on the Bicameral Model of the Mind

According to Dr. Julian Jaynes (The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind), up to about 3,000 years ago humans were not conscious as we know consciousness today. Their minds worked like this: Situations triggered mental voices and/or visions that were automatically generated in the right brain, from where they were communicated via the anterior commissure to the left brain, where the visions were "seen" and the voices "heard." The mental voices and visions "told" people what to do. Today, some people still manifest this form of mentation -- sometimes called schizophrenia. We call this stage in the evolution of consciousness, bicameral stage one -- the pre-conscious human. In this stage obedience is paramount. (See also "Baloney Generator.")

Many people are aware of an automatic, apparently uncontrollable "stream of thoughts" going on in their heads. Sometimes a situation will trigger an automatic thought like "she doesn't love me," followed by automatic feelings and emotions -- apparently not under control. When watching a TV show like "Jerry Springer," it may seem that most of the participants merely regurgitate their automatic thoughts -- with their emphasis being on trying to prove self "right" and others "wrong." We call this bicameral stage two -- the proto-conscious human. In this stage being "right" is paramount. Typical Citizens of Civilizations are mostly in this proto-conscious stage.

Some people have started questioning and critically examining concepts, beliefs, and behaviors, held sacred by their elders and most of their contemporaries. These people want to produce better results in their lives: their health, their relationships, their careers. In any area where they think their results are below expectations they seek to improve their knowledge, their skills, their competence. They also realize that some of their difficulties stem from destructive thoughts and behavior patterns acquired or developed during childhood. Their emphasis is on producing results. We call this the conscious stage. Personal Power & Freedom Engineers attempt to operate at this level of becoming as conscious as possible. Learning to use your senses to discern reality (rather than "subjective social agreement") is most important.

By conscious we mean critically aware, particularly critically self-aware. The proto-conscious person in bicameral stage two operates "on automatic" most of the time -- like driving a car without thinking, or regurgitating automatic thoughts, or reacting emotionally like a puppet, or compulsively making self "right" and others "wrong" without critical awareness of the results being produced.

The critically conscious are conscious of their consciousness. They critically monitor what they think, say, and do in order to produce the results they want. They develop the thinking skill of self-observation.

Some people are in transition from bicameral stage 2 to the conscious stage. Some are still in transition from bicameral stage 1 to bicameral stage 2. Some show signs of all three stages.

Stage #3
Full Reflective Consciousness

Defining Qualities: Ability and willingness to question everything; rational reasoning; causal reasoning; learning rather than "dyslearning." (See Learning and Dyslearning)

Role models: Richard Actualist, Jeremy Bentham, Steven Biko, Howard Bloom, Éttiene de la Boétie, Ernst Cassirer, David Freeman, Jack Johnson, Timothy Leary, Stefan Molyneux, Friedrich Nietzsche, Lysander Spooner, Marc Stevens, Max Stirner, Jonathan Swift, Voltaire, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Anton Wilson

Enter stage 3 by questioning and overcoming "personal constraints," "subjective social agreement," conformity, and need for approval; primarily use your senses to discern reality

You have largely mastered your feelings and emotions.
You strive to apply rational thought to all subjects.
You have the ability to critically examine every concept, thought, and action.
You use primarily your senses to discern reality.
You consciously create your meanings and take responsibility for them.
You strive to increase your competence in all areas of your life.
You carefully observe the results you produce, using that as feedback to improve your concepts, thoughts, communications, and actions.
You have the potential to master yourself and achieve a high degree of success.
Producing results is paramount.

Stage #2

Defining Qualities: Inability and/or unwillingness to question "personal and societal contraints"; Citizen of a Civilization; Feels lost if not a member of a Pecking Order Bully System (POBS)

VHD in general:

1. Is a dimension of personal development.

2. Moving upward in this dimension can involve any of:
Increasing intelligence;
Becoming more competent and effective;
Acquiring knowledge, skills, and tools (including critical thinking skills);
Becoming more conscious and aware;
Becoming predoninantly "eagerness oriented";
Becoming more aware of the meanings you create and taking responsibility for them;
Overcoming personal and societal constraints;
Improving health;
Raising mood and energy levels;
Increasing personal power and freedom.

In your thinking, "motivated reasoning" (as opposed to"causal reasoning" or "rational reasoning") predominates -- Google for more...
Automatic feelings and thoughts often tell you what to do.
You often create meanings unconsciously, without regarding them as your own meanings, and without taking responsibility for them.
You behave like:
(a) A true believer (clinging to false beliefs and superstitions; sometimes a fanatic fighter for a "great cause"); or
(b) A helpless wimp (languishing in apathy, sometimes complaining); or
(c) A self-righteous preacher (making self "right" and others "wrong"); or
(d) A compulsive conformist to "subjective social agreement" who fears rejection if they don't "go along with the crowd"; or
(e) A macho rebel (compulsively fighting "the system," "the tax agency," "the state").
Being "right" is paramount.

3. Most animals automatically attain their full potential, just by leading their normal lives. For humans it's very different: We need to make a deliberate, conscious, and sustained effort to develop ourselves. If we don't do this, most likely we'll stagnate in mediocrity!

4. Actually, it's even worse! There are all kinds of people in Pecking Order Bully Systems (POBSs) (as well as "gurus selling garbage") who love to exploit and profit from gullible, dumbed-down, docile victims. So they use "compulsory schooling" and the media to further these ends. The more they can move you down the Vertical Human Dimension, the more they can exploit you. So, if you don't make a deliberate, conscious, and sustained effort to upgrade yourself and move up the VHD, the chances are that you'll gradually descend and deteriorate into deeper mediocrity!

5. For evidence of the above, Google :+TV +"dumb down"

Stage #1


Automatic visions and voices tell you what to do.
You automatically obey the "voices of authority."
You think, speak, and behave like a slave.
Obedience is paramount.

The Monkeysphere

This article has been adapted from the original by David Wong that used to be on Another vesion can be found at Parts of this presumably later version have been incorporated in the article below.

"One death is a tragedy. One million deaths is a statistic." -- Sportacus

What do monkeys have to do with war, oppression, crime, racism and even email spam?

You'll see that all of the random ass-headed cruelty of the world will suddenly make perfect sense once we go...

Twelve Steps to Total Enlightenment

1. What do monkeys have to do with it?

Picture a monkey. A monkey dressed like a little pirate, if you wish. We'll call him Slappy.

Imagine you have Slappy as a pet. Imagine a personality for him. Maybe you and he have little pirate monkey adventures and maybe even join up to fight crime. You'd be sad if Slappy died, wouldn't you?

Now, imagine you get five more monkeys. Tito, Bubbles, Fluffy, Marcel and ShitTosser. Imagine personalities for each of them. Maybe one is aggressive, one is affectionate, one is distant and quiet. And so on. They're all your personal monkey friends.

Now imagine a hundred monkeys. Then a thousand.

How long until you can't tell them apart? Or remember their names? At what point, in your mind, do your beloved pets become just a faceless sea of monkeys? If you get enough monkeys, you'll eventually have enough that you no longer even care if one of them dies.

Now, each of these monkeys is every bit the monkey that Slappy was. It's just that you don't give a rat's ass any more.

So how many monkeys would it take before you stopped caring?

That's not a rhetorical question. We actually know the number.

2. So this whole thing is your crusade against monkey overpopulation? I'll have my monkey castrated this very day!

Uh, no. Stay with me here.

You see, monkey experts performed a monkey study a while back and discovered that the size of the monkey's monkey brain determined the size of the monkey groups the monkeys formed. The bigger the brain, the bigger the little societies they built.

They cut up so many monkey brains, in fact, that they found they could actually take a brain they had never seen before and with a simple dissection, analysis and a quick taste, they could accurately predict what size tribes that species of creature formed.

Most monkeys operate in troupes of 50 or so. But somebody slipped them a slightly larger monkey brain -- but a monkey brain nonetheless -- and they estimated the ideal group or society for this particular animal was about 150.

[Also called the "Dunbar Number."]

That brain, of course, was human. Probably from a homeless man they snatched off the street.

3. So that's the big news? That humans are God's big-budget sequel to the monkey? Who didn't know that?

It goes much, much deeper than that. Let's try an example.

Famous news talking guy Tim Russert tells a charming story in his book Big Russ and Me (the title referring to his on-and-off romance with actor Russell Crowe) about his father, who used to take half an hour to carefully box up any broken glass before taking it to the trash. Why? Because "the trash guy might cut his hands."

That this was such an odd thing to do illustrates my monkey point. None of us spend time worrying too much about the garbage man's welfare even though he performs a crucial role in not forcing us to live in a cave carved from a mountain of our own filth. We don't usually consider his safety or comfort at all and if we do, it's not in the same way we would worry over our best friend or wife or girlfriend or even our dog.

For instance, I live in a town heavy on little ordinances about what one can and cannot throw out in the trash (lawn clippings must be sealed in clear plastic, labelled, individually sterilized, named and stacked in alphabetical order according to species). Thus, if you listen to people around here speak on the subject of garbage, you get nothing but snide comments and strategies to get around the petty rules (just dump the drain cleaner in a pickle jar! Those trash bastards will never know!)

There is almost no thought about what the drain acid or the Black-Plague-infected rats in the garbage will do to the poor sanitation worker.

Why? Because the trash guy exists outside the Monkeysphere.

4. The Monkeysphere?

Yes, the Monkeysphere. That's the group of people who each of us, using our monkeyish brains, are able to conceptualize as people. If the monkey scientists are monkey right, it's physically impossible for this to be a number larger than 150.

Most of us do not have room in our Monkeysphere for our friendly neighborhood Sanitation Worker. So, we don't think of him as a person. We think of him The Thing That Makes The Trash Go Away.

We all have limits to our sphere of monkey concern. It's simply the way our brains are built. We each have a certain circle of people who we think of as people. Usually it's our own friends and family and neighbors and classmates and coworkers (or at least the ones in your department) and church or suicide cult.

This is an important reason why society doesn't work quite right. The people who exist outside that core group of a few dozen people are not people to us. They're sort of one-dimensional bit characters. [There are of course other reasons as well, as suggested by the rest of this page.]

Remember the first time, as a kid, you met one of your school teachers outside the classroom? Maybe you saw old Miss Puckerson at Taco Bell picking up and eating a whole Taco Salad with her bare hands? Or you saw your principal walking out of a dildo shop?

Do you remember that surreal feeling you had when you saw these people actually had lives outside the classroom? I mean, they're teachers.

5. So? What difference does all this make?

Oh, not much. It's just one of the most important reasons why society doesn't work.

Think of it this way: Which would upset you more, your brother dying, or a dozen kids across town getting killed because their bus collided with a truck hauling killer bees?

Which would be bigger news to your neighbors, those dozen mutilated bus children across town or 15,000 dead in an earthquake in Iran?

They're all humans and they are all equally dead. But the closer to our Monkeysphere they are, the more it means to us.

6. Why should I feel bad for them? I don't even know those people!

Exactly. This is so ingrained that to even suggest you should feel their deaths as deeply as that of your best friend sounds a little ridiculous. We are hard-wired to have a drastic double standard for the people inside our Monkeysphere versus the 99.999% of the world's population who are on the outside.

You don't know them, and they don't know you. That's why they don't mind stealing your stereo or vandalizing your house or cutting your wages or raising your taxes or bombing your office building or choking your computer with spam advertising diet and penis drugs they know don't work. You're outside their Monkeysphere. In their mind, you're just a vague shape with a pocket full of money for the taking.

That's the whole thing, right here. Life on Earth, in a nutshell. We are hard-wired to have a drastic double standard for the people inside and out of our Monkeysphere and those outside make up 99.999% of the world's population.

Have you ever gotten pissed off in traffic? Like, really pissed off? I think we all have. We've thrown finger gestures and wedged our heads out of the window and screamed, "LEARN TO F'ING DRIVE, F'ER!!" We've all pulled the gun out of the glove compartment and let a few fly at the offending car. Not firing at their head or anything. Just, you know, at their tires.

Now imagine yourself standing in an elevator with three other people, two friends and a coworker. A friend goes to hit a button and accidentally punches the wrong one. Would you lean over, your mouth two inches from her ear, and scream "LEARN TO OPERATE THE F'ING ELEVATOR BUTTONS, SHITCAMEL!!"

They'd think you'd gone insane. We all go a little insane, though, when we get in a group larger than the Monkeysphere. You know the feeling, that invincibility of being an anonymous head in a crowd, screaming curses at a football player you'd never dare say to his face.

7. Well, I'm nice to strangers. Have you considered that maybe you're just an asshole?

Sure, you probably don't go out of your way to be mean to strangers. You don't go out of your way to be mean to stray dogs, either.

The problem is that eventually the needs of those within your Monkeysphere require screwing someone outside it (even if that need is just venting some tension and anger via exaggerated insults). This is why most of us wouldn't dream of stealing money from the pocket of the old lady next door, but don't mind stealing cable or quietly celebrating when they forget to charge us for something at the restaurant.

You may have a list of rationalizations as long as a porn star's beefhorn for doing it, but the truth is that in our monkey brains the old woman next door is a human being while the cable company is a big, cold, faceless machine. That the company is, in reality, nothing but a group of people every bit as human as the old lady, or that some kind old ladies actually work there and would lose their jobs if enough cable were stolen, rarely occurs to us.

That's one of the ingenius things about the big-time religions, by the way. The old religious writers knew it was easier to put the screws to a stranger, so they taught us to get a personal idea of God in our heads who says, "No matter who you hurt, you're really hurting me. Also, I can crush you like a grape." You must admit that if they weren't writing words inspired by the Almighty himself, they at least understood the Monkeysphere.

You see? Once you understand the Monkeysphere principle, you can see examples all around. You'll walk the streets in a daze, like Roddy Piper after putting on his X-ray sunglasses in They Live.

8. So you're going to tell us that this Monkeysphere thing runs the whole world?

Do you watch the news on TV? How much of it is about people doing bad things to strangers they don't know? War. Genocide and ethnic cleansing in Africa. Famine. People dying from malaria. Terrorist attacks. Notice what you feel when you see reports of bad things happening to people in some far-off place you can't find on the map.

Just listen to "multinational corporations" being described in diabolical terms, as an evil black force that belches smoke and poisons water and enslaves humanity. Isn't it strange how, say, a lone man who carves and sells children's toys in his basement is a sweetheart who just loves bringing joy at Christmas, but a big-time toy corporation (which brings toys to millions of kids at Christmas) is an inhuman soul-grinding greed machine? Strangely enough, if the kindly lone toy making guy made enough toys and hired enough people and expanded to enough shops, we'd eventually stop seeing it as a toy-making shop and start seeing it as the fiery Orc factories of Mordor.

And if you've just thought, "well, those TV talking heads are just a bunch of egomaniacal blowhards," you've just done the same thing, boiled real humans into a two-word cartoon character. It's the Monkeysphere!

More on the Dunbar Number

See Dunbar Number on Wikipedia and Social Network.

Adapted from Coffee Conversations:

W. L. Gore & Associates

In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell describes the company called Gore Associates and their organization. I found it fascinating and somewhat hard for me to comprehend... I quote from the book: "If you want groups to serve as incubators for contagious messages, ....we have to keep groups below the 150 Tipping Point." "Gore Associates, a privately held, multimillion dollar high-tech firm that makes the water-resistant Gore-Tex fabric, as well Glide dental floss, semiconductors, etc. At Gore there are no titles. If you asked people who work there for their card, it will just have their name and underneath it the word "Associate," regardless of how much money they make or how much responsibility they have or how long they have been with the company. People do not have bosses, they have sponsors -- mentors -- who watch out for their interests. There are no organization charts, no budgets, no elaborate strategic plans. Salaries are determined collectively. Headquarters for the company is a low-sling, unpretentious red brick building. All the offices are the same size and corners tend to be conference rooms. When asked repeatedly of a person who was clearly a senior person, he finally said with a grin, "I am a meddler." ....Gore is unusual and and has a clear well-articulated philosophy. It is a big established company that is attempting to behave like a small entrepreneurial start-up."

"Bill Gore, the late founder, seems to have stumbled on a strategy by trial and error. "We found again and again that things get clumsy at a hundred and fifty," so 150 employees per plant became a company goal. They do their long-term planning by making parking lots for 150 cars. When people start parking on the grass, it is time for a new plant." I gather Hutterite communities have the same philosophy.

I also recall Magna Industries and their philosophy of small plants all competing for similar business. At one stage Frank Stonach became less involved and his management decided to try to make a complete car and integrate the organization. It was a disaster. Frank came back and fired the bunch and got back to his old principle. I do not know what the philosophy is now but that sure worked for Frank, who certainly has his own management style. I also have heard that each plant was run by a tool and dye maker, which is where Frank started.

It really challenges my concept of organization and strategy. I wonder if 150 is the magic number for consulting organizations. I expect fewer that 150 is the number based on my experience. However I know that most large consulting organizations become dysfunctional.

Can you imagine working in an organization that works like Gore Associates?

The Magic of 150

Your brain is hard wired to pay attention to about 150 people. Try to have a relationship with any more than that, and your life will turn to pure crap. Just ask the Military, Gore-Tex, or Krippendorf's tribe. They'll all tell you the same thing. One fifty is the way to go. They've known for hundreds of years that people work best in groups of 150 or less. Now it's your turn.

The human cortex, responsible for complex thought and reasoning, is overgrown in humans when compared to other mammals. Scientists have argued for years about why this is the case.

One theory holds that our brains evolved because our primate ancestors began to gather food in more complex ways. They began eating fruit instead of grasses and leaves. This involved traveling long distances to find food, and required each species to maintain a complex mental map in order to keep track of fruit trees. More brainpower might have been needed to determine if a fruit was ripe, or to discern proper methods for peeling fruit or cracking nuts.

The problem with this theory is that if one tries to match brain size with the eating habits of primates, it doesn't work. Some small-brained monkeys are eating fruit and maintaining complex maps and some larger brained primates are eating leaves.

What does work, apparently, is group size. If one examines any species of primate, the larger their neocortex, the larger the average size of the group they live with.

Anthropologist Robin Dunbar has done some of the most interesting research in this area. Dunbar's argument is that as brains evolve, they become larger in order to handle the unique complexities of larger social groups. Humans socialize the largest social groups because we have the largest cortex. Dunbar has developed an equation, which works for most primates, in which he plugs in what he calls the neocortex ratio of a particular species - the size of the neocortex relative to the size of the brain - and the equation gives us the maximum expected group size for each species. For humans, the max group size is 147.8, or about 150. This figure seems to represent the maximum amount of people that we can have a real social relationship with - knowing who another human is and how they relate to us.

Dunbar has gone through anthropological literature and found that the number 150 pops up over and over again. For example, he looked at 21 different hunger-gatherer societies around the world and found that the average number of people in each village was 148.4.

The same pattern holds true for military organization. Over the years, through trial and error, military planners have arrived at a rule of thumb for the size of a functional fighting unit - 200 men. They have realized that it is quite difficult to make any larger a group than this to function as a unit without complicated hierarchies and rules and regulations and formal measures to insure loyalty and unity within the group. With a group of 150 or so, formalities are not necessary. Behavior can be controlled on the basis of personal loyalties and direct man-to-man contacts. With larger groups, this seems impossible.

Further is the religious group known as the Hutterites, who for hundreds of years, through trial and error, have realized that the maximum size for a colony should be, low and behold, 150 people. They've been following this rule for centuries. Every time a colony approaches this number, the colony is divided into two separate colonies. They have found that once a group becomes larger than that, "people become strangers to one another." At 150, the Hutterites believe, something happens that somehow changes the community seemingly overnight. At 150 the colony with spontaneously begin dividing into smaller "clans." When this happens a new colony is formed.

Another good example of our hard wired social limits is Gore Associates, a privately held multimillion-dollar company responsible for creating Gore-Tex fabric and all sorts of other high tech computer cables, filter bags, semiconductors, pharmaceutical, and medical products. What is most unique about this company is that each company plant is no larger than 150. When constructing a plant, they put 150 spaces in the parking lot, and when people start parking on the grass, they know it's time for another plant. Each plant works as a group. There are no bosses. No titles. Salaries are determined collectively. No organization charts, no budgets, no elaborate strategic plans. Wilbert Gore - the late founder of the company, found through trial and error that 150 employees per plant was most ideal. "We found again and again that things get clumsy at a hundred and fifty," he told an interviewer some years ago.

Take a lesson from this. If you are engaged in a large enterprise or are planning to work for one, realize that large groups rapidly reduce the efficiency of an operation. If each department is separated, especially if there are hundreds or thousands of people involved, complex systems of organizations will be required to keep everyone in check. Peer pressure is much more powerful than the somehow vague concept of a boss or punishment. People will work only hard enough not to get fired in a very large group, but will live up to the expectations of their peers in smaller groups where they have a personal relationship with each of their co-workers. Of course, a small group size is not by any means a guarantee of success. Small enterprises fail all the time. It's just a concept -- an idea to keep in the back of your mind as you vegetate in that basement cubicle.

For more information: R.I.M Dunbar, "Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates," Journal of Human Evolution (1992), vol. 20, pp. 469-493.

Dunbar has also written a good many spiffy books of which I would recommend: Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language.

Of course, when any outfit gets bigger than the Monkeysphere, there's no telling what they might do... Think about the tobacco companies. As long as they make profits, why should they care about millions of strangers dying from lung cancer?

9. So I'm supposed to suddenly start worrying about six billion strangers? That's not even possible!

That's right, it isn't possible. That's the point.

What is hard to understand is that it's also impossible for them to care about you.

That's why they don't mind stealing your stereo or vandalizing your house or cutting your wages or raising your taxes or bombing your office building or choking your computer with spam advertising diet and penis drugs they know don't work. You're outside their Monkeysphere. In their mind, you're just a vague shape with a pocket full of money for the taking.

10. Stop using the word 'Monkeysphere!' Humans are completely different from monkeys! Humans have been to the moon. Let's see the monkeys do that!

It doesn't matter. It's just an issue of degree.

It was legendary monkeytician Charles Darwin whose observation of primates along with his assistant, Jeje (pronounced "heyhey") Santiago, that caused him to deduce that humans and chimps were evolutionary cousins. As sophisticated as we are (compare our advanced sewage treatment plants to the chimps' primitive technique of hurling the feces with their bare hands), the inescapable truth is we are just as limited by our mental hardware as that tragic figure of American lore, Terminator 2.

The primary difference is that monkeys are happy to stay in small groups and rarely interact with others outside their monkey gang. This is why they rarely go to war, though when they do it is widely thought to be hilarious. Humans, however, require cars and oil and quality manufactured goods by the fine folks at 3M and Japanese video games and worldwide Internets and, most importantly, governments. All of these things take groups larger than 150 people to maintain effectively. Thus, we routinely find ourselves functioning in bunches larger than our primate brains are able to cope with.

This is where the problems begin. Like a fragile naked human pyramid, we are simultaneously supporting and resenting each other. We bitch out loud about our soul-sucking job as an anonymous face on an assembly line, while at the exact same time riding in a car that only an assembly line could have produced. It's a constant contradiction that has left us pissed off and joining informal wrestling clubs in basements.

This is why I think it was with a great burden of sadness that Darwin turned to his assistant and lamented, "Jeje, we're the monkeys."

You, see in at least one respect humans are stupider than monkeys. Just like monkeys, most humans organize themselves using Pecking Order Bully Systems (POBSs). Monkeys are clever enough to keep their POBSs small and managable. From time to time they slaughter one another... but on a small scale. This is called "barbaric."

Most humans are too stupid to keep their POBSs small. They allow their POBSs to grow out of control, often numbering many millions. Periodically they slaughter one another (for even stupider "reasons" than monkeys do -- can you imagine monkeys slaughtering one another for "for God and Country?") to the tune of millions or even tens of millions. They call this being "civilized." Most humans are completely unconscious of how they instinctively act out primitive POBS programs they inherited from their monkey ancestors.

(Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly are paid tens of millions for the main reason that they are highly proficient bullies. No monkeys are so stupid that they pay millions to their top bullies!)

Monkeys are also not so stupid that they "pray" to "Big Invisible Idiots in the Sky!" They prey on things they can eat.

9. Well, Monkeysphere or no Monkeysphere, some groups deserve our sympathy and some don't.

No, I'm not talking about sympathy. That was a stupid, stupid comment and you're a fool to have made it.

I'm not asking anyone to sympathize with the terrorists, for instance.

But think of Osama Bin Laden. Did you just picture a camouflaged man hiding in a cave, drawing up suicide missions? Or are you thinking of a man who gets hungry and has a favorite food and who had a childhood crush on a girl and who has athlete's foot and chronic headaches and laughs when a friend farts, a man who wakes up in the morning with a boner and loves volleyball and fusses over his spoiled children and haggles over the price of a car and who goes on Seinfeld-esque rants about too much ice in his drinks?

Something in you, just now, probably was offended by that. You think I'm trying to build sympathy for the murderous bastard. Do you see the equation? Simply knowing random human facts about him immediately tugs at our sympathy strings. He comes closer to our Monkeysphere, he takes on dimension.

Now, the cold truth is my Bin Laden is just as desperately in need of a bullet to the skull as the raving four-color caricature on some redneck's T-shirt. The key to understanding people like him, though, is realizing that we are the caricature on his T-shirt.

Go ahead, try it with any bad guy. I heard a 16-year-old kid I know, one just getting into politics, go on and on about how Washington doesn't give a shit about us and how greedy politicians are and so on ("what's FICA?!?!" he screams as he looks at his first paycheck).

I also saw this same kid, at his job, drop a hamburger patty on the floor, pick it up, and slap in on a bun and serve it to a customer. Well, there's your key to understanding your government, kiddies. Those politicians see you in the exact same way you see the customers lined up at the burger counter. Which is, just barely. Want to guess how the CEO at your company sees you worker bees?

In both cases, for the guy making the burger and the guy running Exxon, getting through the workweek and collecting the paycheck are all that matters. No thought is given to the real human unhappiness being spread by doing it shittily (ever gotten so sick from food poisoning you thought your stomach lining was going to fly out of your mouth?) Why? Because that many customers or employees just can't fit inside the Monkeysphere.

If you've just now protested that you shouldn't have to care for the customers for minimum wage, let me assure you that if you don't feel sympathy for your fellow man at $6.00 an hour, you won't feel anything at $600,000 a year.

Or, look at it the other way. If you're allowed to be indifferent and even resentful to the masses for $6.00 an hour, just think of how angry the average Pakistani man is allowed to be when he's making the equivalent of six dollars a week. And so on.

10. The Monkeysphere will surely be the end of us all!

Well, maybe. There is a reason why all of the really phat-ass nations with the biggest SUV's with the shiniest 22-inch rims all have some kind of representative democracy (where you vote for people to do the governmenting for you) and all of them are, to some degree, capitalist (where people actually get to buy property and keep some of what they earn). It monkeys out like this:

A representative democracy allows a small group of people to make all of the decisions, while letting us common people feel like we're doing something by going to a polling place every couple of years and pulling a lever that, in reality, has about the same effect as the darkness knob on your toaster. We can simultaneously feel like we're in charge while being contained enough that we can't cause any real monkey mayhem once we fly into one of our screeching, arm-flapping monkey frenzies (a woman showed her boob at the Super Bowl! We want a boob and football ban immediately!)

Conversely, some people in the distant past naively thought they could sit all of the millions of monkeys down and say, "Okay, everybody go pick the bananas, then bring them here, and we'll distribute them with a complex formula determining banana need! Now go gather bananas for the good of society!" For the monkeys it was a confused, comical, tree-humping disaster.

Later, a far more cynical man sat the monkeys down and said, "You want bananas? Each of you go get your own. I'm taking a nap." That man, of course, was German philosopher Hans Capitalism.

As long as everybody gets their own bananas and shares with the few in their Monkeysphere, the system will thrive even though nobody is even trying to make the system thrive. This is perhaps how Ayn Rand would have put it, had she not been such a hateful bitch.

Why was racism invented? It's a way of simplifying the too-complex-for-monkeys world by imagining all people of a certain race as being the same person, thinking they all have the same attitudes and mannerisms and tastes in food and clothes and music. It sort of works, as long as we think of that person as being a good person (those Asians are so hard-working and precise and well-mannered!) but when we start seeing them as being one, giant, "foreign threat" or "illegal immigrant invasion," our monkey happiness again breaks down.

11. So, are we all crazy?

Definitely... when our groups get bigger than our Monkeyshere! The truth is, all our monkey management schemes only go so far. For instance, today one in four Americans has some kind of mental illness, usually depression. One in four. Watch a basketball game. The odds are at least two of those people on the floor are mentally ill. Look around your house; if everybody else there seems okay, you're probably the crazy one!

Is it any surprise? I just watched a whole news special on the Obesity Epidemic. I've had this worry laid on my shoulders about millions of other people eating too much. What exactly am I supposed to do with that information? I know what to do about the fact that I'm fat, but why am I getting upset about 80 million other people whose diets I don't control? You're harshing my buzz with the pork-laden plight of people outside my Monkeysphere and now I carry that useless weight of worry around like, you know, some kind of animal on my back.

12. So how can we defeat the Monkeysphere? Would it help if we cut all of the carbs from our diet? What if we were more proactive?

You can start by implementing a little three-step plan I like to call The TriMonkey or... the T.R.Y. Monkey:

First, TOTAL MORON. That is, accept the fact THAT YOU ARE ONE. We all are.

That really annoying person you know, the one who's always spouting bullshit, the person who always thinks they're right? Well, the odds are that for somebody else, you're that person.

So take the amount you think you know, reduce it by 99.999%, and then you'll have an idea of how much you actually know regarding things outside your Monkeysphere. Once you accept this you can no longer smirk over other people just because you think they're morons.

Second, UNDERSTAND that there are no Supermonkeys. Just monkeys.

Those guys on TV you see, giving the inspirational seminars, teaching you how to reach your potential and become rich and successful just like them? You know how they made their money? By giving seminars. For the most part, the only thing they do well is give seminars!

No, the universal moron principal established in No. 1 above applies here, too. Don't pretend politicians are somehow supposed to be immune to all the backhanded fuckery we all do in our daily lives and don't laugh and point when the preacher gets caught on video snorting cocaine off a prostitute's ass. A good exercise is to picture your hero -- whoever it is -- passed out on his lawn, naked from the waist down. The odds are it's happened at some point. Even Gandhi most likely had hotel rooms and dead hookers in his past.

Daniel Quinn Ishmael: An Adventure of Mind and Spirit, by Daniel Quinn

And don't even think about ignoring advice from a moral teacher just because the source enjoys the ol' Colombian Nose Candy from time to time. We're all members of varying species of hypocrite (or did you tell them at the job interview that you once called in sick to spend a day leveling up on World of Warcraft?) Don't use your heroes' vices as an excuse to let yours run wild.

And finally, DON'T LET ANYBODY simplify it for you. The world cannot be made simple. Anyone who tries to paint a picture of the world in basic comic book colors is most likely trying to use you as a pawn.

This is not a world of us vs. them, of home vs. away teams and animal mascots. It is not a world of step-by-step success plans and clever slogans.

So just remember: T-R-Y. Go forth and do likewise, gents. Now you've got

Reproduced from Speakers Platform
(emphases added)

The Power of Humor

by David Glickman

Thank you for taking the time to read this article that is here under the pretense that it will inform you about "the power of humor." Actually, now that I've got your attention, I wanted to let you know about this incredible multi-level marketing opportunity that gives you the opportunity to make $50,000 a week, working from home in your pajamas.

Wait, stop! Don't click me off! It's a joke -- I'm kidding. We really are going to discuss the power of humor. I just wanted to prove that sometimes a small little thing like that can give you a chuckle. Now, come on, admit it, you did smile once you realized it was a joke, didn't you? It's ok. We don't have to be afraid to laugh anymore.

There has been a decided paradigm shift over the last fifteen years from humor often being thought of as "silly" or "not appropriate," to it being a welcome addition to practically every area of society. The last five years especially have seen an incredible insurgence of humor into the heretofore "no humor permitted" corporate world. (I don't think "Dilbert" would have been so widely embraced back in the 1980s.)

So why are we embracing humor now? Out-of-control stress in both work and home life caused people's pendulums to swing way too far to one side. Humor is now being used as one of the most powerful forces to help swing the pendulum back to center. (And maybe even further, if we're lucky!)

Humor sells. I'm not talking about funny commercials, although they certainly are more memorable than "straight" commercials. I'm talking about a salesperson trying to make a sale. If you can get your prospect to laugh at something in your proposal -- or presentation -- you have instantly shot to the top of his or her mind. We like people who make us laugh -- and we do business with people we like. And when people are laughing, they don't feel like they're being "sold."

What can you do to get your laughs? You're only limited by your imagination. I put together funny-phony print ads for sales people to show the prospect what their "competitors" are doing. While some feel it's "not appropriate" to poke fun at the competition, I have never failed to get a laugh with one of these props. And, once you've gotten the prospect to laugh, you've got a much easier route to the sale.

I also recommend humorous outgoing voicemail messages. It can be as simple as, "Hi, this is David Glickman. You've reached my voice mail, which means I'm not available right now. And, yes, it is a voice mail system. I assure you it's not an answering machine where I'm sitting here screening your calls. I wouldn't do something like that. That's what I've got Caller ID for. So please leave me a message and I will call you back as soon as I can."

These are just two examples of the unlimited ways you can harness your creativity to use humor as a powerful sales tool.

Humor heals.There have been countless medical studies and books written on the healing power of humor. I'm not a doctor (and I don't play one on TV), but I've seen enough cases of this to know its validity.

In my line of work as a professional humorist, I laugh a lot. Every day. And I think that's one of the reasons I haven't had a cold or flu in years. Laughing causes endorphins to be released in the system, and they may be more powerful than diet and exercise put together. (Or so I tell myself every time I procrastinate my workout sessions.) I think that's one of the reasons that so many comedians live such long lives. We're surrounded by laughter -- our own and our audience's.

And I know if I were to get sick, especially if it was something serious, I would add the viewing of funny videos or listening to funny audios as an integral part of my healing regiment.

Humor breaks the ice.. A few years ago I was asked to design a "comedy curriculum" for a traffic school. I can't think of a group of people who are more unhappy to be sitting in a room. They've all received traffic tickets. Many don't feel they deserved the ticket. Most are angry. And none of them are looking forward to sitting in a classroom for four hours.

I began the class by launching immediately into a quick song parody of the "Looney Tunes" theme song: This is it. It's traffic school. Don't feel bad. You're not a fool. Almost everyone's breaking the law. But you're the one they caught. I am Dave. This is your class. Four hours long. A pain in the...(pause) But who knows what you'll learn. On with the class, this is it.

The whole thing was less then thirty seconds, but it served its purpose. I caught them totally off guard, acknowledged the fact that they didn't want to be there, and got some instant laughs.

I proceeded to tell them how I knew they didn't want to be there, and were probably feeling some animosity towards the police officer that gave them the ticket. I asked them to pick up the printed test that was sitting on their desk, crumble it into a ball (which I demonstrated for them). I asked them, on the count of three, to pretend that I was the officer that gave them their ticket -- and to get their frustrations out of their system -- and I counted: one, two, three! And, of course, I was pummeled with several dozen wads of paper -- and a huge amount of laughter and applause.

I always followed up by clarifying that we were just having some fun, and then praising the police officers that patrol the streets. I then launched into the curriculum to a much more receptive crowd.

Using humor as an icebreaker makes difficult tasks a whole lot easier.

Humor diffuses tension. A speaker is heading to the podium, trips, and falls down. The crowd gasps and there is immediate tension. The speaker quickly looks up and says, "I will now take questions from the floor." A huge laugh follows, and the speaker picks himself up and regains his dignity.

Not all of us can think that quick on their feet -- or off their feet, as it were. But when faced with a tense situation, the power of humor will work more quickly to diffuse it than any other remedy.

Another speaker steps onto the platform. Either the wood is rotted, or the supports are bad, but the speaker falls right through the platform, as it collapses around him. Again, tension fills the room. Until the speaker quickly looks up and says, "Don't mind me. It's just a stage I'm going through." When I heard that story, I was so impressed with the speaker's quick thinking, I wanted to design a stage to collapse so that I could have the opportunity to use the line. (I wisely decided not to.)

Both of these stories illustrate how humorous quick thinking can not only diffuse tension, but can raise your credibility to an even higher level than had there been no problem.

You might recall during the presidential campaign of 1996, Bob Dole had a problem during a campaign appearance. He was shaking hands from a slightly elevated area, behind a fence. At one point the fence gave way, and Dole tumbled forward and fell to the ground. It was a tense moment for all, and, luckily, he was not injured.

However, had Bob Dole thought to look up from the ground and say (loudly), "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night!", he would have gotten a huge laugh, and would have shot up several points in the polls. I don't know whether it would have changed the election results, but I do know it would have given him some great momentum that he desperately needed at that point.

Humor gets results.. The bottom line is that humor gets results. No matter what the need is, there is a way that humor can be used to help serve that need. Humor negates anger. Humor creates credibility. Humor gets votes. Humor gets ratings. Humor commands attention. Humor overcomes objections. The list goes on and on.

Whatever hurdles you might be facing at work or at home, don't be afraid to try humor as a technique for clearing that hurdle. When I was a child, I remember how my father would handle the times when I would get very angry. He would find ways to make me laugh. He understood the power of humor.

I remember going to him, very upset, and yelling. And I would try to resist his attempts to make me laugh -- "Don't do that, Dad! I can't stay mad when I'm laughing!"--- and he would say, "That's exactly right. You can't stay mad when you're laughing." And then in a few minutes we would talk about what was upsetting me -- in a rational, calm manner.

I learned some important life lessons from that. Lessons that have given me the ability to make an entire career out of bringing that power of laughter into organizations. My father was right: You can't stay mad when you're laughing. So try to keep laughing. You'll live longer. You'll sleep better. And people will wonder what you're smiling at all the time.

© 1999 David Glickman

Lord Reincarnated Hubbard (LRH)

Scientologists have been accused of killing maybe 50-100 people over a period of about 50 years... But what about the 300+ million murdered by Godologists & Governmentologists?

There are many anti-scientology websites, possibly several hundred. Hubbard may have been murdered: The death of L. Ron Hubbard. Some Google search results (Nov. 07):
(web) "anti scientology" - 43,800
(web) +scientology +crazy - 1,240,000
(video) +scientology +crazy - 70
(web) +"Ron Hubbard" +murdered - 35,500
(web)+"anti scientology" +activist - 2,510
(web) +scientology +"charles manson" - 41,300

Scientology is controversial. There are many "anti-scientologists." Scientology can be exploited as a "Leverage Point." Some PPFEs could use the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" as a model to create "Lord Reincarnated Hubbard" (LRH). LRH can be put on websites and in videos. LRH could send out notices defending and praising Scientology, because they've killed only about 100 people, compared to the 300+ million killed by Godologist and Governmentologist cults.

Using the terms "Scientology," "Scientologists," "Godology," "Godologists," "Governmentology," "Governmentologists," and "cult" in the same communications may help DELIGITIMIZE the enemy.

LRH could advise all "wogs" (people not yet in Scientology) to join Scientology. He could suggest that all governments hand over all their functions to the Church of Scientology, because Scientologists have the best management technology and are much better at running things than anybody else. For sure, the Scientologists would be much better than the Godologists and Governmentologists. It's extremely unlikely that the Scientologists would murder 300,000,000 in a century -- like the Godologists and Governmentologists have done..

Lord Reincarnated Hubbard (LRH)

All psychologists, psychiatrists, and counsellors should convert to Scientology because they've got the best "self-improvement technology." All Government schools should be handed over to Scientologists because they've got the best study technology. All freedom activists should join Scientology because it's "the only road to total freedom." All struggling actors and actresses should join Scientology so they can become as good as Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Kelly Preston, Jenna Elfman, Jerry Seinfeld (ex-scientologist), etc. All drug addicts should go to Scientology because they have the best recovery program. All drug treatment centers should join Scientology and adopt their superior technology. All prospective murderers (including Godologists and Governmentologists so inclined) should join Scientology so they can become as "good" as Charles Manson!

The messages could include links to websites with information about the 300+ million murders. (Because "they" can be rather litigious, it's generally better to praise rather than criticize Scientologists. Fortunately, they're so wonderful that it's very easy to find things to praise them for!)

It may or may not be appropriate and workable to create an "Obamonster" to "celebrate" the world's "Murderer-in-Chief!" It may also be appropriate to depict the "Obamonster" as the "Child-Abuser-in-Chief" who "presides" over children being forced into Governmentologist/Godologist concentration campuses for brainwashing and mind destruction.

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