Newsletter of the Campaign to Defend the Right to a Secret Ballot (CDRSB)
September 2016 Issue No. 12
ISSN 1756-4964 (Print)
Brexit: an interpretation of the facts
The UK referendum decision to leave the EU took place in complex national and international circumstances. As the NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow has stated the western alliance now faces new threats from both the East and the South that make use of hybrid and asymmetric warfare tactics. These include the threat of using conventional forces combined with “covert intervention, cyber attacks, sowing confusion and ambiguity, agitation so that the adversary is not fully sure of what’s happening.” In 2015 both the Pope and the King of Jordan declared World War Three has begun by the use of such means. This is consistent with the late Boris Yeltsin’s surmise/threat that an invasion of Iraq by British and American forces would lead to nuclear war. It is in this context that the NATO Europe Commander has warned that Russia is ‘weaponising’ the migrant question. Turkish media recently claimed the ‘stay behind’ NATO secret GLADIO network took part in the attempted July coup against President Erdogan (Daily Express 4/8/16). These factors added further complexity to the referendum process: as Churchill stated, in time of war ‘truth requires a bodyguard of lies.’ Policy differences on the EU that have become apparent in Britain can be viewed in this light.
Intelligence commentary on these difficulties is ambivalent and presupposed by ongoing disputes over such testimony as that of KGB defector Anatoly Golitsyn (e.g. see Spymaster, Martin Pearce, August 2016). Gorbachev has stated the EU is the USSR in western clothes (Daily Express 21/6/16). ‘Remain’ advocates have argued Russia favours Brexit. Which of these claims is true - one, none, or both?
As has been recognised within philosophy, truth is best assessed upon the grounds of both correspondence with the facts and coherence in explaining them. But are there no facts, only interpretations, as some claim? Certainly that is the predominant view in the social sciences. As Pope Benedict XVI has observed, there now exists a ‘dictatorship of relativism’ in politics and the humanities with influence that has permeated Christian theology. A common assumption is that its primary opponents are conservative Christians. This is not the whole story however. On the one hand even Pope Benedict XVI has given credence to Hegelian postulates while on the other it was none other than Lenin who drew a clear, atheistic line of demarcation against relativist doctrine when it was first given full expression on the left by Alexander Bogdanov. To deny the existence of absolute truth, as did for example the ‘Marxism Today’ acolyte Irene Brennan, is, as Lenin asserted, to deny the possibility of objective truth. For Lenin this interpretation was an unambiguously factual truth: “…it is impossible to deny absolute truth without denying the existence of objective truth.” (Lenin, Collected Works, 1972, Vol 14, p.123).
While the Frankfurt School and its permeating Fabian allies occupy the highest ramparts of the relativist dictatorship in academia, it would nevertheless be wrong to assume either that this school has properly represented labour movement aspirations or that there is no opposition to it on the left. Rod Liddle’s comedic caricature of a ‘remain’ philosophy professor asserting that ‘at a deeper structure it may be that 48 is a greater quantity than 52’ offers a prime example of this. The most coherent challenge to relativist doctrine can best be found in the tradition of common sense realism, the primary philosophical standpoint of the American founders. Moreover, unlike Leninism direct realism is entirely free of what GDH Cole termed the ‘mumbo jumbo’ of Hegelian dialectics.
Although the right often claim to uphold common sense values, English philosophical realism emerged chiefly from the secular and radical Christian traditions largely in opposition to conservatism. Christian opinion is today divided between the relativist ‘living’ view of theology which holds that truth changes with history as against the view that certain truths are immutable. The latter conviction has been shared by both conservatism and the heterogeneous traditions of Christian radicalism that informed both Catholics who fought for the American Revolution and later also even pre-Marxist supporters of the Communist League. The perspective advanced here is that truth has an immutable component and also that the church has, in large part, failed to uphold it. Christ’s message according to John was essentially threefold: that truth exists and is divine in nature; that lies are caused not merely by human frailty but also by supernatural evil; that we should love one another. The view here which can be seen as incorporating such possibilities is that change has been necessary not because truth has changed but because in the long run the love and spirit of truth can ultimately lead to correction of false practices. Such love can be seen as both divine and natural and, like heroism, compatible with evolutionary theory regarding reciprocal and group altruism. Indeed, such compatibility can also be extended to the animal kingdom: the domestication of dogs and now cats demonstrates that when given the option animals prefer lives based on companionship and mutual care as opposed to a lone struggle for survival. What distinguishes the human species is its ability to harness the power of intelligence to realising such deeply founded instinctual preferences.
Needless violence is anathema to human well being. Execution for religious dissent was as wrong in the fourth century as it would be today. Such church error was rooted in the early period of persecution followed by difficulties arising from its later newly acquired favourable relation to the state. The use of force by the church has been excessive and while it may be reasonably argued that despite this it has nevertheless retained positive attributes judgement of it should not ignore or minimise this trail of deep, often grotesque error. Nevertheless as Thomas Jefferson acknowledged these positive attributes remain formidable. The author of freedom of worship as the first and foremost constitutional right in the modern world recognised that Christ’s ministry bequeathed an example of conduct and moral principle which commands reverence. Whether Jefferson does entirely dismiss all things miraculous in the Bible is not fully clear. The spectrum of religious thought within American revolutionary radicalism was in any case fairly broad and flexible. It has been best summarised to date in the concept of ‘theistic rationalism’ (see The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders, Gregg L. Frazer, 2012).
Such perspectives are presupposed by Locke’s conviction that Christianity is distinguished by its ‘reasonableness’ and that this attribute rests upon the judgement of ordinary people. Locke reasoned that Christ’s message must have been deliberately intended to be understood by the common people and his philosophical insights are informed by such opinion. The story of how and why it took sixteen or so centuries to establish this understanding as a governing principle in relations between faith, reason and the state is complex and far beyond the competence of this article to examine to any exhaustive extent. There are however a series of key turning points in this development which can help illustrate its content and significance upon a fairly coherent, factual basis.
Science and Reason
Divine or not, the teachings of Christ comprise a stable foundation of common sense understanding of enduring power and significance. They are, as indicated, compatible with those schools of evolutionary theory which recognise that it is the reasoning, cooperative, caring traits of intelligent life which more likely ensured the survival and success of early hunter gatherer societies - by far the most long lasting form of human organisation. Hegel, Marx and Lenin were all wrong in this regard: the rights of man arise from history but they are also inborn. The power structure and values of the Roman Empire, most especially in its later, dictatorial form, comprised an especially clear antithesis to the direction of development favoured by natural human inclinations. This antithesis can be characterised as the primary source of lies in the social order. If you wish to lead a good life, as Christ advised: “Let your speech be “Yea, yea”, “Nay, nay”; more than this is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37). This advice has endured and is testimony to the fact that sophistry and duplicity thrive where the natural inclination to egalitarian, truthful social relations is violated. It was in this context that Christ and his followers sought to challenge and oppose tyranny and exploitation and to care for the weak and the poor. Notably Christ saw moneylending and animal sacrifice so unworthy as to expel them from the Jerusalem Temple, thereby placing his own life in great danger.
The apostles set a powerful example of common sense values by breaking with the mutilation of children as a religious rite. Even today professors of science, theology and philosophy alike can still be found who attempt to justify this criminal practice. Similarly when the apostles broke with the extreme ethnocentrism of Judaism and chose instead to promote the universal character of their beliefs they established the first principles of internationalism which later reformers often took for granted. Thomas Paine’s declaration that he had no country but the world and no religion but that of doing good surely failed to properly acknowledge the Christian antecedents of such teaching. The birth and evolution of those values which would now be recognised as common sense internationalism may be described in brief as follows.
The torture and murder of the early church followers had the inevitable effect of intimidating its leaders and fostering compromise with tyranny and injustice among its ranks. When legalised it is reasonable to suggest that the church in consequence failed to retrieve and promote the republican and democratic traditions of government, instead, under duress, subordinating its demands to the requirements, prejudices and superstitions of monarchy and adopting its use of force as a necessary instrument of state power. Given Paul’s advocacy of passive subjection to the state in expectation of an early second coming these pressures upon the church help explain its early turn to Platonic philosophy and the weakness for the idealist inclinations of aristocracy which permeated the first millennia of Christian theology and took so many centuries to begin correcting. The unsurpassed example of breaking with ritual obsession and superstition set by Christ and his apostles as the founding point of departure for Christianity was in the process never fully honoured. Instead ceremony largely supplanted the tasks of defending and promoting the principle of government by consent based on natural law and commonsensical reason as the guiding principle of church activity.
Once legalised the church was to an extent successful in defining the reasonable parameters of Christian faith yet at the same time it adopted an elitist, secretive, power oriented reliance on scripture and the ceremonial aspect of faith at the expense of good works aimed to resolve the practical difficulties of earthly existence. Preference for Platonic idealism in philosophy has been associated with disdain for democracy, manual labour and craft industry. Church error in these matters led to failure to promote, and even at times opposition to, democratic and scientific progress. Yet these flaws in church policy need to be placed in context, not only in regard to the difficulties shown above in the emergence of Christianity, but also in regard to the objective conditions which obtained in the development of science and common sense in each given age.
Science evolved to its modern form through three main stages: first, that of deductive reasoning based on dialectical rhetoric as expounded in works such as those of Plato; second, the combination of deductive and inductive reasoning in the teleological postulates of Aristotle; thirdly, the fusion with and subordination of deduction and induction to practical experimentation as exemplified in the work of Francis Bacon. It has been claimed a further stage can be delineated in the incorporation of testable hypothesis within such work. In either case it is clear from the testimony of Bacon himself that the experimental method emerged in consultation with and learning from craft industry and manufacture as it had developed to the early modern period - most especially in regard to the arms and accordingly metals industries. Church theorists had of course provided necessary contributions to the history of this process, notably those of Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. Given the flaws outlined above the church nevertheless exerted a dogmatic resistance to the growth and eventual triumph of empiricism and the experimental method due principally to its excessive reliance upon scripture, deduction and the rationalist tradition. The Galileo affair comprised the turning point of struggle over how best to establish truth, though this conflict was more complex than some have sought to portray it. The view put by Pope Urban VIII that God may have so constructed nature as to be ultimately too complex for man to comprehend may appear as dogmatic subterfuge, but less so when account is taken of the unresolved problems of fundamental theory that now besiege both subatomic and astronomical science. After centuries of supremacy empirical verification and the ‘experimental method’ pioneered largely by Galileo is now, albeit somewhat disingenuously, being partly substituted by unverifiable speculation.
Trial by Jury
Concomitant to the development of modern science was the process of transition from government by force and superstition to government by consent. This occurred primarily in England, culminating in decisive victory in the American Revolution. The high esteem in which common sense was held in the Anglosphere contributed to these processes, finding reflection in the theories of Bacon, Locke and Reid. British common sense developed upon the foundation of understanding provided by the proliferation of craft industry and its pioneering relation to the scientific revolution. Common sense was strengthened, as Tocqueville recognised, by the educative benefits in debate and decision making that had accrued from many centuries of unbroken practice in jury democracy since and before Magna Carta. English common sense was also enriched by the language itself, a hybrid result of many invasions and the foresight of Alfred the Great that by Shakespeare’s time incorporated more than twice the vocabulary of any other language.
Enlightened, democratic sentiment informed Magna Carta which strengthened individual rights against arbitrary power. English common sense developed as a mode of independent, self reliant thought, largely free from the indoctrinating dogmas of church and state. The right and duty to bear arms had been upheld in England more often than not since the Anglo-Saxon period, such that the skills involved in arms and metals manufacture were widespread. The scientific revolution and with this the experimental method advocated by Francis Bacon set down their roots on the fertile ground of developed common sense. By comparison European ‘good sense’ lagged centuries behind: French craft industry was largely confined to the manufacture of toys for the aristocracy, not goods, including arms, for popular use. As Agincourt showed, the French peasantry were usually denied arms.
These antecedents, especially regarding juries, were centuries in the making and placed England considerably in advance of European states in regard to socio-political developments. As with the development of modern science, the church did not play a leading role in the Anglo-American process of transition from government based on superstition and force to government based on consent. In fact it may be suggested that conservative resistance to political progress was strengthened by papal failure to uphold original democratic principles.
Catholic Popes from the third century failed to emulate the example bequeathed by the apostles concerning the use of sortition to replace Judas by Matthias in the first election of church leaders. While the Coptic Church retained this method there is no firm evidence of its use as the primary mode of electing leaders within Catholicism thereafter. Interestingly, the bones of Mark, believed to have founded the Alexandrian Church, were taken to Venice in the 9th century and held by the Doge. Sortition was used to form government in Venice throughout the medieval period. There are no substantive records of how Catholic leaders attained recognition during the first two centuries after the apostles (Behind Locked Doors: A History of the Papal Elections, Frederic J. Baumgartner, 2003). Thereafter it seems sortition was not used regularly apart from in secondary roles such as in the appointment of ballot scrutineers. Later the dogma of Pentecost was invoked to justify such failure to use sortition in church, including papal, elections.
Citing Bede, Thomas Aquinas infers the Holy Spirit visitation at Pentecost meant the apostles were thereafter granted heavenly powers of understanding which allowed them to judge who best to appoint as leaders (Summa Theologica; Second Part of the Second Part, Question 95, Article 8). This meant sortition did not need to be used except perhaps in emergencies when church leaders needed to flee persecution. As to what exactly the merit of using sortition consisted in, Thomas Aquinas is not clear. Rather he seems more concerned to condemn its use when associated with pagan superstition. He makes no reference to the fact that it comprised the primary mode of election in Athenian democracy, or that politics in the ancient city state recognised a clear distinction between democracy and ‘elective aristocracy’ - later to be entitled ‘ representative democracy’ by Alexander Hamilton. It seems Thomas Aquinas believed the results of sortition would be based on demonic or heavenly power or chance. He paid no explicit heed to its use in constraining the influence of secret factions. Yet the apostles had used it in circumstances where such possibilities could hardly have failed to occur to them: Judas had betrayed Christ and in appointing a replacement the concern that their following had been infiltrated by traitors must surely have been one of their main fears. Why has the Catholic Church apparently failed to grasp this possibility? The answer may be involved, complex and requiring more research than has been conducted here. Nevertheless some possible explanations can be suggested.
First, the decision to retrospectively invoke the power of the apostles to appoint leaders through supposed authorisation by the Holy Spirit helped sanctify elective aristocracy as the primary mode of election within the church. This would help appease the aristocratic enemies of Christianity, or at least would be seen as less likely to aggravate relations with them, since support for democracy would likely be seen as more radical. As stated, motives to appease tyranny must have been very strong among the early Christian community right up through the medieval period and may have affected its leadership procedures. An obvious possible instance of this was the internal struggle surrounding the election of Pope Cornelius.
Second, as shown above at the outset of the first millennia the fusion of science, philosophy and common sense lay many centuries in the future. The apostles’ use of sortition, much like their break with ethnocentrism, demonstrated a powerful but still intuitive and unstudied grasp of common sense truths centuries before Reid had defined their role in the course of polemical debate as the foundation of knowledge. The self evident truth that sortition must help to constrain the influence of secret factions was itself only explicitly defined near the turn of this century. It is therefore of note that while the apostles may have used sortition to curtail the influence of traitors in their ranks it is not all that surprising that Thomas Aquinas failed to grasp the full import of such use. Thomist realism, common sense realism and Leninist realism all share to some extent a disdain for GK Chesterton’s ‘uncommon sense’ and a belief in theorising ever closer approximations to truth. Even so they are different: ‘dialectics’ for Reid would be just more ‘uncommon sense.’
These limitations in church doctrine and structure played a decisive role in the development of democracy in Europe. Church positions on trial by jury were of key significance in this regard. While the Holy Roman Empire had long endorsed the use of trial by jury, Pope Innocent III effectively terminated its widespread use in Europe with his ruling that trial by ordeal and combat be replaced by the judge led inquisitorial system of trial. Geoffrey Robertson QC has claimed the commencement of the Inquisition, not the centuries of trial by jury in Europe (which, according to James Wilson, were a legacy of Athenian democracy) that preceded it, was what set in motion the modern adversarial form of jury trial. This claim may have elements of truth in it in regard to the evolving use of reasoned expertise in legal process but as an overall account of why jury trial survived and prospered in Britain yet withered and died in Europe it seems so improbable as to comprise the exact opposite of the truth. That is to say, that Pope Innocent III’s launch of the Inquisition did not develop but rather undermined jury democracy, which had served as an arena of debate, consultation and government for centuries, including by Alfred the Great. A more realistic explanation as to why trial by jury and legal scholarship developed to their modern form first in the UK must take account of the full range of such factors, including Alfred the Great’s insistence that law be recorded and translated into the vernacular, unlike anywhere else in Europe at the time, and similarly that Henry II had enacted legal reforms which preserved and developed a tradition of secular common law that had been in use since the sixth century AD. Independent of ecclesiastical control, it helped preserve trial by jury during the onset of the Inquisition.
It was the failure of the church to take full account of the merits of sortition in constraining the influence of secret factions which underlay the, at best mistaken, Papal decision to initiate the Inquisition based on interrogative and then ‘enhanced’ interrogative techniques in order to constrain the influence of secret factions: “As a matter of fact the Inquisition, as introduced by Pope Innocent III, was a means of unmasking heretics, and infidels, who were masquerading as Christians for the purpose of destroying the Christian faith from within. It did not make the slightest difference to the Inquisitors whether the accused was Jew or Gentile, black or white.” (Pawns in the Game, William Guy Carr, p.19 Dauphin Publications, 2013).
The launch of the Inquisition very probably also had negative effects in the development of parliamentary democracy. Jury trial survived and developed in England and so also did its embryonic parliament. The opposite occurred in France, both with respect to jury trial and its early form of parliament. Robertson’s inaccurate claim may best be explained by the fact that the left legal establishment has long since become permeated with Fabian sentiment. This explains the lightning ease with which over 1000 barristers were organised to petition David Cameron on July 9th 2016 to nullify the referendum result that the UK leave the essentially juryless EU. Such rampant enthusiasm for the EU inquisitorial system implies impartiality and objectivity are not strong points in the understanding of the Fabian diaspora regarding the origin and merits of trial by jury.
A more accurate appraisal of the relation between the Papacy and trial by jury is that it can be viewed as ambivalent and problematic. Though trial by jury had been endorsed by the Holy Roman Empire and enlightened clerical influence had informed authorship of Magna Carta tactical papal support for monarchy took priority over church inclinations towards development of a more egalitarian, just social order. It may be conjectured that enlightened clerical dissent concerning such attachment to elite power took later form in the ideas of John Wycliffe. Some of his followers supported and led the 1381 peasants’ revolt against hereditary aristocratic power: ‘When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?’ This democratic slogan demonstrated an early intuitive grasp of the enlightenment principle that ‘the earth belongs to the living’ and provides testimony to the constancy and transhistorical basis of the self evident truths of common sense.
The church did not however provide consistent leadership in promoting a more just social order. Conflict between common sense, Catholic establishment extravagance and the various convoluted obsessions of religious sectarianism and hereditary power eventually gave rise to the Reformation and thereafter the English Revolution. The right to trial by jury helped anchor these complex, turbulent changes to realisation of the principle of government by consent, the supremacy of parliamentary power and the right to free speech.
Papal influence was usurped and, increasingly, constrained by these results, which were not purely positive. The church had helped organise society about Christian values and common sense, even if only in a limited and contradictory manner. Alms for the poor were administered upon an imperfect but nevertheless consistently ongoing foundation. In this way the intrinsic, intuitively necessary link between inherited wealth bestowed upon death to the church as alms giving and its redistribution to the poor was maintained throughout the medieval period, even if only through fear of damnation. James Connolly estimated the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII resulted in the death of 100,000 paupers - the equivalent of over two million persons in today’s UK - who had relied on the church for poor relief. At the same time the dissolution transferred around 20% of the nation’s wealth to the protestant aristocracy and bourgeoisie.
The forced privatisation of monastic social property in this way prepared the basis for a developing alliance between the English protestant ascendancy and what James Madison described as the ‘moneylenders.’ Such forces have since exerted direct or indirect influence upon global economy and the fate of nations, from the founding of the Bank of England to the financial crisis of 2008. The resurgence of moneylending has thereby usurped perhaps the greatest achievement of the medieval church: the criminalisation of excessive financial profiteering, that is to say, usury. Against this view is the claim, almost certainly supported by Alexander Hamilton, that the decriminalisation of usury helped accelerate economic development. These alternative appraisals of the history of modern banking probably provide the first two main systemic alternatives in the organising principles of a democratic economy. Moreover, the option of democratic control of banking as against unrestricted usury has been made more difficult to realise due to the adoption of elective aristocracy as against sortition in the modern blueprint for democracy. It has been claimed that in 1924 the American Bankers Association (ABA) stated that: ‘By dividing the voters through the political party system, we can get them to expend their energies in fighting for questions of no importance’ (quoted in Vile Acts of Evil, Vol 1, Michael A. Kirchubel, 2009, p.284).
The ABA quote follows almost two centuries of publicly stated concerns and suspicions regarding banking shared by world leaders, including Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. It may be objected that the ABA quote is merely an interpretation, not a fact: there is a long trail of controversy that follows in its wake leading to the Mises Institute, the Cato Institute and the Koch brothers foundation, with allegations of ‘false flag infiltration’ and suchlike. However there is no fully factual account of the history and nature of banking, but merely a series of varying interpretations. Even so few can dispute that financial interests and the party political system are linked, and corruptible, most especially in regard to the highly profitable relation between money issue, taxation and fractional reserve banking. Eighteen centuries after the apostles used sortition to replace a traitor - very possibly bribed by moneylenders to the state with powers to collect taxes - suspicions surrounding banking in the first modern republican democracy have been deep set and vehement: ‘American suspicion of big banks was allied to a suspicion of foreign banks, and especially Jewish ones. No sooner had the Rothschilds appeared on the American scene than Governor McNutt of Mississippi was denouncing ‘Baron Rothschild’ for having the ‘blood of Judas and Shylock flowing in his veins, and… uniting the qualities of both his countrymen.’ (The House of Rothschild, 1798-1848, Niall Ferguson, Penguin 1999, p.369).
The design of the US Constitution - the ‘blueprint’ for republican democracy that has since developed on a world scale - was a compromise between those who sought to promote centralised control of money issue by private banking led by Alexander Hamilton and those who sought to ensure money issue remained under public control and/or at decentralised levels, led by Thomas Jefferson. In this way retrograde pressures arising from the monied classes along with massive debt from the war of independence helped ensure the US Federal Constitution was shaped primarily upon principles of Roman elective aristocracy as opposed to Athenian democracy. Jefferson and his allies were able to extract the Bill of Rights - which consists mostly in guaranteeing rights to jury trial - as the price for endorsing the Federal Constitution. As a result of this compromise the ‘blueprint’ for modern democracy has survived but is still vulnerable to intrigue by aristocratic factions.
It is a self evident truth that sortition must tend to constrain the influence of secret factions. By the same token election for nominated competing candidates carries with it the recurrent danger of manipulation by dishonest elements willing to be all things to all men provided such lies enable them to attain political power. Moreover, part of the compromise which gave rise to this blueprint was the exclusion from constitutional arrangements of Jefferson’s principle that the ‘earth belongs to the living.’ This principle was aimed at promoting democratic accountability of banking by ensuring that government borrowing so excessive as to indebt later generations would have to be agreed to at the level of constitutional review by each later generation, not simply foisted upon them by their predecessors. It also had implications for inheritance, such that the right to inherit could not be regarded as a natural, but only as a civil right - that is to say, that it be potentially or actually subject to government decision making in regard to what lies in the public interest in each case. Accordingly it also implied that large amounts of inherited wealth could be liable to greater rates of taxation, or simply expropriated altogether by the state for redistribution purposes.
Elections for nominated competing candidates - for which Hamilton coined (no pun intended) the misleading term of ‘representative democracy’ (elective aristocracy is more accurate) - tend to generate binary options since choice in such systems must boil down to essentially one of two: the majority or the minority, be they single parties or coalitions. The modern ‘blueprint’ for democracy tends to generate structural polarisation about binary systemic choices. This can have positive outcomes: the Republican Party polarised the question of slavery and led to its abolition. However it can also have negative outcomes: the American Anti-Masonic Party was unable to gain an outright majority as a result of which it became absorbed by other parties which ultimately resulted in the resurgence of freemasonry, a secretive force which continues to exert powerful cross party influence due to the systemic vulnerability of representative democracy to conspiratorial factionalism.
Against this background the American Revolution can be seen as unfinished in realising its full aims. Principal among these was the further development of jury democracy and incorporation of the constitutional tenet that ‘the earth belongs to the living.’ A fairly indisputable consequence of the development of ‘representative democracy’ has been that the ‘bottom up’ powers of the Bill of Rights have been constrained within parameters subordinate to top down, centralising controls. The restriction of sortition as an electoral device and its substitution by the election of nominating competing candidates - elective aristocracy - gave rise to the party system. Probably the most powerful factor in reshaping of the original confederal arrangements was moneylending. The struggle over systemic options regarding banking - primarily over public versus private control of money issue and fractional reserve banking - continued throughout the 19th century until establishment of the privately owned US so-called Federal Reserve in 1913. Global credit has since been controlled primarily by banking interests organised around the Fed.
Which brings us to 1924 and the stated policy of the ABA towards political parties. The policy is presupposed by the failure, on a world historical scale, to develop sortition, the main merit of which consists in the constraints which it imposes upon the influence of secret factions. Party politics are subject to easier top down control, corruption, manipulation and factional polarisation than are bodies comprised of randomly selected jurors and delegates. Given these achievements and failures in development up to the modern period it may therefore be reasonably suggested that the following complications comprise the main impediments to future progress in regard to systemic options which need to be taken account of.
The first concerns the unknown levels of clandestine interference by private banking interests. These are murky issues and include the possibility that moneylending interests may comprise a major cause of war: national debts are most easily and massively expanded in order to wage war, such that there exists a clear motive on the part of moneylenders to foment conflict.
The second major complication impeding progress in the modern world is the political polarisation between conservatism and radicalism. As indicated, at bottom the origins of such conflict in the modern era can be attributed to problems associated with the French Revolution. European political philosophy and common sense understanding did not attain the same levels of development as had been reached in America. These backward conditions gave succour to extremism, born of attempts to overcome the backlog of overdue reform under European monarchies by entrusting such tasks to a revolutionary elite reliant upon using force to excess. The defeat of Jacobin extremism and its authoritarian heirs emplaced in power an alliance of vengeful monarchies across the vanquished Napoleonic empire. The harsh levels of police repression employed to suppress European radicalism in turn further engendered sentiments of extremism and the proliferation of utopian theories aimed to resolve these difficulties. From this maelstrom of ideas emerged Marxism, a theory largely devoid of common sense understanding and accordingly based not on social improvement by means of trial and error but rather an idealist theory of supposedly historically necessary, inevitable economic development.
The bastard child of European rationalism - itself the product of Catholic repression and its resistance to English empiricism - the confused jumble of Cartesian-Hegelian deduction that comprises Marxism advanced the claim that a new, untried economic system - socialism - must, without any substantive empirical evidence, prove more efficient than capitalism upon a world historical scale. One amongst a number of such utopian and leftist theories it was Marxism which became the dominant ideology of the left for over a century. There is evidence that murky financial backing for Marx had a substantial role in securing this outcome, both at the outset of his life as revolutionary and in his last years.
The original radical Christian theorist who first led the founders of the Communist League Wilhelm Weitling alleged that Marx’s tactics in gaining control of the organisation essentially sprang from his relation to the ‘sources of money’ which gave him the power by ‘sitting on the funds’ to deprive his ideological rivals of financial support (see Karl Marx, Man and Fighter, B. Nicolaievsky and Otto Maenchen-Helfen, 1936, pp 119-121). Later in his life Marx was subjected to damning criticism from Mikhail Bakunin, his then chief ideological rival in the First International: “This whole Jewish world which constitutes a single exploiting sect, a sort of bloodsucker people, a collective parasite, voracious, organised in itself, not only across the frontiers of states but even across all the differences of political opinion - this world is presently, at least in great part, at the disposal of Marx on the one hand and of the Rothschilds on the other. I know that the Rothschilds, reactionaries as they are and should be, highly appreciate the merits of the communist Marx; and that in his turn the communist Marx feels irresistibly drawn, by instinctive attraction and respectful admiration, to the financial genius of Rothschild. Jewish solidarity, that powerful solidarity that has maintained itself through all history, united them” (quoted in Karl Marx, Francis Wheen, 1999 p.340).
A half century of practical implementation of Marxist theory both through reform in the west and by means of leftist dictatorships has demonstrated that in conditions of economic competition against capitalism socialism has not proved convincingly successful. For these reasons leftist strategy has assumed amorphous form primarily motivated not to support the palpable merits of socialist economy - since there are none that can be defended with certainty on a systemic scale - but rather to develop Machiavellian tactics aimed at acquiring political power by stealth, or conflict, or both. As George Orwell put it, “the purpose of dictatorship is not to protect the revolution; the purpose of the revolution is to establish the dictatorship.”
The attainment of one world government at first by trade agreements and regional integration lies at the heart of this strategy, which can be detected in the foreign policy standpoints of most leftist parties. ‘Culture wars’ inspired by theorists such as Antonio Gramsci and Saul Alinsky serve as complements to a strategy of infiltration which, alongside longstanding Fabian tactics of ‘permeation’ has provided leftists with considerable influence within capitalist states. Banking interests also have influence in global affairs such that the possibility of their enlisting the support of left political administrators is clearly an option. Two prominent figures spring to mind in this context: George Osborne and Hillary Clinton. Both have well known relations with the world of finance and both have been associated with neo-Marxist concerns.
Upon the basis of the above analysis the claim that there are no facts, only interpretations must be rejected: facts may yield different interpretations but among them there will be some which approximate the truth more accurately than others. To deny this is to deny the possibility of objective truth - a difficult and as Reid famously demonstrated in his critique of Hume, rather absurd posture, at least in the judgement of common sense. Rod Liddle’s lampoon aptly depicts such flawed reasoning, though there is the further consideration that relativism is promoted not merely by misguided intellectuals but also by cynical fifth columnists in the pay of totalitarian masters. As H.G.Wells saw, neo-Marxist relativism is motivated primarily by deliberate Machiavellian voluntarism. What concerns the core professional radical of this ilk is not whether truth exists but how big the lie must be and how often it must be repeated before the masses actually start to believe it. Voluntarist leftism is the kindred spirit of fascism, not science, a circumstance which should not be lost sight of. Even Gramsci, who developed his theories from the same idealist philosophical traditions that gave birth to fascism, supported the Comintern on the understanding that its open existence was necessary to retain the trust of the working class. Such democratic values have long since been abandoned by leftism, which operates upon an almost exclusively clandestine basis. It is important to grasp the scale of such activity. It begins chiefly with the Fabians, including in the USA, where Charles Beard, it is claimed, was the first Marxist to use deception as a means to discredit the founding fathers ((The Great Deceit - Social Pseudo-Sciences, A Veritas Foundation Staff Study 1964,pp 76-77).
By 1964 Fabian marxism was dominant in academia:
“The British Fabian Society infiltrated all major political parties and institutions in Britain and managed to dominate sociological and political sentiment to such an extent that Britain has been gradually creeping towards full socialism regardless of the political party in power. On several occasions, the Fabian socialists even had full political direction of the British Empire through the medium of the Labour Party which the Fabians founded and have dominated ever since. The Fabians sponsored, organised and financed the London School of Economics as an institution that would grind out graduate students who would filter into colleges and universities throughout the British Empire and the United States” (ibid. pp. 27-28).
Conflict between conservatism and radicalism has polarised but it should be borne in mind that their differences may be more successfully managed by an honest strategy alert to the difficulties in scientific and political understanding that presuppose and predetermine them. Yuval Levin traces the chief point of rupture between these opposite forces as that of the polemics between Burke and Paine (The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine and the Birth of Right and Left, 2014). To a great extent he is correct. Error on both sides can be detected with a certain degree of precision at this point. Paine, like many others, had placed too much confidence in the abilities of French radicalism and failed to see the dangers of extremism in their approach. In this respect Burke had bested him within his own commonsensical terms of reference. Burke is, after all, perfectly correct in his contention that “reform should be early, anticipating the emergence of a problem before its full effects are felt; it should be proportionate to the evil to be addressed to limit collateral effects; it should be incremental, building on existing arrangements so that it can draw upon any lessons learnt from them; it should be measured so that those making the change and those affected by it can adjust their behaviour accordingly; it should be consensual so that it can last over time; it should be cool in spirit to maintain consensus throughout the process of change; and finally each step must be practical and achievable in itself” (quoted by Jesse Norman MP, Speaker’s House lecture on Edmund Burke, 27 October 2015).
The American revolutionaries who gained Burke’s cooperation had taken great care to retain the high ground of reasonableness in their approach. The preamble to the Declaration exemplifies their desire to delineate with exactitude the history of their grievances against the Crown as a persuasive appeal to ordinary reason. John Adams had set the example of rule based conduct by defending British soldiers against the charge of murder in having opened fire upon unarmed demonstrators. French radicalism was unable to emulate such an approach and instead sought to excuse mob violence and unnecessary killing committed in the name of revolution. Paine paid for the error of his ways in a Jacobin dungeon. Burke had anticipated the descent into tyranny, including the emergence of a military dictator. Napoleon himself put into words the logical end point of the French radical viewpoint that government had to be exercised by an enlightened minority: “I have come to realise that men are not born to be free… Liberty is a need felt by a small class of people whom nature has endowed with nobler minds than the mass of men.” (Europe 1783-1914, William Simpson and Martin Jones, 2000, p.75).
Even so Burke was not wholly correct. His concept of intergenerational continuity as justification for preserving hereditary privilege is a step too far in the direction of mysticism and irrationalism. Ironically by persistent application of Burke’s own patiently rigorous methods Paine’s principle that the ‘earth belongs to the living’ which radicalism has since neglected can prove conservatism wrong on this point. For example, the self evident truth that ‘the earth belongs to the living’ and that accordingly inheritance tax is the most socially just class of taxation can and has been verified by opinion survey.
Conservatism is very attached to inherited wealth. That helps explain why the Adam Smith Institute (ASI) ignored our arguments for inheritance tax until we eventually directly informed them that Smith himself supported the principle that the ‘earth belongs to the living.’ In fact Thomas Jefferson had high praise for Smith’s work (On Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, Samuel Fleischacker, 2005, p.198). The ASI replied that Smith was only concerned to oppose primogeniture, then, somewhat strangely, argued that the concentration of wealth in large estates by means of primogeniture had helped manufacturing grow in England, whereas in Europe large estates were broken down to smaller farms which impeded such growth. The ASI claimed Smith somehow therefore disapproved of inheritance tax. This interpretation is contrary to fact. Smith opposed primogeniture which “…is but a small step away from an attack on inheritance itself” (ibid. p.198). That was the inference drawn by his student John Millar. Tom Paine “who considered himself a disciple of Smith’s on political economy, recommended a steeply progressive inheritance tax in his Rights of Man” (ibid). Smith regarded the abolition of primogeniture as good for growth, most especially in the USA. He has obviously been proved correct.
As regards inheritance tax, it is fairly clear Smith would have agreed with us given modern conditions. He did not specify comprehensively his support for the ‘earth belongs to the living’ but did clearly acknowledge that it is irrational to assume that the dead can decree that large amounts of wealth be passed down through the generations. He thought some inheritance could be left to destitute relatives. Since income tax did not exist and revenue for the public sector was a much smaller portion of GDP in the 18th century, the self evident truth that inheritance tax is the most socially just of various classes of taxation was not examined upon a comparative basis. Smith was however much more of a radical egalitarian for his time than modern conservative theorists like to acknowledge. It is therefore not credible to assume he would oppose the view that inheritance tax is the least unjust tax in modern conditions when government revenue takes proportionately much greater amounts of tax from the working person to fund a public sector that is far greater in scale. Having sympathy for the destitute left with no inheritance in a welfare-less state is one thing; having sympathy for perpetuating generations of wealthy hereditary economic aristocracy in modern conditions is quite another.
Similarly Smith’s concern that taxation on wealth might reduce savings in respect of investment in the late 18th century when rich individuals assumed a more decisive role in capitalist development cannot be projected to the 21st century. As Anthony Crosland observed, capitalism had been radically transformed by the late twentieth century with vast numbers of small investors with savings managed by large finance corporations. Today there are many more small savers and huge transnational corporations than Smith could have envisaged. As Noam Chomsky has observed, Adam Smith was in essence egalitarian in his aspirations so depicting him otherwise is a misrepresentation of his work. Moreover, arguments that inheritance tax harms growth by diminishing savings (see Newsletter No.7) looks especially weak when account is taken of the fact that the top rates of inheritance tax were at their highest in both the USA and the UK during the fifties and sixties when these countries experienced the highest peace time growth rates since the twenties. These US and UK achievements show the most coherent correlation between inheritance tax rates and the western economies is not economic, but political in nature and reflects the culturally advanced character of Anglosphere tax policy as being more closely in line with the self evident truths of common sense.
Germany and France, notwithstanding the ban on inheritance in the Jacobin period and the later influence of Saint Simon, both failed to match the high rates of inheritance tax attained in the USA and the UK. Unsurprisingly it was American radicalism that achieved most in curbing inheritance. Immediately after the revolution “most states prohibited entails by law or restricted them in such a way that long-term entailment of property was no longer possible.” (Inherited Wealth, Jens Beckert 2004, p.257). This achievement was not replicated either in Germany, France, or Britain, none of which abolished entail completely until the 20th century. Leaders such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Robert Owen’s American followers all opposed the concentration of wealth through inheritance: “The political point of reference for the reformers was especially Thomas Jefferson’s critique of the bequeathal of property. This is evident, for example, in the writings of Thomas Skidmore  and Orestes Brownson .” (Ibid. p.172). These labour theorists helped ensure that until very recently US tax law also reflected explicitly and unambiguously the Jeffersonian derived understanding that the right to inherit is a civil, not a natural right.
In Britain the labour movement has been too developed and well organised at grassroots levels for misguided left theorists and suchlike to spread much confusion in regard to common sense inclinations concerning inheritance tax. Consequently though lacking a Jeffersonian heritage UK inheritance tax rates were maintained at similarly high rates as in the USA, most especially in the period from 1950 to 1970. Impediments to development of commonsensical tax policy in Germany and France have essentially been twofold: first, the continuing influence of traditional prejudices rooted in notions of the permanency of position and status predetermined by God’s will and suchlike; secondly and more especially, due to the influence of Marxism.
“Surprising” (ibid. p.217) though it may seem, Marxism did not work to raise inheritance tax rates but on the contrary sought to downplay the importance of this issue, notwithstanding the remnants of radical Christian understanding in the manifesto adopted by the Communist League in 1850. Two main arguments were put forward by Marx against raising levels of inheritance tax: that such policy would enrage the bourgeoisie; that the problems of social justice could only be properly solved by socialisation of the means of production and the abolition of private property. A further tier of argument against inheritance tax was later formulated by the ‘revisionist’ Marxist Eduard Bernstein comprising vague worries about how it might affect savings and investment etc. As stated these ideological encumbrances upon common sense did not prevent Anglo-American policy setting over 75% top tier inheritance tax rates by 1970.
The Reagan Thatcher revolutions put paid to these policies such that since 2000 the possibility of eradicating inheritance tax altogether has been openly touted by the American right. What enabled conservatism to destroy these achievements in tax policy was their ability to lump inheritance tax in with the high tax and spend policies adopted by the left since World War Two. In the USA, blue collar frustration with the Vietnam war also undermined support for radicalism given the defeat of western internationalism by a Marxist regime which refused to allow dissent, notwithstanding Ho Chi Minh’s real or feigned admiration for Jefferson’s Declaration. Against this background the failure of Keynesian economics to promote growth without inflation allowed conservatism to portray inheritance tax as somehow to blame. In fact it was leftist Keynesian tax and overspend dogma not common sense which gave credence to such criticism. Left policy on inheritance tax thereafter became fragmented and incoherent due to these setbacks.
This is the background to the Kantian ‘communitarianism’ of John Rawls. His ‘theory of social justice’ amounts to a highly regulated form of not so soft totalitarianism. His theory is monosystemic in character and fails to distinguish between self evident and speculative truth. It is consequently rather incompatible with ongoing multisystemic change, and also, therefore, freedom. Rawls argues against prioritising inheritance tax on the grounds that inherited wealth is no more of a privilege than inherited intelligence (ibid. p.208). He overlooks the somewhat obvious fact that educational attainment is, predominantly, determined by wealth.
As I have previously argued (see e.g. Newsletter No.10) Lenin’s approach to theory was more closely aligned to common sense realism than that of other Marxists, including the neo-Kantian theorist Alexander Bogdanov from whom the present hegemony of the Frankfurt School established under Gorbachev can trace its origins. In particular, as indicated earlier Lenin demonstrated high regard for the existence of objective truth in philosophy and politics alike: "The Marxist doctrine is omnipotent because it is true." (Lenin CW 1972 Vol 19 p23).
Lenin recognised that: “It depends in part on the nature of people (academic versus practical types) whether they incline to one or another philosophy” (ibid. Vol 38 p.71). On this understanding he criticised Plekhanov’s failure to grasp the “practical-political and class difference between the liberal and the democrat” (ibid. p.546) in Chernyshevsky’s approach. Lenin contrasted what he saw as the liberal view that a wealthy aristocracy is necessary to preserve freedom to the democrat’s greater concern with equality (ibid. p.544). Lenin’s ‘tree of liberty’ would not be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants because his assumptions were in this way affected by European radical extremism and its flawed approach to democracy. For Jefferson Shay’s farmer rebellion against debt was at one with the struggle for liberty. For Napoleon, Lenin and even Chernyshevsky the masses fought primarily for bread. For Napoleon freedom only fully concerned ‘those with nobler minds.’ For Chernyshevsky and Lenin freedom was for the ‘best people’ and the ‘advanced workers.’ Lenin hoped leadership accountability to transparent debate at advanced levels of theory could ultimately ensure it would be the sovereignty of proletarian common sense, not the foul quirk of idealist dialectics that would ultimately reign in Russia, but did not survive to ensure it would be so.
There are elements of naive, democratic realism in Lenin’s work which are at bottom in line with the American achievement. This is especially apparent in his condemnation of Hegel’s disdain for common sense: “Disagreement with common sense is the foul quirk of an idealist.” (Lenin ibid. p.291). At one point he even asserts that “…practical action always requires a certain degree of verification by experience, and that consequently it can be considered trustworthy a priori only within certain more or less broad limits” (ibid. p.535). This is the background to Lenin’s inclusion of both progressive inheritance tax and trial by jury in the 1917 Russian Social Democratic and Labour Party program. He upheld the right of any citizen to prosecute any administrator in front of a jury. This highest form of jury democracy was included along with progressive inheritance tax in the CDRSB 2014 program - before our discovery of them in Lenin’s 1917 program. This discovery was accomplished despite there being no reference to jury trial in the subject index to Lenin’s Collected Works. As such this combination of progressive inheritance tax and jury trial may be unique to the CDRSB and Lenin alone, to date.
Further examples of Lenin’s commonsensical approach include his support for the principle of one man management and the New Economic Policy. Such support show his willingness to subordinate policy to practical requirements in distinction to much of the utopian reasoning that pervaded Marxism, including what he termed the ‘absurdly left’ inclinations of Trotskyism in regard to such slogans as a United States of Europe. Lenin condemned the ambiguities of what he perceived to be ‘opportunist’ policy, declaring ‘vagueness and amorphousness’ to be hallmarks of deceit and careerist egoism. It seems Lenin may even, albeit unconsciously and notwithstanding his use of deception in tactics, have embraced at a strategic level Christ’s admonition to resist duplicity. Taking account of his belief in truth, Lenin may well have considered honesty to be the best policy.
Nevertheless there are ironies which need to be taken account of. Criticism from the theorists of socialist colonialism to Chomsky has included the claim that Leninism is itself a form of opportunism because Bolshevism took power to spark a world revolution but once it became clear this would not take place dictatorship was perpetuated upon false premises. Moreover, Leninist so-called anti-imperialist policies have encouraged petit bourgeois nationalist vanities from the killing fields of Cambodia to the Scottish highland grouse moors. Such nationalism in turn strengthened opportunist motives to shut down honestly internationalist debate in the ironic cause of one world stealth policy. Putin has claimed Lenin’s ‘plan’ for Russia was proved wanting. His solution appears to be having no public and therefore no accountable plan. An alternative, realist view is that Leninism may have proved mistaken but the possibility of correcting its errors remains open: truth can speak to power because it exists and policy can more closely approximate it.
Lenin’s approach was in this particular regard of especial significance, not least in his insistence, in distinction to most of his comrades, that policy be formulated by open, transparent debate at advanced levels of understanding. The far more secretive Bogdanovite ‘deviation’ from Leninism that has gathered pace in the communist movement has complemented Fabian permeation such that a ‘dictatorship of relativism’ has been established in academia. Lenin’s approach to philosophy and politics was however more carefully aligned with common sense than that of most of his comrades, a consideration that had a direct reflection in the importance he attached to jury democracy.
As has been indicated above within Leninism it is possible to find ample evidence of a strong dislike of what he defined as opportunism, which in the main he saw as a crafty reluctance to be frank and truthful. He disliked the tendency to equivocate and split hairs between ‘yea’ and ‘nay.’ Lenin condemned the tendency to ‘wriggle like a snake between two mutually exclusive positions’ or change policies merely to blend in with prevailing opinion among the workers ‘like a hare’s coat turns white in winter.’ Given his ‘last testament’ it is not unreasonable to suggest that had he lived longer Lenin may have attempted to address the erroneous assumptions of Marxism more directly. Among these errors are included, according to Putin, that of taking coercive steps against the church. Such correction - seriously pursued - could in turn initiate a process of reconciliation between the Russian and American republican traditions based not on Machiavellian intrigue but honesty:
“The attitude of a political party towards its own mistakes is one of the most important and surest ways of judging how earnest the party is and how it in practice fulfils its obligations towards its class and the toiling masses. Frankly admitting a mistake, ascertaining the reasons for it, and thoroughly discussing the means of correcting it – that is the earmark of a serious party; that is the way it should educate and train the class, and then the masses.” (Lenin, op.cit. Vol. 31, p.57).
Presently stealth leftism and its dictatorship of relativism has been dealt a powerful blow by the referendum result. Lincoln and common sense alike have again been vindicated: all of the people were not fooled all of the time on the 23rd June 2016. This may provide important opportunities to promote honest political strategy.
The following are policy suggestions aimed at addressing the two fold tasks of defending democratic development against subversion and promoting conflict management in regard to relations between conservatism and radicalism.
First, the defence and development of jury democracy. Grand juries and trial juries randomly selected in open court comprise the only institutions through which justice can be administered in a manner which is reliably independent of the state and of secret factions. As John Adams observed, the primary purpose of trial by jury is not to prosecute criminals but to protect the people against government tyranny. The Right to Trial by Jury is the most effective legal safeguard against the development of tyranny by stealth and is especially necessary given that many leftists believe state power should be seized by methods of infiltration and conflict.
Encroachments upon the right to trial by jury must be opposed. These include the replacement of transparent random selection of jurors in open court by computer. Given the overwhelmingly not guilty jury verdicts in the phone tapping prosecutions of journalists the Defamation Act 2013 removing the right to trial by jury in libel cases represents a clear step towards totalitarianism. In 2016 the Soviet dissident, Vladimir Bukovsky has been denied the right to jury trial against a possible KGB/FSB attempt to libel him with paedophile charges. One way or another this matter has KGB conspiracy written all over it: we will report on this particular ‘wilderness of mirrors’ in due course. The European Arrest Warrant removing safeguards against extradition to juryless ‘former’ communist administrations provides another example of jury trial subversion. Replacement of trial by jury in employment law by state appointed tribunals is of especial importance given that paedophiles are known to collaborate in secret factions with influence reaching to the uppermost echelons of the state apparatus. Accordingly both grand juries and trial juries should be reinstated in employment law for whistleblowers regarding child protection matters, including in cases involving clergy. Church neglect in child protection is ultimately presupposed by failure to properly appraise the role of sortition as a democratic principle practised by the apostles. Reappraisal here could have implications for preventing infiltration of religious movements by secret factions. Thomas Aquinas recognised the use of sortition as necessary in emergencies. The alleged onset of World War Three and global levels of paedophile clergy crime are emergencies.
The longstanding failure of British Labour to defend trial by jury in employment law is caused primarily by the influence of Marxism within it. Such influence emanates from the ‘dictatorship of relativism’ that has long been established in academia. Recognition among academics and policy makers of the importance of honesty in peer review conducted in a fully transparent, secret faction free manner can be an important complement to reinstatement of the right to trial by jury in employment law. The use of sortition in post graduate grant funding, academic recruitment practices, peer review and appeal procedures may be necessary to ensure this. In this way the ‘dictatorship of relativism’ in the social sciences can be challenged and the merits of common sense realism and its link to the American Revolution more properly evaluated. The legacy of stealth Marxism and neo-Kantian voluntarism alike - whether that of Fabian permeation, Trotskyist entryism or the juryless global constitutional human rights architecture bequeathed by Eleanor Roosevelt and Stalin - can by such means be rendered accountable to common sense in regard to the tasks of conflict resolution between conservatism and radicalism. It is time for the left to disavow long established tendencies to regard Machiavellian deceit and trickery as necessary components of policy formulation and presentation. Truth and honesty in politics are not tactical options but ongoing, long term strategic necessities which can best be brought to full fruition by means of open debate at transparent but also advanced levels of understanding and discussion.
Second, implementation of the enlightenment principle supported by Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and others that ‘the earth belongs to the living.’ Jefferson linked this concept to the idea of constitutional change on a regular, long term intergenerational cycle of nineteen years. That is to say, it involved recognition of the right of each generation to bring about constitutional change according to its own requirements, aside from the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights which Jefferson regarded as unchanging. This might best be brought about by means of constitutional courts with grand juries or randomly selected citizen’s assemblies. Such assemblies should be selected in open court transparently without quota distortions: the primary purpose of sortition here is to constrain the influence of secret factions, not to gain a ‘representative sample’ of population. Such juries or assemblies can function in tandem with existing party political elections in order to adjudicate on systemic change upon a less polarised, more securely peaceful foundation. Alternative banking arrangements could be tested out through such constitutional provisions, as could other systemic options such as socialism and capitalism. It is not a self evident truth of common sense that any one of these options are intrinsically superior, so such changes could be enacted with the empirical results attained by ongoing trial and error, not preordained certainty.
A further consideration is that inherited wealth could also be more effectively regulated once popular understanding is developed in regard to the distinctions between self evident truth and empirically verified results. It is a self evident truth of common sense that inheritance tax is the most socially just form of tax. This interpretation could be subject to review in constitutional courts over time but common sense suggests it is unlikely that their verdicts will in the long run be contradictory. That is to say, this self evident truth will eventually gain recognition beyond further interpretation that applies equally within all systemic options, as does the Right to Trial by Jury. As Tocqueville recognised, centuries of jury democracy enabled the British American colonies to support democratic progress more quickly and effectively than their European counterparts. By the same token, further, more reliably peaceful progress and conflict management can be achieved by clarifying at popular levels distinctions between what is self evident and what may, or may not, be derived from the self evident in regard to matters of constitutional order and systemic change. As Thomas Huxley stated, science is simply common sense at its best. Once it becomes established that the propertied classes can be relied upon to think clearly and unselfishly in relating their own interests to those of the general interest, the working class movement will be more inclined to reject theories espousing conflict as being somehow necessary such as Marxism.
These policies, which are historical and internationalist in character, could be best implemented in the Anglosphere for reasons indicated above, notwithstanding the unlikely circumstance that Putin might surprise us. It is therefore in both the national and general democratic interest that Brexit is supported.
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