– BARBAROUS RELIQUARY: The Book - a Preface
In Reply To
Since the decline of outright "Empire" as the dominant model of both political ambition and financial fortune, the "nation state" has figured in the lexicon of political discourse as the primary form by which humankind organizes into territorial structure and economic form.
As such, the concept it implies - of 'states,' - be they republics, dominions, principalities or kingdoms - governing by means of a sovereignty granted via vote franchise, inherited bloodlines, or ideological sleight of hand, has remained a sacrosanct principal of so-called 'political science.' To call into question the idea of the "nation state," therefore, is to equally challenge the notion of 'political science' itself!
I propose to do both on these pages.
If such a plan should appear a mere tilt at windmills, the proposition can be defended in a clear and simple manner. If nation states of whatever form were truly 'sovereign,' then inevitably their form of currency and means of exchange would reflect that status. Yet even the most casual inspection of the field - both present and past - shows that they do not, and seldom ever have! Whether large or small, 'reserve currency' or mere local script, the power of putative nation states to control their own financial destinies has long been rendered a fiction, by flows of capital which move internationally without regard of state policies, policing, or preference.
Even in the case of putative 'superpower' states with huge economic and military clout, the fiction of sovereign power is dispelled instantly upon close inspection. A 'central bank,' for instance, owned by a consortium of money houses corporately based outside the jurisdiction and control of the entity known to us as the "United States of America" disqualifies by definition the notion of national sovereignty on all but the conceptual plane.
Neither the presence of placeholder authorities nor administrative titles with wide powers assigned them can keep the fiction from falling to pieces. Equally, an entity known as the "City of London" with charter that disentangles its operations from any oversight or control from the putative 'nation state' where it operates, puts paid to whatever meaning 'sovereign nation state' implies. Were it otherwise, modern history, as well as that of the distant past, would look quite different.
All of which is quite well known to large numbers of people, and I don't propose it as anything new or insightful. What makes the recounting worthwhile is the question it leads to in logical sequence. If national entities of whatever kind have no real economic 'independence' from the financial forces which control flows of capital - and thus - countries, why do we continue believing in their fictional powers and status? Entertaining that question is the first step to penetrating the veil of mystery which hangs over the deeper question which will drive our enquiries here: why, in light of so much putative 'progress' of the economic, technologic and scientific kind, has humankind collectively staggered from crisis to crisis,war to war, the stakes and danger of total annilation growing with each cycle? Why is the pattern of that cycle so repetitive - if, as it is said - history only rhythms but not repeats?
Now that we've reached the point of defining our purpose here - which is to search out the real answers to the questions just posed - I'd like to begin by noting that it is an investigation which has been done by others before us, with results which are as interesting for the fact that their conclusions remain almost totally obscure & unknown, as for the conclusions themselves. To be successful detectives, in other words, we must examine both the data to hand, and the matter of its broadcast, or lack thereof! If conclusions drawn from wide ranging sources, collated and analysed in objective and empiric fashion, fail to find any outlet in the orthodox fields of social science or medias of communication - there must be a reason. And it just could be one covert enough to be susceptible of being termed a "conspiracy," in form or effect. If the true course of our political and social 'evolutions' on this planet remains hidden from inspection, the motive of those responsible for such a smudging of the record must indeed be 'suspect.'
Having inserted in the last paragraph, a couple of terms which can only be understood as allusions to the presence of 'crimes' of one sort or another, I'd like to move directly to the matter of who it is who has gone before us in this territory. One of them, of C19th provenance, actually titled one of his many books regarding our field of enquiry "A History of Monetary Crimes." The second author - perhaps less blunt, but more focused - named his major work "The Babylonian Woe." The third member of our 'triad' of greatness is entirely more obscure in both his titling and his conclusions, yet ironically, at the end of the day of even more profoundly revealing in his revelations. Marshall McLuhan is not someone commonly thought of as either 'revolutionary' nor radical. His deep conservatism and erudite scholasticism would seem to militate against either description. Yet, it was McLuhan himself who said - "Only the traditionalist can be radical." And such a succinct yet penetrating bon mot might well serve - as our guiding motto here! Non-aligned to any faction of ideology, political or religious persuasion, uninterested in the visions of 'environmentalists,' 'new agers,' 'old-timers,' equally, or trendy fashions in the intellectual world, this author and the space he anchors here will be guided by the bright stars of past scholarship and integral visionaries -both known and unknown.'
Indeed, the previous steps in investigatory work which I myself have taken over the past decade ultimately came to bring me right up to some artificial boundaries which commonly stop a writer from going any further in such direction. After becoming a somewhat inadvertent witness to what I would later describe as the biggest mass public illusion since 911, I found myself wandering the highlands of ancient Anatolia with a dread presence of death so proximate as to make the skin crawl. Make no mistake – the ‘presence of death’ and the ‘presence of the dead’ are not to be confused. The latter quality is one which both invigorates and inspires my life; the former is something I dread as much as the next person. At any rate, it is the boundaries tween life and death which I bumped up against – as described in this story from the old platform – Anatolia Calling – The TERROR STATE Has Arrived!
After spending some time wandering the liminal passages between the two, I returned to the present dimension with a greatly heightened sense of both – and an amazement at how the things I’d only read about of the distant practices and patterns of the ancestors had suddenly entered my life with a resounding ‘reality.’ This would not only ground me in a further responsive and open frame for my investigative historical work, but make clear connections between myself and others on both sides of that no longer solid boundary which had eluded full consciousness before!
What could be more helpful to the student of the past than the denizens of the past come up to the margins of the present, in shadowy but ‘hyperreal’ form which ritualizes the mundane with a scent of the sacred? Here, where the distant past in literally strewn around on all sides, invisible in plain sight, the presence of the past is as visceral as one wishes it to be. And most wish it to be not at all, for fear of what could be revealed through the too direct contact with the real! “Real” terror I personally find to be more available in the immediate present of our collective ‘post-reality’ epoch, when medias manipulate storylines, governments manipulate weather, as well as poison their citizens, and counting houses manipulate financial reality with regularity. The terrors of the past are small compared to those contemporary monsters. Well then....
Though our trio of trail guides seems hardly the stuff from which empires of orthodoxy get upended, or our notions of history radically revised, by the end of our excursion together here, both those accolades will seem suitable to apply towards them. An exegesis of the fields of history and socio-economics is the device which we will use to bring that end about, fearing not for the 'obscurity' of our sources, nor their unorthodoxy of precis. It is the very failure of orthodox historiography, of the 'social sciences' as a whole, to shed more light on our past than they hide which present us with our chance.
McLuhans "The Place of Thomas Nashe in the Learning of His Time," his PHD thesis finished in 1943 and as a history of “The Trivium,” one of the epochal works of own time, likewise seems a tome unlikely to ignite dynamite under established order of things. Yet its own bizarre history – a pinnacle of creative achievement in the English language, of which his thesis advisor, F.P. Wilson, chair of the English Department at the University of London said: “I learned more from that thesis, than from anything else I’ve read in my lifetime,” is seminal to our entire story here. One of the most well know – and well regarded – public intellectuals of his time, an author whose publisher had sold literally hundreds of thousands of copies of his books worldwide, never found a publisher for what was arguably his most important work! At the height of his fame, McLuhan was suddenly shut out of the literary world, by a cabal of publishers whose identity and allegiances we will KEENLY pursue.
And note, in passing, how they correspond with the motives and allegiances of the chief characters behind the scenes of the works of our other two authorial guides. We have fallen into a cultural war as deadly to our continued existence as a people, as any military war could be. Yet the enemy remains almost always concealed, and many of those who are most imperiled are complicit in that concealment.
This space marks the beginning of the end of that time in the shadows.... or is it the end of the beginning... of our return to claim our own history as the western peoples? We shall see. In closing off this preface, it’s worthy to remember the words of perhaps the greatest military strategist and leader the west has ever seen – at least since Alexander. Arthur, Duke of Wellington, the man who beat Napoleon, or led the troops more correctly, who would. After one of the worst of the Penninsular War battles which marked his rise to full heights of generalship, he is recorded as saying, “A hard pounding,gentlemen. Let us see who pounds the longest.”