Why were the English, or even the Spanish and the Portuguese so much more successful in establishing a world empire than the French? On the face of obvious facts, it’s curious that France did not do better. Nowadays Latin America speaks Spanish or Portuguese, entire continents are English-speaking. Only some of the wastes of Africa speak French. How come? Why did France not grab a continent for herself? Was France… too civilized? Is too much civilization an infection?
France was the most powerful, most populous, most innovative, most central, not to say most belligerent, of the European countries, for about 13 centuries… Besides being the creator of Europe since 360 CE (election of Julian). France led a healthy reaction against Christian terrorism, and became the center of military and imperial power which made Western Europe one (rather united, “Christian”) civilization.
And, precisely, more civilization and more centralization may have been the problems. If one is too civilized, one may respect the Natives so much, that one may forget to take their place. This is clearly what happened to the French in Canada. The French civilized and settled the Hurons. Then the Iroquois Confederacy came down from the mountains, and exterminated the pacified Hurons. And so on. Turkeys cannot built a civilization under the watchful eyes of lions.
If one is more centralized, while civilized, one will be unable to exploit the Natives as required for a successful settlement, in a timely manner.
True, Louis XIV, the famous Sun-Tyrant, made “legalized” slavery in the French West Indies, with the “Code Noir”. However, there was no slavery in French Canada and Louisiana, while slavery was lawful in English colonies, starting with Massachusetts…to immense economic success: some English American states were mostly people by African slaves cultivating tobacco, under the white whip, terrorized by their white masters. Tobacco had made English America profitable.
So what the difference in the imperial patterns of various European powers? Moods. Basically, the French had too little too late, of the … Dark Side. I mean real Dark: the king of Portugal harassed the Pope to obtain a Papal authorization to enslave Africans (Frankish law forbid to enslave Europeans explicitly, and Charlemagne had created the Papal state). Their Catholic Majesties, Isabella and Ferdinand harassed Borgia, a fellow Spaniard and Pope to authorize the Inquisition (then used to exterminate Judaism and Islam in the Iberian peninsula). Portugal and Spain were then ready to lash out. A planned crusade to exterminate Islam, was redirected more profitably towards the conquest of the Americas.
How come the greater friendliness of the English government to the Dark Side? Not coincidentally, the rise of Shakespeare and of the West Country Men was simultaneous in England. And they were entangled: the (ex-Scottish) King James I, one of the West Country Men (basically) supported Shakespeare. (As Dominique Deux said) the success of Shakespeare comes from his parade of monsters.
Shakespeare, just as Allah in the Qur’an (following Yahweh in the Bible), made monstrosity honorable. Thus monstrosity became a strategy at the ready, something normal to do.
One may object that it’s not clear why monstrosity worked so well for the English and not so well for the Muslims.
Well, as a metaphysics of war, Islam was superb: the initial Muslim empire went from France, through Spain, North Africa, all the way to Central Asia and India, within 89 years of its launch in 732 CE. On the way it defeated the two most powerful empires outside of China, annihilating one, eating more than half of the other.
The feat was renewed later: in the Eleventh Century, the Turks, a decade or two after converting to Islam, defeated three large empires in West Central Asia, including a mauling of the Roman empire (which called the Franks to the rescue, launching the crusades).
So Islam’s monstrous side is excellent to motivate primitives for war.
This is proven as we speak: yesterday and today, January 7 2016, two Jihadist attacks in France (some terrorists tried a car attack against soldiers, no doubt inspired by happenings in Israel, and another attacked policemen with a meat cleaver, screaming “Allah Akbar”, and carrying a fake explosive belt, he was shot to death).
However, fanaticism does not rise to the motivation and power of free, knowledgeable men, as Islam’s crushing defeats at the hands of the Franks (starting in 721-732-748 CE), would prove in the next 13 centuries). Or the reconquest of Ramadi from the Islamist State by the Iraqi army and Sunni tribes.
So how come the English were so successful: it’s simple: in the case of the English, monstrosity was an adjuvant. I was listening to the Queen’s 2016 message the other day. She charmingly, succeeded to quietly claim that her family invented Christmas (a 4,000 year old tradition). She was completely unfazed by the monstrosity of her claims. (One could easily imagine her claiming Macbeth invented Christmas, just as unfazed.)
Monstrosity worked well as an adjuvant to other, more democratic structures in society, such as Common Law, Parliament, the Monarchy, with the oath to it that all males had to take at 14 of faithfulness to the King. In the case of the Qur’an, the Qur’an was all there was. Interpreted literally, the Qur’an is unbalanced monstrosity 100% of the time (with the major inconvenience that everybody can be suspected of apostasy, something punished by death).
Admiring Macbeth’s statement that life… is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, is a perfect slogan to go kill Irishmen (as the West Country Men did). And then American Natives (as the colonies founded by the West Country Men in America soon did).
Make no mistake: the Bible is full of genocides. Just as the Qur’an, which it inspired, it enables major monsters, bent on holocaust, to claim they are doing God’s will. Shakespeare is a secular version of the same mood with which to handle the world.
In the USA, many a school children spent an entire year studying Shakespeare shaking his spears all over human society (Shakespeare himself made jokes about the spear in his name, wanting it as his coat of arms).
Some could sneer that Sade wrote worse things. True. And actually I do think that writing terrible things is not just good, and instructive, but fights boredom, and feeds the mind. However, the obsessive exposition of Anglo-Saxon children to Shakespeare (or the Queen and her grotesque lies), while presenting that author as the epitome of classical humanism is deeply wrong.
Sade did not claim to extol classical humanism as he described horrors with relish. He was actually highly critical. Differently from Shakespeare the bard, about whom we know little, we know very well that Sade played a major role in the 1789 Revolution (including instigating the attack against the Bastille). Not just that, but he personally saved thousands (and got nearly executed for his troubles, escaping at the last moment thanks to the coup against Robespierre).
Sade’s main theme is that man is (potentially) immensely cruel, and politicians even more so, as they need cruelty, just to relax.
Power is cruelty, and absolute power is absolute cruelty.
A society where spears are shaken all the time, does not just shoots itself in the foot, or the head, very much. It also shoots everything that is in the way, all too readily. Shakespeare is viewed by the Anglo-Saxons as classical, while some of what is viewed as his most classical parts is just as bad, if not worse, than the worse in Sade (who, at least, was conscious of cruelty, while extolling it). The same objection can be made, and should be made, against the devout followers of the Bible, the Qur’an, and other various books of horrors. They say it’s classical, and should be respected.
No. Those books are classical, they should be known, but then they should be debated, fiercely, and dragged in the mud, as needed. Identify, condemn, and cut off the gangrene, the gangrene of the mind, as needed.
The West Country Men, powerful plutocrats as they were, sent soldiers and “endured servants” (white slaves) to America to make a profit. The French founded Canada for the “Mission Civilisatrice” (mostly). The West Country Men, operating in connivence with Justice, sent derelicts and miscreants to America. The French government carefully selected a moral elite to go to America, help the Natives.
However, in the real world, the sheep, however clever and cultivated, does not vanquish the lion. The former eats grass, the latter, sheep. It’s as simple as that. One lesson? Instead of just criminally prosecuting Africans, the International Court of Justice in La Hague should think about engaging a procedure against ex-president G. W. Bush, for instigating so many war crimes in iraq. Then, logically, the ICJ should move against the Saudis and all those businessmen doing business with them.
Indeed. Think about it. Culture without claws and fangs, and the will to use them, is only a betrayal of civilization.
In the Sixteenth Century, the Conquistadores enslaved the Indians, made them dig for oil, grow food for them. After they exterminated the Indians this way, they brought African slaves. When, finally the Frenchman Charles Quint, Spanish king and Roman emperor was forcefully appraised of the extent of the Holocaust by men of conscience (Bartolome Las Casas, etc.), the emperor autocratically ordered a halt to the Conquista (after a supreme tribunal got hung up). Otherwise all the Americas would be speaking Spanish.
Then Charles V retired. His son, Philip II, was less French. When Philip learned of French (Protestant) colonies along the “Carolina” coast, he sent an armada to exterminate them to the last French baby. A French relief fleet was dispersed by a hurricane (showing that god, were it to exist, is not friend of goodness). The French babies got killed, down to the last one (although some may have been rescued by Indians).
Not defending goodness with fang and claw surrenders it to the wolves. The good human is not an inert human. Goodness cannot just be lauded, it needs to be defended. Being inert, is inhuman.