How To Slay The Climate Change Dragon

In our time, as truth corrodes, myths become necessary. As people drift away from truth, they readily agree to intrusive governments – and such invasive governments give consent to supranational entities and conglomerates who then use myths to manufacture political, social and economic consent.

The sales-force that sells these fictive narratives is the vast media-education-entertainment complex which employs, for such purposes, the punditry of experts, the professoriate, globe-trotting zealots, and sanctimonious thespians. Any dissent from these fables is decried, ridiculed, and suppressed.

One such myth is CO2 in the role of the arch-enemy, Hades-bent on heating up the planet, until life becomes impossible; and it is treacherous human activity that has set free this culprit into the hapless atmosphere to work havoc. After much struggle with vile traitors who greedily serve the villain CO2, and their henchmen, the climate change deniers, a few wise politicians and selfless NGOs will finally hurl CO2 into the netherworld of Zero Emissions, from which it will never rise again. Thus, the planet was saved and is now inhabited by fewer but better humans.

People love stories. The more far-fetched the better. The greater the lies, the more believable it is.

The reality is that the monster, the villain is not CO2 and the Greenhouse Effect. The monster is the myth itself, whereby human life – and the very future of humanity – is being asked to conform to the dictates of the lie that is “catastrophic climate change.” An entire complex of anti-human strategies are now justified by way of this lie – carbon taxes, deindustrialization, veganism, fossil fuel divestment,a green economy, population reduction, Gaia worship, green ethics – a brave new world.

It is precisely this global warming, catastrophic climate change myth that The Sky Dragon Slayers. Victory Lap sets out to slay. This book is a follow-up to the earlier work, Slaying the Sky Dragon. Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory, which was published in 2011, and which, as the title suggests, did destroy the pretense to “science” that revilers of CO2 leaned upon.

But in the ensuing decade, the myth of global warming has become more deeply entrenched – a lie that must not be questioned. Why this has happened is an important question, and it points to the success of the mythographers, who have a very clever trick up their sleeve – namely, the denial of truth.

Thus, we are supposed to be living in a “post-truth” world, in which “truth” is nothing more than a social construct, where there is only “your truth” and “my truth.” Such “truth” is personal preference, personal taste. In this way, both purpose and meaning are called into question, which brings about cynicism and gullibility; and, thus, people are the more easily led by “thought-leaders,” who serve many masters.

In such a hollowed-out world, climate change is packaged as piety. As Tim Ball observes in his Foreword to the book, “It is hard to believe that such false information as that created and perpetuated by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) continues to exist. Worse, it goes almost unquestioned and is the prevailing view.”

Ken Coffman in his Publisher’s Note succinctly captures the dynamics of this piety: “We have to give credit to the manipulators – they achieved a lot based on nearly nothing. The human-caused global warming was destructive, wrong and stupid, but masterful use of hyperbole and fear-mongering.”

Earlier, Coffman had noted, “There is no limit to the ways a bad theory can be false.” It soon becomes obvious that the climate change myth is not about science – but about power – and to those who manage the levers of power, truth will always be inconvenient and dangerous, and must, therefore, be suppressed. Truth is the greatest foe of ideology.

The Sky Dragon Slayers. Victory Lap offers this truth which is dangerous to those who sell the climate change myth. Thus, in Chapter 1, the entire premise of climate alarmism, of irreversible, catastrophic natural changes, brought about by human activity, is systematically dismantled and then destroyed.

The weapon which slays this mythic beast is the precise definition of what science really is and what it is not. The first Chapter carefully differentiates between the traditional scientific method and “post-normalism.” The former is empirical, rational, and cumulative, where predictions become laws when they can be repeated and always yield the same results. These results become evidence which leads to conclusions, or laws, about reality.

Here, Karl Popper’s famous paradigm serves as a guiding principle: “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.” In other words, truth is first known by evidence and then truth is known by how it is lied about. In our era, post-truth is the lie about truth.

We have to bear in mind that those in power have persuaded many that biological reality of the two sexes is a lie, while the lie of gender-fluidity, that a person can choose his/her own sex – is the truth. This is precisely what Popper meant by falsifiability. We can know truth, when others feel an urgent need to lie about it.

This lying is post-normalism, which stems from norm criticism and intersectionality; both are now de rigueur in all of academia. This means that, by and large, to be educated nowadays means to believe in and promote lies. In such a topsy-turvy world, post-normalist science serves power, not truth, since “facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent,” as per Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz.

Such flapdoodle, always uttered with a very serious face, is about managing and controlling the “stakes” and the “decisions,” in which science must be nothing more than another rhetorical device to brainwash people.

This is made rather plain, in case of any doubt, by the academic Mike Hulme: “Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although evidence will gain some insights into the question if it recognizes the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists – and politicians – must trade (normal) truth for influence.” Post-normal “science” is politics by other means.

Thus, climate change is not about the climate – it is not about the environment. Instead, it is an absurd attempt to play God – to change how life exists on the planet. And this existence is to benefit the few, rather than the many, via the Fourth and the Fifth Industrial Revolutions – the point being to cull humanity, so it can pollute less. The shade of Malthus once again raises its head. We are in a death-struggle between two opposing views of humanity. One sees human beings as a harmful virus in the body of noble Gaia, which must be controlled, if not eradicated – and the other which sees great value in human life. It is an epic battle between good and evil.

After Chapter 1, which is the longest of the book, the remaining chapters serve as mop-up operations, in which the various limbs of the dragon that is catastrophic climate change are lopped off and destroyed.

Thus, Chapter 2 tosses the famous Hockey Stick Graph into the dustbin of history. As is well known, this graph, the fabrication of Michael Mann, was the show-piece of the IPCC, and made famous by Al Gore – and it remains to this day the most iconic image of climate alarmists. It purported to “prove” that CO2 trapped heat like a blanket and thus heated up the planet, until life would eventually become impossible.

Things came to a head for Mann when he filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Dr. Tim Ball, who had quipped that Mann was from Penn State but more properly belonged in the state pen, given his many falsifications of data.

Throughout this ordeal, Dr. Ball insisted that he wanted Mann to show his “secret science,” or the R2 Regression Numbers, in court, which Mann claimed he had used to fashion his Hockey Stick Chart, aka the Hokey Schtick. The Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed Mann’s lawsuit and awarded the defendant Ball full legal costs. Such is the cunning of reason – Mann was undone by the very mechanism he had devised to destroy Dr. Ball. God indeed works in mysterious ways!

Chapter 3 guts the myth of the Greenhouse Effect, which is still taught as monolithic truth throughout the education system because it is post-normal science. According to the IPCC (whose usefulness would vanish in a trice if it had to rely on truth rather than post-normal science) the Greenhouse Effect is to be described in this way:

  • The Earth’s surface is warmed by both the Sun and the energy coming back from the atmosphere.
  • The Earth’s surface in turn radiates all the energy, which is wholly absorbed by the atmosphere.
  • The atmosphere then radiates half of that energy into space and the other half back to the Earth’s surface.
  • The result of this continual process is that the Earth’s surface becomes warmer than it would be if it were only warmed by the Sun.

In this model, CO2 becomes a heat-trapping blanket enwrapping the planet. The solution, therefore, is a straightforward one – get rid of the blanket! Hence, all those calls to reduce the “carbon footprint,” to stop using dirty fuels, to save the planet from reaching a “tipping-point,” from which there will be no return. And so forth.

Although this fuels climate alarmism very efficiently, this myth, of course, has nothing to do with scientific facts. The atmosphere is colder than the earth’s surface, so heat cannot bounce back from above, because “colder cannot heat hotter.” Energy is not wholly absorbed by the atmosphere. Some of it escapes into space, the rest is stored in the earth and the oceans and is used to evaporate water.

Any energy that returns to the earth from the atmosphere is always colder, never hotter than the earth’s surface. Therefore, energy returning from the atmosphere can never heat up the planet. All the four points promoted by the IPCC are in fact lies – or, rather, they are post-normal science. It is the sun which heats the planet, while excess heat is radiated out into space.

Chapters 4 and 5 are historical in nature, as they trace the development of various radiation theories, from 1871 to 2010. All the models proposed during these nearly 140-years cannot together prove that heat radiated back to the earth from the atmosphere does actually heat the planet.

In 2010, Claes Johnson called into question the theories of Max Planck and Albert Einstein – and thereby clearly demonstrated that “HEAT can ONLY be transferred from the warmer to the colder body as required by the 2nd law of thermodynamics.”

Chapter 6 is a summary of a paper by George V. Chilingar, which shows that CO2, in fact, cools the planet rather than heats it up. This happens because as “the infrared radiation is absorbed by the molecules of greenhouse gases, its energy is transformed into thermal expansion of air, which causes convective fluxes of air masses restoring the adiabatic distribution of temperature in the troposphere… estimates show that release of small amounts of carbon dioxide (several hundreds PPM), which are typical for the scope of anthropogenic emission, do not influence the global temperature of Earth’s atmosphere.” Thus, the myth of global warming is slain.

Chapter 7 records the results of an experiment conducted by Professor Nasif Nahle, with IR thermometers and radiometers, in which he shows that back-radiation from the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface is not real. As Nahle explains, “It is very clear from Thermodynamics and Stefan-Boltzmann Laws that heat is transferred exclusively from warmer surfaces towards cooler systems, never the opposite, and this experiment demonstrates, it is applicable to [the] climate system.” Again, global warming is a lie.

Chapter 8 lays out the experiment carried out by Carl Brehmer in which he shows that the positive water vapor feedback hypothesis is false. The premise of this hypothesis is that “if something increases the Earth’s temperature, this will cause an increase in the evaporation of water into water vapor.”

This leads to increased humidity, which in turn absorbs more infrared radiation from the earth’s surface, thus warming the air and allowing it to hold more water vapor. This supposedly leads to more evaporation, so that humidity continually increases, thus heating up the planet.

By way of a series of experiments, Brehmer discovers that although it is true that higher temperatures create higher humidity through evaporation – it is not true that higher humidity leads to warming. In fact, humidity has a cooling effect, whereby areas that produce higher humidity are cooler than arid areas. This means that “water acts as the Earth’s thermostat and not its heater.”

This falsifies “any notion that there could ever be runaway global warming driven by positive water vapor feedback where the oceans evaporate into the atmosphere and all life on Earth perishes. Why? Because ‘water feedback’ is negative feedback… the presence of water on our planet acts as a stabilizing force, exerting negative feedback against temperature change – up or down.” Evaporation, therefore, continually stabilizes temperature. It cannot increase temperature.

Chapter 9 is a very important study, by Tamarkin and Bromley, of carbon dioxide. Currently, two views predominate. The first is scientific in that CO2 is the “gas of life,” which provides the carbon that all life on this planet needs. Then, there is the post-normal view, promoted by the IPCC, which regards CO2 as a pollutant and which, therefore, must be eliminated.

Given the funding-clout and global influence of the IPCC, it is the latter view that is the norm and which resonates the most with the public at large, because it is easily comprehensible and requires a straight forward plan of action – get rid of the pollutant. To manufacture consent, various computer models have been generated which use the “Radiated Greenhouse Emissions” theory for the usual alarmist predictions – if we do not do something right now, the climate will change so drastically that life on this planet will become difficult if not next to impossible.

As Tamarkin and Bromley rightly remark: “No demonstrable, empirical evidence of this theory is available. No signs of anthropogenic climate change have been discovered.” Even the much-repeated statistic that humans are responsible for increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide by 33 percent is entirely false – because actual evidence shows that manmade carbon dioxide is so low that it cannot even be measured and burning fossil fuels does not impact climate change.

In other words, the only “evidence” is a mathematical computer model, which is contrived to fulfill the demands of alarmist ideology – because the conclusions suggested by this model cannot be observed in nature, nor recreated in experiments. Thus, the political notion of catastrophic climate change, because of Radiated Greenhouse Emissions, is fake news, a grand hoax. More post-normal science hard at work to strip you of your freedom and your dollars.

But more worrying is the fact that this hoax is responsible for affecting real human lives. Politicians are busy implementing real-world policies to counter the effects of a theoretical, computer model. If all this were not so tragic – it would all come off as a silly comedy skit. But the carbon taxes, the war on fossil fuels, the demand for population reduction, the clamor for a one-world government (which might the more effectively “save” this planet via policies that will continually curtail and ultimately deny human freedom) – all these are becoming startlingly real.

Far from destroying the planet as a “pollutant,” CO2 is actually greening the planet, because it is the basis of all life on earth. Also, measurement of infrared radiation suggests that the planet is actually cooling rather than heating up. These various cooling and warming events are natural – and not the result of human activity.

Chapter 10 is the “victory lap,” which details the various achievements of the many brave and resolute scientists who did not kowtow to the IPCC nor submit to political pressure and agree to produce “post-normal science.” Here is a brief list of the changes brought about by these valiant men and women:

  • The foremost British climate scientist, Dr. Phil Jones, admitted that the so-called “historic” temperature data was fake. This became known as the “Climategate scandal.”
  • The work of George Chilingar and John Robertson has positively impacted heat transfer physics, so that other scientists also now agree that adiabatic pressure accounts for the variance in temperature – a process in which CO2 plays no part whatsoever.
  • In 2017, a group of Italian scientists was forced to admit that climate models are “very likely flawed,” since there has been no warming trend over the past century. This means that the greenhouse gas theory can no longer be sustained.
  • It is now known that there is no “tipping point” whatsoever, since carbon dioxide does not drive temperature change.
  • Oxford University’s Myles Allen has conceded that there is no rapid warming happening anywhere on the planet.
  • William Happer of Princeton University admits that the various climate change models do not work because they are fundamentally flawed: “They haven’t worked in the past. They don’t work now. And it’s hard to imagine when, if ever, they’ll work in the foreseeable future.” In other words, climate alarmism has no basis whatsoever in science.
  • Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger of the Cato Institute and the journal, Nature Geoscience, now acknowledge that warming has been on the low end of all model predictions for the last sixty years.
  • Kenneth Richard compiled evidence from over thirty peer-reviewed papers, which showed that all the regions of the earth have been cooling over recent decades. Richard then asks a pertinent question: “One has to wonder how and from where a large net ‘global warming’ signal could have been obtained when there has been so much regional cooling.” Obviously, the answer is simple “global warming” is a lie.
  • In 2012, the influential science magazine, Nature, also admitted that climate change science was “riddled with systematic errors.”
  • In 2017, Nokolov and Zeller affirmed that the “heat-trapping mechanism” that brings about global warming is nothing more than a theoretical conjecture, with no science to back it up. In other words, it is a myth.
  • Russian scientists have recently shown that global warming is DOA.

Chapter 11 summarizes the great work being done by Principia Scientific International (PSI), which has long fought for real science and truth. Its aim is to “shun the vagaries of political advocacy,” and to refuse to be subordinated to the “moralizing pre-determinism of discredited ‘post normal’ science.” PSI is sustained by the unpaid and voluntary work and effort of its many members who are dedicated to the pursuit of truth no matter what the personal cost.

The monster, the dragon that is catastrophic climate change has long been slain – the news of its death has yet to be universally acclaimed. It was slain by the efforts of all those serious scientists who refused to abandon truth for political rhetoric. Their courageous work is meticulously recorded in The Sky Dragon Slayers. Victory Lap, which ends on a very hopeful note, because truth can never be defeated, though is may be suppressed for a time. The final words of this marvelous, engaging, and deeply informative book are prophetic in the true sense – “The momentum is ours.”

The Sky Dragon Slayers. Victory Lap is a book that everyone must read, because it is a thorough and precise vademecum for all those who want to become “slayers” of the political lie that is manmade and catastrophic global warming – wherever they may encounter it in their own lives. Everyone must read this book to not only learn about the hoax still being perpetrated by supranational agencies, politicians and their various minions – but more importantly it must be read to win freedom from the influence of snake-oil hucksters who want to own your mind and enslave your spirit so that you might the more readily do their bidding.

But such fraudsters have already failed. “The momentum is ours.”

The image shows, “Saint George and the Dragon,” by Vittore Carpaccio, painted ca. 1502.

The Siege Of The Alcazar: Myth And History

When Brigadier General Federico Fuentes Gomez de Salazar died on January 15, 2018, just before he could celebrate his 100th birthday, he was the last surviving defender of the Alcazar of Toledo. His remains were deposited, according to his will, in the crypt of the Alcazar, where he had been the director of the museum for nearly twenty years.

Who does not know the epic story of the defense of the Alcazar of Toledo? As soon as the uprising began, Colonel José Moscardó Ituarte, military commander of Toledo Square, joined the movement. On July 22, unable to confront the opposing troops that General Riquelme sent from Madrid, Moscardó and his men took refuge in the Alcazar.

They were joined by a group of civilian volunteers (including Federico Fuentes who was then seventeen years old), and by the families of many defenders. A total of 1203 combatants, including 107 volunteer civilians (60 young Falangist activists, 5 Carlists, 8 monarchists, 15 right-wing independents and 1 radical who would take on the most dangerous missions under Captain Vela and who would suffer the heaviest losses), along with 564 non-combatants (mostly women and children).

Very quickly, surrounded by much larger numbers, they were bombarded without respite by artillery and enemy airplanes. But all to no avail! The Alcazar resisted and did not surrender. One by one, the multiple assaults were driven back. Two powerful mines shattered most of the walls, but when the assailants jumped through, certain of victory, the survivors sprang from the ruins and repelled the onslaught again and again.

In two months of terrible fighting, from July 21 to September 27, 1936, only 35 men deserted, who were largely worried about the fate of their families, whom they wanted to join at all costs.

Of all the dramatic episodes of the siege of the Alcazar, the best known is that of the telephone conversation of Moscardó with his son, Luis. Arrested in Toledo on 23 July by far-left militiamen, Luis was threatened with being shot if his father and the Alcazar did not surrender. The few brief phrases the two men exchanged quickly go around the world:

Luis: Dad!
Moscardó: What’s going on with you, my son?
Luis: Nothing, at all… they say they will shoot me if the Alcazar does not surrender. But don’t worry about me.
Moscardó: If it is true commend your soul to God, shout Long live Spain, and you will be a hero who died for her. Goodbye my son, a big kiss, with much love!
Luis: Goodbye Dad, a big kiss, with much love!
Moscardó: You can all spare yourself the waiting for end of the deadline and start shooting, my son. The Alcazar will never surrender!

The threat would be carried out, not on the same day, as the ABC newspaper in Seville said at the time (a mistake reproduced in France by Henri Massis and Robert Brasillach, in the first version of their book The Cadets of the Alcazar, published in 1936), but actually a month later. Luis was shot in Toledo on August 23, along with eighty other inmates.

Taken with the other prisoners to the Puerta del Cambron, he was executed at the foot of the wall of the imperial city. All along the way, clutching his rosary, the condemned man prayed in a low voice. About his son, Moscardó later wrote: “He twice shouted, ‘Long live Spain! Long live Spain! Arise, Spain!’ and fell before the Marxist rifles, for God and for the Fatherland.”

The colonel learned of the tragic death of his two sons José and Luis (one in Barcelona, the other in Toledo), on the day of the liberation of the Alcazar (September 28, 1936). Asked years later, he said: “That moment was so hard and so cruel that I felt my legs crumble under me… this was the price of my glory. I will never be able to feel the slightest pride for an act that my children have paid so much for!”

Though well established, the facts have always and largely been disputed by the historiography favorable to the Popular Front. The “symbol of Francoist hagiography” could not fail to provoke controversy.

The first critical version was conceived by the American historian, Herbert Matthews. In his book, The Yoke and the Arrows (1957), based on various testimonies, including that of the painter, Quintanilla, Matthews questioned the essence of this episode, believing that “the story was too good to be true.” He claimed that Luis Moscardó was a 19-year-old soldier who died in Madrid, while defending the Montaña barracks; that telephone communication was impossible because the line was cut; and that finally the refugee women and children were just hostages.

Authors that came after him, claimed that Moscardó had not dared to surrender because his own comrades-in-arms would have shot him. Others added that under no circumstances did the Republicans intend to carry out their threat.

Finally, some authors went so far as to suggest that Luis was a coward and that his father would have liked to have him shot. These aspersions and slanders would have not deserved attention had the version imagined by Matthews not itself been taken up by historians and journalists, such as, Hugh Thomas (1961), Vilanova (1963), Southworth (1963), Cabanellas (1973), Nourry (1976), or more recently Preston (1994) and Herreros (1995).

But in 1997, in their book, El Alcázar de Toledo. Final de una polémica (Madrid, Actas, 1997), historians Alfonso Bullon de Mendoza and Luis Eugenio Togores, have gathered sufficient evidence to silence the controversy. Luis was actually 24-years old and not 19. He was not in the military, since he had done his military service four years earlier. He was not in Madrid, but in Toledo.

His mother had begged him not to join his father and not to leave her alone. He was arrested on July 23rd, imprisoned with his younger brother, Carmelo, and shot on August 23rd. The phone line was not cut. It was controlled by the militiamen who occupied the Toledo telephone exchange. They could connect or disconnect, as they pleased. Five officers, present in Moscardó’s office, had witnessed the scene. One of Colonel Moscardó’s officers, Commander Cirujano, immediately left the office to gather and inform all the defenders.

In a 2010 interview with ABC, General Fuentes said, “I can testify to the veracity of this conversation in which the colonel sent his son to his death. There is also the telephone operator, a young soldier, who listened in and later recounted the conversation. I was next to the office with several people – a cadet, my brother and my cousins. But we could of course hear that Moscardó…”

In the Toledo Provincial Deputation Building, where Luis Moscardó was being held, there was another prisoner who also testified. This was Luis Moreno Nieto, who was later a ABC correspondent for nearly fifty years. Moreno Nieto reported that he saw Luis come out really upset. His statement would be corroborated by two other people present in the presidential office of the deputation – the caretaker and the telephone operator.

In fact, Cándido Cabellos, lawyer, head of the Toledo militias, and the “republican” intermediary of the commander of the Alcazar, had several militiamen around him, four of whom testified after the Civil War. As to the possibility that non-combatant civilians were hostages, it is simply a non-starter. Of the 564, 16 were in fact prisoners who were never used as bargaining chips. We have the exact list of the names of the besieged, who were all decorated with the Laureate Cross of San Fernando.

In a recent biography of Franco, the historian and polemicist Paul Preston, close to the Spanish Socialist Party, also persists in denouncing the alleged hostage-taking and criticizing the “apocryphal legend” of the telephone conversation. No doubt he did not bother to read the few honest and edifying testimonies that appear in the archives of Moscardó, and which is given below:

Here is first an excerpt from Matthews’s letter to the widow of General Moscardó, dated September 20, 1960:

“Dear Madam, I am writing to you at the suggestion of some friends who informed me that the passage in my book, The Yoke and the Arrows, which refers to the Alcazar has pained you and your family. I regret this and I beg you and your family to accept my most sincere apologies… I am convinced, having read the arguments of Manuel Aznar and discussed this case with trustworthy people, that I was completely wrong. I am preparing a revised edition of my book … and I can assure you that the chapter on the Alcazar will no longer be included.”

On June 25, 1960, the historian, Hugh Thomas, who had also given credit to Matthews’s version, also retracted. He wrote a letter, published in The New Statements (then reproduced in the ABC of June 29, 1960), which read: “After a full search… I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong… I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to the members of the Moscardó family, in particular to the general’s widow, Doña Maria Moscardó.”

In another letter, dated June 15, 1983, the French journalist from Le Figaro, Philippe Nourry, also author of a book on Franco, wrote the following words: “I am sorry indeed to have made this mistake concerning the reality of the telephone conversation between Colonel Moscardó and his son Luis. I understand that it must be very painful for the Colonel’s family to find that doubt continues to hang over this glorious and dramatic episode of the Civil War. Certainly, the extract from the notebooks, which you have just sent me, obviously provides irrefutable proof of the truth of the facts.”

The author of the anti-Alcazar legend, Herbert Matthews, kept his word. In the revised edition of his book, he writes: “There is no doubt that the conversation took place, that the father had to suffer this agony and that his son bravely faced death.” Then he concluded bluntly: “Everything was really according to the best and worst of the Spanish tradition.”

In the new Alcazar Army Museum in Toledo, Colonel Moscardó’s office remains one of the main attractions, although one can no longer listen to the moving but fictive reproduction of the historical conversation between father and son. Interviewed by the ABC in 2010, at the inauguration of the museum, General Federico Fuentes concluded with a lump in his throat and wet eyes: “A civil war is the worst thing that can ever happen.”

Arnaud Imatz, a Basque-French political scientist and historian, holds a State Doctorate (DrE) in political science and is a correspondent-member of the Royal Academy of History (Spain), and a former international civil servant at OECD. He is a specialist in the Spanish Civil War, European populism, and the political struggles of the Right and the Left – all subjects on which he has written several books. He has also published numerous articles on the political thought of the founder and theoretician of the Falange, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, as well as the Liberal philosopher, José Ortega y Gasset, and the Catholic traditionalist, Juan Donoso Cortés.

The image shows a scene from the siege and defense of the Alcazar.

This article was translated from the French by N. Dass.

Cervantes And The Bible

The impeccable wisdom of the Bible, a spiritual treasure for Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, illumines not only his masterpieces and other established documents, but also shines through in the Topography and General History of Algiers (1612), published four years before the death of Cervantes, by Friar Diego de Haedo, Abbot of Frómista, of the Order of Saint Benedict, and edited by the first biographer of Cervantes, Doctor Antonio de Sosa, a native of Córdoba, a Benedictine priest, made captive but who managed to flee Algiers on July 13, 1581, only to vanish without trace. This biblical wisdom also illuminates the excellent work, El Quijote y la Biblia (Don Quixote and the Bible), by Professor Juan Antonio Monroy, to which Professor Alfonso Ropero Berzosa provides the Prologue.

In Don Quixote, Cervantes, the de facto leader of the Algerian captives, not only confesses his religious faith (“I respect and revere, like a Catholic and faithful Christian that I am,” Don Quixote, I-XIX) – but, three times in the Prologue to the first part of Don Quixote, calls Holy Scripture, “divine writing.” Throughout his various works, he alludes to thirty biblical characters and refers three-hundred times to the word of God, which he undoubtedly studied, while, among other things, being “an attendant in Rome” (“Dedication,” La Galatea) to Italian Cardinal Julio Acquaviva y Aragón (1546-1574), legate of the pontiff, Saint Píus V (1504-1572).

Here are some worthy examples of such biblical references: “the salutation which the great Master of heaven and earth taught his disciples and chosen ones when they entered any house was to say, ‘Peace be on this house’” (Don Quixote, I-XXXVII). In the Gospel, we read, “And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house’” (Luke 10: 5). Then, “gratitude that consists only of desire is a dead thing, as faith without works is dead” (Don Quixote, I-L). In the New Testament, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). And, “I always pray to God to open my eyes of understanding that I might know how to serve Him” (Don Quixote, II-LIV). In the New Testament, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18).

As for the power of prayer, I believe that Cervantes, the spy of the King of the greater Spanish realm in Algiers, Mostagán, Oran and Andalusia, and a man of prayer, pleaded ceaselessly with Jehovah and the Virgin Mary: “I believe in the Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three distinct persons, and yet all three are one true God. and that, although God is the Father, and God is the Son, and God is the Holy Spirit, they are not three distinct and separate gods, but only one true God. Finally, I believe everything that the Holy Roman Catholic Church possesses and believes, governed by the Holy Spirit and ruled by the Supreme Pontiff, vicar and viceroy of God on earth, legitimate successor of St. Peter, her first pastor after Jesus Christ, first and universal pastor of His Bride the Church. He told me of the greatness of the Perpetual Virgin Mary, Queen of the Heaven and Lady of the angels and of ours, Treasure of the Father, Reliquary of the Son and Love of the Holy Spirit, the refuge and shelter of sinners” (The Persiles, I).

In January 1576, during his first escape from Algiers, that Hell of infidels and hotbed of spies, Cervantes traveled sixty leagues by land, according to Doctor Sosa (Topography, III:103). And according to the second slave, there were, “sixty leagues, from here to Oran” (The Treaty of Algiers, III). The fundamental root of his faith and his strength was to serve God and his country, and as he faced the severe tests of life, one of his constant prayers was, “I never walked with less eagerness, and, as I imagined, it was not very far to Oran! Thanks be to Thee, Divine King! O pure Virgin, I praise you! I implore you to work such strange charity that if you grant me freedom, I promise to be your slave” (The Treaty of Algiers, IV).

After his failure, Cervantes returned to Algiers to face his fierce master, Dalí Mamí, a renegade Greek and captain of the sea, and he prayed to the Virgin of Montserrat in this way: “Blessed and beautiful Virgin, remedy of mankind! Be the star to guide my wretched boat in this roiling sea and keep me safe from all dangers. Virgin of Monserrate, make Heaven of these harsh highlands. Rescue me, deliver me from this grief, for it is your attribute to extend the right hand to those fallen into misery. Most Blessed Mary, in this bitter moment, my body and soul I leave in your charge” (The Treaty of Algiers, IV). Likewise, I must emphasize that it was in Algiers that Cervantes was the prayers – the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Hail Holy Queen. For example, this dialogue from his play, Los baños de Argel II):

Juanico: Divine Love, by your leave, I will make amends. By my life, put aside this childish prattling, and let us go over those two prayers.
Francisquito: I have done the Hail Mary.
Juanico: And the Lord’s Prayer?
Francisquito: Likewise.
Juanico: And the Creed?
Francisquito: I have through it.
Juanico: And the Hail Queen?
Francisquito: Now the Hail Mary, you see what force it has.
Cadí: Well, my son, what do you understand?
Juanico: As you see, lord, by being buffeted, my brother understands.
Carahoja: He is but a child. Each according to his age.
Cadí: And what do you do?
Juanico: I pray.

Cadí: For who?
Juanico: For myself, as I am a sinner.
Cadí: That is all well and good. What kind of prayers do you say?
Juanico: Lord, the ones I know.
Francisquito: He replied well. He prayed the Hail Mary.
Francisquito: Are you troubled already? Now, if I might add, what will you do when you hear me say the Hail Queen of Heaven? To confound you, I know well that all the four prayers are shields against your scimitars.

Also, it should be noted that there are plenty of reasons to confirm that Cervantes, his friends and writers of Algiers, met to learn from Doctor Sosa about “Divine Scripture,” such as, the facts about King Nebuchadnezzar, the destruction of Babylon, the holy Patriarch Noah, as well as about Callimachus, Diagoras of Melos, Euhemerus of Agrigentum, Epicurus, Lucian, Ovid, Plutarch, and Protagoras” (Topography, II, 5). And they also visited the libraries and archives of Algiers, a literary treasure, where Cervantes studied the maps for his escape to La Montagne des Lions. Captain Jerónimo Ramírez, a native of Alcalá de Henares, and very good friend of the hero of Algiers, declares that “now, whenever I come here, I always find him busy with books.” And Sosa says, “In solitude such as this, and in an enclosure so separated from all talk and conversation in which my barbarian of a master indulges, what better occupation than reading the holy and good books?” (Topography, III: 1-2, 10-11, 15-16).

According to the document of October 21, 1580, Cervantes “was often engaged in composing verses in praise of Our Lord, His Blessed Mother, the Blessed Sacrament and other holy and devout things; and some mentioned this to Sosa and sent him these verses that he might to see for himself.” Moreover, Fernando, “the Prince of the Windmills” who said: “finish our festivities, cease our rejoicing, for the comedies of the captives always end in tragedy” (Los baños de Argel, III), also noted that the captives wrote and sang romances in secret. Here is an illustrative example:

Ambrose: Are there no people to hear us? Recite well, and so that all may come, let us begin sadly. We will recite that romance, Julio, which you composed, since we know it already, for we know it shortly, and it has that sad tone with which we are happy.

They sing this romance:

By the shores of the angry sea, that with its tongue and its waters, now mild, now angry, rolls into the walls of the dog Algiers. Four miserable captives, resting from work, look out to their homeland, with eyes full of longing. And to the sound of the coming and the going of the waves on the beach, with faint voices, they sing out this refrain: “How dear shall you be, O sweet Spain!

How Heaven has contrived our fate, with our bodies in chains, and our souls in dire peril. O, would the closed cataracts of Heaven open up, and instead of water, here rained down pitch, resin, sulfur and brimstone! O, would close-girt earth open up and let loose Dathan and Abiron with much wizardry and great magic!

How dear shall you be, O sweet Spain!

Nevertheless, Sosa did speak of the church of the Christians in Algiers, a fact that often lies forgotten by the biographers of Cervantes.

This church was located near “a large bath, 70-feet long and 40-feet wide, which is divided into upper and lower levels, with many little rooms, and in the middle a cistern of pure water. Below, to one side, is the church, or oratory, of the Christians, where the Blessed Lord is distributed in high and low and with many cliques and in the middle a cistern of beautiful water, and to one side below, is the church or oratory of the Christians, where the blessed Lord is, where masses are said throughout the year, and often at holy feast-days are solemnized with well-arranged Vespers that are sung, for there is never a shortage of captive priests, and they usually exceed forty in number, of every nation and quality, and even very many good lawyers, doctors and teachers, members of religious orders and clergy, and lay people, and where they also administer some sacraments, and where the word of the Lord is sometimes preached. And, by His grace, as there is never a lack of devout Christians, there is a great concourse of them, and those can, usually on Sundays and feast-days, hear Mass there. And on Easter they are usually so many that they cannot all fit, and it is necessary sometimes for the guards of the baths, Turks and Moors, not to let anyone in who does not first pay a gratuity, from which they make great profit. This large bath is the door of Babazón to that of Babaluete, and about 400 steps lead to the door of Babazón for the west” (Topography, I: 163).

Finally, based on the legal documentation and his literary testimonies, I am certain that Cervantes, defender of the Catholic faith, lived as a true and virtuous Christian because “honor and virtues are ornaments of the soul without which the body cannot be beautiful” (Don Quixote, I-XIV).

“Laus in Exclesis Deo”

Krzysztof Sliwa is a professor, writer for Galatea, a journal of the Sociedad Cervantina de Esquivias, Spain, and a specialist in the life and works of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and the Spanish Golden Age Literature, all subjects on which he has written several books. He has also published numerous articles and reviews in English, German, Spanish and Polish.

The image shows a portrait of Cervantes, attributed to Juan Martínez de Jáuregui y Aguilar, and painted ca. 1600.

This article was translated from the Spanish by N. Dass.

Our Shared Work With Christ

The average Christian, reading his Bible in happy devotion, stumbles across this passage: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church (Col 1:24).

The passage is particularly disturbing for a certain strain of Protestant thought that emphasizes Christ’s sufficiency for all things. Christ has accomplished all things necessary to our salvation and we are thus able to “rest” in His completed work. For many, this is at the heart of grace. God has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves. What remains is for us to trust that this is so. Christ declares, “It is finished.” There is nothing left for us but trust.

This sentiment recently came crashing into a discussion of the Russian novel, Laurus. I attended (and spoke) at the Eighth Day Symposium in Wichita, Kansas. The presenter, Jessica Hooten Wilson, had spoken on the Russian novel, Laurus, by Eugene Vodolazkin, in which the lead character enters the long, arduous life of a holy fool following the death of a woman and her child, a result of his own inaction. Wilson made mention of a review by Alan Jacobs (Baylor University) that described its spirituality as “Hindu,” and castigated its approach to Christianity. He wrote: “…though I know that Eugene Vodolazkin is a Christian, I remain uncertain about just what vision of the Christian life is being held out to me in this book…. In Laurus…long, hard spiritual labor pays for sins, as it does for the world…”

Vodolazkin nowhere characterizes Laurus’ labors as a payment for sin. Indeed, the concept is foreign to Orthodox thought. It is an absence that is so profound that a Protestant professor of literature felt the need to supply it, and with it, distort a beautifully Orthodox novel. In the discussion at the conference, a Protestant participant agreed that the novel seemed strangely unable to “rest” in Christ. Inasmuch as I am often not in dialog with Protestant Christians, I was caught off-guard by these observations. I forgot how foreign all of this is. Happily, it is also foreign to the New Testament.

Whatever one might think of grace, the work of Christ on the Cross in no way removes the work of the Cross from the lives of believers. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and continue to say throughout our lives: “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live” (Gal. 2:20). It is Christ who taught that we ourselves must take up the Cross and follow Him. There is no “resting” Christianity made available by a substitutionary work of Christ. The work of Christ is a matter of participation (koinonia) – we are baptized into it, live through its presence in us, and do not cease to share in that work, ever.

It is always difficult to listen to what is actually being said and not try to hear a conversation that is not taking place. Salvation, in Latin Christianity, was made captive, rather early on, to the language of “grace” and “works.” Within what would become a dominantly juridical framework, grace and works were easily externalized, raising questions about who was doing the “saving.”

When St. Paul says that he is filling up “that which is lacking” in Christ’s afflictions, he is either subscribing to some form of Pelagianism, or he simply has no notion of a juridical salvation. No doubt, the latter is the actual case.

When he says that he is crucified with Christ, St. Paul means precisely what he is saying. Indeed, it is the deepest cry of his heart: “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him – the power of his resurrection, and the communion of His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:8-11).

This has nothing of the language of earning, much less external grace and works. It is the language of the most intimate, mystical communion.

We know a little bit about this experience, for it is common in relationships marked by intense love. The coldness of a conversation regarding who did what, or what is owed to whom, has no place in such intimacy. Love speaks in terms of union. It wants to share in the deepest manner possible the life of the beloved.

There appeared a rift in Protestantism within its first two to three centuries. That rift, to a large extent, represented a deep dissatisfaction with a cold, sterile presentation of the life of grace. Early Protestants almost universally held to a doctrine of “cessationism,” teaching that miracles ended when the New Testament was completed. What remained were the rather mechanical/intellectual doctrines that assured of salvation. Dry as dust.

The reaction to this was the birth of Pietism, in a variety of forms and places. At its worst, Pietism’s emotionalism led to extremes of belief and practice. At its best, it produced holy lives and gave heart to what would have been little more than a dry death to Western Christianity. Inasmuch as Western Christianity survives our present difficulties, it will be the heart born in Pietism that saves it (or so I think).

The transformation of the Pietist conversion experience into the doctrine of being “born-again” has tended to confuse Pietism and classical Protestantism, framing the experience of the heart in the rigid language of doctrinal necessity. Like many aspects of Protestantism(s), fragmentation in doctrine and experience has been a continuing and dominant feature.

Classical Christianity, in its Orthodox form, is very rich in its vocabulary and stories of the human experience of God. It is always “ontological” in its approach to doctrine, meaning that doctrine is always about “something-that-is” and not about a theory, or a juridical arrangement. Because “something-that-is” is capable of being experienced, it is always seen as quite natural that the work of God has a describable, experiential component.

If I am being crucified with Christ, it is inherently the case that such a thing is experienced in some manner. In the case of a holy fool, it might look a lot like the Laurus character. He must be contrasted with the middle-class American who sings happy songs on Sunday, perhaps even moved to tears, satisfied and assured that Jesus has taken care of everything such that he can safely return to the banalities of his life. Isn’t Jesus wonderful!

The simple truth is that the Kingdom of God “suffers violence, and the violent bear it away” (Matt. 11:12). The gospel engages the whole person and assumes that we will love God “with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind.” That such an engagement might be described by some as “works righteousness” is merely indicative of a bifurcated Christianity that has placed God in a second-storey doctrinal reality, while the secular party rages here below.

Thank God for the Lauruses sprinkled across the historical landscape. The unity of faith and experience exemplified in their sometimes stormy lives whispers hope that God dwells among us and loves us, willing Himself into the messiness of our crucified existence, ever-straining Himself into the depths of our being, while we strain to respond in kind, enduring “that which is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” – our own response to His love.

Father Stephen Freeman is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, serving as Rector of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.

The image shows, “Basil the Blessed, Praying,” by Sergey Kirillov, painted in 1994.

What Comes After Nietzsche?

Is the European Union a community of shared values? To pose such a question is to indicate a problem of cultural tension. This tension indeed exists. Yet, it should not be reduced only to the obvious spectrum of the discussed issues from the realm of bioethics (like abortion, euthanasia, embryo experiments), ethics (like homosexuality) or politics (like national independence in the UE, the role of religious beliefs in the public square or the limits of freedom of speech), because even the “narrative” asymmetry of the European institutions and the spiritual culture itself (I use the term “spiritual” or “spirit” in the broad sense of the German “Geist” or French “esprit”) are indicative of the very problem.

While the institutions are generally under the hegemony of Enlightenment discourse (with all its ideas of freedom, equality, brotherhood, universal peace attained by the projective power of reason, tolerance etc.) or the so called “discourse of modernity”, the contemporary spiritual – in the humanistic sense (philosophical, anthropological, etc.) – cultural condition is a kind of “discursive melting pot” marked by the effort of overcoming not only the Enlightenment or “modern” visions, but even post-modern conceptions as well.

In the search for the European Ethical community one should therefore take into consideration both dimensions of the problem – the “horizontal” one (tension within the debate) and the “vertical” one (inadequacy of institutions and Zeitgeist).

The vertical aspect shows the “instability of values”, which is in some way the normal condition of the West, but it may also be identified as the “reversal of values”, since institutions should be the fruit of the spiritual and political effort of the community, and not only an artificial “legislative” act. Both symptoms are signs of the European identity problem, and since identity in the deepest sense is an ontological question, I will attempt to present an ontological analysis of the problem.

The horizontal tension, generally speaking, is determined by the polarization between the so called “conservative” and “progressive” options, or, in another paradigm, between “rightist” and “leftist” discourses. Since both points of view appeared after the French Revolution, they are intrinsically reactive and in this sense “negative” perspectives.

The progressive approach reacts against the values of the traditional society, which it regards as the source of oppression, blaming it for the lack of universal freedom. The conservative approach, which stands for traditional values, reacts against revolution.

To solve this tension one should seek for a “positive” perspective, which is not merely reactive but makes it possible to judge and thus to reconcile the “old” with the “new.” The theoretical condition is here to stand “beyond – or rather – on the other side of good and evil” defined by both opposite discourses, and to look for the deeper cause of this tension (perhaps you can hear now the echo of the Nietzsche’s Jenseits von Gut und Böse, Beyond Good and Evil).

The vertical tension is more problematic, because there is always some interrelationship between institutions which are the “visible” and “tangible” points of reference for the community and the “invisible” spirit of the community. The principle I mentioned above is a classical one and presupposes the substantial unity of “spirit” and “body” in the community: it was the genius of the Roman spirit which “invented” the institution but for the Romans “imperium” meant “power” as the principle of the rule, not the “(visible) territory” or the “state” (the Greek custom was similar: the “city” meant always people, η των Αθεναιων πολυς…).

The modern custom is a kind of artificial transposition – the institution is no longer the power of the community but is imposed on the community; Leviathan takes the place of the community spirit, but it is connected with it in an artificial way, so the body is artificial. The “state” indicates now a “place” or “institutions”, rather than the community itself. I call this the “reversal of values”, because values are no longer the expression of the community’s vitality; on the contrary – the community is objected to the (indispensable according to Hobbes) prior value of Leviathan.

The problem of the vitality of values, as well as the tension between progress and decline were the main aspects of the philosophy of Nietzsche expressed in his Umwertung aller Werte – “transmutation or transvaluation of all values” program. Because of the ambiguous reception of his thought, some things must be pointed out by way of introduction. Nietzsche viewed the transvaluation of values as the high point of his philosophical mission.

After having given “mankind the most profound book it possesses”, as he described with characteristic charm his work Thus Spake Zarathustra, Nietzsche was preparing “the most independent” one, revealing the final transvaluation which was meant as the act of the “most sublime auto reflection of humanity” ultimately establishing the principle of the “will to power”. In fact, he managed only to announce it in Twilight of the Idols which was the last work published before his collapse into madness in January 1889 (works published later, including The will to power, containing the most systematic approach were mostly edited by his sister and thus are not genuine).

What were the idols whose fall Nietzsche proclaimed? The idols are the false gods, simulacra. They are made by men in the act of ressentiment against the Dionysian vitality of pure life. Failing to achieve this human – “all too human” – plenitude, man seeks an idol whom he could serve for the price of anti-vital security to deaden the “sound full of doubt, full of melancholy, full of weariness of life”.

The process of inventing the idols, e.g. the resentful negation of life, is the essence of the decadence of culture. The decline started already at the beginning of the Western world, in Greece, and Socrates himself was actually the first décadent. Belonging to the lowest class, the ugly Socrates, the archetype of a criminal – monstrum in fronte, monstrum in animo – had to feel rejection since, as Nietzsche puts it, “ugliness, in itself an objection, is among the Greeks almost a refutation.” That internal monster made him deny “all the instincts of the earlier Greeks” and “transvestite” his contempt for life into the idea of virtue which equates reason with happiness.

Thus dialectic is invented, which reverses the value of exploding vitality into immovable, therefore “dead” abstraction. Socrates is thus the first “revolutionist expressing plebeian ressentiment” who “as one oppressed, enjoys his own ferocity in the knife-thrusts of his syllogisms”. The crucial point of the argument is the tension between the constantly changeable flow of pure terrestrial life and unchangeable and immovable ideas “from another world” which poison the vitality of the instincts.

The platonic dualism is the soil which bears further idols, especially Christianity – as Nietzsche puts it in Anti-Christ – “the great curse”, which by establishing the cult of charity praises the weak for whom it promises eternal life “somewhere else”. Nietzsche interprets the whole history of the West as the march of idols (in 20th cent. cf. Jean Baudrillard’s “precision of simulacra”…).

The principal conclusion is that the idols fight one another, so each idol is the negation of another idol. Thus, since every idol is the negation of life, the decadence is the process of the negation of negation which appears as the burning out of “sense” on the historical horizon (in this context Nietzsche uses the term “nihilism”).

Virtue, God, History, Progress, Society, Democracy…these all are the idols which gradually weaken all vital powers of humanity. This weakness is the cause of the decline of politics. Nietzsche claims that:

Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions. Their effects are known well enough: they undermine the will to power; they level mountain and valley, and call that morality; they make men small, cowardly, and hedonistic–every time it is the herd animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization.

Our institutions are no good any more: on that there is universal agreement – However, it is not their fault but ours. Once we have lost all the instincts out of which institutions grow, we lose institutions altogether because we are no longer good for them. Democracy has ever been the form of decline in organizing power (…) [it is] the form of decline of the state. In order that there may be institutions, there must be a kind of will, instinct, or imperative, which is anti-liberal to the point of malice: the will to tradition, to authority, to responsibility for centuries to come, to the solidarity of chains of generations, forward and backward ad infinitum.

When this will is present, something like the imperium Romanum is founded (…) The whole of the West no longer possesses the instincts out of which institutions grow, out of which a future grows: perhaps nothing antagonizes its “modern spirit” so much.

One lives for the day, one lives very fast, one lives very irresponsibly: precisely this is called “freedom.” That which makes an institution an institution is despised, hated, repudiated: one fears the danger of a new slavery the moment the word “authority” is even spoken out loud. That is how far decadence has advanced in the value-instincts of our politicians, of our political parties: instinctively they prefer what disintegrates, what hastens the end.

Despite his ferocious language, Nietzsche was not a pessimist. You may find numerous quotes where he denounces the weakness of pessimism, for example that of Schopenhauer. He deeply believed that decadence may be overcome definitely with the project of transvaluation, that is elevating mankind up to the Übermensch, a super-human level of the Overman. Hence it may be said that he was both hyper-conservative and hyper-progressive.

He shared intrinsically conservative nostalgia after the “Golden Age” – the age of Dionysus, and simultaneously hoped with progressives for the evolutionary metamorphosis of man which would provide him a terrestrial salvation. Nietzsche however did not want to be merely anti-platonic, because it would be only reactive, and as such – decadent.

The problem is that one cannot get rid of dialectic without dialectic and since the existential cannot be conceptualized, as noted a commentator, “the world of the perfect immanence of life, beyond good and evil, falsehood and lie, beyond distinctions and antitheses that yield negations, defies expression in any language governed by the game of oppositions; at the most it can be the Unutterable, nostalgically exhorted and invoked in its poetic, dithyrambic outpourings”, the only way to cross the boundaries of language is the mystical apophasis…

But still – apophatic discourse is via negativa and Nietzsche wanted to express pure positiveness of life. In fact, he has never attained this goal, the book on transvaluation has never been written. Instead of apophasis Nietzsche left us with his tacit aphasia of madness. Of course interpreters argue whether we are supposed to take this tragic finale of his philosophy into account, but one thing we can note for sure: Nietzsche failed to overcome the decadence which he opposed.

What was the reason of this failure? After defeating all the idols Nietzsche was left to overcome the last idol, Man himself, whose deplorable condition was the permanent source of all the other idols. Indeed, being extremely consistent (and let us add – the only consistent Nietzscheanist was Nietzsche himself) he knew it was the conditio sine qua non: this is the program of Zarathustra.

In fact, Nietzsche wanted to divinize man (note that his language is purely religious: the ideals of Dionysus and Zarathustra, however mythological, send us back to the divine) in reaching the perfect and self-sufficient plenitude of boundless will to power. Thus Nietzsche became a reversed mystic who instead of uniting himself with the Absolute God, collapses into himself, the absolute-transvestite… (les extrêmes se touchent, as the French say, and nihilism and mysticism are very close to each other).

Moreover, taking up his philosophy structurally one must admit that no matter how Nietzsche tried to overcome German idealism in its peak of Hegelianism, he intrinsically rested a Hegelian, Hegelian à rebours but still Hegelian. For Nietzsche the only possible absolute was the absolute of culture – this is the realm of his analysis, and in that way he was bound by his own Zeitgeist.

And let us ask more – what became of Nietzsche? 100 years after Twilight of the Idols was published one of the main Nietzschean topics was again to be contemplated. The idea which organized Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being was the idea of the Eternal Return. For Nietzsche, the discovery of this metaphysical law was la gaya scienza, the Gay Science, which was a call for heroic fight for pure life in its every moment.

Kundera’s perspective is quite different – such heroism is absurd, and the very idea of eternity in any form appeared to him as unbearable gravity. We have one life which is the sum of volatile moments. Einmal ist keinmal, “what happens but once, might as well not have happened at all. If we have only one life to live, we might as well not have lived at all,” Kundera says, transmuting Nietzschean heroism into nihilism.

Thus, in the language of Nietzsche, Kundera, a décadent of Nietzscheanism, only confirms the failure of the German Philosopher. But Kundera himself elaborated a language which explains that status quo.

In the part entitled The Grand March, Kundera expresses what can be called the ontology of Kitsch: “Kitsch is a German word born in the middle of the sentimental nineteenth century, and from German it entered all Western languages. Repeated use, however, has obliterated its original metaphysical meaning: kitsch is the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and the figurative senses of the word; kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence. So, in other words: Kitsch has its source in the categorical agreement with being. But what is the basis of being? God? Mankind? Struggle? Love? Man? Woman? Since opinions vary, there are various kitsches: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Communist, Fascist, democratic, feminist, European, American, national, international.”

For Kundera “categorical agreement with being” means the denial of any inconvenience and imperfectness of life which are the source of the grand march of kitsch under many forms. And that is quite similar to the Nietzschean march of idols. One may notice that while Nietzsche diagnosed the decadence of the 19th century existentially, Kundera summed up the decadence of the 20th century, with its totalitarianism, moral revolutions and existential fatigue, in an aesthetical way.

The topic which links the motive of unbearable lightness and kitsch is the question of vanishing and oblivion. Kundera sums up the part about the grand march as follows:

“What remains of the dying population of Cambodia?One large photograph of an American actress holding an Asian child in her arms.What remains of Tomas?An inscription reading HE WANTED THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH.What remains of Beethoven?A frown, an improbable mane, and a somber voice intoning Es muss sein!What remains of Franz?An inscription reading A RETURN AFTER LONG WANDERINGS.And so on and so forth. Before we are forgotten, we will be turned into kitsch. Kitsch is the stopover between being and oblivion.”

Kitsch is the stopover between being and oblivion. Words cannot express the whole gravity and lightness of each life. What remains is always in some way a falsification of the existence. To that little litany above we may add the question: And what remains of the Nietzschean struggle to overcome European decadence? Let Emil Cioran, a great 20th century décadent, answer:

Nietzsche makes me tired. Sometimes my tiredness verges on disgust. One cannot accept a thinker whose ideal is the opposite of himself. There is something repulsive about a weakling who preaches physical strength, who is a ruthless weakling. It is all good for teenagers. (…) The success of Nietzsche is largely due to the fact that he advocated theories he never adhered to. We are fond of a weakling or a regular guest to boarding houses for spinsters who raves about power, egoism, and an unscrupulous hero. If he had been the hero he extols in his texts, we would not be intrigued by him any more.

Not to mention what remains of the idea of Übermensch not only after Nazism but also after Hollywood – note that merciful English editors change the original translation “Superman” by a more sophisticated “Overman” just to avoid the grotesque connotation with the flying guy in the red stockinet panties.

And what remains of Kundera, we should ask at last, the one who denounced the “totalitarian kitsch” of Communism? Well, the answer is: evidence (whether actual or alleged) of his cooperation with the communist regime secret service…

Thus both Nietzsche and Kundera are defeated by their own principles. And yet, does their failure invalidate their diagnoses? Not at all. If we put aside Nietzschean axiology (which results from his reductive materialistic premises) we will discover a great physiologist of the spirit (as Hegel was a great phenomenologist of the spirit). If we put aside Kundera’s nihilism (which itself results from the burning out of the “metaphysical instinct”), we will discover an accurate description of collective memory’s mechanisms.

The lesson of Nietzsche (and of Kundera as well) is in fact the great lesson of existential hermeneutics. What we call “values” by the nature of our language and cognitive skills have intrinsic possibility to turn into heartless idols, purely formal abstracts, kitsch-narrations, which are no longer compatible with life.

On the other hand, the institutions which were genetically invented to preserve values and make them universal have the intrinsic possibility to turn against the community itself when it no longer has any vital instincts to establish sound institutions. Furthermore, a community which loses its vitality may reject true values, because of its incapability to live them.

The permanent transvaluation of values is the fact in the history of our culture, but only the understanding of its real causes may let us regain the substantial unity of its “spirit” and “body” and make us again the subjects, not objects of our institutions. So the effort to re-evaluate values rests in the community’s hermeneutic and existential work.

Surprisingly there is probably only one voice in contemporary culture which takes up this task. This is the voice of Pope Benedict XVI, who unceasingly urges the interpretation of European history as a whole without reducing it to particular narrative traditions. He mentioned this idea a few days ago here in Prague, as he had before in Paris, La Sapienza or Regensburg.

In fact, the main topic of Benedict XVI’s pontificate was the problem of the so called “hermeneutic of continuity”, which he expressed in his manifesto to the Roman Curia (note that the Catholic Church is struggling with the same illness as European culture – the identity crisis). Generally, its goal is to discover in history what he calls, after the Greeks, Logos – transcending reason which alone gives the perspective to judge unnecessary cultural changes and discern them from real values.

So, is the re-evaluation of all values still possible? Yes, it is, provided that we rediscover the unity of life and values which was the foundation of Western culture. Thus, our task is undertaking the effort of establishing existential hermeneutics. And, after all, if there is not any Logos transcending this History, if the unity of values and life is not to be achieved – we are, Ladies and Gentlemen, only the “transvestited” “opinion makers” who participate in some Grand March of kitsch, among the other Nietzschean “Last Men” described in Zarathustra.

This article appears courtesy of Christianitas.

The image shows, “Šaulys (Sagittarius),” by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, painted in 1907.

Wilhelm Röpke And The Third “Neo-Liberal” Path

World history has not become a long, tranquil river as some had hoped. Various tragic events tell us otherwise – September 11, 2001, the economic crisis of 2008 and finally the identity crisis of the 2010s (crisis of conscience or perception of cultural and historical roots that affects the countries of Europe and, likely perhaps to a lesser extent, the rest of the West).

Since the 2008 crisis, many have expressed the strongest reservations about the evolution of Western economies and societies. Economic reductionism, the cult of the market, the capitalist logic of interest have never been so denounced in the media.

Combined with liberalization, deregulation (especially the financial markets), the withdrawal of the state, the disproportionate power of the “giants” of business and finance, the concentration of wealth, the explosion of inequality and wild competition, the word “neoliberalism,” ubiquitous in the vocabulary of the general public, has become a kind of synonym for “hypercapitalism,” “market fundamentalism,” an absolute repellent. A label so overused and depreciated in Europe that it can no longer be used openly by neo-liberal or social-liberal political leaders, but only surreptitiously, the French presidential election of 2017 being, in this respect, a real case in point.

A plethora of philosophers and ideologues, a minority of whom seem to want more or less consciously the return of wage and price control, state leadership, and even the resurgence of “sweet collectivism,” also support the thesis of the fundamental unity of liberalism. At the root of political and economic liberalism, they believe, there should be, above all, individualism and universalism.

The neo-liberalism of the turn of the 21st century would only be the logical and inevitable culmination of the individualistic and universalist philosophical project, defined since the 17th century in particular by the philosophy of the Enlightenment. Even the most radical of these philosophers and ideologues, risk prophesying that liberalism and neo-liberalism are coming to an end. But for the historian of ideas and facts things are not so simple.

Contrary to what some have suggested, liberalism and neo-liberalism are not univocal or monolithic currents. Their stories are diverse and plural, made up of ruptures and disagreements, as well as continuity and convergence. There is a political liberalism and an economic liberalism, with concomitances, and no doubt, simultaneity, but both of which are far from absolute and permanent.

On the political level alone, we can distinguish five liberalisms: first, a legal-economic liberalism based on a minimum state or “gendarme” (as per David Hume, Frédéric Bastiat, Friedrich Hayek, or even the Chicago School).

Second, there is libertarian liberalism, which regards the state or political power as useless (as per the Austrian School, Murray Rothbard, Walter Block, etc.).

Third, there is the liberalism which wants a state whose mission is to foster a level playing field, and which is close to redistributive and bureaucratic social democracy (as per John Stuart Mill, John Rawls, Keynes, etc.).

Fourthly, there is a Jacobin, centralist, egalitarian, statolatry, or even totalitarian liberalism (as per Jean-Jacques Rousseau).

And, finally, there is a realistic or skeptical liberalism, which recognizes the existence and necessity of power as the inevitable component of social and political life – in other words that which considers “the “political (i.e. the essence of politics and not the “policy that it is contingent,” to use Julien Freund’s distinction) as the sociological articulation of the “polemos,” that is, as the inevitable theatre of recurrent conflicts and struggles (as per Tocqueville, Isaiah Berlin, Mosca, Pareto, Ortega y Gasset, Unamuno, Max Weber, Croce, Wilhelm Röpke, Raymond Aron, Julien Freund, etc.).

With regard to economic liberalism, the differences between the Vienna School (Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek), or the Chicago School (Milton Friedman and George Stigler) at the Fribourg-en-Brisgau School (Walter Eucken and Wilhelm Röpke) are blatant and profound.

Forged to oppose the older liberalism (or paleo-liberalism), the term neo-liberalism is not new. It appeared in the late 1930s; the updated version of the book by the German economist Franz Oppenheimer, Der Staat (1929), undoubtedly played a pioneering role in this field. But at that time, the meaning of the word neo-liberalism was very different. It was almost the opposite of the one it took in the 1970s, following the experience of the “Chicago Boys,” Friedman’s ultra-liberal disciples, who were much under the influence of English and American think-tanks that supported a minimal state, such as the Institute of Economic Affairs (London), or the libertarian Foundation for Economic Education (Atlanta).

In the emergence of neo-liberal thought, an important first step must be pointed out: the Walter Lippmann Symposium, convened in Paris in 1938 at the initiative of Louis Rougier. For the twenty-six participants, it was a question of defining a neo-liberalism conceived as a third way between the “laisser-faire” of old liberalism (“the providentialism of the invisible hand”), and the dirigisme of Marxist communism, National socialism, fascism, and the various forms of Keynesianism, Planists and Neo-Socialists.

The economists, political scientists and sociologists of the time had largely aligned themselves with Lippmann, Rougier, Jacques Rueff, Alexander Rüstow or Wilhelm Röpke. The “old or paleo-liberals” such as Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek were in the minority at the time. For the majority of participants, it was clear that neo-liberalism had to accept a good deal of interventionism and integrate a political, social and moral dimension. Their neo-liberalism – ordo-liberalism or “rule liberalism” – was defined by four points: priority to the price mechanism, free enterprise, a competitive system, and a strong, impartial state.

The second major stage was the birth of the Mont Pèlerin Society (Vevey, Switzerland), in April 1947. Founded, among others, by Hayek, Albert Hunold and Röpke, this organization was to bring together, at its first conference, thirty-seven members, fifty percent of whom were American. Significantly, the final statement stressed the “need for a legal and institutional framework to preserve the proper functioning of competition” (point 5), and “the need and presupposition of a free society,” namely, “a moral code widely accepted which would govern public and private actions” (point 8). Hayek served as president from 1948 to 1960, and Wilhelm Röpke succeeded him from 1961 to 1962. But it is well known that there were significant disputes within the “Society” over how to understand liberalism.

At the first regular meeting, held in Seelisberg (Switzerland) in 1949, the ordo-liberal, Walter Eucken, opposed the utilitarian, Ludwig von Mises. Dissension broke out again at the Turin assembly in 1961, which saw Friedrich Hayek and Wilhelm Röpke oppose each other. Severe lamenting of the “tragedy and crisis of historical or Manchesterian capitalism,” German ordo-liberals and more generally European economists who favored third-way neoliberalism (such as, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Rueff, Rougier or Maurice Allais), were all-too-often considered “too socialist,” at times labeled as “reactionary utopians,” and even occasionally accused, perfidiously, of “hidden connivance with fascism.” They were soon relegated to the background by the supporters of the Austrian and Anglo-Saxon schools, all of which favored the return of classical liberalism.

The Mont Pèlerin Society evolved, got radicalized, and became, in the late 1970s, a kind of ultra-liberal think tank. In view of the history and political and economic debates of the turn of the 21st century, the thought of Wilhelm Röpke, a great rival and loser to Friedrich Hayek, takes on an unexpected dimension. Forgotten and unknown for nearly forty years, his intellectual figure deserves all the more to be rediscovered.

Röpke was born in Schwarmstedt, Lower Saxony (near Hanover) on October 10, 1899, and died on February 12, 1966 in Coligny (in the canton of Geneva). His thinking is an interesting synthesis of the defense of market economy and that of political-ethical-religious conservatism.

His respect for traditional life forms, his hostility to the gigantism and cult of the colossal, his denunciation of the consumer society and commercial advertising, his criticism of the catastrophic destruction of urban landscapes and the natural environment, his opposition to globalization and the homogenization of political communities that he considered incompatible with the cultural heterogeneity of European civilization, and finally, his deploring the loss of the sense of community, made him a leading neo-liberal economist who advocated the “third way,” beyond liberalism and socialism. Röpke also used the terms “constructive liberalism” and “economic humanism, but he preferred the designation the “third way” (der dritte Weg).

During his lifetime, Röpke held a prominent position. His prestige even eclipsed that of other ordo-liberal economists and political writers such as Walter Eucken, Franz Boehm, Alexander Rüstow or Alfred Müller-Armack.

Mobilized in September 1917, a year before the end of the First World War, he was wounded in 1918 at the Battle of Cambrai. Decorated with the Iron Cross Second-Class and demobilized, he resumed his studies in law and economics, which he had begun at the University of Göttingen. He then joined the University of Tübingen, and finally the University of Marburg, where he defended his doctoral thesis, under the direction of the economist, Walter Troeltsch, in January 1921.

He was not only a professor and an economic theorist, but also an advisor to the prince. He first worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin as a consultant in charge of payments for war reparations. Between 1924 and 1928, he taught at the University of Jena.

Then, on a Rockefeller Foundation grant, he visited the United States where he studied agrarian economics. In 1928, he gave courses in political economy at the University of Graz (Austria) and, barely a year later, obtained a chair at the University of Marburg. In 1930-31, he was part of a commission of experts charged with proposing counter-cyclical policies against unemployment to the government.

On the eve of the elections of September 14, 1930, which would see a breakthrough by the National Socialist Party, he clearly opposed the NSDAP. A controversy pitted him against the intellectuals of the Die Tat group, which was the emblematic reference-point of the Conservative Revolution up to 1937. He published three articles on anti-capitalism in the magazine, which he considered “catastrophic;” and, in particular, attacked Ferdinand Fried (Friedrich Zimmermann), the outspoken propagator of National Socialist theories about the end of capitalism and the need for autarky.

Once again, in a speech in Frankfurt on February 8, 1933, he criticized the demagoguery of National Socialist rhetoric. His university career ended three weeks later, on February 27, 1933, the day of the Reichstag fire. As Dean of the faculty, and given the responsibility of giving the funeral oration for his teacher, Walter Troeltsch, at the cemetery of Ockershauser (Marburg), Röpke denounced: “an era that likes to convert the garden of civilization into a primitive forest.”

Declared an enemy of the people and expelled from the university on April 25, 1933, he refused to publicly recant and join the NSDAP. He had to leave Germany with his wife, son and two daughters. After a brief exile in England and Holland, the family sailed for Turkey, where the regime of President Ataturk, then considered in the West to be “a good dictator,” welcomed university exiles of the Reich.

At the University of Istanbul, he was reunited with his colleague and friend, Professor Alexander Rüstow. He held the chair of political economy until September 1937, when he joined the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. During the war, he wrote a famous trilogy: Die Gesellschaftskrisis der Gegenwart, 1942 (The Social Crisis of Our Time), Civitas Humana, 1944 (Civitas Humana or the fundamental questions of economic and social reform), and International Ordnung, (The International Community). This trilogy was translated into several languages and helped establish his reputation.

At the end of the Second World War, he published a more polemical essay, Die deutsche Frage, 1945 (The German Question), which earned him the hatred of both the right and the left, because for Röpke the tragedy of Germany was a consequence of the Prussian spirit, romanticism, and a certain fundamentalism in the realization of ideas.

According to him, the solution for Germany could only come from a moral revolution, a re-education of the values of Western civilization, a deproletarization, and a confederation of autonomous states. More specifically, he wanted the absolute prevention of Russian collectivism, which also explained his desire for Germany to join the Atlantic community.

His thinking and rhetoric very soon informed the speeches of Minister Ludwig Erhard, who had obtained allies as early as 1945 to be appointed Economic Minister in the Bavarian government. Röpke was a first-time ministerial and then presidential adviser in Konrad Adenauer’s government. He defended the “social market economy,” a term already used by Muller-Armack and supported in France, Italy and Spain by Jacques Rueff, Luigi Einaudi and Alberto Ullastres.

But he eventually broke with the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) because of his opposition to German integration into the European Communities. The supranational path, which opened in the 1950s, seemed dangerous to the future of the homelands and cultures, spiritually, and damaging to the market, economically.

Röpke’s thinking is marked by the doctrinal criticism of totalitarianism, the welfare state, and Keynesian policies, but also by a stated sympathy for political-moral neo-conservatism. He drew the various strands of his doctrine from Sismondi, Proudhon, Le Play, Kropotkin, Chesterton or Belloc, but his school of thought is that of Ortega y Gasset, Lippmann, Johan Huizinga, Guglielmo Ferrero, Jouvenel, Halévy, Benda or Hazard.

The experience of the crisis of the late 1920s was proof to him that the economy cannot organize itself. Collectivist responses to capitalism are reactions he regarded as understandable in the face of misery, but he also thought that they reinforced the miserable condition of the proletariat and that they inevitably lead to tyranny.

Just as forcefully he rejected the welfare state as “an expression of the emotion and passion of the masses,” which “institutionalizes the proletariat and disempowers the citizen.” But he nevertheless very harshly denounced the blindness of classical liberalism, the so-called liberal apoliticism, which he considered a mystification. His economic liberalism was associated with political realism.

He recognized the social irrationality of capitalism, in particular the inevitable concentration of ownership, the expansion of wage-earning and proletarianization, which were fatal steps on the path of collectivism, and proposed ways to avoid them, in order to restore the entrepreneurial vitality of workers.

The real cause of the discontent of the working class was the devitalization of existence which could not be cured by higher wages, holidays or games. Instead of locking workers in the Welfare State, he said that it was necessary to promote their freedom and responsibility, to make them want to be owner-occupiers.

The ordo-liberalism of Röpke held that markets need an ethico-legal-political framework to ensure the survival of liberal values. For him, competition was essential and the deproletarization of social relations, such as the fight against capitalist concentration and in favor of the promotion of free enterprise, were the duties of the state.

The neo-liberalism of Röpke did not identify with a weak state, at the mercy of economic forces, but rather with a strong state; a state capable of restricting competition and ensuring the social and ideological conditions of a free economy. Economic freedom and political authority are two sides of the same coin for him. There is interdependence of the two; the economy does not have an independent existence.

The free market is unable to provide an integrated society on its own. The tendency towards proletarianization is inherent in capitalist social relations; and when it is not controlled, it results in social crises and disorder. This containment is the responsibility of the state; so, it is a political responsibility.

The market economy cannot survive without moral capital, without the support of tradition, religion and civic sense. The state must intervene in the economic and non-economic spheres to ensure the ethical and social conditions on which effective competition is based.

Röpke wanted economic activity on a human scale, based on the social fabric of small and medium-sized enterprises. He wanted legislation against monopolies, the widest possible dissemination of ownership, market control to ensure healthy competition, state intervention limited to indispensable sectors only, and strict application of the principle of subsidiarity.

Warning of the danger of extreme inequality, he accepted income redistribution and subsidies when they did not interfere with the market economy. He refused to exalt the private sector at the expense of legitimate functions of the state. He deplored the uncritical adoption of all technological advances and concerns, the consequences of the destruction of the traditional family, demographic decline and unlimited immigration.

Hedonism, selfishness, idol pleasure, psychological atomism, naturalism and determinism were values and ideas that were entirely foreign to him. The quarrels over the comparative importance of identity and sovereignty were, in his view, specious, illusory and dissolving.

Identity (linked to the historical-cultural community) and sovereignty (the political power associated with the consent community) could not be opposed. They are two complementary and inseparable aspects of the unity of destiny in the universal. Demassification, deproletarization, decollectivization and social decentralization are the key words of his thinking.

He was a Protestant, but he held in high esteem the social doctrine of the Church with which he sought to build a bridge from liberalism. His concern for the deterioration of the Western Christian tradition and the irreligiousness of contemporary man continued to grow during his life. “Europe’s decadence is not only moral or political,” he wrote, “it is also religious.” And again: “Everything is held together and toppled by religion” (Civitas Humana).

The neo-liberalism of Röpke is, in fact, the perfect alternative to the neo-liberalism of the turn of the 21st century. While the latter defends capitalism against the state, the neo-liberalism of Röpke defends the state against capitalism. The theorist of American conservatism, Russell Kirk, bête noire of present-day neoconservatives and neo-liberals but a fine connoisseur of the disagreements between the utilitarian Mises and the ordo-liberal Röpke, liked to tell the following anecdote.

A professor at the University Institute of Advanced International Studies, Röpke welcomed the success of the workers’ gardens, the plots of land made available to the inhabitants by the municipality of Geneva.

One day he showed Mises, workers digging away in their plots. At this sight, Mises pouted, sadly shook his head and lamented, “A really very inefficient way of producing food.” To which Röpke replied, “Perhaps, yes, but perhaps not, because it is also a very effective way of producing human happiness.”

A pioneer, though pessimistic, as were his most prestigious ordo-liberal and neo-liberal colleagues of the 1930s and 1970s, Röpke had the reasoned conviction that a society obsessed with GNP, exclusively concerned with so-called efficiency and profitability, regardless of the consequences on human beings, inevitably runs out of steam.

Having said that, it is clear that at the beginning of the 21st century the conditions of a democratic, entrenched community, respectful of the human freedom of civic sense and of small and medium-sized property, are no longer compatible with the requirements of a model grossly disfigured free trade economy.

Arnaud Imatz, a Basque-French political scientist and historian, holds a State Doctorate (DrE) in political science and is a correspondent-member of the Royal Academy of History (Spain), and a former international civil servant at OECD. He is a specialist in the Spanish Civil War, European populism, and the political struggles of the Right and the Left – all subjects on which he has written several books. He has also published numerous articles on the political thought of the founder and theoretician of the Falange, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, as well as the Liberal philosopher, José Ortega y Gasset, and the Catholic traditionalist, Juan Donoso Cortés.

This article was translated from the original French by N. Dass.

The image shows Wilhelm Röpke, ca. 1951.

The Fall Of Acre

I often say that the Crusades were a high point of Western civilization. And they were, but they were also an example of flawed glory. Certainly, the goal of the Crusades was peerlessly laudable, and the virtues shown by Crusaders admirable.

At the same time, the Holy Land Crusades illustrated key weaknesses of the West, and, after all, if nothing succeeds likes success, nothing fails like failure. In Roger Crowley’s The Accursed Tower all of this is on display, though Christian valor is probably the dominant theme, as it should be. In a sane society, the events of this book would be used for a blockbuster movie featuring the Christians as doomed heroes. Not in today’s society, to be sure, but maybe in tomorrow’s.

The book’s focus is the final years of the Crusader States, which were founded after the epic success of the First Crusade in reconquering Muslim-occupied Palestine in A.D. 1099, and are generally deemed to have ended with the fall of the ancient city of Acre to the Mamluk sultan Al-Ashraf Khalil in 1291.

The Crusader States had been in decline since Saladin’s victory at the Horns of Hattin in 1187, and what intermittent respite the Crusaders had gotten from Muslim pressure came from Muslim disunity, not Crusader gains. Then as now, Muslim discord was the norm (Frederick II took advantage of it to regain Jerusalem by treaty in 1228; it was lost again in 1244).

But off and on, due to religious fervor or political consolidation, which usually went hand-in-hand, pressure on the Christians spiked, so the writing had long been on the wall. In the end, it was simple: the Muslims were both rich and close to Outremer, effectively surrounding it, while at this time the West was relatively poorer and farther away.

The book’s title comes from one of the towers defending Acre, a sea port defended on its landward side by extensive fortifications, including a double wall and numerous barbicans and towers. (It mostly could not be approached from its seaward side, and its harbor was protected by the chain formerly guarding the Golden Horn in Constantinople, stolen by the Crusaders sacking Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, in 1204).

As Crowley notes, much of the precise layout of both the city and its fortifications can only be conjectured at this point, but all agree that the Accursed Tower (a name of uncertain origin) lay at the crucial bend in the walls, and thus was the key pressure point during the Muslim siege. Acre had belonged to the Crusaders since it was retaken from the Muslims in 1104 (who had taken it from the Eastern Romans in the late seventh century), except for a two-year period after Saladin conquered it in 1187—it was retaken in a brutal siege in 1189, part of the Third Crusade.

But the Third Crusade failed to free Jerusalem from its occupiers, and the Crusader States for the next one hundred years were sadly diminished, consisting of a string of principalities and fortresses, the latter typically operated by the military religious orders, most famously the Hospitaller citadel at Krak des Chevaliers, north of Acre, near Tripoli (the Outremer Tripoli, not the one in North Africa).

Acre became de facto the center of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, the south end of the Crusader States, both for trade and war, thus becoming a very wealthy and cosmopolitan city. It was also, in the way of rich port cities at the crossroads of civilizations, a pit of vice, although no doubt this was somewhat exaggerated by pious Western churchmen shocked upon their first arrival. And like most of the Crusader States, Acre debilitatingly lacked coherent political leadership.

The King of Jerusalem was an absentee landlord and the strongest power was the Pope’s representative, the Patriarch of Jerusalem (who lived in Acre, not Jerusalem), but other powers, including the Templars and Hospitallers, were nearly independent.

Acre’s existence as a Christian stronghold throughout the century was therefore tenuous, but daily life not all that different from a hundred years before, or from any other Mediterranean port. Muslim and Christian merchants struck deals; the Genoese and Venetians traded with everyone, including the enemy, and fought each other; everybody got along in some years and not in others.

The Christians talked about retaking Jerusalem and did nothing, but on the other side, chronic Muslim civil war, and the threat of the Mongols, kept the Muslims from concentrating on permanently dislodging the Crusaders. And, often as not, the trade brokered by the Christians was of great benefit to Muslim rulers, reducing their incentive to do more than issue vague endorsements of jihad and in practice to curb Muslim fanatics eager to fulfill the Prophet’s commands for ceaseless war against the infidel. All in all, no doubt daily life was fairly pleasant for most people, contrary to the myth of medieval suffering.

The first half of the book is a lively narration of the thirteenth century in Outremer. Crowley covers the mid-century Seventh Crusade, where Louis IX’s armies came to grief in Egypt. He covers the Mamluk defeat in 1260 of the Mongols at Ain Jalut, Goliath’s Spring, neither hindered nor helped by the Crusaders, who at least gave the Muslims safe passage to the battlefield.

He narrates the takeover of Egyptian power by the military slave Mamluks from their Ayyubid overlords, and their welding into a disciplined conquering force under the sultan Baybars, the “Lion of Egypt,” a puritanical Muslim like so many successful conquerors. (As Crowley notes, because the Christians of Damascus had dared to drink wine and ring bells when the Mongols were admitted to Damascus, Baybars collectively punished Christians by, among other crimes, destroying “the hugely significant church of St. Mary in Nazareth, the supposed site of the Annunciation”).

Most relevantly for the current narrative, Baybars systematically increased pressure on the Crusader States, killing peasants in the fields and intermittently besieging and conquering towns and cities. These included the southern towns of Caesarea, Arsuf, and Jaffa, and the critical northern city of Antioch.

He made life difficult for Christians, who were incapable of mounting a unified response, and lacked the military manpower to do much more than man their fortresses and battlements. And he didn’t care much that the Christians provided economic benefits to his realm; jihad was far more important, and this was what sealed the fate of the Crusader States.

The Christians in Europe were well aware of what was going on, but as so often, mustered only a feeble response accompanied by a great deal of hot air. Henry III’s son, Edward Longshanks (later Edward I, made famous several years back by the movie Braveheart), along with Louis IX, led the Ninth Crusade.

Edward landed in Acre with his knights in 1271 (shortly after Baybars finally managed to capture Krak des Chevaliers), and won some major victories over Baybars, but soon enough departed (though he left behind several men who were critical to the final defense of Acre), changing nothing.

The second half of the book narrows the focus to the Fall of Acre. In 1280, Baybars died (probably poisoned), to be succeeded as sultan (after the usual civil war) by another Mamluk general, Qalawun, who continued what Baybars had accomplished, following much the same religious and political policies. He prepared to attack Acre, but died in 1290, to be succeeded by Khalil, who again continued his predecessors’ program. Men and material, called to jihad with its dual rewards of paradise and booty, swarmed to Khalil from every direction, and he began the siege in April, 1291.

Unlike towns earlier conquered by the Muslims, however, Acre was very strongly defended (though, due to internal conflict, the defenders had not beefed up the defenses adequately before the siege) and had a full garrison, of infantry, mounted knights, and such ancillary critical personnel as Pisan siege engineers.

It could be re-supplied from the sea (the Mamluks never had any navy to speak of) and thus had to be taken by force, not by starving out the defenders. On the debit side of the balance sheet, though, the defenders had unclear military command, and failed to coordinate properly, a problem the Sultan did not face. The man effectively in overall charge was the Patriarch, Nicolas de Hanapes (the only canonized Crusader), but his hold was persuasive, not dictatorial. And, the biggest problem of all, Khalil had functionally infinite resources with high morale and strong incentives, so the result was largely inevitable.

Crowley does an outstanding job of narrating the siege and the Fall. Attacks and counterattacks; siege machines; mining; sorties by land and sea. He uses fascinating stories from contemporary sources, both Muslim and Christian, most interestingly from the “Templar of Tyre,” an anonymous Arabic-speaking knight who was probably not a Templar but was included within the councils of the Templars.

On both sides, the heroism often found in such battles, ancient and modern, was on display—the men from the book Red Platoon, fighting in twenty-first-century Afghanistan, would fit right in here, and the men fighting in Acre would fit in there. Over several weeks, the Muslims wore the Christians down; not enough men arrived to replenish losses, and the Christians grew short of ammunition.

By mid-May, the battle was nearing its end. On May 18, after bombardment and mining broke in the walls, Khalil’s troops, coming in endless waves of heavily armored, highly disciplined men, overcame Christian resistance at the Accursed Tower, and thereby entered the space between the double walls, which allowed them to spread out to attack the gates. Last-ditch resistance of the city itself was organized by the Marshal of the Hospitallers, Matthieu de Clermont, who is depicted on the cover of the book in a nineteenth-century French painting (note the double walls).

Clermont and his men rode out and died in the streets, and the Muslims then slaughtered and raped their way through the city, killing or enslaving everyone not able to get away by ship. (Such behavior was the norm in medieval warfare, of course, but is always talked about nowadays as if it was only something Christians did, so it is refreshing to see historical honesty).

A few of the internal citadels, such as the Templar’s castle, held out for a while, but were soon ground down and the same treatment meted out to the survivors. Khalil then demolished much of the city, though its skeleton was a landmark for passing ships for centuries.

So ended the Holy Land Crusades, mostly forgotten in the East until resurrected as part of resistance to colonialism in the nineteenth century, and remembered mostly only in distorted fashion in the West, a propaganda tool for Protestants and atheists up to the present day.

But today I am less focused on politics; today is mostly straight history. One reason I very much enjoyed this book is that I have long had a fascination with medieval weaponry and siege equipment, and Crowley also appears entranced by siege weaponry, especially catapults and trebuchets, about which he talks a great deal.

Why I have such an interest, I have no idea, but it has always been true. I had castle-building Lego analogues as a child, with which I played endlessly. I had toy soldiers, knights in armor, one of which now stands by me as I write, wielding a morning star (a real, if rare, weapon, despite occasional modern claims to the contrary).

I know from reading Howard Pyle’s Men of Iron at the age of five what a glaive-guisarme is (a weapon consisting of a blade on a wooden pole, used to slash and stab, with a hook on the other side, used in the novel in the climactic duel by the underdog). Perhaps my personal interests made this book more gripping to me than it would be to others, however, so if this type of thing bores you, maybe this book is not for you.

Accuracy is key for Crowley, to the extent that a narrative of any ancient event can be made fully accurate. Unlike many modern writers, he does not ascribe to Muslims inventions they did not make. He notes that the Chinese invented most of the catapult-type siege weapons used by Khalil, including the traction trebuchet, which the Byzantines had also used.

The more powerful counterweight trebuchet, a vital weapon in Khalil’s arsenal, able to topple stonework like the Accursed Tower, was probably invented by the Byzantines, though the record is unclear. (With both stonethrowers and, later, gunpowder, the Europeans took the basic idea that had existed for hundreds of years with incremental improvements, and proceeded to reinvent and massively improve the technology within a few decades.

No doubt that is why many of Khalil’s catapults were ifrangi, “Frankish catapults”). The only error that Crowley does make is to claim, repeatedly, that the Mamluks used Greek Fire, by giving that name to all incendiaries, not actual Greek Fire, a liquid that burned on water and was dispensed under pressure, the secret of which was probably lost by this time even to the Byzantines. But that’s a pretty small and common error, that does not detract from the book.

Crowley wrote an even better earlier book, Empires of the Sea, which centers on the 1565 Siege of Malta, where the Christians won. I have been to Malta, and there is no experience like standing where such an epic battle took place, seeing in your mind’s eye what it must have been like. That’s not really possible in Acre, anymore, but reading this book nearly puts you there.

Strangely, Crowley mentions modern Acre quite a bit, but never once mentions that it is in Israel, and most of its modern population is Jewish. Which goes to show that times change, I suppose. I won’t predict the future for Acre, but looking backward allows the reader to grasp, in outline, the life and death of the Crusades.

The Fall of Acre is in many ways a microcosm of that age of action, showing both the good and the bad: heroic men performing acts of glory, and bad men betraying each other and indulging in vice. Often it was the same men. These are the sorts of stories we should tell our children, and, as I say, make movies about. One can hope.

Charles is a business owner and operator, in manufacturing, and a recovering big firm M&A lawyer. He runs the blog, The Worthy House.

The image shows, “The Siege of Acre,” by Dominique Papety, painted ca. 1840.

Global Warming Is Not Science


In a previous article, with the same title, I demonstrated that the Greenplate effect does not occur.

This is the supposed back radiation effect, which purportedly happens to a flat plate, if you expose it to a radiant heat source, within a vacuum and then simply put another plate behind it. The presence of the 2nd plate is supposed to cause an increase in the maximum steady state temperatures of the 1st plate as well as decrease the rate of heat loss, thus causing the 1st plate to warm more rapidly. This is a falsehood. Greenplate effect does not exist.

In my first demonstration, people criticised that the 1st plate was supported by brackets near the light and so this, apparently caused the test to fail. That is false argument, as I will demonstrate. It was also criticised for having the 2nd plate supported by the 1st with plastic spacers, because apparently this caused the test to fail also. Again, this is a false argument, as I will also show.

Although, it is reassuring that if we pretended that this back radiant effect existed, it is surely so weak, its is nullified by a handful of plastic spacers, in which case, it really is a feeble force and can be ignored entirely. Although, as you will see, Radiation Greenplate Effect is a force which does not exist.

New Experimental Arrangements

For my new arrangements I have plastic velceo straps on the inside of the cylinder. These velcro straps are glued to the glass on one side and glued to small right angle aluminium brackets on the other. The 130mm black powder coated aluminum disc, simply rests upon these supports.

Picture 1 – Velcro and Angle Bracket

Picture 2 – Brackets attached to inside of Cylinder

I have also added a support nipple to the bottom plate, so that the thermometer can go straight up the middle of the hole in the second plate. It is glued to the plate. This is done because the putty melts and burns and the thermometer slides.

Picture 3 – Bottom Plate

I have also changed the light bulb, from a 40 watt spiral bulb, to a 100 watt Bulb with built in reflector, this ensures that all the energy is directed upwards towards the plate & as it has a higher rating it is achieves higher steady state temperatures and achieves much quicker warming phases. I tested this bulb and fully exposed to atmosphere at room temperature, the maximum temperature of the glass achieved 206 degrees Celcius.

Picture 4 – New Bulb 100 Incandescent Halogen Reflector

These changes are more than sufficient to show that Radiation Greenplate Effect does not exist, & anyone who talks of it as if it is real is a liar, a charlatan or a faker. My demonstration model can be performed anywhere. Radiation GHE is a lie. Let no-one impart this lie upon you without you repelling it.

I have put together six different arrangements and tested each one, 5 times, with each test being performed one after the other for a duration of 10 minutes. The you-tube video which I have which shows Test 1 of each arrangement can be seen here. I video recorded all tests.

In the first minute of each video, I show the arrangement and then at exactly 1 minute of recording I switch on the light and record for 10 straight minutes. The unit is switched off and left to cool for 50 minutes.
The position of the bottom black plate and the cylinder itself remains unchanged through out all the tests. Each arrangement was tested on consecutive days, so Test 1 is a cold start each time.

Arrangement 1 – Single Plate in Chamber, No Lid.

In this arrangement I placed only a single black plate in the chamber, just above the light. The chamber lid was left off so that the plate is exposed to the air. I then switched it on and recorded the temperature of the plate over 10 minutes and repeated this 5 times, with each one performed after the other after a 50 minute cool-down each time.

The chamber as the lift is left off, would naturally result in the coolest temperatures as the maximum amount of convective cooling is experienced to the plate.

Arrangement 1: One Plate Open Lid
Time (Mins) Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5
0.0 23.3 25.7 25.7 26.9 26.3
0.5 26.8 29.9 30.0 31.7 30.5
1.0 33.1 37.1 37.6 39.1 38.1
1.5 40.2 43.5 44.3 45.9 45.5
2.0 46.7 49.9 51.3 52.6 52.8
2.5 53.3 56.5 57.7 59.3 60.0
3.0 59.5 62.1 64.1 65.5 66.4
3.5 65.2 67.5 69.9 70.9 72.7
4.0 70.5 72.3 75.1 76.0 78.3
4.5 74.9 77.0 80.1 80.9 83.5
5.0 79.5 81.1 84.6 85.2 88.2
5.5 83.6 85.6 88.7 89.3 92.5
6.0 87.3 89.5 92.5 93.1 96.5
6.5 91.0 92.9 96.2 96.4 100.4
7.0 94.2 95.9 99.5 99.5 103.9
7.5 97.5 98.8 102.7 102.5 107.1
8.0 100.5 101.5 105.7 105.4 110.4
8.5 103.3 104.1 108.1 107.7 113.9
9.0 105.6 106.3 110.7 110.0 116.4
9.5 107.7 108.5 113.0 112.3 118.5
10.0 110.0 110.4 115.0 114.3 120.5
Change 86.7 84.7 89.3 87.4 94.2

Here we can see that, each test is warmer than the last as some residual heat has remained during the 50 minute cooldown period. Although test 2 after 10 minutes had the same peak temperature as test 1, despite starting slightly higher. Peak temperature between 110 & 120.5 degrees Celsius were experienced.

Graph 1 – Arrangement 1

Arrangement 2: Single Plate in Chamber, Lid Placed & Valves Closed.

In this arrangement there is a single plate as previously, this time I have placed the plastic chamber lid in position and ensured that the valves are closed to prevent any air ingress/egress.

It would be expected that restricting the convective cooling, by adding the lid, will result in quicker warming and higher peak temperatures, which is exactly what occurred. This is how a greenhouse works.

Arrangement 2: One Plate Closed Lid
Time (Mins) Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5
0.0 23.1 25.6 24.3 27.3 24.4
0.5 24.7 30.5 29.0 32.5 29.5
1.0 28.6 38.6 36.9 41.2 38.3
1.5 33.3 46.0 44.7 49.4 46.5
2.0 38.8 53.7 52.1 57.3 54.2
2.5 44.6 60.6 59.3 64.9 62.0
3.0 50.6 67.4 66.1 71.5 68.8
3.5 57.4 73.7 72.3 78.2 75.0
4.0 63.7 79.3 78.1 83.9 80.8
4.5 77.1 84.4 83.6 89.5 86.4
5.0 84.4 89.2 88.4 94.7 91.5
5.5 90.1 94.0 93.4 99.5 96.2
6.0 94.8 97.9 97.5 103.8 100.6
6.5 99.3 101.7 101.9 107.6 104.3
7.0 103.5 105.1 105.8 111.5 107.9
7.5 107.2 108.1 109.2 115.0 111.4
8.0 111.1 111.4 112.8 118.0 114.5
8.5 114.2 114.4 115.9 121.0 117.4
9.0 117.1 117.2 118.7 123.5 120.0
9.5 119.8 120.0 121.3 125.8 122.4
10.0 122.2 122.4 123.6 127.7 124.5
Change 99.1 96.8 99.3 100.4 100.1

We can see that peak temperatures are higher here and that temperatures increased more quickly than previously. Peak temperatures of between 122.2 & 127.7 were recorded.

As you will see, the lid of the roof offered no back radiant heat induction upon the plate. The temperature increase is entirely explained by a reduction in the rate of convective cooling.

Graph 2 – Arrangement 2

No idea why Test 1 had that sort of curve; nothing changed with the test. I just put it down to the thermometer lag on the read out.

Arrangement 3 – Two Plates – Open Lid

Here, this arrangement is the same as Arrangement 1, except now there are two plates instead of one.

The convective restriction is much more stark than the merely placing the lid. As the 2nd plate is the same 130mm diameter as the first plate and there is a mere 2.5mm space around this disc to the glass, offering minimal escape path for the air. Meaning the space for convective cooling of the bottom plate is only that between the 1st and 2nd which is a mere 40mm. The nipple on the bottom plate is 20mm long. This ensures no contact between the two plates. This restriction causes a large increase in peak temperatures and an increase in the rate of warming also.

Arrangement 3: Two Plate Open Lid
Time (Mins) Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5
0.0 24.4 25.8 24.3 26.3 26.7
0.5 27.5 29.9 28.2 31.0 31.1
1.0 34.5 37.6 36.3 39.1 39.1
1.5 42.6 45.4 44.5 47.3 47.1
2.0 51.6 53.5 53.1 55.4 55.3
2.5 59.7 61.2 61.2 63.6 63.4
3.0 67.3 68.6 68.7 71.0 71.0
3.5 74.8 75.8 76.2 78.1 78.4
4.0 81.8 82.2 83.1 84.8 85.2
4.5 88.3 88.7 89.6 91.4 91.9
5.0 94.5 94.8 95.8 97.4 97.9
5.5 100.7 100.6 101.7 102.9 103.8
6.0 105.9 106.1 107.5 108.2 109.1
6.5 111.6 111.3 113.0 113.4 114.3
7.0 116.5 116.3 117.9 117.9 119.4
7.5 120.6 120.9 122.4 122.0 123.6
8.0 124.8 125.2 126.4 125.8 127.7
8.5 128.5 129.3 130.8 129.5 131.7
9.0 132.3 133.0 134.6 133.1 135.4
9.5 135.6 136.7 138.1 136.5 138.7
10.0 139.0 139.8 141.3 139.5 141.9
Change 114.6 114.0 117.0 113.2 115.2

We can see that peak temperature after 10 minutes is between 139 and 141.9 degrees Celsius.

Graph 3 – Arrangement 3

Arrangement 4 – Two Plates – Closed Lid

This is the same as arrangement 3, except as in arrangement 2 I have now placed the lid on the chamber. This made no difference to the bottom plate, as the convective restriction between plate 1 and 2 has not changed. Only the rate of cooling of the 2nd plate would be affected.

Arrangement 4: Two Plate Closed Lid
Time (Mins) Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5
0.0 21.9 25.5 27.9 27.3 28.2
0.5 25.9 29.2 31.9 31.5 32.7
1.0 32.3 35.9 38.9 39.0 40.3
1.5 39.8 43.3 45.9 46.8 47.9
2.0 47.4 50.7 53.3 54.3 55.9
2.5 54.8 58.1 60.3 62.0 63.4
3.0 62.1 64.8 67.4 69.1 70.8
3.5 69.0 71.5 74.0 75.9 77.8
4.0 75.6 77.4 80.4 82.8 84.6
4.5 82.0 83.5 86.9 89.0 90.8
5.0 87.9 89.1 92.4 94.9 96.8
5.5 93.7 94.7 98.1 100.9 102.4
6.0 98.8 99.8 103.5 106.5 107.9
6.5 104.1 104.7 108.2 111.9 113.2
7.0 109.1 109.7 113.3 117.1 118.2
7.5 114.2 114.3 117.6 121.5 122.6
8.0 119.0 118.3 121.8 125.7 126.6
8.5 123.0 121.8 125.3 129.9 130.5
9.0 126.5 124.8 128.9 133.5 134.3
9.5 130.2 127.9 132.3 137.2 137.8
10.0 133.5 130.6 135.2 140.0 141.1
Change 111.6 105.1 107.3 112.7 112.9

Peak temperatures between 130.5 & 141.1 were experienced, maximum attained was no higher than in arrangement 3.

Graph 4 – Arrangement 4

Arrangement 5 – Two Plates, Closed Lid & Full Vacuum

In this arrangement I had the two plates as in arrangements 3 & 4, but this time the lid was placed and all the air was sucked out to provide a full Vacuum.

Arrangement 5: Two Plate Vacuum
Time (Mins) Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5
0.0 23.0 28.5 25.7 27.9 27.6
0.5 26.0 32.8 29.8 32.4 31.6
1.0 33.1 40.7 36.9 40.3 39.0
1.5 41.5 48.3 44.0 48.1 46.2
2.0 49.9 55.7 51.6 55.7 53.6
2.5 57.5 63.8 59.0 63.6 60.6
3.0 65.7 71.0 65.9 70.7 67.4
3.5 72.6 77.9 73.1 77.9 74.3
4.0 79.8 84.4 79.5 84.7 80.5
4.5 86.1 90.8 86.1 91.1 86.7
5.0 92.3 96.8 92.1 97.2 92.4
5.5 98.2 102.7 97.8 103.2 97.9
6.0 104.0 107.8 103.7 109.1 103.3
6.5 109.7 113.3 109.1 114.7 108.1
7.0 115.2 118.6 114.3 119.9 113.4
7.5 120.3 123.1 119.4 124.4 117.7
8.0 124.6 127.6 124.2 129.3 122.0
8.5 128.8 132.0 128.5 133.6 126.0
9.0 132.8 136.3 132.9 137.9 130.0
9.5 136.5 140.1 136.7 141.9 133.5
10.0 140.0 143.9 140.3 145.5 137.2
Change 117.0 115.4 114.6 117.6 109.6

Temperatures in this arrangement are above that of 3 and 4, with temperatures in the region of 137.2 to 145.5 achieved. Warming rates were also much higher. With all tests being over 100 deg C in less than 6 minutes.

This is no surprise as there is no convective cooling occurring at all. The other arrangements were warmer because we reduced the rate of convective cooling. With no convective cooling only radiation cooling is available to the plates and a negligible conductive cooling to the glass via the velcro straps. (Borroscillate glass has a high thermal resistance).

Graph 5 – Arrangement 5

Arrangement 6 – Single Plate, Closed Lid & Full Vacuum

In this final arrangement, the top plate was removed and test performed in full vacuum.

Arrangement 6: One Plate Vacuum
Time (Mins) Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5
0.0 22.7 28.5 27.6 28.2 27.7
0.5 27.1 32.6 32.7 33.1 32.7
1.0 34.8 40.7 41.2 41.9 40.7
1.5 43.2 48.6 49.4 50.1 48.7
2.0 51.9 56.6 57.5 58.4 56.5
2.5 60.4 64.6 65.4 66.4 64.1
3.0 68.4 71.8 72.7 73.7 71.1
3.5 76.2 79.1 80.2 80.9 78.1
4.0 83.6 85.8 86.7 87.2 84.5
4.5 91.0 92.2 93.5 93.6 91.0
5.0 97.6 98.2 99.5 99.5 97.1
5.5 104.4 104.0 105.3 105.4 103.1
6.0 110.5 109.4 110.7 111.1 108.6
6.5 116.1 114.6 115.9 116.5 114.2
7.0 121.6 119.5 120.7 121.5 119.6
7.5 126.0 123.6 124.7 125.8 124.3
8.0 130.2 127.5 128.7 130.4 128.9
8.5 134.0 131.5 132.6 134.7 133.2
9.0 137.9 134.8 136.1 138.7 137.1
9.5 141.4 138.1 139.5 142.7 141.1
10.0 144.6 141.2 142.7 145.9 144.6
Change 121.9 112.7 115.1 117.7 116.9

Arrangement 6 – Single Plate, Closed Lid & Full Vacuum

In this final arrangement, the top plate was removed and test performed in full vacuum.

We can see that peak temperatures of 141.2 to 145.9 were experienced. The rates of heating are virtually identical to arrangement 5, with the exception being test 5 on arrangement 5, which I have chosen to ignore on my statistical analysis. Nothing was changed. The cylinders are air tight and hold with no change in Vacuum pressure over 24 hours. I presumed the light output fluctuated on the low side.

The presence of the 2nd plate has no effect on the peak temperature or rate of heating experienced after 10 minutes. This is more obvious when comparing the averaged data on graphs below.

Mean Analysis

Average A1 A2 A3 A4 (Exc O) A5 A5(Exc O) A6
0.0 25.6 24.9 25.5 26.3 26.5 26.3 26.9
0.5 29.8 29.2 29.5 30.5 30.5 30.3 31.6
1.0 37.0 36.7 37.3 37.6 38.0 37.8 39.9
1.5 43.9 44.0 45.4 45.1 45.6 45.5 48.0
2.0 50.7 51.2 53.8 52.7 53.3 53.2 56.2
2.5 57.4 58.3 61.8 60.1 60.9 61.0 64.2
3.0 63.5 64.9 69.3 67.4 68.1 68.3 71.5
3.5 69.2 71.3 76.7 74.2 75.2 75.4 78.9
4.0 74.4 77.2 83.4 80.9 81.8 82.1 85.6
4.5 79.3 84.2 90.0 87.2 88.2 88.5 92.3
5.0 83.7 89.6 96.1 93.0 94.2 94.6 98.4
5.5 87.9 94.6 101.9 98.8 100.0 100.5 104.4
6.0 91.8 98.9 107.4 104.2 105.6 106.2 110.1
6.5 95.4 103.0 112.7 109.4 111.0 111.7 115.5
7.0 98.6 106.8 117.6 114.4 116.3 117.0 120.6
7.5 101.7 110.2 121.9 119.0 121.0 121.8 124.9
8.0 104.7 113.6 126.0 123.3 125.5 126.4 129.1
8.5 107.4 116.6 130.0 127.2 129.8 130.7 133.2
9.0 109.8 119.3 133.7 130.8 134.0 135.0 136.9
9.5 112.0 121.9 137.1 134.4 137.7 138.8 140.6
10.0 114.0 124.1 140.3 137.5 141.4 142.4 143.8
88.5 99.1 114.8 111.1 114.8 116.2 116.9

Arrangements 4 & 5 had a test with abnormally low peak temperatures, I elected to ignore these. Here we can see that Arrangement 5 mean temperatures are virtually identical to Arrangement 6 mean temperatures across the 5 tests. Wheras the increasing temperatures and faster warming patterns are obvious between the arrangements where convective cooling restrictions were applied and then convection was removed altogether.

This is also as represented in the graph below.

Graph 7 – Mean Averaged Temperature Curves

We can see in Graph 7, that the Vacuum arrangements are the hottest and warm the fastest, with virtually indistinguishable lines between arrangement 5 & 6.


The 1st arrangement was coolest and warmed least slowly, because the lower plate had the highest level of convective cooling exposed to it. The 2nd arrangement, the application of the lid, raised temperatures roughly by 5 to 10 degrees as the convective cooling was restricted to that inside the chamber only. This is how a greenhouse works. The addition of the lid, gave no radiant heating boost to the bottom plate.

Arrangements 3 and 4 gave roughly similar results to the temperatures of the bottom plates, because convection was restricted to the volume of air trapped in the 40mm space between the plates.

Arrangements 5 & 6 had no air in them at all, thus experienced no convective cooling and only cooled by radiation. This is why they exhibited virtually identical patterns of warming. No reduction in the rate of cooling, as a result of a supposed heat gain from the presence of the 2nd plate occurred. If the back radiant effect was real, the temperature of the 1st plate would have been much higher indeed and warmed far quicker, but it did not.

This is because Radiation Greenhouse Effect as a force does not exist. The mathematical explanation given in the Greenplate effect is wrong, it is false. To use it, is to mislead people. Any theories and fake physics based upon it all wrong, they are quite simply falsehoods. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics forbids this back radiant heating, back radiant heating which did not & does not occur as everyone can quite plainly see.

Geraint Hughes is the author of Black Dragon: Breaking the Frizzle Frazzle of the Big Lie of Climate Change Science.

The image shows, “Midsummer Eve Bonfire,” by Nikolai Astrup, ca. 1904-1917.

A Child Of The Spanish Civil War

Understanding the Spanish Civil War means knowing that it was “a mixture of vanity and sacrifice, clownery and heroism,” wrote Arthur Koestler in his autobiography, The Invisible Writing. It was a fratricidal war between fellow citizens and friends, between parents and children, between brothers and sisters. The examples speak for themselves. Thus, the brothers Manuel and Antonio Machado, whose literary output had previously been joint, clashed over ideological reasons – one was in the anti-communist, pro-national camp, the other was a member of the Association of Friends of the Soviet Union and sympathized with the United Socialist Youth.

Buenaventura Durruti, the anarchist leader who died under obscure circumstances, most likely a victim of the Communists, opposed his younger brother Marciano Pedro Durruti, who was a Falangist. Constancia de la Mora Maura, aristocrat and member of the Communist Party, whose husband, Ignacio Hidalgo de Cisneros, was the commander-in-chief of the Republican Air Force, clashed with her sister, Marichu de la Mora, writer, journalist, personal friend of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, and one of the founders of the Women’s Section. It was a total war, in fact, between left-wing totalitarians and right-wing authoritarians.

In the Spain of 1936, there were no more democrats. Hatred and bigotry infected both sides. But respect for others, nobility and generosity sometimes transcended divisions.

Here is the moving testimony of José Ataz, a young “hijo de rojo” (Son of the Reds), who experienced the horrors of a fratricidal war and the terrible privations of the immediate post-war period. His is a very human true story, which alone allows us to understand the complexity of this terrible historical event, which was commemorated in 2006. A story that does not judge, that does not say good or bad, that does not pursue demonization, or discriminated between the pure and the impure – but which contributes honestly and modestly to the search for truth and sincere reconciliation.

In August 1936, José, an eight-year-old boy, witnessed an excruciating scene that marked him forever. His father, Joaquin Ataz Hernandez, Secretary of the UGT railwaymen’s union in Murcia, and provincial leader of the PSOE, had just been appointed by his party to sit on the Special People’s Court of Murcia. The People’s Courts were created at the end of August, 1936, by decree of the government. They were composed of seventeen judges, fourteen of whom were appointed by the parties and trade unions of the Popular Front (left-wing liberal-Jacobins, socialists, communists, Trotskyists and anarchists). On September 11, the People’s Court of Murcia sat for the first time.

Of the twenty-seven people tried that day, ten were sentenced to death, eight to life imprisonment; the others were given heavy prison sentences. Among those sentenced to death were the parish priest, Don Sotero Gonzalez Lerma and the Murcia’s provincial chief of the Falange, Federico Servet Clemencín.

Joaquin Ataz Hernandez voted the death penalty for the young Falangist leader. The order he received from his party could not be argued – the “fascist” had to be executed. “My father had known Federico since he was a child,” says José. “They were not friends, but they liked each other and respected each other. Also, just after the sentence, he approached to say: “Federico, I really regret …” but before he could add another word, Federico interrupted him: “Don’t worry about it, I would have done the same with you, give me a cigarette!”

Two days later, very early, on the morning of Sunday September 13, several trucks full of men and women awoke José. It was rumored that the Government wanted to pardon the condemned, and the crowd in turmoil, demanded “justice.” In a state of dismay, the civilian governor ordered the executions be hastily carried. The furious crowd soon entered the prison courtyard and came upon the corpses.

The bodies were desecrated and mutilated mercilessly. In the middle of the morning, little José, who played in the street, saw and heard the vociferous populace. Overexcited men and women seemed to be pulling a strange load with ropes. With all the curiosity and agility of his age, José got close – and he was seized with dread. In front of him law a bloodied body, which had been turned into shreds for being dragged along the pavement. None of the viragos present prevented him from witnessing the scene. No one came to his aid when he vomited and fell unconscious to the ground.

As soon as he recovered, he ran to his parents’ house crying. His mother consoled him. How can such acts of savagery be even tolerated, she asked her husband in disgust? The father could not answer as his shame was great. At this moment, they did not know that it was the body of the parish priest, Don Sotero Gonzalez Lerma, who had been horribly mutilated, dragged through the streets and hanged from a lamppost of the façade of his church, where a militiaman triumphantly cut off his ear and demanded that a tavern-keeper serve it well grilled with a glass of wine.

Soon thereafter, Joaquin Ataz Hernandez resigned from the People’s Court. At the end of April 1937, he was appointed head of the Prison Corps, and not long after he became head of the Totana labor camp (Murcia), where nearly two-thousand political prisoners (those sentenced to life imprisonment, or thirty years’ imprisonment) served their sentences in very difficult but nevertheless humane conditions. On April 1, 1939, bells rang and firecrackers burst. José and his two brothers saw their father, unflappable, calmly combing his hair, while their mother sobbed: “Don’t worry the children, the war is over, but I have to leave for a few days on the road.” The few days would turn into years.

Under the seal of secrecy, José learned from his mother that his father had managed to embark on a journey to Mexico. To survive, the little boy had to work. He was, by turns, a kitchen boy, and apprentice carpenter, storekeeper and baker. He finally and enthusiastically returned to school. In class, all children knew the political background of each family, but no one said a word.

In October, 1942, during a civics course, José by chance heard his teacher explain that José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the leader of the Falange, and sentenced to death by a People’s Court and executed in November 1936, “considered that the birth of socialism was right.” These words, in the mouth of an adversary, seemed so unusual that José immersed himself in reading the Complete Works of the founder of the Falange. When he finished, he was both excited and convinced.

José now faced a serious internal crisis. Was he betraying the ideals for which his father fought so honestly throughout his life? Luckily, José was able to discuss everything with his father. For some time now, he had known that his father was not exiled to Mexico but was living in hiding with his own parents.

Without further hesitation, José visited him and made him read the speeches and testament of José Antonio. “I was frankly asking him about the problem in my own conscience,” he said, “and he answered me with all the generosity and nobility I expected of him: “Listen, my son, I have no moral authority to advise you in a realm, where I have done things, rightly or wrongly, for which you must suffer all kinds of privations and know hunger. A single person can follow his ideals to the very end, without limits. But a man who has a wife and children has no right to compromise the survival of his family. Do what your heart dictates, but always make sure you don’t compromise others by your decisions. Hear me good, Pepe, always act with honesty and consistency!”

His conscience finally free, and “having obtained the permission of the only man whose authority I recognized over my own person,” added José, “I joined the Youth Front and I could finally wear my first blueshirt.” Head of Century of the Youth Front, he then began studying law and was appointed head of the SEU (official student union) of the university district of Murcia.

At the end of 1948, José’s father, who had lived cloistered for more than nine years, decided to leave his hiding place. He took the first train to Madrid. Thanks to the grateful friendship of people he helped during the war, he found work. For two and a half years, he was employed in an electric lamp shop in the Puerta del Sol, then in a canning factory, without ever being worried. But, one day in October 1951, his son José, then a candidate senior officer cadet in a regiment of Seville, learns that his father had been arrested, a victim of the denunciation of an employee dismissed for embezzlement.

José had to do everything possible to help his father. In the spring of 1952, a War Council was convened. Many witnesses took the stand. All pointed out that the conduct of the accused during the war was beyond reproach. Among them were some who even owed him their lives, as was the case with the professor of commercial law at the University of Murcia, Salvador Martinez-Moya, who was undersecretary of justice in the government of the radical Alejandro Lerroux. Unyielding, the prosecutor asked for the death penalty. The jury withdrew and deliberated for many long minutes. When they reconvened, the president pronounced the sentence: The accused was sentenced to thirty-years in prison – but because of the various remissions of sentence and pardons granted, he was immediately released.

After completing his studies, José joined the law firm of Don Salvador Martinez-Moya, who was a key witness in his father’s trial. As chance would have it, he was joined in the firm by the eldest son of Federico Servet, the provincial leader of the Falange whose death his own father had voted for. “I got along very well with Ramon,” José wrote. “We never talked about our fathers, but we knew the tragic relationship they had had. Ramon was very disappointed to see that Spain was moving away from what his father had dreamed of. Finally, he went to Mexico and we lost touch with each other.”

Intelligent and hard-working, José held various positions in the administration. It was the beginning of a meteoric rise. In 1964, the Under-Secretary of State for Finance called on him. Ten years later, he was Deputy Director General of the Department of Finance.

In 2006, at the age of eighty, José Ataz Hernandez (1927-2011) wanted to bear witness above all.

Here are his own words: “Neither I nor my brothers (one of whom is now a socialist), have ever had to reconcile with anyone because no one was ever against us. On the contrary, we have experienced in many cases, both discreet and anonymous, generosity and greatness of soul, which would be inconceivable today. An example: at my father’s funeral, Manolo Servet was present. Manolo was a friend of mine from the Youth Front, and my brother Joaquin’s workmate. He was the second son of Federico, the young provincial chief of the Falange of Murcia who had been sentenced to death with the participation of my father. When he approached me to offer his condolences and give me a hug, I had to make a superhuman effort not to start crying…”

[Testimony of José Ataz collected by Arnaud Imatz].

Arnaud Imatz, a Basque-French political scientist and historian, holds a State Doctorate (DrE) in political science and is a correspondent-member of the Royal Academy of History (Spain), and a former international civil servant at OECD. He is a specialist in the Spanish Civil War, European populism, and the political struggles of the Right and the Left – all subjects on which he has written several books. He has also published numerous articles on the political thought of the founder and theoretician of the Falange, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, as well as the Liberal philosopher, José Ortega y Gasset, and the Catholic traditionalist, Juan Donoso Cortés.

This article was translated from the original French by N. Dass.

The image shows a poster from the Spanish Civil War, with the famous slogan, “They Will Not Pass!”

Charlemagne And The Relics Of Saint Anne

The following will no doubt be taken by some as a Baroque — or worse, Romantic — example of an unenlightened and backward Catholic fascination with legend. So be it. What the critics who generally proffer these skepticisms have given us in exchange for saintly “legend” is so barren that we find ourselves, when reading their banalities, craving “the old time religion” they find so maudlin.

A day will come when it will truly be said of these critics — and for all the world to see — that “They were wrong about evolution, wrong about the inerrancy of Scripture, wrong about Saint Philomena, wrong about the Shroud of Turin, and wrong about just about everything else they pontificated on with such certitude.” Meanwhile, let’s enjoy a healthy dose of well written, supernatural Catholic wonderment, courtesy of Saint Anne and Sister Catherine. — Webmaster (feast of St. Anne: July 26, 2008)

Fourteen years after Our Lord’s death, Saint Mary Magdalen, Saint Martha, Saint Lazarus, and the others of the little band of Christians who were piled into a boat without sails or oars and pushed out to sea to perish — in the persecution of the Christians by the Jews of Jerusalem — were careful to carry with them the tenderly loved body of Our Lady’s mother.

They feared lest it be profaned in the destruction, which Jesus had told them was to come upon Jerusalem. When, by the power of God, their boat sur­vived and finally drifted to the shores of France, the little company of saints buried Saint Anne’s body in a cave, in a place called Apt, in the south of France. The church, which was later built over the spot, fell into decay because of wars and religious persecutions, and as the centuries passed, the place of Saint Anne’s tomb was forgotten.

The long years of peace, which Charlemagne’s wise rule gave to southern France, enabled the people to build a magnificent new church on the site of the old chapel at Apt. Extraordinary and painstaking labor went into the building of the great structure, and when the day of its consecration arrived [Easter Sunday, 792 A.D.], the beloved Charlemagne, little suspecting what was in store for him, declared himself happy indeed to have jour­neyed so many miles to be present for the holy occasion. At the most solemn part of the ceremonies, a boy of fourteen, blind, deaf and dumb from birth — and usually quiet and impassive — to the amaze­ment of those who knew him, completely distracted the at­tention of the entire congrega­tion by becoming suddenly tremendously excited. He rose from his seat, walked up the aisle to the altar steps, and to the consternation of the whole church, struck his stick re­soundingly again and again upon a single step.

His embarrassed family tried to lead him out, but he would not budge. He contin­ued frantically to pound the step, straining with his poor muted senses to impart a knowledge sealed hopelessly within him. The eyes of the people turned upon the em­peror, and he, apparently in­spired by God, took the matter into his own hands. He called for workmen to remove the steps.

A subterranean passage was revealed directly below the spot, which the boy’s stick had indicated. Into this pas­sage the blind lad jumped, to be followed by the emperor, the priests, and the workmen.

They made their way in the dim light of candles, and when, farther along the pas­sage, they came upon a wall that blocked further ad­vance, the boy signed that this also should be removed. When the wall fell, there was brought to view still another long, dark corridor. At the end of this, the searchers found a crypt, upon which, to their profound wonderment, a vigil lamp, alight and burning in a little walled recess, cast a heavenly radiance.

As Charlemagne and his afflicted small guide, with their companions, stood be­fore the lamp, its light went out. And at the same moment, the boy, blind and deaf and dumb from birth, felt sight and hearing and speech flood into his young eyes, his ears, and his tongue.

“It is she! It is she!” he cried out. The great emperor, not knowing what he meant, nevertheless repeated the words after him. The call was taken up by the crowds in the church above, as the people sank to their knees, bowed in the realization of the presence of something celestial and holy.

The crypt at last was opened, and a casket was found within it. In the casket was a winding sheet, and in the sheet were relics, and upon the relics was an inscrip­tion that read, “Here lies the body of Saint Anne, mother of the glorious Virgin Mary.” The winding sheet, it was noted, was of eastern design and texture.

Charlemagne, over­whelmed, venerated with pro­found gratitude the relics of the mother of Heaven’s Queen. He remained a long time in prayer. The priests and the people, awed by the graces given them in such abundance and by the choice of their countryside for such a heavenly manifestation, for three days spoke but rarely, and then in whispers.

The emperor had an exact and detailed account of the miraculous finding drawn up by a notary and sent to Pope Saint Leo III, with an accom­panying letter from himself. These documents and the pope’s reply are preserved to this day. Many papal bulls have attested, over and over again, to the genuineness of Saint Anne’s relics at Apt.

Countless cures and conver­sions have taken place at the shrine there, where the greater part of the relics still repose: the first shrine in the West to the tenderly under­standing and most powerful saint whose august and un­utterable privilege it was to be the mother of the Mother of God and the instrument of the Immaculate Conception.

Sister Catherine Goddard Clark was the foundress of the original Saint Benedict Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also one of the founding members of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She was the author of several books.

The image shows Saint Anne with the Virgin Mary as a Child, painted by Bartolome Esteban Murillo, ca. 17th-century.