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Lust for Domination
The raw and driving force beneath the elite's unceasing will to power
Bill Bonner, reckoning today from Normandy, France...
“Therefore I cannot refrain from speaking about the city of this world, a city which aims at dominion, which holds nations in enslavement, but is itself dominated by that very lust of domination.”
~ Saint Augustine
We were on our way down to our house in France when we got word of a terrible ‘canicule.’ (A heat wave in the ‘dog days’ of August.) Temperatures in our area are already in the upper 90s. Tomorrow, they’re supposed to reach 100.
There is no air-conditioning. But people know how to beat the heat. Shutters, windows and drapes are closed during the day. People remain inside until the evening. Then, the windows are opened to let in the cool night air. Typically, heat waves don’t last long in Europe. And the old houses, built of heavy stone, moderate the temperatures.
But since we are hosting a daughter, her husband, and their three little children – all very much used to climate control – we judged it better for us all to remain in much cooler Normandy until the heat has passed.
Rape and Pillage
Yesterday, we took the family to Falaise to visit the castle where William the Conqueror was born. The town was dead. Almost deserted. But the castle was alive with tourists. And the highlight of the visit was a projection on the castle wall of William, explaining himself…and illustrating our point. The elites rule. History is largely a story of one elite replacing another…and each one exploiting the masses as much as it is able. The gist of the American story is the rise of the ‘rich men north of Richmond.’ The rest is obiter dicta.
William was born the bastard son of Robert, Duke of Normandy, who died in the Holy Land, on crusade. His death left William, at only 7 years old, the new duke.
Normandy, only fairly recently colonized and conquered by the Danes, was a rough place. The nobles fought with each other for power and wealth. They built stout fortifications to protect themselves…and then ambushed their opponents or laid siege to their castles. Farmsteads burnt. Castles captured…and recaptured. Peasants butchered. Soldiers killed; their wives raped…it went on for decades. And then, believing he had a valid claim to the throne of England after the death of Edward the Confessor, his cousin, William took the Norman show on the road. He launched his famous invasion in 1066.
What a marvelously simple world! If you wanted wealth or status, the way to get it was well advertised – you took it from someone who had it. People formed into groups – tribes…factions…alliances. Your chances of success often depended on how large a group of fighters you could get on your side.
The real struggles are always between the elites – often related by blood, class, education or marriage. The common folk are merely voters, taxpayers and cannon fodder – too busy with their personal lives to understand the elites’ agenda, let alone have one of their own.
The Will to Power
The common man is the subject, not the ruler…he is a spear carrier, not a general… one of ‘The People,’ not one of the deciders. This is a hard pill for Americans to swallow. They have been taught that they are all equal…and that their government is ‘for, by, and of The People.’ They believe their votes will determine the course of history.
But it is really not so. Instead, even in a democracy, there are some who govern and many who are governed. The real competition in a democracy is to see which elite group can manipulate the masses most effectively…or whose armies – staffed by the unwitting ‘little guys’…who think they are being ‘patriotic’ – can win on the battlefield.
The desire to dominate is inherent in the human species. One guy needs to show another guy who’s boss. One is slave and one is master. One wins the World Series. The other is a loser.
St. Augustine called it the ‘libido dominandi’ or the ‘lust for domination.’ Nietzsche referred to it as the ‘will to power.’
It cometh, we believe, from the most basic of animal instincts, lust itself…or the desire to reproduce. Deer in rut…bull elephants goring each other with their tusks…cocks digging in their spurs – many male animals fight to the death just to be able to mate. Most likely, primitive humans did something similar. The rich and powerful chieftain had many wives…the poor man had none.
After the need for food, no other drive is so powerful or so wily. In humans, it takes many shapes and disguises…from hair transplants to the Ironman Triathlon to trying to conquer Constantinople.
As to when one group tries to dominate another, the answer is simple: when it can get away with it.
In the US, the Yankee elite soon made it clear that the voters should have no other gods before them. The War Between the States decided that; henceforth, the states were not free to choose their own governments or to go their own way. The federales were in charge.
Then, as they grew more powerful, the elites threw their weight around – Mexico (which US forces invaded 4 times), Nicaragua, Cuba, Columbia…the Philippines…France …Korea…Vietnam...Iraq…Afghanistan…and now Russia! (We’ve left out dozens of the small fry not worth mentioning.)
The banking system fell under their sway with the creation of the Fed in 1913. In the 1930s and ‘40s, they stuck their big noses into insurance, labor, investment, commerce, trade, welfare, housing – and dozens of other industries. In 1971, they turned the dollar into a currency they could control. Later that decade, they gave up all pretense of having balanced budgets or balanced trade. By the late 90s they were backstopping Wall Street, where their wealth was stored. After 2008, they were lighting up the entire economy with fake, below-zero interest rates. And in 2020, they went completely into fantasyland…replacing almost the entirety of honest US output – goods and services – with ‘money’ they created and controlled.
Injustice for Some
Their record, since 1945 – at home as well as abroad – is one of failure, incompetence and death. Wars lost. Trillions of dollars squandered. Millions of casualties and corpses. Poverty, drugs, terrorism – whatever they tried to stop flourished. Whatever they encouraged, withered. In the richest period in human history – the 21st century – they still couldn’t balance their budgets, adding nearly $27 trillion in government debt when they should have been paying down previous borrowing.
And no matter how egregious the crime…how big the loss…or how stupid the error, they are never called to account. George W. Bush is still a free man, despite wasting $5 trillion and getting a million people killed …on false pretenses…and without lawful, constitutional authority. Did they give Barack Obama the chair for following lamely in his footsteps – adding trillions to the nation’s debt and thousands more casualties? How about Victoria Nuland, who got us into the Russo-Ukrainian war? Not even. Instead, their idea of justice is to put a hapless, witless ex-president on trial for ‘conspiracy’…for disputing election results!
America’s elites dominate. But they are dominated by their own need to dominate. And, if history is any guide, it will ruin them…and us too.