A Thermodynamic Interpretation of History
CHAPTER 5: The Origin of Democracy and Totalitarianism

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Copyright © 2003, 2005, 2006 by Lawrence C. Chin. All rights reserved.

The two approaches in the supraorganismic integration of the third stage ("nation-state"), and the frequent confusion between the two (the lesson of Bertrand de Jouvenel)

There is a linear history of the increase of power of the social collective (with regard both to its members and to its neighbors) when this social collective evolves with respect to its political form from tribal kinship system through king-ship to democracy/ totalitarianism of modern time. The increase of power is reflective of increase in supraorganismic centralization, that is, in its internal integration. This increase in supraorganismic centralization, furthermore, occurs under the exigency of the growth of the supraorganismic metabolism /dissipative power. An interpretation of world history then, tends to acquire a Marxist air when it has to regard the mode of economy as guiding the form of political arrangement.

It may cause slight surprise to say this: the two seemingly opposite traditions, democracy and totalitarianism, were born from the same womb, which was the centrifugal force that was ever present, throughout the middle ages in Europe, to threaten the integrity of the state (supraorganism); by centrifugal force we are referring to the power struggle between the central government and the local aristocrats or nobilities controlling their respective regions. The problem of centralization is a universal problem for the formation of supraorganism, which one will encounter again and again in the history of every nation. From the generality of the power struggle between the centralizing king and the decentralizing nobilities in France and England, the next stage in supraorganismic formation was to be reached for both nations, but slight variances in initial conditions between the two lands were to produce very different results, the English liberal government on the one hand which spreading west was to give rise to American democracy, and the French socialist type on the other which, eastwardly, was to spawn the seeds of totalitarianism that so terrified the twentieth century.

The insight that the power of the state (both vis-à-vis its subjects and with respect to its neighbors) is directly proportional with the degree of its integration, should allow us to surmise that the American nation is more integrated than the Soviet or Nazi totalitarianism because of its greater power, and this is in fact the case. Totalitarian regimes seem more integrated because the life of citizens thereof were visibly and forcefully dictated by the central government, of which also all social and economic institutions are integrated parts. But this is not the best integration, for this is merely a massive, monolithic system of control imposed on top of a population, a universal slavery system so to speak. Furthermore, in specific instances such as Nazi Germany, the totalitarian dictator may be apt to intentionally allow centrifugal, local forces to form within the monolith in order to diffuse oppositions to his power; this inevitably weakens the efficiency of the slavery system1. The fatal flaw of totalitarianism, however, is its controlled, top-down economy, which, violating the principles of the formation of complex system from self-organization, weakens its metabolism and so its competitive power with neighbours. Nevertheless, the modern totalitarian state does achieve a far greater degree of integration and is able to extract from its population resource far greater amount of energy than could traditional "kingdoms", and it is in far better position to defend itself from neighbours and to put down rebellions from within.

The American democracy is actually more integrated. The American government, despite its diffusional character (from the federal level through the state to the county level, with much local self-determination), actually has a greater degree of control over its subjects, since, through continuous reciprocity between the population and the government, the government and the people virtually merge together into a single whole. It is "mass tyranny", people exercising tyranny upon themselves or upon each other through the government. Not only is the government so much closer to the people to make control, manipulation, and discipline of the people an easier task, but the people are also more docile, since they think that the government is "theirs". The state's already better extraction of energy from the people is further amplified by its greatest strength, the free market economy. This type of economic system follows the "laws" of self-organization of complex system and, through its stages from capitalism to consumerism, has formed into the most powerful metabolic network ever witnessed on earth. (More below.)

We said that the slight difference in initial conditions of the power struggle between the local lords and the central monarch between France and England produces two different lineages, with European socialist democracy and then eastern European totalitarianism on one side and British parliamentary democracy and then American federal democracy on the other. Friedrich A. Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty (1960) has called the two lineages "two different traditions in the theory of liberty: one [the British] empirical and unsystematic, the other [French] speculative and rationalistic"; he furthermore makes remarks concerning the conditions that produce the two different lineages, largely as a matter of cultural differences or different "mentalities": "the first [British] based on an interpretation of traditions and institutions which had spontaneously grown up and were but imperfectly understood, the second [French] aiming at the construction of a utopia, which has often been tried but never successfully." (Chapter 4: Freedom, Reason, and Tradition; p. 54) These are then two ways to deal with the problem of centralization, of the power struggle, of supraorganismic integration: one a best method having accidentally evolved, the other planned rationally. "[W]hat we have called the 'French tradition' of liberty arose largely from an attempt to interpret British institutions [that had evolved naturally into being]... [but eventually t]he two traditions became finally confused when they merged in the liberal movement of the nineteenth century." (p. 55) This then left in mysterious obscurity the origin of the totalitarian governments spawned eastward by the French rationalization of British democratic system, and today we do not see the common origin of totalitarianism and democracy in the process of the reduction of the centrifugal forces prohibiting supraorganismic integration happening on two sides of the English channel.

A mentality is then associated with each of the varying initial conditions: "In the year of the European revolutions in which the two traditions merged, the contrast between 'Anglican' and 'Gallican' liberty was still clearly described by an eminent German-American political philosopher. 'Gallican Liberty,' wrote Francis Lieber in 1848, 'is sought in the government, and according to an Anglican point of view, it is looked in a wrong place, where it cannot be found. Necessary consequences of the Gallican view are, that the French look for the highest degree of political civilization in organization, that is, in the highest degree of interference by public power. [Or the difference between the Anglican inclination toward development and the Gallican bent toward organization.] The question whether this interference be despotism or liberty is decided solely by the fact who interferes [we know that in modern Western Europe it eventually crystallized into a socialist democracy with elected officials doing the interference, while in the east it was the dictators who would do this], and for the benefit of which class the interference takes place, while according to the Anglican view this interference would always be either absolutism or aristocracy...'" (Ibid.) "The difference is directly traceable to the predominance of an essentially empiricist view of the world in England and a rationalist approach in France... [so J.L. Talmon describes,] 'One finds the essence of freedom in spontaneity and the absence of coercion, the other believes it to be realized only in the pursuit and attainment of an absolute collective purpose'; and 'one stands for organic, slow, half-conscious growth, the other for doctrinaire deliberateness; one for trial and error procedure, the other for an enforced solely valid pattern.' It is the second... that has become the origin of totalitarian democracy" (p. 56). With Hayek we must substitute for "liberty" "the better way to bring the nation together into wholeness", for liberty is meaningless; people living under "oriental despotism" such as the Chinese emperor automatically had more "liberty" simply because the "despot" could not extend his power to most of his subjects during most of the time as a matter of insufficient technology. There is no issue here of "liberty". Now there are then two factors in the differing initial conditions, in terms of power struggle (the different localizations of the local powers and the central power) and in terms of "mentality" (i.e. culture), and both will receive more approximate descriptions as occasion arises; for now we may say simply that it is the developmental, empiricistic, and practical path, most successfully coming to fruition in American democracy, that has triumphed in centralizing the state and making the integrated supraorganism powerful over the alternative planned, rational, and ideal path that came most extremely into being with the totalitarian regimes established with violent revolutions and which have been out-competed by the former due to insufficient centralization, integration, and power-production.

Earlier we left off in the discussion of the truth of nation-state with William McNeil's comment: "Viewed in this light, the French Revolution looks suspiciously like a renewal of the thrust toward centralization and consolidation which had resided in the French monarchy since medieval times." This is the truth of "revolution", but it seems that that discussion has concentrated only on the second, continental path toward supraorganismic integration.

Centralization, or supraorganismic integration, which is the essence of nation state as advancement from the medieval kingdoms -- in consideration of its greater dissipative power guaranteed by its metabolic form of mass-production and -consumption, mass government, and bio-power -- essentially comes down to this purpose: mobilizing hitherto un-dreamed-of energy overtly to augment the nation's competitive power in the interaction sphere of nations and covertly to pay debt back to the second law of thermodynamics. Centralization is the goal of (violent) Revolution; centralization means also the overshadowing of the social collective over its constituent members, who blend more tightly into the whole. What is left unsaid is that the developmental approach of the Anglo-American also has as its goal centralization or supraorganismic integration and power-production.

Bertrand de Jouvenel, on whom McNeil has based his observation about the French Revolution, recognizes in his Du Pouvoir that history is the linear process of power's continual growth without such breaks as what revolutions represent for ordinary people, i.e. the overthrow of oppressive tyranny. Thus he recognizes that in Revolution, instead of an overthrow of tyranny to restore liberty to the oppressed, there has actually occurred a metamorphosis of power, shedding away its older form, weak and inefficient, to re-emerge onto the scene as ever more vigorous, controlling, and -- powerful. But then he does not take into account there of the possibility (or rather reality) that the linear and immutable history of power's growth can have taken place without violent, discontinuous metamorphosis called revolution. "La liquidation d'un Pouvoir faible, l'erection d'un Pouvoir fort" (p. 265: "The liquidation of a weak power, and the erection of a strong power"), such is his characterization of the essence of Revolution; but this can also occur in a bit-by-bit, continuous, and seemingly peaceful development. But consider what he says there first, then see what implication it may have for the developmental path of gradual and piece-meal metamorphosis.

Jouvenel tries to steer out of the ordinary illusion by directing our attention to the facts, to the concrete consequences of revolutions, rather than to the words of ideology that, as smoke-screen, clouded the scene to mask the face of power: Cromwell in England, French Revolution, and Russian Revolution. (p. 265-6) In all instances, what the nation, with its older form of government, had been incapable of doing, it accomplished with its new government installed by the revolution it passed through.

"La Révolution d'Angleterre commence, au nom du droit de propriété offensé, par la résistance à un impôt territorial léger,... Bientôt elle fait peser sur les terres un impôt dix fois plus lourd... et il conduit en Europe des guerres pour lesquelles Charles eût été sans moyens" (p. 265 - 6: "The English Revolution begins, in the name of property offended, by the resistance toward a light territorial tax... Soon it imposes on the territories a tax ten times heavier... and it leads in Europe wars for which Charles would have been without means").

"La Révolution de France affranchit les paysans de corvées féodales; mais elle les force à porter le fusil, et lance des colonnes mobiles à la poursuit de refractaires; elle supprime les lettres de cachet, mais élève la guillotine sur les places publiques; elle dénonce en 1790 le projet qu'elle prête au Roi de faire la guerre avec l'alliance espagnole contre la seule Angleterre. Mais elle précipite la nation dans une aventure militaire contre toute l'Europe, et, par des exigences jusqu'alors inouies, tire du pays tout de ressources qu'elle peut accomplir le programme auquel la monarchie avait dû renoncer, la conquête des frontière naturelles..." ("The French Revolution frees the peasants from feudal labors; but it forces them to bear rifles and launch mobile columns for the pursuit of refractaries; it suppresses the lettres de cachet, but erects the guillotine on public places; it denounces in 1790 the project which it attributes to the King of making wars with a Spanish ally against the lonely English. But it precipitates the nation into a military adventure against all of Europe, and, by exigences hitherto unheard of, pulls out of the country all of the resources that it may accomplish the program which the monarchy has had to renounce, the conquest of natural frontiers...")

"Il a fallu un quart de siècle pour donner à la révolution de 1917 sa véritable signification. Un Pouvoir bien plus étendu que celui du tsar fait rendre au pays de bien autre forces, et permet de regagner et au delà le terrain que l'Empire avait perdu..." (p. 266: "We have needed a quarter of century to give the Russian Revolution of 1917 its veritable significance. A power far more extended than that of Tsar allows the nation to acquire many other forces, and to reconquer, and beyond that, the territories which the Empire has lost...").

Conclusion: "Ainsi le rénovation et le renforcement du Pouvoir nous apparaissent comme la véritable fonction historique des révolutions. Qu'on cesse donc d'y saluer des réactions de l'esprit de liberté contre un pouvoir oppresseur. Elles le sont si peu qu'on n'en peut citer aucune qui ait renversé un despote véritable" (ibid: "Thus renovation and reinforcement of power seem to us to be the veritable historical function of revolutions. One should therefore cease saluting there some reactions of the spirit of liberty toward an oppressive power. They are so far from being such thing that one cannot even cite a single instance where revolution has overthrown a veritable despot").

In fact, "people" rose up, in all three cases, against the king because they despised him for his weakness, not for his tyranny.

"Le peuple s'est-il insurgé contre Louis XIV? Non, mais contre le bon homme Louis XVI, qui n'a même pas su laisser tirer ses Suisses. Contre Pierre le Grand? Non, mais contre le bonasses Nicolas II qui n'osa pas même venger son cher Rasputine. Contre ce Barbe-Bleue d'Henri VII? Non, mais contre Charles Ier, qui, après quelques velleités d'autorité, s'était résigné ß vivoter et ne menaçait personne" (ibid).

"Le principe de gouvernement que la Révolutions renversent était usé, n'inspirait qu'un respect affaibli, ne fondait plus qu'une autorité énervée. Les même cause qui permettent sa chute le rendait incapable de despotisme" (p. 267 "The principle of government which revolutions overthrow has been exhausted, inspire only a weakened respect, and establish only an enerved authority. The same cause which permits its fall makes it incapable of despotism").

Here the reader should again be reminded of the case of the Chinese empire, where, toward the end of every dynasty, rebellions and local lords abound, and the emperor's court simply has no control whatever over the territories that are supposedly its. And yet in traditional Western academic parlance the Chinese emperor is the quintessential "despot".

The essence of Revolutions lies in the fact that "elles ont donné au pouvoir une vigueur et un aplomb nouveaux, elles ont ruiné les obstacles qui s'opposaient de longue date à son développement" (p. 268: "... they give to power a new vigor and aplomb, they destroy the obstacles which have since a long time been opposed to its development"). When the supraorganism is about to enter the next phase of greater power and greater integration, it goes through metamorphosis to shed its old, now obsolete forms hindering its growth, and this is called revolution. But Jouvenel misses the developmental path of gradual metamorphosis.

Hence Jouvenel's comparison of the three cases we must contest. "De là vient que la Réolution d'Angleterre a moins efficacement et durablement renforcé Le Pouvoir que n'a fait la Révolution de France, et celle-ci moins que la Révolution de Russie." (Ibid.: "Whence we conclude that the English Revolution has less effectively and durably reinforced power than the French Revolution has done, and the French Revolution less than the Russian Revolution.") Because of his neglect of the developmental approach, he misses the fact that Cromwell's "revolution" was only a temporary perturbation and the British way, come to fruition in the American case, was to generate far greater power than the intentional, planned way of the French and Russian.

Revolution is nothing other than the phase-growth of power breaking out of its older, constraining shell (in the case of France again: "une liquidation brutale des obstacles qui s'étaient à la fin des XVIIIe siècle accumulés sur son chemin [i.e. sur l'évolution de l'État français], et qui embarrassaient son avance"; p. 268). We are talking about the nobilities who previously intervened between the central government and the people -- the middle men necessary because of the insufficient technology available at that time for the monarch to control his people, whether in terms of physical technology of arm and communication or the technology of human organization and discipline (e.g. "brain-washing") -- and who are now removed through the levelling called "equality before the law."

The continuity of the history of the French nation-state, of its growth from kingship to parliament, is obvious enough. History is linear. Jouvenel cites Paul Viollet's words: "Notre notion de l'État omnipotent est donc, à bien prendre, l'instinct dirigeant de l'Ancien Régime érigé en doctrine et en système… l'État moderne n'est autre chose que le roi des derniers siècles, qui continue triomphalement son labeur archarné, étouffant toutes les libertés locales, nivelant sans relâche, et uniformément" (p. 269).

Jouvenel describes the origin and cause of French Revolution as follows.

Again, the problem of the European Interaction Sphere. Surrounded on all sides by Habsbourg powers, the French king, in order to survive and prosper under such immense pressure of competition, adopted the simple policy: "pour but d'extérieur, d'élever les petits Etats et d'humilier les grandes puissances; et d'élever, dans l'interieur, la grande puissance de l'État, et d'humilier les pouvoirs subalternes" (p. 271: "objective in the exterior: to raise the small states and to humiliate the great powers; objective in the interior, to raise the great power of the state and to humiliate subordinate powers"). Louis XIV had better luck with the first part of the project: the Bourbons succeeded the Habsbourg both in Spain and Italy; and opposing the Habsbourg, France became the point d'appui for the Germanic states, preventing their unification, under either the Habsbourg or the Prussian pressure, which would constitute the major foreign threat against France. But in the King’s pursuit of this project the nobilities were in the way "parce que les nobles intriquants, ayant envahi les emplois d'ambassadeur et de ministres, traversaient la politique français, soit par vanité de jouer un rôle, soit même, comme Choiseul parce qu'ils prenaient dans une Cour étrangère un point d'appui pour leur position et celle de leur faction contre les incessants mouvements de l'intrigue versaillaise" (p. 270: "because the intriguing nobles, having invaded the posts of ambassador and ministers, traversed French politics, either through the vanity of playing a role, or even, like Choiseul because they held in a foreign Court a point d'appui for their position and that of their faction against the unceasing movements of intrigues in Versaile"). The removal of these wastes by Revolution, then, permitted France to pursue its former foreign policy: war against the Austrians. (Ibid.)

Luck with the second part of the project was lacking, however, because of the interference by the nobles with the revenue system (c.f. p. 271).

Democracy (democratic capitalism) and totalitarianism (totalitarian socialism or communism) merely represent two different solutions to the same problem: how to achieve greater centralization, greater integration of society and state: the problem of supraorganismic integration, in other words. Or put it more bluntly, to make the nation/ state more powerful – the increased power of the state being based on the higher metabolic rate of the social collective – higher both in terms of quantity (increased production and consumption through mass consumption) and quality (technological and industrial production). The two systems really share the same foundation – is it not true that Soviet communism aims at the same thing as the U.S. democratic capitalism: to advance the nation in areas of technology and industrial and military might, to create greater wealth for its people and to lift up their living standard; to become the most powerful, in short. Did not the Soviet propaganda tell its people that communism will turn society into a paradise of plenty and prosperity in contrast with the misery and destitute of the past? Even the ideology that both use is the same: freedom, liberation from oppression (from exploitation by the capitalists in the case of the Soviet) – the deceptive product of that paradigm shift accompanying the American and French Revolution. These two seemingly opposed systems actually share the same goal – freedom from oppression, prosperity, and the power of the state – they differ only in their respective means: which is the path that will take us to this goal, top-down planned economy, or free interactive market? Top-down regulation of populace, or the check-and-balance of a mass government in which and through which people exercise tyrannic regulations and disciplines on each other? It only turns out, after the Cold War, that the second is the way. A flattened, seemingly decentralized (because it is without a definite center; but actually more centralized in the sense of "integration") system (governmental or economic) is simply more adaptive, as researches in the "laws" of self-organization and complexity have shown. (We will see Stuart Kaufman's conclusions below.)

Jouvenel cites Engels' words that the proletariat when taking over the power of the state, would abolish the state itself along with the antagonism of the classes, insofar as the state in the past had always been the instrument by which the dominant class exploited the subordinate class; that the state in the past, supposedly the representative of the whole society, was actually just the state of the dominant class which itself represented the whole society; and thus that when the whole society is represented by the state, state's function as the instrument of oppression ceases and so the state itself should disappear… since the whole society has become one class, one single whole. Elsewhere Marx also championed the idea that revolution must destroy the state altogether, rather than just passing it to other hands. Their vision of a social collective without distinction between the governed and the governing, interestingly, is most approximately realized in American democracy where the government and the people merge into a whole, more or less… But the Soviets, following Marx and Engels, failed to realize this vision, creating a huge government on top of the populace. Why?

It seems that a supraorganism always seeks to integrate, and so the merging of the governing and the governed seems to be the goal of the evolution of any state. The American society has been able to approximate to such ideal because its evolution has been natural and gradual, i.e. it has followed the developmental approach rather than use violent revolution that plans things once and for all as the Russians did: a pre-existing state of equality (which de Tocqueville had observed2) was the starting point, from which the merging of the governing and the governed which is the essence of democracy gradually evolved, people’s consent to the authority of the whole and conformity to the way of the whole (custom) were gradually fostered, hence assimilation more successful… But Revolution attempts to create this state of affair over night, and force has to be used to overcome resistance to assimilation, with the result that a monolithic government on top of a populace is necessary and cannot simply be abolished. The American Revolution, on the other hand, was never a real revolution; it was an escape from paying to the British their share in the preceding wars, and more importantly it was an affirmation of the status quo, not an overthrow of it.

In the American case free market must have played a important role in the integration of the social collective as well. All the same, here too deceptive slogans like "freedom" are used to cover up the face of power and the fact of tyranny -- except that it is the people themselves who are exercising tyranny and discipline on each other through the government (just imagine how many law codes are here to regulate every small aspect of life as compared to elsewhere in the world; such is the American way: "If something offends my sensibility, I'll exercise my 'right' and petition the legislature to make a law" in order to impose one's own will on everyone else)3 and through the market (think about how businesses are becoming the "Big Brother" closely monitoring the consuming habits of the populace). What interests us is that this sort of mass-tyranny is much more effective -- more stable and long lasting, more able to manipulate individuals to conform to the interest of the collective, and so generating more power -- than the one-person, autocratic, dictatorship kind of tyranny.

Hayek is emphatic, at least, on the stability (and so integrativeness) better achieved by the developmental approach. (Again his focus is on "liberty" which is to be replaced by the integration of the nation).

"Those British philosophers have given us an interpretation of the growth of civilization that is still the indispensable foundation of the argument for liberty. They find the origin of institutions, not in contrivance or design, but in the survival of the successful. Their view is expressed in terms of 'how nations stumble upon establishments which are indeed the result of human action but not the execution of human design." (Hayek, ibid., p. 56-7) This is indeed how Americans have come to stumble upon their institutions as the most effectively totalitarian (integrative and powerful): by simply following the course of time, without anyone, any "revolutionaries" planning and intentionally trying to establish -- from scratch -- a "modern" (integrated and powerful) nation-state, then cloaking their wish of modernization in honest hypocrisies (i.e. deceptions that they themselves believe even while, schizophrenically, they know to be deceptions), those humanist ideologies of "liberty", "liberation", "equality", etc. Americans of course also use these ideologies -- but unintentionally and to fool themselves -- in order to blind themselves to the reality of the course of history.

The British intellectual culture was of the empiricistic and selectively and contingently evolutionary trend, the "'anti-rationalistic insight into historical happenings that Adam Smith shares with Hume, Adam Ferguson, and others'... Their argument is directed throughout... against the conception that civil society was formed by some wise original legislator or an original 'social contract'" (p. 57). Rather the thoroughly British had recognized "how, in the relations among men, complex and orderly and, in a very definite sense, purposive institutions might grow up which owed little to design, which were not invented but arose from the separate actions of many men who did not know what they were doing." (p. 58) The recognition of an evolutionary process of "the survival of what works" in the origin of a political system that succeeds in integrating a nation more effectively indeed predates the later theory of biological evolution. "For the first time it was shown that an evident order which was not the product of a designing human intelligence need not therefore be ascribed to the design of a higher, supernatural intelligence, but that there was a third possibility -- the emergence of order as the result of adaptive evolution." (Ibid.) Hayek notes that "there can be little doubt that it was from the theory of social evolution that Darwin and his contemporaries derived the suggestion for their theories [of biological evolution accounting for the emergence of biological orders]." (Ibid.) Just as the French, seeing the success of the British system in integrating the nation more wholly, took over it but rationalized it and attempted to institute it through revolution, i.e. by design, so Darwin's theory of the orders of life evolving through adaptation of the individuals without regard to a final goal was taken over by the German evolutionists who saw biological evolution as the unfolding of a pre-ordained higher order.

The reason for the success of the Anglo-American way in instituting "totalitarianism" (integration and power-growth) over the continental "revolutionary way" therefore lies simply in this, that adaptive evolution, the gradual accumulation of small experimental changes, of petit adoptions of what works without the intentional aim at an ideal, always results in a more effective system than would an imposed and planned overhaul once and for all. Moreover the gradual process of one small change at a time allows people to be accustomed to the growth of power more easily, resulting in the stable merger of the ruling and the ruled, the best form of totalitarianism, mass-tyranny. This was what the Leninist revolutionaries, with their contrivances, missed. And thus although Jouvenel is justified in his seeming perception that history is only the linear, progressive growth of power with revolutions being part of the stages of its metamorphosis rather than interruptions, he misses the possibility or rather the actuality of an alternative, parallel process of the growth of power not through violent and sudden overhaul as means of metamorphosis but via slow, developmental, incremental metamorphosis. The failure to see that the American democratic tradition is nothing like the Franco-continental tradition has been a typical fault of European theorists.

The superior power and adaptability of the Anglo-American developmental approach to supraorganismic formation

Stuart Kauffman (At Home in the Universe, 1995) has recently employed conclusions drawn from the study of complex and self-organizing systems to enrich our understanding of the reason why the Anglo-American developmental approach ("decentralized federalism encouraging a plurality of interests") should triumph over the continental rational, planned approach ("monolithic centralization") to the formation of nation-state. To continue from our previous discussion ("The Problem of Cultural Feminism"): the fragmentation of an organization into patches can result in three different scenarios: "an ordered regime where poor compromises for the entire organization are found, a chaotic regime where no solution is ever agreed on, and a phase transition between order and chaos where excellent solutions are found rapidly." (p. 247) This final scenario will explain why a complex system, even one such as democracy, can be more adaptive to its environment and hence most survivable in the interaction sphere of nation-state competitions. The key is to understand what Kauffman refers to as the NK landscape model.

In the framework of NK landscapes, the optimization problem is to find either the global optimum, the highest peak, or at least excellent peaks. In NK landscapes, genotypes are combinatorial objects, composed of N genes with either 1 or 0 allele states. Thus as N increases, one finds what is called a combinatorial explosion of possible genotypes, for the number of genotypes is 2N. One of these genotypes is the global peak we seek. So as N goes up, finding the peak can become very much harder. Recall that for K = N - 1, the maximum density of interconnectedness, landscapes are fully random and the number of local peaks is 2N/(N + 1)... Recall that on random landscapes, local hill-climbing soon becomes trapped on local peaks far from the global optimum. Therefore, finding the global peak or one of a few excellent peaks is a completely intractable problem. One would have to search the entire space to be sure of success. Such problems are known as NP-hard. This means roughly that the search time to solve the problem increases in proportion to the size of the problem space, which itself increases exponentially because of the combinatorial explosion.

Evolution [i.e. the developmental approach] is a search procedure on rugged fixed or deforming landscapes. No search procedure can guarantee locating the global peak in an NP-hard problem in less time than that required to search the entire space of possibilities. And that... can be hyperastronomical. Real cells, organisms, ecosystems, and... real complex artifacts and real organizations never find the global optima of their fixed or deforming landscapes. The real task is to search out the excellent peaks and track them as the landscape deforms. Our "patches" logic appears to be one way complex systems and organizations can accomplish this (p. 248; emphasis added).

In the following Kauffman would invert the picture so that we may think of the fittest solution as the valley of the minimum instead of as the peak of the maximum. But the idea remains the same. Now imagine the system as a ball. "Once it reaches one local minimum, it is stuck there forever unless disturbed by some outside process. That is, whether hiking uphill toward fitness peaks or downhill toward ... minima, if one can take only steps that improve one's situation, one will soon became trapped. But the minimum or maximum by which one is trapped may be very poor compared with the excellent minima or maxima. Thus the next question is how to escape" (p. 251). On the one hand, there are the physical systems in nature:

Real physical systems have an utterly natural way to escape from bad local minima. Sometimes they randomly move in the wrong direction, taking a step uphill when it would seem natural to go down. This random motion is caused by thermal vibration and can be measured by temperature...

[That is:] At a high temperature, a physical system jostles around in its space of possible configurations, molecules colliding with one another and exchanging kinetic energy. This jostling means that the system does not just flow downhill into local energy minima, but can, with a probability that increases with the temperature, jump uphill in energy over "energy barriers" into the drainage basins of neighboring energy minima. If the temperature were lower, the system would be less likely to jump uphill in energy over any given barrier, and hence would be more likely to remain in any given energy "well".

[This a]nnealing is just gradual cooling. Real physical annealing corresponds to taking a system and gradually lowering its temperature. A smithy hammering red-hot iron, repeatedly plunging the forming object into cold water and then reheating it and hammering it again, is practicing real annealing. As the smithy anneals and hammers, the microscopic arrangements of the atoms of iron are rearranged, giving up poor, relatively unstable, local minima and settling into lower-energy minima corresponding to harder, stronger metal. As the repeated heating and hammering occurs, the microscopic arrangements in the worked iron can at first wander all over the space of configurations, jumping over energy barriers between all local energy minima. As the temperature is lowered, it becomes harder and harder to jump over these barriers. Now... if the deepest energy minima drain the biggest basins, then as temperature is lowered, the microscopic arrangements will tend to become trapped in the biggest drainage basins, precisely because they are the biggest, and drift down to the deepest, stablest energy minima. Working iron by real annealing will achieve hard, strong metal because annealing drives the microscopic atomic arrangements to deep energy minima... (p. 251 - 2)

That is, in nature solutions are found by "'cooling' very slowly" (ibid.). But in the human world this technique of "annealing" will not do: "We simply do not spend our time making mistakes on purpose and lowering the frequency of mistakes... Have we evolved some other procedure that works well? I suspect we have... from federalism to profit centers to restructuring to checks and balances to political action committees" (ibid.), i.e. organizations that operate by what Kauffman calls the "patch procedure".

The basic idea of the patch procedure is simple: take a hard, conflict-laden task in which many parts interact, and divide it into a quilt of nonoverlapping patches. Try to optimize within each patch... [but such that] finding a "good" solution in one patch will change the problem to be solved by the parts in the adjacent patches. Since changes in each patch will alter the problems confronted by the neighboring patches, and the adaptive moves by those patches in turn will alter the problem faced by yet other patches, the system is just like our model coevolving ecosystems. Each patch is the analogue of... a species... Each patch climbs toward fitness peaks on its own landscape, but in doing so deforms the fitness landscapes of its partners. [There are then 3 possible outcomes:] this process may spin out of control in Red Queen chaotic behavior and never converge on any good overall solution... a crazy quilt of ceaseless changes. Alternatively, in the analogue of the evolutionary stable strategy (ESS) ordered regime, our system might freeze up, getting stuck on poor local peaks. Ecosystems [thirdly] attained the highest average fitness if poised between Red Queen chaos and ESS order. We are about to see that if the entire conflict-laden task is broken into the properly chosen patches, the coevolving system lies at a phase transition between order and chaos and rapidly finds very good solutions. Patches, in short, may be a fundamental process we have evolved in our social systems, and perhaps elsewhere, to solve very hard problems. (p. 253; emphasis added.)

This is the same as the NK model before. "All it consists of is a system of N parts, each of which makes a 'fitness contribution' that depends on its own state and the states of K other parts." (Ibid.) Consider then a 10 x 10 patched square. "In Figure [below] a, we consider the entire lattice as a single 'whole' patch. I'll call this the 'Stalinist' limit. Here a part can flip from 1 to 0 or 0 to 1 only if the move is 'good' for the entire lattice, lowering its energy. We all must act for the benefit of the entire 'state.'" (255 - 6)

Since in the Stalinist limit any move must lower the energy of the entire lattice, then as successive parts are tried and some are flipped, the entire system will carry out an adaptive walk to some local energy minimum and then stay there forever. Once at such a local minimum, no part can be flipped and find a lower energy for the total lattice, so no flips will be accepted. All parts "freeze" into an unchanging state, 1 or 0. In short, in the Stalinist regime, the system locks into some solution and is frozen there forever. The Stalinist regime, where the game is one for all, one for the state, ends up in frozen rigidity.

Now look at Figure... b. Here the same square lattice, with the same couplings among the parts, is broken into 4 patches, each a 5 x 5 sublattice of the entire 10 x 10 lattice. Each part belongs to only a single patch. But the parts near the boundaries of a patch are coupled to parts in the adjacent patches. So adaptive moves, parts flipping between 1 and 0 states, in one patch will affect the neighboring patches. I emphasize that the couplings among the parts are the same as in the Stalinist regime. But now, by our rule that a part can flip if it is good for the patch in which it is located, a part might help its own patch, but hurt an adjacent patch.

In the Stalinist limit, the entire lattice can flow only downhill toward energy minima. Thus the system is said to flow on a potential surface. The system is like the ball on a real surface in a valley. The ball will roll to the bottom of the valley and remain there. Once the lattice is broken into patches, however, the total system no longer flows on a potential surface. A flip of a part in one patch may lower the energy of that patch, but raise the energies of adjacent patches because of the couplings across boundaries. Because adjacent patches can go up in energy, the total energy of the lattice itself can go up, not down, when a single patch makes a move to lower its own energy. And since the entire lattice can go up in energy, the total system is not evolving on a potential surface. Breaking the system into patches is a little like introducing a temperature in simulated annealing. Once the system is broken into quilt patches so an adaptive move by one patch can "harm" the whole system, that move causes the whole system to "go the wrong way."

We reach a simple, but essential conclusion: once the total problem is broken into patches, the patches are coevolving with one another. An adaptive move by one patch changes the "fitness" and deforms the fitness landscape, or, alternatively, the "energy" and the "energy landscape," of adjacent patches.

It is the very fact that patches coevolve with one another that begins to hint at powerful advantages of patches compared with the Stalinist limit of a single large patch. What if, in the Stalinist limit, the entire lattice settles into a "bad" local minimum, one with high energy rather than an excellent low-energy minimum...? The single patch Stalinist system is stuck forever in the bad minimum. Now... if we break the lattice up into four 5 x 5 patches just after the Stalinist system hits this bad minimum, what is the chance that this bad minimum is not only a local minimum for the lattice as a whole, but also a local minimum for each of the four 5 x 5 patches individually? You see, in order for the system broken into 4 patches to "stay" at the same bad minimum, it would have to be the case that the same minimum of the entire lattice happens also to be a minimum for all four of the 5 x 5 patches individually. If not, one or more of the patches will be able to flip a part, and hence begin to move. Once the patch begins to move, the entire lattice is no longer frozen in the bad local minimum... It will "slip" away and be able to explore further across the local space of possibilities. (p. 255 - 57)

Our perspective is to forget about the humanistic talk of "the state for its people's liberty", etc. In the interaction sphere which is for the nation-states what the ecological environment (biosphere) is for the species, those states that can best maximize their adaptability and power and out-compete their neighbours will survive and prosper: hence the Anglo-American model of nation-state has out-competed the continental model of dictatorial, authoritarian, or "totalitarian" model of nation-state (whether fascist or communist) -- this is the real meaning of what Francis Fukuyama has called "The End of History" (1992).6 To be most adaptive in the environment of interstate competition, to maximize its power, the nation-state, whatever its model, has usually had to integrate its subjects further into itself at the expense of their individuality (their "liberty"). The continental model integrates itself -- solves the problem of integration -- by eliminating subdivisions (patches): this is the wrong way: integration is achieved at the expense of creativity and flexibility. The Anglo-Americans have found the right way: subdividing the subjects into interests groups and then allowing them to mutually interact as in naturally evolved complex systems in a rule-determined mechanist environment (the "constitution" or "constitutional restraints") which maintains unity despite diversity. (We will see later that the true meaning of a "constitutional government" is to make the governmental process impersonal and mechanized, self-functioning.) One of the major reasons for which some states have settled on the Stalinist limit is that the personal interests and ambitions of the rulers have not been eliminated from the governmental processes: the dictator or party elites disallow subdivisions in order to satisfy their own greed for power and luxury (consumption). But in both cases "freedom" and "liberty" of the individual can only decrease in proportion to the state's growing power and adaptability. Only in nation-states that are marginal to the interstate-competition of the Global Interaction Sphere can the liberty of the individuals be maintained, because such states have no need to enslave their subjects in order to survive, prosper, and dominate (e.g. Netherlands, Canada, Denmark). These states constitute the "third" type.

The American democracy is therefore the apex of human history (in its material aspect) -- and hence the most degenerate -- having wielded the most immense power and developed the largest metabolism that no other supraorganisms throughout history have been able to attain. But its labourious effort to maintain its superpower imperial status in the Global Interaction Sphere risks overstraining itself too much so as to end up in a "system collapse" -- thus far the fate of all over-blown civilizations and empires, from the Harappan through the Mayan, the Mycenaean, and the Roman, to the latest Soviet Union, and periodically the fate of China (the succession of dynasties). The idea of system collapse is due to Colin Renfrew in his Archaeology and Language (1987). We'll see this later.

James Madison on the developmental approach to supraorganismic integration:
"There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation."

Madison on the diminishing individuality (liberty) of the persons within a nation-state which is a central player within the interstate competition in a global interaction sphere:
"... of all the enemies of liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded.... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

The real origin of democracy: an accidental product of history: the example of Magna Carta

The above discussion by Hayek shows that the Anglo-American democracy is an instance of spontaneous order, and that the British democractic tradition is a "theory of spontaneous order... in the history of social thought." (Norman Barry, "The Tradition of Spontaneous Order", Literature of Liberty, vol. v, no. 2, Summer 1982, pp. 7-58) Spontaneous order means a complex aggregate, efficient structure which is formed not only out of un-intentional actions of individuals, but also born out of the accidents of history. The Anglo-American style of democracy, whose first materialization in history was the parliament (the House of Commons and the Lords), was specifically born out of the power struggle between the central monarch attempting centralization or supraorganismic integration and the local lords resisting centralization to protect their selfish interests: it is natural for the local lords to resist against the disappearance of their individualities within the centralized whole represented by the king himself. Neither side thought about any long-range "democratic" arrangement, but both were simply pursuing their short-sighted, immediate selfish interests. Take that famous symbol of the seed of democracy as an example, the Magna Carta. As early as 1937, Walter Hall, Robert Albion, and Jennie Pope have already given a realistic description of its origin: "Except for the wild years of Stephen's reign, the restless and powerful barons had been kept well under control by a series of iron-handed monarchs for the century and a half since the Conquest [of Norman 1066]. Then, in the last years of John's reign, they commenced a series of more orderly efforts to secure a share in the government" -- thus began the irony that the selfish power struggle between the centralizing monarch and the centrifugal local authorities should lead more and more toward the integration of social collective by the best means, the participation of all in power -- "and several times during the next hundred years they were to adopt further measures to curb the formerly absolute loyal power. Not one of the purely baronial movements secured lasting results, but they helped to pave the way for the successful rise of Parliament, where barons and commoners together finally gained a major share of the power once monopolized by the king." (History of England and the British Empire, p. 125.) Thus originated Magna Carta, the usually recognized starter of the story of the origin of democracy. When Pope Innocent III forbade Philip Augustus to invade England, John "decided to take the offensive himself and to regain his lost provinces in northern France." (Ibid.) However he and his ally, the Holy Roman Emperor Otto, lost in their battles to attack France. The barons had been seriously dissatisfied with John's attempt to levy scutage on them "at a heavier rate than ever before in order to pay his mercenaries and allies. For perhaps the first time since the Conquest the majority of Englishmen sided with the barons against the king; for all classes had felt the burdens imposed by ruthless rule, and not only had John's military exploits been more expensive than Richard's, but the younger brother had given England no glory in return for her money" (ibid., p. 126). The barons then gathered in force and occupied London in 1215, the king met them, and in a week "the two sides had agreed to the 63 points of the famous Magna Carta". (Ibid.)

"This celebrated document, which has been variously called a treaty, a statue, and a declaration of rights, was drafted in the conventional legal form of a charter or contract such as was used in granting a fief... Unlike the American Declaration of Independence... and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man... it did not indulge in political philosophy or in sweeping generalizations about the freedom of the people." At that backward time people had not yet learned of the effectiveness of the use of ideologies and fairy tales to cover up the truth from both themselves and the others to be fooled. "Its 63 articles... dealt with immediate, specific problems... The most numerous items centered around questions of feudal dues, law courts, and administrative abuses." (Ibid., p. 126 - 7) We shall not delve into the specific contents of the Carta, but general observations as to its nature suffice: "Scholars have not yet ended their discussion of the exact nature of Magna Carta. One has called it a guarantee of liberty 'to every being who breathes English air'; others have termed it a selfish feudal document. The latter view is probably the most correct interpretation. It was natural that the barons, interested in safe-guarding their own interests, should give particular prominence to the clauses on feudal dues." (Ibid.) The freedom from "tyranny" it extended only to about 1 out of 5 persons in England. Here were found however "two principles upon which English constitutional development was based. One... was that certain laws and customs were of greater authority than the king himself. The other was that, if the king did not observe these laws, the people reserved the right to force him to do so." (Ibid., p. 128) The most famous part of the document is chapter 39:

Nullus liber homo capiatur vel imprisonetur aut disseisietur de libero tenemento suo, vel libertatibus, vel liberis consuetudinibus suis, aut utlagetur, aut exuletur, aut aliquo modo destruatur, nec super eum ibimus, nec super eum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum, vel per legem terræ. [Edward Coke's classic translation:] No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised of his freehold, or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; nor will we not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.

The "free man" under feudalism of course refers to someone with recognized privileges from the King, the nobles, the barons, the local lords, i.e. the "middle-men" of politics. If the goal of the evolution of any society, just as in the case of the evolution of the multicellular organism, is centralization -- "une concentration de pouvoirs au bénéfice d'un personnage, l'État, qui dispose de moyens de plus en plus amples, qui revendique sur la communauté des droits de plus en plus étendus, qui tolère de moins en moins des puissances existant en dehors de lui... [qui] veut être le principe organisateur de la société" (Jouvenel, ibid., p. 289: "a concentration of powers to the benefit of one personage, the State, which disposes more and more ample means, which tolerates less and less powers existent outside itself... which would like to be the principal organizer of society") -- the conservative forces of inertia inherent within the system are represented by these barons who watch out for their own interests and oppose centralization -- "Nous avons vu d'autre part des puissances sociales se défendre contre lui, opposer leurs droits aux siens, leurs libertés souvent anarchiques ou oppressives à son autorité" (ibid.: "We have seen on the other hand social powers defend themselves against it, oppose their rights to its rights, their liberties often anarchist or oppressive to its authority") -- so that a power struggle ensues -- "Entre elles et lui s'est déroulée une lutte incessante... lutte de l'intérêt..." ("Between them and the State there ensued a unceasing struggle, a battle of interest...") -- and this document called Magna Carta is an instance of the barons' centrifugal self-defense. From the point of view of society -- not of the kings nor of the nobles -- how to centralize and yet get around these forces of inertia? Make use of them instead to centralize: the representative government. Thus follows the story of the birth of democracy, which we'll continue below. For now let us note that the English developmental approach to supraorganismic integration called "democracy" -- the best approach ever -- is the result of the failure of the central authority to overcome local, centrifugal forces of resistance, while the inferior, rational approach on the continent is the result of such successful centralization. Paradoxical, isn't it? Hence the best integration approach is truly stumbled upon without anyone intending so.

The difference between the Anglo-American and Franco-continental approach in the form of supraorganism's internal regulation (justice system)

This difference in culture between the British (empiricist) and the French (rationalist) also underlies the difference between the "common law" of the Anglophonic world and the "civil code" of the Francophonic (France and Quebec, and Louisiana in the U.S.; being of French origin, the civil law of today is usually derived from the Napoleonic code): under the common law, for example, the system (prosecutor and defense attorney) attempts to determine, during the trial, the status of a crime as a crime and the punishment proportional to it if it be a crime by reference to similar precedents and the current cultural climate, i.e. by appeal to tradition, in accordance with the developmental approach of the British style. "Common law, in a simplified explanation, really means a set of rules or laws based upon what has been socially acceptable or generally agreed upon in the past... One aspect of common law is that it is inter-twined with democratic traditions... that government framework should be adaptable to social change or new interpretations -- even if that social change or new interpretation is a negative one." In the cases of laws written hundreds of years ago and never since altered by the legislature, it is the judge hearing a case who makes a determination as to whether they are still applicable. (John Schroder, Ascot Advisory Service.) On the other hand, under the Gallican system the status of a case is to be determined entirely by reference to the civil code of laws, which, then, somewhat like the Ten Commandments, supposedly contain all the legal answers once and for all. One need not here go beyond this "rational" plan of legality and consider the empirical contingencies (tradition, the past, the changing custom of society). "The traditions of civil law... is a tradition of rules or regulations handed down by a centralized government (in many cases a King, or other non-democratically elected government) -- which are to be obeyed as given, not interpreted by those charged with upholding the law. In modern day democracies that have a civil law system, it is of course the democratically elected legislators that write or amend laws, not a king. Regardless, this role of upholding the law (not interpreting it) by judges and courts in civil law jurisdictions is very much in contrast to the their common law counterparts." (Ibid.) Civil law code is in use today in most of the non-Anglophone countries in the world, which, unlike the Anglophonic, do not have a long (developmental) tradition of democracy, but have had to institute it from scratch during the founding of the nation. The British approach in that way judges, one can say, on a case by case basis, and therefore respects whatever idiosyncrasies might exist in each particular case, whereas the French approach in this way obliterates individualities by attempting to assimilate them all to a pre-determined universal rational plan of "everything."

Max Weber has also mentioned these two approaches to justice in connection with bureaucracy (Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, part III, Ch. 6, p. 662):

Der "rationalen" Rechtsfindung auf der Basis streng formaler Rechtsbegriffe steht gegenüber eine Art der Rechtsfindung, welche in erster Linie sich an geheiligte Traditionen bindet, den konkreten, aus dieser Quelle nicht eindeutig entscheidbaren Fall aber erledigt entweder ("charismatische" Justiz): durch konkrete "Offenbarung" (Orakel, Prophetensprüche oder Gottesurteil), oder... 1. unformal nach konkreten ethischen oder anderen praktischen Werturteilen: die "Kadi-Justiz"... oder 2. zwar formal, aber nicht durch Unterordnung unter rationale Begriffe, sondern durch Heranziehung von "Analogien" und in Anlehnung an und Ausdeutung von konkreten "Präjudizien": "empirische Justiz". Die Kadijustiz kennt gar keine, die empirische Justiz bei reinem Typus, keine in unserem Sinne rationalen "Urteilsgründe". Der konkrete Werturteilscharakter der Kadijustiz kann sich bis zu prophetischem Bruch mit aller Tradition steigern, die empirische Justiz andererseits zu einer Kunstlehre sublimiert und rationalisiert werden....

The "rational" interpretation of law on the basis of strictly formal conceptions of law stands opposite the kind of law interpretation, which is primarily bound up with the sacred traditions, and which deals with the concrete cases that cannot be unambiguously decided, either through concrete "revelation" (oracle, prophetic dicta, or god's judgment): "charismatic justice"; or... (1) informally by concrete ethical or other practical value judgments: "Kadi-justice"... or (2) formally, but not by subsumption under rational concepts, but by drawing on "analogies" and by leaning on and interpreting concrete "precedents": empirical justice. Kadi-justice does not recognize, nor does empirical justice of the pure type, any rational reasons of judgment in our [European continental] sense. The concrete valuational character of Kadi-justice can advance to a prophetic break with all traditions, and empirical justice on the other hand can be sublimated and rationalized. [This is the Anglo-American case.]....

Weber's synchronic, typological classification can be re-ordered into a historical succession:

                                        justice based on
   TRIBAL                               sacred traditions
                                       charismatic justice  
                                       |                  |    
   KINGDOM                       Kadi-justice     empirical justice        
                           |                              |  
   NATION-STATE    rational justice          "rationalized", (i.e. 
            ("rationalen" Rechtsfindung)           "mechanized")  
             civil code of the continental     Anglophone common law
                    justice system                justice system     

Since "rational justice" is the result either of scraping empirical justice altogether during a revolution or of a complete metamorphosis of that empirical justice, it is depicted here as branching off from the developmental evolution that leads to the mechanized (rationalized, or sublimated, in Weber's words above) version of empirical justice which is the American common law justice system of today. Weber clearly identifies this difference between the continental justice as a rational plan given once and for all -- and preparing for totalitarianism -- and the Anglo-American justice as bound to traditions and empirical contingencies:

In England, z. B. ist... eine breite Unterschicht der Justiz noch jetzt der Sache nach in einem so hohen Grade "Kadijustiz", wie man es sich auf dem Kontinent nicht leicht vorstellt.... Andererseits ist die englische (und amerikanische) Justiz der großen Reichsgerichte immer noch in hohem Maße empirische, speziell Präjudizienjustiz.

In England, for example, a broad substratum of justice even today is still in actuality "Kadi-justice" to an extent that is hardly imaginable on the continent.... On the other hand the English (and American) justice of the highest courts is still to a great extent empirical, especially the adjudication by precedents.

And he realizes that it is the Anglo-American type which really is the one that belongs to democracy: "... wie man sich denn überhaupt hüten muß zu glauben: 'demokratische' Justizprinzipien seien mit 'rationaler' (im sinne von formaler) Rechtsfindung identisch. Im Gegenteil..." He realizes, most importantly, that the English empirical justice, just like English democracy, is the result of the successful resistance of the centrifugal forces of local interests against the centralizing tendencies:

Der Grund des Scheiterns aller rationalen Kodifikationsbestrebungen und ebenso der Rezeption des römischen Rechts lag in England in dem erfolgreichen Widerstand der großen einheitlich organisierten Anwaltszünfte, einer monopolistischen Honoratiorenschicht, aus deren Mitte die Richter der großen Gerichtshöfe hervorgingen. Sie behielten die juristische Erziehung nach Art einer empirischen Kunstlehre technisch hoch entwickelt in ihrer Hand und kämpften erfolgreich gegen die, ihre soziale und materielle Stellung bedrohenden, Bestrebungen nach rationalem Recht, wie sie besonders von den geistlichen Gerichten, zeitweilig auch von den Universitäten ausgingen.

In England, the reason for the failure of all efforts at rational codification, as well as of the reception of Roman law, lies in the successful resistance of the great centrally organized lawyers' guilds, which form a monopolistic stratum of notables, from whose midst the judges of the great high courts came. They held in their hands juristic training as a highly evolved empirical kind of art, and fought successfully against those efforts at a rational law which threatened their social and material standing, as these came especially from the religious courts, and for a time from the universities.

Under normal circumstances -- i.e. when centralization succeeds, or when resistance against centralization does not end in either the gradual development toward representative integration (Britain) or in simple disintegration (the most usual outcome) -- supraorganismic formation tends to move in the matter of its internal regulation from empirical justice to rational justice, such as in the case of the Roman empire.

Die römische Rechtsfindung ihrerseits war in der Zeit der Republik eine eigentümliche Mischung von rationalen, empirischen und selbst von Kadijustizelementen. Die Geschworenenbestellung als solche und die anfänglich zweifellos "von Fall zu Fall" gegebenen actiones in factum des Prätors enthielten ein Element der letzteren Art.... Die entscheidende Wendung des juristischen Denkens zum rationalen wurde zuerst durch die technische Art der Prozeßinstruktion an der Hand der auf Rechtsbegriffe abgestellten Formeln des prätorischen Ediktes vorbereitet.... Vollendet aber, als ein geschlossenes, wissenschaftlich zu handhabendes Begriffssystem, wurde die Rationalisierung des römischen Rechts -- welche dieses von allem was der Orient und auch was das Hellenentum hervorgebracht hatte so scharf scheidet -- erst in der Epoche der Bürokratisierung des Staatswesens (p. 663).

Weber tends to identify "bureaucratization", "rationalization", both of which mean, really, "mechanization", only with the continental style of a rational plan given once and for all, and the late Roman development of this rational justice indicates that, if the Roman empire hadn't collapsed, it could have developed into the first nation-state in the Franco manner. It's easy then to see why the English law is not "Roman". But we shall later show that the "sublimation" and "rationalization" of empirical justice also results in the mechanization meant in bureaucratization. Because of his restricted use of the term "bureaucratization", however, Weber speaks of the British as un-bureaucratized (and democratic) and only the continental nations as bureaucratized (and un-democratic). The purely continental type of rational justice -- "der Gedanke des lückenlosen Rechts" ("the concept of a law without gaps"), "die Auffassung des modernen Richters als eines Automaten, in welchen oben die Akten nebst den Kosten hineingeworfen werden, damit er unten das Urteil nebst den mechanisch aus Paragraphen abgelesenen Gründen ausspeie" (p. 664) -- of course is rejected even on the continent, but the approximation is there and the contrast with empirical justice is clear.

The supraorganism (society) which naturally, or spontaneously, emerges in the Anglo-American tradition is necessarily tradition-bound. That is, the orderliness and efficiency in the internal functioning of the supraorganism are ensured not by the coercion that a consciously designed law exercises on individual members to force them to conform to the Central Plan (the Franco-continental way), but by the spontaneous obedience (out of habit, most of the time without coercion) of these members to the morals and customs that have already existed and whose purpose they don't always understand: i.e. by habitual reverence for tradition. The English common law is a straightforward reflection of this. Let's return to Hayek again. Since his concern is always with that illusory "liberty" -- hence he claims that "freedom has never worked without deeply ingrained moral beliefs and... coercion can be reduced to a minimum only where individuals can be expected as a rule to conform voluntarily to certain principles" in order to preserve the overall orderliness within which free actions can reach their ends -- and ours is with the power, adaptability, and survivability of the total supraorganism, we want to emphasize simply that common law, which aims more to preserve the reverence for traditions than to enforce an abstract plan of fairness, is more able to create a energetically powerful and adaptable supraorganism. This is not only because, as Sir Matthew Hale (1609-1676) has claimed, common law "possessed a greater inner wisdom and rationality than the anti-traditionalist and a priori theories of law... because it accommodated facts and circumstances unavailable to the unaided reason" (Barry, ibid,); but also because of the flexibility afforded by not determining in advance what is permissible and what is not. This is deeply tied to the English way of letting social order be maintained by habit and custom and not through coercion by a rational authority. "There is an advantage in obedience to [social conventional] rules not being coerced, not only because coercion as such is bad, but because it is, in fact, often desirable that rules should be observed only in most instances and that the individuals should be able to transgress them when it seems to him worthwhile to incur the odium which this will cause. It is also important that the strength of social pressure and of the force of habit which ensures their observance is variable. It is this flexibility of voluntary rules which in the field of morals makes gradual evolution and spontaneous growth possible, which allows further experience to lead to modifications and improvements. Such evolution is possible only with rules which are neither coercive nor deliberately imposed -- rules which, though observing them is regarded as merit and though they will be observed by the majority, can be broken by individuals who feel that they have strong enough reasons to brave the censure of their fellows. Unlike any deliberately imposed coercive rules [as in the continental rationalist tradition], which can be changed only discontinuously and for all at the same time, rules of this kind allow for gradual and experimental change. The existence of individuals and groups simultaneously observing partially different rules provides the opportunity for the selection of the more effective ones." (Hayek, ibid., p. 63) Thus Hayek arrives at the same conclusion as Kauffman's based on the research in complexity and self-organization, and the resultant greater creativity afforded by the common law tradition means greater power and adaptability.


1. C.f. Klaus Fischer, Nazi Germany: A New History. "The Nazi state can be viewed roughly as an equilateral triangle with Hitler at the apex and the state and party forming two equal sides... [But p]arty and state offices sometimes overlapped and duplicated each other, making the system, in the eyes of some, a chaos of competing authorities." (p. 294) "[Hitler] gave his officials equally broad authority to carry out their duties, encouraging fierce competition among top subordinates in the belief that the best men would gain the upper hand in a natural process of selection... As a result of this Darwinian principle, fierce conflicts and turf battles raged from the beginning to the very end of the Nazi regime." This gave many the impression of "feudal decentralization" against which Fischer was quick to warn for its covering-up of the fact of technological totalitarian centralization that the Nazi state was. (p. 297) "There is no doubt that Hitler preferred such ongoing conflicts because this made everybody dependent on him" (p. 298). "The development of dual and overlapping functions, exercised by various state or party offices, hardly seems to justify the monolithic picture of totalitarian control the Nazis projected to the rest of the world and that some historians have uncritically perpetuated to this day. Martin Broszat has therefore suggested... the term 'polycracy'... [i.e.] a pluralism of forces and the existence of different and often competing power centers held loosely together by their subservience to the Fuehrer... However, the term does not express the essence of the Nazi system or its habitual style. The National Socialist state was a highly bureaucratized and technologically sophisticated system and its ultimate aim was the total control of a citizen's life. In practice, this intended control fell short of its goal because it was hampered by centrifugal forces within it" (p. 311; emphasis added).

2. C.f. de Tocqueville, De la Democratie de l'Amérique.

3. Of the many illustrative examples can be cited the recent case in California of a woman who, disgruntled over her husband's extra-marital affairs, attempted to petition to the state legislature to make marital infidelity a misdemeanor. Though failed, such self-centeredness, expecting everyone else in society to follow one's own way and cloaked in deceptively exalted garb of "democratic rights", illustrates the essence of "mass tyranny". From another side so is the Evangelicals' persistent attempt to institute prayers at school in order to impose their religiousness on everybody else, though here the justifying rhetoric is couched less on "rights" than on distortions of the Constitution. Almost an infinite number of such attempts can be cited from the most varying "interest groups."

6. We disagree with Fukuyama ("The End of History", 1989) in two respects. First, he takes the end of history to be the triumph of the French revolution because he doesn't distinguish between the Franco and the Anglo-American democratic traditions. For us it's just the opposite: insofar as Soviet communism is the offshoot from the French tradition, the end of history is in fact American revolution's triumph over the French revolution! Secondly, he regards the triumph as happening in the realm of ideas, that American liberalism wins by attracting everyone else to it, by making everyone else "want it"; but we regard it as a material one: if communism could generate more power than liberal democracy, then both China and Russia would still remain communist today; the people's taste or whether contradictions are solved or not, doesn't matter.

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