Table of contents:
1. Decentralization helps liberty
2. Voting with feet creates liberty
3. Aliens and businessmen help centralization
4. Jewish fatal embrace destroys liberty
5. Crusading Templars try to save liberty
1. Decentralization helps liberty
The rise and fall of civilizations has always fascinated historians. For classical liberals/libertarians the reason for the rise and fall has been clear: Political decentralization gives rise to liberty and prosperity until political centralization destroys first liberty, then the economy and finally there is a revolution that changes the political structure of the state.
Liberty and prosperity go hand in hand. It was only in Europe that political decentralization went so far that liberty increased to the extent that Industrial Revolution was possible.
One of the most prominent proponents of this theory has been Ralph Raico in his The Struggle for Liberty lecture series and especially in his famous essay The European Miracle:
The “miracle” in question consists in a simple but momentous fact: It was in Europe — and the extensions of Europe, above all, America — that human beings first achieved per capita economic growth over a long period of time. In this way, European society eluded the “Malthusian trap,” enabling new tens of millions to survive and the population as a whole to escape the hopeless misery that had been the lot of the great mass of the human race in earlier times. The question is: why Europe? …
Although geographical factors played a role, the key to western development is to be found in the fact that, while Europe constituted a single civilization — Latin Christendom — it was at the same time radically decentralized.7 In contrast to other cultures — especially China, India, and the Islamic world — Europe comprised a system of divided and, hence, competing powers and jurisdictions.
After the fall of Rome, no universal empire was able to arise on the Continent. This was of the greatest significance. Drawing on Montesquieu’s dictum, Jean Baechler points out that “every political power tends to reduce everything that is external to it, and powerful objective obstacles are needed to prevent it from succeeding” (Baechler 1975, 79). In Europe, the “objective obstacles” were provided first of all by the competing political authorities. Instead of experiencing the hegemony of a universal empire, Europe developed into a mosaic of kingdoms, principalities, city-states, ecclesiastical domains, and other political entities.
Within this system, it was highly imprudent for any prince to attempt to infringe property rights in the manner customary elsewhere in the world. In constant rivalry with one another, princes found that outright expropriations, confiscatory taxation, and the blocking of trade did not go unpunished. The punishment was to be compelled to witness the relative economic progress of one’s rivals, often through the movement of capital, and capitalists, to neighboring realms. The possibility of “exit,” facilitated by geographical compactness and, especially, by cultural affinity, acted to transform the state into a “constrained predator” (Anderson 1991, 58).
Decentralization of power also came to mark the domestic arrangements of the various European polities. Here feudalism — which produced a nobility rooted in feudal right rather than in state-service — is thought by a number of scholars to have played an essential role (see, e.g., Baechler 1975, 78). … In the end, even within the relatively small states of Europe, power was dispersed among estates, orders, chartered towns, religious communities, corps, universities, etc., each with its own guaranteed liberties.
The classical liberal thesis is in many ways convincing but it could never properly explain why there is a clear tendency in history toward political centralization. Why is it that people relatively easily accept tyranny. This sad fact was lucidly noted in 1577 by Etienne de la Boetie in his Discourse on Voluntary Servitude (Discours de la Servitude Volontaire):
Shall we call subjection to such a leader cowardice? … If a hundred, if a thousand endure the caprice of a single man, should we not rather say that they lack not the courage but the desire to rise against him, and that such an attitude indicates indifference rather than cowardice? When not a hundred, not a thousand men, but a hundred provinces, a thousand cities, a million men, refuse to assail a single man from whom the kindest treatment received is the infliction of serfdom and slavery, what shall we call that? Is it cowardice? …
When a thousand, a million men, a thousand cities, fail to protect themselves against the domination of one man, this cannot be called cowardly, for cowardice does not sink to such a depth. . . . What monstrous vice, then, is this which does not even deserve to be called cowardice, a vice for which no term can be found vile enough . . . ?11
It would be so easy to topple the ruler. Just rise up.
Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.16
If it is so easy to topple the tyrant and state itself why people so often just submit to the state? Are people like children who have a natural instinct to submit to their rulers? Is there a natural tendency toward tyranny? No. The classical liberals did not believe that. Instead they believed that a man has a natural instinct or determination to better his situation. Adam Smith noted that this natural determination is what drives history forward:
This frugality and good conduct, however, is upon most occasions, it appears from experience, sufficient to compensate, not only the private prodigality and misconduct of individuals, but the public extravagance of government. The uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition, the principle from which public and national, as well as private opulence is originally derived, is frequently powerful enough to maintain the natural progress of things towards improvement, in spite both of the extravagance of government and of the greatest errors of administration. Like the unknown principle of animal life, it frequently restores health and vigour to the constitution, in spite, not only of the disease, but of the absurd prescriptions of the doctor. (Wealth of Nations, book 3, chapter 2.)
But why then people so easily accept tyranny? The answer was clear: People are duped by anti-liberty ideas. This is why the states always want to control schools, universities and media.
But if the trend of history should be towards liberty unless people are somehow duped and manipulated to give up their rights then the question becomes: What group has financed the development of the state itself and purposefully manipulated people to acquiesce to its rule? The classical liberals and libertarians have often refused to ask this obvious and crucial question. They have always been too politically correct. Or if some did research the issue they often became conspiracy theorists who blamed Freemasons, monarchs, bankers, the Pope or even the Illuminati. Hardly ever did they look at the most obvious suspect.
Jews have been international businessmen and bankers for over 2000 years. They often financed and supported kings, emperors and other rulers. Court Jews have existed for thousands of years. Many Jews have even bragged about this. They claim to have manipulated kings already in the time of ancient Egypt and Persia.
But Jews could not control militarist Rome and thus were literally kicked out of Palestine. They became a nation without a country but remarkably did not gradually vanish but became even more powerful international businessmen and bankers. During the dark Early Middle Ages the Jews appear to have supported and financed both the Arab empire and the empire of Charlemagne.
The empire of Charlemagne broke down in 843 when it was divided between Charlemagne’s three grandsons. Then it gradually broke down even further to the smallest pieces. In many areas even a lord of the manor was practically a sovereign. Classical liberals emphasize that it was this secessionist and decentralist process that gave birth to Western liberty.
Classical liberals also point out that it is not a coincidence that the most free areas of Europe were between West and East Francia where the central power was the weakest. The dukes and the towns could play the central, eastern and western powers against each other. This gave freedom to the trading towns in the Netherlands. It also gave birth to the famous Champagne’s fairs in France, many Hansa towns in Germany, the Swiss cantons and the independent towns of North Italy such as Venice, Genoa, Firenze, Torino and Milan.
2. Voting with feet created liberty
Gradually the East and Central Frankish kingdoms became the Holy Roman Empire that consisted of hundreds of independent principalities. It was not really Roman but it was holy in the sense that it was a Christian empire that almost optimally balanced collective responsibilities and individual freedom.
In The Holy Roman Empire people were not seen primarily as members of the tribe but as individuals with rights. However, at the same time there was a common Christian culture with shared values and basic duties and rights. This perfect balance between individualism and collectivism made it possible for everyone – and especially businessmen – to vote with their feet. If the prince or the aristocrats exploited their subjects with excessive taxes and regulations they could always move to the close-by neighboring principality. This created a competition between principalities and so taxes and regulations tended not to increase. Often they even decreased and thus liberty increased. However, despite all this institutional competition the culture was relatively homogeneous because everybody accepted Christianity, the Ten Commandments and the general principles of natural law.
This Christian culture and feudal decentralism was further upheld by the competition between the Emperor and the Pope. The Emperor’s power was limited because his position was elective. Only those were elected emperor who promised to uphold the liberties of the people. However, at the same time people promised in return loyalty to the emperor who could expect his subjects to answer his call in a moment of crisis like a Muslim invasion.
Emperor’s power was limited but there was still a danger that his power would just keep growing especially after wars. However, this trend was kept in check by the Pope who wielded both religious and intellectual power through the churches, bureaucracy and schools. This created a balance of power where neither the Emperor nor the Pope could wield the supreme central power. Europe remained decentralist.
The balance of power and decentralism also created the freedom of the seas. Coastal principalities could create their own navies and protect their own maritime trade. Since there were so many navies competition prevented any of them from reaching supremacy and taxing trading ships. Freedom of the seas also created the mighty trading fleets of Venice, Genoa, Amsterdam and Hansa which made possible the economic and cultural boom of the High Middle Ages.
Christianity and decentralism also created the Western idea of individualist freedom. It was not an idea of atomist freedom but interdependent freedom where you were part of a community and a chain of loyalty. However, if your superior or the community organization itself was unfair you could vote with your feet and join another competing organization. These local, religious and trading communities often competed with each other for members. Cooperation was voluntary and disputes between members were solved by a process of arbitration where both parties voluntarily agreed to respect the arbitrators verdict. Usually these arbitrators were chosen beforehand before any specific trade or other interaction started. In practice communities offered these arbitrator services to its members so by joining a community or a trade organisation one would also semi-automatically choose an arbitrator for possible future conflicts with other members. From the judgments of these arbitrators was then gradually born the customary law, merchant law, canon law and maritime law.
[A]ll customary law grows and develops, particularly as a consequence of the mutual consent of parties entering into reciprocal arrangements. For example, two parties may enter into a contract, but something then occurs that the contract did not clearly account for. The parties agree to call upon an arbitrator or mediator to help lead them to a solution. The solution affects only those parties in the dispute, but if it turns out to be effective and the same potential conflict arises again, it may be voluntarily adopted by others. In this way, the solution becomes part of customary law. (Bruno Leoni quoted in Stephan Kinsella Legislation and the Discovery of Law in a Free Society, p. 144.)
These law systems were completely voluntary. They were not the result of ruler’s dictat or even parliamentary legislation but decentralised finding of just law. Law was not made by decrees but the practical details of natural law were found in the process of arbitration and then voluntarily agreed upon. If you refused to follow natural law in business dealings (merchant law) or in international sea trade (maritime law) nobody would do business with you.
You were also expected to be loyal to your community superiors who in turn were expected to be loyal to you. This golden chain of loyalty went up to the Pope and the Emperor. They both in turn had to be loyal to the Ten Commandments and the natural law. In exchange to your loyalty you were entitled to protection and support. First time in history there developed a continent wide balance between individual freedom and social responsibility, between individualism and collectivism.
The free Christian Europe became ever more powerful and also started to expand geographically. Stronger private property rights in land ownership encouraged farmers to clear forests and sow new fields. After land became scarce the Germanic people started the Drang nach Osten whereby they colonized much of The New Frontier, the pagan Eastern Europe with their Christianity, more propertarian culture and higher technology. Christians also became powerful enough to challenge the Muslims and started to gradually push them out of Southern France, Northern Spain and Southern Italy.
3. Aliens and businessmen help centralization
European trade and population multiplied while culture and technology rose to new heights. By the 1200’s the balance of power coupled with Christian culture was now creating an industrial revolution that would help avoid the Malthusian trap. Liberty and prosperity were just around corner. But then in the 1300’s progress practically stopped. Why?
The standard libertarian answer is to blame wars and the Black Death but that only pegs the question why. Why did not the obvious link between decentralism, freedom and prosperity encourage people to demand ever more liberties? What changed in the late 1200’s and early 1300s? From the socio-economic perspective the answer is simple: The balance of power was broken by aliens. In other words by Jews, Muslims and Mongols. This obvious fact was not lost on contemporaries.
Starting from the 1100’s not only the power of the Jews increased but also the attacks of the Muslims and Mongols became ever more fierce. Mongols destroyed much of Eastern Europe and the Muslim Turks attacked Byzantine in the Middle East even more aggressively than the Arabs had done. The Mongol hordes destroyed the promising development of decentralist Kiovan Rus and pushed the history of Russia in the direction of military rule. In the Middle East Christian Byzantine was gradually destroyed to the extent that Anatolia became culturally and demographically Asian. Europe was surrounded by aggressive aliens.
It was not only the aliens on the borders but also inside Europe. In Western Europe the natural individualist tendency toward decentralization was broken by Jewish financiers who supported and financed the centralizing statist power of the kings. In this way the kings could gradually destroy the independence of the various local, religious and trading communities. The first and most important step in this process was to eliminate independent arbitrators by decreeing that conflicts had to be solved by government courts. From the libertarian perspective this was probably the most fateful step in the history of the world. It pushed the wheel of history into a wrong direction. State became supreme. Law was gradually supplanted by legislation.
It is true that the effects of legislation and monopoly judges were first mitigated by the jury system but still the doors were now open for gradually increasing state power. Soon kings were powerful enough to challenge the powers of the aristocracy, the Emperor and the Pope himself.
Amazingly, the classical liberal historians have been largely blind to this centralizing process. They did realize that especially merchant and maritime law were the result of a voluntary spontaneous decentralist process but never really emphasized and lauded it. They understood that law does not have to be the result of government decrees but still were in love with legislation especially when it emanated from parliaments. In fact, classical liberals saw parliaments as a huge step towards freedom. Raico continues:
Through the struggle for power within the realms, representative bodies came into being, and princes often found their hands tied by the charters of rights (Magna Carta, for instance) which they were forced to grant their subjects.
This is a very naive view. Sure, aristocracy tried to defend their rights against the king. However, what usually happened was that the king and the aristocrats made a deal where they joined together in exploiting the people. Monopolist exploiter became a cartel of exploiters. Taxes and regulations were increased by legislation but so that aristocracy was not only exempted but also got various cartel and other privileges. Constitutions and parliaments did not increase liberty but on the contrary. In the long run they only made exploitation easier.
Parliaments are cartel machines. Even worse, they also decrease opposition to tyranny. Instead of opposing the decrees of the king everybody tries to become “a king of the moment” so as to enforce his own decrees through the political process and legislation. After the aristocracy the merchants and then farmers and laborers wanted to join in the cartel by demanding the extension of the suffrage. This process of democratization did not increase liberty but only the number of exploiters. Right to vote usually does not give you liberty. On the contrary, it gives you the means to attack others. Through parliament everybody can try to rob and subjugate everybody else. Democratic legislation makes the whole society criminal. Hans-Hermann Hoppe explains:
[T]he mere fact of legislation — of democratic law-making — increases the degree of uncertainty. Rather than being immutable and hence predictable, law becomes increasingly flexible and unpredictable. What is right and wrong today may not be so tomorrow. The future is thus rendered more haphazard. Consequently, all around time preferences degrees will rise, consumption and short-term orientation will be stimulated, and at the same time the respect for all laws will be systematically undermined and crime promoted (for if there is no immutable standard of ‘right’, then there is also no firm definition of ‘crime’). (Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Time Preference, Government, and the Process of De-Civilization—From Monarchy to Democracy, 5 J. Des Economistes Et Des Etudes Humanies, (1994), p. 32o-21.)
Curiously, classical liberals seem to have always understood this but still often lauded parliamentarism. This was also true of Adam Smith even if he understood quite clearly that merchants, manufacturers and laborers were even more after monopoly and cartel privileges than the kings.
Commerce, which ought naturally to be, among nations, as among individuals, a bond of union and friendship, has become the most fertile source of discord and animosity. The capricious ambition of kings and ministers has not, during the present and the preceding century, been more fatal to the repose of Europe than the impertinent jealousy of merchants and manufacturers.
The violence and injustice of the rulers of mankind is an ancient evil, for which, I am afraid, the nature of human affairs can scarce admit of a remedy. But the mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers, who neither are, nor ought to be, the rulers of mankind, though it cannot perhaps be corrected may very easily be prevented from disturbing the tranquillity of anybody but themselves.
That it was the spirit of monopoly which originally both invented and propagated this doctrine cannot be doubted; and they who first taught it were by no means such fools as they who believed it. In every country it always is and must be the interest of the great body of the people to buy whatever they want of those who sell it cheapest. The proposition is so very manifest that it seems ridiculous to take any pains to prove it; nor could it ever have been called in question had not the interested sophistry of merchants and manufacturers confounded the common sense of mankind. Their interest is, in this respect, directly opposite to that of the great body of the people.
As it is the interest of the freemen of a corporation to hinder the rest of the inhabitants from employing any workmen but themselves, so it is the interest of the merchants and manufacturers of every country to secure to themselves the monopoly of the home market. (Adam Smith. Wealth of Nations. Book 4, chapter 3.)
Even worse, it is easy to dupe people to see the state as the great benefactor. The famous classical liberal Frederic Bastiat noted this succinctly:
Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
Why then were classical liberals in love with the state? Even Adam Smith and Frederic Bastiat defended the state and especially the need for a parliament. Naturally they were children of their times. They just could not conceive of a modern society without a state. Even the pope was a statist because he controlled the Papal States.
It is also in the nature of the state itself to support intellectuals who consider the state as absolutely necessary. In time this creates a sort of false consciousness which is very difficult to break. Especially because the big bankers and businessmen also tend to support the state and buy off intellectuals and the big media. John Locke was the servant of the rich Cooper family and Adam Smith the rich Campbell family.
This raises the question what was the role of Jews in supporting and manipulating both classical liberal historians and politicians to support the state and political centralization in general? No one seems to have researched this though there are signs of obvious manipulation. The role of the Rothschild’s is obvious. So is the role of converted but still very Jewish families of Benjamin Disraeli and David Ricardo. The extent to which converted Jews integrated with British Whig/liberal ruling dynasties must also have played a role though that has also been researched very little.
One thing is certain: Political centralization and especially parliamentarism was very good for Jews. Now they did not have to worry so much that the king might change his mind and kick the Jews out of the country. It would be much more easy to manipulate a parliament than a king. No wonder that many Jews were eager to support parliaments and the consequent gradual democratization of Europe and America. They were also very eager to support classical liberal historians, economists, social scientists, bankers and businessmen who had a blind spot not only for the Jews but also for the destructive effects of parliaments, legislation and democracy. The famous British historian Thomas Babington Macaulay’s Whig interpretation of history was practically tailor made for them.
In 1830 the Marquess of Lansdowne invited Macaulay to become Member of Parliament for the pocket borough of Calne. His maiden speech was in favour of abolishing the civil disabilities of the Jews in the UK. …
Macaulay’s political writings are famous for their ringing prose and for their confident, sometimes dogmatic, emphasis on a progressive model of British history, according to which the country threw off superstition, autocracy and confusion to create a balanced constitution and a forward-looking culture combined with freedom of belief and expression. This model of human progress has been called the Whig interpretation of history. (Wikipedia)
Thus it is not surprising that classical liberals refused to ask crucial questions: What business do Jews have in Europe anyway? Why should they have the right to immigrate to Europe and create anti-Christian autonomous communities and networks? And why should these aliens have the right to bribe and manipulate European kings, parliaments and the political process? Have not the Jews always been the biggest proponents of centralization? Classical liberals did not ask these questions because to ask is to answer them.
4. Jewish Fatal Embrace
The first fateful step toward centralization was taken in the Early Middle Ages when the Jews decided to stop being mere international traders and settled down among the Christian population. The second fateful step was taken when they refused to assimilate. Instead they created their own autonomous Talmudic anti-Christian Jewish villages amidst the Christian population. Naturally this was totally unacceptable to both the native population and the local aristocracy. Then the Jews took the third and most fateful step. They started to bribe the high aristocracy and especially the kings and parliaments for privileges. On the one hand they demanded the right to immigrate and create autonomous communities. On the other hand they demanded various economic privileges such as tax and tariff collecting, slave trading, alcohol monopolies and banking cartels. Often the king was ready to grant these privileges for gold and loans. Court Jews became advisors to the kings and gradually helped their states apparatus to become ever more powerful.
With slave trading, tax collecting, monopolies and banking cartel Jews became a hostile elite that enslaved the European population under economic and even physical slavery. In this they also cooperated with Muslims. Often they exported Christian slaves to Muslim markets and in exchange they imported spices and various other goods to European markets.
Often European people became so enraged by this exploitation that they started pogroms. However, Jews were not deterred. They doubled down and started to support the central power even more. This led to the most detrimental and lethal process of all of history: The Fatal Embrace.
The Jewish historian Benjamin Ginsberg has explained the process in detail in his book Fatal Embrace. Jews and the State. First Jews enter the country and offer loans to the kings, aristocrats and parliaments in exchange for tax-farming, monopolies and banking cartels. Then they take over the economy and start further exploiting the natives. This makes the local population hate them and eventually the pogroms start. First the king defends the Jews but sooner or later he joins the people, cancels all the debts owed to Jews (including his own debts), robs the Jews of all their valuables and kicks them out of the country. After a few years Jews return and the cycle starts again. The Jews never stop and every cycle makes the state stronger.
The embrace of the central power first helps the Jews to become rich and powerful but then at some point the central power turns on them. However, the decentralized nature of Europe also means that they always find some other king or parliament to protect them. Plus they have a Jewish network where they can hide most of their money. Then after a few years they return and the cycle starts again. Some ordinary Jews might die in this process but at each turn the elite Jewish network itself becomes ever richer and more powerful together with the state.
When Jews were kicked out of dozens of Western European countries and principalities many Jews often fled either to the Muslim lands or to the Eastern Europe ravaged by the Mongol hordes. In both areas the peasantry became so totally enslaved that the Jews could function as the exploiting middle men without having to be afraid of serious pogroms and rebellions.
5. Crusading Templars tried to save liberty
It was basic strategy for the Jews to play their opponents against each other. It is thus not surprising that many Jews turned also against Muslim Arabs and supported the invading Turks who then converted to Islam and took over the Middle East. The attacks of the Turks also disrupted Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land. By this time Europe was powerful enough both materially and spiritually to start a Holy War to free the Holy Land. The crusaders miraculously managed to free Jerusalem in 1099 and exacted revenge by killing its Muslims and their allies, the Jews.
During the First Crusade, Jews were among the rest of the population who tried in vain to defend Jerusalem against the Crusaders during the Siege of Jerusalem. When Jerusalem fell, a massacre of 6,000 Jews occurred when the synagogue they were seeking refuge in was set alight. Almost all perished. In Haifa, the Jewish inhabitants fought side by side with Muslims in defending the city, and held out for a whole month, (June–July 1099).(Wikipedia)
Several crusader states were created that lasted almost 200 years. Crusaders were especially suspicious of the Jews and therefore the Crusader states refused to have Court Jews. In fact, the Jews returned to Jerusalem only in 1187 when their ally, Saladin conquered Jerusalem again for Muslims and Jews.
The Crusader rule over Palestine had taken its toll on the Jews. Relief came in 1187 when Ayyubid Sultan Saladin defeated the Crusaders in the Battle of Hattin, taking Jerusalem and most of Palestine. (A Crusader state centred round Acre survived in weakened form for another century.) In time, Saladin issued a proclamation inviting all Jews to return and settle in Jerusalem, and according to Judah al-Harizi, they did: “From the day the Arabs took Jerusalem, the Israelites inhabited it.” al-Harizi compared Saladins decree allowing Jews to re-establish themselves in Jerusalem to the one issued by the Persian Cyrus the Great over 1,600 years earlier.(Wikipedia)
The contrast between the values of the Christian West and the Barbaric East was enormous. The Europeans believed in individual rights while the Muslims had no such concept. John Derbyshire points out:
Above and beyond this, if we are to take sides on the Crusades after all these centuries, we should acknowledge that, for all their many crimes, the Crusaders were our spiritual kin. I do not mean only in religion, though that of course is not a negligible connection: I mean in their understanding of society, and of the individual’s place in it. Time and again, when you read the histories of this period, you are struck by sentences like these, which I have taken more or less at random from Sir Steven Runciman’s History of the Crusades: “[Queen Melisande’s] action was regarded as perfectly constitutional and was endorsed by the council.” “Trial by peers was an essential feature of Frankish custom.” “The King ranked with his tenant-in-chief as primus inter pares, their president but not their master.”
If we look behind the cruelty, treachery, and folly, and try to divine what the Crusaders actually said and thought, we see, dimly but unmistakably, the early flickering light of the modern West, with its ideals of liberty, justice, and individual worth. Gibbon:
The spirit of freedom, which pervades the feudal institutions, was felt in its strongest energy by the volunteers of the cross, who elected for their chief the most deserving of his peers. Amidst the slaves of Asia, unconscious of the lesson or example, a model of political liberty was introduced; and the laws of [the Frankish Kingdom of Jerusalem] are derived from the purest source of equality and justice. Of such laws, the first and indispensable condition is the assent of those whose obedience they require, and for whose benefit they are designed.
None of the other players in the great drama of the Crusades had anything like this to show. The Fatimids were a degraded and lawless despotism, in which none but the despot had any rights at all. The aforementioned caliph Al-Hakim, for example, took to working at night and sleeping in the daytime. Having embraced this habit, he then imposed it on his subjects, forbidding anyone in his dominions, on pain of death, from working during daylight hours. He also, to enforce the absolute confinement of women, banned the making of women’s shoes. (Thirteenth-century Muslims were just as shocked by the freedom and equality of Western women as fundamentalist Muslims today are.)
Many Christian knights created religious orders such as the Templars, Hospitalers and Teutonic knights. The competition between these organizations ensured that they at least seriously tried to maintain their high standards of honesty and piety. The most powerful and legendary of these organizations were, of course, the Templars. They had a network of hundreds of castles in Europe and the Holy Land.
Templars were not only knights but also businessmen who imported spices and other commodities from the East. People trusted them and soon they also became bankers. Templars did not use their profits for high life but instead created a European wide school-, hospital- and charity organization. They were so trusted by the people that they could develop a checking account system which greatly facilitated trade. Templars even founded England’s first bank. With the help of the Templars at the end of the 1200’s Europe was not only at the brink of Liberty but also of Industrial Revolution.
But then the Jews stroke back. Jewish bankers had lost their dominant position in the economy and especially in banking so in early 1300’s they pushed kings and especially the French king, Philip IV to destroy the Templars and confiscate their hugely valuable property. This was another crucial turning point in European history. The state became supreme. It is no coincidence that at this time also started the Babylonian Captivity of the Popes when they became subordinated to the French king.
Now Europe descended to ever bigger wars between states. This further raised taxes and regulations to horrific levels while the states themselves became ever more powerful. War is the health of the state. Per capita production started to fall and Europe again entered the Malthusian trap. In many areas a third of the population died because of malnutrition and the consequent diseases. Under these conditions the The Black Death was practically inevitable.
The power of the Jews increased but at the same time it was only a matter of time before the kings would turn on them. In some countries this happened quite quickly. After Philip IV had attacked the Templars he soon turned also against Jews, expropriated their wealth and expelled them from France. The English king Edward I had done the same. However, unlike the French and the Germans, the English kept the Jews out for centuries which probably helped create a culture of liberty in England. Gradually taxes and regulations were lowered and classical liberal ideas developed. The War of the Three Kingdoms in the 1600’s then created such radical political decentralism in Britain and especially in America that it gave again birth to Western liberty. This lead to economic per capita growth and the Industrial Revolution finally started to break the Malthusian trap.
Though successful economically this second attempt was a bastardized form of liberty. Instead of the liberty based on natural law, organic communities and the right of arbitration this was based on competition between parliamentary monopolist legislation limited only by atomistic individualism. This bastarized liberty was granted to the people by the state and its Court Jews. It thus contained its own seeds of destruction. Judicial parliamentary monopoly of legislation soon led to a Jewish led fractional reserve banking cartel in the 1680’s. It not only created an unnatural ruling elite but also a business cycle that encouraged interventionism and almost inevitably led to imperialism and will finally lead to a global police state.
Meanwhile many Jews were busy helping Muslims conquer Constantinople and attack Europe. After all, the Ottoman empire was practically run by Jewish bureaucrats and bankers. In fact, things were so good for the Jews that Rabbi Yitzhak Sarfati invited European Jews to move to the Ottoman empire.
It is not only that the classical liberal and libertarian scholars have a blind spot when it comes to Jews and even Muslims. They also have been remarkably quiet about the crusades and especially the Templars despite their obviously free market and anti-statist attitudes. Perhaps the Jewish supporters of many classical liberal historians considered Templars too “anti-Semitic”.
This might also explain why Hollywood has not treated the Templars kindly. Virtually all Crusader movies have been produced by Europeans. The only major exception seems to be the 2005 blockbuster movie, The Kingdom of Heaven but the Templars were portrayed as the villains! The biggest hero of the movie is naturally the Muslim ruler, Saladin.
Despite the huge success of the Kingdom of Heaven no new Crusader movies have been produced. However, the History Channel developed a TV-series Knightfall about the rise and fall of the Templars. The Jews and Muslims are naturally portrayed in a positive light but the plot is still surprisingly pro-Templar and the villain is deservedly the statist French King Philip IV.
The second season included Mark Hamill as a Templar master but despite high ratings and fast increasing fan base the series was not renewed for a third season.