THIS IS THE SIXTH DRAFT (26.3.2021) Many pictures added.
This article is part of the Laws of History and especially the Jewish Cuckoo series of articles.
[Note to state prosecutors. This article analyses history. It does not claim that all Jews everywhere are responsible for the actions of some Jewish bankers and other elite Jews who have been able to lead many Jewish groups. When we are speaking about Jews we are referring to these elite Jews and their often bribed and brainwashed supporters.]
Over 2000 years Jews have had an obvious agenda. It developed in four steps. (1.) It started when Jews started seeing themselves as God’s Chosen People. First Jews only saw themselves as superior to all other nations. (2.) Then in the Babylonian Captivity 500’s BC Jews started to became very hostile towards all other nations, the Gentiles. (3.) After the captivity Jews gradually moved to foreign lands and eventually to Europe but unlike many other diaspora nations they not only refused to assimilate but also stayed hostile towards the natives. (4.) Now they had only two alternatives: Either lay low like the Gypsies or make an alliance with the native rulers to economically exploit the native population through slave trade, tax farming, monopolies and cartels. They chose to make an alliance with the rulers. This fourth and crucial step was the watershed of history. It made both the states and the Jews rich and powerful. The Jews became part of the ruling elite.
As a foreign minority, wherever they lived Jews have faced disabilities and dangers. The protection of the state, therefore, has for centuries seemed to represent opportunity and safety. For example, in both Europe and the Middle East during the medieval era, Jews were eager to induce rulers to grant them privileges and provide them with protection from potentially hostile neighbors. Because Jews tended to stimulate commerce and were a useful source of tax revenues, rulers were often happy to oblige. …
Jews played key roles in constructing a number of the most important states to emerge in the Mediterranean and Atlantic worlds over the past 700 years. These have included an extraordinary variety of regimes running the gamut from absolutist through liberal to Socialist governments. For many of these states, Jews were crucial in building and staffing institutions of extraction, coercion, administration, and mobilization. As we shall subsequently see, these relationships between Jews and the state have been the chief catalysts for organized anti-Semitism. …
Despite the severe disabilities to which religious minorities were typically subject, Jews played a remarkable role in the building of a number of absolutist regimes in both Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East. Rulers were most likely to turn to Jews when they sought to expand their domains at the expense of foreign princes or centralize their power over the opposition of domestic magnates. The Jews who served absolutist regimes secured riches and power for themselves and protection for their communities. …
The historical dependence of Jews upon the state also gave rise to a Jewish philosophical tradition, beginning in the seventeenth century with Spinoza and continuing through the maskilim of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in which the state is glorified and venerated and seen, essentially, as a kind parent worthy of total obedience. …
As we shall see, Jews have continued to look to the state for protection and opportunity through the modern era. And, for their part, rulers have continued to see advantages in allying themselves with Jews. A confluence of three circumstances is most likely to encourage rulers to cultivate alliances with Jews. These are the desire to strengthen the powers of the state, substantial opposition to this endeavor from established elites, and the absence of alternative sources of financial, intellectual, and administrative talent. (Benjamin Ginsberg. The Fatal Embrace. 1993. p. 25-27. Emphasis added.)
Note that the growth of the state is not about the evil nature of the Jews. It is about the naivety of Europeans and the evil nature of the state. Jews are not what drives the history but the state and all the aggressive tendencies it unleashes. Jewish elites have just allied themselves with the state and thus managed to become very powerful. The basic problem is not the Jews but state, i.e. the monopolies of arbitration and money. Destroy the state and the Jewish Problem will vanish.
The Jewish professor, Benjamin Ginsberg showed us the big picture. Over 2000 years Jews have allied themselves with the state. Now we only have to look at the details.
Joining and remaining in the ruling elite is not easy. You need to fight not only the people but also other members of the ruling elite. You need a master plan. The developent of this master plan was practically automatic. After all, once the Jews were allowed to stay in Europe as Jews and become part of the ruling elite they were in a position to play the Europeans against each other. By covertly taking sides in European conflicts they could leverage their power and steer European history away from the natural order of Scholastic Christianity and decentralized private property order towards Philo-Semitism, relativism and statism. This is why after the fall of Rome Jews have had only one long-run ally: The state. Sometimes it turned on them but in the long run made them very rich and powerful.
Thus Jews have had two great obstacles and enemies: Liberty and Christianity. Jews were opposed to the private property order (local rule, restricted immigration and free market) and the Christian Church (rationalism, discrimination) because they enabled the native population to discriminate and exclude the Jews. This obvious Jewish opposition towards liberty and Christianity has been covered up by Philo-Semitic historians, Jewish libertarians and the Jewish dominated media. It is so obvious that now it is a hate fact. Historians do not dare to criticize Jews anymore.
The historical facts about Jewish activities are almost obvious to any honest student of history. Even the Jewish Master Plan of playing the Gentiles against each other is quite obvious because Jews themselves now speak about it openly. They just explain that it is defensive. They claim that they had to often manipulate Europeans because the whole Gentile culture and political system was intolerant, racist and anti-Semitic. This manipulation of Gentiles is now considered the sacred duty of the Jews. They claim to have been the light to the nations. The moral compass of world history.
But what if the compass pointed in the diametrically wrong direction? What if for 2000 years Jews went against the natural European order of liberty and Christian values? This article studies the question by using sources that are either from Jews themselves or from standard history. To better illustrate the points some videos, pictures, sourced encyclopedia entries, and original sources critical of the Jews are presented. In the future more sources will be added.
The Jewish Diaspora started over 2500 years ago. Gradually they created an international Jewish network that not only helped run their trade and banking cartels but also helped transfer profits and valuables through underground networks. It is practically impossible to know if this Jewish network had a centralized Sandherin-type “Elders of Zion” leadership or if the network only facilitated occasional cooperation between the Jewish elite dynasties functioning in different countries.
It seems safe to assume that the Jewish network coordinated Jewish actions under emergency situations. This happened especially in Europe because there natives again and again rose up against the economic exploitation by expelling the Jews and confiscating their wealth. It seems certain that Jews had an underground economy which they used to transfer their wealth from one principality and country to another. This certainly facilitated Jewish networking and required some sort of centralized system that guaranteed the safety of the underground network in a similar manner that mafias have trusted underground networks for illicit wealth transfers.
The Jews may not have been as destitute as Jewish historians contend. A Jewish underground economy, like today, was in full operation in medieval Europe, secreting Jewish wealth out of oppressed countries to safer depositories. …
It must not be assumed that the Jews paid all their oppressive taxes with complete honesty and faithfulness. Among the great unsolved secrets of this period are the techniques and methods by which the Jews evaded these exactions. The devices the Jews used to hide and protect their wealth may never be known. But hide it they did.
The commercial paper of our age, which the Jews invented in the medieval period, was used to frustrate fraud, thieves, and tax collectors as well as aid commerce. The innumerable schemes devised to steal Jewish wealth were equally matched by schemes on the part of the Jews to protect their wealth. (Charles Adams. For Good and Evil. The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization. P. 155-157. Hereafter The Impact of Taxes.)
Jews vs. “anti-Semites”
It is also safe to assume that the Jews cooperated when they were threatened by people they considered political anti-Semites. These Jew-critical people belonged to two groups: First group included people who were upset about Jewish slave trade, tax farming, monopolies and cartels. These were usually peasants who were exploited by high taxes and prices or Gentile merchants who resented the unfair competition. Peasants and merchants were also upset that the Jews were under special protection of the kings and emperors who made it illegal for localities to limit the movement and activities of the Jews. The people could not understand why Jews were so special. Why grant enormous privileges, freedom of movement and autonomy to complete outsiders? Why let them lord over the natives?
Second Jew-critical group included those parts of the ruling elite who basically agreed with the ordinary people. These rulers did not like to let Jews rule over European people. The Jews did not belong to Europe and they should assimilate or be kicked out. Sometimes these rulers had to make deals with the Jews but often reneged on them. Examples include many Popes, Crusader States, English kings, the Inquisition, Tsarist Russia and Nazi Germany.
Virtually all Jews have considered these Jew-critical groups as dangerous anti-Semites who were after Jews. Jews have always considered demands of assimilation anti-Semitic. This conviction created a Jewish group agenda and a master plan. Assimilation had to be resisted at all costs and anti-Semites had to be somehow destroyed or at least neutralized. The details often changed but the overall plan was clear: Play different Gentile groups against each other so that in the long run anti-Semites would be undermined and the philo-Semites supported.
This sort of master plan is nothing new. All groups try to undermine their enemies and support their allies. It does not even require any kind of centralized control. It is enough that the group members agree who are their enemies. Virtually all groups try to create us-versus-them attitude. What made Jews different is their steadfast refusal to assimilate and their central position as slave traders, tax farmers, monopoly bankers, monopolist businessmen, Court Jews and anti-assimilationist politicians. Unlike other groups the Jews had ample time and opportunities to manipulate the Gentiles. They had the will and the means to change the course of history. They did it not only automatically by allying with the state but also by consciously trying to outmaneuver the alleged anti-Semites.
The more powerful the Jews became the looser and looser the definition of an anti-Semite became. All those who opposed the monopolies and cartels dominated by Jews were often branded anti-Semites. So were those who defended the self-determination of the Europeans and their traditional values. This ever loosening definition of anti-Semitism created a battle between Jews and Gentiles that has now lasted for over 2000 years to this day. Jews always knew they were special. They always believed that they were the light unto nations.
This battle between Jews and Gentiles has always been led by the Jewish elite. They have often kept the ordinary Jews brainwashed and virtual hostages in their ghettos and other Jewish communities. It was in the interest of the Jewish elite that there would be anti-Semitism and a conflict with the Gentiles because then the ordinary Jews would have nowhere to run. They would have to stay loyal to the Jewish group and accept the dictatorship of the rich elite Jewish families. Assimilation was always against the interests of these elite Jews who often used the ordinary Jews as their pawns and sacrificial lambs in their drive for power and riches.
Since the battle between Jewish elite and Gentiles concerns both econo-political development of the state (fatal embrace) and cultural development (culture of critique) it automatically touches almost all the watersheds of Western history for the last 2000 years. It may well be that without Jews neither the modern state nor the consequent modern relativism could have evolved. The history of the state parasite and the undermining of Christianity would have ended over 1000 years ago.
Even if one does not believe in the libertarian Parasite Theory Of History it is still quite obvious that Jews have had an enormous influence on Western history. It is impossible to say how many times they were able to tip the balance and change the course of history. Maybe they did it dozens of times or maybe only a few times. But most likely they did it enough times to turn the wheel of history and break the natural order in Europe. Even more importantly, they did it on purpose. It was in the interest of the Jews.
Let us now study some of those turning points of history and try to evaluate the role the Jews played in them.
40 AD- Destroy Rome by judaizing Christianity
Jews tried to manipulate Rome and even managed to help Julius Ceasar become a dictator. However, it was not easy to manipulate the militarist Rome. Eventually the Jewish state was destroyed and Jews expelled into Diaspora. It was the Jews such as St. Paul who helped organize Christianity into a strong religious, moral and cultural movement that opposed the might of Rome. Jews also managed to include much of the Jewish Torah into the Bible despite protests of the Marcionists who believed that Jesus was not a Jewish messiah but a spiritual entity that was sent to reveal the Truth.
Marcion believed that Jesus was the savior sent by God, and Paul the Apostle was his chief apostle, but he rejected the Hebrew Bible and the God of Israel. Marcionists believed that the wrathful Hebrew God was a separate and lower entity than the all-forgiving God of the New Testament. Marcionism, similar to Gnosticism, depicted the God of the Old Testament as a tyrant or demiurge (see also God as the Devil).
Marcion’s canon, possibly the first Christian canon ever compiled, consisted of eleven books: a gospel, which was a form of the Gospel of Luke; and ten Pauline epistles. Marcion’s canon rejected the entire Old Testament, along with all other epistles and gospels of what would become the 27-book New Testament canon, which during his life had yet to be compiled. (Wikipedia)
Even if Jews were able to manipulate Christianity early on they could not dominate it. Unlike the Old Testament that often demanded total obedience to God in irrational manner The New Testament put the emphasis on faith and reason. This together with White universalism such as Greek rationalism and Roman stoicism created a wholly unique religion that put the emphasis on reason. Rodney Stark explains:
When Europeans first began to explore the globe, their greatest surprise was not the existence of the Western Hemisphere but the extent of their own technological superiority over the rest of the world. Not only were the proud Mayan, Aztec, and Inca nations helpless in the face of European intruders; so were the fabled civilizations of the East: China, India, and even Islam were backward by comparison with sixteenth-century Europe. How had this happened? Why was it that although many civilizations had pursued alchemy, it led to chemistry only in Europe? Why was it that, for centuries, Europeans were the only ones possessed of eyeglasses, chimneys, reliable clocks, heavy cavalry, or a system of music notation? How had nations that had arisen from barbarism and the rubble of fallen Rome so greatly surpassed the rest of the world? (p. ix)
But if one digs deeper, it becomes clear that the truly fundamental basis not only for capitalism but for the rise of the West was an extraordinary faith in reason. .. While the other world religions emphasized mystery and intuition, Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guide to religious truth. (p. x)
To sum up: the rise of the West was based on four primary victories of reason. The first was the development of faith in progress within Christian theology. The second victory was the way that faith in progress translated into technical and organizational innovations, many of them fostered by monastic estates. The third was that, thanks to Christian theology, reason informed both political philosophy and practice to the extent that responsive states, sustaining a substantial degree of personal freedom, appeared in medieval Europe. The final victory involved the application of reason to commerce, resulting in the development of capitalism within the safe havens provided by responsive states. These were the victories by which the West won. (p. xiii)
Another secret of Christianity’s success was its emphasis on the rights of the people against the state. Christians were persecuted because they would not worship the state. The emphasis on individual rights also included the rights of women and thus led to strong family values. Family was seen as an alliance between a man and a woman. This created strong loyalty between Christians but also exponential growth through high birth rates and many converts who were drawn to family values. Professor Rodney Stark has explained this in his books:
[Rodney] Stark also discusses the exponential nature of the growth of religion. Stark points to a number of advantages that Christianity had over paganism to explain its growth. … Christian populations grew faster because of the prohibition of birth control, abortion and infanticide. Since infanticide tended to affect female newborn more frequently, early Christians had a more even sex ratio and therefore a higher percentage of childbearing women than pagans. .. Women were valued higher and allowed to participate in worship leading to a high rate of female converts. (Wikipedia)
After 300 years Christians became so numerous that eventually it became a state religion. The Christians were now allied with Rome against the Jews who started to loose control of Christianity. The most famous example of this is a series of sermons given in 386-387 by the presbyter of Antioch, John Chrysostom. The sermons would later be published in a book, Adversus Judaeos (Against the Jews).
Chrysostom held Jews responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus and deicide (killing God, see “Jewish deicide” for the subject) and added that they continued to rejoice in Jesus’s death. He compared the synagogue to a pagan temple, representing it as the source of all vices and heresies. He described it as a place worse than a brothel and a drinking shop; it was a den of scoundrels, the repair of wild beasts, a temple of demons, the refuge of brigands and debauchees, and the cavern of devils, a criminal assembly of the assassins of Christ. Palladius, Chrysostom’s contemporary biographer, also recorded his claim that among the Jews the priesthood may be purchased and sold for money. (Wikipedia)
The Jews seem to have failed. They could not control the Church. However, they could influence it enough to make sure that the Church always more or less tolerated the Jews. The Jews were the only group that the Church did not require to assimilate into Europe. They were allowed to keep themselves separate and economically rule over the Christian Europeans. This was an enormous achievement of the Jews and changed the course of history.
Was it the plan all along? Did the Jews plan it 2000 years ago? Did they realize that they needed an ally that could help them keep themselves separate from the Gentiles? Or did things just happen to turn out perfectly for the Jewish elite? If the Church had been more anti-Semitic the Jews would have been thrown altogether out of Europe. If the Church had been less anti-Semitic that Jews would probably have assimilated into Europe and the rabbinic elite would have lost all their power. Plan or luck it was an achievement no other Diaspora nation has managed. Only the Jews have kept separate over 2500 years.
Plan or not it did not work anywhere else than in Europe. Only the Europeans were naive enough to let a hostile and unassimilable nation to move in and start economically exploit them for centuries. In other parts of the world such as in China the Jews also tried their luck but were gradually assimilated.
400’s- Kings against the Church
After the fall of the Western part of the Roman empire the Jews started to support Germanic kings against the Popes and the Church. Jews offered the Germanic kings and aristocrats help in slave trade, tax collecting and in the creation of various monopolies and cartels. This helped both the kings and the aristocracy to gradually create a stronger state, subjugate the peasants and institute serfdom.
Tax-farming in France began in the Middle Ages. Lords did not have the machinery or the inclination to collect taxes. Private tax collectors, usually Jews, paid the lord a fixed sum in advance for the right to collect tolls and customs. This instant cash is what made the tax-farmer so desirable. Furthermore, tax bureaucracies of kings and nobles were usually corrupt as well as inefficient. Only in an emergency, when taxfarmers offered insufficient revenues, did the king collect his own taxes, and then only as a temporary expedient. (The Impact of Taxes, p. 226)
Without the Jews the whole Western Europe would probably have remained decentralized. It was with the support of the Jews that especially the kings and aristocrats gradually became more powerful. In exchange the they defended the Jews and their monopolies against the people and the Church.
In the sixth century, Jews were documented in Marseilles, Arles, Uzès, Narbonne, Clermont-Ferrand, Orléans, Paris, and Bordeaux. … They appear to have had priests (rabbis or ḥazzanim), archisynagogues, patersynagogues, and other synagogue officials. The Jews worked principally as merchants, as they were prohibited from owning land; they also served as tax-collectors, sailors, and physicians. .. In the 6th century, a Jewish community thrived in Paris. They built a synagogue on the Île de la Cité, but it was later torn down by Christians, who erected a church on the site. (Wikipedia. Emphasis added.)
Despite the help of the Jews the kings and aristocrats still could not totally subjugate the peasants and the Church. On the contrary. The Church helped the people limit taxation. God himself was on the side of the people against rulers. And so was the decentralized nature of Western Europe.
The feudal system was based on contract. Initially, little revenue was generated by the feudal contract, which was a three-party arrangement with God as the third party. Tax provisions in feudal contracts were unalterable. The King of Tours, for example, made a covenant that he “would not burden the people with new taxes” (much like a modem politician). A count in his kingdom levied a new poll tax without the king’s knowledge. An early chronicle records, “the king was horrified” and feared the wrath of God for having broken his covenant. The king destroyed the new tax roll, refunded all the taxes paid, and repented of his sin!
The King of Tours actions were understandable. Taxpayers in the Middle Ages had God on their side. Today, we are supposed to have the Constitution on our side, but, looking back, I think the taxpayers in that day had a superior arrangement. They had a kind of divine supply-side economics. One of the religious teachings in the medieval world was that the king who taxed excessively incurred sin, and would be punished by God. (The Impact of Taxes, p. 143)
Harsh and punitive measures against new or excessive taxation had their origin in the Edict of Paris of A.D. 614, sometimes likened unto Magna Carta. This was a treaty between rival kings in the Frankish kingdom which spread over most of northern Europe, covering France, the Low Countries, and Germany. There was a large national assembly to reorganize the kingdom. What is significant is the following provision in the edict against all new taxation:
Everywhere, where a new tax has been wickedly introduced and has incited the people to resistance, the matter will be investigated and the tax mercifully abolished.3
The strong medieval prohibition against any “unheard-of tax,” or an exactio inaudita, had its roots in this edict, which could be described as medieval Europe’s early constitution. Thereafter, any charge that a tax was exactio inaudita was sufficient to defeat most any tax. The effectiveness of this prohibition no doubt had its strength in the position God played in medieval charters and covenants. (The Impact of Taxes, p. 145)
The Edict of Paris also limited the power of the Jews by denying them the right to be government officials. This limitation proves that the power of the Jews was quite significant already at this time. It was the aristocrats and the Church that pushed the kings to limit the power of the Jews.
Among the true concessions granted by the Edict were the ban on Jews in royal offices,[a] leaving all such appointments to the Frankish nobility, the granting of the right to bishops of deposing poor judges (if the king was unable at the time), and certain tax cuts and exemptions. Despite the exclusion of Jews from high office, their right to bring legal actions against Christians was preserved. (Wikipedia)
The Church often managed to get exemptions from various taxes and economic regulations. It is therefore not surprising that it was the Church and especially its monasteries that started the Economic Miracle of the Europe.
Kings and rulers also had to deal with God in the matter of church taxation. Churches were exempt, and this included church lands. Monasteries and abbeys spread throughout the countryside, and they often had vast and rich land holdings which could not be taxed. And as we observed, tolls for bridges and roads were often exempt for the clergy, which prompted many English merchants to travel through northern Europe disguised as pilgrims or clerics on religious excursions. (Impact of Taxes, p. 147)
Imagine if the Jews had stayed out of Western Europe and not financed and helped the local rulers against the Church and the people. Imagine if there had been no Court Jews at all. It might well be that the feudalism would have developed into a free private property order instead of big strong states. But it was not to be. The richer the Church, merchants and peasants made Europe the more enthusiastically Jews helped the kings to tax and fleece the people.
In the Middle Ages the Jews played a crucial role in Western civilization. Modem capitalism and banking probably developed out of Jewish money and commercial practices. .. The Jews provided the personnel to administer most governments. They were the only people with a balance in their education. Christians, even the so-called educated ones, were usually incompetent in commercial matters. Worldly wisdom was an exclusive prerogative of the Jewish community. ..
The Jews prospered with the monopolies they enjoyed in banking and commerce, and this made them natural targets for taxation. Every Christian ruler collected special taxes from the Jews throughout the medieval period. … They were the tax collectors, the executioners, and the money-men of the community. (Impact of Taxes, p. 149-151. Emphasis added.)
630’s- Muslim invasion of Christian lands
Jews liked to ally themselves with Germanic kings but they had a difficult relationship with the Eastern part of Rome, Byzantium. The eastern emperors were still often hostile to the Jews. So the Jews had a motive to help the Western kings to stop the expansion of Byzantium into the Western Europe. At this point even the Popes often received help from the Jews against the Byzantian emperor. This break-up of Rome and Christianity was very beneficial for the Jews because they could now play the Europeans against each other.
But the Western Church would not make a good alliance with the Jews. Furthermore, the Christian population of Western Europe was often totally hostile to Jews. Everywhere Christians saw Jews as troublesome outsiders who refused to assimilate. So the Jews helped the Muslims to conquer Byzantium and other Christian lands from the Middle East to Southern France.
[D]uring the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 many Jews sided against the Byzantine Empire in the Jewish revolt against Heraclius, which successfully assisted the invading Persian Sassanids in conquering all of Roman Egypt and Syria. In reaction to this, anti-Jewish measures were enacted throughout the Byzantine realm and as far away as Merovingian France. Soon thereafter, in 634 the Muslim conquests began, during which many Jews initially rose up again against their Byzantine rulers. (Wikipedia)
Also the Spanish Jews saw Muslims as their allies.
Furthermore, Jews were not to engage in commerce with the Christians of the kingdom nor conduct business with Christians overseas. Egica’s measures were upheld by the Sixteenth Council of Toledo in 693. As demonstrated, under the Catholic Visigoths, the trend was clearly one of increasing persecutions. The degree of complicity which the Jews had in the Islamic invasion in 711 is uncertain. Yet, openly treated as enemies in the country in which they had resided for generations, it would be no surprise for them to have appealed to the Moors to the south, quite tolerant in comparison to the Visigoths, for aid. In any case, in 694 they were accused of conspiring with the Muslims across the Mediterranean. Declared traitors, the Jews, including baptized ones, found their property confiscated and themselves enslaved. This decree exempted only the converts who dwelt in the mountain passes of Septimania, who were necessary for the kingdom’s protection.
The Jews of Spain had been utterly embittered and alienated by Catholic rule by the time of the Muslim invasion. To them, the Moors were perceived as, and indeed were, a liberating force. Wherever they went, the Muslims were greeted by Jews eager to aid them in administering the country. In many conquered towns the garrison was left in the hands of the Jews before the Muslims proceeded further north. Thus was initiated the period that became known as the “Golden Age” for Spanish Jews. (Wikipedia)
The Arab military prowess and Jewish help does not explain why Christians were subjugated so fast and so easily. There was something more powerful at work: The Muslim Arabs decreased taxes for all. On top of this you could decrease your taxes even further by converting to Islam. This explains why only in a few decades the Muslims were able to conquer so many lands from east to west.
The Moslems modified Roman poll taxes by reducing rates and limiting their application to non-believers. This new tax policy probably brought more converts to Islam than either the sword or the Koran. Joining the faith became an absolutely safe and sure way to avoid taxation. (The Impact of Taxes, p. 135)
But the supreme leader of the Muslim Arabs, the Caliph made one big mistake: He outsourced tax collection to the generals and governors (sultans) who then outsourced it to the Jews. This gradually not only broke the power of the Caliph but also increased taxation all-around. Tax revenues increased but only a trickle ended up in the hands of the Caliph.
Once in power the Moslems struggled to establish an effective government They lacked the genius of the Romans-especially the genius of Augustus-who taught the world for all time to come that an effective ruler must have a tight grip on the public purse. The Moslem rulers were supreme autocrats, more so than Augustus, but they made the fatal mistake of farming out taxation to local generals and governors.
As can be expected, these rulers drained off most of the tax blood of the empire and reduced to a trickle the flow to the central government The empire of the Caliphs withered from tax anemia as the Islamic world broke up into sub-empires of sultans, visiers, and local tax chiefs. (Impact of Taxes, p. 132)
But certainly the early Caliphs were not stupid. Why did they outsource taxation in such a fashion? Probably there were three big reasons: First, there was no clear rule of succession in Islam. This weakened the power of the Caliph and increased the likelihood of rebellions and palace coups. Second, the early Muslim generals were so successful that they might have challenged the Caliph or even established their own states. Third, the Jews certainly expected some major rewards for their help and probably often supported the generals and sultans against the Caliph. All these factors probably forced the Caliphs to outsource taxation.
Naturally this outsourcing of taxes and regulations made the Jews very powerful because they were the experts in the tax collecting, monopolies and slave trading. Jews had now a license to trade in Christian slaves, collect taxes and run various monopolies and cartels. In this way Muslims and Jews became a hostile elite that subjugated the conquered Christians from the Middle East to Spain. Jews especially specialized in exporting Christian slaves to Muslim markets and then importing spices and various other goods to European markets.
But there was one sure way for the Christians to escape the ever increasing taxation and slavery: Convert to Islam. Thus more and more Christians converted. This decreased tax revenue especially for the sultans and the Jews. No wonder then that the Jews wanted the tax loophole closed. Ironically this saved the Christian communities and made the later Crusades possible.
In time a shortage of revenue developed because of a shortage of infidels. We have the record of an Egyptian ruler pleading with the caliph to permit him to reinstate the poll tax on converts. Because of drastically reduced tax revenues he had to supplement his treasury with 20,000 dinars from his personal wealth. Conversion had become a serious loophole in the tax system. This is an early example of the over-use of a tax avoidance device.
Finally, Moslem rulers had to close the loophole, even if it meant annulling an important public policy. Spreading the faith was the noblest pursuit of all Moslems, but when pitted against diminishing tax revenues, this noblest of endeavors had to give way. In any contest between God and taxes (like the contest between liberty and taxes), even God must give ground. (Impact of Taxes, p. 135)
700’s- Empire of Charlemagne against the Pope
The Arab invasion continued to the heart of Europe, to Central France. Historians have traditionally considered the Battle of Tours in 732 as the decisive battle that turned the tide. However, one important factor must also have been the fact that the Muslims could not offer significantly lower taxes to the French people. After all, their taxation was already quite low because of the decentralized nature of Western Europe. However, the Muslim threat did give an excuse for the French kings to gradually increase taxation and centralize power. Without the Jews and the Muslim threat France probably would have stayed as decentralized as Germany.
Once Jews realized that the Muslims would not be able to invade France they strongly allied themselves with the Frankish kings. It was the Jews who helped Charlemagne to create his empire. In exchange he granted various economic privileges to the Jews such as slave trading and tax collecting. The church opposed these privileges and managed to outlaw the enslavement of Christians. This is probably one reason for Charlemagne’s continuous wars against Saxons and other European pagans. Franks could sell slaves to the Jews who then transported them to the South and sold them to the Muslims. The close relationship between the Charlemagne and his sons with the Jews was often considered scandalous.
Charlemagne fixed a formula for the Jewish oath to the state. He allowed Jews to enter into lawsuits with Christians. They were not allowed to require Christians to work on Sunday. Jews were not allowed to trade in currency, wine, or grain. Legally, Jews belonged to the emperor, and could be tried only by him. ..
Louis le Débonnaire (ruled 814-840), faithful to the principles of his father Charlemagne, granted strict protection to Jews, whom he respected as merchants. Like his father, Louis believed that ‘the Jewish question’ could be solved with the gradual conversion of Jews; according to medievalist scholar J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, some people believed this tolerance threatened the Christian unity of the Empire, which led to the strengthening of the Bishops at the expense of the Emperor.
Saint Agobard of Lyon (779-841) had many run-ins with the Jews of France. He wrote about how rich and powerful they were becoming. Scholars such as Jeremy Cohen suggest that Saint Agobard’s belief in Jewish power contributed to his involvement in violent revolutions attempting to dethrone Louis the Pious in the early 830s.
Lothar and Agobard’s entreaties to Pope Gregory IV, gained them Papal support for the overthrow of Emperor Louis. Upon Louis the Pious’ return to power in 834, he deposed Saint Agobard from his see, to the consternation of Rome. There were unsubstantiated rumors in this period that [king] Louis’, second wife Judith was a converted Jew, as she would not accept the Ordinatio for their first child. (Wikipedia)
900’s- The Holy Roman Emperor against the Pope
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. Libertarians emphasize that it was this secessionist and decentralist process that gave birth to Western liberty.
Libertarians 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. This created an Economic Miracle. The competition between various towns, baronies and bishoprics decreased taxes and regulations. The lowest taxes were in Flanders which soon developed into an economic powerhouse.
In the Middle Ages the French king was not much more than a medium-sized baron. Many nobles in France were larger and more powerful than the king of France. .. No Magna Carta was necessary in France for the simple reason that feudal contracts granted freedom from taxation to most nobles; furthermore, French kings respected these contracts and would not dare institute an ex actio inaudita (an unheard-of tax).
Tax restraints on the French monarchy also applied to lords. The taille, like the English tallage, was hated as much in France as in England. Many charters between lords and commoners prohibited this most arbitrary power to tax. In Flanders, the local count invited weavers to come and live, upon the express condition that there would be no taille. The weaving industry that developed from this taille immunity still survives as the dominant industry in Flanders today. (The Impact of Taxes, p. 217)
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 almost 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 Hanseatic League which made possible the economic and cultural boom of the High Middle Ages.
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.
Christianity and decentralism also created the Western idea of chivalry and individual-conservative freedom. It was not an idea of atomistic 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 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. But at the same time you were free to create your own interpretation of general rules provided you found somebody who agreed with you. It was a decentralized law system that was based on natural law principles but allowed extreme flexibility. Private but social. Universal but localized.
“Feudal law” reflected this “hierarchic-anarchic” social structure of the Middle Ages. All of law was essentially private law (i.e., law applying to persons and person-to-person interactions), all of litigation was between a personal defendant and a personal plaintiff , and punishment typically involved the payment of some specified material compensation by the offender to his victim or his lawful successor.
However, this central characteristic of the Middle Ages as a historical model of a private law society did not mean that feudal law was some sort of unitary, coherent, and consistent legal system. To the contrary, feudal law allowed for a great variety of locally and regionally different laws and customs, and the difference in the treatment of similar offenses in different localities could be quite drastic. Yet at the same time, with the Catholic Church and the Scholastic teachings of the natural law, there was an overarching institutional framework and moral reference system in place to serve as a morally unifying force, constraining and moderating the range of variation between the laws of different localities. (Hans-Hermann Hoppe. The Great Fiction, p. 483)
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. Liberty was breaking out all over Europe.
In standard (orthodox) history we are told, as a quasi-axiomatic truth, that the institution of the state is necessary and indispensable for the maintenance of social peace. The study of the Middle Ages and Latin Christendom shows that this is untrue, a historical myth, and how, for a lengthy historical period, peace was successfully maintained without a state and thus without open renunciation of libertarian and biblical precepts.
Although many libertarians fancy an anarchic social order as a largely horizontal order without hierarchies and different ranks of authority—as “antiauthoritarian”—the medieval example of a stateless society teaches otherwise. Peace was not maintained by the absence of hierarchies and ranks of authority, but by the absence of anything but social authority and ranks of social authority. Indeed, in contrast to the present order, which essentially recognizes only one authority, that of the state, the Middle Ages were characterized by a great multitude of competing, cooperating, overlapping and hierarchically ordered ranks of social authority. There was the authority of the heads of family households and of various kinship groups.
There were patrons, lords, overlords, feudal kings with their estates, their vassals, and the vassals of vassals. There were countless different and separate communities and towns, and a huge variety of religious, artistic, professional, and social orders, councils, assemblies, guilds, associations, and clubs, each with its own rules, hierarchies and rank orders. In addition, and of utmost importance, there were the authorities of the local priest, the more distant bishop, and of the Pope in Rome.
But no authority was absolute, and no one person or group of people held a monopoly on its position or rank of authority. .. Authority was widely dispersed, and any one person or position of authority was constrained and kept in check by another. Even feudal kings, bishops, and indeed even the Pope himself could be called upon and brought to justice by other competing authorities. (Hans-Hermann Hoppe. The Great Fiction, p. 482)
The only group that did not take part in this European natural law system were the Jews. They were the personal property of the kings and emperors. And they liked it that way. Jews bought privileges from the kings and exploited the natives with tax farming, monopolies and cartels. Jews did their best to support the kings and create states. But after the collapse of Charlemagne’s empire the Jews had to deal with hundreds of different rulers many of which were totally hostile to Jews. Germany became a hotbed of “anti-Semitism” for the next thousand years. This is why the Jews were often such a strong supporters of the Holy Roman emperors and wanted him to gain the power to tax also the Gentiles.
The legal and civic status of the Jews underwent a transformation under the Holy Roman Empire. Jewish people found a certain degree of protection with the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, who claimed the right of possession and protection of all the Jews of the empire. A justification for this claim was that the Holy Roman Emperor was the successor of the emperor Titus, who was said to have acquired the Jews as his private property. The German emperors apparently claimed this right of possession more for the sake of taxing the Jews than of protecting them. (Wikipedia)
The Jews often supported the emperor against his local vassals and the Popes. However, decentralization had gone too far. Without the power to tax the emperor did not manage to subjugate his vassals and the pope even with Jewish support. No wonder many localities, aristocrats and Popes became more and more hostile towards the Jews. The battle between the Pope and the Emperor became an ideological battle that lasted for centuries and led to many civil wars between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. This guaranteed the balance of power in Europe. The decentralized nature of Europe in the High Middle Ages increased freedom and created economic miracles from the Netherlands to North Italy.
950’s- Muslims against the Byzantium and the Crusader states
The Jews were allied with the Arab Muslims in exploiting the Christians in the Middle East. However, the Arab Abbasid Caliphate was very suspicious of the Jews and often broke contracts and increased taxes on them. Thus Jews had an incentive to support the disintegration of the Caliphate by supporting Shias against Sunnis. It was the Jews who helped the Shia Fatimids to take over the rich Egypt.
One such official, Yaqub b. Killis, converted to Islam specifically in order to advance his political career and, as vizier, helped to plan the Fatimid conquest of Egypt in 969. Subsequently, he reorganized the new province, revamping its fiscal system and currency, and prepared Egypt to become the seat of Fatimid government.Other converts who became Fatimid viziers included Hasan b. Ibrahim al-Tustari and Sadaqa b. Yusuf al-Fallahi. The Ayyubids (1171-1250), who succeeded the Fatimids. also employed large numbers of Jews and Jewish converts as administrators. …
In Fatimid North Africa during the tenth and eleventh centuries, Jews were important bankers, financiers, and advisors to the caliphate. During the reign of al-Mustansir, who succeeded to the caliphate in 1036 while still a small boy, the power behind the Fatimid throne was the Jewish financier and courtier, Abu Saed Ibrahim al-Tustari.” Dhimmis, or nonbelievers, were precluded from holding the very highest Fatimid offices, such as the vizierate. Paralleling the case of Christian Spain, however, several nominally converted Jews became viziers. (Fatal Embrace. p. 29)
But even this was not enough. Abbasids were now even more hostile towards the Jews. It is therefore not surprising that many Jews also supported the Turkish invasion from Central Asia. The Seljuk Turks conquered many Arab states and almost managed to conquer the Christian Byzantium. The Turks converted to Islam but had a positive attitude towards the Jews whom they considered close allies. Many Turkish states had Court Jews who practically run their economy especially since at that time the Turks were much less business-minded than the Arabs. The Turks also persecuted Christians and even destroyed many holy Christian places in Jerusalem. This and the attacks against Byzantium would soon start the Crusades.
1066- Norman England
After the fall of Rome and the Germanic invasions England became a decentralist society where taxation was low and the Church dominated the economy and society. England was fast becoming a free society but then Wilhelm II of Normandy conquered England in 1066 and became king Wilhelm I, known as Wilhelm the Conqueror. He created a militarist state that increased taxes and regulations. But who would finance him and run the government bureaucracy? The Jews. It was William who brought Jews to England.
There is little reason to think that there was any settled Jewish presence in Anglo-Saxon England, although there is considerable discussion of the nature of Jewish religion and its relationship to Christianity in literature. William of Malmesbury states that William the Conqueror brought Jews from Rouen to England. William the Conqueror’s object may be inferred: his policy was to get feudal dues paid to the royal treasury in coin rather than in kind, and for this purpose it was necessary to have a body of men scattered through the country who would supply quantities of coin.
Prior to their expulsion in 1290, the status of Jews in England was completely dependent on the will of the Crown. English Jews were legally under the jurisdiction of the king, who offered them protection in return for their economic function. As “royal serfs”, they were allowed freedom of the king’s highways, exemption from tolls, the ability to hold land directly from the king, and physical protection in the vast network of royal castles built to assert Norman authority.
An occupying French speaking over-class coupled with Jews created not only great resentment but also an anti-statist and anti-Jewish culture among the native English. This was not surprising since the machinery of state was clearly visible and separate from the people. The rulers not only spoke a foreign language but their agents were often Jews. Passive resistance and tax rebellions became commonplace and managed to limit the power of this foreign over-class. Soon even the Domesday book could not be used anymore in levying taxes.
The famous Doomsday Book contained a complete survey of all the lands and personal property in England. William the Conqueror had the book compiled for the taxation of his newly acquired England, but revolts crippled tax collection from the beginning, and in time English kings ceased to use this remarkable census.
[T]here was no single hide nor yard of land, nor indeed one ax nor one cow nor one pig was there left out, and not put down on the record …. Other investigations followed the first . . . and the land was vexed with much violence arising from the collection of royal taxes. I (Eleventh-century chronicle) (Impact of Taxes, p. 161)
Since it was the Jews who helped the Norman kings to conquer and lord over England it is not surprising that the English gradually became very hostile towards the Jews.
In 1144 came the first report in history of the blood libel against Jews; it came up in the case of William of Norwich (1144). Anthony Julius finds that the English were endlessly imaginative in inventing antisemitic allegations against the Jews. He says that England became the “principal promoter, and indeed in some sense the inventor of literary anti-Semitism.”
In his book, Julius argues that blood libel is the key, because it incorporates the themes that Jews are malevolent, constantly conspiring against Christians, powerful, and merciless. Variations include stories about Jews poisoning wells, twisting minds, and buying and selling Christian souls and bodies. While the Crusaders were killing Jews in Germany, outbursts against Jews in England were, according to Jewish chroniclers, prevented by King Stephen.(Wikipedia)
Together with kings the Jews managed to not only make state more powerful but also enrich themselves in the process. England became almost a promised land for the Jews. Therefore it is not surprising that they strongly supported the Normans rule over the English but also over the French. Henry II had such a good relationship with Jews that they probably helped him defend his Angevin Empire against the French. The Jew of Gloucester, Josce even financed the conquest of Ireland.
While the Crusaders were killing Jews in Germany, outbursts against Jews in England were, according to Jewish chroniclers, prevented by King Stephen. With the restoration of order under Henry II, Jews renewed their activity. Within five years of his accession Jews were found at London, Oxford, Cambridge, Norwich, Thetford, Bungay, Canterbury, Winchester, Stafford, Windsor, and Reading. ..
Their spread throughout the country enabled the king to draw upon their resources as occasion demanded. He repaid them with demand notes on the sheriffs of the counties, who accounted for payments thus made in the half-yearly accounts on the pipe rolls (see Aaron of Lincoln).
Strongbow’s conquest of Ireland (1170) was financed by Josce, a Jew of Gloucester; and the king accordingly fined Josce for having lent money to those under his displeasure. As a rule, however, Henry II does not appear to have limited in any way the financial activity of Jews.
The favourable position of English Jews was shown, among other things, by the visit of Abraham ibn Ezra in 1158, by that of Isaac of Chernigov in 1181, and by the immigration to England of Jews who were exiled from the king’s properties in France by Philip Augustus in 1182, among them probably being Judah Sir Leon of Paris. [The Jewish financier] Aaron of Lincoln is believed to have been the wealthiest man in 12th century Britain. It is estimated that his wealth may have exceeded that of the king. (Wikipedia)
The Church was enraged by the enormous power of the Jews who were now widely considered “the sponges of kings”.
Theologian William de Montibus (1140-1213), perhaps not coincidentally from the same town of Lincoln as the wealthy Jew Aaron, summed up his feelings for them in the oft-quoted, “Jews are the sponges of kings, they are bloodsuckers of Christian purses, by whose robbery kings despoil and deprive poor men of their goods.” (Times of Israel)
Even Henry II became alarmed by the riches of the Jews. Then his son Richard the Lionheart went on a Crusade to the Holy Land where he became even more hostile towards the Jews. The alliance between the Jews and English kings was breaking down. Richard’s brother and successor also tried to fleece the Jews. However, that was not enough for him. When he continually tried to increase taxes the nobility finally rebelled.
John increased the customary scutage for knights from one to two marks. In 1204 he increased the rate again by half a mark with the consent of a council of knights at Oxford. In 1210 and 1214 he increased the scutage to three marks without authorization. Tallages, which were supposed to be occasional, became perpetual. One writer wrote in 1211, “With occasions of his wars he pilleth them with taxes and tallages unto the bare bones.”3 …
The barons confronted John on the plains of Runnymede outside London and compelled him to sign Magna Carta, which would stop his continual disregard of the tax customs of the realm. The key provision was,
“No scutage or aid, save the customary feudal ones, shall be levied except by the common consent of the realm.” (The Impact of Taxes, p. 163)
Magna Carta also limited Jewish moneylending.
Magna Carta also protected relatively free trade within England.
One of the most important and overlooked chapters in Magna Carta is the provision for merchants, creating free trade in an era of crippling tolls and duties. Merchants were never sure of their right of free passage in and out of England and, especially, free passage within the country. Merchants were often taxed relentlessly by local authorities and by the king’s tax men as well. Magna Carta protected trade from internal tolls and duties and prohibited excessive tolls at seaports:
Let all merchants have safety and security to go out of England, to come into England, and to remain in and go about through England, as well by land as by water, for the purpose of buying and selling, without payment of any evil or unjust tolls, on payment of the ancient and just customs.5 (The Impact of Taxes, p. 164)
Classical liberals and other libertarian historians have celebrated the Magna Carta as a document of freedom. However, it created a dangerous precedent. It legitimized state rule. From the perspective of liberty it would have made more sense to try to strip king of his extra powers and reduce him into a normal noble landowner. Why should the king have the right to tax and judge anyway? The king should finance his expenses from the income of his personal landed property just like the Holy Roman Emperor.
The reason king John accepted the Magna Carta was that it not only legitimized his power over the society but also that he could later interpret it to his own advantage. There was already relatively free trade in England anyway so the king lost hardly any income by “protecting” it. And since he was the alleged source of this free trade it would be easy at some later date to start regulating it.
Similarly, king John accepted some limits to his taxing power but at the same time it was now legitimized. Soon he could start expanding it again especially since he could ally himself not only with Jewish but also with Gentile merchants. He could even interpret the word consent as “representative consent”. This absurd interpretation would create the disastrous idea of parliamentarism and finally democracy. The state would now have no logical limits.
John’s attempt to stretch the revenue devices of the realm had failed, but not entirely. Extra taxation could be collected with consent. In time the consent concept expanded. A rising class of wealthy commoners were called to meet in a House of Commons, to approve taxation for commoners in the same way the Great Council approved taxation for the nobility. The king now became a politician. When extra revenue was needed, he did not need to steal it or arbitrarily increase taxation, he would call together his two councils of taxpayer representatives and present a case for more taxation.
In the beginning, consent did not mean that the barons would vote with a majority binding the minority. No baron was bound unless he consented. This is illustrated by an early case in 1217, two years after Magna Carta. The Bishop of Winchester was brought before the King’s Court for not collecting an aid for the king. The court acquitted the bishop because he was absent from the council when the vote was taken.4 No one could consent on his behalf. It would be some time before consent meant majority rule, which was another victory for the king. Unanimous consent is a hard principle to work with, especially in exacting taxes. (The Impact of Taxes, p. 163-4)
The king soon started to increase taxes and regulations by making deals with the majority of parliamentary representatives. But luckily there was still the English people who by now had a thoroughly anti-statist attitude. And after the expulsion of the Jews the king lost his biggest supporters and tax-collectors. Unlike the Jews the local assessors and sheriffs were on the side of the native population. The culture of liberty blossomed in England.
In England at the time of Magna Carta, the principle of parliamentary supremacy over taxation appeared to be well established. In the centuries that followed, England’s tax struggles shifted from king v. Parliament to Parliament v. taxpayers. A third factor emerged in tax-making-taxpayer acceptance and approval. English taxpayers revolted against taxes they did not like. Some revolts were violent, but most were of the “cold war” type, or what could be called national conspiracies at all levels. Taxpayers, assessors, and sheriffs refused to cooperate regardless of what Parliament had approved. Parliamentary consent was not necessarily taxpayer consent. …
After the expulsion of the Jews the taxpayer resistance managed to limit major taxation to only fifteenths and tenths. Even these became soon fixed sums.
The principal and normal form of parliamentary taxation from 1334 to the sixteenth century was the fifteenth and tenth. (British history)
Strong taxpayer resistance forced the Chancellor of the Exchequer to appear before the Parliament and admit defeat. Parliament, said the chancellor, should stay with the “fifteenths” and “tenths,” which was a tax the English taxpayer was “most easy, ready, and prone to payment.”2 The “fifteenths” meant one-fifteenth of the assessed value of a taxpayer’s personal property, usually livestock and goods. The “tenths” meant one-tenth of real property rentals. No one was “doubly taxed.”
In actual practice the tax evolved into a grant of £30,000 for all of England. Each tax district was obliged to pay a fixed amount to the treasury. There were no audits or appraisals. The same amount was paid by a family for generations. Assessments and collections were performed by local people. The Crown had to wait up to two years to receive payment. The English liked this tax because everyone knew exactly what his tax would be, and generally consented to the final figure. There was no undue pressure for payment, and most important, the king’s tax agents were excluded from administration.3 (Impact of Taxes, p. 239-240)
It is probably safe to say that the Jews helped the Normans to conquer and lord over England as a foreign ruling elite. But once the Normans gradually integrated into England and turned on the Jews the kings also lost their biggest supporters. Consequently the power of the kings to tax was successfully limited step by step until England became a low tax decentralized country.
1200’s- Kings against the Pope and the Templars
It was the Church that had created the European Economic Miracle both directly with its trading network and indirectly by limiting the power of kings to tax and regulate. It was also the Church which organized the Holy War to free the Holy Land. The crusaders miraculously managed to free Jerusalem in 1099 and exacted revenge by killing many of 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)
Saladin almost threw the crusaders out of the Middle East. Luckily the English king crusader, Richard the Lionheart saved the day and crusaders were able to stay in the Holy Land for another hundred years until the Jewish supported Turkish Mameluks expelled them.
There can hardly be any doubt about the role of Jews in supporting the Turks and destroying the Crusader states and Byzantium. Without the Jews much of the Holy Land and the Middle East would probably still be part of Europe at least culturally.
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.) (John Derbyshire. Crusading They Went: The deeds and Misdeeds of Our Spiritual Kin.)
The Crusades had made Popes even more powerful by creating various religious military orders like 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 that protected the pilgrims 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.
It was the Templars who first created an honest European wide banking system. In the 1200´s liberty was breaking out all over Europe. The living standards were now higher than anywhere in the world and the Industrial Revolution was breaking out.
The increase of the power of the Church and the emergence of European credit system decreased the power of the Jews. Thus it was now much easier to expel the Jews. This happened in many principalities during the High and Later Middle Ages.
The Church also dominated the university system and encouraged the rationalist development of philosophy and the natural sciences. Juan Mariana and the other Scholastics also created the School of Salamanca that first created the modern economics. Dr. Thomas Woods explains:
To say that the Church played a positive role in the development of science has now become absolutely mainstream, even if this new consensus has not yet managed to trickle down to the general public. In fact, Stanley Jaki, over the course of an extraordinary scholarly career, has developed a compelling argument that in fact it was important aspects of the Christian worldview that accounted for why it was in the West that science enjoyed the success it did as a self-sustaining enterprise. Non-Christian cultures did not possess the same philosophical tools, and in fact were burdened by conceptual frameworks that hindered the development of science. Jaki extends this thesis to seven great cultures: Arabic, Babylonian, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, and Maya. In these cultures, Jaki explains, science suffered a “stillbirth.” My book gives ample attention to Jaki’s work.
Economic thought is another area in which more and more scholars have begun to acknowledge the previously overlooked role of Catholic thinkers. Joseph Schumpeter, one of the great economists of the twentieth century, paid tribute to the overlooked contributions of the late Scholastics — mainly sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish theologians — in his magisterial History of Economic Analysis (1954). “[I]t is they,” he wrote, “who come nearer than does any other group to having been the founders’ of scientific economics.” In devoting scholarly attention to this unfortunately neglected chapter in the history of economic thought, Schumpeter would be joined by other accomplished scholars over the course of the twentieth century, including Professors Raymond de Roover, Marjorie Grice-Hutchinson, and Alejandro Chafuen.
“[S]cholars of the later Middle Ages,” concludes Lindberg, “created a broad intellectual tradition, in the absence of which subsequent progress in natural philosophy would have been inconceivable.” Historian of science Edward Grant concurs with this judgment:
What made it possible for Western civilization to develop science and the social sciences in a way that no other civilization had ever done before? The answer, I am convinced, lies in a pervasive and deep-seated spirit of inquiry that was a natural consequence of the emphasis on reason that began in the Middle Ages. With the exception of revealed truths, reason was enthroned in medieval universities as the ultimate arbiter for most intellectual arguments and controversies. It was quite natural for scholars immersed in a university environment to employ reason to probe into subject areas that had not been explored before, as well as to discuss possibilities that had not previously been seriously entertained.
The creation of the university, the commitment to reason and rational argument, and the overall spirit of inquiry that characterized medieval intellectual life amounted to “a gift from the Latin Middle Ages to the modern world…though it is a gift that may never be acknowledged. Perhaps it will always retain the status it has had for the past four centuries as the best-kept secret of Western civilization.” (Tom Woods. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.)
It was also the Church and its Scholastics who developed the natural law doctrine of individual rights.
[S]uch great late sixteenth century Spanish Jesuit scholastics as Suarez and Mariana were contractual natural rights thinkers, with Mariana being positively ’pre-Lockean’ in his insistence on the right of the people to resume the rights of sovereignty they had previously delegated to the king. (Murray N. Rothbard. An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, vol. 1: Economic Thought Before Adam Smith. Brookfield, Vt.: Edward Elgar, 1995. P. 313.)
In his book Kings and the Education of the Kings Juan de Mariana emphasized that it was the duty of kings to protect the rights of the people. If they failed in that it was right to kill them. This defence of tyrannicide was too much for the Church but Mariana would not budge. He started to criticize also the Church and especially its Jesuits.
A man of liberal mind, Mariana disturbed his superiors with his defense of the heretic Arioso Montano and with his De rege et regis institutione (1598; The King and the Education of the King, 1948), a treatise on government that argued that the overthrow of a tyrant was justifiable under certain conditions. With the assassination of Henry IV of France in 1610, there was an outcry in France against Mariana for supposedly having instigated this tyrannicide.
His Tractatus VII (1609), a series of seven treatises on political and moral subjects, including a defense of the heretic Arias Montano, was published in Cologne but banned by the Inquisition, and Mariana was imprisoned for a year and forced to do penance. Although he remained a Jesuit throughout his life, his criticism of the order, Discurso de los grandes defectos que hay en la forma del Gobierno de los Jesuitas (1625), severely censured the Jesuits for many injustices and inequities. (Britannica. Juan de Mariana)
3. Aliens and kings defeat the Popes
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. Parliamentary 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.)
For some time the Pope and his Templars could stop the avalance of statism. The Church and the Templars also had great financial resources since they dominated the European economy and especially banking. However, this very fact made Jews alarmed. Thus it is not surprising that they financed the kings to destroy papal and Templar power. This was relatively easy because the Jews had long been the tax collectors and financiers of the kings.
Jews especially financed and supported the French king Filip IV to create a powerful army. He soon started to increase taxes but it was never enough. Thus he became extremely indebted to Jews, Templars and other bankers. But since Filip was now powerful with a mighty army why would he pay back his debts? So he destroyed his creditors one by one. He started with the Jews and then destroyed the Templars. Now he was powerful enough to destroy even the Popes, dragged them into the Babylonian captivity and taxed Church property.
Philip the Fair, the French king who expelled the Jews and seized their wealth, started France down the road to royal absolutism, primarily through his lawlessness. After fleecing the Jews he utilized the same process to steal money from the rest of France’s bankers. He then turned on the church and when the pope threatened excommunication he sent a band of thugs to kidnap the pope to establish the papacy on French soil where it would be more cooperative toward his tax plans. This period of “Babylonian captivity,” as it has been called, was instituted by the king of France to assure his right to tax church property.
Philip finally succeeded in increasing taxes on the nobility by commuting knight service into an annual tax like the English scutage. On top of this bastardized scutage he added a capital levy, but he was unable permanently to enforce this tax. (Impact of Taxes, p. 218)
The Jews lost some money because of the lawlessness of Filip IV but they were soon allowed to return to France. And now their Templar competitors were gone. The power of the popes was greatly reduced. The Jews had won.
It is safe to say that the kings of Europe could never have destroyed the Church and created modern states without the help of the Jews. The kings were not so much interested to serve the people and save the Holy Land as they were interested in increasing taxation and destroying the power of the popes and his military orders. This was the watershed of European history. Decentralized free Europe was destroyed by strong states, high taxes and continuous wars such as the Hundred Years’ War. The collapsing economy soon led to the Black Death.
1300’s- France against England
The king of England, Edward I expelled all the Jews in 1290. There were also occasional expulsions from some regions of France but these were never totally enforced and Jews maintained a strong presence. During the Hundred Years’ War the Jews could play the English and France against each other. However, often they were more eager to support the French kings against the English. After all, unlike the English, the French often allowed the Jews to collect taxes and run various monopolies and cartels. This Jewish support probably made the kings of France so powerful that during the Hundred Year’s War they even managed to persuade the Estates General to grant the king permanent powers to levy even more taxes.
Two important events brought victory for the French-Joan of Arc and a new French tax system. Joan rallied the French people behind a new king who had good reason to be unsure of his claim to the throne (he was a nephew of Philip, while the English king was a grandson). At the same time, the Estates General, a kind of parliament of France, also supported the wavering king and granted him the power permanently to levy the taille against much of the wealth of France. England’s short term tax armies were only good for a battle or two, while French armies had a solid financial base to endure defeats and eventually drive the English from French soil. This was the tax that beat the English. …
With his new tax power the king of France was the envy of the monarchs of Europe. He was also granted the power to levy a sales tax and a tax on salt, but it was the taille that provided over 80 percent of his revenues. Looking at this new grant of taxing power from the standpoint of the French people, it eliminated the need for parliamentary debate and bargain. The Estates General was not needed any more. Royal absolutism, though not as absolute as it claimed, was nevertheless the consequence. The French monarchy could now easily move to the top of the [tax power] mountain while the king of England was clearly on his way down. (Impact of Taxes, p. 219-220)
During the High and Late Middle Ages the power to tax was gradually limited in England while in France it gradually expanded. The ancient liberties of the French were gradually destroyed and so was the economic miracle of France. It is safe to say that the expulsion of the Jews from England probably decreased the power of English kings and increased liberty in the long run. In France the Jews were never permanently expelled and always had influence in state affairs. However, the Jews were always under suspicion especially by the aristocracy who had realized how the Jews were now on the side of the kings. No wonder the French Jews always kept a low profile. This is probably why we have only limited knowledge of their activities in France.
The persecutions to which money-dealers were subjected resulted, unfortunately, in the destruction of those documents which it would be indispensable to consult in order to arrive at the extent and importance of the commerce in money during the Middle Ages; … But, in spite of tyranny and extortion, the Jews remained in France, exercising always secret but powerful influence in public and private affairs alike. (A History of Banking in all the Leading Nations. Vol. III.)
1400’s- Ottoman Muslims invade Europe
The Christian emperors of Byzantium were much more critical of the Jews than the Ottoman Turks who considered Jews valuable allies. Jews financed and supported the rise of the Ottoman empire which soon conquered both Balkans and Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantium.
The first major event in Jewish history under Turkish rule took place after the Empire gained control over Constantinople. .. In order to revivify Constantinople he ordered that Muslims, Christians and Jews from all over his empire be resettled in the new capital. Within months, most of the Empire’s Romaniote Jews, from the Balkans and Anatolia, were concentrated in Constantinople, where they made up 10% of the city’s population...
Rabbi Yitzhak Sarfati .. wrote a letter inviting European Jewry to settle in the Ottoman Empire, in which he stated, “Turkey is a land wherein nothing is lacking,” and asking, “Is it not better for you to live under Muslims than under Christians?” ..
The Jews satisfied various needs in the Ottoman Empire: the Muslim Turks were largely uninterested in business enterprises and accordingly left commercial occupations to members of minority religions. They also distrusted the Christian subjects whose countries had only recently been conquered by the Ottomans and therefore it was natural to prefer Jewish subjects to which this consideration did not apply.
Also in the first half of the 17th century the Jews were distinct in winning tax farms, Haim Gerber describes it: “My impression is that no pressure existed, that it was merely performance that counted.” (Wikipedia)
It is not an exaggeration to say that the Jews totally dominated the economy of the Ottoman empire. They also helped Ottomans to conquer Christian lands. Jews even had a very important role in the Battle of Lepanto where the Ottomans tried to crush the Christian fleets and dominate the Mediterranean.
During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Jews came to play a major role in the fiscal affairs and administration of the Ottoman empire. After the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, the Ottomans accepted thousands of refugees because they valued the financial, administrative, and manufacturing skills that the Jews brought with them. Sultan Bayazid II is reported to have remarked that King Ferdinand was foolish to have expelled such talented subjects. Jews were particularly useful to the Ottomans because they lacked ties to any of the subject populations of the multiethnic empire and, thus, could be entrusted with unpopular tasks such as tax collection. …
Jews dominated the imperial revenue system, serving as tax collectors, tax farmers, tax intendants, and tax inspectors. Jews also created and operated the imperial customs service. Indeed, so complete was Jewish control over this segment of the Ottoman state that Ottoman customs receipts were typically written in Hebrew. Jews also accompanied provincial governors or “pashas,” as financial advisors.
A number of Jews also became important advisors to the Ottoman court. The most famous was Joseph Nasi, who was the principle counselor to two sultans and was ennobled as the duke of Naxos. Nasi used his influence to secure the sultan’s support for the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, then under Ottoman rule. With the sultan’s help, a Jewish settlement was created in Safed, in the upper Galilee, that became a center for rabbinic study. Unfortunately, not all of Nasi’s advice was sound. It was his plan that helped to bring about the Turkish naval defeat in the battle of Lepanto in 1571, and, as a result, his influence at court declined. (Fatal Embrace, p. 29)
After the fall of Constantinople the mantle of Orthodox Christianity was passed to Moscow which became Third Rome in the fight against the Muslims, Jews and Tatars. The Russians inherited from the Byzantines a highly critical attitude towards the Jews. They also taxed them very harshly. For example, the Russians created a tax on kosher slaughter. This was an efficient tax because Jews could only consume kosher food and the kosher slaughter was extremely cruel and messy. Secret kosher slaughter was difficult and so Jews were forced to pay large sums.
The Russian Kosher tax, known as the korobka, was a tax paid only by Jews for each animal slaughtered in accordance with the kashrut rules and for each pound of this meat sold. It was part of the Russian Jewish “basket tax” or “box tax”. Though it was used to refer to a tax on meat or slaughtering, the word korobka (Russian: коробка) actually means “box” in Russian. The tax came to be called that because Jews paying had to deposit a coin in a box at the kosher slaughterer.
According to Herman Rosenthal and Jacob Goodale Lipman, the tax was “the most burdensome and annoying of the special taxes imposed upon the Jews of Russia by the government”. The burden of taxes, and the korobka in particular, was one of the factors which drove many Jews to abandon the towns and settle in villages or on noblemen estates. (Wikipedia)
The Jews were now hated and taxed harshly both in Western and Eastern Europe. However, between West and the East there was still Poland. The Jews made an alliance with Polish kings and aristocrats. Soon Poland became the promised land of the Jews.
1450’s- Poland against Russia
During the High and Late Medieval times Jews were expelled from many parts of Western Europe or their monopoly activities were otherwise strongly limited. Thus many Jews immigrated either to Ottoman Empire or to Poland-Lithuania which soon became the promised land for the Jews. They were able to buy slave trade, tax collecting and various other monopolies from the Polish kings and aristocracy.
Historians have tried their best to cover-up the monopolist nature of the Polish economy run by Jews. Historian tried to avoid mentioning that the Jews bought from the kings and aristocracy the privilege of collecting taxes (tax-farming) and naturally pocketed the extra money they were able to extort from the native people. Jews also bought monopoly privileges to sell alcohol and operate mills. The Jewish historian Benjamin Ginsberg is one of the few who dares to mention these facts but even he tries to obfuscate and mentions important facts only passingly. Ginsberg also fails to explain properly why the peasants were so enraged at the Jews.
Similarly, in the seventeenth-century Ukraine, Jews were aligned with the Polish nobility, whom they served as estate managers, tax collectors, administrators, and the operators of such enterprises as mills and breweries. When in 1648, however, the Ukrainian peasantry led by Bogdan Chmielnicki revolted against the Poles and their Jewish subordinates, the Poles sought to save themselves by handing the Jews over to the Ukrainian in exchange for their own lives. Thousand of Jews were killed when denied access to or evicted from the fortified Polish town where they had sought refuge. (Benjamin Ginsberg. Fatal Embrace. 1993. p. 35)
Especially outrageous were the propination laws that monopolized alcohol production and sales. It was almost exclusively the Jews who bought these alcohol monopoly privileges. Thus these Jews had an enormous incentive to sell as much alcohol to the peasantry as possible. And often on credit. This was probably the biggest reason why alcoholism was such a serious problem among the Poles, Ukrainians and Russians. Wikipedia has a surprisingly honest description of this outrageous alcohol monopoly that was such an important part of regulatory capture and the Fatal Embrace:
Propination laws were a privilege granted to Polish szlachta [aristocracy] that gave landowners a monopoly over profits from alcohol consumed by their peasants. Propination is a historical right to distill spirits. In many cases, profits from propination exceeded those from agricultural production or other sources. These laws usually included:
- peasants were not allowed to purchase any alcohol not produced in their owner’s distillery
- alternatively, they could be allowed to brew their own drinks but had to pay a fee according to the amount produced
- peasants had to buy at least a given quota of vodka or okovita. Those who didn’t comply had the remaining amount dumped in front of their houses and had to pay the costs.
These laws first appeared in the 16th and were widespread by the 17th century. They lasted until 1845 (Prussian partition), 1889 (Galicia) and 1898 (Russian Partition).
Propination was the main cause for massive alcoholism in Poland; also, because taverns in rural region were leased nearly exclusively to Jews who took part in enforcing these privileges, it was also a major reason for anti-semitism among peasants. (Wikipedia, emphasis added)
Gradually the propination laws were made less strict but Jews still controlled alcohol and many other monopolies and cartels even in the 1900’s. For example, the peasants were not anymore forced to buy alcohol but they still had to go to the Jews to get it.
Hundreds of years Jews exploited the Polish, Russian and Ukrainian peasantry who had nowhere to run since often they also suffered from the attacks of the Muslim Turks and Tatars. Rebel against the Jews and soon the Turks or Tatars will be your masters. Still many exploited peasants risked death and escaped to Southern Ukraine to join the free Cossacks.
Gradually the Cossacks allied themselves with the Tsar who had managed to free Russians from the yoke of the Tatars and Turks. Naturally Jews supported the Poles and Turks against Russia.