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A READER'S JOURNAL:
Citadel, Market, and Altar — Emerging Society
Published by The Science of Society Foundation/Md in 1957
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2000
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I think it not improbable that man, like the grub that prepares a chamber for the winged thing it never has seen but is to be, that man may have cosmic destinies he does not understand.
- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes [quote from the title page of Part I Science, page 1.]
And one of those cosmic destinies is peace, OWH says in the end of the quote on page 1 of this book. And how are we going to achieve this peace? Thereupon hangs a tale, and the story teller is Spencer Heath, a lawyer, a businessman, an inventor, and a horticulturist according to John Chamberlain in his Foreword:
[page v] A believer in the de novo approach, he developed basic propeller patents and special machinery for propeller manufacture which were much in demand during World War I. Indeed, some seventy per cent of the propellers used by American planes in that conflict came from Mr. Heath's factory.
A propeller allows a plane to rise from the ground and to offer its pilot a view of the earth from a high perspective. Above the teeming multitude of people, animals, plants and minerals certain patterns evolve that are not visible from the ground. Take the teeming masses of India or China today, close to a billion in each country. Are you worried about these billions of people taking over the world by their sheer wealth of numbers? John Chamberlain was, before he read about Spencer Heath's "energy concept of population."
[page v] Mr. Heath's idea is that a high-birthrate people with a short average life-span must constitute a low-energy society, whereas a people with a lower birthrate and a greater life-expectancy utilizes its energy to the maximum.
What Heath shows is that if you add up the productive years of a population, those not devoted to growing up and reproducing, a smaller population with a longer life span will produce in material goods, arts, science and culture much more than larger countries with a shorter life span. For example, a life-span of thirty amounts to about ten years productive life. A life-span of 70 amounts to fifty years of productive life. Thus the latter can match productivity in all phases of endeavor with a country that is otherwise five times bigger than it is!
Heath also points to hotels as a model for community services. Just imagine a world in which the local government employees treat you as nicely as does a bell hop at the Waldorf-Astoria, as a valuable customer whose any desire deserves prompt and courteous attention. Heck, you might even want to tip such a "public service" employee and it might even be legal to do so, as it is in any hotel in America today. Chamberlain tells us how Heath would go about this conversion to a proprietary administration of public services.
[page vi] He predicts that property owners will some day pool their titles and take over the administration of such community services as water supply, garbage removal, highways, parks, tennis courts and the policing of local areas. Community life thus administered would soon rise to the cleanliness, order and pleasantness associated with a vacation period in a good resort hotel.
"What balderdash!" some of you may be thinking. "Imagine running a community without a state or local bureaucracy! It would never work! The very idea!" Yes, and that very idea is currently working in one place where we happen to own property, in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. There are no state or county facilities provided to this community of 175 square miles and about 15,000 population. All roads, utilities, and other public services are supplied by a Property Owners Association. The one Post Office is situated outside of the property line, which is extremely important because that allows access to the village to be restricted to owners and guests of owners. You drive down newly surfaced roads and notice no litter anywhere. You drive up to boat docks and picnic areas near the beautiful lakes and notice there's no graffiti anywhere. After awhile you have the novel experience, in this new century, of feeling comfortable leaving your car and your house unlocked. The entire village looks the way you would keep your own estate groomed. This a community that was designed to be this way over thirty years ago and it continues to grow and prosper. The seventh golf course was just completed. A new auditorium and community center is a jewel. The large indoor swimming pool overlooks a scenic lake. My nominal county property tax is about $50 a year and I think the only service that provides is the county sheriff deputies who provide patrol and assistance on the streets. People live and thrive in this community in the middle of an otherwise backwoods area of rural Arkansas, which, while scenic and rustic, still has the rusting cars in front yards, the old fridges on the porch, and the baleful hound dogs under the porches.
If you are open to have your assumptions about what's possible challenged, visit Hot Springs Village, live or over the Internet and see for yourself the future of America in bright array. Who would trash a place where they are owners or guests of owners? This seems easy to comprehend, but difficult to imagine how to implement. In fact, so difficult that Chamberlain sees fit to stop short of implementing it.
[page vii] Nevertheless, Mr. Heath's system does not have to be pushed to its logical extreme.
Having information not available to Chamberlain about Andrew Galambos's work, I would most strenuously disagree. The benefits that Spencer Heath discusses will not accrue until all pockets of coercion are flushed out. But notice the presupposition of his phrase "to the extreme" and it is easy to recall what happened to the last person who ran for president of the USA back in 1964 who dared to use the word "extreme" - he scared the pants off of a large portion of the voters and was beaten badly by his opponent. Yet we citizens of this country are being pushed to the extreme currently. This is happening because of the increasing trend to utilize coercion for all solutions in the guise of freedom. "Free schools" is the label given to public schools which are fueled and fooled by the federal coercive bureaucracy. Force and fraud are the tools of coercive bureaucracies whose main goal is not so much the providing of services with a smile, but keeping their smiles in office as long as possible.
Personally I've had it with coercion in the guise of freedom - I'm ready for freedom in the guise of freedom from now on. Social movements which find their basis in set forms grow like weeds - they quickly spring up along the roadside, use up all nutrients available and die from starvation eventually. Meanwhile proprietary endeavors grow like cultivated plants that are carefully seeded, nourished and tended so they eventually bring their finished product, freedom, to fruition. We have lived long enough in a forest of weeds, where every year brings a de-weeding of the old weeds, and new ones springing up. It's time to recognize the essentials of freedom, to cherish the tenets of freedom, rightly understood, and to nourish those plants that grow in freedom, while starving those that do not. If one were to seriously undertake that endeavor, one could do no better than to study the transcript of Andrew Galambos's monumental introductory lectures series in Volitional Science as embodied in his book, Sic Itur Ad Astra, which translates into Thus is the Way to the Stars.
Spencer Heath attended that lecture series once when Dr. Galambos was giving the lectures in person. He told Dr. Galambos about this book he had written, saying it was about many of the things in the lectures. After meeting Heath, Dr. Galambos gave Heath credit in subsequent lectures for the parallel development of how to implement the ideas of freedom, the only other person so credited. In the 1968 lecture series I heard on tape in 1981, I first heard about Spencer Heath and this fine book. I read it back then and this constitutes my second reading and first chance to review it in detail publicly.
There was another brilliant mind of the 20th Century who gave a lot of thought to how humans can live in freedom, Rudolf Steiner. In his lectures and books in the first quarter of last century, Steiner wrote about a threefold order that once implemented would lead to peace and prosperity for the human race. His threefold order required that the three spheres of society, the regulatory, the economic, and the cultural be designed and implemented so as to operate independently of each other. That meant, for example, that law makers could not make laws to regulate the economy. That law makers could not attempt to stimulate the arts. That business owners would not interfere in the cultural lives of their employees or customers. If you inspect what Spencer Heath means by the terms in the title of this book, citadel, market, and altar, you will find that these are the same three spheres of human endeavor that Steiner referred to in his threefold order.
The citadel is the regulatory, law enforcement, defense organization of the society. The market is the economic sphere and all that it entails in every kind of production and service enterprise. The altar is the cultural sphere that encompasses all the areas of human endeavor outside of regulation and economic activities. Here they are in Heath's own words:
[page 56] The social organism, like its constituent individuals, also has three great and fundamental institutions, the separate functions of which are coercion, coöperation and consecration. Their symbols are: Citadel, Market, and Altar - the department of physical force, a department of services measured and exchanged, and a department of the free and spontaneous life of the individuals. . . . The Citadel repels assault from without, subversion from within. The Market is an outgrowth of the Citadel; the Altar arises from the interaction of the Citadel and Market. In point of function, the Market supplies all service energy to the Citadel.
Galambos agreed with Heath except he showed Heath and the rest of us in no uncertain terms that coercion was not a necessary function of government - that the defense aspects of the Citadel may be provided on a volitional basis, which is absolutely necessary if one is to keep the cold, wet nose of the coercion-camel from peeking under the edge of the tent of freedom. If you allow that, as any camel jockey will assure you, soon you will have a huge, smelly camel living inside the tent with you. If you want an image of how big it is, visualize the 1800 pages of the internal revenue code stacked three feet high. If you want to know how it smells, listen to a friend talk about being forced to sell his family farm in the USA to a large Japanese company to pay this parents' death taxes.
In another bit of synchrony, Heath divides the basic structures of the human being into three systems which map directly into the limbic, rhythmic, and neural systems of Steiner.
[page 57] The three basic structures of the individual man are: the mechanical, consisting of the skeleton, muscles, tissues, etc., the chemical, including the nutritional, circulatory, reproductive and internal glandular tracts, and the quasi-electrical or neural system of energy transfers, with its necessary structural parts.
Heath explains that we require a "high differentiation of these structural systems", that even though they depend upon one another, they operate independently within themselves. They have what he calls, "reciprocal relations" within their "functional unity".
[page 57] The nutritional and nervous systems are dependent on the muscular and mechanical for their ponderable means of operations; the mechanical and neural depend for their subsistence upon the nutritional; and the mechanical and nutritional depend upon the neural for their functional coördination.
Why does Heath go to such lengths to describes these three spheres of operation of the human body? For the simple reason that the operation of human society involves a similar division into three coordinated and yet independent spheres of operation: citadel, market, and altar. The Citadel, he says, must stop interfering with the Market; it must rather "engage itself only with the prevention and punishment of force or equivalent fraud, and to accept the advantages of the contractual process in the performance of its public and community services." (Page 62)
Heath points out that the personal enslavement of individuals has eventually given away to mass enslavement in a less obtrusive way, by taking away their property by force, and the imposition of taxes and tariffs. I would add to that the invisible tax called inflation, by which money is taking stealthily from one's bank account by a reduction in its buying power, all of which lost buying power is thereby transferred to the coercive state.
Is it inevitable that proprietary means of governing ourselves will replace the current coercive means? Heath warns us what our lot is until that blessed day arrives:
[page 67] Until service and not force becomes the instrument of government, while war continues to be the only consummation of governmental power, a population must lose at last even in victories all that it ever feared to lose in defeat.
The land lords and their serfs who farmed the land for them in Saxon England were all free men for over three hundred years of prosperity. They were free, that is, until they suffered defeat by the Normans who imposed the Roman taxation and servile feudalism that most people consider characteristic of serfdom in England, up until now.
Surely we in the United States, "the freest country in the world", do not suffer from force and fraud, do we? Let's review Heath's description of what characterizes force and fraud and you decide. Do you personally know of "transfers without owner consent"?
[page 129] Transfers without owner consent, such as taxation or other violence or by crimes, cannot be sales, for such transfers can be accomplished only by force or fraud.
Given that such transfers or takings occur, surely the more they occur, the more people would get up in arms and vote the non-owning, so-called public servants out of office that do the takings, wouldn't they? Paradoxically, the opposite occurs, such is the power of the fraud portion of the equation as it appeals to the all-too-human greed of the electorate.
[page 131] Throughout all history, the practice of such non-owning and therefore quite irresponsible community servants has been to expand beyond measure their predatory processes, using their takings to subsidize the dependence and the poverty that they cause and thus induce tolerance of and even popular demand for further extensions of their coercive powers.
Translated into popular jargon "subsidize the dependence" means taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor, or what is called progressive taxation. In an inversion of logic that would cause a philosophy professor to pale, they take the most money from the very people in the best position to bring prosperity by investing in new enterprises to the poor that the takers say that they wish most to help! But if the poor are taking it on the chin, consider what the non-poor are subjected to: a federal bureaucracy that prints money to create inflation which results in rising wages and higher prices of things to buy. That's not just a jab to the jaw, but a knockout punch! How does this escape the notice of these more affluent members of society?
[page 163] Government finance creates the illusion that money is wealth, and wealth, in terms of money, seems to increase.
If everyone has more money, they want to buy more things, but nobody wants to sell except at a higher price. Soon the feverish boom fed by inflation leads to a drying up of buying and a chill sets in. Everybody wants to sell, but nobody wants to buy except at a lower price. (Paraphrase of page 163) The economy goes from chills to fever like an human being that is sick. This mirrors the characteristics of a harmonic oscillator, such as a weight on a spring. When you stretch the spring by pulling the weight down and releasing it, the force of the spring pulls back strongly at first, and then weaker as the spring returns to an un-stretched condition. Then gravity pulls the weight back down re-stretching the spring. The weight continues to oscillate up and down, and so does an economy in the face of so-called "government" finance involving force and fraud. This is the simplest explanation for why our economy goes from boom to recession and back again ad infinitum, up until now.
During the nineteenth century America experienced "a full century of unexampled freedom, unrestricted production, rising land values and lengthening life." (Page 173)
[page 173] But the twentieth century reintroduced the Old World ways. Government came to be worshipped more than feared and confined, and constitutional barriers went down. Government began absorbing all liberty and property and is now itself so looked to for welfare and freedom that insecurity, uncertainty and anxiety widely prevail.
This is a powerful book. Not an easy read by any means. Will never be a best seller. But it is packed with insights that are as powerful as they are original. Let me close with the title page from Part III General Survey on page 191, subtitled "Spiritual and Psychological Implications":
[page 191] When a seeker after knowledge of the earth discovers a whole new continent or world his first concern is that its parts shall be well described, the pattern of their relationships and configurations well disclosed, their plant and animal riches, rainfall and fertility, mineral and other resources made plain. He may then propose that mankind take over this new possession, avail themselves of its riches and bounties and build in it for themselves a world of affluence and abundance for all men--a milk-and-honey-flowing land.
So it is with him who discovers a new world of man, a new continent of conceptions, fresh knowledge and thought. He is at pains to describe its parts, delineate their conformations and point out their relationships and their potentialities. He may then well propose an application of them, a utilization of the new knowledge, the practice of its potentialities, the building of new values through new sciences, a new fellowship in production and creation and, incidentally peace.
But having thus acquitted himself in the manner of the discoverers of material worlds, he may be permitted to stand on the pinnacle of his own thought and from this vantage point survey to its furthest horizon the world of nature and of mankind.
Any questions about this review, Contact: Bobby Matherne
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