History is Bunk

I am in the throes of bringing to birth a new theory of history.

It has developed out of the Marxist concept of surplus value.

I am still looking for academically acceptable name, but for the moment am contenting myself with naming it “The Bullshit Theory of History.” Let me explain.

At different times in the progress of civilization, certain elements have to be supplied, or the whole process will come to a halt.

In very primitive times, there is need first for some form of religion, to provide societal cohesion, and we have Priests. At a later stage, Judges are needed, to rule the standards of behaviour needed to keep society together, and identify and remedy breaches. Before long, we need Kings, in order to repel with military force the enemies that might otherwise take over our now more prosperous society. To encourage that prosperity, we need Financiers. To provide it, we need Entrepreneurs. To train our labour force, we need Educators. To prevent the scandal of poverty through the provision of Social Services, we develop a Bureaucracy.

Now none of these things are wrong. Indeed, all of them are essential. But there is a strange manner in which these elements operate. After we have established our basic morality, for instance, there should be less need for priests. But what actually happens is that they flourish more and more, taking more of society’s resources, justifying the need for their services with ever more elaborate hocus pocus and mumbo jumbo.

It’s the same with lawyers. When the basic rules of law have been defined, there should be need for less, not more, of them. But they tend to proliferate nonetheless, covering the simplest of everyday transactions with ever increasing layers of complexity.

Kings and the military are particularly bad. When the war is over, disbanding the army may be something more easily said than done. Unpaid soldiers may rove the countryside, or stir up wars and mayhem of their own, so as to keep a demand in being for their skills.

Financiers, speculators, investment advisers and the like follow the same route. The international money market extends now far beyond the needs of financing trade. Dollars by the billion flow from one currency into another, in the hope of destabilizing some poor nation’s economy, and so reaping a windfall of profit. The mystification with which it is all surrounded would put many religions to shame.

Then there are the ‘captains of industry’—whose five and six figure incomes, options and bonuses mystify the poor shareholders, asking for some explanation which never comes, at an annual meeting. And finally, the educational establishment and the bureaucracy, both of which have made the imparting of knowledge to the young, and the handing out of aid to the poor and the old, such an arcane mystery that no ordinary man in the street would ever dare to crack the union-protected monopoly of their employments.

– Anglican Messenger, May 1995*