653. Preponderance of the great (IX)
Oliver Cromwell referred to the Magna Carta, the foundation for the various Anglo bills of rights, as the “Magna Farta”—and the Petition of Right as the “Petition of Shite”. Personally, I find this hilarious and chuckled over the pages of the book that recorded Cromwell’s comments on English political history—so that the person on the other side of the station waiting room thought I was mad, a usual occurrence.
However, Cromwell was not a hero—as Carlyle thought. Cromwell epitomises the left, and he demonstrates that the left-right divide is a perpetual dynamic. The first clue that Cromwell was on the left is that he was ugly—as famously recorded in his frank “warts and all” (he was literally warty) portrait. Psychologically, as with Lenin, Cromwell was also a moody irritable bastard—perhaps why he talked about Farta & Shite.
We know little about his early life, yet you do not need to know a lot about a person to know what they are—you can tell in three seconds what they are, you only have trouble accepting it because everyone lies to themselves and other people in order to lubricate social interactions. So we know, for example, that young Cromwell ended up in a vituperative local squabble between families—a squabble that saw him remonstrated with by the Privy Council, a national body. Again, he was like Lenin: moody, disagreeable, and irritable—he took to his bed with melancholy and troubled doctors when there was nothing wrong (shades of feminine hysteria and the contemporary left’s “self-care”).
Cromwell was not a complete egalitarian; he was akin to Stalin and Napoleon—the perverted man who comes along to stabilise the out of control revolution. Famously, Cromwell was said to value a sober and honest man over a gentleman as a soldier. This was not quite true: Cromwell preferred gentlemen; he merely said that if he had to pick between a gentleman who did not believe in the parliamentary cause and a common believer he would choose the believer. As with Mohammad, another man Carlyle admired, Cromwell was a fanatical believer—he constructed an army composed from intolerant religious fanatics and iconoclasts, just like Mohammad and the Christians before him the believers destroyed the temples and smashed beautiful art.
As with the clash between pagans and Christians, the clash in the Civil War was between aristocrats who followed the rites and had little interest in the beliefs—High Church Protestants and crypto-Catholics—and middle-class and lower-middle-class believers in “purity” (aka Puritans). The difference is between those who gno through a spiritual science and those ugly mentally unstable people who “believe” intellectually (yet do not know, hence why I say nobody, even Cromwell, “believes” in Christianity—they just have fanatical ideas interlarded with occasional flashes of spiritual insight that are unstable because they are not connected to rites). The difference is in the blood: the purer your blood, the more spiritual you are—the more connected to the sacred rights; if you are impure you will have resentful beliefs about how the beauty of ritual must be destroyed to make everything “equal”—pure, supposedly.
As with all miserable moralists, Cromwell liked to self-lacerate for his “sins”—there is a rumour that as a young man he was known as “the bull of Ely” and impregnated seven girls, yet his ugliness counts against him. I suspect his “sins” were petty things most people would shrug off. So Cromwell, Muhammad, and Carlyle are all leftists—all miserable moralists who are against beauty and worship labour (Carlyle was a fanatic for work); they want to turn the world into a gigantic labour camp—and though they talk about religion a lot, they really talk about their egos; they like their beliefs in how the world should be—pretty beliefs substitute for their physical ugliness. Ultimately, it might be funny to talk about “Magna Farta” and the “Bill of Shite”, but it is also ugly—and Cromwell was an ugly man.