Pat Condell accuses feminists and Islam. We applaud.
The Darkness of This World
Our Gnostic Age
New Age religion is – according to taste and judgment – a rich diversity of “spiritualities”, or a junk-heap of irrationalities.
It arose in the West as an unplanned rejection movement against reason, science, capitalism, Western political institutions and cultural norms, often to the point of antinomianism. It started as a counter-culture, but many of its beliefs and practices have come to be accepted as normal. Most obviously it impacts the lives of almost everyone in developed countries through Environmentalism, one of the most successful of its superstitions.
New Age includes mythical, mystical, and simply fantastical cult ingredients. Its theorists draw on the occult and witchcraft; on religions of the Far East ; on the modern mystic faith of psycho-analysis (in particular the theories of C. G. Jung); on Richard Wagner’s mythology and mysticism ; on UFO legends; on “alternative” Western religious cults and systems – Scientology, Mormonism, Hare Krishna, Shamanism, pop-Kabala, Environmentalism. Among its assorted mysticisms and occultisms are: astrology ; fortune telling by tarot cards, I Ching, Ouija boards; spirit guides; processes of faith healing or imaginary empowerment through the use of crystals and pyramids; chanting, dancing, meditation, Yoga exercises. It was partly inspired by the hundred-plus years old, Orient-derived, Theosophy of Madame Blavatsky, and its offshoots, including the Anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner with their theories of education, art, agriculture, and health.
As a religion rather than a life-style movement – which it has primarily become – New Age is loosely likened to the Gnostic sects of the 2nd century and the Middle Ages because it is mystical, esoteric, and challenging to the “revealed” religions. There are also specific similarities.
First, like the Gnostics of old, New Age acolytes revile the “God of the bible” (whatever they conceive him to be – Jehovah, “God the Father”, or the Trinity), and they “know” the “true God” by innate knowledge.
Second, as in the Gnostic cults, there is a hierarchy of classes in New Age doctrine. The divisions are according to “spiritual” ability. The highest class is that of the adepts, the Masters, who have attained “cosmic consciousness”. They know they possess the innate knowledge (gnosis) of the real God. Below them are Disciples, whose minds are open to New Age teaching but have yet to master it. At the bottom are the rest, “animal men”, unenlightened by the faith.
Third, those who have the gift – the Masters – can release, or bring to consciousness, or make effective, or bring into being (all of those effects are stated or implied at different times), the “divinity” they “know” is within them by achieving a state of ecstasy. And like the Gnostics of old, they do this by taking drugs and indulging in sexual libertinism. Each New Age participant’s “divine blood” asserts itself as the right guide to human thought and action. In a New Age orgy, “group-consciousness” reveals itself and exerts its will.
Fourth, in New Age as in old Gnosticism, believers rebel against ethical norms by reversing conventional values: what is generally accepted as good is held to be bad, and vice versa.
But in one important respect there is a difference between old Gnosticism and New Age. To almost all the old Gnostics, this earth and everything on it (except their inner spark of Knowledge) was evil, the creation of an evil God, so they were defying evil by doing what the ignorant masses called sinning; defiling their bodies to express scorn for the dirt they were made of . But New Age holds the earth sacred, and sensual experience is a sacrament in itself, often the supreme sacrament.
The old Gnostics, to defy the Creator God, would destroy his earth to save man – or at least themselves. The new Gnostics claim to be God, at least potentially, and would destroy man – or at least a lot of other people – to save the earth .
Being a hotch-potch of beliefs – belief in almost anything that reason rejects – New Age religion inevitably contains contradictions. For instance, while some of its authoritative theorists hold that the divine dwells within the human species (even in the “animal men”, the general theory implies) , the earth is an external and separate goddess, “Mother Earth”, identical to her whom the ancient Greeks called Gaia. She has suffered “ecological wounds” through human industrial activity (thus the specie-sin of “anthropogenic global warming”), and she needs to be “healed”.
These different attitudes to nature between the ancient and the new cults entail different attitudes to sex. To the ancient Gnostics, everything material, including the human body, was evil, so they indulged in sacramental orgies of conventionally forbidden sex in order to defy the Creator God of this world and his commandments. But New Age orgies – similarly considered to be sacraments – are performed as acts of Earth worship. They celebrate the physical, not scorn it.  Sensual pleasure is a good in itself. The performance of communal rituals – chanting, dancing, sado-masochistic sex, all-gender-inclusive sex (with male homosexuality particularly stressed by Matthew Fox ) – advances the coming into being of a new synthesized God: “I” become God; “we” become God; Man, God, and Nature become One, and the one is the universal God, the “Cosmic Christ”.
New Age writing is full of vapid declarations expressed with stirring passion rather than semantic sense. It is verbal impressionism. Matthew Fox, for instance – one of the most widely read New Age writers, blends “the Cosmic Christ” with “Mother Earth”. The Cosmic Christ is an eternal Being who became incarnate in Jesus – so far in tune with at least some long-established Christianities – but is also (if not exactly “incarnate” by the actual meaning of the word, “made flesh”), one with Mother Earth. She is crucified like Jesus; and as such she is a symbol of the incarnated Cosmic Christ, or of the Cosmic Christ as Jesus crucified; or Jesus crucified is a symbol of Mother Earth crucified:
The appropriate symbol of the Cosmic Christ who became incarnate in Jesus is that of Jesus as Mother Earth crucified yet rising daily … like Jesus, she rises from her tomb every day [so not quite like Jesus] … wounded, yet rising, Mother Earth blesses us each day. 
New Age has had an effect on conventional religious institutions. Some of the established churches, Catholic and Protestant, have picked out bits from New Age to add flavor to their own offerings  – which may indicate how weary, stale, flat and washed out they must feel their own faiths to be. As for social and political effects, New Age cults contribute cumulatively to the character of the times, but most of them have had little or no effect on major events.
There are two exceptions. One is Liberation Theology (an emulsion of two opiates of the people, Marxism and Catholicism), which has had an historical effect in South America as an ideological cause of the rise of terrorist organizations.
Marxism comes into our purview. New Age harmonizes with Marxism easily, both being collectivist ideologies. In almost all its manifestations, New Age requires group practice. Its ultimate vision is of a single shared human consciousness (rather like the imaginary alien species called the Borg in Star Trek, whose every individual is one with the “hive mind”). The Catholic writer Teilhard de Chardin had a strong influence on New Age theory. In his book The Future of Man, he foresees “the end of a ‘thinking species’; not disintegration and death, but a new breakthrough and a rebirth, this time outside Time and Space. Man would at some future time ‘form a single consciousness’.”  ). New Age goes further yet: humanity will share its communal consciousness with the Earth. 
Marxism and magic (and pacifism and feminism), came together in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), starting in Britain in 1958 and continuing through the next three decades. Most of the CND protestors did not know that their leaders received funding from the USSR; they were simply the “useful idiots” of Lenin’s famous phrase. In the early 1980s a Women’s Peace Camp was set up on Greenham Common in Berkshire to protest against NATO cruise missiles being deployed at the RAF base situated there. The women would hold up mirrors to “reflect the evil” of the weapons back over the fence.
The other exception is Environmentalism, which has entranced half the population of the First World and pesters the whole human race.
Other than these, New Age cults, though numerous, are for the most part comparatively harmless and few will be mentioned in these essays. Most New Age leaders and followers don’t think of themselves as doing evil, only redefining what good is. Homosexuality was bad until the 1960s; so to New Age devotees it was super-good. Alternative medical practices were bad; so to New Age devotees they were super-good. One of the most egregious examples of New Age success, of how it has penetrated even some institutions that by their nature should be impregnable to cults of unreason, is that practitioners of “alternative medicine” are working alongside physicians and surgeons in Western hospitals. They may do harm, but they probably do not intend to.
What these essays are concerned with is the deliberate choosing of evil. They are not about common crime, nor the immoral things everybody does from time to time. They are about evil intended as such, and the intended evil is the willful harming of human beings. The doing of it is advocated by a self-elected elite – intellectuals who claim to have a vision beyond the understanding of the rest of us – with verbal violence to scandalize the conventional. They often rationalize it with sophisticated philosophical excuses, arguing for instance that it is necessary for the attainment of a “higher good” for the whole human race, including the uncomprehending masses. The “higher good” is different now, the excuses more sophisticated, more subtle and complicated than they were for the Gnostics of old. The sins are less ingenuous, the evil more profound and more extensive. In sum, the new Gnostics are far more dangerous and destructive than the old.
Not only is evil preached, simulated in theatre or performance art, solemnly celebrated in religious or quasi-religious ceremonies, it is also done in reality. While most of its priests and shamans confine themselves to gestures and make-believe, others do it.
Jillian Becker September 5, 2013
1. The re-interpreted oriental religions are chiefly Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, and Hinduism, and in particular the doctrine of reincarnation. The re-interpretations were brought to the West by Indian gurus (such the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, popularized by The Beatles). Some Westerners took themselves to the East to garner its wisdoms and returned home with a new name and guru status (such as Richard Alpert, a Bostonian psychologist who journeyed to India and returned as Guru Ram Dass – see Understanding the New Age by Russell Chandler, Word Inc., Dallas, Texas, 1988, p 63).
2. Wagner’s myths – Lohengrin, Siegfried, Parsifal – were superficially Christian and his heroes Christ-like redeemers. But he dilates at length in his massive prose writings on what is wrong with Christianity and Judaism, especially Judaism and even more especially Jews. He was of the opinion that Jews could only be redeemed by annihilating themselves. The Germans, he declared, needed to be “emancipated from the Jews”; “redeemed” from them by a real-life Parsifal. He praised pre-Christian polytheism. He praised the ancient Greeks for being “intuitive” – which means he loved the savage rites of their Dionysus worship, but ignored their fertile use of reason, their invention of logic and science. Reason, he opined, was a Jewish thing. He drew mostly on Nordic legends, which he considered quintessentially German. Among the ideas he passionately promoted were these: German heroes act out of feeling, not reason, being moved by “the god within”; the only god dwells within us and within nature; there is a “world spirit”, the quintessence of Being, which is within both Man (Germans, that is) and nature; “We are God” and “to become God we need only instinctive Knowledge of the Self” – the indwelling divinity; the taking of hashish releases the feeling of being divine. As poet-priest and prophet, he looked to the coming of a German leader – a Führer – who would mount a “destructive revolution to destroy our civilization”, a civilization which he despised as weak, unheroic, built by Jews. He died before his prophesied Führer was born, but Hitler was intensely inspired by Wagner’s operas from the age of twelve, when he saw one for the first time. It was Lohengrin. And there is a portrait of Hitler as Lohengrin, not (disappointingly) mounted ludicrously on a swan as the knight is in the opera, but on a black horse, in white Medieval armor, carrying the Nazi flag, his head in profile, scowling, unmistakable with his little brushy mustache.) The echoes of Wagner’s ideas in New Age are loud and clear. To hear a full discussion of them, go to a YouTube video titled: Wagner’s Musical Religion: Art, Politics, Genocide, in which two authorities on Wagner, Margaret Brearley and Robert Wistrich, lecture on his life and works and quote his words.
3. Astrology and the signs of the zodiac feature large among New Age superstitions. The New Age is also called “The Age of Aquarius”.
4. One exception among the old Gnostics was Epiphanes. He contradicted the usual Gnostic belief that this world is evil. All creation, he taught, belongs to all mankind. In his rituals, sexual intercourse was performed publicly as a sacred rite and called a love-feast. Drugs, especially aphrodisiacs, were routinely used. When he died at the age of 17, the islanders of Cephalonia, where his mother came from, built a temple to him and proclaimed him a god. His memory was also honored there with a museum which housed the many books he had found time to write in his short life. We have been protected from them by the Christian Church; but the Church Father, Clement of Alexandria, who was allowed to read them before they were destroyed, has left us brief summaries of their contents. Clement’s account shows Epiphanes to have been full of “back to nature” idealism; a lover of animals; an aesthete moved by the beauty of the earth and the starry skies, rather than one who condemned this world as a place of darkness. God lets the light of the sun and the stars, Epiphanes said, fall equally on all human beings. Even the beasts are blessed by the light. Each man and beast takes his enjoyment of it without depleting it for any other. The sun causes the earth to be fruitful and the fruits of the earth are for all. Beasts are exemplars of communitarian life, and being so they are righteous. Together they graze, equal, harmonious, and innocent. And so would we be had not the Law made transgression possible. The Law “nibbled away” the fellowship of nature. Righteousness lies in fellowship and equality, in sharing and caring, which is to say in mutual and general love. Into every male God put vigorous and impetuous desire for the sake of the continuance of the human race. No law can take that away. It is right and good for a man to enjoy sexually every woman he desires. That a law should say ‘Thou shalt not covet’ is laughable. And the very idea of marriage is absurd since all women naturally belong to all men. (For more see Erotic religion, The Atheist Conservative, January 24 2010.)
5. The anti-human campaign among Environmentalists will be the subject of a later essay.
6. In some texts it is “within everything”.
7. “All worship leaders need to be instructed … in body awareness and awakening’.” The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance by Matthew Fox, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1988, pp 216f – quoted in Matthew Fox and the Cosmic Christ, an essay by Margaret Brearley in Anvil, Vol. 9, No 1, 1992, p 44. I have relied on Dr Brearley’s meticulous scholarship, and with her permission taken my examples from her papers on New Age – and Matthew Fox in particular – so avoiding the punitive labor of reading more than a very few New Age texts myself. Most of the words and phrases marked as quotations come from this source.
8. “In practice Fox demands: worship in circles, ‘preferably on the soil of Mother Earth’ (Fox p 217); the centrality of Eros; and the breaking of divisions between body and mind using ‘rituals of the native peoples’. These would include sweat lodges in every church and synagogue, Sun dances with drumming, moon rituals, drinking the ‘blood of the cosmos’ and radically replacing the existing liturgical calendar. Fox seriously suggests, for example, that each Sunday could be devoted to celebrating a different organ of the body.” (Brearley, p 46]. “Fox cites the Hindu god Shiva, the creator and destroyer [as saying]: ‘The phallos is identical with me …. The phallos is … the symbol of the god’, and adds: ‘This is Cosmic Christ language …. There alone will men recover active respect and reverence for their own amazing powers’ (p 176). Fox teaches that one must ‘recover the sense of sacred phallos … by way of drumming, dancing and entering into the irrational processes … puberty rites … celebrating one’s chthonic wholeness in the company of male adults’ (p 177). ‘Love beds are altars’ (p 177) and the sense of lust should be recovered as power and therefore as virtue: ‘it takes courage to be lustful.’ (p 178) Mystical sexuality is an ‘important base for cultural renewal and personal spiritual grounding’ (p 179). … ‘[G]ay people need to lead straight people.’” (Brearley p 45)
9. Fox p 145 (Brearley p 44)
10. Although Matthew Fox writes such predictions as this: “Christianity as we know it now will not survive …. The issue is the survival … of Mother Earth” (Fox p 149) [Brearley 54], New Age doctrine has made “inroads into the Protestant and Catholic Church worldwide” and “creation liturgies inspired by creation spirituality are increasingly being used in cathedrals and churches”. (Brearley p 53)
11. Teilhard de Chardin, trs. N. Denny, The Future of Man, Collins, London 1969 p 302 (Brearley p 46).
12. Another leading New Age writer and spirit medium, David Spangler, also visualizes a “planetary spirituality” which “will be holistic, affirming interconnectedness and Gaia; it will be androgynous, mystical, global – with ‘world communion’ -, and will seek synthesis of person and planet. Above all, the New Age is a spirit, a ‘presence made up of the collective spirit of humanity, and the spirit of our world, of Gaia’.” [D. Spangler, Reflections on the Christ, Findhorn Publications, Findhorn 1981, p.84. [Brearley p 52]
Our reader Dale Jensen, commenting on our post Feminists submit to Muslim male domination (August 24, 2013 – about Swedish women putting on hijabs in mistaken solidarity with Muslim women) made these points which we extract from the full comment:
Cultural Marxism sees everything through the lens of oppression. In the deluded mind of Leftists, whites and indeed all of Euro culture is built on the oppression of non-whites; i.e. the legacy of imperialism. Whites must therefore pay for their past sins. Islam is seen as noble while anything associated with the West is seen as evil. That is why “we see a glorification of Islam on the part of many Leftists”. …
The Left are also pathological altruists. … This is the legacy of post-Kantian philosophy. Kant was trying to save Christian ethics from the skepticism which characterized much Enlightenment thought (he wasn’t wrong about that). His Categorical Imperative basically destroys self-interest as acting from “inclination” is always outside the realm of morality (it becomes amoral) and acting from “duty” is the only path to virtue. Kant would go on to advocate an extreme form of altruism where duty to the “other” is basically the only way to be moral. The moral philosophers that followed him would expand this. Auguste Comte would argue that Christian ethics was too selfish because it focused on the salvation of the individual soul. The legacy of this is that today genuine self-interested action, at an individual or national level, is considered outside the realm of morality (or immoral) whereas only duty-oriented action to the “other” is moral. The Other has become the standard of morality. Now you package that with egalitarianism and you see that you must sacrifice for the cultural other. …
According to the dictates of Leftist egalitarianism, the more non-Western or non-White the “other” is, the more you must appease or surrender to them. This combines Leftist egalitarianism and Post-Kantian altruism to get the modern spectacle. So Islam being the most non-Western and evil of our enemies must be appeased. What better way to offer sacrifices to our Islamic enemy than to give them White, Western women. It is the sign of a culture (Euro-White) sacrificing itself pure and simple; all on the altar of egalitarianism and white guilt. …
Female biological need for male psycho-sexual strength – this is also important. Leftism (and feminism in particular) has gelded and castrated the modern male. To use Nietzschean terminology, it has turned most men into some version of the “Last Man”; a video game playing, pro-sports team worshiping, overweight, feminized Last Man. Feminism has undermined male strength and male authority. Women crave this on a deep psychological level. Male dominance is something that makes a woman feel feminine. Without it, a woman is never fulfilled. I’m not saying that dominance needs to be malevolent. I think the dominance men wielded prior to the 1960s was actually benevolent, especially compared to the rest of the world. But it was undermined. Now we are seeing some women seek out that order and that dominance from Islam and Muslim men who are not wussified by feminism and Leftism. These women in the name of modern liberalism are turning themselves into basically Chattel Slaves of Muslim Men. It could make you want to cry or spit. …
The West is committing suicide. We are seeing this in many ways. But the way Western women are behaving is a leading indicator. To watch this knowing what is coming at the end of the tunnel is heart breaking. On my darker days I wonder if the entire liberal / libertarian project is inherently flawed, and only a strict Conservative regime can work. I’m uncertain about that last though.
We are not sure what a “strict” Conservative regime would be, but we do think the liberal project is entirely flawed, and the libertarian project has flaws in it.
There are many points in the comment worth discussion and we invite further comment on any or all of them.
In the country that the Left admires most, Sweden, the feminists admire the way Islam treats women. They admire it so much that they are emulating Muslim women and putting on hijabs. Soon it will be burkas. They are doing it voluntarily now, but before long they will be forced to wear the black tent of sexual slavery when Muslims are in the majority and sharia becomes the law of the land. Perhaps it’s just as well that they’re preparing themselves for the new regime.
The picture comes from Front Page, where Bruce Bawer writes:
Europe is awash in dhimmitude, but Sweden is a case unto itself. There’s something desperate and demented about the levels of dhimmitude on display in Ikea-land. In no other European country, moreover, is there so little pushback in the media. …
Sweden has the highest percentage of rapes in the Western world. And the problem is getting steadily worse. Given the progressive Swedish establishment’s fondness for earnest rhetoric about women’s rights, you might think this rape crisis would be a subject of deep concern in the nation’s media. But no – it’s a non-topic. It’s unmentionable. And for one reason: because everyone understands that the ever-increasing incidence of Swedish rapes is directly related to the ever-increasing number of Swedish Muslims. And in Sweden, you can’t talk critically about Islam. You just can’t – not publicly, anyway. When the subject is Islam, nothing is permitted other than the usual mindless multicultural mantras. …
The Swedes are apparently a nation of dupes. A transparent ruse to make them feel guilty of Hijab-phobia worked so well it got all those liberated ladies tied up in head scarves in an eye-wink.
It started when a pregnant Muslim woman (one report put her age at 20; another identified her as a mother of three) claimed that she’d been attacked late Friday night. She was alone in a parking structure in the Stockholm suburb of Farsta, she said, when a man walked over to her, ripped off her hijab, and banged her head into a parked car, making her dizzy. He also growled something to the effect that people like her “don’t belong here”.
Now, if this actually happened, it’s repugnant. But there’s no evidence that it did happen – no eyewitnesses, no surveillance video – and it’s been suggested (although not, of course, in the Swedish media) that the woman’s story could be entirely bogus. In any case, it’s a man-bites-dog tale if there ever was one: Sweden is overrun with Muslim men who rape infidel women, not with infidels who pull headscarves off Muslim women.
Yet when the woman went public with her account, Swedish derangement syndrome kicked in – big time. On Sunday, Aftonbladet ran an op-ed signed by five persons: Bilan Osman, identified as an “anti-racist commentator”; Fatima Doubakil of the Muslim Human Rights Committee; Foujan Rouzbeh, an “asylum rights activist”; Nabila Abdul Fattah, “commentator”; and Nachla Libre, “poet.”
Yes, those are now Scandinavian names.
The five authors asserted that “the woman in Farsta isn’t the only one who has been attacked in this way.” Many Muslim women, they maintained, have been subjected to similar mistreatment by “white Swedish men…on buses, in stores, and at restaurants.” The authors painted a picture of a country filled with white people who “harass, degrade, intimidate, and abuse others in public places because of their religious attire.” And they argued that such offenses have become increasingly common because – and, yes, they actually wrote the following – “Islam and Muslims are described in the media and by political parties as a problem and a threat to Swedish democracy.”
Yes, Islam is a threat to Swedish democracy; but no, the Swedish media virtually never dare to admit this fact, or to say anything that might remotely hint at it. And the only political party that addresses this issue is the Swedish Democratic Party, whose members are not only routinely condemned in the media, in the harshest of terms, but have been repeatedly harassed, degraded, intimidated, and abused by the Swedish government itself.
The op-ed authors went on to demand – and that’s the word they used, “demand” – that Justice Minister Beatrice Ask “appoint a commission to investigate, map, and come up with specific action plans to combat the widespread hate crimes against Muslims.” They called on the government “to stop the march of fascism” (as represented, apparently, by that lone man in the parking structure who allegedly pulled off the woman’s headscarf). And they proclaimed what they called a “hijabupprop” – a hijab action. “We encourage all of our sisters in Sweden – religious and non-religious – to veil themselves on the morning of August 19 to show solidarity with all Muslim women who, all too often, suffer harassment and violence.”
They probably do. But not from Swedes.
The five authors tweeted their call to action on Twitter. The tweet was shared over 65,000 times. The idea was brilliant, providing politically correct Swedes with an excellent opportunity to posture. And it proved a magnificent success.
In “solidarity” with the purported victim, countless Swedish women – including a number of well-known actors, writers, journalists, artists, and politicians – wore headscarves on Monday. And took pictures of themselves doing so. Their photos flooded Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. …
The Swedish news media, notorious for the decorous silence they have long maintained about the country’s rape crisis, were all over this story. The newspapers were awash in stories about the hijab campaign and full of pictures of the famous Swedish women in Muslim headscarves. The hijab campaigners were interviewed repeatedly on TV and radio. One of them, Nabila Abdul Fattah, admitted that their goal was “to normalize the hijab”. …
[A] Muslim feminist Hanna Gadban was furious about the campaign, and tried to remind everyone that the hijab is a symbol of patriarchal oppression. But she was a voice crying in the wilderness. …
The zillions of photos of stupid, self-satisfied infidel women in veils symbolizing female subordination were ridiculous, deserving of mockery, of derisive laughter. But they were also scary. Seeing brainwashed people is always scary.
Linda, 18, victim of Muslim rape-wave in Sweden
See also our posts Raping for Allah, April 4, 2013, and Sweden (silently) submits to Islam, July 19, 2012.
The very good ranter named Fred Reed (with whom we don’t always entirely agree) rants well and justly about the treatment of women in the past, in the Third World, in the folds of religions – and about the ignorance of feminists:
Oh, sigh. One grows weary, or at least I do, of feminists who complain constantly of imaginary discrimination. It makes no sense. They are in almost the only place and time in which women are not mistreated.
Indeed, Western women – at least those of the prosperous classes – have, as a group, for the last hundred years or so, been the most protected, indulged and generally advantaged of human beings in all history.
Those who do not read history may not know the extent to which women really have been — tired word, but accurate — oppressed. …
In general women were nonentities. Men had life-and-death power over their wives and daughters, meaning exactly that: they could kill them if they so chose. It was not a theoretical power, but one at least occasionally exercised. To an American man in 2013 this seems insane …
The pattern holds with variation in details almost everywhere. American Indians, savages but hardly noble, subjugated women utterly.
Foot-binding, as lunatic a practice as the mind of man has conceived, was common among China’s upper classes.
In India women were kept in strict isolation in purdah and, should their husbands die, expected to immolate themselves on the funeral pyres. What all of this was supposed to accomplish, I cannot imagine.
So much for the idea cherished in semi-literate courses in Women’s Studies that non-Western cultures have been female-friendly. They have not.
But in this feminists are right: The three mid-Eastern religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, do indeed have a ghastly record. The Jews I think were least bad, subjugating their women but not waging actual war against them. Christianity was hideous. The Catholic Church for three centuries practiced systematic sadism against witches, torturing and burning alive uncounted thousands of women. Torture meant crushed bones, dislocated joints, molten lead, and other pleasantries ordained by the Vicar of Christ.
Today the [Catholic] church has softened. It has given itself to the minor consolations of pederasty and to urging women who can’t afford them to have large families. This is an improvement.
Islam, intractably primitive, follows still the old ways. Girls in many places are not allowed to learn to read. Horrendous genital mutilation is horrendously common. Why the world puts up with this is a mystery. If I had been the British administrator of colonies practicing such mutilation, I would have had the fathers strung up naked on the town square and castrated with a blowtorch. Barbarous? Yes. But the cutting would have stopped in about ten minutes.
Feminists are ill-informed, absurdly self-pitying, and compassionless.
Curiously, in America more fury arises from the suggestion that men may be better than women at mathematics than from tens of millions of bloody clitoridectomies practiced on screaming young girls. … Feminists [do not make] an issue of it. This too is beyond my comprehension …
So why have misogyny and subjugation of women — these are not quite the same thing — ceased in much of the world, and very much so in America? Said subjugation has been so widespread through all time that one might suspect it to be a trait genetically determined. But it isn’t. In Europe, North America above the Rio Bravo, Australia, and New Zealand among others, women are fully integrated into society. …
Feminists believe that they brought about the change by a valiant struggle against long odds and awful men. (By which they seem to mean all men.) Not so, quite. Powerless groups seldom rise unless those in power decide to permit it.
(It should, however, be noted that power itself is not something you can be given but something you take. If you cannot, and do not, you will not have it. Margaret Thatcher seized it. In general, at present, men are allowing women as a class the illusion of political and economic power).
It is odd that in America, where women enjoy historically unprecedented rights and opportunities, often greater than those of men — who don’t have affirmative action — feminists complain of oppression. It is fantasy. …
But one mustn’t speak of this. If you speak unfavorably of the ill-breeding and obnoxiousness of professional feminists, they say that you hate women. …
We live in the middle of a social order that is, so far as I know, entirely new. To those who have grown up in it, it seems normal and, now, is. Seen against the backdrop of three thousand years, the merging of women into the polity is astonishing. How it will shake out in the long run is uncertain, but it seems to work well enough. Spare me the nineteen-year-old bimbos in Women’s Studies at Dartmouth telling me how oppressed they are, on daddy’s dime.
There may yet be women inventors. But not many, we guess.
Women, we conjecture, would never have invented an impersonal judicial system: the rule of law, regulated courts, argument in defense, standards of proof, juries, condign punishment consistently carried out. However many female lawyers, judges, and lawmakers there may be, they are not natives in the realm of objective judgment.
Note: We are indebted to our reader Frank for referring us from time to time to an engaging column by “Fred”, including this one.
Reality to Feminists: Give up, go home, stay close to the marital bed and the kitchen.
According to this report, tens of thousands of Western women are converting to Islam because they long to submit themselves - to a husband and to Allah. It comes from Radical Islam, by Abigail R. Esman:
The first thing the Dutch girl did once she’d converted to Islam was change her name – to Soumaya, she says, because “she was the first martyr. She was prepared to die for Allah.”
Soumaya … is one of a wave of tens of thousands of Westerners who convert to Islam every year, more than 75 percent of whom, astonishingly, are women. Equally surprising is the fact that most of these women gravitate to conservative Islamic groups – the more misogynistic and oppressive ones – insisting all the while that they feel “liberated” and “free.”
Reading through dozens of stories of such women, one can’t help but notice the similarities among them. All claim to have embraced Islam of their own free will; yet an overwhelming majority, like Soumaya (whose story was profiled in the Dutch newspaper Het Parool), converted only after dating (or wedding) a Muslim man, usually – interestingly enough – a Moroccan (even in countries like England, where Moroccans do not form the majority Muslim population).
Others speak of “finding themselves” after years of wild drink and drugs – a pattern similar to that found in male prison converts, who often are convinced by other Muslim inmates to seek salvation through Allah. They repeat, as if by rote, the same rhetoric about escaping the sexual objectification of women by adopting the hijab or full-body abaya …
Hilariously, Soumaya, along with all the other young women profiled, appears photographed in hijab and a full face of makeup – which, of course, is what women wear in order to appear more beautiful to men. In so doing, they ignore … the very essence of what such coverings in fact represent: The notion that a woman is nothing but a sexual object, and therefore must be kept hidden …
Young female converts speak of wanting to be a good Muslim and a good wife; the two become equated, acted out in a life of feminine submission, first to her husband and then, by extension, to Allah.
It’s probably from Christianity that Socialism derives the idea that it’s virtuous to abase oneself. Sociological thinking and the leftist collectivist ideal of leveling require self-abasement.
Sometimes we come across statements or practices by leftist ideologues that sample for us all that is repulsive, anti-human, narrow and dumb about the Left.
Here for instance is a report, by Kyle Olson at Townhall, of just such a sample. It is about education officials prescribing self-abasement for Whites – as St. Paul did for Christians.
Wisconsin Education Officials Want Students to Wear “White Privilege” Wristbands.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction runs several programs that heavily emphasize racial issues in public schools …
Some feel that one of those programs – an Americorps operation called VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) – may go a bit overboard by encouraging white students to wear a white wristband “as a reminder about your (white) privilege.” …
A Gloria Steinem quote on the top of VISTA’s Facebook page reads ominously:
“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”
The webpage also offers a series of suggestions for high schools students to become more racially sensitive. They include:
Wear a white wristband as a reminder about your privilege, and as a personal commitment to explain why you wear the wristband.
Confess, confess. Confess to being white. Hang your head and be ashamed. Make amends by abasing yourself.
Set aside sections of the day to critically examine how privilege is working.
Put a note on your mirror or computer screen as a reminder to think about privilege.
Examine your conscience. Repent being white.
The Wisconsin DPI also sponsors several similar programs, including CREATE Wisconsin, an on-going “cultural sensitivity” teacher training program which focuses largely on “whiteness” and “white privilege.”
Hating whitey sessions? After which the teachers will be better able to educate the children of Wisconsin?
An opposite way of thinking about race may be found in a column by the wise and great Thomas Sowell. He writes:
There are so many fallacies about race that it would be hard to say which is the most ridiculous. However, one fallacy behind many other fallacies is the notion that there is something unusual about different races being unequally represented in various institutions, careers or at different income or achievement levels.
A hundred years ago, the fact that people from different racial backgrounds had very different rates of success in education, in the economy and in other endeavors, was taken as proof that some races were genetically superior to others.
Some races were considered to be so genetically inferior that eugenics was proposed to reduce their reproduction, and Francis Galton urged [in tune with Marx and Engels - ed] “the gradual extinction of an inferior race.”
It was not a bunch of fringe cranks who said things like this. Many held Ph.D.s from the leading universities, taught at the leading universities and were internationally renowned.
Presidents of Stanford University and of MIT were among the many academic advocates of theories of racial inferiority — applied mostly to people from Eastern and Southern Europe, since it was just blithely assumed in passing that blacks were inferior.
This was not a left-right issue. The leading crusaders for theories of genetic superiority and inferiority were iconic figures on the left, on both sides of the Atlantic.
John Maynard Keynes helped create the Cambridge Eugenics Society. Fabian socialist intellectuals H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw were among many other leftist supporters of eugenics.
It was much the same story on this side of the Atlantic. President Woodrow Wilson, like many other Progressives, was solidly behind notions of racial superiority and inferiority. He showed the movie “Birth of a Nation,” glorifying the Ku Klux Klan, at the White House, and invited various dignitaries to view it with him. …
Now, instead of genes being the overriding reason for differences in outcomes, racism [has become] the one-size-fits-all explanation … [for] the same false premise — namely, that there is something unusual about different racial and ethnic groups having different achievements. …
Not only different racial and ethnic groups, but whole nations and civilizations, have had very different achievements for centuries. China in the 15th century was more advanced than any country in Europe. Eventually Europeans overtook the Chinese — and there is no evidence of changes in the genes of either of them.
Among the many reasons for different levels of achievement is something as simple as age. The median age in Germany and Japan is over 40, while the median age in Afghanistan and Yemen is under 20. Even if the people in all four of these countries had the same mental potential, the same history, the same culture — and the countries themselves had the same geographic features — the fact that people in some countries have 20 years more experience than people in other countries would still be enough to make equal economic and other outcomes virtually impossible.
Add the fact that different races evolved in different geographic settings, presenting very different opportunities and constraints on their development, and the same conclusion follows.
Yet the idea that differences in outcomes are odd, if not sinister, has been repeated mindlessly from street corner demagogues to the august chambers of the Supreme Court.
Here’s Thomas Sowell, with Peter Robinson, talking good sense on race, racism, and discrimination
The Christian Gnostics of the early centuries CE reversed the moral judgment of their inherited civilization, decreeing that what was commonly considered good was evil, and vice versa.
Planets, even the earth, can flip their poles, north becoming south, south north.
In the twentieth century the Russian empire was communist, America capitalist. In the twenty-first, Russia is capitalist, while America … well, you’ve got the point.
Now women are becoming men, and men women. Not just individually, which has become quite common and adds to the gaiety of nations, but en masse. This has to happen because women want to be soldiers, so men must be feminized.
Diana West puts it best:
And so it came, the coup de grace. The final “barrier” to “opportunities” for women in combat is no more. With a stroke of their pens, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey decreed that no battlefield mission or military role is off-limits to the female sex. The defense secretary and the general thus liberated mothers, daughters, sisters and wives to kill and be killed in the infantry, commando raids, even in Obama administration “overseas contingency operations.” In so doing, they also slashed away at that last institutional protection for the space that separates men and women, where civilization once grew.
It (civilization) has been struggling there for decades, as social engineers and radical feminists — all heirs to Marx — have been cutting away at elemental human instinct, social grace, language and thought itself. This overhaul of manners and mores, the family structure and marriage — even private aspects of the relationship between men and women — has been successful to a point where the cultural argument against women in combat (women in the military being a lost cause) is rarely voiced, not even on the right. …
We are left to make only the utilitarian arguments — body strength and speed, unit cohesion, even urinary tract infections and other hazards that front-line deployment pose to females. These are compellingly logical points, but they are unlikely to reverse an ideological juggernaut. When the secretary of defense says putting women in combat is about “making our military … and America stronger” and no one says he’s lying to further a Marxian ideal via social engineering, the cultural argument is lost, and the culture it comes from is bound and gagged, hostage to what we know as “political correctness.”
I still see threads of the cultural argument in emails and some blog responses to the Pentagon’s latest whack at creating “gender neutrality.” It erupts like a reflex against the conditioning to deny differences defined, at their essence, by muscle mass and womb. Such conditioning erodes the male protective instinct — which, surely, is what war is supposed to arise from — and the female nurturing instinct, which surely is what a civilization depends on.
No more. Women with wombs and without manly muscle mass now count as Pentagon-approved “warriors,” modern-day knights in Kevlar, soon to be humping 80-pound packs over mountain and desert.
Or maybe not. Didn’t Gen. Dempsey indicate that dropping some of those old-fashioned strength and speed requirements might be in order? “If we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it,” Dempsey said last week, “the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?” Of course not! Why train Navy SEALs when Navy OTTERs will do as well?
And what about their children, when these front-line warriors bear them? And their pregnancies, when they decide it’s better for their mission, for their country, to terminate them? Don’t think Daddy Government, once again, won’t be a steady provider to his womenfolk. …
This penultimate shift at the Pentagon (will the NFL be next?) is just the tail end of something, not the beginning — the rewiring of the human spirit. In other words, the whole movement in the name of “equal rights” has no more to do with women being legally able to apply for a credit card and other aspects of equality before the law than ordering women into combat is about making the military and America stronger.
No, it’s about behavioral manipulation and transformation — the Equal Rights Amendment by executive fiat. These changes have been a long time coming. In my lifetime, I have watched even post-1960s standards of femininity, for example, plunge to a point where female tendencies toward privacy, intimacy and modesty have given way to norms of clinical-style revelation and numbing brazenness — and I’m talking about today’s “nice” girls, the ones who soon will be considered eligible for Selective Service.
Yes, I know, only 15 percent of our all-volunteer military is female — even after decades of active government courtship to woo women into the ranks and make “a force that looks like America” (not Obama’s Cabinet), as Bill Clinton has put it. But don’t think this “opportunity” for the few comes without strings to the many. As Army Col. Ellen Haring pointed out on “PBS NewsHour” last week, “With full rights come full responsibilities.”
And then what? Will gender-neutral raw recruits soon be brawling outside the bar (with the man “beating the snot” out of the woman, as one Iraq veteran recently suggested to me in an email)? Will gender-neutral male soldiers be trained out of their protective instinct toward women? Do we want to live with the results?
One senior officer with multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan wrote this to me: “I would never want my mother, sisters, wife or daughter to have to experience the ravages of combat or, worse, become a prisoner of war. It goes against every fiber of my being.”
Yesterday’s man. For a better tomorrow, we need more like him.
Here’s a sad old English verse by that prolific poet Anonymous:
A girl in the Army
Longed for a baby
She took her father’s greyhound
And laid it in the cradle
“Long legs hast thou
And were it not for thy cold snout
I’d kiss thee, now-now!”
First, there is the UN resolution called “Agenda 21″. It’s a plan – among Greens, Marxists, world-government enthusiasts and similar ideologues such as animal rights champions, specimens of which may be viewed weekdays in Turtle Bay – to put an end to single family homes. (Family housing is ”non-sustainable” according to the authors.) Adults will live singly in small compact - ie cramped – units, with uniform provision of all the needs the Agenda bureaucrats allow you: a single bed, limited storage for approved clothes and a few other licensed things; facilities for washing and excreting (though the water supply, like heating and lighting, will be tightly controlled), a table or desk, a chair, TV, personal computer maybe (but monitored and sometimes censored) … Communal space for bicycles but not for private cars.
Anyway, that’s our visualization of the plan, based on what we know of Agenda 21 and observation of our City Council’s housing developments going up along the railway track near the station. Readers can torment their own imaginations with their personal take on the collectivization program.
For more about it, put “Agenda 21″ into our search slot. Also go here to read how New York is implementing Agenda 21′s ”micro-apartment” or “stack ‘em and pack ‘em” housing policy.
But to come to the point: The sole occupier of a micro-apartment will be the Single Adult (defined as over 18 or perhaps younger). Copious copulation will be promoted with free condoms et cetera, but reproduction will be discouraged. If children are conceived, the unfortunate “mother” will be advised and helped to have an abortion. Indeed, the child she has conceived can be got rid of at any time up to some days, weeks, months, or even years after it is born (length of time in which killing will be permitted – or ordered – is yet to be determined). If the “mother” persists in giving birth to a child and keeping it alive, the state will take it over – though just when is no doubt a question being studied at vast expense by a panel of idiots even as we speak – and raise it with other children, none being advantaged over the others by any special treatment. (Stop that hugging and kissing!)
In the unlikely circumstance that the state will need more children than have been born, in vitro babies transplanted into synthetic “wombs” will be scheduled.
Plainly, mothering will simply not be needed. Mothers will be redundant to requirement. Fathers too, for that matter.
What to do about marriage? Fortunately (for the Agenda) it is a dying institution. There was hope that the practice of getting married would have died out completely in our town by the time our local micro-apartment blocks were ready for occupation, but those who hoped are now reconciled to disappointment on that score.
What happened to “save” the institution was the legalization of gay marriage.
For a story about an opponent of same-sex marriage being brought round to accepting it because to him any marriage is better than none, see an opinion piece by Kathleen Parker here in the Washington Post. Such views are not those of the Agenda, but can be accommodated because …
After some hesitation, and a lot of sotto voce grumbling, the Agenda planners suddenly came down unanimously in favor of gay marriage on the grounds that such marriages are by their nature barren.
Again no mothers, you see. So all’s well.
“No mothers here” is the policy. “Scrap Mom” is the pithy slogan. You’ll see it soon on T-shirts.
The time will come when the word “mother” will be used only as an insult. Not surprisingly, the necessary attitude to this campaign, the Abolition of Mother, is preponderant among those who use the word “mother” as half a noun, the other half being an obscenity, and who apply it indiscriminately to any of the twenty-three genders now officially listed in the Handbook of Political Correctness. (No kidding with that number, by the way.)
Next, with the homemaking mothering woman abolished, there is the question of what to do with women - of whatever gender. The popular answer to that question, among Agenda 21 fans – is: put them in the Army. They can be sent abroad. They can be put in harm’s way. They can do what men – of whatever gender – are doing. And do it of course for equal pay – for as long as there will be wages rather than money-rationing equal for all regardless of occupation, or none.
In some states, the phasing out of families is already well underway. (As Victor Davis Hanson points out in an article we quoted yesterday: “California now has an enormous number of single-person households, childless couples, and one-child families.”) In Europe only very uncool persons have kids. And Muslims.
Will the Agenda 21 bureaucrats get round to discouraging Muslims from marrying and reproducing? Or will they shirk it? We wait with a not entirely innocent curiosity to find out. Of course Muslims will have to be moved eventually into micro-apartments – with the addition of a prayer mat and an arrow pointing to Mecca – if the great objective is to be achieved.
The great objective? A world of orphans.
And not too many of them. Humans – the Agenda people teach us – are bad for the earth. And Gaia is a jealous goddess.
This is from Reason, February 27, 2008:
“I share about 90 percent of the views of most libertarians.”
So said the famous conservative William F. Buckley in a 1983 discussion when he “sat down with reason to discuss, among other subjects, libertarianism, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and the decriminalization of marijuana.”
The interview, which must have been interesting, is now hard to find. However, all we need from it is Buckley’s statement that he “shared about 90% of the views of most libertarians”, because we do too. But, like him, we still describe ourselves as conservatives.
Buckley was influenced by Albert Jay Nock, “whose elegant criticism of statism seems to grow more relevant with each passing day”, as Jonah Goldberg wrote in an essay on Nock in the National Review in 2009. Here are some extracts from it:
Albert Jay Nock … was one of the great men of letters of the 20th century. He counted among his friends and admirers H. L. Mencken, Charles Beard, Dwight Macdonald, Oswald Garrison Villard, Frank Chodorov, William F. Buckley Jr., and William Jennings Bryan (for whom he did some work as a special envoy when Bryan was secretary of state). … [He] was born in 1870 … in Scranton, Pa., and raised in Brooklyn, Nock was an autodidact who mastered numerous languages, including French, Latin, and Greek. He spent a good deal of his youth in a small town in upstate New York, where he imbibed from the wellspring of American individualism and gained an enduring appreciation for the power and magisterially ennobling competence of what we would today call civil society (he used the word “society” or “social power” to denote the good and decent realm of life not corrupted or coerced by the state). In 1887 he went to St. Stephen’s College (now Bard), where he was later a professor.
After college he attended divinity school, and he became a minister in the Episcopal Church in 1897. A dozen years later he quit the clergy and became a full-time journalist and editor, first at American Magazine and then at The Nation (which was still a classically liberal publication). In 1920 he became the co-editor of the original Freeman magazine, which, in its four-year run, managed to inspire the men who would one day launch National Review and the second incarnation of The Freeman, run by Nock’s disciple Frank Chodorov. …
He wrote a few books, including biographies of Thomas Jefferson and Rabelais. His most famous and successful works were Our Enemy the Stateand Memoirs of a Superfluous Man. But he was not prolific. As Chodorov put it, he “had a rare gift of editing his ideas so that he wrote only when he had something to say and he said it with dispatch.” …
Among virtually all of the political writers of the Left and the Right in the 1920s and 1930s, Nock shines brightest for seeing from the outset that the differences between the various collectivist schemes then circulating amounted to differences in branding. “Communism, the New Deal, Fascism, Nazism,” he wrote in his Memoirs, “are merely so-many trade-names for collectivist Statism, like the trade-names for tooth-pastes which are all exactly alike except for the flavouring.” …
A cold river of anarchism runs across the landscape of Nock’s work, but … he was not an anarchist, as many fans claim. … Nock understood that the state is not the “proper agency for social welfare, and never will be, for exactly the same reason that an ivory paper-knife is nothing to shave with.” Government intrusions “on the individual should be purely negative in character. It should attend to national defense, safeguard the individual in his civil rights, maintain outward order and decency, enforce the obligations of contract, punish crimes belonging in the order of malum in se [evil in itself] and make justice cheap and easily available.” Such a regime would amount to a government by and for the people, not a state in which the citizens are mere instruments of the statists. …
He denied that the state was the proper object of hope or a worthwhile agent of change. Moreover, he had contempt for the vast bulk of humanity, the “Neolithic mass” and those who spoke to them. In the dark, or at least darkening, age in which he believed himself to live (Nock died two weeks after Hiroshima), he cared only for the Remnant — a tiny slice of humanity he could describe but not locate. … the Remnant was his audience. At times, the idea of the Remnant is unapologetically elitist, but in a thoroughly Jeffersonian way. The Remnant were not the “best and brightest,” the most successful, the richest. Rather, they were those occupying the “substratum of right thinking and well doing” (in Matthew Arnold’s words). “Two things you do know, and no more: First, that they exist; second, that they will find you. Except for these two certainties, working for the Remnant means working in impenetrable darkness.”
And it is here that we find an explanation for why Nock is so admired by liberals such as The New Republic’s Franklin Foer and the New York Times’s Sam Tanenhaus: He openly embraced the idea that he couldn’t change anything. History was driven by forces too large to be affected by politics or punditry. Any revolution would result only in a new crop of exploiters and scoundrels eager to pick up where the deposed ones left off. So, Nock figured, why bother with politics? Now what more could today’s liberals ask for from a conservative pundit? …
He was wrong about many things, and his formulations were often too simple. … He bravely dissented from the overwhelming consensus that collectivism was the most desirable form of social organization. But he in effect surrendered to the same consensus that it was the “wave of the future.” …
He was wrong that statism was inevitable, partly because he was right about the need to speak to the Remnant. Buckley, Chodorov, and countless others took inspiration from Nock or from Nockian ideas, but they did not write for their desk drawers. They shared Nock’s fatalism at times — standing athwart history yelling Stop, and all that — but they actually yelled Stop. Nock did not believe in anything so crude as yelling, even in purely literary terms. His successors did, because they shared Burke’s understanding that “when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” Likewise, when bad ideas seem good, men who know otherwise must say so, lest society slip under their spell. That was the key lesson the disparate righteous took from Nock the Prophet as they associated to form the modern conservative and libertarian movements — even if, as Nock fully understood, they didn’t know where their ideas came from, or that Nock’s fingerprints were upon many of them. …
And that is why the Right is in so much better shape than it was during Nock’s time, even as liberals are mounting a statist revival. Yes, statism is on the march again, but anti-statism isn’t an amusing pursuit for cape-wearing exotics like Nock anymore; it is the animating spirit of institutions launched and nourished by lovers of liberty.
We are fascinated by this piece of history, glad to learn that “the disparate righteous … associated to form the modern conservative and libertarian movements”.
But is statism not the “wave of the future”?
With the re-election of Obama and the apparent weakness of the Republican Party now, we cannot be confident that statism is a passing phase.
Jonah Goldberg remains full of optimism. Here he is again with a cheerful view. We quote from an article of his at Townhall today:
American conservatism began as a kind of intellectual hobbyist’s group with little hope of changing the broader society. Albert Jay Nock, the cape-wearing libertarian intellectual … who inspired a very young William F. Buckley Jr., argued that political change was impossible because the masses were rubes, goons, fools or sheep, victims of the eternal tendency of the powerful to exploit the powerless.
Buckley, who rightly admired Nock for many things, rightly disagreed on this point. Buckley trusted the people more than the intellectuals … [and believed that] it is possible to rally the public to your cause.
It took time. In an age when conservative books make millions, it’s hard to imagine how difficult it once was to get a right-of-center book published. Henry L. Regnery, the founder of the publishing house that bears his name, started his venture to break the wall of groupthink censorship surrounding the publishing industry. With a few exceptions, Regnery was the only game in town for decades.
That’s hardly the case anymore. While there’s a higher bar for conservative authors at mainstream publishers (which remain overwhelmingly liberal), profit tends to trump ideology.
And publishing is a lagging indicator. In cable news, think tanks, talk radio and, of course, the Internet, conservatives have at least rough parity with, and often superiority to, liberals. It’s only in the legacy institutions — newspapers, the broadcast networks and most especially academia and Hollywood — where conservatism is still largely frozen out. Nonetheless, conservatism is a mass-market enterprise these days, for good and for ill.
The good is obvious. The ill is less understood. For starters, the movement has an unhealthy share of hucksters eager to make money from stirring rage, paranoia and an ill-defined sense of betrayal with little concern for the real political success that can only come with persuading the unconverted.
We have a sinking feeling that we are among the “hucksters … stirring rage, paranoia, and an ill-defined sense of betrayal with little concern for the real political success that can only come with persuading the unconverted”, though we don’t make money out of it, and we would very much like to achieve real political success.
A conservative journalist or activist can now make a decent living while never once bothering to persuade a liberal. Telling people only what they want to hear has become a vocation. Worse, it’s possible to be a rank-and-file conservative without once being exposed to a good liberal argument.
We are amply exposed to liberal arguments, but have yet to hear a good one.
Many liberals lived in such an ideological cocoon for decades, which is one reason conservatives won so many arguments early on. Having the right emulate that echo chamber helps no one.
Ironically, the institution in which conservatives had their greatest success is the one most besieged by conservatives today: the Republican Party. To listen to many grassroots conservatives, the GOP establishment is a cabal of weak-kneed sellouts …
Well, yes. That is how we think of the GOP right now.
It’s not that the GOP isn’t conservative enough, it’s that it isn’t tactically smart or persuasive enough to move the rest of the nation in a more conservative direction. Moreover, thanks in part to the myth that all that stands between conservatives and total victory is a philosophically pure GOP, party leaders suffer from a debilitating lack of trust — some of it well earned — from the rank and file.
But politics is about persuasion, and a party consumed by the need to prove its purity to its base is going to have a very hard time proving anything else to the rest of the country.
We applaud – and often quote – conservative and libertarian writers who attract millions of readers and may be persuading them.
And eagerly – though full of misgiving – we await their success: await the defeat of collectivist statism; the fall from power of the now far left Democratic Party; the final disappointment of the world government fans and the Big Green fanatics; the enlightenment of feminists and pacifists; the stopping of the Islamic onslaught on the West.
And the regeneration of the GOP.