The Democratic Party must be “in denial”. Is it really offering as its only candidates for the presidency an old communist – aka “a democratic socialist” – whose mind was badly made up never to change again way back in the last century; some other man no one knows or cares anything about; and, primarily, a hideously corrupt old female whose reputation is laden with more scandals than any other figure in modern American history, and is the subject of a criminal investigation by the FBI?
Yes, mirabile dictu, it is!
John Hawkins provides a useful summary of things the old woman has been and done:
Conservatives have been amusing themselves for months by watching Hillary Clinton supporters sputter out laughable answers when they’re asked to name her biggest accomplishments. You can’t blame them for not being able to come up with anything significant because Hillary has choked on the same question in interviews. That’s one of the reasons her staffers have been shielding her from the press like a mother standing between her child and Jared Fogle.
If you want to double down on the laughs, go read an actual list of “accomplishments” on her website.
All seven “accomplishments” are things Hillary didn’t have much to do with — like CHIP and the Family Medical Leave Act (Those went into effect when her husband was in office) or getting 9/11 first responders health care (Was that ever a question?). Alternately, they’re just ridiculous.
“Fought for children and families for 40 years and counting.”
“Told the world that ‘women’s rights are human rights’,”
“Stood up for LGBT rights at home and abroad.”
The very fact that Hillary Clinton considers those things to be “accomplishments” that she should be applauded for as opposed to things that should evoke eye-rolling and “Is she serious?” comments tells you a lot about why she shouldn’t be President.
Of course, the real problem Hillary has isn’t that she doesn’t have achievements; it’s just that they’re not exploits that anyone would want to base a run at the Presidency on.
1) She has been willing to endure America’s most humiliating marriage to achieve wealth and power: It’s fun to guess what Hillary Clinton would have done with her life if she hadn’t married Bill and ridden his coattails. City council member in Little Rock, Arkansas? EPA bureaucrat? A lawyer for Planned Parenthood? She’s a very small person who latched onto her husband’s very big last name.
In return, she had to stay married to a man who cheated on her. Constantly. Worse yet, not only did she know it, the whole world knows it.
Bill Clinton was impeached by the House for perjuring himself over an affair with Monica Lewinsky. He settled a sexual harassment case against Paula Jones. He was accused of sexual assault by Kathleen Willey. He was accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick. Then there’s Gennifer Flowers, Dolly Kyle Browning, Elizabeth Ward Gracen and undoubtedly dozens of other women he’s slept with. Given that some of the troopers who guarded him in Arkansas claimed they procured women for him and his confirmed trips to “orgy island”, the number may be in the hundreds and chances are, while you’re reading this, Bill is having sex with a woman who’s not Hillary Clinton. No normal woman would be so hungry for power over her fellow human beings that she would endure that and that does separate Hillary from the rest of us who aren’t as desperate for power.
2) Four people are dead in Benghazi because of her: It seems hard to believe that it’s even possible, but there were more than 600 ignored security requests related to Libya and the consulate in Benghazi. Had Hillary paid attention to those requests, it’s entirely possible that none of our men would have died in Libya. However, Hillary claims none of those requests reached her desk. Since it’s generally accepted that Hillary lies incessantly about anything and everything, maybe that’s another lie. On the other hand, given that she’s 68 years old, hasn’t driven a car since 1996 and clearly can’t handle her own email, maybe she just didn’t know what she was doing. Either way, if we had a different Secretary of State, those four men would probably be alive today. Most of us have made mistakes at work, but how many of us have the guts to ask for a promotion after four people DIED because we missed hundreds of requests for help from them?
3) She was one of the worst Secretaries of State in U.S. history: Donald Trump calls her “the worst Secretary of State” in American history, but this is an old country that has had a lot of people in that position; so that may be unfair. Maybe she’s just one of the worst Secretaries of State in American history. Look at what happened on her watch.
We helped radical jihadis take over in Libya and that country is falling apart. Benghazi also happened and while she was publicly telling the world a video caused it, she was privately telling people it was a terrorist attack. Additionally, we backed a radical jihadi takeover of the government in Egypt that thankfully fell apart. We pulled all our troops out of Iraq, which set the stage for ISIS to move in. Our relationship with the Israeli government deteriorated. So did our relationships with China and Russia. To top it all off, the State Department lost track of 6 billion dollars while she was Secretary of State. It would be easy to write Clinton off as a pitiable character whose ambition led her to take a job that was far too big for someone of her meager abilities, but unfortunately she’s trying to use her miserable failure as Secretary of State as a stepping stone to the presidency where she could do even more damage.
4) She managed to turn a career in government service into immense wealth: Hillary and her husband managed to become filthy rich one percenters because of their government service. Granted, they did cut a few corners in the process. For example, while Bill was governor, Hillary got away with taking a nearly $100,000 bribe from Robert L. “Red” Bone via sleazy cattle futures deals. While she was Secretary of State, money poured into the pockets of her husband and the Clinton Foundation from defense contractors and foreign governments that got fat contracts from the State Department. Among the governments that funneled money into the Clinton bank account via speeches are Iran, North Korea [actually, the State Department did not permit that one! – ed] the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China. They paid the Clintons an awful lot of money and if Hillary becomes our next President, people might be surprised at how much those foreign governments end up getting in return for making the Clintons rich.
5) She’s better at surviving sleazy scandals than anyone else: Hillary Clinton has been tied into more scandals than any other five politicians combined. Where she goes, an ocean of corruption, sleaze and controversy always follows. It’s amazing in a horrific way that Hillary is still considered a serious candidate for the presidency despite having more gaffes and scandals than the entire GOP field COMBINED. It would take a book to fully detail all of them, but just to name a few, there’s Emailgate, Pardongate, Whitewater, Travelgate, using the IRS to attack her political opponents, looting the White House, illegally acquiring FBI files on her Republican opponents, the Boeing payoff, the Uranium One payoff, the Norway embassy payoff, the Congo payoff, ripping off AIDS patients in the Third World, taking bribes via cattle futures, lying about landing under “sniper fire” in Bosnia, laughing about tearing apart a 12 year old girl in court to get a child rapist off and Benghazi. There are mob bosses with cleaner records than Hillary Clinton and yet, not only has she avoided prison so far, she’s running for President.
An appalling record. Yet it leaves out the worst thing Hillary Clinton accomplished.
She it was who insisted that Libya be attacked from the air to help anti-Gaddafi rebels depose the dictator. That they did (and tortured him to death). Tritely she squealed, “We came, we saw, he died.” And since then, Libya has been in chaos. From its shores untold multitudes of “refugees” sail for Europe. Many drown. Families are torn apart. Europe sinks.
If she could do so much harm as secretary of state, how much more could she do as president?
Islam is invading Europe and will conquer it without firing a shot.
European political leaders not only refuse to resist the Islamization of their countries, increasingly they positively encourage it. Add to this a high Muslim fertility rate and a very low rate among indigenous Europeans, and you may be certain Muslims will become a majority on the continent in this century unless something – civil war, perhaps – interrupts the processes already set in motion.
From Gatestone, by Guy Millière:
The flow of illegal migrants does not stop. They land on the Greek islands along the Turkish coast. They still try to get into Hungary, despite a razor wire fence and mobilized army. Their destination is Germany or Scandinavia, sometimes France or the UK. Some of them still arrive from Libya. Since the beginning of January, more than 620,000 have arrived by sea alone. There will undoubtedly be many more: a leaked secret document estimates that by the end of December, there might be 1.5 million.
Journalists in Western Europe continue to depict them as “refugees” fleeing war in Syria. The description is false. According to statistics released by the European Union, only twenty-five percent of them come from Syria; the true number is probably lower. The Syrian government sells passports and birth certificates at affordable prices. The vast majority of migrants come from other countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eritrea, Somalia, and Nigeria.
Many do not seem to have left in a hurry. Many bring new high-end smartphones and large sums of cash, ten or twenty thousand euros, sometimes more. Many have no passports, no ID, and refuse to give fingerprints.
Whenever people flee to survive, the men come with whole families: women, children, elders. Here, instead, more than 75% of those who arrive are men under 50; few are women, children or elders.
As Christians are now the main targets of Islamists (the Jews fled or were forced out decades ago), the people escaping the war in Syria should be largely composed of Christians. But Christians are a small minority among those who arrive, and they often hide that they are Christians.
Those who enter Europe are almost all Muslims, and behave as some Muslims often do in the Muslim world: they harass Christians and attack women. In reception centers, harassing Christians and attacking women are workaday incidents. European women and girls who live near reception centers are advised to take care and cover up. Rapes, assaults, stabbings and other crimes are on the rise.
Western European political leaders could tell the truth and act accordingly. They do not. They talk of “solidarity”, “humanitarian duty”, “compassion”. From the beginning, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said that illegal migrants were welcome: she seemed to change her mind for a moment, but quickly slid back. In France, President François Hollande says the same things as Angela Merkel.
After the heartbreaking image of a dead child being carried on a Turkish beach was published, thousands of Germans and French initially spoke the same way as their leaders. Their enthusiasm seems to have faded fast.
The people of Central Europe were not enthusiastic from the beginning. Their leaders seem to share the feelings of their populations. None spoke as explicitly as Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary. He said out loud what many of his countrymen seemed to think.
Orbán decribed the “massive and brutal” entry of the migrants into his country as an “invasion”, and said that “a country has the right to decide who is allowed to enter its territory, and to guard its borders”. He also dared to point out that the invaders are from a “different culture”, and that Islamic values “might not be compatible” with European values.
To which Western European leaders reacted with predictable (and surely irrational or even insane) fury.
Western European political leaders harshly condemned his remarks and the attitude of Central Europe in general. They decided to take a hard line approach, including: forcing recalcitrant countries to welcome immigrants, setting up mandatory quotas that define how many immigrants each EU country must receive, and threatening those countries that declined to obey. Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, said that Europe was built in a spirit of “burden sharing”, and that EU breakup was a risk that could not be excluded.
An acute division, in fact, is emerging between the leaders of Western Europe and the leaders of Central Europe. Another division is growing between the populations of Western Europe and their leaders. …
Any criticism of Islam in Europe is treated as a form of racism, and “Islamophobia” is considered a crime or a sign of mental illness.
Islam … is creating increasingly distressing problems that are almost never brought to light. Muslim criminality across Europe is high. Consequently, the percentage of Muslims in prisons in Europe is high. In France, which has the largest Muslim population in Europe, the prison population is 70% Muslim. Many European prisons have become recruitment centers for future jihadis.
Muslim riots may occur for any reason: police upholding the law, a Soccer League celebration, or in support of a cause.
Populations of Western Europe increasingly think that … their leaders speak and act as if they have no awareness of what is happening.
Central European leaders and their people, who have directly experienced authoritarian rule, seem to be thinking that entering the European Union was a huge mistake. When the Soviet Union collapsed, they became members of the EU to join what was called then the “free world”. They do not seem willing to be subjected again to coercive decisions made by outsiders.
After living under the Soviet yoke, they preserved their desire for freedom and self-government, and evidently will not now agree to give them up. They know what submission to Islam could mean. Bulgaria and Romania were occupied by the Ottoman Empire until 1878. Hungary was under the boot of Ottoman rule for more than a hundred and fifty years (1541-1699).
Polls show that a majority of Muslims living in Europe want the application of sharia law and clearly reject any idea of assimilation.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslims living in Europe have joined fundamentalist Islamic organizations. Thousands have joined jihadist movements and are now fighting in Syria or Yemen. Many have returned and are ready to act against Europe.
Illegal Muslim migrants are likely to join the Muslims already living in Europe; and they will remain Muslim. They will live on social benefits until the bankruptcy of welfare states. They will reside in the “no-go zones,” and the “no-go zones” will continue to grow. Their occupants come from countries where Christians and women are mistreated; in Europe, they are already mistreating Christians and women.
They come from countries where Western civilization is despised and where hatred of Jews is inescapable — and this remains so among Muslims already living in Europe. For more than two decades, almost all assaults against Jews in Europe were committed by Muslims. …
A project to overwhelm Europe by a huge wave of migration was described by the Islamic State in documents discovered this February. It is hard to rule out that the Islamic State plays a role in what is happening. Turkish authorities are ignoring the massive departures taking place from their coast. If they really wanted the current process to stop, they could stop it. That is clearly not what they do. The Islamic State could not survive without Turkish help. Daily flights on Turkish Airlines bring illegal migrants to Istanbul; they continue unhindered to Europe. …
In all 28 countries of the European Union, birth rates are low and the population is aging. People under thirty account for only 16% of the population, or 80 million people. In the 22 Arab countries, plus Turkey and Iran, people under thirty account for 70% of the population, or 350 million people.
Jews are fleeing Europe in increasing numbers. “Native” Europeans are starting to flee as well.
In 1972, in his book The Camp of the Saints, French writer Jean Raspail described flooding Europe with Muslim migrants crossing the Mediterranean. At the time, the book was a work of fiction. Today, it is reality.
Obama is the man who shakes hands with himself.
Amir Taheri writes at Gatestone:
Sometime this week, President Obama is scheduled to sign an executive order to meet the Oct. 15 “adoption day” he has set for the nuclear deal he says he has made with Iran. According to the president’s timetable the next step would be “the start day of implementation”, fixed for Dec. 15.
But as things now stand, Obama may end up being the only person in the world to sign his much-wanted deal, in effect making a treaty with himself.
The Iranians have signed nothing and have no plans for doing so.
The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has not even been discussed at the Islamic Republic’s Council of Ministers. Nor has the Tehran government bothered to even provide an official Persian translation of the 159-page text.
The Islamic Majlis, the ersatz parliament, is examining an unofficial text and is due to express its views at an unspecified date in a document “running into more than 1,000 pages”, according to Mohsen Zakani, who heads the “examining committee”.
“The changes we seek would require substantial rewriting of the text,” he adds enigmatically.
Nor have Britain, China, Germany, France and Russia, who were involved in the so-called P5+1 talks that produced the JCPOA, deemed it necessary to provide the Obama “deal” with any legal basis of their own. Obama’s partners have simply decided that the deal he is promoting is really about lifting sanctions against Iran and nothing else. So they have started doing just that without bothering about JCPOA’s other provisions.
Britain has lifted the ban on 22 Iranian banks and companies blacklisted because of alleged involvement in deals linked to the nuclear issue.
German trade with Iran has risen by 33 percent, making it the Islamic Republic’s third-largest partner after China.
China has signed preliminary accords to help Iran build five more nuclear reactors.
Russia has started delivering S300 anti-aircraft missile systems and is engaged in talks to sell Sukhoi planes to the Islamic Republic.
France has sent its foreign minister and a 100-man delegation to negotiate big business deals, including projects to double Iran’s crude oil exports.
Indian trade with Iran has risen by 17 percent, and New Delhi is negotiating massive investment in a rail-and-sea hub in the Iranian port of Chah-Bahar on the Gulf of Oman.
With help from Austrian, Turkish and United Arab Emirates banks, the many banking restrictions imposed on Iran because of its nuclear program have been pushed aside.
“The structures of sanctions built over decades is crumbling,” boasts Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Meanwhile, the nuclear project is and shall remain “fully intact,” says the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi. “We have started working on a process of nuclear fusion that will be cutting-edge technology for the next 50 years,” he adds.
Even before Obama’s “implementation day”, the mullahs are receiving an average of $400 million a month, no big sum, but enough to ease the regime’s cash-flow problems and increase pay for its repressive forces by around 21 percent. …
The mullahs see the “deal” as a means with which Obama would oppose any suggestion of trying to curb Iran.
“Obama won’t do anything that might jeopardize the deal,” says Ziba Kalam, a Rouhani adviser. “This is his biggest, if not only, foreign policy success.”
Let’s pause and contemplate that for a moment! This farce of a deal, this green light to one of the most oppressive regimes on earth to go ahead and become a nuclear power, is - Obama’s “biggest, if not only, foreign policy SUCCESS”!
More follows on this success:
If there have been changes in Tehran’s behavior they have been for the worse. Iran has teamed up with Russia to keep Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria, mocking Obama’s “Assad must go” rhetoric. More importantly, Iran has built its direct military presence in Syria to 7,000 men.
Tehran has also pressured Iraqi Premier Haidar al-Abadi’s weak government to distance itself from Washington and join a dubious coalition with Iran, Russia and Syria.
Certain that Obama is paralyzed by his fear of undermining the non-existent “deal” the mullahs have intensified their backing for Houthi rebels in Yemen. Last week a delegation was in Tehran with a long shopping list for arms.
In Lebanon, the mullahs have toughened their stance on choosing the country’s next president.
And in Bahrain, Tehran is working on a plan to “ensure an early victory” of the Shiite revolution in the archipelago.
Confident that Obama is determined to abandon traditional allies of the United States, Tehran has also heightened propaganda war against Saudi Arabia, now openly calling for the overthrow of the monarchy there.
The mullahs are also heightening contacts with Palestinian groups in the hope of unleashing a new “Intifada.”
They have done so. (See yesterday’s post, immediately below.)
“Palestine is thirsty for a third Intifada,” Supreme Guide Khamenei’s mouthpiece Kayhan said in an editorial last Thursday. “It is the duty of every Muslim to help start it as soon as possible.”
Obama’s hopes of engaging Iran on other issues were dashed last week when Khamenei declared “any dialogue with the American Great Satan” to be “forbidden”.
“We have no need of America” his adviser Ali-Akbar Velayati added later. “Iran is the region’s big power in its own right.”
Obama had hoped that by sucking up to the mullahs he would at least persuade them to moderate their “hate-America campaign”.
“Death to America” slogans, adorning official buildings in Tehran have been painted afresh along with US flags, painted at the entrance of offices so that they could be trampled underfoot.
None of the US citizens still held hostages in Iran has been released, and one, Washington Post stringer Jason Rezai, is branded as “head of a spy ring “in Tehran. Paralyzed by his fear of undermining the non-existent deal, Obama doesn’t even call for their release.
Government-sponsored anti-American nationwide events are announced for November, anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran.
The annual “End of America” week-long conference is planned for February and is to focus on “African-American victims of US police” and the possibility of “self-determination for blacks.”
Iran is inciting rebellion and treason among Americans.
According to official sources “families of Black American victims” and a number of “black American revolutionaries” have been invited.
Inside Iran, Obama’s “moderate partners” have doubled the number of executions and political prisoners. Last week they crushed marches by teachers calling for release of their leaders. Hundreds of trade unionists have been arrested and a new “anti-insurrection” brigade paraded in Tehran to terrorize possible protestors.
The Obama deal may end up as the biggest diplomatic scam in recent history.
Those Americans (of various political persuasions) who say it is not necessary for the US to have a strong military for any reason except defense of the homeland and then only if it is actually attacked; who say that the US should not be the “policeman of the world”; who say (as Donald Trump does) “let the Russians fight ISIS”; who say “let the Muslims kill each other, it’s of no concern to us”; who say the only business we should have with other countries is trade; who say they share President Obama’s opinion that America is not better than any other nation and that no country should dominate any other – watch what will happen now as their ideal becomes reality and Obama’s doctrine is put into practice:
J. E. Dyer, who has had many years’ professional experience of defense issues and has thought long and hard about these matters, writes at Liberty Unyielding:
U.S. and Russian officials are still discussing how to share the combat space in Syria. But all things military are ultimately decided by political leverage. I assure you, it is impossible for U.S. forces to maintain a posture of “making things crystal clear to the Russians”, if there is no political respect for the Obama administration itself on the Russian side.
The lack of respect will be for a reason – and it will be for the same reason that American forces won’t be able to hold any line in Syria. They won’t have reliable back-up from the White House. Time will quickly erode the U.S. military position on how to share the battle space, and Russia will simply dictate the conditions in which our forces operate.
I doubt we can really conceive how fast things are going to move from this point on. Reports continue to flood in that Iran is deploying troops in large numbers to Syria, and that Russia and Iran will mount a major ground offensive there soon. For the military task at hand, their weapons and skills are not as good as ours, but they will fight ruthlessly and without compunction, which we have not done at any time in the last 25 years. Where we have fought delicately, to “encourage” a new status quo that could last without us, Russia and Iran will fight brutally to hold territory they mean to stay on, in one form or another.
I don’t think even geopolitics specialists really appreciate how dangerous a precipice we stand on.
There is no assumption of our current order that is not up for grabs now. We haven’t seen a situation like this for many hundreds of years.
Things you think can’t possibly come up for rearrangement – how the Suez Canal operates; who if anyone keeps it safe to navigate the waters of the Mediterranean; how freely air traffic moves between Europe and Asia; whether the Strait of Malacca is open to everyone; whether military outposts targeting the United States proliferate in the Americas – all these things are in the realm of the “thinkable” now.
The protection of the United States has been lifted from the world.
On what else will the nations cease giving ear to anything the Obama administration says? We’re going to find out.
Russia has brought fighter planes, air-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft batteries to Syria. He has put military “boots on the ground” there too. The aerial bombing and ground fighting have started. Command centers have been established. Russia is there to stay.
An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily deplores the fact that Russia is now the dominant great power in the Middle East.
And it is a fact. Obama has handed the region to Putin as on a golden platter.
And what’s worse, with Russia comes China and Iran. We can’t see Putin sharing power with any other country for very long. But right now, the Vast Nasty Country Conspiracy is in full operation. (See here, here, and here.)
Moscow won’t just be destroying IS; it will be replacing us as dominant power in the Mideast, where the oil the free world needs is. And Putin won’t be alone.
According to Russian Sen. Igor Morozov, who sits on Russia’s international affairs committee, Chinese forces are joining Russia against IS. “China has joined our military operation in Syria,” Morozov said in Pravda. “A Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, and an aircraft carrier follows it.”
With Iranian Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani believed to have met with Russian officials this month, the “genuinely broad” coalition against terrorism in which “Muslim countries are to play a key role” may end up as Russia, China and Iran.
Meanwhile, London’s Daily Express reports on German reporter and author Jurgen Todenhofer’s book, “Inside IS — Ten Days in the Islamic State.”
In it, he warns that the free world “is drastically underestimating the power of ISIS’, which “intends to get its hands on nuclear weapons”, then undertake “the largest religious cleansing in history”. Years ago, all these would have seemed laughable predictions. But Obama’s new world of American decline is full of such terrifying surprises.
Charles Krauthammer thinks, as we do, that Putin has little interest in defeating the Islamic State.
He writes, also at IBD:
If it had the wit, the Obama administration would be not angered, but appropriately humiliated. President Obama has, once again, been totally outmaneuvered by Vladimir Putin.
Two days earlier at the United Nations, Obama had welcomed the return, in force, of the Russian military to the Middle East — for the first time in decades — in order to help fight the Islamic State.
The ruse was transparent from the beginning. Russia is not in Syria to fight the Islamic State. The Kremlin was sending fighter planes, air-to-air missiles and SA-22 anti-aircraft batteries. Against an Islamic State that has no air force, no planes, no helicopters?
Russia then sent reconnaissance drones over Western Idlib and Hama, where there are no Islamic State fighters. Followed by bombing attacks on Homs and other opposition strongholds that had nothing to do with the Islamic State.
Indeed, some of these bombed fighters were U.S. trained and equipped.
Asked if we didn’t have an obligation to support our allies on the ground, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter bumbled that Russia’s actions exposed its policy as self-contradictory.
Carter made it sound as if the Russian offense was to have perpetrated an oxymoron, rather than a provocation — and a direct challenge to what’s left of the U.S. policy of supporting a moderate opposition.
The whole point of Russian intervention is to maintain Assad in power. Putin has no interest in fighting the Islamic State.
Indeed, the second round of Russian air attacks was on rival insurgents opposed to the Islamic State. The Islamic State is nothing but a pretense for Russian intervention. …
Just three weeks ago, Obama chided Russia for its military buildup, wagging his finger that it was “doomed to failure”. Yet by Monday he was publicly welcoming Russia to join the fight against the Islamic State.
He not only acquiesced to the Russian buildup, he held an ostentatious meeting with Putin on the subject, thereby marking the ignominious collapse of Obama’s vaunted campaign to isolate Putin diplomatically over Crimea.
Putin then showed his utter contempt for Obama by launching his air campaign against our erstwhile anti-Assad allies not 48 hours after meeting Obama.
Which the U.S. found out about when a Russian general knocked on the door of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and delivered a brusque demarche announcing that the attack would begin within an hour and warning the U.S. to get out of the way.
In his subsequent news conference, Secretary Carter averred that he found such Russian behavior “unprofessional.”
Good grief. Russia, with its inferior military and hemorrhaging economy, had just eaten Carter’s lunch, seizing the initiative and exposing American powerlessness — and the secretary of defense deplores what? Russia’s lack of professional etiquette.
Makes you want to weep.
Consider: When Obama became president, the surge in Iraq had succeeded and the U.S. had emerged as the dominant regional actor, able to project power throughout the region.
Last Sunday, Iraq announced the establishment of a joint intelligence-gathering center with Iran, Syria and Russia, symbolizing the new “Shiite-crescent” alliance from Iran across the northern Middle East to the Mediterranean, under the umbrella of Russia, the rising regional hegemon.
Russian planes roam free over Syria attacking Assad’s opposition as we stand by helpless. Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of state beseeches the Russians to negotiate “de-conflict” arrangements — so that we and they can each bomb our own targets safely. It has come to this.
Why is Putin moving so quickly and so brazenly? Because he’s got only 16 more months to push on the open door that is Obama.
He knows he’ll never again see an American president such as this — one who once told the General Assembly that “no one nation can or should try to dominate another nation” and told it again last Monday of “believing in my core that we, the nations of the world, cannot return to the old ways of conflict and coercion.”
They cannot? Has he looked at the world around him — from Homs to Kunduz, from Sanaa to Donetsk — ablaze with conflict and coercion?
Wouldn’t you take advantage of these last 16 months if you were Putin, facing a man living in a faculty-lounge fantasy world?
Where was Obama when Putin began bombing Syria? Leading a U.N. meeting on countering violent extremism.
Go on, weep.
That’s what we’re doing, figuratively at least.
If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject. – Ayn Rand
The political philosophy of the New Left is weak, shallow, and in its expression by some of its gurus, patently absurd. But it has won the West. It has won the academies of the pan-European word, and through them generations grow up steeped in the creed.
What is the creed, and why has it won?
It has won because it echoes a Christian teaching, to which some 8,000 generations (reckoning 4 generations per century) of Europeans have been subjected.
It is the notion that to be a good person you must pity other people and make sacrifices for them. Only if you do that, are you worthy and virtuous.
It has been drummed into every Christian from his earliest years, so even if he rebels against his religion, his class, his culture, his race, his nation, he clings to that idea as to the moral kingpin of his universe. Take it away, and the center will not hold.
The New Left was a rebellion by affluent, middle-class adolescents (some of them well advanced in middle age) against their class, culture, race, and nation, starting about twenty years after the end of the Second World War (1939-1945).
The old Left, a secular version of Christianity, won the support of middle-class intellectuals by directing pity on to the working-class. The intellectuals would, at whatever cost to themselves, lead the oppressed and exploited workers in revolution. In Russia to start with, they did just that before the end of the First World War.
By the late 1960s, the old Left, in the person of dictators and their henchmen, was actively oppressing millions, including the populations of the Eastern European countries and a part of Germany.
So the old Left lost its appeal partly because the Leftist regimes could not easily be held up as models of paradise on earth. In addition, the working-class in the West had generally become prosperous enough to be content with its lot.
The New Left found new victims to feel sorry for. It found them first abroad, in the Third World, which was not prosperous. It declared the people of Third World countries to be exploited and oppressed by European colonialism and imperialism, even if their countries were no longer colonies or parts of empires. Its concern extended to Third World descendants who lived in the First World.
Then it declared that in the First World, women were victims of male-dominated societies. Many women volunteered for the role.
Next, homosexuals were declared, and many declared themselves, victims of heterosexual-dominated First World societies.
The main thing was, New Left intellectuals found new groups to pity, and so new sources for pride in a feeling of self-worth.
After 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War – of which the West was the immediate winner – the old Left was held by Western intellectuals (whom Thomas Sowell calls “the self-annointed”) to have been the wrong Left. The New Left, they maintain, is the politically correct Left.
The strange thing about the (new or old) Left’s remedy for human suffering is this: While only the individual can feel pain and suffer distress; while no masses, no group, no class, no race as such can suffer or feel anything at all; yet the Plan of the Left to remedy suffering is always one that sacrifices individuals for the sake of the group. It is always a Plan that is implemented regardless of individual suffering. So important is the Plan itself, that any number of individuals may be persecuted, silenced, tortured, enslaved, killed for it.
There is no collective remedy for human suffering. The only prescription that works is individual freedom; leaving people alone to serve their own purposes in the manner they choose for themselves. (Nothing need prevent an individual from aiding other individuals if that’s what he wants to do.)
John Schindler, who calls himself “a traditional leftist”, writes about why he believes the New Left has won in an article titled Who Really Won the Cold War?, in The Federalist. I quote it in full.
While he makes some points I do not agree with (chiefly the idea he takes for granted that Leftism ideally serves the cause of “human freedom”), he makes many more that bear out what I have said about the old Left and the New Left, and how and why the New Left has won the Cold War. I found this surprising. But it explains why an essay by a “traditional leftist” appears in The Federalist.
He starts with a figure from the old Left who has just recently risen to prominence:
The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party has sent shockwaves far beyond Britain. There has been disbelief that the United Kingdom’s storied left-wing party opted to be led by a man so obviously contemptuous of his own society. In the wake of their recent electoral debacle under the uninspiring Ed Miliband, Labour has chosen as its leader an activist who resembles a walking leftist cliché. Corbyn’s radicalism is not in doubt. Aside from his embrace of socialist-throwback platitudes that linger on his party’s left flank on the full range of domestic issues, in adamant rejection of Blairism, Corbyn’s foreign-policy views merit attention. Openly hostile to NATO and Britain’s longstanding “special relationship” with the United States, Corbyn adds overt sympathy for numerous authoritarian regimes.
He blames the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, not the Kremlin, for the Ukraine crisis and has endorsed Russia Today, Putin’s TV propaganda network. Corbyn opposes essentially all overseas military operations by Britain and wants to parley with Bashar al-Assad, four years into Syria’s fratricide, while viewing Tehran as a partner for Middle East peace.
That said, leftist infatuation with foreign dictators is hardly new. For decades a crush on “progressive” despots safely far away from their own free country has been a staple of the Western far-Left diet. Corbyn is simply a paid-up member of his ideological tribe.
Yet Corbyn surpasses his predecessors in his fervent embrace of the social-justice message at home as well as abroad. He exudes hostility towards the Britain that made the historic Labour Party. This, after all, is a man who celebrates Hamas, Hezbollah, and related Islamist extremists as freedom-fighters, while explaining the death of Osama bin Laden was “a tragedy”.
Unsurprisingly, Corbyn enthusiastically espouses multiculturalism and says Britain should “celebrate” record numbers of immigrants entering the country — a position not popular with many voters, who see the European Union being overwhelmed by waves of migrants from Asia and Africa. Between his crush on the West’s enemies and his desire to change his country’s population, Corbyn wants to abolish Britain, not reform it.
Yet we should not regard Corbyn as a particular outlier. In truth, his cocktail of trendy “progressive” opinions, which rejects virtually everything about their own society, is commonly found among postmodern Western leftists. The only difference is that Corbyn makes no effort to mask his views. Many of his fellow travelers obscure their take, which would be considered extreme by most voters, behind moderate-sounding language.
Unlike Barack Obama, who once assured us that he did not see a Red America or a Blue America, rather a United States of America — then proceeded to govern through two terms as a highly partisan liberal Democrat — Corbyn states openly that there is only one “real” Britain, and it is deep red (which in Britain, as most of Europe, means left-wing).
Corbynism is no sudden or shocking development, but the natural culmination of 50 years of left-wing views that have shifted from a desire to reform Western democracies to an unconcealed wish to kill them, or at least change them so fundamentally that they bear little resemblance to themselves.
The Old Left, for all its sometimes horrific flaws, sought socioeconomic change to benefit average citizens, not all-out social revolution. They, in their own way, were very much a product of Western culture. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which split the Left worldwide into communist and social democratic groupings, the latter worked within the socioeconomic system, embracing democracy while seeking minimal deep changes to society itself.
Even the communists were hardly social revolutionaries in practice. In the initial euphoria of the revolution there was experimentation. The Soviet Union became the first society ever to allow abortion and easy divorce. In Hungary, during the short-lived red revolution at the end of World War I, Bolsheviks embraced social radicalism and introduced sex education to undermine the traditional family.
However, once firmly in power, the Soviets dropped any pretense of social revolution to mirror the politico-economic one. While religion was persecuted and mild feminism got lip service, Stalin banned abortion and the party frowned upon sexual immorality. After all, the revolution needed soldiers and workers, and who but communist women could make those?
Although the abortion ban was dropped after Stalin, Soviet social practices remained highly “heteronormative,” with homosexuality being criminal while men and women were strongly encouraged to marry and be fruitful. In its most extreme form, Nicolae Ceaușescu nearly banned abortion and contraceptives altogether in his effort to build his highly fecund socialist Romania.
Many were the Western progressives who visited the East Bloc during the Cold War, having been fed propaganda about the wondrous “new society”, only to discover that communism was actually behind the West in matters of family, sex, and gender.
While the Soviets and their clients remained mired in traditional social models, the West moved on — or forward, depending on your viewpoint. The great social revolution of the 1960s, which passed the East Bloc by because communism had insulated the countries, brought forth a New Left in the West that was interested in matters of sex, gender, and race rather than who owns the means of production.
Their “long march through the institutions” after a half-century must be judged wholly successful. While the Right has won the battle for economics across the West — calls for public ownership now seem quaint rather than threatening to capitalists — the New Left has triumphed on the social front in every arena.
In the United States, which was more resistant to the New Left agenda than many Western countries, the Obama years have witnessed the victory of social justice on all major matters of race, gender, and sexuality. Thanks to activists, politicians, and courts, Americans today are living in a very different social and sexual world than their parents and grandparents.
More than a few communists saw all this coming. Beginning in the 1970s, East Bloc secret police began to notice the impact of the New Left on their Old Left countries. Cries for radical individualism from dissidents under Western influence troubled the communists, who didn’t know what to do about this trend, which they dismissed as a bourgeois affectation.
By the 1980s, the more perceptive East Bloc security services were denouncing this Western poison, which took the form of radical feminism, sexual freedom, environmental activism, and gay rights. To traditional communists, who barely understood this new ideology, it was a scary Western import, according to the secret police. Some in Eastern Europe termed this decadence “anarcho-liberalism”, and they considered it a disease of an affluent late capitalist society burdened with excessive consumerism and leisure time.
In the end, of course, the communists lost. Lots of average people in the East Bloc wanted the freedom to own cool shoes, while some pined for the social-sexual liberties that the West offered. In many ways, the revolutions of 1989 to 1991 that changed the map and politics of Europe and beyond can be viewed with a quarter-century of hindsight as the defeat of the Old Left in the East by the New Left in the West.
We are living still with the consequences of this seismic political shift. With the sudden disappearance of the communist threat, the Right lost interest in socioeconomic fairness, a Cold War necessity to keep reds at bay on the home-front, while oddly so did the Left.
The obsessive interest of the New Left in social justice has come at the expense of economic concerns, with the result that on a wide range of topics their positions, barring lip service, differ hardly at all from the Right. Few on the Left question our basic economic arrangements; tearing down our social foundations has been their core program.
Barack Obama is the most left-wing president ever on social justice, yet he is a darling of Wall Street. Hillary Clinton, despite her belated interest in social issues, is deeply enmeshed in high finance and will never challenge it. Thus Bernie Sanders, who is an amalgam of Old and New Left, is treated like an atavism by mainstream liberals when he opens the economics can of worms.
It’s all enough to make the few traditional leftists among us want to pull their hair out. The broad alliance of cultural Left and corporate Right, which questions none of our economics, has triumphed in our politics — or at least had until Donald Trump came along to question “settled” issues such as mass, often illegal, immigration. The cultural Left favors this because it gradually dissolves the traditional culture, which they despise, while the corporate Right favors it for the cheap labor. Postmodern capitalism is at least as revolutionary a force as anything cooked up by any Marxist, as well as something any Social Justice Warrior can live with.
For more than a generation we have sorely lacked mainstream contributions from social democrats who seek to make our society better, not destroy it. There ought to be no illusions about what the cultural Left seeks: a full revolution of our society and its history, which they see as benighted by irredeemable racism, sexism, and Old Think. Their opponents are objectively evil and on the“wrong side of history,” as Obama himself has assured us, and they must disappear. “Error has no rights,” the mid-nineteenth-century Vatican formulation, has oddly been adapted by our postmodern Left.
As communists once predicted the state itself would wither away, resulting in complete human freedom and progress, the New Left expects that all traditional societal arrangements will wither away, thereby allowing full human freedom and progress. One offered discipline and order and sometimes gulags; the other offers sexual liberty, anti-racism, and iPhones.
Both these beliefs are illusions, and dangerous ones, rooted in a Marxist sense of “knowing” where history is going. The working class was once revered by leftists as uniquely virtuous, while for the New Left that vanguard role is played by minorities sexual and racial, who are allegedly untainted by the dominant group. The essential willingness to ignore inconvenient truths remains the same.
Let us give the Old Left, particularly its social democratic guise, credit that they did not seek the extirpation of our whole society and culture, but instead its transformation. What the New Left today fights for is far more revolutionary and utopian. A Europe that seeks a future where actual Europeans are a dying remnant, replaced by more vigorous immigrants, is but one manifestation of this worldview.
Leftists once heartily sang the “Internationale,” which promised “This is the final struggle” (C’est la lutte finale). Communists were quite wrong about that. History has moved on and left them behind everywhere but Cuba, North Korea, and Western universities. Yet their social-justice descendants believe the same thing, with a different favored fantasy class.
They will be proved wrong, too. The Corbyn vision has no future to offer most Britons. It would be incomprehensible to generations of Labour patriots who fought for Britain, her values, and her allies. The only question is how much damage to what is left of the West will be inflicted before the New Left is vanquished, too.
I wish I could share his optimism that the New Left will be vanquished (in the foreseeable future).
And what I miss in the essay is any reference to the human misery that “traditional leftism” of the redder kind has caused wherever it has had power to cause it. Of course, his focus is on the British Left, which was never – until now? – as red as all that.
I dislike his implication that collectivism (aka Leftism) of his favored – or any – kind is a valid recipe for improving what Leftists have called “the human condition”.
But I applaud his recognition that the New Left “seeks the extirpation of our whole society and culture”, and that he deplores that terrible aim.
If only he could also see that it is logically, even necessarily, derived from the old socialist collectivist thinking to which he remains faithful!
Jillian Becker September 18, 2015
“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” – George Orwell, 1984.
This fascinating video about life in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia after the death of Stalin, was published in December, 2014. It takes three-quarters of an hour to watch, but is worth every minute spent on it.
It does not discuss the worst suffering of the Russian and East European peoples under Communism. With the accession of Nikita Kruschev in 1953, the Russians and some of the other oppressed nations of the Warsaw Pact believed they felt a certain lightening of the yoke of totalitarianism.
In 1968, the Czechoslovakian leader Alexander Dubček tried to launch a new kind of Marxist-Leninist regime which was – so sadly and so hopefully – called “Socialism with a human face“. For about seven months the Czechs and Slovaks had a taste – just a little taste – of comparative freedom, and then the Soviet boot came down on that face, hard.
The supremacy of the Communist Party could not be challenged. Marxism, like all religions, believes its doctrine is the only “truth”. Therefore, a Marxist regime can never be anything but totalitarian.
To repeat: A Marxist regime can never be anything but totalitarian. Recent history has made that plain enough.
Yet now, as if President Obama hasn’t taken the United States far enough down the road to socialist serfdom, tens of thousands of Americans want him to be followed in the Oval Office by Bernie Sanders.
Bernie Sanders calls himself a “Democratic Socialist” – as Alexander Dubček did.
Many of his followers, it would seem, understand “democratic socialism” to be a mild sort of socialism as embodied in West European welfare states. They like to point to the Scandinavian countries as the model they envision – egalitarian utopias with a Bernie Sanders face.
But in Bernie Sanders’s own vision of egalitarian utopia, isn’t it he who is wearing the boot?
This review of Bernie Sanders’s political record comes from an article by Matthew Vadum at Front Page:
Bernie has been around communists a long time.
He used to work at the communist-led United Packinghouse Workers Union.
In the 1970s he belonged to the anti-war Liberty Union Party (LUP). Under the LUP banner, he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate and governor of Vermont. His platform called for all U.S. banks to be nationalized, public ownership of all utilities, and the establishment of a worker-controlled federal government.
Sanders quit the LUP in 1979 and was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont. During his decade in office he displayed a Soviet flag in his mayoral office and claimed he did so to honor Yaroslavl, Burlington’s sister city in the U.S.S.R. In addition, he made Puerto Cabezas in Communist Nicaragua another sister city of Burlington.
In 1989 Sanders addressed the national conference of the U.S. Peace Council, a Communist Party USA (CPUSA) front group. The event focused on how to “end the Cold War” and “fund human needs”.
Interacting with the CPUSA was a dangerous thing. During the Cold War, CPUSA members swore an oath “to the Soviet Union, to a ‘Soviet America,’ and to the ‘triumph of Soviet power in the United States’”. …
Sanders hopped on the global warming/climate change bandwagon years ago, claiming that it both threatens “the fate of the entire planet” and is caused primarily by human industrial activity. He wants carbon emissions strictly limited, which would inflict tremendous damage on the US economy without having much of an impact on global temperatures. In 2010 Sanders smeared climate-change skeptics by comparing them to people who had ignored the Nazi threat before World War II. He accused “big business” of being “willing to destroy the planet for short-term profit”, and in 2013 pontificated that “global warming is a far more serious problem than al-Qaeda”.
Not surprisingly, Sanders is a strong supporter of the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of environmentalists and big labor that wants the government to take over America’s energy industry. The group is a hotbed of subversives and other radicals. Former green jobs czar Van Jones who described himself as a “communist” and “rowdy black nationalist” was a member of its board.
Weatherman co-founder and former Weather Underground leader Jeff Jones … who was a fugitive for 11 years, is director of the Apollo Alliance’s New York state affiliate. Jones is proud of his small-c communist, terrorist past. In 2004 he boasted, “To this day, we still, lots of us, including me, still think it was the right thing to try to do.”
For an American politician during the Cold War, Sanders was unusually friendly to the Soviet Union. …
As Accuracy in the Media has reported, in the 1980s he “collaborated with Soviet and East German ‘peace committees'” whose objective was “to stop President Reagan’s deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe”. Indeed, he “openly joined the Soviets’ ‘nuclear freeze’ campaign to undercut Reagan’s military build-up”.
[He] also reached out to Soviet allies. He travelled to Communist Cuba in the 1980s where he enjoyed a friendly meeting with Havana’s mayor.
In 1985 he visited Nicaragua to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the ascent to power of Daniel Ortega and his Marxist-Leninist Sandinista government. Sanders wrote an open letter to the people of Nicaragua attacking the Reagan administration, which he claimed was a puppet of corporate interests, for its anti-Communist activities. “In the long run, I am certain that you will win, and that your heroic revolution against the Somoza dictatorship will be maintained and strengthened,” he said.
When he was stateside again, Sanders sent a letter to the White House saying Ortega was interested in meeting with President Reagan to try to negotiate an end to that nation’s civil war. Sanders invited Ortega to visit Burlington but the dictator declined.
In the event Vermont’s favorite communist moves into the White House on January 20, 2017, it seems likely Ortega will at long last accept his comrade’s invitation to the US.
At that time Bernie Sanders and Daniel Ortega will dance on America’s grave.
… in their boots.
As more about the US’s terms of surrender to Iran emerge, it becomes ever clearer that despite the big lie told by Obama and the Ayatollah Khamenei – the two Supreme Leaders – that Iran would never use nuclear energy for anything but peaceful purposes, it is in fact a nuclear arsenal that Iran is after.
Is anybody surprised?
In this article at the Wall Street Journal, Jay Solomon names some of the people and organizations behind the intense activity in Iran to acquire nuclear warheads and missiles to deliver them.
What? The Religion of Peace make war?
And against whom? Surely not the country they call “the Great Satan”? Whoever could imagine such a thing!
The Obama administration and European Union agreed as part of the accord last week to lift sanctions over eight years on a network of Iranian scientists, military officers and companies long suspected by the U.S. and United Nations as central players in a covert nuclear weapons program.
The U.S. also agreed to remove a German engineer from its financial blacklist by late 2023 after he was targeted by sanctions for his alleged role in a global black market in nuclear weapons technology run by the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan.
The decision to roll back sanctions on these individuals and organizations is detailed in more than 100 pages of documents released last week as part of the landmark nuclear accord reached between Iran and six world powers.
The Obama administration decided to remove Gerhard Wisser from its sanctions list by 2023. The German engineer was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison [suspended] by a South African court in 2007 for his role in supplying centrifuge components to the A.Q. Khan black-market network. … The U.S. and IAEA accuse Mr. Khan and his associates of facilitating the sale of nuclear equipment to North Korea, Iran and Libya during the 1980s and 1990s. The senior U.S. official didn’t provide specifics about why Mr. Wisser was granted sanctions relief as part of the Iran deal. Mr. Wisser could not be located. He pleaded guilty in 2007 in South Africa to manufacturing components that could be illegally used in nuclear technology. …
Republicans said in recent days they were stunned the White House and European allies agreed to lift sanctions on such individuals and expressed concerns about the long-term impact on U.S. and global security. A number of leading Republicans said the issue of sanctions relief will be among those they cite in attempting to block legislative approval of the Iran deal.
Congress started a 60-day review period of the agreement this week.
“This would remove sanctions on those responsible for Iran’s nuclear weapons development at the same time restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program come off,” said Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, referring to the delisting of Iranian scientists, companies and officers. “That’s a deadly combination.” …
Among those [people] to be removed from the U.S., U.N. and EU sanctions lists by 2023 is Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi. U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies suspect he oversaw a secret Iranian program to develop the technologies for a nuclear weapon, at least until 2003. He’s been called by American officials the “ Robert Oppenheimer” of Iran’s nuclear efforts, a reference to the American scientist who oversaw development of atomic weapons during World War II. The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has repeatedly attempted to interview the military officer to conclude its investigation into Tehran’s alleged weaponization work, but has repeatedly been rebuffed.
Iran denies it sought to build a bomb and has guarded access to its military sites and leadership. …
The U.S., U.N. and EU also committed in Vienna to remove Fereidoun Abbasi-Davani, a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist, from their sanctions lists over the next eight years. … Mr. Abbasi-Davani was promoted to head the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran from 2011-2013.
The military body Mr. Fakhrizadeh allegedly headed, the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, known as SPND, also will be removed from the U.S. sanctions list by 2023. The IAEA has said SPND may have been involved in nuclear weapons research after 2003. The agency has sought to interview officials from the organization but have also been rebuffed.
The U.S. also agreed to remove Kalaye Electric Co. from its sanctions list over the next eight years. The Iranian company was exposed by the IAEA as having secretly run a uranium-enrichment facility in the early 2000s. …
The EU and U.N. also committed to removing Malek Ashtar University from their sanctions lists. The Tehran research center was accused of supplying scientists who participated in secret weaponization work, according to former U.S. and IAEA officials. …
Denials and confusion will continue:
The Obama administration will begin briefing Congress on Wednesday, including with appearances by Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Kerry and other administration officials have in some cases added to the confusion over the status of Iranians and others on sanctions lists. According to the Vienna documents, the commander of Iran’s overseas military unit known as the Qods Force will be taken off EU and U.N. sanctions lists in the next eight years. But the secretary of state initially denied that the commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, would be removed from sanctions lists.
Of course he will be removed. He and everyone else on the list will probably be given awards soon by Obama, or the UN, or the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.
Today we have posted essay number 14, Mystic Communism: Georg Lukács, in the series by Jillian Becker titled The Darkness of This World (Part 2). (Find it under Pages in our margin.)
Here is part of it. We hope you won’t neglect the footnotes (not added here). They are laden with information.
Georg Lukács (1885-1971)
Georg Lukács was the quintessential revolutionary romantic of the twentieth century, longing to avenge his inner desolation on the civilization that nurtured him. And as an active participant in two revolutions and two despotic regimes, that is what he did.
With this essay we come to the nub of the whole series. Like all the other self-absorbed intellectuals we have talked about, fictitious and real, Georg Lukács advocated the doing of evil as the necessary means to a higher good. But unlike the others, he found himself actually in possession of the power to harm and destroy other lives, and he used it with passion and pride.
He was born in Budapest in 1885. The son of a banker ennobled by the Emperor of Austro-Hungary, he was nurtured in luxury. In his late teens he started writing professionally, reviewing plays for a small circulation periodical. He promoted the staging of avant-garde drama. He also tried to write plays, but without success. He realized and accepted that he “would never be a producer” and regretted that he “was no writer” – by which he probably meant a writer of plays, novels or poetry.
In fact he wrote prolifically. His first book, Soul and Form, appeared in 1910; a collection of essays mostly in literary criticism. Their dominant themes are art, Romanticism, longing, God, love, death, and bourgeois life. The volume was greeted with critical acclaim. No less a judge of literary merit than Thomas Mann – who was later to be the most insightful and devastating critic of Lukács’s character – praised the work as “beautiful and profound”.
One of the essays is about some German and Swiss writers who, Lukács allows, created admirable works despite being bourgeois. “The bourgeois way of life signifies only a denial of everything that is beautiful, everything the life-instinct longs for”, he states with conviction.
This was not the disdain of the aristocrat for a class beneath him. (The von Lukács family, for all its wealth and title, would in any case have been classed as haut bourgeois rather than true nobility.) Nor was it (yet) a revolutionary’s contempt for the established order. It was the romantic artist’s repudiation of the average and ordinary. Lukács deemed himself an artist because, he wrote, “the essay is an art form”, and essays such as his could be “intellectual poems”.
He concedes that a degree of genius is to be found in the works of those ordinary bourgeois men who were nevertheless writers. “This bourgeois way of life,” he wrote, “has no value whatsoever, in itself. For only the works which it brings forth confer value upon a life lived within such a framework and within such a form.”
What makes a life bourgeois, Lukács explains, is “first and foremost by the exercise of a bourgeois profession”. (One of the writers he examines earns his living as a judge, another as a clergyman, another as a government clerk. Lukács himself had no need to earn a living.) “A bourgeois profession,” he goes on, “as a form of life signifies, in the first place, the primacy of ethics in life”. These ethical men “do their duty”. The characters in the stories of one of them are “incapable of evil”; there is “no real sin” in their world. But that, to Lukács, far from being a fine thing, is a fault. The artistic achievement of these merely ethical men is, he declares, “great after its own fashion”. But he himself valued the aesthetic far above the ethical. The highest art could not be achieved by a person who binds himself to duty, but only by one who is capable of sin, intimate with beauty, and whose life-spirit longs for … the unreachable. For years his life-spirit burned with longing, seeking what it could not find; the search, and its frustration, being the tragic fate of such a soul as his.
“This longing is more than just something waiting for fulfillment, it is a fact of the soul with a value and existence of its own; an original and deep-rooted attitude towards the whole of life, a final, irreducible category of possibilities of experience,” he wrote. Such a soul “will always long for something he can never reach”.
In 1911, Lukács wrote a story titled On Poverty of Spirit. It is told in the form of a letter from a woman to the father of a young man who has killed himself. She recounts a conversation they had two days before his death, about the suicide of her sister, who had been the young man’s lover. He talks at length about his ideas and feelings, for the most part philosophically, but he does state plainly that he is guilty of her death “in the eyes of God”, in that he failed to “help” or “save” her. One can discern through the thicket of beautiful profundities, that he had refused to marry her because he wanted to dedicate himself wholly to his work as a writer. Furthermore, “she had to die so that my work could be completed – so that nothing remains in the world for me except my work.” But after all the argument about it and about, Lukacs wants us to understand that the young man did the right thing when he shot himself, because of his guilt and for other sound, if rather obscure and certainly long-winded, philosophical reasons.
On Poverty of Spirit was written after – and about – the suicide of his own lover, Irma Seidler, whom he had not married, being dedicated to his work as a writer. She had married someone else, had not been happy, and had drowned herself. The story he wrote was a confession of his guilt. But he himself did not do the right thing. It was enough that his alter ego did it in the story: the brilliant young man tragically performing an extreme act of penance in fiction rendered it unnecessary for Lukács himself to perform it. Besides, what he, the author, did was something better, higher: he gave the episode a “form” as a work of art. When Lukács spoke of “form” he meant art – always expecting the word to resonate in the minds of his cultured readers with Plato’s theory of “Forms” or “Ideals”. To him, a work of art was a revelation, or representative, or reminder of the “noumenal” reality that – so Plato and Kant have convinced Middle European intellectuals – lies behind, beyond, above this “phenomenal” world in which we live.
When he wrote Soul and Form, Lukács believed that the two worlds were irreconcilable; that a soul belonged to one or the other. (He does not say, but almost certainly knew, that in the creeds of the old Gnostic cults, the souls of the “Perfects” or “Pneumatics” belonged to a transcendent world, while the souls of the common “Hylics” were bound to the earth). His own soul – he knew – belonged to the higher, better, mystical world, the world of “essences”; the unreachable world. Here in this world, “abandoned by God”, he felt he was a stranger, an alien on earth; that humankind did not belong here; and that there was “an antagonism between the soul and the world”. That is what he meant when he asked rhetorically- cried out, so to speak, in his writing – “How can one bring essence into life? How can life become essential?” For years he searched for an answer. Morbidly pre-occupied with death, tragedy, and the condition of the human soul – above all his own – he wrote: “Man is abandoned to immanent meaninglessness.” He longed for “an extinction of selfhood” through “complete absorption of the ego into a higher being”.
Often he conjectured that the only answer was in death, and he brooded on suicide. He declares in Soul and Form: “Life is without value, without significance, and we [presumably he and all those who suffer the same spiritual anguish] would be ready to consecrate it every moment to death.”
His was an intensely religious temperament, but he was drawn neither emotionally nor intellectually to any organized religion; not to the Judaism of his ancestors, nor to Christianity – though his parents had him baptized in the Lutheran church in 1897 so that he could attend a good Lutheran school.
Karl Jaspers – later a famous philosopher – met Lukács in Heidelberg in 1913 and had no difficulty recognizing the nature of his contemporary’s mystical beliefs. He records: “Many came to Heidelberg [University] who were men of letters and potential candidates for Habilitation. Among them was Georg von Lukács from Budapest and Ernst Bloch from Mannheim. … At that time, they were Gnostics who shared their theosophical fantasies in their social circles.” It is probable that Lukács simply announced to Jaspers and all the company that he was a Gnostic. He was calling himself a “gnostic activist” in his writings years before he became in any way active in public life.
By “gnostic” he meant possessed of that intuitive knowledge which is a special gift to the specially gifted. What he intuitively knew which the ordinary (bourgeois) person could not know in the same way, was that there was a higher better world, the “intelligible” world: the “essential” world; the “noumenal” world. What he meant by “activist” is less clear. He seems to have meant that he not only thought philosophically that there is a higher better world, but that he also felt it. The activity was not muscular but emotional. It was not worked out by the intellect but immediately known by “intellectual intuition”, through which one might become “good”.
Become good? But had he not rejected ethical behavior? Certainly he had – and by “goodness” he did not mean anything so bourgeois as ethical behavior. He expounds his idea of what goodness is in Poverty of Spirit:
“Prince Myshkin [hero of Dostoyevsky’s novel The Idiot] and Alyosha [hero of Dostoyevsky”s The Brothers Karamazov] are good; what does that mean? … [T]heir knowledge [gnosis] became realized in deed, their thinking left the purely conceptual realm of knowledge, their view of mankind became an intellectual intuition: they are Gnostics of the deed.” … “Goodness is the miracle, the grace, and the salvation. The descent of the heavenly realm to the earth. … It is an abandonment of ethic. Goodness is not an ethical category; you’ll find it in no consistent ethical system. And with good reason. Ethics is general, binding, and far removed from men; it is the first – the most primitive – exaltation of mankind over the chaos of everyday life; it is man’s moving away from himself, and from his empirical condition. Goodness, however, is the return to real life, man’s true discovery of his home.” … “Goodness is madness, it is not mild, not refined, and not quietistic; it is wild, terrible, blind, and adventurous. The soul of the good one has become empty of all psychological content, of grounds and consequences; it has become a pure white slate upon which destiny inscribes its absurd command to be followed blindly, recklessly, cruelly to the end.”
In the First World War, Lukács was conscripted into the Austro-Hungarian armed forces; but he dodged the draft with the help of a certificate from Karl Jaspers (who was a qualified doctor and psychiatrist), and through the use of his father’s connections – the calling in of a favor owed to the banker by a personage close to the royal and imperial government. Duly declared unfit for active service, Lukács did his patriotic duty as a letter censor in Budapest for a few months in 1915.
It was after the war, when his country was in the abjection and disorder of defeat, that he found the answer to his spiritual search, a solution to his loneliness, despair and longing. He recognized that the “higher being” into which his “ego” might be “absorbed” was the International Communist movement. In December 1918 he joined the newly formed Hungarian Communist Party.
The commitment of his soul to the Party was no less religious for being political. He saw Communism as a cure not only for his own discontent – his despair, or loneliness, or Faust-like boredom with the contemplative life – but for everyone else’s too. He assumed that everyone suffered from the same malaise as he did. As a general social phenomenon he called it “alienation”, and declared it to be the result of capitalism and the bourgeois order. Communism, he believed, was the salvation of all mankind, provided only that each soul had faith enough and submitted utterly to its church. …
Jillian Becker July 19, 2015
Here’s the deal that Obama has made with Iran, reported by Omri Ceren who has proved to be the most reliable provider of information on the negotiations:
The following has all been confirmed:
(1) The Iranian nuclear program will be placed under international sponsorship for R&D – A few weeks ago the AP leaked parts of an annex confirming that a major power would be working with the Iranians to develop next-generation centrifuge technology at the Fordow underground military enrichment bunker. Technically the work won’t be on nuclear material, but the AP noted that “isotope production uses the same technology as enrichment and can be quickly re-engineered to enriching uranium”. The administration had once promised Congress that Iran would be forced to dismantle its centrifuge program. The Iranians refused, so the administration conceded that the Iranians would be allowed to keep their existing centrifuges. Now the international community will be actively sponsoring the development of Iranian nuclear technology. And since the work will be overseen by a great power, it will be off-limits to the kind of sabotage that has kept the Iranian nuclear program in check until now.
(2) The sanctions regime will be shredded – the AP revealed at the beginning of June that the vast majority of the domestic U.S. sanctions regime will be dismantled. The Lausanne factsheet – which played a key role in dampening Congressional criticism to American concessions – had explicitly stated “U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place under the deal.” That turns out to have been false. Instead the administration will redefine non-nuclear sanctions as nuclear, so that it can lift them. The Iranians are boasting that sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank, NIT Co., the National Iranian Oil Company, and 800 individuals and entities will be lifted. That’s probably exaggerated and a bit confused – CBI sanctions are statutory, and will probably not be getting “lifted” – but the sense is clear enough.
(3) The U.S. collapsed on the arms embargo – Just a week ago Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.” Now multiple outlets have confirmed that the embargo on conventional weapons will be lifted no later than 5 years from now, and that the embargo on ballistic missiles will expire in 8 years. No one in the region is going to wait for those embargoes to expire: they’ll rush to build up their stockpiles in anticipation of the sunset.
(4) The U.S. collapsed on anytime-anywhere inspections – The IAEA will get to request access to sensitive sites, the Iranians will get to say no, and then there will be an arbitration board that includes Iran as a member. This concession is particularly damaging politically and substantively because the administration long ago went all-in on verification. The original goal of the talks was to make the Iranians take physical actions that would prevent them from going nuclear if they wanted to: dismantling centrifuges, shuttering facilities, etc. The Iranians said no to those demands, and the Americans backed off. The fallback position relied 100% on verification: yes the Iranians would be physically able to cheat, the argument went, but the cheating would be detected because of an anytime-anywhere inspection regime. That is not what the Americans are bringing home.
(5) The U.S. collapsed on PMDs [possible military dimensions] – This morning the Iranians and the IAEA signed a roadmap for a process that would see Tehran eventually providing access for the IAEA to clear up its concerns. This roadmap differs in no significant way from previous commitments the Iranians have made to the agency, except now Tehran will have received sanctions relief and stabilized its economy.