Rogue administration 1

“This is an administration that could just as well have been put in place by America’s most relentless enemies,” David Solway writes at FrontPageMag. “It is headed by a president with deep roots in a neo-Marxist social movement and associational ties with a host of disreputable characters.”

Yes.

Solway sums up the Obama Devastation of America thus far:

There can be little doubt any longer that the United States is now governed by a rogue administration … We are observing an establishment that is unwilling to defend the nation’s borders from drug cartel violence and illegal immigration, forcing unread bills through Congress in the dark of night, embarking on a socialized medicine program it cannot afford and which has not worked wherever else it has been tried, plunging the nation into bankruptcy with misnamed “stimulus spending,” unsustainable entitlements and exponential debt, refusing to drill safely on land to reduce its dependence on foreign oil supplies, utterly incapable of dealing with cataclysms like the Gulf oil spill, touting an impractical, premature and ruinously exorbitant Green Energy policy, considering cap-and-trade legislation when it has become undeniably clear that Global Warming research is a profoundly unsettled and perhaps even a false science, scrubbing all reference to Islamic terror from its official documents and pursuing a foreign policy that might accurately be described as geopolitically suicidal. Quite a list, but unfortunately an accurate one.

And a damning one, though not even comprehensive.

The rogue president still has two more years to go.

Only by an unforeseeable stroke of luck could it be less.

Only by an unpreventable fit of national lunacy could it be more.

America going down 0

We are of the school of thought that holds taxation to be theft, though we concede that citizens must pay for the few essential functions of government, chiefly defense, law and order, the enforcing of the law of contract, the separation of infectious diseases (and locally for common facilities, of course). Adam Smith included instruction in basic literacy for the children of the poor, but we don’t see a need now, in America, for even the most elementary education to be paid for out of the common purse. (We acknowledge that this opinion is probably unpopular.)

The socialist state takes most of your earnings away from you, and when you die confiscates most of your capital worth so you cannot leave much to your children.

As the provider of the necessities of your life, the socialist state has the power to deprive you of them. Your life is in its hands, and you have no voice in its decisions, which is why socialism is called the road to serfdom.

Obama has set America on that road, and the descent is gathering pace.

This is from the Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell today:

This year is actually the first year since 1916 that Americans do not have to pay any federal taxes when a family member dies. But thanks to the way Congress had to pass the legislation that phased out the Death Tax in 2001, it is set to go from zero percent to 55 percent at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 2010. The Death Tax is but one of many government taxes on capital and entrepreneurship, and its reinstatement will be yet another job killer from the Obama administration. It rewards estate tax lawyers, insurance companies and big businesses at the expense of small family-owned enterprises. According to a study by the American Family Business Foundation, a full repeal of the death tax, like the one [introduced by Republican Senator Jim DeMint, and] rejected by the Senate last night, would create 1.5 million jobs. Before the vote, Sen. DeMint described the tax as an “unfair, immoral double tax on property and assets that folks have already paid taxes on throughout their lives.”

Last night’s vote to raise the Death Tax is just the beginning of the Obama administration’s historic tax hike campaign. Unless Congress acts to oppose President Obama’s agenda, everyone’s taxes on personal income, capital gains and dividends will rise….

For two generations after post-war reconstruction, Europe and America have pursued different economic models, and accordingly, moved in different economic directions. The American model was low tax, low spending and small government. It favored growth, income and vibrancy. The European model is high tax, high spending and big government. It favored fairness, equality and stability. It also featured unemployment rates double those of the United States, often hovering around 10 percent. Now that is no longer the case. Under Obama’s economic leadership, U.S. unemployment rates are surpassing Europe’s.

Last night’s vote was just the beginning of a larger choice the American people must make: do they want to continue down the Obama path of high taxes, high spending and high unemployment? Or do they still believe in American exceptionalism, in limited government and in a vibrant U.S. economy? Last night’s vote was a step in the wrong direction.

Dialogue of the deaf 4

In America now, the Left and the Right could be speaking two different languages, so little do they understand each other.

We on the conservative right are convinced that the mainstream media are heavily biased towards the Left. Confirmation of our view has just been handed to us by the Daily Caller in an article by Jonathan Strong, titled Documents show media plotting to kill stories about Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Obama-supporting journalists a huge majority in the profession – knew all too well that Jeremiah Wright, the pastor whose church Barack Obama had been attending for twenty years, was an America-hating bigot, a fiercely anti-white racist, and a sympathizer with the 9/11 terrorists. Obama’s association with him was so likely to be harmful to his election prospects that they would have suppressed any news of it reaching the voters. But pesky right-wing reporters who did not think that one of Wright’s faithful flock would be a good choice for the presidency of the United States were insistently spreading the information. It made the Obama supporters spitting furious. They sent written advice to each other on how to deal with the threat that the exposure of the truth was posing.

One example from the Daily Caller:

Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”

The whole article and all the quotations are worth reading. They prove not just a desire but an active conspiracy to deceive the public and help Obama into the White House.

And yet this is to be found in an article by Eric Alterman in the The Nation, in which he discusses the disappointment progressives are experiencing over Obama’s failure – as they see it – to effect a radical left transformation of America. He tries to explain the failure, and among other snags and hitches (mainly set, he insists, by the Bush administration) he finds that the mainstream media have not sufficiently supported Obama and trumpeted his successes, and that their “reflective prejudices” are against him!

Of course progressives need to keep up the pressure they have begun to place on the mainstream media not to adopt the deliberately misleading and frequently false frames foisted on readers and viewers by an increasingly self-confident and well-funded right-wing noise machine. Media Matters, FAIR and other organizations have done this in the past but it needs to be kept up. And in an age of instant, personal communication, there’s no reason it can’t be. … Done properly, such pressure is an effective means of forcing journalists to rethink some of their reflective prejudices, particularly in today’s punishing economic environment. But if progressives continue to pressure them to live up to the promises of their profession — to refuse to cater to the lowest common denominator of tabloids or the right-wing cesspool of talk radio/cable television discourse — such pressure on these organizations should strengthen reporters’ and editors’ backbones to do the kind of work that made them proud to be journalists in the first place. (This is, happily, a fundamental difference between right and left wing media criticism. The right seeks to undermine the messengers of news that does not comport with its worldview; the left wants journalism to stick to its guns and resist such pressures to color the news, believing, as Stephen Colbert once said, that the facts “have a well-known liberal bias.”) And on the positive side, we need to support those journalistic enterprises and experiments that attempt to live up to their values as it becomes harder and harder to do so, whether with subscriptions, clicks or direct donations. A campaign for taxpayer-funded high-quality journalism on the model of the BBC — and recently suggested by a study published by the Columbia School of Journalism — should not be off the table.

Alterman is apparently perfectly sure that right-wing journalists deliberately distort the news, while ever more obstacles are put in the way of straight factual reporting which would inevitably endorse liberal opinion.

One of the remedies he suggests is “taxpayer-funded journalism”. In other words, government-funded. (As were Pravda [Truth] and Izvestia [News] in the Soviet Union –  about which some Russians dared to joke that there was “no news in Truth, no truth in News”.)

Where can discourse across the political divide even begin? Any attempt at it can only be a dialogue of the deaf.

Posted under media, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, July 21, 2010

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Think no evil 2

Is Obama evil? Does he intend to do evil?

Cal Thomas writes at Townhall:

The Obama people are not intrinsically evil. Like someone caught up in a cult, they sincerely believe in the fiction they are peddling: more taxes will produce a healthier economy; the record debt is not a problem; more regulation will result in banks and big businesses operating ethically and for the greater good of their customers and the country; nationalized health care will mean better care for the sick; unrestricted abortion and same-sex marriage are fine; unenforced immigration laws are good because Democrats need to import votes and Republicans want cheap labor.

Maybe he’s right. Maybe Obama intends good and is simply mistaken as to how to achieve it.

We cannot be certain what anyone’s unexpressed thoughts and intentions are.

But we can make some judgments by contemplating the choices they make, and Obama chose to follow Saul Alinsky, who dedicated his book “Rules for Radicals”  – the bible of the “community organizers” whose ranks included Barack Obama – “to Lucifer”. Was Alinsky “only joking”, or was he informing his readers that he meant to do evil?

It seems to be hard for Americans, generally speaking (and perhaps to their credit), to believe that anyone can actually mean to do evil.  They’d rather believe that those who produce evil outcomes are merely making a terrible mistake. Or are victims so stressed by whatever has made them suffer that they act out of uncontrollable but understandable emotion, and so are forgivable.

Europeans know better.

Our post below discusses the European cultivation of evil.

Posted under Collectivism, communism, Ethics, Europe, nazism, Progressivism, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, July 20, 2010

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The cultivation of evil, the sickness of Europe 12

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) is widely known as the inventor of the phrase ‘the banality of evil’. Apparently the idea was intended to be the main point of her book Eichmann in Jerusalem, as its subtitle is A Report on the Banality of Evil.

Adolf Eichmann was tried and sentenced to death in Jerusalem forty-eight years ago. He was the arch administrator during the Second World War of Hitler’s ‘final solution of the Jewish problem’ by systematic murder. When Hitler’s Reich was defeated in 1945, Eichmann sought refuge from justice under another name in South America. In 1948 part of Palestine became the Jewish state of Israel, and some twelve years later the Israeli secret service traced Eichmann, captured him, smuggled him out of Argentina, and delivered him to Israel. There he was humanely imprisoned, politely interrogated, brought before a legally constituted tribunal, judged, and condemned. The proceedings were conducted with scrupulous regard to law and all the safeguards it provides: due process, evidence, cross examination of witnesses, argument for the defense. He was found guilty of multiple crimes against the Jewish people and against humanity; of persecution, plunder, and war crimes (and was acquitted on certain parts of the indictment where proof was considered inadequate). He was sentenced to death, permitted to appeal, and had his sentence confirmed. The appeal judges declared: ‘In deciding to confirm both the verdict and the sentence passed on Adolf Eichmann, we know only too well how utterly inadequate is the death sentence when we consider the millions of deaths for which he was responsible. Even as there is no word in human speech to describe his deeds, so there is no punishment in human law to match his guilt.’ He was hanged on 31 May 1962.

Hannah Arendt considered the proceedings to be flawed. She questioned whether the Israeli court had jurisdiction to try the crimes of which Eichmann stood accused. She argued that the Nazi policy of discrimination against the Jews was a ‘national issue’, so persons accused of implementing it should be tried in a German court. Deportations, however, (she said) affect other countries, so those accused of organizing them should be brought before an international court; and so should those accused of genocide, because it is ‘a crime against humanity’. The particular human genus marked down for extermination in this case was the Jewish people, but it was nevertheless, in her view, a crime against all humankind: therefore, she argued, the world, not the Jewish state, should call its perpetrators to account. The fact that the world had shown little interest in tracking down Nazi fugitives was no discouragement to her optimism that it would see justice done.

She was not alone in having doubts on the question of jurisdiction. Legal opinion had been divided over the legitimacy of the court which had tried Nazi leaders at Nuremberg. Argument over type of tribunal, applicable law, and definition of the crimes was necessary, and the Jerusalem court itself examined such questions and gave reasoned answers to them.

But Arendt’s criticism was not limited to those debated issues. She also objected to the terms of the judgment. She accepted that the ‘guilty’ verdict was just, and even agreed that Eichmann deserved the death sentence (unlike some other liberal critics, such as the British publisher Victor Gollancz, who recommended that he be acquitted with the words, ‘Go, and sin no more.’ (1)) What she cavilled at was the judges’ reasons for their verdict. They should, she thought, have ‘dared to address their defendant’ in these terms:

Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that it was nothing more than misfortune [Eichmann’s defence being chiefly that he too was a victim of the Nazi regime, forced to obey immoral orders] that made you a willing instrument in the organization of mass murder; there still remains the fact that you have carried out, and therefore actively supported, a policy of mass murder. For politics is not like the nursery; in politics obedience and support are the same. And just as you supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations – as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world – we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.

In other words, what Arendt thought Eichmann most guilty of, what she identified as his chief and most appalling offense, what she thought his judges should be hardest on, what alone would justify his being put to death, was – hubris.

This peculiar, not to say eccentric view is, however, not the point to which she most urgently directs her readers’ attention. Her most important conclusion she encapsulated in the famous generalization on the nature of evil. She leads up to it in the last two paragraphs (before the Epilogue and a Postscript), and to keep it in context I shall quote them almost in full:

Adolf Eichmann went to the gallows with great dignity. He had asked for a bottle of red wine and had drunk half of it. He refused the help of the Protestant minister — who offered to read the Bible with him — He walked the fifty yards from his cell to the execution chamber calm and erect, with his hands bound behind him. When the guards tied his ankles and knees, he asked them to loosen the bonds so that he could stand straight. “I don’t need that,” he said when the black hood was offered him. He was in complete command of himself, nay, he was more: he was completely himself. Nothing could have demonstrated this more convincingly than the grotesque silliness of his last words. He began by stating emphatically that he was a Gottgläubiger [believer in God], to express in common Nazi fashion that he was no Christian and did not believe in life after death. [Yet] he then proceeded: “After a short while, gentlemen, we shall all meet again. Such is the fate of all men. Long live Germany, long live Argentina, long live Austria. I shall not forget them.” In the face of death, he had found the cliché used in funeral oratory. Under the gallows, his memory played him the last trick; he was “elated” and he forgot that this was his own funeral. It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lessons that this long course in human wickedness had taught us – the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil. [Her italics]

So in Arendt’s opinion, the story required a fascinating demon, not a bespectacled clerk. Even when he stood under the noose, when history needed him to speak pathetic or terrifying words of pride or remorse, the best he could come out with were embarrassingly trivial ‘funeral clichés’. He was simply not big enough for the evil he had committed. He was a dull man; not exactly stupid, she says, but thoughtless.

Having the mind of a philosopher, she did not leave it at that. She considered further the idea of thoughtlessness as a root of evil. It is close to a proposition by Socrates that men do evil out of ignorance of the good. She went on to write and deliver a series of lectures on how philosophers from ancient Greece to modern Germany have dealt with the subjects of thinking, willing, and the nature of evil. They were collected and published after her death in two volumes under the title The Life of the Mind. In an introduction, she refers to what she has said about Eichmann and his crimes, and makes it clear at last that the evil-doer was banal, not the evil he had done. ‘I was struck by a manifest shallowness [in him] — The deeds were monstrous, but the doer — was quite ordinary, commonplace, and neither demonic nor monstrous.

So it was the man, not his evil, which was banal, and when she had spoken of ‘the banality of evil’ she had not said quite what she had meant. She offers a kind of excuse: ‘Behind that phrase [‘the banality of evil’], I held no thesis or doctrine —- although I was dimly aware of the fact that it went counter to our tradition of thought – literary, theological, or philosophic – about the phenomenon of evil.

Dimly aware’? Was she being forgetful or disingenuous? Neither, I think – just using the wrong adverb. She was perfectly aware that ‘it went counter to our tradition of thought’. German-born, of Jewish descent, she had studied philosophy at Marburg under Martin Heidegger – with whom she had a love-affair – and at Heidelberg under Karl Jaspers. In 1933, when Hitler came to power, she had left Germany for France, and in 1941 escaped to America. Living in New York, she had worked hard at learning English, and in 1944 started writing for The Partisan Review which was then a Trotskyite organ. In the following years she wrote a number of books, one on totalitarianism in which she equated Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia under Stalin – showing a readiness to allow facts to overrule ideology to a degree unusual in Marxists, even a critical Marxist, which she increasingly became.

That she knew well the European tradition of regarding evil as a sublime power, she goes on to show in her introduction to The Life of the Mind: ‘Evil, we have learned, is something demonic; its incarnation is — the fallen angel —that superbia of which only the best are capable.’ And only in that context could her revelation that evil was ‘banal’ have any meaning. Yet that is as far as she went in dealing with the aggrandisement of evil in ‘our tradition of thought’. She does not touch on it again in the chapters that follow, though some of the philosophers she writes about notably contributed to it, such as Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Heidegger(2). Her turning away from the issue is to be regretted. She had come so close to a salutary diagnosis. Evil as an intoxicating passion; evil as a means of transcending the quotidian; evil as a high destiny; evil as power; evil as surpassing beauty; evil as a higher good – these notions have been corrupting the European mind for centuries, at least since the start of the Romantic Movement(3). Europe is sick with a dark passion, ‘a passion for the night’, as Karl Jaspers called it. It is a morbid sickness for which the shortest sufficient name is perhaps Richard Wagner’s: ‘Der Liebestod’ [‘the love-death’].

Richard Wagner, who so inspired Hitler, was one of the most infected, as Thomas Mann illustrates in a story called Tristan. Here is a slide of it: In a Swiss alpine clinic for the treatment of tuberculosis – which Thomas Mann often used as a symbol of the disease of the spirit – two patients, a pretty married woman and a young man of refined aesthetic sensibility, are singing together at the piano:

Their voices rose in mystic unison, rapt in the wordless hope of that death-in-love, of endless oneness in the wonder-kingdom of the night. Sweet night! Eternal night of love! An all-encompassing land of rapture! Once envisioned or divined, what eye could bear to open again on desolate dawn? Forfend such fears, most gentle death! Release these lovers quite from need of waking. Oh, tumultuous storm of rhythms! Oh, glad chromatic upward surge of metaphysical perception! How find, how bind this bliss so far remote from parting’s torturing pangs? Ah, gentle glow of longing, soothing and kind, ah, yielding sweet- sublime, ah, raptured sinking into the twilight of eternity! Thou Isolde, Tristan I, yet no more Tristan, no more Isolde — (4)

Their duet is Der Liebestod. Thomas Mann’s story is about sickness versus health, death versus life, healthy love versus sick love, healthy art versus sick art. These are constant themes of his. No other writer has diagnosed the European – in his view the particularly, if not peculiarly, German – sickness as surely, investigated it as thoroughly, or described it as exactly as he has done. He offers various terms and phrases for it, among them ‘sympathy with death’, ‘the fascination of decay’, the temptation of the abyss’. It inclines those infected with it to negate the value of life and whatever is life-sustaining; to turn away from light towards darkness. He shows us what results from that choice, to those who make it and through them to their world, their age, their nation, their civilization. In general, those who have the sickness revel in it, holding it to be a treasure of incomparable worth, a distinction, a glory. Not only would they not choose to be cured of it, they pity and despise the uninfected. It is understood to bring with it a superior capacity to feel and understand. It makes artists of them even if they make no art; martyrs even though they serve no cause but their own discontent. And in fact these associations are so widely accepted in Europe, so little questioned, so deeply revered, that to their own intense gratification some of the sickest – of whom I name a few in this essay – are adored by millions (if not necessarily the same millions), to whom they are heroes and saints: heroes of darkness, that is to say, or ‘demonic saints’. Dead, they are revered as ‘tragic’ figures. There are many of them, but a few examples will do.

Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt’s lover, is one . He declared emphatically that he was not concerned with ethics, and taught that ‘sin is living inauthentically’. What he was greatly concerned with was the German nation, which must, he said, ‘preserve at the deepest level those forces that are rooted in the earth and its own blood.’ It was embodied in Adolf Hitler. ‘The Führer himself and he alone is the German reality, present and future, and its law.’ Hitler, he believed, would ‘heal’ the nation.(5) Only when, contrary to this prediction, the Führer led Germany to defeat and shame, Heidegger at last discerned in its ruins something he could bring himself to call an evil. He wrote, two years after the ending of the Second World War: ‘Perhaps the distinguishing feature of the present age lies in the fact that wholeness as a dimension of experience is closed to us. Perhaps this is the only evil.’ (6) His recondite and perverse teachings continue in the twenty-first century to direct European trends in philosophy, literary criticism, historical research and even legal theory.

Very much concerned with ethics was George Lukács. The notion that the evil-doer is himself the tragic victim of his own evil deed, since in choosing to commit it he makes the ultimate spiritual self-sacrifice ‘of his purity, his morals, his very soul’, excited Lukács to the point of rapture. He was a literary critic and aesthete who became Minister of Culture in the short-lived Communist government of Hungary after the 1919 revolutionary uprising. He considered himself, as Marxists generally do, a great humanitarian. And like many of his intellectual comrades – Lenin, Trotsky, for instance (7) – he could hardly conceive of a more elevated moral deed than an act of terrorism: ‘Only he who acknowledges unflinchingly and without any reservations that murder is under no circumstances to be sanctioned can commit the murderous deed that is truly – and tragically – moral.’ (8) Such a one is the terrorist. He is a heroic martyr because when he murders ‘his brethren’ he does so with awesome courage, knowing full well that he himself must thereby suffer intense agony. So the man who kills in the full knowledge that it is ‘an absolute and unpardonable sin’ is thus sacrificing himself. There is no greater love than to lay down the life of a fellow man.

The French writer Georges Bataille, also a Marxist revolutionary, wrote that he desired human beings, as a species, to move towards ‘an ever more shameless awareness of the erotic bond that links them to death, to cadavers, and to horrible physical pain. — One of a man’s attributes is the derivation of pleasure from the suffering of others, and that erotic pleasure is not only the negation of an agony that takes place at the same instant, but also a lubricious participation in that agony.’ And: ‘The movement,’ he held, ‘that pushes a man — to give himself (in other words, to destroy himself) — completely, so that a bloody death ensues, can only be compared, in its irresistible and hideous nature, to the blinding flashes of lightning that transform the most withering storm into transports of joy.’ He looked forward to a ‘post-revolutionary phase [of human history] when an antireligious and asocial organization [has] as its goal orgiastic participation in different forms of destruction’. He acknowledged that ‘such an organization, can have no other conception of morality than the one scandalously affirmed for the first time by the Marquis de Sade’. (9) The Marquis de Sade (from whose name the word ‘sadism’ is derived) had notoriously defended and advocated the committing of incest, rape, pedophilia, torture, infanticide, necrophilia, and committed whichever of them he could whenever he could. He wrote of murder that it was ‘often necessary and never criminal’. (10)

Michel Foucault, another comrade and ‘tragic hero’ of the European political left, vastly admired Bataille’s vision and lauded his aims. He endorsed Bataille’s ‘erotic transgression’, rhapsodised over ‘the joy of torture’, and longed to carry out, with his hero, a ‘human sacrifice’; murder performed as a holy act, a spiritual thrill and a work of art. The two of them dreamt of establishing ‘a theatre of cruelty’. But even that would not be enough. Foucault went much further. Cruelty should not be only an occasional act performed for the catharsis of one’s own soul, but a constant part of everyday life; a custom for all to follow. ‘We can and must,’ he wrote, ‘make of man a negative experience, lived in the form of hate and aggression.’ (11) And he did his personal best to make life short and miserable. He contracted AIDS in the bathhouses of San Francisco, and when he knew he had it, returned to infect other men. Experiences of pain, madness, fatal illness were what he called ‘edge situations’, much to be desired because they redeemed existence from its unbearable banality. Evil, in other words, far from being banal itself, was to him a means of redemption from banality.

Jean-Paul Sartre, perhaps the most adulated of all the twentieth-century philosophers in the French pandemonium, followed Heidegger in the belief that the supreme and most necessary task for a human being was to ‘live authentically’. He tells us what we should do to avoid ‘the sin of living inauthentically’: do what is forbidden because it is forbidden; transgress, for transgression is a way to ‘transcendence’. In other words, do evil to achieve the higher good. All Sartre’s heroes were on the side of the demonic. He proclaimed that the poet Charles Baudelaire’s soul was ‘an exquisite blossom’ because he ‘desired Evil for Evil’s sake’; and because he ‘saw in Satan the perfect type of suffering beauty. Satan, who was vanquished, fallen, guilty — crushed beneath the memory of an unforgivable sin, devoured by insatiable ambition, transfixed by the eye of God — nevertheless prevailed against God, his master and conqueror, by his suffering, by that flame of non-satisfaction which — shone like an unquenchable reproach.’ (12)

One of Baudelaire’s poems in Flowers of Evil lyrically celebrates the ravishment of a putrefying corpse. (An image highly suitable as a logo for the Europe of the ‘love-death’.) Elsewhere he declared: ‘In politics, the true saint is the man who uses his whip and kills the people for their own good.

This rottenness was what Thomas Mann showed Europe in the mirrors he held up, among them the long novel The Magic Mountain, set like Tristan in a Swiss clinic for the treatment of tuberculosis. One of its chief characters, Naphta, a religious voluptuary with a passion for terrorism, is partly modelled on Georg Lukács. There is also his novel Dr Faustus in which the Faust figure is a spiritually corrupt genius, a composer who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for musical genius. In mundane terms he intentionally contracts syphilis – as did Baudelaire – and again the physical sickness symbolizes the spiritual one. (Incidentally, syphilis was the disease that killed Hannah Arendt’s father.)

Is Europe redeemable? Goethe’s Faust, who personifies European Romanticism with his longing ‘to explore the heights and the depths’, is redeemed; snatched back from the brink of eternal doom when he has a last minute change of heart and renounces evil (though this of course makes nonsense of the myth, as decisively as Oedipus would make nonsense of his if he failed to kill his father and marry his mother). But Europe – no: Auschwitz doomed Europe beyond any hope of recovery.

NOTES

1. Victor Gollancz, the British publisher, in his own book on the trial.

2. For Hegel’s’ ‘ethics of domination and submission’, and what the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard called his ‘brilliant spirit of putridity’ and ‘infamous splendour of corruption’ see Karl Popper The Open Society and its Enemies Volume 1 Hegel & Marx esp. pp 275, 276. For Marx on terrorism, see ref. in note 6 below, and for Marx’s and Engels’s view that certain nations – Poles, Czechs, Slavs – were fit only to be used as canon-fodder or enslaved, see Leopold Schwarzschild The Red Prussian, Pickwick Books, London 1986 p 81, and Nathaniel Weyl Karl Marx, Racist, Arlington House 1980. Nietzsche famously praised evil and the infliction of pain, and recommended the annihilation of millions of ‘botched’ human beings in order to expedite the spiritual strengthening of the emerging Superman. For Heidegger see later in the text and notes 4 & 5 below.

3. The inversion of moral values, orgiastic ritual sinning, and defiance of the law as means to a higher good, characterized Gnostic religious cults in the Roman Empire and throughout the Middle Ages.

4. Trans. H. T. Lowe-Porter

5. Hugo Ott Martin Heidegger: A Political Life trans. Allan Blunden, HarperCollins, 1993 p 167, quoting Heidegger’s rectorial address at the University of Freiburg, May 27, 1933.

6. Letter on Humanism by Martin Heidegger, 1946.

7. For a succinct account of the views of Marx, Trotsky and Lenin on the virtue of terrorism, see Roberta Goren The Soviet Union and Terrorism, ed. Jillian Becker, George Allen & Unwin, London and Boston, 1984.

8. Georg Lukács Tactics and Ethics. He wrote this as an approving summary of an idea expressed by Boris V. Savinkov (who wrote under the name of Ropshin) in his novel The Pale Horse. Lukács admired this novelist for his ‘new manifestation of an old conflict’ between ‘duties towards social structure’ and ‘imperatives of the soul’ – the conflict with which Bataille, de Sade, Foucault, Heidegger, and Sartre were also centrally concerned.

9. Georges Bataille Visions of Excess: Selected Writing 1927-1934 ed. & trans. Allan Stoeckl, Manchester University Press, 1985 p 69

10. The Marquis de Sade Philosophy in the Boudoir.

11. James Miller The Passion of Michel Foucault, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1993 pp 204, 206.

12. Jean-Paul Sartre Baudelaire Trans. Martin Turnell

Jillian Becker July 20, 2010

Let’s pretend it’s not happening 0

News – yet same old same old – about Islamic slaughter and deception and Western indulgence of it.

You wouldn’t hear it from the mainstream media, but this is what is happening.

Syria is killing hundreds of Kurds using Israeli-made spy drones.

The drones were sold by Israel to Turkey, now ruled by a fiercely anti-Israel government under the leadership of Prime Minister Erdogan, and it has equipped Syria with the drones to use against the Kurds.

Turkey, we must recall, is still a member of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

According to DebkaFile:

Syrian troops and Kurdish tribesman are locked in fierce battle since the Syrian army blasted four northeastern Kurdish towns and neighborhoods at the end of June … Hundreds of Kurds are reported dead.

The Syrian campaign is backed by Heron (Eitan) spy drones Israel sold Turkey, made accessible on the personal say-so of Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan. Turkey therefore becomes the first NATO member to make advanced Western military technology available for the use of a strong ally of radical Iran and an active sponsor of terrorists. Following intense exchanges between Jerusalem and Washington, the NATO command was urged to put Ankara on the carpet – with no response as yet.

Intense exchanges between Jerusalem and Washington? Israel actually demanding something of Obama, and Obama giving in to it? Amazing if true.

Less amazing is NATO’s non-response. It was odd of it to let Turkey in, since it is nowhere near the North Atlantic; but at least at the time of its admittance it was a pro-Western secular state. Now Turkey is in the enemy camp, and NATO, the defense alliance that the West could safely depend on in the Cold War, has lost the plot. For years, ever since it went to war to assist Muslim terrorists in Kosovo, NATO’s willingness to serve the purposes it was created for has been perceptibly weakening.

The drones are being used to track Kurds in flight across Syria’s borders, mainly into Lebanon, where Hizballah is helping Syria hunt the refugees down. The accessibility to Damascus of the unmanned aerial vehicles is in direct breach of the Israel-Turkish sales contracts which barred their use – and the use of other Israeli high-tech items sold to Turkey during years of close military collaboration – in the service of hostile states or entities.

Extending their sphere to Syrian and Lebanese skies gives the Syrian army and Hizballah (Iran’s external arm) a unique opportunity to study the Heron (Eitan)’s sophisticated attributes in real combat conditions at close hand and adjust their own tactics accordingly to outwit them.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources have no doubt that Iranian intelligence officers stationed in Damascus and Beirut jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the Israeli wonder-drones.

Regarding the crackdown on the Kurds, our military sources report that three large-scale Syrian military operations against the Kurdish people are in progress under the guidance of Turkish generals based at Syrian staff headquarters in Damascus …

Syrian elite forces are battling suspected Kurdish members of the Turkish PKK in at least four northeastern Syrian towns near the Syrian-Turkish-Iraqi border triangle: the big Kurdish town of Qamishli, the mixed Kurdish-Assyrian town of Al Asakah and two others, Qaratshuk and Diwar. All four and their outlying villages are under massive Syrian army siege after complete residential blocks were blasted – acting as the trigger for the current fighting.

The PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) is a terrorist organization, and Muslims and Arabs do not like terrorism when it is used against themselves.

[But] not all the victims are PKK fighters by any means. Most were civilians. Turkish intelligence sources tried to justify the Syrian massacre and their government’s complicity by claiming that 2,000 of the 6,000 PKK fighters conducting terrorist attacks in Turkey from North Iraqi havens are Syrian Kurds or providers of alternative bases for their Turkish comrades to strike Turkish military positions from a second direction.

While until Saturday, July 17, Damascus was tight-lipped about its grim campaign against its Kurdish community, Turkish military sources were more vocal. They placed the number of Kurdish dead in battle at 185 and another 400 taken captive, many of whom will be turned over to Ankara. Our sources estimate the number of dead as much higher – more than 300, with at least 1,000 injured. …

When Turkish reporters finally tackled Syrian president Bashar Assad on his anti-Kurd campaign Saturday morning, July 17, their questions were smoothly turned aside. “I’m not following the details concerning this operation,” said the Syrian ruler. “The issue is not about capturing 10 or 100 terrorists. What matters is the principle.”

He added: “Our cooperation with Turkey in the security field is not new We have coordinated for many years. Intervening when there are preparations for a terrorist attack or for infiltration is a dimension of this cooperation.”

Not so. Assad, true to form, was lying. Although Erdogan’s party came to power in Turkey in 2002, its co-operation with Syria only dates from October 2009, when the two states signed a military pact.

Despite the pact, Israel is still selling its spy-drones to Turkey. (And Turkey is planning to produce its own drones on the Israeli model.)

A Turkish news source reports:

Turkey has purchased 10 massive Heron drones from Israel and their delivery was expected to be completed in August [2010].

Turkey had also bought or leased other drones from Israel, he said. The United States separately provides intelligence from Predator drones on the Kurdish rebels.

Israel has also upgraded some of Turkey’s combat jets and tanks with modern radar equipment …

Turkey sent terrorists of its own with a flotilla of ships last May to break Israel’s legal and necessary blockade of Gaza.

How long will it take Israel and the West in general to recognize that Turkey is no longer an ally but an actively aggressive enemy, and treat it accordingly?

Disappointment 1

Republicans are disappointed with Scott Brown, who is turning out to be more of a lefty than they’d hoped and expected.

They should ask themselves: Would the traditionally Democratic electorate of Massachusetts have voted for Scott Brown if he were a true conservative? Not likely.

Fred Dardick writes at Canada Free Press:

In one of the greatest upsets in modern political history, the people of Massachusetts, sick and tired of the free spending, economy destroying ways of Obama and Democrats in Washington, came together to elect Republican Scott Brown to take over [Ted] Kennedy’s old Senate seat with the intention of ushering in a new age of federal fiscal responsibility.

But what a sorry joke that has turned out to be…

The ink wasn’t even dry on the election certificate before the self-described “fiscally conservative” candidate turned his back on the Massachusetts electorate and joined with Democrats to pass Obama’s “jobs” bill. …

Brown’s latest act of conservative betrayal was his clinching vote for the monstrous 2,500 page financial reform bill that contains liberal nonsense like minority and gender hiring quotas for financial firms, union representation on corporate boards, and not one single mention of the actual cause of the economic meltdown, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

To think the former beefcake model with seven whole months on the job has the slightest idea what consequences the 500 regulations contained within the bill will have upon our financial system is laughable.

Dardick suspects that Scott Brown is not only stupid but also corrupt:

So the question remains: Why would Brown vote for legislation that he is clearly nowhere near capable of fully understanding? Answer: Money.

It would appear the good Senator’s votes are driven more by desire for personal gain, than genuine concern for the public’s well being. He no doubt understands that fundraising in the liberal bastion of Massachusetts as a Republican would be next to impossible, but if he talks like a Republican and votes like a Democrat, well that’s a whole different ball of wax.

I can picture Obama and other Democrat leaders whispering in Brown’s ear that if he supports the liberal agenda, endless riches and influence will be his. And if not, well… good luck trying to raise money from the Tea Party crowd since your name is now garbage in Republican circles.

Is his name “garbage in Republican circles” – as it ought to be? In conservative circles, yes. But not all Republican circles are conservative – as they ought to be.

Where beggars can be choosers 0

When Abdi Nur sought political asylum from Somalia in Britain, he was provided with a five-bedroomed house to accommodate himself, his wife, and seven children in the London borough of Brent, for which the tax-payers forked out £900 per week ($1,370).

But Nur considered Brent a “poor area”, and he didn’t think the (free) schooling his kids were getting was good enough. He would rather live among rich people. So he asked for a house in Kensington, one of the most expensive  parts of London.

And he got it – a luxury home valued at £2,100,000 ($3,15o,000), near a good (free) school.

Now his rent is costing tax-payers £8,000 a month ($12,020).

Neither Abdi nor his wife Sayruq has a job. They live entirely on welfare support.

(The MailOnline reports the story with more  details.)

Britain is in dire economic difficulty.

However did that come about?

Now there’s a real head-scratcher!

The tuulas of America 1

We have commented on the danger of permitting Islamic enclaves to develop in America as they have in Europe. See in particular our post The United Islamic States of America?, July 9, 2010.

Until now, immigrant assimilation has been the American way. But there has been a change.

Large numbers of Somalian Muslims are being allowed into the country to be supported on welfare. They are being taught Arabic, but not necessarily English. In all probability they will continue to consider themselves subject to sharia law rather than US state and federal law.

Why is this being allowed to happen?

Have the normal, meticulous vetting procedures for legal immigrants been lifted in the case of Muslims?

If so, who is responsible for such a decision, and why has it been made?

Are there bureaucrats in the State Department actively working to bring about massive Muslim immigration?

Family Security Matters reports:

Newly arrived Somali immigrants have transformed small towns and cities throughout the United States into tuulas (Somali villages).

The process is underway in such places as Lewiston, Maine; Shelbyville, Tennessee; St. Cloud, Minnesota; Clarkston,Georgia; and Jamestown, North Dakota.

The Jamestown Sun reports that 400 Somalis have applied for public housing in the past four months.

The Somali immigrants in Garden City, Kansas and nearby small towns have created the Somali Community Center of Southwest Kansas in order to tap into public welfare programs. …

In East San Diego, the newly arrived Somalis have created a Little Mogadishu. The streets are lined with Somali stores, shops, and mosques. In the midst of this ethnic enclave stands the Iftin Charter School, where K-8 students are introduced to Arabic. 99% of the student population is Somali; Arabs constitute the remaining 1%.

The American Somalis now display the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the country. They also remain the least educated. …

This problem is crystallized by the present situation in Lewiston, Maine, where African Muslims … began arriving in 2001 at the rate of 100 a month. …

The small town in Maine with a population of 30,000 provided welfare to anyone in need, with the state picking up half the tab. Recipients, including the Muslim refugees, were allowed a generous five years of assistance before their benefits became terminated, and extensions for several additional years on the public dole were not difficult to obtain. Single parents could stay on welfare and go to college.

Public housing was also available, although, with the influx of Somalis, the housing projects became packed to capacity. Many of the new project dwellers were single Somali mothers with large broods of children. Those who are unable to obtain public housing were handed Section 8 vouchers, which the federal government provided to subsidize their rent in private apartments.

The newcomers have shown scant interest in securing employment. When Renee Bernier, the president of the Lewiston city council, offered to hire 30 Somalis at the rate of $8 to $10 an hour to hold warning signs at construction sites, few displayed interest. The handful who did apply, said that they were only willing to work between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Somali population of Lewiston now exceeds 40,000.

A tragedy in two acts 0

Those whose hearts have been lifted by the prospect of a Republican Party  victory in November may feel them sinking again if they read the chilling predictions which Charles Krauthammer’s makes in today’s Investor’s Business Daily. If he is right, Republican majorities in Congress could make Obama more dangerous:

I have a warning for Republicans: Don’t underestimate Barack Obama.

Consider what he has already achieved. ObamaCare alone makes his presidency historic. It has irrevocably changed one-sixth of the economy, put the country inexorably on the road to national health care and … begun one of the most massive wealth redistributions in U.S. history.

Second, there is a major financial overhaul, which passed Congress on Thursday. … There is no argument that it will give the government unprecedented power in the financial marketplace.

Its 2,300 pages will create at least 243 new regulations that will affect not only, as many assume, the big banks, but just about everyone, including, as noted in one summary, “storefront check cashiers, city governments, small manufacturers, homebuyers and credit bureaus.”

Third is the near $1 trillion stimulus, the largest spending bill in U.S. history. And that’s not even counting nationalizing the student loan program, regulating CO2 emissions by EPA fiat, and still-fitful attempts to pass cap-and-trade through Congress.

But Obama’s most far-reaching accomplishment is his structural alteration of the U.S. budget. The stimulus, the vast expansion of domestic spending, the creation of ruinous deficits as far as the eye can see are not easily reversed.

He explains how and why this is true, and  goes on to warn that more woe is to come:

Obama’s transformational agenda is a play in two acts.

Act One is over. The stimulus, ObamaCare, financial overhaul have exhausted his first-term mandate. It will bear no more heavy lifting. And the Democrats will pay the price for ideological overreaching by losing one or both houses, whether de facto or de jure. The rest of the first term will be spent consolidating these gains (writing the regulations, for example) and preparing for Act Two.

Republican control of Congress, Krauthammer warns, could be a positive help to Obama, making it easier for him to be re-elected.

If Democrats lose control of one or both houses, Obama will likely have an easier time in 2012, just as Bill Clinton used Newt Gingrich and the Republicans as his foil for his 1996 re-election campaign.

Obama is down, but it’s very early in the play.

He’s done much in his first 500 days. What he has left to do he knows must await his next 500 days — those that come after re-election.

What will these afflictions be? He forecasts three of them:

The next burst of ideological energy — massive regulation of the energy economy, federalizing higher education and “comprehensive” immigration changes (i.e., amnesty) — will require a second mandate, meaning re-election in 2012.

2012 is the real prize. Obama sees far, farther than even his own partisans.

Republicans, he warns, “underestimate him at their peril”.

But won’t a Republican dominated Congress be stronger next time  …  repeal … stand firm … ?

And does Obama really have much of a chance of re-election? We think not, but that may be because hope springs eternal in the skeptic’s breast.

Posted under Commentary, Progressivism, Socialism, tyranny, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, July 16, 2010

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