Civilization’s sickness unto death 313

The Sickness Unto Death is the title of a book by the nineteenth century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855).* He diagnosed the sickness as despair – the despair of individuals. An individual despairing of himself is sick with a psychological disease. “Psychological” is the author’s word for it. Kierkegaard was a Protestant Christian – but opposed to the established Lutheran church of Denmark – and the cure he prescribed was Christian faith.

In the twentieth century the French writer Jean Raspail (1925-2020) published a novel titled The Camp of the Saints. The story diagnoses guilt as the lethal sickness of the pan-European community called the West. Its guilt is a political disease, making it impotent and moribund. Raspail was a Catholic – but angry with the Catholic Church – and the cure he prescribed was Christian faith.

In May 2023, First Things published an article by Nathan Pinkoski on The Camp of the Saints. These are extracts from it:

The most important dystopian novel of the second half of the [20th] century is Jean Raspail’s Le Camp des Saints (The Camp of the Saints, 1973). Its central plotline concerns an armada that transports one million migrants from India to the shores of France. It’s an invasion, an occupation of the Global North by the Global South. As the migrants land, France is thrown into chaos, along with the rest of Europe, and Western civilization dies.

Yet The Camp of the Saints is not a disaster novel. The book’s significance does not hinge on whether Raspail was correct to predict mass immigration or describe it in catastrophic terms. Rather, the novel’s genius lies in the depiction of an apocalypse in the original sense of that term. Properly translated, apocalypse is rendered as revelation, disclosure, literally an “uncovering.” The Camp of the Saints unveils the perverse logic that pervades late Western civilization, and throws into sharp relief the nihilism of guilt whereby the West welcomes its own destruction. …

Raspail will not allow the migrants to be idealized. Throughout the novel, he emphasizes their vulgarity by providing lengthy descriptions of their crudeness, sexual promiscuity, and repellent hygiene. … [T]he migrants are materially and culturally destitute. That is why they find the West attractive. They do not have a mission to redeem sinful Europe; they are seeking deliverance from poverty and from the sometimes-brutal oppression and inequalities of non-Western cultures.

They will not obtain what they seek. In discussing what to do about the armada, the French authorities persuade themselves of their own ­illegitimacy. At the climax of the novel, the French president delivers an emergency speech meant to authorize the use of military force against the migrants and prevent them from landing. But he ­cannot bring himself to deliver the order. France will not defend itself. When the migrants alight from their boats and wade ashore, the West has already capitulated.

European governments fall as the migrants arrive, and European citizens withdraw from public life. Civil society collapses; as a result, the migrants enjoy no real improvement in their condition. They bring their bad rulers with them, replacing European regimes with the very regimes they have fled. ­Dictator-generals and Brahmins take up positions in French government, ruling as they did in their own lands. The migrants and their supporters do not “include” the Rest into the West. They expand the scope of the Third World, and wretchedness goes global. The purported blessing of the arrival of the wretched, so cherished by progressive voices in the novel, does not come about. What emerges is not a particularly harsh despotism—there is only the occasional boot stomping on the human face—but the pain of the survivors is great, because of their vivid memories of what they have lost. …

The left-wing intelligentsia herald the coming of the migrants as the dawn of a new age of multiculturalism, but they stoke a media frenzy and deploy the tools of cancel culture against those who demur, ostracizing or punishing them. …

Raspail is unsparing in his depiction of the betrayals urged by left-wing intellectuals, but he reserves his most scathing passages for the treason of the Catholic Church. In the novel, the previous pope has sold the treasures of the Vatican in a failed bid to win the approval of the Third World. The sitting pope, a Latin American, spends his time flying around on humanitarian missions and selling off whatever Vatican assets remain. He sees himself as a champion of the Third World. As the migrants arrive and the native French abandon their lands, priests go down to the beaches to cry, “Thank God!” They turn their backs on their countrymen, imagining they see Christ in the migrants.

In Raspail’s telling, Catholic Christianity has for some time been in thrall to humanitarian universalism. The novel satirizes a left-liberal Catholicism that disdains national and civilizational particularity and renders the faith indistinguishable from the moral universalism of non-believers. Under the banner of “charity, solidarity, and universal conscience”, progressive clerics abandon their neighbors for the sake of the stranger. They practice the religion of humanity, a Christian heresy

The First World must be taught to be ashamed of itself, to believe that its death will be its greatest gift to the future of humanity. The new civic liturgy of Western nations must express submission to the morally superior non-Western “other”. Those in the West need to be trained to take the knee …

Again and again in the novel, cowardice and self-hatred are masked and moderated by the conviction that mass immigration into Europe and the deconstruction of European identity will somehow take away the sins of the West. But Raspail knows the truth: Third World immigrants do not have the power to deliver Europeans from their sense of worthlessness. Once one embraces the logic of civilizational repudiation, the endpoint is nihilism and cultural death. …

The West is responsible for its own fate. Raspail is right. God will not deliver us from the consequences of our guilty self-­hatred. It is up to us to decide whether we will reject […] atonement through occupation and turn instead to the Lord.

Contrary to Pinkoski’s opinion, ours is that the really interesting thing about The Camp 0f the Saints is the accuracy of its prediction of what is happening in the 21st century: the non-violent invasion of the First World by a vast number of immigrants from the Third World; the failure of First World Governments to prevent it or turn it back; the sabotaging reaction to it of leftist intellectuals; clerics of the great churches – the Catholic priests following the lead of a Latin American pope –  passionately encouraging the shattering, the befouling, the abandonment of Western civilization.

What accounts for the capitulation of the rich and mighty law-governed civilized West to poor, weak, ignorant hordes from (in our case) the dark continent of Africa, corrupt republics of Latin America, cruel khanates of the Middle and Far East, hellholes of vicious Communist dictators?

Pinkoski declares, in apparent agreement with Raspail, that the big mistake which allows such a fatal tragedy to happen, is the embrace by Western political, intellectual, and religious leaders of  a “perverse logic” that “throws into sharp  relief the nihilism of guilt”.  The guilt is for Europe’s erstwhile imperialism, its colonizing and alleged oppressive exploitation of Third World countries. It arises, even in “Catholic Christianity”, out of an enchantment with  “humanitarian universalism”. That, Pinkoski tells us, is a “religion of humanity” and “a Christian heresy”.

The expression “humanitarian universalism” is no doubt intended to imply Marxism, but also more than that: global brotherhood, the family of man, humanism; an ideology of moral values, but essentially secular, and so “heretical” because it omits God. To the Christian mind, such an ideology is invalid because morals can only be decreed by God.

In reality, humanism, which purports to be concerned with individuals, is a very unlikely source of guilt and shame for a communal “sin”. The “sin” in this story is so bad that it calls for extreme punishment – nothing less than the destruction of our entire civilization, the peak achievement of humankind. The notion that humanism, or “humanitarianism”, is the source of such a shame could only arise in the religious mind – a mind furnished with inherited antiques: sin, guilt, atonement, penance, redemption through suffering, subordination of one’s own interests, apocalypse. And only one Western religion demands atonement by self-abasement, self-sacrifice, annihilation of achievement, willing submission to suffering.

Humanism began its resurrection with the anthropocentrism of  the Renaissance, and rose to its full height when Reason dethroned Faith at last in the Enlightenment. After a millennium of Christian oppression, Reason set Western man free to think, explore, experiment, discover, invent, hypothesize, be right and wrong; and be free to choose law instead of mystic revelation as a setter of ethical rules. (It is unfortunate – worse, it is disastrous – that most humanists have by now embraced the secular religion of socialism which again is inimical to freedom.)

The Enlightenment broke the power of the churches to terrify and oppress, but it did not change the essence of Christianity, which is masochistic. Doctrinally self-accusing. An ideology of  guilt, shame, abasement, and morbid reverence for martyrdom. For as long as its institutions were  powerful enough, it was an oppressive, torturing, property-confiscating, murdering tyranny; as totalitarian as it could be in the ages in which it ruled – no matter whether in the name of Catholicism or Protestantism. The secular heir to its tyranny is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism-Wokeism – no matter which of those labels it wears.

Christian faith, far from being the cure for the West’s sickness unto death, is its cause.

***

*Kierkegaard’s works are fascinating and often intentionally funny. He was witty and dryly humorous. His wit and humor are on fullest display in his book Either/Or.

The point of no return 396

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James Hankins and Allen C. Guelzo … noted in the first chapter of Where Next?: Civilization at the Crossroads thatCivilization is always threatened by barbarism, and the greater threat often comes more from within than from without.”

The political philosopher James Burnham made a similar point when he argued thatSuicide is probably more frequent than murder as the end phase of a civilization.”

The historian Arnold Toynbee spoke in this context of the “barbarization of the dominant minority.” When a society is robust and self-confident, Toynbee suggested, cultural influence travels largely from the elites to the proletariats. The elites furnish social models to be emulated. The proletariats are “softened,” Toynbee said, by their imitation of the manners and morals of a dominant elite. But when a society begins to falter, the imitation proceeds largely in the opposite direction: the dominant elite is coarsened by its imitation of proletarian manners. Toynbee spoke in this context of a growing “sense of drift,” “truancy,” “promiscuity,” and general “vulgarization” of manners, morals, and the arts. The elites, instead of holding fast to their own standards, suddenly begin to “go native” and adopt the dress, attitudes, and behavior of the lower classes. Flip on your television, scroll through social media, look at the teens and pre-teens in your middle-class neighborhood. You will see what Toynbee meant by “barbarization of the dominant [or, rather ‘once-dominant’] minority.” One part of the impulse is summed up in the French phrase nostalgie de la boue. But it is not “mud” that is sought so much as repudiation. …

What we are talking about is the drift, the tendency of our culture. And that is to be measured not so much by what we permit or forbid as by what we unthinkingly accept as normal. This crossroads, that is to say, is part of a process, one of whose markers is the normalization of the outré.  Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan described this development as “defining deviancy down.” It is, as the late columnist Charles Krauthammer observed, a two-way process. “As part of the vast social project of moral leveling,” he wrote, it is not enough for the deviant to be normalized. The normal must be found to be deviant. . . . Large areas of ordinary behavior hitherto considered benign have had their threshold radically redefined up, so that once innocent behavior now stands condemned as deviant. Normal middle-class life then stands exposed as the true home of violence and abuse and a whole catalog of aberrant acting and thinking.”

Hilaire Belloc espied the culmination of this process in Survivals and New Arrivals (1929):

When it is mature we shall have, not the present isolated, self-conscious insults to beauty and right living, but a positive coordination and organized affirmation of the repulsive and the vile.” …

Jean Raspail’s Camp of the Saints (1973) … imagines a world in which Western Civilization is overrun and destroyed by unfettered Third-World immigration. It describes an instance of wholesale cultural suicide … Conspicuous in that apocalypse is the feckless collusion of white Europeans and Americans in their own supersession. They faced an existential crossroads. They chose extinction, laced with the emotion of higher virtue, rather than survival. …

In 1994, Irving Kristol wrote an important essay called Countercultures. In it, he noted that “‘Sexual liberation’ is always near the top of a countercultural agenda—though just what form the liberation takes can and does vary, sometimes quite widely.” The costumes and rhetoric change, but the end is always the same: an assault on the defining institutions of our civilization. “Women’s liberation,” Kristol continues, “is another consistent feature of all countercultural movements—liberation from husbands, liberation from children, liberation from family. Indeed, the real object of these various sexual heterodoxies is to disestablish the family as the central institution of human society, the citadel of orthodoxy.”

In Eros and Civilization (1966), the Marxist countercultural guru Herbert Marcuse provided an illustration of Kristol’s thesis avant la lettre. Railing against “the tyranny of procreative sexuality,” Marcuse urged his followers to return to a state of “primary narcissism” and extolled the joys of “polymorphous perversity.” Are we there yet?  … Marcuse sought to enlist a programmatically unfruitful sexuality in his campaign against “capitalism” and the cultural establishment: barrenness as a revolutionary desideratum. Back then, the diktat seemed radical but self-contained, another crackpot effusion from the academy. Today, it is a widespread mental health problem, accepted gospel preached by teachers, the media, and legislators across the country. As I write, the National Women’s Law Center has just taken to Twitter to declare that “People of all genders need abortions.” How many things had to go wrong for someone, presumably female, to issue that bulletin? “All genders,” indeed. I recall the observation, attributed to Voltaire, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

In The Catholic Tradition and the Modern State”(1916), the historian Christopher Dawson wrote, “It is not liberty, but power which is the true note of our modern civilization. Man has gained infinitely in his control over Nature, but he has lost control over his own individual life.” I think this is true. And there is a political as well as a technical or scientific dimension to the phenomenon Dawson describes.

[It may be true, but the underlined sentence is annoyingly badly written. When “Man” is used  as a generic term, “he” cannot be said to have an “individual life”. A better formulation of the idea Dawson is trying to express: Humankind has gained greatly in control over Nature, but individuals have lost control over their own lives.]

In the West, what we have witnessed since the so-called “Progressive” movement of the 1910s and 1920s is the rise of a bureaucratic elite that has increasingly absorbed the prerogatives of power from legislative bodies. In the United States, for example, Article I of the Constitution vests all legislative power in Congress. For many decades, however, Americans have been ruled less by laws duly enacted by their representatives in Congress and more by an alphabet soup of regulatory agencies. The members of these bodies are elected by no one; they typically work outside the purview of public scrutiny; and yet their diktats have the force of law. Already in the 1940s, James Burnham was warning about the prospect of a “managerial revolution” that would accomplish by bureaucracy what traditional politics had failed to produce. Succeeding decades have seen the extraordinary growth of this leviathan, the unchecked multiplication of its offices and powers, and the encroaching reach of its tentacles into the interstices of everyday life. We are now, to an extent difficult to calculate, ruled by this “administrative state”, the “deep state”,  the “regulatory state”.

When in September 2020 the World Economic Forum at Davos announced its blueprint for a “Great Reset” in the wake of the worldwide panic over COVID-19, a new crossroads had been uncovered. Never letting a crisis go to waste, the Davos initiative was an extensive menu of progressive, i.e., socialistic imperatives. Here at last was an opportunity to enact a worldwide tax on wealth, a far-reaching (and deeply impoverishing) “green energy” agenda, rules that would dilute national sovereignty, and various schemes to insinuate politically correct attitudes into the fabric of everyday life. All this was being promulgated for our own good, of course. But it was difficult to overlook the fact that the WEF plan involved nothing less than the absorption of liberty by the extension of bureaucratic power.

Kimball’s idea is that we are now  at a point – a “crossroads”, or a fork in the road – where we have a choice to make: restore and preserve Western civilization, OR let it die.

I do not think we have that choice. “The drift, the tendency of our culture” has gone too far in the direction of “the repulsive and the vile” to be stemmed and diverted back to “right living”. Western Civilization  has been “overrun and destroyed by unfettered [unobstructed] Third-World immigration”.

We are at – we have have passed the point of no return.

 

Jillian Becker    December 12, 2022

Do you remember the American Republic? 293

Do you remember the USA, the nation that was established by a constitution?

Perhaps you imagine it is still in existence?

It is not.

Glenn Ellmers describes the post-constitutional republic that America has become. He writes at American Greatness:

The constitutional republic created by our founders no longer exists. Most everyone on the Right seems to agree with that—though we differ about how deep the rot is, and whether we are now living under a new regime that is essentially different in kind, not merely degree.

Most of us also agree that we want to restore the American founders’ principles and institutions. …

But how exactly we recover the founders’ constitutionalism is a question no one has been able to answer with any specificity. …

Elections—and therefore consent and popular sovereignty—are no longer meaningful.

This is the big one, and in a way, everything flows from it. It is helpful to break it down into two discrete pieces.

First, even if conducted legitimately, elections no longer reflect the will of the people.

Set aside for the moment any concerns about outright fraud and ballot tampering. The steady growth of the administrative state since the 1960s means that bureaucracy has become increasingly indifferent to—even openly hostile to—the will of the people over the last half-century. A clear majority of Americans, including Democrats (at least until recently), has been demanding and voting for comprehensive immigration reform, including strict control of the border, for decades. The Republican establishment in Congress—which made its peace with the deep state some time ago—has made numerous promises to fix this problem, and broken them all, always finding a reason for “amnesty now, enforcement later.” The decision about who gets to be part of the political community was the basic principle of popular sovereignty in the founders’ social compact theory. To the degree that the elites have simply ignored the American people on this point, neither the United States as a nation nor its citizens can still be considered a sovereign people.

Of course, that is only one obvious example. In thousands of other ways, the federal bureaucracy ignores the deliberate wishes of the American people. The regulators, administrators, and policymakers in the alphabet soup of federal agencies set the rules and impose their collective will as they see fit. Regardless of who the people repeatedly elect to reform the system, those politicians and their agendas come and go; the permanent government persists.

Yet even this has not been enough for the leftist oligarchy. Trump’s election in 2016 scared the establishment into taking even more extreme measures to prevent “unacceptable” electoral outcomes. Which leads to the latest antidemocratic development.

Second, elections now represent “manufactured consent”.

Mollie Hemingway showed in her excellent book, Rigged, that the technically legal though unscrupulous maneuvers undertaken by the Left—including legacy and social media propaganda and censorship, last-minute changes to election laws, and private money poured into partisan “voter education” efforts—were more than enough to alter the outcome of the 2020 election.

This new reality became even clearer this month. The highly manipulative practice of ballot harvesting—which reached new lows of cynicism in the recent midterms—makes a mockery of elections as an expression of popular deliberation and rational will. … The Democrats didn’t beat back the red wave because the voters chose them; they won by choosing their voters. It is hard to see how elections under these circumstances are substantially different from the artificial voting rituals practiced by the “people’s republics”, i.e., communist regimes of the 20th century.

The idea that the founders’ institutional arrangements still obtain is a nostalgic fiction today—especially the idea of checks and balances based on federalism and the separation of powers.

As a treatise on constitutional government, The Federalist is and will always be a classic work of political science, with many enduring insights. … [But] what Publius describes about the functions of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches—as well as the countervailing powers of the states—has almost no connection with current reality.

Congress doesn’t write, the executive does not enforce, and the judiciary does not interpret the laws. Power and wealth have become massively centralized in Washington, D.C. Federalism, judicial review, executive authority, the legislative process, appropriations—none of this remains operational in a way James Madison would recognize. And now, the country’s most powerful corporations are in active collusion with the federal security apparatus to enforce the regime’s authority. That’s practically the definition of fascism.

Political competence, in the traditional sense, is becoming irrelevant. 

Ignore the current spat between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. A bitter nomination fight would only benefit the opposition. What’s important to note is that any attempt by a Republican president to control his own (nominal) employees in the executive branch would require talents that neither Trump nor DeSantis has demonstrated. In fact, if confronting today’s administrative state, it isn’t clear how even a Lincoln or a Churchill would have exercised effective statesmanship. We are in a post-constitutional, even a post-political, environment.

For all his flaws, Donald Trump at least recognized that defending the sovereignty of the people (the most fundamental and meaningful definition of Americanism) meant striking at the legitimacy of the administrative state, especially its assumptions of rational expert knowledge. Trump correctly perceived that mockery and derision were effective, if indelicate, tools for challenging this hubris.

But Trump erred grievously in thinking he could accomplish everything he wanted on his own. The art of the deal doesn’t work when the other side holds almost all the cards. Trump underestimated this situation. And he was simply foolish and vain in thinking he could overcome it on the strength of his abilities alone and ignoring his duty to fill every available appointment with people loyal to—and willing to fight for—his agenda.

A DeSantis presidency, meanwhile, would have to recognize that while executive experience as a governor was once the ideal training ground for the Oval Office, this is much less true today. To whatever degree overweening bureaucracy has infiltrated the states, the governor of Florida does not have to deal with a national security machine that sets its own foreign policy, abuses classification rules, and engages in shameless leaking to a compliant national press; a Justice Department that weaponizes the resources and capacities of the FBI to undermine an elected president; and a veritable nation of unfireable (for now) subordinates long habituated to regarding themselves as the true representatives of the public will.

Yet DeSantis has shown better instincts than Trump in backing up his words with actions, especially in his willingness to punish powerful opponents, like Disney, when they needed it.

It remains to be seen how either man could translate his virtues, and overcome his shortcomings, to exercise the power of the presidency creatively, with cunning, subtlety, and ruthless determination, in ways that pursue the goals of constitutionalism even while understanding that the old forms no longer apply.

Moreover, any president seeking to restore constitutional government would need large majorities in both houses of Congress committed to reform far more seriously than the current Republican leadership seems to be. This partnership would not involve traditional legislative log-rolling, but would require an alliance in a quasi-political street fight, probably leading to a constitutional crisis, to bring the bureaucracy to heel. It is a big ask to expect congressional leaders who would even understand how this would occur, let alone have the will actually to do it. Massive challenges await at every turn. …

By carrying on with retail politics and accepting the current situation as normal, people on the Right are now legitimizing and strengthening their enemies. 

This may be the hardest pill to swallow.

Our current woke oligarchy becomes more fanatical every month, yet instead of getting weaker or provoking a popular backlash, it seems to grow ever stronger. In part, this is because the elites have maintained a semblance of institutional normalcy. No matter how extreme its policies—COVID lockdowns, chemical or surgical castration of children, open borders—the ruling class carries on with a kind of constitutional kabuki theater. Citizens (or rather “people”) vote, Congress meets and passes “laws”, the president pontificates and signs documents. It is largely just a performance; it certainly doesn’t resemble government functioning as the founders intended. But it looks close enough to the real thing to persuade many people that the situation, if not perfect, is at least tolerable. There is just enough veneer of Our Democracy™ to keep most citizens from acting on their dissatisfactions and justified fears.

But the longer this goes on, and the more phoniness people are willing to tolerate, the more the whole rotten edifice becomes accepted as legitimate. At some point, the people will have consented, by their acquiescence, to anything the regime decides to do. Soon, one suspects, our left-wing masters won’t find it necessary to keep up the charade.

That’s why I disagree with those who say we should simply go tit-for-tat with the Democrats. Julie Kelly and Scott McKay, among others, believe that Republicans need to adopt the Democrats’ ballot harvesting techniques in order to beat them at their own game. In the same vein, Ned Ryun argues, “If conservatives and Republicans want to win again, we had better adopt the only-ballots-matter approach at least in the short term or die. . . . This is now the modern-day political battlefield in America, the rules of the game. One can either howl at the moon about it or beat the Left at it.”

Look, I get it. Nevertheless, this strikes me as a bad idea—practically, theoretically, and morally.

    • Practically, we can never hope to match the maniacal zeal of the Left, which invests millenarian expectations in politics, and is thus always driven to do whatever it takes to win. Acknowledging this does not mean giving up and letting them win. But it does mean recognizing that in a race to the bottom, the Left will always get there first. And having fought tooth and nail to see who can go lower, what do we do when we reach the bottom?
    • Theoretically, this means we will be participating in altering the essential meaning and purpose of elections. Representative, deliberative democracy will become the technocratic accumulation of votes—a clickbait contest that rewards whichever side can best wage computerized demographic warfare.
    • Morally, we will then lose any claim that we are trying to recover genuine self-government. If the argument is that we need to descend to the Democrats’ level in order to gain power, one might ask, “Why not just cut to the chase and skip the empty, meaningless process?” If power really becomes the only object, and neither side really believes in consent, then the entire pretense will fade away soon enough anyway.

Accepting, even “in the short term”, the regime’s authority to perpetually rewrite the rules of the game is the true surrender. They will always win if we repeatedly acquiesce to their legitimacy, chasing after what they define as normal on their terms. Worse, there won’t be a republic in the long term worth having.

I know that what I am painting here is a pretty bleak picture. But while it reveals a rough road in the short term, I don’t think it necessarily dictates long-term despair, in part because there are certain truths about political life that the Left cannot change.

Ellmers then “offer[s] some ideas about what has not changed, which might provide some grounds for optimism”, including “human nature”! But with that section of his article I disagree. I don’t think human nature or anything else he points to provides grounds for optimism.  Quite the contrary.

Spokesman of our ruin 310

(From New English Review, November 2022)

It is not easy to make out what Slavoj Zizek means to say. While he comments interminably on everything under the sun, he is barely intelligible. Yet, paradoxically, it is he who makes plain what we urgently need to know about our bewildering and frightening world: that our world is meant to be bewildering and frightening.

At home in Slovenia, where he lives on state welfare support, he is no more than a senior researcher at the University of Ljubljana’s Institute of Sociology, but further west he is more highly valued. He is a professor at the European Graduate School and international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at the University of London. Despite the extreme hostility he expresses towards the United States—or because of it—he is Global Distinguished Professor of German at New York University and has been a visiting professor at Princeton and numerous other American universities including Chicago, Columbia, Minnesota, Michigan, and UC Irvine. His many prestigious appointments, TV and speaker engagements must bring him a respectable income, but it is apparently not enough for quality replacements of the slovenly T-shirts he habitually wears and continually tweaks and plucks as if for relief from discomfort.

He ran for the presidency of Slovenia in 1990, unsuccessfully. He does not, however, need to be active as a politician to have a political effect. He is one of those intellectuals whose pernicious influence on fellow academics, and consequently on rising generations of students, do profound harm by denigrating freedom and commending tyranny. Typically, he derives pleasure from rebelling and shocking, in the irresponsible spirit of adolescence, though he is now seventy-three years old. His fans applaud him with the hideous glee of spoilt children. He is the darling of television chat shows and organs of the left such as The Guardian newspaper and the New Yorker. A characteristic “look at me how daring I am” statement he made on TV in New York was: “Everybody in the world except US citizens should be allowed to elect the American government.”

In the style of the enfant terrible, he likes to shock by inverting conventional values. What to most of us is good he denounces as bad, what is abhorred he praises as good. This, to his admirers, proves him witty, brave, original and profound. What he really is, is an intellectual clown, partly by intention (he does have a sense of humor) but compulsively anyway because that is his nature. He is uncouth, uncivil—again most likely by both will and character. “Do you want some f*cking  fruit-juice?” he asks an interviewer in a video.

When he appears personally before an audience or a camera he is entertaining, even fascinating. He creates an atmosphere of excitement and drama, which makes him a popular participant in panel discussions. He waffles and rambles with magisterial conviction. The word “precisely” crops up repeatedly in his imprecise statements like a decorative motif. He gestures, he snuffles; he swipes and pulls his nose again and again as if it is from there that he derives his ideas and it is his nose that is the paradigmatic philosopher of the age. Audiences are charmed, so they allow him his arrogance, his show-off iconoclasm.

When he is read rather than watched and heard, his reckless assertions are less likely to be indulged—if they can be deciphered. He writes in the customary opaque language of the left. For example: “To put it simply [sic]: If we make an abstraction, if we subtract all the richness of the different modes of subjectivization, all the fullness of experience present in the way individuals are ‘living’ their subject-positions, what remains is an empty place which was filled with this richness; this original void, this lack of symbolic structure, is the subject.” [1]

The only meaning I can extract from this is that if you take everything out of something, it will be empty. For this we need a philosopher?

He declares himself to be a communist. His heroes are Marx, Hegel, and Lenin. He acknowledges the intellectual influence of Jacques Lacan and Michel Foucault. Their repulsive ideas, enthusiastically endorsed and handed on by academics in America, were given a new lease of life by late-comer Zizek, whose country had been sleeping for decades under the spell of communism. Most East Europeans woke happily in the dawn of freedom after the fall of the Soviet Union, and many of them brought new vigor to the decadent spirit of the West. But here comes one who lived under the oppression of communism and yet is nostalgic for it; who idealizes cruelty and suffering; who abominates freedom—while making use of it to build a lucrative reputation as its implacable enemy.

His stardom among leftist academic peers is due to his wishing even worse evils upon us than did Lacan, whose psychoanalytic therapy consisted of trying to drive his patients insane; or Foucault, who wrote of “the joy of torture,” longed to carry out human sacrifice, and taught that cruelty should be a perpetual condition of existence, so that life would be the experience of unmitigated pain, hate and aggression. Zizek praises extreme sadism, terrorism, motiveless murder, and delights in crime. Only crime, he declares, is “authentically ethical” because it subverts the coercion of law. He revels in the suffering of other people, so the more horrific the crime is, the more pleasure it gives him. He adores suicide bombing. He loved the planes crashing into the Twin Towers on 9/11; they gave him an aesthetic thrill. America he calls “the enemy.” Anyone—any state, any terrorist, any traitor—who acts against America is laudable. (While he maintains that torture is good, he reviles the American soldiers who—he says—tortured Iraqi military prisoners at Abu Ghraib.) He wants all people everywhere to live in fearful obedience to totalitarian despotism. Voluntary subordination to an “authentic Leader,” he preaches, is “the highest act of freedom. [2] So if you are free, the best use you can make of your freedom is to choose to be unfree.

Most political philosophers on the left now perceive Western civilization not as a protector of liberty but as a patriarchal tyranny. They want us to believe that they are humane revolutionaries; that the subversion they applaud, the insurrection they encourage, the injustice they excuse, are to liberate the wretched of the earth: the enslaved, the oppressed, the poor, the colonized, the dispossessed, the persecuted; slaves, workers, women, lunatics, prisoners, aborigines … They want us to trust that they are striving for the eventual freedom, prosperity and happiness of the entire human race; that their apparent heartlessness is disguised compassion. Schools and universities teach their ideology with its utopian claim, and generations grow up believing in it. So Europe lets itself be invaded by Islam; the Biden administration permits black racists and their white abettors to riot and burn and murder in American cities for months on end; the Greens impose impoverishing conditions; universities oppose free speech.

Slavoj Zizek neither offers nor predicts utopia. He is volubly against freedom, prosperity, and happiness. He wants us all to be in perpetual anguish. He wants us to be in chains. He propounds atrocious ideals of subjugation and suffering without end. And the universities embrace him for it.

“Don’t take him seriously. You know he is a clown. He doesn’t really mean it,” his apologists may say. But we must take him seriously, because Zizek the Clown is the spokesman of our ruin.

 

Notes

[1] The Sublime Object of Ideology by Slavoj Zizek, Verso, London 1989, pp.174-175
[2] Did Somebody say Totalitarianism? Five Interventions on the (Mis)use of a Notion by Slavoj Zizek, Verso, London 2001, pp.246-247

 

Jillian Becker

 

The conquest of America 185

All those who with their votes or their assistance in the ballot-cheating got the Democrats into power, are guilty of destroying the America that was free, prosperous, ruled by law, and protected by a well-trained well-equipped military.

Now we are not only poorer, but impeded in all we do. Travel? You may need certification. Learn? Only approved topics and authorized dogma. Start a business? Get a license.

Every institution on which we used to be able to rely, has been corrupted, weakened, or destroyed.

The presidency was captured by fraud. A duly elected Republican president was twice impeached for no offense, no crime, while the offenses or crimes he was accused of were openly and brazenly committed by his accusers, including the fraudulent official who succeeded him by crookery.

We can no longer rely on the rule of law. Real insurrectionists who torched city centers, looted, murdered, threatened governmental authority, go unpunished, while people who walked into the Capitol and out again a few minutes later are imprisoned without trial for a year, ill-treated, and finally threatened with long prison sentences if they don’t confess to criminal acts they never performed – which will send them to prison anyway. The initiators of the “Russia-collusion” hoax – Hillary Clinton and her political lieutenants – have not been called to account. Applicants for legal immigration are kept waiting for years, while illegal aliens pour over the border unimpeded and are immediately given housing, schooling, health care, and even voting rights.

The House of Representatives is the staff quarters of a vindictive old woman. The Senate can be toyed with by a moronic vice-president.

The Supreme Court  is under threat of extinction. The junta in power wants to turn it into a rubber-stamping bureau that will support one party rule forever. 

Victor Davis Hanson writes at the Daily Signal:

Court-packing—the attempt to enlarge the size of the Supreme Court for short-term political purposes—used to be a dirty word in the history of American jurisprudence.

The tradition of a nine-person Supreme Court is now 153 years old. The last attempt to expand it for political gain was President Franklin Roosevelt’s failed effort in 1937. FDR’s gambit was so blatantly political that even his overwhelming Democratic majority in Congress rebuffed him.

Yet now “court packing” is a law school cause celebre. It is hailed as a supposedly quick fix to reverse the current 5-4 conservative majority.

Recently, a rough draft of an opinion purportedly overturning the Roe v. Wade decision that had legalized abortion in all 50 states was leaked to the media by someone inside the court.

That insider leak of a draft opinion was a first in the modern history of the Supreme Court. It violated all court protocols. Yet it was met with stunning approval from the American left.

The leaker either intended to create a preemptive public backlash against the purported court majority in the hope that one or two justices might cave and switch under pressure—or to gin up the progressive base to fend off a likely disaster in the November midterm elections.

The recent leak, however, is consistent with a left-wing assault on the court that has intensified over the last five years. Democrats have gone ballistic ever since former President George W. Bush’s and especially former President Donald Trump’s appointees solidified a conservative majority.

During Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings in 2018, protesters stormed the Senate chambers in protest. …

Later in spring 2020, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., whipped up a protest crowd right in front of the Supreme Court. He directly threatened Justices Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh:

I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.

What exactly did Schumer mean by “you will pay the price” or “you won’t know what hit you”?

Who or what would hit the two justices—and how exactly?

But it is not just the court the left is targeting. Long-standing institutions and even constitutional directives are now fair game.

At the 2020 funeral of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., former President Barack Obama crudely proposed bringing in Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., as states—and with them likely four left-wing senators.

Obama’s “eulogy” also damned the 180-year-old Senate filibuster. Yet as a senator, Obama himself resorted to the filibuster in an effort to block the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

The Electoral College is under continued assault, especially since Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016 were elected without winning the popular vote.

The Founders’ arguments for the Electoral College are never mentioned. But the drafters of the Constitution felt it forced candidates to visit rural areas. They believed it would discourage European-style multiple splinter parties. It made voter fraud more difficult on a national scale. And it emphasized the United States of America. That is, America today is 50 unique states that are represented as such in presidential elections.

The Biden administration also narrowly failed to push through a national voting law. Such legislation would have superseded the states’ constitutional rights to set most of their own balloting protocols in national elections.

So what is behind leaking Supreme Court drafts of impending opinions, or seeking to pack the Supreme Court with 15 justices, or ending the Senate filibuster, or adding two more states to the 60-year-old, 50-state union, or curtailing states’ rights to set their own balloting procedures, or trashing the Constitution’s Electoral College? …

And how can Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas openly negate federal immigration law? How can he welcome millions to cross illegally the southern border?

The answers are obvious.

The hard left had detoured from the mainstream of American voters onto a radical trajectory. So it will never find 51% public approval for any of its current extremist and crackpot initiatives.

Instead, it sees success only through altering the rules of governance or changing the demography of the electorate—or both.

Has any institution not been deliberately spoiled? Is any activity, if not yet prohibited, left free of government regulation?

The banking system has become so byzantine that quite simple transactions, such as sending a payment abroad, takes days or even weeks to complete.

The schools and universities have been changed into indoctrination seminaries.

The mainstream media are as meekly submissive to the junta as a silly woman to a domineering husband.

The police are defunded, demoralized, weakened, disarmed, reduced in number, abused –  even murdered with impunity.

As for the army …These quotations are  from How Obama and Biden Destroyed the Greatest Military the World Has Ever Seen by Daniel Greenfield.*

Under Biden [“Biden” being the name of the president and so of the administration, though the man himself is senile and does not make the decisions propagated in his name], genocide and terrorism have become cultural norms that we are bound to accept.  (p.4)

China might beat us in the hypersonic weapons race, but America’s top military brass were determined to pull out all the stops to make sure they had the most diverse arrangement of incompetent radicals, preferably in senior leadership positions, to establish their progressive credentials. (p.10)

Obama didn’t just leave the military smaller in size, but smaller in spirit, its leadership class no longer dedicated to national security, but to the identity political agendas of the radical Left. (p.11)

Obama remade the military just as he remade the nation, from a team based on individual worth into a broken system divided by the intractable gulfs of oppressors and the oppressed. No military organization can function that way and no nation can survive that way.  (pp. 11, 12)

Long before the Taliban entered Kabul, the moral struggle had already been lost in Washington D.C. While the Taliban were carving up Afghanistan, the nation’s military leaders were busy implementing racial quotas, imposing implicit bias training, and teaching military personnel to hate their country through critical race theory. (pp.12,13)

There has been no accountability for the political leaders and military brass who wrecked the military. And none for those who were responsible for our defeat in Afghanistan. Patriots are being driven out while the disloyal leaders responsible for purging them and enabling the Taliban remain in charge. (p.62)

All that at a time when the US is faced with a more dangerous threat of attack than the nation has ever had to confront before.

Quotations from an article  by Judith Bergman at Gatestone:

China is putting up satellites at twice the rate of the United States and fielding operational systems at an incredible rate.

Look at what they [CCP) have today…. We’re witnessing one of the largest shifts in global geostrategic power that the world has witnessed.

The Chinese are building up their military capabilities in space, cyberspace, and in the conventional force. It’s all happening at the same time.

There is now as well the added probability of China and Russia engaging in military coordination…. a strategic partnership of “no limits” and with “no forbidden areas” in an agreement that they said was aimed at countering the influence of the United States.

Meanwhile, the Left has already captured and destroyed the free republic of America. It no longer influences the world for the better. It is ripe and ready for Chinese Communist conquest. 

Can the free republic be resurrected? Can America be saved?

 

 

*Published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, PO Box 55089, Sherman Oaks, CA 91499-1964

Voting for tyranny 62

In 2020, tyrants came to power in the United States by fraud. They were not elected by a majority. The majority voted for Donald Trump to be president, which means most Americans want freedom. But far too many did actually vote for the tyrannical party. All Americans got the government the large minority wanted and that they, but not most Americans, deserved.

In other Western countries, Germany for instance, the tyrants now in power were elected by majorities.

The proven fact that hundreds of millions of Westerners want to be governed by authoritarians welding power arbitrarily, cruelly, and destructively is strangely omitted from conservative commentary.

But Paul Gottfried has observed the horrifying fact, and writes about it at American Greatness:

A bad habit on the establishment Right, here and in other Western countries, is to treat those who have made disastrous electoral decisions as victims. If the choices made by these “victims” turn out badly, as they have in the cases of numerous municipal governments and blue states and with the election of Joe Biden, conservatives carefully avoid accusing the voters. Apparently high crime rates, unnecessary lockdowns, goofy LGBTQ+, antiwhite measures, and galloping inflation should not be pinned on those who cast electoral ballots.

If eligible voters in heavily black urban areas endorse corrupt politicians who thrive by playing the race card and ignore rising crime rates, the fault, we are led to believe, is entirely with those who have been elected. The stigma belongs to politicians who have betrayed the “people,” although a majority of the “people” dutifully voted for them. Are we to think that those who have voted more than once for Maxine Waters, Kweisi Mfume, and Bill de Blasio or who ran in droves to rescue Gavin Newsom in the California recall election last year are simply the hapless victims of evil politicians?

The same tendency to shift blame misleadingly is characteristic of the German democratic Right, as I gather from reading their leading weekly Junge Freiheit. Although Germany has moved even further to the left than the United States on social and cultural issues and is governed by a Green-Social Democratic coalition that is even more radical than our Democrats, the fault, according to German conservatives, does not lie with the German “volk“, which is no longer even recognizable as such.

Significantly, German voters stand behind a state that has little respect for civil liberties, one that has gone after its only non-leftist party—Alternative for Germany—because its leaders have suggested in speech that Germans are an historic nation, not just a collection of individuals. Unfortunately, most Germans don’t seem to care if a leftist woke government shuts them up and strips them of their national identity.

The lockdowns established by the German government were also far more comprehensive than ours, and the state attacked those who protested them as Nazi sympathizers and in many cases subjected them to arrest and prosecution. The new German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who has published in the far-left Antifa, has designated as her first priority, “combating the far-right threat,” a war that should start in kindergarten. Last week, the culturally radical Social Democrats swept to an unanticipatedly large victory in Saarland. Their chief competitor, the Christian Democrats, lost to the Social Democrats, who managed to outdo them in LGBT advocacy, and in calls for massive immigration and blatant antinationalism. The last time I checked, it was overwhelmingly ethnic Germans who voted for this woke hell.

Are we to pretend that those who vote for race-baiters and unhinged antifascists are not really voting? They are simply the victims of malign forces that bring to power leftist demagogues and crazed social engineers despite the “people”? Although it may be convenient to nurture that fantasy, real majorities often elect utterly loathsome governments

I’m also not willing to give these voters the benefit of the doubt because they have been under the influence of lying media. Although the leftist media lie through their teeth, one might expect that adults at some point would notice. But even if they don’t, I see no reason to treat voters as the helpless victims of their own choices. Truth is, they are getting the leadership they deserve. And they are suffering the consequences they brought on themselves.

We should assume that when citizens are authorized to vote, they are responsible for what they mark on a ballot. We are, however, free to doubt that all voting citizens take civic obligations seriously, and in the 19th century, the educated bourgeoisie … wished to limit the franchise to literate property holders like themselves. They believed that only the “capable classes (les classes capacitaires)” were able to exercise political power prudently, and some doubted that women, with certain exceptions, were emotionally stable enough to attend to political affairs.

Although these early bourgeois liberals may have had a point, Western countries since have moved in a different direction. We are therefore obliged to operate with another assumption. That assumption is that all authorized citizens should be able to choose their leaders. This means that they will be getting the government they democratically elected, and the responsibility for that choice is theirs.

Why have millions of citizens of the formerly free countries of the West turned against freedom?

Posted under China, Germany, Totalitarianism, tyranny, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, April 7, 2022

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Universities are deleting the past to destroy our culture 21

Why did the “woke” academics at the University of Leicester throw away an archive entrusted to their care?

We now know they did. They threw away the archive of the Institute for the Study of Terrorism (IST) – compiled painstakingly over many years and often at personal risk by me and my fellow researchers – as unwanted trash.

My complaint to the university elicited this response from Professor Henrietta O’Connor, the spokesperson charged by the Principal to deal with the complaint: :

The School of Criminology, as with all Schools and departments, prioritises collections in their care which are most pertinent to contemporary research and teaching. A recent search for material relating to the IST proved inconclusive. Any IST material located in future will be appraised by a professionally-qualified archivist and, if appropriate, transferred to the care of our University Archives and Special Collections.

It’s a confession. They keep what is “most pertinent to contemporary research and teaching”.

What is “most pertinent to contemporary research and teaching”? They declare unequivocally, “Ethnicity, sexuality and diversity.”

That is the agenda of the Left to which they are committed. They are “woke”. They have chosen to implement the current Leftist policy known as “cancel culture”. They are erasing records of the past that do not fit with the current – or as they say “contemporary” – political beliefs of the Left.

The IST archive, recording thousands of instances of the savage crime of terrorism – almost all of it by organizations on the Left, with support from the USSR and some from Communist China, through the Cold War years 1968-1990 – was an affront to the ideology of the “woke”.

The search for the archive was not “inconclusive” as the professor claims.  The searcher – the chief archivist of the university – concluded that the archive was lost.

But let’s say some “IST material” may be  “located in future”. Would it be preserved?  Not necessarily. Not probably. Frankly, not a chance.  It would be subject to a process of “prioritising”.  And as it would not be wanted for the teaching of  “ethnicity, gender, and diversity” – and would even pose a threat to such studies – it would not be judged “appropriate”, would not be “prioritised”, and so would be discarded.  

The professor implies, by saying the person who would make the judgment would be “professionally-trained”, that the profession of archivist requires its practitioners to adhere to “woke” ideology as routinely, normally, correctly, as the profession of medicine requires its practitioners to adhere to the ethics of Hippocrates.

Most universities in the Western world now are conscientiously trying to erase history. The IST archive is just one of an incalculable number of records, relics, depictions, monuments that are being destroyed by the very institutions that were founded to preserve our cultural inheritance.

To what end? Is there a  supremely desirable objective that can only be attained by perpetrating this vast relentless destruction?

The answer is to be found in a column by Conrad Black at American Greatness, in which he points out how like George Orwell’s Britain of 1984 America has become in 2022:

Since the Party controlled the present, it also controlled the past.

“One could not learn history from architecture any more than one could learn it from books. Streets, inscriptions, memorial stones, the names of streets—anything that might throw light on the past had been systematically altered.” In other words, “History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

“Purges and vaporizations were a necessary part of the mechanics of government.”

Down came the statues, inscriptions and “anything that might throw light on the past.” As in 1984, America’s founding documents are pure crimethink. Teacher unions now force feed this propaganda in the schools and when parents object, the Department of Justice calls them domestic terrorists.

The past is falsified, statistics are meaningless, and the Party is always right.

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only pure power.” As Winston Smith learns:

Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?

In 2022, embattled Americans are beginning to understand the parallels.

As are the citizens of most of the countries of the late “free West”.

Is it too late to save our culture before it is gone beyond recovery?

 

Jillian Becker      February 1, 2022

Posted under Leftism, Totalitarianism, tyranny by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, February 1, 2022

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Homo nudus 105

The naked human.

That’s the Great Idea of Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive President of the World Economic Forum, would-be Architect of the future of humankind which he describes as the Great Reset.

The richest people on earth fly their private jets up, up, to Davos on its alp. There among the clouds they dream together of how beautiful it will be when no one except themselves owns anything.

It is a dream of global totalitarian Communism with them and their heirs in power over everyone else forever.

They promise the rest of us:

“You’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy.”

“And if you dare not to be happy, we will exterminate you. Resistance is futile.”

You will be assigned food, drink, clothes, bed, transport, schooling, job, duties, leisure, sex sessions (diverse, inclusive, and equitable), health care, vacation, friends, entertainment, opinions, values, death.

Of what type, they will decide. By means of algorithms.

In my prescient book L: A Novel History (first published 2005, new edition 2012), I describe what happens when a totalitarian Communist regime – led by the eponymous hero L – that has come to power in England in the 1980s, brings about, as it must, the day when there is nothing for people to own or to eat.

Here are some passages from it:

To help us learn what many citizens must have felt at that moment when civil life broke down, we have this recollection by a tobacconist and newsagent, a Mr Bruce Waughs, a staunch Conservative by his own account, who had run his own small shop in Brixton until the revolution, and then carried on working in it when it was expropriated like all other businesses big and small, as a licensed distributor of the RED TIMES. It tells what is surely a most surprising anecdote.

My wife Stella appeared at the door, and she just stood there, looking at me with her eyes wide open and saying nothing, like someone who had just seen something happen that could not happen. I said, “What is it?” And she said, “There’s nothing! Nothing to eat. Everything’s just stopped.” It took some time for me to get the story out of her. When I did it took me even longer to grasp what it meant. Then I walked out of the shop, shut the door behind me, and was about to lock it, when Stella said, “What are you doing that for? Who are you going to lock it against?” And then it really came home to me. Well, I pushed the door open again and left it gaping wide, and I took her hand – something I hadn’t done for years − and we started walking along the street. And suddenly I felt − terribly, terribly happy. I can’t explain it. I can only say that I had never felt so happy in my whole life, not even when I was a child. And at that moment I looked at Stella, and she looked at me, and we began to laugh, and we couldn’t stop, we walked along the street laughing and laughing, and then we joined hands and began to dance, skipping round, like children, and if anybody had asked us what we were laughing at we couldn’t for the life of us have told them, not then. And all at once we weren’t alone, not alone in the street and not alone in our happiness, there were others, several others, many others, and then hundreds of others, the streets were full, and everyone was laughing, and dancing, we had seen nothing like it since the day we stood outside Buckingham Palace in July 1981 and cheered the Prince of Wales and his bride. And that was the same month our shop had been broken into and our stock looted by a mob in a riot, and Stella had cried. And I think the royal wedding had been a tonic for us, and Stella felt much better afterwards. But now what were we celebrating? The moment when we knew we might starve? It was only afterwards I could put a name to that feeling. Freedom. Somehow, in the twinkling of an eye, we had been set free. Free of what, you might say, when we were living under a tyranny, and had no notion of how we were going to go on living at all. Exactly. It was irrational. But somehow it happened. It wasn’t just having no more living to earn, no more mortgage to pay, no more bills, no more saving and budgeting, no more being told how much better Stella’s brother was doing with his furniture stores and garages than I was with my corner shop – all those sorts of worries had been lifted one by one when the revolution came eight months before, and other worries had come to replace them, heavier too, by far. Worries about the grandchildren and were they getting enough to eat, and about Stella’s mother who not only had her teeth taken away but even her wheelchair so that she just stayed indoors and we had to carry her from the bed to the chair and back again, and generally worries about whether life would ever again be comfortable and pleasant – as it had been when we had only the mortgage and things like that to worry about. And so what kind of happiness was this, what kind of freedom was it? I can tell you now – it was freedom from hope! Stella and I and all those other people made a strange discovery that day. We discovered that when you truly despair − there’s nothing to do but laugh.

It is perfectly true that on that day many people danced in the street. The New Police, mounted and on foot, descended on crowds wherever they found them, and broke them apart and sent them home. They rode or marched up, thinking that these must be the beginnings of the first genuine and justified demonstrations against a government since the 1930s, after all these years, even before the revolution, of groups playing at protest, playing at suffering, playing at reaction to pretended oppression and pretended deprivation. And the New Police were themselves so surprised at the carnival mood they found in borough after borough, that they were caught by the television cameras smiling, chatting to people in a friendly way, as they asked rather than ordered them to get off the streets. …

Bruce Waughs, the man who had laughed the day civilization stopped, was to write, in after years, this evaluation of L’s “precious gift of anarchy and dissolution”:

I soon enough found that this was not “freedom” after all. It was the extremest form of slavery – slavery of your entire being to the labour of keeping alive, supplying the simplest and most fundamental needs of life, exhausting the body and soul to keep body and soul together, in constant fear of starvation, dread of your fellow man, and a desperate urge to seize and devour whatever you can, by whatever means. For a hunk of meat you would happily kill any man or woman who stood in your way. We descended lower than savages. We became beasts.

*

Citizens’ lives had been getting increasingly difficult for some time before the day of hunger arrived.

At first the Winsomes had rejoiced in the revolution. It was what they had hoped for, worked for, and, as long as they could, voted for. “I don’t mind not owning my own house if nobody else does,” Ted Winsome had written cheerfully in his Revolution Issue of the NEW WORKER* (which came out six weeks after Republic Day, as his paper, like most others, had been ordered to suspend publication until all newspapers that were to continue had been nationalized, and permits granted to their editors). Had not his wife, in her capacity as Housing Committee chairperson on Islington Borough Council set an example, by compulsorily purchasing more private houses for local government ownership than anyone before or after her (until the revolution made purchase unnecessary)? He was proud that she had been an active pioneer, one of the avant-garde of the socialist revolution.

However, he was less pleased when three families were quartered in his house. And then another was sent by the Chief Social Worker (a sort of district commandant) when his own children, delighted to drop out of school, had left home to join a WSP [Workers Socialist Party] group and vent righteous indignation on landlords, capitalists, individualists, racists and speculators. All of his fellow lodgers were, in his view, “problem-families” – drunken, noisy, filthy, careless, inconsiderate and rude. (“That,” said the Gauleiter, “is why they were chased out of their last lodgings by angry co-residents on a former Council estate.” She had thought the Winsomes would be “more tolerant”.) Before he could hand over his stereophonic record-player to the local community centre – as he assured those he complained to that he had fully intended to do – one of the problem-children broke it, threw his classical records away, and also deliberately smashed his high-speed Japanese camera. His furniture was soon broken too. Precious antiques which he had restored with his own hands in hours of patient labour, were treated like fruit-boxes, to be stood on, and spilt on, and thrown about. When cups and glasses were smashed, it was he who had to replace them if he was to have anything to eat or drink out of; which meant recourse to the black market, against which he had so often fulminated in his editorials in the NEW WORKER. He started hiding things away in his room, taking special care to keep his carpentry and joinery tools from the hands of those who would not understand how he had cared for them, valued them, kept them sharp, adapted some of them to his particular needs. One of the problem-fathers accused him of “hoarding private property”, and threatened to go to the New Police with the complaint, or call in “some RI people” [Righteous Indignation – a violent Antifa-type group].

He confided to a woman journalist at his office how he had begun to suspect that “when a thing belongs to everybody, it belongs to nobody”. And he even went so far as to suggest that “as people only vandalize things they don’t own themselves, there is something to be said for private ownership after all”.

*

All industry failed after a few months of central communist management.

The bewildering fact was that the first country in the world to have become industrialized, the very home of the Industrial Revolution, the country which had once led the world in manufacturing industry, the erstwhile hub of the greatest empire in history, had become one of the poorest states in the world; a people surrounded not by wild tracts of unused land, with isolated constructions which signify the first frantic efforts to build mills, factories and mines in undeveloped countries, but by the decaying ruins of industrial might, of mills and mines and factories fallen into disuse and decay, rusting machinery, the vast wreckage of a once great industrial civilization, dilapidated monuments of human ingenuity and at the same time to human idiocy; acres of towns and cities deserted, tumbling into rubble, and all this devastation brought about not by war, not by any external enemy, but by a faction among the people treacherous out of intellectual blindness, guilty of a shallow moralistic idealism and economic folly; of a desire to be good, and a failure to be intelligent.

For it was those who had freedom and decried it, pretending they were oppressed; those who had material plenty and despised it, pretending they were poor; those who thus secreted a worm in their own hearts, and so at the heart of civilization – envy: the amazing unforeseen and unforeseeable envy, by the free and comfortable,  of the unfree and wretched of the earth: it was these self-deceiving, would-be lovers of mankind, the Ted and Marjorie Winsomes, the affluent children who squatted in the communes and protested against freedom calling it “repressive tolerance”, and those they elected, who were caught in the trap of their own lies, and brought an end to liberty in the name of liberation; an end to plenty in the name of humanitarianism; and an end to the impersonality of the law before which all were  equal, and the impersonality of the market in which all were equal, and created legal discrimination and class elitism, in the name of equality.

L: A Novel History

 

Jillian Becker   October 12, 2021

 

Posted under communism, Totalitarianism by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, October 12, 2021

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The cold civil war 388

What has happened?

What can be done?

We quote parts of a column by Thomas D. Klingenstein at American Greatness in which he describes what has happened as cold civil war, and looks for signs that our side might win.

We find ourselves in a cold civil war. But we have no real generals. A war without generals is no war at all. There is no liberty or death, only death, the death of our once cherished republic. …

This is a war not over the size of government or taxes, but over the American way of life. The war is between those who salute the flag, and those who take a knee. Those who believe that America is built on freedom, and those who believe America is built on racism. Those who are convinced that America is good, and those who are convinced America is bad. These differences are too large to bridge. This is what makes it a war. In this case, a cold civil war.

Winning a war requires two fundamental understandings. First, you must understand that you are, in fact, in a war. Wartime requires very different rhetoric, strategy, and people than peacetime. Trump is a wartime leader. Second, you must understand your enemy, what it wants and how it goes about getting what it wants. What our enemy wants is the destruction of the American way of life. It goes about it by trying to force everyone to say, “America is systemically racist.” If it can convince us of this falsehood, it will be well on its way to overturning the American way of life.

Every time Joe Biden accuses America of being systemically racist, he is, though he doesn’t know it, calling for the overthrow of the American way of life. In a war, you must play to win. But you cannot win against an enemy that has no name, or has many names—identity politics, multiculturalism, anti-racism, wokeism, and more. My entry for a name is Woke Communism, Woke Comm for short. Whatever the name, I think it should communicate totalitarianism because this is what the enemy seeks to impose.

In a traditional totalitarian regime, the government uses arbitrary violence to control every aspect of public and private life, all the way down to Little League. In America, the government does not control everything, but today, through the power of the purse and the courts, the government influences a lot. And where the government leaves off, the cultural business complex takes over.

Education, corporate media, entertainment, big business, and especially Big Tech, are to varying degrees aligned with the Democratic Party, which is now controlled by the Woke Comms. These institutions together with the government function as a totalitarian regime, crafting narratives that advance their agenda and suppressing those that do not. Instead of violence, there is canceling.

This may not look like a totalitarian regime, but it acts like one.

Last summer’s riots are a case in point. Woke Comm agitators sparked the flame that lit the riots. Their intellectual leaders justified the riots, their corporate donors gave billions to the Black Lives Matter network, their media looked the other way, and their politicians—from Joe Biden on down—fanned the flames.

What is Woke Communism? Like any regime, Woke Communism is built on a particular understanding of justice. For the Woke Coms justice is outcome equality. That is, the proportional representation of all identity groups in all aspects of American life. So for example, the Woke Communists believe that blacks, who count for about 13 percent of the population, should have 13 percent of the nation’s chief executive officers, prisoners, heart attacks, wealth, top test scores, homes, corporate board seats, school suspensions, and everything else you can think of. Equal everything is what Woke Comms call social justice. Any disparities, say the Woke Coms, are due to racism and nothing else.

If, as the Woke Communists contend, racism has insinuated itself into every nook and cranny of the American way of life, then quite obviously, it is necessary to throw out that way of life. This is why there simply can be no peace between Woke Communism and America. In a free society like America there will always be group outcome differences, particularly between men and women. Eliminating such group outcome differences, as the Woke Coms aim to do, can only be achieved at the expense of freedom.

In totalitarian regimes, there can be no institutions of moral authority that compete with the state. Of course, the institution that the Woke Comms [as the state] must completely control is education. The Woke Comms must no longer teach our children about an America striving, however imperfectly, towards its noble ideals. Instead, they must teach about an America conceived in oppression and dedicated to racism. In short, Woke Communism will replace American justice with social justice, and destroy law and order, the rule of law, and both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Successful implementation of the Woke Communist agenda, above all, requires convincing American citizens of a series of lies. The first and most important lie, as I have said, is “America is racist”. That is the big lie. We hear it from every direction from morning to night, but endless repetition does not make it true. It isn’t true. The corollary to the big lie is another lie. America is about to be overrun by white supremacists. This is pure nonsense.

What the Woke Coms mean in perpetuating this lie is to suggest that anyone unwilling to kneel before Black Lives Matter is a white supremacist.

“Police target blacks.”  That is another lie. Blacks commit 50 percent of the violent crimes in America. Should we be surprised that the blacks account for about 25 percent of those killed by the police. Before we start talking about defunding the police, perhaps we should face the facts.

“Trump endorsed white culture.” This is a lie. Trump endorsed not white culture but American culture, which is open to anyone, of any color, willing to embrace it….

We are told that moderate Joe Biden is in charge. Biden is neither moderate nor in charge.

“Black Lives Matter care about black lives or righting past injustices.” These are among the biggest whoppers. But we should pay attention to BLM because, as we learned during the riots, BLM represents the leading edge of the Democratic Party. Any doubt about the prominence of BLM should have been dispelled by the Biden-Harris Administration encouraging American embassies to fly the BLM flag. Think about that. Our embassies, beacons of American freedom, are flying the flag of an organization committed to the destruction of American freedom.

“January 6 was an insurrection.” Every bit a lie. …

“Election fraud is baseless.” This is a lie repeated with such determination that it is forbidden to question it. But the fact is, there is enough evidence of fraud to warrant investigations and now enough obstruction of investigations to warrant further suspicion.

The Woke Coms also lie with language. Racism, they call “equity.” Anti-white, they call “diversity.” The 20th century is piled high with corpses from regimes that falsified language in just this way. 

In totalitarian regimes, it is necessary to silence those who challenge the lies. We see this with increasing regularity. American citizens getting canceled, fired, denied access to social media, even deprived of banking services. Woke corporations punish states that don’t comply with the woke agenda. Information unsanctioned by the regime is becoming increasingly difficult to find. Opinions that contradict Dr. Anthony Fauci, praise the police, or question sex changes or election integrity… don’t get past the tech censors.

More terrifying still, we’re getting used to censorship. Censorship has become a fact of life.

But there is much more than censorship. The rule of law is breaking down. Rioting is sanctioned. Immigration and other laws go unenforced. The Woke Coms said to the Derrick Chauvin jury, convict Chauvin of murder or we will give you a riot the likes of which you have never seen. This is mob rule.

We are no longer a nation of laws.

Top scientists and airline pilots are now being hired based on skin color and gender.

Same with the United States military, which says it is looking not for warriors, but for women with two moms. Other than the Woke Communists, how many of our young men and women will be prepared to die for a country that puts diversity over life? Such a country has a death wish.

China is licking its chops, watching us commit suicide. Statues which help define and inspire us are being toppled. The Statue of Liberty is safe for the moment because the Woke Coms believe it stands for open immigration. But one day, the Woke Coms will discover that immigrants come to America not to be members of their ethnic group, but to be free individuals. When that day comes, Lady Liberty could find herself at the bottom of New York Harbor.

The election of 2020 was stolen. Leave aside fraud, last minute unconstitutional changes to election laws, bogus investigations, even the pandemic. Trump could have survived all these. But what he could not survive was four years of unrelenting, deliberately dishonest media slander. When the media takes pride in bringing down and silencing a sitting president, brace yourself for a long fall.

How should Republicans respond? What should we do about all this? The essential thing, as I’ve tried to stress, is for Republicans to understand we are in a war and then act accordingly. War is not a time for too much civility, compromise, or for imputing good motives to the enemy. Our generals must fight as if the choice were between liberty and death. This is no time for sunshine patriots.

We agree with all that, but ask –

Fight how? Tell us how, Mr. Klingenstein.

He ends with this:

I am not without hope. There are many pockets of resistance bubbling up around the country. Parents are pushing back against “America is racist” curricula. Even San Francisco had a rare moment of sanity when it decided not to remove Abraham Lincoln’s name from a high school. The manly “don’t tread on me” ethos remains part of the American spirit. Many Americans still salute our flag, honor our military dead, and ask God to bless America.

Such citizens are part of the huge army that Trump has mobilized. This army is raring to go, but it needs direction.

If Republican leaders start speaking the truth, loudly and passionately, the army will follow.

Perhaps one of the people who voted to keep Lincoln’s name on that San Francisco High School remembered that Lincoln, at age 30, unknown beyond Central Illinois, wrote about an aspirational fantasy, which was, I suspect, inspired by his heroes, George Washington and Henry Clay. If ever I feel worthy, Lincoln once said,

It is when I contemplate the cause of my country deserted by all the world . . . and I standing up boldly and alone, . . . hurling defiance at [our] victorious oppressors. Here, without contemplating consequences, . . . I swear eternal fidelity to the just cause . . . of the land of my life, my Liberty, and my love. . . . But if after all, we shall fail, be it so. We still shall have the proud consolation of saying to our consciences, . . . we never faltered.

We are, I think, in a perilous moment such as the one Lincoln imagines. It is time for our leaders, without contemplating consequences, to swear eternal fidelity to the just cause of the land of our liberty, and our love, the land which remains the last best hope of Earth. If after all, we shall fail, be it so. We shall have the proud consolation of saying that in defending America, we never faltered.

Those feeble Republican leaders need only to shout “the truth”? Resistance is “bubbling up”? Some parents are “pushing back” against racist indoctrination? Some citizens are asking “God” to “bless America”?  If we fail we can take pride in not faltering?

These are the remnants we can shore against our ruin?

Better look to Trump to be the general we need. To direct us – the army he mobilized.

If anyone can help us win this war, he can. That’s why the totalitarians fear and hate him.

Tyrannosoros 294

… and the thinker whose reputation it befouls.

1.The Monster

George Soros is a real-world supervillain and he is able to direct the law, constitutional and political culture of entire nations using his money and his vision of what society ought to look like. He is able to get away with it thanks to general ignorance of just how effective he is and a coordinated effort by the media to smear anyone who calls him out as a dangerous fanatic.

George Soros is a dangerous fanatic.

He is gunning for you, your property, your children, and ultimately your way of life.

So Sam Jacobs explains at Ammo.com.

George Soros is bankrolling and influencing public policy and opinion from the local level all the way up to the national level. Entire nations have been made to bow to the Soros agenda, but perhaps more importantly for us, key local officials in government are increasingly wholly owned subsidiaries of the Soros machine.

He distributes money to subvert governments and institutions mainly through The Open Society Foundations, an umbrella organization with many subsidiaries.

He spreads his destructive ideology through a “think-tank” called New America. 

Ever wonder why urban terrorists can burn down cities with no consequences but the McCloskeys are prosecuted for defending their home against the same? The answer is George Soros, his money, and his influence.

How does Soros go about his subversive work, his treasonous work in America?

We partly quote, partly summarize the article by Jacobs:

The Soros operation aims to abolish the police. It has invested $1.5 million in the “Community Resource Hub for Safety & Responsibility”, one of these blandly named organizations working to undo the American way of life.

Soros funded urban unrest in Ferguson in 2014.

He spent $33 million fomenting chaos in the formerly safe suburb of St. Louis, and another $33 million on Black Lives Matter (BLM) alone.

BLM is a communist racist organization.

And he has been quietly funding a campaign to place district attorneys amenable to his agenda across the United States.

As of September 2020, there were 31 Soros-backed DAs in the United States. That might not sound like a lot, but it includes the DAs of Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, and St. Louis. All told, tens of millions of Americans are now victims of the Soros racket in the form of their local top prosecutor.

Some examples of the Soros machine at work in America’s DA offices include:

    • After the last round of rioting, looting, and arson in St. Louis, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner dismissed charges against all 36 people arrested. She’s on the take from Soros for $307,000. This is also the prosecutor who filed charges against the McCloskeys.
    • Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon got over $2 million from the Soros operation, he ended cash bail and is no longer prosecuting the crimes of trespassing, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, prostitution, or driving without a license.
    • Kim Foxx is the Illinois State’s Attorney and has received $807,000 from Soros. She also declined to prosecute rioters, saying “The question it comes down to is, is it a good use of our time and resources? No, it’s not.” Foxx likewise declined to prosecute hate crime hoaxer, Jussie Smollett.
    • Philly District Attorney Larry Krasner has received $1.7 million from Soros. He won’t be prosecuting rioters, looters, and arsonists. Krasner was very open about the ideology driving his permitting chaos in the city: “Prosecution alone will achieve nothing close to justice—not when power imbalances and lack of accountability make it possible for government actors including police or prosecutors to regularly take life or liberty unjustly and face no criminal or career penalty.”
    • Krasner is worth calling out for special attention because he filed 75 cases against the police and has represented both Occupy Philadelphia and Black Lives Matter. At his victory party, supporters chanted, “F*** the police! F*** the police!” He generally declines to call himself a prosecutor, instead labelling himself a “public defender with power”.
    • The results in Philadelphia are stunning as charges are dropped in 60 percent of all shooting cases – though we suspect your odds of being a conservative self-defense case and having your charges waived are rather slim. Shootings in Philadelphia were up 57 percent year after year from 2019 to 2020.
    • San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who’s working off $620,000 in Soros money, proclaims, “The criminal justice system isn’t just massive and brutal, it’s also racist.” He doesn’t prosecute crimes such as solicitation, public camping, or public urination. Homicide rates, burglary cases, motor vehicle theft, and arson rates have all hugely increased. He was formerly an advisor to Hugo Chavez and his parents were members of the Weather Underground, a far-left terrorist organization. [They murdered police officers – see here and note the 1981 killings.] Chesa Boudin’s victory party included obscene anti-police chants.
    • DA Mike Schmidt of Portland, who has received $230,000 in Soros money, also declined to prosecute rioters who burned the city for months and besieged a federal building. He openly sympathized with the rioters.
  • The Open Society Foundations announced a plan to spend $220 million on “efforts to achieve racial equality in America”. What Soros deems “racial equality” might more accurately be called “racial revenge”.

Which is what the Left means by the term “racial equity”.

Soros has caused political upheaval in many other countries.

He has spent and continues to spend multi millions on trying to bring about Leftist revolutions that would turn existing open societies into closed societies. He promotes Marxism, communism, socialism. As a youth he helped the Nazis round up Jews to be mass murdered – although he is Jewish himself, and dares to complain that any criticism of him is “anti-Semitic”! And he is trying to destroy Israel.

Some of the revolutions he has promoted have succeeded not so much in overthrowing an existing government but in forcing it to accept radical concessions that dramatically remake the political culture in the country. Revolutions which were effectively regime change were those in the Republic of Georgia (twice), Ukraine, the Arab World, and Belarus.

There are some common themes to all these revolutions. A disputed election where there is widespread cheating generally kicks things off. There are then street rallies where violent operatives – actually terrorists using human shields – hide in crowds of otherwise peaceful protesters. The government then responds and there is outcry from [Soros funded] “humanitarian” organizations.

The playbook should look familiar to Americans after the summer riots of 2019 and 2020, and in the aftermath of the 2020 elections.

All of which is true and appalling.

2.The Great Thinker

But Jacobs goes on to say this:

So what is an “Open Society?” Well it’s based on a phrase used by Karl Popper, a somewhat obscure 20th Century thinker known best for his “paradox of tolerance” which essentially says that liberals should stop tolerating diversity of opinion when it begins to threaten liberalism.

NO, that is not what Karl Popper’s “paradox of tolerance” means. What it does mean is that tolerance cannot tolerate intolerance.

Jacobs continues to misunderstand and mislead:

There are some key takeaways about what an open society actually is. First, the open society is an atomized society. People are to be seen not as part of any kind of social organism, but rather as radically separate individuals. The individual is not an essential building block of society, it is the end to itself. Social norms and traditions are seen as necessarily oppressive.

That is not what Karl Popper meant by an open society. Certainly he asserted that each individual is an end in himself but not “radically separate” from others; and nowhere does he say or imply that “social norms and traditions are oppressive”.  He was a conservative, and the observing of norms and the keeping of traditions are what conservatism is all about.

Karl Popper is an extremely illustrious and famous (not”somewhat obscure”) political philosopher and philosopher of science. One thing he is famous for is his “fallibility test” of scientific theory. It distinguishes real scientific theory from pseudo-scientific theory. In the case of a real scientific theory, something could happen, something could be discovered, that would show it to be wrong. (Scientists test their theories by trying to disprove them.) But nothing could ever happen, or be imagined, that would disprove to believers the dogmatic contentions of (eg.) Freud, or Marx, or the propounders of catastrophic man-made global warming.  

It is as a political philosopher that Karl Popper is invoked in this context. His two-volume work titled The Open Society and its Enemies is a monumental defense of freedom.

An open society is one in which there are no government-imposed barriers to individual achievement. In an open society, government has limited powers and is the servant of the people; the members of an open society make personal decisions for themselves. A closed society is a collectivist society; all lives are regulated by government.

Popper critically examines the ideologies of closed societies from ancient Greece to the present, mainly those of Plato and Marx, and explains lucidly what is wrong with them. Collectivist ideologies  of our time are called Marxism, communism, socialism, national socialism (Nazism), international socialism (such as Trotskyism), New Leftism, or  – the most recently preferred “ism” on the Left –  “wokeism” (a term that became common after Popper died in 1994). All of them are tyrannies and all of them could also accurately be called Sorosisms.

Jacobs seems to be trying to find fault with Popper’s political vision as part of his criticism of Soros, finding Soros’s inspiration where it cannot possibly be found. It is unmistakably obvious that Soros uses the phrase “open society” cynically, sarcastically, as if it is his aim, while he tirelessly promotes the creation of closed societies, collectivist regimes, wherever he possibly can.

The Open Society and its Enemies is one of the essential political books of our culture. 

For more about George Soros, including lists of the many organizations he funds, see the entry on him in that excellent resource, Discover the Networks.

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