The sickness unto death 3

The fatal sickness, a pandemic in this age, is not Covid, though Covid may be a symptom of it. Definite symptoms are “Marxism, “progressivism”, climate alarmism, and – most fashionably – “wokeism”.

What is it?

The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard called it despair in his book The Sickness Unto Death.*

We think he is right about that.

Despair is the giving up of all hope: the total loss of reasons to go on existing.

Is collective despair possible? Global collective despair?

Has a time come when the human race is willing to destroy itself because it can see no reason to continue to exist? 

Out of innumerable examples of published statements calling for the end of the human species, we select three:

Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental. … The optimum human population of earth is zero.– Dave Foreman, founder of Earth First

The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but a good thing….This is not to say that the rise of human civilization is insignificant, but there is no way of showing that it will be much help to the world in the long run. – From an editorial in The Economist

We should not have children.  – From Better Never To Have Been by David Benatar

In fairness to Benatar it needs to be said that his ardent advocacy for human extinction arises not from disgust with human beings as in the case of the other would-be terminators, but from the sincerest pity for their inevitable suffering. Still –  and therefore – in his opinion, go they should.

A group of Jewish Marxists known  as the “Frankfurt School”, doubly infected with intellectual despair by European nihilism and self-hatred, fled from the killer dictator of Germany and brought their own killing misanthropy to America.

In the fetor of their hubris

It was borne across the sea

With a cruelty in their bosoms

That’s destroying you and me.

They were haters of civilization, and what they advocated is destructive of it to such an extent that human survival would be unlikely. Examples by quotation from the (arguably) most extreme of them – Herbert Marcuse – may be found here.

Their philosophy, reinforced by their intellectual epigones, now dominates the universities and public education in America and emanates from there.

It is the only true human pollution of the planet.

It informs the agenda of the Democratic Party, and so of the “Biden” administration and the majority of both houses of Congress.

Out of a fair number of articles whose authors notice the anti-human tenor of contemporary nihilistic Leftism and condemn it, here are three, all found recently at American Greatness:

No society that has stopped believing in its right to exist and the majesty of its laws can deter lawlessness. – Christopher Roach

Statements calling for human extermination come easily to the woke Left’s lips  Paul Gottfried

Best of all:

Few have described wokeism as the cruel creed that it is. Wokeism’s natural logic is to destroy the lives of people of both genders, of all races, and—if need be—those of every age, all to leverage an otherwise unworkable ideological agenda. It is nihilist and destroys everything it touches.Victor Davis Hanson

Nihilism is the philosophy of despair.

Is there a case to be made for the continuation of our species?

What is the value of human life?

We say it is impossible to measure, because human life is itself the only measure of value. No human life, no human consciousness – no such thing as value.

 

Footnote:

* Kierkegaard, though an ironist, considered himself a Christian, sole member of his own singular denomination, so he prescribes an esoteric remedy unavailable to anyone else.

Struggling with a culture called Islam 2

On September 1, George Will wrote that it was time to stop the war in Afghanistan. Broadly speaking, we agree with him – we have said that the war is pointless. (See A pointless war, August 20, 2009.) To us the most interesting part of the article was this:

The Economist describes Hamid Karzai’s government – – his vice-presidential running mate is a drug trafficker – – as “so inept, corrupt and predatory” that people sometimes yearn for restoration of the warlords, “who were less venal and less brutal than Mr Karzai’s government”.

We don’t trust the Economist, and the statement that people (who exactly? How does the reporter know?) yearn for the restoration of the warlords (did they ever go?) is prima facie unlikely. But that the Karzai government is corrupt, venal and brutal we fully believe. Also that his running-mate is a drug-trafficker. How many rich and influential Afghans are not well-connected to the opium industry, we wonder. And isn’t it like wondering how many rich and influential Saudis are not well-connected to the oil industry?

George Will’s article has been much discussed in the blogosphere. By far the best discussion of it, and of the Afghan war in general – the one with which we are in closest agreement – is by Diana West in Townhall:

Finally, some debate over U.S. war policy in Afghanistan. Or at least debate over George F. Will’s call to pull the plug on U.S. war policy in Afghanistan, headlined “Time to Get Out of Afghanistan.”

The negative response from conservatives was revealing. It showed that after eight years of America’s post-9/11 war efforts, which started out as President Bush’s vaguely named “war on terror” and never crystallized into a cogent strategy against the jihad driving the “terror,” ambiguity and confusion still cloud the prevailing thinking, from the conventional wisdom to war strategy.

Most conservative rebuttals ignored Will’s reckoning of just how grossly ill-suited Afghanistan is to the hallucinogenic U.S. policy of constructing a modern society out of dust as our military worms affection from a hostile population. Instead, they focused on the concept of leaving Afghanistan — a move I, too, have advocated since April in my column and at my blog as a necessary precondition to better repulsing global jihad. Such an effort is, or should be, a multi-level campaign to reverse jihad’s ultimate goal, which is to extend Islamic law by both violent and other means. In this larger context, Afghanistan is not only just one front, it is also a front too far.

Most of my conservative colleagues, however, see withdrawal from Afghanistan as surrender.

This assumption, based in the fallacy that U.S. forces are simply fighting an army called “the Taliban,” rather than struggling with a culture called Islam shared by enemy and civilian alike, makes sense only if withdrawing from Afghanistan means ending our efforts against global jihad. The point of withdrawal is not to stop destroying America’s active enemies in Afghanistan or elsewhere … The point of withdrawal is to stop trying to create an American ally out of Sharia-supreme Afghanistan, something we attempted at great expense in Sharia-supreme Iraq, and failed.

Of course, what animates and drives most conservatives today is their vision of Iraq as a “success,” and their desire to repeat that “success” in Afghanistan. What has become increasingly clear to me, however, is that an infidel nation cannot fight for the soul of an Islamic nation. This, in effect, is what our “nation-building” troops have been ordered to do both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let me rephrase: An infidel nation can indeed fight for the soul of an Islamic nation. It just can’t win it.

It also turns out there is nothing there for infidels to win. After six U.S.-intensive years, Iraq remains just another OPEC-participating, Israel-boycotting, Hezbollah-sympathetic, Sharia-supreme, anti-U.S. entity with new and improved ties to Iran. Why? Our belief systems, Islam’s and the West’s, are so diametrically opposed that our interests cannot intersect. Left and Right in this country, however, scrub this truth and its centuries of confirming history from all policy — an antiseptic way to view conflict in the world that will always miss the cure by ignoring the germs.

On this count, Will’s column is no different, never once contemplating Islam. Which is why his conclusion may be a little fuzzy. Describing his “offshore” alternatives to basing a massive army inside Afghanistan, Will identifies the key mission as “concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.”

I’m not sure what Will means by calling Pakistan “a nation that actually matters.” Certainly, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal “matters” because it could hurt us, and thus our national security demands an execution-ready plan to neutralize it. But Pakistan, a jihad-based culture, doesn’t “matter” in terms of fitting into an anti-jihad alliance — the ultimate goal, whether admitted or not, of efforts to work together. It can’t. Quick facts: Pakistan’s army’s motto is “Faith, piety and holy war in the path of Allah.” Seventy-eight percent of its people, the latest Pew Poll tells us, support the death penalty for leaving Islam. Not exactly our ideal match.

But we keep such politically incorrect facts out of focus. Then we struggle to see why things go wrong. More clarity is required. More debate is essential. Eight years after 9/11, this means finally reckoning with Islam — discussing jihad, analyzing Sharia, understanding dhimmitude — as a strategic factor in U.S. policy.

One thing we can be sure of: such a ‘reckoning with Islam’ will not happen on President Obama’s watch. He likes Islam.