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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Countering Kant

Often erroneously classified as part of the Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) in his mindset is entirely collectivist and subjectivist: in his Second Preface of the first Critique he writes that he found it ...

"necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith," ...

hardly the words of a scientific thinker. Needless to say that his subsequent philosophical findings supported subjectivism. Kant was an austere Lutheran Pietist and a great admirer of Rousseau. The individual to him represented little more than a miserable sinner in need of a strong master, only good as canon-fodder to teach him some morals.

Kant foresees in a teleological progress towards an end-game by means of strive, war and discord. This brings man as a species to a more ethically evolved order. The process will ultimately culminate in a world government, an international and cosmopolitan federation of states, awaiting the coming of the Day of Judgment. This is the Hidden Plan of Nature according to Kant.

The Enlighteners working towards the separation of Church and State, the philosophers based on Rousseau, Kant and Hegel - even the atheists - confusing 'is' with 'ought', reverted to recreating 'paradises' on earth.

The tenets of the Enlightenment were abandoned by the Counter-Enlighteners and replaced by philosophical principles reflecting the faith: realism made way for idea-lism, and individualism for collectivism; intuition and revelation were adopted as sources of knowledge rather than reason and experience, social theories replaced liberal capitalist theory.

Today's postmoderns are adept followers of Rousseau, Kant and Hegel, faithfully subscribing to their most irrational claims. The mind versus body dualism, reflecting the macro and microcosm, tends to identify the mind with the soul, giving rise to visualizing the mind as non-physical pure substance, distinct from the physical organs and brain. Rather then thinking of them as tools to knowledge, this leads us to view the senses and the brain as obstacles, standing in the way between the mind and reality.

Moreover, some sensorial imperfections (colour blindness, for example) in some people, induced Kant to declare the senses unsound tools to knowledge overall. To clarify the Kantian position on the separation of the mind from reality, Objectivist philosopher Stephen Hicks makes a feminist analogy: to support Kant is to state that women are absolutely autonomous and free to do as they please, as long as it is within the confines of the kitchen; Kant imprisons the mind in the skull and isolates it from the real world.

It is ironic that the Counter-Enlighteners, who sought to prevent the godless, spiritless and amoral future that would be the result of reason and individualism, have brought about precisely that by Kant's subjectivism and his imprisonment of the mind. Hicks: "Once reason is in principle severed from reality, one enters a different philosophical universe altogether."

Kant also held that reality conforms to reason, not vice versa. This marks the infamous shift from objectivity to subjectivity, the basis of the postmodern egocentricist pathology of the Master of the Universe syndrom (each individual creates his own personal version of reality: If I die overnight, will the sun still rise tomorrow?).

Anthony Rizzi in "Science before Science: a Guide to Thinking in the 21st Century" laments Kant's now codified idea-lism ..."

... the default declared position in academia and in nearly all other environments. Kant's success is partly explained by his tying his philosphical system to Newtonian physics [... which he wanted to] have a certainty that it did not have. However, Kant thought that one could not know the thing itself (...) Kant and Kantians múst say, "Kant doesn't know anything about anything." Such is always the end of the matter when one forgets that all knowledge in man comes through the senses. We non-Kantians can be simultaneously more accurate and kinder; we can say, "The foundational principles of Kant's philosophical system were wrong, but still he knew a lot of other things."
This enthusiasm is at once tempered by a footnote:

"Many attribute to Kant a developed skill in physics. Physisist and renowned philosopher and historian of science, Fr. Stanley Jaki has shown that Kant's knowledge and ability in physics was minimal (though Kant considered himself another Newton) (...) the book [Universal Natural History] is a storehouse of inaccuracies, contradictions and amateurism and plain fancy."

What else is new in subjectivism?

- Filed on Articles in "The Dystopia of Paradise", cat. Postmodernism -

Monday, February 18, 2008

What is never said...

Here's what you can hear these days, six years after September 11: "The US President, through his war in Iraq against Islamic totalitarianism, radicalized the Muslim world and weakened the Western world. Incidentally, France predicted that." Nice.

But then, how come that Jacques Chirac has already fallen into oblivion? It's not him but Tony Blair, who left power not long after him, who has been appointed as mediator in the Near-East. Maybe our leaders believe that "George Bush's poodle" knows it better, right?

The angelic view says that terrorism is the expression of poverty and humiliation. This cliché forgets about the jihad fought against Western world and its way of life, in the name of a conquest and submission ideology. Some months ago, Osama Bin Laden invited Americans to join Islam while Al-Qaida attacked twice disobedient Algeria. Hatred leads Muslims into murdering other Muslims ...

But this time, victims were reacting. Algerians demonstrated in the streets, saying clearly "No to violence." On the same day in Gaza, a general strike took place to protest against the violent politics of Hamas. In Iraq, a poll showed that citizen consider Al Qaida to be the main cause of violence (21%), before USA (19%) and Iran (11%)

Nazislamism, fought by Bush and Blair, is beginning to be rejected by Muslims who feel dishonored by its barbary. In the al-Anbar province (Iraq) Sunnite militia are now collaborating with Americans. In Iran, Ahmadinejad is considered a disgrace for part of the population. In Morocco, even the so called "moderate islamists" didn't do good in the last election.

One wonders if it would be the case if pacifist France had been followed, France which advocated status-quo in Iraq and didn't want to hear about a war against terrorism? USA's strategy can't be summed up in the chaos that medias love to describe. Pointing his finger at the enemy, Bush has been awakening the Free World's vigilance. THAT'S WHAT IS NEVER SAID.

Some kind of contempt towards Arab-Muslim world leads to think that it can only understand the voice of tyranny. In essence, it's the argument of the Leftist intelligentsia who condemn Bush for willing to free Iraq of its pseudo-secular dictatorship. When hearing them, you get the feeling that Saddam Hussein should have been left free to terrorize its people.

Actually, even if Americans blew up Iraq's occupation with their unpreparedness and certitude, they nonetheless clarified the stake, showing that the cultures clash is between submission and freedom rather than between Arabs and Westerners.

Yes, it was naive to think that democracy would prevail in Baghdad and then spread in the neighbouring countries. But it's still reachable and many Iraqis hope to consolidate it. "We are building the bases of a new democracy" explains Hohyar Zebari, Foreign Affairs Minister. Still, many so-called specialists go on incriminating USA and this position makes Bin Laden master of the game. This kind of "surrender" only satisfies islamists.

The free world can't afford to give a hand to its enemies. Now, radical Islam takes advantage of this confusion to try and establish itself in Europe. In Germany, two converts were on the verge of committing suicide attacks. The Jewish community in this country must be concerned with the rise of this new antisemitism initiated by hatred preachers.

Not long ago in the Netherlands, ex-Muslims decided to denounce politic Islam. "We are breaking the taboo coming with abjuration of Islam, but we also take the party of reason, rights and universal values as well as secularism" they wrote in their "European declaration for tolerance." In France also, many secular Muslims have adapted to the rules and way of life of Western society. We must support these democrats.

These days as we see Belgium tearing apart between Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia reminds us how fragile a nation is when it's no more welded by a shared identity. In the heart of Europe, this country could well explode because two communities, however born of the same Christian culture, don't feel interdependent anymore.

That's why a country like France must consolidate the national feeling which is essential to its unity, while immigration upsets its demography. The greater Paris (Ile-de-France) accounts for 19% of French population and contributes for 43% of the population's growing, just because of the fecundity of African or North African immigration. Will France always be able to inspire this overly Muslim population with its Western values? It's only possible through fighting the pressure of radical Islam.

(Based on an article by Ivan Rioufol, editor of "Le Figaro" and Senior Fellow at the Atlantis Institute)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Herr Hitler's Master of Ceremonies

Sir Winston S. Churchill in his Nobel Prize winning "Memoirs of the Second World War" touches briefly on one of the most colourful people of the interbellum. Without context or further identification - we'll fill that in later - he mentions meeting one Putzi Hanfstaengl during the summer of 1932 while on a research trip for the purposes of his book "Life of Marlborough".

"At the Regina Hotel a gentleman introduced himself (...) and spoke a great deal about "the Fueher", with whom he appeared to be intimate. As he seemed to be a talkative fellow, speaking excellent English, I asked him to dine. (...) After dinner he went to the piano and played and sang many tunes and songs in such a remarkable style (...) He was a great entertainer (...) He said I ought to meet him (the Fuehrer), and that nothing would be easier to arrange. Herr Hitler came every day to the hotel about five o'clock, and would be very glad to see me."

Churchill is giving an account of his considerations, in the process giving us a lesson in patriotism, chivalry and tolerance.

"I had no national prejudices against Hitler at the time. I knew little of his doctrine or record and nothing of his character. I admire men who stand up for their country in defeat, even though I am on the other side. He had a perfect right to be a patriotic German if he chose. I always wanted England, Germany and France to be friends."

Then Churchill happened to pass a few adverse remarks, questioning Herr Hitler's "so violent views about the Jews," and the arrangement was stopped short from the German side. "This was the last I saw of 'Putzi' (...) Thus Hitler lost the only chance of seeing me."

Putzi Hanfstaengl resurfaces in another literary master piece. The joy of one of the best books I have come across in years could easily have been spoiled by the politically correct activities of the Dutch publishers who, for reasons best known to themselves, are marketing the book to an audience of multicultis, describing the protagonist as pleading for 'the multicultural society' and 'diversity'. This is a ludicrous notion in the context of the interbellum. Perhaps such a philistine approach to marketing has occurred in other countries as well. The English language 2006 Random House Trade Edition I know for a fact to have escaped the addition of 'narrarives'.

"The Orientalist" by Tom Reiss is not a piece of cheap propaganda for activists to exploit for their own purposes. It is a thoroughly and uniquely researched work that accounts hitherto less known historical and personal facts. It is well written, and chronicles a fascinating and remarkable story, encompassing four empires, three continents, three religions, two revolutions and two world wars. I have already written about it on earlier occasions, in "History Class: of agit-prop, revolution and terror!".

An episode during the early period of the advancing Nazi party, touches the surreal and the absurd in a truly hilarious manner. Reiss describes Putzi - "little squirt" in Bavarian dialect - as Hitler's Harvard educated Press Secretary, creative cheerleader and organiser of Hitler's Flying Circus ...

... "the fastest political tour in history, using trains, planes and automobiles to shuttle the führer around the country (...) a three-engine Lufthansa D 2001 and three long, black Mercedes saloons (...) raced together across Germany, with Hitler in the lead car, the top down, a leather flight helmet keeping his hair in place. (...) Hitler thrived on the crazy hours and the speed of it all. It was a political blitzkrieg. But the real show was in the air, when the candidate would descend on German cities (...). The sympathetic German papers took to calling these the Freedom Flights, and they contributed mightily to the growing myth of Hitler as Germany's 'dashing' savior - its redeeming angel from the skies, descending on all parts if the fatherland. (...)."

Churchill must have caught Hanfstaegnl in 1932 during one of the Flying Circus' political road tours. Unbeknownst to Churchill the entertainer's full name was Ernst Sedgwick Hanfstaengl, "mother a Sedgwick from the old New England family. (Two of his grandfathers had been Civil War generals; one of them, a German immigrant 48er, was a pallbearer at Abraham Lincoln's funeral.) (...) His father was one of the most prominent men in Munich in the late nineteenth century, and the Hanfstaengls had visitors such as Mark Twain, Richard Strauss, and Fridtjof Nanson, the famous arctic explorer and passport inventor, to their lavish villa. How on earth had this white-shoe boy gotten involved with a bunch of lower class, anti-Semite beer-hall politicians?"

"Putzi was the Nazi movement's only Harvard man. Though a figure of fun among the hard-core Nazis - Putzi played 'Sam' to Hitler's Bogart, entertaining him at the end of the day with his piano playing - he was instrumental in making Nazism salonfähig (...) Hitler used Hanfstaengl's affable nature and white-shoe pedigree to forge many of his important links to German and American rich people (...) Putzi was the connection to old American, British and German families."

In 1922 Putzi talks to a young American military attaché in Germany, Captain Truman-Smith, because "all the revolutionary nonsense down in Bavaria had the embassy concerned". "Putzi wrote in his 1957 memoir 'Unheard Witness' how Truman-Smith provides him with a Press ticket to a meeting with "the most remarkable fellow I've ever come across", Adolf Hitler. Truman-Smith requests him to have a look and report back. He heard Hitler speak at the Kindlkeller about Kemal Ataturk and the example of Mussolini, and ... joined the movement.

"An inventive cheerleader for the Harvard football team, Putzi transferred that position to Hitler's Nazi entourage. (...) According to Putzi's memoir, he and Hitler were together at the house of the Nazi's semiofficial photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, in Munich at the time:

I started playing some of the football marches I had picked up at Harvard. I explained to Hitler all the business about cheerleaders and marches, counter-marches and deliberate whipping up of hysterical enthusiasm. I told him about the thousands of spectators being made to roar Harvard, Harvard, Harvard, rah, rah, rah!" in unison and of the hypnotic effect of this sort of thing. I played him some of the Sousa marches and then my own Falarah [Putzi's contribution to the Harvard cheerleading repertoire], to show how it could be done by adapting German tunes, and gave them all that boyant beat so characteristic of American brass-band music. I had Hitler fairly shouting with enthusiasm. "That is it, Hanfstaengl, that is what we need for the movement, marvelous, and he pranced up and down the room like a drum majorette.
After that he had the SA band practicing the same thing. I even wrote a dozen marches or so myself over the course of the years, including the one that was played by the brown-shirt columns as they marched through the Brandenburger Tor on the day he took over power (...) that is the origin of it and I suppose I must take my share of the blame. "

That summer (of 1932) saw daily gun battles between Nazis and Communists on the streets of Berlin. Christopher Isherwood, living in Berlin at the time, thought there was something false and ritualistic about the street fighting, as though both parties were in it mainly for publicity purposes.

"(...) There was no doubt that both sides (...) had an interest in breaking down public order and scaring everyone away from the center parties (...) a second round of national elections proved the extremists' violence making strategies effective: both Nazis and Communists gained at the expense of moderate parties (...)."

After the elections of November 1932 "even the pretense of fighting between the Nazis and Communists was dropped. It was time to deliver the coup de grâce to the bourgeois center - the German democracy (...) Communists and Nazis stood arm in arm, one shouting 'Red Front,' the other 'Heil Hitler!" (...) rows of low-rent housing hung with alternating rows of fluttering swastika and hammer-and-sickle flags."

We forget the methods and purposes of terrorism and violence at our peril. Here's the news from Athens last weekend.

- More excerpts from "The Orientalist" by Tom Reiss on the history of the two Socialist movements in future postings.

- Filed on Articles in History Compiled, cat. Terrorism -

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Imperative of Self Defence

The Theory of Objectivism has an interesting take on violence and coercion, specifically in the context of distatorships. Force is meant to paralyze an opponent's mind, to numb the brain, stopping an opponent from thinking; it forces him to act against his better judgment, disabling him to judge, choose, and value thus rendering him morally impotent. It is an interesting idea worth pursuing, specifically in the light of Alexander Solzhenytsin's assertion that the lie is invariably accompanied by violence. Of course, how else would you enforce it?

Struggle and violence are never far off in consciousness first thought. The Hegel and Marxist dialectics are based on strive and struggle. The Marxist dialectic goes a step further and justifies violent agitation to bring about the revolution on the ashes of which the proletarian Utopia is to be built.

Furthermore, the objectives of consciousness first theories are separated from the mind, their values are divorced from reason. This implies that people can be coerced into conforming to it. From coercion to active violence and dictatorship, possibly justified by 'for the sake of the greater good', is but a step away. The frequent argument is that force is necessary, because man does not listen to reason; enforcers remain unmoved by the practicalities of their coercive actions, the consequences are subordinated to the noble goal that is all 'for our own sakes'.

As the Bolsheviks asserted, bourgeois squeamishness doesn't built Utopias - upon which the village headmaster was made an example of after volunteering to take the role of the 'local aristocrat' so that others might be spared. As one form of institutionalised terror invited another, Nazi Germany piled the corpses on the altars of Right-wing collectivist Socialism in order to avert Left-wing collectivist Socialism, after which the process repeated itself in reversed order.

Although they may not be aware of the philosophical mechanism as outlined above, for consciousness first admirors who truly abhor violence and coercion and seek to avoid it, radical pacifism might offer a way out. Regretably it lands them in another moral backwater: the denial of the right - indeed the duty - of self-defence and the impunity of evil.

Utopian pacifism posits that all violence is bad, no matter its intent or cause. Period. This is in effect an amoral statement. Pacifism is one of the ideologies that claims taking the moral high ground, but is in effect preempting impunity on a get-out-of-jail card, should the good intent lead to disaster.

Truth implies morality, which implies the existance of the good as well as the bad. This being the case, we have a duty to retaliate to protect the innocent. Those innocents were recently hang out to dry when Western politicians - unwilling to lump them with the terrorists, abdicated their moral choice and refused to condemn those who are overtly siding with the guilty. Consequently the radicals are allowed to get off on a free pass, while the innocents who are also combatting radicalism, are left in the lurche.

Passiveness and abdicating the choice for the innocent and the good in the face of evil is not a moral highground. It is excusing, appeasing, aiding and abetting evil. The moral inversion comes full circle as those who do take a stance against it, are demonised as fascists.

Nobody in his right mind doubts that fighting Nazi aggression was a good thing. Indeed I am thankful that the generation of my parents didn't look upon the Allies who liberated them as 'agressors' or 'occupiers'. The increased willingness to bargain with evil-doers to avoid war at all cost doesn't constitute man's finest hour, let alone a moral highground.

Sir Winston Churchill is his memoirs paints the pacifist wave passing through Europe after the Great War that allowed Hitler to re-arm Germany, flouting (check - what's touting?) the terms of the Versailles Armistice, by arming himself to the teeth. The British Parliament and the successive Governments stood by watching, calling for yet more unilateral disarmament. An anecdote elsewhere records that mayoresses called upon women to refuse to darn as much as a sock if it helped the war effort.

In 1937-38 British military expenditure of all kinds reached 234 million Pounds Sterling, in 1938-39 the figure was 304 million against Germany's 1500 million Pounds; in 1939-40 British figures topped 367 million. Churchill considers it probable that in 1939 - the last year before the outbreak of the war - Germany manufactured at least double, and possibly treble the amount of munitions, of Britain and France put together; also that Hitler's plans for tank production reached full capacity by that time. When the attack came Britain was "hideously unprepared for war". "All our vulnarable points were unprotected. Barely a hundred anti-aircraft guns could be found for the defence of the largest city and centre of population in the world, and these were largely in the hands of untrained men."

Reminiscent of today's logic, the Chamberlain call on Munich was seen as a policy by which "war had been averted". The Angelo-German Naval Agreement stipulated that the two peoples would never go to war with each other again. Hitler's "jumping at the idea" didn't cause any alarm bells to go off. Nor that he "signed the Agreement withour demur." "The passions which raged in Britain about the Munich Agreement" proved "Mr Chamberlain's overwhelming mastery of public opinion." On arrival back in London Chamberlain said: "This is the second time in history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time." Churchill of course famously replied"You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, and you will have war."

The pacifism and 'neutrality' of Holland and Belgium resulted in those countries being in no better shape than Britain. "Even with the recent overrunning of Norway and Denmark in their minds, the Dutch Ministers seemed unable to understand how the great German nation, which up to the night before (9th May 1940) had professed nothing but friendship, should suddenly have made this frightful and brutal onslaught."

"Earlier in the year I had, in a published interview, warned these neutral countries of the fate which was impending upon them (...) My words has been resented." Today Mr Churchill would have had the honour of being painted a 'hawk' in the newspaper headlines. The Dutch and Belgian claim to neutrality is perhaps the best example how abdicating a choice for the good in the case of two mutually exclusive moral choices, results a total loss to evil.

A passage in Churchill's memoirs is worth extensive quoting as it sums up what was successively accepted and squandered through amoral pacifism that held Europe in its grip:

"a Germany disarmed by solemn treaty; a Germany rearmed in violation of a solemn treaty; air superiority or even air parity cast away; the Rhineland forcibly occupied and the Siegfried Line built or building; the Berlin-Rome Axis established; Austria devoured and digested by the Reich; Czechoslovakia deserted and ruined by the Munich Pact, its fortress line in German hands, its mighty arsenal of Skoda henceforward making munitions for the German armies; President Roosevelt's effort to stabilize or bring to a head the European situation by the intervention of the United States waived aside with one hand, and Soviet Russia's undoubted willingness to join the Western Powers to go all lengths and save Czechoslovakia ignored on the other; the services of thrirty-five Czech divisions against the still unripened German Army cast away, when Great Britain could herself supply only two to strengthen the front in France; all gone with the wind."
He accounts of an incident which nevertheless was "proof of how powerful the combined influence of Britain and France would have been upon the mood and policy of the Dictators, if expressed with conviction and a readiness to use force." That such a policy would indeed have prevented war cannot be ascertained with hindsight. Churchill opines it might certainly have delayed it: "It is a fact that whereas 'appeasement' in all its forms only encouraged their aggression and gave Dictators more power with their own peoples, any sign of a positive counteroffensive by the Western Democracies immediately produced an abatement of tension."

Anyone who has ever stood up against school bullies would subscribe to this statement without abrogation. It is a fact bullies are testing their power against any countervailing strengths. It is therefore good policy to retaliate with overpowering force at the first opportunity.

- Filed on Articles in "The Dystopia of Paradise", cat. Postmodernism -

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Left's Default Position: Coercion (III), the Practice

Continued from part II: "The Left's Default Position: Coercion, the Philosophy"

In this series we investigate why ideologies rooted in subjectivism sooner or later use coercion. For the sake of avoiding repetition, in case you need further information, please refer back to part I and part II.

There are two ways of convincing someone who disgrees: by a process of reason such as a debate, or by some form of coercion - or is it? As we shall see, the chasm between the two schools on the nature of thought, is wide and cannot be overcome: objectivism and subjectivism are mutually exclusive. Debate doesn't work where subjectivists are involved, objectivists cannot be cajoled into taking some arbitrary position by coercion.

Let's have a look at the peaceful option: parley. This works fine among objectivists, but becomes useless when subjectivists are involved. It is impossible to debate a point with someone who is convinced that anything you say is just .... well, your personal opinion instead of fact. Ultimately - in the eyes of the subjectivist, who doesn't accept objective standards - the outcome of such 'conversations' is always one personal taste pitted against another. Hence the shouting matches, the ad hominems and all the other Postmodern 'debating techniques' that are also at the heart of the Alinsky tactics for radicals: intimidation.

Let's see if coercion works to convince those who cling to reason. The problem here is that minds can be silenced or destroyed, but they cannot be made to accept something against their better judgment. To the objectivist any position is morally interchangeable with any other, given his belief that there are no objective standards by which truth can be attained. The subjectivist reels in frustration with so much intransigence.

It is not possible to start and direct a thought process in rational people by force: A = A even under the most vile circumstances. Therefore dictators resort to immobilizing their subjects' minds by oppression and irrational Ukases, what in Soviet times was termed, "the truth of the day".

Leonard Peikoff in "The Ominous Parallels" makes the case that the Nazi death camps were actually controlled experiments in mass mind control: what do absurd situations, that bear no relation whatsoever with known reality, do to the human mind ... absurd, as in the surrealism of Vienna walzes accompanying people to the gas chambers?

Violence, alienation, drug abuse and alcoholism are all methods to halt rational thinking. Some drugs however, like cannabis and LSD enhance superior subjectivist 'thought.' Irrational minds however can solve the problem without such aides: by means of evasion they're able to rationalize whatever they are expected to 'believe'.

A recent example by the Dutch version of Bono illustrates the fallacy of subjectivism rather well: his solution for world peace would be to take away man's free will. As this happens to be the faculty for moral judgment, this particular solution speaks volumes of the tendency of immoral coercion inherent in subjectivist thought: any dictator would be proud of such a proposition.

Kant sought to preserve religion against the advances of reason by declaring the mind a useless tool for acquiring knowledge. The result is anti-reason, which sees force as a legitimate method to make renegades do their duty towards the collective. One can see how idealists can become ruthless capos, and how cultured peoples can end up producing the most toxic ideologies.

In Objectivism the initiation of force is evil, but self-defense is a moral obligation. Refraining from it would be tantamount to aiding and abetting evil. Retaliation is also warranted against an irrational enemy, which repudiates the Bush doctrine of preemptive strike. This is because these enemies themselves allow only such methods. This is not 'stooping to their level', but on the contrary eleminating it.

Subjectivists lack the philosophical tool that would lead to the conclusion, that the problem lies in what they perceive as the solution: statism. Therefore Leftists always believe they will perform better than the preceding lot, which leads to an endless succession of Socialists blaming so-and-so for the bankruptcies, but promising they will do Socialism better this time around. In reality, the ideology has been well tested and was found wanting every time, since the basis is not reality but make-belief, a racket from which no participant is exempted.

It is often said that the media are biased. This presumes the press actually have an objective starting point from which they deviate. This is a faulty diagnosis of the symptoms. They aren't biased: they are simply subjective. Thought creates reality: reality is whatever you want it to be: the projection of reality upon their minds. This is then filtered by the contents into the substance of subjective thought: emotions and percepts.

An popular imperative among subjective thinkers is not to pass moral judgment on others. But, as we have seen, since opponents cannot be debated through lack objective standards, this imperative is thrown to the wind as the opponent is deminized in the foulest possible matter. Hence it is possible today for Leftists to sincerely ask Sarah Palin fans how they can like this woman: take your pick, "she's a creationist, a Christian fundamentalist, she's against abortion, isn't she?"

Person and ideas have become merged into one inseparable caricature of reality. Neither a motivation nor a clarification is necessary: the primitivity of the school yard - fatso, four eyes! They fail to realize what dangerous ground they on. The next step is active persecution. It's no wonder they sound like Fascists! That is because they use the same philosophical tools: the talking points have reached the status of absolute dogma, while the method of implementation is pragmatism, an act of the will.

Examples of such positions are everywhere, but to mention just one for clarity: the finer points of this issue aside, Darwin's theory of evolution is true (dogma), because it is expedient to what we believe (pragmatism). All should embrace this belief because the alternative would be unthinkable. Once embraced by the gatekeepers as admissable, the same mechanism can be used on any other subject, an individual or a collective: "the bailout Bill was the only solution to the credit crisis", "Palin is a b*tch", "all Jews are parasites", no further questions or motivation required.

Related:

- "Blurring the Border between Reality and Perception" (series)
- "When Reason Fails" (series)

- Filed on Articles in "The Dystopia of Paradise" and "The Political Pathology Asylum" -

Of the Goodness of Nature and the Evil of Men

Ever since the father of the Counter-Enlightenment movement, Jean Jacques Rousseau declared for the Noble Savage there has been a marked preference for anything 'natural'. What comes to us 'naturally', and all what is given us by nature is considered good by default.

The Counter-Enlighteners have based entire ideologies upon the notion that nature is good, specifically after Charles Darwin elevated the law of the jungle to the Law of Natural Selection. This provided a justification for the annihilation of those who were considered weaker or degenerate - accused of slowing down the progress of the strong. It may not be entirely a coincidence that Communists who labelled dissidents parasites and degenerates, consider Darwin one of their own.

Anything that nature brings forth can ever be considered 'bad'. Far from being punishable by (prison) sentences, sexual transgressions ideally ought to be seen as a mere violation of man-made social conventions. This explains the nature worshipper's inexplicable tolerance towards sexually deviant behavior. Even rape victims and sexually exploited women and children are treated as second tier victims.

On the other hand, anything man-made - initially limited to culture and civilization - were marked as a departure from the 'natural' state and was thus condemned. Later on also the products of industry, science and technology became suspect, not to speak of man-fabricated matter itself, also known as 'chemicals'. This is strange, because the facts suggest otherwise.

After roaming the earth for some decades I can now declare beyond a doubt, that man - while knowing what's right and wrong and thus being a moral creature - has a talent for the worst. I can therefore officially join the ranks of Calvinists and paleo conservatives who, on theological grounds have always said so.

Man doesn't do the worst because he is bad.
Intentional evil is rare and in a class of its own, but it exists and we have to shield against it.

But he is lazy, preferring the easy way out rather than the best. Man moreover, loves shortcuts: getting something for nothing. So he demands love and respect so he can fool others in believing that he's earned it.

The love for short-cuts leads him to adopt ideologies based on philosophies that take the moral high ground on the cheap when it goes to intent. This serves the purpose of preempting impunity on a get-out-of-jail card should the good intent lead to disaster, as it frequently does. The earth is littered with the macabre products of the misguided do-good-bad-result-never-mind plague. So this is, as far as our nature and what comes to us naturally, is concerned.

What is given to us by nature is wonderful, but it's all raw: raw agricultural and horticultural produce, raw animals products for food and protective clothing, raw ores, raw wood for furniture construction, raw building materials for our homes, raw medicine available only in too small quantities to actually work. You name it, we got it, but we have to process it for it to become useful. Which is a good thing because our economies are based on it.

Nature gives us other things as well: predators, parasites, moulds(check), poisons, bacteria and viruses. Some are merely creapy and an inconvience, others kill at once, others take the road of slow torture.

Humans continually need to fight desease: flying typhus, bubonic plague, romantic tuberculosis, billharzia, veneral deseases (lost count what the current politically correct term is), and while we are at it: AIDS.

What propells man on in the progress so beloved by the followers of Rousseau, are the products of their nemesis: the inventors, scientists and manufacturers who design, discover and make the products that fire our factories and industries, and ultimately our homes and ... 'progress'.

We do not see the factories and industries very often any more because they are tucked away in southeast Asia, helping to maintain and prolong the state of Communism in China and Vietnam.

Man is ready for the next stage in human development and has the knowledge and technology to ban many forms of sickness (notably malaria), hunger and malnutrition. If only the followers of Rousseau would not have labelled these products unethical, because man-made.

Nature is good, so it is okay for entire populations in sub-Sahara Africa to perish while we have the means to prevent it. Nature is good, so herds of cultivated animals are left to starve every winter in man-made nature reserves because our great example, the state of nature, doesn't provide any fodder at this time of the year while warehouses crack under the weight of surplus animal feed.

The notion that nature is good and man is bad has now been taken to the point that even man himself is ready for the axe. This however is misreading the suicidal message: on a very limited scale some may be 'saved' by reverting to the natural state. The Counter-Enlightenment dialectics lead me to believe that this happy few will not consist of any white, Western, Christian, heterosexual males of a mature age.

Evil is rare - short cutting and betting on impunity are common as muck.

- Filed on Articles in "The Dystopia of Paradise", in cat. Postmodernism -

Friday, February 8, 2008

The German Revolution

The present is a review of an episode in "The Orientalist" by Tom Reiss, a thoroughly and uniquely researched work that accounts hitherto less known historical and personal facts. Set during the interbellum, it chronicles a fascinating and remarkable story, encompassing four empires, three continents, three religions, two revolutions and two world wars. Earlier posts were "History Class: of agit-prop, revolution and terror!"

On Monday, 11th November 1918, delegates from the new Social Democratic government of Germany officially signed the armistice, ending Germany's part in the Great War 1914-1918. The Kaiser moved to comfortable exile in The Netherlands.

But mob rule reigned Germany. Leftist leader Emil Eichhorn, self-appointed chief of the People's Revolutionary Berlin Police Department - personally freed 650 prisoners from police headquarters at the head of a mob. Others seized newspaper offices, government buildings, stores, and telegraph offices.

The demobilising army agreed not to oppose the government, in exchange for a free hand in quelling the revolutionary unrest. The government took the responsibility and the blame for the humiliating surrender, while simultaneously delegating political power - the state's monopoly of force - to Rightist officers.

As the army demobilised in Berlin, all moral constraint melted away. Here's an account of artist George Grosz: "The city was dark, cold and full of rumours. The streets were wild ravines haunted by murderers and cocaine peddlers ... People denied all knowledge but whispered about secret manoeuvres by the Black Reichswehr or a newly formed Red Army." Bursts of machine-gun fire and hand-grenade explosions were common. Grosz: "Inhabitants (...) went up on the roof to shoot pigeons and people. Their sense of proportion (...) got misplaced."

Three hundred people perished each day from influenza alone. Demobilised soldiers started selling their weapons on the streets. Those who held on to their arms followed their unit commanders into Mafia-style, loosely connected militias, known as the Freikorps (Free Corps), a proto type of the later Waffen SS, but originally consisting of volunteers in the Wars of Liberation against Napoleon in 1813-1815.

It was more than just the Red menace which motivated the Freikorps, their originators being the ancestors of all guerilla fighters and revolutionary insurgents of the next century. An even earlier connection identified them with the Teutonic Knights. They were anxious to prove themselves worthy of the medieval battles in the East against Poles and Tartars.

The Western powers restricted the German military, but motivated by fear of the Soviet revolutionary threat, refrained from disarming and restraining the Freikorps. In 1919 the Freikorps spontaneously and without orders moved against Poland, Lithuania and Latvia - the same countries the Nazis re-invaded in 1941.

Despite their symbolism and ancestry the Freikorps did not succeed in turning the tide of the Whites against the Reds and descended on a city in chaos, armed to the teeth, wreaking havoc on the new republic.

The revolutionary neighbourhoods were attacked without restraint. The front was brought to civilian society. This maintained the fantasy that the war had not really ended. Unarmed civilians had become the enemy. It "was a lesson in local brutality and cold-bloodedness that prepared many of them for work as storm troopers or concentration-camp guards in the years to come."

A footnote provides an important psycho-pathological context: "Many returning soldiers, no matter their political disposition, would display signs of sociopathy. Homicides and rapes became commonplace in postwar Berlin, brutal acts committed by men with no previous criminal record (...)"

"The panic evoked in Germany by the fate of Russia drove so deep into the psyche of ordinary Germans that they could not see that the forces of the new Right were equally hostile to bourgeois values like law, order and moral restraint. The Freikorps ethic, every bit as revolutionary as that of the Bolsheviks, masqueraded behind a false aura of conservatism and pacification.

Real conservatives believed in the value of traditions, but the Freikorps believed exactly the opposite - for them, the Great War had proved that the morality and social structure of peacetime were corrupt and meaningless. The politics behind the war had been a fraud, but the fighting had been real, and in this reality, the 'New Man' of the Right-wing revolution was born."

Author of 'Storm of Steel' and 'Battle As Inner Experience' Ernst Jünger hailed the 'storm soldier': "the coming of a whole new race, smart, strong and filled with will, to save Europe from its liberal delusions". "For this New Man, as for the Red revolutionaries, the legal and moral foundations of society were mere bourgeois squeamishness. At the front, only the fundamental values of bravery, ruthlessness, and camaraderie mattered - and the fundamental precept of Freikorps ideology: all society is the front."

The more the Freikorps suppressed the revolution, the faster it spread. Bolshevik cells and councils (Soviets) sprang up in towns and cities across Germany. The Munich Soviet was led by a former mental patient who wrote threatening letters to the Pope and declared war on Switzerland for failing to provide a shipment of locomotives.

In April 1919 the Bolshevik triumvirate led by Lenin associates made an attempt to launch Red Terror. Bourgeois and local aristocrats (every locale was supposed to have one, in the absence of which the village headmaster was supposed to volunteer) were jailed, property was confiscated, opposition presses smashed and schools shut down - "though this was not a real Red Terror but more of Red Terror manqué. But in the event of insufficient ruthlessness on the part of the German Left, the German Right was only too happy to fill the void."

The Freikorps attacked Munich as if it were a foreign city. The Reds held the town for three days, at the end of which more than a thousand were shot, including seminary students.

The next year saw a coup by Dr Kapp and General Ludendorf. According to an anecdote Corporal Hitler came too late to join it. The ousted Social Democratic government being unable to turn out the Freikorps against the Freikorps, called for a general strike. This succeeded, sending the putschists fleeing to Sweden, upon which the Spartacists raised a 80,000 strong 'Red Army of the Ruhr' in order to seize the mining and heavy industry in that area. The reinstated Social Democratic government retaliated by setting the Freikorps loose on Berlin. The Reds in the Ruhr were crushed.

"Finally, the major disturbances ended, though street battles and small uprisings continued to break out in towns across the fatherland. In the spring of 1921" as the protagonist of "The Orientalist" crossed the border into Germany, the country had fallen into uneasy quiet ...

- More excerpts from Tom Reiss' "The Orientalist" on the history of the two Socialist movements in next posts.

- Up next: Both Sir Winston S. Churchill in "Memoirs of the Second World War" and Tom Reiss' in "The Orientalist" touch on one of the most colourful people of the interbellum, Hitler's Master of Ceremonies.

- Filed on Articles in "History Compiled", cat. Culture, Art, History -

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

National Socialism is Socialism too!

Ever wondered about the baffling preference for the term fascism - Mussolini's effort to reconstitute the ancient Roman Empire - to designate collectivist Right wing glorification of the State?

This is because the term National Socialism (Nazism) rings a little too close for comfort. It would expose the fraternal ideological relationship, would it not? Resist Postmodern euphemisms ... and use the correct terms.



Courtisy Von Mises Institute

Monday, February 4, 2008

Philosophy Matters!

Caution: this child from hell is the offspring when even life itself is dropped as a value worth pursuing.



It Takes More Than a Bitch to Make a President ...

I have a vivid memory of Sunday January 14, 2007. On that day I watched Nicolas Sarkozy do his speech as the new UMP nominated candidate for the Presidential Election. This speech was outstanding. I had it printed afterwards and read it again and again, always with emotion, with tears in my eyes.

He was saying how "Gaullism was not a doctrine because general De Gaulle never wanted that, but was a moral commitment, exercising power as a mission devoting oneself one hundred percent, the conviction that France is strong only when united, the certitude that nothing is lost till the Resistance spark is alive in the heart of only one man, the refusal to quit, rupture with set ideas and established "order" when those lead France towards decline"

Nicolas Sarkozy was a fantastic hope that day for European society. A leader was born! But today my disillusion measures up to this incredible hope: I'm p#sd off, I feel cheated, outraged. His words were just words, this guy is just a liar. He pretended to be the champion of work, ethics, morale, dedication, a family defender, the man who would bring back confidence for the honest citizen.

Now, look at him: he's the exact opposite. The only side of him we have seen since September is his very much restless private life. If people can stand a divorce, his love affair with sex-symbol Carla Bruni-Tedeschi is frightening.

Nicolas Sarkozy is President no more, he is just a pitiful quinquagenarian unable to put his demons at rest, marrying a woman he has been dating for two months. Showing through his choice that his speech about traditional values is just bs: Carla Bruni-Tedeschi is very well known to be a Leftist with very large ideas about behaviour and living standards, I mean she's sub-zero as far as moral values are concerned.

All her life she's been a real highway for male-riders, defining herself much more polygamous than monogamous. She had love affairs with half the show-business, for instance Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Vincent Perez, but also with Donald Trump and even... former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius, a socialist rival of her now husband Nicolas Sarkozy.

She's a woman able to leave a man for his son (philosopher - oh my Gooood- Raphaêl Enthoven) and to have a child with him. Lately, she posed in the nude for a Spanish paper, wearing the ring she received as a present from Sarkozy.

As stated by the International Herald Tribune, Sarkozy's witness at the wedding was Nicolas Bazire, a senior figure in the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton luxury goods group, while Bruni's witness was Mathilde Agostinelli, head of communications at Prada France.

And that shows another side of Sarkozy, his vulgar and ostentatious manners. Is it appropriate to have superficial companies like Prada and Louis Vuitton represent the symbol of his wedding. What about the people he represents?

Let's face it: from the moment he went into Office, Sarkozy, rather than being noticed for his work and his reforms, has shown his interest for rich and powerful friends who are willing to place their yachts, aircrafts, houses at his disposal (with privileges in return?), for expensive and superficial clothes or accessories like watches (how stupid can an expensive watch collecting man be?) and for easy women.

We know everything about the woman he dates/marries, everything about the clothes he buys, everything about his frequent holidays, yet very little about the measures he takes to bring France back on the rails.

We can see him wandering with Bruni in the streets of Paris, in Egypt, in Disneyland, everywhere. Does the guy work? The media frenzy has dealt a blow to Sarkozy's popularity ratings, with French voters complaining that he was concentrating too much on his personal life and not enough on the affairs of the country...

Trouble has surfaced over this side of the "President bling-bling", as they call him, a "leader" fixated as much on foreign holidays and pretty women as on the need for boosting French GDP.

Can a lovestruck President enact the reforms his country desperately needs? It also did not help that these holidays came at a time when ordinary people were grumbling about rising heating costs and a dramatic decline in the purchasing power of their euros. President Sarkozy is now busy with his love affair with a dubious woman, not with his work: he should resign.

This somehow remembers me the story of Urbino, a beloved city for me: in 1444, Oddantonio da Montefeltro, recently named Duke of Urbino, spoiled the cashes of the small state with his excessive life-style (he is reported to have held parties during more than 15 days), and had to exert heavy taxes over the duchy. He also sought support with their arch-enemies, the Malatesta, seemingly reaching a complete dependence from them.

As a result, in the night between 21 and 22 July of 1444 he was killed by conjurers in the Ducal Palace and thrown through the window crashing at the feet of his angry citizens. Okay, we are civilized now: come on French people, let's force Sarkozy into resignation and let's let him walk away alive through the door of the Elysée.

 
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