Monday, March 31, 2008

"Fitna": of Farce and Fall-out II

A number of mistakes, some of which could well end up in Court, will be keeping Wilders busy for some time to come. Whereas he released the original video on LiveLeak (since removed due to threats) the number of viral copies out in cyberspace in the meanwhile has proliferated. Our own copy - courtesy The Jawa Report - will be replaced whenever we can find a rectified version.

Rapper Salah Edin had himself portrayed like Theo van Gogh's Assassin, Boyeri, the 'rationalisation' for which was to 'prove' that not all Moroccans are like Boyeri. He is now complaining Wilders took his photo for Boyeri's mug shot.

In Indonesia, a group of some 40 hard-liners from the Islamic Defenders Front, known to have rallied violently in the past against Western targets, gathered outside the Dutch embassy in Jakarta on Monday, calling for the death of Geert Wilders for insulting Islam.

Twenty-six member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which is lobbying for the world-wide criminalization of Islamophobia, have requested the Dutch Foreign Minister to see if legal action against Wilders is possible. A la Lanterne with the bstd!

The Jordanians are also going crescendo over the perceived 'insult': fifty-three MPs signed a petition and presented it to Premier Nader Dahabi, demanding the Dutch ambassador to be expelled and heads ... eh, ties severed.

As if the Muslim world isn't plagued already by any form of dysfunctionality imaginable. Speaking of which, the shrink has outdone herself once again in an insightful posting entitled "Morally Twisted" (in which she compares Palestine and Tibet). But get this:

"The cycle of violence is not simply destined to perpetuate itself - the cycle of violence is reinforced and ever escalating. Dysfunctional behaviors that were unknown or unheard of before have become commonplace. The self destructive behavior of the Palestinians comes about as the result of the integration of exaggerated love and exaggerated hate into a fused single exaggerated emotion. What distinguishes the two becomes no more than a blurred idea. Thus, violence directed at each other is as appropriate as violence directed at the Israelis. This kind of diseased thinking is not just about violence. Even the wildest conspiracy theories, widely welcomed and accepted, become a reflection of a dysfunctional defense mechanism and absurdity."

Following the E.U., NATO and the U.N., also Australia has now condemned "Fitna." "We believe in the right to freedom of expression but we don’t believe in abusing that right to incite racial hatred," Foreign Minister Stephen Smith is reported as saying. All the time we see this willful EQUIVOCATION of religion and race! The imprecision in definitions and ideas are the curse of postmodernism!

It is also Islam itself that frames this debate, tending to collating religion with race. Race suggests a condition one is born into, a given fact, not a matter of choice. Whereas seculars, liberalised Hindus, Jews and Christians have indeed options, Muslims are either converts or are born into the faith. In the latter case, apostacy constitutes a certain death sentence, leading to the notion that one has as little choice over one's race as over one's religion. Be that Islamic problem as may, the postmodern shifting of these definitions warrants careful watching.

An article by Robert Spencer on Pajamas makes clear that Wilders' fifteen minutes of yawn provoking 'incitement' wasn't made casually either. Spencer also refutes the 'lumping' of Islam with violence:

"Islam will soon conquer the West and rule the entire world. No non-Muslims are shown saying this. And that points up the odd myopia of virtually all of the objections to Fitna. It was not Geert Wilders, but the many Muslims he shows in his film, who link Islam with violence. And that link has already been made innumerable times around the world - by Islamic jihad warriors, not by non-Muslim “Islamophobes.”

Apparently it is no one's consideration that the faked hysteria serves an ulterior motive: bullying the world into submitting to Islamic values and tenets, even if alien to the dominant culture. Appeasers galore! We know from Churchill's memoirs that Hitler's pre-war rhetoric was heavily laden with the word 'peace'.

... Pax Germanium or Pax Islamium, whatever ...


EURSOC: "Fitna For Purpose?"

"There is one religio-political agenda which has no compatibility with British democracy; indeed, it is in the process of destroying it. It may be observed that one may attack Christianity and offend Christians by blaspheming the name of Christ with impunity; there is no sensitivity to the level of this offence, and therefore no censorship. But any such attack on Islam and its prophet not only meets with the full force of the law (...) >>>

- Continued in Part III -

- Filed on Articles in "In Defence of Liberty" -

Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Fitna": of Farce and Fall-out

Over on Articles we have a link to Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch, fisking a postmodern comment to shreds, posted by Ali Eteraz on the Borg's* own in-house rag, The Guardian.

Unlike 'Wilders' 15 minutes of yawn provoking farce', both postings are worth spending a quarter of an hour on for a number of reasons.

Eteraz' original piece is so typical of the vacuous cynicism and biting sarcasm that is the result of Leftists (and postmodern Rightists) washing up on the shores of the third millennium both ideologically empty handed as well as morally bankrupt. All forms of Socialism having collapsed under the weight of their own totalitarianism these intellectuals have nothing left to be believe in, but their own lower bodily functions.

Their invective consists of the usual talking points: pairing nonsensical platitudes about misnomers as Islamophobia, with nihilistic assaults on logic and attempts at farce without humor, all oozing contempt for anyone other than their own particular proteges whom - by an act of inversion - they now try to pass off as the new Joos.

Attempts at false equivalence are wasted on Spencer, who is aptly refuting the bloody-minded rhetoric:

"Yes, and if the moon were made of green cheese, I'd take a big bite, or if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. But in reality, suicide bombers aren't invoking Samson, but the Qur'an, and Wilders wasn't attempting to link the Qur'an to acts of violence, but was merely reporting on how the Qur'an has been linked to violence and supremacism by jihadists themselves."

More on the finer points of postmodern rhetoric can be found on the Articles collection file:

- Filed on Articles in "Postmodernism: Rhetoric, Attitudes, Tactics

Update: Plenty of ugly threats from the Religion of Peace collected by La Geller on Atlas Shrugs >>>

* "Resistence is futile - prepare to be assimilated ..."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

"Fitna" II (Internecine Strife)

After LiveLeak caved in to the pocket potentates defending the indefensible excesses of the Religion of Peace, here's effort number II - hat tip Atlas Shrugs.

She's so right: "If we all don't stand up to Islam together, we all go down. This is the point of the film, is it not?" Amen to that ... If that doesn't work, here's a link to VodPod.

Just picked up a few edifying words from Greek poet Rigas Feraios on the blog of My Greek Odyssey. That they may serve the purpose of robbing those living under the spell that 'for ages, Muslims, Christians and Jews lived happily together'; from a people, having lived in the dhimmitude of the Turkocracy for over four centuries, uplifting words for the deluded indeed.

Until when, brave warriors, shall we live in bondage,
lonely like lions, on the ridges of mountains?
Living in caves, viewing wild tree branches,
abandoning the world, due to bitter slavery?
Losing brothers, country and parents,
our friends, our children, and all of our kin?
Better an hour of free life,
than forty years of slavery and jail.

- Update: Elsevier Magazine is reporting that some 30 Jordanian media outlets have initiated a campaign for the boycott of Dutch goods. They have also called upon Arab leaders to review diplomatic ties with the country. A number of Muslim countries happen to be gathered this weekend in Damascus for a summit on more serious business. Malaysia is also considering a boycott. In the meantime the treasonous submission to bullying, as displayed by the Dutch national exporters is nauseating: they are considering suing Wilders for damages.

- Filed on Articles on "In Defence of Freedom"-

Friday, March 28, 2008

Wilders' Film "Fitna" (Seduction of Evil)

Here it is! Wilder' "Seduction of Evil". While the film is artistically speaking, well done - it must be said there are many such compilations about, even more shocking then this semi-sanitised product.

The PC Treason Brigade will no doubt opine that the Religion of Peace is here unfairly 'collated' with terrorism. Would retort that their failure to condemn terrorists, unfairly lumps the Hirabahists with the innocent, who deserve better: our support! In these pages we're rather on the side of the freedom and justice.

The American provider has closed the "Fitna" site itself. This is not well understood in Wilders' country of origin, the Netherlands. The penny hasn't dropped yet that America is the symbol of liberty, as well as the birth place of petty political correctness. This phenomenon is also not seen for what it is: the redistribution of speech rights along Marxist lines.

Present footage was collected from LiveLeak, which has also a Dutch version available.

More supporting documentation on "Freedom Ain't Free & Take Our Country Back".

- Filed on Articles on "In Defence of Freedom"-

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Anti-Modernism of the Counter-Enlightenment

The idea of the creation of a personalised universe, or rather a personal version of the universe originates with Protagoras (Greek: Πρωtaγόρaς, ca. 490-420 BC), who said "man is the measure of all things", he meant individual man, rather than mankind.

The sophists of the rough, second generation, notably Trasymachus, a character in Plato's Republic, put that notion of subjectivism to good use. In classical Greece the sophists used language, not in the service of truth or the transfer of information, but as a strategy for political point-scoring. The sophists held that justice is in the interest of the stronger: might makes right.

Objectivist philosopher Stephen Hicks in "Explaining Postmodernism" claims that "postmoderns - coming after two millennia of Christianity and two centuries of social theory - simply reverse that claim: Subjectivism and relativism are true, except that the postmodernists are on the side of the weaker and historically-oppressed groups. Justice, contrary to Trasymachus, is the interest of the weaker."

Contemporary postmoderns have harnessed this form of political correctness to today's version of the class struggle, the dialectic, a tool to perpetuate into eternity the struggle of the 'oppressed' minorities against the 'fake tolerance' of the 'power structure'. The latter should not be understood as 'whoever is in power', but rather 'whoever is in power, other than us'.

Althought we have not always seen it for what it was, during the last two and a half centuries or so the fruits of reason have been pitted in an existential dog fight with the reactionary forces of anti-realism. The movement in generally termed 'the Counter-Enlightenment', to underscore the culture's fundamental rejection of the Enlightenment.

In his ground-breaking book Hicks posits two theses: that the failure of epistemology (philosophy's study of human knowledge) made postmodernism possible; and that the failure of Socialism made postmodernism necessary. As Rousseau, Kant and Hegel were for church authority, the postmoderns are for collectivism: their raison d'être is a desperate 'rationalization' for holding on to a rejected system.

The emergence of the Counter-Enlightenment represents the turning point of the age of reason. The era between 1780 and 1815 was a defining period in modernism, as Anglo-American and German culture split into respectively the Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment.

The former began in England, and was picked up by the French. But Roussseau's followers wrested the Enlightenment inspired revolution away from John Locke's (1632 -1704) followers. This quote is from Locke's 2nd Treatise §3:

"In order to preserve the public good, the central function of government must be the protection of private property ..."
... compare that to Rousseau:
"For the creation of a society of 'common will', the people need only accept the dictates of the state" ...
... here Rousseau was advocating what became later known as Communism.

The French Revolution turned it into the Jacobin Reign of Terror, the particularly bloody, third and last episode. The Germans thereafter, already suspicious of the culture of reason, began a counter movement in an effort to rescue religion from what they saw as the onslaught of reason. When the Enlightened French despot, Napoleon Bonaparte jumped into the vacuum left by the Reign of Terror and conquered Europe, the still largely feudal German states knew for sure what the age of reason had wrought.

The reaction was a counter movement by a brand of collectivist philosophers and intellectuals - politically on the Left as well as on the Right, some religious, later on also atheists - with a number of themes in common: Jean-Jacques Rousseau inspired "anti-individualism, the need for strong government, the view that religion is a state matter (whether to promote or suppress it), the view that education is a process of socialisation, ambivalence about science and technology, and strong themes of group conflict, violence and war.

Hicks: "Left and Right have often divided bitterly over which themes have priority and over how they should be applied. Yet, for all of their differences, both have consistently recognised a common enemy: Liberal capitalism, with its individualism, its limited government, its separation of church and state, its fairly constant view that education is not primarily a matter of political socialisation, and its persistent Whiggish optimism about prospects for peaceful trade and cooperation between members of all nations and groups. (...) the collectivist Right and Left are united in their major goals and in identifying the opposition."

"By the early twentieth century (...) the dominant issues for most continental political thinkers were not whether liberal capitalism was a viable option - but rather exactly when it would collapse - and whether Left or Right collectivism had the best claim to being the Socialism of the future. The defeat of the collectivist Right in World War II then meant that the Left was on its own to carry the Socialist mantle forward."

"Accordingly, when the Left ran into its major disasters as the twentieth century progressed, understanding its fundamental commonality with the collectivist Right helps to explain why in its desperation the Left has often adopted ''Fascistic'' tactics."

Another fateful innovation was set in by the counter movement. As had been the logic during the long period of Church authority over arts and science, all modern mainstream Enlightenment thinkers had accomodated the new advances in science and mathematics into Christian belief. Defying Aristotlean wisdom, human nature, as well as Hume's Law - the confusion of 'is' with 'ought' - the Counter-Enlightenment philosophers following Rousseau, Kant and Hegel - even the atheists - reversed this orthodoxy.

Instead - perhaps even subconsciously or by implication - they developed political models, which reflected religious ideals, the re-creation of paradises on earth, perhaps in an effort to fill the void left by Ancients Regimes. These political models sought to mirror the heavens, on the basis of 'as above, so below', macrocosm - microcosm: the ideal society. The tenets of the Enlightenment were abandoned and replaced by opposing principles: realism made way for Idea-lism, and individualism for collectivism; emotions, intuition and Revelation were adopted as sources of knowledge rather than reason and experience, social theories replaced liberal capitalist theory.

Universal Enlightenment values were applied, but were limited to specific themes. In these themes God was replaced by whatever fitted the theme: nationalists replaced God with the nation, state adolators deified the state, Socialists society, etcetera. We'll return to that after having a look up close at the main, early protagonists of the Counter-Enlightement drama.

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

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Tragedy Waiting to Happen

For some time now I've been pondering how to inject a word of caution into the Counter-Jihad blegosphere over the manner and intensity with which concerns and calls to resistance are being voiced. Some posts, or even entire blogs, give rise to serious anxiety over the author's well-being.

Having been out of the loop for some weeks due to a technical glitch, the news of the suicide of Ronbo only reached these pages yesterday while making the rounds. This may be just as well for what I am about to say. It is clear that Ronbo was plagued by more than just the current set of geopolitical intricacies, serious as they may be. In fact, Right Wing News has information today that throws another light on events altogether. Still, it will serve for the purpose.

A message of caution seldom reaches the ones that need it most. Nevertheless I'd like to share this personal story. A few years back I thought myself justified in my suspicions that great harm had been done by someone to somebody close to me, who I'd loved and since had passed away. In fact, I was livid to the point of murder! Until one silent night a glass plateau carrying crystal knickknacks came crashing down to earth. Taking the irrational approach I took the occurrence as a message from beyond, warning me of the error of my ways. This was in all probability my own subconscious at work.

We are warned by Christianity, borne out by more recent insights into psychology, that cultivating hatred and seeking revenge in a sin, for good reason. It is a boomerang, which is not directed against the party it is intended for, but that will turn against the person from whom it emanates. In the end - with the equal potency with which it is energised - it has the capability to destroy us.

While we are in an existential struggle with the forces of darkness with at stake, nothing less than two and a half millennia worth of civilization, we cannot allow our emotions to turn against us. Yes, we are dealing with bloodthirsty pocket tyrants who are themselves the victims of their own feelings in a similar manner. This will guarantee their undoing.

Western civilization has the advantage of Judeo-Christian tradition which has helped us in the past to muster the courage and wisdom we need to survive the onslaughts of totalitarian tyrants. It is our ligament, and our common strength. We should be realistic and deal with the problems as best and vigilant as we can. But we need to put some distance between our enemies and the emotions that drive us: they energize us, but we cannot allow them to take over and rule our lives and decisions.

Let's strengthen our resolve to stand up to the tyrants and - foremost - to their pomo surrender facilitators, the traitors in our midst - so that we may pass on our highest values to the next generation, enabling them in turn to pursue happiness in liberty and in peace.

For Ronbo, a Freedom Fighter: “Live for nothing or die for something. Your call.”

More information at Gates of Vienna, My Flanders Fields and latest: Right Wing News.

- Filed on Articles in cat. Psychology (sidebar) -

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Secular and Sacred Authority: why we need it!

Present essay by Dr. Sam Holliday was first published on 6 Mar 2004 by the Armiger Cromwell Center entitled "Church and State". It doesn't hurt either text or content matter to read for "United States of America" any other country or nation of your choice.

We live in the best of times and the worst of times, an age of belief and incredulity, a season of light and darkness. This is as true today as it was it the time of revolutions. Then there was a shift from old regimes with the divine right of Kings, social classes, inefficiencies, inequalities, and struggles for power to new regimes with civil rights, uncertainty, liberty, inefficiencies, inequalities, and struggles for power.

Today we are moving from a God-fearing melting pot nation seeking liberty, justice, and opportunity for all, to a God-less entitlement obsessed salad, shaped by postmodern thought with factions seeking special benefits in the name of openness, tolerance and diversity.

- Caption: This may be the source behind a lot of the confusion between Secular and Sacred Authority: Pope Leo III officially crowned Charlemagne in 800 Holy Roman Emperor. "Out of this intimate co-operation of Church and State came one of the most brilliant ideas in the history of statesmanship: the transformation of Charlemagne’s realm into a Holy Roman Empire that should have behind it all the prestige, sanctity, and stability of both Imperial and papal Rome." -

We see the symptoms: Courts taking upon themselves to make the kind of decisions that the Constitution reserves for the people, and their elected representatives; public officials violating the law without hesitation or shame; a famous athlete walking free after killing his ex-wife and a waiter returning her lost eye glasses; TV filled with vulgarity, crudeness, sensationalism, and political correctness; a vivid depiction of Christ’s passion being attacked before it was seen—yet increasing the faith of many Christians when seen; the most powerful person in the Democratic party being an ex-President best known for spin (quibbling and lying with skill) and sexual dalliance; the current President hated because his core beliefs are rooted in his faith; leading politicians being hollow men (or women), opportunists, elitists, and lacking any core values; a growth of cynicism and despair among those intellectuals in Old Europe and American universities that have rejected sacred authority, yet an increasing number of common folks seeking happiness and salvation through faith and religious convictions.

America and the West are suffering from the decline and decay of our culture, and the exclusive reliance on secular authority. The decline and decay of our culture has been well recorded by Toynbee, the Durants, and Barzum. However, those that view history as Progress often dispute their conclusions; they see change leading to a new and better world. We need to diagnose the disease.

The weakness of exclusive reliance on secular authority is often ignored or misunderstood. One of the lessons of history is that polities that are growing, building and maturing have both secular and sacred authorities that mutually support each other. In those polities that are in decline one of these two authorities has lost its ability to influence the behavior of its members. It makes no difference if these authorities are united or separated—but they both must be effective and they must be mutually supportive if the polity is to remain strong, efficient, and successful.

Greek thinkers (Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle), while reflecting on the institutions of Greek city-states, defined both secular and sacred authorities. Secular authority was expressed through the structures, processes, rules and laws of governance. Sacred authority was expressed through customs, traditions, and civic virtues based on shared religious, moral, and ethical beliefs. During the Classic era (700 B.C. to 476 A.D.) the importance of having secular and sacred authorities mutually supporting each other was clearly recognized. The lesson is clear: the wisdom of a polity can only be transmitted to succeeding generations if it is internalized by the citizens of that polity, and the institutions of that polity are designed to maintain inherited beliefs, practices and knowledge. In some systems both authorities were united in a God-King, but in others they were separated—but still mutually supporting.

The state emerged out of the collapse of the feudal order in Europe, with states standing in sovereign equality to one another. The concept of sovereignty originated with John of Paris (1235-1306) in his defense of kings against the universal authority of the church. He distinguished the secular authority of the state from the sacred authority of the church; he claimed that coercion should belong to the state, while the church should determine morality and ethics.

Between 1640 and 1848 revolutions challenged the divine right of kings making the people, not a monarch, sovereign. This change required the invention of an abstraction for the people as a whole. Ideas about social contract and general will were used to create the concept of nation. While the problem of secular authority could be easily resolved by the creation of a nation-state, the problem of sacred authority was more difficult. Should morality and ethics be determined by the customs and traditions of the nation or by the church? In most cases the establishment of a national church resolved this; however, there were other solutions.

Hegel (1770-1831) proposed a non-religious solution to the sacred authority problem; morality and ethics were to be determined primarily by the customs and traditions of those with a common identity. According to Hegel a nation, integrated with a state, is the best way to create progress toward an ideal future. This united sacred and secular authorities under the leaders of nation-states, and gave such leaders great power. This led to integral nationalism (an intolerant, ethnocentric form of nationalism that glorifies the state as the highest focus of individual loyalties). With the loss of its Christian past and without a clear sense of civic virtue, the West witnessed totalitarian excess in the name of equality.

- Caption: American Declaration of Independence: "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness". President Abraham Lincoln succinctly explained in his Gettysburg Address of 1863 the central tenet: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." -

The Founding Fathers of the United States of America had another solution. They attempted to combine four convictions:

(1) that Christian morality and ethics should be the foundation for a common identity in the United States of America,
(2) that there should be no single national church,
(3) that there should be freedom of religion as a consequence of individual sovereignty,
(4) that secular authority and sacred authority should always mutually support each other.

This solution provided for the separation of church and state, so that power would not be concentrated in a single institution. This also allowed governmental structures and processes to be subject to the moral and ethical constraints of sacred authority, yet not to be controlled by any church or the state to control any church. Also this allowed both secular authority and sacred authority to influence the behaviors of all citizens, while government remained efficient, united, and successful. The Founding Fathers knew that people can only be energized internally through goals they set for themselves and through shared morality and ethics. There has never been a better solution.

In the modern era (19th century and first half of 20th century), when many intellectuals adopted the ideas of Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche, the concept of the separation of church and state was turned upside down. The idea that “God is Dead” replaced faith and religious convictions among the intellectuals, elites, and so-called 'enlightened' throughout Europe and America.

The church (and sacred authority) was increasingly restricted to the personal salvation of individuals. Secular authority, as expressed in the Rule of Law, would become supreme in matters of behavior (including morality and ethics). In other words, secular authority became dominant, and in public affairs it had no effective counter- balance.

This resulted in many people, including many judges, thinking that the separation of church and state required the removal of all aspects of religion and morality from all institutions supported by public funds. Today the culture of the urban intelligentsia, the education establishment, and the dependent class is very different from the traditional American culture of self-reliance, independence, compassion, work, and faith.

Since the 1950s the necessity of a common moral/ethical/ religious foundation for all citizens of the American nation has been eroded as a result of political correctness in the name of multiculturalism and diversity. The domination of secular authority, the weakening of sacred authority, postmodernism, relativism, and the failure of secular and sacred authorities to mutually support each other are the causes of America’s cultural decline and decay.

Is there a solution to this cultural decline? After all, behavior is controlled by sacred authority (self-control from custom and tradition), secular authority (compliance with laws and a judicial system), and force. Yes there is a solution, but only if sacred authority is returned to a status equal to that of secular authority, and then the two again mutually support each other. This will require us to re-think our ideas, truths and habits regarding diversity, unity, equality, rights, responsibilities, duty, political correctness, roles, suffrage, laws, citizenship, justice, and standards while we adapt our institutions and accept fresh thoughts.

Sacred authority, as expressed through morality, ethics, and religion in custom and tradition defines good and bad behavior. Sacred authority rewards that which is good with respect, honor, status, and economic benefit. Sacred authority does not punish--it only denies rewards. However, sacred authority does designate behavior that is tacky, uncouth, untoward, and unacceptable; it does prescribe behavior to be avoided, isolated and shunned; it does justify outrage against that which is unacceptable. Sacred authority requires people to be judgmental—to distinguish good from bad and right from wrong.

Law is the province of governance, and thus of secular authority. Laws, rules and taxation are established and enforced by governments to both reward and punish. The advocates of the “rule of law, not the rule of men” actually favor governmental control, rather than self-control. Governments also use force to insure compliance with laws, to preserve order, and to implement foreign policy. Insurgents use force to change governments.

The solution certainty will not be easy. First, there must be those willing to step forward to accurately diagnose the disease. This is what this essay has attempted to do. Next, there must be those willing to prescribe the treatment. It is suggested that the solution presented by our Founding Fathers is such a treatment. Finally, there must be those willing to fight until the treatment overcomes the disease, and those influenced by postmodern thought have been neutralized.

This is the challenge for all of those that love the United States of America.

All publications copyright © 2008 Armiger Cromwell Center, 3750 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite 374, Atlanta, GA 30319-1322. 404-201-7374. Permission is granted to forward this article by e-mail to friends or colleagues on a fair use basis. For reprint permission, contact Armiger Cromwell Center at

More articles by Dr Sam Holliday on file at the dossier page of the Armiger Cromwell Center on Politeia Articles.

- Filed in Aricles on "The Liberal Dictatorship", cat. Neototalitarianism -

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Radical Rousseau's Ravages

Swiss-French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau's (1712-1778) personal life is marked by traits sounding awkwardly contemporary. Self-pity and paranoia play see-saw with wrong choices and deflecting blame. Man is by nature good, it is society that is the cause of corruption and vice. Iconic for Rousseauian thought is the image of the noble savage, man in his natural state before his fall from Paradise.

There is nothing ambiguous about his ethics however: he believed his 'doctrine of two substances' to be the key to the absolute quality of good and evil [Jonathan I. Israel, Radical Enlightenment, 2001, p., 2001, p. 719]. In an example in a classical setting he saw in Athenian decadence the degrading influence of reason. He preferred the cruder, militaristic Spartans, an unspoiled and nobler tribe. Their callous practice of exposing babies to nature - now in dispute - may well have inspired Rousseau to expose his own five illegitimate children to the hardships of the Paris orphanage.

Although Rousseau died in 1778, before the French Revolution, his justification of violence to power was the source of inspiration of the Reign of Terror that the Jacobins unleashed during the latter part of the rebellion. In 1792 the French 'citizen army' faced the Prussian forces at Valmy. In a psychological victory they prevented them from marching on to Paris to restore the monarchy. Earlier in the capital a mob had stormed the Tuilleries Palace. In the massacres over a thousand political prisoners were brutally hacked to death. Fabre d'Eglantine declared: "In the towns, let the blood of traitors be the first Holocaust to Liberty, so that in advancing to meet the common enemy, we leave nothing behind to disquiet us!" [Wildmonk]

After "the first Holocaust to Liberty" many more would follow. It is a specific feature, typical of Rousseau's constellation of ideas. The chief ingredients as expressed in "Profession de Foi" are a sweeping rejection of tradition, Revelation, and all institutionalized authority. [Radical Enlightenment, p. 718]

In Roussea's ideas we find the source of every anti-Liberal, violent revolution ever since the French Revolution went off the Lockean track. Rousseau is ultimately the father of many noxious and lethal traditions besides: Romanticism, redistributive Socialism, philosophical agrarianism, conservative Communitarianism, Nazism, and more to the point, the Counter-Enlightenment and postmodernism. Cultures, adopting Rousseauian ideas found in them a mirror of some aspect of their own identity. [Wildmonk]

Many have descended into the abyss of collectivist hell. In France his radical egalitarianism led to The Reign of Terror, in Germany to Left and Right Socialism with known result, in Russia and the Far East to communism, starvation and slaughter on grandiose scales. In China Mao Tse Tung's Great Leap Forward resulted in the greatest mass murder in human history and in Cambodia the Khmer Rouge's extermination campaign to establish Rousseauian agrarianism resulted in the deaths of well over twenty percent of the population. [Wildmonk] If this is not evil, frankly I don't know what is.

Why Rousseau is different
Rousseau stands apart in many respects. He marks the fault-line in Western tradition between Anglo-American and Continental lines of thought, and forms the point of departure from the Enlightenment because he is essentially anti-modern [Wildmonk]. While loosely following the traditional path of Enlightenment thought, his radical stance differs notably on the crucial issues of anti-individualism [Isaiah Berlin, "Against the Current", 2001], anti-capitalism and against private property ("Radical Enlightenment", p. 273), anti science and technology, his radical egalitarianism, and the inherent mindset in which the means are justified by the perceived noble end.

Rousseau is often quoted as the iconic philosopher of the Enlightenment, but it is quite clear he fiercely rejected all its tenets and values. No doubt, here we have the ground zero of the Counter-Enlightenment.

He was certainly no believer in mutually beneficial interaction, or the beneficial effects on society of self-interest (Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733), "The Fable of the Bees"), asserting that "society hardly needs to feed man's love for himself and his desire to be first among men." ["Radical Enlightenment", p. 273].

His radical egalitianism is echoed in the notion that rational and industrious man with dehumanizing machines would replace royalty as an enslaver of the common man, being better and more ruthless on the aggregation of material goods. He argued that the separation of the progress and dissemination of science and art from political and religious control are hazardous for society and for the virtue of the people [Bloom, 1990]. But it gets worse.

"Common will" instead of freedom
In Rousseau we see the first social contract at the price of freedom and the birth of a notion called the "common will". The latter is a concept that in Rousseau's approach requires state intervention. This should not be confused with the 'common good'. It is a far more developed conception which, and unlike the former, can only be realized in the context of civil society under the state ["Radical Enlightenment", p. 720).

For the creation of a society of common will, "freedom of all the people", they need only accept the dictates of the state. This was Rousseau's essence of "true civilization." The struggle between rich and poor would then rise to a moral experience of self-restraint. [Wildmonk] With the faculty of moral choice thus abdicated and forfeited to the state, people would be free from lowly - earthly desires and reach full - ideal potential. Man is thus divorced from the social and economic context in which he lives and interacts with others. The ideal state of heaven, separated from earthly considerations.

This totalitarian approach to freedom, an abomination in every sense, was later further developed by Marx, who wrote that "capitalist, individual liberty is the most complete suppression of all individual liberty and total subjugation of individuality to social conditions" [Wildmonk: Marx, "Grundnisse", pp. 131]. "Freedom can only consist in socialized man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature; and achieving this with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most favourable to, and worthy of their human nature." [Wildmonk: Marx, "Selected Writings", pp. 496].

In this way man's separation from his nature and morality began. Never in human history were their worse judges of human character than Rousseau and his followers: all seek some degree of formal control over individual freedom for the purpose of creating material conditions deemed necessary for "true freedom", moralectomy in precise equal measure. Rousseau's concept of "common will" became the most savage, bloody instrument of social engineering in the history of mankind.

The Atlantic Ridge
In the United States Thomas Jefferson was the most prominent supporter of the French revolutionary achievements. Nevertheless, property rights and Enlightenment liberties were set in stone in the spirit of Locke, Montesquieu and Adam Smith. The present Democratic Party is being diverted further and further from that tradition as the sway of the postmoderns intensifies. Rhetorical style and attitude betray their influence.

While National Socialist and Communist ideas have swept America to some extent in their haydays - notwithstanding the counter culture, a product of the latter - these Rousseauian inspired ideologies remained by and large a marginal affair. Rousseau entering Locke's territory by the back- door may come as a surprise to some Americans - the wrong brand of revolution is encroaching on its most basic principles.

In Europe the situation was markedly different, as we shall see. Locke's influence remained on the whole limited to the British Isles. France and Germany have both Rousseau traditions, not Lockean. Today of great long-term concern is a possible return to some form of Rousseau inspired extreme ideology. It is chilling to see the rise of an unelected governing body on the European continent. The post-democratic elitism, combined with postmodern ideological chaos understood in the philosophical context, is an even more disquieting prospect.

Counter-Enlightenment projection* is on the order of the day and may even be consciously used as a tactic. Rousseau's brand of radical and revolutionary ideas, combined with the notion that civilization is so corrupt that it must be considered beyond salvation, makes him the father of all violent struggle in the last two and a half centuries.

Americans, tending to confuse Locke's revolution with Rousseau's, occasionally fall into the trap of supporting the wrong causes: initially the Russian Red Terror, and more recently, the covertly Islam inspired call for independence in the middle of Europe's powder keg, the Serbian province of Kosovo in the heart of the Balkans, thus providing a foothold in Europe for similarly based and equally pernicious radicalism.

The zero-sum game approach to economics also originates with Rousseau, which is giving rise to the annual media talking point that "a new report is suggesting that today's rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer". This is incorrect propaganda, some reason requiring regular public re-affirmation, perhaps for that reason alone.

Rousseau and Religion
The great minds of the Enlightenment proper - Spinozists excluded - never saw Christianity as their mortal enemy. To them Church and the Enlightenment were natural allies. Rousseau was no exception, but he had only a passing acquaintance with the Christian political tradition. Therefore he dismissed the role of Christianity as a moderating force in society. He saw the faith as entirely a spiritual undertaking, occupying itself only with "heavenly things."

Rousseau's Christians are so detached from reality that they can hardly be recognized: a people so spiritualized that they display a profound disinterest if their earthly pursuits are successful or not. Rousseau's call for transcendent values to harness the energies of men towards the 'common will', coupled with the rejection of Christianity as a engine of these values, made it a central tenet of all the Rousseauian ideologies [Wildmonk].

To Rousseau religion was an imperative. "... the state cannot ... pursue a policy of toleration for disbelievers, or view religion as a matter of individual conscience. It absolutely must, therefore, reject dangerous notions of toleration and the separation of church and state." and "so fundamentally important is religion that the ultimate penalty is appropriate for disbelievers ..." [Stephen R.C. Hicks, "Explaining Postmodernism", Scholargy Press, 2004, p. 98].

Despite being so enamored with force-feeding religion, after the publication of his work "Emile" he was driven into temporary exile in Bern after a warrant for his arrest was issued. "Emile" was widely denounced as irreligious and seditious.

The Legacy
The loather of civilization Rousseau was nevertheless greatly admired by the early Counter-Enlighteners, as he is by today's postmoderns. His followers mostly selected from his work what they could use to prop up their ideologies. Marx accepted Rousseau's critique of Locke's economic man but stood solidly by the Enlightenment in his appreciation for science and technology. Marx even went so far as to describe his ideology as Scientific Marxism, basically a pseudo scientific rationalization of his aggregate of ideas.

Hegel as well as Rousseau inspired Marx' theory of dialectic materialism, in which the theme is the dichotomy of the Oppressor versus the Oppressed. Now clearly a tactic of this dialectic, Rousseau's vista of a noble, primordial world destroyed by man's egoism, might well also have sired the epidemic of Western self-loathing.

Ironically, while Rousseau was convinced that civilization was the cause of moral degradation, little did he know that his followers, by rejecting objective reality, would drop morality along with it. Despite two and a half centuries of genocidal legacy in pursuit of Rousseauian ideal society it enjoys considerable support among the Western intelligentsia, specifically in the humanities departments of academia, the media, all levels of education, contemporary arts, the political elite, advisory boards, government ministries and departments and what is loosely described as 'the corridors of power.'

The postmodern heirs remain committed to undermining free-market democracy, casting misty eyes upon the Rousseauean atrocities. 110 million dead are not vile enough to discredit 'the Party of Humanity' in the views of some of the most stubborn apologists. Considering that totalitarian societies are today's version of the tribal community he so admired, the Rousseau ideal society could well be described as an agrarian totalitarian state.

Another point of irony is that Rousseau's conviction, that reason engenders egocentrism has been falsified by every non-government sponsored humanitarian organization on the face of the planet, while Rousseau's faithful follower Hegel is responsible for the subjectivism that saw the birth of egocentrism gone mad, the 'Master of the Universe' syndrome (each individual creates his own personal version of reality: If I die overnight, will the sun still rise tomorrow?).

In France, Rousseau's ideal of small, intimate villages and a peaceful, agricultural society built on the consent of the common will has resulted in France becoming a by-word for centralized statism. Rousseau's tenet that reason caused man's fall from paradise may well be the basis of the later Counter-Enlightenment's political ideals, modelled on the re-creation of 'paradise on earth', Utopias which usually turn out to be dystopias instead.

Postmodernism or Rousseauism?
Rousseau can certainly be traced back as the source of all members of the postmodern coalition: environmentalists, third-worldists (Baran-Wallerstein), feminists, anarchists, 'gender, identity and sexual orientation' theorists, traditional socialists of various plumage, and 'classical' postmoderns. It is a true gathering of Rousseauians that has largely remained uninvestigated, underreported and certainly undeclared.

In the chaos of the total postmodern bankruptcy in the wake of mayhem, moralectomy and grandiose failure, there is but one purpose left. A resolve that brings these ideologies together with a tradition with which it has so much in common. We are witnessing a spontaneous feast of recognition with radical Islam.

It is truly remarkable that every prior held conviction and allegiance has by now been jilted in favour of furthering the causes of the intolerant: it's back to the Rousseau basics. The grant plan: a strategy to deconstruct Western, democratic, liberal capitalism by critical theory, and 'irrational means of the will.'

* If you think of yourself as a peaceful, loving person, while actually you are full of wrath and hatred, the psychological coping device of projection - as if by magic - transforms the object of that wratch into someone who is hateful, devisive, full of vitriol and bile, bigoted, intolerant and hatemongering.

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

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