“Saint Dominic presiding over an auto-da-fé”, Pedro Berruguete, c. 1495
In his latest tome “Skin In The Game”, Nassim Taleb discusses at length how societies can (and frequently do) have their mores, values, traditions and principles shaped thru the imposition of a minority’s views on those of the majority. The discussion is lengthy and offers many examples, but reproducing it here in full would be impossible. However, one very noteworthy example Taleb provides is that of Salafi Islam, perhaps more accurately described as the Wahhabi strain of Islam, which models itself as a return to the presumed original Orthodoxy as evinced by the behaviors and standards of the first three generations of moslems (known as ‘the Salafi.’) Taleb demonstrates how the more intransigent and intolerant the minority, the more resolutely it drives the conversion of a majority’s ethics, laws and values. He also flatly proclaims that by not using the expediency of temporarily abandoning its own standards and legal paradigms in order to suppress Salafi/Wahhabi moslems in their midst and ruthlessly combat their influence, the West is in fact committing suicide.
There are some who would respond quite emotionally to this stance, denouncing the injustice of persecuting all moslems for the actions of a few. There are others who would have an even more extreme reaction by vitriolically saturating social media with screeds of self-righteous, spittle-flecked fury that condemned Taleb over his “Islamophobia” and “racism.”
A logical counterargument would be that Taleb did not, in fact, criticize or attack all of the Dar Al Islam or call for their general persecution, but singled out only a tiny percentage of moslems who swear by the Wahhabist creed and energetically attempt to impose its rules and mores on the West. Yet the absolute truth of the argument would fail to impress Taleb’s critics from the SJW social media mob, as its logic would rebound from the emotional storm generated by his accusers.
Would a retraction or apology appease Taleb’s social media antagonists? Time has proven from multiple occurrences that the answer is “No”, as even the barest hint of an acknowledgement by the accused of ‘guilt’ for the alleged thought crime only serves to refresh and enhance the mob’s appetite for impassioned indignation and social ostracism. In this way, the SJW social media mob behaves much like Torquemada’s Inquisitors, pressuring the targets of their animosity thru public humiliation and threats while hinting that redemption and relief awaits confession of their sins, and once received, incites them to redouble their condemnations and excoriations in order to justify the heinous acts they will soon commit against the victims and their families. Granted, Torquemada and his minions tortured their victims and often executed them while confiscating their wealth and property, and the SJW social media mob doesn’t. They do, however, do everything they can to ruin their targets and their families professionally and socially and relish destroying their lives.
The most recent focus for the Progressive/SJW/Neo-Maoist daily ‘2 minute hate’ has been over the issue of gun ownership. The ‘triggering’ event, of course, has been the spree of mass murder over the last 7-10 days by three profoundly alienated young men in widely dispersed locations – the California Garlic festival in Gilroy, a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio. The Left’s wrath has, with the eager and deliberately inflammatory assistance of the MSM and several democratic presidential candidates, settled on a theme for these three events – that they were committed by angry, white acolytes of the ‘alt-right’, using ‘automatic assault weapons’ that should be banned, and deliberately fostered, encouraged and radicalized by President Trump, who the Progressive/Neo-Maoist Left feels justified in labeling the most racist president in history. An extension of the theme popular in Progressive circles is that those who voted for and continue to support President Trump are all angry, racist, uneducated whites who are by nature and culture inclined to commit mass acts of violence against people of color.
Is any of this true? A brief analysis of the facts quickly reveals that the precepts of the above theme range from laughably ridiculous to delusionally psychotic. Briefly:
Are all the perpetrators white? Well, the Gilroy looney was a California native with Iranian and Italian heritage. The El Paso nut was a Texan. The Dayton psychopath was from Ohio. They may all share a general similarity in skin tone, but does that really mean anything to an actual adult with even the slightest bit of education and/or worldly experience? They all come from very different parts of the country and have different backgrounds. However, such individual distinctions do not hold any significance to the Progressive Left and the narrative of the MSM. In their world view/ideology (or should I say theology?), skin tone imposes certain attributes on people and is a delimiter for appropriate behaviors, thoughts and actions. “Stay in your lane” is a pillar of Progressive ethos, and the ‘lane’ to which they assign someone is heavily dependent on a person’s skin tone.
Were they angry? I feel very comfortable in going a lot farther than that and assert that all three were not just angry, but neurotic, deranged, unhinged, alienated screwballs suffering from major mental pathologies. But this has been brushed aside by the Progressive Left. Their assertion, again supported and aggravated by the MSM and various democratic presidential candidates, is that their skin tone is a determining factor. In the Left’s current dogma, ‘white’ people are resentful that they are being ‘replaced’ by ‘people of color’ and are expressing their resentment thru acts of violence that are an inherent part of a fundamentally racist ‘white culture.’ The multiple ironies of such a position are evidently lost on Progressives, who appear to not be a very reflective or self-critical bunch.
Were they ‘alt-right’? At the moment, there is no evidence that either of the three were. Police have stated that they have yet to find a genuinely coherent ideology in all the social media accounts and personal belongings of the Gilroy looney. The El Paso nut had a rather eclectic ideology outlined in a manifesto currently attributed to him. His belief system apparently included a desire for separation of the ‘races’ in America by physical, legal, economic and social means (an idea which, to be frank, resonates not just with the ‘alt right’, but to a great extent the Neo-Maoist/’alt left’ as well), a radical environmentalism, support for universal health care and a government provided minimum income/standard of living. He also made it clear that he had formulated his ideas well before President Trump took office and was not a “Trumper.” If one had to lump him into a category as far as political ideology goes, he is for the most part a Leftist. The data on the Dayton psychopath, though, is crystal clear, and being actively suppressed by the MSM: he was an avid supporter of Elizabeth Warren and a fan of Antifa – a Progressive with a viciously militant bent.
Did the gun spree crazies use ‘automatic assault weapons’ and should these firearms be banned? Apopleptic protestations by Leftists to the contrary, definitions matter here, folks. The phrase ‘automatic assault weapon’ is used by people who have zero understanding of firearms and is a substitute for the more applicable phrase ‘guns that look extra scary to me and make me wet my panties.’ The primary weapons used by the three scumbags were civilian variants of the M-16 and AK-47. They are not automatic, but semi-automatic rifles, since full auto firearms have been effectively illegal in the United States for over 80 years. They are certainly dangerous weapons, but anti-gun screechers are hyperventilating over them mostly for their appearance. For instance: the Ruger Mini-14 fires the same caliber as the M-16 and AR-15, and the SKS the same cartridge as the AK-47, but both rifles, though just as potent as their more ‘scary’-looking counterparts, look much more innocuous, and thus fail to attract the ire of the anti-gun fear mongers. Furthermore, one could make a legitimate argument that a shotgun is significantly more dangerous. Depending on the model, the cartridge employed and the use of barrel chokes, shotguns can spew far more potentially lethal projectiles at short and medium ranges over a given period of time than the above cited rifles. There are also 10’s of millions of them in circulation. Banning the sale or ownership of ‘automatic assault weapons’ would thus be futile, as future mass murdering filth would simply switch to weapons that, while less ‘cool’ looking, were just as lethal or more so.
Is President Trump a bigoted, rabble-rousing fear monger who is fomenting racism? Again, a quick examination of the President’s speeches and public statements put the lie to this vomitous and hypocritical calumny. Trump has repeatedly and consistently stated since the beginning of his term that he has no problems with immigrants, but wants them to use LEGAL immigration channels; furthermore, he reserves America’s right as a sovereign nation to filter out any would-be immigrants that have a criminal past or who may pose a national security risk, as well as limit immigration if it threatens the financial welfare of people who are already citizens of this country. There’s absolutely nothing unusual about such a position, as every country in the world does it, and most employ significantly more severe criteria to control their borders than does the USA. But the Progressive Left rejects this factual truth in favor of their hallucinatory narrative truth. Since the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants are from Latin America, anything short of an open borders policy has been deemed by our Leftist moral and intellectual superiors as a policy based on skin tone discrimination and is thus an expression of White Nationalism and a defense of America’s inherently racist roots & heritage. One cannot help but notice that the entire platform of the Democratic party is built on identity politics, and democrats have been grievance-mongering with demographic groups for decades. Thus, accusing the President of racism is an act of fraudulent mendacity and sanctimonious hypocrisy of galactic magnitude.
There are other facts we could go over that would simply add even more overwhelming weight to disproving of the Left’s argument on the recent shootings. Progressives are calling for a return to the Clinton era ban on ‘automatic assault weapons’ as well as magazine capacity restrictions. Not only did these bans have no effect on gun crime statistics for 10 years, but they had some ugly side effects. For instance: it became rather common for police confiscating combat rifles and machine guns from criminals to find full capacity magazines in their possession labeled “For Police and Military Use Only.”
The complete ignorance of firearms among Leftists also reveals itself starkly when they fail to realize how reducing the capacity of a pistol magazine from 13-15 rounds down to 10 rounds simply means that an individual would be inconvenienced by a mere half to one second delay when switching to a fresh 10 round magazine while firing. In fact, anyone with a halfway decent machine shop setup in their garage could build their own high capacity magazines from some sheet metal, a few pieces of plastic and a spring, bans be damned.
And there are yet more facts: The incidence of ‘mass shootings’ (defined as a shooting where 4 or more people are either wounded or killed) has been dropping steadily for years, including during President Trump’s administration. Mass shooters are not a ‘white’ phenomenon – the great majority of them are perpetrated by minorities trapped in perennially poor, despairing, crime-ravaged neighborhoods that are in solid Democratic congressional districts (a fact which, if widely known, would cause Progressive heads to spontaneously detonate nationwide.) An abysmally small percentage of gun crimes are committed by people using “automatic assault weapons” and, as discussed earlier, can be easily replaced with weapons of equal or even greater relative lethality, so confiscating them and removing them from store shelves would have no salutary effect on gun crime statistics. More gun laws and regulations – and there are apparently somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 already at the local, state and federal level – are very unlikely to improve public safety, since if such a gigantic body of legal constraints was indeed effective, cities like Baltimore and Chicago would be the safest places on the planet.
Yet none of these facts have any effect whatsoever on Progressives, either at the leadership or rank-and-file level. The data is scoffed at, ignored, ridiculed, scorned or dismissed as the fabrications of the White Male Patriarchy and White Nationalists to use as tools to further their history of oppression. There are many people living in deep blue cities and states who are never even exposed to these facts, as their media outlets make sure to never make them aware of it or present it to them in a manner tailored to discredit it.
There is an increasingly loud drumbeat sounding in the MSM for the idea of imposing “Red Flag” laws as a ‘compromise.’ A growing number of Republicans are once again demonstrating that they have the moral resiliency of (to borrow a phrase) “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” and in their panic seem eager to embrace anything that will help them avoid the malign attentions of the SJW social media mob. The chances of such laws actually preventing the next gun spree are, in my opinion, quite low. After all, most of these lunatics have a history of mental illness and the authorities had frequently been advised of worrisome behavior – but this did not in the end make any difference. Red Flag laws nonetheless serve the aims of Progressives, as they place citizen’s gun ownership ultimately in the hands of centralized authority.
If you think such authority is immune from abuse, think again. About ten years ago, a very good friend of mine had an unfortunate incident with his teenage son. The boy had been diagnosed with epilepsy at an early age and had been put on medication to counteract the potential for seizures. These drugs, however, were known to cause extreme mood swings in adolescents, and one day the boy, now about 13, quite suddenly snapped and lunged at his father. My friend, a big and athletic man, fended the lad off easily and the altercation immediately came to an end as the boy just as suddenly calmed down. However, he accidentally received a small bruise under one eye (not from a blow.)
When the boy went to school the following day, a teacher noticed the bruise and decided to take action. A day or so later, my friend opened his front door to see two policemen studying him. They entered his house and proceeded to interrogate him, clearly in preparation for making an arrest. By pure good fortune, a schoolteacher who was very familiar with his son’s behavioral problems had been visiting to discuss the boy’s educational progress with his mother. She entered the room where my friend was being grilled by the local PD and immediately gave them the full story regarding the boy and his prescription drug-influenced behavior. At this point the policemen relaxed and the affair ended.
But that was a decade ago. Imagine a scenario where today you live in SF, Portland or Seattle and decide to send out a tweet stating “I like cauliflower.” You are immediately attacked by a vigilant SJW fulfilling his/her self-appointed role as a Twitter social justice patrol guard and are accused of fostering white supremacy by advocating for a vegetable which was “forced down the throats of First Nations peoples in America by mass murdering white male imperialist colonialist rapist patriarchs.” Multiple sycophants join in to create a viral virtual signalling chorus of condemnation over your tweet. Two days later, a couple of “Boys in Blue” arrive at your home, having heard from SJW-sympathetic social media monitors in local government that you had used ‘aggressive, triggering language’ on Twitter and had made many people fearful. The policemen sadly announce that they were required by law to confiscate your firearms, assuring you that you’d get them back once this had all ‘blown over.’ You would have to calculate the chances of your ever getting your guns returned to you – and in such deep blue, far left urban areas as mentioned above, I’d be willing to bet you $1k and give you 5:1 odds that you never see those guns again.
Regardless of how severe the erosion of your 2nd amendment rights could potentially be as a result of any rushed, thoughtless passage of federal “Red Flag” legislation, the politicos and likely a significant number of citizens will cooperate in the hope that this would result in the furor finally blowing over so everyone could calmly get back to their daily routines. But they would be fooling themselves.
And at this point, we return to Taleb and his example of a Salafi moslem minority gaining cultural ascendancy over a non-moslem majority. If, for instance, a small Salafi/Wahhabi moslem portion of a nation’s citizenry exerts sufficient pressure on government officials to ensure that all foods were ‘halal’, the majority would very likely have an easy time adjusting to this ‘new normal.’ After all, many foods available in American supermarkets are already designated as kosher compliant, and halal requirements are apparently more lax than kosher. The cost to the provider is minimal and the upside is small but noticeable – the foods vendors can entertain halal consumer business and the halal advocates finally shut up and leave the food providers in peace. The matter seemingly comes to an end with this resolution.
But the ‘veto power’ of an intolerant minority and the associated leverage of a dedicated Salafi/Wahhabi moslem group will eventually intrude into other cultural, social, political, economic and legal spheres. For the truly committed Wahhabi acolytes, the only acceptable world is one where Sharia Law reigns supreme. Thus, everything which is nonconforming is ‘haram’, or illegal in a literal sense (to the Wahabbi islamist.) They will be utterly inflexible on such matters and stubbornly insistent until they get their way.
It is much the same with sufficiently committed and zealous hard left Progressives/Neo-Maoists. They also rely on a self-proclaimed destiny as Chosen Ones who have had the True Word revealed to them – a date in the future where their triumph is assured and they will be the righteous, holy, wise and ideologically/theologically pure masters of all they survey, as they will have reshaped the entire world in their own self-image. What lies astride their path as an existential roadblock on the prophesied road of the inevitability of history is American Civilization, whose foundation stone is encompassed by…the Constitution.
There are two components of the US Constitution which immediately present themselves as particularly odious and infuriating to hardcore Progressives/Neo-Maoists:
The 1st Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The many court interpretations of the 1st amendment have proved useful on occasion to Neo-Maoists, but not in terms of whether the interpretations were just, factually correct, or within the original spirit of the Founders’ intent. Their only concern has been whether successive interpretations along with legislative or regulatory ‘additions’ have helped advance Progressivism.
For instance: is burning the Stars and Stripes in protest covered by the 1st amendment? Per the most modern court interpretations, it is, and is considered an act of free speech. But to the true Progressive, what is far more important is that it permits a direct and degrading attack on a symbol which has great historical significance to the nation and is part of the underpinnings of America’s social and political unity.
Another field in which the applicability of the 1st amendment has been heatedly debated is Social Media. Again, hardcore progressives have used court rulings to their advantage – for years now, they have defended Google’s progressive-manipulated news searches and Twitter/FB/Youtube/etc suppression of non-progressive participants on their platforms by reminding critics that these are private enterprises, not public spaces, and thus legally exempt from the same level of speech protection. However, a federal court recently ruled that President Trump’s PRIVATE twitter account could not be edited and contributors could not be blocked ON FREE SPEECH GROUNDS. Thus, the federal courts currently view social media as part of the ‘public square.’ Combined with the DoJ’s new antitrust investigation of social media companies, the stage is currently set for Progressives to experience a disastrous defeat in their war against the 1st Amendment.
Is the 1st amendment legitimately subject to interpretation, especially in terms of constraining it?
Progressives believe the protection of religion should be overridden by their own social causes, principles and directives, such as forcing Christian organizations to offer health insurance which covers contraceptive products and abortion services. They consider their doctrine on these issues to be morally superior to those of any Christian institution and are intolerant of any objections to their dogma.
An objective, rational adult would agree that free speech should be curbed IF AND ONLY IF the employment of it actually violated any rights defined in other constitutional amendments. An example would be yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Another would be inciting an angry mob to attack someone. Yet another would be purposefully spreading known falsehoods concerning another in order to cause them economic or physical harm. But diehard Progressives view free speech in a very different light. To a true Progressive, it not only is constrainable, but MUST be constrained if it does not aid and abet Progressive agendas and objectives.
This is what motivates Progressive efforts to criminalize what they consider to be ‘Hate speech’, which is any idea expressed verbally or in writing which contradicts to any degree the approved Progressive canon. Another more pernicious illustration is the invention of gender pronouns and the criminalization of their ‘inappropriate’ use or lack thereof serve a dual purpose. These language contrivances are useful in directing and controlling speech while also damaging social traditions and undermining people’s understanding of gender and social roles. Progressivism understands that one cannot reshape society and human minds to create the New Socialist Man of Marx and Lenin, the perfect and blissful ‘noble savage’ of Rousseau’s primitive communalism or the contented and unquestioning servant faithfully keeping his place in the hierarchy of Plato’s Republic unless the wise, all-knowing, infallible and pure Progressive rulers of these Utopian realms have total control over the range and nature of every thought the lower castes are permitted to consider and express. George Orwell’s O’Brien character in the novel 1984 would heartily approve of Neo-Maoist efforts in this field.
The right of peaceful assembly and demonstration has also been warped by Progressives to serve their ends. Antifa regularly applies in court for the right to assemble and demonstrate, but doesn’t seem to be terribly interested in the ‘peaceful’ part. The police in Boston, Phoenix and most especially Portland, Oregon can testify to that – especially the ones assaulted by Antifa filth wielding knives, milk shakes with quick-dry cement, bottles with urine, feces and molecular acids, bricks, fireworks, pipes and clubs. Their goal is not to petition government to redress grievances, but to ensure more moderate leftists toe the line and ‘keep the faith’ while Antifa tries to bully and intimidate any opposition. In other words, Progressives use demonstrations not to defend themselves against abusive government, but to attack government, weaken its resolve and co-opt it.
Now let’s look at the 2nd Amendment, which states in full – A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Progressives entertain a multitude of fictions about this amendment to assauge their ignorance-fueled fears and avoid considering the topic in a reasoned manner. “It’s just for hunting. People should only have hunting rifles.” “People back then had muskets. That means people today should only be allowed to have muskets.” “A Well Regulated Militia is an army. That means you can have a gun only if you’re in the Army.” “The Deplorables are stupid! If we listened to them, people would be able to own tanks and artillery and fighter jets and nuclear weapons. Just ignore those unlettered rubes.” “We should all agree that it’s desirable to have reasonable and sensible gun control laws. Now turn them in, you White Nationalist!”
Unfortunately for Progressives, the Founding Fathers clearly explained in writing what it is they intended by this single sentence. It’s really quite simple, and I will paraphrase their numerous articles and written statements concerning the amendment:
“We just fought a Revolution to free ourselves from a tyranny that attempted to keep us subjugated thru force of arms and to curb us from having the means to resist their injustices. Now that we are a nation, we will require a standing army to defend our soil and people. However: in the eventuality that at some point in the future a government attempts to shake off its legal controls and instead determines to subjugate its citizens, the People must be able to resort to their own arms to enable them to contest effectively against the enemy’s forces.”
The Founding Fathers did not intend every citizen to be part of a standing Militia, but to be citizens able to resist tyranny from their own government. The standard of comparison for the drafters of the Constitution was the composition of armies of that day, which were entirely composed of infantry. Thus, in a literal sense, we are all violating the 2nd amendment because few to none of us possess actual military grade assault rifles and a satchel of grenades.
Nonetheless, despite the compromise we have all accepted in banning the sale of machine guns, assault rifles and grenades to citizens, the objective of the 2nd amendment remains whole and true. While we gain an important benefit from having the means to defend ourselves, our loved ones and our property from criminal elements, the primary purpose of protecting the right of citizens to bear arms is to prevent a government from reducing its citizenry to a level where they cannot defend themselves against that government’s exercise of abusive and illegal power. The closer we are to being as well equipped as today’s infantryman, the more our government will have reason to respect and heed us. Governments, after all, are not good, but a necessary evil, and the larger & more distant they are, the greater their capability and temptation to commit self serving, evil acts.
The Left’s screeching about a rising tide of “White Nationalist Terrorism” is so ludicrous that anyone espousing it should be considered a danger to themselves and immediately taken to a psychiatric care facility. What would be infinitely more upsetting for the Left would be to force them to confront the Reality of things – that over 2/3 of America’s violent crime, including gun-related crime, occurs in urban areas, and particularly in the poorest sections of longtime democrat-controlled urban polities. On a per capita basis, Baltimore is in the top 5 of the most criminally violent places in the world, while Chicago is in the top 20. Draconian gun control regimens have not been productive in those cities. The reasonable conclusion to make from these facts is that both Baltimore and Chicago would likely benefit if the many local ordinances impeding citizens from owning firearms were removed.
But violent crime is obviously not a real concern to Progressives, even if over 2/3 of it is happening in their poorest districts. Their true beef with private firearm ownership is the freedom and individuality it fosters. They instinctively recognize that citizens must lose their individuality so that their intellectual and moral betters can mold them into their correct class and level, contributing to society in a manner ordained by their betters as most fitting. Since firearm ownership stands in the way of such feudal collectivization, either the guns or the gun owners have got to go.
Furthermore, since the Constitution is the greatest roadblock in the way of the Progressive March to a Socially and Economically Just Future and its first two amendments are arguably the most powerful portions of that unique and amazing document, the Progressive movement is focused on the destruction or neutering of those amendments most of all. These amendments are in direct contradiction to fundamental rules and diktat in Progressive dogma.
Here’s an example of how pointless dialogue has become on these basic issues. In this video, a 2nd amendment advocate attempts to reason with two thoroughly indoctrinated progressive acolytes from TMZ. Notice how the two sides are so far apart that there can be no understanding reached. In fact, the progressives simply refuse to entertain a mutual exchange of ideas and the ‘interview’ rapidly degenerates into a one way lecture in scolding and derisive tones.
So where does that leave us? Is Taleb’s ‘minority veto’ going to lead us inexorably to a Maoist future? Is the Progressive Left foreordained to erode our civil liberties to extinction and suborn all of our civilization’s institutions which they do not outright destroy? Will North Korea, China, Iran and Venezuela one day be criticizing the USA for its terrible civil rights record?
Let’s take a more nuanced look at this phenomenon.
“Grand Chroniques de France”, Simon Marmion, 15th Cent. (All 8 parts of The Song of Roland in one frame)
Historically, when an intransigent and intolerant minority tries to impose its views on a majority, those views need to impose effects on that majority that are either neutral, extremely minor or offer a distinct benefit/upside. Furthermore, the minority needs to be small indeed – ideally, in Taleb’s view, about 3% of the population. If the minority becomes sizable, then its priorities tend to shift and it seeks accommodation with the majority. Above a certain size, minority groups actually have something to lose in a conflict with the majority and usually have interests in common anyway.
The campaign to introduce kosher foods in American grocery stores is an excellent example of this. America’s jewish minority was indeed intransigent on this, but not militantly so. They simply had to have kosher foods or they would be unable to buy them. The majority didn’t care, as long as it didn’t impact their wallets. The grocers and packaged good producers saw the opportunity for a small upside with very minimal cost impact. So it happened.
The arab moslem conquests of Christian lands in the early middle ages provide multiple examples worthy of analysis. The Near East and Egypt were Byzantine lands. Constantinople’s Orthodox church exercised coercive ecclesiastical power in the region, but was nevertheless resisted by many splinter Christian groups.
There were several reasons why the Arab jihadists were so successful in absorbing those regions into the Dar Al Islam. Firstly, their practices in those days reportedly weren’t terribly different from those to which Orthodox Christians of the time were accustomed, so the adjustment was a modest one. Secondly, the splinter Christian groups saw in Islam a savior from Orthodox oppression. And finally, the early jihadist conquerors were shrewd enough to recognize that they needed the administrative talent and experience of the Christian ruling families in the area, and thus offered them a deal – convert to Islam, and you get to keep your administrative positions, titles, privileges and lands. That turned out to be a very easy sell.
However, things did not go so well when the Ummayad-led moslem armies invaded Spain, Portugal and southern France. In the Iberian peninsula, their numbers were small indeed compared to the local Christian populace, but they cursed themselves right at the start by making their presence and the nature of their demands for societal change odious to the locals. Thus, attempts to ‘islamisize’ Iberia were painfully slow and never converted more than 50% of the population, who converted back to Christianity readily as aggressive Christian kingdoms to the north and northwest steadily expanded southwards over the 700 years of the Reconquista. Affairs north of the Pyrenees fared even worse for moslem conquerors, as they were so paltry in numbers compared to their southern French subjects and were regarded with such hostility that they couldn’t even dare attempt changes to the cultural fabric. It took 50 years for the Franks to retake the south, but their conquest was complete, and the former Arab and Berber rulers left no lasting signs of their presence.
Finally, we can look at contemporary instances. The horde of african and middle eastern illegal immigrants invading Europe have tried to wield influence over their host countries and cultures, but with uneven success. Eastern Europe has by and large rejected their presence forcefully – after more than 4 decades of subjugation to a militant slavic communist power to their east, they appear to be extremely uninterested in trading their current freedom and cultures for that of interlopers with truly alien customs, traditions and religions, and the EU’s sanctimonious protestations be damned. Parts of western Europe have woken up to the cultural peril themselves and are now reacting quite aggressively – in particular Italy, where right and center-right parties have risen to power and resentment of the invaders (some of whom have committed horrific crimes on their hosts) now crosses political divides within the voting public, even as Leftist parties have lagged behind the changing sentiments of their own constituents.
Where the illegal immigrants are having success in transforming their host nations into something much more like home are, quite surprisingly, the Scandinavian countries, Germany, the low countries and Great Britain – the “Teutonic Tribal Arc”, if you will. Their peoples by and large appear to have lost faith in their own cultures and institutions and seemingly lack the will to defend their heritage. Germany, for instance, is passively allowing Sharia law to gradually displace its own statutes and legal codes. Great Britain’s local and national governing bodies preferred to ignore the plague of moslem rape gangs in at least a half dozen cities over the last 15 years for fear of ‘causing offense’ and instead have gravitated towards arresting people who publicly object to the lack of government efforts to integrate recent immigrants (illegal or not) for the crime of ‘hate speech.’ The illegal immigrant minorities in these nations do not, as best as I can tell, exceed 5% of the population. But despite the outrageousness of the changes they demand to the cultures of their northern hosts, they are steadily achieving their aims because the majority are deficient of the level of courage and/or cultural pride needed to resist them.
There are valuable lessons to draw from these examples for our current situation.
Gettysburg National Cemetery
All of us know that America has been almost evenly divided between Left and Right for many decades. Many of us remember that traditionally the two parties have been rather civil to their opposites, and their adherents hardly gave a damn about it when interacting with each other. Today, however, the breadth, depth and emotional intensity of the divide is certainly much worse than it was in the late 60’s (some of you will remember this), and has likely not been this great since the Civil War.
Nonetheless, even a growing number of people who traditionally vote Democrat are disturbed by the hard left policy positions, bitter anti-Americanism and psychotic rantings of hardcore Progressives (who I have termed – accurately, I think – “Neo-maoists” throughout this essay) along with the shameless race-hustling, faux scandal-mongering, bug-eyed sensationalism and vicious polemic of their MSM cheerleaders. The Neo-Maoist’s policy direction has become so radically marxist and the tone so caustic and antagonistic that even unshakeably loyal demographic groups are expressing their unease and either withholding support or, increasingly, switching sides. President Trump’s approval ratings with minority groups has been growing rather steadily since his election, with no sign of abating – a fact which is giving the Democratic party conniptions.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Neo-Maoists are only a small minority of Left-aligned voters. Push 90-95% of registered Democrats or left-leaning independents on the issues and you’ll find that as soon as a particular policy details starts impacting their wallets or way of life, they start acting and talking like moderate Republicans (read David Mamet’s “The Secret Knowledge” for an intimate dissertation on this.) Nevertheless, the ability of the Neo-Maoists to punch so far above their weight is classic minority veto leverage, as is their single-mindedness and complete intolerance of even fractionally dissenting views. Thru their media support – both conventional and digital – and the vitriolic extremism riddling their proclamations, the Neo-Maoist wing of the Democratic party has gained near-total control of the party apparatus, ideology, policy platform and PR strategy. The party Old Guard has tried to put up resistance but is now mostly toeing the line, clearly jittery about the neo-Maoist’s demonstrated ability to win seats at the local, state and federal level, as well as their fearlessness in challenging Democratic incumbents who they denounce as lacking sufficient zeal for pursuing social and economic justice. Very much like committed Wahhabi islamists, the Progressive Left has determined that their mission is holy – no diversions or deviations from their chosen path can be tolerated, and anyone who appears to lack sufficient commitment and zeal will be denounced as an Apostate and Heretic, with punishment sure to follow.
Yet as we have seen from examples of minorities attempting to exert leverage on a majority, the Neo-Maoists have clearly miscalculated. Three years ago, they were convinced victory was at hand. Progressives had stealthily crippled, corrupted or infiltrated political, social, educational, religious, and economic institutions across the american cultural landscape for seven decades and, in October 2016, believed they were just a small step away from successfully completing their efforts to fatally undermine American civilization, with an inexorable transformation into a long dreamed-of Post-Modern American Socialism, this time in a perfect and pure form, certain to follow. The shock of their failure to cross the finish line and the painful jolt of experiencing a reversal of a magnitude that they hadn’t endured for 36 years was too much for them, and the mask came off to reveal the foul, America-loathing monster underneath in all its hatred, bitterness, envy, spitefulness, ruthlessness and ugliness.
But they will not abandon their struggle, as they still believe that ultimately theirs will be the victory. Such is the way with fanatics and cultists – and there can be no doubt that the far Left Progressivism of Neo-Maoists is just as much a cult as were the Branch Davidians and the Peoples Temple of Jim Jones in Guyana. When Neo-Maoists do not succeed with a plan or stratagem on a given issue, they simply regroup, fine tune their tactics, turn up the volume and try again. The continually rising intensity of their angry & defamatory language, violent behavior and fraudulent accusations has been starkly evident for the last 20 months, and especially so with the radioactive insanity they exhibited last week.
These are not people with whom one can negotiate, reach a settlement, agree to a compromise or have a meeting of the minds. Their indoctrination is so profound that they simply do not think in the same terms as we do and arrive at completely different interpretations of the same event or phenomenon. For instance: if a black Republican woman tours Baltimore to talk to its citizens and capture their difficult living conditions on video, or if a Native American democratic congresswoman votes in favor of a bill to provide emergency humanitarian aid to illegal immigrants at the southern border , Neo-Maoists denounce them for “fostering white supremacism.” Let that sink in for a bit.
They can’t help themselves – they see the world thru an ideological lens and are simply unable to absorb Reality, but must twist it to fit the doctrinal narrative which structures their thoughts, guides their lives and gives their existence meaning and purpose. Any sensory input which threatens this ideological/theological framework is thus either warped beyond recognition to fit the ‘architecture’ of their minds, or is rejected entirely.
The opportunity for negotiation, compromise and reaching a mutual understanding or consensus has passed. For those of you who still think reason, compromise and gestures of goodwill can ameliorate their animosity or dampen their enthusiasm for demagoguery and polemic – give it up already. They only see it as a sign of weakness on your part, and they perceive it as validation of the effectiveness of their efforts and the quasi-divine justness of their faith.
It is very likely at this point that whoever wins the 2020 election will be faced with a loser who will refuse to accept the defeat, and sooner or later civil disorder on a major scale will ensue. I, for one, believe it more than likely that not only will President Trump win re-election, but that the Senate will stay Republican and the House will switch back to the GOP. Looking at the ongoing evolution of Antifa and the increasing shrillness of the Democrats (driven by their support for or fear of the Neo-Maoist faction of the party), all enthusiastically bolstered by the MSM and highly sympathetic social media firms, I believe the Left will resort more frequently to violence and civil disorder in the days and months leading to 11/3/20, including many false flag events (recent Antifa messaging between city chapters has been calling for precisely this, including crowds of Antifa kamikaze opening fire on police while wearing MAGA hats), and that the level of violence will rise significantly. Should they somehow make gains politically, though, and re-take control of Washington D.C., I fully expect that they will resolutely begin pushing us Normals to exhibit the same levels of anger and violence thru deliberately provocative and escalating political, social and economic oppression. Regardless – I have no doubts that it will be the Neo-Maoists who will strike the first blow, and they’ll have convinced themselves that they are fully justified in doing so. Their rhetoric is clearly intended to build a narrative for just such a purpose.
Please understand: I am by nature a glass-is-half-full kind of guy. And I very badly want things to be ‘normal’ again, like they were in the 80’s and 90’s. But I’ve come to the conclusion that Kurt Schlichter is absolutely right. The Neo-Maoists hate us. They genuinely regard us as Deplorables and, above all, Irredeemables. And they will never be content until we are either broken to their yoke or dead.
“War to the Knife” – mortal combat; a conflict carried to the last extremity. (Webster, 1913 edition.)
The origins of the above phrase are rather obscure. Yet anyone genuinely familiar with the history of the 20th century – especially those who have lived all or much of their lives in the period – understand the meaning of the maxim instinctively. And, of course, there are people from places such as Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, Lebanon for much of the 1970’s and 1980’s, or any remaining European, Chinese or Filipino survivors of the 2nd World War who have actually lived it.
It would be a mistake, however, to dismiss the idiom as merely a melodramatic description of a major war. Even some of the greatest large scale conflicts – the Napoleonic wars, the War of the Roses, as well as most of the campaigns of the Romans, the Mongols or Alexander of Macedon – were curbed to a significant extent by their participants. Such struggles were usually resolved without national or civilizational scale civilian massacres and/or deliberate, widespread destruction of the civil infrastructure of a participant’s territory, as they were ended when some rational or otherwise relatively bounded objective was achieved – a wealth-producing region was captured, a ‘debt of honor’ was paid, a strategically advantageous position was established and so forth.
When one considers the phrase “War to the Knife” more carefully, it becomes apparent that such an event doesn’t necessarily involve the mass deployment of formally organized, trained and equipped armies to a battlefield or military front. The sanguinary and unconstrained ruthlessness implied by the expression can on occasion be an accurate description of the civil discord arising within a civilization in a period of existential crisis.
Whether the clash is one between empires, nations and tribes or an internal societal/cultural contest, there are certain commonalities to such events:
1. The battle is between opposing belief systems. One or both can be a theology. It could also involve one or both having an ideology that is so intensely believed as to become a de facto religious creed.
2. At least one of the combatants is completely and totally unconstrained by any moral, ethical or legal principles, pursuing victory as a zero sum game. This ‘end justifies the means’ approach can be either apparent at the outset of hostilities or evolve as the conflict endures over time.
One of the 20th century events which perfectly captures the meaning of “War to the Knife” is this one:
Mao’s Cultural Revolution endured over a 10-12 year period, ending with his death in 1976. Millions died; many more millions were socially and professionally ruined; hundreds of millions were incessantly terrorized. But though it might seem at first glance that China’s society had descended into madness, there was very clearly a method to that madness. What were some of the defining characteristics of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and how did these characteristics manifest themselves?
The revolution was conducted against the entire collection of established institutions in Chinese society. Particular focus was placed on eradicating religious symbols, monuments and organizations, as well as any institution that had roots in the past, as China’s pre-Communist history was treated as an endless litany of evil acts whose legacy could only have a malign influence in the future unless completely stamped out.
2. The ranks of the civilian revolutionary cadres were composed mostly of university students (though K-12 students were heavily recruited as well in secondary roles.) Between their youthful vigor, the thoroughness of their indoctrination and the typical eagerness of a young generation to assert themselves and exercise their energies in effecting change, they proved to be a shrewd choice to coerce Chinese society and its institutions.
3. Assembled into large gangs, the university-based Red Guards intimidated establishment figures in the educational and political spheres by publicly shaming and berating them, coercing confessions from them for imaginary crimes against the principles of social, political and economic justice of the Revolution, and with increasing frequency physically assaulting and/or killing them. These purges included Party members who had previously been considered to be staunch supporters of the Revolution but had been deemed to be lacking in sufficient revolutionary fervor.
A more complete but nevertheless concise summary is available here:
America’s situation today is obviously different from that of 1960’s China. Theirs was a factional struggle amongst Marxists who already exercised absolute control over every aspect of China’s society. As the occasions and opportunities presented themselves and appropriate facets of the state apparatus were maneuvered into position by one faction or another, the contestants could exercise their will over various institutions and the citizenry. Furthermore, the party could legitimately point to the past century and a half of imperial and, later, militarist authoritarianism for many examples of the cruelty, injustice, inefficiency and corruption of the previous regimes. China’s pre-communist history had indeed been unhappy and even ugly for a good 150 years. Only the deeply brainwashed or venemously spiteful could say the same about America.
Nonetheless, we can see every day in the news how America’s progressives/neo-maoists are emerging from social justice oriented university departments and programs with the goal of attacking and destroying American culture and history. These new Red Guards are having an internal struggle of their own within the Democratic party – a fight which they have been very clearly winning over the past 15-20 years. But they are also fighting on two other fronts: the battle to wrest control of the remaining 50% or so of political and legal structures from their ideological/theological nemesis in the form of the Republicans, and the campaign against all economic, cultural and social institutions which they do not yet completely dominate.
Along the way, the neo-maoists are leaving no stone unturned to accomplish their mission. As an example of how dedicated they are to infiltrating and undermining every facet of American society, take a good look at this:
I’m part of a very early stage software startup where a very advanced AI is a central component of what we are developing. We’re well beyond the mundane image/pattern recognition bricabrac that is so breathlessly hyped nowadays. Seeing the intent of some of those course titles on offer from Google made my stomach sour and flip over. The cult-like obsessive mania of SJWs is glaringly evident.
There are those who have gone so far as to characterize the current state of affairs as a cold civil war, poised to potentially turn warmer:
In previous posts, I had speculated that any success by the neomaoists stemming from the 2018 midterms would fuel the neo-maoists and drive them to greater extremes of action – and my musing have unfortunately proven to be providential. The signs of what the neo-maoists would do with any level of success in the midterms were obvious beforehand. Now, they’re acting them out.
As party apparatchiks did in 1960’s China, many establishment figures in the Democratic party, either out of cynicism, previously hidden affinity or simple fear, are publicly and enthusiastically aligning themselves with the American Red Guards and their media facilitators. Some examples: Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer proclaiming that the president had been taught a lesson in the last budget and shutdown impasse; House Majority leader Nancy Pelosi proclaiming that Roger Stone’s ridiculously overblown arrest somehow proves President Trump was helped by Russia to win in 2016; the doubling and tripling down of members of the MSM on the Covington kids false flag despite the clear and incontrovertible refutation of their charges; and the ringing endorsements of all the current Democratic presidential candidates of AOC’s laughably retarded Green New Deal.
And what of the American Red Guards themselves? Antifa is clearly preparing to ramp up their actions to the next level of violence. The ex-leader of the Eugene, Oregon chapter who is featured in the link below was himself ex military, and his followers seemingly consider him an example to emulate:
I’d like to be clear about something, folks – I don’t want this. I dread the idea that things are moving in this direction.
But the Progressive Left won’t stop, because they DO want this. Remember: they’re playing this as a zero sum game. And since, in their theology, we are not only stupid but EVIL, it stands to reason that their success can be achieved only by our utter abasement or, failing that, our extinction.
They have already taken steps to ‘shape’ the battle and publicly justify their actions, as they are positioning this to be all on us:
One can see that these developments are being recognized in a growing circle for what they are, and a reaction seems to be building at the ‘grass roots’ level. However, it appears that those on the far Left either don’t care or are blinded by their delusions of the inevitability of history:
So where does that leave us – the Normals of Kurt Schlichter’s books and essays?
I honestly don’t know. It’s clear to me that we can’t rely on the Republican party to fight back effectively. Most of their officeholders appear to be reacting to all of this passively and would be quite content to serve as a permanent minority party, pretending to take an oppositional stance while holding what positions of power and influence-peddling they could, coasting along behind the scenes while the Neo-Maoists do all the heavy lifting of actually governing.
I voted for Trump as a counterweight to all of the above and am still enthusiastic about my choice. He is the Grey Champion of our Time of Troubles. But it’s not clear to me yet that he’ll be enough.
I found this yesterday on Youtube. Despite its length, it is worth more than 1 viewing.
Towards the 2nd half, both Peterson and Shapiro discuss in depth the aftereffects of the Enlightenment and touch upon how it overextends itself thru Rousseau and his ‘Noble Savage’ idiocy, leading to the madness of Collectivism and its descendants. I believe this part of the discussion in particular is of tremendous significance.
Consider the following (and forgive me if it doesn’t all hang together cleanly, as I’m writing this from a stream of consciousness and have a hard stop at 3:30PM local time:)
Both men criticize the post-Enlightenment thinkers who proclaim that the principles of the Enlightenment are completely divorced from the beliefs and precepts of the Catholic Church and the combined body of Judeo-Christian thought. It doesn’t take much effort to realize that those who either advocate a wholesale rejection of Judeo-Christian principles or assert that Liberalism is based on an Enlightenment that is completely separated from Judeo-Christian influence are extremely silly people, as Western Civilization’s foundation is built in major part on Judeo-Christianity, a body of ideas and institutions that predates Western Civilization by at least 3000 years. One need only remember a few glaring examples of this: the response Jesus gave when asked whether one should pay Roman taxes (a response which led directly to the separation of Church and State), or the theological canon created by Augustine with regards to whether scripture or science should be consulted to answer questions about the natural world (where Augustine told the zealots to shut the hell up with their nonsense about scripture being the only source of truth and knowledge, pointing out that you can’t figure out how fast a rock will be falling from a 100 foot drop from reading the Bible, but could find the answer readily if you simply spoke to a physicist.) There are also Judeo-Christian tenets which are derived from earlier influences of Syriac culture, reducing any claims of an absolute sundering between Liberalism and the history of civilized Man to the level of the preposterous.
Peterson and Shapiro go on to point out how this idea of the ‘purity’ of Enlightenment-based Liberalism has nevertheless crept further into the fabric of Western Civilization, deeply eroding the religious portion of our culture’s foundation and, consequently, ‘bleeding out’ a great deal of what has given it meaning and purpose. These gentlemen are recognizing a critical phenomenon in the evolution of Western Civilization that was recognized by Toynbee over 70 years ago, who also saw this rising secularization of Western society as having the effect of ‘hollowing out’ the culture.
Granted: the Church held back the development of Western Civilization during the Dark and Middle Ages thru its indulging in the exercise of secular power over a fragmented polity trying to recover from the collapse of Hellenic culture and rebuild itself into a viable society. Yet the Church itself experienced tremendous convulsions during this period. Example: the destruction of the Templars in the early 14th century who, having turned from militant zealots into extortionist bankers, were crushed by France’s Philip IV. Example: the Catholic-Protestant schism of the 16th century. Nonetheless, this ‘winnowing’ of the Church had a salutary effect. It forced it back into a role as a purely spiritual institution, shaping it for maximum utility to a budding Western Civilization. Recall that after a collapse, a society will do the hard work that the previous culture did not have the will to do – it will abandon institutions that have failed and are no longer useful, retain those that are still of use, and reshape ones that need to be ‘re-engineered’ to make them maximally effective. This is what happened to the Church. One can justifiably argue, in fact, that the birth of Western Civilization would have been IMPOSSIBLE without Judeo-Christianity in its new ‘form’ included as part of the foundation.
We may be well assured, that a writer, conversant with the world, would never have ventured to expose the gods of his country to public ridicule, had they not already been the objects of secret contempt among the polished and enlightened orders of society. – Edward Gibbon, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, Chapter 2.
Note how towards the end of the discussion Peterson and Shapiro agree quite fervently that the decay of spiritual life in America is a prime component of its current malaise and that a revival of spiritual strength is essential to the revitalization of American society. They cite the adoption of spendthrift consumerism, the decline of the institution of marriage, the moronic and shameful ‘hands off’ concept of child rearing, debauched behaviors on the part of youth (drugs, tattoos, piercings, brandings, a greatly extended juvenile period, a sense of defeatism, listlessness and lack of purpose) and the fervent adoption of leftist ideological/pseudo-theological canon as proof of a lack of genuine spirituality, with its instillation of social/behavioral/moral norms, sense of belonging to a community and sense of lifelong purpose. Clearly this tracks quite well with the Toynbee Civilization theorem, but it is worth examining more closely.
Is the decline of Judeo-Christian religious observance one of the causes of the decay of Western culture?
My thoughts are that the correct answer is NO. In my view, it is not a cause, but a symptom.
Creative Minorities arise in dynamic, healthy societies to solve existential crises that the ruling clique (the previous Creative Minority) is unable to contend with successfully thru the curse of ‘comfort with the familiar.’ Whatever solution the new Creative Minority develops will, however, create a new set of problems which will fester over time and flower into a fresh crisis.
As discussed in my earlier rants, the distribution of economic wealth and power is the central problem of both Western and American civilization today. For Western Europe, this problem emerged over 300 years ago. It has resulted in three great conflicts that attempted to bulldoze the problem thru the creation of a Western European Universal State – the Napoleonic Wars, the combined cataclysm of WW1 and WW2, and finally the Cold War of the 20th century.
The outcome of each conflict provided only a partial solution to the crisis; thus, all of these stopgap resolutions ultimately failed. Of course, the French Revolution and Napoleon’s belligerent adventurism broke European aristocracy. But those whose mindsets/outlooks reflected the aristocratic character endured, rephrasing the old concept of ‘noblesse oblige’ into the ‘class struggle’ of the proletariat against the capitalist bourgeoisie. It is this movement – the same challenge with a new ‘face’ – that drove the world wars and the war by proxy between the West and the External Proletariat of Orthodox Christendom embodied by the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe’s Warsaw Pact.
With the 3 1/2 beat rhythm of response and failure having manifested itself in the last 200 years of Western European history, we can see that Western Civilization is now firmly on the road to decay. The final Universal State of the EU is proving to be ‘autoschediastic’ or ad hoc and is already disintegrating after a bare 30 years of life. The still quite youthful American Civilization, however, is encountering this problem for the first time.
The ‘face’ of the challenge that is confronting American Civilization, though at heart the same as that which has defeated Western Europe, has changed in appearance yet again. It built on the centralization of power in Federal hands that was the solution for American Civilization in the Civil War, gained strength and legitimacy in the Great Depression and WW2, and received a tremendous burst of energy from the revolt of the Baby Boomers in the 1960’s, picking up a new ‘identity politics’ mask to switch out from the already battered Marxist facade to facilitate its growth. But while the veil/mask has changed, the goals and methods remain remarkably intact – the undermining and destruction of the current order and its institutions formed by the Renaissance and Enlightenment and its wholesale replacement with a pyramidal structure of top down control by a new elite, aristocrats in all but name, who would impose their definition of societal harmony with all the political, legal, social, economic and educational/doctrinal tools and weapons of coerced conformance.
Peterson and Shapiro advocate a return to spirituality to reignite a sense of purpose and community in the American polity. I disagree. What is necessary is to shatter the vehicle of authoritarianism that Progressives have commandeered to overthrow Western and American civilization – the central government, with all the power it has unconstitutionally assumed from the States and the people.Decision-making power for 90% of today’s outstanding domestic issues must be returned to the regional, state and local level.
The Swiss show us the way today. Western Europe is instinctively exploring this path at the national level (Brexit, to be followed by Italy and Austria) and even locally/provincially (Scotland and Catalonia.) The Romans, believe it or not, showed us the way over 2000 years ago. When establishing colonies in conquered territories, the Romans limited the size of new cities and towns to about 10,000. Once a town reached that size, they would try to siphon off excess citizens by establishing a new settlement at some moderate distance from the original. Thru experience, the Romans had learned that for a city or town to be able to sustain itself comfortably thru its own local means, handle its civic problems and maintain a unified and content polity, it had to remain small.
This is the right way forward for America. Federalism needs to return with a furious vengeance, so that the concentration of legal and financial strength in Washington DC, along with all the corruption, graft, racketeering and influence peddling which such centralization of power inevitably attracts is decisively and irretrievably wrecked. We are a nation of 325M people scattered across a continent, folks. Even without the deliberate sabotage of our cultural institutions by the Left thru canards such as ‘multiculturalism’, ‘diversity’, ‘fairness’ and illegal immigration from regions of the world deliberately favored by the conformity to absolute authority inherent in their home cultures, we would be hard pressed to find complete unity amongst the people in the states of New England, the Mid Atlantic, the Southeast, the old Northwest ‘Rust Belt’, Texas (which is completely unique and beautifully so), the northern and southern Midwest, the Rocky Mountain West, the Southwest, California, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Hawaii. By reducing issues to local, state and regional concerns instead of elevating everything to a national level, a sense of community, civic duty and belonging will return, and a sense of spiritualism is sure to grow concurrently.
I like to put historical quotes and multimedia in my essays to reinforce the story and make the essay an entertaining read. However, I’m including the video below not because it really has anything to do with the treatise above; I just think it’s a super cool tune. 😉
At the beginning of the 5th century B.C., Xerxes crossed the Hellespont with an army gathered from every subject territory of the Achaemenid Imperium. Per Herodotus, this army may have numbered as many as 2M soldiers, with a logistical train of 5M. 600 warships and 400 supply barges supported the colossal host and shadowed its march down the Greek peninsula.
The Athenians knew they were a primary target and quickly dispatched a high level delegation to Delphi to consult with the Oracle. The supplicants performed the obligatory rituals and approached the temple with laurel branches sacred to Apollo in hand, along with a sacrificial goat and a monetary offering.
Within the temple awaited the Pythia, a purple veil covering her face as she sat on a tripod placed over the sacred vapors emanating from cracks in the floor. When asked by the supplicants what the Gods counseled concerning the Persian invasion, the Pythia removed her veil and spoke thus:
Now your statues are standing and pouring sweat. They shiver with dread. The black blood drips from the highest rooftops. They have seen the necessity of evil. Get out, get out of my sanctum and drown your spirits in woe.
Seeing the doom of their city in the words of the augury, the Athenian delegation resolved to approach the Oracle again. Asking her what the Gods could suggest that they do to save themselves and their city, the Pythia delivered a second divination:
Await not in quiet the coming of the horses, the marching feet, the armed host upon the land. Slip away. Turn your back. You will meet in battle anyway. O holy Salamis, you will be the death of many a woman’s son between the seed time and the harvest of the grain.
Themistocles of Athens, a skilled orator and exemplary strategist, deduced the meaning of the prophecy and convinced the Athenians of his interpretation. From this followed the evacuation of the Athenian populace to the nearby island of Salamis where, after witnessing the army of Xerxes burning their city to ashes, a combined Greek fleet led by the Athenian navy lured the Persian armada into an ambush near a cape of Salamis and annihilated them as the ShahanShah of the Persians watched from his throne atop a mainland bluff.
The prestige of the Delphic Oracle was at its peak in those days. But now the once sacred site lies in ruins, its purifying springs having ceased to flow, the thermal mists no longer rising from the floor of Apollo’s desolate sanctum. Yet the disorder, menace and tribulations of today rekindle memories of ancient crises and the ways in which our forebears confronted them.
People with advantages … come readily to define themselves as inherently worthy of what they possess; they come to believe themselves ‘naturally’ elite, and, in fact, to imagine their possessions and their privileges as natural extensions of their own elite selves. – C. Wright Mills
We know the nature of the crisis. The federal government taking a dominant role in the nation’s political affairs to win the Civil War but not relinquishing that authority upon the war’s conclusion has led step by step to a challenge of the fundamental makeup of our civilization – centralized control by our ‘wise elders’ driven thru collectivist group conformity/identity versus the freedom of the individual, constitutionally mandated decentralization of political power and respect for natural rights. Our civilization is on the verge of a breakdown, as birth rates further deteriorate, the internal proletariat increasingly loses faith in society’s institutions, and the current cultural leadership in political, economic and social spheres attempts to establish itself as a dominant minority, exercising power as a self-awarded moral and intellectual privilege while tearing down what is left of the current cultural infrastructure in order to replace it with people and frameworks that solidify and expand their preeminence.
Nassim Taleb believes the root of the problem is that our world is run by self-proclaimed ‘experts’ who are in fact not anything of the sort, since their ideas, efforts, programs, policies and principles are based in elegant theory, not reality; furthermore, the damaging consequences of their errors do not rebound on them, but on the rest of us, as these ‘experts’ have no skin in the game and thus suffer no consequences for their failures. Thus, they never learn from their mistakes and, contrary to the natural (Darwinian) ramifications of being found lacking in ability and merit, remain to benefit from their privilege and position, free to continue pontificating from their ivory towers on the intrinsically just precepts of Plato’s Republic while looking down their noses at the ‘ignorant proles’ who are too ‘common’ in their worldview and limited in their education and perceptive faculties to fully understand.
With all of this in mind: how did the Left manage to have a decently successful midterm?
Let’s be clear about one thing: the Left did not achieve its gains thru promoting a detailed platform with an appealing view of the future. MONEY BOUGHT THE LAST ELECTION CYCLE. Every victorious candidate on the Left – and quite a few of the ones who failed, including a far left progressive in Texas who had a $72M budget to contest a senate seat – had ‘anonymous’ donors who provided anywhere from 1/3 to 2/3 of their budget. The DNC had almost nothing to give; for the last two years, their coffers have been empty and they have been effectively bankrupt.
We also know where that money came from – Soros, Steyer, Bloomberg and a handful of others who see an opportunity for colossal profit in the collapse of America by grabbing a tremendous number of assets at fire sale prices. Unlike the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. of the James Bond films, this loose fraternity operates in the open, leaving their enclaves in Silicon Valley and the old money archipelago of mansions in upper New York State to rub elbows with like-minded confederates at Davos.
Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers. – Camille Paglia
The money provided to turn the House to a small Democrat majority and flip 7 governorships incurred an obligation. We can already see the form its payment will take. The MSM, already disgusting before, is plumbing new depths of mendacity and vileness in its role as the Minitrue of the Progressive/Neo-Maoist left. House democrats have declared their intent to launch 85 ‘investigations’ against the president and his associates to contrive scandals and controversies with which to feed the MSM megaphone, like a round-the-clock “Two Minute Hate.” And the early indications regarding legislative priorities of a Democratic House are clearly intended to harm and inflame the President’s voting base.
The goal, of course, is chaos in the polity, economic disruption, tribalism and the “death by a thousands cuts” of the Rule of Law. It doesn’t go quite the full distance that would instigate a Civil War, but is more in the nature of a “Cultural Revolution.” Blood has already been spilled – the Republican House baseball practice that was shot up in 2017, the Antifa associate who sent out mail bombs last year that killed two and maimed four, the other Antifa acolyte who gunned down 26 people (including a 9 month old baby) in a church in a SE San Antonio suburb, as well as people who have been assaulted and injured (some permanently) at Antifa riots in Berkeley, Portland and elsewhere. But a Cultural Revolution targets only those who lead the polity and are in positions of authority, along with any of their followers in the internal proletariat who have the nerve to resist. The goal is to capture the polity intact but bereft of leadership, so that it can be herded and then shaped to Revolutionary ends.
This leads to an important question: how many acolytes are there in this Cultural Revolution? Not just the fanatical Red Guard, but others who believe in most or all of the same vision but aren’t quite as ‘enthusiastic’ in the efforts to implement it?
The view of the Establishment as promulgated by the MSM is that a new Mason Dixon line exists in America, with the boundary running between Urban & Suburban America and Rural regions. But logic suggests that this cannot possibly be the case. After all, over 81% of Americans live in urban & suburban areas; thus, the House of Representatives should not be anywhere close to an even split.
Consulting polls to gauge the political divide is a mostly fruitless endeavor. Polls can be quite slanted. Methodologies can be questionable. They can disagree quite dramatically. They can also be horribly wrong. And voters can also be very fickle. Perhaps the ancient Greeks understood human psychology far better than we do, as the divinities of the Hellenic pantheon that served as stand-ins for various aspects of Hellenic culture were often temperamental, vain, irrational, wanton, undependable, callous, sadistic, erratic and foolish – a rather accurate reflection of Ancient Greek society that has more than a little in common with our own. In the end, we can only characterize the American polity in broad generalities – rural areas are usually some shade of red, urban areas are frequently a lighter or darker shade of blue, and the suburbs are typically a battleground. Taken as a whole, Americans seem to be about 1/3 to the right and 1/3 to the left, with the rest waffling.
Trump forcefully appealed to them all, quite energetically and directly. That’s how states previously considered blue bastions turned to him in 2016 and how so many Republican congressmen emerged victorious in suburban districts. It was a highly inclusive message, intended to cross boundaries of race, creed, color, class and gender, and was recognized by many voters as a sincere appeal.
The Left, driven by their deep-pocketed corporate donors, has responded not by seeking to win back the hearts and minds of a majority of Americans, but by waging political, informational, legal and cultural war against political opponents and their supporters in an effort to energize their own base and demoralize that of their rivals. Theirs is not an attempt to revive their fortune thru the traditional democratic process, but to destroy the opposition and grasp absolute power.
If they are successful, what will follow, however, will not be the collectivist, redistributionist, egalitarian paradise of the left’s ideologues. They will become mortal enemies of the State just as much as the Right, as wealthy donors unite in common cause with the political and social elite to impose their oligarchic/plutocratic rule.
Like the Persian host of old, the forces arrayed against us are daunting and could easily provoke despair in even stout hearts. If we were to follow the example of the Athenians and made the journey to Mount Parnassus today in order to seek the counsel of the Pythia, what would she say to us?
There is a history in all men’s lives, Figuring the nature of the times deceas’d, The which observed, a man may prophesy With a near aim, of the main chance of things As yet not come to life, which in their seeds And weak beginnings lie intreasured. – William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II
I believe the Pythia would recognize that we have a Grey/’Orange’ Champion already – a man from an earlier time, one who is defiant, resolute, unbending and more than a little ruthless. He does not wither, yield or merely defend, but attacks and counterattacks, always regaining the initiative with redoubled ferocity to keep his enemies reeling and unbalanced.
The seeds of our destiny may already be sown, and the Delphic Oracle was esteemed for divining the crop such a planting would likely yield. My guess is that the Pythia would say something along the following lines:
Honor your ancestors, who once toiled and sacrificed for your future; be steadfast and confident, for a mighty pilot has grasped the helm of your ship. Your allies are more than you know, and the helmsman shall steer your course true. You shall have revenge upon those who have usurped your house, like Odysseus of old.
Blue Ridge Parkway (Source: theconstantrambler.com)
In Part 1 of this series we addressed the question “Is America a country or a civilization?” and answered it with a resounding “YES!” America is a civilization in its own right, having branched off from Western European civilization and now charting a destiny independent of its parent. In Part 2, we assembled the ‘toolkit’ for analyzing American civilization from the precepts and methodologies espoused by Arnold Toynbee and the Strauss & Howe Generational Cycle. We are now ready to begin the dissertation in earnest.
Buckle up. 🙂
The following discussion will depend primarily on Toynbee’s framework, as its universality regarding human civilization in general offers the longest time frame and, thus, the broadest perspective. The periodicity of the Generational Cycle, however, as well as its particular applicability to American civilization, will prove to be of service as well.
So, to begin: Is America a Growing or Declining civilization?
Even a cursory review of America’s 229 year history (using the enactment of the Constitution as a starting date) reveals its success as a civilization in establishing itself against both physical and human external challenges – the Revolution, the conquest of the frontier, the wars with Mexico and Spain and three world wars (including the Cold War.) A critical fact to recognize is that labeling the United States a “Universal State” for a decaying Western civilization because of these events would be incorrect. After all, in the war against Mexico, America did not incorporate the conquered nation into its territory but released it to resume its status as an independent country and even paid for the tracts of territory claimed from Mexico in what became the American Southwest. The Imperial Russian claims on the NW coast of the North American continent were also bought, not annexed thru conquest. Cuba and the Philippines, both taken in the Spanish American War, were set free from American suzerainty to become nations in their own right. And finally, America did not consolidate Western Europe and Japan into a territorial empire after the 2nd World War, but released them, provided security and helped them get back on their feet. Alexander and Caesar would have had a stroke over such daftness. America is simply not the stuff of which empires are built.
Once a civilization establishes itself, Toynbee asserts that further challenges to a growing civilization will be internally generated and existential in nature, such that a successful response to a challenge will involve a civilization transforming itself in part or in total to overcome it. This transcendence is necessary so that the civilization might remain vital, and is ironically a result of unintended consequences stemming from the resolution of the previous challenge.
What purely internal challenges has American civilization faced in its short history?
The Constitution itself generated the first major crisis. Thru the strenuous rejection of anti-slavery articles in the original draft by Southern colonial delegates and the urgent desire for unity amongst the original thirteen colonies fueling an atmosphere of compromise, a contradiction between the spirit and application of the Constitution drove a wedge between North and South that flowered into the first major war of the Industrial Revolution. This civil calamity led to the loss of 3% of the nation’s population within the space of 5 years and the economic ruin of the South.
This first existential challenge of American civilization was savagely resolved and America became one country again, but legal and social struggles continued for another century after Appomattox. Jim Crow laws and segregation ordnances were enacted in the former Confederacy, reinforced by the savagery of an irregular volunteer militia in the form of the KKK. The final victory over these Confederate ‘rear guard’ actions was realized thru the courts and specific federal legislation designed to enact the objectives of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act.
However, per Toynbee’s thesis, the successful settlement of one challenge plants the seeds for the next. In its triumph over Richmond, Washington D.C. had stamped out the final vestiges of state autonomy left from early post-colonial times. The principles of Federalism enshrined in the Constitution as a check against central government overreach were effectively neutered by the Civil War.
Albert Bierstadt, “Emigrants Crossing the Plains”, 1869 (Source: Wikimedia)
This would be reflected in the evolution of the American political and legal environment at both the state and federal level over the next 150 years. The western frontier was opened, territories were defined, the US Cavalry was dispatched to build forts, protect roads & trails and subdue the war bands of belligerent Indian tribes, U.S. Marshals and Judges were dispatched to bring law and order and, over time, new States were organized and accepted into the Union – all under the auspices and stewardship of the Federal government.
Furthermore, in an effort to populate these new domains as well as feed the tremendous demand for labor in the burgeoning manufacturing sector, the floodgates of immigration were opened to millions of southern and eastern Europeans. There were Italians planting vineyards in the Missouri Ozarks, Basques herding sheep in Montana and Wyoming, Portuguese fishing the Pacific off the California coast, German Ukrainian farmers planting corn and wheat in Kansas and Nebraska, Greek miners in Utah and Swedes starting dairy farms in Wisconsin, in addition to the Polish, French, Sicilian, Irish and other immigrants working in the Pennsylvania iron & steel foundries, the New Jersey clothing mills, the Ohio glass works and so forth. The entire immigration process was vetted and, over time, carefully restricted by Washington.
Edward Moran, “Unveiling the Statue of Liberty”, 1886 (Source: Wikimedia)
Linking the cities and towns of a nation spanning a continent also fell under the control of the Federal government. Railroads, waterways and canals, once the purview of private business interests and individual States, became the concern of Washington in post-Civil War America. Washington’s command authority over the nation’s transportation networks is nowhere better illustrated than by the interstate highway system. In what was once a dominion exclusive to the individual States, the Federal government now compels matching funds from State budgets for the construction and maintenance of interstate roadways.
There were certain benefits to this centralization of political power in D.C. Victory in WW2 and NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs were made possible by the mobilization of necessary resources under central control. Between first beating the Axis and subsequently the Red Menace while concurrently walking on the Moon and sending robotic spacecraft to Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the Great Beyond, it began to seem as if Washington D.C. could do……anything!
It was here, at the seeming Apex of America’s might and glory, that the Yin and Yang of Toynbee’s existential dilemma for civilizations presented itself for a second time to America.
It was the Greatest Generation – the GI’s – that trounced Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany while doing most of the prep work that led to defeating the Soviets (an external challenge eventually completed by the GI’s successors, the Silent generation.) Yet their children – the Baby Boomers – outwardly rejected all their parent’s views and ideas while subconsciously embracing their methods and approaches in general terms.
Boomers are indeed team-oriented, civics-conscious and driven to pursue the Greater Good from the standpoint of concerning themselves with the supposed needs of the Many rather than the needs of the Few or the One. These sentiments, combined with their rebellion against the social and behavioral restrictions imposed by their parents and the growing perception that there was no problem too large or difficult for Federal government to solve, collided head-on with a political, social and economic ideology that had been plaguing Europe for almost two centuries: Collectivism.
The ground-root folly of this piteous philantropy
is thinking to distribute indivisibles,
and make equality in things incommensurable:
forged under such delusions, all Utopias
are castles in the air or counsels of despair. – Robert Bridges, The Testament of Beauty (1929)
The origins of collectivist sociopolitical and economic theory can be traced all the way back to the peak of Hellenic civilization – Ancient Greece during its Classical period. After the conclusion of the Persian Wars, the Greek city states failed to create a pan-Hellenic political union that complemented their already existing economic interdependencies. The failure to constructively address this latest challenge to Hellenic civilization precipitated an extended and calamitous civil war – one that would end after nearly three centuries of slaughter, rapine and destruction with the conquest of Hellas by the Legions of Rome’s late Republican era.
While the opening act of this cataclysm was under way – the thirty year Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens – Plato penned one of his most famous works: The Republic. In a fictionalized debate between Plato’s teacher Socrates and a group of philosophy students, Plato describes the ideal city state in the following general terms:
The state is ruled by a Guardian class divided into warriors and administrators. It is they who are not only the most educated in society, but who decide what constitutes the proper educational curriculum for society. This control includes the right to censor ideas and materials as considered appropriate by the Guardians.
Thru proper education, citizens can be taught to understand their place in society and to pay proper attention to their responsibilities – both to themselves and to their fellow citizens – so that there is perfect harmony.
Human reproduction is the purview of the State. Furthermore, it is the State that raises children and not their parents, so that the State can ensure the child is properly educated.
The ruler of the polity and the Guardian class is a Philosopher-King.
By controlling the education of the entire polity, the Philosopher-King and Guardians ensure that the populace is Good.
Goodness is the ultimate source of Truth.
Plato’s body of work was one of the very few to survive intact after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the death of Hellenic Civilization. “The Republic” was intensely studied by scholars, the Catholic clergy and other intellectuals during the Middle Ages. Most found fault with it. Some, however, were quite taken with this sophistic pile of elitist garbage. Among them was Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Born in Geneva in 1712, Rousseau’s formative years and early adulthood were spent amongst successful merchants, upper class families, nobility and educated clergy. Education, class and wealth were always central themes of life in his familial, social, commercial, educational and professional activities. A successful writer, most of his social interactions were with the intellectual, artistic and aristocratic elite of France, Germany and England. Despite the praise heaped upon him by many illustrious personages, in the end he managed to alienate almost all of them, and was known to be egotistical, haughty, contemptuous and quick to anger when challenged by others – especially those he considered his inferiors.
Rousseau’s social, political and economic views clearly owe a heavy debt to Plato. They can be summarized as follows:
Civilization creates inequality, envy and unnatural desires, where man values himself only as others perceive him or as he perceives his status, wealth and/or position in comparison to others. Overall, the material benefits of Science and Progress had been harmful to Man, degrading a natural goodness that was most readily manifested when he was in a state of complete poverty.
The worst damage to the innate goodness of Man came from the institution of private property, which was in Rousseau’s day the primary distinguishing factor between individuals and classes.
Man was ‘perfectible’ in that he could be taught/trained in morality and civic duty to counter his individualistic, selfish instincts and mold him to care primarily for the good of greater society.
Everyone must forfeit individual natural rights and accept duties that subordinate him to the group. This is true freedom, as one is free from care for oneself and one’s position in society, since all are equal and care for each other.
Property can be owned only if cultivated, and only at a subsistence level.
The fruits of the earth belong to all, and the earth to nobody.
Writers started doing dystopias after we saw the effects of trying to build utopias that required, unfortunately, the elimination of a lot of people before you could get to the perfect point, which never arrived. – Margaret Atwood, in “A Progressive Interview With Margaret Atwood” by Matthew Rothschild, in The Progressive (2 December 2010)
A common theme runs thru the course of Rousseau’s life which provides an illuminating contrast to his utopian musings. Disinherited in his youth, Rousseau behaved throughout his life as an elitist that had been unjustly displaced from his rightful position by the vicissitudes of fortune and a crass commercial world that failed to recognize his right to an exalted status due a person of his breeding, education, family heritage and social connections. He believed it is was his inherent privilege to tell others what they should do and how they should live their lives. At the same time, he craved recognition by those he considered his peers – landed nobility, along with premier artistic and intellectual figures.
As Plato influenced his own thoughts, Rousseau in his turn heavily influenced Robespierre and other key figures in the French Revolution, as well as Marx and Engels. From this, one can see a pattern develop in the leading figures of Collectivist ideology. When one catalogs the background of people such as Rousseau, Robespierre, Marx, Lenin, Hitler, Mao and others, the following commonalities emerge:
They prize intellect and intellectual achievement-especially their own.
They hold the perception of having been thwarted of their ‘rightful place’ in society.
They develop a world view that society itself is deeply flawed; that those currently in exalted positions are unworthy; and that they are amongst a great multitude that are being oppressed and/or wronged.
They either seek and adopt an ideology that supports their views or develop one of their own, then embark on a quest to fulfill the promise they believe is offered by this ideology in order to fulfill their destiny and take their ‘rightful place’ in a new society of their own making.
We can all readily grasp why some people who live in deep poverty under authoritarian regimes, unable to change the circumstances of their lives in a rigid social structure, might be attracted to any ideology which offers change. However, for a generation that has grown up with stability, order and prosperity, who are significantly better educated than the generations before them, and who are rebelling against the social & religious constrictions and responsibilities imposed by their parents, wanting to be free of the pressures, personal sacrifice and toil that fell on their parent’s shoulders and are about to fall on theirs as they enter young adulthood, their motivations are quite different. I speak of a generation that yearns to express the wondrous, beautiful, individual uniqueness which they believe to offer, that feels entitled to that recognition but, not finding it from a society which demands effort and proof of achievement before acknowledging their assumed quality, discovers a global Socialist/Communist movement that looks like the perfect vehicle for their rebellion.
The Boomers saw Communism violently rejecting the world created by their parents and challenging it energetically, in every aspect and on every front. International Communism scorns organized religion and offers instead a religion of the State – where embracing its theology makes you smarter, wiser, nicer and better than those who adhere to the old ways. You become special, one of the apostles of this new faith that’s so much more humane and caring than what your fuddy duddy old parents espouse. It’s here, it’s now, it’s new, it’s WOW! And everybody’s into it, man, all over the WORLD! You’re carried away by being part of something way bigger than you are, freed by it as you get lost in the multitude, swept up by its power and historical inevitability, because it’s so real, so evolutionary, so REVOLUTIONARY, so……….PROGRESSIVE.
In addition to this there is the horrible — the really disquieting — prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England. – George Orwell, “The Road to Wigan Pier” (1937)
Western Civilization in Europe has faced the challenge of Collectivism three times. The first was in France during the Revolution at the end of the 18th century and extended across Europe by Napoleon in a first attempt at establishing a Universal State. The challenge was beaten, but not defeated, as the ultimate question posed by the challenge – what is a fair and equitable distribution of wealth and privilege across society – was not answered satisfactorily. Thus, a breakdown commenced in Western Europe and the challenge arose again in the manifesto of Marx and Engels. Mussolini and Hitler carried the National Socialist banner very near to victory and the establishment of a Western Universal State in the Second World War. Yet the barriers to social mobility from class and educational privilege, though gravely wounded as a consequence of the conflict, still lingered in Western Europe, opening the way for a third challenge – this one from the Soviet Union, whose threat was, like the previous relapse, both ideological and military.
The menace posed by the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact and the Communist Internationale was somewhat unique in history, as best as I can tell. In this case, the third relapse of the challenge was not posed in the beginning by Western civilization’s Internal Proletariat, but by an Orthodox Christian External Proletariat. The Orthodox Christian civilization, centered in Imperial Russia after the fall of the Byzantine Imperium to the Ottoman Turkish onslaught, itself responded to the threat posed by an ascendant Western civilization in 1917 by adopting the West’s own internally competing ideology – Collectivism – in an attempt to re-organize Orthodox Christian civilization thru centralized control of all resources and mount a cultural ‘counterattack’ in order to equal or overtake Western civilization’s leadership in economic, artistic and technological spheres. This effort by an External Proletariat in turn stimulated the West’s Internal Proletariat to resume its ‘class struggle.’
With a third relapse of the crisis, Western Civilization’s response was, per Toynbee’s 3.5 beat cadence, the weakest of all. Western European governments adopted a ‘soft socialism’ that attempted to combine democracy with a large social safety net and detailed central government management of the economy ‘for the greater good.’ Despite such societal window dressing, the ghosts of elitist domination of the halls of power in government and industry persisted – much more subtly than during the days of Rousseau, but lingering like ghosts nevertheless, as class and privilege still exist throughout Western European society.
It was at this point that the growing distance between the USA and Europe became obvious and America came definitively into its own as a Civilization. NATO was formed to counter the Red Army, but America carried 80-90% of the weight of that alliance. Western Europe formed the Common Market and, eventually, the European Union – the Universal State of Western Civilization finally realized – but the economic, political, technological, military and above all cultural scales tilted ever more towards America, as Western Europe declined into an imitative backwater. The signs were clear then and now, as Western Europe increasingly shirked the necessary expenses to maintain its military capability, preparedness and overall capacity for self defense in favor of ever greater funding thru higher taxes and public debt burdens for ‘free’ medical care, ‘free’ university education and other forms of public dole.
Both Catholic and Protestant Christianity – bedrock institutions of Western civilization – are approaching extinction in Western Europe. The most glaring evidence of a civilization in its Disintegration phase is the continuing infiltration of an African and Middle Eastern External Proletariat who, upon arriving in Western Europe, openly and ferociously express their contempt for its people and institutions. The frontier’s boundaries are not only increasingly undefended; the will of Western European nations to even mount a defense is simply not there, as the Dominant Minority no longer seems to believe that the borders are worth defending. The Internal Proletariat gave up on its leaders some decades ago, and their cynicism is deeper than ever as the Dominant Minority, seemingly oblivious, continues sending its future leadership cadres in politics and business to be trained at Oxford, Cambridge and the “Grandes Ecoles.”
This is why they are stagnant; why they no longer create or innovate to any significant extent; why the church is practically dead; why they produce almost no new art or literature of note; why they have no sense of history or sense of self as a civilization; why they won’t defend themselves against Islamic and African invaders or a resurgent imperialist Russia; why they became weaker and weaker during the Cold War; why together they could not squash or even contain the Yugoslav civil war in the 90’s; why 20 years later, the strongest of them working together could not muster the military strength to over throw Muammar Qaddafi in Libya; why their birth rates have collapsed; and why their Internal Proletariat no longer concern themselves with getting ahead or improving their living conditions and economic situation, but instead focus on further reducing their working hours, extracting ever more benefits from their central government and spending their 4-6 week summer vacation in the Greek Isles, Mediterranean Spain or Italy’s Adriatic shoreline, drinking themselves into a stupor and throwing their guts up every night. Western Civilization is a civilization that is very visibly committing suicide, unwilling and unable to firmly confront and resolve a feudal ‘hangover’ in their culture that impedes class mobility.
As the disintegration advances, we will see the Universal State of the EU implode. Separatist movements such as those in Catalonia, Scotland and perhaps Northern Italy might gain strength; in any case, individual nations will either seek their own salvation (as Italy and Austria seem to be attempting at the moment) or simply die (as Spain, France, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Germany and Sweden appear determined to do.)
But what of America?
Particularly on the Left, political thought is a sort of masturbation fantasy in which the world of facts hardly matters. – George Orwell, “London Letter” in Partisan Review (Winter 1945)
The 2nd Turning or “Awakening” of the Generational Cycle burst forth with revolutionary fervor simultaneously with the beginning of a fresh challenge to American Civilization regarding the “reach” of central government power (originating from the measures taken to overcome the previous challenge regarding slavery) during the 1960’s. You can see these early days of the emerging challenge quite clearly by contrasting the speeches of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater to highly receptive audiences at the 1964 Republican Convention against the anti-war demonstrations that erupted across college campuses in the late 1960’s.
The McCarthy era notwithstanding, we are in the throes of confronting Collectivism as an internal, existential challenge to our civilization for the first time. This challenge, however, is of a different nature than the Western European one. Western civilization has been confronted thrice with a struggle between Collectivism and the existing social order, which even today still echoes its feudal past of a rigid class hierarchy. America’s struggle, by contrast, is one between Collectivism in terms of groups and tribes claiming grievances against other groups/tribes and seeking redress, versus the respect for and value of the individual evolved from the broader Germanic cultural tradition that is part of America’s original foundation and enshrined in the Constitution.
In the eyes of the Right, Washington D.C. is guilty of de-facto criminal overreach that violates constitutional limits on federal versus state sovereignty, as well as breaching the effective sphere of control with which the Constitution bounds the federal government in relation to its presence in all aspects of our society. This includes both the lack of enforcement of Constitutional mandates as well as the exercise of power over areas or to an extent which the Constitution prohibits. To put it more succinctly – the Right asserts that the Federal government is operating outside the proper bounds of the Constitution, both in spirit and in fact – as if the Constitution were a ‘living document.’
However, all of the above is, in the eyes of the Progressive Left, not a bug, but a feature.
Secondly there is the fact that the intellectuals are more totalitarian in outlook than the common people. On the whole the English intelligentsia have opposed Hitler, but only at the price of accepting Stalin. Most of them are perfectly ready for dictatorial methods, secret police, systematic falsification of history etc. so long as they feel that it is on ‘our’ side. – George Orwell, Letter to H. J. Willmett (18 May 1944)
If statistics are to be believed, Boomers today are almost evenly split between Right and Left, with the Left side holding a 4 point lead. It is likely, though, that their numerical advantage was significantly higher in the 60’s, which was, after all, the Vietnam era.
Going by Strauss & Howe’s timetable for the current set of generations, the Baby Boomers were born between 1941 and 1960, making the youngest about 58 years old today, with the vast majority of them in their last years in the workforce or already retired as they gradually cede their positions of seniority and leadership in government and industry to the Nomads of Generation X. It is the Boomers’ Leftist members – unconsciously employing their parent’s principles of team effort, civics-consciousness, and suborning the interests and needs of the individual to the Greater Good while concurrently embracing an ideology completely opposed to all that the Boomers’ parents had built and achieved – who executed a “March Thru the Institutions” during the last 3 decades. Their aspiration was to eradicate all the ethical and regulatory norms enacted by their Hero/Greatest Generation and Artist/Silent Generation forebears and replace them with operational axioms, mechanisms and tactics developed to recruit and indoctrinate a younger cadre that was well versed in ‘progressive’ values. Contemporaneously, they strove to prove Rousseau’s belief in man’s ‘perfectibility’ by incrementally converting the rest of American civilization thru a stealthy ‘acclimatization’ into a society based on Marxist collectivist principles. The final objective was to train Americans to become living examples of the “New Socialist Man” idealized by marxist social theorists and polemicists.
The “march” has been manifestly effective to date. Christianity in America – just as much a part of the foundation of our society as it is of our sister Western civilization – is a pale shadow compared to what it was when I was a kid back in the 60’s. It is de rigeur for High School and College students today to pour scorn on Christianity – an attitude instilled in them by a K-12 and college educational system that began indoctrinating students in the ‘evils’ of Christian faith at least 40 years ago. This perspective has been reinforced continually by a mainstream media whose membership is now completely dominated by adherents to the radical leftist canon promulgated by their ‘liberal arts’ professors. Leftist Boomers have also radically changed our laws, our political systems, what is or isn’t acceptable in our culture in terms of art, literature or the spoken word, what we eat and drink, what we do for recreation, how we interact with each other socially or at work, and even our technology choices, both individually and as a society.
Their younger acolytes have gone farther. Social Media has inserted itself into our culture but is under the full control of young Progressives who exercise their unconstrained prerogative over determining the value and/or validity of content, as well as capturing information on us in tremendous detail on a daily basis. Our language is under attack. Our right to speak our minds is as well. The nuclear family has been under assault for decades – parents have lost more and more control over how their children are raised and what they are taught, while the institution of marriage itself has been beaten to a bloody pulp. Even our genetics, skin tone, sexual orientation, ethnic background and gender are subject to scolding scrutiny from self-appointed Progressive ‘clerics’ at universities and in the media, judging what is or is not permissible, acceptable or condemnable, based on the indoctrination they received in their gender/race/ethnic/X – studies college courses.
Progressives continue their Great March relentlessly to this day, rendered inexhaustible from the conviction that they are on the ‘right side of history.’ Behaving more and more like an American version of Mao’s Red Guards who drove the Cultural Revolution, their objective is to smash American civilization as defined so astutely by the Founding Fathers and then build a new world, a ‘fair’ world, a world better than what all previous generations had cumulatively created, where progressives would receive just praise, accolades and reverence for their innate goodness and wisdom and where THEY would decide who merited the fruits of society and to what degree, their cups finally full enough to quench the terrible thirst of their narcissism and urge to dominate others in their thoughts, actions and feelings.
As we have all seen, the divide between the Right and the Left has reached such a level of spittle-flecked vitriol that it has become impossible to initiate a substantive dialogue involving an exchange of ideas and detailed debates on their merits based on facts and logic in order to reach either a decision on the best course of action or to negotiate a workable compromise. Does this internal schism mean American civilization is disintegrating?
While the Internal Proletariat and a faltering Creative Minority in America may be having severe doubts about each other and factionalizing within their own ranks, the surest sign that American civilization has not either broken down or begun disintegrating is the External Proletariat, which in America’s case is the whole rest of the world. American civilization is still a shining beacon radiating far beyond our borders, bringing hope for a better tomorrow to all aspiring immigrants who only ask for a genuine chance to start over while inspiring mimesis of American culture in every corner of the globe.
Notice how the ex-Warsaw Pact nations of Eastern Europe, now free of Soviet domination, did not turn to their immediately neighboring Western civilization as a potential ally against a resurgent Russia. They approached America, who in their eyes is vastly more robust than Western Europe not just from a military standpoint but as a civilization. Observe as well how the Hindu civilization of the Indian subcontinent aligned itself with the Soviets after independence but is now puzzling over how it can rid itself of its socialist trappings in the least painful manner possible while warming up to America. Even China is feeling the radiating warmth of American civilization. The undercurrents in China’s Internal Proletariat reveal an urgent desire for accelerating the adoption of American practices and concepts in the political, social, economic and legal arenas, as they struggle against a Dominant Minority which still refuses to relinquish its power, privilege and position.
Not even in the Dar Al Islam are we viewed by anyone other than the cadres of psychopathic jihadists as a mortal enemy. Many an average citizen in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Malaysia and Indonesia wants an iPhone so they can stream Youtube videos and the latest Marvel Superhero movie or shop online for blue jeans and Nikes. The great majority of people in the last vestige of the Syriac civilization may have varying levels of resentment or suspicion of America, but very few of them want to destroy it. Instead, they want to emulate its success as best they can.
Astonishingly, even among the jihadi ranks are those who quietly view America with great admiration (and perhaps are not even fully aware of the irony.) Some of you may recall a story by Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis where he relates a series of conversations with a sunni jihadist captured in Iraq who at one point asks him if, when the war was over, he might have a chance to emigrate to America to start his life over.
It is nevertheless plain to see, however, that America is in crisis. Today’s political strife reflects an existential crossroad for American civilization in the form of a struggle between individualist-inspired federalization versus collectivist-inspired centralization of government power. The seeds of this crisis were planted by the North’s choices in its effort to prevail in the Civil War, with these seeds sprouting and flowering (pardon the pun) in the Awakening of the 1960’s. A crucial indicator of the growth of this crisis is provided by the national birth rate, which has now fallen to 1.8 – a record low. We are experiencing a classic Toynbee civilization challenge and a Generational Cycle 4th Turning crisis period in a perfectly synchronous harmony. We are most certainly standing on the cliff’s edge of a breakdown.
“The Gust”, Willem van de Velde the Younger, circa 1650-1707 (Source: sailingwarship.com)
The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard. – Excerpt from a verse in the Katha-Upanishad – 1.3.14.
Are we about to enter a second Civil War?
This question is on the lips of many people on both the Left and Right. We don’t have Senators and Congressmen showing up to congressional sessions with guns under their jackets, as they did in the weeks and months before the Confederacy opened fire on Fort Sumter. Nor have any fistfights broken out yet on the Senate or House floor. The rancor and hostility between the parties in Congress, however, is palpable. The febrile hysteria of the MSM and its blatant propagandizing against the Right are evoking disgust even from some on the Left. Nonetheless, the intensity of the agitprop continues to grow and is clearly intended to provoke unstable and weak minded individuals to acts of violence and mayhem – events which have already occurred multiple times, almost exclusively against public figures on the Right. To my surviving family members who experienced WW2, it has the familiar sound of a prelude to war.
The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human. – Aldous Huxley, “The Olive Tree” (1936)
The secession of the Confederacy from the Union was a definitive line in the sand, and we appear to some extent to be moving in that direction. Campaigns calling for greater autonomy from Washington, separatism or outright secession at the State level began during the 8 years of the Obama administration, initiated by citizens on the Right. The northernmost counties of California, a half dozen eastern counties in Colorado, and the states of Texas, Arizona and Utah saw various such initiatives reach state legislatures, some even reaching ballots for public votes. When the winds of political fortune shifted to the Right in 2010, 2014 and most especially 2016, people on the Left began agitating for autonomy or secession, most notably in California, where they will put the issue to a vote in 2020.
Per Strauss & Howe, this cycle’s 4th turning likely began with the 2008 financial panic. If the cycle holds true, it won’t be until 2028 or thereabouts that the crisis will definitively end. They also note that in each 4th Turning, a potential solution to the current unpleasantness begins to present itself right around the 8th year. Furthermore, somebody steps forward from the crowd and becomes a rallying figure – a member of the Prophet Generation for that cycle who points the way forward to victory. Strauss and Howe call this individual “The Grey Champion.”
Sometimes this champion is two or three people. As an example – the role of the Grey Champion was fulfilled by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams during the Revolution, each of them from their cycle’s Prophet Generation, bringing different but complementary behaviors and approaches to the effort. More often it is a lone individual, such as Abraham Lincoln, also a member of the Prophet Generation of his cycle.
In general, a Grey Champion can be recognized by the following characteristics:
He will have many enemies on both sides of the conflict, all of whom share a deep and abiding hatred of him.
He will be perceived as not truly belonging to either faction of the conflict, but to be above both.
His solutions to current difficulties will be both principled and original.
His manner will be fierce; his commitment unrelenting; his resolve unwavering; his approach uncompromising.
He will instill courage in the souls of those who are despairing of the grimness of the situation.
He will come across to his detractors as a pitiless, egomaniacal narcissist.
His enemies will revel in his setbacks, hurl invective at him at every opportunity, and wish for or even plot his overthrow or assassination.
He will break every rule, norm and standard that gets in the way of his ultimate objective: ensuring that his nation is victorious.
We can identify this Grey Champion readily, folks. He’s already emerged, though he is not actually grey.
This new regime will enthrone itself for the duration of the Crisis. Regardless of its ideology, that new leadership will assert public authority and demand private sacrifice. Where leaders had once been inclined to alleviate societal pressures, they will now aggravate them to command the nation’s attention. The regeneracy will be solidly under way.”–Strauss & Howe, “The Fourth Turning”
There are several things which frustrate Europeans about us to no end. One is that we never quail in the face of adversity or difficult tasks, which European political figures, media and academia choose to view as naivete and adolescent impetuousness. Another is that Americans are driven to solve their problems right away and tire very quickly of the endless talk that Europeans think will magically resolve their difficulties – in effect, waiting for the problem to magically solve itself while they have polite conversation over tiny glasses of sherry in well appointed salons. But one thing in particular about America utterly exasperates Western Europe: the ability of America to reinvent itself time and again.
I do not pretend to be a Delphic Oracle. My ability to forecast whether or not America will settle this existential challenge by force of arms is no better than anyone else’s. Both the Strauss & Howe and Toynbee methodologies agree that these sorts of schisms occurring after a period of 80-100 years of relative peace are most often settled by a major war. Logic would dictate against it, as the geographic position of the Left, concentrated for the most part on the coasts and in major population centers, would make a Progressive military victory a virtual impossibility.
But logic seems to have little hold over the political and social leadership of Progressives nowadays. In fact, their colleagues in academia have extended Progressive doctrine – derived from classic Marxist thought and enhanced by theory, stratagems and practices employed by Soviet, Maoist and other socialist tyrannies, as well as leading Leftist theorists such as the notorious Saul Alinsky – to include the tenet that arguments based on facts, evidence, data, logic and reason are irrelevant if they are presented against a Progressive principle or initiative supported only by emotional commitment. This is further evidence that Progressivism has so distanced itself from the Democratic party of Truman and Kennedy that it can no longer be considered a genuine political ideology, but has instead moved firmly into the realm of theology and religious canon.
All we can be certain of is this: The crisis is upon us, and we have our Grey Champion.
I cannot augur whether the Collectivists or Federalists will triumph, or how the struggle will play itself out. If the Collectivists win, it will indicate that the extant Creative Minority who already has near complete control of our civilization’s institutions will have a free hand exercising its will on the Internal Proletariat, becoming a Dominant Minority in the process. Collectivism is, after all, severely authoritarian, both in theory and practice, notwithstanding the childish lies progressives tell themselves or the hackneyed selling points with which they sprinkle their agitprop. Remember that National Socialism in Italy and Germany arose thru the mechanism of democratic elections, so it would not be out of the question that a similar event could occur here. American civilization, as young as it is, would then enter a Breakdown phase, and we could expect the Dominant Minority to attempt retrieving the support of the Internal Proletariat most likely thru military adventurism, per the general pattern identified by Toynbee.
But the ferocity of the reaction against encroaching Collectivism has surprised me, and I still have quite high hopes that we will prevail. I believe Trump fits the role of Grey Champion more completely than anyone in America’s history, and is the strongest example of this prophetic figure our young civilization has yet seen. Just as importantly, the necessary qualities of clear-headed reasoning & analysis, command of the facts and the fortitude to effectively deal with reality are glaringly absent in the Collectivist camp, leaving them ill-equipped for the struggle ahead. If they think Revolutionary fervor will be enough to carry them through, they’re in for a rude shock. Jihadists were foolish enough to shake the dragon’s tail in 2001, and have brought death, fire and ruin upon themselves for the last 17 years.
My hope is that the American electorate is just as sick and tired of the tribalism, virtue signaling, victimhood performance theater, “you can’t trust your own lyin’ eyes” demagoguery to distort reality & thwart common sense, campus & media Thought Police and politically correct “Newspeak” as I am to definitively reject Progressivism, both at the ballot box and in daily life. I hold out hope for at least the younger half of the Millenial Generation, who has left me with the impression that they have a very dim opinion of Progressive ideology/theology. In any event, the next 24 months or so will clarify whether my hopes are in vain or not.
We are still in the thick of the fight, folks, and if we prevail, we likely have a good 10 years before we can expect to have it all behind us. Victory for us against this challenge will not bring back the America of the 1950’s or even restore the America of the 1990’s. America will look markedly different – an essential outcome in the growth of a civilization. But I have no doubt that it will be a wondrously beautiful thing to behold.
The following captures the flow of my sentiments on this topic better than any piece I know. I hope you are as moved by it as much as I am.