Conjuring Satan—False Transcendence and Counterfeit Words in an Age of War

1. The Ukraine War as an Ideological Struggle of Light and Dark

Shortly before she was murdered, Daria Dugin appeared in the documentary, Azovstal on YouTube (hedged with warnings, lest anyone believe its contents), by John Mark Dougan, an American living in Moscow these last six years, and former police officer and marine [a more stable link to the documentary, in case Youtube removes it]. The documentary is about the war that that has been waged by the Ukrainian government in the Donbas for some eight years and which has led to the people of the region joining the Russian federation.

For those who simply repeat the refrain of the Western media that people in the region are awaiting their liberation by NATO supplied and trained Ukrainian troops, and that the election that transpired there in October 2022 was rigged, I recommend they watch this documentary—perhaps they may also watch, while they are at it, another of Dougan’s YouTube presentations. This is a testimony by Maria Lelyanova. When she first met Dougan, she was a vehemently anti-Putin Russian liberal who took her news from Western outlets (apparently it is possible to do that in Russia). They got into a conversation about the war and Russia’s role in it—it was, she said, all Putin’s fault, and most Russians were either ignorant, or like her and her friends totally ashamed of their country and its aggression.

Having met Dougan and having been a liberal and strongly anti-Putin Russian who took her news from Western outlets (it is possible to do that in Russia), Lelyanova engaged in arguments with him about the war and Russia’s role in it. Dougan’s response was to ask her if she would be willing to accompany him to the Donbas region, and see the truth for herself. To her credit she agreed—whereupon she saw the state of devastation of the region and listened to stories that led her to conclude that everything the Western media had told her about what was going on in the Donbas was a lie; the anguish on her face throughout her discussion with Dougan bespeaks the horror she had just witnessed as she roamed and spoke with the people there.

As for Daria Dugin, she knew from the outset that the Western media was lying. Her interview with Dougan was, I believe, her last media appearance before her assassination. She conducted it within the shell of a bombed-out school—and spoke of the terrors inflicted by Ukrainian troops and the ethnic supremacist militia, which Western “journalists” occasionally reported on, prior to Western media owners and government officials deciding that such truths were not in the public’s interest, and the only story to tell was the duality—Ukraine government and anti-Russian Ukrainians very good freedom lovers vs. Russian government and most Russian people completely evil.

That line, combined with the unity of purpose of Western governments (including non-NATO members) in supplying weapons to the Zelensky government and Ukrainian army, and Western media, who supply the propaganda that Ukraine is winning, that Putin will die, or be toppled any second now by a popular uprising, etc.—lends support to Daria Dugin’s claim that this war has become far more than a regional war. And, indeed, given the causal chain that led to it, and given the anti-Russian machinations that convinced the Western public that Russia was seeking world conquest by toppling the United States of America, it appears it was planned to be an international event.

Early indicators of the international machinations by the West are evident in the CIA support for Chechen and other Islamist militarists operating in the Caucasus during the second Chechen War; Joe Biden’s senate resolution 322 of 2005, which acted specifically on behalf of two Russian oligarchs and criminals, and was really the prelude to the Magnitsky Act of 2016 (you know the one named after the martyr “lawyer” [sorry that is the word that the Irish citizen who lobbied for the Act, Bill Browder, deems to be an accurate descriptor for the word “accountant”], allowing for the seizure of Russian assets); the US pronouncement at the Bucharest Summit Declaration by NATO in 2008 that NATO supported Georgia and Ukraine joining NATO.

It was in that same year that the five-day Russian-Georgian war occurred. Having been the recipient of generous military funding and training by the US (as well as weapons from the then pro-Western Ukrainian government), Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili thought he had been given the green light to attack the autonomous republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

This decision led to Russia’s military response and the beginning of what was up until that moment a new low in post-Cold War Russian-US diplomatic relations. Saakashvili, by the way, is now in a Georgian prison doing time for corruption. But before that, thanks to the support of Ukrainian President Poroshenko, he had a stint as a Ukrainian politician in 2015-16, as governor of the Odesa Oblast, only to come into conflict with Poroshenko (with each accusing the other of corruption). He was subsequently kicked out of Ukraine, only to re-enter the country through Poland before he was kicked out yet again. Thereupon, he was granted permanent residency in the Netherlands, until his Ukrainian citizenship was restored a year later by Zelensky. But then he decided to sneak back into Tbilisi, where he was arrested. Funny old world, isn’t it, when such men are heroes?

Certainly, by the time of the Maidan of 2014, NATO and the US government and the EU had made sure, and the media had fallen in line with its reporting of the “Revolution of Dignity,” that Russia was a major threat to the West’s strategic interests; or more accurately the hegemony of values and priorities that suit the tastes and interests, the careers and prospects of the West’s ruling class and those whose professional careers are predicated on serving that class.

So, when Daria Dugin reported that this war was an ideological struggle between globalism, which she depicted as those who have marshalled and stand for the darkness, and its opponents, those who are fighting for light, she was expressing which values she stood for in the context of a war that should have remained regional, were it not for the incessant machinations of the globalist project of the Western world’s elites, and its dependents and enablers, from the government to the media to the universities and to the various covert and overt intelligence agencies, weapons manufacturers and military contractors, and the military itself.

Those who watch Daria Dugin and think that the Ukrainian army are fighting for freedom against the incursions of the evil Russian Vladmir Putin hell-bent on world conquest—first Ukraine, then the rest of Europe—if they were to watch this clip, they would think that this only confirmed how evil and deranged she was that she could have the truth in such reverse, and that she had lies like flies fly from her mouth.

The demonic, as Kierkegaard, was wont to say, is the truth in reverse, and the devil is also the Prince of Lies. The question is: who here speaks the language of the devil, whose mouths are full of (f)lies?

For her part, Daria Dugin had no compunction in using the kind of language that was once routinely used throughout Christendom, but which has now largely evaporated in the West along with the belief in hell or the devil. It is not the preferred language of the Western, ostensibly well-educated liberal progressive metro-cosmopolitan urbane class, which defers to what they consider to be the kind of abstractions that all good, true and beautiful people use, such as rights and morality (of which they are the paragons).

These same smooth-talking progressives now throw their lot in with the president of an oligarchical ethno-nationalist state, from which millions of ethnically impure people fled prior to the Special Military Operation or invasion (according to how you interpret the events since February 2022), that was beholden to its own neo-Nazi styled militia before it became an all-out war state. Its very existence owes much to those same smooth-talking sophisticates who used a combination of media outlets, private/corporate and public finance, and political meddling to assist the channeling of urban political regional interests into a military overthrow of a functioning, albeit undeniably corrupt democracy, which nevertheless was able to maintain the peace between groups that cohabitated and yet lived with deeply divided allegiances and historical memories, by allowing political, regionally different, interests to compete in elections. Given what has transpired in the last eight or so years in Ukraine, Daria Dugin’s language strikes me as reasonably apt, as the country has become a living hell for much of the population—though, as is always the case, those who create hell on earth, often have the resources to live in a better neighbourhood.

While our urban sophisticates generally want to leave God out of it, they purport to be not only the class who knows everything important about the way the world is and what can be done to make it even better, which is to say they not only know what can be done to make it totally inclusive, diverse and equitable, but to be motivated by love. As such, they are compelled to denounce all those enemies of humanity out there (such as Daria Dugin, before and after her murder, and her father, and of course, the least human of all alive today, Vladimir Putin). Their love requires the daily media outpouring of bile and brimstone toward any who do not share the fantasies that they see, or agree with, or who do not use the words, the spells and incarnations, they chant repeatedly to ensure mass psychosis and hypnosis: the defiant must be shut up, abused, dehumanized—or, as we still put it, in spite of our enlightened sophistication, demonized. But ideological language has always been but the secularized use of words to express the depth of faith of the ideologues who are prepared to kill and sacrifice their enemies to get their world and to designate those who are non-human.

In other words, the Western sophisticates agree with Daria Dugin that the war is not just a regional fight but a planetary ideological struggle between the light and the dark. The only difference being which is the force of light: the one that prefers old fashioned traditions like families and churches? Or the one with the rainbow flags in churches (see below), drag queens reading to kiddies in libraries, and proudly designating the pronouns they insist on being called by, as they denounce anyone and everyone as a racist who does not go along with this? Racist? Well, one can always rely upon Creepy Sleepy Joe—as Kevin of Kevin’s Corner has christened him—to let the cat out of the bag (recall him saying how his party had put together the greatest election fraud in history):

“We need to challenge the hundreds of callous and cynical laws introduced in the states targeting transgender children, terrifying families and criminalizing doctors who give children the care they need,” said Biden.

“We have to protect these children so they know they’re loved and we’ll stand up for them and so they can speak for themselves,” he added.

“Folks, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, they’re all connected!” he claimed.

“But the antidote to hate is love,” Biden continued.

And drugs. And surgery. And ensuring that every one of the members of medical, psychiatric, social work, and teachers associations and boards get on board (or lose their credentials and job) with the decision to not inform little Mary, who is a tom-boy, or little Johnny who likes to dress up in little girls’ clothes that this is probably a phase that a lot of children go through, but instead join children in their fantasy whilst locking them inside a destiny laid out by the Big Medical and Pharmaceutical Complex pushing expensive and life-altering surgery and drugs.

Not only that, these same interests are determined to prevent the parents of these children from having any say in the matter. And that’s because, as the President, who could barely get thirty or forty people to attend his meet-and-greets when he stepped out of the basement to campaign before becoming the most electorally successful President in the history of the United States, himself says (albeit in more mealy-mouthed words) to not push for drugs and surgery is not only hateful but racist.

Now, it is true that Joe knows a thing or two about racism—Kamala Harris certainly thought so when she was telling other Democrats and the world why he would not make a fit President because he was a…. (nudge-nudge, wink-wink), and were he alive I am sure his old pal, who also knew a thing or two about racism, Senator Robert Byrd and KKK organizer and member, might be able to set us straight and confirm that if we don’t believe Joe we too are haters, and racists. That is the kind of reasoning and love that preside with the leading forces of the West’s light.

Forgive me, but I spent some forty years reading the greatest minds who have every put pen to paper, and when I try to make sense of the intricacies of the dialectics of imbecility—of which Joe is truly a master—I always need to hammer away at a few thousand brain cells. But the dialectic of imbecility, and the love and reasons, and the words that drive it, is nothing other than fake words, fake reasons and fake love. And those whose livelihoods and power is predicated upon the cultural triumph of the dialectics of imbecility also require ensuring that anyone who thinks what they are doing is as preposterous as it is politically and culturally deadly are to be deemed as haters, and hence to be punished for engaging in hate speech. Yes, indeed—the truth in reverse.

The underlying question of this lengthy and far roaming discussion that links this great evil of our time with the diabolical fakery of words (lies) and transcendence is—to whom and to what is that love directed? That was the great question of Augustine who grasped that our loves are the weights that bear us to where we are in our lives and worlds. There is no doubt the team represented by the Empires of Lies is built on love—for all worlds, all realities to which we contribute are built upon our loves; for our loves are the springs of our action. But while the Beatles in their youthful exuberance sang, “All You Need is Love,” one could hardly expect a pop group to be sufficiently well-versed in Augustine or Dante (though I think Bob and Leonard were, even in their younger days), to explore how love of the self and the things of the world are precisely why the world is the way it is. That’s why love and hate are not merely antipathetical but part of a continuum—to love God, His creation, His laws, and His gifts is to hate the devil and vice-versa (albeit demonic creation is, again as Augustine said, always privative, always negation and defacement).

2. A War Built on Lies and Conspiracies of Liars

Before, though, I dig deeper into the matter of love, and the central love—that of the self—that conjures up Satanic powers, let me just pause further upon the way in which this war has been built on lies—and lies obviously include the use of silence to conceal truth—and the use of force to defend lies, or for those with a more religiously attuned sensibility, let’s observe more of the (f)lies spread by those who serve the Prince of Lies.

As I argued in a previous essay, Putin, sadly, was telling the truth when he called the West an Empire of Lies, run by liars. He was calling out the fact that the leaders of the West were completely indifferent to the truth that Ukraine had been mired in a civil war for some eight years that had provided NATO with the opportunity to train and supply an army, that had long thrown off any concealment of serving the entire Ukrainian population, ready to take that war to another level, as it marshalled in excess of 100,000 men on the borders of the Donbas. The imminence of turning the autonomous regions of Donetsk and Luhansk into a killing field that would have made the previous 14000 or so dead (that is the usual number cited) pale into insignificance compared to what in all likelihood was about to happen as the self-declared autonomous regions were about to face a full escalation of destruction.

But this essential trigger behind Russia’s actions was never reported by the mainstream media or discussed by a political class who spoke as if all of a sudden that imperial itch which has possessed those nasty Russians from time immemorial and Vladimir Putin ever since he was a boy torturing flies and cats, inexplicably seized power of a country that had been doing so swimmingly well, a country mired in a war with Chechnya and its terrorists, subjected to the rapacious brutality of the mafia, oligarchs, and Western grifters plundering Russia’s bargain basement priced formerly state controlled resources.

Inane as the lie was, though, it worked because it was sold to a population who take pride in their knowledge, even when they know nothing (but I am getting ahead of myself for this is the very essence of the satanic), and sold by those who are so caught up in their lies that they generally believe them, too. That is because they have cleverly built a world of mirrors which reflects back the lies they speak to themselves, to each other, and to the population who takes their information from them.

Funny wasn’t it, how the mainstream media predicted the war, even down to trying to identify the exact day of invasion, whilst being silent on the massive deployment of Ukrainian troops on the Donbass, as if that deployment were nothing—but again the demonic specializes in making as much of nothing, as it does nothing of much.

Likewise, Western reporters and pundits, in the main, thought nothing of the fact that the Minsk agreement had meant nothing except as an excuse for doing nothing about people being bombed and killed in their homes—in a recent interview in Die Zeit, Angela Merkel has said, what should have appeared obvious to anyone who thought about what was going on “over there,” that being a signatory to the agreement had just been a way of buying time, so Ukraine, with NATO help, could build up its army.

I do not believe one Western journalist prior to the civil war becoming a war between nations had ever thought that the people of the Donbas region were intending to massacre the majority of the Ukrainian population and were arming themselves to go out and conquer Kiev. The population in the Donbas, because of their historical memories and attachments was, though, not a population in which the government in Kiev had the slightest interest in protecting. But it was a population which wanted to protect itself from a government and the various ultra-ethnic nationalist militias, who were pushing for ever more political persecution, and the continuation of ethnic cleansing that their national hero Stefan Bandera had engaged in when collaborating with the Nazis.

Though, unfortunately for the people of these regions, they happened to live in the “industrial heartland of Ukraine”—which accounts for some 80% of Ukraine’s oil, natural gas and coal reserves, and vast deposits of precious minerals and metals, as well as rare earth minerals essential for so much modern technology, so the option of being left alone was not going to fly with a kleptocratic class that had allied its interests with ethnic purists. Of course, those who blame the Russians claim that these resources are the real reason for Russia’s invasion—the problem with that, though, is everything else we have been talking about. Which once again is indicative of this event being conducted by the West’s appeal to truths in reverse.

The epithet “Empire of Lies” applies as much to the European Union as the USA, with its preposterous claims (deluded self-understanding?) of being a force for peace, a soft-power, when it suits its interests (to spend money on projects that make it an ever-greater imperial force) whilst also being a supporter of other people fighting their wars because it suits the West’s larger program. All of the West’s warehouses, full of human rights research, draft documents, protocols, treaties and covenants mattered not a jot when there was a coup in 2014, or a killing-fields about to happen. If the EU had been useless in stopping the horrors of the Balkans in the 1990s (keeping its hands clean by belatedly coming in to try the war criminals it held responsible and to broker peace deals), on this occasion they were going to be far more proactive, and go all out in support of the ethnic-nationalist state—and the Neo-Nazis, which, of course, for the West do not really exist outside of the diabolical imaginations of Vladimir the evil one and his minions. That is probably why the USA, Germany and Italy are among the 50 countries that voted against the proposed resolution put by Russia opposing the glorification of Nazism. But why would the West care? Ukraine is a democratic state, and its decisions to close down Russian-speaking media and schools, to allow its ethnic militia to infiltrate its institutions and sabotage any change of reassuming more peaceable ties with Russia (that was Zelensky’s mandate), and now just recently raiding and closing down Ukrainian Orthodox Churches (UOC—Ukraine’s largest denomination), are just the kind of realist pebbles in the diplomatic shoes that imperial Western powers have to deal with as they race ahead, dreaming up and filling up treaties, covenants and the like, devoted to “human rights.”

These issues indicate the problems that the West has in presenting itself as the force of human goodness is that there is no consistency other than its right to dictate what “good” and “evil” are in the world. To someone who takes good and evil seriously this is exactly the way that people intending evil behave—they say what suits them when it suits them, rather than inflect their speech in deference to what they know to be true. Truth may shine in its own light, but it is darkness that requires the extinction of speech which would light up what transpires in its coverings.

The war, as in so much that has preceded it in the West, has also proceeded by way of censorship and denunciation—perhaps in a time of open warfare this would be considered a state of exception. But there is no declaration of war by the US or European powers, and the control of speech in the West is no longer anything exceptional. And everything of significance concerning this war is proceeding under cover of darkness—the main stream media refuses to allow any serious discussion of why Russia is at war, and simply ignores news that shows a very different side to the violence committed during the war. Who in the West, for example, would know that Marianna Vyshemirsky, the pregnant woman photographed, early in the war, in the Mariupol hospital which had just been shelled, and whose picture was sent all over the globe as an example of Russian brutality and cruelty, is now a Russian citizen supporting the Russian war effort? At the time the photo was taken, she was critical of the Ukrainian government and army—but her account of events was spun into an attack upon Russia and a tribute to Ukrainian bravery and determination.

Or, let’s pause upon the biggest story of the moment, a story which our media and the US government are attempting to hide/bury—the story of FTX, the biggest case of financial fraud since Enron, and political graft possibly since ever. It is a story that ranges from straight-out fraud and political and media coverup, to corrupting scientific research and influencing public policy, to bankrolling politicians, primarily, though not only, the Democratic party (FTX was the second biggest donor to the Democrats), and its progressive causes, to money laundering and this war. It is a story with a cast of characters so wide that no Netflix Series could do justice to the telling, from Sam the vegan and his parents (his Mum being a Hilary lawyer) and goofy poly-girlfriend Carolyn Ellison and her parents to (gee golly gosh, heavens to Betsy, well I never) the Clintons (and probably their parents), and the Bidens and Tony Blair and…. you and I both want this essay to have an ending, so let’s just say lots and lots of powerful and wealthy people.

In any case, as soon as the collapse was made public, along with the money-laundering, connections to the war and the political loop to the Democrats was being talked about, the factcheckers and Google algorithm manipulators were setting everyone straight that there was no money laundering going on because those who one would consider involved, like members of the Ukrainian government, and the various political recipients of FTX money, and honest Sam himself had said it just wasn’t so. Though back in March of this year, that is before the FTX collapsed and before those who make up the facts that pass their own factchecking set to work on the straight story, there was a story in CoinDesk with the headline, “Ukraine Partners With FTX, Everstake to Launch New Crypto Donation Website: FTX is converting crypto contributions to Ukraine’s war effort into fiat for deposit at the National Bank of Ukraine.” It continued:

“Ukraine Partners With FTX, Everstake to Launch New Crypto Donation Website: FTX is converting crypto contributions to Ukraine’s war effort into fiat for deposit at the National Bank of Ukraine.”

The Ukrainian government launched a new crypto donations website on Monday, streamlining its multimillion-dollar effort to turn Bitcoin into bullets, bandages and other war materiel.

Aid for Ukraine,” which has the backing of crypto exchange FTX, staking platform Everstake and Ukraine’s Kuna exchange, will route donated crypto to the National Bank of Ukraine, Everstake’s Head of Growth Vlad Likhuta told CoinDesk. Ukraine’s crypto-savvy Ministry of Digital Transformation is also involved.”

It will probably take years before anything like the full extent of this particular labyrinth of lies and fraud and endless shell-companies, and players making an incalculable number of decisions involving other people performing an incalculable number of legally dubious to out-right criminal tasks will be sufficiently public enough to be more than a salacious story of youthful folly, gaming and sex, buried amidst a blur of complexity, mostly to be cordoned off, when it gets interesting, into the financial pages.

In the meantime Bankman-Fried has finally been taken into custody in the Bahamas (which some say may well have been done to make sure he does not have to answer harder questions at the congressional hearing he is meant to appear before). And the big question is: will he be suicided like Jeffrey Epstein, or can he just keep his mouth shut in a mid-level prison with vegetables, video games, porn and drugs?

Only a week or so earlier, the New York Times had Bankman-Fried appear along with other illustrious global leaders, including the man of the year himself, Zelensky, and Zuckerberg, Janet Yellen, the actor Ben Affleck, and the CEO of Blackrock, as part of its DealBook Summit. But my readers might be thinking, but this is a heck of a digression from the war and the diabolical nature of our Western world.

Sadly, though, it is only a digression in so far as the entire story the media chooses to tell is to ensure that everything they say about FTX, which is actually very little, is a digression from the real story of politicians being funded by an enormous financial fraud and money laundering scheme that reaches from the globalist party of the US (that also allows for the RINO’s on the take—presently the press is trying to make it look as if Sam gave away donations to all parties equally, lest one suspect that the money was used to push certain liberal progressive globalist causes) to Ukraine and back. And then there is the possibility it just may have been crafted to ensure that there is no way to escape a social credit surveillance society, and the globally regulated digitalization of money that crypto has threatened to destabilize. That this objective and the objective of Russian regime change are mere variations within the greater objective—a liberal progressive globalist world feudal system, as laid out in the Great Reset and Agenda 2030. That’s the big conspiracy—well, actually it is not really a conspiracy—it is openly stated.

The conspiracies are all those everyday meetings, plannings and activities which don’t make it into the light of day, because none thinks their objectives would be better met if knowledge about them were more public. And now that the mainstream and tech media and intelligence agencies have conspired to suppress investigative reporting that reports the “wrong”—i.e., unapproved—”facts,” they can sleep comfortably in the knowledge that even if someone finds out and tells the world, they won’t be heard, though they often involve “lies” and making nothing of much—like people’s life-time savings, efficient energy systems and a reliable food supply—and much of nothing really important—take your pick from all the great “nothings” that are supposed to keep the planet and us safe from extinction—the capacities of solar and wind power to provide all the energy we will ever need, wearing masks and taking vaccines so we will be “safe,” and the pedagogical and institutional commitment to great big abstractions which dictate policy, emancipation, equity and the like. Conspiracies, conspiracies?

Sorry, of course, there were no people conspiring to do such dastardly things as deceive the Russian Federation into believing that NATO would not expand into its environs, or plot and achieve a coup in Ukraine, or start persecuting and killing Ukrainians who identified themselves as ethnically connected with Russia, or tell lies about how Russia had interfered in the US election of 2016 to such an extent that it had created the vilest succubus to ever hold presidential office, an orange haired Hitler no less, who even said he wanted to be able to cooperate with Russia, or to ensure that people would think that the information revealed on Hunter Biden’s laptop was all planted by Russians, or to ensure that people who argued the case for NATO’s role in causing the war be subjected to algorithms making their work appear conspiracy theory/Putin stooge crazy.

Likewise there was no conspiracy to ensure that President Trump would be barred from social media; nor to ensure that others who wanted to use social media to argue against mandatory vaccines be de-platformed or cast out of their profession; nor to denounce, or de-platform, sack, or incarcerate people who think Black Lives Matter is socially divisive and destructive agit prop rather than the truth; or who beg to differ on the claim that every girl or woman who thinks she is a boy or man is really a he, or who might think that the formerly he—now—she should not be in a woman’s toilet, sports-team, prison, or woman’s beauty pageant; or who think that it is not hateful to distinguish between gender and fantasy; or who think free speech means tolerating speech that goes against the new dictates on which words or their use are hateful and are a call to outright violence. For while people may well, spontaneously come up with very bad and mad ideas, to dictate which ideas be stamped as “true,” even ones as crazy as that sexual organs don’t really mean anything when it comes to sexual identity (now confirmed by no less an authority than the Cambridge Dictionary)—when it comes to enforcing and policing narratives, or implementing action within certain institutions, social spaces or media, requires panels meeting to decide which narratives, words, ideas are to be tolerated and which are to be identified as in need of being censored.

No matter how much our ruling classes bandy the term “conspiracy theory” about to shut people up by shaming them for being idiots in believing what their eyes and ears might reveal rather than the corporate media, there have been conspiracies aplenty alright, and they have all involved threats and coercion, misinformation and disinformation. And they have all been done in the name of freedom and democracy. As I write this, the mainstream media hatred being directed toward Elon Musk for releasing the so called “Twitter Files” is only matched by its utter inability to care about the magnitude of the particular conspiring that was going on at Twitter between political stakeholders, state intelligence officials and its management—which also just happened to include some very high-up former state officials—about who and what to censor or shadow ban.

Is this the world—a world in which our political class, our media and the majority of our intelligentsia simply demand they be believed and obeyed, in spite of speaking out of ignorance and/or outright lies—that those warred against Nazis (or spoke out against communists) fought for?

One person who thinks not is Youtuber and journalist Mark Jones, a former British citizen also living in Russia, who reports under the name iEarl Grey. In a podcast with John Dougan, Jones made the salient point that he is continuing the same fight as his grandfather, who fought against the Nazis. I cannot help but agree with him. And with echoes of Daria Dugin, he adds, “I don’t need to be an ideological citizen to see the ideological battle that is being fought. We have the degraded Western democracies of the West, the collective West, with their pronouns, with their trans rights. I call it Godlessness. This to me is the same war my grandfather fought. And simply I cannot side with Nazis. To support them would be to betray my grandfather’s memory and the honour of all those who fought in the Great Patriotic War. So, to me this isn’t about what country you are from; it is about whether you choose the side of light with Christian orthodoxy on the one side, or whether we choose darkness and the satanism of the West.”

I have formerly said that I do not see Russia or China as “saving” the West, for I think the West as such has been devoured by its own darkness. I am less interested in concurring that Russia as such represents the light, than emphasizing that the West is being devoured by its own darkness, by its own satanic conjurings—and this is also what the Russian and Chinese political leadership sees.

3. Why Talk of Satanism—or, Why Even Non-Religious People Can Learn from Religious Language

For those who recoil from such starkly religious language as expressed by Mark Jones and Daria Dugin, or, God forbid, Alex Jones or the writers in the Epoch Times or E. Michael Jones and many others who have devoted their lives to struggling against the West’s self-mutilation and conscious Luciferian decision and descent, I would ask your forbearance and willingness to consider that the deployment of such language is not simply or even exclusively based upon a faith and in a doctrine and teaching which one may or may not have, but a realization that the language bereft of the figurative imaginative power is less able to assist us in grasping reality.

The philosopher G.W. F. Hegel wisely saw the relationship between grasping and concepts—in the German, they share the same stem—and he also, again wisely, saw that conceptualizing follows our figuring through images, rites and the representations of religious belief. But where some like Herder, Hamann, (and my good and humble self) beg to differ with Hegel’s conviction that the concepts of reason provide a more accurate and adequate expression of the real than our faculty of imag(in)ing. Hamann had made the powerful observation that faith trumps knowledge—though Hegel had built his entire philosophy in arguing the opposite against various proponents who had believed they had identified reason’s limits.

But unlike the various targets of Hegel’s criticism (Kant, J.G. Fichte, F.W.J. Schelling, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and Friedrich Jacobi), Hamann was not arguing that faith leads him to knowing more important things than what knowledge yields—but rather that faith is the condition of us being able to go in search of our knowledge and mount our reasons. That is why, Hegel’s philosophy requires the very thing that is its own ruin—a total system—while Hamann’s thought is content to pick holes in the metaphysical towers of Babel he saw the philosophers around him constructing, whilst combing satire, irony and a concession of ignorance with a philological and hermeneutical attunement to history and his own environment.

No serious faith is predicated on theology, or philosophical argument—those things come later. A faith informs and forms a life; the life of oneself and the life of those who bond with and around their faith. To understand what faiths do, requires looking at where faith has been a source of action and how it has cultivated the natural habits and sentiments. There is nothing special about faith itself—it is as J. G. Hamann insisted, an essential part of what we are—if you will, it is an ontological condition. The issue is: which faith? (Which is, but a variant on what/who to love?)

All religions—and all the language that finds religious modulation and expression, which is to say all language which not only speaks to but which is bound up with personal and social creation as it is borne by devotion, rite, ritual, incantation, supplication, and the moods of exhilaration, despair, despondency and love—deal with the arc from life to death. This is the case not only for individuals but for collectives who share that language and sense of what is to be revered and shunned, and hence of how that collective and its members live, what it holds sacred.

The tragedy and sorrow of the West today, which is of such a magnitude that anything resembling salvation cannot simply come from politics, but only from a complete redirection of faith, which is the real source of culture and the meaning of our collective and personal lives, comes from the faith that it has adopted. That faith along with the crisis of the West has been diagnosed by countless thinkers, each of whom have identified different aspects of it. To mention just a very small portion—Eric Voegelin, for example, addressed the gnostic roots; Leo Strauss, the scientistic displacement of classical wisdom; Heidegger its preoccupation with beings and technics at the expense of openness to Being; Chesterton and Belloc, the loss that accompanied the defeats of the Church; or Jacques Ellul, our worship of power and its mechanics.

While I have framed the crisis of our time in terms of a geo-political spatial entity, “the West,” the fact is that Western civilization was ever poised between turmoil, destruction, death, and a creative spirit that expanded and conjoined those in search of greater—a universal kind of—solidarity. Crisis is ever with us; or to use religious language, our souls are ever on the verge of being lost, and the devil and sin never far away.

The issue of our time is not so much the ever-permanent presence of the forces of destruction, war, pestilence, and our own tortured and torturing hearts, but the added layer of delusion and deceit that are not just discernible in our practices but in how we speak and (don’t) see what we are or what we do. In such a world of self-delusion and self-imposed blindness my heart breaks for the generation of lost souls of the young so caught up in their wrath and fanaticism that they seriously think that once the weather is under their control and they can have the sex organs of their choice, and that they can enjoy themselves unconditionally—be fully emancipated—all will be well. They are so f’d up and they have been made that way—and they think they can fix up the world, when they would, if I may defer to Jordan Peterson, be better off just learning how to tidy up their bedrooms, and then going and reading a serious book or two, or doing the gardening or something else useful, because thanks to the failure of the last generation so many are not capable of doing anything other than throwing tantrums and pulling down statues, burning books, and buildings and denouncing people for lacking their approved “virtues.” To say that we are in the grip of Satanism is only far-fetched if one has no idea that Satanism is the worship of death and the killing of our God-given or (for the naturalists, natural) potentialities.

Dostoevsky and Baudelaire both understood that the devil is a smooth-talking, urban sophisticate oozing charm and wit. Baudelaire and Dostoevsky’s Ivan Karamazov were themselves too intelligent to believe in God, but that did not stop them being visited by the devil; the demonic—as with the hellfire of war—is like that; he just comes in, irrespective of what we think or believe. And that is the condition we find ourselves in. We live in a world where evil masks itself under the very abstractions that serve to conceal intentions beneath the grander sounding norms we venerate. That is, our kind of intelligence is purchased by sacrificing the most elemental apertures of the species’ intellection—the eye and the ear—and the symbolic imagination, as it combines our most important communal associations of life and death. We also live in a time when we are oblivious to how what we worship and say is an invitation to our own collective and personal demise. We summon the demon who speaks to us in soothing tones, because we think we are so very clever. That faith in our cleverness is closely bound up with the displacement of our daily acts of transcendence in favour of descent into our own appetites and innards of destruction, assisted at every step by the words and formulae that we draw upon to drive us ever further down there.

4. Satanism as a Romance with the Self (and the Warring Members that Make it)

The difference between Paul’s description of the flesh as made up of warring members and Freud’s depiction of the Id is negligible in so far as they both identify our appetites as tumultuous and destructive. But where Paul sees our salvation in becoming members of Christ’s Church, being born anew in Christ, Freud holds out the prospect of a rational cultivation of our most potentially destructive appetites which will make us more fulfilled and complete.

As convinced as Freud was of his intelligence, diagnosis, and psychiatric cure for our discontents, many would say that he sought the impossible—for there is no rational cultivation of our appetites as such, merely rationalizations about why we might succumb to our appetites. That even Freud knew they had to be curbed was the basis of his Eros and Civilization, and that they could be connected to the death drive (the demonic) of Beyond the Pleasure Principle. The great political and social question facing every group is where must they be curbed? And the respective answers to that inevitably draw us into what does the group hold as sacred—which might also be put thus: What do we accept as having unconditional authority over us? Knowing the answer to that question—which can also be formulated as which God(s) do we serve—is essential for identifying why a particular “life-world” (to use the term of Edmund Husserl) is the way it is. The respective answers we can find in the West of a mere few generations back compared to today provide the key to what we have become. But allow me an anecdote that I think provides an important cipher about what the educated professional classes of the West hold sacred.

Last night, I went to a concert given in a Uniting Church. The concert was beautiful—two harpists with glorious voices. On the wall behind the performers was a huge cross, though Jesus was not on the cross—and no image of Him was to be seen in the church. Beneath the cross lay a huge gay pride flag. A smaller version of the flag was to be found on the window as one entered the church. The symbolism was all too evident, though I have zero doubt that those involved in making the decision thought that they were good people making a statement about their commitment to diversity and inclusivity. They may well find aspects of the Christian tradition to their liking, though I am also sure that they find much that is merely the “prejudice” of a more “ignorant” time, and they most likely believe that their faith in diversity and inclusivity is divinely intended. I also suspect that Christ’s absence not only from the cross but this church had to do with the belief that God is beyond gender—and, at least prior to transgenderism requiring a complete overhaul of pronouns, quite possibly a she—though it is hard to spin Jesus Christ in his earthly incarnation as not being a man. Perhaps, for them, the absence of Christ suggests Christ redeemed. In any case, he would be among the supporters of LGBTQ+ because they, in case one had not noticed, are still persecuted; and to deny the right to hang the pride flag in the church or on government buildings would only confirm how much hatred still exists toward members of this community.

That they might not be able to fly this flag in the mosque does not stop the same people denouncing those who would deny that it should be flown in a sacred space as homophobic, being able to swiftly change gear and denouncing as Islamophobic someone who also might point out that Muslim countries are far less tolerant of LGBTQ+ things, and that if they tried it on there, they probably would be getting, at the very least, a very long jail sentence. Comparative cultural understanding—as opposed to blathering meaningless formulae, such as the importance of respecting all cultures—does not figure very highly among the inclusivity and diversity ethic. But this is why the Vice Chancellor at my university can urge all students staff to celebrate Ramadan one day, whilst encouraging all to participate in LGBTQ+ week celebrations the next. He was particularly proud of the drag queen participation to kick off this year’s annual Christmas party.

I also have no doubt that had I spoken up and said I thought the use of a church to fly a pride flag was not only dumb, and a tasteless, political and bullying gesture directed at traditionalists, but an act of sacrilege, I would most likely have been hissed at, and most assuredly asked to leave. The people who made this decision to hang the flag beneath the cross think that it is not only acceptable but a sign of their goodness and their faith that the wall of their church be adorned with a huge flag to a group bonded by its sexual choices.

That the flag itself is one which is equated in its symbolism with the word “pride” is itself indicative of the great importance, indeed as its placement illustrated, the sanctity that is now placed upon our sexual appetites. The way in which sexuality features in contemporary Western culture and daily life is an interesting symptom of the difference between us and previous generations.

Sexuality in itself within the Christian tradition belongs to “mere nature”—although nature is construed as being divinely created—rather than belonging to the sacred as such; and it was only in the holy bonds of matrimony that it took on the form of a sacrament. That is, apart from the fact that Christians (and Jews and Muslins for that matter) have traditionally condemned same-sex practice, there is a more important point that I think is the source of serious social disintegration and civil strife. For my point is not about whether same-sex practice is moral or not, but where sexual appetite itself now figures in the order and scale of values, and in the ordering and configuring of our institutions; also, whether sex is something that is done or something to be sacralized. This is where I believe the real social division around sexuality—in all manner of variations—sits today: there is not a dispute within public institutions about whether people, of a certain age, may express their sexual preference, but whether a particular type of sexual preference should be a source of a certain kind of sacredness. That kind of sacredness is itself predicated upon a particular view of the self, which is itself symptomatic of an orientation to life that defies its “laws”/orders—for it is the defiance of life’s laws, made under the presumption that the self is the creator of its own laws.

The most important poem in the English language, Paradise Lost, took this act of revolutionary defiance as its central theme—the fall as the result of pride; the result of the created aspiring to take control of creation; the angel taking the place of God. Blake, Shelley, and Byron would all see Milton’s Satan as a heroic figure, though while it is indisputable that Satan gets all the best lines in Paradise Lost, Milton’s depiction of Satan is not in the slightest bit flattering. Milton’s Satan is a creature of restless being, and endless suffering. His sole solace is the words he tells himself. They themselves are but the delusions of a self that flies to become what he cannot be; in search of escape from the prison of a self—a prison that is completely of his own making. It is a great fall, to go from being one of God’s favourites to a lowly slithering creature seeking to tempt others into sharing the same ambitious delusions that have made a hell of his own self. There is, in sum, nothing heroic in Satan’s actions—his words are all heat and light, putrid sulfur; and his deeds are nothing more than restlessness, accompanied by words.

For his part, God does not need great lines—His word is creation itself. The modern mind may wish to elevate to a heroic station a being who is a king over nothing but his own torment, and may recoil from Milton’s expression of faith, but the poem is an expression of faith. And while it is also an attack upon the abuse of prerogative political power, and rightly so given how the doctrine of the divine right of kings had so easily become a formula in defiance of Christian duty, rather than a means for delivering it—it is much more a prophetic poem of what happens when man seeks an infinite universe and ignores the finitude and fragility of his own being.

Milton may have been hailed by the romantics, but he was no romantic. Nevertheless, if one wishes to understand the modern soul, one cannot underestimate the importance of the romantic consciousness—and that consciousness would be responsible for valorizing various priorities in what we now value and how we now act, by calling for others to join in the creative ambitions they held.

It was also the romantic consciousness that valorized the demonic on the basis of Satan being the arch rebel, not only against God, but against the order of creation itself. In 1797 the literary critic Friedrich Schlegel noted the “tendency of modern poetry to Satanism.” When Schlegel made this note, Blake had already written the Marriage of Heaven and Hell, whilst Goethe would follow shortly after with the publication of Faust, a work which provides a definitive formulation of the demonic—the spirit of negation—and then Baudelaire and his lyric masterpiece, The Flowers of Evil, with its section devoted to Satan’s Revolt. That is to say, the leading poets of Great Britain (Blake, Shelley and Byron), Germany, and France all made the devil intrinsic to modern “redemption.”

Just as words are the currency in which past and future are inflected via the priorities of the present, poets excel in their ability both to gauge the value and efficacy of that tender, at the moment of its circulation, and to combine those words in ways which elevate our sensitivity to what really is and what thus must also be. Shelley may have been overstating it somewhat, and mistaking the modern poet with the Homeric bards, when he said that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, but only somewhat. For the master craftsmen of the word introduce new coin that when potent enough becomes part of our everyday life and way of living: for good and ill, our priorities owe much not only to the sexual revolution of the 1960s but the modern bards with guitars who have been our pied pipers into this world we now inhabit. They are late pieces of ballast from the Romantic revolution; and I confess I love much of their creation, but I cannot deny that so many of the most creative musical minds and performers of the last fifty years have sided with and enthused those who are making merry hell, and their muddled musings whether coke-baked or merely the produce of narcissistic self-delusion have invariably supported the present ruling class that is creating a world of slavery in the name of freedom. Van Morrison, God bless him, and Eric Clapton have made themselves hated today by speaking out against the hellish conformity that our ruling political class is building. But poets and musicians have contributed to the fueling of the Heroic/Satanic defiance which has made the Self the be-all and end-all of existence.

That defiance was also the defining gesture of an age which had emerged from the first anti-Christian revolution and was limping toward the first openly atheistic revolution—ironically enough given the range of this essay, it is noteworthy that it is that country, having consciously thrown off its atheistic and communist past, that is now considered the source of all today’s evil by Western powers whose attack upon the truths revealed through traditional Christianity is a centre-piece in the strategy of their “world-making.”

Revolution was both a product of an enlightened age wishing to overturn crown and altar and all traditions which were not created by reason’s light, and the romantic age that sought to unleash the vitality of darker powers and passions in order to bring into existence a world that was as sublime as the artistic creations of the geniuses of the spirit. On the surface romanticism was a reaction to the excess of faith in light of an earlier generation; but it was also primarily a family squabble within the modern soul, a fraternal reaction, in which genius was “the middle term,” the genius who could fathom and express all. In the one, the scientists were the geniuses who could plot the mechanics of the world that could be incorporated into medicine and the various physical structures of the world and ourselves to build a better one for our needs. In the other, the world was to be an artistic occasion for those with the vision and insight and knowledge to also build anew. Though, unlike the philosophes many of them seemed far less ready to ditch tradition, for they appreciated it was a repository of experience and knowledge, and they would find sustenance in myth because it expressed knowledge of intimations and things closer to the nether aspects of our being. But in the main, and with occasional notable exceptions of genuine religious conversion, tradition was not itself something that should fetter the genius of the poetic creator; and its more typical legacy was to have fellow artists view traditions as syncretistic aesthetic opportunities. Romantics and the enlightened philosophes were both engaged in building the world out of the vicissitudes of the self as a god in its own right.

Carl Schmitt had astutely observed this in his book Political Romanticism when he wrote of the centrality of J.G. Fichte’s egoic philosophy in romanticism. For Fichte, the world is but the fact-act of the postulating and ever acting I; and the world but the occasion for that act. Having noted how the romantics were “fond of perceiving themselves as members of a higher organism,” Schmitt continues: “Just as in the schism between reality and possibility and between finitude and infinity, the community and history had availed themselves of functions that, in Christian metaphysics, belonged to God, here too they became the true cause for which everything else is only an occasion. Closer examination shows, however, that it is neither of these two demiurges—humanity and history—but rather the romantic subject itself that takes everything as an occasion. Here the opposition of romantic productivity to the activity that Fichte’s ‘ego’ postulates is the appropriate point of departure for the exposition of the romantic character. That is because this Fichtean ‘ego’ became the romantic subject.”

Revolution was another common thread between enlightenment and romanticism. The dialectical character of that relationship, as well as its revolutionary commitment, is visible in the kinds of contradiction that are typical of the modern radical imagination and which are starkly evident in the contemporary mythologizing and “romanticising” of indigenous life, of natural wilderness and of the energy provided by the sun and wind, on the one hand, and faith in science and social and emancipation progress—”I believe in the science”—on the other. It is the contradiction that breeds Extinction Rebellion and a society in which surgical tampering (and hence highly developed science) with genitals and vaccines is seen as essential commitment to emancipation; a society in which an entire population can be forced to wear masks because nature is a threat to our very existence, and one in which all things natural are to be esteemed so that the mere Anthropocene can be seen as a kind of cancer upon infinitely wonderous and sacred nature, a society in which the drive for total emancipation exists side-by-side with the drive to ensure none not comply with technocratic dictates. In sum, it is a society that in wanting to have everything is prepared to leave so many with nothing – perhaps mere organ assemblages to be harvested for the new transhumanist gods, or brain implants that will be able to be programmed to do the bidding of those doing the transplanting.

The revolutionary mindset that united the men and women of clarity and distinctness, of light and mind, and the students of the mechanical parts and laws of existence, with those devoted to discerning and expressing the darker and more chiaroscuro truths disclosed by myth and stemming from heart and passions, as Camus pointed out in his brilliant and important mid-20th century work L’Homme révolté, was above all a metaphysical revolt, a revolt predicated upon the deities of our own mental imaginings responding to the inevitable trials and habitual unfairness that comes with life; not rebellions we undertake against specific injustices.

Camus had rightly also identified the primary importance of the Marquis de Sade within this call for metaphysical rebellion—for de Sade wanted nothing less than the entire annihilation of the world, if that were necessary to satiate his infinite libidinous energy. It was, albeit unintentionally, a position that mirrored the philosopher Kant’s insistence that justice must be done even if the entire world were to perish. Neither was interested in modulating his passions (Sade) or ideas (Kant) to the requisite adaptations of life’s craggy contingencies. The dialectic of the modern satanic and moral purist (as expressed by Kant philosophically, and the Jacobins politically) eventually yielded a mindset in which absolute emancipation and absolute justice were perfectly congruent, and the body and it sexual organs were to provide the point of “indifference.”

Total freedom construed appetitively (Sadean and not-Kantian), and complete virtue unsullied by appetites (Kantian and not-Sadean) has become the West’s sacred temple—which is to say the temple is the self, the self, though as it conforms to what it is supposed to be—virtuous and fully committed to total emancipation, which is also to say a self that is compliant with what the satanic heroic rebels define it to be.

The monument to that dialectical resolution was the totalitarian revolutions of the 20th century, the children of which are the people who seek to completely rebuild the world so that it conforms to their ideas about emancipation. Their intellectual “leaders” invariably recognize the Marxian and post-Marxian “mother” (total critique in search of complete emancipation), but largely ignore (mainly through ignorance or willful decision not to confront inconvenient truths) the absent/unseen fascistic “father” (corporatism and “communities” bound by leadership). To be sure, both built obedience around the cult of the leader; and today’s globalised corporatist powers have retained the primacy of compliance with the decrees of leaders, whilst, quite cleverly leaving the primary leaders to remain rather faceless (though the narcissistic temptation to be loved and seen does afflict many of the more prominent ones).

Thus, just as the modern elite, as I have suggested many times in this magazine, reconciles communism and aristocratism of Marx and Nietzsche by having radicalised foot-soldiers tear down traditional authority in the name of equality, the power of the most wealthy is enhanced by their purporting to represent the interests of their clients, which is to rebel against the existing order of oppression. That representation relies upon those very foot-soldiers, who also seek out vassals (their own clients) amongst those in the lower classes.

Communism did breed a new class of rulers, as earlier dissidents said time and time again; but global corporatist governance has been far more successful in retaining its power over its under-classes and maintaining relationships of dependency, thanks to ensuring, with the help from their foot-soldiers, that they are sexually satiated, even if pornography is the primary means of slaking sexual desire amongst the less well-resourced males, drugged up, and self-satisfied in their “knowledge” about the world; which, given that they are educated into a level of sophisticated stupidity, is nothing but phrases and formulae circulated by teachers, professors and journalists, who pretty much think the exact same thing on any important topic.

If as I have suggested the modern revolutionary disposition is predicated on the hybrid of enlightened and romantic ideas and priorities about us and the world, not only as they are but what they can be, it is also, as Milton foretold, pride that is the fulcrum for the creation of this new world; and that pride is nowhere more obvious when we note how lacking in experience, how young the greatest exponents of revolution are, when they choose to devote their lives to it. Saint-Just was not even thirty when he went to the guillotine, Robespierre not forty, Marx in his mid-twenties when he wrote, feverishly from Paris, that he had discovered the solution to “the riddle of history,” Lenin’s brother Alexander was twenty-one when he was executed for his role in attempting to assassinate the Tsar, which no doubt played a decisive role in Lenin himself, drawn into revolutionary circles before he was twenty.

The notion that youth know so much that they should be politically committed is so commonplace in the West (New Zealand is currently having a judicial inquiry into whether sixteen-year-olds should have the vote) that to suggest that there is a connection between political commitment and pride would be seen by many people to be mere prejudice. We are meant to believe that even a child is not only able to diagnose the causes of the world’s ills, as if the world’s ills are settled and knowable to all, but also knows how to fix them. Of course, “fixing the world” requires believing in the science and the technocrats and corporate and political global (Western) leaders, who fund the science and whose profits are predicated upon the same leaders selling their solutions to the population at large. All of this is pride writ gigantic: from the billionaires and technocrats who believe they alone (hence those who criticize them must be silenced) can save us from oppression, poverty, climate, overpopulation, disease, and possibly even death itself so they and some of us—ermm, I mean them—may live forever, to the politicians, teachers, journalists, celebrities who tell us what to do, and what to think, so the planet and the species can be saved, to the poor idiots who think that they should be proud of their sexual being, and the even poorer idiots who think that all of this should be the priority of the Christian churches.

If I may briefly return to the great big pride flag in that church for the moment. Pride in one’s achievement is something not to be taken too far; for one’s own grasp on reality, being up today may be swiftly followed by being very down tomorrow: fortune is a great wheel. But the brief flicker of pride in a moment of great achievement, the success following devotion to a pursuit involving vast efforts, much time, and many obstacles may well be warranted and briefly pleasing—but pride in one’s mere being, and in a being defined by sexual appetite is something of very recent pedigree, and not something that owes anything at all to achievement. Being proud of one’s sexual appetites is so silly it belongs in comedy, as evident in some of the best jokes by the late great Norm MacDonald. Heterosexuals don’t have a flag, but if they did, that would be as diabolical as it was foolish—and it is not inconceivable that the great new world order might one day require that people bond around some symbol expressing their sexual preference.

Folly is ever the footman of the (d)evil—folly opens the doors and windows of the soul for (the d)evil’s entrance. We have in the West succumbed so much to folly, we think it is a gesture of solidarity and love (and see as hateful those like me who think this is nuts) to embrace this destruction of meaning and this elevation of sexual pleasure that it is perfectly reasonable to hang a pride flag under a cross in a church.

Were one simply to draw on the church wall people engaging in anal sex or cunnilingus or fellatio it would be far harder to keep up the pretense that we were talking about something dignified—but it would at least be honest, an honest way of saying that we want sex—”and when do we want it—now.” But that is only partly true of course; for while that is what the symbolism of the flag really expresses, the fact that this desire is dressed up and decorated and valorized in a way that is as far from actual sex as possible—flags are usually associated with ceremonies requiring strict decorum, while churches are (at least for non-Satanists) not usually the place for sexual activities.

What is essentially a statement about sexual desire and choice, a statement of the sort that satanists would, in more ritualistic attuned times, make by having orgies in a church, is publicly presented as if it were about love. But the Church and traditions more generally have never persecuted people for merely loving each other; the strictures of tradition kick in when it comes to how the love is demonstrated. Early Christian fathers were not romantic—sex was sex and love was love; and given how common it is for people to have sex who do not love each other, and how common it is for people who love each other deeply and not to have sex, it is symptomatic of the triumph of the myth of romantic love (so brilliantly dissected in Flaubert’s Madam Bovary) that we who live in an age that is so hypersexualized want to delude ourselves into thinking sexual attraction is the equivalent to love and that that should be the basis of the family.

Most of the human race until relatively recently would have thought this ridiculous—note this is a very different point from saying that sexual attraction may also involve love, and may even lead to love, but in and of itself it is not love. This is why I would be just as incensed over the stupidity of a flag dedicated to any kind of sexual pleasure or relationship in a church as I am to the pride one. I am incensed not because I find same sex immoral, but because I find the idea of hanging up a flag about sexual preference (and transforming preference into an identity) in a church to be a symptom of the mental derangement and blindness of the modern soul—a derangement based upon a failure to understand what is really sacred and what is simply something people choose to do. Dressing this all up as if it has some kind of historical continuity with the early Church martyrs, who adopted lives of renunciation, is simply an indication that people have lost their minds—and losing one’s intellect, as Dante reminded his readers in The Comedy, is also the price one pays for favouring sin. One chooses damnation, by choosing the particular objective of the moment, in place of fathoming the discernable flow of consequences that follow from damnable choices.

No, the real issue is sex and NOT sex—it is a desperate hunger for the sacred. The fact that the church I visited has thrown out all vestiges of sacred imagery except the centre-piece of the Christian faith, the cross (albeit a Christless cross) does not mean that those who attend it wish to live without the sacred. We as a species are creatures who desperately require transcendence. In a time where we compartmentalize life so that religion is simply a compartment we can enter into or leave alone, it is commonplace to ignore the fact that while religions cultivate us in different ways according to what they deem sacred and what aspects of our selves and lives they prioritize, they do so because of an original disposition which persists even in a purely secular environment. That disposition is natural, which is why the failure to reflect upon our nature is a very stupid and dangerous thing; and the insistence upon our lives being mere social constructs is an extremely unfortunate formulation that shows indifference to the limits of the act of “construction.” Construction, of course, is an engineering term and no one thinks they can construct a bridge or building without the right materials and knowledge—but in social thinking, the term serves to displace the importance of the materiality of ourselves, and to valorize the use of words—which stands in the closest relationship to the way in which false transcendence is bound up with false words.

And that is what this war in Ukraine has exposed—a war that is very much the result of false words entered into by an “Empire of Lies,” which has made of the self and its appetites the true object of worship. To be sure the larger abstractions of freedom/emancipation and equity enable that act of worship, lest the inanity of it be too obvious. But therein is the great diabolical trick—self-worship based upon verbal rites/formulae that are but vapid incantations deployed to hurt and persecute—all done in the name of love.

We are all dependents, at every second; and though the stupid elite enablers like to babble on about their autonomy, our dependent nature is not lost on those who have strategically positioned themselves to decide what the future with our limited resources must be like—which is just another way of deciding who must do what, to ensure their survival and wealth enhancement—which is also to say, who will live, and who will die.

The thing about the devil’s party, as I have said in the book I coauthored with my friend Guan BeiBei on Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin, is that it can never endure, because it is a party of Selves devoted only to themselves and their own appetites. But that too is why the values are so empty—and being so empty must be proclaimed at such volume and with such force and why the cultural war keeps finding new sacrifices to be made: today I read of a lesbian actress being threatened with a three-year jail term in Norway for an act of hate speech, i.e., publicly stating that sex organs define male and femaleness. The Satanic powers feast of our conceits and what we are prepared to give and to say to justify the appetites that fuel them.

Little daily acts of transcendence require that we lose our self in something higher, in an art, a craft, a love, a relationship, a commitment, a way, the depth of our faith and the Lord or God we serve; and that in losing ourself, more becomes of our selves—that is also because it is not a known identity but a mystery to be revealed. When words assist us in that transcendence, they too reveal their potency, through the very reality that they reveal. The Satanic is the promise of the overcoming of mystery, of the obliteration of revelation. Its means for achieving this are delusions, fueled by lies and animated by pride, which is followed by death—death of the soul, and of peoples.

I said above, I do not know if I can unequivocally affirm that Russia represents forces of light in the present war, but I cannot unsee the darkness in the forces that the West has sided with. Turning that around, if indeed it were possible, can only begin with us not being willing to accept lies as truths, and refusing to enter into the satanic church of the modern self’s identities and appetites.


Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen booksHe also doubles up as a singer songwriter. His latest album can be found here.


Featured: “Sole Morte,” by Odd Nerdrum; painted in 1987.

Conjuring Satan, Some Preliminary Remarks

These are some preliminary remarks to a major essay, entitled, “Conjuring Satan—False Transcendence and Counterfeit Words within an Age of War,” which is scheduled to appear in the January edition of the Postil.

I suspect that those who read and write for the Postil magazine see it as an alternative source of thinking for those who find that their concerns, interests and priorities are marginalized, if not ignored outright and/or denounced by journalists, academics and other ideas brokers who create, dictate and now seek to enforce through the control of media the narratives circulating within the Western global “townhall”/”public square.” It is a magazine that contains many disparate voices and points of view which are united by one common purpose: opposition to the fabrications that circulate in the global “hall/square.” Those fabrications, in spite of their diversity, also have one thing in common: they serve the interests of those whose wealth and power is of such a magnitude that they control (through funding, or, as Whitney Webb in her overwhelming and brilliant exposé One Nation Under Blackmail demonstrates, blackmail) governments, the human resource policies and major decisions of global corporations, and mobs ( now labeled as “communities”) pursuing their respective interests. Those fabrications are to thinking what global conglomerates are to businesses—monopolistic powers driving out all competing ways of doing things.

In the case of the narrative fabricators, their prestige is inseparable from their forging and circulating ideas, which is also to say that any claims, arguments, or even facts (and facts, of course, are inseparable from their meaning), that deviate from the ideas that support the fabrications have to be eliminated, discredited, or reformulated to discredit the author or speaker. The tactic of reformulation serves the purpose of ensuring ever greater control over our words and hence over our thoughts and communication, along with ensconcing the authority and professionality of those who monitor speech/ writing and decide what is permissible. It is a way of culling the dissidents from the technocratic new world in which an elite decide what must be done, who will do it, how it will be done, and who can say what about it.

The typical way of culling the dissidents is to discredit and denounce what is being said by claiming that it is something hateful, and that hate comes from being some sort of “-phobe” or “-ist,” and the hate of the -phobe or -ist is due to false information and delusional theories about non-existent conspiracies. It is because I despise this tactic, as well as the dreadful consequences that come from it, as well as what transpires along with it (the present war in Ukraine, at this moment, being the most conspicuous and awful example) and given that this topic addresses what I and others see as the diabolical nature of our hyper-sexualized, hyper-infantilized, hyper-idiotic and suicidally divisive culture that I want to address it directly and explicitly say that like hundreds of millions of people in the West I do not care what people’s sexual preferences are because sexual behaviour and preferences are a private matter as long as they do not violate the law.

In the West while laws surrounding involuntary sex—rape, for example, and defining the age of sexual activity- are generally uncontentious, laws which have decriminalized same sex relationships are, for good reasons, generally not opposed even by a great number of people who do not think that same sex relationships should be so normalized that school children should be taught that they might themselves consider pursuing same sex relationships. Generally people who think in this traditional manner do not approve of the means and mechanics of sexual pleasure being included in school curricula, believing that this is the business of parents not the state. Hence while as long as the majority think this way means that same sex will be viewed as not the norm, the larger issue is to what extent should the state be used to radically transform social norms. This transformation also inevitably leads to social polarization of the sort that is now the norm in Western countries, and which many non-Western countries (Russia just a few days ago) are determined to prevent happening in their country.

In the West the word prejudice is widely used to conceal the fact that sexual liberation comes at the heavy price of social polarization, and it may well be that the polarization will be of such a magnitude that it will completely rent asunder a society. Which, to repeat, is why entire peoples on this planet do not want to pay that price. For my own personal part I think policing sexual behaviour and choices (apart from rape, age constraints, and the like) is neither desirable nor socially congruent with other freedoms I value, such as freedom from blackmail, genuine cruelty, and discrimination. The vast majority of people in Muslim countries, if various Pew surveys conducted over the years, do not agree with me. Nevertheless like me, I can safely assume that several hundreds of millions of people in the West not only think this—for there is no mass movement “to turn back the clock” and outlaw same sex relations or transgender people – but, also like me, in their personal lives they love, and/ or accept, and befriend people who publicly identify as gay and/or trans. Also like me they do not agree with the way same sex and trans issues are currently politically framed by liberal progressive groups, parties and government officials and corporations, and how this framing coincides with the polarization and persecution, attacks and denunciations of those who do not think that all ideas and information, all that we know and value, think and say must conform to the idea that whatever is decided by “political leaders” of these “communities” must be accepted and complied with. On the contemporary politicization of trans issues as a weapon against all traditions allow me to quote Matthew Crawford whose brilliant substack work I have just discovered and recommend to all and sundry: “Almost nobody cares to hate transgender people unless they’re ruining sports, twerking in a public library, or demanding the right to lurk in the wrong bathrooms.”

Hence too the question of what constitutes cruelty—the most notable formulation of cruelty today being ensconced in the extremely lax and ideologically driven formulation of “hate speech”—and discrimination. The latter cannot be addressed with any clarity without taking into account social roles (which means social obligations) and words—which, albeit to contrary ends, is also recognized by what those who wish to completely destroy traditional social roles and the nomenclature that reflects those roles wish. One does not have to be heterosexual in one’s sexual taste to think that the terms discrimination and cruelty (specific acts of violence, as opposed to the expression of criticisms which people do not want to hear because they “feel” they are discriminatory and hateful) have now been turned into ideological truncheons for the creation of a global hell, and that the language of rights is a very dangerous, duplicitous and destructive language when unconnected from the thicker and frequently tacitly understood obligations -what Burke called prejudices – involved in the endurance of traditions. The danger with attempting to make reality fit our abstractions is the extent to which we have to kill reality to fit into the narrower confines of what we want: philosophers so deeply opposed in other respects such as Nietzsche and J.G. Hamann both recognized this.

It is also, to repeat, one thing to act upon “transgressive” desires and experiences and seek legal protection in doing so—which is by and large how gay sexuality was “embraced” in the 1960s and 1970s, and for many gay people still is—and another to insist that those very desires should not be not only tolerated or accepted but seen as building blocks for the construction of the family, the school, the military, and every other social institution. The objection to deeming certain sexual acts as transgressive is that this makes “marginalized” people second class citizens and prevents them from living their life-style openly. But the degree to which one weighs this claim tends to depend upon whether one is prepared to accept or ignore the counter-claim that every social role contains a sacrificial component, renouncing certain desires and actions and hence agreeing to a reduction in the array of possibilities that are commensurate with being able to act in that role: being a vestal virgin in a Roman temple required not having sex, being a Catholic priest requires celibacy, being a husband or wife, traditionally at least, has meant forsaking all others for sexual congress, being a husband has traditionally meant being married to a woman, being a man at certain times and in certain environments meant one could be conscripted into the army etc. Of course, it is not that uncommon for people to accept a role and defy the strictures require for its performance—priests not being celibate, spouses committing adultery, etc. While everyone knows that humans cheat and lie frequently, and that there are numerous motivations why someone may want to occupy a certain social role and office and not want to lose that role because they also follow through on the desires and impulses that the role or office demands they forsake, that is a very different issue from the social and political decision to dismantle an institution so that it better adapt to the truth that some fathers, mothers vestal virgins, priests etc. transgress.

Choosing or being born into a role means not only forsaking (or concealing) some kinds of actions other roles, making sacrifices to perform one’s social role.

The particularly modern Western triad of rights, emancipation, equality/ equity ignores this feature of social reality, and thus sets up an abstract and unreal way of talking about life. The normalization of the unreality of this way of life largely comes from the widely taught and widely held idea that all groups should have it “all”—i.e., be totally emancipated – and that the only reason they cannot is because white men can have it all. This is a fabulation, largely pushed by feminists in the 1970s and after (and now white cisgender feminists frequently finds themselves being denounced for the privileges they once said were exclusively male). It is a fabulation because it ignores the fact that traditional male roles—everywhere- have been bound up with adult males being required, when necessary, to sacrifice their lives to save the group. Feminists bolstered this fabulation that men have it all with the claim that war is a male creation (never mind that having it all is also bound up with being prepared to belong to the first group to be sacrificed for the community), thereby demonstrating that (a) they are either totally ignorant of or indifferent to the nature of primordial group survival and scarcity and (b) that ideational fabulations are expanded via rationalism and generalizations which suit the “will to power” of those invested in the fabulation, in this instance professional women wanting to achieve more power on the basis of their being rather than their achievement. The tactic of making sheer being, understood as identity, the condition of having has now extended to any group member making the case that their being be rewarded because it is the being of being disadvantaged (the clumsiness of the formulation is intended, because the thought process behind this is as clumsy as it is self-serving).

Because the language of the feminist movement (and we see the same pattern play in all identity based political movements) was so general—fight the patriarchy—very different issues, ones which really were a matter of discrimination and an economic protection racket for some men, and hence were areas where it was very hard to deny the rationality and moral legitimacy of those seeking legal and political redress, were mixed up with general and simplistic claims about the history of roles in society, and the desirable mosaic of economic distribution on the basis of gender, which required paying attention to holding or being employed in an office or position rather than one’s achievements for acquiring or performing within it. That was the beginning of what would become the greater problem of the undermining of a fundamental law of a person’s development, more precisely for the growth of the soul, and even more precisely it is an attack upon how transcendence features in a life. It is the complete inversion of what the self requires in order to transcend mere appetite and instinct. And it is that inversion of a law of the soul’s potential life that causes such personal and social destruction that concerns me when I focus upon how our modern sexualization of the self is a “satanic” commitment, a way of prioritizing death over life by taking an aspect of our being and making it something it simply is not. Thus I am not the slightest bit interested in people’s sexual actions as such, for while a sexual act may bring down a life, a family, a government or empire, and while any addiction which requires the sacrifice of all and everything to slake a particular desire imperils the soul, societies may well accommodate various sexual acts and preferences without having to insist that our institutions and culture must be rebuilt in conformity with making sexual pleasure the cornerstone of social and personal meaning. It is this modern value decision that I see as contributing to an ever greater degree of soullessness—which is another synonym for satanism.

I will discuss the literary and figurative forces that have sought and have largely succeeded to tilt the West in the direction of a satanic form of the individual and social heroism, and my brief is to attempt to encourage people to be more attentive to the evil we do and succumb to inadvertently, especially through making ourselves beholden to empty yet deathly destructive powers of our own imagination and understanding, to our pride. Some will see the term satanic figuratively, others literally—in the end I think that difference is so moot that it is unimportant, because the outcome is the same—the triumph of death over life. This world we are making in the West is predicated on mass death.

Most obviously it is predicated upon abortion being completely routinized. And to talk of the price paid for our sexualized culture being mass death of fetuses is no exaggeration. That the argument for abortion being a right, as was evident in the US in the recent Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health decision, is primarily about the danger to a woman’s life, or rape and only secondarily to the right to use it as a means of birth control is indictive of a tacit acknowledgement that the more sanctified language of rights may be compromised if it boils down to mere utility – consider how John Rawls the great champion of “distributive justice” makes the case why his rights based theory of justice is superior to any utilitarian based one. After all today almost every couple may watch the fetus form into a baby through various stages of its gestation- and is it not notable how our entertainment moguls regularly use the image of a fetus with a beating heart in its movies and television shows to demonstrate the extent of the love between parents, while the majority of the members of that very industry are so vocal about the right to terminate that very being because it is a matter of my body/ my choice? The appeal to the exception by pro-choicers is simply because abortion is very hard to reconcile with the idea that a growing fetus, which we can witness with our own eyes, while dependent upon and growing within the mother’s body, and who has its own tiny organs, may be extinguished because it is an economic burden upon the mother and father (if he is still around). That Western nations are, nevertheless, deeply divided over abortion is less significant than the fact that the scale of it is so great it is undoubtedly, and whether for good or ill, part of who and what we stand for.

There are two other major ways in which I think it reasonable to talk of our contemporary West being predicated upon death—one is the wars that it continually supports, the other is the push toward depopulation.

Conflicts over scarcity and territory and, somewhat more belatedly, faiths is a commonplace feature of the human story. What is particularly conspicuous about the wars involving the West today are that they not only take placed in far-away lands but they are made by others on behalf of beneficiaries in West. Just as the language of liberty prevails in an environment where liberties are increasingly diminished to fit global corporatist fiat and outcomes, the West presents itself as a means for peace when it manufactures one war after another. As with abortion, mass death is hidden and where it occurs the blame for it is laid elsewhere. Finally, just as vegans fail to see the consequences of their protests if they achieved their ends, viz. instead of living any kind of lives, cows, sheep, chickens etc. would not roam free, but be immediately reduced to a tiny fraction of their present number and, the few left, would be almost entirely living in zoos, the average person who accepts the globalist Malthusian need to depopulate the planet does not ask the question of how will that depopulation occur and who will make the decisions about who stays and who goes. It is one thing to note that there would be some population reduction accompanying greater wealth (presuming that occurs), which is a phenomenon that accompanies greater living standards, but the Malthusian argument is equally about resource control as much as population control as much as technological control. The idea that the scaling back of fossil fuel energy will automatically lead to the triumph of nonrenewable energy is not remotely as convincing as the idea that the scaling back of fossil fuel based energy will be a joker in the pack when it comes to pressuring governments into all adopting much lower populations to save the planet, because saving the planet has required scaling back energy, and, along with that food production. Maybe then the belated rage of populations will resemble something like the Chinese peasant rebellions of past times which periodically bought down dynasties.

Yuvsal Harari puts it plainly enough when he says, “fast forward to the early 2st century when we just don’t need the vast majority of the population,” and that “Humans are now hackable animals. The idea that humans have this soul or spirit, they have free will and nobody knows what’s happening inside me -so whatever I chose in the election of in the supermarket, that’s my free will? That’s over.”

And closely related to this is the replacement of the traditional family with the new family in which the natural process of birth only pertains to one type of family—the new types of family bypass nature, and in their bypassing, in their new kind of manufactured nature, the opportunity for technocratic control over who is allowed to give birth becomes inevitable. No wonder that many people today call this state of affairs in which the extent of control over life and nature and the concentration of that control within the elite decision making that is requisite upon the population accepting the authority and decisions of the decision makers satanic.

Against this backdrop, the politicization of the trans and gay movement, the push for gay marriage and the demand that gay and transgenders friendly materials be part of the school curricula, while on the surface being about a group’s right to social acceptance is a very conspicuous pawn in a larger game of social and population control. To be sure gays/trans people will seem to have want they want, but it is questionable whether the full extent of what we will all have will be what they or anyone apart from the “happy few” will want once they have what they really have. But this is precisely what the satanic always delivers—a big fact nothing that promises to be everything.

The follow-up essay is also about why it is neither stupid nor cruel to describe the way Western culture has conjoined the demand for complete emancipation within a narrative fabric in which non-being, lies, are integral to its formation and spread. While the essentialization of human identity based around a limited number of aspects—sexuality, race, and ethnicity – is intrinsic to it, in the main, it is sexualized identity which features both as the bedrock or being of the self as well as its apex. This is congruent with the great metaphysical turn of the seventeenth century seeking to build a new world by changing the names of what we experience to conform to a reality that is disclosed by the more stringent laws of reality discerned by the mind’s understanding. Such a turn, though, meant that the human world which is shot through by our makings that come from imaginings, stories, intimations, and more generally traditions are somehow less authentic and real than whatever world we might build anew, and what pertains to the understanding and imagination of the new builders.

Apart from the Cartesian and Lockean allowance of the various mental functions deployed to make sense of ourselves and the world, this turn also involved a substitution of the soul with sheer appetitive-ness and its satiation, making the avoidance of pain and the seeking of pleasure the polarities within which life’s meaning is to be played out. Although Kant was completely beholden to mechanistic science in his thinking about “experience” he was able to see that this polarity interfered with the grander claim about human dignity and the importance of its basis in freedom requiring that we are subject to laws that our own reason has concocted. That movement from appetites to rights ( almost two centuries before Rawls) was merely to replace nature’s raw stuff with our own abstractions. This has indeed made the new priest class who traffic in ideas about governance and freedom feel that their verbal wisps can eventually form flesh, but it has nothing to do with enhancing life itself.

I realize that clarifying the issues will still not stop those invested in ideological assault upon ideas that do not serve their interests and view of the new world and place within it, denouncing those who think like this as “-phobes” and “-ists.” But it is precisely because of the extent of thoughtlessness in the world that the world is in the turmoil it is, and our democratic societies all but dead and, more personally, that I pull myself away from my daily joy of playing guitar and singing to write essays on such terrible aspects of reality for the Postil.


Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen booksHe also doubles up as a singer songwriter. His latest album can be found here.


Featured: “Three Name Givers,” by Odd Nerdrum; painted in 1990.

Lies, Spies and US Bioweapons on the Verge of Armageddon

Initially, when the Russians brought the existence of the Ukrainian biolabs to the attention of the world, it was denied outright—the official Western response was—”those Ruskies just never stop lying.” And having shut down RT news, hardly anyone in the West knew anything about the Russian claim except that it was being made and it was therefore “disinformation,” and only conspiracy theorists believed it. Given there still has been no declaration of war by any Western country against Russia, one might think the “voices of social conscience” and the “guardians of truth” might at least be curious to know why the Western population was generally being “protected” from Russian news sources because the bright sparks thought the people just too dumb to be able to distinguish between truth and lie.

For a few years now, the bright sparks have decided that they alone know “the truth.” I am not sure which “settled science” it was exactly that decided that Russian media always tells lies, and that Western people are too gullible to be trusted with open access to Russian media. But it must have been the result of some scientific study by irreproachable “scientists,” because the masters of social conscience know and own the science on any given topic, and it was only us stooges that thought that such control of information was further proof of the dangerous totalitarian stranglehold of the Western world’s “leaders” and their mental enforcers.

But glory be, thanks to Victoria Nuland, that brain box and Democrat wife of Republican neo-con Robert Kagan, the current Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and former Assistant Secretary of State European and Eurasian Affairs, the US go-to girl in the “Revolution of Dignity” (you know, the one where “Dignity” meant burning alive their political opponents in Odessa—which local Russian speakers put at close to 400. But, hey, what would they know—they only lived there)—the story needed to by updated. Nuland clarified to the hapless Marco Rubio, who, when questioning her, expected her to respond that there were no labs, that they were actually just perfectly safe biolabs, conducting public health research. But with Russians in the picture, Nuland took on the role of Cassandra to warn that said labs in Ukraine were now a cause for concern, because their benign public health research was sure to be turned into “bioweapons” by those evil Russian.

Of course, the issue of biolabs and bioweapons is central to what is happening now—and is yet another factor in Russia’s “invasion.” And to make sure we would all share “the correct” memory of all this, on June 9, 2022 AD, the Pentagon released a Fact Sheet on WMD Threat Reduction Efforts with Ukraine, Russia and Other Former Soviet Union Countries. I think the centerpiece of the document is this:

The United States has also worked collaboratively to improve Ukraine’s biological safety, security, and disease surveillance for both human and animal health, providing support to 46 peaceful Ukrainian laboratories, health facilities, and disease diagnostic sites over the last two decades. The collaborative programs have focused on improving public health and agricultural safety measures at the nexus of nonproliferation.

On its release, some journalists, like Steve Sweeney from People’s World reported (June 14) that “The Pentagon said on Thursday that it has operated 46 biolabs in Ukraine handling dangerous pathogens, after previously dismissing the charges as Russian propaganda.” PolitiFact quickly weighed in with “The 46 facilities referenced in the articles and in the government’s fact sheet are owned and operated by Ukraine.” In the world of PolitiFact “working collaboratively” does not seem to be a synonym for funding. But while for the strict grammarians and guardians of “facts,” a tomato is definitely not a tomahto, the pertinent issue is smothered in the race to present nice, neat, clean facts to prevent us from ever believing anything that was not put together by team Goody Global Two Shoes—and that is the point made by bioweapons analyst Francis Boyle:

One of the latest explanations from a U.S. State Department spokesperson is that Ukraine has ‘biodefense’ laboratories, which are ‘not biological weapons facilities.’ The problem with making a distinction between ‘biodefense’ and ‘biowarfare’ is that, basically, there is none. No biodefense research is purely defensive, because to do biodefense work, you’re automatically engaged in the creation of biological weapons. All dual use research can be used for military purposes, and often is. As explained by Boyle, the idea behind ‘biodefense’ research is that there might be a natural pathogen out there that can cause a pandemic, or someone might release an engineered biological weapon, that we need to prepare a cure for.

How did such an obvious point pass the mental geniuses who tell us what to think? By the way Boyle is a human rights lawyer for all sorts of causes that generally fit neatly into the educated politically activist academic consensus (a critic of Israel and exponent of Palestinian rights, an advocate for indigenous and first nation rights, a supporter of Hawaiian self-determination, an international-law expert and legal adviser to the first Bosnia-Herzegovinian president). Then, he took an interest in bioweaponry and connected it to COVID. At once he became a “conspiracy theorist.” Anyone who thinks Big Pharma is capable of hazardous decisions, leveraging government and being involved in cartel collusion, and profiteering, and that it should be subjected to the kinds of protocols that no longer seem to exist for any of the larger corporation—is now labeled a “conspiracy theorist.”

If such a prime fact as Boyle’s about the nature of “biodefense” is smothered by weasel words, and by simply deferring to official statements made by the very operatives whose operations are being questioned, how was it ever possible for questions about government bioweaponry to get a serious airing in the public sphere? Answer—it was not possible, because the rules governing the “public square” no longer favor any kind of critical discussion—the public square itself dictates “the acceptable answers” to topics, and the public square is what the owners of that square say that it is—for the public square is very much a private possession.

But apart from the logic that Boyle brought to the conversation, even before every major news outlet in the country was falling over itself to attack right-wing conspiracy theorists, Newspunch counterpunched by demonstrating what a bunch of fraudsters the factcheckers are—when it reached back into the archives and found a piece from BioPrepWatch.com published in 2010: “Deleted Web Pages Show Obama Ordered Ukraine BioLabs to Develop ‘Deadly Pathogens.’” Allow me to reproduce the rest of the report:

Thenationalpulse.com reports: The article, which also highlighted the work of former Senator Dick Lugar, was additionally included in Issue No. 818 of the United States Air Force (USAF) Counterproliferation Center’s Outreach Journal.

Lugar said plans for the facility began in 2005 when he and then-Senator Barack Obama entered a partnership with Ukrainian officials. Lugar and Obama also helped coordinate efforts between the U.S and Ukrainian researchers that year in an effort to study and help prevent avian flu,” explained author Tina Redlup.

A 2011 report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Anticipating Biosecurity Challenges of the Global Expansion of High-Containment Biological Laboratories explained how the Odessa-based laboratory “is responsible for the identification of especially dangerous biological pathogens.

This laboratory was reconstructed and technically updated up to the BSL-3 level through a cooperative agreement between the United States Department of Defense and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine that started in 2005. The collaboration focuses on preventing the spread of technologies, pathogens, and knowledge that can be used in the development of biological weapons,” the report continues.

The updated laboratory serves as Interim Central Reference Laboratory with a depozitarium (pathogen collection). According to Ukrainian regulations, it has a permit to work with both bacteria and viruses of the first and second pathogenic groups,” explains the report.

A separate document detailing Ukraine’s biolab network from the BioWeapons Prevention Project outlines in greater detail the scope of pathogens the facility has conducted research with.

Among the viruses the lab studied were Ebola and “viruses of pathogencity group II by using of virology, molecular, serologica and express methods.”

Additionally, the lab provided “special training for specialists on biosafety and biosecurity issues during handling of dangerous biological pathogenic agents.”

The unearthed biolab facility follows intense scrutiny over the U.S. government’s decision to fund risky, “gain-of-function” research in Wuhan at a Chinese Communist Party-run lab with military ties.

The combination of algorithmic-controlled information and the vanishing of web sites that disprove the approved “line” of the cabal at Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, etc., as well as the CIA, the FBI and the Government—is now such a conspicuous feature of our information flow in the West that an obvious question arises—how can anyone, who wants to get at the truth of things, still believe any official news source today? With respect to the war, in general, and the biolabs, in particular, the only position that is now permitted to be published in mainstream media is that if the Russians claim something, it is ipso facto propaganda and false. All nice and Manichean. And the way this seems to now be proven is that Government intelligence officials tell us so. Once upon a time academics and journalists were far more inclined to think that if the CIA said something there was a fair to good chance it was a lie.

So, before we carry on with looking briefly at the history of US biowarfare and what the Russian arguments and claims about US biolabs and weapons are, and why this should be widely known and discussed, instead of being denounced, and shutdown—let us just remind ourselves of a few unpleasant truths about the CIA, and why it is utterly imbecilic (and fully in keeping with the our age of the imbecilic) that journalists have derived their facts and larger narrative for understanding the Russia-Ukraine war from the Central Imbecilic (sorry, I meant, Intelligence) Agency.

Trust US. We are the CIA

Those of a certain age will most like be familiar with Phillip Agee’s Inside the Company: CIA Diary, which is Agee’s first-hand account of his twelve years as a CIA agent during his time in Uruguay, Ecuador, Mexico and Washington. The essentials are laid out in a couple of early paragraphs of the book, where he writes:

When I joined the CIA I believed in the need for its existence. After twelve years with the agency I finally understood how much suffering it was causing, that millions of people all over the world had been killed or had had their lives destroyed by the CIA and the institutions it supports. I couldn’t sit by and do nothing and so began work on this book. Even after recent revelations about the CIA it is still difficult for people to understand what a huge and sinister organization the CIA is. It is the biggest and most powerful secret service that has ever existed. I don’t know how big the KGB is inside the Soviet Union, but its international operation is small compared with the CIA’s. The CIA has 16,500 employees and an annual budget of $750,000,000. That does not include its mercenary armies or its commercial subsidiaries. Add them all together, the agency employs or subsidizes hundreds of thousands of people and spends billions every year. Its official budget is secret; it’s concealed in those of other Federal agencies. Nobody tells the Congress what the CIA spends. By law, the CIA is not accountable to Congress.

In the past 25 years, the CIA has been involved in plots to overthrow governments in Iran, the Sudan, Syria, Guatemala, Ecuador, Guyana, Zaire and Ghana. In Greece, the CIA participated in bringing in the repressive regime of the colonels. In Chile, The Company spent millions to “destabilize” the Allende government and set up the military junta, which has since massacred tens of thousands of workers, students, liberals and leftists. In Indonesia in 1965, The Company was behind an even bloodier coup, the one that got rid of Sukarno and led to the slaughter of at least 500,000 and possibly 1,000,000 people. In the Dominican Republic the CIA arranged the assassination of the dictator Rafael Trujillo and later participated in the invasion that prevented the return to power of the liberal ex-president Juan Bosch. In Cuba, The Company paid for and directed the invasion that failed at the Bay of Pigs. Sometime later the CIA was involved in attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro. It is difficult to believe, or comprehend, that the CIA could be involved in all these subversive activities all over the world.

Since Agee’s diary. there have been other accounts of the CIA, mainly by former operatives or academics, which go into the details of all the election rigging, coups, assassination attempts, false flag operations, torturing and various conspiracies (yes, shock, horror! the CIA has a history of conspiring to overthrow regimes, and fuel revolts and start wars). Before the Left was a woke joke, and the CIA had set up shop as a diversity service provider, scholars like William Blum (see his Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II) would write books exposing the various dirty tricks and machinations (installing bloody dictators, arming terrorists, working with drug runners, arms runners and money laundering—all for the good of the world. I thoroughly recommend Douglas Valentine’s 2017 book, The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World—it also has a chapter on the CIA in Ukraine. Here is synopsis of another book, Big White Lie: The CIA and the Cocaine/Crack Epidemic, by former DEA agent, Michael Levine which gives a pretty good account of what the CIA have been up to in the more overtly criminal stakes:

…the CIA has perverted the American criminal justice system by protecting drug dealers and murderers from prosecution; that Federal judges and prosecutors alleged to have broken narcotics laws have been protected from investigation; that the government of Bolivia and South American drug cartel leaders have been assisted and even paid by the CIA…without CIA support, South American cartels and the epidemic of cocaine and crack use in the U.S. would never have occurred.

During the Maidan revolution in 2014, McCain and Nuland were doing photo ops with Svoboda (the neo-Nazi political party) leader Oleh Tyahnybok and his cronies who were busy assisting in regime change. After all, at the end of the Second World War US intelligence agencies, including the CIA, recruited General Reinhard Gehlen, the German army’s intelligence chief for the Eastern Front during World War II, who “successfully maintained his intelligence network (it ultimately became the West German BND) even though he employed numerous former Nazis and known war criminals.” This was hidden from the public for some fifty years, until documents pertaining to this history were declassified in 2002. The following from The National Security Archive in 2005 is worth quoting:

The documentation unearthed by the IWG (The Nazi War Crimes Interagency Working Group) reveals extensive relationships between former Nazi war criminals and American intelligence organizations, including the CIA. For example, current records show that at least five associates of the notorious Nazi Adolf Eichmann worked for the CIA, 23 other Nazis were approached by the CIA for recruitment, and at least 100 officers within the Gehlen organization were former SD or Gestapo officers.

The IWG enlisted the help of key academic scholars to consult during the declassification process, and these historians released their own interpretation of the declassified material in May of 2004, in a publication called US Intelligence and the Nazis. The introduction to this book emphasizes the dilemma of using former Nazis as assets:

The notion that they [CIA, Army Counterintelligence Corp, Gehlen organization] employed only a few bad apples will not stand up to the new documentation. Some American intelligence officials could not or did not want to see how many German intelligence officials, SS officers, police, or non-German collaborators with the Nazis were compromised or incriminated by their past service.

Apparently, the Nazi spies were a disaster! As the report continues:

Lack of sufficient attention to history-and, on a personal level, to character and morality-established a bad precedent, especially for new intelligence agencies. It also brought into intelligence organizations men and women previously incapable of distinguishing between their political/ideological beliefs and reality. As a result, such individuals could not and did not deliver good intelligence. Finally, because their new, professed ‘democratic convictions’ were at best insecure and their pasts could be used against them (some could be blackmailed), these recruits represented a potential security problem.

But now that Russia’s geopolitical concerns are strategically regional and have nothing in common with the globalist aspirations of the former Soviets, many of the very people who previously were very willing to denounce the CIA for its interventions in Chile, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Argentina, Cuba, Greece, Iran, Indonesia etc. are more than willing to read from the script prepared by the CIA. Still, the take-home point from any of the left-leaning books on the CIA, written in the last thirty years or so, is that the CIA acted covertly, criminally, and very often under the veil of “plausible deniability;” which is to say, it was often left free to do whatever it thought necessary, without there being any followable line of command that would link its actions to the President—and, of course, it lied—constantly. It also involved itself in propaganda. It is obvious that the entrenchment of nefarious practices tend to continue well after any rationale for adopting them has vanished. On the issue of propaganda, the following from Agee is important:

The CIA’S role in the US propaganda program is determined by the official division of propaganda into three general categories: white, grey and black. White propaganda is that which is openly acknowledged as coming from the US government, e.g. from the US Information Agency (USIA); grey propaganda is ostensibly attributed to people or organizations who do not acknowledge the US government as the source of their material and who produce the material as if it were their own; black propaganda is unattributed material, or it is attributed to a non-existent source, or it is false material attributed to a real source. The CIA is the only US government agency authorized to engage in black propaganda operations, but it shares the responsibility for grey propaganda with other agencies such as USIA. However, according to the ‘Grey Law’ of the National Security Council contained in one of the NSCID’S, other agencies must obtain prior CIA approval before engaging in grey propaganda. The vehicles for grey and black propaganda may be unaware of their CIA or US government sponsorship. This is partly so that it can be more effective and partly to keep down the number of people who know what is going on and thus to reduce the danger of exposing true sponsorship. Thus editorialists, politicians, businessmen and others may produce propaganda, even for money, without necessarily knowing who their masters in the case are. Some among them obviously will and so, in agency terminology, there is a distinction between ‘witting’ and ‘unwitting’ agents.

Sound familiar? Allow me to align this with a piece by NBC (April 6 2022) that is breathtaking in its combination of chutzpah and imbecilic integrity. The headline reads “In a break with the past, U.S. is using intel to fight an info war with Russia, even when the intel isn’t rock solid.” “It doesn’t have to be solid intelligence,” one U.S. official said. “It’s more important to get out ahead of them [the Russians], Putin specifically, before they do something.”

It continues:

It was an attention-grabbing assertion that made headlines around the world: U.S. officials said they had indications suggesting Russia might be preparing to use chemical agents in Ukraine. President Joe Biden later said it publicly. But three U.S. officials told NBC News this week there is no evidence Russia has brought any chemical weapons near Ukraine. They said the U.S. released the information to deter Russia from using the banned munitions. It’s one of a string of examples of the Biden administration’s breaking with recent precedent by deploying declassified intelligence as part of an information war against Russia. The administration has done so even when the intelligence wasn’t rock solid, officials said, to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin off balance. Coordinated by the White House National Security Council, the unprecedented intelligence releases have been so frequent and voluminous, officials said, that intelligence agencies had to devote more staff members to work on the declassification process, scrubbing the information so it wouldn’t betray sources and methods.

Who needs rock solid when the government and its intel are so great?

Let’s consider one last piece on the CIA—Tim Weiner’s, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. It is a fairly sober account of the CIA by a journalist whose recent pronouncements—short of anything resembling proof—on this war seem to me to make him prey to his own quarry. But his book of 2007 makes some good points. The first is a good summing up of the limits of “intelligence”—which is salient to why it is insane for journalists to think they are doing a democracy anything other than a disservice by parroting the “talking points” of their “intelligence” sources: “Intelligence fails because it is human, no stronger than the power of one mind to understand another. Garrett Jones, the CIA station chief during the disastrous American expedition in Somalia, put it plainly: ‘There are going to be screw-ups, mistakes, confusion, and missteps,’ he said. “One hopes they won’t be fatal.”

The second, is a good summary of how the intelligence game changed with the war on terror, and how that “war” has led to how the CIA now operates:

The CIA had run secret interrogation centers before–beginning in 1950, in Germany, Japan, and Panama. It had participated in the torture of captured enemy combatants before–beginning in 1967, under the Phoenix program in Vietnam. It had kidnapped suspected terrorists and assassins before–most famously in 1997, in the case of Mir Amal Kansi, the killer of two CIA officers. But Bush gave the agency a new and extraordinary authority: to turn kidnapped suspects over to foreign security services for interrogation and torture, and to rely on the confessions they extracted. As I wrote in The New York Times on October 7, 2001: “American intelligence may have to rely on its liaisons with the world’s toughest foreign services, men who can look and think and act like terrorists. If someone is going to interrogate a man in a basement in Cairo or Quetta, it will be an Egyptian or a Pakistani officer. American intelligence will take the information without asking a lot of lawyerly questions.” Under Bush’s order, the CIA began to function as a global military police, throwing hundreds of suspects into secret jails in Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, and inside the American military prison in Guantanamo, Cuba for interrogations. The gloves were off. “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there,” Bush told the nation in an address to a joint session of Congress on September 20. “It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.

Of course, the justification for the “war on terror” moved from the war against the Taliban to the war against Iraq; and while the rationale of that war, mentioned below, was based on false information, the real rationale enthusiastically repeated on numerous occasions by Tony Blair was that it was the task of democracies to overthrow tyrants wherever they were. Hence the requisite procedure in the international arena becomes one of declaring one’s enemy a tyrant to legitimate regime change. And as was signaled with the passing of the Magnitsky Act back in 2012, which enabled the seizure of Russian assets, the decision that regime change had to occur in Russia precedes not only the present war in the Ukraine, but the Maidan.

And if anyone out there still thinks the CIA is a trustworthy institution (and I have not even touched upon its various debacles which have been addressed by other authors) let’s go to the third passage from Weiner, which I think particularly pertinent because even the slew of pro-war Democrats might remember where they purportedly once stood (of course, I am joshing. Most of them went in boots and all with young George W and the CIA. So much for principles):

President Bush presented the CIA’s case and more in his State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003: Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to kill millions, chemical weapons to kill countless thousands, mobile biological weapons labs designed to produce germ-warfare agents. “Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” he said. “Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. All of this was terrifying. None of it was true.

In a nutshell, there is nothing about the CIA’s history which indicates that it is a trustworthy operation. The good thing about most of the left-wing writings on the CIA—and even though I am often critical of the Left, I have always thought this aspect of their investigations to be a valuable contribution to any public considerations of state action—is that they invariably identity the nexus between corporate interests and the state. An iconic expression of the problem was by Major General Smedley Butler back in the 1930s in his War is a Racket:

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Nothing has changed in that the real reason for NATO expansionism and for the most brazen proxy war funded by way Western governments funneling tax payers’ money, without resorting to anything remotely resembling electoral approval, to send weapons to Ukraine.

Far less reported are NATO’s nuclear war games which are being held some six hundred miles from Russia. And what is simply not known at all—is what the Russians are saying about US bioweapons.

A Brief History of The US Bioweapon Research and Why the Russians Are Bothered

US government research into biological warfare originated in the Second World War in response to British and French concerns that the Nazis might attack with biological weapons. They didn’t, but the Japanese were also developing biological weapons that they would use against the Chinese—they experimented on prisoners, poisoned wells, and dropped plague infested fleas over cities and rice fields. The Soviets had also been attacked with biological weapons, and after the war they convicted some of the Japanese researchers, although the Soviets had already been working on biological warfare from the 1920s and would become world leaders in bioweaponry until the Union collapsed.

The defeat of the Japanese provided a valuable source of new recruits for the US government in the area of biological warfare. The extent to which the US was able to make use of the Japanese research is not altogether clear, but we do know that both in the US and Japan secret research was being conducted, involving known war criminals for the next forty years. This information started coming to light in the 1990s when, as Sheldon Harris in his book of 1994, Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare 1932-45 and the American Cover Up, the Clinton administration “began to lift the veil of secrecy concerning United States; experiments with human subjects in hundreds of studies during and since the end of World War II.” Forgive the lengthiness of the quote from Harris; but as most people will not be aware of this, I think it important to cite in full; and it nicely provides something of a history of US, Japanese and Soviet bioweaponry:

We now know that American scientists tested humans with mustard gas, other chemical agents, exposed others to radiation tests, and still others to a variety of pathogens without the subjects’ knowledge or consent. In many instances, the most distinguished scientists from the most prestigious American universities participated both in deceiving their patients and in conducting the experiments. Even today, those scientists still active in the field, and their host universities, deny involvement. Recently opened former Soviet archives disclose that the Soviet Union inaugurated a large-scale biological warfare program beginning in the mid-1920s. Humans were used often in experiments that covered a variety of diseases potentially useful in biological warfare. Research facilities were established throughout that vast nation, and, according to Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin, such research continues covertly today.

The Soviet cover was partially blown in 1979 when a massive outbreak of anthrax affected a large area around the Urals city of Sverdlovsk. The most conservative estimates are that at least ninety-six people were infected, and that some sixty-six people died as a result of the outbreak. The true figures, no doubt, are higher. The most terrifying aspect of the outbreak was the disclosure that the Sverdlovsk biological warfare plant accidentally released less than one gram of anthrax spores, possibly as little as several milligrams. It does not take much imagination to calculate how much death and destruction the release of a few grams of anthrax spores into a heavily populated community could cause.

In Japan, scientists who participated in involuntary human experiments during World War II, and earlier, dominated the administration and controlled the areas of research of the country’s National Institute of Health for one half-century after the war ended…it should be noted here that at least seven of the NIH’s Directors and five of the Institute’s Vice Directors, during the 1930s and 1940s, engaged in biological warfare experiments which employed human test subjects. The National Institute of Health is a government-supported agency. Yet these known war criminals were employed by this institution, were given great powers within the organization and continued to use humans without their consent, and often without their knowledge, in investigations that were carried on during the course of more than forty years. It is known that experiments were authorized on prisoners, babies and patients in psychiatric hospitals in 1947, and from 1952 until 1955 by the NIH’s Vice Director Masami Kitaoka. Another researcher conducted bacteriological experiments on infants hospitalized in Tokyo’s National First Hospital in 1952. Later, this same researcher, from 1967 until 1971, used shigella in experiments on soldiers in Japan’s Self-Defence Forces. In May 1985, an NIH researcher experimentally injected an unapproved vaccine against a Japanese encephalitis virus into nearly 200 hospitalized children without their parents’ consent. At different times over a three-year period, 1987, 1988, 1989, Kuniaki Nerome experimentally tested two types of genetically modified vaccine against influenza on approximately forty hospitalized children. Their parents were unaware of the tests and did not give their informed consent for the vaccines to be used on their children.

There are a number of international treaties being drawn up that seek to outlaw biological warfare, and, by implication, involuntary human experimentation. The United States, Russia (the former Soviet Union) and Japan are signatories to the various international agreements outlawing human experimentation, and the production of biological warfare agents. Nevertheless, both these activities appear to be flourishing today in all three countries, as well as elsewhere in various parts of the world. It appears that human testing, biological and chemical weapons will be part of former President George Bush’s so-called new world order for some time to come.

It is true that in 1969 President Nixon made a statement signaling the end of US offensive biological weapons programs and in 1972, along with Soviet Union, the Biological Weapons Conventions, outlawing biological warfare. What one makes of this very much depends upon what one thinks of the efficacy of international declarations, pieces of paper and signatures, and whether one thinks public gestures disclose hidden operations.

One investigative journalist who was doing his job well was Gordon Thomas. Early in his book, Spies and Lies: A History of CIA Mind Control and Germ Warfare, in the midst of discussing the anthrax attacks that took place in the US in October 2001, he writes:

In 2004, the U.S. armory of weaponized biological agents consisted of 19 bacteria, 43 viruses, 14 toxins and 4 rickettsiae. Their use remains outlawed under the Geneva Protocol of 1925. Within five years of the protocol’s creation Italy, Belgium, Canada, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Poland and the Soviet Union had all signed. The United States did not sign until 1975. By then the U.S. had developed a massive biochemical arsenal. Shortly before the September 11 attack, the Pentagon admitted that at Nellis Air Force base, one of the most secret in America, it had established the world’s largest stockpile of biological and chemical weapons. It had been created largely by CIA scientists. One of these scientists had been an obsessive “biochemist whose work pioneered the research which eventually led to the stockpile. His name was Frank Olson.

On that terrible September day in 2001, Olson’s son, Eric, was living in the family home in Frederick, Maryland, a short distance from Fort Detrick, where his father had worked for the CIA. That establishment then—and now—remains a restricted place, guarded by a variety of electronic defenses and armed “guards. As the television set in Eric’s living room endlessly replayed the 9/11 scenes of destruction from New York and Washington, he typed into his computer—on which he had stored so many astonishing matters relating to the death of his father—the most astounding claim of all:

“My father was murdered because the CIA feared he would reveal the biggest American secret of the Cold War, perhaps of all time. It is the secret of how the CIA was involved in biological warfare as well as mind control. My father had a key part in both programs.”

The takeaways from this very brief history are simply that the US has engaged in bioweapon research; that it has stockpiles—an “armory”—of weaponized biological agents; and that it is extremely secretive. Everything can of course have a purely benign spin—the research is purely defensive/preventative. It exists to save us from bio attacks by terrorists or rogue states—like Russia—and that it is important to prevent terrorists and rogue states from getting hold of the research and having access to the biological agents. As we all know the United States is still the only state to have used nuclear weapons. It sets itself up as the moral arbiter of nations and what constitutes a just international order. It is entitled to be an exceptional state—that’s part of its Calvinist heritage (hard to believe when you see its public clowns today)—but it sticks to it. The question is: is the USA a force for the angels? Or does it say one thing and do another? Is its bioresearch all for the human good? Or is it a potential source of devastation?

Irrespective of what you or I might think, the thing that must be born in mind when the Russians went on the offensive about the biolabs in the Ukraine, and the US went from denial (and when that became too implausible) to “nothing to see here, all above-board, and there is nothing remotely dangerous in any of this.”

Apart from what seems to me to be the Western explanation—one can very easily find out why the Russians are bothered, and why it might even be reasonable for them to be bothered when one listens to what they are saying. And what they are saying is deeply disturbing, and as far as I can see it, while the very idea that Ukrainian/ US biolabs could be genuinely perceived as a serious threat to Russia is ridiculed and ‘factchecked’ by repeating government/ intelligence press releases, anyone who reads the Russian Government Report, The activities of the biological laboratories of the US Department of Defense in Ukraine will see that, at the very least, there is a story here, and that to bury it is but one more egregious example of the complete moral and intellectual bankruptcy of our “idea-broking” professionals.

An essential component of that story is the connection between the end of the Soviet Union, the expansion of NATO (which the West refuses to concede is any serious cause of aggravation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and which involves “experts” and “journalists” repeating the lie that none ever said NATO expansion would stop with the end of the Cold War), and the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. That Program was initiated by the US government working in cooperation with the Pentagon and CIA—the Pentagon Division was originally entitled the “Defense Special Weapons Agency,” before changing its name to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the US Army Institute for Medical Research on Infectious Diseases. The Program’s ostensible purpose was the elimination of stockpiles of Soviet nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, which effectively gave the US control over former Soviet biological weapons.

Although, it might be a source of puzzlement for those who think that the USA, unlike any other imperial or hegemonic power, simply acts for the good of all human kind—and that it and its allies are not driven by the strategic self-interests of their ruling classes—the “Cooperative Reduction Program” not only involved taking over the stockpiles (and specialists trained in developing and studying pathogens and bioweapon technology) in Russia, but also countries “along the perimeter of the borders of Russia: Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan,” before expanding into other parts of Asia and Africa.

What was meant to be an elimination program morphed into something far more in keeping with a geopolitical strategy commensurate with the continuation of NATO expansion and the United States’ mission of a unipolar world, and a source of concern for the Russians, viz. “one after another transferred their collections of dangerous pathogens to the United States in exchange for American help. Who neutralized them in America, how and whether they were actually destroyed—remained a mystery.”

But then everything to do with the labs was a mystery—which, on a tangential though not completely unrelated matter, is why the issues of the laboratory source of COVID, and the pharmaceutical and financial and political networks involved in the origin of the pandemic (whether true or fake) are still smothered in deceit and mystery.

In any case, what was officially presented as a program of elimination turned into an opportunity too good to miss, as an extensive network of labs working with dangerous viruses were set up in former Soviet countries: “All of them were financed by the US Department of Defense, were called differently everywhere and were created, as a rule, on the basis of scientific research institutes and SES, created back in the Soviet period. One of the features of this program consisted in the fact that in each country not one object was erected, but a whole cluster at once. Part of it was concentrated directly in the capitals of the former republics, while related institutions were located in different parts of the country.”

The Report then identifies what it calls two “strong opinions” about this network in the former Soviet republics, and they are worth citing at length:

First. American biological programs in the post-Soviet states are a way to circumvent the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction (BTWC). Despite the fact that the Convention was signed back in 1972, to this day, the control mechanism does not work largely due to the efforts of the United States, although the world expert community spent more than 45 years developing it. In 2001, the US demonstrated to the world that it had active bioprograms. After the attack on September 11, 2001, deaths of anthrax among people suddenly began to be recorded, and postal envelopes became the transmission route of this infection. The US Congress conducted an investigation (later it turned out that the recipe was combat and came out of the walls of the US Army bacteriological center at Fort Detrick). The attack against its own people, attributed to terrorists, gave huge political dividends to the US leadership. Now there was a formal reason to declare that the States are victims of biological terrorism and therefore unilaterally withdraw from the mechanism of collective control over the implementation of the BTWC. In autumn 2001, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced this in Geneva. At the same time, a biological threat reduction program (the Nunn-Lugar program) was proposed, and the United States began large-scale construction of military biological laboratories, including around Russia. But holding the United States accountable for conducting biological experiments that violate the UN Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons is almost impossible. The US does not recognize the International Criminal Court and was not a signatory to the founding Rome Statute….

Second. The United States, after the collapse of the USSR, became very concerned about the conditions for the storage of pathogens and, as a result, the threat of a biological attack on America. The global American project declares its goal to minimize these threats, which is why tens and hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in laboratories in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Moldova, and Ukraine. They say that dangerous strains of microorganisms may leak into the environment in these countries. However, it does not explain how, for example, Armenia or Uzbekistan can organize a biological attack on the United States or why the laboratories are mainly located in large cities with a high population density or at a close distance from them. After all, it is much more logical, if there is even a minimal threat of pathogen leakage, to build such facilities in a desert area in order to eliminate the possibility of the spread of pathogens and epidemics.

As for the more specific purposes of the research, the penultimate paragraph of the Report sums it up thus:

The activities of American biological laboratories damage the economy, including by indirect methods (due to the destruction of livestock of diseased livestock, discrediting livestock products on local and world markets), as well as the human potential of Russia (reduction of general immunity and resistance to seasonal diseases, ability to reproduce, decreased efficiency, etc.), the diversion of significant forces and resources of the state to combat artificial outbreaks of infectious diseases. As a result the dependence of the attacked countries (Russia, China and Iran) on the products of the Western pharmaceutical industry is increasing, hoping in the future to offer medicines against artificially caused outbreaks of infectious diseases.

The Report also notes the mutuality of political, military and corporate interests that are embedded in bioresearch, and the geopolitical conditions that the US needs to establish and maintain for it to be effective. Again, I quote at length:

US biolaboratories located along the borders of the Russian Federation have a number of common features. These objects are strictly classified and are located in cities or near cities with a population of over a million (Odessa, Kharkov, Almaty), near seaports (Odessa), airports (Tbilisi, Yerevan, Kyiv) or in earthquake-prone countries such as Armenia (Yerevan, Gyumri, Ijevan) , and even in areas with a probability of 9-magnitude earthquakes (Almaty). The construction of laboratories as part of projects to counter biological threats allows the United States to fully control the biological situation on the territory of both the respective post-Soviet countries and their transboundary neighbors. Virologists know that there is only one step from studying bacteria to creating a bacteriological weapon. In addition, the biolaboratories created by the United States, operating in a closed regime, are removed from the control of the governments of the countries in which they are located. Laboratories are often staffed by Americans with diplomatic immunity, and local health officials do not have direct access to these facilities.

The number of laboratory staff, from 50 to 250 people, far exceeds the number of personnel needed to maintain modern civilian laboratories with stated goals. The heads of the facilities are often appointed by persons from among the military loyal to Washington or intelligence officers. So, the CRL in Tbilisi was previously headed by the chief of Georgian intelligence Anna Zhvania and he was subordinate not to the Ministry of Health, but to the Ministry of Defense of Georgia.

In the case of Ukraine, and unlike other parts of the former USSR, it was not until the Presidency of George W. Bush that bioweapon research was conducted there. Like Obama and Trump after him, George W. originally campaigned on a foreign policy platform of cooperation with Russia—but that counted for zero once elected, and his regime’s setting up of military laboratories in Ukraine would be an important part in a chain of events that has led to the brink we now live upon.

The Report quotes the Political Scientist Dmitry Skvortsov: “Now there are 15 military laboratories in the country at once, and their activities are absolutely non-transparent and unaccountable. Hence the conclusion: these facilities were created by the Pentagon as manufacturers of biological weapons. Otherwise, why aim to prevent the spread of ‘technologies, viruses and pathogens’ used in the development of biological weapons in facilities where these weapons have never been developed?”

The Report also quotes the former Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov complaining about the secrecy surrounding the research and the lack of controls able to be exercised on the research.

When the story about the existence of the US/Ukraine biolabs was labelled “misinformation,” before being changed to “so what? It’s for our own good,” one might have thought that would be some follow up by journalists about claims of odd viral outbreaks in Ukraine. But that has never happened. Just because journalists do not report things does not mean such things do not exist. And the Report points out that there have been bacterial and viral outbreaks in Ukraine of the sort which indicate laboratory sources.

For example in 2010 and 2015, there were California flu pandemics:

…when the epidemiological threshold was exceeded in 20 regions. From October 2015 to February 2016, more than 350 virologically confirmed deaths from this type of A (H1N1) virus were registered in Ukraine, with 40% of deaths were young people from 18 to 26 years old who did not have chronic diseases.”

Also,

Since 1995, no cases of cholera have been registered in Ukraine. And suddenly in 2011 in Mariupol, 33 people get sick at once. In 2009, 450 Ukrainians in Ternopil suffered from a rare virus that causes hemorrhagic pneumonia. In 2014, there was another outbreak of cholera in Ukraine, which came from nowhere—then 800 people fell ill. The same thing happens in 2015 and 2017: about a hundred cases were registered in Mykolaiv.

In 2015, fatal cases of leptospirosis, rabies and other pathologies, which have long been forgotten in the EU countries, were recorded in Ukraine. In 2016, an epidemic begins in the country botulism, from which four people die, and in 2017—eight more, only according to official data.

In January of the same year, 37 residents of Nikolaev were hospitalized with “jaundice”, six months later 60 people with the same diagnosis were hospitalized in Zaporozhye. At the same time, an outbreak of hepatitis A was noted in Odessa, and 19 children from the boarding school were sent to the hospital in the Odessa region. In November 27 cases of infection have already been recorded in Kharkiv. The virus was transmitted through drinking water.

The Report also notes:

…the existence of 13,476 permanently dysfunctional anthrax sites in the country, which no one deals with, and some of them graze cattle. Only in the Odessa region there are 430 potentially dangerous objects where animals can catch the disease.

This is exactly what happened in 2018, when anthrax broke out in several villages of the Odessa region: five people ended up in the hospital with a skin form of the disease. In the Sumy region there are at least 20 animal burial grounds with anthrax, and not designated in any way.

The situation with the incidence of botulism is also close to catastrophic. In 2016, 115 cases of botulism were reported in Ukraine, of which 12 were fatal. In 2017, the country’s Ministry of health service has confirmed an additional 90 cases and 8 deaths. In subsequent years, the trend continued: 13 outbreaks were registered in the first three months of 2020 botulism, 15 people got sick, including one child of 9 years old.

The Report also draws attention to another tactic of biological weaponry that might be easier to ignore because its effects are far less dramatic and overt—and that is the release of many “small viruses, colds, varieties of runny nose, multiple strains of influenza,” that do not kill or seriously injure those affected, but which impact the general well-being and energy of a population.

And then there are the epidemics affecting agriculture and the economy:

With the beginning of the active work of DTRA in Ukraine, mass deaths from epidemics began not only of people, but also of animals. Avian flu and African swine fever have dealt a heavy blow to the country’s agriculture. For example, in 2015, 60 thousand pigs were killed and burned at the Kalita agricultural plant alone. At the end of 2016, the EU banned the import of poultry meat from Ukraine due to the epidemiological situation in the country. According to published data, since 2017 Ukraine already imports more sausage than it exports. Thus, Ukraine from a competitor in the market of agricultural products is turning into a market for these products from the EU and the USA. The money invested in the laboratory is returned.

Another example were the outbreaks of bird flu was in 2016 and 2017 that led to a temporary bans by the EU and some Eastern European countries on Ukrainian poultry.

Finally, let me cite one last section of the Teport which discusses another report undertaken by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) “analyzing the risks associates with activities in the field of American biological laboratories. In particular, the document notes that the program provides for the accumulation in the Kherson Regional Laboratory Center of the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service of Ukraine of samples of pathogens from different regions of Ukraine under the pretext of studying the specifics of local strains and determining the degree of virulence of the obtained samples among the population”:

The next stage of cooperation, according to the SBU, should be the generalization and referral of research results to the Center for Biological Research at the US Defense Ministry, ostensibly to attract American specialists to develop vaccine samples that are maximally adapted to the residents of a particular region. The persistent efforts of the United States to resume the project indicate the intention to establish control over all domestic studies of pathogens of particularly dangerous infectious diseases that can be used for creation or modernization of new types of selective biological weapons. At the same time, it is not excluded that in the conditions of broad rights and powers guaranteed by the program, a foreign party will be able to study its own test systems on the territory of Ukraine, which creates a potential threat to epidemiological and epizootic situations, both in the region and in the country as a whole.

In sum, what the Russians fear about the biolabs is that research has been done with the explicit intention of breaking down the “national biological protection system.”

I have not the slightest doubt that if these claims were being made about the Russians the mainstream media would be creating a state of utter hysteria in the Western population. Already Western propaganda has succeeded in dehumanizing not only the Russians, but anyone who does not go along with the primary main stream media and the Pentagon and Intelligence claims made about the cause, meaning and justification of the war.

For my part, and as I have indicated in various essays for the Postil, I cannot ignore the constant calls for depopulation coming from the World Economic Forum and the likes of such gigantic brains and compassionate people as Klaus Schwab and Yuval Harari—and I cannot but think that bioweaponry can easily be used for that purpose.

Indeed, I ask myself, if it is necessary to save the planet by killing a few billion people, why wouldn’t our global leaders resort to biological weaponry? Perhaps that weaponry might be used in the most charitable way by simply attacking the reproductive capacities of the weakest of the species—and the weakest would be those who come from nations whose biological protective systems have been weakened through the deliberate release of pathogens.

That is not a conspiracy theory, it is simply posing the question, why would those who openly conspire to achieve the world they want—one with far less “useless people,” and as Harari points out without the least hesitation or sense of shame, most of the world’s population simply no longer have any further use—also not do the deeds that achieve their ends?

One way of doing the culling is to condemn entire peoples by dehumanizing them—initially by taking out nations who have been branded as “monsters,” and when that is not enough simply moving on to the useless.

As for those of you who think the concerns of the Russians “monsters” are just lies and propaganda, you might ask yourself why have they just drafted a proposal urging the UN Security Council to “set up a commission consisting of all members of the Security Council to investigate into the claims against the US and Ukraine contained in the complaint of the Russian Federation regarding the compliance with obligations under the [Biological Weapons] Convention in the context of the activities biological laboratories in the territory of Ukraine,” and present a report by November 30, 2022?


Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen booksHe also doubles up as a singer songwriter. His latest album can be found here.


Featured: “The Triumph of Death,” by Pieter Brueghel the Elder; painted ca. 1562.

The Narrative of Sham Elections

Every mainstream media outlet described the referenda in September in the Donetsk, Lugansk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR), Kherson Region and part of Zaporozhye as a “sham” and therefore “rigged.” The results were certainly not what one finds in Western style party political contestations:

  • DPR: Turnout 97.51%, and 99.23% voted for the integration of the Republic into the Russian Federation.
  • LPR: Turnout 92.6%, and 98.42% voted for the integration of the Republic into the Russian Federation.
  • Kherson region: 76.86% turnout, and 87.05% voted for the integration of the region into the Russian Federation.
  • Zaporozhye region: 85.4% turnout, with 93.11% voting in favour of the region’s integration into the Russian Federation.

So, it is very easy to pass these results off as “rigged” to an audience that has not investigated beyond what main stream Western media choose to report. But to equate what was going on there with what is going on in the West is sheer idiocy. To see why the vote went the way it did, follow the reports of Patrick Lancaster, Eva Bartlett, Graham Phillips, or others on the ground; or if you don’t trust them just consider how deeply entrenched in 2010 the support for Yanukovych was in these areas (around 90%), and how ethnic Russians had been treated since the Maidan, and who therefore fled Eastward into these regions (a million or so fled to Russia).

Also recall that Zelensky, a Russian-speaking Ukrainian, was voted in because he was supposed to be able to unify the nation by mending economic and political relations with Russia. He couldn’t, because the polarization of the country had become so much worse since the Maidan. The Maidan meant that never again would Eastern Ukrainians electorally determine their own political and economic future.

Be that as it may, the question of whether these elections were a sham or not is easily addressed—because there were international observers throughout the election process, whose reports we provide below:

The international observers who participated in the observation of the referendum on the accession of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to the Russian Federation took part in a special briefing at the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. They spoke about their impressions of the plebiscite.

Alena Bulgakova, Deputy Chair of the Coordination Council for Public Oversight over Voting under the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, opened the meeting. She thanked the foreign guests for their willingness to learn the truth about the situation in the regions against all odds.

“For the residents of the DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye, and Kherson regions, the referendum is a right that they have earned with blood. The events that have been taking place for eight years have hardened the character of the people to the point that they are no longer afraid of anything. The people have made their decision. It is important to each of them because they are determining not only their own fate, but also the fate of their children and loved ones,” she emphasized.

Alexander Kofman and Alexey Karyakin, Presidents of the Civic Chambers of DPR and LPR, noted that Ukraine itself succeeded in making Donbass want to secede. They stressed that the referendum was a long-awaited event for the republic’s residents.

Maxim Grigoriev, Chair of the Coordination Council for Public Oversight over Voting under the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, pointed out that the U.S. and European countries do not recognize the referendum results for political reasons.

“They were well aware of what was going on during those eight years of civil war in Ukraine, they were well aware of how many children had died, they were aware of how the Kiev regime was torturing people, killing people, what it was doing, just as they are aware that it is Western weapons that are now shooting at civilians in those republics that voted to separate from the Kiev regime, to be part of Russia,” he pointed out.

During the first three days of the referendum, Donetsk was shelled 115 times, Alexander Malkevich, Deputy Chair of the Coordination Council for Public Oversight over Voting under the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation stated.

“This is hatred, hatred against people who have made their choice. Over the past six months, the residents of Kherson and Zaporozhye regions have finally seen the true attitude of the Kiev regime toward them. The bombings, shelling, terrorist attacks, and murders. And from Russia’s side – care, repair of roads, payment of pensions, etc.,” the speaker stated.

The people of Donbass want to vote and self-determine, and this must be encouraged, stressed Modli Kulikani, Chairman of the international relations subcommittee of the African National Congress Youth League.

“Nelson Mandela said: freedom for some is not freedom. We have an obligation to promote freedom around the world, and so we came to see that the voting process is legitimate, that people vote and participate voluntarily. We found that most people in Zaporozhye couldn’t wait to express themselves because many times the elites spoke for these people. The most important thing for us was to understand what people really wanted. We can say that the referendum was free and fair,” he stated.

“Ballots against bombs,” as William Parra, an independent journalist from Colombia, called the referendum. He stressed that the people of Donbass and the liberated territories expect the international community to respect their choice.

“To me it’s just a way out for people wanting to get out of the death game, expecting it to end faster. We expect peace and freedom for these people. The most important thing here is to call on the international community to respect their choices,” he stated.

No one can say that voting was done at gunpoint, said Purnima Anand, an international observer from India.

“Everyone came to the referendum to express support for what is being done in the Russian Federation in the face of the world community. We support this transparent referendum in our difficult times. We need to understand the pain that people in eastern Ukraine are experiencing. I think the UN Security Council and Russia will come to an agreement in the near future. We wish for peace and justice for all humanity, especially for Donbass,” she added.

Michael Radachovsky, political advisor to the European Commission, noted that there were no violations in terms of voting procedures at the polling stations he visited.

“The elections were well organized in terms of how people were treated, the process itself was very well organized,” he stated.

The referendum was fairer and more transparent than the recent U.S. election, said French political scientist Emmanuel Le Roy.

“We would like to thank the organizers of the referendum and of course everyone who gave their vote and expressed their position. The voting system was impeccably organized, there were no violations or attempts to falsify the election results,” the speaker added.

Other representatives of foreign countries also expressed their support for the referendum and the decision of the residents of Donbass and the liberated territories.

So, who is lying about these elections? The many international observers, or our leaders and our media who imagine that they always occupy the moral high ground? You decide.


Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen booksHe also doubles up as a singer songwriter. His latest album can be found here.

Colonialism and Bruce Gilley: Electric Kool-Aid Acid of the Moral Imagination

1.

When Queen Elizabeth II died the poorest people in the United Kingdom crawled out of their hovels in their dirty rags to join in solidarity with all those poor people who were still suffering from the yoke of colonialism in the undeveloped world. As one, they cheered that the source of all their suffering was finally gone—now, at long last, they could all live the free and prosperous lives that the Queen of the British Empire had denied them. YIPPEE… Oh, sorry, that did not happen.

If the lines of millions mourning her passing are anything to go by, there were plenty of outpourings of grief from her subjects, not to mention her own family who, for all the tabloid guff, are people. The grief of the living in their mourning is something that is a reminder of the fleeting nature of life on earth and what awaits us all. Irrespective of whether one is for or against the monarchy, it was a somber occasion, signaling the passing of an age as much as a sovereign, as much as a person.

Some people, though, are incapable of mustering even a modicum of decency in the face of death—they are the ones that generally show as little respect for the living as for the dead, though they often yell and scream as if they were the carriers of humanity’s better self, which is the picture that they have of themselves. And while there is a good case to be made that the monarchy as an institution in Great Britain may not last much longer, now that one of the most popular and dutiful of monarchs has died, the fact is that the Queen always displayed far more compassion, and respect for her subjects and their institutions than the members of that class that has successfully seized upon the moral imagination of the present, which it uses to denounce any relics of the past as well as anyone else that may obstruct the imperial ambitions of its authority. What they call diversity is merely division.

The Queen was indisputably vastly wealthy, but her life was one which few of us would like to lead. It required the kind of curbing of appetites and desires that few of us, and few in her family, were capable of—of devoting herself to a life-time, in which decorum and duty overrode everything else. This was authority and duty in the old style. She may not have been so flash on Derrida or Foucault, but her bearing and intelligence and character were all tailored to the position for which she had been groomed and which she carried out with grace.

Grace is not a word that comes to mind when I think of the new pro-globalists moralists that run the show now, in every Western land. They see the world as a great big trough which they will lead others to, provided they, in their role as liberators and representators of the oppressed, have their fill first. Anyone who thinks that their ideas are just verbal squish covering up their own sense of self-importance and ambitions to rule the earth alongside the globalist corporations and technocrats will need to be destroyed. Tyrants, as Plato rightly observed, are bred in the chaos of ultra-democratic aspirations and the accompanying social breakdown those aspirations create.

Just as their view of the present involves preferring abstractions (you know the ones, equality/equity/diversity/inclusivity/ emancipation, etc.), which have not been adequately tested in the reality of history, to see if they are of any more value than providing some kind of status of moral authority to the ones who use them—it takes these same abstractions into the past, and in finding that these abstractions were not there in any meaningful way is able to condemn the past as one of sheer oppression. Of course, the past they select to condemn is very selective: for the same class loves to create fantastical stories about premodern or non-Christian societies, as if they were just wondrous paradises of tolerance, diversity, equity and inclusion—from the world’s first and greatest democracy in Aboriginal Australia, where they would meet in their town-halls to make sure all was fair and square, to the wonderful multiculturalism of the Ottoman empire, with its pride parades.

It was primarily the members of this class of fabulists, who now control the Western education system and media outlets, who were predominantly using the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s death to bang on about the genocidal history of the British empire and the role of the monarchy in general, and Elizabeth in particular. I do think the treatment of the native Americans in the USA in the nineteenth century might be described as genocidal; it was certainly absolutely shocking, but that was not the fault of the British empire, any more than the gulags were the fault of the Romanovs. But it did not matter to those tweeting their spittle about the Queen’s death that since the handing over of Hong Kong to the CCP in 1997 (something deeply regretted by the many Hong Kong locals I met in my eight or so years living there), Great Britain no longer has any colonies, while when Queen Elizabeth came to the throne in 1952 there were still over 70 colonies. Not that decolonization was an act triggered by the crown for, as everybody but those doing their celebration of spitting and drooling, seem to know, the British monarch while a de jure Head of State/constitutional monarch is de facto a ceremonial figure, symbolizing the nation’s unity—which to be sure is no easy feat in the divided area of the United Kingdom. In any case, her position requires her not intervening in political decisions that are the province of the parliament and courts. Thus, it was when there was a constitutional crisis in Australia back in the 1970s, and the deposed Prime Minister sought for her to intervene, she stayed right out of it.

In the United States, one of the first out of the blocks to drool and punch the air in celebration was the Nigerian born Associate Professor of Second Language Acquisition at Carnegie Mellon University, Uju Anya. She tweeted, “That wretched woman and her bloodthirsty throne have fucked generations of my ancestors on both sides of the family, and she supervised a government that sponsored the genocide my parents and siblings survived. May she die in agony.” The fact that, a few days after tweeting this bile, some 4000 other “scholars” publicly endorsed her (there must be far more by now), just goes to show what tax-payers and students are getting for their money.

From what I can gather, the slender threads of reality that Anya has woven into her fabric of verbal vomit and idiocy are that the British government supplied arms to the Nigerian government in their war against the secessionist attempt by the military governor of Nigeria’s Eastern Region, Lieutenant Colonel Emeka Ojukwu, in what turned into a horrific civil war. A mountain of literature exists on the war, though anyone who wants fair and brief appraisals of what occurred might read pages 199-205 (2011 edition) of Martin Meredith’s magisterial, The Fate of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence, or Margery Perham’s even-handed and first-hand account, “Reflections on the Nigerian Civil War” in International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944), vol. 46, No. 2 (Apr., 1970)., pp. 231-246.

In a manner befitting the moralizing, fabulizing, historically revisionist class of which she is a member, Anya fails to address the most basic of facts about her own country’s history: the French and Russians were also providing arms to the belligerents; that is belligerents on all sides were killing each other and seeking weapons from anyone willing to supply the same to them; the secession attempt by Ojukwu was a resource grab without any legitimacy that would have had disastrous results for Nigerians outside Biafra; Ojukwu’s propaganda game was as dangerous as it was vile as it was disastrous in its contribution to the mass starvation of the Biafran people that remains one of the most shocking famines in relatively recent historical memory. The chain of events which sparked the war and famine was ignited by Igbo military officers who assassinated key figures in the First Nigerian Republic. Finally, and to quote Perham, “the federal constitution of the three provinces, taken over by the Nigerians in October 1960 was largely the product of the Nigerians themselves, built up in intensive discussions and conferences, and attended by all the political leaders over a period beginning in the forties, and ending with the final conference of 1958. The basic differences between the main parts of Nigeria were not evaded: they were endlessly argued, but not even a dozen years of discussion and political advance, following half a century together under the canopy of British rule, could square the obstinate circlers within which deep and ancient tribalisms were enclosed.”

But who needs real political facts when you can become a mega-star in todays’ academic world with a tweet, so long as the tweet amplifies an ostensibly morally certain consensus, whilst confirming the moral superiority of all those, who also don’t need to actually know anything to know what they know, viz. that empires and colonialism are very, very bad? And no good person could ever be a beneficiary of empire—somehow, magically, the Nigerian born Anya, along with God knows how many of the other 4000 scholars, lives in the USA, reaping the benefits of office and wealth that come from what colonizers and their techniques and technologies of world-making have created.

This “logic” is the logic of the silly, who think that they can just arbitrarily go back into bits and pieces of history to select a point from which they can blame the people they don’t like—this time British imperialists. Sorry, but no people anywhere have been where they are forever. Which is partly to say the world is not a moral fabrication of bits and pieces all fitted together into a nice Disney movie about all the inclusion and diversity there would have been had it not been for… the British, the Germans, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Gauls, the Celts, the Abassids, the Persians.

Really folks! The world we inhabit is what people in their conflict, scarcity, cruelty, suffering, and everything else that has been done in the past have made. We are all respondents to a reality that precedes us and that we then work upon. Here, the moralists puff themselves up and splutter some kind of nonsense that has to do with their indignation that some people have killed more or suffered more…blah blah…than others. Let’s just say, we can’t undo the past, and pretending that we do by having reparations, etc. is just one more fantastical bit of fanaticism that is only a new way of creating work for a bureaucracy and moralizing class seeking ever more dependents.

In the case of reparations, they will mean nothing two generations down the track—but understanding that means thinking about economic behaviour, and human motivation and institutions, and the kind of thing that requires that rarest of things in today’s Tik Tok academic world—thoughtfulness.

This virtue stuff exhibited by people who are paid to denounce unequal things that obstruct universal emancipation is today’s electric Kool-Aid Acid of the moral imagination. Let’s face it, everyone has to earn a buck, and there is no easier way to do so today than by running around tweeting, screaming, teaching, or writing great big refereed academic tomes from illustrious brand name presses or densely footnoted articles in “prestigious journals” denouncing people who just won’t take out that part of their brain that enables them to see that all that stands between them and emancipation (which means—as far as I can see—having lots of sex and having lots of stuff) is their being subject to racist, sexist, colonialist blah blah blah ideas that scholars like Anya and her 4,000 mates (probably far more by now) think are “facts.”

So, I really can’t blame Anya; or, to pluck another from the media wing of the cathedral of woke idiocy, Tirhakah Love, a “senior newsletter writer for New York Magazine, who wrote, “For 96 years. That colonizer has been sucking up the Earth’s (sic.) resources,” and “You can’t be a literal oppressor and not expect the people you’ve oppressed not to rejoice on news of your death” for seizing the career opportunities made available to them by a ruling class whose rule is predicated upon destroying the shared norms, institutions and cultural achievements of the West in the name of the moral progress they embody, and the great future they believe they will bring into being—on the basis of which we can see already that would be a world of ever greater spiraling inflation, ethnic/tribal violence resulting from opening up “citizenship” to anyone who wants to live anywhere irrespective of criminal background, or commitment to any traditions of their new homeland; far more urban, racially based riots and burning of businesses, including black ones (to make way for gentrification); far greater crime (from burglary, shoplifting to murder), adorning inner city areas with tents for the ever-increasing number of homeless junkies; the redeployment of police resources away from crime prevention and into community development activities, such as flying pride flags and dancing in parades when they are not arresting racists, and homo-transphobes; schools in which critical race theory (whites are all the same—unless they teach critical race theory—and all bad), and the joys of the multiverse of sex and the importance of sexual rights, like the rights to change your sex as soon as you can speak are the main curricula; ever more spaces for public denunciations and ever more censorship; sacking of all who won’t do whatever the right-thinking authorities say they must do, say, or think; increasing the number of abortions up to and in the aftermath of an unwanted birth; ever more military interventions funded by you in the West for people outside the West to die in in far off lands that will save this great world from its nefarious enemies—and lots more butcher’s paper and crayons for “life-long” learning because learning to live in this shit will require that one remains a compliant imbecile during the entirety of one’s life-time.

2.

Bruce Gilley is a Professor of Political Science at Portland University—at least he was still there last time I looked, though it seems his existence is an affront to all the other good and virtuous professors who work there and who are doing their damnedest to push him into unemployment (the idea that professors could in any way be more virtuous than other people, and hence be tasked with instructing them in how to be better people, is something that, in a world less insane, would be worked into one of the more incredulous episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm).

Bruce Gilley was once a highly respected scholar—with a dizzying number of academic prizes behind him—who once published books with such illustrious academic presses as the University Of California, and Columbia and Cambridge University. He burnt his bridges within the academic world with his essay “The Case for Colonialism.” The paper originally appeared in Third World Quarterly in 2017, having passed the blind refereeing process—a process that might give the delusion that the refereeing process in the Humanities and Social Sciences ensures academic quality and integrity—it doesn’t. But in any case those denouncing Gilley only care about referees who agree with them; and in the case of this essay, a petition of “thousands of scholars” and the resignation, in protest, of nearly half the editorial board of the journal, plus death threats being sent to the editor of the journal ensured it being “withdrawn” and given a new home.

Since the denunciations and attacks, Professor Gilley has written two books, both with Regnery Press—one can safely assume a university press will no longer touch anything he writes. His previous book, The Last Imperialist: Sir Alan Burns’s Epic Defense of the British Empire, before getting into print, underwent a similar saga. It was first going to be published by Lexington Books (an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield), where Gilley was also going to oversee, as the Series Editor, “Problems of Anti-Colonialism,” which would bring out books that sought “to reignite debate through a critical examination of the anti-colonial, decolonizing, and post-colonial projects.”

Then, the cancel crowd stepped in, started a petition on change.org: “Against Bruce Gilley’s Colonial Apologetics.” Many indignant “scholars” eagerly added their signatures. There was a counter-petition, which got nearly 5000 signatures, to try to save the series. But true-to-form, Rowman & Littlefield buckled and cancelled the series.

Eventually, Gilley found a far better home for his work—Regnery Publishing, which has also published his most recent book, In Defense of German Colonialism: And How Its Critics Empowered Nazis, Communists, and the Enemies of the West. This book does an excellent job of showing the ideological idiocy of those who are entrusted with teaching history to the youth of today, and who preside over the institutions which are preservers and now complete fabricators of a historical memory; that is to act as a foundation for future building.

Professor Gilley does not need my help in the shootout with the academy, as he takes down one “scholar” after another for preferring their ideological concoctions to the facts of the matter. But it is worth drawing attention to a few points that undermine not simply the ideological nonsense or inconvenient facts that derail the academic consensus which Gilley takes on with verve and astuteness, but both the role that the academy has adopted in ostensibly learning from the evils of the past to build a better future, and the mind-set that so commonly succumbs to preferring ideological simplicities and grand sounding nostrums to the far more complicated explorations which yield equivocations and hesitations in judgments about people who have had to deal with vastly different circumstances than those of our professional idea-makers, brokers, and overseers—as well as conclusions which one might not particularly be appreciated for reaching. That is, the study of real history requires being prepared to consider questions that transport one outside of a consensus that has been cemented because it was not driven by facts, historical or otherwise, nor by a well-considered and well-orchestrated series of questions, but by a priori “morally” and politically derived commitments which close off all manner of questions and hence understandings about reality.

History was among the more belated of the Humanities to fall into the kind of ethico-politics that took over Literary Studies for at least a generation.

In any case, working in the profession of “ideas” today involves little by way of having any virtue other than repeating and making inferences based upon certain moral consensuses and topics. One becomes a member of the profession of ideas by virtue of teaching and writing—the one exception in the doing is that increasingly universities have accepted the pedagogical value of political activism, if it is of the sort that conforms to the ethico-political ideas that have been accepted as true by those who write and teach on, and administer, the ideas which are to be socially instantiated. There are, to be sure, things one must not say (words or phrases one must not use) or do (at least to certain people with certain identities); but in the main not saying or doing those things is not remotely difficult, especially when the rewards are there for the taking, if one just goes along with things.

Just as character is a matter of irrelevance in today’s ideational configuration of identity, bestowing the right to a position, as a representative of one’s favoured disempowered group, being committed to a group narrational identity, has professional currency. Being an identity is to today’s mindset; what intelligence and character used to be. Neither of the latter are particular important anymore, as intelligence is dumbed down to the level of the school child, and character dissolved into an identity feature.

Today, our morally-fuelled anti-colonialists are condemning something that is now totally safe to condemn because it is no longer a reality that has any other part to play in their world than a moral occasion for their career advancement as talking moral heads. Being a part of today’s educated/ educational “leadership” brings with it all manner of predispositions and circumstances, and they are not ones that have anything remotely to do with what people who signed onto the foreign service or civil service in the age of colonialism, or even the academy some sixty or so years back, had to do.

People of different ages are pushed and pulled by different influences and priorities—and in so far as most young people are swept into whatever activities are part of the streams of opportunity, approval, ambition and mimetic desire that defines them, the difference between the youth who were caught up in the colonial enterprise, the revolutionary enterprises in Russia or China, or liberal progressive Wokeness today is not so much in their emotional enthusiasm and certainty, but the specific enterprise that has been socially and pedagogically concocted by the preceding generation and the opportunities that they grasp.

One can definitely identify which elites and which nations fare better by their doing; but so much of the doing is based upon what was made by previous generations, and who did what with the opportunities they had, as well as how much overreach and wastage occurred. Yes, I do think the elite generation of the West are more imbecilic and less charitable and capable of understanding the world and the circumstances that have made it and what is required to sustain a civilization than the elite that spawned colonialism. All groups have their blind-spots, and pathologies (here I am an unreconstructible Aristotelian) and the elites of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century are not beyond criticism—no group is, because no group and no one can see exactly what they are doing, nor have all the information that would help their doing—but to dismiss them all as racists and plunderers is to be shockingly ignorant about their intelligence, moral sensibilities and motivations.

In any case, the various reasons that were involved in decolonization, including their excessive cost, an increasing lack of support on the home front, and the aspirations of an indigenous elite and rebels calling and /or fighting for national independence, were not events that had anything to do with the academics of today who contemplate colonialism as a moral problem with a very simple answer—it’s really bad.

Our time is not one in which colonialism offers any kind of desideratum at a personal, social or political level. Which is also to say the academic who writes critically about colonialism today is doing about as much to stop colonialism occurring now as their writings have to do with preventing a reconnaissance mission on Venus.

Of those teaching in universities who have fought for wars of independence who are still alive and who might hold a job in a university or in the media, the kind of questions raised by Gilley then come into play, viz. did things fare better once there was “liberation?” The answer to that will depend upon many things—who the colonizers were and what they did, and what transpired afterward.

Having taught in Darwin (Australia), I met a number of people who had fought against the Indonesians to create an independent East Timor/Timor-Leste. The results in Timor-Leste are mixed, though it is very poor; and while there are issues of corruption, it is stable. For their part, the Indonesians were, to put it mildly, not loved by the locals. The fact that the Indonesians occupied it after they had liberated themselves from the Dutch only goes to show that yesterday’s colonized can readily become tomorrow’s colonizer.

The question of how a country fares after colonialism is a serious one, and in some places the results have been horrific. It was the existence of such cases, of which there are many, with Cambodia winning the prize in that department, closely followed by a number of African nations like Uganda and Congo, that makes an article, such as Gilley’s case for re-colonialism, worth considering. But it is a far better career move to hate on Gilley by people who would rather ignore any facts which might complicate the founding passage of post-colonial scripture that the ‘white-colonialist devil’ is the demiurge responsible for all the post-colonial violence that occurs, and the formerly colonized are either angels of light and liberation, or zombies created by their white masters.

Gilley’s article is short enough for me not to have to repeat its contents. I will simply say that Gilley was trying to make serious recommendations about how recolonizing might be a better option in some places than continuing in the same way. That is the kind of idealism/thinking by design that I genuinely eschew, but as a thought experiment it deserved better than the accolades of denunciation it garnered. And had his critics taken their heads out of the sack of Kool Aid Acid, they might have realized that Gilley does not argue for reconquering territory, but for investment with legal/sovereign strings attached being undertaken in areas desperately in need of economic and social development.

My problem with this is that just as the anti-colonialists in Africa were often educated in the West, where ideas about how great communism and such-like started to abound and were commonplace in the 1960s, now what the Western mind offers would be even worse. The re-colonizers would be operating with their ESG and their DEI commitments and targets—they would be saddled with green energy goals, which would make sure they stay poor, and be expected to buy electric cars, otherwise keep on walking; their kids would be schooled in critical race theory, so they could blame everything that goes wrong on white people, and gender-sexual anatomy fluidity to break up the traditional family and anything else that the elite running corporations have seized on to incorporate into the great new world.

The new mental imperialism promises nothing but the endless division and persecution of anyone out of step with the ideology that ensconces Western liberal progressivism as the global norm. The clientelist assumptions and strategies which make of our professional ideas-people the emancipators of all and sundry who are not white, wealthy, cisgender men, who don’t support the globalist political left/progressive technocratic view of life being transposable to any circumstance, including that of people who live in former colonies, who only have to sit down and read their various primers on Fanon, or study post-colonial fiction and poetry, etc., along with Judith Butler to see how they can fix up their world, and get to the same standard as, say, a San Francisco tent for the homeless with free crack.

3.

Much of what Gilley says in his article has been said by others, his “mistake” was to say it straight and assemble it into a formulation that exposes the thoughtlessness of the modern ideological consensus about colonialism. More broadly, though, the thoughtlessness that Gilley is dealing with is not just about colonialism, it is about how the world has come to be the world that is. Colonialism is certainly one part of that, and it is what concerns Gilley.

But if we take a step back from colonialism (and it is this that also distinguished, as Gilley notes, the “pro-colonialist” Marx from the “anti-colonialist” Lenin), two further considerations about the world are particularly pertinent, if we want to free our minds from the enchainment of stupidity that is presented as some kind of moral progress which is due to the purity of thought and being of our contemporary pontificating paragons. The first is where violence and war fit generally into the schema of human things. The second is technology (including the division of labour it requires—one of Marx’s better thoughts was to see the interconnection the division of labour, i.e., classes and technology; and like all Marx’s better thought, Marxists have abandoned it), and administrative technique.

With respect to the first, warfare is a perennial feature of human existence. The reasons for any given war may vary, but to blame war itself on one particular group is ridiculous. In the context of colonialism, warfare was pertinent to colonialism at every level of its development—from the wars that were commonly occurring between rival groups that colonialists were frequently able to use to their strategic advantage, to the wars between and against colonial powers that led to the demise of empires and their colonies.

That wars would continue after colonialism would only surprise those who think that merely deeming war a bad or an immoral thing might somehow play a role in preventing it. But while I find pacificism to be a response to war akin to when my cat thinks that if he cannot see me, I cannot see him—so he hides under a stool with his back to the wall and tale sticking out right under my nose—I find even more abominable the moral cherry-picking that poorly informed academics make about which violent conflicts they choose to take a stand on, without concerning themselves too much with all the forces and flows that go into it—thus, in general, their tacit support for the NATO proxy war in Ukraine.

A general, and hence, to be sure, not overly helpful formulation about why wars occur is that competing interests, predicated upon ways of being in the world and making the world, go to war when they see no other way to get what they want—in the past, more often than not, that was acquiring or protecting scarce resources, including labour power. Modern commerce does not necessarily prevent war because some resources are such that access may be unreliable or so tenuous that conquest is the more certain way to acquire them. But international trade is often the more secure way to acquire wealth. Of course, the moral imagination of the modern academic is not slow to critique capitalism. But as with violence and war, it cherry-picks which kind of capitalists are bad and who it serves (finance capital/big tech/big pharma are now its major “masters”)—it also comes up with fudge-words when confronted with the truth that socialism was no less murderous—and generally resulted in even more poverty—than capitalism, though state apparatuses and the elites who run them do make a very big difference as to whether capitalism can be even mildly benign.

Just as there is no genuine design solution to the problem of competing interests and life-ways, there is no simple design system that can eliminate war or class differences—though one thing that might ameliorate some of our problems is that groups have more thoughtful and well informed sources of information and representation, so they might be able to broker their differences from positions of strength (which in turn requires discipline in what is done with resources, how they are channelled in terms of strategic priorities, and who is fit and able in applying them).

But sadly, we have handed over the minds of our public and private institutions to a class of people, in the main, with ambition and enterprise existing in inverse relationship to the ability to think through alternative scenarios and consequences.

Irrespective of how one “parses” the moral behaviour and qualities of any group in conflict with another, and while just war theory may have an illustrious history, it has become a standard go-to position of idea professionals, whose sense of justice can be traced back to their own magnanimity—the fuse of most wars is woven out of various complex threads that go a long way back and have their own “reasons,” which is why a new party of force may take advantage of older animosities between groups to leverage its new authority.

Imperialism and the establishment of colonies are ancient ways of doing power that involve war; and any suggestion, whether tacit or outright, that suggests that there was something uniquely immoral about British imperialism or modern European colonialism is a fantasy.

The question of what benefits or costs were associated with any given empire or colonialisation project can only be answered by sitting down and doing the calculating. At some point, one might find that certain behaviours fit into some kind of moral calculus—such as Spaniards ending human sacrifice in the Aztec empire, or the British prohibiting the practice of widow-burning (sati) in India; or one might count the number and scale of massacres and ethnic and religious rivalries and wars committed during the reign of a colonizing power with those that occur previous to or after their reign. In the latter case, no matter how heated someone wants to get about the violence of the British in India, none in their right mind could think that the scale ever remotely approximated the scale of violence of the Partition (1947), or the subsequent war of Bangladesh.

In any case, and in any given colonial or imperial venture, there will be all manner of pluses and minuses that could be calculated, and there will be some beneficiaries and some losers. The point here, though, is that any fool can say that any imperial or colonial endeavour of yesterday is immoral—but the reasons for the endeavour were as much the reasons of yesterday as were the morals of those who undertook them. We might well be thankful that we do not live in such times with such choices or moral consensuses—all well and good, but so what? A strictly moral account of any given society is always going to turn out negative—life is frequently one tragic set of choices after another—which in part is why our educated elite can keep getting away with the nonsense of the air in their heads and the smoke of their words seeming more beguiling to youth and know-nothings who believe that all we have to do is “reimagine” the world to get the world we want—one of endless stuff and sexual pleasure—yippee!

While Gilley, citing pertinent writings and speeches from Bismarck, makes a case for Germany’s colonial enterprise being largely driven by extra-commercial incentives, in the main I think it difficult to un-entwine benign moral intentions of those with authority from opportunity for cads and bounders that may exist in the new colonies—though, my point is equally that wherever you go and whenever you went there was always some lot extracting stuff from and being cruel to another lot. Concomitantly, anti-colonialist forces often had to be as ferocious and cruel against those who did not find the new aspiring hegemonic elite to be serving their interests, as they were against the colonialists whose resources and power they wished to capture.

If the point I have just made emphasizes the eternal return of violence/ war/ opportunity/ authority, the second point, I think extremely important, is the unique nature of the technological and technocratic levels of advancement that occurred in the West, leading up to and culminating in the industrial revolution.

There are many aspects that we can consider to be definitive in the formation of the modern, but the industrial revolution makes any nation, in the position to take advantage of it, far more powerful than any peoples who are required to succumb to its authority. But, as Carroll Quigley convincingly argues in Tragedy and Hope, the industrial revolution is but one in a sequence of revolutions that occurred in the West; and the uniqueness of the West’s potency—as well as the problems it generates for itself and elsewhere—is intrinsically bound up with the sequences of its revolutions.

Here there can in my mind be no doubt that the world wars are the West’s creation, and I strongly recommend the little known book by Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Out Of Revolution: An Autobiography of Western Man, which provides an account of the flow and circulatory nature of the revolutionary events which formed the peoples of Western Europe into the powers that would find themselves in the Great War and its aftermath.

But when the West is transported into other regions, such as its colonies, the powers that have been its revolutionary offspring come in a very different sequence and with varying accompanying problems.

I do not want to go into the different sequence of structural developments of revolutionary processes feeding into different and staggered modernities, but I do want to highlight the point that whether it was grace, genes, or the luck of the historical draw, or something else again that led to the modern West, once there was a modern West, and once there were modern weapons, and an industrial revolution, then class conflicts in non-Western countries played out along lines which have everything to do with resource-opportunities and competition and wilful determination by groups ready to use their arms to engage in the age-old act of resource extraction, from those who grow food to those whose labour can be put to use for them to expand the possessions and services at their disposal. One can morally condemn this all one wants, but it is a universal phenomenon that only passes by the intellect of people whose understanding of premodern life comes from Rousseau and Disney.

That is, once modern weaponry and machinery and the various goods they produce, from cars to tanks, designer clothes and luxury homes, smart drugs and high-class whores (let’s face it, the appetites of gangsters are as basic as they are commonplace among the extremely wealthy), exist, along with a group who are willing to do anything to get them, there will be an “enslaved” or violently brutalized class. That there will be tribal-elements involved in the social bonding is also pretty well inevitable (the Mafia and dynasties follow a similar logic).

This situation, to repeat, is not the result of colonialism as such but of modernity. And modernity brings with it a reality in which the choices are as inevitable as they are terrible: join it or don’t join it. Any group that opts out of joining makes itself vulnerable to any group with weapons who wants to encroach upon its territory, its resources, its labour, and its women. Further, the longer the delay in joining it, the more difficult it will be to adapt to what to a traditional life-way is a massive juggernaut of technologies and techniques exploding its fabric.

This is why the greatest enemies of the traditional life of the most vulnerable of social groups on the planet, the indigenous peoples who had not formed cities and/or larger units of social organization, were not missionaries or colonizers of the nineteenth century but the progressives of today who purport to ally themselves with anyone against Western supremacy, but who are, in fact, anti-traditionalists, Western supremacists, who have ditched anything that grounded the West in those pathways of life shared by all peoples.

Irrespective of the time of “joining” with a life-way of a superior power, and irrespective if the joining is one of choice or conquest, any group that joins in the process of modernization will find that it has to compromise/adapt its traditions and behaviours to the juggernaut. Seen thus it is hard to see how colonialism itself can be blamed for the choice. It isn’t responsible for that choice. Though our ideocrats tend to think that every problem is merely a matter of educating moral reprobates, which seems to be working out swell in US inner cities, where all manner of crimes go unpunished, and levels of violence and criminality are plummeting—NOT. Why not, though, try exporting a batch of critical race theory books to those areas where post-colonial gangsters and dictators—sorry victims of colonialism—now extort and kill others so they can wake up and see the light and go back to college, perhaps even one in the USA, and learn how to teach critical race theory and so be part of the great love fest that the new moral leaders of the West are creating.

German postcard (1899). “Hurrah! Samoa is ours!”

But let’s get back to reality—colonialism might better induct the colonized into the means and manners required to live with the machinery and technology, and administrative and various systems that are being introduced into this world that cannot escape modernity—to repeat, because if it is not introduced by the colonizers, it will definitely be introduced by those “industrious” enough to get hold of the equipment and weapons that they can put to use. This is where Bruce Gilley raises important arguments, and why the reaction to him only illustrates what a mind dump the academy is, as it disseminates fantasies, moral and not so moral, about the world and its history so that it can enable a technocratic infantile future, as bereft of knowledge and wisdom, as it will be bereft of real love, and creative and cooperative endeavours.

I have already made the points that I wish to emphasise about modern colonialism needing to be interpreted against the constant of human conflict nd the tragic choice placed before any premodern people. I do think that life is ever one in which we are born into the sins and transgressions of our fathers; which is to say, I think Greeks and Christian were essentially correct and in agreement about the kinds of limits we confront, and that the modern elite aspires to throw away those limits and does so by substituting fantasies about the past as well as the future to beguile us into their nightmare.

But there can be no doubt that the modern opens up previously undreamt-of technologies and techniques which are amazing, and which enable the possibility of greater comfort and opportunities to do things for those that can get access to them. Thus, it is inevitably the case that any people who are conquered by a technologically superior people, if not completely turned into slaves, will benefit from the materials now available to them. We might call this the Monty Python/ Life of Brian argument for colonialism. To put it briefly: What have European colonizers ever done for the World? Answer: they brought with them the modern techniques and technologies of wealth creation. And the absence of those techniques and technologies is lower life expectancy and, in terms of sheer numbers, less wealth and less social choices.

Of course, in any society not everyone is or was a beneficiary of new social or technological innovations, and in every society the number of poor is significant—and prior to the industrial revolution poverty was far greater, and far more people were far more vulnerable to unfortunate climate conditions. And let us be real, at a time when there is so much panic about climate change, the fact is that any future famine, as with a number of past ones, will be far more likely due to political conditions than climate alone. At a time when the Malthusians run amok and aspire to dictate how the world should be depopulated, there is less global poverty and food shortage than ever; and where it does occur, politics and corruption rather than climate or population are the primary causes.

4.

The points I have made above are general, but if I were to recommend one book that any reader wanting to consider a test case, which refutes so much of the moralising that is done about colonialism should read it would be Gilley’s In Defense of German Colonialism: And How Its Critics Empowered Nazis, Communists, and the Enemies of the West. The Postil has already published a short extract from it; but that extract did not indicate the extent to which Gilley exposes and successfully critiques the thoughtless claims that academics have made about German colonialism—or, in his (un-minced) words, “the drivel that passes for academic history” about German colonial history.

Early in the work, Gilley makes three points about colonialism in general, which are worth repeating and the antithesis of the kinds of facts that get in the way of a good moral fantasy. I will quote them:

Islands offer an almost perfect natural experiment in colonialism’s economic effects because their discovery by Europeans was sufficiently random. As a result, they should not have been affected by the ‘pull’ factors that made some places easier to colonize than others. In a 2009 study of the effects of colonialism on the income levels of people on eighty-one islands, two Dartmouth College economists found ‘a robust positive relationship between colonial tenure and modern outcomes.’ Bermuda and Guam are better off than Papua New Guinea and Fiji because they were colonized for longer. That helps explain why the biggest countries with limited or no formal colonial periods (especially China, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Thailand, and Nepal) or whose colonial experiences ended before the modern colonial era (Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, and Haiti) are hardly compelling as evidence that not being colonized was a boon.”

And,

Colonialism also enhanced later political freedoms. To be colonized in the nineteenth–twentieth-century era was to have much better prospects for democratic government, according to a statistical study of 143 colonial episodes by the Swedish economist Ola Olsson in 2009.

And,

These twin legacies of economic development and political liberalism brought with them a host of social and cultural benefits—improved public health, the formation of education systems, the articulation and documentation of cultural diversity, the rights of women and minorities, and much else. It is no wonder, then, that colonized peoples by and large supported colonial rule. They migrated closer to more intensive areas of colonialism, paid taxes and reported crimes to colonial authorities, fought for colonial armies, administered colonial policies, and celebrated their status as colonial subjects. Without the willing collaboration of large parts of the population, colonialism would have been impossible.

With respect to the motives and the legacy of German colonialism, Gilley makes the argument that it was not primarily a plundering undertaking, in which blacks were to be treated as sub-humans and whites could treat them however they wanted—Gilley provides a number of examples of whites behaving badly in the German colonies and being punished for doing so. To frame it thus is not only to replace fact with fantasy but it is to ignore not only the statements of the colonizers themselves, but more important the voices of the colonized—Gilley provides numerous citations—who found that German colonial rule had bought greater peace and prosperity to them, thanks to placating tribal rivalries and long held animosities (Chapter 3 provides an analysis of the Herero and Nama peoples, and the imaginative claims that Herero-Nama wars were created by the Germans, or even more fantastically that they were gestures of anti-colonialism!). The major motivation, argues Gilley, is that colonialism was perceived as the accompanying condition of nation-building and being taken seriously as a major European power. The point is an interesting and important one, and it illustrates the vast gulf that separates the mindset of the generation that now dominates in the universities from that of a previous generation caught up in a completely different set of priorities of world-making.

Gilley provides numerous examples of what the German colonialists built, and again I will cite a few of his cases.

Having first established peace in East Africa, the Germans proceeded to establish prosperity. A 1,250-kilometer railway was built linking Lake Tanganyika to Dar es Salaam. To this day, the railway remains the lifeblood of Tanzania’s economy and of Zambia’s trans-shipment traffic. The German colonial railway was not just economically beneficial. It also led to the documenting of the region’s geography, vegetation, minerals, and peoples—much of which was carried out by the German-English railway engineer Clement Gillman as he surveyed the new line.

And,

For the green conscious, it is especially noteworthy that German colonialism discovered the knowledge and crafted the regulations that protected the great forests and fauna of today’s Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi.

And,

Without doubt, Germany’s greatest humanitarian contribution to Africa during its colonial period was the discovery of a cure for sleeping sickness. In terms of lives saved, Germany’s colonial achievement could stand on this ground alone. Sleeping sickness originated in nomadic cattle-herding populations in Africa whose movements had spread the disease for hundreds of years before the colonial era. The increase in intensive farming under colonialism accelerated its spread, an inevitable result of policies to increase food supply and modernize agriculture. The disease was ravenous. The British calculated that an outbreak in 1901–07 killed between two hundred thousand and three hundred thousand people in British Uganda, and two million people succumbed in all of East Africa in 1903 alone.

Nineteenth century colonialism is, as Gilley rightly notes, part of a genuinely civilizing approach to world-making. While that approach had both liberal and traditional European (conservative) accompaniments, it was also to be found in the communists Marx and Engels; and while the German socialists opposed how colonialism was being administered, they were, again as noted by Gilley, not unsupportive of colonial rule.

While the success of the modern, as these examples indicate, can be seen in terms of technical and technological advances, its diabolical underside is disclosed by the ideological concoctions that were to be transposed globally with far more devastating effects than colonialism itself. And if the first part of Gilley’s book might be an eyeopener for those who have not wanted to seriously think about what benefits accompanied colonialism, which is to say, those who have not thought out of the now fashionable moral academic box, the second part of the book makes the important point that both the Nazi and the communist projects were able to fuel anti-colonialist sentiments among various members of the aspirant elites in colonized country for their own geopolitical benefit and to the greater detriment of the societies in which these ideologically “educated” elites took power.

Need I say that any elite members wishing to gain power through national independence had no need to worry about the boring give-and-take and talk-fest that is endemic to democracies. Far easier to push through one’s will and that of one’s loyal support group or tribe and end up with—bloody chaos.

In an age where the holocaust is the diabolical terminus of history and anything and anyone from St. John to Luther to the family has been held up by some scholar or philosopher to be responsible, it is not surprising that colonialism would also be held responsible for the holocaust. But in spite of it now being commonplace among German academics to claim that there is line of continuity between German colonialism and the Nazis, the Nazis themselves from Hitler down wanted no truck with the colonialists and, in the main, few of the colonialists wanted what the Nazis wanted. In case anyone had not noticed, the Nazis were not in the civilizing business. Their fusion of nationalism and socialism, along with their antisemitism, and cult of the leader, was also embraced, along with open admiration for Hitler himself, by numerous anti-colonial leaders, most famously Nehru, Nasser, Amin and the Palestinian cleric Amin al-Husseini.

In the main, while academics don’t like the Nazis (unless they are Ukrainian ones who kill Russians and draw up hit lists of people to be liquidated for speaking out against them), they generally do like communists – in their upside-down world, communist rebels are freedom fighters. That communism is a Western ideological import that has not only exacerbated group and class conflicts but has been the means for justifying and entrenching “third world” elites with no idea how to better enhance economic conditions of people other than seizing land and property and pointing guns at people who must do what they are told.

The story of former colonies becoming entangled in the cross-fire of the Cold War like that of ambitious elites who used independence to secure their own power and wealth, along with those groups who give them their allegiances, is a horror story that belongs to the post-colonial age; but it is not the kind of story that neatly folds into a curricula or mind-set, where the answers to the cause of all things bad are white supremacism, i.e., European colonialists.

In a world as complicated as ours, the failure of the West to have an educated elite that are incapable of understanding the world before it, and the past behind it, is devastating. We are now living in that devastation; and although I detest those whose moral imaginations have been formed by sticking their heads in the bucket of Electric-Kool Aid Acid that now passes for an education, I have to concede that previous better-educated generations failed to see the consequences of their actions, and we are now living within those consequences.

Post script. Readers of a certain age will probably have recognised that I have borrowed the phrase “The Electric Kool-Aid” from Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Test, a book about Timothy Leary and his Merry Pranksters bussing across the US and their other shenanagins. This was in the days before college kids demanded safe spaces and fentanyl had become the drug of social breakdown. Wolfe was one of the founders of what was hailed as the new journalism in the early 1970s. Our world looks life the morning after what may have started as a party of sex and drugs and rock n roll and has turned into a nightmare of loneliness and totalitarianism.


Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen booksHe also doubles up as a singer songwriter. His latest album can be found here.


Featured: General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, the “Lion of Africa,” a poster by Grotemeyer, dated 1918. The caption reads: “Kolonial-Krieger-Spende,” or “Colonial Soldiers Fund.” Signature of von Lettow-Vorbeck at the bottom.

Of Drag Queens and Dragons: Two Global Elite Competitors

Introduction

In late May of this year, reports appeared about a scandal coming out of China, to do with a mathematics text books which had been used in primary school classrooms all over the country for the last ten or so years. Irate parents gathered on the internet to express their fury about the lewd, unpatriotic, and “ugly” pictures that had been included in the textbooks. The ugly ones depicted children with misshapen foreheads, droopy eyes, and “weird,” stylized Western clothes (one boy looks like he is a US college kid from the 1920s, another appears to be wearing Lederhosen, another is wearing a bow tie, another is posing like some young Hollywood star—in case you were wondering, Chinese parents generally don’t dress their kids this way). Some are pulling faces, or just looking stupid, and a number are making cheeky gestures with their tongues or hands; the unpatriotic ones include a picture of the Chinese flag in reverse and children dressed in colours suggestive of the American flag. The lewd ones are of little boys with very noticeable erect penises, another of a little girl’s dress lifted by her leap to reveal her panties and crotch, another has a boy tugging at a little girl’s dress, and in that same picture another child is squeezing the nipples of a little girl. At the very least, they look really weird—even more so that they appeared in a math textbook; though perhaps it is no weirder than university professors in the USA telling all and sundry that teaching math to black kids is racist.

The Chinese government appears to be embarrassed by the whole thing, and no less enraged than the parents, although there are questions to be answered about why the CCP had previously ignored complaints about the textbook. For it is only now, after a new surge of online complaints and chats, that the government has taken action and is investigating who was responsible. The question of responsibility for how a book makes it into a Chinese class room is no small matter. One imagines that a lot of seals of approvals are needed for a school text to be pedagogically and ideologically acceptable to the CCP. So, it seems that the illustrators are just the tip of an iceberg—the question is what lies beneath the surface?

The most common interpretation seems to be that there may be nefarious Western influences at work, who have deployed subliminal means to try and turn Chinese children away from traditional values and appropriate behaviour.

The Western media that I have read generally sees the whole thing as one more example of Western bashing. Irrespective of whether this is some foreign or domestic plot, or just someone having a laugh while the various officials presiding over ideological and social purity were asleep at the wheel, or someone given to the infantile humour, what is noteworthy is the concurrence between parents and the government about what constitutes an assault upon Chinese values, and what this indicates about how the Chinese expect their children to appear and to behave, and how they are responding to depictions of naughty sexualized children. It is equally noteworthy that they can see in these pictures a possible foreign attempt to subvert Chinese values by subliminally Westernizing children.

2. The Great Emancipation Continues, Spearheaded by Drag Queens and Trannies

That the Chinese government is able to pitch the above-mentioned episode as one of potential Western sabotage would seem less far-fetched were it not for the fact that in a very short space of time, the Western elite and the urban tertiary-educated metropolitan professional classes, who are its primary representatives, beneficiaries and enablers have literally dragged the matter of sexual rights and identity into childhood. Thus, there have been various local council and government initiatives to have drag queens read to kids in libraries, or drag events of meet-and-greet parents and kids; others allowing permits for setting up stripping poles at pride events for the kids to try their hand at what may turn into a new career opportunity. One that recently received a fair amount of backlash was of a scantily clad, well-stacked and packed, leggie transexual dancing around in a manner typical of “adult” club “dancers.” But it was not an adult club and “she”/”he,” or whatever the chosen pronoun, was not reaching out to adults, but to very young kids, with their parents clapping along, and encouraging kids to dance along with the nice ladyman. In a country that won’t allow people to have a beer until they are 21, there seems to be no issue with kiddies being in a bar with a neo-sign displaying the words ‘It’s Not Gonna Lick Itself;’ just in case you thought this was not OK, officials made sure that while kids may have been chaperoned in the “lick her” lollipop event, no liquor was served—thank the Lord that moral standards are being so safely protected by our moral paragons.

Speaking of moral standards and paragons of virtue, that other bastion of moral proprietary, the corporate media have increasingly come to see it as their moral responsibility to use children’s tv shows, films and books to celebrate same sex practice, coupling, marriage and childrearing as well as trans-children and trans-parents. In this new moral universe that has been conjured by the Western elite, it is a “normal” part of a child’s development to consider his/her biological sex as a matter of little importance whilst being encouraged to ponder the greater question of what biological sex he/she would like to become, and hence to help Big Pharma and surgeons decide what kind of drugs and amputation surgery they think might be suitable for kids that cannot be trusted to drink a glass of wine but have the wisdom of self to know where nature made an error in handing out the sex parts.

The world we all live in, in the West, was neatly laid out with that same intrepidity that defines the Daily Mail as the slummier version of the New York Times, a paper which never hesitates to scream louder for the demise of the Western world: on the same day that a former President’s home had been raided by the FBI (perfectly reasonable… after all he was groomed by Russian agents and he was definitely a Russian puppet President, and he posted really mean tweets, and he led an insurrection by saying we are going to march peacefully down to the Capital and protest)—a four-year-old child born a female announced transition with a blue gender reveal cannon at Vancouver Pride Parade—with its grandmother by its side. USA/Canada/Australia/New Zealand/Western Europe—as we say in Australia “same difference;” though, to be fair to the Canadians, they did at least pick a guy who can enforce the new fascism in complete sentences.

But it is not who the Grand Poobah is that matters anymore, anymore than it matters which ruling party holds office—it is what the Western globalist enablers and beneficiaries are willing to do to get their way. Those wanting the Great Reset are as prepared to destroy any populist opposition who might undermine their plans, as they are to starve people (ask the Sri Lankans about that), as they are to destroy the livelihoods of farmers who must cull their cattle, and thus be forced to sell their land off to those wanting to control the global production of food and its supply, of what will be a predominantly plant or insect based diet (ask the Dutch farmers about that), and as they are to encourage anything that might lead to the reduction of the global population, so that it might fit the number Klaus, Bill, Jeff, George and their mates think is desirable. It is not hard to envisage that behind the new family and the normalization of the idea that one’s biological sex organs not meaning anything is the prospect of the eventual banning of biological birth by anyone whose social credit is discredited. If that sounds like some crank conspiracy theorist, it is because today a conspiracy theorist is anyone who has read “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” or The Great Reset. And if anyone thought things like the directives “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature,” and “Guide reproduction wisely—improving fitness and diversity,” which were engraved on the Georgia Guidestones in 1980, were actually intended to mean something and might in some way have been put there by someone (Ted Turner according to local rumour) who shared the same “vision” with Schwab, Gates, and Co.—well, they are really total crazies. (The monument was blown up last month and has been removed, so to think it was even there is crazy, man, crazy.)

This same elite also thinks that acceptance of this program should be mandatory; that parents who object to some part of it—like the kids thinking that Mummy and Daddy are really weird if they are last century’s version of Mummy and Daddy, or that “willies” and “vulvas” are about as defining of who and what one is as one’s favourite ice cream—are either misinformed and need to be re-educated or are a threat to their children’s well-being and hence their children need to be rescued from them for such parents’ cruel bigotry. This elite also think that any member of a medical or psychiatry association, and increasingly a university or school, who does not think this should be relieved of his duties.

None of this, though, prevented the mobilization of opposition to Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health which was driven by the slogan of women’s rights; which is indicative of the fact that “woman” is a biological term when those with progressive political intentions say it is because they want it to be—and when it does not suit them, then biology is a social construct.

In a world where an elite, and their imbecilic enablers, preach that it is not normal to think of one’s natural sexual organs as signifying anything, the right answer for anyone aspiring to hold office in the highest judicial office in the land is to pass on the question “What is a woman?” by stating the obvious that “she is not a biologist”—hence all those old laws and rules which do require distinguishing between men and women, or designating who may enter which toilets, bathrooms, or waxing services according to sexual anatomy, can be deemed unconstitutional without anyone ever needing to do something as clumsy and open to a barrage of ridicule as the Democrats did when they passed the “sexless speech codes for the House of Representatives.”

By the way, and apropos of China and America, and their respective elites and “leaders,” the code which bans the use of such terms as “mother” and “father,” “brother” and “sister” was introduced by Nancy Pelosi, the same one who, having poked the dragon by refusing to play the normal game of international diplomacy, publicly waltzed off to Taiwan (none knows exactly why, apart from the obvious reason of creating an international incident) thought that the public was so stupid that her telling the “cutest” anecdote of believing, as a little girl, that if she dug through the beach she would get to China—that’s how much she loved China and why she has had a special relationship with China ever since. Until I read that, and leaving aside pretty much any sentence Joe might air on any given topic, or videos of him walking into broom closets, shaking hands with the air a minute after shaking hands with a real person (assuming that is, that Chuck Schumer is not a lizard shape-shifter), and reading teleprompter directions for his audience to hear—I had thought nothing could top Kamala Harris’s lesson on international diplomacy for the American people: “Ukraine is a country in Europe. It exists next to another country called Russia. Russia is a bigger country. Russia is a powerful country. Russia decided to invade a smaller country called Ukraine; so, basically, that’s wrong,”

Xi and the boys are probably wondering on how earth the world economic and military hegemon is led by three idiots—and for the anti-Trumpers, let us concede along with the debacle in Afghanistan, poking the Russian bear into threatening to nuke the West, you got three idiots doing well over three times more damage for the price of one. Though Xi and Co. just might be wondering if all these seemingly imbecilic antics are coded signals to those in China prepared to engage in an elite overthrow in the People’s Republic.

Irrespective of what the leaders of the CCP think, what we are witnessing in the West is the most radical transformation ever undertaken of child socialization—by making sexual identity as a rightful (legislatively backed-up) choice the centre-piece of its importance. How we reached this state cannot be separated from the broader “march” of social liberalization that commenced with the acceptance of sexual practices once considered criminal; and, then, when decriminalized, extended to the publicization of said practices through public parades and carnivals, in which participants in various state of undress simulate sexual acts on floats (though to be fair, usually with humour); then to the removal of any institutional obstacle—such as had been operating in the military since God knows when—to employing people who openly identified their being with their choice of same-sex relationships and encounters; then to the right of same sex couples to adopt children; then to be married (the sequence indicated that this was already a fait accompli); and finally for the army to pay for gender reassignment surgery. A lot of people started to get irritated when it came to the last one—not because they are transphobic or want to beat up trans people but because they don’t want to pay for anyone’s surgery involving their sexual parts. But now that it has reached the kids a lot of people are very angry—although, as in so many other matters, our great cultural and political leaders think the problem is solved if they can just mock and disparage the parents of the kids being taught how to enjoy all the colours of the sexual rainbow, and to go sex-organ-shopping with their teacher.

The examples are endless, and seem to be ever more unbelievable—but the doozie is of a PhD (remember this is the ticket to academic life) involving the candidate’s ethnographic study of masturbation and Japanese boy-sex comics; the study consisted of him reporting on his “field” research—i.e., his feeling as he masturbated while viewing the comics. While Western progressives love to invoke how all cultures should be treated with respect, except the repressive Greco-Christian-Germanic, Western European/North Atlantic culture, there are also no pride parades, nor pride flags in China, nor, while we are at it, anywhere outside of Israel in the Middle East, nor Asia generally.

But, Islamic countries aside, governments generally have far more urgent problems than checking up on people’s sex lives, and the social cost of doing so is not one that has much going for it—apart from needlessly interfering in people’s personal lives, the opportunities for blackmail, the destruction it does to reputations or to friends and families makes it as toxic as it may be hypocritical (J. Edgar Hoover is the poster boy for that.) That was why governments in the West in the 1960s and 1970s (China followed in the late 1990s) overturned laws which were widely accepted as being discriminatory and socially and personally damaging. I am not surprised that even conservatives who object to gay adoption or gay marriage do not want to return to legislation against consensual same-sex acts between adults. But I no more see it as discriminatory against gays not to feel the need to wave pride flags, nor attend pride parades any less than I feel it discriminatory against women not to want to go to strip clubs. Of course, those who think they are fixing up the world from the cruelty of prejudice think that such an argument is not pertinent. But that’s the thing about consensuses dreamt up by elites—nothing other than what they think is relevant. That they think that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a defining feature of a person, as opposed to an aspect of someone, is what separates this elite from others of the past, as well as the Chinese elite—who don’t want the entire basis of the family overturned so that people can do what they do, and which the CCP doesn’t care about as long as they don’t bring it into classrooms, or do the kind of things in public that heterosexuals are also prohibited from doing.

That today’s teachers in the West are increasingly required to ensure that children not only not be bullied for their sexual choices but be encouraged to consider the various sexual life-style and alternative choices open to them makes sense in terms of the “logic” of liberation, and the logic of the self as being primarily defined by sexual desire. But what it also is, is the denial of traditional parents to induct their children into roles that they value. To be sure, many parents may once have been disappointed that their little Jimmy or Suzie, once they grew up, liked having sex with people of the same sex—though I think most who love their kids will not stop loving them because of that. Families have to get over all sorts of stuff; and to think that teachers should be authorized to reset the norms of social roles to ease the embarrassment or personal suffering due to parents’ expectations is but one more example of the expansion of the state into areas of life which threaten to make it an all-encompassing power controlling what anyone is permitted to think or say.

The matter of sexual emancipation is not just about sexuality, it is about state authority and what occurs when it is unbounded. In his impressive majestic tome on the subject of sexuality and modernity (introduced to me by the editor of this magazine), E. Michael Jones’ Libido Dominandi argues that unleashing the sexual floodgates of desire is intrinsic to the creation of the modern self and its values, and that at its centre is the desire and capacity to control. I think there is much truth to his argument, as well as his insight expressed on a YouTube presentation that the moderns distorted the traditional order in which desire is subordinate to truth and replaced it with truth being subordinated to desire. To which, what passes for an educated student today, asked him, whose truth? Elsewhere I have expressed my distaste for metaphysical a priorism intruding into matters where experience must be our guide; which is to say not experiences of the Lockean sort that have been put through an epistemological and metaphysical meat-grinder that is applicable to physics and not much else, but the experiences of our tastes, smells, touches and feelings—they are intrinsic to our second nature which is part of our social and historical cultivation.

But the point the said student missed (and I wish Jones had done a better job of making his case in this instance) was that yes different cultures/peoples/faith value different things, but there can be no argument about the built-up-world, with all its virtues and pathologies, and hence all the living consequences that reveal the truth of what an orientation is and where it leads. (This was why Augustine commences The City of God with his identification of where faith in the Roman gods has led). And that is not a matter of subjectivity but of record. Speaking over and around the world is subjective; but living in a good family and neighbourhood, or living in a shit-hole is as objective as being hit by a truck. In this respect, although all societies reproduce themselves through the cultivations and selections its authorities make, about which desires and practices its youth are to be orientated in, and which ones to be proscribed by punishing any transgressor. While the Western cultural revolution of the 1960s is closely connected to the sexual revolution and hence to subordinating truth to desire generally, but most of all sexual desire, the CCP, having scrambled back from the brink of its own defeat and the chaos it helped create, has closed that particular modern pathway of self-destruction.

That sexual emancipation in the West does disclose a truth is all too evident, when one moves outside of environments sufficiently well-resourced to drive the negative consequences of serial monogamy and broken families, into the more personal and solitary sad confines alleviated by drugs, alcohol, and other sedatives of the spirit, and enters into the social squalor of its underclass. There divorce is all too-often accompanied by impoverished single mothers serially coupling with socially, poorly formed, ill-equipped violent men, who treat them and their children with callous opportunity.

The more impoverished, squalid, hellish social pockets that breed crime, drug addiction, petty theft, woman-beating, abandoned children is all explicable in our Western world as the consequence of some kind of “-ism” or “phobia”—racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, or lack of equality (a word very easy to say but a problem whose solution more times than not equates into more jobs for the bureaucrats, as the problems attributed to inequality continue to fester). What cannot be touched is the central idea of the emancipation of our desires, which (with race coming a close second—but note how even BLM link their objectives to sexuality) has become the predominant one, circulated within the Humanities.

Thus, it should be no mystery that professions in entertainment, the media and education, and increasingly the medical and social work professions, now require all children—who are to be seen as smaller desiring subjects—be “rescued” because a minority of them might—and among them some definitely do—suffer because of their sexual desires. One issue this decision to reconstruct the self—for it is a decision—raises is at which age should the law configure the self in this manner. It is obvious that what now passes for the norm amongst those who believe themselves to be the leaders of our emancipation is that it would not only be cruel and morally wrong to distinguish between adults and children on matters of sexual identity, but even more cruel to deny this right to children.

Of course, laws of statutory rape and carnal knowledge are regularly enforced, and people can be imprisoned for sex with minors. Though it is weird, isn’t it, that with all the kerfuffle about Epstein, and sex trafficking, apart from Epstein himself, it is only Ghislaine Maxwell who has gone to trial—nothing to see here folks. If you ever wondered how loony stuff like Pizza-gate takes off, you might consider that the media actually does bury stories where sex with minors is involved—apart from Epstein, go dig, if you don’t know of its contents, into what incriminating stuff was on Hunter’s lap top.

While the march of emancipation is pitched as if it were primarily about choice—”my body my choice” being the slogan that stretches from the sex act to the sexual being of one’s entire identity, to “terminating” a pregnancy, from pleasure to extinguishing a potential life (let’s leave aside when, why and how it might be “justified”)—it is really about pleasure, and sexual appetite as the primary drive and hence most rightful basis of one’s identity. In part, this is an outgrowth of bad ideas that spring from the modern metaphysical revolution which became the ideational attractor force for modern politics and the modern state. Of course, pleasure is nice—it is pleasurable. But the social order, known by every premodern society, is not based upon pleasure but sacred obligation and sacrifice; and to think that pleasure can displace the sacrificial and the sacred by becoming the new sacred is a complete defiance of reality. And this is exactly what the Western elite today are—the incarnation of the defiance of reality—and in so far as reality and spirit are not separate substances, but are the occasion of each other; mutual aspects of ourselves, our encounters and our world; defying reality also means defying the spirit. The fact that this defiance occurs at the same time as our knowledge and control over the dead mechanics of nature is on a previously unprecedented scale of achievement is what gives us the predicament of a people dwelling in material surfeit, but lost, lonely, and despairing whilst seeking solace in, at best, escapist entertainment, or cocaine, crack, fentanyl, alcohol, and whatever else may act as a stimulant to the dying self. Zombie movies that became all the rage some twenty years ago, as I have mentioned elsewhere, strike me as the expression of the collective subconscious, representing the plight of the collective soul.

But of all the various stimulants, sex is the most immediate; and making our sexual being the fulcrum of our moral scale is a perfect way to sacralize a force that has, with some rare historical exceptions, always been recognized as a dangerous one, if not properly channeled and socially modulated, through the most socially authoritative powers. (It also provides false fuel for that hunger for spiritual meaning that is the defining feature of non-psychopathic souls.) This fact was what fantasists like Margaret Mead attempted to disprove by imagining people who lived lives of such libidinous indulgence that the poor repressed sex-starved souls in the West could only look on with envy. The sexualization of the self is, in short, a reconstruction of the self as a completely appetitive being—notice how all the rights talk of emancipation is about satisfaction of the need to have access to more pleasurable stuff, which has been kept from your group by the privileged oppressors.

That sexual appetite is mercurial and forceful is precisely why giving it too much authority in a scale of social values does not lead to emancipation or any kind of moral consistency, but to ever more haphazard ways of us dealing with each other, ever more opportunities to do what we as a species regularly do—hurt each other, and make each other miserable (that by the way is not a left/right thing—it is just a perennial thing that no ideology will save us from). But this is also why blunt and, often brutal, measures have traditionally been adopted to keep sex under wraps rather than make it the centrepiece of daily life. And why the West is entangled in its abstract puritanism, voyeurism, and appetitive obsessions—and the kids are smack bang in the middle of all this.

When we think of sexual desire being the centre of our being, most will think that this is largely due to Freud. Freud was possibly brilliant, but definitely nuts—for him all love derived from pleasure, and the search for love was a search for pleasure, which was a hunt for the big pay-off of sex. And for Freud our biggest problems in life all come back to the fact that Daddy and Mummy didn’t want the kids to have sex with Mummy. A culture that can create an entire profession around that idea is one that is willing to believe anything. In any case, we know coke makes people delusional about sex (Harvey Weinstein and Louis CK will surely agree with that); perhaps all that cocaine is responsible for Freud have decided that was the real meaning of human life. But to be fair to him, Freud at least conceded that civilization required redirecting the sex drive—had he not paused from having sex all day, and put his coked-up brain to another purpose, i.e. thinking about sex all day and finding it in all his dreams as well, he never could have given the world his “great” science of psychoanalysis. And in spite of all the coke and sex in Hollywood, it is difficult to discern in our film and tv show makers, as well as in our more poorly paid academics and school teachers (who generally can’t afford too much of the coke) much concession to Freud’s idea of sublimation.

The other guy who thought everything was about sex and pleasure—so much so that pain (of the self as well as others) was to be explored in all its modalities as the highest source of pleasure—was the Marquis de Sade. And it is no accident that the third figure in the Holy trinity (Marx and Nietzsche being the first two) of twentieth century existentialism, French poststructuralist and postmodernist philosophy (yes, they are kind of different, and they sure squabbled amongst themselves), that is the philosophy which took total emancipation as its endgame, is de Sade. To be sure in the writings of Bataille, Blanchot, Klossowski, Deleuze, de Beauvoir, Barthes, Foucault, it is de Sade the author, the man of imaginative and verbal excess that is celebrated; which is to say it is one in which the lion is muzzled, and the carnivalesque fantasies of murdering and torturing children is but air and words which, with their hermeneutical help, we can channel into the stratosphere of great philosophy and/or literature. The relevance of Sade, though, is that if life is all about desire and its most pleasurable kinds—or even better if we stick with the French jouissance—then transgression and emancipation are synonyms. Which it has been for lots of academics in literature departments in North America in the last thirty years or so—just do a search for transgression along with queer studies, feminism etc. so you get the picture.

Of course, the fact that someone writes with Sadean enthusiasm about sexual transgression in the morning does not mean that in the afternoon they won’t end up sitting on some committee in the afternoon accusing one of their colleagues for some sexual misdemeanors; on more than some occasions it is because a college girl’s fantasies with her favourite professor didn’t turn out the way she hoped. Consistency rarely plays a role in human affairs, especially where sanctimony is involved. And I do not want to say that all people are pedophiles who push for kids being part of the fun at pride parades, lollipop licking trannie shows, or being read to by drag queens in libraries, or pushing for more books about teenies showing each other their weenies or pee pee holes, or being super depressed because they either need them cut off, or need have them stitched on so they can be who they really are, which is to say they can receive all the accolades for being such good brave children by doing what their parents hope and pray they will do. I really don’t think they are primarily pedophiles; but I also don’t think all their immersion in Judith Butlerish gibberish has given them any clarity at all about what kind of world they are making, or what kind of mess they are making of the lives of the kids they are screwing up in order to save them from haters and ‘normies.’

In any case, the cultural revolution that took place in the West in the 1960s, of which the sexual revolution was a major component, was one in which the matter of childhood development, which included sexual development and desire, was already being signaled. Nowhere was this more visible than in a famous case in France, in which a number of prominent philosophers, whose names would become bywords for the philosophies of 1968 (frequently, albeit somewhat sloppily, grouped as “postmodernist”)—Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Roland Barthes, and (the definitely not postmodernists) Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir (yes, you spotted it; it is pretty much that same bunch of Sade lovers)—signed petitions, demanding the release of three men imprisoned for sexual activities with children aged 12 and 13. The petition was all couched in the language of the rights of children to have relations with whomsoever they wish. The issue then as now was who had the right to do what and which right should hold sway when the aim of the right was to prevent harm. At the time, the most public face of the philosophical pro-pedophilia position, a fact that had mostly been forgotten by all those professors lining up to instruct college students about why Foucault (the most cited scholar in the Humanities of our age) holds the keys to making the world such a much better place. Though there was a little rain a short while back on Foucault’s parade when Foucault’s pedophilia again became the talk of Paris, thanks to a French-American professor Guy Sorman saying he knew that Foucault had been paying for sex with underage boys in Tunisia; sometimes it seems he just raped them. (Given how big Foucault is in Post-Colonial Studies, one might think this might have damaged his brand—but I suspect that was no more the case than Althusser damaged his brand among radical feminists for strangling his wife.)

Non-progressives would generally concede that it is a casuistic point whether the divide between adults pedagogically inducting (normalizing) children into the various array of sexual choices and “their delights” are really grooming them—even though the scandals surrounding pedophilia in Disney and, more generally Hollywood, do indicate that those pushing to pleasure themselves with children have much to gain by promoting a sexualization of children. LGBTQ+ groups, though, who are proactive in promoting the lit, the films, the readings and the meet-and-greets couch everything in terms of saving the children, As noble as they see themselves, lots of parents do not buy, nor like, it. But the thing is that in the West, and unlike in China, they can do next to nothing about it. And whichever way we cut it, children are under the instruction of an elite who are spearheading the Western cultural revolution and reconfiguration of all Western institutions along lines suited to the narratives and values which this elite has by making a living out of the hellish marriage of human appetites and their control.

2. The Chinese Cultural Revolution and What the CCP Learnt from It

The contestation between the world’s two super powers is a contestation between two elites that have both come out of modern revolutions of national liberation and cultural revolutions. While the national revolutions were almost six generations apart, the cultural revolutions were simultaneous, and their respective outcomes—one defeated, the other successful and still in operation—would be decisive in how the two most powerful global elites would line up. Both cultural revolutions intensified an essential feature that lay imminent in their national revolutions—Maoist ideology was intensified in China, at the moment when other party members and factions sought to rescue the nation from the economic sabotage that had characterized Mao’s leadership since winning the civil war; the cultural revolution in the US was fought by an extension of rights (which had been a defining feature of the nation’s declaration of independence) to groups which all laid claim for their rights to be recognized, so that they could enjoy their right to happiness along with everybody else.

The cultural revolution in China occurred shortly after the country had been forced by Mao and the party to follow policies that involved mass killings and mass starvations of the Great Leap Forward—there are many books on this topic, but one by a former colleague of mine at the University of Hong Kong, Frank Dikötter’s Mao’s Great Famine, is probably the most thorough and harrowing account of the cruelty, stupidity, callous indifference, and sheer scale of brutality that took place in China between 1958-1962. While the party managed to retain its political power, Mao’s authority had to be reined in by other party leaders and their factions, who hoped to place the revolution back on some kind of stable trajectory. Being somewhat muzzled himself, Mao colluded with his wife, an ex-actress, Jiang Qing, to begin an active campaign against the threat to China being posed by the threat of capitalist in-roaders using bourgeois ideas (i.e., anything she did not like) to sabotage the revolutionary potential of the arts, whilst also laying down revolutionary guidelines. She took particularly firm control of the traditional art of Chinese opera—lots of earnest red guards, waving red flags, yelling out Maoist slogans, and triumphantly peering into a distant future, after they had humiliated and beaten on some terrible landowner or shopkeeper or other bourgeois vampire sucking the entrails out of beautiful athletic dancers and actors posing as simple peasants/proletarians. Art and reality perfectly reflected each other—it was real socialism and socialist realism, in which the youth on stage were as useful to real farming as the red guards prancing around the countryside bringing their vast wealth of experience and knowledge to the collective farms—and they were both crimes against any finer sentiments or thoughts that people might be able to muster up outside of the embittered neuro-pathways of this wretched embittered couple (just as Mao had scores to settle in the party, she had scores to settle in the theatre and film world she had once circulated in) who needed to overthrow and take lead of an entire former empire to fulfil their fantasies.

They may not have slept together, but they were able to give birth to a mass movement of youthful violent energy, in a country that had been in chaos for decades. The wretched life the poor youth had had as children, thanks to Mao and his subordinates, made them eager soldiers in the battle to storm the heaven of plenty and freedom. Marx had promised that the citadel of unalienated life could be had once capital had provided the techniques and technologies of endless bounty, provided it was expropriated from the blood-sucking capitalists. With Mao, whose track-record already included the ruin that accompanied ridding the land of the vermin of sparrows, and flies and bypassing industrialization by the establishment of backyard smelters transforming spoons and tin cups into industrial strength steel, very heaven was ripe for the taking. All they needed to do was follow the thought and wisdom of Chairman Mao, and destroy the source of all their problems: those “running dogs of capitalism” within the party and elsewhere, and “the four olds”—old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits.”

These red guards hunted down all “old” and bourgeois elements not only within the country, but within their own families and neighbourhoods. In addition to roaming around the country looking for and destroying any signs of what they found unworthy of the new future, they threw elders out of their windows, put dunce caps on their teachers, and snitched on and insulted their parents and grandparents. Whenever they had an opportunity they would assemble, screaming Maoist slogans at all and sundry, whilst waving copies of that little red book—put together by the guy that was second to Mao before Mao did a number two on him and had him blown up in a plane—that had compressed all the great wisdom of the greatest genius the world has ever known into a book the size of one’s hand. It sure takes genius to come up with stuff like “We must fight a war if we have to. I am saying that it is not so terrifying even if half of our population perishes.”

No wonder all those real clever types, such as Foucault, Sollers, Kristeva and the Tel Quel crowd, Althusser, Badiou, Sartre, de Beauvoir (haven’t we met most of this lot a couple of times already?) in that city which would become the most bedazzling theoretical source for the various emancipatory groups that would be born in the womb of the student revolt—Paris—thought Mao was just tremendous. As far as they could fathom, people in Mao’s China were far freer than those like themselves who lived in that oppressive stodgy old political system and political culture that concealed its fascism and repression behind the shabby façade of free speech, state welfare and democracy—simple minded guy that I am, I fail to see the difference in craziness between this philosophical fantasy and one that blames the problems of the world on aliens from other planets inhabiting people.

The red guards also had to bond with the peasants by working in the collective farms, where they were likely to find old party officials who had actually fought in the revolution feeding the pigs and undergoing reeducation by being amongst the people. In the meantime, universities essentially ceased; thus ensuring a shortage of technically trained professionals, and hence too ensuring another decade or so of economic self-sabotage. If ever anyone wants to prove that there are worse ways to economically organize a country than capitalism, with all its flaws, all they have to do is point to Mao’s China—or to Mao’s most illustrious progeny, Pol Pot. If Mao had only had ten more years, he might have been inspired by Pol to show him just how he should have gone about it.

Mao was eventually brought to heel by the remnants of the party who had returned after having been harassed and banished to the countryside. From outside it seems that Mao had sense enough to realize that he too would be dragged under the wheels of the momentum of what he had helped orchestrate; so, he thought it better to remain as the great helmsman, while the rest of the party mopped up the mess. Mao was left as a figure head; left alone, as we all subsequently discovered, to have a driver cruise for young girls for him to sleep with, before slipping completely into senility. For their part, the anti-Mao forces in the party, which were very many, had to do one thing—wait. Wait they did. And immediately upon his death, they imprisoned his wife and the other primary instigators of the cultural revolution.

It seems that immediately after his death they were not too sure what to do, except put their faith in the little guy who had fought with Mao and returned to restore some sort of order. Prodded on by impatient farmers sick to death of working in collective farms for a pittance, and determined to bring some of their surplus to markets, he undid not only Maoism, but Marxist economics (though not the Leninist political apparatus which had enabled the CCP’s monopoly of political power). With that revolution from above, Teng would turn China into the rival hegemon to the USA it is today. Apart from allowing private property, the party realized that it had to tear out those radical cultural ideas that had created such social havoc and had managed to ruin urban industry as well as keeping China a country of impoverished peasants. The party then rehabilitated Confucius. That cemented any hope that any hotheads left over from the cultural revolution might have had.

Confucius, of course, had been attacked viciously by the CCP during Mao’s reign, in large part because at the centre of his teaching is the importance of parental authority and family roles. Conjoining Marx and Confucius is no mean dialectical feat, though to be sure no more so than calling for defunding the police in the West whilst requiring ever more legal enforcement to punish those who offend people’s feelings by speech deemed hateful. And in any case, it was one thing to change the content of communism so that it could be capitalism as long as the capitalists obeyed the party, but another thing altogether to ditch the brand name. But it was not only Marx and Confucius that had to be “married,” they could not eliminate Mao from the glorious history of the party. Thus, to this day Mao is still publicly revered, albeit with the rider, that he made “some mistakes.”

In the washup after the cultural revolution, the party, for all its infighting and factionalism, settled on three primary objectives: stability, solidarity and prosperity. On the matter of prosperity, and for all the profit siphoning, data and currency rigging, party and bureaucratic corruption, none can seriously deny the CCP has adopted policies which have lifted vast numbers out of poverty, exponentially grown its middle class, and massively expanded the regions where growth is taking place. The country certainly has people who still quietly grumble that the anti-corruption policies are simply the consolidation and protection of one criminal faction at the expense of others, but since Xi’s presidency the party seems to have well and truly placated any large-scale social unrest.

Irrespective of what one knows or thinks about the degree of corruption of the CCP, the CCP and its policies today is the result of 3-4 generations who have monopolized political power, who have led the country into and then out of chaos, and now rule a country in which opposition outside of the party is fragmented, kept under ground or under surveillance, and hence nowhere near hurling the country into civil war. When the CCP speaks of solidarity, it is intent upon preserving more traditional values, which is to say its view of solidarity is closely tied to the importance it gives to stability, and the prominence it gives to Confucius. And hence why the stuff in the textbooks and the stuff that is happening in the West raises their hackles.

For all its dialectical chicanery the CCP most certainly does not want to completely tear up the family again as had occurred during the cultural revolution—it needs it because only if children are raised to obey their parents and control their appetites will they have the discipline required to rear their own children, hold down a job and behave with civility. There is much about the CCP’s exercise of censorship, and unconstrained authority to be criticized, but the way the Western elite and its enablers has used desire generally, and used children to weaponize their adulation and deification of sexual desire for social control brings the matter of control and destruction to another level completely: the control is ever more total as is the destruction.

3. The Western Cultural Revolution and Why the West Rewards an Elite that Destroys Its own Civilization

In the West the cultural revolution, as in China, was a youth revolution—but to the extent it was orchestrated anywhere (and one should neither overestimate nor underestimate this aspect of it), it was partly aided by remote enemies of the United States—once more I advise any who are unaware of it, to check out the interview given by the ex-KGB agent in 1984, Yuri Besmenov, on YouTube and scout out the various Soviet funded fronts operating in the West during the Cold War—and by the extremely wealthy founders of “philanthropic” organizations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation.

Almost fifty years ago, I was astonished to see in Herbert Marcuse’s Soviet Marxism, a book that criticizes the Soviets for not being true Marxists, his acknowledgement of financial support by the Rockefeller Foundation. Alongside Rockefeller, the most famous foundations are probably the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and George Soros’s Open Society Foundations—which have continued to pump money into groups pushing forward the kind of radical politics that took their present shape, thanks to academic-student led identity formations in the Western youth/cultural revolution.

The generation that came of age in the 1960s was, however, damaged and spoiled long before Soviet and Rockefeller money found its way into supporting radical causes. And these agents aside, young people don’t need much assistance in becoming out of control. On the contrary, it takes a great deal of unified effort to harness natural energy into a form in which people can treat strangers among them with civility, and respect such fundamentals of civilization as property and sexual boundaries. Traditions that have been built up by generations, so that children honour their fathers and mothers, and their teachers, who also instruct children to honour their ancestors and ancestral ways, provide the foundation for people to treat each other in a law-abiding manner. Along with the family, there needs to be a certain deference to the tribe; and as tribes join into larger units, the expansion of civility may transpire. But the expansion of the bonds of social solidarity is not merely to the air of an idea, even if those appealing to ideas insist upon their moral or universal character. This idea that faith in moral ideas or moral rights, as set out in some document which provides the basis for greater bonds of solidarity, turns reality on its head—apart from the haphazard and ineffectual consequence of this, as all sorts of groups are happy to give lip-service to the formulae and to use the formulae to try and gain some kind of political or social advantage, but to ignore them completely when it does not suit them. Which is why the USA has so little moral credibility when it comes to getting the non-West to accepts its moral authority as setting the agenda of the international world order—or, just as obvious, why the UN routinely has dictatorships, who routinely violate human rights, serving on any number of its Human Rights bodies, such as the Human Rights Council, at any given time.

Traditional bonds of solidarity involve many aspects, including shared experiences, symbiotic hierarchical relationships and the adoption of diverse roles which make very different demands upon the various members of the social body, who in turn are intrinsic to accessing and conveying different aspects of reality which are transmitted across the ages. The fundamental differences between men and women are part of that accessing and transmission. And although changing material conditions may alter the urgency of our reliance upon certain components or elements of reality, which we need to access and cultivate in order to survive and live well, the idea that the real can simply conform to such abstract ends as freedom or equality, or diversity and inclusiveness, is the kind of idea that takes hold when people have become so used to the substitution of words and ideas for real roles with their duties, and sacrifices. It is no accident that the best educated generation, a generation drunk on ideas, albeit not very complex or intellectually sophisticated ones, was one which thought it could overthrow everything that previously had been considered essential to social formation.

One should also recall the crisis that the most well-educated people in the ancient world, the Athenians, were thrown into when sophists and orators became the new-fangled educators of ambitious young men aspiring to hold political power. The claim of the sophists was that they could teach the unjust argument to appear the just one, and the purpose of it was to school people into swaying crowds with the power of words. From different directions, Plato and Aristophanes attacked this emergent social practice—and in their attack, each one provided a diagnosis in which the practice of the other was seen as culpable in its development. And this remains the case today – both our philosophers and entertainers have contributed to the ideocratic nightmare which distorts our capacity to distinguish between socially constructive and socially destructive practices. Yes, the widespread acceptance that values are “socially constructed” occurs at a time when social destruction is far more assured than any construction that will endure in the future.

Words enchant; and while Max Weber rightly identified the development of the modern world with the disenchantment of reality, he should have added that it was no so much the ascendence and triumph of mechanical ideas which we deploy to rule nature, it was also the substitution of one kind of enchantment for another. That enchantment was manifest when, not altogether unlike what occurred in Athens, a new political elite based upon its rhetorical power was formed. I am not among that small group who speak as if we could go back to premodern feudal political forms as a means to escape the pathologies that our modern ones create. But that our modern political formations have created pathologies which play out in the triumph of abstract appeals and norms being used to direct our ways of life is a most serious problem. And that problem intensified with the mass education that took place in the 1960s and after, as the youth of the West, armed with a sweeping vocabulary of abstractions and a little learning, insisted on its knowing how to rid the world of its problems. All we had to do was follow it, and join in its social and cultural revolution. That there were serious problems is undeniable—if two world wars had not taught anyone that, then nothing would.

The issue was not that there were not serious problems—societies are always poised between survival and extinction, whether (as is our case) from their own internal deficiencies of the spirit, or to external enemies, wanting to expand their resources. It was whether those providing the diagnosis and the solutions to those problems had any credibility outside their own self-assurance and ambition. Unlike their Chinese counterparts, they did not go into the countryside to work amongst the farmers; but like their Chinese counterparts they screamed and shouted and denounced whoever they thought deserved it—and perhaps some of their targets really did deserve a good yelling at. But discrimination was not their strongest point—they were young, and did not really know much. Also, unlike their Chinese counterparts, they had been born into a land of economic plenty; but still there was plenty more to be had than a future job, and material resources to live in comfort. Added to latching on to the idea that pretty well all human desires may be satiated without bad consequences—Dante makes a pretty fair first of cataloguing what a large array of desires may make our personal and collective lives hellish.

It had been Nietzsche that called for “philosophers of the future” and “higher men” to lay out the new table of value in which we could dispense with any after-world and remain true to the earth and its eternal return. It was a really dumb, mechanistically-derived metaphysical idea that quite independently took the fancy of the radical precursor of one of the most brutal forms of modern political organization (Leninism), viz., Louis-Auguste Blanqui. But it was also an idea that served the purposes of infinitizing the self—whilst unintentionally infantilizing it at the same time (Freud was not wrong to see insatiable desire, even if not so Mummy-focussed as he thought, as an infantile condition). Which was why those with so little life experience were so sure they knew which values the human race needed to learn to be as smart as them and as happy as they thought they could be. Nietzsche also knew that shame is the inevitable accompaniment of valuation—it is the necessary means of value-enshrining and protection. He hoped his progeny would go around shaming the crippled in mind and body to kill themselves by adopting the myth of eternal return. As deranged and silly as I think his reasoning is about how the myth of the eternal return might be used (he thought millions might top themselves, and his buddies of the future would need to steel themselves to preside over such cruelty), I am sympathetic to anyone contemplating suicide who is forced to sit in a class of Thus Spake Zarathustra and write an essay on how tremendous it is.

The generation did pick up on the politicization of shame, and really got into the spirit of shaming anyone that did not think like them. But in order to occupy the moral high-ground, which they claimed as their right and duty, and what they thought distinguished them from all those other fascists who had also followed Nietzsche, and, anti-Semitism aside, had generally been more true to his teaching by dividing the world into the sub-human (who they did not like) and superhuman (themselves), they had to deal with the shame they felt at the actions of their forefathers. Of course, they were the direct economic beneficiaries of their forefathers’ ill-gotten gains; and while they were happy to share the future spoils of opportunity and office with the various oppressed groups they spoke on behalf of, they had been and would remain first in line to take advantage of the benefits opened to them by those same spoils. The day the same groups, who preach recompense, give away all they own and become like St. Francis, I will stop accusing them of being driven by self-interest. The shaming of ancestors also took on the form of guilt, which, to be sure I think for some, possibly many, was sincere. But whether sincere or simply stuff one said as part of the new value code of access into the emergent power elite which was being hatched within the student movement: the student revolution had replaced the failed proletariat one because the workers’ revolutionary potential had been bought off—such self-serving nonsense to legitimate political power was right up there with the divine right of kings, or Robespierre and Lenin’s justification for why they in particular had the right to hold the power they exercised. Emancipation and guilt became the twin add-ons to the liberal program of freedom and equality.

Pretty well everywhere we look in the West we witness a generation bombarded with guilt—the guilt of slavery and the Indians and the bomb in the USA; and on top of that in the US and Australia, which had its colonial past to deal with, was the Vietnam War; and, to make it even worse, the draft. The guilt seemed to be the one unifying force that crossed the diverse national histories and geographies. In Great Britain it was the guilt of empire; in France, the guilt about parents who were collaborators; in Germany, Nazi parents—and so on and so forth. I don’t doubt the importance of academic radicalisation that had been fostered by Soviet fronts and stooges, but what began as a trickle became a river with the US stumbling into the Vietnam War as those educated youth who were not radicalised by their teachers were radicalising each other.

The fire of generational antagonism may have had a different trigger to what was going on in China, but the antagonism was similar. At the time, the chaos was far more contained because Western institutions were far sturdier—even if they would not remain so for long. But the Achilles heel, exactly as in the Russian revolution, were the universities—modern societies need to train those who will not only do the professional tasks, such as engineering, administrating and making, interpreting and judging the law, but those who will also educate their youth, i.e., teachers at all levels across all fields. Thus, unsurprisingly, in a student revolution, it was the universities that were the first occupied terrain in the political contestation that was the West’s cultural revolution—and the war was lost early on with the concession that students should decide what was pedagogically relevant, which is why someone can now be doing a doctorate on an ethnographic study of his masturbation over Japanese boy comic porn. Whatever areas remained of devotion to scholarship and independent mindedness were easily killed off by the most ambitious of those in the system willing to join forces with the state to ensure complete control over the values and narratives, the teaching and research that would come out of the universities, thereby turning them into the sites of cultural and social control they are today.

If the surface of this cultural revolution in its initial phases seemed less explosive than in China, that was because it did not explode all at once; but apart from the odd riot or tragedy such as Kent State, it met with little resistance, evident also in the fact that there were jobs aplenty, especially in the idea-making areas of universities, media etc., for people who spouted ideas about needing to tear down the world and rebuild it anew on the basis of their superior moral understanding and character. That then developed into the situation it is today—if one does not share in the latest consensus formed around the narrative of the complete emancipation of appetitive desire, and hence the elite-adopted choice of priorities, tactics and strategies, down to the right words and thoughts, then one will not be recruited into any of the professions where the ideas-brokers have taken hold; and that now includes government agencies and public service positions. Further, in so far as the narratives of elite recruitment are based around identifying the shameful wrongs and crimes of anyone who may be shamed and denounced, the incentive for any rising bright star in the academic firmament is to discover some new threat to total emancipation and total equity (that does not threaten the corporate globalists who provide funding and platforms of endorsement to enable the cultural revolution to go fully global). The fact that it involves abstract verbal contortions, which make reading papers on quantum physics or high-level math proofs seem mere child’s play by comparison, only makes the whole show a laughing stock to anyone who bothers to follow its inner mechanics.

But satire and exposure to the lunacy of the ideas being forged, circulated, and protected in what was once an institution intended to provide higher learning make no difference to anything—just ask James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose and Peter Boghossian. The issue remains that the way to best advance one’s recruitment chance and career rise is to discover something else that other members of a designated (or even better, some yet to be designated) oppressed groups find offensive and oppressive—invariably the ones feeling most oppressed and offended are faculty at elite universities whose entire economic and career security rests upon them finding new sources of moral outrage.

When Michel Foucault was making a reputation for himself by drawing attention to how professionals, such as clinicians and social workers actively create the pathological objects which consolidate and enhance their social prestige and power, he was encouraging his readers to take a stand against the increasing asphyxiation of freedom that was being conducted by the professions of social “normalization.” But then those same professions adopted Foucault as part of their own pedagogy of social control. This was drawn to my attention some thirty years ago when some social workers drew a smile from me by asking me to conduct a Foucault reading group. It was around the same time that Foucault, a sworn enemy of the family, became the go-to philosopher for budding family therapists.

The target of who must be sacrificed in the endless striving for emancipation keeps shifting, so that yesterday’s heroes and heroines are now today’s greatest obstacle to total emancipation—the once lauded celebrity feminist Germaine Greer and progressive K.K. Rowling are now despicable transphobes. But one thing is sure, the immediate incentives—status, office, employment opportunity, whether it be the public or now the private sector, which keep this cultural revolution going, face no impediments. The adults long ago left the building. I do not fantasize about the brilliance of the politicians of half a century ago, but it would be hard to find anyone of that era who would not defeat one of the very incarnations of what now stands for moral, and political progress, AOC (I know it is unfair to pick on her because there is quite a crowd to choose from) in some basic general knowledge test.

Conclusion

I write much of this a short time after reading the CNN headline story reporting that the son of Guy Reffitt, the first US Capitol riot defendant to go to trial, rather than take a plea agreement, said his father “absolutely” deserves the 87-month prison sentence that was handed down. A couple of days later, I read that a former President’s house had been raided by the FBI. Andrew Breitbart, rephrasing Gramsci used to say, politics is downstream from culture. And the cultural revolution has now completely instantiated itself in the politics of every Western country. This is where the cultural revolution has taken us—and it is nowhere near stopping.

The authority and recruitment strategy for those who lead it, not only politically but corporately and pedagogically, rests upon its smashing the traditions of the nation—in the USA, this means identifying the year of the nation’s founding as 1619, not 1776, as well as protesting against rather than celebrating the 4th of July; it means ending citizenship through opening its southern borders, and replacing the value of character and personal achievement with racial, ethnic, or sexual “identity,” and a set of norms which the current elite holds to be the requisite beliefs that may be held by members who can become part of the “leadership team.” It is an elite which claims to support democratic institutions, but now finds itself in complete opposition to those who object to how they have attained power and how they exercise it. They embody one side of precisely the biggest danger that the federalist authors sought to eliminate—they preside over a nation of two factions. Which is why censorship is increasingly expanding and the acrimony toward those who dissent on any major consensus is so intense—dissenters are to be hunted out, denounced, sacked, etc. Talk of a civil war, which is presently a war of ideas, and occasional mob riots, does not seem far-fetched, as the elite have conducted a televised (show) trial of what it calls insurrectionaries, whilst it also, thanks to its corporatist wing, censors its critics from using the technological forums of expression which are today’s equivalent of the public square.

In 2020, the same elite cheered on Antifa (mostly white students, punily shaking their fists), off the grid alternatives and members of the black underclass wanting to get some free stuff as they burned and razed businesses in the name of justice. Surrounded by enemies, as if a hostage king, the President was publicly told by all and sundry that it would be criminal to bring in the national guard, and that it was mostly peaceful protesting. When what was a genuinely peaceful protest got out of hand, with no small aid from Antifa and federal plants, policemen ushering in protestors through the rear door, whilst others outside violently targeted peaceful protestors, as the more brazen and destructive were largely allowed to do their work, it has ushered in the kind of charges, trials and prison conditions, including solitary confinement, that indicates political protest is OK, if it is protest against anyone who publicly opposes the anti-democratic direction of what used to be considered the world’s preeminent democracy.

Like so much else this elite does, such memories will disappear without a trace in the media fog which now primarily exists to enable a group to run its world the way it wants, irrespective of about half of the people of the Western democracies, and irrespective of the fact that this elite has not made the world safer, the people freer or more independently minded, nor more unified. There are many people, like me, who observe this—we are not hostile to people of other nations, nor parochial, nor are we hostile to genuine migrants or people with other cultural backgrounds, nor do we care about people’s sexual taste as conducted in private. If there is to be greater consciousness of other people and greater cooperation, it must, though, come from genuine solidarity and common pursuits and enterprises, not from a small group telling us how to fall in line with their ambition and half-baked ideological certainties.

People who find their way to each other, who fall in love, who create friendships, who feel committed to building a community with a future worth living in together are not those who are energized by the excitement of razing buildings to the ground, of yelling and screaming at people they disagree with, of conniving to destroy people’s livelihoods, of publicly humiliating and shaming them because they said something they find offensive, but which may be either a piece of foolishness or a serious point worth discussing—only a more dialogical society can distinguish between this. But the drag-queens (or were strippers also waltzing around libraries reading children’s stories I would say the same about them) reading to kids in libraries may be creating a certain kind of diversity, but for all its “naughty”/ transgressive theatrics, it is not one in which there is the slightest consideration of parents who want their children to move through the various stages of life with loving parental guidance (which, to be sure, involves hard work and not to be taken for granted, and in various environments not even that), and not have strangers prescribe where sex fits into their lives, and how it fits in the larger scale of things. But that would mean realizing that sexual satiation is not the highest aim of life; or that defining someone primarily by their sexual desires may be a terrible way to create social solidarity and unity. But these people who question everything never question themselves—and now that they dominate the institutions of learning, they never need to. If this elite were creating a genuine open society, one with more open heart, minds and wholesome souls, instead of the infantile, hysterical, anxious and angry world we witness, then there would be no need to enforce inclusion and diversity (words that are now as vacuous as they are weaponized); nor would they be so scared about people disagreeing with them.

Meanwhile, the dragon that has arisen, does what any rival power with any sense would do: it watches and patiently waits for the right opportunity. The dragon requires that its elite are smart and extremely well educated—to be sure, in a way that does not kick against Marxism-Leninism, though the first part of that hybrid is used like the Santa Claus myth and persists as long as real economic development takes place. The price paid for stability is to maintain loyalty to its revolutionary past that is far more recent and far more saturated in blood than that of the United States, or any of the other decaying Western powers. Its children are required to be obedient, to respect their elders, to study hard, to be patient, and not to fall into the cultural habits of Western degenerates—it seems like only yesterday when the CCP wanted its next generation to learn from the West. Those days are pretty well gone.

In the US, children are taught that their founders are morally beneath them and their teachers. They are people who have barely lived, who have risked nothing, for whom cliches and slogans are thought, for whom humility and generosity are as remote from who they are as their character is from their identity. It is far from obvious to me that the word fanaticism can be used to describe the members of the CCP. It is equally obvious that is exactly the word to describe what the educated youth of the West are trained in. It cannot be stopped as long as it has the number of adherents it does in the institutions it does. But it must destroy the institutions it has inhabited—its own ruin is its destiny. Drag-queens in libraries might be seen by the political classes as pretty low on the scale of the West’s problems, but they are a symptom of which priorities matter in a society that has no sense at all of its own self-destruction. While China has many problems, at least it won’t allow its next generation to advance itself by tearing into its own social entrails, and its own genitalia.


Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen books. He also doubles up as a singer songwriter. His latest album can be found here.


Featured: “Seven Deadly Sins,” by Otto Dox; painted in 1933.

Only Traitors Don’t Hate Putin… Right?

Some months ago, I wrote an essay on the Russia-Ukraine war, “The Russia-Ukraine Conflict and the Turmoil of Our Times,” where I laid out why I could not accept the explanation of that event as being due to ‘mad bad Vlad, and his imperialist globalist aspirations. I also indicated that I took no joy in reaching my position. This remains the case. Not only was my interpretation of the war one more thing that placed me in the camp of what the ideas-brokers and majority of “well-educated” people in the West now label as conspiracy theorists, but, in this case, I was also a Putin stooge. So, my inability to accept the “truth” that so many around me knew without any doubt to be the case about the motives, intentions, historical background and moral character of President Vladimir Putin means that I really am an idiot. I have certainly made the case here in the Postil that I see the Western elite as driven by imbecilic ideas, but it is possible that all the political philosophy and history I have read have culminated in me sniveling and driveling at my desk, while whistling “How sweet to be an idiot.”

Idiot and stooge though I might be, as I made clear in that essay, my position is not based on moral imperatives, which are meaningless to billions around the globe, but on fundamental tenets of International Politics and Comparative Politics. In the case of the former, one fundamental tenet requires that one should heed the “interests” of the respective parties involved in any geopolitical/ diplomatic dispute—and by “interest” I primarily mean the assumptions and priorities that guide the behaviour of disputants. In the case of Comparative Politics (a discipline that commences with Aristotle), one must begin by identifying the different historical and cultural conditions which inform the institutional possibilities and circumstances (and hence types of crises) of a polity and its people.

In a subsequent piece, I also emphasized that narratives and points of view invariably depend upon what I call “prime facts and factors.” Mostly, though not always, prime facts are “assumptions”—the kind of things “everybody knows.” Since Socrates, philosophers have recognized the need to be wary of what everybody “knows”—and though I think Plato’s Socrates might have been more charitable to instinctive knowledge, which is the basis for a healthy kind of commonsense, when it comes to opinions that derive from information that has invariably been modulated to suit the interests, perspectives, and priorities of the narrators, we are well advised to adopt the kind of skepticism we associate with Socrates.

Mr. Kerr’s essay, “The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend,” unfortunately is not one that shows much care for the fundamentals of International Politics, Comparative Politics, or Socratic skepticism. It is driven by moral outrage, based upon information that he holds to be not only accurate about but also particularly germane to the war. Those parts of the essay I do agree with—e.g., about the role of the Soviets in the Ukraine—I don’t see as particularly relevant to the diplomatic crisis that led to the current war.

I will return again to the problem of taking morality as an adequate guide to understanding and dealing with international conflicts, but here I shall just make the general point that while there are plenty of people (today possibly the majority who teach IP or IR in the West) who do normative International Politics/Relations, the problem with that approach is that it distorts our understanding of international conflict, by overly simplifying, or even dispensing with, the need to identify the contingent causes (because it is _____________. Fill in any name you like, for any conflict you like). But one has only to observe US foreign policy since the end of the Second World War to see that moral consistency becomes impossible in International Relations because of the strategic necessity of building alliances. Which is to say, that normative driven claims in IR quickly become disclosed as haphazard, and hypocritical—which is how Russia, China, and many other nations today see the US.

In my previous essay on the war, I also made it clear that my conclusions came from a number of sources: I found that the mainstream media either told outright lies or distorted the event by omitting information that was intrinsic to Russia’s invasion. The mainstream media were often critical of “neocons” on the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, but have often provided a wall of silence, and tacit or even outright support when it comes to US arming and training rebels in regimes deemed to be dangerous to US interests, and stirring up chaos in regions harmful to their interests. The media have been completely complicit through their silence on, or “framing of, such events as the US’s training and support for Chechen rebels in their war against Russia in the 1990s, the opposition to Gadhafi, and, the Free Syrian Army, whose factions included Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda’s franchise in Syria), against President Sadat.

The present neocon “line” on Russia, like that of the mainstream media, is built upon political norms that are fair enough in the West (after we allow for all the mud and blood of conquest, wars, enslavement, etc. that are the typical conditions and contingencies enabling nation founding), but which defy the possibilities that were open to any Russian hegemonic aspirants in the breakup of the Soviet Union. The US-West track record in Afghanistan and Iraq leaves them with no credibility—the Taliban are back, and Iraq is a Shia state.

Yet the media which was once at least often prepared to denounce neocons and Bushites, sees no problem with supporting an all-out proxy war and being utterly uncritical of a reckless regime that has taken the country from a civil war of its own making (albeit with US help), calling for ever more military support and Western involvement against Russia. If Bushite neocons led the charge in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was Obama-ite liberal imperialists, whose enthusiasm for the Arab Spring has helped create the chaos in Libya and Syria. Both were driven by the same delusion about democratic regimes taking off in the region and making all these Arab states one big happy McDonalds-munching family. So now it is the scions of neocon and liberal imperialism who write about how Putin’s demise would liberate Ukraine, Russia, and wherever else they can think of as bearing any connection to their dreams of US hegemony. More generally, and just like the wise guys advising whichever ‘commander in chief’ was at the helm of the latest debacle of creating a liberal democratic global order, the mainstream media seem to have no interest in understanding, or being concerned with, the historical and cultural contingencies relevant for making sense of anyone’s—including Putin’s—rise to power in a far off land, or the support-base of regimes they do not like.

I do not think these points irrelevant when I see the same groups of people so swift to weigh in on the conflict in the Ukraine.

While I think Regan had good grounds to plot the demise of the Soviet Union, as well as the good fortune to do it, the USSR of yesterday is not the Russia of today—and the widely held belief that Russia today has the same imperial aspirations as the USSR is at best a conjecture which I do not share—at worst it is a fabulation to shore up a political elite aspiring for global domination by trying to equip and maintain an international military machine on standing reserve.

Were the Western elite a more intellectually formidable and politically astute group that had brought greater social concord and prosperity to the people of its nations, then it would not need to bully and silence its critics, and it certainly would not fear that Russian misinformation would fracture the good society it had contributed to. But the West is a mess and Western elite have contributed significantly to this mess. They do not deserve their status nor positions, for the institutions of ideas-making and circulation from higher education to the media, to the political parties, and the heads and managers and HR officers of corporations who dictate the norms that we must obey—are as spiritually broken as they are intellectually vapid.

Forgive me this lengthy setting up of my critique of Mr. Kerr’s essay, but with any event and any author there is often a lot of background that is tacitly assumed; and hence it is a good idea to bring some of the background assumptions to light. Ultimately Mr. Kerr’s argument is that of the mainstream and the neocons—and it can be summed up as the “it’s Putin, stupid” argument; plus, anyone who does not agree with this is not only stupid, but a Putin stooge.

Given the tone of his essay—don’t get me wrong, I enjoy satire and polemic as much as I enjoy watching Tyson Fury; the issue is whether the punches land—Mr. Kerr indicates that he is completely committed to his view of things. So, I do not write this essay in the hope that Mr. Kerr will change his mind—and if I seem acerbic, let me say that I have close friends who think like him. I would be happy if ever we met to discuss this further over a beer or wine, or, dare I say, vodka. But unlike Mr. Kerr, as much as I think the mainstream Western media and elite a pitiful shamble leading us into the end of a civilization and all the catastrophe that that entails, my exasperation is at their pride and inability to think with any clarity about serious things in any other than a simplistic self-serving manner.

In any case, and in response to Mr. Kerr’s accusation that if one is not for Zelensky one is a stooge/ traitor/ moral reprobate, let me state that I have no stake in what I think about this war—I am trying to make sense of what is going on and what it means. I write for those wanting to understand a little better what is going on, and who, like me, find the dominant “line” unconvincing. I would like to think that I bring to the matter a lifetime of studying Politics and Philosophy and teaching European Intellectual History and Political Science—but I might be rubbish at all that stuff; and even if I am not always rubbish, I might be way wrong on this one. Mr. Kerr, though, does not consider that he might have got things wrong; and for him it is all very black and white.

In the first instance, I find the very pitch of the problem, as presented by Mr. Kerr, problematic—he is writing his essay against “those who oppose Western liberal democracy, or see it as no longer working, [and who] tend to see either Russia (or the former Soviet Union) and/or Putin in a soterial sense.” Anyone who has read my essays will know that I do not “oppose” Western liberal democracy—I mourn its demise, and write in search of like-minded opponents of those who want to restore the value of politics as brokering between antagonistic interests, which can only be achieved if one accepts that the viability of liberal democratic institutions requires respecting the procedures that hold a civic culture together. Respect for the political culture matter more than the results; which is to say that the institutions can only function, if the political culture is healthy.

The extent of the sickness of the political culture of the West was made evident to me the day after the election result in 2016 in the US was announced, when mass demonstrations took place, followed by calls by public figures—some journalists, and entertainers (Johnny Depp, Madonna)—for Mr. Trump’s assassination. These demonstrations and calls, along with the behaviour of journalists and academics, were all symptomatic of a broken political culture. Pretending this was of little consequence is simply to hide one’s head in the sand. I say this because while Mr. Kerr and I agree about the ill health of the political culture of the West, I don’t think his analysis takes this seriously enough: had he done so he might have considered why this is particularly relevant to the kind of military interventions that the West might engage in and what they might mean. So, yes, I confess—I belong to the camp that sees Western liberal democracy as “no longer working.”

But I fail to see why thinking this would make me or anybody else see Putin as a “saviour.” I do not need to argue on behalf of Mr. Dugin, though I am very grateful that the Postil sees fit to present his position. It is the position of someone with a set of political commitments and priorities that inevitably has little appeal to most people in the West, including me. But Mr. Dugin is writing from another set of concerns and for another constituency.

It is very important when doing International Relations to understand the objectives, priorities and values of a rival or enemy. I think Russia may have always been a potential rival with the European powers; at least in certain regions; and, of course, the Poles and the Baltic states have legitimate historical grievances with Russia, which makes sense for them to fashion stronger ties with the West. But Russia did not have to be our enemy: through various decisions and legislation—including the Magnitsky Act of 2012 and the support for the Ukraine coup in 2014—the West has made it so. The idea that Mr. Dugin is the real brains behind Putin is another piece of fiction that seems to have been enthusiastically embraced by those who have little interest with the day-to-day problems that face every (including the Russian) president. His daily problems are not mine; nor are they the problems of anyone in the West. So, unlike Mr. Kerr, I have no idea who he is talking about when he speaks of those opposing the interpretation that “it’s Putin, stupid” argument and those critical of the West’s role in this war seeing Putin as a saviour.

Mr. Kerr also writes that:

One of the surprising things about this conflict is that Putin, for it is by all accounts more Putin’s conflict than Russia’s, has found an odd group of diametrically opposed groups, largely amongst the extreme wings of the Western political spectrum: the far right (anti-Americanism in Europe), and the far left (anti-capitalists). Both support him and his conflict, legitimately enough, in what they see as their own best interest, and to serve their own goals.

Apart from my dissatisfaction with the blithe aside “for it is by all accounts more Putin’s conflict rather than Russia’s” (No—the accounts that say this are far from “all;” but when such a wild—dare I say stupid—opinion is cited as a fact that everybody knows, I find myself exasperated by the “build” of the “argument”)—the word “extreme” is a term thrown about a lot today. It suggests a middle/moderate centre that I fail to see now existing in the West: is thinking the overturning of Roe vs. Wade an “extreme” or moderate decision? Is speaking out against BLM “extreme,” or not going along with high target carbon reduction schemes, opposing vaccine mandates, or questioning whether a new kind of vaccine might not yet be ready for market because all the usual protocols of testing have been waived—“extreme”? This is not a polemical point; it is simply to acknowledge that there is no centre anymore—and that the use of the word “extreme” is just one more rhetorical device to denigrate people with whom one disagrees.

For my part, I do not identity as right or left; for the main political problems of modern liberal democracies requires the balancing of interests in the light of market and state powers, a task that is impossible if one is ideologically beholden. Though the West is sinking precisely because ideology has driven out the kind of dispassionate and disinterested investigations that might better inform policy and legislation, and have turned politics into a contestation over whose values may be used to enforce what people think, say and do. The very terms left and right tend to be useless, if one genuinely wants to clarify the disputations of our time. George Galloway and Russel Brand, to take just two, were once easy to identify as leftists; but now they find common cause with a large audience that are politically populist and socially somewhat (though mostly only somewhat—they believe in freedom of speech) conservative, but not extremist; unless being an extremist is thinking 1776 a historical moment signifying a political promise to be venerated, and 1619 an ideological source of division and social break up.

What tends to unite a very disparate group of people who do not see this war as “Putin’s war” is not their extremism, but their criticism of corporate/statist/globalism, and the way in which this war has yet again been used to galvanize narrative uniformity, to isolate and punish those who do not agree with the official line—Mr. Kerr does not seem to mind because it is the same line as that of Mr. Kerr’s and he is deeply disappointed that the Postil publishes authors who see things differently. Today an extremist is someone who opposes legislation which limits freedom of information and increases censorship (the justification offered by those doing the censoring is that they are protecting the population from dangerous misinformation), and one who objects to key decisions—such as engaging in a proxy war—being introduced without such decisions becoming a matter to be resolved through the democratic process: in Australia both political parties, when in government, have sent tax payers money to help this “fight for freedom.”

As with so many other topics, the media and academia have become megaphones of state policy that supports a “liberal”/ progressive international order. That order offers plenty of work for those who scout out those who deviate from the program. For them it is obvious that only extremists, moral pariahs and conspiracy theorists would be so ignorant and/or dangerous that they would dare disagree with the dictate of the hours: whether it be how to defeat the climate catastrophe, prevent racism, or hatred towards gays and trans people, or drag queens reading to kids in libraries, or prevent a virus that could wipe out the entire world’s population, or send weapons to Ukrainians wanting to defend themselves against Russian troops who have entered the country to defend a substantial portion of the country who are ethnically, historically, economically allied with Russia, and who never supported the coup against a President who was not prepared to throw in the country’s lot with Europe at the expense of those connections. But, heck, for the progressive, these issues are pretty much all the same—they are one more brick in a totalitarian “liberal”-globalist-international-liberal-progressive order, led by a global technocratic corporatist elite. This order, like the various crises that are enabling it, is predicated upon the elimination of all political dissent; which is, to say, the elimination of freedom speech.

I do not think Mr. Kerr should not have his say. But I am not convinced by the arguments and opinions which ebb and flow out of each other, as if he is the voice of reason, and anyone else is an extremist or idiot. I will leave aside the lengthy historical account that Mr. Kerr goes into—a fair portion of which explains why non-first Russian language Ukrainians hate Russians—something I do think is largely ignored in Mr. Putin’s speeches—and hence why so many in the West of Ukraine supported the Maidan. I said in my earlier essay, if I were part of that ethnic group, I would have probably supported the coup and regarded Stepan Bandera as a hero, maybe even have joined the Azov Battalion—but Mr. Kerr does not discuss the importance of Bandera, or the Azov Battalion and other ethnic militia and their significance in fueling the civil war that began in 2014, with any seriousness. He writes:

One of Putin’s primary casus belli is the alleged treatment (“genocide”) of Russians and slavs by the (Western) Ukrainians, slandered with the stock trope “nazi”. While the Ukraine’s treatment of ethnic minorities may not be perfect, its record is certainly no worse than Russia’s (and which abolished the representative body, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People in 2014 and outlawed it in 2016 allegedly due to “the use of propaganda of aggression and hatred towards Russia, inciting ethnic nationalism and extremism in society.”

These sentences are a good example of why I think analysing international conflicts in purely moral terms quickly degenerates into partisanship where one downplays misdemeanours that belong to one’s party as one concentrates on those of the opponent. The stock trope of the Nazis is very pertinent when one looks at the history and even insignia of the anti-Russian Ukrainian ethnic ultra-nationalist groups. But then again my argument, and indeed most of those I listen to and read, are not making an argument about the moral purity of the Russian people, or nation, or President—but about why Russia has invaded Ukraine. To separate Russia’s invasion from the persecution, and large scale killing of ethnic Russian Ukrainians is as disingenuous as describing this as not being “perfect” “treatment” by the Ukrainian government. How many ethnically dead Russian-first-language-Ukrainians would it take for Mr. Kerr to register their existence on his moral radar?

As for Russia’s treatment of its minorities, why or what does that have to do with the issue of this war? This, though, is yet another reason for not trying to use merely moral means for mediating between disputes. The issue is that there has been a civil war, with one side having strong ties to Russia, in a region of major strategic interest to Russia; and Russia has acted in a way that pretty well any state in similar circumstances would have acted. It has never occurred to me that the USA was not acting in its own strategic interests when it demanded that the USSR desist from deploying missiles on Cuban soil. Trying to determine who had the moral right in the Cuban crisis does not strike me as very helpful: Immanuel Kant, Peter Singer, Derek Parfit, Michel Foucault, or whichever other moral philosopher you may want to call upon might or might not agree with what Russia has done—but as they don’t agree with each other on anything, I don’t think they are going to be of much help here. But why the US responded as it did, differs little from why Russia has responded as it has to NATO training Ukrainian soldiers and fanning the flames of regional instability to secure its own strategic interests.

As for the plight of the Russian ethnic Ukrainians to whom Mr. Kerr gives such short shrift, he seems to imply that it is their own fault anyway for being there, or at least the fault of their forefathers. He correctly points out that Stalin had engaged in repopulation. But so what? The people living there now have interests, and those interests include speaking in their own tongue, which is to say having schools and media that express their identity and concerns, and resisting people who are threatening their way of life as well as their very life. Saying this does not morally “justify” Russia’s invasion—very little human beings do can be traced back to moral origins. And, to repeat, pitching an argument about “peoples” and “nations” as if one were engaging in a moral debate simply does not get one very far.

Of course, people get very heated over moral concerns; yet the problem is not the heat, but how to settle the dispute. And when it comes to international disputes, that is the question. At no point has NATO seriously tried to settle the dispute—it, like the Ukrainian government, has treated the Minsk Accords with little more than disdain. Yet, like Mr. Kerr, the US government and the mainstream media simply ignore one set of interests and drapes another set of interests in moral costumes as the recognizable good guys.

Also noteworthy is that Mr. Kerr simply ignores the extent of corruption in Ukrainian politics—again, I said enough about this in my earlier essay, but the idea that Ukraine was more authentically liberal democratic than Russia is simply not a serious claim. But this is what happens when people start and end with moral conviction rather than curiosity and acknowledgement of ignorance and a willingness to change their minds.

In Mr. Kerr’s mind one can either go and live in Russia or China, or shut up. Again, I have not heard any critic of NATO’s involvement in this war say that they find Russia or China to be without their own problems. Criticizing the West’s involvement in this war, emphasizing that this is a regional conflict, and that the creation of a proxy war to bring about regime change—is not to be a traitor to the West. It is to express a point of view—which is to say, it is exactly the kind of political engagement that Mr. Kerr says is what the West can deliver, and those who seek change should be involved in. That change, though, can only occur for the better if people can speak freely, even when mistaken, and if they can learn from each other and their mistakes.

That freedom of speech is imperilled in the West has nothing to do with how much censorship exists in Russia or China. Mr. Kerr recognizes the free-speech problems in the West in passing only, yet ignores the extent of its effects in the curricula, appointments and sackings not only in universities, schools, the media, but also in corporations.

As for the press, Mr. Kerr writes “our press is still free, the fact that some choose to self-censure is not proof to the contrary”—apart from its role in a stream of lies about Mr. Trump and his support base (all white supremacists, racists and extremists), led by the biggest whopper that Mr. Trump’s election was due to Russian electoral interference, or that he was a Russian operative or stooge (like all liars the story changed every time a fact was revealed), and the fact that an elected president was banned from using social media platforms which was a historical moment that occurred with nothing but cheers and celebration by the press—the same press that has played a major role in shutting down free speech on pretty well any political position its owners and journalists don’t agree with.

As for Mr. Kerr’s “gee-up speech”—stop whining and roll up your sleeves and get with the program—the problem is that in the West the political process only works if the electorate fits the mould of the ruling elite. While the elite used to be politically divided on all sorts of things, now the room for disagreement is increasingly negligible, because the problems all seem to be of such a catastrophic nature that disagreement risks threatening the survival of the entire planet/species. This was the real lesson of the Trump years—what he was or who he was and what he did were only the issue to the extent that he represented a significant portion of the American population that was to be dismissed as “deplorable,” and to whom no concession was to be made. Irrespective of the facts surrounding the last election being a “steal,” the fact that almost half of the electorate believed it to be so really matters—and to repeat blathering on about the West and its virtues and the freedom fighters of Ukraine is simply displaying a preference for air rather than for understanding reality.

The media has long since lost any credibility for people like me—which is about half of the Western world. So why would we accept their line on this war (and indeed the line of others who just echo and supplement their line, but claim to be more independent)? In my previous essay, I mentioned some of the lies luridly reported about Putin’s army of assassins poisoning anyone who has a bad word to say about him. It is this same media that now states unequivocally that “There was no promise made by James Baker to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 limiting eastward expansion of NATO.” Well, I recall the claim about NATO very differently, and long before this war. It was a point regularly bought up by Stephen Cohen, who got along swimmingly well with CNN (after all, he was pretty left on the USSR, an admirer of Bukharin, a guy I think was just another know-all communist butcher) until he started objecting to what they were saying about the Maidan back in 2014, and then the nonsense of 2016.

So, unlike Mr. Kerr, I think that the US involvement in the Maidan, the rebooting of the Cold War by the media, and domestic and international security agencies and military officials in the US during Trump’s presidency, and the present war (notably emboldening the Ukrainian government to ignore the Minsk agreements, as well as intensifying the persecution of Russian first language Ukrainians)—are all of a piece.

I do agree with Mr. Kerr that China is the real great power rival, but everything I see about how the West is conducting itself leads me to believe—it is “good night, Irene.” I don’t want to think that. I think we once had something great, but we threw it away. We rewarded and handed over authority to people who thrived on destroying the West’s values and institutions—that it was the kids at university, with half-baked ideas, and know-all teachers who had read a few books, who started the rot (just as they did in Russia more than a century ago). I don’t blame the Chinese for taking advantage of our idiocy. I don’t love the kind of world they will introduce; as an Australian, I see it more likely to be far more directly obvious here than in the US, which will have its own race wars and breakups to deal with. The US will be too “mah fan,” as the Cantonese say, to bother capturing.

But I don’t hate the Chinese for having their own strategic interests. Apart from that, I have some very close Chinese friends. But were the West better and healthier, we might have something to offer them for joining us. But we don’t; and because we are making the kind of world we are making, we are lurching toward war—whether it be a civil war, or world war is less relevant than the fact that the West is pursuing one policy after another that makes it hell-bent on self-destruction, while it enables its enemies.

Thinking that NATO is saving us from this fate, when it is pushing us toward it, is the issue that really separates those that think like Mr. Kerr and those who think like me. I don’t like what I think—I have said this many times. I think what I see, not what I want.

Of course, I don’t want a third world war, though what I want matters nothing. But Mr. Kerr, whether he realizes it or not, is really clamouring for just that. And Mr. Zelensky has made it very clear that if that be the risk, so be it—and given where he sits between the ethnic nationalists who seem to see him as an irrelevant fool, and Russia—this might not even be his own personal worst option.

As for wanting, no one ever gets what they want, even though they may have the satisfaction of eliminating who or what they see as an obstacle to their ends. The French revolutionaries got rid of the power of the crown, and the Mountain freed themselves of the Girondin “traitors;” but they got the Napoleonic wars rather than liberty, equality and fraternity. The Russian intelligentsia got rid of the Tsar, and they got the gulags and food-queues rather than all the abundance of communism.

Those like Mr. Kerr who think that if they rid the world of Putin they will have some geopolitical advantage in staking out the future—seem to think this might even scare China. But if there is to be a war with China, the US will need to find others to fight that one—their kids will be too caught up in trans rallies, gay pride stuff, and burning down buildings in solidarity with BLM—to put on the uniforms to save their precious way of life.

I don’t know who will win the war, nor how far it will go—the fog surrounding it makes me suspicious of the accuracy of most things I read about it. If the West does get rid of Putin, and does get its regime change, I think it will open the door to one of the oligarchical exiles who, I have long suspected, have been pouring money into Western governments to bring about regime change to take over. From what I read, I don’t think the majority of Russians want that. But in any case, what I know for sure is that the West will still be in the same “merde profonde.”


Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen books.


Featured: “Abacus,” by Pawel Kuczynski; painted in 2011.

Ethics: Philosophers and their Reasons

1.

Three ethicists go into a strip club, with gyrating scantily clad pole-dancers doing all those moves that come straight out of Bada Bing. Sorry, I am joking. It was only two ethicists…

The Kantian, on principle, cannot bring himself to make it through the door—he does not want to view women as merely means and not rational ends. In addition, when he runs through the categorical imperative, he is not convinced that he, a middle-aged portly chap, would like to be out there in his underpants struggling to go up and down the pole. As he pauses to universalize that thought-image of all those other portly comrades falling off poles, he thinks there is no way Kant himself would ever consent to going into the strip club, let alone strip down and climb the pole, even though Kant was skinny.

Once inside, the utilitarian is bent over an iPad, at the bar, trying to collate the relevant variables for the cost-benefits calculation he hopes to make, which include the general pleasure of the exclusively male audience as well as the situation of the pole dancers as wage earners, whether they like or dislike their job, and so on. He wants to interview the girls in their break about the cost/benefits involved, but the club has a strict rule of girls not talking about their work to customers—although, his university ethics committee has approved the survey tucked in his pocket.

The utilitarian also wants to factor in the negative effects on women generally, in this kind of behaviour—though here his calculative compass is a little disorientated, as he is unsure to what extent his female philosophical colleagues are a representative sample of women as such—there are four of them—they are all white (two are atheists, one is a non-religious Jew who is a supporter of BDS, and the other a lesbian Anglican). The female philosophers he knows disagree about pornography, though most are against it, and see the business as unethical. He is not sure whether pole dancing is pornography—and exactly how much it would matter if it were, or if it were more like prostitution and how it would matter if it weren’t.

He also wonders how much pain there might be in it for girlfriends or wives who “discover” their boyfriends/husbands were hanging out in this club, and whether attending the club crossed some moral line that the relationship had established. He starts to think he may need to get his hands on some sociological data about this point. He has decided to build his career upon utilitarianism because he doesn’t like the strict purity of Kantianism and the lack of attention to contingency; and he doesn’t like the elitism of the Aristotelian approach of his colleague, who thinks listening to death metal (which he still occasionally listens to in nostalgic moments), taking recreational drugs (which he is partial to, especially once the death metal is pumped up) and watching shows like Breaking Bad are a waste of one’s talents and communally toxic.

Like the utilitarian, the Aristotelian (who has beefed up Aristotle with some Hegel) finds the Kantian position too unworldly—and dangerous. The most famous Rousseauian, besides Kant, was Robespierre. And, as Hegel had pointed out, the desire to make humanity fit into the principles of virtue Rousseau dreamt up led to heads being treated like cabbages made for the chopping. The Aristotelian finds the whole thing rather sleazy, and the pleasures not really defensible. He, though, recalls Augustine’s and Aquinas’ view of prostitution, while a sin, it should not be outlawed because the city needs a sewer system.

2.

Let’s leave the ethicists wrestling with their problems, their own minds and each other, and ask why does it matter what they think and why would they think it mattered? The most obvious answer is that they think that their opinions about human behaviour are of social importance, and they think that a more rational solution to human decision-making, which impacts upon society at large, is a good thing. Moreover, they think these kinds of problems are reasonable, even if it is not at all obvious what is reasonable about a society in which locations are established for the purpose of scantily clad gyrating women on poles performing for (mainly) men drinking alcohol—though now thanks to some ethical consensus having legal teeth, said men won’t be able to smoke.

There may be some people who run through lines of a carefully considered argument before making a decision about what to do in a difficult situation, such as deciding whether climbing a pole in a seedy bar dressed in underwear and stilettoes is an immoral act. In such cases, the argument itself cannot be divorced from the various elements that have the potential to “trigger” or activate the invariably hidden or “unconscious” powers “making up” the “conscience” of the “inquirer.” Not all elements will trigger all in the same way—there is an inevitable variety of potential weightings that different characters/members of different groups/peoples with their different and innumerable experiences of life bring to the question.

Even, as we suggested above, the way one goes about approaching how to think about “the problem” of to what and to whom one is ultimately loyal is a mystery wrapped in a concatenation of constitutive characteristics of a person, group or people. Character also involves different “filterings”—filtering is the concomitant of consensus, and consensus of some fundamental appeals, is essential to a group’s spirit or character. Different spirits—different filterings, though there is ever a tension in sheer structure of a world-making aspect (recognizing property, providing security and having obligations), which crosses all sorts of different cultures (cultivations of a collective’s preferences, tastes, desires, habits, and potential). And filtering generally involves the interplay of the more stabilizing structural commonalities and diverse cultivations that are as much bound up with diverse contingencies of founding acts and traditions as sheer taste. All of which is to say—it’s complicated. Though the trick with all thinking is to know when to cut through complexity to identify a line or pattern of genuine simplicity, and when to focus upon complexity because the simple is misleading. I confess to thinking that the pole dancers are possibly better at knowing when the complexity is just blather than most philosophers.

We know philosophers love thought experiments, so that they can simplify a complex moral problem—the most famous one in recent decades is the trolley and the fat-man—the brief version: if pushing a fat guy off a bridge will make a trolley veer off the track so that the lives of five people stuck on the track will be spared—but fatty might lose his life: to push, or not to push that is the question? How far we have come since “to be or not be.” Having sat amongst philosophers proudly cogitating over this problem—never bothering to ask who fatso might be (Goering or Churchill?), or who the hapless (or extremely careless) five stuck on the trolley track are (a bunch of serial killers, grannies, university managers, or philosophers?), or what other information would give this silly sketch some resemblance of a genuine moral conundrum—I suspect that a room full of pole dancers would find catering to the desires of their leering sad sack voyeurs to be less an affront to their human dignity than having to listen to such a vacuous discussion.

But there is another issue—the aim of an ethical conclusion is frequently, indeed invariably, to control/transform/improve people through policy and legislation. That is to say it is almost inevitably a political issue; and in the thrust of democratic politics that also generally means a legal issue. Ethics today is invariably “law in waiting.” And there are all sorts of very serious questions to be made about laws that are as deeply ethically conflicted as the discipline of ethics itself—such as what exactly are the boundaries between private vice and public virtue?

The entire ideological conflict between classical liberalism and socialism hangs on this divide. Or, do private virtues always create public virtues? Machiavelli and de Mandeville, in very different ways, raise issues of the sort that should make us hesitate here. Or, what are the cost-benefits to the society of trying to calculate our private vices (presuming there is such a thing) and creating criminal sanctions? Do we just ride rough-shod over these utilitarian considerations because some of us think we have the rational position about the principle, and that the means and the reality, with all its moral quandaries, generated by acting according to the principle, should just be left to another day?

Might it be that the more we use our reason by asking reasonable questions, the more Russian dolls we find. And the more of them we find, the more lost we become through reason. Why should reason either be or lead to good? And if it is good, or always leads to good, is that just a lucky accident, or does that suggest a quasi-classical view of life as literally mind-full? Yet of one thing we can be sure; social problems demand solutions: in a democracy the matter of which ones has to do with their being raised. Which again is a political process.

Of the three positions I took as typifying ethical schools, there are, at least in their origins, somewhat different political connections involved. In the case of the Aristotelian, The Ethics was not conceived as a self-contained work, but as a work examining the kind of conduct required for someone to enter into political life, which was why Aristotle paired it with The Politics. The Politics, though, also took into account forms of political life which were far from healthy; and it considers how to make them more healthy, if not outright good.

Aristotle’s version of the natural supported the moderation (allowing for his historical context) that runs through his work. The idea that our judgment about the ethical should be completely free of any natural influence (i.e., Kant’s position) would, I think, have struck both Plato and Aristotle as absurd, though Aristotle might have seen it as an unfortunate residue coming from Plato’s two worlds. But then again, the Rousseauian idea that freedom consists in having a law which we give ourselves would have repelled Plato as much as Aristotle. And on top of this, both would have scratched their head about why freedom was now the axis of the ethical life. And the accompanying emphasis upon human dignity would have been just as perplexing—especially when it was simply extended to all by virtue of an act which required no action on the part of the person possessing it, viz., that person’s humanity.

The cleavage between classical and modern Enlightenment ethics, not surprisingly, is closely associated with the cleavage between the classical and modern, more specifically the Enlightenment, view of politics. And just as Aristotle is interested in identifying those qualities—the ethics—which need to be exhibited in the person entering into the political sphere of life, the enlightened modern principles of the moral life are also intended to act as the constitutional basis of a legitimate (hence rational) political formation. The reasoning, in Kant, is that the purely reasonable moral principles must be unsullied by any extra-rational condition (motive, desire, feeling etc.) which provide the pure disinterested ground for adjudicating on social harmony.

Rousseau, on the other hand, both emphasizes the natural character of empathy and the need for virtue to detach itself from the forces of selfishness that we are prone to as creatures conditioned by the laws and nature of civilization.

Kant is the more consistent metaphysician, and hence his greater reputation as a philosopher. But this is matched by Rousseau having the greater reputation as a political theorist. His theory of the general will, though, is also both the model and impetus for Kant’s categorical imperative, and the political endgame of the moral imperative. Kant was rigorously consistent in conceding that none could ever know if someone really acted out of a moral principle (the Kantian who didn’t go into the strip club may really have been worried at some deep level about how his partner or other philosophers back at the office would view him, if they found out). But such a concession does nothing to alleviate the common objection to Rousseau: that the general will requires that each of us leave aside our particular or vested interests, which is far easier said than done because most of us are oblivious to exactly what our interest involves.

The fact that academics, including moral philosophers, and students at the most prestigious universities in the Western world think that they know how to achieve the public good, and that we should obey them as they receive their salaries or prepare for lucrative careers is indicative of how much self-serving-ness is behind the idea of social justice and the public good today. Likewise, the Rousseau problem is that the kind of society he helped facilitate—a society in which ideas about the general will abound—has created a slew of people employed publicly and privately to identify, articulate, and implement “the general will”—along with the academics, the bureaucrats, journalists, teachers and politicians, and lawyers, and, perhaps most incredulously, actors and entertainers.

And, sorry to have to break it to you Jean-Jacques, such people cannot but help inject the very self-interest that the principle is designed to eliminate. They invariably design, enforce, and monitor policies, rules, narrative laws, etc., which shore up their entitlement. It’s a perfect circle of elite power formation in which the kind of legitimation that had evolved out of the need to survive and protect the group is replaced by a group whose power is built upon ideas and words. No wonder they wish to stop the spread of mis-information, which happens to be any information that does not receive their imprimatur. This should be obvious; and it is obvious to those who are either not part of that elite, or who wake up from their slumber and look at what a political mess this elite is making.

The Rousseauian/Kantian constitutionalist approach to the political also provides the philosophical grounding and rationale of institutions, such as the European Union, and UN. And the criticisms levelled at these institutions are also but variations of the critique just mentioned. The hiatus between institutional reality as a conglomerate of practices and practitioners and the ideal it is supposed to represent or express is indicative of a dualism that I think is inescapable—when we reference reality to an idea.

Even in instances where there is an acceptance that deontology of the Kantian sort is too stringent, contemporary ethical philosophy invariably devotes itself to mapping out what is rationally right and thus laying down what we ought to do—thus assuming that (a) we don’t really know what is right or wrong unless we receive philosophical guidance; and (b) that the philosopher has the right tool—reason—which he or she or they (pronouns themselves now being considerate philosophically serious matters) can wield well. This is as true today of Aristotelians as it is of utilitarians, though the problem I was alluding to above about utilitarianism lies in the open infinitude of its variables—and the most plausible way of solving the problem was to dissolve utilitarianism into economics. Of course, by dissolving worth into monetary value, utilitarianism risked losing connection with the sentiments which find expression in Aristotelian or Kantian types of ethics—but at least it was able to come up with a cost-benefit calculus that worked. However, while developments in economics were driven by utilitarianism (obvious in the most elementary premise of much modern economics, marginal utility theory), not many utilitarian philosophers would agree that the ethical problems they wrestle with should be left to the marketplace.

Generally, ethicists defer (most do so tacitly) to another branch of philosophy to decide exactly what reason is. But while that shifts one problem to the side, the other problem remains insurmountable—the ethicists have a very tough job getting other ethicists to agree with them.

But the fact that there is no one ethical theory which philosophers find universally convincing does not perturb the many philosophers who press on in the hope that they will or have found the proper principle and/or theoretical approach. The fact that they keep searching, after some two and half thousand years, might lead us to think there is no definitive answer waiting in reason’s cupboard.

Indeed, as philosophers keep searching, as problems spawn diverse groups of adherents, and as each more innovative philosopher stands alone with his/her/their own philosophy, we need to ask what is really going on here. One thing is definitely going on—”ethics” is a discipline of a profession called Philosophy, and to be a member of this profession requires that one keep “researching” and writing on one’s topic. So, there is definitely what Marxists call a “material” interest that keeps the debate going. There is also the question of what exactly is not only a philosophical argument, but a convincing philosophical argument about ethics? Would it have to—indeed, could it—convince everyone, for it to be seen as a definitive example of a convincing argument? In the case of the physical sciences, we have sufficient consensus of proof structures, and methodological procedures, so that practitioners of the discipline can generally share a common disposition toward the “evidence” at hand—but this is not the case in philosophy. And if it is not the case in philosophy, matters get no more “reasonable” the further we go outside the academy and into the world.

3.

Why then are we taking ethics seriously? In part it is because we take reason, understood as rational argument, as a means of orientation seriously. But philosophy has long disputed about whether our moral institutions may be a better guide than our reasons, or whether reason can be completely detached from our moral intuitions. Some philosophers like Hume, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche thus intertwine reason and intuition as simply intrinsic to action. So, as Schopenhauer puts it, willing and representing the world we participate in are part of the same process; or as Nietzsche puts it in Beyond Good and Evil (not without some unconvincing rendering of how he differs from Schopenhauer) “a genuine psycho-physiology” sees “thinking as only the relationship of these drives to one another.” Hence, from this perspective, to draw a sharp distinction between intuition (moral or otherwise) and reasoning is already to be subject to a philosophical prejudice. Thus also Nietzsche’s one page History of Philosophy in the Twilight of the Idols—”How the ‘True World’ Finally Became a Fable”—is “The History of an Error;” thus also the opening chapter of Beyond Good and Evil is entitled “On the Prejudices of Philosophers.”

Nietzsche embroiled himself in a great deal of pseudo-physiology (typically played down in post-Nazi/post-fascist readings of Nietzsche). And a major flaw in his thinking was that he was too prone to replicate the mechanistic metaphysicians with their distinction between primary and secondary qualities, instead of sticking to his own advice about staying with appearances—for the social world is so symbolically saturated. While it does not change the fact that we laugh and cry, bleed and die, it does mean that an enormous amount of what triggers responses in us that make us weep, laugh, harm or seek redress is due to social codes, roles, manners, and expectations, as well as economic and technological modes and processes.

One of the great downsides of the triumph of philosophical naturalism (somewhat countered in different ways by Marx, Nietzsche, and more especially Husserl and Heidegger) was that what had evolved as a metaphysic to deal with the specific problem of the interrogation and manipulation of nature, to serve human desires became served up as an answer to everything. To be sure, post-Marxist and post-Nietzschean (and hence post-structuralist) philosophers focus primarily upon the social character of Philosophy, a great deal of Philosophy carries on oblivious to the significance of sociality. This is evident as much in its grammatical undertow of the indicative and subjunctive moods, which facilitates the philosophical task of showing what the world is, what is wrong with it and how it can be fixed, as it is in what, at different times, commands its attentions.

The philosopher working on an ethical problem sees his activity as purposeful in itself, and the history of the practice of no more importance than the history of medicine to a doctor. Except medicine is an empirical science. The classical approach to ethics in both Aristotle and Plato is akin to this medical model. But while there are very powerful aspects to the classical approach; there are some equally powerful counter-considerations and hence criticisms. For example, the classical approach to the good is that it tries to harmonise what exists, even if it does so in the idealist manner of Plato in the Republic (assuming for the sake of this argument at least that Plato genuinely believes in the model he builds). But this means the good becomes an obstacle to the better.

I would not argue for a moment that the history of Western civilization has been one of constant and uniform progress; but I doubt that anyone who wished to return us to relationships of fealty, or take voting rights away from women or working-class men would be thought to be defending a position that would garner much consensus. But while I think what I have said is true of people whose lives involve all manner of investments and whose identity is staked around these boons of freedom—i.e., us—there are plenty of spokesmen for a restoration/creation of a pre-liberal society, such as advocated by members of the Taliban, ISIS, Hizb ut-Tahrir, who appeal to social possibilities and actualities which have appeal for them.

Some years ago, when I spent a lot of time watching, for example, the British Islamist Anjem Choudary attack modern British society and its freedom, while defending the virtues of past and future imagined caliphates and the social and political strictures and directives which he finds in the Koran and hadiths, it was very obvious that, though I thought him mad and bad, he was no less capable of drawing inferences or mounting arguments than anyone else. He and those sharing his “idea” of what human qualities, practices and institutions are really “good” and “true” and “beautiful” can easily be dismissed as mad and bad—but what good exactly do such classifications serve? He and those like him who speak and think and argue in similar ways, find audiences, convince others, who had previously never had any interest in the kind of appeals Choudary and Co. were making to the form of life they advocate.

4.

My discussion of philosophy and ethics has proceeded largely in keeping with the kinds of positions typically laid out by philosophy departments in the US, Canada, UK and Australia; that is, by departments that have come out of the Analytical tradition. But if I were to shift for a moment to connect the point I have just made about the collective rationalisation of, and commitment to, contingent values to the manner in idea-brokers, professionally invested in defining the specifics of the general will I mentioned above, then I think we can better see the kind of terrible paradox plaguing modern ethical thinking. That is, on the one hand it has sought to replace revealed truth with reason—and let us add that life itself is a revelatory process, and one great mode of revelation is the revelation of what kind of creature we are due to our very instincts (instincts themselves being “micro-reasoning” processes that we respond to), only to be confronted with the absolute failure to find any kind of compelling consensus that even those who defer to, and make a living out of, using their reason cannot achieve.

On the other hand, if we shift away from analytic philosophy but turn to the kind of philosophically driven hegemonic narrative that now passes for truth amongst the Western elite wishing to dictate how we should all behave, we see a certain confirmation of Hegel’s idea that reason is totalising and substantiating. Let me add immediately that I think Hegel is only right to the extent that what he calls “reason” is defective—defective by virtue of making itself primary when life teaches us again and again that reason is not primary. God is not reason writ large, and neither are human beings reason writ small.

But Hegel’s argument that reason is substantive, that it is dynamic and historically and socially saturated and not just an empty set of cognitive procedures, which we deploy to fathom experience or form extra-experiential claims about the morally good or the beautiful, strikes me as having trumped the position, still on view every time one witnesses analytical philosophers discussing ethics. If we accept this, then we will also apply Hegel’s critique of Kant’s moral theory to all variants of “principle”-style ethics, viz., the contingency has to be fathomed in light of its sociality and historicity; and this includes the contingencies which constitute our very selves.

The modern propensity to take seriously moral abstractions as political absolutes invariably contribute to a class of people who no longer seek the classical objectives of reason’s quest—the good, the true and the beautiful—they have become the instantiation of the good, the true and the beautiful. That’s where the entertainers come in—they ensure the good and true are not left hanging in the air, as they tie (ostensibly) rational moral commands and proscriptions to flesh, blood, desire—though, because they earn their living by pretending to be who they are not, they are also intrinsic to a world of image presiding over the real. That is, they represent the representations that the creators of value have laid out as pertaining to the public good—which is emancipation. This why they are as much an embodiment of Nietzsche’s higher men and women, as they are an expression of Plato’s philosopher kings, as of Kant’s instigators of the moral imperative, as the legislators of Rousseau’s general will. They are also the harbingers of Marx’s unalienated society and their further honing of who is oppressor and who is oppressed is predicated upon his primal model of class antagonism.

What we see here, and what I will continue to extrapolate upon, is a process of modern reason’s substantiation—a substantiation which reconciles vast contradictions, and which, in spite of the fact that our lives are built around contingency and encountering which defies any kind of Hegelian totalism, the philosophical contrivances, devoted to emancipating us, is an astonishing confirmation of Hegel’s principle of the dialectical development of identity within difference. For the spirit of our times conjoins philosophies that on the surface should be completely antithetical to each other, but which become variations of the one spirit of our own time. The great reconciliation, that is also a time of the great emancipation, was, in the formulation of Derrida and Agamben, “the to come.” It is both an intimation of the messianic and an instantiation of the true, good, and beautiful, as all the victims of the earth now finding their voice, thanks to our cultural moral/ethical leaders. It is Lenin and Lennon—“What is to be Done?” plus “Imagine” as ethical life. Everything important has become ethics, and the antinomian-ism of the ‘68 generation (the story has been well told in Julian Bourg’s From Revolution to Ethics: May 1968 and Contemporary French Thought) was just the vehicle by means of which jouissance/play/desire, etc. all became the ethical emancipatory key.

I have jumped into the way in which I think philosophy has provided a kind of unified consensus within a certain group—it is as I have also said a very Hegelian development—the fact that those making it frequently despise Hegel (Deleuze, for example, and Foucault) is completely beside the point, in so far as they were so caught up in their faith in their own ability and game that they were very poor judges of what they could be seen as doing by someone who was not interested in joining in their particular associations and priorities.

The above observation illustrates (even if we have not had to completely buy into the entirety of his system) the truth of Hegel’s argument that reason is substantive; that it is dynamic and historically and socially saturated and not just an empty set of cognitive procedures, which we deploy to fathom experience or form extra-experiential claims about the morally good or the beautiful. It also strikes me as having trumped the position still on view every time one witnesses analytical philosophers discuss ethics. If we accept this, then we will also apply Hegel’s critique of Kant’s moral theory to all variants of “principle” (style ethics), viz., the contingency has to be fathomed in light of its sociality and historicity; and this includes the contingencies which constitute our very selves, and the ethico-socio-political priorities of our age.

5.

This leaves us with the conclusion that our world is our world, and the reasons (in the sense of arguments, and not simply inferences) we have about it are stories we tell ourselves to console ourselves about it or help us change it. Ethics is but a particular means of making a story, to try and get people to act in one way rather than another. If we notice the philosophical stories which emerge in an age and which are responses to the problems of the time, by a group whose ways and means are very similar, we can see that their differences are not that different. Or rather, to become seriously different they have to step outside of the ideational consensuses that are intrinsic to the philosophical game they are involved in.

Thus, to ask why this particular “game” (the game of philosophy as such, and, more specifically, philosophical ethics, is being played is not irrelevant), it gives us pause to think about the game we (ethicists) are playing; why it commenced. For the hopes latent within it are very conspicuous in the origin: the classical ethical reasoning of Socrates and Plato. It is closely bound up with a need to legitimate itself—to differentiate philosophical reasoning from alternative types of pedagogical (which Plato represented as pseudo-pedagogical) speech, viz., poetic/sophistic/and oratorical speech. Plato saw these forms of speech as suffering from the same methodological deficiency, viz., lack of illumination from ideas, which have been espied by recourse to properly breaking down the one into its many parts and rationally reassembling them into a rational definition. Aristotle was a Platonist in so many ways, but he could not come at the theory of ideas. Yet he too hoped philosophy would solve the problem.

To repeat and develop my earlier point, if a philosopher ever solved the problem of the best or most rational way to live, he or she was no better at convincing other philosophers than our professionals today. Ancient philosophy proliferated with competing schools and doctrinaires, whose members Lucian depicted (apart from his sceptical-minded, robustly “common sense” position) in the second century, as nothing but a scrubby rabble, full of self-importance, spouting nonsense.

Indeed, there is quite a serious comic critique of philosophy running from Aristophanes’s Clouds to Lucian’s Hermotimus or the Rival Philosophers to Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel. It is interesting how closely it parallels the religious criticisms of philosophy that run from Tertullian, Tatian, to Pascal and Kierkegaard—for both critiques draw attention to how little we know, and how little reason itself helps us with the most pressing decisions that befall us: how at sea we really are. The comedian has us laugh at the absurdities of who and what we are, and frequently has us laugh at the pomposity of authority (or those who want to usurp it)—and how delusional we often are. The great religious thinkers also emphasize the absurd, but in connection with the miraculous-ness of creation transcendence and/or redemption.

But if philosophy can be criticised for not delivering on its promise, this does not mean that philosophy does not produce its “offspring,” does not have a legacy. Of course, it has. In the case of classical philosophy, its legacy is visible in the Roman Empire, in the works of grammarians and legal thinking. But where philosophy started to garner real power was not in the ancient world. In antiquity, it was not philosophy that pulled antiquity out of doctrinal and political conflicts, or forged a greater social or political unity that we might well call more ethical. Antiquity was changed far more by religion than philosophy. The solidarity of the underclasses throughout the Roman Empire was largely achieved socially by Christianity.

I would also venture that philosophy would have died out were it not for religion—Christian and Moslem scholars who were able to revive philosophy in a social world of tribes and imperial growth. There is, to put it bluntly, nothing natural about philosophy—even if the concept “nature” is a term favoured by classical philosophers. It is an exotic plant, which is the result of a plethora of highly unusual socio-political (there is nothing, as far as I can see quite like the polis in antiquity) and narrative innovation and conditions (the importance of poetry, the particular abstractions it generates, the discord within the Greek pantheon, most painfully expressed by Hesiod in the Theogony, underpins a search for a cosmic moral order).

Moreover, while nothing might seem to make more sense than the History of Philosophy as the story of a self-contained development of a practice beginning with the Pre-Socratics, moving through Classical Greece, Rome and the Middle Ages and then Modernity and the situation now. Yet what philosophy meant for the Epicureans, Stoics, neo-Platonists, the Scholastics, or the mechanistic metaphysicians, thinking about the universe as an object of scientific inquiry, is due to all manner of non-philosophical contingencies, especially historical circumstance and location.

The value of applying philosophy to contradictory legal and theological points, for example, was crucial in the introduction of Aristotle into Western universities; but that was predicated upon a proliferation of legal domains requiring some kind of systemic legal reasoning—while the Thirty Years War (and its English compatriot the Civil War), was pivotal in the emergence of Deism and the mechanistic metaphysical view of life that broke with all the mess of history, and that embroiled such geniuses as Descartes, Spinoza, Hobbes, Locke, and Leibniz. This does not mean that truth is reducible to the contingency of an origin, but philosophical truths are inescapably anchored not just to reality as such, but to the contingencies of communal life. And communal life is located not only in nature’s world, but the world of human nature—which is the world of nature as well as beyond nature: symbols and history.

The human world is as much a world of imagination, of taking nature and remaking it, including our own nature and our own growth. This is not a relativistic metaphysical claim, but an empirical one: for as we try to make the world one way rather than another, we focus upon features of our story which were invariably hidden from those looking in another direction. We are ever making ourselves and our world, and that making is formed by the surging and convulsions of living pasts incubating in the plethora of inheritances which we wake up to everyday, buried as they are in our language, our institutions and social choices and values, and the contemporary reactions to what appeals to or disgusts us, what we fight for or flee from, and the alternative futures which beckon or attract us.

In making our future, we invariably remake our past, the remaking of which also impacts upon how we remake our future. This relationship between past and future is further complicated by the crises and catastrophes which take place in the present, which makes us rethink our future and thus also our past, and so on. This temporal triadic interflow renders meaningless any idea of us being disinterested subjects (except on “special occasions,” as a methodological “moment”), or there being some mere object to be observed. What disinterest we may garner—as a member of a jury, or the observer of an experiment—makes sense only once we have portioned off a bit of life that matters for us. We cannot get completely out of our own way. We are always making ourselves in our own ways; we are our ways. But our own collective life-ways differ radically from each other precisely because different collective dreams, traumas and memories are not simply capable of being overlaid upon each other. This is also why to simply interrogate such conundrums in terms of ethical absolutes or relativism is to surreptitiously transform an anthropological condition into a metaphysical problem. No wonder the problem is insoluble.

The different trajectories and prejectives of different collectives have been described by Rosenstock-Huessy as being a problem of different time bodies. For living groups are entwined in their own temporal cadences: which is why suddenly bringing groups together who have no common sense of mourning or triumph is so fraught with problems. It literally takes time to make a new time together. Another way we can say this is that the social imagination is also intrinsically temporal. For our imagination is social to the extent it dwells on what we share or should share, and it is fuelled by regrets, fears, and pride in the past, and/or present, and/or future. It holds out promises so that we can have a tomorrow worth living or fighting for. This process effects all of us; but it makes no sense to render it as a process in which there are objective truths about us and the world that we must locate before we act. We live on the brink of trial and error. But our trials and errors, to repeat, are not ones that are simply conglomerates of facticity.

The fact is that we moderns, who do philosophy, share a certain common sense because we share a world. If we enter sympathetically into another world, as anthropologists do, we can see what matters and what makes sense in those worlds. And those terms “matters” and “sense” are apposite words pointing to a collective pre-philosophical understanding of collective life. To say “something matters” is to recognize that it materializes. To say it “makes sense” is to say it is sensory-forming, as well as meaning-forming. The making-sense of a world, or making things matter within the world, is a social process of mutual participation, a sharing of collective emotional and mental depth. It is a dialogical process involving shared filtering. To be sure this filtering and selection may happen in diverse ways—common opinion, or victors’ stamping and sealing events with their narratives. But even in such a case as the latter, it remains real only to the extent it is formative; and if a people cease to conform to a particular cluster of narratives, they will rethink their past and future. And they do not need to await the declamations of a philosopher masticating on an old saw to see what really matters in their lives.

Philosophy is but one means of making “such stuff.” Within modern times, it is astonishing at how much “stuff” can be traced to philosophy: without philosophy there would have been no scientific revolution, nor modern politics as we know it—for all the ideologies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are incubating in the French Revolution—a revolution which was in its inception identified as a revolution of “philosophism.”

I do not mean to suggest that modernity is only built out of modern philosophy—that is not true. The combination of commercial revolution and a republic of civic virtue, which lays the grounds for liberalism, antecedes the ideas of the new metaphysicians and has its roots in theology, specifically Calvinism. Indeed, just as Medieval philosophy was nurtured within the bosom of a faith, the anticlerical philosophes of the Enlightenment are the progeny of Calvinism and monarchical and religious intransigence: the blood of the Huguenots, the animosity towards the Jesuits, the failure of the Catholic Church to reform, and the role of servitude the Church played alongside the nobility in walling off the crown from Paris and the country side. All these processes, and many more, conspired to transform what had become a class, the intellectual, into political actors seeking to make the state in their image.

Plato hoped that philosopher kings would save the polis, but it was the French philosophes who succeeded in enflaming the crowds and political actors who would wipe out the non-enlightened and thus illegitimate modalities of power which had been the bulwark of the European state. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man pays direct tribute to both Rousseau (it references the general will) and Montesquieu (it references the separation of powers).

But the French revolution more generally spawned faith in genius taking precedence over authority, in the rights of people to will their own future, unencumbered by the dead weight of traditions. Rights, reason, and national will seemed to effortlessly flow into each other, as if nothing were more obvious than our being able to publicly judge the worth of all authority and right. That the twentieth century would entwine these ideas into the most hostile and contradictory and ideological strands was not anything any eighteenth century philosophe seems to have envisaged. Yet surely socialism and communism were philosophical products, attracting all sorts of philosophical minds (Plekhanov, Bukharin, Korsch, Adorno, Benjamin, Bloch, Lukács, Althusser, Negri—to just take a small sample). While Fascism and National Socialism were anti-intellectual in all manner of way, nevertheless, they still managed to attract some of the greatest philosophers of Italy (Giovanni Gentile) and Germany (Heidegger and Carl Schmitt). The three ethicists and the philosophical dispute we considered at the beginning of this essay all look rather innocuous when compared to the more bloody philosophical contestations of modernity.

But philosophers have been no better at settling their political differences than their ethical differences. Possibly the only thing philosophers agree upon is that philosophy is a worthwhile activity, and that a society is better with it than without it. Though it is not only the conclusions that separate philosophers, it is even an agreement about what it is. The mainstream consensus, somewhat felicitously, concurs that there is but one major divide on this issue: that between Anglo/American-Analytics and Continentals. In the eyes of the majority of Anglo-American professional philosophers, one of them is rubbish the other philosophy. But this is a professional squabble. In fact, and to pick up an earlier point, faith in a method enabling us to be, as Descartes put it, “lords and masters over nature” so that we could live more comfortable lives (the objective of Descartes’ philosophy) has been tremendously successful (though if happiness as a variable is factored in as a criterion of success, its value plummets). Likewise, faith in the science of economics, which grew out of moral philosophy.

One feature of the metaphysicians of the scientific revolution, rarely given enough attention, is that it was predicated on the need to bring the imagination under the reign of the understanding—thus the importance of the facultative logic which is operative in Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Leibniz, and which culminates in Kant’s three Critiques.

But it was precisely because of the dangers of demanding and expecting too much of nature’s laws that moral dualism of the Kantian sort emerged as a reaction to the Spinozian and Leibnizian equation of freedom and necessity. Likewise, it was the recognition that humanity spiritually needed to do more than just know the world around it and try and act with dignity that led to aesthetics (a philosophical branch completely absent amongst the early mechanistic metaphysicians), becoming an important field of modern philosophical inquiry. Schelling and Hegel—on the continent at least—and Schopenhauer pushed these three great bastions of the true, good and the beautiful into previously unheralded territory—and after Nietzsche, they no longer made any sense. (Though the Anglo-American Analytic has remained far more tied to the metaphysics of the seventeenth century than the Continentals have.)

I want now to return to the contingencies which we put under the rubric of religion. For in the Western world, religion has largely been relegated to the domain of private belief, which is able to be expressed publicly only within certain sites allocated by the state. In this respect, the Enlightenment has triumphed over Calvinism, philosophy over faith. It is also because of this triumph that ethics takes on such importance—because we need orientation and, at least, within the public sphere, we need to compensate for the fact that the more “enlightened” we have become, the more disconnected we have become from each other culturally, socially, and spiritually. Philosophy would like to heal our fractured and fragmented world, but I fail to see how it can do so—for it is predicated upon a plethora of talents and conditions being met, which are held by few and of little interest to many. Not only that, philosophy as a discipline in itself the way it is practiced is but one further symptom of our fractured world. So too is the notion that there is something called religion as opposed to the “what is not religion.” The moment philosophy dictates what the gods should be (Hesiod, Xenophanes and Plato), the gods have already begun their flight. While Plato and Aristotle imbued the universe itself with a certain rational and moral purposefulness, the focus of the moderns is upon the motion of mechanisms, which means divesting all moral authority out of the universe—leaving it reside purely within the human subject via our communal sentiments and habits (Hume), will (Kant), history (Hegel), will to power (Nietzsche).

Everywhere we turn prior to philosophy, we see peoples who imagine the world/ universe as spirited or god-ed in some way. God/s, humans, world are the poles of the real which humans have traditionally addressed and confronted. The philosophical disposition asked after the nature and essence of a thing; but pre-philosophical humans supplicate themselves to, call upon, or summon traditional powers in order to carry out their lives. Most importantly, the kind of powers they are is not revealed through “observation” but through the kind of life one has. To the philosophical mind this is not satisfactory because it could be false: but what does it mean to say that a life is false? Are indigenous lives false? Hindu lives false? Does a false life not bleed and cry and laugh as much as a “true” life? To those who reply, but it is only the beliefs that are false— I reply but are we not already introducing a certain kind of fracturing technique when we look at gods as objects of “belief,” as if their existence was something that could be divorced from the kind of worlds in which certain names, rituals, practices and routines that sustained them and are sustained by them are made?.

The great problem with philosophical notions of truth as involving some kind of correspondence between intuition and concept (to put it in Kantian terms) is that the intuition we are asked to consider is itself a fiction. For we are asked to consider a living power as if it were a spatial and temporal power subject to a certain kind of reductive compositional analysis. But one has to accept already that spatial temporal powers and the kind of modelling accompanying them are the only powers that are real. Or else, if we wish to stay with Kant, they are either generated by reason alone or else fevered imaginations; that is, imaginings not curbed by the understanding which has slowly built itself up piece-by-piece with confirmable representations. And yet there is a Chartres Cathedral, there are pyramids and ziggurats, temples, frescos of Jupiter, prayers and curses to gods—a panoply of lived god-ed worlds, each revealing meaningful lives.

We might not see the world in the same way anymore, and while we might find all manner of aspects to them morally objectionable, they are not a whit less ontologically loaded than our world, with its own plethora of technologies, techniques and superstitions (does anyone—outside the beneficiaries of the discourse—not consider managerialism a superstition?).

A world is shot through with imagination, and the imagination is triggered by all manner of powers—emotions and traditions, panics and hopes, alternative futures. Our understanding is an important disposition that we may bring to bear upon our imagination; but it is a matter of faith whether it is better to trust it than our imagination. For our imagination may yield all manner of fruits that exceed our understanding. To be sure, if claims about processes are made which are clearly capable of a reductive analysis, then a true analysis may well occur—though even this is tricky. For what we are doing and what we think we are doing do not always match up. On the other hand, the world is full of shysters and rogues; but along with deluders are the self-deluded. The real test of a claim is frequently not to be found, though, in the terms in which it is made, but in the contribution to a certain kind of world which it makes.

Our world is not (as late Wittgenstein appreciated as well as anyone and which he used to overturn his earlier philosophy) a stock of items, a collection of facts which are all that are—we are facting and defacting constantly, imposing ourselves with our half-baked grasp of things and fully fledged confidence in what we want and believe. It is only some facets of the real that we may know, even with open-mindedness. On the other hand, there is no shortage of people and peoples who world themselves via their faith in magic of one sort or another—many have their livelihoods, much like the bureaucratic, political and legal spokesmen of the “general will,” implicated in the magical view of life they peddle. Where clear lines can be carved between “objects” and “subjects,” all well and good, then a certain philosophical disposition may comfortably affirm the importance of its existence.

But the economics, anthropological and sociological and political dimensions of any life-world implicate even the most dispassionate and empirically verifiable truths. The traditional way philosophy has tried to shore up its “understanding” of a more reasonable way to view reality is to break up reality into a plethora of potentially certifiable claims (again Descartes strikes me as the master puppeteer here). But I repeat it is one thing to sharply bring into question through naturalistic sound philosophical means the belief about the way the world is, and another thing altogether to question the persons who are making themselves and their world through their fantasy.

And this is where, like it or not, we all are bound together. There is no escaping the fantastical nature, not only of our existence, but of the meanings we give to our existence. Nowhere is this more obvious than in historical memory. While it is one thing to be able to argue that events, such as Caesar crossing the Rubicon, Columbus reaching America (even though, after three voyages, he died thinking he had reached the Indies), Bradman getting a duck in his last innings confirm that truth is not merely relative, there is no event of any real significance which does not contain such a massive array of interwoven processes (causes), aspects, and consequences that anyone who invokes reference to the event in making the case for others to join him or her in acting a certain way can avoid filling-in all manner of gaps.

We cannot face the future in any plausible way without reference to our understanding of the present which is itself saturated with historicity—and everybody’s historical memory is but bricolage and shard. All memory is episodic—and the episodic is always of bits and pieces. There was momentous irony in the fact that the general tendency to ahistoricism of the Enlightenment precipitated the Romantic reaction which led to historicism—but historicism rested upon the fanciful notion that the historian’s own interest in history had nothing to do with the historical facts being “discovered.”

We dwell in shadows and dreams as much in light. We are as moved by cries and sighs, roars and whispers as by reasons; and reasons themselves being inseparable from sociality and historicity are also “results” of cries and sighs, roars and whispers. We are a plethora of possibilities and powers that may be activated in countless ways and by all manner of invocations and declarations—will we really be better off if we curtail all these, so they conform to a certain modality of speech? Ultimately this is what philosophy is—a certain kind of speech, a cluster of grammatical proclivities and accentuations which open up some vistas of the real, but at the expense of others.

Being “at the expense of others” is part of the very raison d’être of philosophy—Plato’s fury at poetry for its implication in Socrates’ death is fortunately quickly recognized by Aristotle to be overstatement, and he more sensibly and generously concedes the importance of the poetic in our lives. The Platonic expulsion of poetry is echoed some two millennium later in the Enlightenment critique of religion.

The Enlightenment arc that runs from Descartes, through the French revolution and Napoleon’s “liberation” of nations from empire, then the subsequent waves of national liberations in the 19th century would flow into a century of World Wars that had much to do with philosophical faiths, particularly the faith in the political form that had been so strongly advocated by the philosophes—the nation. Kant’s contemporaries, in different ways, J.G. Hamann and Friedrich Jacobi both emphasized that faith penetrates our being so much that it cannot be ontologically severed; and Heidegger, though somewhat more coy about his theological debts, was doing something similar by trying to disclose the fundamental ontological disposition of Dasein.

But we do not need philosophy to tell us that the world that we live in is a vast entanglement of orientations and faithed ways of existence. Charles Taylor’s (and not only his) formulation of the “Post-Secular,” to describe the kind of world we in the West now inhabit, catches the reality that the secular mind-set is but one; and whether it is the most rational or not does not really amount to anything—for the whole question of what is reasonable means nothing, if it does not put reason back into the life-worlds of those who use reasons. Indeed, that is the issue that breaks the enlightenment hold—whether reason is something which is part of what we do, or whether we are part of reason. After Nietzsche, it is difficult for anyone to accept the metaphysical God of Reason. Yet, our so-called godless state has re-opened the matter of religion in the most interesting of ways.

I mentioned above the faiths behind the World Wars; and that raises a fundamental question of philosophical-anthropology which is all too often ignored because of the fairly ubiquitous acceptance within philosophical circles of the myth of the “free” self. Again, as with Nietzsche, the “self” is as much a myth as the sense of freedom, when it is transported from being a relatively useful way of expressing a certain narrative sense of identity (which not all human beings—babies, people with Alzheimer’s or brain damage, possess) to being a metaphysical claim about our nature. Just as we are responsive beings—something evident from the dependency into which we are born—we are also creatures who not only come into the world needing orientation, but whose existence is, in spite of all the routines of security we engage in to “protect our-selves,” metamorphic—a fact that is pressed home in sickness, in hardship, and in new relationships.

Rosenstock-Huessy had made the point in Practical Knowledge of the Soul that religion, like every other sphere of life, comes with its own speech-ways, and its linguistic practices and seals—prayers, office, ritual, and rites, and sacred names—but “its shrine preserves transformation itself, the secret of transformation.” That we are constantly being transformed is common to us all; but how we transform very much depends—and the different great religions of the world are testimony of how differently we as members of the same species may make ourselves. Likewise, the faith that bears us in our decision to carry on may be bearing us along very different life-ways. But that we are conscious of this process of being borne along and that there is faith (and by faith I do not so much mean a counter concept to knowledge, but rather trust) in the manner of the bearing is something that is intrinsic to religion.

In the main, philosophy has ignored the disposition of supplication that is intrinsic to transformation. The questions—all variants on the same question: Why did so many follow Hitler, Mao, Stalin as if they were gods? Or, why do so many join cults? Or why should/do I/ we determinedly remain true to the calling of my/our office?—all point to the deep-rooted need/desire to follow. Meaning is generally following; only very few completely open up a new pathway of reality—and this is no less the case for philosophers, however much they may consider themselves not Socratic or Platonic, who remain participants in a reality they “blasted” open.

A world is a semantic field, and names the means of our navigation within and beyond the world we are enmeshed in – semantic fields, where gods, humans and worlds were inextricable connected may, in some important ways, have been more luminous than the ostensible enlightened world where the gods are banished to the private realm of belief: even though, as my question above about fidelity to one’s professional office (one’s professional ethics) some power is still holding over one. The ethicist would like us to believe it is reason doing the holding; but I simply cannot see it that way. For once reason has been “de-metaphysicized;” it is no longer sufficiently equipped for such holding. Which is in large part why no matter how important the ethicists think they are—the overwhelming majority of people are responding to other voices in their commitments, in their relationships, and roles and offices, and spheres of solidarity.

Historically we know that the law precedes ethics. To be sure, politics as not merely the imposition or seizure or maintenance of authority, but as the institutional mediation of different interests leading to legislation begins with the Greeks. It is no accident that ethics, philosophy, and politics emerge within the one people—or rather with a certain social system in which relative freedom exists along with the division of labour and settled conditions of social reproduction. Law precedes ethics because a certain degree of sociality, division of labour and different interests, and the opportunity for social articulation enables peoples to articulate sufficiently similar concerns to arrive at common solutions. The solutions were not perfect; and in the fallout of the Peloponnesian Wars, they looked pretty terrible. But the terribleness did not lie in the lack of reason itself, but in the politically riven nature of the polis, a rivenness exacerbated by the sophists and orators, fuelling the flames of the assembly, so that practices that had been part of the community became out of control—execution, exile, property seizure and the like.

Our own age is a riven one. It is pure folly to think it can be saved by ethics or by philosophy. It can only be saved by shared commitments and healthy loves; the triumph of convivial and living associations over the purely commercial or mechanical; the imagination that reaches out and beyond closed associations so that the powers that have accrued over times and peoples freely circulate communally. Philosophy certainly has a role to play in this—it can assist us in sharpening our questions. But it can only do so if it recognizes that it is something within life not above it; a practice that cannot stand alone, a practice that is but one “moment” of a complex amalgam of interrogations and speculative conjectures that constitute what we somewhat misleadingly call the “human” or “social sciences.”

Life is not law—and unlike the authors of the Bible who scrupulously studied what occurs when we violate God’s commands, our philosophers have not even begun to take seriously the idea of there being laws of the spirit which are far more significant to us in our world-making than the laws of nature. Irrespective of our faith or philosophy, the most serious choices we have to make almost always come down to tragic alternatives. No one seriously responding to a tragic alternative would desire to elevate their choice into a principle. We who must build are constantly forced to choose between unpalatables; the philosopher glowing in the pure light of principle escapes the choke of tears and the palpitations of horror that come from the genuine circumstance. The grime of reality is reduced to the platitude of the classroom, the free and easy room where responsibility is primarily to consistency and purity of principle, to one’s own self-worth.

The moral law, says the moral philosopher Christine Korsgaard, is “the law of self-constitution, and as such, it is a constitutive principle of life itself.” Speaking of duty, Korsgaard gives these tellingly honest examples of the moral dilemmas faced by professional moralists: “We toil out to vote, telephone relatives to whom we would prefer not to speak, attend suffocatingly boring meetings at work, and do all sorts of irksome things at the behest of our friends.”

Oh, what bliss to be confronted by such monumental moral crises. But this too is a symptom of an elite that has no understanding of what is required to cultivate peace and contribute to a future that is never a creation of our design, and ever a reminder of the paltriness of our ideas, and the fragile and limited nature of what we and our reason can do.


Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen books.


Featured: “The Post-Apocalyptic Selfie,” by David Whitlam, early 21st century.

The Importance of Gaetano Mosca

A great book opens one’s eyes to processes that one may have missed had one not read it. Likewise, its power lies in activating one’s own abilities of thought to see more clearly what others may not notice at all or merely glimpse as a blur in the fog.

Few books I have read are better guides and eye-openers about how to think structurally, historically, and comparatively about politics generally, and the major crises of our time, crises that have largely been induced by a ruling class that has globalist ambitions, than Gaetano Mosca’s Ruling Class. Reading it can also help one be better attuned to the political fluxions that draw us toward the break-down of politics as the means for staving off those terrible forces of human destruction and rejuvenation—war and revolution, which are the inevitable consequences of a failure to adequately maintain and cultivate the powers of peace.

The ruling class of the West, which forms the core of a globalist elite, draws us into an external war—that remains at this stage a proxy war—and (most conspicuously so in the United States and Europe) a civil war that is playing itself out politically and institutionally and has already destroyed the very possibility of a common political culture.

1. Canonical and Great Books

Some books found peoples and nations; some assist in the founding of institutions; some open pathways for new types of orienting of human beings and help us forge a new reality; some provide the language and thought patterns of an epoch; some books are prophetic; and some provide the wherewithal that best defines the problem of an age. The most influential of these great books are canonical. And in spite of the ideological attack upon the canon which was part and parcel of a sweeping attempt to accommodate Western institutions to the knowledge and intellectual capacities of poorly-educated and under-read undergraduates and graduate students, canonical books exist because our world would simply not be the same were they to not have existed. This was also why it was commonly assumed amongst professors, teachers, and the professional classes that every educated person should acquaint himself with certain books at some point in his life-time.

The canon also reflects the problems of the ages and the most significant of attempted solutions—which is why it is so diverse, if I may be permitted to use a word that has become an ideological truncheon in the arsenal of managerial and progressive moral absolutes. A canonical work might not be error free, or it may be fraught with problems (Marx’s Communist Manifesto or Capital or Rousseau’s Èmile and Social Contract are obvious examples), or just simply defiant of traditional ethical appeals (Machiavelli’s Prince). Nor does the canon contain a collection of like-minded sentiments or responses to the human condition. And the idea that it is simply the point of view of white men makes no sense, given the shoddiness of the category—are people from what is now the Middle East, Northern Pakistan and Central Asia white?—or the authors of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Koran, the Analects, the Tao Te Ching, and the Bhagavad Gita, which all are canonical works?

Then there are books which, though lesser known, if read attentively, can change how you see the world forever. They may not be canonical, but they express profound insights which, if remembered, would help us greatly in making sense of our world. I consider the writings of J.G. Hamann and Herder, of Franz Rosenzweig and Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy to be good examples of these kind of books. In the case of both pairs of thinkers, they were contemporaries of much more influential and famous philosophers—viz., the former were contemporaries of Kant, the latter of Heidegger. But whereas Kant and Heidegger remain essential to the philosophical tradition and hence to the curriculum of Philosophy (at least to that curriculum that breathes outside of the straightjacket of Analytic Philosophy), if one has attentively read Hamann et. al., then one can quickly identify a range of egregious deficiencies in the philosophies and legacies of Kant and Heidegger, and his ‘68 progeny.

Then there are books that were ignored at the time of their publication; or having made a strong impression upon a discipline or the public have faded from view, only to undergo a revival because they have been (re)discovered by later generations who see that they address something of profound importance about their lives and times. Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, for example, were “stillborn” only to be reborn; while Mises’s Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, took on a new life when the Soviet Union was collapsing.

Explosive times, invariably, call out for the most thoughtful and inventive of people to make sense of them. And great books are inevitably forged out of the explosive fall out; the materials and problems of times in great crisis. Though, we should note, that human beings are crisis producing creatures—which is why those who believe in progress invariably are forced to temper their enthusiasm when their own circumstances and age go to hell.

But let us first address the tumult of our time, which is the reason I suggest Gaetano Mosca’s Ruling Class is a must read.

2. Global Leadership Aspirations versus those Non-Compliant Critics from the “Led-ship”

We are living in a period of civil wars in the West being played out in its institutions, as the ruling political class, and the various interests it represents and deploys for its objectives, overturns (in large part by redefining the character and roles of all) traditional social institutions. It is a civil war that is rather typical of all civil wars—a ruling class furnishes the world in a way that suits its interests; but such furnishing requires great sacrifice from those whose lives are an important part of this new furnishing. And the proposed purpose, the changing circumstances, and the new future being made, do not fit well with the interests (the ways of being in the world) of those who are required to get in step with the dictates of the ruling class.

The civil war of our time, in other words, is the struggle over whether the future will be dictated by a globalist elite and those who (often unwittingly) work on their behalf, or by those who oppose the goals and means of that elite, and the sacrifices that are required to achieve it. On the one side stand those who believe they are striving for human progress, and that progress involves greater “emancipation,” “safety,” “diversity and inclusion,” and “equity.” Yet, as their critics point out, they are creating a world which is far less equitable, safe or free. They are contributing to a divide between the immensely rich, the highly paid leaders, and administrators, celebrities, elite athletes, and all those who are employed to do their bidding by supervising and instructing everyone in what to think and say, on the one hand, and the rest.

The rest are those who are meant to make up the great “led-ship,” who are to do the bidding the various leaders, the “representatives” of sustainability, global justice, world health—and pretty much anything else said leaders can think of—and thus the “rest” find themselves increasingly beholden to leaders. Irrespective of their intentions, the more vocal opponents of this ruling elite can see that they are aiding and abetting corporate technocratic globalism, and its accompanying suppliers of governance (administrative states beholden to larger global administrative powers, such as the EU, and the UN), knowledge (from big tech/media and its fact-checkers to the requirement that scientific research be funded by state-corporately authorized research institutions and bodies which comply with consensuses that are manufactured within various professional associations, again complying with corporate and state requirements, and standardized curricula crafted around ostensibly universal rights), health (Big Pharma, and WHO, medical associations, and boards), and safety (the Industrial Military Complex and international military alliances whose very existence requires manufacturing wars, which may never be won, but which help ensure a continuous resource stream from tax-payers to arms manufacturers, bureaucrats and the military so that a global standing military reserve will never cease to exist).

What to those who embrace this globalist order and its rulers and minions is a more caring, safe and compassionate, environmentally sustainable world order, is to others but mindlessness and mental enslavement, infantile indulgence, and the suppression of the more traditional institutions and roles, which have provided people with a sense of the fit between themselves and the kind of freedom that was worked out over multiple generations in the numerous spheres of sociality. Whereas supporters of globalism can be found everywhere—though, the further away one gets from the West, such supporters exist in ever smaller numbers—the opponents of this global elite do not form a natural alliance: being a traditional Muslim, Jew, or Christian does not mean that the common ground—one’s traditional faith—is very common or solid as a base for an alliance. Conflict and wars are the inevitable accompaniments of traditional life-ways. But the delusion of the globalist elites is that under their direction there will be perpetual peace.

Again, critics of the globalist elite (which take NATO as its military shield) will point out that what is happening is not that war as an existential feature of human existence has ceased, or even diminished, but the grounds for its existence have shifted, and the beneficiaries for its existence have assumed the authority of being the planetary peace-providers.

If nature abhors a vacuum, then the nature of our global administrative, financial, communication systems have created a vacuum that has been filled by a globalist ruling class—a Superclass, as David Rothkopf, who served in the Clinton administration, formulated it in his book of that name. (Rothkopf, who is not at all hostile to this elite, makes the case that while membership is relatively mobile, it numbers around six thousand people at any given time). In filling that vacuum, the global elite have required that the world adopts itself to their interests, which are the interests that support their authority. But, again, their interests, simply do not suit the overwhelming number of people who live on planet earth, and do not feel that this superclass is of any benefit to them—critics of the superclass go further and see it as a class whose ambition wildly outstrips its competence, and is thus a destructive force, far greater than what nature and our other social formations would generate.

The globalist ruling class inaugurates another fundamental break with tradition—and at the danger of repeating myself—the modus operandi of the globalist elite is its break with all real traditions, involving a kind of substitution racket, like fake gold being passed off as real gold. This particular break is that previously whereas power formations which move beyond those of outright enslavement or tyranny are historically formed symbiotically, so that a sacrificial order is established—no serious sacrifice is required of the globalist elite themselves: they can pay others to enforce others to make the sacrifices that are intrinsic to social reproduction (notably sacrifices of the independence of mind to the ruling ideas, the sacrifice of one’s faith to the higher absolutes of globalist/corporatist/progressivist ideology, and sacrifice of one’s relative economic well-being).

For all its aspirations, though, Globalism Inc. remains largely politically ineffective outside of the West, and the great geo-political non-Western globalist alternative to Western globalism, China, is one that far more carefully attends to bringing along the ruled with its ruling class—which is not to say that on certain divisive issues it will not do what ruling classes always do, i.e., brutally enforce its authority. The way it has managed to cement its authority by avoiding a civil war is to ensure its adherence to traditions in a way that makes it something of a mirror image of the West. But, to repeat, there is no natural allegiance between the traditionalism of the Chinese and those in the West, who find greater solace in their traditions than in the new elite counterfeit fabrications. To question these fabrications in the West as counterfeit, based upon (collective self-)delusions and/or deception, is now to be a “right-wing extremist,” and to question any of the ticket items that are advanced through these fabrications, and to even speak of a globalist elite is to be a dupe of a conspiracy theory, which is to say that those making a play to be the global ruling class smother resistance by ideological indoctrination, accompanied by social, economic and political enforcement.

The primary reason that the West has been the leader of the globalist agenda, from its social alliances, to policy, to ideology is because the West has been created through wars and revolutions, and the relative success of its institutions, prior to breeding a class determined to destroy them, has been the incorporation of a dynamic which enables adapting to its changing technological and socio-economic circumstances. In the West, it is not the case that those who wish to preserve their traditional way of life are wishing to leap back to pre-modern times, as, for example, has been the case in much of the Islamic world’s response to modernization. Thus, for example, in the United States, those who are most outspoken against the progressive direction of their country identify themselves as “patriots,” i.e., as defenders of the American revolution and the principles it founded and which have evolved in its wake.

Today, the ruling class in the United States has largely embraced switching the founding of the United States from the date marking the independence of a colony from a foreign oppressive power it defeated in a civil war by declaring “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” to a date which takes its founding as an act of enslavement, and its perpetuity as one of a trail of injustices that must now be rectified by those who will lead its people (who no longer are merely the citizens and their children) via the legislature, the executive, the judiciary, the media, the classroom, and wherever else people may assemble, speak, or reflect.

Of course, there are still some people who belong to the political class who are on the “wrong side of history,” the side that identifies in the United States with the founding fathers, who are appalled that the new ruling class works in tandem with the youth of the nation and its educators to overturn institutions, tear-down statues, change the names of military bases, schools and other buildings and, rewrite their history books and school curricula, so that the men who founded the United States may have their status removed and their personage shamed, and the more diverse, and the tolerant ruling class who represent the truth of power and an emancipated future may live in safety, free from the “moral odium” of their forebears. The civil war that is taking place is one which exists because the ruling class has changed. It has gone globalist, become “virtuous,” and got “woke.”

There is, I believe, no better book for making sense of what is now transpiring than Gaetano Mosca’s Ruling Class.

3. Mosca Elements of Political Science and Their Importance for Understanding the Affinities Between Totalitarian Ruling Classes

Apart from its providing a number of key elements to help make sense of the times we are living through in the West, I came to the conclusion, right at the end of my academic career, after picking the book up again for the first time in nearly fifty years (when I had been too young and stupid to realize what gold it was) that Mosca’s Ruling Class is, along with Aristotle’s Politics and Thucydides’ Peloponnesian Wars, probably the best foundational text for studying Political Science that has ever been written. (For all its greatness, I would not say that Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope is a foundational text for studying Political Science)

The Italian title of The Ruling Class (when literally translated) is Elements of Political Science, the first edition of which appeared in Italy in 1896; the English translation of the revised edition of 1923 appeared in 1939. The English title is perhaps a more catching one, and it does capture the content of the book. But I think it regrettable that in an age where Political Science is little more now than a disciplinary name rather than a genuine academic discipline that this book is rarely read by those who study Politics. Today, as would be evident to anyone who simply read the titles of papers presented at the American Political Science Association, with the possible exception of rational choice theory (which I think is irredeemably flawed by its inattention to culture and history), most who teach Political Science are morally committed political partisans who have little or no interest in exploring their role within the ruling class. Or indeed thinking outside of the two-dimensional model and its intersectional variant, which would make them and their chosen groups oppressed members of a society they wish to transform, instead of being paid employees (mostly of) the state whose task it is to educate and socially prepare the next generation for reproducing the kind of society that its “leaders”—its ruling class—deem as desirable.

As the Italian title suggests, in dealing with elements of a science of politics Mosca’s book is one that cuts across cultures, which is to say it is a structural examination, a study of the laws that lead to rulership and its class-based nature. Though the structures and laws examined by Mosca are analyzed in their historical genesis and mutations, which is to say Mosca’s study is also an historical study, as it must be given that history provides the condition of our circumstances, just as our response to circumstances also make history. Thus, it examines the changing conditions which give birth to the different social needs and opportunities for different types and classes, and hence the different priorities of governance and those who form the political class of a time and people. It is also comparativist in its approach. In his “Introduction” to the Ruling Class, Arthur Livingstone provided a good summation of Mosca’s method:

He will of course take the facts about society from any source or method that can supply them, only so they are facts—from economics, from anthropology, from psychology, or any similar science. He does explicitly reject for the political-social field any absolute exclusive acceptance of climatic or north-and-south theories, anthropological theories based on the observation of primitive societies (the question of size is important), the economic interpretation of history (it is too unilateral), doctrines of racial superiorities and inferiorities (many different race theories have had their moments of splendor), and evolutionary theories (they fail to account for the rhythmical movement of human progress—biological evolution would require continuous improvement.

The book opens with Mosca showing the inadequacy of most competing approaches to Political Science, noting that various claims to Political Science “are still, little more than philosophical, theological or rational justifications of certain types of political organization which have for centuries, played and in some cases are still playing, a significant role in human history.” Then, it proceeds to lay down the foundational fact upon which there can be political life, as well as a science of it:

Among the constant facts and tendencies that are to be found in all political organisms, one is so obvious that it is apparent to the most casual eye. In all societies—from societies that are very meagerly developed and have barely attained the dawnings of civilization, down to the most advanced and powerful societies—two classes of people appear—a class that rules and a class that is ruled. The first class, always the less numerous, performs all political functions, monopolizes power and enjoys the advantages that power brings, whereas the second, the more numerous class, is directed and controlled by the first; in a manner that is now more or less legal, now more or less arbitrary and violent, and supplies the first, in appearance at least, with material means of subsistence and with the instrumentalities that are essential to the vitality of the political organism.

Mosca then notes that “in every political organism there is one individual who is chief among the leaders of the ruling class as a whole,” but that person may not hold supreme power according to law. No head of state can rule without the support “of a numerous class to enforce respect for his orders and to have them carried out.” Indeed, it is because of the need for competing and potentially conflicting forces to be coordinated, so that peace between them reign, that a figure symbolizing unity and bearing ultimate sovereignty can act as a mediator between them. That is, it is sovereignty which is a consequence not a precondition of a larger class of “interested” parties; but once established its success depends upon a fit between the sovereign’s interests and that powerful class that commands and coordinates subordinate powers. Of course, that power is originally martial—and the Ruling Class is particularly attentive to the importance of the changing nature of armies in the transformation of ruling classes.

Mosca also notes that just as states require a unity of ends and agreeable means between the sovereign and the most powerful class which girds its authority, there is also a need to draw from the “masses” a group to facilitate and enforce the functions of the rulers. As he puts it:

and granting that he can make one individual, or indeed many individuals, in the ruling class feel the weight of his power, he certainly cannot be at odds with the class as a whole or do away with it. Even if that were possible, he would at once be forced to create another class, without the support of which action on his part would be completely paralysed. On the other hand, granting that the discontent of the masses might succeed in deposing a ruling class, inevitably, as we shall later show, there would have to be another organized minority within the masses themselves to discharge the functions of a ruling class. Otherwise all organization, and the whole social structure, would be destroyed.

…the real superiority of the concept of the ruling, or political, class lies in the fact that the varying structure of ruling classes has a preponderant importance in determining the political type, and also the level of civilization, of the different peoples.

In the chapter “Principles and Tendencies in Ruling Classes,” Mosca notes that it is the middle-class that generally supplied the personnel for the bureaucracy; that it is the moral level of the bureaucracy that signifies the moral level of the ruling class; and that the members of the bureaucracy tend to “believe in their own infallibility,” and are “loath to accept criticisms and suggestion from persons who are not of their calling.” With the expansion of the state into ever more areas of what were once considered private domains of life, and the expansion of those who work with the state, combined with those who are not of the bureaucracy generally but who are affiliated to a party and/ or committed to a political program and work in the corporate and private sector to achieve the kind of state they desire, this combination of moral assuredness and hostility to criticism threatens to generate the kind of opposition that typically leads to the overthrow of a ruling class. Just as the partitions between private and public spheres, the market and state have been pushed aside, thus indicating the death of old fashioned liberal democracy, the bureaucracy no longer has either the aspiration or pretence of being non-partisan. Its members now almost totally represent the program of the “liberal (anti-democratic) progressive.”

The totalitarian trinity of people, party, and leader(ship) has been a complete success in the United States, while most other nations still play by two party rules when it comes to the parliament, but administrations, service providers, school and university curricula, legislation regarding sexuality, policies for multiculturalism, advancement of identity politics and minorities, hate speech etc. are systematically progressive and utterly globalist. And when even it comes to the parliament, as the example of Boris Johnson and BREXIT illustrates, today there are all manner of serpentine ways that political rulers may slip from defender of the nation and its mores to employee of Globalist Inc. Ultimately the most ambitious and most driven members of a ruling class have little regard for older rules of etiquette precisely because of their own sense of moral conviction, and the ability they have to appoint and reward those who share their convictions.

The greater part of the Ruling Class is an historical analysis of the varying ruling class structures and the historical and social conditions that have given rise to them. Apart from any comparisons between Mosca and his contemporaries, who also were developing an elite theory of politics, which I touch upon below, the idea of a ruling class is most commonly associated with Marxism. But the difference between the Marxian deployment of the term to advance its own political program, and Mosca’s analysis, is two-fold—and it is this difference which I think enables us to see why Marxism is ideology, while Mosca’s work a contribution to Political Science.

First, the Marxists promise a future where there will be no ruling class. But that future could only be realized if there were a unity of purpose and such a vast coalition of interests that politics, rulership, class, and divisions between people would have ceased to exist. Thus, Marx’s claim that communism would eliminate the division of labour whist providing material abundance of a sort so that all could live according to their ability and needs. This is a unity that simply has never existed for any protracted period of time, and could only exist were different social interests eliminated—but they are generated out of the division of labour—and it is the division of labour that is the sine qua non of large-scale production, not the desire of someone to dabble in one or other form of creative productivity as it suits him.

Marx simply could not demonstrate how the elimination of the division of labour could defy everything known about economic production and create more abundance than it did when groups existed on such a small scale that what division of labour existed (such as between the sexes and the ages) was negligible. Which brings us to the second point: the Marxist future, irrespective of Marx’s own inability to see what he was doing, is nothing more than a verbal conjuration. In that sense it is the perfect means for those whose primary “skill” is rhetoric. The link between oratory, sophistry (the use of education for the advancement of one’s political power), demagoguery, and tyranny was critically observed by Plato; and that link has only become more intense within the displacement of the old ruling class by one in which verbal prowess and rationalization is fundamental to political legitimation.

Marxism is but one means by which a class, trafficking in words and ideas and persuading people to follow the objectives they lay down, and the means they authorize to achieve those objectives, has come to rule. Of course, that class needs resources; and the most common means available to it are: theft (a means used by the Bolsheviks for a relatively short while, and a means which the United States and, with the European Union, set to follow, are using in their proxy war against Russia), taxes, and donations to political parties.

Marxism did not die with the end of the Soviet-style central planning. In the West, it has survived in its non-Leninist incarnation, as an intrinsic ideological component of the Humanities curricula of elite Western universities. It has survived because it is an ideology whose endgame irreality is of no relevance to its success as an ideological way of oversimplifying reality for an aspirational ruling class keen to find a path to professional careers providing them with the power to build the world around its leadership. The particular interests of those who identify with any one of the radical variants that have come out of Marxist critique is to rule and thus decide how resources are to be deployed for which purposes by which people. This is ideologically passed off as achieving an absolute good – universal emancipation.

Marx himself appealed to a future of spontaneous universal cooperation based upon the complete mutuality of interests of the species (once the bourgeoisie were eliminated). But the impossibility of having large scale productivity and consumption growth without a market and capital investment, and of having political direction without a ruling party and state has meant that Marxism, and its various academically refined spawn, is but one piece of the ideological puzzle justifying the actuality of a ruling class that deploys a combination of value imposition, technocracy—its inevitability and spread being well noted in another very important book, James Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution—and financial control. It is achieved by a completely politicised social, pedagogical, and economic alignment or coordination of human action- what the Nazis call Gleichschaltung, which in turn requires suppressing any resistance whether of thought or deed. In so far as the process is ideological – the result of thinking built around political ideational alignments—this ruling class is far more attuned to the dangers of thoughts and words than were any inquisitors or contemporary mullahs.

In sum, while Mosca sees the ruling class as the inevitable accompaniment of all large-scale social organization, Marxism passes off the notion of the ruling class, and indeed politics itself, as but a transitory phase of social existence, whilst creating a rhetorical smokescreen for the rise of a political class that, if successful, claims to speak on behalf of universal interest and thus, if successful, should be able hold its power into perpetuity.

Typically, when Mosca’s work is raised, it is grouped along with other theorists of political elites, most notably Roberto Michels and Wilfried Pareto. Unlike Michels who had been a Marxist before becoming an anarcho-syndicalist and supporter of Il Duce, and Pareto, whose support of Mussolini was brief (Pareto died in 1923) and something of an ill-fit, given the liberal nature of his economic thought, Mosca was a liberal, but not one who was oblivious to its failures and shortcoming, and the threats posed to it by fascism—he wrestles with the problems of representative government in the book’s final chapter.

Although there was some dispute between Pareto and Mosca over who should get the prize for being the first to focus upon political elites as forming the basis of political science, the more important contrast within the elite theorists is between Mosca and Michels.

Michels’s study of the social democratic movement had led him to the observation that oligarchy was the inevitable type of all political organization; and his support for Mussolini expressed his willingness not only to embrace the fact of the inevitability of elite authority, but to endorse a political ideology in which elite power was openly factored into the political program and party.

Ironically, today, while fascism is the pejorative hurled about to discredit anyone who objects to the ticket items of globalist progressivism and corporatism, the globalist program and agenda is built around the unquestionable moral and political authority of cultural and global “leaders” who are increasingly schooled in leadership programs. The preoccupation with leadership today reaches from culture to industry to universities to politics. A jarring example of how central leadership is to politics today was to be seen in an election poster I saw nailed up all over the place in Australia’s recent election. When the poster is translated into German my point needs little further comment: ”Australien braucht einen Füherer, keinen Lügner.”

People in liberal democracies so frequently and blithely speak of politics in terms of the need for political leadership that they seem completely ignorant of the fact that unlike fascist, or communist states, in liberal democracies the most important role of the government (at least in peace time) was not to lead but to provide the conditions so that people might peaceably lead their own lives as best they saw fit.

Michels, like our present globalists, is rather typical of a certain kind of mentality that begins with abstractions and ideals about what political power may achieve if expressing the popular will, but which, in dealing with the actual requirements of maintaining political power, readily either abandons its more democratic rhetoric or simply twists it haphazardly so that it can get on with the business of directing who does what. The business of deciding who must do what—and along with this, who gets what from whom, and deciding what occurs to them, if they won’t do it, is the end of politics; and thus, a task that befalls every ruling class.

Moreover, for all the idolatry surrounding politics today, as if it is the means for solving all our problems, the state, though impossible to do without, is a blunt means (its powers are force, persuasion, and bureaucracy) of orchestrating human action. The problem with totalitarian forms of government is not that their political class makes political decisions, but the expansive combination of the range of decisions and components of life that become absorbed under their political reach and authority, and the intolerance shown towards those who question its authority.

Apart from the idolatry of progressive ideas, and leadership, the use of the state and corporations to ensconce a technocratic elite doing the ideological bidding of a globalist ruling class that demands unity in peacetime, of the sort that in a traditional liberal democratic society would only be required in wartime, is indicative of the totalitarian nature of the modern globalist project. Hence too it must control what can be said, and the best way to control that is to indoctrinate children into the values and narratives that the ruling class holds as absolute.

Also, all distinction between war and peace is being destroyed in Western democracies—we are being attacked by a never-ending series of threats requiring militant response, from the destruction of the planet due to anthropogenically induced climate change, to viruses and infectious diseases that can only be stopped if we all follow the leadership provided by pharmaceutical companies and state authorized medical “advisors,” and the numerous others who have been authorised to identify the correct information and “facts” on any topic warranting totally unified militant action.

Thus, there can never be a time when the ruling class takes a step back from its leadership role. Now we have the impending threat of an actual war—just yesterday General Milley advised the graduating class of West Point of the “increasing risk of global war.” There is, indeed, an impending threat, though the question is not only why, but whether the alliance of Western powers is actually less rather than more totalitarian than the global powers it opposes.

The great challenge of modern liberal-democracy is to maintain a political culture in which the social tensions are fecund enough to make social adaptations of a sort that prevent the political body from succumbing to either traditional ossification or progressivist delusions of governance becoming a mere shell concealing implacable wills. It is an irony that the ruling classes supporting fascism and globalism respectively positioned themselves in antithetical ideological terms with respect to the past and future—whilst both were captured by the internal dialectic of their political means: the fascists presented themselves as Rome reborn, but their emergence and the forces they mustered were all extremely modern. The globalists, on the other hand, appeal to a future free from oppression (a utopia); but they can only achieve this by the old-style means of enforced unity; what Friedrich von Hayek saw as the limited power flow of an order of taxis, which is typical of military and bureaucracy.

The Marxist tradition had gone along with the Saint-Simonian formulation that the future would be free of politics; and in its place there would simply be the administration of things. That tradition had a longer pedigree in utopian writing generally, though Rabelais’ depiction of the Abbey of Thélème had identified the nub of a tradition that runs through Rousseau, and the various socialist writers like de Mably through Saint-Simon and (in spite of their polemics against utopians) Marx and Engels: that nub was political unity. As in the Abbey of Thélème, there would be no leaders because everyone wanted the same thing and everyone did exactly what was required at the time of its requiting.

Both fascism and Marxism were born out of this faith in unity—though in the case of fascism the unity (people, state, party) required at its theoretical foundation an all-knowing, caring leader. In the case of communism, the cult of the personality was not something that was forged theoretically but developed out of necessity, as a party that had seized power in a coup, and defended it in a civil war, was faced with conflicting decisions about what to do about the food supply—should it be collectivized immediately, or allowed to operate through market inducements?—and workers who did not like the labour conditions required of them by those who had promised such liberation and now were shipping people off to prison camps.

Whether fascist or communist, these two modern responses to future-building not only required a mass that complied with what its ruling class dictated, but a mass which was ideologically committed to that ruling class and hence indoctrinated in supporting all its choices. The real difference between liberal democratic regimes and fascist and communist ones had nothing to do with abstract theories—which were, of course, prevalent enough—but with how openly one might grumble about the ruling class. One might say that the grumbling made little difference; but taking away someone’s right to grumble involves deploying state and corporate resources to that end – and hence job opportunities – it also only fuels the grumbling and discontent. Which is also partly why the levels of social discontent in so much of the Western world is so high.

The ruling class of today’s Western democracies now has no compunction in doing what the fascists, and Marxists before them did: and ultimately that is because it is the same kind of people demanding the same objective—that their will be done on earth as it is in the heaven of their ideas.

Reading Mosca will not help anyone prevent this; but reading him does help one place what is happening now in a larger, historical perspective, whilst also providing one with a healthy dose of scepticism, so that one does not fail to note that the primary interest of a ruling class is the preservation of its right to rule. In and of itself that is understandable; but the matter of whether they are doing a good enough job in facilitating the interests of the ruled is something else. And a ruling class that must control information-flows is one that has shown that it no longer cares about the interests of those they rule—which is always the beginning of their own demise.


Wayne Cristaudo is a philosopher, author, and educator, who has published over a dozen books.


Featured image: “New Gods, Old Monsters,” by David Whitlam; painted 2020.

Overcoming Idols: A Conversation with Wayne Cristaudo

In this episode of More Christ, Wayne Cristaudo discusses his criticism of the roles of pride and abstraction in the modern world; how our proclivity to succumb to idolatry is at the root of what he calls ‘idea-ism’ and ideology; the primacy of contingent encounters and the Holy Spirit in his own life; and the thinkers he loves.

More Christ is a channel created by Mark Connolly, which is devoted to dialogue about the world, the cosmos, and how the Christian life and the surprises of the Spirit lead to the flourishing of life. The show’s thematics are Christian, its reach universal.



Featured image: “Phoenix,” Aberdeen Bestiary, 12th century.