The Death Of True Manliness

Just as it is difficult to gain a true perspective of the size of a mountain when one is actually on the mountain, so it is difficult to understand how revolutionary a change is when in the midst of the revolution.

And we are today in the midst of a great revolution, a dramatic shift in the way we understand human nature. That is, our culture in the West is changing the way it understands gender. This change is all-encompassing, and expresses itself in such large movements such as feminism, gay rights, and now transgender rights.

The change is not a matter of refining or tinkering with past approaches. Past approaches are not so much moderately altered as completely overthrown. The revolution regarding gender is radical and vociferous, and like all devout revolutionaries, its advocates are taking no prisoners, which accounts for much of the rhetoric and verbal violence in America’s culture wars.

If the Lord tarries, historians hundreds of years hence will look back on the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries as the time when the West waged war on the way its ancestors understood gender differences from time immemorial. Those reading sociology will speak of a fundamental paradigm shift. Those reading Screwtape will wonder if the revolution was not the result of far-reaching decisions taken by “our father below”.

The ancient approach saw gender as a divine gift. Judeo-Christian texts spoke of our gendered existence with its resultant differing roles as ordained by God at creation: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27).

Islam inherited this understanding of gender, and even the pagans who did not read Scripture of any kind understood maleness and femaleness as basic and stable categories. That is why they privileged legal marriage above unregulated sexuality. Certain pagans (Greeks for example; the Romans were slower to follow) had no problems with pederasty, but they still insisted on heterosexual marriage as the foundation for a stable society.

As far as everyone until the mid to late twentieth century was concerned, you were born either male or female, and certain rare anatomical or other medical anomalies aside, that set you on the path of life and provided you with specific roles and responsibilities.

Men were to behave in a certain way, as were women. To be sure, the prescribed behaviours contained a fair degree of latitude—“tom boy” behaviour, for example, was still acceptable for girls, and men could knit if they wanted to—but the basic path was fairly clear, even if it was wide. And this was not confined to the Judeo-Christian or the Islamic traditions. As C.S. Lewis illustrated in his book The Abolition of Man, these norms could be found in all cultures. He termed this “the Tao”, and recognized it as the universal practice of mankind.

The revolution in the West began in the 1960s, with what was then called “Women’s Lib”. Women’s Lib found cultural acceptance because much of it seemed to be simple common sense, and because the Suffragette movement demanding for women the right to vote had partly prepared the way for it.

Though not introducing radical or harmful change in the basic understanding of gender roles, Women’s Lib prepared people to regard change as essentially a good and much-needed thing, and this openness to change would continue to govern basic attitudes when more far-reaching changes were proposed.

Women’s Lib also drew heavily upon the language of racial civil rights, and presented itself in terms of an analogous struggle. The emphasis here is upon the word “struggle”, since the movement used the tactics of protest (famously with its symbolic bra-burning and its marches), and its labelling of its opponents as enemies of enlightenment and progress. The seeds of a future culture war may thus be traced to this early predilection for protest.

Despite the use of angry denunciation of perceived oppression and inflammatory rhetoric that increasingly characterized the diverse feminist movement, the radical changes first appeared with the gay rights movement. Here too we observe a progression. What began with a simple act of decriminalization continued with a demand for social acceptance of an alternative lifestyle as if it were as valid as traditional marriage.

Thus, first came demands for social acceptance and non-discrimination, then came a demand for the provision of legal civil unions between homosexuals, and then a demand for providing legal marriage for them. Inherent in these demands was the assertion that maleness and femaleness were not all-encompassing roles, but simply anatomical realities which did not bring with them any societal roles or norms.

Thus, one could be born anatomically male but still seek sexual union (socially legitimized through marriage) with another male—or, with both males and females. Anatomy had been definitively sundered from gender role and its accompanying sexual “preference”. Indeed, the very language used—“sexual preference”—presupposes that one gender could be preferred as easily as another.

Formerly, men did not just “prefer” women, but were ordained to this choice, if not by internal sexual desire for women over men, then at least by divine law. Now one could “prefer” male to female as easily and legitimately as one could prefer chocolate to vanilla.

The next step was to sunder anatomy not just from gender role but from gender identity. In this move to legitimize transgenderism, it was asserted that one could be born anatomically male and yet still “be” a woman. There was no objective way to tell if a person “was” a male or a female.

All now depended upon a person’s subjective feelings and which gender one “identified with”. And throughout this long progression of change, its advocates continued to employ the rhetoric of civil rights, indignantly denouncing their opponents as bigots and cultural Neanderthals. The culture wars were now raging loudly. In the din, the voice of the historic Christian Faith, replete with both inviolable standards and subtle nuanced distinctions, was usually shouted down.

Thus those who identify as gay or transgender now occupy the role of noble victim in constant danger of harm, while those who oppose the new revolution occupy the role of dangerous cultural criminals, whose bigoted opposition to the new revolution threatens very lives of those in the LGBQT community. Those assigning these roles are often driven by a self-righteousness that takes no prisoners and justifies any amount of hatred, anger, and bullying.

The revolution is poised to continue, driven as it is by its own interior logic. If physical anatomy counts for nothing, then it counts for nothing. If the will (or preference) is sovereign, then it is sovereign. That includes not just the gender of the sexual partner, but also the number of partners. Or the age of the partners.

Paedophilia (or “minor attraction” as it calls itself) is currently beyond the pale of general acceptability, but the landscape of the debate and its borders are shifting quickly. No one living in 1950 could have foreseen the current situation. It is therefore possible that the presently radical call for the acceptance of “minor attraction” will one day become mainstream. Where the revolution will end is anyone’s guess. I myself believe that the end is not yet in sight.

The question remains: what is the problem with the revolution? Who is it hurting? Granted that the gender revolution (or “gender confusion”, depending upon point of view) overturns the way humanity has regarded itself since the beginning, why it that wrong? Much could be said, but a single reply will have to suffice. In the new paradigm offered us, what was once regarded as “true manhood” is labelled toxic in some places, and is fast becoming extinct.

What does it mean to be a “real” man? True manhood involves more than simple sexual “preferences” or the question of who takes out the garbage. It involves primordial self-defining symbolism and emotions springing from the deepest hidden levels.

To be a real man is to relate to those weaker—notably women and children—with gallantry, protection, and self-sacrifice. (Christians will note that this is how Christ, as a real Man, related to His bride, the Church.) We note this in a thousand ways: the man proposes the woman on bended knee, (not vice-versa), and in situations of danger, the man defends the woman even at the cost of his life. And this last example applies not just to the man’s own wife, but to any woman, precisely because she is a woman. Womanhood was considered as sacred per se.

This could be observed in the investigations following the sinking of the Titanic: witnesses were emphatic that some lifeboats contained only women and children, the men sacrificing themselves to save them. Doing anything less—taking a space in a lifeboat that could have been taken by a woman or a child—would have violated their manhood. Manhood and masculinity, increasingly derided as toxic by definition, included both the symbolism and actions of gallantry. A true man was a knight.

It is true of course that acts of bravery and self-sacrifice can be and are done by women and children, and of course by homosexuals and transgenders. Anyone can become brave. But that is just the point: since bravery and self-sacrifice are no longer part of what it means to be a man, one does such heroic acts only if one is a hero.

But heroism is not common (which is why it is applauded when found). One may or may not feel oneself called to heroism and bravery. But in the old paradigm a man sacrificed himself not because he felt called to extraordinary heroism, but simply because he was a man. The gender role he inherited by virtue of his anatomy contained within it the moral imperative of sacrificing himself, if need be, for women and children.

It is just this protection that real men once offered that is so desperately needed now. We now rely upon “public education” (i.e. propaganda) and the stigma attached to being politically incorrect to motivate people to gallantry, self-sacrifice, and bravery.

We can see how well this is working (or not working), by how dangerous the nights remain for women and other vulnerable people. The cry of those trying to educate the public is to “take back the night”. More helpful perhaps would be sustained reflection upon how the night was lost in the first place.

Father Lawrence serves as pastor of St. Herman’s Orthodox Church in Langley, BC. He is also author of the Orthodox Bible Companion Series along with a number of other publications.

The photo shows, “Les batteurs de pieux,” by Maximilien Luce, painted ca., 1902 to 1905.

War In Two Works

“They were afraid of dying, but they were even more afraid to show it.” This sentence encapsulates the contradictory posture that war imposes on human beings, and this contradiction leads to the recognition that war itself is an absurd act, bereft of any meaning, and existing solely for its own sake.

Thus, war can only invoke and provoke a bleak vision, and an absurdist response, which forms the basis of both Fernando Arrabal’s “Picnic on the Battlefield,” and Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.” In fact, both these works explore the theme of war as an absurd act, in which meaning of any sort cannot possibly exist.

Arrabal’s Picnic on the Battlefield explores this absurdity to the fullest by working on a premise that is both laughable and grotesque. First, there is the improbable appearance of Zapo’s parents on the battlefield, who have come out to have a picnic with their son.

War for them is nothing more than some field outing that their son is on, and they have decided to join him. When the reality of war is brought home to the parents, Monsieur Tépan asks: “But why are you enemies?”

Suddenly, through the shared suffering (the bomb attack), there is some sort of realization that Zepo is a mirror image of his own son Zapo; there is no difference between them.

But this realization is quickly swallowed up Madame Tépan’s remark: “Your father is the only whose capable of thinking such ideas; don’t forget he’s a former student of the Ecole Normale and a philatelist.”

This remark reinforces the absurdist view that there cannot be such realizations in war – there is only the enemy which one must try to kill. In war, there is only kill-or-be-killed.

This is why Madame Tépan’s remark is so efficient at cutting away any meaning that one may seek to give to war – for war is entirely a meaningless act. Thus, the absurdity is heightened by the fact that the play ends with the death of the four characters who have suddenly hit upon the idea of ending the war by refusing to fight.

Instead they dance (a life-affirming act); and it is exactly at this point – a point in which they have achieved a semblance of meaning and harmony that war intervenes and they killed. War can only be an absurd nightmare, from which few escape.

This sense of absurdity continues in Tim O’Brien’s story, “The Things They Carried,” in that it too describes the nightmarish quality of war, in which to kill is a normal act, and the days in which does not kill are abnormal. Only death has true meaning in war: “The guy’s dead…which seemed profound – the guy’s dead…” And death brings no final meaning, no moral, as Sanders asks, but finds none: “Yeah well…I don’t see no moral.”

Cross and his men live in a landscape of nothingness, and when they die, it is an even greater, vaster nothingness. All the soldiers are entirely cut off from all meaning – their sole purpose is to survive. It is a realization that Cross comes to at the end of the end of the story.

War is no place for idealism. Martha is not a virgin, nor does she love him; she just offers him a semblance of an imagined world outside Vietnam. But like everything else around Cross, she is nothing more than a daydream – perhaps she is part of the nightmare.

Cross comes to this realization, but he is not moved by it. He notes that it is sad – but he has the work of surviving to do; he cannot wallow in self-pity: “He was realistic about it. There was that new hardness in his stomach.”

Thus, it is not the soldiers who will change the environment around them, but the environment that changes the soldiers, for they are “trying to fight and survive in the human waste that surrounds them…[and] they are themselves human waste.”

For Arrabal war is grotesque and meaningless and exists only to perpetuate destruction and annihilation. Likewise, O’Brien also writes about the absurdity of war, where humanity itself is continually denied, and where there is no room for life and love – only the will to survive, and the will to kill: “He would shut down the daydreams. This was not Mount Sebastian, it was another world where there were no pretty poems or midterm exams, a place where men died because of carelessness or stupidity.”

 

The photo shows, “Gassed,” by John Singer Sargent, painted in 1919.

Failed Cultures

Culture, firstly, is human community that ensures that life is pursued well. A successful culture readily seeks to enact social policies that guarantee to some degree that people are happy and satisfied. And an individual who inhabits a successful culture carries out actions that benefit him or her, and his or her society at large.

It would be simple to wax philosophical and begin an analysis of the organic nature of culture, with the tools readily available, such as Social Darwinism.

But such analyses are contentious and misleading, because they concern themselves simply with an examination of how cultures come into being and sustain themselves – they do not make value judgments. We need to make value judgments.

Therefore, our approach must be different, and we need newer tools. If we stay within the confines of traditional arguments, such as materialism, we are bound to lose our focus and end up justifying or critiquing one mode of production over another.

Such a methodology would yield little of value. And we do indeed need to speak again of values and virtues – because the chief goal of all cultures is to produce a virtuous person, that is, a person who holds the ideal of human worth (and all its implications – truthfulness, generosity and self-control) to be uppermost in all activity and endeavor.

But how do we recognize a failed culture? Here are the characteristics of all failed cultures that exist in the world today.

First, power does not reside with the middle class, but with the privileged elite.

Second, the system of government is not constitutional – in other words, we are dealing with dictatorships, with strong men, backed up by the loyalty of the army.

Third, civilians have no control over the military – rather, they are terrorized by it.

Fourth, religion and political ideology control all modes of thought, with the resulting denial of intellectual and individual freedoms.

Fifth, criticism of the government or rulers does not exist, and if such criticism does raise its head – it is immediately met with immense violence (often far greater in proportion to the criticism), until there is once again the silence of enforced consent.

Sixth, civilians live not in contentment and ease, but in a state of perpetual anxiety – not knowing what will happen next, since they have no control over the mechanisms of power (elections, for example).

Seventh, the poor classes are little better than slaves, who have no recourse to bettering their lot.

Eighth, the education system is merely an instrument of state or religious propaganda.

Ninth, private property is in the hands of the few, while the many are dispossessed.

Tenth, there is no trust and hence there is systemic corruption.

In this way, failed cultures consistently produce failed states, which can yield nothing but misery for those unfortunate enough to live in such spheres of cultural, social, and political devastation.

 

The photo shows, “”Duel on the Kulikovo Field,” by Avilov Mikhail, painted in 1943.

The Populist Revolt

Most honest postmortems of Trump’s election are by Democrats focusing on what they missed.   Usually, they are either narrow exercises in vote counting or more holistic attempts to understand Trump voters.  In the latter group are Joan Williams’s White Working Class and Ken Stern’s Republican Like Me.

The common thread in these is discovery, a dawning realization that there are people out there with legitimate, even compelling, reasons to vote for Trump. Republicans, on the other hand, haven’t engaged much in postmortems.  They have engaged in recriminations, or a facile triumphalism, but few seem to have analyzed Trump’s election in a focused, professional, way.  The Great Revolt fills that gap.

There’s nothing truly startling in this book, but it’s still interesting.  The authors’ core point is that Trump’s election is not a fluke; whatever his faults may be, they do not outweigh his good points in the view of a wide variety of voters, including groups of people who, on the surface, have little in common with each other and seem like they shouldn’t like Trump.

Moreover, most of these people were previously reliably Democratic voters.  To analyze this and to demonstrate their thesis, Salena Zito (a journalist) and Brad Todd (a Republican pollster and consultant) conducted detailed opinion surveys, and then let people talk for themselves to supplement and exemplify the aggregate results, using individuals, meant as archetypes, from ten very different counties in five different swing states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan).

Zito and Todd break the Trump voters they examine into seven groups, each with specific demographic characteristics.  “Red-Blooded and Blue-Collared” are those who “had worked a blue-collar, hourly wage, or physical labor job after the age of twenty-one, and had experienced a job loss in the last seven years either personally or in their immediate families.”  “Girl Gun Power” are women under forty-five who owns guns for self-defense.  “Rough Rebounders” are those who have overcome significant obstacles (and thus resonate with Trump’s story).  “Rotary Reliables” are Chamber of Commerce Republicans—but with a twist, that they are from smaller towns, and therefore are surrounded by, and socialize with, conservatives and the working class, thus appreciating their concerns, similar to the way that such Republicans in bigger towns and cities are surrounded by liberals and therefore function as liberals.

That is to say, these Rotary Reliables are diverse and inclusive, more so than their Republican counterparts in the cities.  “King Cyrus Christians” are religious believers who are willing to overlook Trump’s dissolute personal life, as the Jews took advantage of the heathen Cyrus the Great’s release of the Jews from Babylonian captivity.

(While I don’t understand why some evangelicals, like Franklin Graham, fawn over Trump, other than to be close to power, it is perfectly understandable, given that Hillary was the Right Hand of Satan, that devout Christians would vote for Trump, since, to coin a phrase, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”).

“Silent Suburban Moms” are upper-middle class women somewhat turned off by Trump’s boorishness, and fearful of the hatred directed at them if they openly support Trump, but who support Trump nonetheless.  Collectively, I am not sure that these really constitute the “populist coalition” of the subtitle, but they have more in common than just supporting Trump, and more in common than a casual observer might think.

In particular, in all these groups the same three specific issues keep cropping up (along with some other issues that are more or less important to specific groups).  Given the significant differences across these sets of people, this consistency is surprising.

These three issues are who controls the Supreme Court, gun rights, and, most interestingly, the habit Obama had of apologizing, purportedly on behalf of the United States.  (As all such studies find, and utterly contrary to the view of progressives, racial issues almost never crop up, and illegal immigrants less than you would expect.)  The first two have a straightforward analysis—Democrats have for decades tried to evade democratic rule by using the Supreme Court as a leftist super-legislature, and Republican voters are well aware of that.

Gun rights require even less discussion—in fact, in the past few months, driven mad by anti-Trump frenzy, prominent Democrats have begun openly declaring what they always lied about in the past, but which has always been true—that yes, they want to take away every single gun normal Americans own.

But I would not have thought the constant apologizing was so important, and so disturbing, to voters.  These people are not wrong about Obama’s habit of apologizing.

He began his term by apologizing to the entire Muslim world and then in nearly every (or perhaps every) foreign speech he made ensured that his speechwriters worked in some form of abasement for supposed past misdeeds of the United States.  Usually those misdeeds were left a little vague, such that the listeners were expected to fill in the specifics of their own particular grievance, so as to maximize the breadth and perceived impact of the apology.  The substance or rationale of these apologies, though, doesn’t really interest me.  Rather, I am curious why the voters were so upset.

It seems to me that apologies can vary on two basic axes—by whom, and to whom.  On the former axis, they can be made by the wrongdoer (Class A), or on his behalf by a legitimate representative (Class A’).  Or they can be made by a successor in interest, who did not participate in the original wrong but has a material link to that person (Class B).

On the latter axis, apologies can be made to people who are wronged (Class 1), or to their successors in interest (Class 2).  (I put into Class 2 also those who have only suffered a lesser, derivative wrong, but those could be a third class, if you wanted to complicate the analysis.)

Most people across the political spectrum would agree, I think, that apologies by Class A or Class A’ to Class 1 are unexceptional and some combination of desirable and necessary (or rather, they are unexceptional in the West, infused with Christian values—in a place like China, very different rules apply, which we will ignore here).  Apologies by Class A to Class 2 seem less required and desirable.

This is because the person wronged is the person who is “owed” the apology and is able to forgive—someone who has not suffered a wrong has neither the same right nor ability to forgive, and by the same token, is less deserving of an apology.

Even less required or desirable is an apology from Class B to Class 1, since personal responsibility only attaches to a wrongdoer.  Least appropriate of all is an apology from Class B to Class 2, where all parties involved have no actual connection to the wrong at issue.

I think what rubbed the people in this book the wrong way is that all of Obama’s apologies were in that last and least deserving category (or, arguably, were in a fifth category, of a supposed Class B person apologizing for something done earlier that was not a wrong at all).

Obama was not a Class A’ representative, although he may have viewed himself that way, because he was not representing any actual wrongdoers, either because the actual wrongdoers are dead, or because no wrong was committed at all.  And naturally, Obama never apologized for something he did—only for wrongs done by elements of the United States government, or elements of our ruling class (and sometimes even for elements of other governments and ruling classes).

Even if we assume that these wrongs were actual wrongs, and were as bad as Obama said, it is evident from what they say that the voters profiled in this book were viscerally outraged both by the stupidity of any “Class B to Class 2” apology, which necessarily humiliates the United States for no good reason.

They also were angered by the knowledge that Obama in no way blamed the recipients of the apologies, much less himself, or his cronies, or progressives, or any of their predecessors in interest, for anything.  Instead, all blame was to attach to a subset of current day Americans, who had done nothing at all to anybody—namely, the voters profiled in this book.

Hillary Clinton was more explicit on this point, but nobody was fooled that Obama didn’t think the same way—he was just smoother.  So maybe that this theme keeps cropping up as an element of Trump’s support isn’t all that surprising after all.

One claim by the authors rings false, though.  They say that Facebook, not the New York Times, “now drives the national conversation with the horsepower of its search traffic and algorithms.”

But it is the NYT, with a junior role played by a handful of media outlets equally totally under the control of leftists, that sets both what is considered to be news and what the agenda behind that selection is.  Anything not fitting the agenda is not considered to be news among the ruling classes and therefore is ignored and functionally suppressed; “it’s just Fox News.”

This indirect censorship is extremely powerful, and Facebook does not overcome it, even if it used to allow alternative new sources to rise to the top of its news feed.  And, since the election, Facebook has gotten in line, changing  its news feed from showing what people are actually choosing to view, to forcing down on people only approved outlets (that is, the NYT and its cronies), along with using leftist “fact checkers” such as Snopes and Politifact as cover for direct censorship.

Moreover, they (and Twitter, etc.) are moving, just in time for the 2018 election, to further censor “hate speech,” defined as conservative speech.  So, between a combination of Facebook not setting the agenda itself, but rather taking direction from the Left, and actively cooperating in driving the news coverage to favor the Left, nothing has changed at all.

In fact, contrary to conservatives’ hopes of the early 2000s, the NYT has much more power to set what is news and what is the agenda, since almost all alternative media enterprises of any public standing and reputation, that did not feel obliged to always toe the line, are out of business or a shadow of their former selves.

That said, again and again the people in this book say that they have completely tuned out of the news, because it is so obviously unhinged leftist propaganda.  This suggests that the impact of the NYT’s death grip on curating the news may be less than the Left hopes, or the Right fears.

Tied to this is another fact that comes up time and again—many of the interviewees self-censor on social media, afraid of the hatred directed at them by their “friends” for the political views, a problem never faced by their political opposites, who preen themselves on their alignment with the selected news they are shown and regard pouring malice on those who disagree with leftist views as a holy cause.

But when one group grows silent, they do not thereby agree more, and they are more likely just becoming submarine voters, which is the authors’ point.  True, some voters may still be soaking in the propaganda, unwilling or unable to cut the cancer out of their lives, but my guess is that nearly all have tuned out the vast majority of it.

I certainly have, even though I subscribe to the NYT—for years, now decades, I used to just ignore the editorial pages, but now I ignore all articles that are not completely unrelated to politics (an ever-shrinking group), since any article even tangentially involving politics is indistinguishable from the op-ed page.

So what does this mean for the immediate future?  Nearly all of the counties profiled voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, and then swung hard to Trump in 2016.  The authors note that this is an unstable situation—the voters could easily swing back.

In many instances, their voting for Trump was a combination of Trump’s stands and an explicit feeling that the Democrats left them, not the reverse.  (We are constantly showered with claims by supposed former Republicans that their party left them, but the media never suggests the same process is equally possible for Democrats.)

If the Republicans nominated some Chamber of Commerce blob like Jeb Bush, or even a zombie Reaganite like Ted Cruz, and the Democrats nominated someone not a shrill, hateful, decaying crone or an elderly Communist, or dialed back their obsessive focus on the politics of identity and grievance in favor of acknowledging the concerns of the people interviewed in this book, I bet that’s exactly what would happen.

Still, Zito and Todd believe that the more likely outcome is that the Trump coalition holds together, and that neither party has fully grasped this likelihood.  (On a related note, the reason that progressives want to get rid of the electoral college is precisely to avoid this outcome, by making it unnecessary for national politicians to capture any votes outside urban areas).
Naturally, this book has been ignored by the liberal media, which suggests a continuing failure to grasp this obstacle to leftist dominance.

But the core social problems that make these counties suffer are not going away anytime soon.  Unemployment might be addressed by a different economic policy, but that is unlikely to happen with the levers of economic power being held by globalists, and even if we changed our policies, it is not likely that the 1950s will come again.

And this is true not just because it’s impossible to go back—in addition, the social fabric of these counties is utterly destroyed, although the voters don’t seem to want to realize that.  The biggest single problem is opiates, followed by a breakdown in families and the same atomization of society found everywhere.

Even if $30/hour jobs returned, these problems would persist.  This suggests that to the extent voters hope Trump will make a dent in their social problems, they are likely to be disappointed.  Yes, he will protect their guns and their religious liberty; he will issue no apologies; and he will stick his finger in the eye of the liberal media.

But is that enough?  Probably to keep their votes for a while.  In the end, the question is whether substantive change is required for these voters to be happy, or merely fighting on their behalf.  We’ll find out soon enough.

Charles is a business owner and operator, in manufacturing, and a recovering big firm M&A lawyer. He runs the blog, The Worthy House.

The photo shows, “La fiumana [Stream of People]” by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, painted ca. 1895-1896.

Émile Durkheim And Progress

Emile Durkheim’s sociological views depend upon the concept of progress, in that society evolves, or moves through, various phases; and this he readily sees when he begins to examine the idea of labor within society.

Thus, he finds that traditional division of labor evolved into a simple division of labor, and then into a more complex division of labor. This organic view of society implies that the various components that comprise any given society not only structure this society, but also have well defined functions.

Therefore, society is not merely a composite of individuals; it is in fact an entity unto itself which influences and determines individuals by way of social currents and social norms.

Although these influences are the result of human endeavor, nevertheless they are not linked with individual will. This, in short, is Durkheim’s sociological project.

Given this co-dependent, but not co-determined, relationship between society and the individual, Durkheim seeks to locate a sociological explanation for social structures as well as individual endeavor.

One of the structures that he seeks to explain is the economic life of a society. Within it, he locates the role and purpose of labor, which determines the specific functions of economic life. Thus, for him, the crucial point can be found in the division of labor, which he tells us determines new paradigms of social cohesion and correlations.

One of these correlations is structure of the regulation of contracts. He tells us “the contract is not sufficient by itself, but is only possible because of the regulation of contracts, which is of social origins.”

This is an important statement in that it houses Durkheim’s notion of what is actually meant by “regulation” of contracts. In order to understand this, we need to first examine Durkheim’s notion of the contract, and then its regulation.

Since society determines and is determined by the individual, Durkheim recognizes that it is equality that binds individuals to their functions within society, and consequently cohere these functions into a greater whole.

Thus, contracts are a necessary development of the division of labor, since they precisely articulate a consensus, or collective thought. And therefore, the division between rich and poor is the result of unjust contracts. However, as labor is divided, social doctrine weakens, and the gap between rich and poor becomes insupportable, and individuals begin to crate contracts that will make

relationships evenhanded. Certainly, there is a need for contracts in society, since they structure social life, and if no contracts existed, individuals would take abuse and misuse each other. Consequently, what Durkheim means by “regulation” of contracts is the implementation of liberty and equality within society.

Therefore, regulation is the establishment of social order, wherein economic and legal contracts become amenable and practical. In effect, regulation is the agreement between individuals within the context of society.

The idea of regulation stems, for Durkheim, from his notion of social systems, which are exemplified by mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity. Durkheim tells us: “This gives rise to a solidarity sui generis which, deriving from resemblances, binds the individual directly to society. … It does not consist merely in a general, indeterminate attachment of the individual to the group, but is also one that concerts their detailed action….They produce everywhere the same effects. Consequently, whenever they are brought into play all wills spontaneously move as one in the same direction.”

Thus, mechanical solidarity incorporates the collective consciousness, wherein collective ends are pursued, especially common responses to flaunting of regulations. Here, the individual is dependent on collective or common consciousness. The purpose of this solidarity, which comprises efforts that encompass common values, common beliefs, and those experiences that permit individuals to cooperate and function successfully.

While mechanical solidarity heavily regulates activities and social relationships within society, there is also the development of a great flexibility that guarantees individual freedom, development, change, and the growth of personality.

Durkheim observes: “Whereas other solidarity implies that individuals resemble one another, the latter assumes that they are different from one another. The former type is only possible in so far as the individual personality is absorbed into the collective personality; the latter is only possible if each one has a sphere of action that is peculiarly our own; and consequently a personality….Indeed, on the one hand, each one of us depends more intimately upon society the more the labor is divided up, and on the other, the activity of each one of us is correspondingly more specialized, the more personal it is….Society becomes more effective in moving in concert, at the same time as each of its elements has more movements that are peculiarly its own. This solidarity resembles that observed in the higher animals. In fact each organ has its own special characteristics and autonomy, yet the greater the unity of the organism, the more marked the individualization of the parts is more marked. Using this analogy, we propose to call ‘organic’ the solidarity that is due to the division of labor.”

Now, it is organic solidarity that shared principles and expectations are embodied, such as the law and the market.

The importance of regulation of contracts can be seen in various ways.

First, they restore the situation to where it was before the offense occurred, that it, to its original state.

Second, this process guarantees that society is present in the form of the law, and the legal system derives its authority from society. Thus, society intervenes and ensures that the dispute rises beyond the individual.

Third, rules and laws are set forth in a general manner, which are then regulated. Fourth, and most importantly, the individual is “condemned to submit” to the law, and is not punished as such.

Progress, then, determines the individual’s regulation in society. It s here that modern liberalism finds much of its impetus.

 

The photo shows, “The Assembly of the Six Counties,” by Charles Alexander Smith, painted in 1891.

Stalin Wasn’t Alone

Do dictators ever stand alone? A dictator is defined as a one who has total power over country, but is that even possible? Can one man ever have total control of a nation, even if he wields, say, Stalin’s iron fist?

When we think of Stalin’s USSR, we tend to imagine a totalitarian world that resembles Orwell’s 1984. At the head of the state is Stalin. Directly below him is a hierarchy of mindless henchmen. And of course, below them is the constantly terrorized multitude which is under constant watch by the regime. This narrative is a myth of history.

This narrative completely deprives anybody any agency besides Stalin. Like many myths of history, it is an oversimplification which meets a political agenda. The truth is far more complicated.

I am not doubting the brutality of the Stalinist Regime. The historiography on the Stalinist era is riddled with horrors (often down-played by contemporary leftists). There was the mass famine created during collectivization in the Ukraine that killed at least 3.3 million people.

Mass paranoia and accusations swept across the land in the Great Purges of the 1930s. After show trials in kangaroo courts, the accused would be evicted from their homes and exiled to Siberian Gulags, if lucky – and immediately shot, if not.

None of these horrors are in doubt. There is a lot of bloodshed and violence to be accounted for, but was it all done at the behest of one man alone?

There is a lot of bloodshed and violence to be accounted for, but was it all done at the behest of one man alone?

Stalinism went beyond Stalin. The historiography shows that large portion of the population was more than willing to participate in Stalinism. There is a lesson to be learned here, if we wish to fight the dictatorships of the present.

Collectivization was big task. Such economic reform was the push to get citizens of the USSR to nationalize their possessions, farmland, and estates into a single collective.  Many Ukrainians refused to yield to be part of collective farms.

In fact, “activists” and others aided the state in the forced collectivization of the countryside.

Hundreds of devoted communists came down from the cities to terrorize the peasantry.

These “progressives” were aided by peasants who believed in the creation of the collective farms for political and personal gain. Those under Stalin acted on their own initiative in this very anarchic part of Ukrainian history.

Collectivization couldn’t have happened without the mass support of communists on the ground.

Where did these communist supporters, the communards, come from? Before Stalin even took power, there was a massive push by students to form collectives and inspire workers and peasants to do the same. The seeds of communism were grassroots before they blossomed into atrocities.

The Great Purge is another example of a Soviet catastrophe that transcends Stalin’s “total” power, fueled by an active engagement of the population.

Starting with Stalin eliminating right-wingers in his inner circle, the purge spirals off into a nationwide frenzy.

Colleague purged colleague, co-worker purged co-worker, and neighbour purged neighbour in a chaotic slew of accusations.

People on the ground had much to gain from participating in the witch-hunt, including wealth, power, and fame. Worst of all, many believed that purging those around them was an act of patriotism.

The blood of these victims is shared by the citizens of the USSR.

If we say that Stalin had all the power, then we deprive the accusers and activists of any agency. And if the accusers had no agency over their actions, then how can they share in the guilt of these heinous deeds?

If Stalin was a totalitarian (meaning that he wielded total power), then we deprive the citizenry of the Soviet Union any agency. The fact is, the Soviet citizenry hosted Stalinism, or at least participated in it.

How could they be guilt-free from the atrocities of the Stalinist regime? To believe so would be an injustice to victims of famine who died in collectivization, and the victims silenced and exiled by the purge.

Well then what is Stalin’s dictatorship? If it’s not total power, then what is it? Stalinism was the true enemy of the people, not Stalin himself. Dictatorship is the control of information. It is the

manipulation of minds though coercion and deceit. Dictatorship is a belief, not a person. Insomuch as people use force, they are believers in dictatorship. Insomuch as people pollute the air with their own dishonesty, they are believers in dictatorship. It’s not Stalin you have to worry about, it’s the Stalinists.

The historiography reveals a great sense of belief in Stalinism amongst the people. Diaries reveal how a great deal of their authors were “progressives” who were repulsed by “backwards” conservatives.

Sons of kulaks (nebulous term for farmers who were deemed unprogressive) would join the State in the witch-hunt against their own kinsmen, so that they could fit in to the new social order by doing away with the old.

The citizenry constantly engaged with the state to settle personal problems, from marriage advice to bad blood between friends (these were all former functions of the Russian Orthodox Church). Stalinism was, in fact, a secular theocracy, full of ardent believers.

There are some lessons to be learned from understanding the nature of dictatorship. When you hear about a dictator on the news, don’t assume that his people are all plotting against him. Shockingly, the opposite is more likely to be true. Also, most professors and students at universities aren’t against the dictatorship of their nation either, they’re just rebels without a clue.

Most importantly, when your neighbours start charging each other with meaningless accusations, know that a purge is knocking at the door. And if you survive the witch-hunts, console yourself with the knowledge that the madness can’t last forever, not if we take a stand.

We must continually counter tyranny, with the greater assertion of our freedom.

 

The photo shows, “The Glorification of Stalin,” or “Stalin Among the Workers,” by Yuri Kugach, painted ca. 1950.

Aristotle On The Soul And The Body

The idea of man as a political animal, and the relationship of the soul as the first actuality of the body is fully explored by Aristotle in his Politics. In order to understand this entire construct, it is important to bear in mind the larger theme behind these two interrelated ideas is that of the “polis” or the political community.

The particular characteristic of the political community, or polis, is that it is the community that includes all other human communities, while itself being included by none.

Because of its all-inclusiveness, the polis includes or assimilates within its own end or purpose the end or purpose of every form of community. Therefore, by polis is meant an entirely different and radical relationship of the political community to human society.

However, it is important to see that whatever the unity attributed to society, it is not the kind of unity that gives its identity to the polis. For the unity of the polis is like that of the human organism, in that it is the result of a capacity for deliberate rational purpose.

It is at the very beginning of the Politics that Aristotle lays bare his definition of the “polis.” The elements of this definition may be described as follows. First, there is this syllogism: every polis is a community; every community aims at some good; therefore every polis aim at some good.

The minor premise is itself the conclusion of an implied syllogism: every community is constituted by common action; every action aims at some good; therefore every community aims at some good.

To understand the definition of the polis we must then grasp with utmost surety the meaning and the implications of this definition that has been laid bare, namely, that every action aims or intends some good.

This proposition applies, in Aristotle’s entire doctrine of the whole, to all motion in the universe. However, for our purposes, we shall only concentrate on that part of it which refers to voluntary human action, which is realm of the first actuality.

Aristotle tells us that every human agent acts voluntarily only as he intends something that, in so far as it is a motive for him to act, appears to him to be something good. It is this good quality that describes the soul. Consequently, all human action derives from desire for something that moves to action by its appearance of desirability or goodness.

Desire implies a sense of deficiency in the human agent; that which is desired appears to the agent as capable of overcoming the sense of deficiency. As such, it appears to him as good, and becomes thereby the motive for voluntary action.

Now Aristotle maintains that there is one thing which stands in relation to all the activities of human life, as the target stands to the activity of the archer. It is the mark toward which everything we do is ultimately directed, and only as we can see that mark (or as we are directed by those who do see it), can our lives be said to have direction.

If there were no absolutely final cause of human action, then everything would be desired for the sake of something else and there would be no term or end of human desire. Therefore, there must be a final attainable end to all human action.

It is this end result of (of a desired goal) that links us to Aristotle’s observation that man is a political animal. The complete and self-sufficient community, a community that embraces all other communities but is embraced by none, corresponds exactly to the idea of happiness: the human good that embraces and includes within itself as an element of its own definition all other goods, but is itself included in the definition of no other good.

Happiness is the term of all human action, and is implicit as the final term of every human action. The polis is the term of all human communities, and is the external, organized expression of the unity that governs or ought to govern the totality of human actions in all their diversity.

Propaganda: A Brief Guide

“Propaganda” is a term often heard and used, but also often misunderstood and therefore misused.

A systematic and detailed explanation is found in the work of the French philosopher Jacques Ellul, who precisely lays out the nature and even the variety of propaganda, in his book, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes.

First of all, Ellul gives a broad definition to propaganda, by referring to it as “an enterprise for perverting the significance of events”

In other words, facts when they are written down are rigorously interpreted according to a group’s (or government’s) ideas about its history and its future.

Then, Ellul proceeds to lay out a precise system of categories through which propaganda functions.

These groupings are four in number, namely, political and sociological propaganda, agitation and integration propaganda, vertical and horizontal propaganda, and finally, rational and irrational propaganda.

Political propaganda involves various methods of influence, used by a group (government), to achieve precise goals.

Ellul calls sociological propaganda “persuasion from within,” since it is always expressed by an individual who has thoroughly integrated the political and cultural values and ideologies of his society and who then uses such ideologies to make value judgements which he feels are entirely natural.

Agitation propaganda, as the term suggests, is aggressive and seeks immediate results, aiming to overthrow a government or the traditional order of things.

As such, it is always subversive and antagonistic, and is often used by groups or governments, since its focus is to break down “psychological barriers of habit, belief and judgement.”

Integration propaganda, on the other hand, is “patient,” seeking to stabilize social behavior, and its aim is to produce conformity.

Vertical propaganda flows from the top down, usually from a leader who seeks to influence all those below.

Ellul defines horizontal propaganda as emanating from “inside the group (and not from the top), where in principle, all individuals are equal and there is no leader.”

Rational propaganda is aimed at the intellect, and relies on facts, statistics and economic ideas – however, its aim is to produce irrationality in the individual.

On the opposite end is irrational propaganda which seeks to evoke emotional, fearful or passionate responses.

And it is here that Orwell’s observation makes perfect sense – that “all propaganda is lies, even when one is telling the truth.”

 

 

The photo shows, The Green Sofa, by Sir John Lavery, painted in 1893.

The Wealth Of The One-Percent?

We’ve all heard the claims…

The evil “one-percent” holds most of the world’s wealth. Therefore tax the rich harder. Inequality is on the rise.

But is any of this true?

Who are the “one-percent?” How much money do “they” really have? And should their money be taken from them?

And are agencies justified in putting out media headlines like, “The richest 1% now has as much wealth as the rest of the world combined, according to Oxfam.”

Or, “Half of world’s wealth now in hands of 1% of population.”

Such claims are intentionally deceptive, since they are designed to get you to think a certain way, so that you will support a particular agenda.

This is all designed to tame and make compliant the will of the people, a process in which the media plays a high-hand by no longer reporting facts but constructing narratives which will tell you how to think.

This brings up another problem entirely – whether the job of the media is to report events, or use them to mold your will.

The deception is in the details, in the way the figures are presented, with the assumption that most people will just read the headline, pick it up as a sound-bite, and keep repeating it, as if it’s true. This is known as “the power of the media.”

This “power” is only possible as long as the people allow it to influence them. But that’s another topic entirely.

So, let’s take an honest look at the actual numbers, without an agenda.

We shall use two major sources considered the most accurate, namely, BCG (The Boston Consulting Group) and the Hurun Report.

This what the latest numbers tell us…

There are 2,257 billionaires in the world. Their ranks have increased 3 percent over the past year – and 55 percent over the last 5 years. This is the total number of the “one-percent.”

All of these billionaires are newly minted, meaning that none of them inherited wealth; they created it by their efforts. In fact, two-thirds of all the billionaires come from humble backgrounds who carved out their own financial destinies.

The total worth of these billionaires is $8 Trillion. This is an increase of 16 percent from 2016, and is greater than the entire GDP of Germany and France combined.

This combined wealth is also greater than the GDP of any other country in the world, with the exception of the USA and China.

In the USA, there are 552 billionaires, which is fewer than China, which has 609 (it added 41 new ones to its ranks, in 2016, while the USA only added 17). Both countries have half the total number of billionaires on this planet.

The source of their wealth is not only stocks but also entrepreneurship. In other words, they create more wealth each year by putting their money to work in the various regions of the world, by way of industry and trade.

Now, let’s compare this $8 Trillion of the “one-percent,” with the wealth of nations – how much each region has. This is what find (these figures are for 2016):

North America’s wealth (mostly the USA, but also Canada) totalled, $55.7 Trillion.

Western Europe’s wealth totalled, $40.5 Trillion.

Eastern Europe’s wealth came in at $3.6 Trillion.

Japan’s wealth came in at $14.9 Trillion.

Latin America’s wealth was little better than Eastern Europe, totalling, $5.4 Trillion.

The wealth of the Middle East and Africa combined totalled, $8.1 Trillion.

Asia-Pacific (mostly China) came in at $38.4 Trillion.

Thus all told, the wealth of nations totalled, $166.5 Trillion. By 2021, this figure will increase to an estimated $223.1 Trillion.

How does this compare with the combined wealth of the “one-percent?”

Taking just the annual budget of the US, for 2017, the amount that will be spent to run the nation will be $3.65 Trillion, which exceeds the total revenue ($3.21 Trillion) by 2.5 percent.

So, theoretically, if the one-percent was stripped of its entire $8 Trillion, that amount would only be enough to run the US for little more than 2 years (2.19 years to be exact).

This quick comparison points to two things.

First, the railing against the “one-percent” is pure ideology rather than practical economics.

Second, the “one-percent” acquires (and acquired) its wealth by way of the wealth of nations – that is, by the entire economic engine fueled by the labor of people. The wealth of the one-percent and the wealth of nations is inseparably linked.

In other words, the one-percent do not earn their wealth separately from the way the remainder of the people earn their incomes. Their wealth feeds into that engine, which then produces more wealth (hence growth).

These billionaires are privileged only in the fact that they have gained wealth through industry. Two-thirds of them did not inherit it.

This is not to say that there isn’t disparity and exploitation, but these are separate issues from how we are to perceive the wealthy. For a bit of perspective, here is how the wealth of nations itself divides up.

In North America, 39 percent of the population has less than a million dollars. 37 percent has $1 to $20 million. 14 percent has $20 to $100 million. And 9 percent has more than $100 million.

In Asia-Pacific, 57 percent of the people have less than a million dollars. 28 percent have $1 to $20 million. 10 percent have $20 to $100 million. And 6 percent have more than a $100 million.

In Western Europe, 70 percent of the population has less than a million dollars. 19 percent has $1 to $20 million. 3 percent has $20 to $100 million. And 8 percent has more than $100 million.

In Japan, 77 percent of the population has less than a million dollars. 20 percent has $1 to $20 million. 2 percent has $20 to $100 million. And 1 percent has more than $100 million.

In the Middle East and Africa, 44 percent of the population has less than a million dollars. 30 percent has $1 to $20 million. 18 percent has $20 to $100 million. And 8 percent has more than $100 million.

In Latin America, 54 percent of the population has less than a million dollars. 26 percent has $1 to $20 million. 10 percent has $20 to $100 million. And 9 percent has more than $100 million.

In Eastern Europe, 48 percent of the population has less than a million dollars. 19 percent has $1 to $20 million. 14 percent has $20 to $100 million. And 19 percent has more than $100 million.

When these figures are calculated on a worldwide basis, this picture emerges:

55 percent of the world’s population has less than a million dollars. 28 percent has $1 to $20 million. 9 percent has $20 to $100 million. And 8 percent has more than $100 million.

In effect, 45 percent of the world’s population is very wealthy, while a little more than half (55 percent) ranges from impoverished to very comfortable.

This means that the one-percent is really the eight-percent – and their ranks are continually growing, as new wealth is created, which propels individuals into the higher echelons of financial well-being.

In other words, prosperity is increasing rather than decreasing throughout the world.

How is this possible? Very simply by the fact that the wealth of nations is always working to earn more, and this earning increases the overall prosperity of nations and the people in them.

So, for example, in North America, the bulk of the wealth ($55.7 Trillion) resides in equities and bonds (70 percent and 16 percent respectively). Only 14 percent is in cash and deposits.

This raises a very interesting point – that the monetary policies in place today actually do create wealth – and this wealth is spreading (though not as widely as we might want it to). But the fact that monetary policies actually create and sustain wealth is important to note.

And this raises the entire topic of “fiat money” which is often the straw-man of those who think that a return to a gold-standard is preferable to the way the economies of the world work right now. (Such “critics” fail to address the fact that the wealth of nations is actually creating a lot more wealth, which is being distributed to more and more people).

Indeed, the middle class is growing and increasing rather than dying (those that propagate gloom-and-doom scenarios, including most politicians, are ideologues rather than economic realists).

The fact that the vast amount of wealth created in the US depends upon “fiat money” means that the dollar unhinged from metal (gold) is robust and provides consistently good results.

Money is only a medium of exchange. It has no value outside of that. To bandy about terms like “fiat money” becomes meaningless when we regard money in this way. It is a method of exchange, and therefore anything can take on that role. In contemporary economies, the gold-less approach has provided the greatest means to greater wealth creation.

In fact, the claims of stripping the “one-percent” of their wealth is nothing than pointless (and reckless) Marxist rhetoric, which seeks to further social agendas by spreading false assumption that some robber-elite has taken all our money.

Wealth does not come from nothing. It is the result of wealth working with wealth to create more.

And since the middle class is growing rather than shrinking, people have far better lives than they did just thirty years ago.

The widely influential book by Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century successfully launched the entire narrative of the “one-percent.” But its assumptions and its conclusions are false and serve only to foment dissent (perhaps the book’s true goal).

Actual data tells us that people in North America are living longer, have better lives and larger homes than people forty years ago. That is a great economic accomplishment.

The figures also plainly show – that the wealth possessed by the billionaires is hardly enough to run any country in the world.

To strip the billionaires of their wealth also means effectively shutting down the entire engine of prosperity, which provides an income for the vast majority of people of this world.

To shut down it all down and symbolically take away the wealth from billionaires is wilful ignorance.

This also suggests that arguments about economic inequality are baseless, because taxation is partly redistributed as welfare. Of course, there is poverty, but that is not the same as income inequality.

Further, the billionaires, like everyone else, actually earn their money, by providing products and services that people need, and which are good for society.

Taking such economic realism further, we have to bear in mind that money (whether it belongs to billionaires or not) is either spent or saved. There is nothing else you can do with money.

If it is saved, it becomes the engine of investment, which in turn gets put into industry or services that then provide jobs. If money is spent, it increases the consuming of products (made by industry) and services. Again, this money creates jobs.

Thus, whether money is spent or saved it continues to fuel the engine of the wealth of nations, in which everyone participates, billionaire or not.

To simply repeat Marxist talking points about taking away money from the “rich,” while providing no viable alternative once this money is taken away, is nothing more than irresponsible bluster.

In fact, the economic failures of Marxism are monumental and succeed only in creating masters and slaves.

Just consider this – Marxism, or socialism, is the ultimate Ponzi scheme – it can only sustain itself by continually taking money from others. It is not built to actually create wealth, let alone distribute any wealth to anyone.

Thus, socialism does indeed succeed in making everyone equal – but everyone is equal only in their poverty. We have only to look to Venezuela, North Korea, Bolivia for yet more examples of the socialist utopia. And poverty must always end in social collapse.

Perhaps it might be far more worthwhile to critically examine the purveyors of political rhetoric who are only interested in destroying things, rather than building things and participating in a world that creates wealth enough for all.

The engine of worldwide prosperity is the free market. Governments and Marxist rhetoric need to get out of the people’s way.

 

The photo shows, “St. Eligius in His the Goldsmith,” by Petrus Christus, painted in 1449.

Diversity And Tyranny

Indeed, the tranquilizing of citizens is the most distinctive feature of the modern therapeutic state. It is the hallmark of our medicalized humanity. From birth to death, from school, work, prison, and play, we can expect to be drugged in order to preserve the dream of secularized happiness in a world unable to deliver its reality. (John O’Neill, Five Bodies. The Human Shape of Modern Society, 1985).

 

Much is made of diversity. It is the supposed happy future where there are no nations, no borders, no cultures, no families, no men, no women, and certainly no races. There will be just an amalgam of beings and machines, intent on consuming products and tending to mechanized libido.

The great motto of this Elysium can be readily contrived: “You can have whatever you want, as long as it’s what we want to give you.” The “we” is the operative pronoun.

Why do people so readily fall into political camps, or get herded into groups so they can behave as they ought, namely, as participants in mass hysteria?

Who benefits from all this? Individuals certainly do not. What is there to gain by spouting ready-made phrases and talking-points seamlessly disseminated by the slick machinery of “culture” and “news?”

Perhaps some steam may be let off – but what comes afterwards? Emptiness and depravity – both perfectly embodied in the current religion of choice in the West, namely, “Diversity.”

“Diversity” is a rather meaningless phrase, perhaps purposely contrived (by the “we”) to mean nothing at all. Consider the following. “Diversity” can be seen as a cat-o-nine-tails phrase with which the West is to be flogged into better virtue. But whose virtue?

The word itself descends through French from the Latin, diversus (“turned away in another direction”), and is related to the English “weird,” which once meant, “fate.”

In the early years of its life, “diverse” carried a negative connotation, and meant “to be perverse,” or “to be a contrarian.”

It was only in the late eighteenth-century that the idea of “difference” became prevalent, at which time “diversity” became part of political jargon. But here it specifically meant economic diversity, in that people belonging to different trades and economic strata could work together for the benefit of the state.

The idea of “diversity” as specifically meaning race and gender plurality is recent, taking wing in the 1990s, with the work of people like R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr., Liang Ho, Deborah Tannen, B.D. Tatum, and many others.

Through their effort, “diversity” is full-fledged cant of secular religiosity, and it is social engineering by our “betters,” the “we,” the ineluctable elite who are wiser than us, and therefore know what kind of future shall be good for us, and they will build it for us.

All we have to is spout acceptance (which they feed us through the culture-media machine). The State ueber alles! Long live the New World Order!

This Elysium will only be established in the West by the destruction of any and all of its cultural homogeneity. If anyone dares to point this out, he is deemed a regressive, and all are free to attach any and all labels that will enforce ostracisation.

It is always easier to silence, or even kill a man, when you can label him as anything other than a man.

But here lies the first great contradiction of our time. Racial and gender diversity demanded as “normal” in society can only be achieved by destroying diversity of thought, the diversity of ideas.

The greater “agenda” of diversity is really the curtailment of the majority. But only in the West. Non-western nations and cultures can be as monolithic as they want.

Those that call for “diversity” as morally right are putting forward a truth-claim which itself demands immorality. How? In three ways.

  • First, diversity destroys trust among people, so there is only the group that can validate life. People become habituated to regarding those outside the group with mistrust and even hatred.
  • Second, diversity dissolves individuality and replaces it with compliance, because it is far safer, and therefore better, to do the will of the group than to strike out on your own. Even when there is individualized action, that action can only further the aims and purposes of the group, so that the individual becomes an agent of the group in the world.
  • Third, diversity is immoral because it demands the denial of humanity of those outside the group. Here the culture-media machine plays its crucial role of playing one group against another, so that distrust, or anger keeps simmering, and people never really feel at home with those outside the group.

Never in human history has there been such intense ghettoization of humanity. What parameters of discussion are possibly left when the only vocabulary used pertains to genes and DNA?

We have now become a culture that vaunts and demands silent obedience and the ceaseless repetition of state-manufactured dogma.

This is not merely the establishment of institutionalized oppression, for that has already happened. Rather, we have now “progressed” to the minutiae of tyranny, in that the will of the state now passes for tolerance.

In the words of John Kenneth Galbraith, “Production only fills a void that it has itself created.”

Thus, “diversity” is the true alienation of all humanity, for people only have meaning when they belong to a group. Outside the group an individual is atomized, lonely, and incomplete – and all this only sends him scurrying back into the comforting folds of the group.

There is no individuality. There is only group participation, because only the group can bestow meaning.

Herein lies the second contradiction of our age. Western society which, deems itself progressive and hyper-modern, now honors and promotes the most primitive system of human interaction – one based solely on racial identity (which is a twentieth-century invention).

The teaching of this system is the bread-and-butter of universities, and its promotion is in the hands of the culture-media industry.

The West loves itself so much that it now engages in self-cannibalism that it might demonstrate to itself that it has indeed reached the gold-standard of selfless love.

When the world is stripped of all meaning, when only consumerism defines the public sphere, when nihilism has emptied the heart of all hope, what is there left to do but eat yourself, by all metaphors possible.

Grim is life when the world is inhabited by groups who consume as a herd, produce as a herd, hate as a herd, and kill as a herd. Civilization is deftly trodden under-hoof.

Why must this be so? Perhaps civilization also undergoes entropy, whereby energy dissipates over time – hot things cool down, vapor disappears, movement becomes stillness, and civilization falls apart into chaos.

It was Plato who first pointed out this pattern in his explanation of human beings and society.

For him, the highest “type” of man is kingly or aristocratic (not a blueblood, but one whose life is governed by reason), whose soul is guided by the Good, which is infinite truth, a truth which cannot be measured by finite standards.

The greatest fruit of the Good is justice, which is the disciplined ordering of the self and the soul, just as a government is only just when it knows that it is ruled by the Good.

Cicero summarized this in the now-famous phrase, Summum autem bonum si ignoratur, vivendi rationem ignorari necesse est (“If one is ignorant of one’s own Highest Good, one is by necessity ignorant of living by way of reason”).

When a kingly man falls apart, he does so in stages, and devolves into the timocratic man, who loses sight of the Good and begins to concern himself with ambition.

This results in the Good being driven out from the soul and being replaced by the thirst for power and honor, both of which are far lesser virtues than the Good.

Likewise, in government, kingship degenerates into timocracy, where politicians are driven by the pursuit of power rather than the pursuit of the Good.

In time, ambition is displaced by the desire for wealth, since both honor and power can be bought. In other words, ambition leads to greed, and money is made king.

In politics, timocracy gives way to oligarchy, since only rich men can afford to get into office. As Plato points out when wealth and virtue are placed in the scale, it is always virtue that sinks down as wealth rises.

The oligarchic man loves only money and commerce and chooses politicians that are wealthy; the poor have no voice in the system.

Thus begins the terrible tragedy of history – people begin to live in two worlds, one for the rich and one for the poor, both inhabiting the same earth, and both forever conspiring against each other.

At this stage of mutual distrust and hatred, oligarchy leads to democracy, where each man can do what he thinks is right. Plato describes democracy as a bazaar, where anyone can go and pick and choose what he likes and live accordingly.

Democracy by necessity is filled with variety and diversity and it hands out equality to both the equal and the unequal (as Plato wisely points out).

How can the unequal become equal in democracy? That is the great paradox of the West, and the very logic of all the calls for “diversity,” for the unequal are those ho have no interest in the Good; they only want privilege and power. How can democracy possibly tend to the diversity of the Good-less human soul?

The democratic man is a hedonist, who does what his pleasures demand. All pleasures are equal in his sight. One day he is a glutton, another day he is trying to get thin, another day he is pursuing some business venture, then he is off becoming a musician. Democracy also cannot manage the diversity of pleasures.

Such is freedom and happiness for the democratic man. Or, as Plato observes, there is liberty, equality and fraternity enough in him.

Because the democratic man knows nothing about law and order, which is discipline, and he is driven only by his appetites, it is not long before he descends into the last stage of human degradation – he becomes a tyrant.

Correspondingly, democracy becomes tyranny, because in the bazaar of freedoms you can pick-and-choose whatever suits your fancy. But the problem with appetite is that it always comes back.

The freedom to satisfy a ceaseless array of appetites is the most vicious form of slavery, because life has no meaning outside the satisfaction of appetites. In this way, tyranny begins.

Such drive for satisfaction creates the professional politician, who derives his livelihood from the government. Such men are like drones, who have learned to live off the labor of others.

Then, there is another class of men, the rich businessmen, who make it their purpose to feed the political drones that their wealth may increase at every level.

There is a third class of men in a democracy, who are not wealthy and who are not politicians. They wield a lot of power, since they are the majority, but they remain powerless, because they must go and earn a living. Such men look for a leader who shall speak on their behalf and whom they then put into power.

This leader is the tyrant, who knows how to wield power effectively – by taking money from the rich and using it to buy support and followers. He knows how to lie well, flatter sweetly, and make good-sounding but empty promises. The tyrant has no interest in the community, just in his own aggrandisement by way of wealth.

Likewise, the tyrannical man is enslaved to his bestial qualities; all those passions and lusts dominate his life. Therefore, this man is the most miserable because he is the most driven.

“Diversity” is the product of tyranny because it appeals to the bestial, instinctive aspects of human beings, namely, their tribal identity. There is no interest in building the goodness of the soul, or solidifying the foundations of reason, let alone advancing civilization.

Instead, diversity can only function when it succeeds in stirring up passions and lusts – and the most effective method is through the primitive “us-against-them” paradigm, where neither reason nor the Good are needed.

If life is nothing more than satisfying the need  to belong, the world itself must fall apart. And the result is recorded in the words of H.G. Wells:

“He saw it all as a joyless indulgence, as a confusion of playthings and undisciplined desires, as a succession of days that began amiably and weakly, and became steadily more crowded with ignoble and trivial occupations, that had sunken now to indignity and uncleanness….he saw life as…desolate, full of rubbish….And then suddenly he reached out his arms in the darkness and prayed aloud to the silences, ‘Oh, God! Give me back my visions! Give me back my visions!'”

 

The photo shows, ” Lamartine, in Front of the Town Hall of Paris. Rejects the Red Flag on 25 February 1848,” by Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux.