Agenda 2030: The Next Crisis in the West

Supposedly, “Goal 8” of the 2030 Agenda aims to combat inequality and promote sustained economic growth. The reference to this sustainable growth quickly ties in with the dogmas of the green and gender agenda.

Social and Inclusive Growth

Growth must be inclusive, i.e., positive discrimination of women (and LGTB collectives and the alphabet crew that follows) must preside over economic policy, because “Goal 5” states as a goal: “Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.” In Spain, the new Equality Plan, devised by Irene Montero and her troupe, will receive 20,319 million euros from the budget, which obviously comes out of the pockets of the middle classes. Despite the rhetorical boasts of more taxes for the rich, the harsh reality is that the largest body of taxpayers belongs to the middle class, which, according to data relating to the last decade, contributed 54.4% of the State’s total income. The rich, those who have more than 150,000 euros of declared income per year, are only 0.24% of the population, and it is the companies, together with the middle class, who bear the tax burden on which public spending is based.

Spain is the country that has increased its tax burden the most during 2020. Tax reforms and the impact of the coronavirus crisis have increased the indicator by 1.9%. We now have a tax burden of 36.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), more than three points above the average of the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which remains at 33.5%. This increase in the tax burden is closely linked to the increase in public spending, but does not translate into a substantial improvement in public services. The ideological spending on gender policies sponsored by Agenda 2030 means the waste of 10% of tax revenue. A 10% that impoverishes the middle classes and reduces the competitiveness of Spanish companies.

The trompe l’oeil of feminism 2030, masks the harsh reality that today an ordinary household needs two salaries to be part of the middle class, while in the past it was enough with only one salary. This is the real wage gap. To sustain this set-up that puts capitalist production before the family, and prevents each household from having a comfortable and stable source of income, under the label of inclusive policies, abortion, low birth rates and alternative families are encouraged; which, as in Sweden, lead to growing old in utter loneliness. And these policies, as the communist Pasolini sourly criticized in his day, are the ones defended by the good little boys of the new left.

Sustainable Climate Development

Worse still are the climate policies that Agenda 2030 sponsors in its Goal 13. The apocalyptic discourse of the UN aims to intimidate the population into accepting its global governance policies without complaint: “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and its adverse impacts undermine the ability of all countries to achieve sustainable development… The survival of many societies, and of the biological support systems of the planet, is at risk.”

The UN has dared to use a hysterical teenager like Greta Thunberg to spread its climate sophistry: “We need drastic and immediate annual cuts in emissions as the world has never seen before… People in power can continue to live in their bubble full of fantasies, such as eternal growth.” The climate ideology serves to justify anything, as we have seen with the intervention of Gustavo Petro before the UN General Assembly this September: “Cocaine causes minimal deaths and coal and oil can extinguish humanity.” This is not the extravagance of an ultra-left-wing Ibero-American leader, the former member of the terrorist group Movimiento 19 de Abril, is merely endorsing the postulates of the UN, which, through its Secretary General António Guterres, warns us: “Either we stop our addiction to fossils or it will stop us. Stop brutalizing biodiversity, stop committing suicide with carbon, stop treating nature like a toilet.”

Well, under this umbrella of nonsense, a decarbonization policy has been imposed throughout Europe that has led us to the current energy disaster.

To begin with, there is no scientific consensus on the causes and consequences of climate change. In contrast to the IPCC, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which points to humans and their economic activity as directly responsible for climate change, there is another platform of scientists (ICSC, the International Climate Science Coalition) that denies that there is any empirical evidence to prove this hypothesis. And if there is no consensus on the causes, there is even less consensus on the consequences. The IPCC itself has changed its forecasts over the last few years. The truth is that predicting what the climate variation will be in 50 years and its effects on life on Earth is more of a guessing exercise than a scientific certainty, no matter how much the UN, large corporations and mass media sell the opposite to us.

What is undisputed is that the very expensive economic and environmental measures aimed at limiting CO2 emissions in Europe are absurd. The European Union as a whole emits 2,724 million tons of CO2 per year, while China emits 10,065 million tons, India 2,654 million tons and Russia 1,711 million tons. None of these three countries will sacrifice their economies to reduce their emissions. So, we Europeans are, in colloquial parlance, the hangers-on in this whole global warming racket. Reaching 2050 with an emissions cut of around 85 or 95% would cost us Europeans as a whole some 9,699 euros of annual per capita income. Naturally, the distribution of this drop in living standards would not affect everyone equally. Once again, the middle class would be the hardest hit.

It is clear that rising energy costs are putting many SMEs on the brink of being unable to maintain their businesses. But far from giving priority to the real crisis that we are suffering today, (last August 22nd, the market price of natural gas traded on the German THE (Trading Hub Europe) was quoted 1000% higher than a year ago)—the UN keeps insisting on the Race to Zero campaign to eliminate fossil fuels, justifying these measures in the supposed climate crisis of tomorrow. Ursula von der Leyen has just announced that the European Union will not rectify the mistake and will remain stubborn in following the goals of the Agenda 2030, because what we must do is “strive to accelerate the transition away from all imported fuels and develop self-sufficient green technology systems.” It matters little that the gas supply cut-off due to the sanctions imposed on Russia has put the truth on the table and shown that the technological development of renewable energies is still far from being able to produce cheap and sufficient energy to cover all the needs of homes and businesses.

We are not going to analyze the report of the Rand Corporation, the most powerful think tank in the United States, on the double purpose of harming Russia and the Europeans themselves with the economic sanctions imposed by the European Union as a result of the conflict with Ukraine. What is clear is that even the dimmest person is capable of understanding that when the cost of energy skyrockets due to its high cost, producing more at the cheapest possible price helps to reduce this price increase. But the recipe that the European Union is trying to give us is not to recover coal energy production due to the extraordinary circumstances we are going through (it is true that in Spain we could never do so because “smart” Sánchez has blown up the thermal power plants), or at least to give priority to nuclear energy with the same emphasis as renewable energies, rather than collecting “more than 140,000 million euros” in extra funds for governments to pass on to consumers with financial problems. In Germany, however, they have had to put up 8 billion euros to rescue the energy company Uniper. That is to say, the European Union’s stubborn stance on energy matters means higher tariffs for consumers and more taxes, which, of course, will end up being paid by the usual people, the middle classes and SMEs. Nor does it seem very adventurous to say that the famous ecological transition of Agenda 2030 has driven an energy policy that can only be described as a “real plague” for Europe.

Economic Degrowth

In view of the situation that exposes the scam of the green transition, which despite the fact that between 2009 and 2019, as recognized by the UN itself, has invested a whopping 2.6 trillion dollars in renewable energies, without having had the slightest capacity to alleviate the current energy crisis, a new doctrine is emerging to defraud public opinion and advance in the establishment of the new world governance.

Economic growth is incompatible with the already excessive consumption of resources, energy and waste generation, which especially in the higher income countries, i.e., in the West, is causing the problems of ecological unsustainability. This is the new movement to justify the impoverishment of Western societies that is causing the climate policy of Agenda 2030. In another turn of the screw, every day more and more voices are heard from the “progressives” in favor of what is already known as “post-growth,” the theory that tells us that the world must abandon the idea that economies must continue to grow, because growth in itself is harmful.

This theory uses two arguments to convince us that being poorer will make us happier. “You will own and you will be happy,” the Davos Forum announced at its annual meeting in 2020. Of course, as you can well imagine, those who preach this have no intention of getting poorer or seeing their standard of living decrease. As with the communists when it comes to distribution, it is the others who must decrease or have nothing to be happy.

The First Argument is Ecological

Unlimited economic growth is responsible for the planet becoming uninhabitable. “Resource depletion and pollution are starting to set limits, and we need to talk about it,” announced Richard Heinberg, American ecologist and university professor (how could we not). “Supplies are running out, and even if we didn’t have to address the problem of war, it would still happen.” Again, the apocalyptic threat. It is not new; since the 18th century, several variants and versions of Malthusianism have been telling us that the earth’s resources will not be enough to support the growing population. In the 1970s, using Hubbert’s peak theory, we were told that oil reserves would be exhausted by the beginning of the 21st century. Today, when that future has arrived, what is exhausting is the drumbeat to stop using fossil fuels.

Now it turns out that what is incompatible is living “within environmental limits” and maintaining the welfare state of advanced societies. The recipe of the ideologues of degrowth is that the richest countries should apply the Goals of the Agenda 2030 to the hilt and collect more taxes to invest in a greener economy, move forward without ley-up in the energy transition to stop using oil and coal, end carbon emissions and embark on a social engineering operation to change the “chip” of an excessively consumerist population to convince them that impoverishment is necessary to be happy. “Decrease to survive,” because in order to keep our economies growing we would be depleting resources and destroying nature.

Of course, it is a lie that there is a risk of depletion of our resource reserves. There are raw materials, energy sources and crops, which together with technological advances, are enough to keep humanity growing. The crisis we are experiencing, the energy shortages we are suffering, the inflation we are experiencing, have political causes, not eco-planetary ones. Nor is it true that economic growth is the enemy of the environment. It is precisely in those advanced economies of the West where there is more respect for the environment and more measures for the care of nature. The West is blamed, but if we look at the list of the 10 most polluting countries in the world, China appears as the most prominent, followed far behind by the United States, India and Russia. Among these 10 countries, only one European country appears, Germany, in seventh position.

The reality is that economic growth encourages concern for the environment; and, thanks to this growth, advanced societies are increasingly demanding environmentally friendly policies from their leaders. The fact that Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mongolia and Afghanistan are among the most polluted countries in the world indicates that in developing countries, where economic growth is in deficit, there is no such concern for the environment. We are certainly not going to hide the fact that the extraction of raw materials in the third world to feed the growth of the most advanced economies leaves much to be desired in terms of labor rights and care for the environment, but the solution does not lie in the degrowth of advanced societies, but in the growth of backward societies, until a strong middle class is established in them, which, as has happened in the West, demands and promotes policies of stability, which first achieve social improvements and then restore and care for the environment in their production processes.

It is not precisely the same people who have largely caused the current energy crisis by their obsessive fight against carbon emissions, who should now be giving lessons, which, in the end, are nothing more than a flight forward in their hasty and irresponsible green energy transition policies.

The Second Argument is Social

The consumerism on which the Western growth model is based alienates the individual and exacerbates inequalities. The increase in economic wealth would not in itself guarantee an improvement in social objectives, a categorically false assertion that is often found among post-Marxist authors. The generation of wealth results in a higher standard of living for all social strata, as is shown by the per capita income figure, which has increased tenfold between 1750 and 2000. However, inequalities have also decreased, since if we look at the Gini index, which calculates the distribution of income among the entire population and ranges from zero (perfect equality of income between individuals) to one hundred (maximum inequality, in which all income is held by one individual), it has fallen by eight points worldwide. This is clearly not a spectacular advance; inequalities continue to be particularly glaring in the Third World; but also throughout the West and in many emerging countries, the decline is evident. Moreover, the poverty rate in the world has fallen by 80% from 1970 to the present day. No one will deny here that large capitalist corporations benefit from growth, ostensibly increasing their bottom line; but no one with a minimum of intellectual honesty can deny that it contributes significantly to the enlargement of the middle classes, progressively incorporating the poorest into their ranks. Authentic sustainable growth must guarantee this social mobility and promote economic, fiscal and labor policies that seek to expand the middle classes.

From the Great Reset to the Great Impoverishment

Maslow’s famous Pyramid theory defines a hierarchy of human needs and argues that as people satisfy their most basic needs, they develop higher needs and desires. In short, when growth is generated, when more wealth is made available to people and their lower subsistence needs are met, social progress is driven. On the contrary, degrowth is a regressive force that prevents the development of the individual and the satisfaction of his higher needs, pushing him to focus on satisfying his most basic needs.

This is the Great Reset they have in store for us. The pillar of prosperity in Western societies is the middle class. Its growth stagnated in Europe in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis; and the pandemic coupled with the current inflationary crisis is reducing it by leaps and bounds. Middle-class households’ consumer spending, especially on energy, has risen much faster than their incomes. At the same time, their taxes and social contributions, far from decreasing, are increasing every day, because the policies of Agenda 2030 do not loosen spending, especially in the green transition, and demand more resources in social aid to cover the enormous damage they are causing to the lower classes.

The supporters of degrowth are in luck—the purchasing power of the Western middle classes, according to various economic analysts, will decrease by 25% due to the consequences of the pandemic, inflation and the energy crisis. It will be this reduction in demand that will succeed in curbing inflation over the next few years. The result will be a society with more inequality and less middle class—the globalist elites will achieve their desired degrowth and the dependence of large masses of population on the State. A State disconnected from the national community and dominated by large capitalist corporations and a socialist-style bureaucracy. In addition, technological advances will soon make possible a social control that Orwell or Huxley only vaguely dared imagine.

The Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030 has just launched an institutional publicity campaign for Agenda 2030 under the slogan “Enough dystopias. Let’s re-imagine a better future.” That better future, thanks to the elimination of the middle classes with their critical spirit, their initiative and their freedom, will not only be a mass society, saturated with media messages that build an artificial narrative from above, as Jean Baudrillard denounced, but thanks to the virtual reality that will soon reach us, it will allow a daily life disconnected from the true reality, which will erase any threat of dissidence. A better future is certainly on the horizon… for the elites who aspire to world governance.


Mateo Requesens is a judge in Spain. [This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

The Agenda of the COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt

The EU is pursuing one of the most radical climate change policies of the major CO2 emitters, having committed itself to reducing its net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and to eliminating such emission by 2050. To achieve this, the EU, unlike China, India or Russia, is willing to sacrifice its economy, its industry and its middle classes to advance climate ideology. Reaching zero emissions by 2050 would require a decrease of 1.4 GtCO2 each year, comparable to the fall observed in 2020 emissions because of COVID-19, to achieve which would imply no more and no less than the paralysis of all Western economies.

At this COP27 climate summit, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, once again resorted to his usual apocalyptic discourse to say that “we are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.” With the gall of the best trickster at the carnival, Guterres said that “to avoid that terrible fate, all G-20 countries must accelerate their transition now, in this decade.” The same time span, a decade, in which the apostles of the climate religion went from talking about a new Ice Age to a dangerous warming of the planet, between the 1970s and 1980s.

Unmoved by the serious energy emergency we are experiencing, those attending COP27 did not spend a minute reflecting on the need for abundant and cheap energy to maintain the welfare states in developed countries and to promote economic progress in developing countries. Renewable energies today are neither the cheapest nor do they produce enough to supply the demand of homes and industry. What is urgent today is not to save the planet from a climate change whose origins and consequences are unknown. What is really urgent is to solve general inflation and, in particular, food and energy price rises to avoid a global recession.

Regardless, COP27 went ahead with what is undoubtedly the biggest scam in the history of mankind, declaring an emergency for something that is hardly changing our way of life, nor does it really affect our immediate future. The farce of the climate conference in Egypt has given birth to a pact to create a “loss and damage” fund, to repair the worst effects of extreme weather on the most vulnerable nations, spreading the deception that hurricanes, floods and other catastrophes that have always been recurrent throughout history are the result of man-made climate change.

To refute this fallacy that they make us swallow like fools, remember that the year 2021 was the year with the lowest number of hurricanes worldwide since 1980. However, the stupidity that these catastrophes are the planet’s response to our aggressions against the environment continues to circulate. It doesn’t matter that the prophecies of the climate religion have been unfulfilled for 30 years.

The needs and well-being of Europeans do not matter; they are not a priority, as announced by the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak: “As there are other priorities, we think that the climate can wait, but it can’t. The climate emergency is already here. The climate urgency is already here. We don’t have to wait for tomorrow.” We Europeans are guilty. That’s why we must pay the poorest countries for the damage caused by weather phenomena that climate change caused that is turned caused by our industries. Macron has already said that “we have to stand up and support the poorest countries with 100 billion dollars to fight against the climate crisis.”

The green policies promoted by the globalist elites through indirect carbon taxes and subsidies to things “eco,” to renewable energies and other ecological prohibitions and obstacles, are becoming another way of plundering the wealth of the Western middle classes. But if the climate change business has reached huge proportions in the developed world at the expense of consumers, in the third world it condemns thousands of people to remain in poverty and live a miserable life. When the IMF refuses to provide funds for coal-fired power plants in Africa or forbids the use of synthetic fertilizers in Sri Lanka, the poorest lose access to cheap energy and affordable food production.

After the pandemic, we have seen how science is easily manipulated and its empirical objectivity is easily corrupted to benefit the political and economic elites. When a hypothesis is elaborated by a group of researchers that can serve the purposes of these elites, the doors are opened to the financing of more studies in that direction, more publications, more papers in congresses, and in the end a semblance of scientific consensus. It is more profitable for any university department to focus its studies on the influence of climate change in a given area, than to explore other alternatives. If there is also the backing of supranational organizations and governments, the pressure becomes irresistible. Naturally, the mass media takes it upon itself to reaffirm the official doctrine and ostracize its detractors, while sowing alarm among the population.

The climate-belief apologists serve a more ambitious social engineering strategy, which aims to destroy the social, economic and political model in which we live, in order to replace it with the objectives that, under the label of Agenda 2030, are pursued by the globalist elites. They have given birth to hysterical teenagers like Greta Thunberg, who are followed as a model by brainless ecological activists, such as those who have dedicated themselves in recent weeks to attacking works of art in museums. But above all, they serve the goal of destroying the West as it had been configured up until the end of the Cold War.

The sovereignty of nations has already been considerably reduced with the prominence of supranational organizations and the phenomenon of globalization, which no longer makes it possible to control national financial and economic flows in an interconnected world market. This allowed P. Bobbitt to speak of what he called the “market-State,” referring to a structure whose purpose consists exclusively in its economic functionality. But it is clear that with Agenda 2030, it is being transformed into something different, into another type of State, in which the protagonism of the national community has been replaced by the protagonism of the state bureaucracy—large corporations and globalist elites grouped around conferences, such as the one held in Egypt: the perfect breeding ground for the formation of the new world order.


Mateo Requesens is a judge in Spain. [This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].


Sunflowers with Tomato

The Climate religion already has its iconoclasts. Two planetary suffragettes attacked van Gogh’s Sunflowers, a painting at which they threw a Warholian can of tomato soup to the cry of “Why do you protect art and not the planet?” In this time of permanent performance, the two maenads of the Earth Goddess applied the only principle of their theology—ago quia ineptum est [I do what is stupid]—against a poor canvas whose relationship with the climatic apocalypse is more than doubtful. Given that, according to the most serious scientific hypotheses, it is the cows’ windy breath that is to blame for the agony of our atmosphere, wouldn’t it have been more purposeful, more dignified, more coherent to throw the red lump on some Paulus Potter, for example?

The very purpose of the action does not seem to have been the subject of long meditations, for neither is it very comprehensible that the preservation of art and the preservation of the planet are mutually exclusive ends. Burning five-pound bills at the door of the Bank of England or “tomatoing” Royal Dutch Shell executives, for example, would have had a greater cause-effect relationship, always within that complex system of sympathetic magic that is Woke activism. What does not seem very logical or symbolic is to attack in effigy some defenseless sunflowers, innocent children of Mother Earth. But coherence, logic, sensible analysis of the real and the adequacy of responses to disturbing facts are anathema to Woke subjectivity, macho qualities that surely offend the empowered Ojancanas of the climatic Moloch.

The action of these damsels is the necessary consequence of the kind of education given in Western schools, where instruction has long since become indoctrination, merit anathema, and seriousness and intellectual rigor crimes. Anyone who has had the dubious honor of contemplating the achievements of modern pedagogy knows that performance has become a daily liturgy, a curricular coven, a teaching jalogüín (Halloween) in all educational institutions, where earlier teachers, books, experience and reason explained the sciences and the arts to future professionals, scientists, humanists and technicians. But as now the institutes, lyceums and academies have as a fundamental purpose that the young people explore their trusses and not their brains, the stimuli of the active life are no longer in front of the weak but necessary barrier of the spirit, of the contemplative life, of the intellectual vocation. Therefore, what the iconoclasts of the National Gallery carried out was the application to external reality of what has been common practice in academic centers for decades: Dadaism.

The tomato wallops at van Gogh are the culmination of four decades of anti-elitist, anti-hierarchical, anti-class, anti-racist, anti-macho, avant-garde, inclusive, feminist, resilient, non-binary, trans-speciesist and other long etcetera of antis and -ists that the reader may wish to add. Anything but classical, humanist and scientific.

I have no doubt that these prophets of nihilism have far surpassed the great artist of our time, the woman who best represents the aspirations and achievements of contemporary man (with apologies): Marina Abramovic, who will have to invent something to surpass the two bacchantes of London. Only one superior sacrilege comes to mind: throwing tomato, or pineapple juice, or Coca-Cola or sulfuric acid on some “masterpiece” of Frida Kahlo, the best artist in history, eclipsed until our times by a phallocratic conspiracy of silence. It is true that van Gogh was a sort of hirsute, red-haired, disoriented and suicidal Frida, but with a better technique (which, on the other hand, was not very difficult, either). I think, moreover, that the tomato streaks should remain on the painting, as a sample of what we could call “Hysteric Art.” Worse things have been seen in many exhibitions and have been priced at gold-premium. The National Gallery must pay fair market value for their work to the two girls, since their “action painting,” in addition, has served to make their museum become a trending topic. And isn’t that the chief end of art?

What can bring a museum closer to the people than the opportunity to throw a tomato at the Mona Lisa? Wasn’t that what Duchamp, Jarry and Picabia advocated? Is there anything more interactive and inclusive, more accessible to everyone? Besides, the Planet will be grateful.

If there is one good thing about Woke “education” is that the most valued artists are Rothko, Pollock and Mondrian, not the devalued butches of Titian, Rubens or Rembrandt. Therefore, future tomatinas will not get to (in theory) the representatives of European pseudo art—Boucher, Renoir or Ingres who objectified the female body and who will soon be banished from museums for offending genderist curators as much as they used to offend the confessors of queens. It will be Juan Gris, Miró, Tàpies and other geniuses of our era who will receive the public tribute of the tomato-pelting. Besides, a crimson streak in their works will not be too noticeable, either: it will actually make them more material, more organic—authentic art of the masses, genuine aesthetics of democracy.


Sertorio lives, writes and thinks in Spain. this review comes through the kind courtesy of El Manifesto.

In the Footsteps of Pascal

Pierre Manent has published a new book, entitled Pascal et la proposition chrétienne (Pascal and the Christian Proposition). It is a rich and dense work which seems to us to be of the utmost importance. It is nevertheless a demanding work, and I fear that many of our contemporaries will not be able to penetrate it, so much has Christianity in particular and the question of God in general have become foreign to their preoccupations and even to their culture.

It is on this theme that Pierre Manent’s reflection opens. The doubt that assails Europeans, the self-hatred that they often manifest, the forgetfulness and even the rejection of their history, stem from the fact that “Europeans do not know what to think or what to do with Christianity. They have lost the intelligence and the use of it. They no longer want to hear about it” (p. 7). We no longer perceive the new radicality of Christianity, nor do we measure the change brought about, after the Reformation and the Wars of Religion, by the progressive implementation of the “sovereign State” which, in the name of a supposed philosophical and religious “neutrality,” has ended up monopolizing all authority, including the spiritual authority of “values”—”There is no law above that of the Republic”—so much so that the power of the Sovereign State has become limitless.

A Religion Like No Other

Now, it was in the middle of the 17th century that the sovereign State was being fashioned, and it is in this unprecedented context that Pascal, in an unfortunately fragmentary and unfinished way, reflected afresh on the “Christian proposition,” to use Pierre Manent’s expression, namely that of the Christian faith, of the very possibility of the Christian faith. Because of this reflection, Pascal is particularly adapted to our time, a precious guide, but a guide difficult to follow without a sure master to lead us. This is what Pierre Manent does in a pedagogical and luminous way, by developing for us the way Pascal envisages this “Christian proposition.”

We know that Pascal was very engaged in the quarrel between grace and freedom and that he chastised the Jesuits for advocating a more accommodating religion so as not to see so many lukewarm souls, indifferent to the Gospel, drift away from the Church—the parallel with a certain current situation will not escape anyone! Yet, Pascal pleads, Christianity is not a religion among others. He does not justify it by the authority of the Church or of Scripture, but by the unique fact that it alone “adequately accounts for the principal ‘contrariety’ of the human condition, divided between greatness and misery” (p. 361)—it alone also dares to go against some of the most universal springs of human nature, such as love of enemies or forgiveness of offenses. The dogma of original sin accounts for this “contrariety”: “Certainly nothing strikes us more harshly than this doctrine [of original sin], and yet without this mystery, the most incomprehensible of all, we are incomprehensible to ourselves. The knot of our condition takes its twists, and turns in this abyss. So that man is more inconceivable without this mystery than this mystery is inconceivable to man” (Pensées, 122, quoted on p. 239-240).

The Enlightened Choice of the Heart

Pascal is not a theologian who seeks to rationally prove the existence of God. Faith does not need proofs; these are addressed to reason but it is not there that faith is decided: it is a gift of God who puts it in the heart of man. Pascal thus seeks to address the will—the famous “wager”—more than the intelligence, an approach which, nevertheless, is in no way opposed to reason: “The prophecies, the very miracles and the proofs of our Religion are not of such a nature that one can say that they are absolutely convincing, but they are also of such a nature that one cannot say that it is to be without reason to believe them” (Pensées, fr. 682, quoted p. 316). And Pierre Manent adds: “Nothing is more foreign to Pascal than the ‘leap of faith.’ He gives us rather a course of reason which leads us to a choice of the heart, of the knowing heart” (p. 361), because it is not a blind choice, but a reflected and enlightened one.

And yet, Pascal points out, few seem to make this choice: “The most significant fact is not the authority acquired by Christianity but, on the contrary, the theoretical or practical atheism of the immense majority of human beings, Christians included” (p. 365). Today even more than in Pascal’s time, the idea that the only great matter of life is the choice of God with what it implies for the salvation of the soul or its eternal loss does not interest many people. This brings us back to the problem of God’s grace being offered to all, and human freedom having that power to refuse it. “There is enough light for those who only wish to see, and enough darkness for those who have a contrary disposition” (Pensées, 139, quoted on p. 367).

To make the believer and the non-believer “live together” is not easy: the solution of modernity has been to push religion to the margins of public life. Pascal does not provide a political solution; but he does provide us with a demanding path, and one that is adapted to our time of incredulity: “And all we need to know is that we are miserable, corrupt, separated from God, but redeemed by Jesus Christ; and this is what we have admirable proof of on earth” (Pensées, fr. 402, quoted on p. 406).


Christophe Geffroy publishes the journal La Nef, through whose kind courtesy we are publishing this article.


Featured: “Blaise Pascal” portrait. Unknown artist, ca. 17th century.

Stopping Murderers

There has been a spate of even more unusually horrendous mass murders in recent days, topped off by the monstrousness that occurred in Uvalde, Texas to school children and teachers. But pretty much every weekend there are reports from Chicago, Baltimore, New Orleans and other cities run by Democrats of shootings, sometimes stretching into the dozens.

What is going on here, and, more important, how can this be stopped, or, at least, the incidence of this phenomenon radically reduced?

One obvious point is to vote out the “progressive” wokesters in the next election. They have been undermining the morale of the police, trying to deprive them of financial resources by “defunding” them, turning prisoners loose, downgrading felonies to misdemeanors, etc. Before these politicians seized the city reins, there were fewer such murderous outbursts.

Another is to harden the targets. There should be one and only one entrance to a school, and there ought to be an awake guard posted right there. Arming teachers and staff would also go a long way in the direction of dissuading criminals from entry. Left wing politicians oppose these safety measures, but we can pretty much ignore their hypocritical criticisms: they surround themselves with armed guards.

If drugs were legalized, all of them without exception, there would be fewer murders. We have as evidence for this contention the example of booze. Under prohibition, gangs shot each other over turf. Does this now occur at liquor stores? Of course not.

Then there is the break up of the American family, or, worse, its failure to form in the first place. This is due to our welfare system. We had this program in effect for many years, with little ill effect on the family, but Lyndon Baines Johnson, another Democrat, greatly enhanced it in the mid-1960s. Then the family started falling apart. All too many kids nowadays grow up without a dad in the house. A non-intact family is causally related to all sorts of societal ill effects: crime to be sure, but also unemployment, lack of schooling, divorce, etc. Unhappily, if we were to end this pernicious program, it would take a generation or more for the beneficial impact on crime reduction to take place, given the negative social mores introduced in its wake.

Is there no other alteration that can have more immediate effects? Fortunately, there is: public executions. There will be a great hue and cry against implementing any such policy. One objection will be that if a mistake is made, the wrong person will be put to death. But to err is human. There are cases when an innocent man was incarcerated for decades; it hardly follows that no one should be in jail. Also, some of these folks were guilty of other equally serious crimes, and merely punished for the wrong one of many. The solution to this objection to the death penalty is to employ it only when we are certain of guilt.

Another objection is that the death penalty is not statistically significantly related to a reduction in the murder rate. This cannot be denied. However, Isaac Ehrlich has done important research in demonstrating that the execution rate is responsible for fewer murders. What is the difference between the two policies? All execution states are also death penalty states, but the reverse does not hold true. That is, many states, such as California, have the death penalty on their books, but for many decades executed no one at all.

If executions are to negatively impact the murder rate, they must be public, very public. The needle, in a place where only a few people can be witnesses, simply will not do as a deterrent. These murders are often “low information voters.” For them, out of sight is out of mind. But if they can see executions on television, it will focus their minds! There must be a firing squad in a large stadium, or perhaps a hanging from on high, which thousands of people can view. This will do more in terms of making would-be murderers think twice, thrice, before engaging in their bestial activities than anything else. We these punishments televised, even the better for promoting civilized behavior.

It is uncivilized to execute murderers? No. It is uncivilized to have so many murders of the innocent as we suffer from at present.


Walter Block is the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics at Loyola University, New Orleans.


Featured: “Nemesis,” by Alfred Rethel; painted in 1837.

Anatomy of the Progressive Revolution

We are so very delighted to provide this excerpt from After Justice: Catholic Challenges to Progressive Culture, Politics, Economics and Education, the latest book by philosopher Thomas A. Michaud.

Over the years, Progressivism has emerged as the dominate ideology of the West. In this book, Professor Michaud traces how this domination came about, wherein anti-Modernism and authoritarian strains coalesced into the Woke mentality that employs social and mainstream media to transform the “people” into a conformist, hive-minded ruling mob, driven by moral righteousness. This is an insightful book. Please support Professor’s important work and purchase a copy and consult the fully annotated version of this excerpt.

A cultural infrastructure of shared morality is necessary for the success of market economics. Traditional views maintain that religion is the nurturing source of the morality, which grows in the culture. The Progressive revolution aims to overturn Traditional morality and impose its social justice morality on culture. This article dissects and critiques the multifaceted Progressive revolution in the USA, while contrasting it with the Traditional view. It argues that the ultimate aim of the revolution is to redefine the human person through identity politics as a collective entity, which essentially liquidates the individual, conforms the person to social justice morality, and establishes socialistic economics.

The degree to which market economies are grounded on moral norms that are affirmed as metaphysically objective and universal, is the degree to which the market economies can flourish. Without such normative grounds, moral turpitude can corrupt a market economy, ultimately resulting in the economy’s collapse. The actors in the economy lose trust in each other; there is no mutual respect and honesty among them. Without moral norms, market commerce degenerates into gang war types of vicious “combat zones” wherein success means eliminating the competition, both economically and literally.

Throughout history market morality has been due typically to the influence of religion on culture. The moral norms of religion establish a cultural infrastructure for trust, honesty, fair dealing and moral accountability among persons acting in the market.

There is also an historical non-religious source of market “morality.” This is not a morality that is based on principles of honesty and mutual respect for the value and dignity of others. It is the “morality” of the dictates of a government authority exercising a “command and control” economy, which, in current times in the United States, is manifest in Progressive collectivist economics of socialism. The authoritarian collectivist government aims to establish, regulate and enforce what is “right” for commerce. Morality, in such collectivism, does not grow organically through the influence of religion, but is imposed on culture according to the ideological aims of the governing authority. As history has shown, however, command and control collectivist economies are not as long-lived or beneficial to persons as market economies that grow organically within the religiously nurtured morality of their culture.

The first two sections of this article will describe and contrast the Traditional view of religion as the source of cultural morality that influences politics and economics with the Progressive revolutionary aims to transform culture by imposing their ideological “social justice” morality of a collectivist political economy. The vicissitudes of the Progressive revolutionary agenda will be analyzed and critiqued in detail. The third section will expose a worrisome, fundamental philosophical problem with the Progressive agenda, namely the Progressive De-Personalization. This article will then finish with some remarks regarding what is at stake for the future of market-based USA political economy.

The Traditional View

Along with many other Traditionals, the late politico Andrew Breitbart believed that politics is downstream from culture, and culture is downstream from religion. To expand on Breitbart’s proposition, culture, especially morality, flows from religion, and politics and economics flow from culture.

Breitbart’s Traditional view of the relationship between religion, culture, politics and economics has a profound heritage including some of the United States’ founders. In his Farewell Address, George Washington, for example, stated,

“Of all the dispositions which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports these [are the] great pillars of human happiness. [Where] is the security for prosperity, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation deserts the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?… [Let] us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of a peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government.”

Washington could not be more explicit with his belief that morality flows from religion, and since morality is necessary for a free “popular,” democratic republic government, so too is religion necessary. His mentions of prosperity, property and happiness reveal his firm understanding that a free-market economy that allows for the pursuit of happiness does require a religiously based morality. His reference to religiously based oaths, such as swearing to “tell the truth, so help you God,” further reinforces the need for religious morality to maintain honesty and justice in, and the security of, a free nation.

Following Washington, John Adams recognized that the republic, freedom and prosperity depend on preserving a moral citizenry. Adams affirmed that, “It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.”

Like Breitbart, Washington and Adams, the late Richard John Neuhaus, a 21st century culture commentator, observed that, “Politics is chiefly a function of culture, at the heart of culture is morality and at the heart of morality is religion.” To encapsulate these views, the traditional position can be represented as:

RELIGION spawns MORALITY which influences CULTURE which influences POLITICS and ECONOMICS

In the Traditional view, morality, norms/standards for what constitutes a good or bad action, flows from religion and grows organically in culture. It is ultimately from religion and morality that persons develop their beliefs as to virtue vs. vice, what is the good/happy life, the importance of the family, the sense of individual accountability, and the personal responsibility for earning and stewarding wealth. The interrelationship between politics and economics is influenced by the culture, which, for Traditionals, results in a political economy that values free enterprise, market commerce, individual achievement, a limited government and individual autonomy. Traditionals highly value citizens as free individual persons whose liberty to pursue happiness and personal flourishing should respect morally all other persons and should be protected, and unabridged by their democratic republic. This Traditional appreciation of the individual person is precisely a main Progressive target for fundamental change as will be explained in the following anatomy of the Progressive revolution

The Progressive View

The late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan analyzed the difference between Traditionalism (conservatism) and Progressivism (liberalism) as such, “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” Moynihan recognized that in the conservative, Traditional, view culture is the driver of social success. He also recognized that for liberals, politics rule so that a culture that is not driven by their Progressive politics is damned and must be reformed to save it from its own backwardness. His insight illumines a basic conviction of the Progressive revolutionary strategy that politics can change culture and make it conform to the ideological ideals for an enlightened, “woke” society. The full Progressive agenda can be represented with the following summation.

POLITICS spawns ECONOMICS. Both spawn CULTURE (MORALITY) which in turn influences EDUCATION, the JUSTICE SYSTEM, and the MEDIA

This summation can be best explicated by offering a series of points that describe briefly its facets and the relationships among them.

  • For Progressives, collectivist politics is the prime mover for gaining power and control over society with their revolutionary agenda. Progressives’ devotion to their ideology is a type of religious zeal. They are indeed zealots, uncompromising ideologues who are convinced that their position has all of the answers even before questions arise. And if their political answers, solutions, do fail or do not yield immediate results, they tend to blame it on the backward Traditionals, the unsophisticated and obstinate religious right, or some constructed “force” beyond their control like climate change or a pandemic.
  • Progressive politics and their agenda itself are devoid of religion. In the name of their supreme value of social justice, religion must be excluded. No influential moral force greater than their ideology can be admitted. The unenlightened morality of Traditional religions must be deconstructed and substituted with their politically constructed “woke” morality: a social justice morality that serves their vision of collective unity.
  • Progressive politics wages its revolution with the weapon of economics. Through socialist dirigisme, economic policies create antagonisms between classes, races, ethnicities and genders. Progressives’ favored groups are those who are oppressed victims by past economic inequalities and inequities. They are given or promised privileged status through various government policies and programs. These groups’ allegiance to the Progressive agenda is fortified by such privileges.
  • Progressive economics secures their politics and engenders the change in culture they seek. They contend that without the social justice morality they promise, the nation will be overwhelmed by the many crises it faces. Only their political economic ideology will ensure true social justice. Janet Yellen, White House Cabinet Secretary for the Dept. of Treasury has bluntly stated this alarming warning, “The country is also facing a climate crisis, a crisis of systemic racism, and an economic crisis that has been building for fifty years… I believe economic policy can be a potent tool to improve society. We can—and should—use it to address inequality, racism, and climate change.”
  • As indicated, it is social justice morality that Progressives strive to establish as a substitute for Traditional morality in economics and in culture at large. Their social justice morality emphasizes compensatory and distributive justice. Compensatory justice aims to correct the past and present injustices to oppressed groups. They promote government “compensations” such as, reparations—financial and otherwise, affirmative action programs, and selective applications of criminal justice in regard, for instance, to rioting, property destruction, and looting. Distributive justice aims to correct inequalities and inequities suffered by oppressed groups in regard to earning and accumulating wealth. Again, government managed and, if need be, enforced examples include free college tuition, guaranteed basic income, universal medical care, housing, food/meal programs, childcare, and “tax the rich” progressive income taxation.
  • Progressive politics implemented by their socialistic economics according to their social justice morality, and the interaction of these factors generates revolutionary changes in culture. These changes are spurred on and spread by facets of culture led by Progressive activists. Public education, and much of private education, adhere to and inject Progressive ideology into their curricula and organizational leadership. The revolutionaries want education at all levels, but especially higher education, to be “government education” which promotes the Progressive agenda. For them, education, happily, is indoctrination, since educators and educational contents that oppose “The Agenda” are summarily cancelled.
  • Progressives believe that the justice system has been systemically unjust and must be reformed and saved by their social justice morality. The system must be repopulated with Progressive ideologues in such positions as police leadership, government prosecutors, and judges, especially in the higher courts including the US Supreme Court. With the moral standards of social justice, the legal system must be used, when possible, to reform economic issues, as well as criminal law, while advocating for and ruling in favor of the oppressed.
  • Education, the Justice System and the Media interact to form a collective unity that strengthens and advances the Progressive agenda. Their unified collective efforts are indefatigable; they seize every opportunity Progressive politicians create for them in order to sustain a “permanent revolution” that simply does not retreat. The media are an integral factor in the unceasing propagation of the revolution. They spread the message of the Agenda, so that the facets of culture maintain a collective focus. “Media” in this context has a broad meaning. It includes print media, social media, mainstream TV news, and entertainment media, such as streaming TV services (e.g., Netflix, Hulu, Prime, Amazon, and HBO), sports shows (ESPN, CBSSN and FS1), and movie studios. TV series (comedies and dramas) and movies are filled with Progressive propaganda. In fact, if a series offers an alternative, more Traditional perspective, it risks cancellation. The Progressive scions of social media are uninhibited lords of their fiefdoms. “Un-woke” posts and individuals are cancelled if they communicate unenlightened views. The media’s collective prosecution of the “cancel culture” movement has indeed become a potent force in executing the permanent revolution.
  • The concept of “permanent revolution” is fundamental to the Progressive agenda. This Marxist notion was adopted and adapted by Leon Trotsky in the early 20c. Trotsky’s words, the underlined passages, can be paraphrased to express the Progressive aims: The Progressive permanent revolution accepts no compromise. The revolution can end only with the complete liquidation of Traditional culture. The permanent revolution is not a leap by the Progressives but the reconstruction of the nation under the dictatorship of the Progressives. Chairman Mao had similar ideas with his notion of Continuous Revolution, which was the guiding thrust of his Cultural Revolution. The Progressives’ revolution is not new to history. Collectivist/socialistic morality, economics and culture have happened before, but never have they entirely succeeded. They have not succeeded in the Soviet Union, not in Cuba, and not even in China, which is refashioning its communism in certain ways to expand its sphere of influence by engaging the global market economy.

The Progressive Depersonalization

The political is the personal and the personal is the political. This maxim was a slogan of the late 1960s feminist and student movements. It also expresses axiomatically the Progressives’ “identity politics” which is defined lexically by Merriam-Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary as, “Politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, ethnic, social, gender or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns…” Identity politics according to Jeffrey Escofier “is a kind of cultural politics. It relies on the development of a culture that is able to create new and affirmative conceptions of the self, to articulate collective identities, and to forge a sense of group loyalty. Identity politics requires the development of rigid definitions of the boundaries between those who have particular collective identities and those who do not.” To offer some additional traits, identity politics is a politic of cultural change. The identity groups develop tribal boundaries, which may intersect with other identity groups that have suffered injustice and oppression, but boundaries absolutely exclude any group of non-victims, the oppressors. The identities define the self within the cultural collective. To self-identify with a collective requires group loyalty, typically a loyalty that replaces any Traditional aspect of culture, such as religious loyalty or patriotic commitment to one’s nation.

The wicked irony of “the personal is the political” axiom is, however, that it is precisely the personal, the sense of oneself as an individual, which the Progressive revolution aims to cancel. A society’s culture without a strong sense of the individual as essential to the person is bereft of crucial values like individual/personal autonomy and moral responsibility, self-reliance, individual/personal achievement and reward, and individual/personal property and wealth. These values are of baseline importance to Traditional culture but erasing and substituting them with ideologically charged collective identities enables the cultural transformation that Progressives desire.

The individual is a locus of rights and responsibilities. Our personal identity is who and what we become as individual persons. We become persons insofar as we respect those rights for others and ourselves and fulfill those responsibilities. Individuals grow and mature to become persons. Persons retain their individuality while realizing their responsibilities to themselves, families, communities and nation. Our freedom, self-determination, liberty, ambitions and aspirations are most perfectly fulfilled in the process of becoming persons.

The Progressive personal identity effectively liquidates the individual. The individual is not something real, the core of our self, but merely an epiphenomenon of our collective group identity. The collective group is the locus of rights and responsibilities. Our right to self-determination is nothing more than acting with and for the social justice’s sake of the collective. Our prime responsibility is to oppose the social injustice that our group and all of the other groups with which we intersect have suffered and are suffering. With the cancellation of the individual person, the Progressive revolution is able to employ strategically its social justice morality to provide opportunity, cover for establishing its socialist economics, and fundamentally transform the culture of the USA to create a new nation that has disposed of its Traditional history. The Progressives’ permanent revolution can abide no other outcome.

Final Remarks

The advancement of the Progressive revolution hinges on redefining the human person. Just as successful market economies need Traditional morality rooted in their culture, Progressives plant their ideological social justice morality in culture and nurture it with identity politics. Identity politics excises the individual and reduces the person to a collective entity, which then can be more easily manipulated by social justice morality and directed by the Progressive state. Socialist economics is a means for Progressive politics to command and control the culture and generate total cultural change. Full transformation of the culture requires widespread acceptance of the Progressive collective view of human nature.

The Progressive revolution aims to change the way in which people understand themselves, understand their very humanity as collective beings. If their revolution ultimately succeeds, it will have ongoing permanence since it will have to correct continuously lingering cultural issues. For instance, criminal guilt must become understood as the fault of some sort of injustice suffered by the perpetrator’s collective. Any beliefs in and efforts to earn private wealth and property would have to be rectified by the state. Moreover, even eschatological beliefs in personal immortality, an individual afterlife, would have to be challenged, probably suppressed, by the state.

The Progressive revolution against Traditional society is fomenting a civil war in the USA, albeit a cold war, but a war, nonetheless. Effective resistance begins with understanding the revolution’s anatomy, recognizing and rejecting Progressive “woke” political strategies and leaders as abetted by educational institutions, the justice system and the media. Progressives will not abandon their permanent revolution, though resistance can weaken it, perhaps even to the extent that it becomes nothing more than an annoying facet of the cultural fringe.


Featured: “The Awakening,” a poster by Henry “Hy” Mayer, published in Puck Magazine, February 20, 1915.

Decree No. 809: The Foundation of Sovereign Ideology is Laid

In his keynote Valdai speech on October 27, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed the following thesis:

“The direct threat to the political, economic, ideological monopoly of the West is that alternative social models may arise in the world.”

Or even more sharply and definitely:

“I am convinced that real democracy in a multipolar world, first of all, implies the possibility of any people—I want to emphasize this—any society, any civilization to choose their own path, their own socio-political system.

“If the United States and the EU countries have such a right, then the countries of Asia, the Islamic states, the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, and the states of other continents certainly have such a right. Of course, our country, Russia, also has it, and no one will ever be able to dictate to our people what kind of society and on what principles we should build.”

Today in Russia it is a matter of putting forward just such an alternative social model to liberal democracy, of building its own socio-political system. It is this constructive step that is called upon to become the next stage of our strategy in the development of an acute civilizational war.

The basis of such a social model is necessarily traditional values, the Decree on the preservation and strengthening of which was signed by the President on November 9, 2022 (Decree No. 809). This is what the model should be based on.

Here is an enumeration of traditional values, which from now on acquire, in fact, a national character. These are the foundations of a sovereign ideology, which in a sense is obligatory for all citizens of Russia.

Let’s look at this most important code of the new operating system of Russian society in a little more detail. We quote Decree No. 809:

“Traditional values include:

Life,
dignity,
human rights and freedoms,
patriotism, citizenship, service to the Fatherland and responsibility for its fate,
high moral ideals,
a strong family,
creative work,
priority of the spiritual over the material,
humanism,
mercy,
justice,
collectivism, mutual assistance and mutual respect,
historical memory and continuity of generations,
the unity of the peoples of Russia.”

These 14 points should be regarded as nodal points of sovereign ideology. The State from now on is responsible for the state of public consciousness, and the social model, alternative to the West, will be based on these 14 points. In a sense, they become sacred.

The first three points are common to the Russian tradition and to Western liberal ideologies.

Right to Life. The first point is recognized as a traditional value by a wide variety of societies, both traditional and modern. A person’s life is entrusted to him alone, and another person has no right to take another’s life at his discretion. Moreover, in religious societies, the very act of suicide (not to mention being forced to commit it) is also considered a crime.

The only exception is the State, which, under certain circumstances, has the right to dispose of the lives of its citizens—by punishing convicted persons for proven crimes or by sending them off to fight in defense of the fatherland. But if life is a traditional value, which must be preserved and strengthened, then the state must also take it into account in extreme cases—showing, if possible, mercy to criminals and protecting the lives of soldiers and combatants.

Dignity. The second point asserts the natural dignity of the human being, which must be recognized and taken into account, both by society and by the state. Again, this value is common to religious cultures and modern liberal ideologies. In religion, the dignity of man derives from his special place in creation, where he is placed in the position of representing God in the face of the rest of nature and bearing full responsibility for it. In the secular context, this responsibility before God disappears, but man’s special place in nature remains unchanged. It is only in contemporary theories of deep ecology and posthumanism (as well as in postmodernism and speculative realism) that man is stripped of his dignity and seen as a threat to the environment.

Human rights and freedoms. The third point is also not unlike the principles of liberal ideologies, which also declare human rights, although in practice they are constantly flouted and trampled upon. Ideology is not a question of practice, but of norms. In the case of norms, what matters most is not whether they are respected or not, but what they are in themselves, what their content is.

With regard to the first three points, the following should be emphasized. One might think that they all coincide with liberal ideology and therefore are not an alternative to it. But they are not.

Since we are talking about ideology, all fourteen points together make sense. And the first three principles should not be considered separately, but on the basis of the totality of all fourteen principles, on the basis of which they acquire their own special, peculiar to our civilization and tradition, meaning. And it is from the integrity of the understanding of all fourteen points that a special Russian conception of man himself reveals itself.

A person becomes normative when he accepts all 14 properties as a value. This means that rights and freedoms apply to this full person. These rights and freedoms should be interpreted in the context of Russian history—Russian law and Russian truth. And one should especially take into account here the Christian view of life, dignity, right and freedom, which is in harmony with the views in other traditional confessions.

The alternative nature of Russian civilization clearly reveals itself from point 4 onwards—patriotism, citizenship, service to the Fatherland and responsibility for its fate. Here we are dealing with a purely Russian attitude towards the state as the supreme value. Before 1917, this was reflected in the idea of the sacred nature of the monarchy. The Russian Tsar was conceived as a Sustainer; that is not just a political, but also a religious figure, preventing the arrival of the Antichrist in the world. So, patriotism in Russia acquired a partly religious character—service to the Fatherland and responsibility for its fate was a spiritual feat.

During more secular times, and especially during the Soviet era, the interpretation of patriotism changed, but it invariably remained the most important line of force holding people and society together. Accordingly, an attack on this value, an insult to patriotic feelings, an irreverent attitude toward the state and state symbols is regarded by us as a challenge to public morality.

Patriotism, elevated to a value, readily contradicts a liberal ideology based on cosmopolitanism and the conviction that social progress consists in globalization, the abolition of nation-states and the creation of a World Government. This is the first clear challenge to the ideology of the collective West that we resist. From this point on, all the other items on the list of traditional values will only strengthen the identity of our sovereign ideology, and the divergence from liberalism (as well as the convergence with other illiberal types of societies) will only grow.

High moral ideals. The fifth point establishes the value priority of morality in society. Moral ideals are emphasized as “high,” indicating their vertical nature. In the Russian tradition, the highest ideal of morality was considered holiness, which draws us to the religious cult of saints, elders, martyrs, who are models of man and his behavior. Their role in moral education should be restored. Other traditional faiths have their own models of holiness, which in no way contradict the Orthodox faith. In the secular context (especially during the Soviet period), the highest moral ideal was seen as the hero who bravely sacrificed himself for the common good, the man-soul, giving his neighbor his last and not sparing energy for the sake of a brighter future.

But for ordinary people in Russian society there had always been quite certain norms of behavior, the treatment of others, ethical attitudes, disregard of which was perceived as immorality, a challenge and subjected to public condemnation.

Here, again, is the opposition to liberalism. Liberalism recognizes only individual morality, and regards any social ideal as an attack on the freedom of the individual. This individualism triumphed in Russia after the end of the USSR, which led to an unprecedented fall in society’s morals. The fact that high moral ideals are now enshrined as traditional values should radically change the very moral climate in society.

A strong family. This sixth point is particularly important in the context of the spread of liberal ideology, which denies gender, replaces it with an artificially constructed social gender, fully legitimizes homosexual marriage and other forms of perversion, and, in effect, abolishes the institution of the family as such. Since the Russian Constitution recognizes the family as such and only in the case of a union between a man and a woman, and since homosexual propaganda is legislated, the declaration of the family as a value already assumes that it is a marriage between a man and a woman. At the same time, it is obvious that abortion and even divorce are morally condemned, since neither of these is at all a sign of a strong family. A truly strong family includes children as well as the care of the older generation.
Again, this point directly contradicts liberalism, which, on the contrary, relativizes the family in every possible way and is oriented toward its complete abolition.

The family is at its strongest in a religious context, where marriage is viewed as a sacrament, divorce is actively condemned, and abortion is considered a sin.

Anything can happen in life, but it is important that the orientation toward a strong family prevail in society as a whole. This requires the revision of educational, upbringing and cultural policies. At the same time, it is harmoniously combined with the measures on saving the demographic situation in the country.

Creative labor. The seventh point refers to an absolutely special Russian ethical system in which labor is interpreted not as a heavy (although necessary) obligation, not as a punishment, but as a spiritual endeavor, as a creative transformation of the world. The declaration of labor as a value (and not just as a material necessity for survival) runs counter to liberal ideology, which places its stakes in capital, finance, and maximum profit, and relegates labor and laboring people as such to the bottom of the social ladder.

In Russian history, the work of the peasant was thought of as a spiritualized way of life, inseparable from family, religion, rituals, society, the surrounding nature and the animal world. Russian philosophers spoke of the liturgical nature of peasant labor, of its almost religious dignity.

The value of free social labor in Soviet times was stressed even more. Russian Slavophiles, Narodniks and Bolsheviks equally hated capitalism and its vampires, who appropriated the results of toilers’ work and grew rich through exploitation and market speculation. The value of labor further contrasts Russia and our natural social system with the liberal West. But for this legally enshrined value to become effective, a great deal will also have to be changed in Russian society itself, where capitalist attitudes, paradigms and practices were crudely copied in the 1990s. Now, insofar as they oppose the value of creative labor and have the character of blatant parasitism and exploitation, they turn out to be, at the very least, reprehensible. In fact, this clause of Decree No. 809 rejects the oligarchic system by law.

The priority of the spiritual over the material. The eighth point of Decree No. 809 is the culmination of sovereign ideology, the core of its code. This provision poses a radical challenge to materialism as a whole; that is, to such a picture of the world as is based on the primacy of matter and the derivative nature of spirit, thought, and soul. Materialism in science developed in parallel with the secularization of society, the rejection of God, the Church, religion, the sacraments, belief in the posthumous existence of the soul, the Last Judgement, the general resurrection of the dead. This is called the “process of secularization,” which became the basis of a whole Western ideology – secularism. It is secularism that His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia blasted at the last session of the World Russian People’s Council as the source of all present-day troubles. Secularism is a dogmatic materialism that is being forcibly introduced by the liberal bourgeois elites into both the natural sciences and the humanities. It is what all modern Western ideologies are built on—liberalism (certainly predominant today on a global scale), but also dogmatic communism and nationalism. All of them are built on the priority of the material over the spiritual and reduce all existence—natural and social—to material factors.

By legislating to the contrary, that is, the priority of the spiritual over the material, Decree No. 809 declares a break with the soulless materialism of the collective West—readily at its very roots, in the realm of causes, not just effects. All prevailing value systems in the contemporary West, and the political, cultural, educational, and economic superstructures based on them, are wholly materialistic, utilitarian, appealing to quantity rather than quality, placing the lower, corporeal aspects of existence above the higher, spiritual ones. Even the Western view of the individual as the basis of society is nothing more than the application of the atomistic principle of physics to man. Liberal democracy, based on social atomism and materialism, is precisely the creation of a political system from below.

Since in our case we overturn this basic ratio and swear to the Priority of the spiritual over the material, which is peculiar to Russian ethics, Russian tradition, Russian culture, we thus lay the foundation of our own, alternative to the West, social model. From this point you can deduce everything else; it is it from the standpoint of ideology the most important; it is central; it is key.

Humanism. The ninth point again seems to refer to liberal ideology and does not contain anything fundamentally Russian and alternative. However, here, too, things are not so simple. First of all, by this value we mean the humanism that is specific to Russian culture. And this humanism has always included not only body and psyche, but also the soul and the moral core of the human being. Russian humanism responded to those thoughts about man that revealed his depth, his moral freedom, his tragedy and sacrifice, his personality in an ongoing dialogue with God, people, and the world. This is an intense “maximal humanism,” quite different from liberal individualism, which, on the contrary, seeks to free the individual from all forms of collective identity.

Secondly, the modern West, which began with humanism (though in its individualist interpretation) has now reached a point where the abolition of the individual himself is on the agenda. In seeking to free the individual from all forms of collective identity—religious, class, national, class, and finally gender—the West has come close to transhumanism, in which what remains is to free man from his humanity (human optional). Singularity as the final transfer of power over humanity to a strong Artificial Intelligence logically follows from the whole liberal value system and completes the ideological path of Western civilization. We, however, remaining faithful to humanism, that is, to man—in all his spiritual, moral existential volume—again challenge the West and swear to a different vector of development.

Mercy. Tenth on the list of traditional values is mercy. Again, we are talking about a profound feature of Russian religious tradition, where mercy, compassion, care for the weak, the poor, the sick, the unfortunate, and the dispossessed were seen as indispensable aspects of a well-rounded person. The very recognition of this property of the soul as the highest value stems from Russian culture, which is deeply alien to cruelty, vindictiveness, selfishness, and disregard for the needy and suffering. Of course, mercy is a deeply personal feeling. But society, having recognized it as a value, shows how it should be treated—immensely respected, encouraged and cultivated in every way, turning it into the most important axis of culture and education.

Mercy is the direct antithesis of selfishness, which liberals systematically foster, and the resulting indifference to near and far.

Justice. This eleventh point resonates deeply with the Russian tradition and culture, with our past and political history—the building of socialism in Russia was an attempt to build a society based on the principles of justice. The West usually contrasts justice with freedom, claiming that socialism, by restricting freedom in the name of justice, condemns people to poverty and scarcity, while capitalism, by rejecting justice altogether and cultivating egoism, makes society prosperous and comfortable. If, for Russia, justice is recognized as a value, then this linear liberal logic is completely rejected. A just society does not necessarily have to be poor; equally, among capitalist countries with free markets, there are countries that are both prosperous and deprived, mired in poverty and corruption.

Russia cannot imagine itself without justice, which is the most important feature of our social identity. Consequently, this eleventh point already rejects capitalist dogmatism and opens up the possibility of exploring social alternatives in non-capitalist ideologies, not necessarily dogmatic Marxist: there are models of Christian, Chinese-Confucian and Islamic socialism. The term “socialism” itself is by no means necessary, but an orientation toward justice overrides the dogmatic status of capitalism as a particular political and economic order, which the West regards as having no alternative, although this is not the case.

Collectivism, mutual assistance and mutual respect. This feature of the Russian tradition, put forward as the twelfth point, encompasses various levels of the social order of Russian life. This applies to the organization of life on the land, the peasant way of life, where the rural community initially dominated—the “world.” Later urban industrial artels were built on exactly the same principle. The minimum unit of society in Russia was traditionally a family (primary collective), and then a large family, clan and so on up to the community (village, hamlet, etc.).

In the church structure the principle of sobornost’ corresponded to it. It was by gathering together that people performed worship, rituals and sacraments. And here the minimal unit was the collective, the parish.

In Bolshevism, the glorification of the peasant community by the Narodniks was transformed into the principle of collectivism, which was extended to the working class. But again, it was solidarity, mutual assistance, and mutual respect among workers that were elevated to the moral ideal. Therefore, collectivism as a priority of social ethics remained unchanged in spite of the differences in formal ideologies.

The sovereign ideology of contemporary Russia should not only take into account all these historical forms, but also create new ones. The main thing is to put collective identity above individual identity. Only then will the individual acquire his true content and his life will be full and meaningful, since an identity is formed only in a dialogue with others.

Historical memory and intergenerational continuity. The thirteenth thesis actually elevates identity to the status of a value. Identity is historical memory and continuity, which is what makes people a people and society a society. It is impossible to create a nation from an arbitrary set of atomic individuals (contrary to the claims of liberal ideology). It is created over centuries in the course of a difficult, sometimes tragic and sacrificial journey through the trials of history. Each generation contributes its own identity and passes it on to the next. This is how the nation is constructed: through deeds, remembrance, and continuity in the fulfillment of the designs begun by the ancestors. Cutting off the connection between the generations and cutting out the individual from his historical context is killing the nation. This is exactly what the globalists and the collective West are leading to. And this is what the nations of the world are increasingly rebelling against. If identity is a value, then the process of continuity, the transmission of the image, including the image of the future, should be treated with the utmost attention.

The unity of the peoples of Russia. The fourteenth point is the statement that the peoples of Russia, despite their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, constitute an organic whole. And this whole is one and indivisible. The Russian people is the axis, the core around which all others are united. But the peculiarity of Russian culture is that it does not impose itself on others, does not extinguish diversity in favor of a single national example, but carefully preserves the identity of each society and supports and helps each local culture to develop. The fact that this is precisely a value was first proclaimed by the philosophers of Eurasia. In the USSR, the principle of the brotherhood of peoples was justified differently, but in general it came down to a combination of unity and diversity in a common inconsistent socio-cultural ensemble. Such unity reflects the principle of an empire uniting different peoples and cultures on the other side of any nationalism, large or small.

So, putting together all the points of Decree No. 809, we get the framework of an original and completely original ideology. Its main features, however, are the following:

it sharply diverges from liberal democracy, which the collective West seeks to impose on all mankind (to contain, block the free development of other civilizations—V. Putin in Valdai speech) and represents an alternative model of socio-political system;
it succeeds in Russian history what are cultural and ideological constants (both in traditional society and in the Soviet era);
at the same time, it does not coincide with any previous ideology, each of which is historically limited, but offers a distinctive and original synthesis of what was most essential in each of them;
it invites all citizens of Russia to freely and creatively build a truly just, spiritual, honest moral society on the other side of narrow dogmas and artificial axiomatics—in a sense, it is an open ideology aimed at the future;
Revealing the essence of Russia’s civilizational peculiarity, it dialogues with other civilizations in the context of multipolar order (“The development must take place in the dialog of civilizations, based on spiritual and moral values”—Vladimir Putin in his Valdai speech).

In the complex situation in which Russia finds itself in the course of the Special Military Operation, which has turned into a full-fledged conflict of civilizations, Decree № 809 is the most important conceptual weapon, the value of which can hardly be overestimated. The Decree has been drafted, signed and adopted. There is only one thing left: to draw all the relevant conclusions from it. And as soon as possible.


Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitica.


Featured: “The appeal of Minin to the People of Nizhni Novgorod,” by Konstantin Makovsky; painted in 1896.

Are You Aware?

And are you aware of your unawareness?

The general public is being reduced to a state where people not only are unable to find about the truth but also become unable to search for the truth because they are satisfied with deception and trickery that have determined their convictions, satisfied with a fictitious reality created by design through the abuse of language (Josef Pieper).

Vision will blind. Severance ties. Median am I. True are all lies (Meshuggah).

There is a broad spectrum, as broad as the distance between heaven and hell, describing the level of awareness of people as to what is truly happening now in the world today, and why. The awareness abyss between those who know the truth and those who don’t is a result of many things, including bad education and formation, a culture of lies, and the effect of the innumerable choices for or against reality people have made in their lives, from the moment they became responsible for their choices, at the dawning of the age of reason, to the present moment. But the main reason for where people stand today vis-à-vis reality is the state of their souls vis-à-vis God. If I know and love God as a saint does, I will be aware of reality as it is; if I know and love God as a demon does, I will not be.

Let me try to describe the awareness of someone on the lower side of the spectrum. There are myriad varieties of these people, depending on accidents of education, culture, socio-economic status, belief system, and political leanings, but at core the lack of awareness and alienation from reality is the same for all of them, and for the same reasons. I will begin from the most specific and superficial, in terms of geopolitical awareness, and end with the most general and profound, in terms of spiritual awareness. I don’t pretend to be at the highest level of awareness, but as Plato teaches us, it is true that when we leave one cave, we do know that we’ve left it, even if there are many more to discover and escape from.

The low-level-awareness persons think that there actually was a global pandemic, and that it is, for all intents and purposes, over, as Biden has told them, thanks to the Vaccine, the wise leadership of people like Tedros and Biden and Fauci and Gates, the heroic efforts of the best and brightest scientists and doctors, and the sacrifices and cooperation of the many good, responsible, loving citizens throughout the world—and it would have been over a long time ago if it weren’t for Trump and the small number of his selfish, irresponsible, and disobedient followers, who, like spoiled children, wouldn’t lockdown and mask-up and get the shot, and who believed in and promoted conspiracy theories that endangered public health and led to many deaths that could have been avoided. Biden said that they are an imminent and grave threat to our democracy, and he told the truth.

These low-level-awareness persons think that in Ukraine the entire world is defending freedom from Russia that is led by an insane new Hitler, and who is being opposed by a courageous hero and new leader of the free world. Such persons think that Ukraine is winning and will win, thanks to American assistance, just like in World War II when America rescued the Jews and the entire world from Hitler. These persons think that once Ukraine is liberated and Russia justly punished and chastised into submission (like Germany was), we can get back to the real and most formidable evil the world is facing, climate change. Such persons are ready for all the sacrifices our leaders will ask us to do in order to bring about the final unification of the world under a global government, which will come about when divisive, racist, and outdated nations disappear; and just like with the pandemic, we will vanquish this great evil of nationhood that our unenlightened predecessors bequeathed to us, which is the final obstacle preventing us from establishing a new world order of peace and prosperity and happiness for all. Oh, and the high gas and food prices? Those will go away soon, these persons assure us, just as soon as the MAGA people are eradicated, Putin is assassinated, and everyone gets their eighth booster. Sit tight and be patient and get used to less white privilege. Eating bugs isn’t that bad. Less calories.

Such persons see the recent overturning of Roe vs. Wade as only a temporary setback in the ongoing and inexorable struggle for individual freedom, whose victory is assured and imminent, as witnessed by the exponential increase in freedom over the last decade, with the right to gender-reassignment surgery for children being only the latest triumph among many more to come. These persons await eagerly the new technological advances that will, like contraception and abortion pills, mRNA vaccines, and the Metaverse, enable humans to further evolve into full adulthood and take control over that evolution, so that the last vestiges of our imprisoning givenness can be sloughed off and we can finally become the kind of beings that we for way too long have projected onto gods and God due to the ignorance, self-hatred, and cowardice of our religious forebears. These persons like what they sees in Pope Francis, and especially the German Synod, because he is taking the Catholic Church in the right direction, although it has a lot of catching up to do.

Why these views? For the answer, we have to move from a description of these persons’ low-level, reality-averse awareness of what is happening socially, culturally, and politically to their even lower-level awareness of historical, metaphysical, and moral reality from which they derive their asinine opinions. The following is one version of their historical narrative, translated into the highfalutin English of the typical idiotic academic:

Only in secular modernity did man finally achieve his liberation from oppression and ignorance, from superstition, magic, tyranny, and priestcraft, from the dark forces of religious power, fanatical belief, and sectarianism. Man achieved this liberation primarily through the secularization of reason, morality and society, which included the separation of religion from the political order, the church from the state. Ever-increasing religious and ideological pluralism ensued as soon as men of good will were permitted to exercise freely their reason and act on their consciences. It is certainly the case that when Christendom was finally broken up in the wake of the Reformation, religiously intolerant, confessional, monarchical states emerged, but these evolved quite quickly, historically speaking, into the secular, tolerant, pluralistic, democratic states we have today. The rise of secular society after the sixteenth and seventeenth-century wars of religion was rendered possible only by the removal of religion from all positions of political significance and power. Good-willed, reasonable people were ready and willing to accept the desacralization of the state after decades of incessant bloodshed over religion. Sequestered, depoliticized, and privatized, religion and the sacred would now no longer cause war, divisiveness, and oppression, and the newly liberated, autonomous, politically secular individual could finally thrive. In the religiously tolerant, secular, pluralistic liberal democracy governed by the rights of men, not God, the sacred would still have a place and a capacity to exert influence over politics, but now it would have to coexist with the many competing sacreds residing in the same city, proliferating and dwelling together in peace precisely because none are permitted to obtain societal, cultural, and political power, let alone a monopoly on power.

In short, secular modernity was born when the archaic, violence-inducing sacred lost its public, political hegemony and influence, being relegated to the sub-political, private sphere of men’s fancies and hearts. What took its place in the public square is what should have always been there in the first place, the right of individuals to self-determination, to freedom of thought, action, speech, and religion. In modernity man had the courage and intelligence to attempt, for the first time in human history, to construct a political order not based upon the religious, the sacred. While not denying the right of every citizen to believe in a sacred, superhuman, cosmic, divine, transcendent power as the true ground of man’s existence, both personal and social, the theoreticians of the modern paradigm, people such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and Madison, decided that secular values and rights, codified in a social contract, would replace any supposed power or will higher than man. And we are so thankful they did.

Such are these persons core metaphysical beliefs: Mindless Matter is all there is, well, except for my Mind, which is free and limitless, though determined by economics—but I’m free. I am a free spirit. And truth is the opinion of the powerful, which is oppressive and untrue, unless I’m in power; or perhaps it’s the opinion of the marginalized. And all opinions are equal, except those that aren’t, like Science and Critical Race Theory.

And as for morality—it’s relative, period. Except for racism and sexism and homophobia, which are absolute evils. And MAGA is evil. But good and evil are the labels of the intolerant, or the rationalizations of class consciousness, but vaccines are absolutely good and people should be forced to get them, and Putin is evil. And we today in the 21st century are morally superior to everyone who lived before us, except that we’re all equal. And abortion is good, so it should be imposed on everyone, but morality is relative. Freedom is the Good, and the Good is Freedom—except for the freedom to try to make something other than freedom the Good, which must be stopped, by force if need be.

Spiritually, these persons believe in love, or power, or both, or nothing. The diversity of religions is willed by God, except those religions that claim to be the true religion, which God, who probably doesn’t exist because we are God, hates. Jesus was a nice man and a good moral teacher, but some of his disciples were antisemitic, such as St. John and St. Paul. Crusades. Inquisition. Nazism. Trump. We know this now, and have sought or demanded forgiveness and groveling, and that’s why we love Pope Francis. The universal religion of love is sweeping across the planet, as we await its definitive spokesperson. It is already showing itself, as evidenced by divinely inspired masterpieces of art like this one:

The lockdowns were the first fruits of the New Spirit, bringing us all together in sacrificial love and Science. And the Vaccine is our new sacrament:

The moral, metaphysical, and spiritual beliefs of the low-level awareness people are, in a word, incoherent, a mishmash of relativism, absolutism, particularism, universalism, self-righteousness and self-deprecation, individualism and collectivism, nihilism and crusaderism, materialism and idealism, atheism and idolatry. They indicate the lowest level possible of spiritual awareness because, in spite of the illusion of diversity, they all reject the law of non-contradiction, which is the first principle without which truth-knowing and truth-telling are impossible. It would evince a higher level of metaphysical awareness to be a full-fledged materialist or atheist or nihilist, for at least there would be an implicit recognition of the possibility of truth, even if the truth claim itself is self-contradictory and false. But this eclectic spirituality, rooted in a chaotic moral and metaphysical soup, is the very nadir of human consciousness and is the perfect breeding ground for global totalitarianism and the Antichrist who will soon embody it, literally.

Why would someone holding this set of moral, metaphysical, and spiritual attitudes or moods—let us not dignify them with the word beliefs—endorse the forced covering of one’s face and injections into one’s body, the placing of the entire world under house arrest, the censoring of all speech not in line with arbitrary “expert” claims, the requiring of papers to merely exist in society, the greatest wealth transfer in history to the richest elites on the planet, and a NATO war of aggression against a nuclear power, on the one hand, and the genital mutilation and sexualization of children, the goodness of murdering babies, sodomy, and cannibalism (coming soon), and the replacement of popular entertainment with satanic occult rituals, on the other? It is because the upshot of those “beliefs” is the promise of power to their adherents, for they are all predicted on the rejection of any authority above man’s will, either his individual or collective will. And since the collective will always trumps the individual one due to the dynamic of sheer power, which is all that is left when there is nothing above the human will; since the most powerful and ruthless elites always dominate the collective will; and since Satan always dominates the most powerful and ruthless, the will of Satan will be done on earth as it is in Hell when the conditions are ripest for his enthronement, and those conditions exist perfectly among the lowest-level awareness people, and to only a slightly lesser extent among those of higher-level awareness, which, apart from the very highest, is still very, very low. It is only those with the very highest-level awareness who stand in the way of the Antichrist at this time.

What are the geopolitical, moral, metaphysical, and spiritual beliefs of those with this highest level of awareness? Well, I wish I knew them, and to say that I do is to arrogantly imply that I am among these. I daresay that I try to follow those institutions, traditions, and personages that have proven their exquisite level of awareness by their works and fruits, their holiness, integrity, courage, charity, and prophetic witness. Suffice it to say, I try to know, love, and obey reality, a sign of a high-level awareness in an Age of Unreality. What is this reality according to these authorities?

For geopolitical reality, if it is true that we are in a state of full-fledged global totalitarianism, and to see this one must already have a high level of awareness, then those institutions and people telling the full truth would be infallibly detected by the vehemence of the attacks against them by the Global Regime of Lies. The highest level of awareness, then, can be described accurately and simply by compiling the claims of these.

There is no institution that is attacked more frequently, ferociously, and insidiously than the Catholic Church, both from without and within, both by intimidation and persecution, seduction and infiltration. Therefore, just read the Catechism of the Catholic Church for an infallible description of the highest level of awareness in terms of moral, metaphysical, and spiritual truth. For a more detailed account of metaphysical awareness in terms of the history of philosophy, I would recommend E. Michael Jones’ Logos Rising: A History of Ultimate Reality:

In terms of historical narrative, the highest level of awareness can thus be found by rejecting any political history that denigrates the Catholic Church and rejects its true reality as the Mystical Body of Christ, and that doesn’t see the Incarnation as the center of human history. For example, awareness knows that The City of God is founded on a love of God that leads its citizens to contempt for themselves, counting all earthly things as worthless…. Augustine argues that the temporal ought to be ordered to the eternal (Civ. Dei XIX,17), but that this ordering will never be achieved entirely harmoniously till the second coming of the Lord. For, there is a second city here on earth in addition to the city of God— the civitas terrena, the earthly city. This city is founded on a love of self to the contempt of God (Civ. Dei XIV,28). And these two cities are in conflict… The earthly city is always opposed to true religion…. Justice consists in giving each his own, thus no society is just that does not give God the worship due to Him.

The following narrative of liberal democracy and the so-called Enlightenment is the high-awareness counterpoint to the low-awareness narrative described above, based upon the fact that anyone holding anything like this narrative would be immediately fired from any mainstream academic or government position:

Since his creation, man has attempted to flee the ubiquitous reality of God through creative abstraction from the natural things of His creation and the supernatural plan of His redemption. Fallen man has always been offended at the “scandal of particularity,” always seeking to live in a universe of his own devising, always abstracting from the concrete, contingent, particular, fleshy, historical realities in which he, as a creature of matter and spirit, finds himself, and through which God has chosen to communicate Himself to him.

All was well in the Garden until Adam and Eve began abstracting: “It can’t be this particular fruit on this particular tree that could be so significant to God and to our happiness!” For the ancient Greek philosophers, God’s existence was knowable; for the Jews, He was a living presence. But that he would limit Himself to a backwater village in the Middle East, or become anything less than a divine conqueror, was foolishness to the former and a stumbling block to the latter. Martin Luther accepted the truth that the universal became particular in the Incarnation, but denied that this Incarnation should be seen as continuing mystically in a particular, historical, visible institution demanding man’s obedience. Enlightenment man accepted the existence of God and absolute truth, but demanded that these be universally accessible solely through man’s reason. “Enlightenment” would be the result of abstracting from one’s particular and contingent cultural and religious “superstitions” to attain the universal truth transcending them. But such a position was tantamount to abstracting the Incarnation out of reality, to rejecting the entire supernatural order made manifest in and through Our Lord, and denying the necessity of His grace and teachings for an accurate understanding and practice of even natural truth and virtue. Postmodern man appeared to have overcome this error, rightly rejecting Enlightenment man’s facile claim to have discovered self-evident absolute truths in abstraction from particularist commitments. He discovered that the historical, the cultural, the societal, that is, the particular, cannot be so easily cut out of the picture. “Self-evident”—to whom? A fair question, that. Yet by denying the possibility of attaining universal truth through and in its particular embodiments, the atheist-oriented postmodernists rejected the reality of transcendence for the abstraction of pure immanence. In short, every error of man throughout history has been the result of missing the balance between immanence and transcendence, the human and the divine, the particular and the universal, by abstracting out some particular realm of natural or supernatural reality.

The diabolically fomented World Wars of our past century, the plandemic, and the WWIII we are now in, sapped the life out of the religious and cultural tradition of the West, with the anti-traditional abstractions of communism, fascism, Nazism, neo-liberalism, and the Great Reset serving as demonic parodies of the Catholic Church. But Lucifer’s coup de grâce would be saved for our century. To his dismay, his all-out destructive assault on tradition in the first half of the twentieth century had provoked a robust counterattack by men of goodwill in the second half. Lucifer learned his lesson: men cannot exist without some sort of tradition. Thus, instead of attempting again the direct destruction of the Western Christian tradition (rendered rather vestigial, decrepit, and paltry, it must be admitted, from his first assault), this time he pursued a subtler but more effective method. Realizing that any authentic tradition, even a barely-breathing one, is a receiver and transmitter of the divine, his stroke of genius was to inspire the construction and establishment of an abstract anti-tradition that would receive and transmit nothing. Although similar in its unreality to the abstractions of communism, fascism, Nazism, and globalism, it would bear such a striking resemblance to the Christian tradition that it would escape detection. Implemented surreptitiously and cloaking itself in the form of its host, it would serve as the tradition to end all tradition. Not only would there be no counterattack this time, men of good will would have no idea what hit them—or even that they had been hit.

Secular liberal democracy is the cave, liberalism the shadows on its walls, and “conservative,” “liberal,” and “radical” shadows of various shapes and sizes. For those in the cave, reality is contacted by comparing and choosing among the shadows; certain shadows appear “true,” while other shadows seem “false.” But since shadows are all they know, it cannot be said that they really know any of these shadows at all. They do not know the shadows as shadows. They may use the word “shadow” in their many echoey, cave discussions, but they do not know of what the shadows are. Indeed, if they ever recognized the shadows as shadows, they would escape the cave.

Liberalism is just such a cave. People in the modern West may use the term “liberalism,” and identify “other” points of view in contrast to it, but because they are inside liberalism and do not know it, they do not recognize the liberalism of liberalism. They do not see it as an alien, artificial ideology projected upon the walls of their minds by the elitist puppeteers of academia, religion, bureaucracy, and media, but simply as “just the way things are.” They are like fish that never recognize their immersion in water because they know of nothing else.

Liberalism claims to provide a religiously neutral social framework within which individuals can autonomously determine their own vision of the world in perfect freedom. But we must reject liberalism’s official public claim that it lacks any particular conception of the good and any restrictions on others’ conceptions of the good. Since liberal culture is founded upon a particular conception of the good and a particular doctrine of truth—namely, the good of the privatization of all claims to truth, and the truth of the irreducible plurality of conceptions of the good—and since the publicly authoritative rhetoric of liberal culture denies having any substantive conceptions of its own, what liberalism amounts to is an established and intolerant belief system—a religion—that indoctrinates citizens into disbelieving in its very existence. Just as the puppeteers must ensure that the shadows are never recognized as shadows, lest the cave be identified as a cave and the prisoners break their chains; liberalism must never be exposed as liberalism, that is, as a historically contingent, non-necessary, manmade ideology. It must at all costs be identified with “the facts,” “the way things are,” as the inexorable social reality. In short, as the great Nietzschean ironist Stanley Fish, a cave-puppeteer with a genius for exposing his fellow puppeteers to the light, has confessed: “liberalism doesn’t exist.”

The problem, however, is that it does, and its existence is no longer limited to an abstract idea or a revolutionary experiment—it is now a well-established social reality. The liberal incubus has found a willing consort in the decrepit culture of the secularized West, and unfortunately, we citizens of the modern liberal democracies of the West are its traditionalists. Cavanaugh’s name for liberalism is the “worship of the empty shrine”:

“The public shrine has been emptied of any one particular God or creed, so that the government can never claim divine sanction and each person may be free to worship as she sees fit…. There is no single visible idol, no golden calf, to make the idolatry obvious . . . officially the shrine remains empty…. The empty shrine, however, threatens to make a deity not out of God but out of our freedom to worship God. Our freedom comes to occupy the empty shrine. Worship becomes worship of our collective self, and civil religion tends to marginalize the worship of the true God. Our freedom, finally, becomes the one thing we will die and kill for.”

And the priests of the empty shrine have become quite zealous of late to evangelize, both through preaching in a variety of media (McDonalds, MTV, pornography, gender-reassignment surgery, poison “vaccines”…) and, especially since 2003, through inquisition—democracy and freedom at the end of a gun, a white phosphorous bomb, or an electric shock to the genitals. The god of the liberal state is a jealous god, commanding its devotees to kill for it. As Cavanaugh writes: “You may confess on your lips any god you like, provided you are willing to kill” for the State—and to be killed for it. As MacIntyre wryly put it: “It is like being asked to die for the telephone company.”

With a track record of human sacrifice, how has the empty shrine of liberal nothing-worship (to conflate names for a moment) managed to escape our detection? The short answer is that it has removed our eyes. Authentic traditions, both natural and supernatural, embody and transmit the ultimate realities of man’s existence, the transcendent origin, end, and meaning of things that cannot be grasped by the isolated individual, and cannot be fully rationalized or defined.

Ultimate reality must be experienced through and in its incarnation in tradition. It is in this sense that tradition is the eye that allows men to see the spiritual, eternal, and transcendent meanings hidden in the physical, temporal, and mundane facts of everyday existence. Participants in the anti-tradition of liberalism, however, are prevented from ever seeing themselves as participants in a tradition, even though they are its slaves. They are blinded to their God-given identity as members of a common good higher than themselves, even as they serve as mere cogs in the liberal machine. The freedom cult includes all others, even the cult of the Eucharist, and so it is more universal, more “catholic,” and therefore more divine than the Eucharist. By not prescribing any particular object of public devotion, the State’s empty shrine appears to allow all devotions to exist and thrive more successfully than if there were an exclusivist, established cult, such as Catholicism. However, all of this is a grand illusion. As David Schindler points out: “The state cannot finally avoid affirming, in the matter of religion, a priority of either ‘freedom from’ or ‘freedom for’—both of these imply a theology.”

As for the geopolitical reality described by high-level awareness, if you look at what those whom the Regime of Unreality hate the most are saying, it amounts to something like this:

The incredible evil we have witnessed and suffered over the past two years amounts to the greatest crime against humanity ever committed. The plandemic was an all-out assault on every human being on the planet. Though its most obvious effects were economic and political, at its core it was a spiritual and psychological-terror operation knowingly and deliberately orchestrated by a small global elite of unspeakably evil and psychopathic people. It was executed by a larger group of lower-tier cooperators ignorant of the master plan but vicious enough to use their power and influence to inflict untold harm on those in their charge. And it was enabled by the masses of idolatrous, fearful, alienated, rootless, selfish, and cowardly men, the rotten fruit of a godless and decadent liberalism, a liberalism that encourages children to mutilate their bodies, allows mothers to murder their babies, and celebrates when men penetrate the rectums of other men.

In the end, we are each responsible for our level of awareness, and God created us to aspire to the highest level possible, the intimate awareness of Him. We can only become aware of our unawareness by His grace, and we need His minute-by-minute help to ascend to higher and higher levels, lest we fall backwards into our own darkness and blindness. Let us practice the presence of God always so that we become more and more aware of His indescribable love for us and share this awareness with all whom we meet.


Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski is former Associate Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Wyoming Catholic College and Academic Dean. He teaches Political Philosophy at John Adams Academy and Great Books for Angelicum Academy. He is also a tutor for the Catherine Project. His latest books are Modernity as Apocalypse: Sacred Nihilism and the Counterfeits of Logos, and Words, Concepts, Reality: Aristotelian Logic for Teenagers.


Featured: “Allegory of Human Folly,” by Cornelis Saftleven; painted in 1629.

Hilaire Belloc: The Permanence of the Heretical Spirit through History

Editions Artège has brought out an unpublished French translation of Hilaire Belloc’s The Great Heresies. By showing how the great heresies of Catholicism result from permanent forms of mind in history, the British thinker underlined the genius of Catholicism and its incompatibility with modernity, itself the fruit of the Protestant mind.

The publication of this translation is an opportunity to discover the prolific author that was Hilaire Belloc. A historian by training, a close friend of G. K. Chesterton, but also a poet, novelist, member of parliament and military chronicler, Hilaire Belloc was British on his mother’s side but a fervent Catholic, born in France in 1870, to a French father. In Les Grandes Hérésies (The Great Heresies), first published in 1938, Belloc presents and analyzes the main heresies that successively opposed Catholicism: Arianism; what he calls the Mohammedan heresy; the Albigensian heresy; and Protestantism.

In the introduction to the book, the author recalls the etymology of the word “heresy” which comes from the Greek hairetikos meaning “who chooses.” A heretic is one who adheres to a dogma except for one aspect of it that he specifically chooses to reject. Heresy is characterized by the nature of that choice which corrupts the unity of the dogma in question. Belloc thus defines heresy as “the enterprise of deconstructing a unified and homogeneous body of doctrine by the negation of an inseparable element of the whole.” For example, the heresies of the early centuries of the Church specifically attacked the mystery of the incarnation. With Arianism, then Nestorianism and Monophysitism, it was a question of debating first the exact nature of Christ, then the ways in which his two human and divine natures coexisted.

The Permanent Temptation to Rationalize Dogma

Behind the conceptual and dogmatic battles waged between the Church and heresies, Hilaire Belloc perceived, however, something other than simple intellectual quarrels over dogmatic details. The great heresies actually embodied permanent types of mindsets in history. Belloc thus highlights the propensity of the great heretical currents to rationalize, simplify and demystify Catholic dogma.

The first great heresy that was Arianism illustrates this tendency. Arianism, doctrine professed by the Alexandrian Christian theologian Arius at the beginning of the 4th century, denied the divine nature of Jesus Christ. For the Arians, Christ was the Son of God, but he was still a man and not a God. It was by confronting the supporters of Arius that the Catholic Church proclaimed the dogma of the consubstantiality of the Son and the Father at the Council of Nicaea in 325.

Despite all the care taken by the Church to choose the vocabulary used to qualify the relation between the Son and the Father, the Arian heresy continued in new forms which refused to admit the strict equality between the Son and the Father. Arianism therefore sought to elucidate the question of the incarnation, the mystery of which it refused.

Other ancient heresies such as Nestorianism and Monophysitism pursued this desire to rationally solve the “problem” of the incarnation. It was necessary to explain by reason the nature of this son of God who was Christ. For the Nestorians, the divine and human natures of Christ were necessarily strictly separated, man and God cohabited in the figure of Christ. For the Monophysites, it was the human nature of Christ that was called into question. In both cases, God did not become fully man. In the midst of these attempts at logical and rational explanations, the Church maintained its complex and mysterious dogma of the one but triune God.

It is this same desire for simplification and rationalization that Hilaire Belloc perceives in Islam, which he qualifies as Christian heresy. Coming from a pagan background on the margins of the Roman Empire that had become Christian, Muhammad adopted a Christianity purged of its dogmatic complexities.

Islam takes up the idea of a single god, creator of the world and granting life after death, but denies the incarnation by making Jesus a prophet. For the British historian, Islam foreshadows the heretical quest for rationalism and the abolition of the Catholic mysteries that was then the Reformation. All these great heresies had in common the simplification of Catholic dogma by trying to purge it of the mysteries that proud human reason could not grasp.

The Heretical Rejection of Matter

For Belloc, the study of heresies reveals another tendency of the mind that also emerges chronically in history—that consisting in condemning matter. This matter is bad while the spirit is the only source of the good. The Albigensian heresy perfectly embodied this tendency by condemning any carnal compromise with matter: sexual relations, marriage, procreation, consumption of meat and alcohol were prohibited. The ideal of purity advocated by the Cathars (from the Greek katharos: pure) conceived matter as intrinsically evil. Belloc sees in it the resurgence of the ancient Manichean heresy but also the precursor of Protestant puritanism. These heresies are all based on the mortifying detestation of matter and carnal life; whereas the Catholic Church condemns this dualism and values the union of spirit and flesh.

Rejection of mystery, thirst for rationalism and refusal to inhabit the world carnally are the pillars of the great heretical currents. However, Belloc does not reduce heresies to their religious and spiritual dimensions. As a historian, he is interested in the practical reasons for the success of the great heresies. He thus notes the social dimension of heresies, which can feed on worldly postures and use the dynamics of local particularisms to prosper. Arianism thus spread within the old pagan elites and in Roman military circles, anxious to differentiate themselves from the very popular religion that Catholicism was becoming.

The Albigensian heresy was also a means for local identities to assert themselves in medieval southern France. Belloc is fascinated by the continuing success of Islam. He attributes this success in particular to the fact that the Mohammedan heresy developed outside the Church and was able to benefit for centuries from a constant renewal of its fighters who also came from barbarian worlds. Noting the possible compatibility between Islam and the modern world, he prophesied a probable return of the vitality of Islam, despite the “physical paralysis” in which this religion found itself, when he wrote his book in the middle of the 20th century.

The Revolution of the Protestant Heresy

But it is to the Protestant heresy that Belloc devotes his longest chapter. It is a fundamental heresy from which modernity emerged and which shook the foundations of the Church. He traces its genesis in detail during the 14th and 15th centuries. Belloc considers, however, that Protestantism was not condemned to become the heretical religion it has become. The Reformation could have been a simple reform of the Catholic Church without altering its faith or dogma. The historian finely traces how Protestantism finally became heretical and above all how it altered Catholicism and then generated the spirit of modernity.

For Belloc, the particularity of Protestantism is to constitute more a “moral atmosphere” and a disposition of the mind than a religion. Calvin’s doctrine no longer governs the modern world, but its spirit would endure: “the fruits of Protestantism prove to be permanent, despite the fact that its doctrine has disappeared.” Founded on the contestation of authorities and the primacy of rational individual examination, Protestantism dissolved its own theological and scriptural foundations to give birth to modernity.

Belloc’s entire book tends to highlight the specificities of Catholicism, which has never yielded to the temptations of simplification and rationalization of the mysteries of its dogma. For the English author, however, the Protestant Reformation constitutes a turning point which manages to make Catholicism doubt its own dogma. Secularization of the Protestant spirit, modernity also appears as the fruit of this doubt of the Church on itself.

The Great Heresies is the work of a historian who assumes his Catholic fervor and tries to explain why the study of heresies allows us to better understand both Catholicism and the modern world. By becoming incarnate on Earth to save mankind from original sin, the Christian God irrevocably entered into history. The great religious currents that appeared afterwards are all linked to Christianity. Religion can only be Catholic or heretical.

For Belloc, the advent of modernity cannot be a return to the noble paganism of antiquity. This return is impossible after the coming of the Savior. Unable to make people forget Christ, modernity can only be an inversion of Catholicism. Modernity and Catholicism are then be engaged in a struggle to the death. Belloc admits that the organic laws of history could support the near-end of Catholicism. But the faith of the Catholic author forces him to maintain the hope of a safeguard of the Church and the resurgence of its mysteries.


Bertrand Garandeau is an anarcho-conservative sovereignist, based in France. This article appears through the kind courtesy of PHILITT.


Featured: “First Temptation of Christ,” fol. 28v, Livre d’images de Madame Marie; ca. 1285-1290.

What Ukraine Tells Us about the Coming War

At the end of 2021, Bernard Wicht published Vers l’autodéfense : le défi des guerres internes (Towards Self-Defense: The Challenge of Internal Wars). His reflections remain highly topical, despite the recent return—apparently—of “inter-state” conflicts. We asked him a few questions in order to better understand the new front lines.

In his review of this book, the philosopher Eric Werner stressed the most worrying aspect of war in the 21st century—its irruption into the internal space of societies, its transformation into a war of “all against all,” without limits and without rules. As a historian and strategist, Wicht “does not content himself with describing the transformations in question, but links them to the overall evolution of our societies, showing that they are the consequence of more profound upheavals.”

We are now direct witnesses of these deep-seated upheavals, on a daily basis. Since the publication of his book, events of tectonic proportions have occurred. We thought it would be useful to take stock of the spirit and modalities of self-defense at a time when “conventional” warfare between armed forces is returning. [This interview is conducted by Laurent Schang, who runs the publishing house Éditions Polémarque, in Nancy, France, and Swiss-based Slobodan Despot, who publishes the magazine Antipresse.

A huge thank-you to Arnaud Imatz and Jean-Cyrille Godefroy, who made it all possible.

In the current scientific literature on post-9/11 armed conflicts in general, and on the war against the Islamic State in particular, it is customary to draw a more or less explicit line between the protagonists involved. This principle of distinction is based on the presupposition that contemporary conflicts are between two sides, one of which is good and the other bad by default. This moralization of the study of conflicts, which is original on the scale of the history of war, or more precisely on the scale of the ways in which so-called “Western” nations think about war, nevertheless poses a number of theoretical problems. This tendency is detrimental to the study of war on the one hand, and to the development of an appropriate response on the other (Olivier Entraygues, Regards sur la guerre: L’école de la défaite—Views on the war: The School of Defeat).

Laurent Schang and Slobodan Despot (LS-SD): First, a necessary preliminary question. In a context of almost complete disinformation, on both sides, is it possible to think of deciphering the military operations in progress?

Bernard Wicht (BW): If one day we manage to arrive at the difference, the war in Ukraine will undoubtedly be taught first as the greatest maneuver of disinformation ever carried out in the history of the art of war. Let’s recall in this regard that since the First Iraq War (1990-1991), disinformation has been an integral part of the strategy implemented by the United States and its Western allies.

Bernard Wicht.

On that occasion, it was the case of the incubators of the maternity hospital in Kuwait City, which was given to the media. These incubators were allegedly disconnected by Iraqi soldiers when they invaded Kuwait, causing the death of the newborns who were in them. It was the post-conflict investigation of a team of Danish journalists that exposed the lie—the hospital in Kuwait City does not have a maternity ward and women do not go to give birth there. In addition, the young woman who denounced this apparent war crime before the UN authorities in New York turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington, a student for several years at an American university. For Washington strategists, the aim of the maneuver was then to provoke an “emotional shock” within the international community, making it unavoidable to give a UN mandate for the military liberation of Kuwait.

Then, in 2002, before the outbreak of the Second Iraq War, the famous “proof” of the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein possessed was brandished before the same UN bodies, in the form of a small vial, by the American Secretary of State at the time, the former Chief of Staff of the American army, General Colin Powell. Again, the aim was to convince the world of the grave danger posed by Iraq to international stability. Up to now, these weapons of mass destruction have not yet been discovered.

This strategy of disinformation is currently being pursued on a global scale, mainly by the European and American media and a handful of experts close to NATO circles. This maneuver has so far succeeded in preventing any coherent analysis of the Ukraine conflict. The Ukrainians keep issuing victory communiqués, while the Russians are very discreet. In other words, in the words of the famous detective (created by Agatha Christie) Hercule Poirot, “in this case everyone is lying,” forcing our man to reconstruct events according to his experience of crime, common sense and basic questions (cui bono, motive, opportunity and means).

In this particular war, we find ourselves in a very similar situation to Poirot, and we are forced to try to reconstruct the course of operations according to some bits of reality and using knowledge of the art of war and military history. This is why we must ask ourselves, beyond the successive narratives that the United States and NATO have sought to impose since the beginning of the conflict (victorious resistance by Ukrainian forces; then Russian war crimes; and, more recently, a vast Ukrainian counter-offensive and retreat by the Russian army), what can be said with a minimum of certainty at this stage:

  • At the end of 2021, on the eve of the outbreak of war, the Ukrainian army was in a state of decay (See insert: “Ukraine, A Failed State?”).
  • In June 2022, senior Ukrainian officials acknowledged that their troops were suffering appalling losses in the face of the firepower of the Russian army, with around 100 dead and 500 wounded per day.
  • On the ground, since the end of the summer, we see a Russian army that does not seem to be in any hurry to end things, taking its time by advancing in some places and retreating in others. Although largely mechanized and with complete control of the sky, it does not launch the great decisive offensive aimed at the capitulation of the Zelensky government. On the contrary, it has allowed the Ukrainians to retake some towns and villages.

Should we therefore accept the official Western narrative of a decisive counter-offensive, thanks to the miracle weapons delivered by NATO (including the mercenaries to serve them) and the general withdrawal of Russian forces unable to react?

This version of the facts could be acceptable if we were facing the Russian army of the 1990s, the one that got bogged down in Chechnya and whose decay was then equivalent to that of the Ukrainian army on the eve of February 24, 2022. It took Vladimir Putin more than a decade to restore an effective and competent military whose qualities were seen during the intervention in Syria alongside Bashar al-Assad, starting in September 2015.

Ukraine, A Failed State?

In his 2017 study, Emmanuel Todd gave a pessimistic diagnosis of Ukraine. He considers it a nation “which has not been able to build itself in a state since its separation from Russia.” He adds that the country is dangerously empty of its population: “above a certain threshold of emigration… in Ukraine, for example… flows can destabilize societies… without being able to predict much more than the appearance of sociological black holes.” In this regard, he evokes “the appearance of a zone of anarchy” and recalls that the massive departure of the Ukrainian middle classes to Europe or Russia, makes it very unlikely that this country will be politically stabilized because, precisely, “the construction of a state is only the institutional crystallization of the supervision of society by its middle classes.”

Since 2014 (Euro Maidan), the Ukrainian political class has disintegrated into internal quarrels between the pro-Russian and the pro-European, leaving the field open to far-right paramilitary organizations.

LS-SD: How would you explain this “game of cat and mouse” that the Russian army is engaged in?

BW: I think that this expression itself gives us the “key” needed to decipher what is happening at the present time:

  • For the record, Russia’s objective is not primarily Ukraine, but to stun and unbalance the EU and NATO (energy crisis=> economic crisis=> inflation, recession. See insert: “The Legacy of Soviet Operational Thinking”).
  • On the other hand, under pressure from his Western mentors, President Zelensky withdrew his February-March peace proposals, so the war can continue until it is exhausted. This is most likely the game that the Russian cat is playing with the Ukrainian mouse. Since a negotiated solution seems impossible today, only the (demographic) exhaustion of Ukraine can guarantee Russia relative long-term “tranquility” on its southwestern border.
  • This cat-and-mouse dialectic could explain the Russian attitude of “not wanting to end it all.” Such a strategic posture is not unheard of in military history.

Let’s explain this with a historical example.

The case of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) is particularly emblematic from this point of view. General Franco, commander-in-chief of the nationalist forces, was considered for a long time, certainly as a very shrewd politician, but as a poor strategist on the ground. Despite the military superiority at his disposal, he made poor operational choices, giving the Republicans the opportunity to carry out desperate counterattacks, prolonging, in this way, the war by at least two years.

Then recently, historical research revealed that these “wrong choices” were made knowingly in order to exhaust the human potential of Republicans in battles of annihilation, where the firepower of the nationalist army could reach its full potential. For example, even in September 1936, rather than seizing Madrid, then very little defended, and thus obtaining the capitulation of the Republican government and ending the war in two months, Franco opted for the capture of Toledo—a city certainly very symbolic, but whose strategic importance was limited. Franco wanted a long war to destroy the demographic pool of the Republicans and thus “cleanse” the conquered regions of populations favorable to the regime in place. He felt that he could not have the stability necessary to rebuild the country if a young and sufficiently large pro-Republican generation survived the war. He said it explicitly in an interview: “In a civil war, it is better to systematically occupy the territory, accompanied by the necessary cleansing, than a rapid rout of the enemy armies that would leave the country infested with adversaries.”

The Legacy of Soviet Operative Thought

Thinking in terms of the “Ukraine” objective is too narrow. It is important to bear in mind that, geographically speaking, Russia is a world country (in the Braudelian sense). Neither Western Europe nor the United States are. Russian strategic thinking unfolds at a macro-spatial and macro-cultural level. It takes up the achievements of its big sister, Soviet strategic thought, which developed and conceptualized what is called the operational level of war, which no longer primarily targets tactical military objectives (troops, equipment, infrastructure, etc.), but the adversary as a system.

Operative thought does not view the enemy from a strictly military angle, unlike the classical Clausewitzian doctrine of destroying enemy armed forces in a great battle of annihilation deemed as the key to victory. Soviet and then Russian operative thinking approaches the adversary from a systemic perspective—it aims at its collapse, not in a great decisive battle, but by actions in depth.

It should be noted that this notion covers different aspects: the term depth does not necessarily refer to the defensive device of the adversary (fortifications, logistics centers, communication networks), but to all political, socio-economic and cultural structures as well as the infrastructures which allow the enemy country to function. Therefore, from the perspective of Russian operative thought, the objective pursued is rarely specific; it is holistic.

Russia is not simply seeking to bring a recalcitrant neighbor to heel, it is the “systemic enemy” that it is aiming at by showing in concrete terms that it is not only ready, but above all capable of waging war, including nuclear war. This systemic enemy is obviously the EU and NATO. Russia was able to become aware at the latest with the war in Syria (from 2011 onwards) of the meagre capacities of Western intervention which, in this case, were limited to sending a few contingents of special forces to support the Kurdish militias. It was able to get a concrete idea of the severe operational limits and the inability of the Atlantic Alliance to conduct a large-scale military operation due to a lack of manpower and logistics.

After that, Vladimir Putin and his staff were able to plan their intervention in Ukraine. But Ukraine is not the main objective of the war; it is only a battlefield, i.e., a place where military operations take place. The Russians have other effects and targets.

As for the effects, Russia wants to demonstrate that it can declare a conventional war and bring it to an end. In the face of this show of force, it must be noted that NATO and the European Union (EU) are militarily “absent.”

LS-SD: Do you think that the Russians also want a long war? Do they really have an interest in it?

BW: Mutatis mutandis, this could be the calculation of the Russians in the face of the war (by proxy) that the United States and NATO are waging against them through the Ukrainians. This war will eventually end because of a lack of fighters. But we must hasten to add that, on the Russian side, everything is not simple either. The shock caused by the partial mobilization of the young generation does not bode well. Indeed, a part of the society of this great country has been tasting for more than twenty years the “delights” of the consumer society—possibility to travel abroad, a certain feeling of freedom linked to the consumerist way of life, etc. For all of them, suddenly, everything has changed. For all them, suddenly, everything has stopped and closed. The specter of war and death now haunts their daily lives—hence the question, is a war that is prolonged and begins to affect the young Russian generations themselves, still acceptable—and especially bearable?

Under these conditions, we can hypothesize that Russia and Ukraine are both at risk of a mutual collapse. A bit like the dialectic between Greece and Rome in antiquity, the antinomy between these two worlds being summarized by the famous formula— Captive Greece took captive her savage conqueror—expressing the fact that, militarily defeated, Greece nevertheless managed to completely Hellenize the Roman world. In this case, a militarily destroyed Ukraine would provoke, as a shock in return, a collapse of Russia because of the sacrifices required or, at least felt, by a part of the Russian people. The recent attacks perpetrated on the Russian soil could reinforce this feeling of sudden fragility?

LS-SD: What is the relevance of your study on self-defense when war is raging on our doorstep?

BW: As its title indicates, my latest little book is devoted to self-defense, which I consider to be the operational concept instead of that of “national defense,” which became obsolete with the decline of the nation-state (marked in particular by the concomitant and exponential return of mercenarism.

[Weberian sociology regarding the formation of the modern state (Max Weber, Norbert Elias, Otto Hintze, Charles Tilly, to name the main ones) focuses on the construction of the state monopoly of coercion—also called monopoly of legitimate violence. It thus highlights the evolution of the military apparatus and its progressive control by state authorities. From the point of view of this conception of state-building, the recourse to mercenaries represents an intermediate stage between the feudal age (characterized by the absence of the state as well as by an anarchic chivalry practicing private warfare—Faustrecht), and the contemporary period with the advent of national armies completely controlled by the state. The current return of mercenarism, via the recourse to private military companies, tends to signal a “return to the past,” and consequently a relative de-construction of the state monopoly. On this subject, see Yves Déloye, Sociologie historique du politique.]

That is why, when war broke out in Ukraine, I thought that my study had also ipso facto become obsolete, for the Russian attack seemed to indicate the great return of conventional war between states and that of regular armies. My working hypothesis, based on “molecular civil war” type threats, with a predominance of non-state actors, such as narco-gangs, narco-terrorists and Islamo-jihadists, seems therefore compromised. As my friend Laurent Schang said to me on the evening of February 24, “this time it’s the end of war 2.0” (referring to sub-war challenges).

LS-SD: Are the Western/European nation-states still capable of waging war?

BW: It is apparent that apart from a few scattered battalions, NATO no longer has any effective military power; that the German army is in an advanced state of decay; that the French army (although still very operational) has only seven days’ worth of ammunition in the event of a high-intensity confrontation, and it is the same with all the rest.

All this means that in Western Europe, the nation-state is no longer capable of “making war,” a function that was its main regalian attribute and the driving force behind its historical construction (according to Charles Tilly’s famous formula, “war makes the State.” (See insert “War as the Driving Force behind Nation-State Construction”).

Today, the nation-state is huddled over its sole penal-carcenary privilege. Moreover, the storm of media disinformation, orchestrated since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, shows that citizenship has lost all substance and that it is no longer important to inform free and responsible men and women, but to keep a populace, always on the verge of a riot or revolt, calm.

War as the Driving Force behind Nation-State Construction

In his approach to state-building, Charles Tilly highlights two factors that contribute to the formation of the state monopoly of legitimate violence—on the one hand, constraint (the capacity to impose order and, above all, to mobilize the human resources necessary to wage war); and, on the other hand, capital (the capacity to finance and equip armies through taxes and the profits of foreign trade).

Thus, Tilly demonstrates that it is the combination of these two factors (hence the title of his work) that determines the type of state organization in force, at a given historical moment—that is, the one capable of “making war.” In our case, from the 16th century onwards, the transformations in the art of war (systematization of the use of firearms, recourse to professional soldiers, exponential growth in the number of soldiers) led to the need for the existing political units in Europe to have sufficient financial resources to be able to “afford” this new military tool.

Hence the institutionalization of taxation, in place of the old local feudal dues. The foundations of the modern nation-state were thus laid (a bureaucracy in charge of levying taxes, a standing army). From then on, the constraint-capital dynamic was set in motion—the more wars succeeded one another in Europe, the more the above-mentioned nation-state phenomenon was strengthened in the geographical areas concerned (the Netherlands, France, Spain, and later on, Prussia and Sweden). And thus we come to the famous formula: war makes the State.

Today, this analysis remains fully relevant for understanding the evolution of military-political units. However, the dynamics described above have changed scale—with globalization, capital is no longer located at the national level. As a consequence, states are emptied of their substance and depend on global finance for their functioning.

Nowadays, at the junction of constraint (mobilization of human resources) and capital (mobilization of financial resources), we no longer find regular armies, but two types of non-state military organizations—on the one hand, mercenarism in the form of private military companies (PMCs), and, on the other hand, armed-paramilitary-criminal groups. The former are generally financed by global capitalism, the latter by the grey economy. On the one hand, there is the combination of Wall Street and PMCs, and on the other, the combination of drug trafficking and various irregular armed groups.

LS-SD: So, your analysis remains relevant?

BW: Vanitas vanitatis… Yes. It is that of a nation-state emptied of its substance by disaster capitalism, of post-national societies subjected to an internal violence that is no longer channeled by the now obsolete state monopoly. If it were still necessary, the war in Ukraine and the decisions it has generated (in particular the sanctions of which we are the first victims) demonstrate that European states are no longer concerned with the well-being of their peoples; that their political elites are sucked in by the dynamics of global capitalism and by those who hold the control levers.

Fernand Braudel said: “Capitalism only triumphs when it identifies itself with the State; when it is the State.” Moreover, its regulation no longer goes through the nation-state (welfare), but through war (welfare => warfare), whether it is internal or against an enemy, designated by the media apparatus (Russia in casu). It is important to keep this reality in mind and to make it the starting point of any effort to understand the mechanisms of the present world—in the framework of global capitalism, the empty-shell nation-state is no longer the subject of war; it is only the theater (the setting, one might say), the geographical space where the confrontations take place. If we try to study it beyond the media noise, the war in Ukraine reveals this new state of affairs.

LS-SD: Yet this conflict marks the return of war between nation-states. So, isn’t it contradictory to say that the nation-state is no longer the subject of war?

BW: No, and this question allows me to clarify my point. Roughly speaking, one can say that until February 24, 2022, many analysts (myself included) considered that infra-state warfare represented the major risk in Europe: 1) confrontations at the molecular level (suicide attacks, machete attacks, shootings); 2) taking place below the technological threshold; 3) involving armed groups, gangs and terrorist cells; 4) financed via drug trafficking and other channels of the grey economy. In other words, a representation that follows directly from Martin van Creveld’s observation: “Modern armaments have become so expensive, so fast, so indiscriminate, so impressive, so cumbersome, and so powerful that they are sure to drive contemporary warfare into dead ends, i.e., into environments where they do not work. (The Transformation of War, p. 52).

As I said at the beginning, the outbreak of the war in Ukraine has shattered this threat picture by making us think of a return to conventional warfare in Europe (battles between regular armies, tank engagements, artillery, aviation and long-range missiles, the specter of the use of tactical nuclear weapons). However, on closer inspection, the reality of combat is not so obvious. Certainly, conventional warfare is well and truly present on the Russian side, with a disciplined, well-equipped, well-commanded army practicing joint maneuver.

On the Ukrainian side, on the other hand, the situation is much more blurred, as the regular conscript army was already in disarray before the conflict broke out, thus forcing the Zelensky government to rely on paramilitary groups, in particular the sinister Azov battalions, whose abuses against the civilian population are now well known. Nevertheless, they are the only real fighting forces on which the “failing” Ukrainian state (let’s be honest and use this term) can rely to confront the Russian offensive. Let us specify that these units are not directly dependent on the Ukrainian state; they have their own mode of financing, based on trafficking and mafia racket of the local populations whom they do not hesitate to use as human shields. However, they were completely decimated in the fighting around Marioupol and the Azovstal steelworks. From that moment on, it must be considered that they ceased to exist as constituted troops.

[It would seem that since the outbreak of the conflict, the Ukrainian authorities have issued eight calls of mobilization to make up for the heavy losses suffered. It is therefore worth asking why the younger generation is still responding to these calls when they are almost certain to die on the battlefield. The following hypothesis can be evoked: Ukrainians from the working classes did not have the possibility to flee abroad for lack of means; in a destroyed country where the economy is exsanguinated, it is not unreasonable to think that a “nice” bonus for the commitment (financed by the dollar) can represent for them a sufficient motive, because the sum thus received makes it possible to guarantee the survival of the remainder of the family. As is often the case in military history, it is the poor who pay the blood tax.]

Today, after the frightening human losses suffered by Ukrainian troops, it is mercenaries who seem to bear the brunt of the fighting—but who, above all, are taking over the predatory role previously played by the Azov battalions. These mercenaries are obviously not paid by Ukraine, which does not have the means, but by the American-NATO military-media complex. Capitalism is at work! We can therefore already say that at the moment, a weakened (failing) state—Ukraine in this case—is no longer able to wage war with its own national forces. It is obliged to call upon external forces that it does not control. We are thus in line with our previous observation on the incapacity of the nation-state to wage war.

[According to the analysis of the available videos, they would be mercenaries of Latin American origin, probably recruited by the services of Erik Prince (founder of the infamous SMP Blackwater). The latter had been called, at the time of the Arab Spring, by the oil-rich monarchies of the Gulf, to provide them with military police battalions, composed of Colombian mercenaries. The latter had no qualms about firing on the crowd, whereas the Tunisian and Egyptian armies had refused to do so in their respective countries. Erik Prince has the necessary connections for this recruitment pool].

Let us digress a little to note how much we find here the scenario of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). This war is a perfect illustration of the above-mentioned developments: the confusion between internal and inter-state warfare; the relative weakness of the states involved; and, as a result, the exponential recourse to private military contractors (mercenaries). For the record, the young European kingdoms (France and Sweden) sought to take advantage of the temporary weakness of the Holy Roman Empire to increase their territory and their influence in Europe. For the latter was entangled in an internal struggle against the Protestant princes who were challenging the imperial power.

First France, then Sweden entered the war to take advantage of this momentary fragility of the Empire. But, neither the king of France nor the king of Sweden had the means for their policy. They did not have sufficient nation-state apparatus to maintain such a war over a long period of time and over vast territories; their bureaucracy, still in its infancy, did not allow them to raise taxes in an efficient and sustainable manner, nor to recruit the necessary troops from among the population.

The Holy Roman Emperor had the same limitations. This is why all of them called upon military entrepreneurs (Wallenstein, Tilly, Saxe-Weimar in particular). In addition to their skills as great captains, these military entrepreneurs were also talented businessmen with the appropriate networks to recruit soldiers and maintain their armies. From then on, and precisely because of the implementation of this business model, this war became a “commercial affair,” largely determined by the interests of these entrepreneurs and their financial backers. It was they who decided on the goals, not so much according to the politico-strategic priorities of the States, but rather according to the “commercial” interests of their respective companies (the armies of mercenaries made available to the European princes in struggle). To do this, and given the insufficiency of public funding, they relied on the first “transnational financial system”—the Bank of Amsterdam. However, no matter how clever the Batavian bankers were, the credits provided were never enough to cover all the needs, especially in terms of logistics. As a result, mercenary armies continued to “live on the land,” looting and pillaging almost all of Central Europe.

The duration of the conflict can also be explained by this reason—in a Europe emerging from feudal economy and entering the so-called “first capitalism,” military entrepreneurship brought really juicy profits.

In short, the Thirty Years’ War offers an example of a confrontation that can be described as “pre-Clausewitzian,” i.e., a confrontation in which, although initiated by states, war quickly ceased to be the continuation of politics by other means, for lack of adequate state resources. Mutatis mutandis, it is a similar situation that we find today in Europe with the war in Ukraine.

LS-SD: So, are we witnessing (or not) the return of conventional war in Europe?

BW: Certainly, but this statement requires some explanation, because if there is a return to conventional warfare, we must hasten to say that it is a conventional NG (new generation) war in which, on the Ukrainian side, the paramilitary and mercenary forces, charged with defending the country are proving to be more dangerous for the Ukrainians than the Russian army that is attacking them.

From this point on, the following parameters seem to be emerging concerning this “new generation conventional war”: 1) at the core level, a weakened (failing) nation-state which is no longer able to ensure its defense by means of its national armed forces; 2) which has to call upon irregular forces, paramilitary and mercenary; 3) these forces are “living off the country” through racketeering and predation; 4) and are massively financed and equipped by global capitalism. Moreover, it appears that Ukraine is by no means a precursor in this matter—at the beginning of the war in Syria (2011), it was the intervention of Lebanese Hezbollah irregulars that saved the weakened state of Bashar El Assad from collapse.

In the same way, the case of Azerbaijan points to a similar situation—it is thanks to the arms and mercenaries made available by Turkey, as well as to the contingents of Arab-Muslim fighters, all paid for by Azeri oil revenues, that this country manages to achieve the successes that we have seen in Nagorno-Karabakh.

But despite all their differences, Ukraine, Bashar’s Syria and Azerbaijan are not strong states. This is not the case in the United States, which is the only country in the world that has a strong social cohesion and a prosperous economy that benefits all its citizens. Nor do any of these countries have a genuine national political elite on which the nation-state apparatus can rely; power is held by clans or mafia-like cliques seeking above all to monopolize wealth for their own benefit.

LS-SD: As a result, for the Ukrainians, it is “a war within a war?”

BW: Yes, and this is not surprising, if we follow the grid of Hobbes’ Leviathan: in the absence of the State, it is the war of all against all—which, in the age of global capitalism, can last indefinitely because it represents a very lucrative business—hence the concept of “disaster capitalism.”

In other words, conducted by fighters from paramilitary and mercenary units, this NG belligerence is “limitless” and itself becomes the objective; civilians supposedly defended become the main objective of the aforementioned armed groups, and the war effort is financed by global capitalism in its “disaster” declination. Such a war does not respect the distinctions of civil/military, front/back, war/crime. It is mixed [I will not use the term “hybrid” because it is so overused and misunderstood]: conventional on the battlefield, criminal in its functioning, terrorist in its acts and targeting populations. Let me emphasize how we get to the characteristics of sub-state warfare described above.

LS-SD: From this vantage point, what further general perspective can be drawn from the Ukrainian situation?

BW: The Ukrainian case highlights the profound transformation of Europe and the Western world (in fact its disintegration) through two specific dimensions: one macro-economic and the other macro-geographic. The first reminds us of the relevance of the principle that war is waged in the same way as wealth is produced: the mode of economic production at a given time has a determining influence on both the type of war and the configuration of the military tool. Thus, wars between states in the 19th and 20th centuries were essentially based on a three-term equation: Nation + Industrial Revolution = mass armies. Industrial capitalism has formatted national spaces (nation-states) and increased competition between them in a paroxysmal way.

Today, the era of regular national armies financed and equipped, thanks to the progress of the Industrial Revolution, is definitively over. Capital has mutated; it has become entirely financialized and has migrated to the supranational level, leading to what is usually called globalization. It is at this level that wealth is now produced and the conduct of war is irrevocably modified. This means, as we have already said above in reference to the return of mercenarism, that states are no longer masters of their own defense. A regular army, even if it remains apparently financed by a state, has become de facto a tool at the service of global capital, as illustrated by the (almost surreal) eagerness of European governments to empty their meager arsenals, disarming their own armed forces to send weapons to Ukraine, some of which are already being sold on parallel markets. The analysis of this war reveals such a reality which was is both unprecedented and unimaginable before.

[In such circumstances, and following the announcement that the Bundeswehr (German army) had only a two-day supply of ammunition, a German commentator questioned this state of affairs and its official recognition by the authorities. He went so far as to formulate the hypothesis of a “de facto surrender,” explicitly admitted, in order to preserve Germany from destruction in the event of the war spreading westwards. According to him, by declaring itself “bankrupt” due to the liquidation of its very modest stocks of arms and ammunition in favour of Ukrainian forces, the country could avoid “becoming the next battlefield” once Ukraine is destroyed. While this may be a bit far-fetched, it does highlight the extent of Western European disarmament in the current conflict.]

As regards the macro-geographic dimension, the Ukrainian case underlines the value of the analysis delivered by David Cosandey in his monumental study published in 1997 and entitled, Le secret de l’Occident: du miracle passé au marasme présent (The Secret of the West: From the Past Miracle to the Present Morass). In his quest to understand this “past miracle,” Cosandey focuses on the geographical factor as the decisive element of European dynamism. Europe being a priori only a promontory of Eurasia, it is its coastal perimeter, in the north as in the south, which is jagged, meandering and irregular, which allows for the establishment of very diverse socio-political entities, but intensively practicing commercial exchanges among these entities first, then with the rest of the world.

It is thus because of this specificity of the European geographical space that Cosandey proposes his explanation of “the” miracle based on two neologisms of his creation: “mereupory” and “thalassography.” The first term aims at explaining the scientific progress of Europe by its stable political division and its commercial dynamism. The second term specifies that the commercial dynamism as well as the diversity and the stability are favored by this very particular coastal contour, compared to the other continents. Therefore, based on this mereuporico-thalassographic articulation, Cosandey examines the contemporary evolution of our continent.

In casu, it is not a question of subjecting the theses of Cosandey to criticism, but to consider what they say to us of Europe in the framework of the war in Ukraine. Cosandey indeed thinks that the power of the armaments developed since the Second World War fundamentally questions the morphology of Europe. In other words, space is no longer sufficient to absorb military force. It is now too small to be able to form a stable geopolitical zone.

Consequently, Cosandey argues that the European geographical advantage is now obsolete because of the power of armaments: “Because of the progress of military technology, the thalassography of the European continent, however extraordinary it may be, no longer allows a system of states to establish itself there durably.” This insight obviously deserves some explanation.

The reference to the progress of military technology refers mainly to the continental and intercontinental reach of modern weapons (ballistic missiles, aircraft carriers and long-range aircraft capable of striking any point on the continent). Faced with these capabilities of force projection over very long distances, the meteoric and thalassographic qualities of Europe become ineffective—the specificity of its coastline is no longer sufficient. The continent becomes once again a simple tongue of land, a Eurasian promontory, which can be crossed very easily, and in all directions (migratory flows seem to confirm this). Hence the impossibility, under such conditions, of maintaining a stable and dynamic chessboard of states, since these no longer have the capacity to protect themselves, and their geographical borders no longer fulfil a defense function.

Following Cosandey on this trajectory, the war in Ukraine seems to indicate that the future of Europe in terms of states can only be that of a large-scale disorder—a kind of new Middle Ages in which the Church is replaced by the dollar.

LS-SD: To conclude, let us return to the initial question. Is self-defense still relevant in such a state of chaos and disorder, of war without limits?

BW: Now more than ever—especially in a Western Europe incapable of defending itself, where the Ukrainian pattern is likely to be repeated. For, if the nation-state is no longer the subject of war, then it is the individual himself who becomes the subject of war (hence self-defense). Moreover, this individual is no longer a citizen, but a “naked man” stripped of all protection, without a city (a-polis) and liable to be put to death by the police as well as by the gangs or the aforementioned actors of the conventional NG war without limits. For this naked man, from now on, self-defense represents the only horizon in terms of residual freedom and security, the last means of preserving some snippets of the status of political animal that citizenship in arms (the hoplitic polis) previously conferred on him.

[Several factors argue not only for a prolongation of the war, but for its possible extension to the European region: the attitude of Russia, which is ready to continue the fighting as long as the Ukrainian government does not make a peace proposal; the possible involvement of Belarus; the clumsiness and blunders of the Poles and Lithuanians with regard to the enclave of Kaliningrad; the activism of the EU, the United Kingdom and the United States to prevent any end to the hostilities; and, last but not least, the blind eagerness of Germany to empty its arsenals and send their contents to Ukraine.]

Let us specify that the notion of self-defense understood here goes beyond the simple technique of fighting with bare hands. It represents the reverse side of self-defense because it is not a legal concept protecting the citizen, but a state of affairs, a defensive tactic, a survival reaction. In this sense, it constitutes the ultimate barrier of the banished and the proscribed against the violence they are subjected to. For them, it is the means to rebuild themselves, to become human persons again and not only bodies (homo sacer) that can be violated at will.

The philosopher Elsa Dorlin speaks in this respect of the construction of a “martial ethic of the self,” through practices that the disarmed individual, without citizenship, uses to protect himself physically from aggression. And, given the generalized chaos and the collapse looming on the horizon of European societies, in the wake of the war in Ukraine, it is important to insist on this reconstitutive function of self-defense. To defend oneself is to exist—the insurgents of the Warsaw ghetto are an emblematic example!

Let us also point out however that even in this scenario of re-empowerment, the margin of maneuver of homo sacer remains very narrow. This is why the putting into perspective of events (according to the method of long historical time), that is to say the narrative, occupies a strategic place. This allows for the definition of a space, an “alternative” reality to the narrative imposed by the military-media complex of global capitalism. The philosopher Eric Werner seeks to articulate this minority narrative with the triptych—autonomy-crisis-proximity—in response to that of the dominant discourse—insecurity-crisis-resilience. For the record, this last notion does not mean to resist, but “to meekly accept one’s fate, however bad it may be.”

Autonomy, proximity, self-defense, understood as “defense as close as possible,” will, in all likelihood, constitute the new reference points in a European world where the war in Ukraine marks the ultimate end of the Western historical cycle: “The time of revolutions is over. We are living in the time of extermination; and, by implication, the time of survival and self-defense. This is the era of pockets of autonomy.”

Having qualified the world-system by the state of insecure governance, we can begin by defining the new framework of war. It is part of the abatement of national sovereignties. The European nation-state no longer seems to be relevant to solve the security problems of its citizens. The latter, a historical legacy of the Westphalian state (1648), and theorized by Hobbes in Leviathan (1651), geographically delimited, is in decomposition… Moreover, the degradation of the nation-state model sees its military sovereignty put under the tutelage of another form of sovereignty, non-military, that is to say economic, carried by global capitalism (Olivier Entraygues, Regards sur la guerre: L’école de la défaite—Views on the war: The School of Defeat).

Bernard Wicht is a lecturer at the University of Lausanne, where he teaches strategy. He is a regular speaker at military institutions, including the Ecole de Guerre, and think-tanks abroad. He is the author of several books, including Vers l’autodéfense: Le défi des guerres internes (Towards Self-Defense: The Challenge of Internal Wars), Les loups et l’agneau-citoyen. Gangs militarisés, Etat policier et desarmement du peuple (The Wolves and the Citizen-Lamb: Militarized Gangs, the Police State and the Disarmament of the People); Citoyen-soldat 2.0, Mode d’emploi (Citizen-Soldier 2.0: A User’s Guide); Europe Mad Max demain ? retour à la défense citoyenne (Mad Max Europe Tomorrow? A Return to Citizen Defense); Une nouvelle Guerre de Trentre Ans ? Réflexion et hypothèse sur la crise actuelle (A New Thirty Years War: Reflections and Hypothesis on the Current Crisis); L’OTAN attaque : la nouvelle donne stratégique (NATO Attacks: the New Strategic Order); L’Idée de milice et le modèle suisse dans la pensée de Machiavel (The Idea of the Militia and the Swiss Model in Machiavelli’s Thought).


Featured: “Defenders of the Brest Fortress,” by Pyotr Krivonogov; painted in 1951.