Sunday, June 19, 2005

Of everyone against everyone....

Are we Modernist revolutionaries the enemy of the peace-loving peoples of the world of Nature and Man? Is it we who are the evil force of our time, those who make unjust war on our fellows, who destroy the peace and security of well-adjusted traditional societies in our endless grasping for oil, for the trees of the rain forests, for the very lives of innocent men and women just to feed our lust for death, who rape bountiful Mother Nature? Is it true that the rest of the world is at one with Nature, living in blissful harmony with the enviornment and each other, and that it is we who are the Hobbsean nightmare maniacs of violent, uncontrolled longing? Are we the Right-wing lunatics we hate?

Rage as some do against the Christian Right, likening them to Nazis and Islamic terrorists, conflating McVeigh and abortion-doctor killers with bin Laden and his lot, proclaiming that it is the Right we must most fear if we fear at all for our liberties and justice in the world, it is truly most certain that it is the Left we must fear if we fear at all for our very lives. It is the Left has become a fascist entity in our time, no better than the Right the Left fears. We do not refer here to the Left of the Civil Liberties movement, of drives for voter-registration, for the equal rights of women, for the rights of children to be unmolested, but of the Left today who are the Right of old, the fascists of the Spanish Civil War, as a prime example, the Stalinist collaborators who enabled the Falangists to defeat the Republic for the greater glories of the Soviet Union, who today fight for the greater glories of the Islamic world, their new idols of reaction and nostalgia for the Golden Age of pre-capitalist, pre-industrial purity, the Left who forget the Good and who long for Mother Nature, a mindless bitch "red in tooth and claw," as Alfred Lord Tennyson writes, Mother Nature, an idol of the mind, one that bears melting for its worth in lead. The Left is fascist, and they will destroy us whole if we do not understand the nature of our fight, our struggle against reaction and the fascism of the Left in harmony with the Right of old. It's not Christians we must fear but those who have destroyed the Progressive Left and turned it toward the romance of the idols of fascism.

We must clear our minds of the idols of our times. We are faced with a force at odds with the modern world, the world of Progressive liberties, of freedom and democracy, of individualism, of privacy itself. We must know our enemies, and we must know ourselves so that we are not lost in the mire of reaction that is the Left dressed in tricolored cloaks. We harbour traitors. We are not them, nor they us. Who are we who believe still in the essential goodness of our fellow men? If we are not the Left, what are we if we are not the Right? How have we allowed ourselves to be hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists who do not understand our main points of liberal democracy? Why do we feel like we are excluded from our own beliefs?

We should evaluate our position regarding Human relations to decide whether we are Left or Right, if that has any meaning anymore, which it seems not to have, and we might start by asking whether we side with Hobbes or Montaigne and Rousseau; or better, whether it isn't time to toss them all and find something we can live with as modern revolutionary people who will go further in revolution than have our forebearers. We must redefine our ground in terms of our relationship to privacy. We do so by understanding the nature of the fascism that engulfs us and threatens to overwhelm us as we stand uncertainly with our positions shifting under our feet. Are we Left? are we Right? are we somewhere in-between? Do we fight the fascists by siding with the Communists? Do we side with the Falangists if we are Christians? Where do we go from this sunk point?

Humanity is bifurcating, Moderns against primitives, the Western Modernists against the world of unchanged tradition and the idiocy of rural living. If we truly feel that the savages are noble, that Mother Nature is to be at one with, that we are all born free and everywhere are in chains thereafter because of some evil capitalist plot, then, as August Blanqui writes, we should endeavour to impose the dictatorship of the proletariat, or sharia, or some such Platonic Noble Lie on the unwilling and falsely conscious until we can restore the Golden Age of purity. Or we can look at the following excerpt from Hobbes' Leviathan to see if we aren't better off with a stable, benign, authoritarian, and public menace to our personal lives. Whatever we choose, it must be universal, applicable to Everyman. We must understand our relationship to man in a state of nature. We have to unravel the knot we've got ourselves into to know clearly whether we are for Progress or reaction, whether we are for or against the Left/Right Islamic Nazi Christian Communists. And once we've decided where we stand and who with, then we must decide what is to be done.

Montaigne's romantic and sentimental version of the noble savage is the ruling ethos of the ideological Left, the Left that pits Modernity against the people, the capitalists against the purities of savages living in pristine innocence. Hobbes, in step with Plato, has no love for the sentimental version of Man in Nature. The Left, bestowing their blessings on the savages a la Montaigne, also hurl their abuse on us as if it is we who are the "cancer of human history," as Sontag wrote somewhere. The bifurcation is obvious, and the assignment of blame for the failure of the primitives, according to the Left, is on us, we who are progressive but seen as the source of all the ills of the exploited innocents, of the primitives. It is the West that is Hobbsean, and it is the "Other" that is Montaignist. Given the turn of the times, Hobbes is now of the Left, their theorist and guide:


Hereby it is manifest that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man. For war consisteth not in battle only, or the act of fighting, but in a tract of time, wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known: and therefore the notion of time is to be considered in the nature of war, as it is in the nature of weather. For as the nature of foul weather lieth not in a shower or two of rain, but in an inclination thereto of many days together: so the nature of war consisteth not in actual fighting, but in the known disposition thereto during all the time there is no assurance to the contrary. All other time is peace.

Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

It may seem strange to some man that has not well weighed these things that Nature should thus dissociate and render men apt to invade and destroy one another: and he may therefore, not trusting to this inference, made from the passions, desire perhaps to have the same confirmed by experience. Let him therefore consider with himself: when taking a journey, he arms himself and seeks to go well accompanied; when going to sleep, he locks his doors; when even in his house he locks his chests; and this when he knows there be laws and public officers, armed, to revenge all injuries shall be done him; what opinion he has of his fellow subjects, when he rides armed; of his fellow citizens, when he locks his doors; and of his children, and servants, when he locks his chests. Does he not there as much accuse mankind by his actions as I do by my words? But neither of us accuse man's nature in it. The desires, and other passions of man, are in themselves no sin. No more are the actions that proceed from those passions till they know a law that forbids them; which till laws be made they cannot know, nor can any law be made till they have agreed upon the person that shall make it.

It may peradventure be thought there was never such a time nor condition of war as this; and I believe it was never generally so, over all the world: but there are many places where they live so now. For the savage people in many places of America, except the government of small families, the concord whereof dependeth on natural lust, have no government at all, and live at this day in that brutish manner, as I said before. Howsoever, it may be perceived what manner of life there would be, where there were no common power to fear, by the manner of life which men that have formerly lived under a peaceful government use to degenerate into a civil war.

To this war of every man against every man, this also is consequent; that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law; where no law, no injustice. Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues. Justice and injustice are none of the faculties neither of the body nor mind. If they were, they might be in a man that were alone in the world, as well as his senses and passions. They are qualities that relate to men in society, not in solitude. It is consequent also to the same condition that there be no propriety, no dominion, no mine and thine distinct; but only that to be every man's that he can get, and for so long as he can keep it. And thus much for the ill condition which man by mere nature is actually placed in; though with a possibility to come out of it, consisting partly in the passions, partly in his reason.

The passions that incline men to peace are: fear of death; desire of such things as are necessary to commodious living; and a hope by their industry to obtain them. And reason suggesteth convenient articles of peace upon which men may be drawn to agreement. These articles are they which otherwise are called the laws of nature, whereof I shall speak more particularly in the two following chapters.

And because the condition of man (as hath been declared in the precedent chapter) is a condition of war of every one against every one, in which case every one is governed by his own reason, and there is nothing he can make use of that may not be a help unto him in preserving his life against his enemies; it followeth that in such a condition every man has a right to every thing, even to one another's body. And therefore, as long as this natural right of every man to every thing endureth, there can be no security to any man, how strong or wise soever he be, of living out the time which nature ordinarily alloweth men to live. And consequently it is a precept, or general rule of reason: that every man ought to endeavour peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek and use all helps and advantages of war. The first branch of which rule containeth the first and fundamental law of nature, which is: to seek peace and follow it. The second, the sum of the right of nature, which is: by all means we can to defend ourselves.

Thomas Hobbes.

We Moderns are living in a Hobbsean nightmare world of moral anarchy disguised semantically as relativism, cultural and moral, and yet it is obviously a time of struggle against Modernity on the part of the forces of reaction who are moralistic, legalistic, officious, and religious. The norm is anarchy, and Hobbes describes it well enough that we should pay some attention to him. And having done so, we should then weigh our options in light of our right to self-defence from this anarchy of relativism.

We must decide where we stand on the question of the nature of Man in a state of nature if we are to decide whether Man is free and enslaved by his fellow man and 'the system' for good or for ill, or whether man is born free and is red in tooth and claw because he eats his fellow man if not restrained. We must decide if we are for the revolution of Progress, or if there is no such thing, merely relative moral and cultural values imposed on one group by a stronger for no valid reason. If there is no difference between the Left and the Right, then we must find our solid ground from which to state our case for the difference between us and them; and if we feel that there is no difference between the Christians and the Moslems, then we have made a dhimmi decision that we must live with and eventually fight for.

Montaigne and Hobbes are conflated in the Left's reactionary support of fascist Islam of today. Is the savage noble in tooth and claw? Are we Modern Revolutionaries the enemies of Humankind? And what is our response? What is to be done? What if we don't do anything?

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