Friday, December 02, 2005

Sorel (4)

Well folks, we're at war again, the whole world, just like the last times. Maybe Napoleon started all this, this war of the victors of Modernity, to see who will rule among us over the whole. Today, like then, we're fighting to see who will control the future of the world: the Moderns-- or the reactionaries; those who are enlightened or those who prefer life as it was, when people were farm animals and life went in predictable unchanging cycles of nothingness from birth to death. We, the Moderns, fight for Progress and teleology and a better future for Mankind; and our opponents, the fascists, fight for roughly the same goals, reaction, stasis, and the future of Mankind.

This is a Western war. Most of our enemies are primitives from the Muslim world, but really, they don't count for much over-all: they are mere proxies, stickmen in the struggle to control the future of how Mankind will live and what the nature of Human life will be. It comes down to the epistemology of Man, of all things, something most of us wouldn't pay any attention to if we had it laid out clearly before us by people who could explain it clearly. But there it is. We are proxies too in this war. Most of us will just go along with the flow of Human life not really grasping what and why. Who gets excited enough about epistemology to kill anyone over it? And yet, here we are. The bodies continue to pile up. It's getting worse daily. More and more Muslims going crazier by the day, killing more and more people ever more viciously, and here we are too wondering what this all means. What is this war about?

We know that our governments, our media, our intelligentsia lie to us unashamed, and we hear our neighbours repeat idiot cliches about this war without a name or an identified enemy, and we wonder what is wrong. Here, at this blog, we declare that this war of ours is a war for the future of Human life as either modern middle class people or the return to the past, a time when people were farm animals or, in the case of Islam, also the slaves of Allah. We declare that this war is one for the mind of Man. How shall the mass of Mankind live?

Some people among us demand the power to control the way others live and think. They have a vision of what Human life should be, and they use force to impose their visions on the world's people. Some demand that people live what they term a "natural" life. Others demand that people live as they choose personally and privately. There is an irreconcilable conflict between the two powers. We are at war therefore. Here we define the sides as Modernists and Left dhimmi fascists. Muslims are thrown into the mix as bulk on the side of our enemies. They are the cannon fodder of this struggle, on the side of our Left dhimmi fascist enemies in the West. Muslims as enemies are, according to us, like garbage in the streets cluttering our advances. Our true enemies are our own people. It is they whom we must identify and conquer so we can move ahead to our goal of Human progress in the world.

There is a specific fascist epistemology. How do we know the nature of our world? Once we know, or think we know, the way we know, then we act from that position. It defines us. It chooses for us which side in the war we take. To help clarify this point we'll look at Isaiah Berlin's critique of Georges Sorel. It seems odd to spend time reading about a man whose work most of us have never heard of, whose name most of us have never heard of, and whose ideas are forgotten even among the majority of professional intellectuals who study the nature of the West. But Georges Sorel is one of the creators of our current public opinion, whether we know of him or not. To understand his position is to know our own better, and with that understanding we might better know what we must do to fight for one side or the other in this war for the future of Humanity. In understanding Sorel's critique of the world we might see why we have a split in our population between progressive and modern people and those who do their utmost to turn the course of life back to the Middle Ages. It comes down to a struggle for the power to determine how the majority of people will view life itself. Are we individuals or are we part of a Human collective? Do we think things through rationally or do we rely on the government's benevolence and the word of Allah? Are we rational or irrational? How do we know what our world is? How do we live rightly? Our epistemological position defines where we stand and what we fight for.

Georges Sorel is dark matter in the vast mosaic of our Western intellectual history, a man whose ideas surround other, brighter lights, whose ideas make them shine by providing contrast and definition, and without whom others would not shine at all. Sorel is the unseen background of modern fascism. When we look without seeing the context of others better known we miss the depth of our enemies' programme. We cannot afford to do so any longer. Our victory depends on knowing who we fight and what we fight for and against. Sorel, by being dark, can shed light on our struggle.

Berlin write that "there are two natures: artificial nature, the nature of science-- a system of idealised entities: atoms, electric charges, mass...fictions compounded out of observed uniformities, particularly in regions relatively remote from man's daily concerns... deliberately adapted to mathematical treatment that enable d man to identify some of the furniture of the universe, and to predict and, indeed, to control parts of it." (Isaiah Berlin, Against the Current. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981: p. 301.)

That nature, the rational nature of Man, is the result of critical inquiry into life separate from revelation and received ideas. Therein we have the crux of our problem in the world today. Is Man a rational creature who has control over the universe? Can we really know the nature of the universe at all? It's a matter of epistemology. If we are rational beings, then our lives are so different from what our opponents consider the right course of Humanity that we are literally at war against them. As trivial and strange as it might appear, that is the nature of our fight against Islam and our our own Left dhimmi fascists. How is the world organised and how do we live in it? How we determine our vision of reality determines how we organize our societies, and some people are determined to organise our societies for us, regardless of our objections. Muslims demand that reality reflect the ideology of early Islam. The Muslim view of reality is at odds with that of Modernity. They see the world and Man's place in it from a view too different from ours for us to live in coexistence at all. We must encroach upon Islam by the very nature of our successes as a system based on science and rationality. We are so successful that nothing Islam can do is strong enough to counter our progress other than sheer violence. The Islamic view of reality cannot sustain its place in the world against Modernity. They must destroy us or die.

Sorel is of the view, common to Mankind until the Revolutions in America and France, that Man is a thing of nature, and that he is at his best when he lives in a natural environment, one without machines and factories and capitalism and money economies. When man is in contact with other men as natural man rather than man as employee and employer, then he is truly man as he should be, creative, authentic, and right in his being. Modernity, according to Sorel, is a disfigurement of Man, a mutilation of Man's soul. To destroy Modernity and to allow Man to return to the primitive past of social relations without capitalism perverting his true nature is the best goal of any decent man. At heart, this is an fascist view of reality, of how we know our universe.

Sorel and others like him, view science and rationality as a corruption of Man. Science is a metaphor of reality, not reality itself. Rationality is a false picture of reality, one that twists people into things they should not be.

Science "was a stupendous achievement, but an achievement of the creative imagination, not an accurate reproduction of the structure of reality, not a map, still less a picture, of what there was. Outside this set of formulas, of imaginary entities and mathematical relationships in terms of which the system was constructed, there was 'natural nature-- the real thing-- chaotic, terrifying... compounded of ungovernable forces, against which man had to struggle... with the help of science [was] something that was not found but made. The assumption that reality was a harmonious whole... all this was an enormous fallacy.... When we extend such [scientific] manipulation to men as well, we degrade and dehumanize them, for men are not objects but subjects of action...." (Berlin: p. 302.)

To build machines and factories and cities is to destroy nature and man. For the irrationalist it is to destroy Man. To make the world knowable to Man outside the terms of revelation and nature is to destroy the harmony of life as it should be and as it was before the rise of science and rationality. For the fascist, all effort is made to destroy the Modern and to return life to its original place and manner. Science and rationality are systems, false and evil, and they must be destroyed.

"To confuse our own constructions and inventions with eternal laws or divine decrees is one of the most fatal delusions of men.... " (Berlin: p. 303.)

Our constructions and inventions arise from our epistemological view. Ours are Modernist. Sorel objects:

"The true basis of all association is the family, the tribe, the polis, in which cooperation is instinctive and spontaneous and does not depend on rules or contracts or invented arrangements. Associations for the sake of profit or utility, resting on some artificial agreement, as the political and economic institutions of the capitalistic systems plainly do, stifle the sense of common humanity and destroy human dignity by generating a spirit of competitive opportunism." (Berlin: p. 304.)

He feels that Modernity and particularly democracy are wrong approaches of social organisation and the human project:

"Democratic politics resembled a huge stock exchange in which votes were bought and sold without shame or fear, men were bamboozled or betrayed by scheming politicians, ruthless bankers, crooked businessmen... lawyers, journalists, professors, all scrambling for money, recognition, power, in a world of contemtpible fools... in a Europe 'stupefied by humanitarianism.'" (Berlin: p. 300.)

When we understand reality and base our lives and societies on democracy we cut ourselves off from the right course of life, creating evil societies in the process. To make life right we must return to a time before democracy and industry and reason as the orgainising principles of life. We must stop analysing intellectually and thinking rationally and scientifically and return to a natural and intuitive way of thought. We must destroy the institutions that reify Reason: we must destroy law courts, businesses, factories, schools and so on, and in their places plant trees and allow tufted puffins to roam freely, or whatever.

Here we argue daily that there is a conflation of Left and Right, and that it is all a reactionary struggle to return our Modernity to the primitive past of pre-industrial society. It means the destruction of Reason as the way we think about reality. It means that we stop thinking and start feeling as our way of life.

Berlin writes: "There is an inti-intellectual and anti-Enlightenment stream in the European radical tradition... that goes back to Rousseau and Herder and Fichte, and enters agrarian, anarchist, anti-Semitic and other illiberal movements.... (Berlin: p. 316.) And it is that that we term Left dhimmi fascism.

For Sorel "[R]eason was a feeble instrument compared with the power of irrational and the unconscious in the life both of individuals and societies.... Not theoretical knowledge but action, and only action, gives understanding of reality. Action is not a means to preconceived ends, is its own policy-maker and pathfinder." (Berlin: p. 316-17.)

In that light we can look at irrationality as world-view and see what we term the "fascist grand gesture" as the counter-part to science and reason. We see the Muslim homicide bomber as fascist actor. This is what we find when the sleep of reason sets in. Sorel celebrates it. So too do our Left dhimmi fascists. Irrationalism informs our cultural world-view to the core, and we find its results in our surrender to fascist Islam.

There's more, and I'll post it tomorrow.


Pastorius said...

The idea that "the true basis of all association is the family, the tribe ..." is the siren song of humanity. The thing is, it is a beautiful idea, because who knows us like our family, and where is the tradition which shapes us based and nurtured and preserved, but in the family and the tribe.

But tradition, and the way in which family stakes claims on us in knowing us, can also serve as a way of holding us back from progress.

I think the truth, Dag, lies in a balance of both approaches, with the emphasis on reason in the political sphere, and the emphasis on tribal and family tradition in the personal sphere.

And, when I say emphasis, I mean maybe 70% to 30%.

Here in America we have patriotic nationalism, which is a form of tribalism. We have many tribalisms, formal and informal, in America which help us to push forward the process of dialectical reason.

The weakness of tribalism is becomes manifest when it takes precedence over reason in the public and political sphere.

dag said...

Good points. I've held off posting more on this issue till I could think through the relationship between identity politics and Isreal, a stumbling block that's had me concerned for a long while. I have to ponder this a bit more before I go into it again. but this is on the right track.