Saturday, October 15, 2005
Eschatology or linear Progress? What is history? The world of Humanity is divided by two views of the nature of history, the one being static, that there is an end of time for Man, and that this time is a temporary and transitional state of being that leads to a non-temporal state, existence outside of time; the other being that history is linear, unlimited, and possibly progressive. One is intuitive, the other rational.
How do we consider our time and time itself? That question's resolution determines much of what our lives will be. Until the rise of merchantile capitalism roughly 500 years ago there was no question. Now there is, and to decide where we stand we must ask hard questions of ourselves. What is the purpose of Human life? Is it life lived for another extemporal existence? Is this all there is for us in our lives? Is there a plan designed by extemporal intelligence, or are we the designers groping blindly but rationally?
The branches of these questions lead to puzzles for most of us. For the vast majority of the history of Human existence and still for the vast majority of Humans today themselves, the questions are not interesting. There is God, a godly plan, and there are people who have little or no say in the design. Priests and imams decide the ways of Humans in relation to God or Allah or whatever. Man lives and dies and goes on. History itself is merely a continuation of the same basic trial of Humankind. There is no Progress possible. There is a final prophet, Mohammed, according to Muslims, with the final message for true believers, and that's roughly that till the end of time. To question the nature of time and history is to confuse oneself and risk atheism. To ask uncomfortable questions is to raise doubts about the right order of the revealed religion, a bad thing, and one that leads to the questioner being subject to capital punishment in Islam. Technology might change but there cannot be Human of historical Progress. Man is created and is forever the static being of the beginning though in multiple form. History is circular. Things change but not Man. There is no history, only events.
But some of us stare rapt into the blue screens of death, and we ponder the possiblity that there is a linear history, one not bound by, insh'allah, creation and design but one determined by Humankind in struggle against ignorance and assumption.
Below we have two very short and accessible pieces on the nature of History. What you decide about the nature of History defines not just the course of your life but in company with others the nature of our societies.
The conclusion, that he sees himself as an anointed agent of divine providence, seems inescapable and it is alarming in the extreme. The notion that one is on the right side of history is dangerous not only because it breeds irrational belief in the correctness of one's own intuitive judgment but also because it prompts megalomaniacal decisions and policies inimical to the political and constitutional tradition of the United States. The historicist fallacy that "history" is an entity on a linear march has bred gnostic ideologies that find it easy to murder those who are deemed to be on its "wrong" side. Sooner or later this mindset results in the destruction of the over-expanded, over-extended bearer of the divinely appointed task.
A piece of pulp fiction by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, first published in 1898, when followers of the charismatic fundamentalist leader Muhammad al-Mahdi tried to establish a theocracy in Sudan by revolting against Anglo-Egyptian control, captures the contradiction at the heart of contemporary Islam. Called TheTragedy of the Korosko, the book is the story of a small tourist party to Upper Egypt, who are kidnapped and held to ransom by some Mahdists, and then rescued by the Egyptian Camel Corps. (I hesitate, as a Francophile, to point out to American readers that there is a French character in the book, who, until he is himself captured by the Mahdists, believes that they are but a figment of the British imagination, to give perfidious Albion a pretext to interfere in Sudanese affairs.) A mullah among the Mahdists who capture the tourists attempts to convert the Europeans and Americans to Islam, deriding as unimportant and insignificant their technically superior civilisation: "'As to the [scientific] learning of which you speak...' said the Moolah; 'I have myself studied at the University of Al Azhar at Cairo, and I know that to which you allude. But the learning of the faithful is not as the learning of the unbeliever, and it is not fitting that we pry too deeply into the ways of Allah. Some stars have tails ... and some have not; but what does it profit us to know which are which? For God made them all, and they are very safe in His hands. Therefore ... be not puffed up by the foolish learning of the West, and understand that there is only one wisdom, which consists in following the will of Allah as His chosen prophet has laid it down for us in this book.'"
This is by no means a despicable argument. One of the reasons that we can appreciate the art and literature of the past, and sometimes of the very distant past, is that the fundamental conditions of human existence remain the same, however much we advance in the technical sense: I have myself argued that human self-understanding, except in purely technical matters, reached its apogee with Shakespeare. In a sense, the mullah is right.
But if we made a fetish of Shakespeare (much richer and more profound than the Qu'ran, in my view), if we made him the sole object of our study and the sole guide of our lives, we would soon enough fall into backwardness and stagnation. And the problem is that so many Muslims want both stagnation and power: they want a return to the perfection of the 7th century and to dominate the 21st, as they believe is the birthright of their doctrine, the last testament of God to man. If they were content to exist in a 7th-century backwater, secure in a quietist philosophy, there would be no problem for them or us; their problem, and ours, is that they want the power that free inquiry confers, without either the free inquiry or the philosophy and institutions that guarantee that free inquiry. They are faced with a dilemma: either they abandon their cherished religion, or they remain forever in the rear of human technical advance. Neither alternative is very appealing; and the tension between their desire for power and success in the modern world on the one hand, and their desire not to abandon their religion on the other, is resolvable for some only by exploding themselves as bombs.
Source: www.city-journal.org City Journal Spring 2004
Left dhimmi fascists, in common with Muslims, deny the progress of history. Though the Left claims to be 'progressive' it is not so in fact. Marxist theories of the end of history culminating in Communist utopia, or Lenin's whithering away of the state, or Hitler's Thousand Year Reich, or the cyclical Mayan calander, or Neitzche's eternal recurrence are all eschatological. Name one and it is anti-profgress, though one might argue that ones social programme is forward-looking in terms of Human equality. That's not progressive history. The Progressive is linear. All else is fascistic. There are some postive things to say about that. Over the course of the life of this blog we will continue to look at the nature of these questions. We welcome your contributions and comments.
For now, we must return to the blue screen of death to find more and newer insights into the nature of our time.
Friday, October 14, 2005
A piece (excerpted) in contrast:
Something Rotten in Denmark?
Daniel Pipes & Lars Hedegaard
A Muslim group in Denmark announced a few days ago that a 30,000 dollar bounty would be paid for the murder of several prominent Danish Jews, a threat that garnered wide international notice. Less well known is that this is just one problem associated with Denmark's approximately 200,000 Muslim immigrants. The key issue is that many of them show little desire to fit into their adopted country.
For years, Danes lauded multiculturalism and insisted they had no problem with the Muslim customs - until one day they found that they did. Some major issues:
- Living on the dole: Third-world immigrants - most of them Muslims from countries such as Turkey, Somalia, Pakistan, Lebanon and Iraq - constitute 5 percent of the population but consume upwards of 40 percent of the welfare spending.
- Engaging in crime: Muslims are only 4 percent of Denmark's 5,4 million people but make up a majority of the country's convicted rapists, an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims are non-Muslim. Similar, if lesser, disproportions are found in other crimes.
- Self-imposed isolation: Over time, as Muslim immigrants increase in numbers, they wish less mix with the indigenous population. A recent survey finds that only 5 percent of young Muslim immigrants would readily marry a Dane.
- Importing unacceptable customs: Forced marriages - promising a newborn daughter in Denmark to a male cousin in the home country, then compelling her to marry him, sometimes on pain of death - are one problem.
- Another threat is to kill Muslims who convert out of Islam: One Kurdish convert to Christianity, who went public to explain why she had changed religion, felt the need to hide her face and conceal her identity, fearing for her life.
- Fomenting anti-Semitism: Muslim violence threatens Denmark's approximately 6,000 Jews, who increasingly depend on police protection. Jewish parents were told by one school principal that she could not guarantee their children's safety and were advised to attend another institution. Anti-Israel marches have turned into anti-Jewish riots. One organization, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, openly calls on Muslims to "kill all Jews … wherever you find them."
What does a Muslim imam say about the cartoons in a Danish paper when he and the rest of the umma could be hanging murderers among themselves:
'This type of democracy is worthless for Muslims,' Imam Raed Hlayhel wrote in a statement. 'Muslims will never accept this kind of humiliation. The article has insulted every Muslim in the world. We demand an apology!'
Jyllands-Posten described the cartoons as a defence for 'secular democracy and right to expression'.
Hlayhel, however, said the newspaper had abused democracy with the single intention of humiliating Muslims.
It is not the first time Hlayhel has created headlines in Denmark. One year ago, he became the target of criticism from Muslims and non-Muslims alike, when he said in a sermon during Friday prayer, that Danish women's behaviour and dress invited rape.
Here's the story itself. Read it and wonder who's going to die because of Muslim offense:
Cartoons have Muslims threatening newspaper
Death threats have forced daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten to hire security guards to protect its employees, after printing twelve cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed.
The newspaper has been accused of deliberately provoking and insulting Muslims by publishing the cartoons. The newspaper urged cartoonists to send in drawings of the prophet, after an author complained that nobody dared to illustrate his book on Mohammed. The author claimed that illustrators feared that extremist Muslims would find it sacrilegious to break the Islamic ban on depicting Mohammed.
Twelve illustrators heeded the newspaper's call, and sent in cartoons of the prophet, which were published in the newspaper earlier this month.
Muslim spokesmen demanded that Jyllands-Posten retracted the cartoons and apologised.
'We have taken a few necessary measures in the situation, as some people seem to have taken offence and are sending threats of different kinds,' the newspaper's editor-in-chief, Carsten Juste, told national broadcaster DR.
The same day as the newspaper published the cartoons, it received a threatening telephone call against 'one of the twelve illustrators', as the caller said. Shortly afterwards, police arrested a 17-year-old, who admitted to phoning in the threat.
Since then, journalists and editors alike have received threats by email and the telephone. The newspaper told its staff to remain alert, but then decided to hire security guards to protect its Copenhagen office.
'Up until now, we have only had receptionists in the lobby. But we don't feel that they should sit down there by themselves, so we posted a guard there as well,' Juste said.
Muslim organisations, like the Islamic Religious Community, have demanded an apology, but Juste rejected the idea. He said the cartoons had been a journalistic project to find out how many cartoonists refrained from drawing the prophet out of fear.
'We live in a democracy,' he said. 'That's why we can use all the journalistic methods we want to. Satire is accepted in this country, and you can make caricatures. Religion shouldn't set any barriers on that sort of expression. This doesn't mean that we wish to insult any Muslims.'
Juste's opinion was not shared by Århus imam Raed Hlayhel, who gave an interview to the internet edition of Arabic satellite news channel al-Jazeera to protest the newspaper's cartoons.
Hlayhel told al-Jazeera's reporter that he considered the cartoons derisive of Islam, and described one of the drawings as showing Mohammed wearing a turban-like bomb, and another as brandishing a sabre, with two burka-clad women behind him.
Hlayhel said he did not understand how such illustrations could be printed with reference to freedom of expression, when Denmark did not tolerate the slightest sign of anti-Semitism.Al-Jazeera concluded that the drawings seemed bizarre.
There is a philosophical side to this great issue of our time. There's also the personal experience of people who've been in the hick of things in the Balkans and the Middle east and various other places. Philosophy is essential in the uncovering of a carefully reasoned response for a future political reorganisation. At the same time there's a limit at which one must consider the call of strategic confrontation. Others draw cartoons. We'll leave you, dear and gentle reader, to draw conclusions.
The following excerpts from an Amazon review of The World's Most Dangerous Places gives some insight into how the media and state presents it to us and how we react to and assimilate danger from a distance. The following pieces in this entry look at Somalia, perhaps the worst of all bad places on Earth. It's very much "Over There," and it is also coming soon to a city near you. We can strike a reasonable balance between being terrified by the impending chaos and violence on the one hand, and the forgetting of its coming on the other. We can see the future, and we can prepare for it. Our world will become Somalia in time. It's not the worst that could happen. The smart and the daring will thrive. Below we'll see some of what we're in for.
Reviewer:Robert D. Steele
I've heard Robert Young Pelton speak, and he is, if anything, even more thoughtful and provocative in person. He has written an extraordinary book that ordinary people will take to be a sensationalist travel guide, while real experts scrutinize every page for the hard truths about the real world that neither the CIA nor the media report.
Unlike clandestine case officers and normal foreign service officers, all of them confined to capital cities and/or relying on third party reporting, Robert Young Pelton actually goes to the scene of the fighting, the scene of the butchery, the scene of the grand thefts, and unlike all these so-called authoritative sources, he actually has had eyeballs on the targets and boots in the mud.
I have learned two important lessons from this book, and from its author Robert Young Pelton:
First, trust no source that has not actually been there. He is not the first to point out that most journalists are "hotel warriors", but his veracity, courage, and insights provide compelling evidence of what journalism could be if it were done properly. Government sources are even worse--it was not until I heard him speak candidly about certain situations that I realized that most of our Embassy reporting--both secret and open--is largely worthless because it is third hand, not direct.
What most readers may not realize until they read this book is that one does not have to travel to these places to be threatened by them--what is happening there today, and what the U.S. government does or does not do about developments in these places, today, will haunt this generation and many generations to follow.
The World's Most Dangerous Places, by Robert Young Pelton
This story comes from Radio Netherlands, and covers the murder of a Somali peace activist. We have to look at the world as it is and see objectively what a peace activist does in a place where there is no peace. How will our middle class anti-war activists fare if the world of the West slides into conflict with Islam in our midst?
Unidentified gunmen assassinated Abdulkadir Yahya Ali, a prominent Somali peace activist, in his home on Monday. As many as ten attackers climbed the walls of the compound in which he lived with his wife, cut through telephone wires, handcuffed his guards and shot him.
Mr Yahya was highly respected for his work, which included founding the Centre for Research and Dialogue, a think-tank working towards rebuilding Somalia. He is the latest victim of the violent lawlessness which has grown in a country shattered by 14 years of fighting and hunger, and without a central government. An interim government was established in 2004, the fourteenth attempt since 1991 to put in place a central authority.
Most dangerous place in the world
Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world, the capital Mogadishu particularly so. Mr Yahya's death is one in a long line of attacks on people with foreign links working in the country, particularly those involved in humanitarian operations.
Mr Yahya's killing also comes on the tail of a report compiled by the International Crisis Group, released last week, which pointed to a new al-Qaeda affiliated group operating in Somalia, which is accused of killing four aid workers and ten ex-police and military officers working in counter-terrorism.
This piece comes from http://jihadwatch.org, including comments from our favorite writer, sonofwalker, with quotations from Mark Bowden, Blackhawk Down.
Despite the recent formation of a transitional government, Somalia remains a quasi-anarchic state. Of course, the only solution for the fundamentalists is the creation of an Islamic state. From the AP:
An influential religious leader and alleged al-Qaida collaborator vowed in an interview Wednesday to establish an Islamic state in Somalia, a lawless Horn of Africa nation the United States fears could grow into a major base for Islamic terrorists.
"The Western world should respect our own ideas in choosing the way we want to govern our country, the way we want to go about our own business. That is our right," said Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, a key figure in a growing religious camp vying with secular factions for control of Somalia.
Apparently, Somalia becoming an Islamic state is already a foregone conclusion for Sheik Aweys. Otherwise he would have considered opposing secular factions residing in his own country before ranting about the West.
Speaking by telephone from a mosque in northern Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, Aweys told The Associated Press Wednesday that his enemies invented allegations he is a terrorist and that non-Muslims too often think that all fundamentalist Muslims are terrorists.
He said he and his followers, who include armed militiamen, would not rest until they had established an Islamic government in Somalia. He said he opposed efforts to install a Western-style democracy and called for the international community to leave Somalis alone to choose their own future.
Aweys said he would wage holy war on any foreign forces that enter Somalia and that he plans to have an important role in the country's future.
"I can influence all of my people with the faith and our religion," Aweys said. "The existing government is not an Islamic one and we will be having our own Islamic faith and we will be very strong in influencing our people."
Sheik Aweys' position is clear: Islam and nothing else.Posted by Eric at October 12, 2005 05:48 PM
He said he and his followers, who include armed militiamen, would not rest until they had established an Islamic government in Somalia. He said he opposed efforts to install a Western-style democracy and called for the international community to leave Somalis alone to choose their own future.
Mark Bowden writes in Blackhawk Down, Penguin: 2000, that America had a responsibility to try to save Somalia. Of the local warlord, he writes:
Aidid's hardline forced the Clinton administration to take sides in what was nothing more than a civil war. We should have said no. Once a peacekeeping force starts shooting, it becomes part of the problem. Arresting Adid would most likely have given the Habr Gidr leader a more fervently motivated following, and would have elevated a two-bit Somali warlord to the status of an anti-imperialist hero in many parts of the world.
If the U.S. and the UN had tried to simply phase out their involvement in Somalia, critics all over the world would have accused Americans of leaving an important humanitarian task undone, and they would have been right.
That said, once we had committed ourselves to the effort, I believe the US should have seen the mission through even after the battle on Oct. 3--especially after the battle.
It was important to see the mission through once Task Force Ranger was committed. The lesson our retreat taught the world's terrorists and despots is that killing a few American soldiers, even at the cost of more than five hundred of your own fighters, is enough to spook Uncle Sam. Perhaps more important, however, is the lesson it sent to Americans, and in particular the men and women who serve. It's hard enough convincing Americans that events in some distant part of the world are worth jeopardizing American lives without being half-hearted about the intervention. Try rallying troops with the battle cry "We'll fight them on the beaches, we'll fight them on the cliffs...but we'll give up if they fight back." Military credibility is not just a mater of national pride. It lessens the chances of of war because enemies are less inclined to challenge America. [America's] only weakness is its will. Routing Adid would have, in the long run, saved American lives. (pp.355-56.)
Most of us understand that. However, most of our fellow citizens in the West do not. For those who do not, we direct them to Thucydides' "Melian Dialogue" for a clear perspective on the nature of power in the world:
But to return to Bowden and after all these years:
The victory was even more hollow for Somalia, although it is not clear even five years later how many people there understand that. The fight was a terrible mismatch. the Somali death toll was catastrophic.... Aidid died in 1996 without uniting Somalia under his rule, a victim of the factional fighting the UN had tried to resolve. His clan still struggles with rivals in Mogadishu, trapped in the same bloody, anarchic standoff. Clan leaders I spoke with in that destroyed city in the summer of 1997 seemed to think that the world was still watching their progress anxiously.... I told the Habr Gidr leaders who were hostile to our project that this would likely be their only chance to tell their side of the story, because there weren't journalists and scholars lined up at the border. The larger world has forgotten Somalia. The great ship of international goodwill has sailed. The bloody twists and turns of Somali clan politics no longer concern us.... Rightly or wrongly, they stand as an enduring symbol of Third World ingratitude and intractability, of the futility of trying to resolve local animosity with international muscle. They've effectively written themselves off the map. (pp. 333-34.)
But here they are again. Instead of being only a genocidal menace to each other, now Somalis are trying to involve themselves in a genocidal campaign against the modern world at large. due to a lack of resolve in the past, we now face an emboldened enemy we had beaten badly before we ran away from them. Can we ignore the threat?
The idea used to be that terrible countries were terrible because good, decent, innocent people were being oppressed by evil, thuggish leaders. Somalia has changed all that. Here you have a country where just about everybody is caught up in hatred and fighting. You stop and old lady on the street and ask her if she wants peace, and she'll say, yes, of course, I pray for it daily. All the things you'd expect her to say. Then ask if she'd be willing for her clan to share power with another in order to have that peace, and she'll say, "With those murderers and thieves? I'd die first." People in these countries...don't want peace. They want victory. They want power. Men, women, old and young. Somalia was the experience that taught us that people in these places bear much of the responsibility for things being the way they are. The hatred and killing continues because they want it to. Or because they don't want peace enough to stop it. (pp. 334-35.)
As the Modernist revolutionaries struggle toward greater accomplishments of equality and prosperity, we are dragging along the Third World primitive clinging to one foot, and on the other the Left dhimmi fascists who hope to pull everyone back into the dismal life of feudalism and barbarism. We must shake them loose, stomp them silly, and continue our course. Or join them. There is no possible compromise. Reason and Irrationality cannot co-exist any longer. We have to face reality as it is in the physical world of Humans. Anything less is suicidal.
posted by sonofwalker
And finally we have the nature of the world in contact with the future. This is what we get:
Somali pirates free hijacked ship
-- Pirates in Somalia have freed a UN-chartered ship carrying food aid, two days after hijacking it from the southern port of Merka.
The MV Miltzow's owner told the BBC no ransom had been paid and his company was suspending operations to Somalia until security had improved.Maritime officials say Somali waters are some of the world's most dangerous.
Somalia's transitional prime minister has asked neighbouring countries to send warships to patrol the coast.
Somalia has not had a functioning central government since Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991.
The United Nations World Food Programme confirmed the release and said the gunmen had initially demanded a $20,000 (�11,000) ransom, Reuters reports.
Karim Kudrati of the Kenya-based Motaku Shipping Agency, which owns the ship, said that the eight-member crew were safe and a Somali businessman had negotiated the release.
The gunmen had taken the vessel to Barawa port from Merka, 100km (60 miles) south-west of the capital, Mogadishu.
A similar cargo ship, the MV Torgelow, was seized earlier this week.
Another UN-chartered ship carrying food aid to tsunami victims in northern Somalia, the MV Semlow, was released last week, after being held by hijackers for 100 days.
The Kenyan government has asked its citizens to avoid sailing to the Somali coastline because of the high incidence of piracy and kidnapping witnessed recently.Government spokesman Alfred Mutua said Kenya was discussing with the transitional government of Somalia how to deal with these incidents.
Kenya is also investigating whether the gunmen behind the hijackings could be connected with the interim Somali government.
We can read about the peril, then, finishing our morning coffee go on to the next thing. There is really nothing to get excited about regarding the state of Somalia. Except that there is a huge and growing number of Somalis in, for example, the Netherlands. There are small but growing hotspots, as it were, and when they connect, the heat gets hotter. It's only those few who pay attention to the news and who concern themselves with news from afar who will worry about these things. Our point above is that it can creep right up to the corner and one will be vaguely interested in the event so long as it isn't a direct threat to ones person. Conversely, one might get nervous reading about a violent event in ones city that occurred across town the night before. Or there could be a looming fear that it's only a matter of time before something bad happens in the flesh. One must take a reasoned view of these things. Somalia is coming. It might be on the corner. So, what is reasonable?
Thursday, October 13, 2005
We'll look at some background here to see the nature of the contrast between family ethos in the West and the primitive peasant world. Directly below is a quotation from an African migrant who comments on the aftermath of the recent fires in Paris that killed numerous children. His is a common understanding of families in Third World culture.
"There are no houses in Paris for families with several children. Maybe this society doesn't accept families with five, seven or eight children ," he said.
Though there are myriad studies of population and sociological responses to growth and overpopulation, studies by the thousands, we feel a short quotation sums it up nicely. Ther speaker above has a point, and it's one uninformed by Modernity. Conversely, Modernists are usually at a loss to grasp the fundamentals of peasant family practices. To put it in perspective for Westerners we refer to the United States merely 100 years ago, during which time conditions were little different for immigrants from what they are today for African migrants in Paris:
Birthrates among the immigrant population of the United States ran much higher than those of the native-born-- from 35 per cent in rural areas to 90 per cent in urban areas, which suggested that fertility varied primarily according to the way of life women expected.
The fertility pattern of migrant women corresponded to their families' needs for productive workers: farm women, whatever their country of origin, needed children for work, and farm children tended to be producers. The more children, the better, so far as life on the farm went. By contrast, city women's children tended to be consumers, especially if they were native born to white collar parents. Middle class children being unlikely to bring money rather than spend it, middle class families were smaller. Foreign-born women, whether they lived in the rural or urban United States, preserved the farm pattern of fertility. After all, poor families depended on child labour just like farm families. And children might die young-- infant mortality rates ran high; as many as half the deaths in a rural immigrant community might be children under the age of five.
Eric Rauchway, Murdering McKinley. New York: Hill and Wang; 2004, pp. 126-27.
Cultural, social, community, and family pressures weld the person to the norm, particularly if one is uneducated and poor. Poverty restricts ones options for experimentation. [Cf. Eric Hoffer, The True Believer.] Poor, uneducated women in foreign places are at extreme disadvantages in experimenting with alternate life-styles or in leaving the security and relative safety of home and community, regardless of its attendant dangers, for freedom of person. Women, more so than children, are the primary victims of oppression in primitive societies for the reasons that being ignorant they are likely poor and extremely vulnerable to abuse from outsiders. Better the devil they know than the devil they do not.
The quotation above sets out some major points: expectation being primary. When we look at the average Muslim female migrant in the West we see a woman who is likely uneducated in her own culture beyond that of family and perhaps clan lore. Early marriage and fertility halts whatever intellectual development likely otherwise. It's hard to go to university at 22 when one has five children to tend. The children, on the other hand, have the outside world to reflect on, perhaps. But peasant women, ghettoized by family and community, are trapped in their received expectations. Such was the case among immigrant peasants in America 100 years ago. Women, having come from Third World cultures to the New World, brought with them and retained Third World expectations, not enlightened by the wider American social world. What we today refer to as generation gaps appear with mobility and affluence. Personal expectations change with outside influence. Affluence creates the possibility of successful risk-taking in ones life. Without the broadening of experience and the ability to take personal risks in ones life-style, one is reduced to conformity to the monoculture of peasantry.
Things do change, and rapidly. Usually.
One may look at Jugoslavia, as an example, to see where things do not change from generation to generation. Marx, in his consistently profound lack of psychological insight, assumed wrongly that (both) the capitalist rush to monopoly would reduce the former competitor to penury, and that he would identify thereafter with his new class position, i.e. would see himself as proletarian. Looking at the reduced Muslim in Bosnia, previously of the social elite in a privileged station vis dhimmis, the Muslim, having lost the protection of his status with the collapse of the caliphate, is now on equal social levels with former dhimmis. Retaining all the pretensions of former rulership and social superiority, the Muslim does not rejoice in newfound personal freedom for all but clings to a romanticized past of former glory in much the same way the bankrupt capitalist remembers the Gilded Age. Islam, even more insidious than lost wealth, creates a class of dispossessed who feel the loss as personal even though it was a class for few loss and a class gain for all. The Muslim, seeing former dhimmis as social equals, resents the equality more than perhaps poverty itself. Clinging to the past expectations of dhimmi servitude, the retrenchment of Islamic reaction maintains and sustains resentment and a futile violence against Modernity. They expect to reclaim the caliphate and social superiority under the re-establishment of the caliphate and greater Islamic adherence. It's a matter of expectation and irrationality ingrained in them by Islamic rote.
Birthrates, anecdotally, are five to one Muslim versus non-Muslim. With the lack of jizyah, (welfare payments to Muslims,) and an advancing industrial/technological economy, the income divergence is markedly worse for the Muslims yearly if not monthly. As the social status is further eroded by democracy and meritocratic income levels, the Muslim past superiority becomes more glaringly rusty. Retrenched in Islamic fundamentalism further, stressing the need to restore the past by cargo-cult fetish, in other words, by recreating the trappings of the past one hopes to make real the past, (you build it, they will come,) socially illiterate and reactionary Islam digs itself deeper into the hole, becoming increasingly more violent as the hole gets deeper and the light of Modernity and its benefits recedes further.
As the frustration of failed Islamic triumphalism is more obvious daily, and as Islam tries harder to restore itself to its former glories of inequality, the rest of the world progresses nicely. Modernist women, being better educated and less dependent on husbands and family for physical survival, take more personal risks in their personal live-styles. With education comes a lesser need for numerous labouring children. With Modern medicine comes a lower infant mortality rate. Contrast that with the primitive who needs fewer children for labour but is caught in a cultural straight-jacket and is also burdened by the success of modern medicine: her children live as she keeps having more. More Islam, more living children, and less possibility of change without risk of loss of regaining past glories.
As peasant children become increasingly financially burdensome, and as they become increasing numbers, something has to give, and in Bosnia they were turfed from the home at the age of six or eight to fend for themselves. Rather than being the former boon to the family farming enterprise they became, like their middle class counterparts, consumers. But, given the lack of expertise in the market economy of a welfare recipient Muslim with no jizya, the increasing number of children means less per capita for the child, fewer opportunities for advancement for each and every one. The spiral continues downward for the Muslim family. It also poses a risk for the middle class family exposed to violence and crime committed by the feral Muslim community. The Muslim family situation is intolerable. There cannot continue the for them the status quo. Either Islam must prevail to restore them to their former status or they must die as a politico-religious culture.
What happened to women in the West when they began to receive higher education, an event in history that has changed the world beyond anything recognizable 100 years ago? Rauchway contuinues:
Only four per cent of Americans could attend college at all, [circa 1900] and well under half of these were women, making for perhaps forty thousand women collegians in a total population of some fifty million Americans. Even so, this number represented a marked increase since the Civil War-- an increase propelled by the creation of state universities with federal funding under the Morrill Land Grant act in 1862.... [Women] found few careers open to them. Business, law, medicine, engineering, and the ministry-- the fields that attracted their brothers-- refused them entrance. Four-fifths of this first generation of women university [graduands] became teaches of one kind or another. Facing these limits, the highly educated and inventive women alumna of the late nineteenth century invented a profession of the own: social work. (pp. 132-33.)
Rather than remain peasant baby factories, modern women became baby-sitters-- of the world at large:
[A]mong that first generation of university graduands, about forty per cent [of females] did [avoid marriage.] (p. 134.)
Given what we know of the norms of the time, we can suggest that these educated ladies did not have children. Forty per cent of college educated women did not have children! Comparing the fertility rates of urban peasant women in America in 1900 to educated women, we can see the problem of today. What we might also look at is the contrast between the desperate children of American immigrants who wanted to assimilate in America and the Muslim population who are raised to hate Modernity and who revel in an imagined glorious past of triumphant Islam. The possibilities of assimilation of Third World Muslims into mainstream society are as real as they were for Irish and Polish Catholics in 1900. We can also see the possibilities of Islam metastasizing as it does in Bosnia and the rest of Jugoslavia.
"Maybe this society doesn't accept families with five, seven or eight children ," he said.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Following that entry we have selections from a piece by Paul Berman, a mock dialogue with a liberal "Leftist," on the war in Iraq. He makes the excellent point that those who say "fascist" usually have no idea what they mean.
It's our postion that Left and Right are meaningless terms today. There are progressive Modernists, those who work for universal Human rights and economic prosperity, and there are those who delve into the arcana of neo-feudalist Irrationality to find their paths to the past.
The Left, regardless of its past glories, is over. Today it is inseperable from fascism. The photo above, for those Leftists who don't know, is of VI Lenin. Yes, many who call themselves Leftists don't know who he is. What's Left?
The term "Left" was first used in the early days of French revolution. When the National Assembly first met, the reformers sat on the left side of the meeting hall, while supporters of monarchy and nobility sat on the right. Originally, it wasn't meant to be a political statement, but as the factions within the National Assembly formed, the label stuck.
Although it may seem ironic in terms of present-day usage, those originally on 'The Left' during the French Revolution were the largely bourgeois supporters of laissez-faire capitalism and free markets. As the electorate expanded beyond property-holders, these relatively wealthy elites found themselves clearly victorious over the old aristocracy and the remnants of feudalism, but newly opposed by the growing and increasingly organized and politicized workers and wage-earners. The "left" of 1789 would, in some ways be part of the present-day "right", liberal with regard to the rights of property and intellect, but not embracing notions of distributive justice, rights for organized labour , etc.
"The left doesn't see because a lot of people, in their good-hearted effort to respect cultural differences, have concluded that Arabs must for inscrutable reasons of their own like to live under grotesque dictatorships and are not really capable of anything else, or won't be ready to do so for another five hundred years, and Arab liberals should be regarded as somehow inauthentic. Which is to say, a lot of people, swept along by their own high-minded principles of cultural tolerance, have ended up clinging to attitudes that can only be regarded as racist against Arabs.
"The old-fashioned left used to be universalist--used to think that everyone, all over the world, would some day want to live according to the same fundamental values, and ought to be helped to do so. They thought this was especially true for people in reasonably modern societies with universities, industries, and a sophisticated bureaucracy-societies like the one in Iraq. But no more! Today, people say, out of a spirit of egalitarian tolerance: Social democracy for Swedes! Tyranny for Arabs! And this is supposed to be a left-wing attitude? By the way, you don't hear much from the left about the non-Arabs in countries like Iraq, do you? The left, the real left, used to be the champion of minority populations-of people like the Kurds. No more! The left, my friend, has abandoned the values of the left-except for a few of us, of course."
"Another reason: A lot of people honestly believe that Israel's problems with the Palestinians represent something more than a miserable dispute over borders and recognition-that Israel's problems represent something huger, a uniquely diabolical aspect of Zionism, which explains the rage and humiliation felt by Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia. Which is to say, a lot of people have succumbed to anti-Semitic fantasies about the cosmic quality of Jewish crime and cannot get their minds to think about anything else.
"I mean, look at the discussions that go on even among people who call themselves the democratic left, the good left--a relentless harping on the sins of Israel, an obsessive harping, with very little said about the fascist-influenced movements that have caused hundreds of thousands and even millions of deaths in other parts of the Muslim world. The distortions are wild, if you stop to think about them. Look at some of our big, influential liberal magazines--one article after another about Israeli crimes and stupidities, and even a few statements in favor of abolishing Israel, and hardly anything about the sufferings of the Arabs in the rest of the world. And even less is said about the Arab liberals--our own comrades, who have been pretty much abandoned. What do you make of that, my friend? There's a name for that, a systematic distortion--what we Marxists, when we were Marxists, used to call ideology."
"The left doesn't see because a lot of people are, in any case, willfully blind to anti-Semitism in other cultures. They cannot get themselves to recognize the degree to which Nazi-like doctrines about the supernatural quality of Jewish evil have influenced mass political movements across large swaths of the world. It is 1943 right now in huge portions of the world-and people don't see it. And so, people simply cannot detect the fascist nature of all kinds of mass movements and political parties. In the Muslim world, especially."
My friend said, "I'm for the UN and international law, and I think you've become a traitor to the left. A neocon!"
I said, "I'm for overthrowing tyrants, and since when did overthrowing fascism become treason to the left?"
"But isn't George Bush himself a fascist, more or less? I mean--admit it!"
My own eyes widened. "You haven't the foggiest idea what fascism is," I said. "I always figured that a keen awareness of extreme oppression was the deepest trait of a left-wing heart. Mass graves, three hundred thousand missing Iraqis, a population crushed by thirty-five years of Baathist boots stomping on their faces--that is what fascism means! And you think that a few corrupt insider contracts with Bush's cronies at Halliburton and a bit of retrograde Bible-thumping and Bush's ridiculous tax cuts and his bonanzas for the super-rich are indistinguishable from that?-indistinguishable from fascism? From a politics of slaughter? Leftism is supposed to be a reality principle. Leftism is supposed to embody an ability to take in the big picture. The traitor to the left is you, my friend . . ."
But this made not the slightest sense to him, and there was nothing left to do but to hit each other over the head with our respective drinks.
Paul Berman is the author of Terror and Liberalism. His book The Passion of Joschka Fischer will come out in the spring.
We must, as progressive revolutionaries, find a new theoretical analysis of reality. Our rudderless drift is moving us unawares into fascism further by the day. It won't do to shriek about "rightwing religious bigots" everytime one points out the collapse of the Left. Those who do are not simply stupid, they are physically dangerous, and a major threat to the continuation of our revolutions of Modernity. If we progressive Modernist revolutionaries cannot find a better theory than drift, then we will be at fault and responsible for the chaos to come. We'll have lost our agenda to idiots and Irrationalist reactionaries.
We'll look more closely in our next post at who these enemies of the people are.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
What does the Left retain? Anti-Americanism, hatred of Modernity, a longing for a total destruction of their enemy, capitalism and progress as it is. What's left? Irrationality. A longing for power they can only find by leading the worst of the worst. And those have taken over the whole show, leaving the lost leaders to fester and pick at their scabs. Now, neither Left nor Right, they abandon all values for simple nihilism, for nature worship, for primitive and basic howling at the Moon.
Having lost the battle for the leadership of the future of Humanity, the Left has fallen into the footsteps of the past, into the past of fascism. When there's no one left to listen, talk to the animals. When Reason fails, bargain with the devil.
Below we're finishing off this particular essay on fascist ecology. There is much more to discuss on this topic, and we'll look later at other writers and other points of view. All of them agree on the basics of the fascist nature of ecology, and it is our hope that these essays will show the depths of that fascism in our current daily lives so we might uproot them and redirect our social agenda toward the progressive and rational Modernity that is our revolutionary heritage.
Implementing the Ecofascist Program
It is frequently pointed out that the agrarian and romantic moments in Nazi ideology and policy were in constant tension with, if not in flat contradiction to, the technocratic-industrialist thrust of the Third Reich's rapid modernization. What is not often remarked is that even these modernizing tendencies had a significant ecological component. The two men principally responsible for sustaining this environmentalist commitment in the midst of intensive industrialization were Reichsminister Fritz Todt and his aide, the high-level planner and engineer Alwin Seifert.
Todt was "one of the most influential National Socialists,"45 directly responsible for questions of technological and industrial policy. At his death in 1942 he headed three different cabinet-level ministries in addition to the enormous quasi-official Organisation Todt, and had "gathered the major technical tasks of the Reich into his own hands."46 According to his successor, Albert Speer, Todt "loved nature" and "repeatedly had serious run-ins with Bormann, protesting against his despoiling the landscape around Obersalzberg."47 Another source calls him simply "an ecologist." 48 This reputation is based chiefly on Todt's efforts to make Autobahn construction—one of the largest building enterprises undertaken in this century—as environmentally sensitive as possible.
The pre-eminent historian of German engineering describes this commitment thus: "Todt demanded of the completed work of technology a harmony with nature and with the landscape, thereby fulfilling modern ecological principles of engineering as well as the 'organological' principles of his own era along with their roots in völkisch ideology."49 The ecological aspects of this approach to construction went well beyond an emphasis on harmonious adaptation to the natural surroundings for aesthetic reasons; Todt also established strict criteria for respecting wetlands, forests and ecologically sensitive areas. But just as with Arndt, Riehl and Darré, these environmentalist concerns were inseparably bound to a völkisch-nationalist outlook. Todt himself expressed this connection succinctly: "The fulfillment of mere transportation purposes is not the final aim of German highway construction. The German highway must be an expression of its surrounding landscape and an expression of the German essence."50
Todt's chief advisor and collaborator on environmental issues was his lieutenant Alwin Seifert, whom Todt reportedly once called a "fanatical ecologist."51 Seifert bore the official title of Reich Advocate for the Landscape, but his nickname within the party was "Mr. Mother Earth." The appellation was deserved; Seifert dreamed of a "total conversion from technology to nature,"52 and would often wax lyrical about the wonders of German nature and the tragedy of "humankind's" carelessness. As early as 1934 he wrote to Hess demanding attention to water issues and invoking "work methods that are more attuned to nature."53 In discharging his official duties Seifert stressed the importance of wilderness and energetically opposed monoculture, wetlands drainage and chemicalized agriculture. He criticized Darré as too moderate, and "called for an agricultural revolution towards 'a more peasant-like, natural, simple' method of farming, 'independent of capital'."54
With the Third Reich's technological policy entrusted to figures such as these, even the Nazis' massive industrial build-up took on a distinctively green hue. The prominence of nature in the party's philosophical background helped ensure that more radical initiatives often received a sympathetic hearing in the highest offices of the Nazi state. In the mid-thirties Todt and Seifert vigorously pushed for an all-encompassing Reich Law for the Protection of Mother Earth "in order to stem the steady loss of this irreplaceable basis of all life."55 Seifert reports that all of the ministries were prepared to co-operate save one; only the minister of the economy opposed the bill because of its impact on mining.
But even near-misses such as these would have been unthinkable without the support of Reich Chancellor Rudolf Hess, who provided the "green wing" of the NSDAP a secure anchor at the very top of the party hierarchy. It would be difficult to overestimate Hess's power and centrality in the complex governmental machinery of the National Socialist regime. He joined the party in 1920 as member #16, and for two decades was Hitler's devoted personal deputy. He has been described as "Hitler's closest confidant,"56 and the Führer himself referred to Hess as his "closest advisor."57 Hess was not only the highest party leader and second in line (after Göring) to succeed Hitler; in addition, all legislation and every decree had to pass through his office before becoming law.
An inveterate nature lover as well as a devout Steinerite, Hess insisted on a strictly biodynamic diet—not even Hitler's rigorous vegetarian standards were good enough for him—and accepted only homeopathic medicines. It was Hess who introduced Darré to Hitler, thus securing the "green wing" its first power base. He was an even more tenacious proponent of organic farming than Darré, and pushed the latter to take more demonstrative steps in support of the lebensgesetzliche Landbauweise.58 His office was also directly responsible for land use planning across the Reich, employing a number of specialists who shared Seifert's ecological approach.59
With Hess's enthusiastic backing, the "green wing" was able to achieve its most notable successes. As early as March 1933, a wide array of environmentalist legislation was approved and implemented at national, regional and local levels. These measures, which included reforestation programs, bills protecting animal and plant species, and preservationist decrees blocking industrial development, undoubtedly "ranked among the most progressive in the world at that time."60 Planning ordinances were designed for the protection of wildlife habitat and at the same time demanded respect for the sacred German forest. The Nazi state also created the first nature preserves in Europe.
Along with Darré's efforts toward re-agrarianization and support for organic agriculture, as well as Todt and Seifert's attempts to institutionalize an environmentally sensitive land use planning and industrial policy, the major accomplishment of the Nazi ecologists was the Reichsnaturschutzgesetz of 1935. This completely unprecedented "nature protection law" not only established guidelines for safeguarding flora, fauna, and "natural monuments" across the Reich; it also restricted commercial access to remaining tracts of wilderness. In addition, the comprehensive ordinance "required all national, state and local officials to consult with Naturschutz authorities in a timely manner before undertaking any measures that would produce fundamental alterations in the countryside."61
Although the legislation's effectiveness was questionable, traditional German environmentalists were overjoyed at its passage. Walter Schoenichen declared it the "definitive fulfillment of the völkisch-romantic longings,"62 and Hans Klose, Schoenichen's successor as head of the Reich Agency for Nature Protection, described Nazi environmental policy as the "high point of nature protection" in Germany. Perhaps the greatest success of these measures was in facilitating the "intellectual realignment of German Naturschutz" and the integration of mainstream environmentalism into the Nazi enterprise.63
While the achievements of the "green wing" were daunting, they should not be exaggerated. Ecological initiatives were, of course, hardly universally popular within the party. Goebbels, Bormann, and Heydrich, for example, were implacably opposed to them, and considered Darré, Hess and their fellows undependable dreamers, eccentrics, or simply security risks. This latter suspicion seemed to be confirmed by Hess's famed flight to Britain in 1941; after that point, the environmentalist tendency was for the most part suppressed. Todt was killed in a plane crash in February 1942, and shortly thereafter Darré was stripped of all his posts. For the final three years of the Nazi conflagration the "green wing" played no active role. Their work, however, had long since left an indelible stain.
Fascist Ecology in Context
To make this dismaying and discomforting analysis more palatable, it is tempting to draw precisely the wrong conclusion --namely, that even the most reprehensible political undertakings sometimes produce laudable results. But the real lesson here is just the opposite: Even the most laudable of causes can be perverted and instrumentalized in the service of criminal savagery. The "green wing" of the NSDAP was not a group of innocents, confused and manipulated idealists, or reformers from within; they were conscious promoters and executors of a vile program explicitly dedicated to inhuman racist violence, massive political repression and worldwide military domination. Their 'ecological' involvements, far from offsetting these fundamental commitments, deepened and radicalized them. In the end, their configuration of environmental politics was directly and substantially responsible for organized mass murder.
No aspect of the Nazi project can be properly understood without examining its implication in the holocaust. Here, too, ecological arguments played a crucially malevolent role. Not only did the "green wing" refurbish the sanguine antisemitism of traditional reactionary ecology; it catalyzed a whole new outburst of lurid racist fantasies of organic inviolability and political revenge. The confluence of anti-humanist dogma with a fetishization of natural 'purity' provided not merely a rationale but an incentive for the Third Reich's most heinous crimes. Its insidious appeal unleashed murderous energies previously untapped. Finally, the displacement of any social analysis of environmental destruction in favor of mystical ecology served as an integral component in the preparation of the final solution: To explain the destruction of the countryside and environmental damage, without questioning the German people's bond to nature, could only be done by not analysing environmental damage in a societal context and by refusing to understand them as an expression of conflicting social interests. Had this been done, it would have led to criticism of National Socialism itself since that was not immune to such forces. One solution was to associate such environmental problems with the destructive influence of other races. National Socialism could then be seen to strive for the elimination of other races in order to allow the German people's innate understanding and feeling of nature to assert itself, hence securing a harmonic life close to nature for the future.64
This is the true legacy of ecofascism in power: "genocide developed into a necessity under the cloak of environment protection."65
The experience of the "green wing" of German fascism is a sobering reminder of the political volatility of ecology. It certainly does not indicate any inherent or inevitable connection between ecological issues and right-wing politics; alongside the reactionary tradition surveyed here, there has always been an equally vital heritage of left-libertarian ecology, in Germany as elsewhere.66 But certain patterns can be discerned: "While concerns about problems posed by humankind's increasing mastery over nature have increasingly been shared by ever larger groups of people embracing a plethora of ideologies, the most consistent 'pro-natural order' response found political embodiment on the radical right."67 This is the common thread which unites merely conservative or even supposedly apolitical manifestations of environmentalism with the straightforwardly fascist variety.
The historical record does, to be sure, belie the vacuous claim that "those who want to reform society according to nature are neither left nor right but ecologically minded."68 Environmental themes can be mobilized from the left or from the right, indeed they require an explicit social context if they are to have any political valence whatsoever. "Ecology" alone does not prescribe a politics; it must be interpreted, mediated through some theory of society in order to acquire political meaning. Failure to heed this mediated interrelationship between the social and the ecological is the hallmark of reactionary ecology.
As noted above, this failure most commonly takes the form of a call to "reform society according to nature," that is, to formulate some version of 'natural order' or 'natural law' and submit human needs and actions to it. As a consequence, the underlying social processes and societal structures which constitute and shape people's relations with their environment are left unexamined. Such willful ignorance, in turn, obscures the ways in which all conceptions of nature are themselves socially produced, and leaves power structures unquestioned while simultaneously providing them with apparently 'naturally ordained' status. Thus the substitution of ecomysticism for clear-sighted social-ecological inquiry has catastrophic political repercussions, as the complexity of the society-nature dialectic is collapsed into a purified Oneness. An ideologically charged 'natural order' does not leave room for compromise; its claims are absolute.
For all of these reasons, the slogan advanced by many contemporary Greens, "We are neither right nor left but up front," is historically naive and politically fatal. The necessary project of creating an emancipatory ecological politics demands an acute awareness and understanding of the legacy of classical ecofascism and its conceptual continuities with present-day environmental discourse. An 'ecological' orientation alone, outside of a critical social framework, is dangerously unstable. The record of fascist ecology shows that under the right conditions such an orientation can quickly lead to barbarism.http://www.social-ecology.org
There is no ecology without political interpretation: there is only nature objectively and in-itself. When nature is elevate to a political entity, when Nature is a being, then we are in serious trouble.
The point of these installments on ecology has been to show the history of modern Right fascism and its conflation with today's Left dhimmi fascism. Ecologism is just one view of the new face of fascism. It's our hope that you, dear reader, will have seen the connections and that you will look further for the synthesis of fascisms in our Western world. We will continue this effort to show that the Left is a fascism. We hope the reader will conclude that many of our most common assumptions are rooted deeply in fascism, and that having seen the roots of it that one will reject the fruits thereof.
In this time of bifurcation of Humanity we need a new path to follow, the old ones having shown themselves to be dead ends. It is our hope that in the course of the life of this blog that we will arrive at a new path, a new metaphoric reality surpassing numbers. But that will come later. For now, please feel free to comment as you will.