Friday, August 04, 2006

City Knights (3)

People are social, they live in groups, sometimes in family groups, sometimes in larger groups such as clans and tribes; but most people today live in families only so long as they are young and dependent, till such time that they are able to live on their own and till they form families of their own. Still, people live in groups even when they live alone: people live in cities; and there they often live alone, surrounded by others but private, atomic but part of the whole social nucleus. There is a deep feeling in many people, an irrational feeling, and often a violent feeling that people who live outside of a collective group as individuals are offensive to the nature of life as Man lives it rightly. The collectivist, he who cannot stand aloneness and individuality, who cannot stand the concept of exercise of freedom of the individual, the man who will not be alone and will not suffer others to be alone, turns often to forced collectivisation of others who would often rather live lives of privacy and free individualism. Most people in the modern West wish to grow up and live adult lives of their own choosing. The resistance to that individualist exercise is often extreme. More often it is subtle and insidious. there are those who simply cannot accept that most people are adults who can and should live their private lives as the individual sees fit. those who cannot rest without the scolding and control of the world's people are driven to fascism, to collectivism, to herding individuals into pens and communes. All this, of course, is meant to be in the best interests of the people, the masses. People are social, and some people are more social than others. Those who disobey the dictats of the social are seen as anti-social, and they are driven mad if not worse. The best hope of the free man, life in a city, is seen by many of the socialisers as a horror, as a place where the socialists cannot control the individual properly, there being too much freedom allowable in the city itself, the socialist being powerless to form and control the masses as the gnostic socialist deems right. Thus, often the city itself becomes an object of hatred and violence. The city, where people come and go anonymously and privately, where people are as social or as anti-social as they choose to be, the city is seen as the corrupt and corrupting place where the socialists have no power to make things right for all. The socialists often attack cities and attempt to destroy them altogether. We will see below the mind of the socialist and the works of destruction they attempt in their drive to unify and dehumanise "the masses."

Man is an animal. Some men gave up the wandering animal life of beasts and settled, becoming Human during the Agricultural Revolution only about 5,000 years ago. Humans built cities; the foragers attacked them. Men rebuilt that which the foragers destroyed, and men built walls and fortifications and raised up armies and priests and gathered wealth and power and knowledge. In cities and villages, men became farm animals; most men were slaves. And still the foragers attacked. They attack to this day. And men, no longer slaves, now wealthy individuals and owners of property, owners of their own lives, ponder the savages and wonder about the nature of primitives, wonder if they might be better off than the man of the city after all.

Some have seen the value to Human life in the rise of cities. Marx saw it. He saw in the rise and triumph of the bourgeoisie in France in 1789 the victory of the settled over the savage and the victory of the city over the feudal holding. But Marx did not like the victory of the middle class over the world of feudalism any more than he liked the old order of the privileged over all. He preferred the city over the land, as he writes in the Communist Manifesto, but not by much.

"The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life."

Marx, like most revolutionary socialists, didn't much like the working classes or the peasants. He thought of them as counter-revolutionary and primitive. He looked to the middle class for the force that would destroy the hated feudal order.

"The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part." He saw the revolutionary energies of the bourgeoisie, but he thought of them as a mere replacement of one oppressor of the working classes and peasants over another. Often he sees the middle class as worse than the feudalists in that the former are driven my mechanical and calculating motive.

"The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors", and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment". It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation."

Reading this unawares, one would think Marx had some concern for those he writes about. We know better. Marx's concerns were for the ruling elite of Left intellectuals who would rule as Philosopher Kings in place of the kings of the Middle Ages. He turns of cheap sentimentality to try to win converts to his play, his act, his histrionic grab at the spotlight of concern for the people. It's cheap.

"The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers. The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation."

Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels, The Communist Manifesto.

Marx isn't demanding to have it both ways: that the rural poor live in happy poverty after the glorious Communist triumph. He claims that rural living is a poverty of the mind, and that cities are a redemption from superstition and exploitation by feudalism. And he goes on to claim that the bourgeoisie are the new rulers who treat the peasants cum proletarians as neo-serfs and worse. Now the peasant is stripped of his ties to Nature and is settled lost and alone on the mean city streets, alienated from the product of the labour he lives by, and even from his own family. Saved from the idiocy of rural living, the peasant in the city is now a piece of labour till his strength gives out and he is swallowed by the insatiable meat-eating demons of the city's industrial charnal house.

If Marx weren't so ridiculous I'd laugh. I don't laugh for a reason: Marxist ideology, the canned thinking that comes from the willfully naive or the driven careerist ideologue is not simply stupid on the face of it, it is murder in action from the book pure and simple. It is clear in the proto-fascist approaches Marx and others take toward the city itself as if the city itself is a means to dehumanise and exploit those the socialists considered alienated and in need of reunification with Nature to be authentic as people.

Whatever benefits Man might have found in the feudal era, and Marx more or less points them out above, man was nevertheless a farm animal. The concept of feudal man as farm animal is clear and simple. Man in a feudal state has rights and duties. Marx and his lot claim rightly that when the feudal ties were severed, man lost his rights to manorial protection; and when he became proletarian he lost his ties to live as bonded person. Industrial and citified man is indeed alienated from nature and other men. To mature adults this process is known as individual freedom. It comes at a price, and we will look at that price in coming essays on Erich Fromm and Eric Hoffer in our investigation of the history of Left dhimmi fascism. For now we'll restrict our probe to life in the city and the roots of why they hate us. The matter of hate is nearly irrelevant in light of our problem in understanding them and us. It is them and us which we will below look at further.

The central principle of Modernity is the individual's ownership of his own life as his own private property. Communism, as one might guess from the root of the term, in not about Man's private ownership of his own life as personal property. Private life includes ones private property, including the means of production if such are ones own. This understanding of person and privacy is entirely offensive to those who would live in the day-dream world of communitarianism. It is so offensive that they who hate privacy will and do commit mass murder and extermination to prevent it from continuing in the face of history.

It matters little that Marx is the figurehead of the Left. If not him, another would have done as well. There is and has been since 1789 a movement to restore the feudal age and return man to the farm and his state thereon as animal. Man as private being is seen by all fascists, Left and Right, as an affront to the order of Life: that Man is a beast who must be controlled by his betters. The bogus claims of Eden after the revolution of socialism is a never-ending one. Man is destined by the fascists to be forever corralled and caged and tended. All communal men are tended. It cannot be otherwise.

When we return to this topic we'll follow the reaction of the peasant and neo-feudalist to the rise and function of the city and see how the reactionary fears and hates it to the point of suicidal madness. We'll see our own delusional fellows using the barbarian proxzies to destroy tyhe city and to turn mankind back to the land as farm animals.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

From the Areopagos

We were walking in circles through the neighbourhood looking for be Yehuda's house. We probably found it but couldn't be certain. We stood on the street looking around, hoping to find someone to tell us if we were at the right place. A gaggle of teenage boys approached from the shul, big broad-brimmed black hats identifying them as religious scholars. They were gawky and effeminate and absorbed in their own affairs, not noticing us as they approached. A wind came up and blew off their hats, and the hats rolled on the stiff brims as the boys chased them down the street, the boys looking like they were acting in a skit from a Monty Python movie. It was embarrassing. Those boys looked like they couldn't tie their own shoes without hurting themselves.

I was standing some months later with my friend Ezra on the street when we encountered some danger off in the distance. Ezra spoke so softly one had to pay close attention to pick up his voice. He was a big guy, strong and extremely handsome. He was married to a beautiful girl and had a beautiful daughter. He wasn't particularly smart. A lot of things passed by him without sticking. I charged after the danger confronting us, the Highlander in me on the path to glory and mayhem. Ezra called out my name. I stopped in my track right there. I couldn't move without knowing what Ezra wanted. I returned. Ezra took us back to safety. No one died.

Maccabees (Hebrew: מכבים or מקבים, Makabim)

There is a time to study, and there is a time to fight, and there is a time to stand still and listen to the voice that leads.

I was dozing off during a lecture, and my cowboy hat fell on the floor. I reached down and picked it up. I saw a classmate across from me, a man short and crippled and not different from any other classmate I might have met. I couldn't take my eyes off him. He's been my best friend for over 30 years.

I put on my hat, gathered my books, I went to The Wall. Sirens wailed. Everything stopped. There was no sound. No voice....

I was walking into an ambush, unknown to me, when this short fat little guy comes running after me, his big black hat flying off. He grabbed me. "Are you [crazy]?" he said. "You'll be killed."

I was embarrassed. No one died, though. He looked a lot like my friend, that guy who saved me. Lots of Jews look like my friend. I actually see my friend in every one of them, even if they don't look like him at all. I picked up the guy's hat, and he drove me to Jerusalem. I stood with Ezra at The Wall. He gave me his hat.

I'm sitting at my friend's desk here, and I'm thinking of returning to Israel. I'm not crazy. I don't hear voices. There's no sound at all. No Voice calls me. There is a time. When I go, I'll go to The Wall.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Rally in Progress

There is a rally in support of Israel happening at this time in Vancouver, Canada. Charles will report when he is able, we hope later this evening.

Please stay tuned.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

City Knights (2)

"Why do They hate Us?" We asked that earlier to sort out the emphasis, to make clear that "hate" is not the operative concept here but that the division between us and them is essential to our understanding of our current state of ill relation between the Modernist and the primitive. Hatred leading to war is obvious; but who are They and why are they as they are? What propels the primitives to hate us to the point of them committing suicide in their struggle to stop us from living as we do? Who are They and why?; and then we must ask ourselves how we can effectively deal with them as they are.

We can begin our look at Them by seeing our former circumstance, that of peasantry, a state of relations we have mostly left behind in our successful quest for Modernity. We Westerners, most of us formerly peasants in our ancestral lands, are now Revolutionary Modernists. We have been Modernists for so many generations that we mostly do not even know the sense of the word "peasant." To make that definition plain we turn to wikipedia briefly to give a sense of our discussion to come, the division between the Modernist of the City and the peasant of primitive collectivism.

A peasant, from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, the countryside or region, (from Latin pagus, country district) is an agricultural worker with roots in the countryside in which he or she dwells, either working for others or, more specifically, owning or renting and working by his or her own labour a small plot of ground, in England a "cottager". Peasants exist in a world before the modern division of labor: a peasant must be a jack-of-all trades, handy at everything. Peasants depend on the cultivation of their land; without stockpiles of provision they thrive or starve according to the most recent harvest (illustration, above right). Peasants live to agricultural time; the "world-time", in Fernand Braudel's term, of politics and economics does not directly affect the peasant. Peasants typically make up the majority of the agricultural labour force in a Pre-industrial society.

Though a word of not very strict application, once a market economy has taken universal root, it is now frequently used of the traditionalist rural population in countries where the land is chiefly held by smallholders, peasant proprietors. In the great majority of pre-industrial societies, peasants constitute the bulk of the population, the authentic "silent majority". A rural peasant population differs enormously in its values and economic behavior from an urban worker population. Peasants tend to be more conservative than urbanites, and are often very loyal to inherited power structures that define their rights and privileges and protect them from interlopers, despite their generally low status within them. Peasant societies generally have very well developed social support networks. Especially in harder climates, members of the community who have a poor harvest or suffer some form of hardship will be taken care of by the rest of the community. Loyalties and vengeance both run very deep. Peasant communities are extremely tight, and are often difficult to access or understand by outsiders. Peasant societies can often have very stratified social hierarchies within them.

In a barter economy, peasants characteristically have a different attitude to work than peasants— or towndwellers— in a money economy would. Most of them are content to live at a subsistence level and will not expend unnecessary labour raising their standard of living. Traditionally many non-peasants have viewed this as laziness. However, it does make sense from their perspective, since there would rarely be any point in producing more than could be consumed.

Fernand Braudel devoted the first volume of his major work, Civilization and Capitalism 15th–18th Century to the largely silent and invisible world that existed below the market economy, in The Structures of Everyday Life. Since the literate classes who left the most record tended to dismiss the peasants as figures of coarse appetite and rustic comedy, "peasant" may have a pejorative rather than descriptive connotation in historical memory. However, it was not always that way; peasants were once viewed as pious and seen with respect and pride. Life was hard for peasants, but before technology and a money economy created a chasm between rich and poor, life was hard for everyone. Society was theorized as organized in three "estates": those who work, those who pray and those who fight.


About 5,000 years ago there was a revolution in social relations, the Agricultural Revolution, a revolution that began a transformation of human life that continues to this day, against the forces of rigid reaction; and often those forces of reaction today are Modernist themselves, i.e.. our very own friends and neighbours: environmentalists and ecologists and New Age religionists, to aname but a few types. Those who benefit from Modernity are sometimes those who are its most virulent enemies. Some of our own are some of our own worst enemies.

In the past century most people of the West have been transformed from peasants into industrial workers and into current states of Modernity as technological and commercial workers. At the same time we can see a reactionary movement of Romanticism trying often successfully to reclaim peasantry as Ideal.

We then find a resultant philobarbarism in our Modernist population, a manufactured philobarbarism that attempts to elevate the peasant ethos into something supposedly better than what we Modernists live as our lives. The concept of philobarbarism is an exercise in sentimentality, a false vision of nobility of the crude and the starving and the ignorant. Today we see clearly the sentimentalist philobarbarism of the West in expressions of solidarity with the Islamic primitives and the terrorism they direct against us. We see philobarbarism expressed in anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. We see philobarbarism expressed in anti-Westernism and as post-Communist socialism. In effect, we see a coming round of the circle, the future returning to the past.

At the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution, for the first time in Human history we see the beginning too of the rise of cities, a place of surplus storage, that surplus going to the elites of the people, the warrior classes and the priests who led and protected the peasants as they were then. Cities became granaries and religious sites combined. With time, cities expanded to allow for specialisation of labour, to allow for artisans and craftsmen. Until relatively recently, all cities were by today's standards, small and sparsely populated, few reaching anything like one million people, and those under constant assault by nomads and other cities' warriors. Cities were the ultimate "gated communities." Most people lived either in small villages or on communes of a sort. Most people were effectively slaves to land owners. Landowners were slaves to their labourers. And all were slaves to Nature, a mindless and brutal destroyer of life. Those in cities were spared some of the worst some of the time. And those who survived the worst were over time able to expand their surplus to acquire riches and to improve technologies and to think deeply and critically. The peasant stayed roughly the same as he had always been; and only with the rise of private property and our triune revolutions of the 18th cntury have peasants had the opportunity to leave behind the world of subsistence farming and the idiocy of rural living to join in the march of Human progress en masse. Man moved to cities.

Today we see many megalopoli that are not cities in any real sense,;they are simply collected communes within cramped spaces, sprawling, contiguous garbage heaps of people who are landless peasants forraging without available crops or game. Those peasants of the cities today are the garbage people of Modernity. In the garbage cities the feeble warriors are naked to the elements of Modernity, the peasants' gods are dead, and there is only garbage and people in cities. Therein there is no storage of great wealth. There is no surplus to be had but primitive and frustrated peasants piled upon peasants.

The garbage people of our modern Third World cities live as subsitence level peasants, and they are roughly unhappy. Cities have not arisen to accomodate the need for industrial workers but inorganically as garbage heaps of unneeded peasants with no where else to go to die. And some of our own, looking for a base upon which to build utopian dreams of world perfectin look to them as the fodder on which to feed their phantastic dreams of utopia and the prelapsarian dramas of Eden.

The post-communal neo-feudalists look to the masses of garbage people to act as proxies for them in their frustrated desire to make anew an old world of romanticised and idealised rural life. The Industrial world needed workers in cities. The Third World has no such need of such people. And yet there such people are, doing nothing much of use. The utopian socialists, having lost their Victorian actors to Industrial progress and Modernity now seek a new lot of exotic, befeathered actors to play the part of utopian reactionaries returning to the soil, the sacred soil, and the purity of authentic blood.

We Modernists who are true revolutionaries confront our own reactionary forces within ourselves, and we are torn apart. The ordinary middling man of yester-year is now a middle class success who is a conformist Modernist revolutionary. The tables are all turned askew and the places are confused. But here we can know clearly that it is the Modernist who is revolutionary. The old peasant of the West is now the new Modernist. The old peasant who is not a revolutionary Modernist is a garbage peasant who has no place in the world as it is becoming moreso each day. As the commune recedes into the fog of the ill past, the City arises, either to fill up with the talented and the energetic or to fill up with the useless and the wasted. There is the city, and there is the city. The two are not the same.

We rightly ask: "Why do they hate us?" We ask it more rightly when we de-emphasis the concern with them hating us and emphasis Them and Us.

We can dwell on ourselves and our possible guilt in history as we Modernists have surged ahead of the world of others, sometimes subduing them by force, more often by sheer intelligence, energy, and skill. We can look at the world and see that the majority of the people around us hate us. But we must ask ourselves not why they hate us but what we should do about it, about them, and why they matter-- if at all. We can decide among ourselves that we are guilty of this or that, and that if only we change our approach to them they might not hate us. We can go even stupider and decide that they are something other than what we would see them as-- if we were honest with ourselves: we can claim that our enemies are "a small minority of extremists" tricked into violence against us by manipulative hate-mongers. That is not real in any sense. They hate us simply because we are what we are, and they are the majority. Their hatred is natural. They are no minority, they are nearly everyone. Hate is normal. What is to be done with Them?

The vast majority of Humanity live today as they have done for 5,000 years, that is to say, as farm animals. Today, though, the vast majority of men do not live happily as farm animals in a state of bovine contentment. Man today demands Modernity; and then, only some men: Not Muslims. Nor the men of Modernity's bounty, our own who hate our Modernity and love instead their phantasies of Romance and true despair, those who would rather rule over rubble than live lives of their earned mediocrity in our world's Modern condition.

The vile mnediocre are those whom we face often unarmed and oblivious to the dangers of them. Often we might even find ourselves in ignorant agreement with them, might even at times find ourselves leading their cheers for our own destruction. We would do well to reconsider ourselves. e can grasp eaisly the hatred of the primitive as it is directed toward us; but it is some more difficult effort to grasp the hatred of the evil among our own that is directed toward us. Yes, some of our own truly hate us, and they would kill us. Our worst enemies are our own, they are us, and it is they we must decide what we must do with.

Our own undermine us. They burrow under our foundations. Where we have raised, they would pull down and ruin. We are the city people of Modernity, and since the beginning of the Argicultural Revolution we have been under attack from the barbarians outside our walls. It is a struggle as old as that between Cain and Abel. It is now. We who plant, who grow, who reap and store,we are the enemies of the primitives who have no homes but the barren mindscapes of rote and fear, the huddled herd clutching. Our cities are of our own making, and our making is a power and a glory. Not outcast peasant slaves, we are City Knights.