Monday, February 13, 2017

Into the abyss of the American soul...

In this superb essay, P.T. Carlos talks about how Americans have no deep roots or tradition, the author mentions a theorist, Dugin, who says there are 3 ways to remedy it, go back to a European identity, grow a new individualist religious American identity, or ....

“Dugin's [third] primary suggestion is to embrace the essence of Americanism: the extreme atomized and lonely individual and take it to its logical conclusion and drinking the poisoned chalice down to its dregs....

This is the existentialist path which constitutes the complete negation of all forms of rooted identity through fully embracing the absurd. It is only in embracing the absurdity of his own being as the Spengalarian "insufferably lonely ego lost in space." 

Form without content, the infinite loneliness of the unhinged will manifesting itself in arbitrary impulses which flash in and out of time and then recede back into the abyss from which they sprang.

The abused orphan, the homeless addict, the victim of unspeakable crimes. Those who have faced the possibility of their own extinction. It is only these few who truly know what it is to be "Amerikwan," those who have been tossed or have tossed themselves, into the abyss. Only these few, the despised, know its secrets. And it is only these few for whom a transfiguration and a salvation are possible. As the great Emilie Cioran, in his seminal The Heights of Despair explained:

The passion for the absurd can grow only in a man who has exhausted everything, yet is still capable of undergoing awesome transfigurations. For one who has lost everything, there is nothing left in life except the passion for the absurd. What else in life could move such a person? What seductions? Some say self-sacrifice for humanity, the public good, the cult of the beautiful, and so forth. I like only those people who have done away with all that--even for a short time. Only they have the right to speak about life. You can recover love or serenity. But you recover it through heroism, not ignorance...Only when you have tasted all the poisoning sweetness of the absurd are you fully purified, because only then will you have pushed negation to its final expression.

It is only these holy fools of American society that are able to transcend its limitations and articulate its bitter truths. Just as, in King Lear it is only Lear's fool who is ever able to speak the truth. As Simone Weil (a holy fool herself) noted:

There is a class of people in this world who have fallen into the lowest degree of humiliation, far below beggary, and who are deprived not only of all social consideration but also, in everybody's opinion, of the specific human dignity, reason itself--and these are the only people who, in fact, are able to tell the truth. All others lie.

And it is only these fools who, in our Amerikwa, are ever able to articulate the truth. Since their social station, which is less than zero and thus relegates them to an essentially sub-human status, provides them with a unique freedom. A freedom which is completely alien to the rest of those residing in the so-called "land of the free."

They can articulate it because their very being is now a testament to it. As they have tasted their own finitude and understand the reality of death. A reality which is everywhere denied in Amerikwa. A place where death is relegated to the dark recesses of the nursing home, the abortion clinic, or the inner city ghetto. Where youth is sold as an eternal reality, which, for the right price, can be had by all. Where, thanks to the proliferation of an ever increasing assortment of banal amusements and fetishes, a man can go through an entire life without once asking the essential questions (Who am I? Why am I here? for what end?) that separate a human consciousness from the animal one.

To be more accurate the Amerikwan consciousness has not become so much animal or sub-human as it has become Post-Human, a Gnostic ghost in the Liberal machine. This is the destiny, the telos, of every Amerikwan.

Thus, in Amerikwa it is only the fool who can retain any sense of authentic humanity, for this authenticity can only be achieved through confrontation with one's own finitude.

Only Voluntary suffering can save us, Burkhardt's call for an ascetic revolution.

Photo : Church bombed in Syria resulting in 200 deaths

Remarkable and prophetic words from Karl Löwith on the 19th century historian Jacob Burckhardt:

"At a time which appears to us as having still enjoyed stability, security, and freedom, Burckhardt considered himself already an uprooted refugee. 'Set thy house in order,' he warns a friend in the prosperous Germany of 1870; that 'is the wisest thing to do for us in all of central Europe,' for everything will radically change. Hence his deep understanding of that classical period of disintegration in which the followers of Christ opposed the pleasures and vices of a decaying society and conquered the souls of men. 

While the world and all worldly powers were corrupt, the Christian church spread charity, discipline, and asceticism, and even men and women of the Roman nobility gave away their possessions for the sake of the poor and resolved to live in the world without being of it.... 

Likewise, Burckhardt's only hope for the future of Europe was in 'ascetic men,' i.e., in austere characters with the courage to abstain and to renounce, instead of getting along and ahead. In the face of Europe's progressive industrialization and vulgarization, it was Burckhardt's fundamental conviction that 'the new, the great, and the liberating' can come forward only in contrast to power, wealth, and business. 'It will need its martyrs. It must be a something which by its nature can keep its head above water in all catastrophes, political, economic, and otherwise. ....Burckhardt thought that no liberal education will be able to save us from the great violation of the human soul which is now going on, but only religion, 'for without a transcendent urge which outweighs all the clamor for power and money, nothing will be of any use.'

To Burckhardt the model case for this prophetic vision was the rise of Christianity. In his view genuine Christianity is essentially 'ascetic' because of being otherworldly, since its hope and expectation are in another world. With regard to the ways of this world, Christianity is a religion of suffering and renunciation. 

....he held that a Christianity reduced to morality and deprived of its supernatural and doctrinal foundations is no longer a religion. Modern man cannot solve this perplexity by a sheer will to believe, for genuine faith is not only a commitment but also an overwhelming power which has to be experienced. Nor can he solve it by reducing the Christian ideal of the saint to that of (Christian) gentleman.' He felt keenly that a Christianity which is watered down to a humanitarianism in which the priest is 'first of all a Gebildeter,' a man of the educated class, then a philosophizing theologian, and eventually a little bit of a timid man.

... he saw no prospects for a genuine revival because the modern spirit of unrestricted worldliness, of labor, business, and acquisitiveness, is unconcerned with personal salvation in a world to come and is decidedly hostile to any form of spiritual practice and pure contemplation. Morality is now emancipated from its religious foundation in a supernatural faith. 'The modern mind aims at solution of the supreme enigma of life independent of Christianity.' A striking instance of this separation of secular morality from religion is modern philanthropy because it is motivated by optimistic and activistic premises. While Christianity taught unconditional charity by depriving one's self of one's possessions, modern philanthropy is far more 'a concomitant of the money-making spirit,' endeavoring to foster activity and to help man along to a better adjustment in his earthly career. 

Mundane life and its interests now outweigh all other considerations.
Primitive and genuine Christianity stands in complete contrast to the standards of the world. ...'The humble surrender of self and the parable of the right and the left cheek are no longer popular.' People want to maintain their social sphere and respectability; they have to work and to make money; hence they cannot but allow the world to interfere in many ways with their traditional religion. 'In short, for all their religiosity, people are not disposed to renounce the advantages and benefits of modern culture.' ...To modern man Christianity is not a stumbling block and foolishness but—if he is not hostile to it—a wholesome element of secular civilization.

Modern Christendom wants to forget that Christianity has always been at its best and most influential when it maintained its divergence from worldly culture..... the Christian religion was and is not a cult consecrating a national culture but a transcendent faith in a future redemption. .... It would be undone if it were to forget that it is a faith in the glory of the Cross, a victorious religion of suffering, a faith for those who suffer. 

[The] achievement of a Christian culture, however, was possible not because the church taught the world what the world knows already more clearly by itself, but because the church impressed on the world the otherworldly distinctness of a transcendent faith.

At a time when liberal optimistic Protestantism was in full sway on the Continent, Burckhardt called the nineteenth-century optimism 'atrocious' and predicted its evaporation, while he insisted on the invincible strength of a genuine faith over against the principalities of the world. 'In the twentieth century those amazing caricatures of so-called reformed pastors will no longer endure, for all this agitation will scatter like dust as soon as people fall into real distress.' On the other hand, persecuting governments 'might meet with a resistance of the strangest sort from Christian minorities who would not fear even martyrdom.'

... Burckhardt discerned in 'modern' Christianity a contradiction in terms, because the evil genius of modern life, its... striving for power and gain, is downright opposed to voluntary suffering and self-surrender.

From Löwith's 'Meaning in History')

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Is America worth saving ?

First, we must ask what is America. America started from protestant religion, which unfortunately tends toward individualism, eventually becoming essentially gnostic and a form of idealism. If I told you I had a relation with a girl and it consisted of me acknowledging she existed and thinking about her you would rightly tell me that is not a relationship proper, but stalking. Protestants do not have a relationship to God, they stalk Him. Whereas in Catholic or Orthodox religion you have various rituals and liturgies that shape one’s heart and being to a proper relationship with God. In Catholicism you DO God,  you perform religion, act it out in practice, liturgies allow you to participate in God, in His mode of being, one goes from individual being to an ecclesial being in communion with all the Saints of the past and the future.

Obviously plenty of Protestants do have a relationship with God, and presently there is a push for a more liturgical existence which is a good thing, but the seeds for atomic individual atheism are there.

America, it has been said, is a nation of laws, but there is such thing as a pre-political existence in the form of custom.
John Adams in 1798 warned his fellow countrymen stating,

 "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

As intermediary structures that form the cultural morality necessary for self-government have been dissolved - the family, Church etc - we need more and more laws to hold together a nation.

I claim America has previously been held together by the social capital of Christianity, and now that this is disappearing we no longer have a common good which all people strive toward, instead we have a nation of individuals all striving for their own personal good in need of more and more laws to secure their individual rights.

Loosed from any real connection to the past or future, which is becoming more and more uncertain, modern man experiences what Zygmunt Baugman called ‘Liquid Modernity,’ we have no historical consciousness, we have no roots in the soil, the ideas we sacrifice for today might be overturned by tomorrows generation.


So, what is American culture ? 
Lawrence Auster HERE argues  it consists in the following :

Western tradition, there is the more particular Anglo-American tradition, some features of which are :

The remarkable degree of freedom from external controls made possible by the Protestant ideal of moral autonomy and self-restraint. 
The habits of self-reliance and local government, which are largely absent from other cultures including continental Europe 
The shared faith in natural rights, deriving from Locke and the Declaration of Independence. 
The common law tradition and due process of law. 
The principle against self-incrimination. 
The tradition of the loyal opposition and the right to dissent, which stands in contrast to the power group warfare that obtains in many other cultures. 
Freedom of speech and the appeal to reason in public discourse. 
The traditions of honesty and fair dealing. The sense of fair play. 
The high degree of trust and social cooperation made possible by the above. 

And finally—as the result of high moral standards, cooperativeness, trust and freedom—America’s extraordinarily rich tradition of voluntary associations and institutions—ranging from pioneer communities to churches to business enterprises to philanthropies to political and scientific societies—operating within the law but otherwise free of the state.

Well, is that enough to bind a people together ? Was it ever ?
  P.T. CARLO HERE gives startling answer, I quote large portions of his essay :

"There is no past (which is not a Liberal past) that the American can romanticize, no holy redoubt to retreat into. America is the only nation without a past; only the future lays before the American. Its ethos is the eschatology of the road, of the continual unfolding and violent conquering of a fertile frontier. When the American seeks the solace of a sacred grove he finds only the shade of the strip mall. The American Reactionary may set his spade to work in hopes of finding fertile soil somewhere beneath this endless superficiality, but his quest will only yield him asphalt. In America there is no soil to find beneath the asphalt, there is only more asphalt.

The United States itself was founded as an ideological laboratory experiment. The North American Continent, after its original inhabitants had been exterminated, served as the ideal blank canvas upon which to impress the violent fantasies of the European intelligentsia. Its endless natural resources and geographic impregnability served as a kind of blank check to the utopia builders of the Enlightenment, a Zion for the Godless.

Latent in the founders’ vision is the concept of Jean-Jacques Rousseau‘s “primitive man”: a creature born free, but everywhere enchained. For Rousseau, Society itself is ultimately evil and an imposition on and degradation of the individual’s inherent freedom.

The decaf coffee of social relations, a “thing” deprived of the very essential traits which constitute its own definition. It is the primary Utopian delusion, the desire for the “Object” (Society) minus the very characteristics (familial bonds of affection, pre-rational loyalties to place, or clan or God) which define the “Object,” in short: magical thinking.

The individual, the atom, the irreducible remainder, is the prime symbol of American consciousness. 

This “American Dream” of ever increasing and unconstrained individual freedom, for which no price is too high to pay, is the heart and soul of American “civilization.” In this sense the American dream equates to a full embodiment of what Oswald Spengler called “the Faustian prime symbol” of “limitless space.”  The utter erasure and eradication of limits of any kind upon the sacred “liberty” of the individual. Is this not the driving force behind so many of our modern American pathologies? Manifested perhaps most clearly today in the Gnostic violence of “Transgenderism.” A movement which finds even the limits of biology itself as being unacceptable, limits it loathes and seeks to annihilate.

Any Reactionary or Post-Liberal future will by necessity, even if it is still geographically located in North America, cease to be truly “American.” To be Post-Liberal is to be de facto Post-American, whether one wishes to be or not. No other way forward is possible. There is no soil beneath the asphalt.”

I agree.
I also agree with the blogger Micheal S., that Christendom is over, it ended during the World War :

"...there is so simply a division between the ordinary arrangements of Western society as it was before 1914 and those that have prevailed since 1918 

Four great empires, ruled by Charlemagne's descendants, that controlled most of the world's surface, fell as a consequence of that war. A fifth was fatally weakened by it, though it took a while for it to collapse. The entire remainder of the twentieth century was devoted to sorting out the consequences. The fall of the Romanovs was followed by a brief and ineffectual democracy under Kerensky, and then Boshevism. The fall of the Hohenzollerns in Germany led to the brief and ineffectual Weimar republic, and then Nazism. The fall of the Habsburgs in Austria-Hungary led to the splintering of its former territories, which soon became prey to the Nazis, and then to the Soviets after World War II. That war led to the Cold War and also to the collapse of the British empire. 

We are not done with this process of sorting-out, since the current conflicts in the middle east are consequences of the post-WWI dismemberment of the Ottoman empire.”

    Now we are witnessing the end of Liberalism, of liberal democracy. Naturally people will, and are, turning back to Communism and Fascism, but the fact is Religion IS culture, only religion has the symbols and rituals to bind us together, to root us in a land, to take possession of our hearts and minds. No God - no society.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Catholic Anti-Capitalist manifesto, some notes

Dr. John C Roa is a member of the more traditional  “
illiberal Catholics”, which Gabriel S. Sanchez over at DESCRIBES as

“opposed not only the political and economic liberalism which has infected human society, but also religious liberalism...For these illiberal Catholics, the question of the day concerns not the rights of man, but rather the rights of God. Christ the King, not a democratic majority captured by various liberal ideologies, must reign over society.”

He has written a Catholic Anti-Capitalist manifesto HERE.

I offer these notes from his essay :

"A spectre is haunting traditional Catholicism: the cult of Enlightenment capitalism and its ideology of the unrestrained free market. 

It is spiritually devastating, because worship of the unrestrained market drives a stake into the very heart of the Catholic vision, erecting an impenetrable intellectual barrier to the transformation of individual and society in Christ, and turning sincere Catholic believers into schizophrenic practitioners of a blatant practical Modernism.

....some of our Catholic ancestors.... insisted that any coherent response to contemporary evils had to emphasize the truth that liberal capitalism and socialism were actually blood brothers; that both had exactly the same atomistic, naturalist Enlightenment roots; that the arguments of the liberal capitalists had actually given intellectual birth to the doctrines of the socialists; that capitalist excesses had provided psychological stimulus to the desperate spirit of the June Days.

Western civilization grew up emphasizing the existence of an objective order of nature, the importance of individual freedom within that order, and the need for individuals to be enlightened as to the character of nature and freedom through the guidance of authoritative societies like the family and the State. Western thinkers argued that individuals, left to their own devices, simply could not properly see all that needs to be seen to understand either the objective order of things or the essence of human liberty. Individual knowledge and personal freedom could only be perfected though life in community. Social beings alone could become wise and free. Unaided, anti-social individuals could possess but a fragmented, flawed science of nature and knowledge of their place within it. They would thus be condemned to use their liberty to destroy themselves as well as the people around them.

Such ideas, already shaped by the ancient Greeks, really only gained historical clout due to the Incarnation and Redemption. 

A wise economist....would ....take stock of a variety of factors that the collective natural and supernatural wisdom of the ages deemed to be important: a balance of agriculture and industry; neighborhood stability and access to the necessities of life; stewardship of the environment; defense of deeply-rooted customs and the beautiful achievements of high cultures; the demands of justice and charity; the need to transform all things in Christ so as to aid man’s quest for eternal salvation. The truly wise economist would teach that men were not free to gain wealth obtained at the expense of leveling the Roman Forum to create more parking spaces for easier shopping at the Wal-Marts of the Eternal City; of turning patriotic celebrations and sacred festivals into nothing other than elaborate occasions for purchase and consumption; of marketing whatever might satisfy the wishes of revelers participating in Gay Pride Week.

Enlightenment thought, flawed because... Its atomistic freedom reduces men to precisely that unaided, anti-social condition which the previous development of our civilization had condemned as parochial and self-destructive. Its naturalism compounds the problem by prohibiting consideration of God’s plan for His Creation and man’s eternal destiny in secular matters as unpardonably invasive.

Liberal bourgeois capitalists witnessed the way in which the totally free market produced vast wealth for clever entrepreneurs. Voilà, a revelation of the infallible framework for a naturalist economic science before which western philosophy and Catholic theology must kneel and worship. Regardless of such differences in emphasis, the "free" individual operating under the spell of all of these "sciences" is everywhere the same: a self-limiting, parochial being; a willful, passionate child who specializes in learning how to get more toys for himself than the other kids around him, regardless or whether he needs or benefits from them. He wants what he wants when he wants it, and no mommy or daddy is going to force him to give up his rattle and learn the meaning of true virtue."

Friday, February 10, 2017

Traditionalism, Marx, Spengler, and the conservative revolutionary.

K.R. Bolton has a great essay on a traditionalist critique of Marx, you can read the whole thing HERE. Really, most traditional conservatives were against capitalism, for the exact reasons Marx was for it. In my blog HERE about Christianity’s antithesis to capitalism I quote David Bentley Hart :

This is what Marx genuinely admired about capitalism: its power to dissolve all the immemorial associations of family, tradition, faith, and affinity, the irresistible dynamism of its dissolution of ancient values, its (to borrow a loathsome phrase) “gales of creative destruction.” The secular world—our world, our age—is one from which as many mediating and subsidiary powers have been purged as possible, precisely to make room for the adventures of the will. It is a reality in which all social, political, and economic associations have been reduced to a bare tension between the individual and the state, each of which secures the other against the intrusions and encroachments of other claims to authority, other demands upon desire, other narratives of the human.”

Anyway, I offer these highlights from Bolton’s essay, :

Anthony Ludovici says :

Charles I, as I have pointed out, was probably the first Tory, and the greatest Conservative. He believed in securing the personal freedom and happiness of the people. He protected the people not only against the rapacity of their employers in trade and manufacture, but also against oppression of the mighty and the great…

It wa
s the traditional order, with the Crown at the apex of the hierarchy, which resisted the money-values of bourgeoisie revolution, manifested first in England, then in France and over much of the rest of mid-19
th Century Europe. 

Spengler in The Decline of The West states that in the late cycle of a Civilization there is a reaction against the rule of money, which overturns plutocracy and restores tradition. It is a final conflict in Late Civilisation of what he called “blood versus money”:

[I]f we call these money-powers “Capitalism,” then we may designate as Socialism the will to call into life a mighty politico-economic order that transcends all class interests, a system of lofty thoughtfulness and duty-sense that keeps the whole in fine condition for the decisive battle of its history, and this battle is also the battle of money and law. The private powers of the economy want free paths for their acquisition of great resources

In a footnote to the above Spengler reminded readers regarding “Capitalism” that, “in this sense the interest-politics of the workers’ movements also belong to it, in that their object is not to overcome money-values, but to possess them.”

Spengler calls Marxian types of socialism “capitalistic” because they do not aim to replace money-based values, “but to possess them”. He states of Marxism that it is “nothing but a trusty henchman of Big Capital, which knows perfectly well how to make use of it.”17 Further:

"The concepts of Liberalism and Socialism are set in effective motion only by money. It was the Equites, the big-money party, which made Tiberius Gracchu’s popular movement possible at all; and as soon as that part of the reforms that were advantageous to themselves had been successfully legalized, they withdrew and the movement collapsed.

There is no proletarian, not even a communist, movement that has not operated in the interests of money, in the directions indicated by money, and for the time permitted by money — and that without the idealist amongst its leaders having the slightest suspicion of the fact."
Spengler cites Marx on Free Trade as stating in 1847:

"Generally speaking, the protectionist system today is conservative, whereas the Free Trade system has a destructive effect. It destroys the former nationalities and renders the contrast between proletariat and bourgeois more acute. In a word, the Free Trade system is precipitating the social revolution. And only in this revolutionary sense do I vote for Free Trade."

Marx accurately describes the destruction of traditional society as intrinsic to capitalism, and goes on to describe what we today call “globalization.” Those who advocate Free Trade while calling themselves Conservatives might like to consider why Marx supported Free Trade and described it as both “destructive” and as “revolutionary.” Marx saw it as the necessary ingredient of the dialectic process that is imposing universal standardisation; which is also the aim of communism.

Marx in describing the dialectical role of capitalism, states that wherever the “bourgeoisie” “has got the upper hand [he] has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations.” The bourgeoisie or what we might call the merchant class – which is accorded a subordinate position in traditional societies, but assumes dominance under “modernism” – “has pitilessly torn asunder” feudal bonds, and “has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest,” and “callous cash payment.” It has, among other things, “drowned” religiosity and chivalry “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.”

To this capitalist internationalizing process Marx identifies the opponents not as revolutionaries but as “Reactionists.”
The reactionaries are appalled that the old local and national industries are being destroyed, self-sufficiency is being undermined, and “we have… universal inter-dependence of nations.” Likewise in the cultural sphere, where “national and local literatures” are displaced by “a world literature.”

 The result is a global economic culture, and even a global human, detached from all bonds of geographic and cultural loci... A type of nomad is emerging who serves the interests of an international economy wherever s/he is required.
With this revolutionizing and standardization of the means of production comes a loss of meaning of being part of a craft or a profession, or “calling.” Obsession with work becomes an end in itself, which fails to provide higher meaning because of its being reduced to that of a solely economic function. With respect to the ruin of the traditional order by the triumph of the “bourgeoisie”, Marx said the following:

Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and the most easily acquired knack, that is required of him…"

Whereas the Classical corporations and the Medieval guilds fulfilled a role that was metaphysical and cultural in terms of one’s profession, these have been replaced by the trades union and employers associations as nothing more than instruments of economic competition. The entirety of Western civilization, and uniquely, much of the rest of the world, because of the process of globalization, has become an expression of money-values.

However, preoccupation of the Gross Domestic Product – generally the sole preoccupation of ballot box politicking – cannot be a substitute for more profound human values. 

Traditional societies are literally rooted in the soil, with a sense of continuity through generations. Under capitalism village life and localized life are, as Marx said, made passé by the city and by mass production.... It was a phenomenon – the rise of the City concomitant with the rise of the merchant – that Spengler states is a symptom of the decay of a Civilization in its sterile phase, where money values rule.

The reactionary or Conservative in the traditional sense, is the anti-capitalist par excellence, because he is above and beyond the zeitgeist from which both capitalism and Marxism emerged, and he rejects in total the economic reductionism on which both are founded. Thus the word “reactionary,” usually used in a derogatory sense, can be accepted by the Conservative as an accurate term for what is required for a cultural, ethical and spiritual renascence.

Marx condemned resistance to the dialectical process as “Reactionist,” and identified conservatism as the real force that is in revolt against the mercantile spirit:

"The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant. All these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. If by chance they are revolutionary, they are so only in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat, they thus defend not their present, but their future interests, they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat."

Marx devotes section three of his Communist Manifesto to a repudiation of “reactionary socialism.” He condemns “feudal socialism” that arose among the old remnants of the aristocracy, which sought to join forces with the “working class” against the bourgeoisie. Marx states that the aristocracy, in trying to reassert their pre-bourgeoisie position, had actually lost sight of their own class interests in having to side with the proletariat. This is nonsense. An alliance of the dispossessed professions into what had become the so-called proletariat, with the increasingly dispossessed aristocracy, is an organic alliance, which finds its enemies as much in Marxism as in mercantilism.

 Marx condemns “feudal socialism” ...a movement that enjoyed significant support among craftsmen, clergymen, nobles and literati in Germany in 1848, who repudiated the free market that had divorced the individual from Church, State and community, “and placed egoism and self-interest before subordination, commonality, and social solidarity.”

 Regarding these “Reactionists,” Max Beer, a historian of German socialism, stated the following:

The modern era seemed to them to be built on quicksands, to be chaos, anarchy, or an utterly unmoral and godless outburst of intellectual and economic forces, which must inevitably lead to acute social antagonism, to extremes of wealth and poverty, and to a universal upheaval. In this frame of mind, the Middle Ages, with its firm order in Church, economic and social life, its faith in God, its feudal tenures, its cloisters, its autonomous associations and its guilds appeared to these thinkers like a well-compacted building…"

It is just such an alliance of all classes – once vehemently condemned by Marx as “Reactionist” – that is required to resist the common subversive phenomena of Free Trade and revolution. Something of the type was seen again, as mentioned previously, in the post-World War I doctrines of Distributism, Social Credit and Guild Socialism...It is this faithless, secular world, where Mammon rules, and what Spengler saw as the epoch of decline, but perhaps also as one of prelude to revolt against “money” renewal and a “Second Religiousness.”

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The journey from Liberalism to its Death.

This essay by Patrick Deenan is Extremely important and clarifying, if you’re curious how we got here, and why, what has to go and what has to stay, read this. It’s long, you can read the entire thing HERE, and here are the money quotes :

"Many of what are considered liberalism’s signal features—particularly political arrangements such as constitutionalism, the rule of law, rights and privileges of citizens, separation of powers, the free exchange of goods and services in markets, and federalism—are to be found in medieval thought. Inviolable human dignity, constitutional limits upon central power, and equality under law are part of a preliberal legacy.

Rather, liberalism is constituted by a pair of deeper anthropological assumptions that give liberal institutions a particular orientation and cast: 1) anthropological individualism and the voluntarist conception of choice, and 2) human separation from and opposition to nature. These two revolutions in the understanding of human nature and society constitute “liberalism” inasmuch as they introduce a radically new definition of “liberty.”

Liberalism introduces a particular cast to its preliberal inheritance mainly by ceasing to account for the implications of choices made by individuals upon community, society, and future generations. Liberalism did not introduce the idea of choice. It dismissed the idea that there are wrong or bad choices, and thereby rejected the accompanying social structures and institutions that were ordered to restrain the temptation toward self-centered calculation.

Law is a set of practical restraints upon self-interested individuals; there is no assumption of the existence of self-restraint born of mutual concern. 

Human beings are by nature, therefore, “non-relational” creatures, separate and autonomous. Liberalism thus begins a project by which the legitimacy of all human relationships—beginning with, but not limited to, political bonds—becomes increasingly subject to the criterion of whether or not they have been chosen, and chosen upon the basis of their service to rational self-interest....without broader considerations of the impact one’s choices have upon the community—present and future—and of one’s obligations to the created order and ultimately to God.

The second revolution...Man was understood to have a telos, a fixed end, given by nature and unalterable. Human nature was continuous with the order of the natural world, and so humanity was required to conform both to its own nature as well as, in a broader sense, to the natural order of which human beings were a part. Human beings could freely act against their own nature and the natural order, but such actions deformed them and harmed the good of human beings and the world. Aristotle’s Ethics and Aquinas’ Summa Theologica are alike efforts to delineate the limits that nature—thus, natural law—places upon human beings, and each seeks to educate man about how best to live within those limits, through the practice of virtues, in order to achieve a condition of human flourishing.

Liberal philosophy rejected this requirement of human self-limitation. It first displaced the idea of a natural order to which humanity is subject and thereafter the very notion of human nature itself.

two revolutions—its anthropological individualism and the voluntarist conception of choice, and its insistence on the human separation from and opposition to nature—created its distinctive and new understanding of liberty as the most extensive possible expansion of the human sphere of autonomous activity in the service of the fulfillment of the self. 

Liberalism rejects the ancient and preliberal conception of liberty as the learned capacity of human beings to govern their base and hedonistic desires. ....Societies that understand liberty this way pursue the comprehensive formation and education of individuals and citizens in the art and virtue of self-rule.

Ironically, the more complete the securing of a sphere of autonomy, the more encompassing and comprehensive the state must become. Liberty, so defined, requires in the first instance liberation from all forms of associations and relationships—from the family, church, and schools to the village and neighborhood and the community broadly defined—that exerted strong control over behavior largely through informal and habituated expectations and norms.
These forms of control were largely cultural, not political—law was generally less extensive, and existed largely as a continuation of cultural norms, the informal expectations of behavior that were largely learned through family, church, and community. With the liberation of individuals from these associations and membership based upon individual choice, the need for impositions of positive law to regulate behavior grows. At the same time, as the authority of social norms dissipates, they are increasingly felt to be residual, arbitrary, and oppressive, motivating calls for the state to actively work toward their eradication through the rationalization of law and regulation.

gratitude to the past and obligations to the future are replaced by a near-universal pursuit of immediate gratification: Culture, rather than imparting the wisdom and experience of the past toward the end of cultivating virtues of self-restraint and civility, instead becomes synonymous with hedonic titillation, visceral crudeness, and distraction, all oriented toward promoting a culture of consumption, appetite, and detachment. As a result, seemingly self-maximizing but socially destructive behaviors begin to predominate in society.

the endless quest for fewer obstacles to self-fulfillment and greater power to actuate the ceaseless cravings of the human soul requires ever-accelerating forms of economic growth and pervasive consumption. Liberal society can barely survive the slowing of such growth and would collapse if it were to stop or reverse for an extended period of time. The sole object and justification of this indifference to human ends—of the emphasis on “Right” over the “Good”—is nevertheless premised on the embrace of the liberal human as a self-fashioning individual and self-expressive consumer. This default aspiration requires that no truly hard choices be made between lifestyle options.

Liberalism can function only by the constant increase of available and consumable material goods and satisfactions, and thus by constantly expanding humanity’s conquest and mastery of nature. No matter the political program of today’s leaders, more is the incontestable program. No person can aspire to a position of political leadership through a call for limits and self-command.

The twin outcomes of this effort, the depletion of moral self-command and the depletion of material resources, 

A different paradigm is needed, one that intimately connects the cultivation of self-limitation and self-governance among constitutive associations and communities with a general ethic of thrift, frugality, saving, hard work, stewardship, and care. So long as the dominant narrative of individual choice aimed at the satisfaction of appetite and consumption dominates in the personal or economic realms, the ethic of liberalism will continue to dominate our society.

The right embraces a market orthodoxy that places the choosing, autonomous individual at the center of its economic theory and accepts the larger liberal frame in which the only alternative to this free-market, individualist orthodoxy is statism and collectivism. It seeks to promote family values but denies that the market undermines many of the values that undergird family life. The left commends sexual liberation as the best avenue to achieve individual autonomy, while nonsensically condemning the immorality of a marketplace in which sex is the best sales pitch.

It cannot perpetually enforce order upon a collection of autonomous individuals increasingly shorn of constitutive social norms, nor can it continually provide endless material growth in a world of limits."