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Danger Ahead—Part II

Though unified around the project of Universal Caliphate, Islam does not pose any great strategic danger to the West in the short term. However, nothing that happens in the Islamic world is isolated from the grand “Eurasian” strategy that today guides the governments of both Russia and China. The idea for this strategy originated in the doctrine of “National Bolshevism,” an ideological syncretism created by writer Edward Limonov and philosopher Alexander Dugin in the 1980’s. Starting from a brutally stereotyped schematic view of Western civilization, derived from Sir Karl Popper’s book, “The Open Society and Its Enemies,” Limonov dreamed of a global alliance among all the potential enemies of the Western scientific-relativistic mentality, i.e. among all the lovers of “absolute truths.” And since this alliance simply aimed to destroy relativism—and by extension, the civilization founded upon it—little did it matter to Limonov that the various absolutes he summoned to the fight contradicted one another: the negative brotherhood could include in itself, with no greater scruples of consistency, communists and Catholic traditionalists, Nazis, fascists, Islamites, Hindus, admirers of René Guénon and Julius Evola, etc. As if this notion was not elastic enough, the holy unity would even receive with open arms all manner of haters of America, even those absolutely devoid of any identifiable absolute: punks, “rebels without a cause,” Black Power militants, and so on. In the wave of anti-Americanism that has spread around the world after the dissolution of the USSR, the offer to appease old antagonisms on the basis of hatred of a common enemy seemed a relief to many people, especially to Guénonians and Evolians, who, being hostile to the “modern world” in general, saw in it the remedy of their harrowing sense of isolation.

“National Bolshevism” was just an ideology, but Alexander Dugin (whose brain is far more consistent than Limonov’s), has eventually overcome it and absorbed it into a formidable strategic synthesis, “Eurasianism,” which now guides Vladimir Putin’s international policy, and whose first substantial victory was the establishment of the Shanghai Pact (see http://www.olavodecarvalho.org/semana/060130dc.htm ), designed to expand until it can include, if possible, all the anti-American forces of the universe (especially the Muslim Brotherhood), not only around a vague ideological proposal, but very well-defined political-military plans.

Both Limonov and Dugin are sons of KGB officers, and the latter is now the maître à penser of the man who most clearly embodies the KGB in power.

Seduced by the promise of destroying the “modern world,” many traditionalists—Catholic, Orthodox, or Muslim—will probably end up becoming the best useful idiots that the KGB has ever had at its disposal. It has never occurred to any of these brilliant minds to notice that the liberalism of Karl Popper is one thing and the American nation is quite another, that the destruction or marginalization of the latter will not bring about the extinction of the execrable “modernity” and the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth, but rather the triumph of Western globalists (Bilderbergers and tutti quanti), to whom the neutralization of U.S. national power is the urgency of urgencies, and whose relations with the Russian-Chinese scheme are much friendlier than any “Eurasian” rhetoric may intimate  (the very support of the Obama administration to the Egyptian rebellion is further evidence of this).

The crisis in Egypt is not only a victory of radical Islam, but of the Eurasian project that stands behind it.

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published in the newspaper Jornal do Brasil on May 8, 2008, and translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota and Bruno Mori.

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U.S. Foreign Policy: The Art of Strengthening One’s Enemies

Discounting the brief interruption in the Reagan era, American foreign policy since the end of World War II can be summarized by two rules which the State Department has followed with exemplary faithfulness and consistency:

1. Trade allied dictators for enemy dictators.

2.  In so doing, trade authoritarian governments for totalitarian governments a thousand times more corrupt.

Sometimes in a direct, brutal, and overt way, sometimes in an indirect, subtle, and underhanded way, and sometimes helping those against whom they had fought until the day before, the United States replaced Chiang Kai-Shek with Mao Zedong, Fulgencio Batista with Fidel Castro, Shah Reza Pahlevi with Ayatollah Khomeini, Ngo Dinh Diem with Ho Chi Minh, and General Lon Nol with Pol Pot.[1] In human terms, the cost of all this tinkering was no less than 80 million deaths. Because of specific differences beyond the scope of this paper I am not including in the list the fact that Americans managed to get rid of Adolf Hitler at the cost of a hundred fold increase in Josef Stalin’s power and half a century of Cold War that cost them dearly.

Now the United States is replacing an ally, Hosni Mubarak, with the superlatively hostile Muslim Brotherhood, mother of all anti-American movements in the Islamic world.

In all of these cases, the government thrown overboard was on the right, while its triumphant successor was on the left. The leftists’ international outcry against Washington’s support for right-wing dictatorships is, quite obviously a disinformation engineering job calculated to obscure the stark fact that, in terms of dictators, the communists and pro-communists have been by far the biggest recipients of American aid. Some right-wing tyrants may have been “lackeys” of the United States, as the threadbare communist rhetoric proclaims, but the left-wing ones are not lackeys: they are their protégés. If the former have to work hard to repay the aid, the latter are given everything and asked for nothing in return.

Antony Sutton, the English economist who for decades studied the generous and never-repaid flow of American money to communist countries, summarized the subject by saying that the United States always strove to get “the best enemy money could buy.”

In one of these calamitous operations, the beneficiary himself proved somewhat shocked by the generosity bestowed on him. When Americans overthrew Ngo Din Diem, Ho Chi Minh remarked: “I cannot believe Americans are that stupid.” Diem was, after all, according to North Vietnam’s Politbureau, “the greatest force of anti-communist resistance” in the region.

In all cases, without exception, the official pretext was the promotion of democracy.

The only amazing thing in this whole sequence of events is the slowness of the population—and the deliberate refusal of the media—to realize the obstinate and patent consistency of the official anti-Americanism installed in the upper echelons of Washington. The contrast between historical reality and its public image could not be sharper. The majority of the American electorate continue to believe in the legend that its country is an imperialist power committed to valiantly defending national interests and halting the advance of communists, Islamists, and all potential enemies of America, when in fact these enemies could not survive a single day without the assistance they receive from Washington.

As early as the 1950s, an investigative committee of the House of Representatives proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the massive support that communist governments, parties, and movements had been receiving from major billion-dollar foundations—the same ones that through the Council on Foreign Relations and similar institutions have played a major role in the selection and approval of candidates for any public office in the federal upper echelons of the US. In recent decades, the volume of contributions to universal anti-Americanism has increased mightily, turning what was once the leading nation in the world into a walled-in, hated, and cowed country, fearing to take any serious initiative against its aggressors, even within its own territory. Today there are more Chinese and Russian spies in the United States than during the Cold War, while organizations that support Islamic terrorism are allowed to operate freely, and any attempt to denounce them is repelled as an intolerable sign of extremism.

American intervention in the Egyptian crisis does not deviate from the long-established course. From the outset, both the Obama administration and George Soros—one of the chief sponsors of the current president’s career—have had friendly contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood and have encouraged it to unleash a rebellion against an ally of the US government.

The likelihood that the Brotherhood, once in power, will establish a democratic, pluralistic system is so remote and contrived as was the chance that Josef Stalin might have done the same thing once he succeeded Lenin. The regime which will possibly come after Mubarak’s removal has already shown its true colors even before coming to power, by promoting the slaughter of Christians and the burning of churches. Both the American government and the entire journalistic class are well aware of this, but they refrain from drawing the most obvious and compelling conclusions from these facts. Instead they continue to present the conflict as a struggle between Egyptian idealist democrats and the evil dictator Mubarak.

For many decades the American mainstream media —starting with The New York Times and CNN—have radically abdicated their journalistic duties and become a mere instrument of social engineering. Their current mission is not to spread information, but to meticulously control its flow so as to encourage behaviors desired by the globalist establishment and to discourage inconvenient questions.

Within the American national environment, the effectiveness of this control is quite relative, because the big media in the United States are not as big as their counterpart in Brazil, and there is a vast number of independent publications and radio stations that reach at least 50 percent of the population, showing the American people all of what the global elite would like to completely black out behind a lead shield.

It so happens, however, that the non-aligned media have strictly national circulation. They do not reach other countries. In particular, they are completely unknown in Brazil. Thus, the official view, which fails to subdue the American electorate, ultimately spreads freely throughout the world, and is construed as a kind of universal consensus.

Though limited, the credibility of the official view still seems excessive to me, since this view is daily challenged by facts which never shake in the slightest the faith of the devotees. A brief historical study will suffice to show that the principles and criteria of judgment which now guide the American mainstream media are literally the same as those that Soviet propagandists tried, unsuccessfully, to impose on the American population between the 1940’s and the 1950’s. The change was profound and overwhelming. In a few decades, at least half of the American population has grown to hate what it once loved and to accuse its own country of a thousand crimes committed by external and internal enemies, and yet these Americans have no idea that they were induced into this by the action of an omnipresent and hostile foreign force. Just as communist infiltration in the Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower administrations was far greater than Joe McCarthy himself then imagined (read Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, Yale University Press, 2009), and just as the communist cultural war effort ended up dominating almost the entire education system in the United States to the extent that it merged with the local atmosphere and passed itself off as a spontaneous home-grown movement, the penetration of Islamic agents into all of the upper echelons of Washington was so quick and efficient an action that I can’t describe it here. One must read the book of P. David Gaubatz, Paul Sperry, Muslim Mafia: Inside The Secret Underworld That’s conspiring to Islamize America (WND Books, 2009), to understand how these things happen before the blind and foolish eyes of so many people.

In vain will the reader search the pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post, or the comments by CNN or MSNBC for any mention of the fact that Obama is acting, in Egypt, in favor of the largest anti-American organization in the universe. In the United States there is no official censorship, and that information, with sufficient evidence, reaches us from thousands of channels. But it does not reach the believers in the mainstream media, and above all, it does not leave American shores.

Even if the government that emerges out of Mubarak’s downfall is a coalition government, the Muslim Brotherhood will certainly play the predominant role in it, and this is the surest guarantee that the country will move towards a regime which will be at once dictatorial, murderous to Christians, and openly hostile to the state of Israel.

The Obama administration is fostering not only another anti-American dictatorship, but a war.

 


[1] In each case, it would have been obvious to the responsible American State Department specialists, if not also to senior White House appointees, that fatal undermining or even sabotage of our allied leaders would bring mass suffering and death and strategic catastrophe. The only question for historians who know of the secret intrigues and betrayals is who understood the unavoidable consequences yet pushed or drove in directions that served communism.

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

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The Owners of the World

The historic forces that today fight for power in the world articulate themselves in three projects of global dominance: the “Russian-Chinese” (or “Eurasian”), the “Western” (sometimes mistakenly called “Anglo-American”) and the “Islamic” one.

Each of them has a well documented history, which shows their remote origins, the transformation they have gone through in time and the present state of their implementation.

The agents that personify these projects are respectively:

1. The ruling elite of Russia and China, especially the secret services of those two countries.

2. The Western finance elite, as represented especially in the Bilderberg Club, the Council of Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.

3. The Muslim Brotherhood, the religious leaders of several Islamic countries and the some Muslim countries governments.

Only the first one of these three agents can be conceived of in strict geopolitical terms, as its plans and actions correspond to well defined national and regional interests.  The second one, which is more advanced in the implementation of its plans for world government, places itself explicitly above any national interests, including those of the countries where it originated and which serve as its basis for operations. In the third one, conflicts of interests between national governments and the overarching goal of a Universal Caliphate end up always being resolved in favor of the latter, which is today the most important factor for the ideological unification of the Islamic world.

The conceptions of global power that these three agents strive to implement are very different among themselves because they stem from heterogeneous and sometimes incompatible inspirations.

Although in principle the relations among them are of competition and dispute, sometimes even of military nature, there are vast zones of fusion and collaboration, as flexible and changing as they may be. This phenomenon disorients the observers, producing all sorts of dislocated and fabulous interpretations, some under the form of “conspiracy theories,” others as self proclaimed “realistic” and “scientific” refutations of those theories.

A good deal of the nebulosity in the world scene is produced by a more or less constant factor: each one of the three agents tends to interpret in its own terms the plans and actions of the other two, in part for deliberate propaganda purposes, in part due to a genuine misunderstanding of the situation.

The strategic analyses from all involved reflect, each of them, the ideological bias that is proper to it. Even though they strive to take into account the totality of available factors, the Russian-Chinese scheme stresses the geopolitical and military viewpoint, the Western scheme the economic, and the Islamic scheme the fight among religions.

This difference reflects, on its turn, the sociological composition of the ruling classes in the respective geographical areas:

1) Stemming from the communist Nomenklatura, the Russian-Chinese ruling class is essentially made up of bureaucrats, intelligence service agents and military officers.

2) The dominance of financiers and international bankers in the Western establishment is too well known and it is not necessary to insist on it.

3) In the various countries of the Islamic complex, the authority of the ruler depends substantially on the approval of the umma—the multitudinous community of authoritative interpreters of the traditional religion. Even though these countries display great variety in their domestic situations, it is not an exaggeration to describe the structure of their ruling power as “theocratic”.

Thus, for the first time in the history of the world, the three essential modalities of power—politico-military, economic and religious—find themselves personified in different supranational blocks, each of them with its own plans for world dominance and its peculiar mode of action. This doesn’t mean that they don’t act in all fronts, but only that their respective historical views and strategies are ultimately delimited by the modality of power they represent. It’s not far-fetched to say that the world today is the object of a dispute among the military, bankers and preachers.

Practically all analyses of international politics available today in the media reflect the subservience of “opinion makers” to one of the three disputing currents, and therefore the systematic ignorance of their areas of complicity and mutual help. These individuals judge facts and “take positions” based on the abstract values that they cherish, without even asking if their words, in the overall sum of the factors at play in the world, will not end up contributing to the glory of everything that they hate. The strategists of the three major global projects are well aware of this and they include political commentators—journalists and academics alike—among the most precious useful idiots at their service.

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was  translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

Supporters of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa Islamic organization burn the U.S. flag as they shout slogans during a protest, against U.S. drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal region, in Karachi

Danger Ahead — Part I

Murdered by fanatical countrymen, Anwar El-Sadat and Yitzhak Rabin paid the ultimate price for peace, but the shelf life of the product they purchased is rapidly expiring. Hosni Mubarak’s downfall removes from the scene one of the few obstacles that have delayed the establishment of the grand Islamic strategic unity designed to establish the Universal Islamic Caliphate, and in so doing, to wipe Israel off the map. A few factors, which the enlightened minds of the usual international commentators cannot even remotely discern, contribute to the rise in danger level of this moment to the nth degree:

The Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological matrix of the revolutionary forces in the Islamic world, may not have given the initial impetus to the rebellion in Egypt, but it is surely the only political organization prepared to take advantage of the chaos and rule the country after Mubarak’s exit. The U.S. government is well aware of this and welcomes the rise of the Brotherhood, proving once again that Barack Hussein Obama has been deliberately working in favor of the enemies of the West. The soothing evasive responses by the State Department in recent days are so contradictory that they amount to a confession of falsehood: first, the Department of State swore that the Brotherhood would remain on the sidelines; then, when it became impossible to continue believing this, it assured us that the Muslim organization had changed, that it had become peaceable and meek as a lamb. Commentators hostile to the government noted that, in turning against Mubarak, Obama was following the example of Jimmy Carter, who, under the same pretext of promoting democracy, helped overthrow an allied government and ended up turning Iran into one of the most fearsome enemies of the United States, a dictatorship a thousand times more repressive than that of the former Shah. The difference, I believe, is that Carter seems to have acted out of sheer stupidity, while it is quite evident that Obama, whose career was sponsored by a Saudi pro-terrorist prince, and whose ties with the radical left are the most compromising you can imagine, is pursuing a rational plan designed to weaken the position of his country in the international context while systematically demolishing the economy at home.

The agricultural policy of the Obama administration seems to have been calculated to foment rebellion. Egypt, a desert country, depends primarily on American wheat, the price of which has risen 70 percent in the last months even as the dollardecreased in value, creating an untenable situation for the Egyptian people. Months earlier, economic analysts warned that the whole thing was about to explode (see http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/01/31/107813/egypts-unrest-may-have-roots-in.html).

In other Muslim countries such as Tunisia, Jordan, and Yemen similar rebellions are gradually taking shape, and they are always directed to the same goal: to eliminate pro-Western governments and expand the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, an ally of Hamas and other terrorist organizations. The state of panic that has spread among these governments can be assessed by the fact that, in recent months, they have imported more wheat than ever before, making the life of Egyptians even harder. [End of Part I. To be continued].

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published in the Brazilian newspaper Diário do Comércio on February 5, 2011, and translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

Miguel Nicolelis

Reverse Labeling

Miguel Nicolelis is a neuroscience teacher at Duke University (USA), founder of the Edmond & Lilly Safra Neuroscientific Institute (Macaíba, RN) and member of the Brazilian and French Academies of Sciences. Added to that notable curriculum was his recent appointment by Pope Benedict XVI to the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The Viomundo website, directed by journalist Luiz Carlos Azenha, now introduces him in a still more attractive light, claiming the scientist is a defenseless victim of a vast hate and fear mongering campaign waged by the eternally abominable “extreme right.”

Shocked and intimidated by the murderous virulence of the campaign, Prof. Nicolelis, in a tone of spurious sincerity distinguishing him as an unconditional follower of the free and democratic debate, warns against the dangers of ideological radicalization:

“Your political, ideological opponent starts to be seen as your enemy. And that enemy is subject to any kind of punishment, even death. I cannot imagine that those people spreading hate, revenge and violent messages can at the same time be Christians.”

But, after all, what did the murderous campaign consist of? It consisted of two things: Firstly, a ten-line story, published at the Rorate Coeli website on January 5 (see: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2011/01/pope-names-pro-abortion-and-pro-gay.html), stating that Prof. Nicolelis is a fervent defender of abortion and the gay agenda (and also, as of last year, of the candidacy of radical socialist Dilma Rousseff). His presence in an institution linked to the Catholic Church is therefore a little strange. Then, an article written by American journalist Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, published on the website Last Days Watchman (see: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/defender-of-for-abortion-and-homosexualist-police-appointed-to-vaticans-to) and later reproduced with or without additions and comments on a few Christian websites, among them the Brazilian version of Lifesitenews, Notícias Pró-Família, administered by Brazilian writer Julio Severo (I will speak about him later on). Hoffman, who is a Catholic, commented, “Pope Benedict XVI is a staunch defender of the right to life and of family values, and it is unlikely that he was aware of Nicolelis’ record when he made the appointment.”

Was there some threat, any hint of injurious plans? Prof. Nicolelis admits, “No, there was none.”

In view of these perfectly inoffensive expressions of disagreement, how did Prof. Nicolelis react? By debating with his opponents? No way. He himself describes his argumentative procedures:

“My laboratory staff contacted Duke University, warned about those websites and the university police have already begun to monitor the case. The security of my laboratory was reinforced… Nobody enters there without going through security procedures.”

And he cautions: at the first threatening sign in Brazil, he will call the Federal Police immediately.

Among the potential aggressors of Prof. Nicolelis denounced by the Viomundo website, one has already been put under control. Julio Severo, wanted by Brazilian authorities for the heinous crime of having stated and insisted that homosexuality is a sin and curable, is hidden abroad, moving from one country to another, living in extreme poverty with a wife and four small children. Journalist Luiz Carlos Azenha mentions that fact with evident contentment. The Fórum website, by columnist Luis Nassif (http://blogln.ning.com/forum/topics/homofobia-em-preto-e-branco), also celebrates it as a sign that Brazilian democracy is progressing.

The logical premises forming the basis of Prof. Nicolelis’ statements and the reports of the Viomundo and Forum websites could not be more evident:

1) Uttering a single word against homosexuality, even in a generic way and with no threat, is incitement to violence, something unworthy of people professing to be Christians.

2) An informed citizen and lover of the free and democratic debate should react to those opinions by presenting himself publicly as a victim under imminent attack, calling police and having his unfortunate critics persecuted like criminals and hunted down like animals.

The brutally exaggerated reaction is expected to prompt the distinguished public to believe piously that the violent individuals are those who expressed opinions, not those who mobilized against them the armed forces of the repressive State system.

If the reader wanted a local illustration of what I have written previously on the technique of reverse labeling, this is it.

The constant and obsessive use of that technique is one of the most trivial manifestations of the general inversion of reality, characteristic of the revolutionary mentality.

Not by coincidence, but very significantly, Prof. Nicolelis had been railing some time ago against the “hysterical right.” Hysteria, by definition, is a hyperbolic reaction to some imaginary and false provocation. Therefore, when Prof. Nicolelis reacts hysterically, it is the others who are hysterical.

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published in the Brazilian newspaper Diário do Comércio on January 27, 2011 and translated from the Portuguese by Julio Severo and revised by Don Hank.

Karl Marx

Social Critique and History

All social critique is founded upon some idea of the better. It is only in comparison with this idea that any existing society may seem good, tolerable, bad, or unbearable. But the idea of the better does not emerge from nothing: it is conceived of by actual men, members of the same society they criticize. If we consider that the mindset of these men is entirely a “product” of society, then, only one of two alternatives is true: either they themselves fall into the evil they denounce, or society, having given these men the idea of the better, cannot be as evil as they say it is.

Therefore, all social critique that claims to have any foundation at all can only be based upon the premise that in man’s consciousness there is a dimension which somehow transcends any present society and to which he can transport himself in thought in order to judge that society from the outside, or from above.

It is evident, however, that a simple verbal appeal to a legitimating authority is not enough to validate any critique. A critique must not only allege but must also prove its logical affiliation with a superior authority.

Social critiques, therefore, can be hierarchized on a scale of strictly objective validity, in accordance with (a) the intrinsic legitimacy of the authority called upon to legitimize them; (b) the degree of logical consistency of the nexus between the legitimizing authority and the content of the critique. In other words: (a) The authority of the superior authority summoned to legitimize a critique may be false or deficient in itself, as in the case of the critic who condemns society based upon a pure Utopian model of his own invention. (b) If the alleged authority is valid in itself, there is also the risk that the deduction which the critic draws from it in order to validate a specific critique of a specific society is not a logically valid inference.

A history of social critique from antiquity to the present day would easily demonstrate that, over time, the social critiques formulated in the West have been progressively losing their validity as they have grown in virulence and in the number of their adherents. In other words: as time goes on, social critics lose in intrinsic authority what they gain in pretension and audience.

I know that this is a lamentable observation and that some people, without having ever studied the subject, or even become minimally aware of it before reading this article, will reject it in limine and will seek refuge from it behind all sorts of subterfuge. The only thing I have to say to these people is: don’t bother me; go study. As to other people, that is, those for whom the enunciation of a hypothesis arouses curiosity instead of tears, I suggest they compare, for example, the Socratic critique to the Marxist one. The latter has far more adherents and is much more ferocious than the former, but, in declaring that men’s consciousness is a “product” of history, the Marxist critique cannot allege any legitimizing authority other than history itself; however, since history does not provide models for its own judgment, but rather the simple reporting of faits accomplis, the Marxist critic is left with no other alternative than to infer from past history a hypothesis for a future development and to take it at once as the legitimizing authority for the critique of the present. Nothing proves that the predicted development is inevitable, nor that the state of affairs that results from it will have to be better than the present state of affairs; all this is nothing but hypothesis and has no other legitimizing authority than that of a hypothesis. On the other hand, Socrates’ critique, which did not gain many adherents, except in a very limited circle, had a much more solid foundation, since the authorities to which he appealed were the certainty of death and the intrinsic authority of reason, which no man can reject.

Marxism stands at an even greater disadvantage when compared to the social critique of the Hebrew prophets, who draw their authority from the fulfillment of prophecies. Moses’ critique of the state of affairs in Egypt was founded upon his foreknowledge of the concrete means of leading the Jewish people to a better situation; and the success of his undertaking provided full proof of his claims. This is an argument that no Marxist can allege in support of his criticism of capitalism. Quite to the contrary, the historical achievements of the socialist model in USSR and China were so disappointing that, nowadays, Marxists, after having proclaimed and defended them as the purest and most typical expressions of how Marxism overcomes capitalism, strive to explain them ex post facto as accidental deviations and to purge Marxism of any commitment to such obvious failures.

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published in the Brazilian newspaper Diário do Comércio on October 11, 2011 and translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

Moral Compass

The Demolition of Conscience

Whoever has fully understood my article “Weapons of Freedom” must also have realized the conclusion to which it unavoidably leads: a good part of the moralizing effort expended by the “religious Right” in cleansing a corrupt society is useless, since it ends up being readily absorbed by the “cognitive dissonance” machine and used as an instrument for general perdition.

Note well: morality is not a ready-made list of laudable and condemnable behaviors for citizens to follow with the automatism of Pavlov’s dog.

Morality is conscience, personal discernment, a quest for a goal of perfection which only gradually becomes clearer and finds its means of realization among life’s contradictions and ambiguities.

St. Thomas Aquinas taught that the greatest problem of moral existence is not knowing a general abstract rule, but bridging the gap between the unity of the rule and the inexhaustible variety of concrete situations, where oftentimes we are squeezed among contradictory duties or find ourselves lost in the distance between intentions, means, and results.

Luther—to dispel any notion that I am favoring the Catholics—insisted that “this life is not devotion, but rather a struggle for the conquest of devotion.”

And Saint Padre Pio da Pietrelcina said, “It is better to withdraw from the world little by little rather than all at once.”

Great literature, beginning with the Bible, is replete with examples of anguishing moral conflicts, showing that the path of good is a straight line only from the divine point of view, which encompasses all in one simultaneous glance. To us, who live in time and history, all is hesitation, twilight, trial and error. Only gradually, guided by divine grace, does the light of experience dissipate the fog of appearances.

Consciousness—especially conscience—is not an object, a thing you possess. It is a permanent effort of integration, the search for unity above and beyond the immediate chaos. It is unification of the diverse, resolution of contradictions.

The codes of conduct consecrated by society, transmitted through education and culture, are never solutions for moral problems: they are very broad and generic frames of reference that give support to conscience in its effort to unify individual conduct. They are to each person’s conscience as a building plan is to the work of a constructor: they say in a broad manner what the final form of the work must be, but not how the construction must be undertaken in each of its stages.

When codes are various and contradictory, it is the final form itself that becomes incongruous and unrecognizable, wearing down men’s souls in vain efforts which will lead them to become entangled in ever more insoluble problems, and in a great number of cases, to give up any serious moral effort. Much of the reigning relativism and amorality is not actually beliefs or ideologies: it is diseases of the soul, acquired by depletion of moral intelligence.

Under such circumstances, fighting for this or that moral principle in particular, without taking into account that, in the reigning mixture, all principles are good as fuel for keeping the cognitive dissonance engineering at work, can be of catastrophic naïveté. What needs to be denounced is not this or that sin in particular, this or that form of specific immorality: it is the whole framework of a culture set up to destroy at its foundation the vey possibility of moral consciousness. Tiger Woods’ case, which I mentioned in my previous article, is just one among thousands. Adultery scandals pop up every day in the same media that advocate abortion, free sex, and gay ideology. The contradiction is so constant and obvious that no agglomeration of curious coincidences could ever account for it. It is a political option; it is the planned demolition of moral discernment. Many people who are outraged at specific immoralities haven’t the slightest inkling of the permanent and general scandal industry, in which denunciations of immorality are usefully integrated as machines in a production line. Either the struggle against evil begins by the struggle against confusion, or it can only end up contributing to the confusion between good and evil.

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published in the Brazilian newspaper Diário do Comércio on December 21, 2009 and translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

Revolutionaries

More on the Revolutionary Mentality

As an addition to my August 13 article, here are some other traits that define the revolutionary mentality:

1. A revolutionary does not understand injustice and evil as factors inherent in the human condition that can be attenuated but not eliminated, but rather as temporary anomalies created by a segment of humanity—the bourgeoisie, the Jews, Christians, etc.—which can be identified and punished, thereby extirpating the root of evil.

2. The guilty segment of mankind spreads evil and sin by exercising a power—economic, political, military, and cultural. Hence, it must be eliminated by means of a superior power, the revolutionary power, deliberately created to achieve this purpose.

3. Evil power dominates society as a whole, molding it after the image and likeness of its own interests, ends, and purposes. The eradication of evil must therefore take on the form of a radical restructuring of the entire social order. Nothing can remain untouched. The revolutionary power, like the Biblical God, “makes all things new.” There are no limits to the range and depth of revolutionary action. It can reach even the victims of a previous situation of oppression by accusing them of having become so used to evil that they have become its accomplices, thus requiring purifying punishment to the same or greater extent than the old power elite.

4. Though brought about by a specific segment of the human race, evil has spread everywhere so thoroughly that it has become difficult to conceive of life without it. Therefore, the new society of order, justice, and peace can be imagined only in very broad outlines, so different will it be from everything that has existed thus far. Revolutionaries therefore have no obligation—not even the possibility—to explain in plain details the plan for the new society, let alone to prove its viability or demonstrate, in terms of cost vs. benefit, the advantages of the transformation. These are given as fundamental premises, so that the demand for proof is automatically impugned as a subterfuge for avoiding change and condemned ipso facto as an element to be eliminated. The revolution is its own foundation and cannot be questioned from the outside.

5. Though known only as a very general vague image, the future society puts itself above all human judgment and itself becomes the fundamental premise of all values, all judgment, all reasoning. An immediate consequence of this is that the future, which cannot be conceived of rationally, can be known only via its image in the current revolutionary action, which in its turn, for this very reason, removes itself from all human judgment, except from that of revolutionary leaders who incarnate and personify that action. But even these people may represent it imperfectly, by virtue of their being children of the old society and of their carrying within themselves, at least partially, the germs of the ancient evil. The prophetic and intellectual authority of revolutionary leaders is therefore provisional and only lasts as long as they have the material power to secure it. The capacity of leader of nations towards a beatific future is therefore uncertain and revocable, depending on the irregularities of the revolutionary pathway. The crimes and mistakes of a fallen leader, not imputable to the future society, nor to the revolutionary process as such, nor to the revolutionary movement as a whole, can therefore only be explained as a residual effect of the condemned past: a revolutionary, by definition, sins only by not being sufficiently revolutionary.

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published in the Brazilian newspaper Diário do Comércio on October 10, 2007 and translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.