Morality – The Real Target of Relativity

If the basic entities of the cosmos are persons, not things, not atoms, quarks, or some other latest smallest being, not electromagnetism or gravity, not cosmological constants, then the investigation of how persons, not things, begin will yield more information on the meaning of life, and put scientific re-search into the beginnings of nature in its proper and most fruitful perspective. We will occasionally be looking at how immature persons develop into mature persons to make a point about logic, meaning, and how we know what we know.

We are not taught any more in most schools, though we ought to be, how humble grammar-school grammar is the way any language formulates logic and meaning. The lesson was implicit in the “trivium” which we inherited from that benighted Middle Ages. To learn grammar is to learn logic. As my (public) high school English teacher in 1952 strictly informed us, “If you cannot say it in good English (or whatever your language), you don’t know it yet.”

Today in some schools, she would be fired for saying such a thing. Competent science will not long survive that kind of treatment. The real target of our cultural “relativity” has not been truth. Everyone needs some bits and pieces of truth just to survive. The target has been moral truth, a casualty of our drive for moral autonomy, our drive to be independent, autonomous decision-makers, to be “as God”, as the serpent in the Garden of Eden promised Eve. Even the teenage street urchins understood the 1962 Engel v. Vitale decision to be the end of moral responsibility. They understood the power of the big “SEZ WHO???” If there is no God, or if He can be successfully dismissed by the Supreme Court, then (as Ivan responds to Alyosha in The Brothers Karamazov) nothing can be forbidden.

We now have, for surely the first time in human history, school children taking deadly weapons to each other — for fun! That alone should scare the reader into asking how we got to this state of affairs. This book is part of my answer to the big “SEZ WHO???”, which is part of my answer to the science-vs.-religion “problem”. Science itself does not require morality. Any adequately trained criminal can follow scientific procedure, just as any criminal can train a football team by the rules of football.

But the scientific community and its place in society does require moral responsibility for its declarations and predictions to be believable — a passionate moral commitment for getting at the truth of a matter. That is so, just as a sports league requires morally responsible trainers, players, and referees for the results of contests to be believable. The enormous intellectual authority accorded by the public to the scientific community rests (or should rest) solidly on an earned (as in healthy track-record) reputation for honesty.

In other words, truth and morality each depend on the other. Neither will long survive without the other. And the authority which science bears in society depends fully on the commitment of the scientific community to being truth-seekers, to protecting and defending the common public ground of truth-seeking — at any cost to themselves.

If that is the case, it is worth noting that both the ontological and the moral foundations of Western science are the result largely of the Biblical worldview, and will not survive without it.

Just for good measure, I will venture another prediction, that, again, as we begin to see the essential unity of science and Biblical religion, we will discover with it the essential naturalness of what we commonly call miracles, that miracles appear “miraculous” (strange, astonishing, foreign) only from the fallen world’s point of view. If the Biblical worldview, along with the extraordinary gracefulness of the Biblical God, is true, then one might not be surprised to find that the closer one moves toward a relationship with this gracious God, sovereign over all, that the forces of nature might well obey the commands of those who have this kind of close relationship with this Creator of all things.

And in all of that, science, truth-seeking, will be fulfilled, not compromised. So, my answer to the title question of this section is that science and Biblical religion both logically and practically require each other, and that neither will survive in any very helpful manner without the other.

Dr. Earle FoxDr. Earle Fox is IAI’s Senior Fellow in Philosophy of Science and the Worldview of Ethical Monotheism.

This article was originally published at TheRoadtoEmmaus.org. See also Dr. Fox’s new Book Abortion, the Bible and America.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Cardinal Kasper’s Challenge Distracts from the Real Problem

As the Synod of Bishops on the Family convenes this week, the Catholic Church has a heaven-sent opportunity to atone for one of the biggest failures in modern ecclesiastical history and in so doing to take a major step in resuscitating the Christian faith in the daily lives of millions of people.

The provocative challenge of Cardinal Walter Kasper highlights one of the Church’s (and the churches’) most spectacular lapses in judgment: the refusal to contest the “abolition of marriage” (in Maggie Gallagher’s phrase) that was effected by “no-fault” divorce.

Yet as currently framed, the debate over Cardinal Kasper’s proposals stunningly misses the point. By casting the debate in terms of admitting divorced and remarried persons to communion, the Church appears determined once again to avoid confronting the central evil of the Divorce Revolution, the evil that still taints the Church, along with the family and civic life, and one no stable civilization can tolerate. This is involuntary divorce and the injustice committed against the forcibly divorced or innocent spouse, along with his or her children.

The Cardinal makes no distinction between a spouse who abandons the marriage, commits adultery, divorces unilaterally without recognized grounds (“no-fault”), or otherwise violates the marriage covenant in legally recognized ways, and a spouse who is the victim of such deeds. To treat the sinner and the sinned against as if they are the same is to deny the very concept of justice and to place the Church and other institutions on the side of injustice.

This willful neglect of justice in adjudicating divorce—not the dissolution of households per se—was the vitiating outrage of “no-fault” divorce. By not challenging the state’s claim that it may dissolve marriages without any consideration for the consequences or injustices inflicted on the forcibly divorced, the Church followed the state into the realm of amorality, a realm suited to the aggrandizement of institutional power but fundamentally antithetical to both the Gospel and a free society.

Since this fateful decision, the oxymoron of “no-fault” justice has been gradually poisoning both our culture and the fundamental institutions of our civilization, starting with the family, passing through the Church, and extending to the state machinery, such as the judiciary. Divorce-without-consequences is exacting a devastating toll on our children, our social order, our economic solvency, and our constitutional rights. It has led directly to explosions in cohabitation, illegitimacy, welfare, and crime and to demands for same-sex marriage.

No public debate preceded this ethical bombshell in the 1970s, and none has taken place since. Legislators “were not responding to widespread public pressure but rather acceding to the well-orchestrated lobbying of a few activists,” writes Bryce Christensen. Critically, these are the same sexual ideologues who have since expanded their campaign into a much broader agenda of sexual radicalism: same-sex marriage, abortion-on-demand, sex education, women in combat, homosexuals in the military, Obamacare, and more. Feminists were drafting no-fault divorce laws in the 1940s, which the National Association of Women Lawyers now describes as “the greatest project NAWL has ever undertaken.”

The result effectively abolished marriage as a legal contract. Today it is not possible to form a binding agreement to create a family.

The new laws did not stop at removing the requirement of citing grounds for a divorce, to allow divorce by mutual consent, as deceptively advertised at the time. Instead they created unilateral and involuntary divorce, so that one spouse may dissolve a marriage without any agreement or fault by the other. Moreover, the spouse who abrogates the marriage contract incurs no liability for the costs or consequences, creating a unique and unprecedented legal anomaly. “In all other areas of contract law those who break a contract are expected to compensate their partner,” writes Robert Whelan of London’s Institute of Economic Affairs, “but under a system of ‘no fault’ divorce, this essential element of contract law is abrogated.”

The result was to unleash precisely the moral and social chaos that it is the role of the family to control, and powerful interests were not slow to capitalize. Legal practitioners immediately began encouraging business by taking the side of the violator. Attorney Steven Varnis points out that “the law generally supports the spouse seeking the divorce, even if that spouse was the wrongdoer.” “No-fault” did not remove fault, therefore; it simply allowed government officials to redefine it however they pleased and to treat legally unimpeachable citizens as malefactors. “According to therapeutic precepts, the fault for marital breakup must be shared, even when one spouse unilaterally seeks a divorce,” observes Barbara Whitehead in The Divorce Culture. “Many husbands and wives who did not seek or want divorce were stunned to learn … that they were equally ‘at fault’ in the dissolution of their marriages.”

The judiciary was expanded from its traditional role of punishing crime or tort to refereeing private family life and punishing personal imperfections. One could now be summoned to court without having committed any legal infraction; the verdict was pre-determined; and one could be punished for things that were not illegal. Lawmakers created an “automatic outcome,” writes Judy Parejko, author of Stolen Vows. “A defendant is automatically found ‘guilty’ of irreconcilable differences and is not allowed a defense.”

Though marriage is a civil matter, the logic quickly extended into the criminal, including a presumption of guilt against the involuntarily divorced spouse (“defendant”). Yet formal due process protections of criminal proceedings did not apply, so forcibly divorced spouses became quasi-criminals not for recognized criminal acts but for failing or refusing to cooperate with the divorce by continuing to claim the protections and prerogatives of family life: living in the common home, possessing the common property, or—most vexing of all—parenting the common children.

Following from this are the horrendous civil liberties violations and flagrant invasions of family and individual privacy that are now routine in family courts. A personalized criminal code is legislated by the judge around the forcibly divorced spouse, controlling their association with their children, movements, and finances. Unauthorized contact with their children can be punished with arrest. Involuntarily divorced parents are arrested for running into their children in public, making unauthorized telephone calls, and sending unauthorized birthday cards.

Cardinal Kasper’s agenda ignores all this and will certainly make it worse. Indeed, what he is demanding is a kind of no-fault church discipline, which will debase the Eucharist and church membership, just as no-fault divorce has already debased marriage and the secular justice system, by allowing clergy to redefine sin and cheapen repentance: “If a divorced and remarried person is truly sorry that he or she failed in the first marriage … can we refuse him or her the sacrament of penance and communion?” But sincere repentance requires an effort to rectify the harm caused by one’s sin. Does the Cardinal’s definition of “truly sorry” entail undertaking to compensate one’s former spouse for being summarily evicted from his or her home, or deprived of his children, or serving jail time for unauthorized parenting or trumped-up accusations of “child abuse” or “domestic violence” that are now routine in divorce proceedings? Does it include compensating one’s children for depriving them of a father throughout their childhood? These are the realities of modern divorce, not the sanitized understanding being presented by the Cardinal.

But perhaps the most explosive question: Why is the Church not willing to sort out the difference, both in its doctrine and in each individual case? Is it because the distinction between justice and injustice—central to the Gospel itself—would force the Church to confront the injustices perpetrated by a state that has dangerously overstepped its authority and the Church’s own failure to act as the society’s conscience on a matter involving its own ministry?

For the Church is simply following the politicians. In contrast with same-sex marriage, abortion, and pornography, politicians and even self-described “pro-family” groups studiously avoid challenging divorce laws. “Opposing gay marriage or gays in the military is for Republicans an easy, juicy, risk-free issue,” Gallagher writes. “The message [is] that at all costs we should keep divorce off the political agenda.” The exception proves the rule. When Pope John Paul II spoke out in January 2002—calling divorce a “festering wound” with “devastating consequences that spread in society like the plague”—he was attacked not only from the left but also by conservatives like Tunku Varadarajan in the Wall Street Journal.

Likewise, this power grab by ideologues and state functionaries at the expense of the family and private sphere of life was met by the churches with silence. Here is a sacrament consecrated by the Church, vowed before God and witnessed by the congregation. The state comes along and simply tears it up, and the Church mounts no serious response.

In the showdown that never took place over sexual morality and the supervision of private family life, this was the moment the two jurisdictions were forced into a direct confrontation and the state simply and decisively told the Church who is boss. From the moment that the Church failed to inform the state that it could not simply countermand God’s covenant governing the family, the Church has been little more than an ornament in marriage and therefore in the lives of most people.

Marriage is today the most critical interface of church and state. Whoso controls marriage governs society, not least because it becomes “the hand that rocks the cradle.”

This rivalry is not apparent in the terms by which marriage is contracted and consecrated. Here church and state cooperate quite effortlessly: a ceremony, a signature.

Where the power struggle ensues is in the terms by which a marriage can be dissolved, and it was the Divorce Revolution that precipitated the battle that the Church refused to fight. The Church, along with its Protestant counterparts, ceded to the state the authority to dissolve marriages at its own pleasure and on its own terms and to erect a regime of governmental micromanagement over the private lives of the contracted parties, innocent as well as guilty—all without scrutiny or objection by these churches who consecrated the supposedly sacred union.

Far from upholding a sacred covenant, the churches, both Catholic and Protestant, are thus parties to a fraudulent contract. They have allowed their marriage ministry to become a bait-and-switch, luring unsuspecting parties into a supposedly binding and lifelong union, where they are then sitting ducks for state functionaries to come along and simply tear up the covenant and seize control over their lives and children. And the state tears up not only the secular contract, but the covenant between the spouses, the congregation, and God. The state’s edict countermands the churches’ covenant and with it the churches’ entire authority. With the churches’ acquiescence, the state’s officials put God in His place.

However impeccable the churches’ doctrine, and whatever verbal lamentations they have expressed over divorce “culture,” what the churches have not done is resist the state’s claim to monopoly control over the terms of divorce and to supervise the private lives of the forcibly divorced: the churches have never raised their voices against the state’s usurpation of power; they have never defended innocent victims of the unilateral divorce injustice or interposed themselves between the state and innocent spouses; they have never challenged state functionaries taking the homes and children of innocent people; they have never gone to court to see that justice is done to the involuntarily divorced; they have never campaigned to change the laws governing divorce or prevent the enactment of more; and they have never even discussed the possibility of threatening to not consecrate marriage covenants until the state stops unilaterally tearing them up.

This is demanding a lot from the churches and all of us. But less existential confrontations with the state faced churchmen like Ambrose and Becket and Fisher, and nothing less is required if the churches expect to withstand the crisis posed not only by figures like Cardinal Kasper but also the larger radical sexual regime: same-sex marriage, abortion-on-demand, sex education, Obamacare, plus the creeping criminalization of parents and others who dissent, including ordinary Christians.

Divorce is where Christians can and must draw a line and launch a vigorous counterattack that will enlist stakeholders from secular society: ordinary citizens who can at last be brought to realize why the Church and God must have a central place in both our public and private lives if we are to have any private lives at all.

Stephen BaskervilleStephen Baskerville is IAI’s Senior Fellow in Political Science and Human Rights. He is Associate Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College and Research Fellow at the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society and at the Independent Institute.

This article was originally published on Crisis Magazine.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Anti-Marxist Revolution in Brazil?

In recent weeks and months, we have been flooded with news about the Syriza “miracle,” about how the Greek leftists will manage to pull the country out of the state of decay in which it languishes. The Greek Finance Minister was placed high on all pedestals of European and universal glory, as if he were John Maynard Keynes and Hegel himself combined into one. Propagandistic nonsense has reached its utmost peak. Too little or even nothing at all is said, however, about how the house of cards built by revolutionary Dilma Rousseff – a former combatant in the urban guerrilla organizations – is coming down. Mature and responsible, the country’s civil society is not the prisoner of leftist myths. It refuses to go on a wild goose chase, as it happens in so many other places.

Millions of people are out demonstrating, asking for president Dilma Rousseff’s resignation. The endemic corruption of the leftist regime is being denounced by the masses that have taken to the streets, but largely ignored by the media elites, which are connected to those neo-Bolshevik channels financially supported by the Putin autocracy and its friends. The Sao Paulo Forum with its radical exhortations continues its maneuvers of hypnotizing the public opinion. Lies abound, but are starting to not be believed anymore. Protesters are being slandered as “American agents”, “spies”, “fascists” etc. Yet, less people than ever buy into these slanders.

The protests are being organized by a grassroots initiative with an openly liberal (non-leftist) orientation – the Free Brazil Movement (MBL). Signatures are being gathered for Dilma Rousseff’s dismissal. It turns out that philosopher Olavo de Carvalho’s anti-totalitarian ideas have taken root in Brazil. Olavo, a remarkable social thinker execrated by the Left, knows a great deal about Marxism and revolutionary utopianism in general, at any rate a far greater deal than Dilma and her followers. He is familiar with the famous 11th thesis on Feuerbach: “Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point is to change it.” The world is changing in Brazil.

The hyper-corrupt bureaucracy of the Workers’ Party, so outrageously obvious during the World Cup in 2014, is coming face to face with a resurgent civil society. What is being foreshadowed, it seems, is a peaceful, non-violent revolution. Marxist revolutions are explosions of violence. But not the anti-totalitarian ones. It is now clear that millions of Brazilians feel the need to expose twaddle, nonsense, irresponsible foolishness, cynical demagoguery masquerading as a springboard for collective bliss.

Dilma and her crowd may not be Marxists in a traditional, strictly ideological sense, they accept and even profit from some liberal economic principles, but, when all is said and done, they still share, subliminally, the Marxist anti-capitalist and “anti-imperialist” revolutionary delusions, expectations, and fever. Therefore, their enduring affinities with the continental far left, including Hugo Chavez’s heir, Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.

The protests are directed against the acute institutional, social, economic, and moral crisis that has dramatically worsened over these past few months. I do not know if a revolution to the full extent of the term has begun crystallizing as of right now, but this is certainly a revolutionary situation as defined by Lenin himself: “Those at the top cannot govern by using the old methods, those at the bottom, the great masses, beyond social divisions, no longer accept them.”

A fool’s tongue is long enough to cut his own throat: in this case, a Marxist one turned upside down! The great historian Robert Conquest’s dream is gradually coming to life–a united front against radical fallacies. It is high time these chimeras were exposed for what they really are: myths, legends, delusions, fantasies of salvation, ideological fairytales with pernicious effects.

 

Vladimir Tismaneanu is IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Western Civilization and the History of Ideas.

This article was originally published on FrontPageMag.

This essay was translated from Romanian into English by Monica Got.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

The Intellectual Roots of the American Left’s Emerging Totalitarianism

A recent incident in Wallingford, Connecticut, not far from where I grew up, caused VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow to comment: “Cultural Marxist totalitarianism is coming to an America near you.” A complaint was lodged with the local police that “hate” merchandise— Nazi and Confederate memorabilia—was being publicly exhibited and sold at a popular flea market. Following a police investigation, an Anti-Defamation League official named Joshua Sayles expressed the view that “It’s unfortunate that under the law people have the right to sell these things; but it doesn’t mean they should sell these things. It’s not a crime but I would call it hate…”[Wallingford police look into complaint about Nazi, Confederate items sold at flea market, by Mary Ellen Godin, Record-Journal, July 10, 2015].

Chillingly, the assistant regional director of the Connecticut ADL thus unmistakably indicated he was deeply disturbed that a “right” to deal in what he considered “hate” was still allowed. Presumably, in a more sensitive world, no one would be allowed to exhibit or sell either Nazi or Confederate memorabilia. Needless to say, no moral distinction was made between Nazi Germany and the Confederate States of America. They both stood, or so the ADL official implied, for pure “hate.”

Peter properly suggests if such hate-inspectors get their way, we will be living in a condition of almost Stalinist oppression. We might not be shipped off to gulags(yet), but the control of speech and thought that these professional sensitizers would impose would be reminiscent of the worst examples of Leftist tyranny. I say “Leftist” intentionally—because rightist or non-leftist regimes have never tried to control their subjects’ minds as systematically as the Left.

Even Adolf Hitler’ s Nazi regime largely lost interest in mind reconstruction. It closed up universities as an unnecessary expense by the early 1940s, left the economy in private hands except for those businesses it expropriated, and tolerated a surprisingly wide range of intellectual dissenters. Of course, this had nothing to do with being nice. It was simply that the Nazis, aggressive thugs as they were, had no interest in the worldwide indoctrination program dreamed of by the universalist, conversionary and egalitarian zealots of the true Left.

In contrast to the Nazis, the Left has regularly used every means at its disposal to reconstruct the human personality in accordance with its world vision. Perhaps even more significantly, for the last seventy years the Left has imagined itself as a brave force of resistance against a supposedly implacable but entirely fictitious and shape-shifting enemy— the great evil of “fascism.” As I document in my forthcoming book, Fascism: Career of a Concept, the Left’s eternal enemy of “fascism” is variously depicted as racism, Christian fanaticism, European nationalism, or even opposition to Israeli foreign policy.

Curiously, the post-war Italian fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano was fervently pro-Israel as well as pro-NATO. But Jewish “antifascists” can’t be bothered by such details.

The popular concept of fascism also identifies all forms of the European-wide fascist movement with Hitler, who was actually influenced far more by Stalinist totalitarianism than Mussolini’s ramshackle, not particularly repressive government. “Fascist” is arbitrarily equated with both Nazi genocide a nd anything the cultural Left disapproves of at the moment.

This propagandistic sleight of hand is so blatant that, unless one grasps the current political landscape, it is almost impossible to understand how it works every single time. We are looking here at interlocking political, corporate, and cultural elites when we search for who maintains the system. And there is a unifying doctrine, which for want of a better and more up-to-date name we shall have to call “Cultural Marxism.”

Cultural Marxism‘s central teachings go back genealogically to the Institute for Social Research in interwar Germany. Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and their radical Leftist colleagues attempted to fuse Marxist economics and Freudian psychology into a critique of bourgeois society. The synthesized result had less to do with serious Marxism than with attacking “repressive” and “patriarchal” family life and offering utopian alternatives.

A major aspect of this emerging self-described “Critical Theory,” particularly after the rise of Nazism and the transfer of the Frankfurt School to the US, was describing and combatting “fascism.” This mission became integral to Critical Theory, together with a continuing crusade against anti-Semitism, which, by a certain internal logic, always accompanied the supposed fascist threat. Since the Frankfurt school theorists were mostly Jewish leftists, these facile associations suited them and their followers rather well.

However, in their interpretation, the ominous fascist threat lurked where you least expected it. Middle-class, churchgoing goyim, even those who professed to like Jews and supported women’s rights and labor unions, could not be trusted. Those who did not resolutely break from the existing order slipped easily into such evils as “latent anti-Semitism” and “pseudo-democracy.”

The_Authoritarian_Personality_(first_edition)[1] These psychic and social dangers were described by Horkheimer, Adorno, and others in their massive anthology The Authoritarian Personality, commissioned by the American Jewish Committee after the Second World War and published in 1950, as part of a much larger “Studies in Prejudice” project. [American Jewish Committee News, March 15, 1950.] While in the US, Adorno also created the F-Scale (F for “Fascist”) in social psychology testing, supposed to determine someone’s degree of propensity to subscribe to the hated ideology.

It’s important to remember Critical Theory isn’t a weapon of revolution. It’s a weapon of repression. And it was quickly and thoroughly Americanized. It’s ridiculous to treat it as an exotic import: it took root in American society and culture almost immediately after it was introduced.

Critical Theorists not only found a congenial home in the US, but some were even sent back to “reeducate” the Germans, who had been supposedly corrupted by their “authoritarian” families and “pseudo-democratic” experiences.

Although the Critical Theorists were mostly soft on the Communists, Cold War liberals like Seymour Martin Lipset and other contributors to Commentarystressed the usability of the Frankfurt School’s form of analysis for investigating all enemies of “liberal democracy,” including the Soviets.

The Soviet enemy, in this analysis, were defenders of patriarchal repression and “authoritarian personalities” that stood in the way of democratic progress.

Lipset was also concerned about “working class authoritarianism,” a focus very much present in the work of Adorno and Horkheimer [Political Man, by Seymour Martin Lipset, by Andrew Hacker, Commentary, June 1, 2015]. Communists, fascists and all the benighted simpletons toiling in factories potentially opposed American pluralism. Since we were engaged in a struggle to preserve our democratic, pluralist identity, we also had to be sure that young Americans were instilled with the proper attitudes about tolerance and equality.

One can find in the call for war against “un-American” prejudice beginning in the 1950s the tendency toward Leftist totalitarianism. One major change since then: the number and variety of supposed victims of “prejudice” continue to grow, together with the repressive measures that must be taken to intimidate possible dissenters.

There has also been a collapse in effective opposition to the Leftist Social Justice Warriors. Recent events in the South indicate even many descendants of Confederate soldiers are unwilling to defend their ancestral heritage against hysterical detractors.

The cultural Left, and no other political force, can put gigantic, screaming crowds into the streets in any American city on the spur of the moment. The official Right, by contrast, stays home watching Fox News.

In the absence of real opposition, the cultural-social Left is free to bully and lie as much as it wants. Media-empowered anti-anti-Semites, like ADL officials, freely equate the Confederacy with the perpetrators of the Holocaust, treating both as violent haters and sources of hate for later generations.

Our bogus Conservative Establishment happily rallies to Leftist social positions. No one on the Left sounds as unhinged as “conservative” journalists like Max Boot [Furling the Confederate flag is just the start, Commentary, June 22, 2015]. Or for that matter, Jeff Jacoby [The Confederate flag is anti-American, Boston Globe,July 9, 2015]. Republican congressmen and governors have been at least as zealous as their supposedly more Leftist opposition in calling for the obliteration of Confederate symbols and names.

One also discovers from the Beltway Right press that homosexual rights, including homosexual marriage, is a basic Western value and that European leaders like Victor Orban and Vladimir Putin don’t really belong to the West because they don’t welcome gay activists into the political and educational process [The Authentic Right vs. The Neocons, by Ilana Mercer, WND, December 21, 2007].

Even the relatively isolated, belated complaints of Donald Trump about the crime caused by Third World immigration have elicited frenzied attacks on bigotry from such GOP stalwarts as Linda Chavez and Jeb Bush [Trumped Up, Townhall, July 10, 2015]. Chavez, we might note, has taken valuable time out from bashing the Confederate Battle Flag to deal with the anti-immigration bigots on the right [Linda Chavez: No defending the indefensible, Daily Local News, June 28, 2015].

The Cultural Marxist threat isn’t an epidemic coming from outside: It is raging among our make-believe conservatives, who now often sound as radical as the Frankfurt School.

The critical difference, or so I’ve been told, is that our politicians are usually not self-described socialists, whereas the Critical Theorists were. But even that distinction may no longer be important. Our government and that of other Western countries has grown enormously and now interferes in our social and commercial life far more than it did eighty years ago. Moreover, the major thrust of Cultural Marxism has never been toward the nationalization of productive forces and other classical socialist schemes. It has always been cultural—toward the smashing of bourgeois values, Christian families, gender roles, and what was viewed as a repressive political culture. Government control of the economy was merely an instrument for moving toward the social-cultural goal that the Frankfurt School set for us.

And the social goals of Cultural Marxism are portrayed as the only alternative to a dark night of “fascism” that the ADL, the SPLC, and other like organizations are ostensibly protecting us from.

Yet the specter is never banished. The “Far Right” threat always remains. And as an ever greater number of people find themselves marginalized as “haters,” the actual tyranny taking shape in America could indeed be something even worse than the fevered “fascist” nightmares of the Left’s imagination.

Paul_GottfriedDr. Paul Gottfried is IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Western Civilization and the History of Ideas.

This article was oiginally published at Vdare.com on July 21, 2015.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

A Brief History of Male Chauvinism

Olavo de Carvalho takes on the anti-male prejudice that offends the intellect and twists history.

 

Women have always been exploited by men. That is a truth that nobody doubts. From the solemn lecture halls in Oxford to popular TV shows, from Collège de France to pop music groups, the world reaffirms that certainty, maybe the most unquestionable truth that has ever crossed the human mind—that is, if it ever actually crossed it, for it might have come straight out of wombs into academic books.

Not desiring to go against such an august unanimity, I here intend to list a few facts that may reinforce, in the hearts of believers of all existing and yet-to-be-invented sexes, their hatred against heterosexual adult males, those execrable creatures that no one who was unlucky enough to be born as a male wants to be when he grows up.

Our narrative begins at the dawn of time, at some imprecise moment between the Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnons. It was in those dark ages that the exploitation of women started. Living in caves, the human communities were constantly ravaged by the attacks of wild beasts. Males, taking advantage of their prerogatives as members of the ruling class, hurried to secure for themselves the safest and most comfortable of places of the social order: they remained inside the caves—what rascals!—preparing food for their babies, while the poor females, armed only with clubs, went outside to fight lions and bears.

When the hunting and gathering economy was replaced by agriculture and cattle-raising, men took advantage of women again, always assigning them the hardest jobs, such as moving rocks and blocks of stone, taming wild horses, and cutting furrows on the ground with a plough, while they, those lazy pants, stayed home painting pottery and weaving. That is revolting.

When the great empires of antiquity dissolved, yielding their places to a bedlam of warring fiefdoms, feudal lords quickly formed their private armies, exclusively made up of women, while men took refuge in castles and remained there enjoying the good life, delighting in the reading of the poems that warrior women wrote, in between battles, to praise their manly charms.

When someone had the extravagant idea of spreading Christianity throughout the world, which required sending missionaries to all corners of the Earth, where they ran the risk of being impaled by heathens, stabbed by highway robbers, or butchered by an audience bored with their preaching, the heavy burden of that mission was laid upon women, while men Machiavellianly stayed home and made novenas before their family altars.

The poor women were victims of the same kind of exploitation on the occasion of the Crusades, where, clad in heavy armors, they crossed deserts to be run through by the swords of the moors (female moors, of course, since the partisans of Mohammed were no less sexists than we). And what about the great voyages of discovery!? Seeking gold and diamonds to adorn idle males, brave female seafarers crossed the seven seas and fought against ferocious indigenous male warriors whose only advances towards them were, alas, of a military nature.

Finally, when the modern state instituted military conscription for the first time in history, government armies were made up of women, and beheading at the guillotine was the punishment for those who insisted on resisting or dodging the draft. All of that, of course, so that men could stay home reading The Princesse de Clèves.

In short, for millennia women have been dying in the battle field, moving blocks of stone, erecting buildings, fighting wild beasts, crossing deserts, seas, and jungle, making all sorts of sacrifice for us, idle males, to whom no challenge remains other than that of getting their hands dirty in soiled diapers.

In exchange for the sacrifice of their lives, women, our heroic defenders, have not demanded from us anything except the right to raise their voices at home, make a few cigarette burn marks on tablecloths, and, occasionally, leave a pair of socks in the TV room for us to pick up.

 

Translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

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.

The Crisis, Part I The Politicization of Education

 
“We must organize the Intellectuals.”
– Willi Münzenberg

“I sing in praise of college,
“Of M.A.’s and Ph.D.’s,
“But in pursuit of knowledge
“We are starving by degrees.”
– Popular ditty from the 1920s

In Memoirs of a Superfluous Man, Albert Jay Nock explained that a monkey can be trained, but only a small percentage of human beings can be educated. He added that his students at the Ivy League schools were, in large part, monkeys. But is that fair given the bureaucratic nature of universities then and now? A bureaucracy cannot teach children or adults how to think. Bureaucracies can give standardized tests, and offer standardized curriculum. They can offer one-size-fits-all programs, and even “elite” programs; but everything is based on the law of averages, and groupthink, and a type of intellectual conformism. If Marshall McLuhan was right to say the “medium is the message” then if the medium is a bureaucratized school, the message signifies the bureaucratization of the human mind. The fact that billions of dollars have been poured into this kind of education, and that it produces increasingly dismal results year after year, testifies to a kind of mass stupidity – a readiness for intellectual shackles.

Consider what our schools now teach: The typical high school textbook features Senator Joseph McCarthy as the main villain of American history, and Martin Luther King, Jr. as the main hero. Very little is taught about George Washington or the Founding Fathers. The ever-present and subversive subtext redirects us to racism, sexism, and U.S. imperialism. Yes, this is the kind of history that is taught in U.S. schools. The Founding Fathers were slave owners, right? George Washington was rich, right? Even Lincoln was a racist. And if a high school junior knows nothing else about the country’s history, she knows this.  A moralistic judgment about the past is presented, showing that our forefathers were racists and homophobes. In this way the past is discounted. In this manner a war is waged against certain traditions and sentiments, all presented in a one-sided way by educational bureaucrats. Of course, everything presented is factual – or mostly factual. It is presented, however, to students that have not been properly taught how to read. These students arenever given the task of organizing their own ideas, since their ideas have already been organized for them. The facts used in school textbooks are carefully selected in advance, through a process of careful editing.

Edmund Burke once observed of the French Revolutionaries, “It is undoubtedly true, though it may seem paradoxical; but in general, those who are habitually employed in fault finding and displaying faults, are unqualified for the work of reformation: because their minds are not only unfurnished with patterns of the fair and good, but by habit they come to take no delight in the contemplation of those things.” The teaching of history has become a kind of tearing down of the past, a slandering of our forefathers. This does not help young people at all; rather, it hurts them. It disarms them before their enemies. It fills them with a vague sense of guilt. And as Burke says, it leaves them without positive inspiration.

Many decades ago, Jose Ortega y Gasset noted that the modern university “has abandoned almost entirely the teaching or transmission of culture.” And there is no doubt he was right. A gigantic disconnect has occurred. We have failed to transmit our history, and we have also failed to transmit our culture. The other side of this coin is the collectivists’ war against the individual. Shorn of our patriotism and our sense of national self-preservation, the individual is shorn of autonomy by a process of “dumbing down.” Those who are ignorant and incompetent must be ineffectual as individual human beings. Such people are easily manipulated by deceptive demagogues.

Robin S. Eubanks has written a book titled Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon. She argues that latter-day public education has been purposely designed to hinder the intellectual development of children. Near the end of her book, on page 358, she writes, “Education in the 21st century is no longer an end. It is a means of domination and enrichment and exploitation by a self-select few. That’s why when you cut through the layers of [today’s educational] theory … it is always human consciousness being manipulated and modified via education. Education remains the ultimate and timeless cultural weapon against the individual….”

I was recently invited to hear Ms. Eubanks give a talk in which she said, “This is about political power. There is no mass prosperity when political power and economic power are combined.” And this is what the schools are facilitating in the mind of the students; that is, the takeover of the economy by the state. In her book she points to educators who are quoting from Karl Marx (in an elliptical fashion) about the collectivization of the mind “by converting the aims of the individual into general aims.” According to Eubanks, “That’s easier to do if the individual is only marginally literate with little factual knowledge.”

This is a terrible thing to do to the young, and it is not the only terrible thing being done. The attack on history, the cultural disconnect, and the dumbing down of the students, is accompanied by an outright denial of human nature itself. This is the part of the educational assault that gives the game away. For thousands of years philosophers have argued about human nature, but few denied there was such a thing. Such a denial is, in fact, contrary to reason if we consider the definition of the word nature (as given by Google): “the basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it.”

It would be laughable to argue that human beings have no basic or inherent characteristics. Yet this is what modern social scientists and educators are taught to believe. If this sounds strange, read the blog entry of Rationally Speaking for 17 November 2008. It is titled “Is there such a thing as human nature?” – written by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a “philosopher” at the City University of New York. Pigliucci relates an incident when he was co-teaching a course at Stony Brook University with another professor. “At some point the issue of ‘human nature’ came up, and my colleague looked at me with a mix of surprise and pity; human nature, she maintained, is a quaint concept that has been long abandoned by serious scholars….”

In Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, we read how the academic battle against the very concept of human nature has involved “political smears” and “personal attacks” against researchers who uphold the idea that humanity has “basic or inherent features.” According to Pinker, “The taboo on human nature has not just put blinkers on researchers but turned any discussion of it into a heresy that must be stamped out. Many writers are so desperate to discredit any suggestion of an innate human constitution that they have thrown logic and civility out the window.” Of course, this is to be expected insofar as we are talking about a war that is being waged all around us. For this denial of human nature is not some silly academic game. It is indeed a war waged in earnest, according to a strategic concept which requires that certain ideas prevail. These ideas, it turns out, set the stage for a general assault on the pillars which uphold civil society; for as Pinker explains in his book, “The denial of human nature has spread beyond the academy and has led to a disconnect between intellectual life and common sense.”

In a psychological war, waged to overthrow existing society, the elimination of common sense may be understood as the negation of our basic instincts; first, a negation of the instinct for self-preservation; second, a negation of the instincts of husbandry; third, the negation of the instincts of wifery All these negations are observable in the foreign and domestic policies of the United States. We see it in our trade policy, in government finance, in the family courts, and – yes – in education.

The educational program of America today is a negation of man’s nature, man’s common sense, and man’s instincts. To escape the violence of chaos and civil war a country must have various institutions where legitimate authority exists and is exercised. This authority relies on common sense and instinct (i.e., human nature). To function properly a family requires the authority of the father, which is “patriarchal” authority. In terms of the national government, we may refer to the patriarchy of the Founding Fathers.

It is not for me to prove that authority has a sexual component. Ask any mother of a teenage boy. No further proof is needed. If masculine authority is denied, what happens to masculinity and what happens to authority? Do they collapse? Is the one castrated and the other neutered? To accomplish this, one has recourse to homosexual advocacy. For the masculine, by nature, rejects the homosexual and has – throughout history – been opposed to homosexuality which it considers “effeminate.” By normalizing homosexuality the natural authority of the masculine is negated. Once again, the tactic adopted fits the strategic end. The way is paved to revolution. Tradition cannot be maintained in church or state. It breaks down and all forms of authority break down with it. For all of them are rooted in patriarchy, and patriarchy cannot coexist with its nemesis. A profound anarchy and changeability takes hold of society as fashion supplants principle, permissiveness supplants discipline, and emotionalism rides roughshod over rational insight.

It is not a coincidence that today’s education produces effects detrimental to political and religious authority, to principle, discipline and reason. What is intriguing is the way that all these developments serve the strategic interest of a particular power and a particular cause – almost as if we were looking at a clandestine method for disrupting society. Would it surprise you if such a method was developed long ago by Willi Münzenberg (1889-1940) of the Communist International? “We must organize the intellectuals,” he told the Comintern. “We must avoid being a purely communist organization.” For in this circumstance many seeds must be planted in the minds of impressionable children and young adults. InThe ABC of Communism N.I. Bukharin and E. Preobrazhensky wrote: “the Communist Party is not merely faced by constructive tasks, for in the opening phases of its activity it is likewise faced by destructive tasks. In the educational system … it must hasten to destroy everything which has made the school an instrument of capitalist class rule.”

Would this not entail the destruction of common sense, the denial of human nature and instinct, the negation of legitimate authority and civil order? Münzenberg believed that all aspects of society make up a new political battlefield. And the high ground of this battlefield is found in education; and this high ground must be seized at the earliest opportunity.  The victims in this battle cannot see they are under attack. They do not know what a cultural weapon is, or how psychological warfare paves the way to their eventual destruction. Our leaders and our people believe that instinct is a myth used by reactionaries to preserve male privilege and its lamentable homophobia. Away with masculinity! It is reactionary! It is a threat!

“No shepherd, and one herd!” wrote Nietzsche. “Everyone wants the same; everyone is equal: he who has other sentiments goes voluntarily into the madhouse.”

The Supreme Court has declared that marriage is between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, and unions of this kind are no different than the union of man and woman. This shows that the poison has reached the vital organs. And we have no antidote. In fact, we manufacture the poison ourselves and do not need the originators of the poison to continue making it.

“A little poison now and then; that makes pleasant dreams,” wrote Nietzsche. “And much poison at last for a pleasant death.”

Jeffrey Nyquist is the President of the Strategic Crisis Center and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Political Science at the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought.

This article was originally published at jrnyquist.com on July 25, 2015. The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

The Violation of Language

When language becomes corrupt, mankind is out of touch with reality.

In The Fourth Political Theory, Alexander Dugin says some profound things which need to be acknowledged (even by one who opposes his call for the destruction of the United States). “In political post-anthropology,” he writes, “all is reversed: leisure and work (the most serious occupation, actual work, is watching television shows), knowledge and ignorance…. Traditional male and female roles are reversed. Rather than being esteemed and experienced elders, politicians are chosen for their youth, glamour, appearance and inexperience. Victims become the criminals and vice versa….”

Dugin correctly sees that a kind of inversion has been taking place. And this inversion is fundamental. It is a symptom of mass transformation within the soul. Humanity, as it were, has two poles; and these poles are being disrupted, negated, and reversed. As odd as it may seem, when writing about the balance of power between the great bipolar actors (Russia and America), we are now accustomed to a denial of bipolarity which merely promises a reversal of this same polarity. This may have to do with mass neurosis and the denial of death, or it is the result of some black alchemical process.

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court validated gay marriage as a nationwide right. Setting aside the nonsense that passes for debate on both sides of this question, the thing that is most troubling is that marriage is now defined without regard for male and female. According to the most ancient spiritual teachings, gender is a universal principle having to do with regeneration. Only the union of male and female has regenerative significance. Justice Kennedy rejected this idea when he wrote: “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves.”

But Mr. Justice Kennedy, the fulfillment of marriage is found in children. And as for Mr. Chief Justice Roberts, who argued that the court’s ruling was short-circuiting the democratic process, I am afraid that even a majority vote in favor of gay marriage does not make it possible for men to produce offspring without women. All that such rulings or votes can do is eliminate the previous definition of the word “marriage,” which my grandfather’s 1943 Webster’s International Dictionary defines thus:

marriage, n. 1. State of being married, or being united, to a person or persons of the opposite sex as husband or wife; also, the mutual relation of husband and wife; abstractly, the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of legal dependence, for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family.

As you can see, the Supreme Court has violated the English language; that is, the Court has assumed a power that no government authority may safely assume. It is the most arbitrary power imaginable; for the Supreme Court may now say that “up” is “down,” and “black” is “white.” We cannot tell what such a court will do next; for it is now certain that no property is safe, no contract protected. Anything may happen. We are no longer ruled by laws, for laws are made of words and now, as of this moment, words are made of nothing, having no intrinsic meaning. They are sounds only, with meanings that may be politically assigned or reassigned. For that is what our Supreme Court has done, and in doing so, they have turned all law into gibberish. And this, I maintain, is the most dangerous thing of all. It is not only marriage that has been undermined. It is the state, the Constitution, the English language, and public sanity. This, in fact, is the same practice which shows up in the neutering of our military power and our economic power. It is a symptom of inner dissolution, a collapse of instinct, and a descent into anarchy. What I have been writing these many years has never been primarily about the threat from Russia or China. My writings have been about the progressive falsification of reality, national self-deception and the corruption which attends our social decline. I merely picked the most clearly suicidal elements in our national self-deception as principle themes. The same distorted language we use for referring to enemies as “partners” is here replicated in our use of the term “same-sex marriage.”

The enemies of America can see this. They revel in it, even though their own societies are riddled with perversion. The Russians were the first to be victimized by insane leaders. Lenin and Stalin were psychopaths who modeled the Russian state on their own mental disturbance. But Americans were never ruled by Lenin or Stalin. So what is our excuse? How have we come to something that is worse than Leninism or Stalinism? For the dictator’s wickedness is something we can relate to. It is an old story, going back to the Caesars. But an evil that inverts reality, that violates language and mocks foundational concepts, is not an evil that can be understood in the same way. Here is a spiritual perversion that brings us to the doorstep of the occult; to something unseen, to something connected with the black arts.

On the day of the fateful decision Justice Scalia noted: “What really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch. These Justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution.”

This new knowledge, which attacks the English dictionary, which attacks the foundation of legality itself, signifies the destruction of all law. The U.S. Supreme Court has committed an act of unfounding, of unraveling, of self-elimination. This act does not really speak to the issue of tolerance or intolerance for a particular minority. This act is only nominally about homosexuals. In fact, the gay community has been used as a political pawn to effect a kind of black alchemy. Now, at this point, any violence might be done to anyone. Each of the various “causes” may be activated against the others; for what restraint does the law now have? What reverence? What credibility? It has lost the sense of its own words, descending into madness itself.

There can be no justice when words are used in a perverse sense, when meanings can be inverted and the world turned on its head. No ideology can make a lie into truth. No special pleading will flip the earth on its axis. Universal Law always prevails. The nihilist who denies this law is a harbinger of his own destruction. The society that salutes this nihilist, who elevates him to the Supreme Court, who makes congresses and presidents out of his kind, cannot be saved.

Jeffrey Nyquist is the President of the Strategic Crisis Center and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Political Science at the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought.

This article was originally published at jrnyquist.com on June 29, 2015. The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Puerile Sexologists – Part 1

Only mature people can grasp the whole of the complex and multilevel experience of desire, sex, and love. In Brazil, however, most opinion-makers are not up to that task.

“Ripeness is all.”  Shakespeare

In almost everything that I read and hear about sex, desire, and love, there reigns the grossest and most puerile lack of distinction between the most divers experiences associated with those words, which are often taken as synonyms.

On its most immediate and physiological level, desire is a purely internal phenomenon, produced by hormonal chemistry and having no defined object, being able, for that very reason, to be then projected onto any object, real or imaginary. It is a sheer physiological urge, a “desire for orgasm” that emerges without the need for an external exciting stimulus and can be satisfied through simple mechanical friction of male or female genitals.

Quite different is the desire aroused by the direct or indirect sight of an object, that is, a desirable body. Invariably, in that case, the rousing factor is some secondary sexual feature to which the desiring subject is particularly attracted: breasts, buttocks, legs, eyes, and so on. This is the level that technically corresponds to the scholastic notion of concupiscentia. The sexually suggestive remarks young men who loiter about the streets make about women who walk by are an encyclopedia of verbal expressions that manifest this kind of desire.

On a third level, desire is not aroused by any prominent physical feature, but by an overall, undefined, and non-located impression of beauty and charm, almost like a magic aura surrounding the desired object.

The next level is when we fall in love with someone or lose our heart to someone. It is the level characterized by that coup de foudre that turns our object of desire into an obsessive and irreplaceable presence in our mind. This emotion is filled with ambiguities. It brings with itself anxiety, fear of rejection, and triggers a number of psychological defense mechanisms against potential frustration.

Once those ambiguities are overcome, the initial loving attachment may crystallize into a conjugal dream, which is the longing to have our beloved one with us forever. On this level, desire takes on characteristics of a moral value, destined to manifest itself in the common acceptance of sacrifices for the sake of mutual benefit, of raising a family, of taking social responsibilities, and so on and so forth. The greater or lesser resistance of a couple against difficulties can lead to results ranging from the raising of a stable family to a whole variety of conjugal disasters.

However, true and genuine love, in the fullest sense of the word, can only emerge at the summit of the conjugal experience, with all of its ambiguities. True love is the firm, constant, and irrevocable impulse to sacrifice everything for the good of our beloved, to forgive always and unconditionally our beloved’s faults and sins, to protect the person we love from all evil and sadness, even at the risk of our own life, and to maintain that person on our side as our most valuable possession, not only during this earthly existence, but for all eternity.

Each one of those levels encompasses and transcends the previous one, and only those who go to the next stage are able to understand what was at stake in the previous stage.

It is obvious that only the person who has gone through all the stages is qualified to reach an objective and comprehensive view of human being’s sexual experience, which other people can only see in a partial and subjective— and not rarely solipsistic— way, determined by their fixation at a stage that refuses to go away.

Unfortunately, that is the case of the majority of the media or academic opinion-makers in Brazil, who kindly offer to shape other people’s sexual lives according to the measure of their own existential underdevelopment.

Many are not satisfied with that and turn their own atrophied conscience into a criterion of morality, based upon which they judge and condemn what they cannot understand. Those are the people I call “puerile sexologists:” those atrophied souls that want to tailor other people’s sexual lives to conform to the mold of their own immaturity.

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. Originally published in Diário do Comércio on June 23, 2015.