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Documentary Movie About Philosopher Olavo de Carvalho to be Screened at VCU

Movie tells the story of homonymous book by Brazilian philosopher and fellow of  IAI

On March 23, 2017, the documentary movie “The Garden of Afflictions” will be screened at the Virginia Commonwealth University at 7 PM, in the building of the Academic Learning Commons, at 1000 Floyd Avenue, Richmond, VA. The documentary is about the Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho and his book “The Garden of Afflictions,” after which the movie was named.  Olavo de Carvalho is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of  the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy (IAI), Government, and Social Thought, and the most important Brazilian philosopher in action nowadays. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the film director Josias Teófilo and Mr. Olavo de Carvalho himself.

 

 

A Brief History of Male Chauvinism

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.  Translation from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

Golitsyn’s Methodology and the Trump Administration

The new methodology provides explanations for many contradictions and anomalies in the communist world on which the old methodology throws no light. It explains the confidence of the communist world and the loyalty and dedication of the vast majority of its officials. It explains the reasons for disclosures of information by the communist world about itself and relates them to the requirements of long-range policy. It explains the seeming tolerance of a totalitarian system toward dissension openly expressed by its citizens in their contacts with foreigners. It provides criteria for assessing the reliability of sources, for distinguishing genuine secret agents and defectors from provocateurs, for distinguishing genuine information from disinformation and propaganda. It provides pointers to the identification of agents of influence in the West. It suggests that disinformation, recognized as such, can provide clues to the intentions of its authors. It offers guidance on the relative importance of the official and unofficial communist sources. It diverts attention from spectacular communist polemics between parties and focuses it instead on the solid advances in the groundwork of communist cooperation and coordination. It points the way to recovery from the crisis in Western studies and assessments of communism. It could help to revive the effectiveness of Western security and intelligence services. It explains the communist victory in the Vietnam War despite the Sino-Soviet split. Above all, it explains the willingness and ability of the communist world, despite the appearance of disunity, to seize the initiative and to develop and execute its strategies in relation to the United States, the other advanced industrial countries, and the Third World in the quest for the complete and final victory of international communism.

-Anatoliy Golitsyn, New Lies for Old, p. 102

 

What would Anatoliy Golitsyn, the KGB defector who correctly anticipated the fake collapse of communism, say about the Trump administration? I believe he would say that the communist strategists have launched a new provocation based upon a supposed split between the communist-dominated U.S. Democratic Party and (Soviet) Russia.

This supposed split offers some tantalizing tactical advantages to the communist side. It diverts attention from the extensive and treasonous collaboration of the American Left with Russia and the communist bloc. It also helps to camouflage future collaboration on the part of Trump’s critics. (People who warn of Russian interference with the elections will not be scrutinized too carefully themselves in this regard, especially by a media that is packed with communist operatives). To say that Trump is a Russian puppet diverts attention from the fact that those leveling the accusation have served Russia and the communist cause for many years. It weakens the authority of a president who has promised to reverse the many policies of national self-negation which have been the mainstay of the Democratic Party, and the watchword of the Republican establishment.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama continues to relay commands to his leftist cadres within the U.S. Federal Government. This is why he stayed in Washington. For all intents and purposes, he is still president; that is, he is the commander-in-chief for the communists in Washington. Their conspiracy continues, as ever, toward the “inevitable” convergence of capitalism with communism (on communist terms).

It is important (from the communist point of view) that nobody guess the actual situation, that nobody see how far the subversion has gone, or how powerful the communist side has become within the state. While Obama was U.S. President an identical circumstance played out in Washington as in Moscow. In both capitals the communists were depicted as an inconsiderable and irrelevant minority. In reality, the presidents of both countries were committed communists. The levers of power were in their hands, and the world suspected nothing. While Obama worked to disarm the United States, Putin worked to rearm Russia. While Obama undercut our allies abroad, Putin invaded Crimea and intervened in the Middle East. As the danger grew, as Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next and final president, the collaboration between Washington and Moscow was guaranteed to result in America’s defeat.

But then a miracle happened. Donald Trump was elected president; a man of impeccable nationalist instinct, of remarkable courage in the face of the enemy. The communists were aghast at his victory. And so, strange as it seems, they decided on a preposterous fraud. While they posed as Russia’s enemies, Donald Trump would be depicted as Russia’s friend.

For the leading communists to deny their communist affiliation was a preliminary strategic step in both Washington and Moscow. Freed from the label of what they had actually been, the communists were able to advance without opposition from those annoying anti-communists. And now they are compelled by the logic of their false position to paint the “patriotic American dinosaur” (Donald Trump) as Russia’s puppet. Here the real puppet points to the man and declares that he is the puppet. It is a history-making deception. It is grand and it is bold. It cynically estimates the ignorance of the populace, the corruption of the political class, and the willing treachery of the media. It relies on the fact that the smartest strategists and analysts on the American side have been sidelined or murdered. So there is nobody to call out the truth.

Who now dares say the truth about what has happened in this country? Anyone writing in this vein is committing career suicide. Therefore, only someone without a career would dare to write along these lines at all! Even then it means being assigned to a death list, like Anna Politkovskaya and Alexander Litvinenko. (You want a successful career? You want to live? Sing the tune that is assigned. Play a role out of the communist script. You can be a conservative if you wish, but you will be Moscow’s conservative.)

Of course, you probably think I am crazy. You think communism went away in 1991. You think that communism no longer exists. But then you will have to explain how we got here – with communist thugs using open intimidation on the streets of our cities! If communism lost the Cold War, why does it presently hold such power in government agencies, universities and newspapers? Why do you think U.S. counterintelligence is spying on the President of the United States and his staff? Who wants to bring him down? You need to explain all the variable phenomena of today: from the communist-inspired economic sabotage of global warming “science” to the insistence that our border remain a sieve. It is only our enemies who stand to gain from these policies.

But communism is dead. Nobody believes in it anymore. We are told that the last true believer in communism was Stalin’s protégé and USSR Communist Party Ideology Chief Mikhail Suslov. Gorbachev and Yeltsin, and other top Soviet officials, made a show of abandoning communism. But I tell you it was only a show. Former KGB officer Anatoliy Golitsyn insisted that all communist sources of information are larded with falsehood; that communist officials publicly and privately make misleading statements about themselves, their thoughts and their intentions.

What do we actually know about the thinking of Mikhail Suslov or Mikhail Gorbachev (for that matter)? We only know what Communist Party officials say is true – about themselves and their party. And communists lie! There is also a more subtle point, which may seem contradictory, but is fundamental at the non-ideological level: It is irrelevant what Suslov or Gorbachev believed. Their personal beliefs would be decisive only if Marxism had been a mere belief system, if it represented a stable set of principles; but Marx himself did not believe in Marxism. He laughed at people who believed in it. Why would it matter if Suslov also did not believe?

What is decisive to understand about Marxism is its ever-shifting role as a rationale for a new kind of power. What is important here is not the particulars of the rationale itself, but the spirit which calls forth the rationale in the first place. If we want to understand how the great totalitarian machine is able to morph and shift and change with the times, we must go to its soul. At bottom Marxism is a strategy behind which stands a pathological desire for absolute power and global destruction. The outward phenomenon of Marxism is merely the intellectual camouflage of the politically self-actualized psychopath. Here is the outward expression of his rationalization for murder, for seizing power. This outward expression has changed time and time again, but its spiritual essence is always the same. And we always seem to miss the point of it. We always seem to address the inner thoughts and intentions of people who are assumed to believe or not believe in a set of “principles.” But this is an error. We do not understand these people at all! The communist does not take ideas seriously. He is serious only about power and strategy.

A mask is not an idea. A strategy is not a principle. These are tools, weapons, methods. Marx did not believe in his tools. He used them, and his followers used them, until the tools of the hour no longer served their purpose. Then the old tools, the old weapons, were discarded for a new set of weapons – “new lies for old.” Those who talk about belief or disbelief are only talking about the superficial shell of the thing, which can be replaced with a new shell – a new outward appearance. If Marx did not believe in Marxism, then the true Marxist should not believe in it either. It is a sorry swindler who believes in his own swindle. Behind the shell of the communist’s outward pretenses we find the same core phenomenon: the malevolent soul of the destroyer, the envious lusting for power and revenge, the hatred of the good for being the good. And in this soul’s self-affirmation we find, curiously, a reformulation of the same old totalitarian themes; the same old bag of tricks for debasing and leveling humanity. All that being said, the outward shell of the supposedly debunked Marxism is by no means out of the game. Out-and-out communism could return to power at any time. The various outer shells – the rationales and swindles – may change and shift as circumstances require; yet the driving force from within remains ever constant, ever alert to new opportunities. Marxism is strategy, not belief. That is why Mao Zedong said, “Marxism is better than a machine gun.” One does not believe in a machine gun. One uses it, merely, to neutralize an enemy. One must keep in mind the usefulness, in this regard, of ideological mortars and howitzers and atomic bombs – the whole arsenal of political correctness.

But you cannot get over this idea; namely, that communism is dead. You saw it die on TV. How can we talk once again about Marxism-Leninism? Or as an Estonian presidential candidate once asked in response to my discourse: “What’s Marxism-Leninism?” His pained expression relayed the idea that Marxism-Leninism was something that didn’t really exist. Nobody believed in it, so why did it matter? Even the communists don’t believe in communism anymore. It’s as simple as that! Any idiot who tells you that there are true-believing communists should wear a dunce cap. Russia a democracy. China is capitalist. Cuba is an open society with superb health care. And that nice little North Korean man is a champion of world peace!

It is merely one more ridiculous proposition out of many. In fact, it is the final ridiculous proposition. It is the proposition that crushes man’s soul. To say that communism doesn’t exist is to surrender. It means giving up your country to the communists who don’t exist. Remember the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell’s 1984? It was a ministry that dispensed nothing but lies. Now imagine if the Ministry of Truth disbanded itself and admitted to lying. “We are turning over a new leaf,” says the Ministry of Truth. “We are now the Ministry of the Real Truth.” Oh, it’s such a relief! Finally, we can believe in them! Marxism-Leninism is gone and the Marxist-Leninists are now honest! If they say we won the Cold war, we won the Cold War. In a world where nonsense is often believed, why would this nonsense not be accepted as the New Gospel (according to Saint Gorbachev)? The hammer and sickle comes down, the tricolor goes up. How could you question that? It’s like being against chocolate!

So where did all the communists go? Did they simply revert to Christianity? Did they become Scientologists? Stop and think for a moment. You control half the planet and you’ve been fooling people in every country for decades. And what do you do for an encore? You fall off the edge of the flat earth! Well, I guess they topped themselves after all. And then, twenty-five years later, suddenly, you discover they have taken over your child’s mind and sent him into the street to beat up an old displaced factory worker wearing a hat which says, “Make America Great Again.” You have the CIA and FBI spying on the President of the United States to the advantage of change agents. And Congress is dragging its feet on Trump’s cabinet nominees because they’ve been honey-trapped by the Satanic Pedophile communist zombie apocalypse. It is real Satanism, real pedophilia, real undead communists, and a real apocalypse.

Have you ever seen the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers? It’s an allegorical fiction about a communist takeover. Well, we’re living it. In fact, the pod people are attempting to convince the world that they are the ones fighting the alien invasion! This lie is repeated on every news channel. And you might easily believe them: First, because you did not understand who the enemy was. Second, because you don’t believe in pod people. Third, because you voted pod people into the White House in 1992, 1996, 2008 and 2012. And when the pod people finally colonized your government and rotted out your nuclear arsenal, the old pod president didn’t go back to Illinois. He remained in Washington to command the pod-people army inside the federal government, while Mr. Trump erroneously believes himself to be in charge.

So they don’t believe in Marxism-Leninism anymore? So why do we have socialized medicine? And why does Vladimir Lenin, who died in 1924, lie calmly with his eyes closed in his mausoleum on Red Square – not buried in a grave with a stone marker? No doubt, he is kept on display in Moscow because “nobody there believes in him anymore”! It’s a funny kind of not-believing in someone, don’t you think?

Nobody in Moscow believes in communism! They refuse to bury Lenin because he makes a nice tourist attraction. And besides, Vladimir Putin wears a cross and says he believes in God. (Well, he doesn’t really like to talk about it. But we think he believes in God.) And so, at the end of the day, we are all Kremlin puppets. We are all bouncing helplessly at the end of Moscow’s string. Even now the puppet-master appears to be at odds with his most secret creatures – the moles at CIA and FBI! Appearances notwithstanding, the puppeteer must always hide the puppet’s strings. This he accomplishes by a diversion in which he calls the man (Trump) a puppet and the puppet (Obama) he calls a man. And so, as well, he calls his friend enemy and his enemy he calls friend.

If President Trump could read one paragraph of these scribblings, I would wish that he read this last paragraph. Then he might understand, in an instant, who his enemies are – both foreign and domestic. And I say, that enemy is not an opponent, not a competitor, not a business rival. No, no. I mean – an enemy! And once our president can tell friend from foe, his strategic compass will align to true north and half the battle will be won.

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

Introduction to the Philosophy Seminar – Part 2

How Do Cultural Shifts Happen? A lecture originally delivered online in Portuguese as an introduction for Mr. Olavo de Carvalho’s Brazilian Philosophy Seminar. 

Student: In an interview you gave to Atlântico magazine, you said that, instead of dividing the political spectrum into right-wing and left-wing, we should try to classify political movements as revolutionary and counter-revolutionary, because this latter pair of concepts enables us to see, for example, that some political positions and movements usually regarded as right-wing are actually revolutionary and thus belong together with left-wing movements—something which escapes our view when we use the usual definitions of left and right. Regarding this problem you have been addressing so far, have you developed another key to understanding the problem of progress, something like your concepts of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary?

Olavo: No, I have not. What I am doing is merely splitting apart a pair of concepts and saying that they do not form a pair of opposites in reality. More accurately, only at the level of vocabulary—only semantically speaking―, backwardness is the opposite of progress. In historical reality, there is no such thing as a phenomenon of backwardness which is the contrary of progress. Even if in our minds we conceive progress as a forward movement and backwardness as backward movement, the fact is we know that in reality time never moves backwards and that it is impossible for it to do so. Now, let us examine the expressions “advanced societies” and “backward societies” in light of this. It is obvious that the current conditions of any society can get worse, but they cannot literally go back to a prior state because the  present conditions of a society include all their prior states. Some people say: “Oh no, we’re going back to the Stone Age!” But being born in the Stone Age is one thing, and having to live with Stone Age instruments after having known all the technology we have today is quite another. This is not going back to the Stone Age. This is something totally different; this is deterioration, not backwardness.

So, from this you can see that, being among the most used, the most imaginatively powerful, and the most entrenched in our culture, this simple pair of concepts (progress and backwardness) can make people not to understand a number of historical processes.  That is to say, if people judge historical processes in terms of progress or backwardness, they will never be able to grasp the reality of what they are considering.

Wanting to become intellectuals, historians, philosophers, and so on, the poor and naive students will naturally apply to and eventually enter universities. The problem is that as they gain entry into the world of high culture, they will receive a severe impact of a huge network of intellectual blinders/impediments. Of course, they will also get a lot of positive knowledge, but when we compare the whole of material knowledge they learned, the whole of the content they acquired at university, with the system of concepts that organize this knowledge, we see that the latter is always more powerful. Why? Because the contents and their organizing concepts relate to each other as form relates to matter, in the Aristotelian sense of these words, and because it is the form of a body of knowledge determines what this knowledge means.

Now, the study of philosophy has precisely the purpose of enabling you to create your own network of concepts according to the actual needs of the quest for knowledge and not according to pre-established social ends, which are rather focused on  the creation, expansion, and conservation of cultural fashions. Philosophy is an instrument for the creation of conceptual structures capable of comprehending and transcending the structures of the cultural fashions that prevail at the moment. In this sense, philosophy is a powerful instrument of deculturation. So, since your task is to try to see beyond the horizon of the culture in which you are, the first thing you need to be able do this is to learn how to retrieve the lost cognitive and intellective possibilities from times past.

How do you restore these possibilities? In the first place, you must have  the necessary materials at your disposal, that is, the texts and documents that tell you exactly what happened in the periods of the past you are studying. Next, you must use your imagination to try to understand—note well—not the authors of the past as they understood themselves but rather your own situation as those authors would understand it if they were alive.

You cannot study Plato, for example, from the viewpoint of the contemporary culture because you will never understand him. Why? Because, in addition to that series of important cultural mutations that took place in the twentieth century, we are now going through a gigantic transformation in our society, a transformation determined by a factor called “technology.”

The impact of technology on modern society and culture has been only gradually perceived and integrated into human consciousness, and, strictly speaking, we are not yet living in a technological civilization, because technology does not decide and determine all social processes, although it determines a great and important number of them. But there are still a lot of things that are based on processes which have nothing to do with technology. For example, consider the facts that in our society there is a large number of religious people and that these people live, partially at least, within a cultural environment upon which technology has little or no influence at all because it simply has nothing to do with religion.

However, it is one thing to live in an environment where people believe in the existence of a God who has created the world and who is going to drive the process of history until it reaches a certain goal—the end of the world and the passage of all things into  eternity. Now, it is quite another to live in a culture where everything is a matter of technology. And the fact is that as the impact of technology on society gets stronger, our culture tends to consider all matters  in the light of technology.

The first and most immediate consequence of this is that everything that lies beyond the reach of technological action ends up falling beyond the reach of people’s imagination as well. (When I say “immediate,” however, I do not mean that this effect occurs without any delay, since several decades, at least, may be necessary for it to take place.) Because if technology becomes the main lens through which we view reality, then, sooner or later we will end up only thinking about those things which fall within the grasp of technology or which will supposedly fall within the grasp of technology in the future. This means that, in a sense, the realm of human action (in its material sense) becomes the ultimate horizon of reality and that nothing exists beyond it.

It is evident that the territory which falls within the grasp of man’s technological agency is vast. For instance, we may expect that someday all currently existing diseases will be cured by technological means. This has not happened yet, but we may fairly expect it will, and it is a fact that people have hopes that it will indeed happen. When people contract a disease for which there is no cure yet, what do they usually do?  They sit tight and hope that, within two, three, four, five, ten, or twenty years, a cure for their disease will be found. For example, I think that all the HIV positive people in the world entertain this kind of hope. So, as I was saying,  there is indeed a realm of existence which can be affected by man’s technological action and this realm is very large. However, when technology is understood as the key to existence, then, quite naturally, all that lies beyond the theoretical possibility of technological action ceases to attract people’s interest. The world, seen from this viewpoint, becomes a sort of laboratory for us to conduct our experiments (which, of course, may go right or wrong), and everything that cannot be tested through experimentation ceases to be of any interest for us.

As a consequence, all those dimensions of existence upon which technology cannot act in any way are viewed as non-existing or irrelevant—an example of this is the phenomenon of death. Nowadays people cannot seriously think about death, only about how to postpone it, which is actually thinking about how to extend human life, or how to prolong human existence. Prolonging human existence is indeed a technological possibility, and more than that, it is a possibility that technology has been able to realize so far. But what about death itself? The fact is that sooner or later, we are all going to die, that death is part of the structure of reality, and that no life-prolonging technology can possibly change this structure. And because the phenomenon of death cannot be affected by technology, because the reality of death lies beyond the reach of technological action, the concept of death is not integrated into our society and we live in a culture where death has no place. For centuries death was one of the most predominant themes in culture, but now, suddenly, the topic of death is gone. People do not talk about it anymore; they only talk about health, about extending life, about eliminating pain, and so on.

When you set out on a quest for high culture in a cultural situation like that, you start your intellectual journey with a huge blind spot in your field of vision, because an entire dimension of reality is invisible for you, as if it has never existed.

Now, the study of high culture and philosophy can help you recover the vision of those lost dimensions of reality, that is, it can help you become capable of imagining that which is not usually imaginable in your own culture. The problem is that acquiring high culture is often identified with acquiring the credentials necessary to obtain government authorization to enter the teaching or the researching profession. This poses a problem for all those who seek to acquire high culture. For it is one thing to want to acquire high culture in order to be able to understand reality, and specially the reality of history, of civilization, of human existence throughout the ages. It is quite another thing to want to acquire  high culture in order to be able to practice this or that profession. In fact, these two uses of high culture are not just different, but opposed to each other, because if   have to adapt yourself to the present culture to the most, so that you may be able to represent it professionally.

This is why I consider the academic institution to be the worst enemy of higher studies nowadays and why I have remained on the fringes of academia all my life. I have always feared it because I knew it did not strengthen people’s consciousness to enable them to understand reality, but rather molded their minds to enable them to perform certain social roles. Besides, I have also noticed that the social role of the academic and the scientific profession can be so hostile to a true understanding of reality that even the best minds, to the extent they strive to adapt and be successful in those professions, have to maim themselves intellectually so as not to say things that would be incomprehensible or shocking in their professional environments. Of course, there are exceptions to this. There are people who are able to have an academic career and still remain in touch with reality, but they are very scarce.

 

End of the second part.

 

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 lecture was delivered online in December 2008. Translation from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota and proofreading by Benjamin Mann.

Strategical Possibilities and Dialectical Games

NATO membership for Ukraine means death for Russia.
– Alexander Prokhanov

In the first stages of Zyuganov’s creation of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (not without some participation on my part, as well as Prokhanov…), efforts were made to interpret and conceptually appraise the presence of the national component in the Soviet worldview (National Bolshevism), but this initiative was abandoned by the leadership of the [Communist Party], which had occupied itself with some other matters…. However, on the level of rhetoric and first reactions, Russian Communists in all senses present themselves as confirmed national conservatives – sometimes even as ‘Orthodox Monarchists.’”
– Alexander Dugin, The Fourth Political Theory

 

Alexander Dugin, quoted above, is not an ideologist. He is a strategist. Before delving into what strategy is, or can be, let us first consider the situation in Ukraine. Either Russian troops will drive into Ukrainian territory after 9 May, or Russia will rely on secret agents within the Ukrainian government to re-establish (or maintain) indirect control of the country. This latter strategy, if successful, could give Moscow a fresh avenue for making mischief within the EU. The fact that Russian clandestine structures are already embedded throughout Europe is hardly acknowledged or fully appreciated by expert opinion. Europe’s energy dependence on Russia is acknowledged, of course, but this is trivial in comparison.

Moscow’s grand strategy has always been multi-dimensional. To achieve a goal, the Russians do not merely follow one line of approach. They follow several parallel and opposite lines of approach simultaneously. This makes it difficult for Western strategists and politicians to anticipate Russian moves. Again and Again, Russia baffles us. We remain mystified, failing to realize that Russia possesses clandestine instruments developed under the Soviet Union that are unmatched in sophistication. We have nothing that can compete with these. To give a brief overview, there is the economic and financial penetration of Europe by Russian businesses and front companies. There is the role played by Russian organized crime in terms of blackmail and money-laundering. There also exists, as during the Cold War, classic networks of secret agents engaged in infiltrating governments and influencing policy. With regard to all these elements, until the countries of Europe grasp the possibilities open to Russia’s clandestine forces there will never be a full appreciation of the way Moscow is likely to use its military forces in combination with diplomatic leverage.

It was Clausewitz who said that war is politics carried on by other (i.e., violent) means. It was Lenin who inverted this dictum, saying that politics is war carried on by other means. The Bolshevik Revolution was not merely a social and political revolution. It signified a revolution in strategic thinking that has never been fully appreciated. Victory may be achieved with a combination of military and non-military means. It may be achieved through economic sabotage, through information warfare, or even through the corruption of government, language and culture.

The famous words of the ancient Chinese strategist, Sun Tzu, may serve as the inspiration for a new and all-pervading strategic science. Here strategy becomes the ruling god of all, the first principle of government and the East’s answer to the constitutional politics of the West. Oh yes, even in its decadence, the United States is (at least partly) guided by its Constitution. The Russian Federation is guided by its long-range policy (based on Sun Tzu’s principles). “All warfare is based on deception,” wrote Sun Tzu. “Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe that we are away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”

The brilliance of Sun Tzu lies in the fact that his dialectical approach to deception can be applied to any set of opposites. Thus we may rewrite Sun Tzu’s words: “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when you are a Communist, you must appear to practice capitalism (e.g. in Beijing); when you are a cynical atheist, you must appear as a Christian (e.g., Putin); when you are attacking an opponent through Islamic surrogates, you must appear to be attacked by these same surrogates (e.g., in Chechnya); when you possess strategic nuclear supremacy (as Russia does), you must appear as a mere regional power (because Obama says so). Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”

The transposing of opposites from the dimension of time-space, to the ideological dimension of left-right, is only one of many permutations. If it was possible for Putin to have a Chechen alibi prior to the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11, it was also possible for him to have a Christian alibi (by jailing Pussy Riot) in the midst of the cultural breakdown of the United States. As Global Warming is used as a pretext to sabotage the economies of the West, it is pro-forma for Putin to declare that he believes in “global cooling.” Again, one might use the analogy of an alibi. Given these examples, we cannot take Moscow’s stated intentions at face value. Does Moscow really want to annex Ukraine, or push Ukraine into Europe’s open arms? Is Ukraine itself a poison vat, ready to spill into Europe? Again, Putin is making for himself an alibi: so that when Western culture turns gay, Putin will not be blamed; when global warming is found to be a hoax, Putin will not be blamed; when Ukraine is bailed out by the EU and proves the final straw that bankrupts Europe, Putin will not be blamed. (In fact, he will present himself as Europe’s savior.)

Sun Tzu suggested that excellence in warfare consists in winning without fighting. To accomplish this you infiltrate the enemy camp and disrupt his plans through provocation, sabotage, and by sowing confusion; you prevent enemy factions from joining together; you demoralize the culture, spread irrational ideas among the intelligentsia, promote lawlessness and drunkenness among the working and professional classes. As Sun Tzu said, “In all fighting, direct methods may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory.”

You must know your enemy’s direction of march, but he must never learn yours. The best strategy is one that is unknown to others, and the most effective warrior is one who enters the enemy camp unrecognized. To accomplish any objective, depict yourself as one for whom the objective is inconceivable. Many might be capable of stopping you. But who would think they had to?

 

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

The Crisis Part II: Good and Bad Leaders

The wise leaders that Carlyle believed necessary are the only possible palliative. But such men, in truth, are reticent and timid – not eager for the limelight. After all, being a leader of fools is dangerous business.

Alas, our noble men of genius, Heaven’s real messengers to us, they also rendered nearly futile by the wasteful time; – preappointed they everywhere, and assiduously trained by their pedagogues and monitors, to ‘rise in Parliament,’ to compose orations, write books, or in short speak words, for the approval of reviewers; instead of doing real kingly work to be approved of by the gods! Our ‘Government,’ a highly ‘responsible’ one; responsible to no God that I can hear of, but to the twenty-seven million gods of the shilling gallery.

-Thomas Carlyle, Latter-Day Pamphlets, 1850

 

Part I of this series touched on the politicization of education through a dumbing-down of students and through the denial of human nature in the social sciences. Considering today’s educational system from a strategist’s standpoint, it appears to be an attempt to subvert the larger society, perhaps even to destroy it. Such a system could only have been created by an enemy. This enemy’s trick has been to disable human instinct, denying the very existence of instinctual things. We no longer accept that there are two sexes. We are taught to deny what is noble.

Our internal enemy has attempted to paralyze all those moving parts within the human psyche that make reason possible. And he has made a school that is, in fact, a concentration camp for the child. He has encircled our children with a fence and he calls roll every hour to make sure that none have escaped. It is important, at the outset, that the students find themselves institutionalized. To expose the child to something brilliant, to something interesting, to something inspired, is forbidden. One must accustom the child to the most mediocre thinking, to the most uninspired ideas – to profound boredom from which only an entertainment culture can offer escape.

The new teaching refrains from laying a foundation; for the new educator, as revolutionary, is a destroyer who seeks to annihilate everything. He seeks to eradicate the past, to eradicate man and woman, to eradicate the parent, to eradicate both the nation and the patriot – and finally, to eradicate God. This is the work of today’s education. It is a work of disorganization, disintegration, and hatred. The revolutionary seeks a blank canvass upon which to paint in whatever color he chooses. The chosen color, of course, will be red.  Those countries already submerged by the nihilist dictators are arming themselves. They are getting ready to unleash a wider destruction. Like all psychopaths they are motivated to find victims wherever they can. The consumption of victims is their mode of self-affirmation.

The Revolution, called down upon us by the Left, has been with us a long while. It marches from victory to victory. The long retreat of civilization has been happening before our very eyes, by a slow and almost imperceptible process. Our educational system proves to be a revolutionary success, for the experiment has not been turned back. It has been turned up like the burner of a stove on which we are all being cooked. The majority is indoctrinated, their evaluations contaminated by revolutionary lies, so that they do not even know they have been brainwashed. And yes, on every news channel you hear but different variations on the same political message. The message always includes a dash of feminism, multiculturalism, socialism, and the celebration of polymorphous perversity. Our enemy has attempted to indoctrinate our children with these themes. They socialize the young to accept their revolution. They educate and organize. They shape the public’s mentality. They give out the ideas that will carry them forward – and it isn’t long before the process takes on a life of its own. After a few generations, when the old teaching has been forgotten, the leaders of the new generation will have only one lexicon, only one vision, and freedom will be dead. In its place will come a new tyranny, sold as a new and higher form of morality in which the chief sins are (1) sexism, (2) classicism, and (3) racism.

See how adept the revolutionary teachers are at carrying forward their new teaching – as morality. Thomas Carlyle once observed that “man never yields himself wholly to brute Force, but always to moral Greatness.” But men, being stupid, sometimes yield to a counterfeit moral Greatness. That is what we have today. As a prime example, consider the moral outrage expressed by our political and media elites in response to Donald Trump’s desire to curtail Muslim immigration. By the most ancient and time-tested standards of morality, this suggestion was not immoral. He did not break the Ten Commandments in uttering it. Yet it is taken as proof of Trump’s moral depravity. Those within the Republican Party who did not denounce the racism of Trump’s remark nonetheless judged him guilty of a “ridiculous position” (Chris Christie), or of being unserious (Jeb Bush), or of “being downright dangerous with his bombastic rhetoric.” (Lindsey Graham.) Carly Fiorina said that Trump’s “overreaction is as dangerous as Obama’s under reaction.” John Kasich called Trump’s proposal “outrageous.” Former New York Governor George Pataki said Trump’s remarks “are idiotic, next thing we will be banning loudmouth, racist billionaires.” Marco Rubio said that Trump’s “habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together.” Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore said that “Trump’s fascist talk drives all minorities from [the] GOP.” And, of course, Hillary Clinton vilified Trump by saying, “This is reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive.”

Here is a great example of the revolutionary ideology at work. A simple, common sense statement, uttered by someone seeking a leadership position, is likened to Hitlerism. The new teaching has taken hold. It predetermines the mentality of the ruling class, which now consists of the persons whose thinking has been pre-programmed by our national enemies. In saying what he said, Donald Trump did not deprive anyone of their rights under the Constitution. He did not vilify anyone. He is not a hater, or an advocate of racist theories, or an advocate of genocide. How has it come about that he is slandered as such? Of course, we know perfectly well that he has transgressed. Should we publicly agree with Trump, we might also suffer ostracism; and feeling alone in our agreement with him, we are afraid.

The instinct that remains undestroyed in us knows that Trump is right. His concerns are patriotic, perhaps even “patriarchal.” We shudder at the political incorrectness of it. But deep down, we feel something contrary, something counter-subversive. We have been indoctrinated to believe that everyone is equal when everyone is different. We have been told that a Muslim is interchangeable with a Christian, that the populations of the Middle East are interchangeable with the populations of Europe – as if humanity were a bottle of milk that must be homogenized. When Trump says that his own Muslim friends agree with him, the journalists disbelieve him. He must be demented or insane, they say to themselves. He is not to be taken seriously. It is some kind of “stunt.” Trump tries to explain that he is motivated by considerations of safety and prudence. The elite sneer. But the public, still possessing a shadow of its old instinct, twitch with buried feelings that are breaking through to the surface.

Trump did not say Muslims are bad people. He did not say “all Muslims are enemies.” But everyone instinctually knows there is a risk associated with admitting thousands or millions of Muslims into a non-Muslim country. Common sense therefore begs the question: “Why take an unnecessary risk?” For why is it necessary that thousands of Muslims immigrate to the United States? If there is a risk associated with this immigration, why should it continue? What is to be gained?

This great example of Trump’s statement on Muslim immigration reveals the kind of leadership we have today – in the media and in government. We do not have leaders, in fact, but – as Thomas Carlyle noted – “assiduously trained by their pedagogues and monitors, to ‘rise in Parliament,’ to compose orations, write books, or in short speak words, for the approval of reviewers; instead of doing real kingly work….” Consider the kind of men and women we have in positions of leadership today. For such a large percentage to denounce Trump, when he has only made a common sense recommendation, suggests that these men and women are frauds; that they are the creatures of Leftist groupthink, lacking the moral courage required for independent thought. It could not be more clear what this example shows; namely, that our own leaders – excepting Mr. Trump – deny that we have the right to defend our sovereignty and our culture. They imagine that such a defense is racist.

One might ask what else they imagine?!

The Left dreams of a world without America on the assumption that America is the fountainhead of sexism, racism and war. The United States, under the control of Leftist politicians like President Obama, slowly commits suicide. Instead of an instinct for survival, our leadership of today shows us that theirs is an instinct for self-destruction. Merely listen to Mr. Trump, then listen to the nonsense of the elitsts who denounce him. These have no vision for distant things, no power of thought – mere dummies to some unseen ventriloquist. The reader should ask: Would George Washington have opened the United States to Muslim immigration in 1795? If this was such a good and glorious thing to do, why didn’t he think to do it? The idea of allowing masses of Muslim immigrants into the United States in 1795 would have been judged crazy by all educated Americans of the time. (And were they not better educated than we are now?)

Why do the “educated” of today think Muslim immigration so necessary? It cannot be that today’s leaders are so much wiser, or possess better character, than George Washington.

I believe that President Washington, if he could speak to our generation, would pour such abuse upon our present leaders, that it would ring in their ears ever after. And for them, in response, to reproach Washington as a sexist or racist, would illicit such fiery contempt from the great man, that they would be forced to own their shame. For are they not all feminists? Are they not all multiculturalists? – that is to say, advocates of national suicide? These mock leaders who raise the banners of so many mock faiths are yet the destroyers of their country. Yet there they stand, condemning Mr. Trump.

The real leader and the mock leader are here side-by-side. The one is concerned for the safety of his country while the other feigns concern for Islam. Where is the concern which is owed to Americans? Cannot we glimpse, behind it all, that common theme of hatred for what is good and normal, and a sick preference for what is harmful and abnormal? Is this not the malice of the inferior man – the malice of the demagogue, usurping high office with a sack of clever lies?  Our modern age, with its mass media and mass politics, has aroused the envy of the inferior to a fever pitch. This envy has organized itself through political self-hatred, turning malevolence into a science. The irony appears at once, as the man who loves America is denounced as a hater by those who are the real haters; that is, haters of America. Of course, some of those denouncing Trump are the puppets of political correctness – sad shills who have no business leading anyone. But hatred is at the bottom of it.

Notice how the inferior man, as leader, must always pretend to be a champion of humanity. Even in this, he is a faker. He has no dignity, but gives himself airs. His own mind is numbed by the facile nonsense that passes his own lips. Reality does not register with him. Only when a great tragedy has occurred, does the shock of the moment lay bare the feeble human being that is struggling to emerge from beneath the ideological garbage dump of a clouded mind. The terrorist attacks on France offer a rare example of clarity breaking forth from one such “leader.” On the day following the attacks, President Francois Hollande made a speech in which he said: “Fellow citizens, what happened yesterday in Paris and Saint Denis near the Stade de France was an act of war.” But the President of the United States, in his press conference, affirmed the altruistic duty of every Christian country to take in Muslim refugees. He denied that Christianity and Islam have stood opposed to one another for over a thousand years, that the principles of Islam are as obnoxious to Christianity as the principles of Christianity are to Islam. Obama effectively denied that admitting millions of Muslims into Europe is a recipe for civil strife. Even more, he suggested that the integration of Muslim and Christian (under the auspices of safeguarding Muslim refugees) is a solemn moral obligation.

The international demagogue who styles himself a champion of humanity turns out to be the enemy of his own country. How can he be a champion of humanity when his own people are so disregarded? Take Hillary Clinton as a further example. This regrettable deviant has been heralded as the most brilliant women in America. But she doesn’t have an original bone in her body; neither is she distinguished for her scholarship, or her contributions to science. She is an intellectual nullity. Her thinking is taken from leftist ideological tracts. Her moral courage consists in parroting the latest politically correct ideas. She does not regard private property as sacrosanct. She does not accept that marriage is between a man and a woman. She does not believe in the nation state. Her politics is that of Robin Hood, a famous bandit whose motto was to “rob from the rich and give to the poor.” On the subject of same-sex marriage and gay rights, Secretary of State Clinton made the following extraordinary statement:

I will never forget the young Tunisian who asked me, after the revolution in his country, how America could teach his new democracy to protect the rights of its LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered] citizens. He saw America as an example for the world, and as a beacon of hope. That’s what was in my mind as I engaged in some pretty tough conversations with foreign leaders who did not accept that human rights applied to everyone, gay and straight. When I directed our diplomats around the world to combat repressive laws and reach out to the brave activists fighting on the front lines … I changed State Department policy to ensure that our LGBT families are treated more fairly.

Here we see Clinton openly advocating U.S. interference in the internal affairs of Muslim countries. Here is an American homosexual imperialism that not only flies in the face of American diplomatic tradition, but flies in the face of traditional American folkways. The greatest U.S. Secretary of State is generally said to have been John Quincy Adams. In 1821 Adams asked what America has “done for the benefit of mankind?” As our greatest and wisest Secretary of State, Adams said that America “has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth” to the nations on the virtues of liberty and justice and equal rights. Adams stated:

She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of … the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit….

How different we find the policy of Secretary of State Clinton, who initiated a global campaign supportive of sodomy. Is this now our banner – our sacred cause among the nations? In the annals of imperial ambition God and man has never seen the like. According to Secretary Clinton herself, it was (in effect) the policy of her State Department to combat all those local laws and government edicts which forbade homosexual activity. Clinton not only engaged in “some pretty tough conversations with foreign leaders,” she directed “our diplomats around the world” to engage in a new form of warfare. Under her guidance, U.S. representatives in 70 countries (where sodomy is yet illegal) were to act as “change agents.”

In other words, American resources and personnel were deployed in support of sodomy. Whatever the reader may think of sodomy, let us objectively consider the policy repercussions. Was this in the best interests of the United States? Most curious of all: Is there not a declaration of war against Islam in Mrs. Clinton’s policy? Yet this declaration of war is not seen or acknowledged as such, though it is certainly there. The unreality of Clinton’s worldview allows her to advocate diametrically incompatible policies. On the one hand she provokes Islam. On the other hand, she wants millions of Muslims to immigrate here. From the strategist’s point of view, this policy is entirely obvious. Yet our pundits and political observers see nothing. They have no idea there is a game, and could never guess that someone stands to gain from it.

While homosexuality is allegedly widespread in the Muslim world, it is nonetheless forbidden by traditional Islamic teachings. In a collection of Mohammad’s sayings, set down by Abu ‘Isa Muhammad ibn ‘Isa at-Tirmidhis around A.D. 884, we learn that Muhammad cursed sodomites and recommended the death penalty for men involved in homosexual acts.

If the central principle of Islam is that “there is one God and Mohammed is his Prophet,” the words of the Prophet on this matter are highly significant. To show that traditional Islam is far from homogenized into the Unitarianism that has supplanted Christianity in the West, a Muslim cleric in Hungary recently stated [JihadWatch.org], “These homosexuals are the filthiest of Allah’s creatures. A Muslim must never accept this disease, this terrible depraved thing.” To show that this was hardly an isolated instance, a Muslim cleric in Uganda has threatened to organize death squads against homosexuals. In Great Britain Christians have been unsuccessful in opposing pro-homosexual education in schools; but two primary schools in Bristol have shelved anti-homophobia storybooks in the face of local Muslim “fury.”

In 2007 an Iranian MP, Mohsen Yahyavi, told British officials that, “According to Islamic law, homosexuality is a grave crime.” Yahyavi explained that homosexuality is only tolerated if done behind closed doors. If this behavior becomes public, the offender “should be put to death.” It is, indeed, against traditional Islam that Hillary Clinton’s homosexual imperialism wages a peculiar kind of war. Yet Hillary says that Trump is divisive for suggesting a temporary suspension of Muslim immigration into the United States! At the same time she would deny that any seed of enmity has been planted against Islam by her campaign of promoting homosexual activism in Islamic countries. Inexplicably, during last month’s Democratic presidential debate, when asked whether we are at war with radical Islam, Mrs. Clinton said the following:

I don’t think with we’re at war with Islam…. I think we’re at war with jihadists. I think we’ve got to reach out to Muslim countries and have them be part of our coalition. If they hear people running for president who basically shortcut it to say that we are somehow against Islam – that was one of the real contributions, despite all the other problems, that George W. Bush made after 9/11 when he basically said, after going to a Mosque in Washington, we are not at war with Islam or Muslims. We are at war with violent extremism. We are at war with people who use their religion for purposes of power and repression; and yes, we are at war with those people. But I don’t want us to be painting with too broad a brush.

Is Hillary Clinton such a fool that she doesn’t know what Islam teaches? If the leaders of various Muslim countries hear a tough-talking U.S. Secretary of State actively subverting traditional Islamic law, they are unlikely to see her as a genuine ally. Here, Clinton is not merely playing the usual political game of having her cake and eating it. In this context one needs to appreciate the ingredients of this cake; for every cake is made from a recipe, and every recipe has been carefully devised to produce specific culinary effects. One has to ask if this pro-homosexual policy was purposely designed to alienate traditional Muslims and incite further jihadist activities against the United States. Was that her real purpose in advancing the homosexual agenda in the Muslim world?

To understand the game of putting two scorpions in a bottle, one has to look beyond the madness of the stated agenda. Why would cynical people, concerned mostly with their own power, make use of the LGBT issue in the first place? For that matter, why is the forcible integration of Muslims into Europe and America so important? The answer is simple. Hillary Clinton and others of her ilk, who believe themselves figures of destiny, are advancing a hidden agenda. Does Hillary Clinton know whose agenda it is? We may doubt that she fully understands. Failing to look within, she never finds herself out. Lacking personal integrity, honor, and compassion, there is no real organ of discernment left to guide her. She is mere appetite, representing a desire for power and self-aggrandizement. There is nothing genuine or good in her. There is nothing of lasting value in what she does. She and her ilk are, as Carlyle said, “windy Counterfeits” who seek to take the place of better men. In our egalitarian stupor we are confused about the differences between the fraudulent and the authentic, between true and false, between hollow and full. To get ourselves out of this mess, noted Carlyle, it will require that

the few Wise will have, by one method or another, to take command of the innumerable Foolish; that they must be got to take it; – and that, in fact, since Wisdom, which means also Valor and heroic Nobleness, is alone strong in this world, and one wise man is stronger than all men unwise…. That they must take it; and having taken, must keep it, and do their God’s Message in it, and defend the same, at their life’s peril, against all men and devils. This I do clearly believe to be the backbone of all Future Society, as it has been of all Past; and that without it, there is no Society possible in the world.

Carlyle was born of humble origins in 1795. He was against, as he explained, “INSINCERITY in Politics and in Life, DEMOCRACY without Reverence, and PHILANTHROPY without Sense.” In this we find a more nuanced position, more precise in the warning it offers us. He saw the growth of insincerity, irreverence and muddleheaded altruism – and he sounded an alarm. Today his message goes to the heart of the present leadership crisis.

It may be observed that we choose leaders who espouse shallow optimism, not realizing how dangerously insincere they are. Notice how our political debates are peppered with irreverence and cynicism. To top it off, we soothe ourselves with a promiscuous philanthropy tending toward national bankruptcy. Is this so hard to see? The wise leaders that Carlyle believed necessary are the only possible palliative. But such men, in truth, are reticent and timid – not eager for the limelight. After all, being a leader of fools is dangerous business. The wise man sacrifices his peace of mind when taking up political office, while the mediocrity sacrifices nothing (having neither peace nor mind worth saving). As the fool is nothing, the attainment of office means everything to him. He overruns the state in his eagerness for power. He shouts down the wise. It is what he calls “democracy.”

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 . 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.

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.