Friday, 9 August 2013

Cultural Marxism the Bugbear

Cultural Marxism is another fine compound term serving the purpose of unlocking the secrets of the universe to those who have taken the time to familiarise themselves with all that this term signifies. The term Cultural Marxism is not in use in academic circles in Europe, and those who are foolish enough to advocate the usage of this term in an academic context can count on their ostracisation. The situation is not quite the same in the US: in a country where a coquettish creature like Ayn Rand is considered a great philosopher, some scholars also have the audacity to approvingly use this term in their academic publications.

Cultural Marxism's rise to fame as a hermeneutic device was by courtesy of a Norwegian of a rather dubious repute, and this should make it plain why the academic usage of this term will always be frowned upon in Europe. Anders Behring Breivik is not only a mass-murderer; he is also the quintessential representative of a new generation of scholars. These scholars are all autodidacts, the Google search engine is their muse, Wikipedia their Bible, Youtube their pulpit, and copy-paste their revolutionary method of exegesis.

Breivik's worldview is that of a sorcerer. This Norwegian's highest achievement in life was the position of a customer service representative in a call-centre, he had no academic credentials, he was a failed businessman, and even his Ukrainian mail-order bride-to-be deemed him not good enough. While rotting away in a call-centre, Breivik came to realise that only a conspiracy of cosmic proportions could explain why his life was as wretched as it was. The coming to grips with this maleficent force required that Breivik make his descent into the very pit of hell. Dante had been guided by Beatrice during his terrifying journey, whereas Breivik had his Google.

Breivik identified Cultural Marxism as the cause of all his failures. Cultural Marxism was this metaphysical force that was destroying not only the society in which Breivik lived, but also engulfing his inner life in turmoil. Breiviks's discoveries make it amply clear to us that the thought-patterns of the savage and the modern man are fundamentally the same. In primitive cultures we encounter demonic forces destroying anything that stands in their way and laying possession to the bodies of men. Cultural Marxism is endowed with similar powers: it causes havoc in society by fostering multiculturalism and it engenders feelings of guilt in the hearts of those who are critical of these developments.

What has preceded may come across as something of caricature, but this is not at all the case. It should be kept in mind here that even the most intricate philosophical systems admit of being encapsulated in the most rudimentary formulae, and in regard to the subject matter on hand it must be pointed out that we are not dealing with a school of thought, but rather the musings of some inept individuals, most of whom are Americans, about certain imaginary ideological trends that are viewed as being harmful to society.

The crusade against Cultural Marxism is a sham primarily because the crusaders are tilting at windmills. Furthermore, they do in no way possess the requisite qualifications to tackle the problems they set before themselves. These critics are reminiscent of the antisemite who claims to be an expert on the Talmud without knowing a word of Hebrew; they speak with great authority, almost ex cathedra, about Cultural Marxism, all the while giving no evidence of having engaged themselves with the writings of Marx. And if they had studied the works of Karl Marx, they would have come to realise that Cultural Marxism is anything but Marxist. One could even go so far as to state that those traits identified as being essential to Cultural Marxism - the advocacy of multiculturalism through immigration, feminism, and anti-authoritarianism - carry no relevance whatsoever to the writings of Marx. Neither did the implementation of Marxism in the former Soviet Union entail the pursuit of policies which may be viewed as instances of Cultural Marxism: the advocacy of a monolitihic Soviet culture, the celebration of manly virtues à la Stakhanov the working class hero, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union being a vanguard organisation acting in the best interest of the working class, viz., the whole population. What sort of Marxism is it that contradicts Marx both in theory and in practice? What we are up against is nothing more than an instance of intellectual laziness. Cultural Marxism is a cognitive dustbin in which one may dispose of any social trends considered to be undesirable.

The charge of Cultural Marxism is actually a Cold War survival and should be assigned to the same category as the Red Scare tactics of the American Right against International Communism. The whipping up of irrational fear in regard to communism - culminating in McCarthyism and the attendant show-trials - is a prime example of a society driven mad by a hysteria resembling the witch-hunts of the Late Middle Ages. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the bugbear of the Red Scare became obsolete and an up-to-date incarnation of evil needed to be manufactured: enter Cultural Marxism.

There is too much immigration and you don't like it? The Cultural Marxists are behind it. The feminists are exercising too much influence? The Cultural Marxists are to blame. Your manhood is threatened? The Cultural Marxists are out to castrate you. Is your disapproval of the social developments conjoined with pangs of conscience? The cultural Marxists are manipulating your feelings. You are losing the debate? The cultural Marxists are disprupting your train of thought by means of hidden messages. This cosmic conspiracy turned Breivik into a homicidal lunatic, but this was merely one case of pathology amongst countless others. We are dealing with the kind of men who will not heed the voice of reason, because, as Nietzsche fittingly pointed out, "what the mob has learnt without reason, no reason can overturn."

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

What is Political Correctness?

Political correctness is a compound term that gets thrown around a lot nowadays, usually by those opposed to a discourse which avoids addressing socio-political issues deemed to be of a pressing nature. To call someone "politically correct" is to accuse him or her of timidity in regard to problems that must be faced head-on.

The accusation of political correctness is a disease that all democratic societies must come to terms with. The substratum of most societies is a mass of individuals whose manners are uncouth, who have little or no education, whose analytical skills are inadequate, and who often carry grievances. Sadly, the principle of universal suffrage grants these animal-like creatures the right to vote and their grievances give rise to populist politicians. These populist politicians speak the crude language of the embittered masses and a symbiotic relationship between a populist agitator and the crowd comes into being, threatening the very foundations of democracy.

The accusations of political correctness will always emanate from those who identify themselves with the majority of a society. They will decry what they view as special privileges granted to minorities, and they will want an open debate on this politics of appeasement.

We must ask ourselves why special privileges are granted to minorities in the first place. As we reflect on this matter, we must keep in mind that the political vision of the ignorant masses extends to the coming weekend, whereas the political vision of a true statesman - men such as Bismarck, Atatürk, and Putin - is solicitous of the centuries that are to follow.

Uneducated Europeans tend to pout about the privileges afforded to the immigrants, but these privileges are but trifles in comparison with the privileges granted by China to her minorities. The Chinese one child policy does not apply to the Uyghur Muslims, who are allowed to have two children. Time is allotted to the Uyghurs for the observance of their prayers while they are at work. The Uyghurs are paid higher wages than the Han Chinese in Xinjiang owing to the fact that mutton is more expensive than pork. The Chinese Communist Party does not grant these privileges to the Uyghurs because they are philo-Islamic; these measures serve the purpose of bringing about the cohesion of the state.

Russia, likewise, grants many privileges to its minorities. In the case of country as vast as Russia, the granting of privileges to the minorities is an absolute necessity. Russia does not have the infrastructure - nor is it economically feasible - to rigorously police every corner of the country. The loyalty of the minorities living on the Russian periphery must be won by showing them that the state cares for their well-being.

If China and Russia allowed these policies to become subject to public debate, there would surely be many a fool, whose political vision does not extend any farther than to the coming weekend, who would object to this preferential treatment of the minorities. Precisely for this reason China and Russia should never allow these policies to become subject to open debate.

Also in the West, there are preferential policies aimed at the minorities. It is legitimate to point out the flaws to these policies, but one should be wary of conflating the reasoned critique of these policies with the criticism of those at whom these policies are aimed.

The rejection of political correctness is rooted in the desire to give vent to one's primal rage; we are dealing with hooliganism plain and simple. Political correctness is the adherence to a civilised discourse, whereas its opponents reject it in the name of free speech. But free speech, it must be remembered, is not an end in itself; free speech is a means to an end, and like any means it must be utilised in a responsible fashion. The uncultured advocates of free speech assume the role of victims when they are rebuked for making irresponsible utterances. They claim that their democratic rights have been trampled on, but the fact of the matter is that the exercise of prudence in regard to one's speech is part and parcel of the human condition. Indeed, this art of discernment in speech is what distinguishes man from the beast. And those who master this art have found ways of getting around the censors in societies exercising the severest kind of thought-control.

There was a famous Russian saint who would always keep a tiny rock in his mouth with a view to restraining his speech. People would do well to follow this saint's example. Far more important than the freedom of speech is the ability to keep one's mouth shut.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Elementary Politics: Right versus Left, or God versus Satan

The historically-minded amongst us are likely to point to the French Revolution of 1789 in order to explain the origins of the left-right distinction in politics: in the post-1789 French national assemby, the supporters of the Ancien Régime were seated to the president's right, whereas the supporters of the Revolution were seated to his left.

The left-right distinction in politics is actually primordial in origin; it stems from those pre-historic times when the metaphysical categories of good and evil had a bearing on the everyday life of men and women. The first leftist was Satan. The ultimate sin of Satan was not unspeakable cruelty; what brought about his fall from grace was his act of disobedience. Satan challenged the established order, he questioned the wisdom of God's decrees, and for this act of bravery he was cast out of heaven. The most moving and human account of Satan's disobedience is to be found in the holy book of the Muslims. After God had created man, he asked all the angels and jinns to prostrate themselves before his new creation. Everyone did as God commanded, with the exception of Satan. When God asked Satan why he was not prostrating himself, Satan replied, "Why should I prostrate myself unto a mortal whom thou hast created out of potter's clay of black mud altered?" It is almost as if Satan was anticipating all the follies of man and the countless miseries this creature of God would wreak upon earth.

Satan challenged God's way of ordering the universe, and as prone as the human mind, both the primitive and the modern, is to interpreting the world with recourse to binary opposites, Satan came to signify cosmic chaos. The binary pair of order versus chaos is perhaps the most fundamental. Every man, from the wisest to the dumbest, wants the world to make sense; he has a way of ordering the world around him, and whatever contradicts this order is seen as signifying chaos. But Satan, it should be remembered, was no instigator of chaos; he had his own way of ordering the world.

Chaos may well be a deplorable state of affairs, but the catalogue of perversities attributed to Satan is the invention of the religious authorities. When Catherine of Siena, this deranged woman, now counted amongst the saints of the Roman-Catholic Church, was having her visions of human beings engaging in the vilest acts of debauchery, she attributed these visions to the machinations of Satan. It never occured to Catherine of Siena that her own frail and impressionable mind might be the cause of her hallucinations. For lengthy periods of time, Catherine of Siena's only source of nutrition would be the Holy Communion and with a view to curbing her inordinate desires she would engage in acts of self-flagellation. No wonder that this repressed and anorectic lady was susceptible to hallucinations, no wonder that she saw Satan behind every corner, and no wonder that she championed the the cause of the Roman-Catholic crusades against the Muslims, the Jews, and the Orthodox Christians.

A binary thinking from which moral precepts are deduced is a disease not only of the Western mind; it is an intellectual disease to be encountered in every part of the world in which the three semitic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have taken root. Christianity and Islam, it should be remembered, have inherited their basic theological concepts from Judaism, whereas Judaism, for its part, has inherited these selfsame theological concepts from the Persian religion of Zoroaster. The historical root cause of this intellectual disease being the religion of Zoroaster was identified as such by Nietzsche. In Nietzsche's famous work Also Sprach Zarathustra, the founder of this religion returns to the world of mortals in order to atone for his folly. Zoroaster was the one who had infected the human mind with the concepts of good and evil; therefore it was only fitting that he should return to recant his teaching. And this he did by declaring death of God. What Nietzsche had accomplished was no more than an act of poetic justice, but Nietzsche's endeavours to uncover the causes of all our intellectual diseases should be lauded on a par with the most revolutionary discoveries in the fields of the natural sciences.

My studies of Nietzsche have enabled me to identify the following genealogies of the political traditions of Right and Left:

Right: This political tradition is sacerdotal by nature and may therefore, mythologically speaking, be seen as hailing from God himself. This is a common sense tradition, which, by observing the iron laws of nature, where the stronger forces prevail over the weaker, seeks to imitate these laws in the ordering of the human relations. This political tradition is crude, it is tribalistic, it is fatalistic, and most important of all: it is practical; after all: what works for the beast in the jungle, works just as well for men. Free market economy, imperialism, eugenics, racial segregation, and slavery are but the laws of the jungle being applied to the human condition. The crudest representatives of this tradition justify this way of ordering things as being in conformity with the laws of nature which have been instituted by the God Almigthy himself; to question the customary way of ordering the world amounts to defying God. Even the sophisticated representatives of this political tradition, Edmund Burke being a case in point, seek refuge in a mystical world of custom. The finest representative of this political tradition, the German jurist Carl Schmitt, a man whom I truly admire, makes no secret of the fact that politics is ultimately a secularised form of theology. Schmitt's distinction of friend and foe in politics is in fact a translation into modern political idiom of the ancient theological concepts of good and evil. "Après moi, le déluge" was much more than the lamentation of a French king who knew that his end was nigh. This lamentation bespeaks an apocalpytic way of perceiving the world: if the prevalent order is disrupted by its enemies, the gates of hell will burst open. The political tradition of the Right cannot do without enemies, both internal and external. Yesterday one had a fifth column of Jews in cahoots with international communism, whereas today one has a fifth column of Muslim immigrants-cum-terrorists in cahoots with the cultural Marxists. This is theology at work.

Left: This political tradition is counter-sacerdotal by nature and may therefore, mythologically speaking, be seen as hailing from Satan himself. This tradition is not without its ancient-historical
prototypes, but in its modern form it is initiated by Kant and it reaches its pinnacle in the philosophy of Karl Marx. Kant's highest achievement was his having demonstrated - and decidedly so - that the traditional modes of ordering the world are woefully inadequate. With great clarity Kant showed how tribalist prejudices marr human thinking. In his exposition of the antinomies he explained how two diametrically opposed propositions regarding the origin of the world could both be equally right. If both be equally right, then what is it that prompts man to dogmatically adhere to proposition A rather than B or B rather than A? Kant's answer is that an inherent provincialism prompts man to act in such a manner. "It is a manifestly absurd thing", says Kant, "to expect to be enlightened by reason and yet to prescribe for it beforehand on which side it should incline." Marx's philosophy is a continuation of the process set in motion by Kant. Kant laid bare the provincialism of human thought, whereas Marx showed how it affected the economic and social relations existing between men. Marx made it clear that the superstructure of a society, its ideals and its myths, served to consolidate the hegemony of the ruling classes.

The Western inclination to viewing the world along theological-dualistic lines is far from being universal. In this regard we have a great deal to learn from the ancient Hindus. The Hindu Goddess Kali encompasses both good and evil, thus rendering Satan superfluous. Hinduism also makes the distinction between right and left; the former signifies religious orthodoxy, whereas the latter signifies religious heterodoxy. The important point is that Hinduism acknowledges the validity of the left path or heterodoxy as a viable means to deliverance. The ancient Hindus displayed a level of theological-philosophical sophistication which was not reached by the West until the times of Kant.

The persistence of the political tradition of the Right goes to show that habits of old cannot be done away with. There is a direct line of continuity between the primitive caveman and the modern conservative. According to Schopenhauer, insanity is a rupture to the narrative chain conferring meaning on the world. The political Right's battle against the Left is not only a struggle for the preservation of a quasi-theological narrative; it is also a struggle for the preservation of one's sanity.