Saturday, January 31, 2009

Anarcho-tyranny (6) Hemlock for the Masses

Socrates was a public intellectual, and for his efforts he was executed. If he'd been a lesser man, one could almost cheer that. Public intellectuals are the menace of our time, that "time" being from roughly 1750. It's gotten worse by the decade. Public intellectuals have become the scourge of Life. Where is Cincinnatus? Well, in Wasilla, Alaska, now that you mention it. Somewhere in the Netherlands.

We in the West live, so we think, in democratic nations. Comparatively, yes. Ask Geert Wilders where he'd rather be: the Netherlands or Sweden. Obviously he'd rather be in the Netherlands where he faces criminal charges for speaking and making his short film Fitna; in the Netherlands where he's under 24 hour per day guard from jihadis who intend to kill him; in the Netherlands where he spends his nights in different locations out of reach of jihadis who want to kill him. In Sweden, no doubt the government would toss him onto the street and let him be killed. In his own way, Wilders is like Socrates: he asks questions that piss off the ruling classes. So far the Dutch aren't willing to kill him outright. Instead, they hope to toss him in prison or drive him out of the country. The intelligentsia hate Wilders. Rather than deal with the masses of murderers Wilders speaks of, they go after Wilders himself.

Sam Francis, "Mass Immigration + Feckless Feds = Anarcho-Tyranny,"; 21 April 2003

"[A]narcho-tyranny": a combination of anarchy (in which legitimate government functions ... are not performed) and tyranny (in which government performs illegitimate functions....)

The result of anarcho-tyranny is that government swells in power, criminals are not controlled, and law-abiding citizens wind up being repressed by the state and attacked by thugs.


Socrates was a challenging and infuriating fellow who pissed-off his friends and enemies alike, being a genuine democrat in that sense. He lived off the labours of his wife and neglected his family to go into the agora and chat up people about morality. Today in the West it's unlikely he'd be sentenced to death for his efforts, but he'd definitely be hauled in front of a "human rights" commission of some sort. He'd find himself confronted by a dozen or so nasty little Platos. Nothing much changes. Except when you make it change. You could look at Jefferson and Madison to find out about that. You could look at the U.S. Constitution. Or you might take a peak at Geert Wilders.

Mark Steyn, "Dutch Courage," National Review Online. 21 Jan. 09.


The Dutch, like the Canadians, think they can maintain social peace by shriveling the bounds of public discourse and bringing what little remains under state regulation. But one notices that the coercive urge, which comes so naturally to Euro-progressives, only goes in one direction. The Swedish Chancellor of Justice shuts down the investigation into the Grand Mosque of Stockholm for selling tapes urging believers to kill "the brothers of pigs and apes" (ie, Jews) because that's simply "the everyday climate in the rhetoric". The masked men marching through the streets of London with placards threatening to rain down another 9/11 on the infidels are protected by a phalanx of Metropolitan Police officers. The PC nellies of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission, happy to hound the last neo-Nazi in Saskatchewan posting to the Internet from his mum's basement, won't go anywhere near Abou Hammaad Sulaiman Dameus al-Hayitia, the big-time Montreal imam whose book says infidels are "evil people", Jews "spread corruption and chaos", and homosexuals should be "exterminated".

Instead, the state's response to explicit Islamic intimidation is to punish those foolish enough to point out that intimidation. You don't have to be as intemperate as Minheer Wilders can sometimes be: In the Netherlands even the most innocuous statement can get you into trouble. To express his disgust at Theo van Gogh's murder, the artist Chris Ripke put up a mural outside his studio showing an angel and the words "Thou shalt not kill". But the cops thought this was somehow a dig at the local mosque and so came round, destroyed the mural, arrested the TV news crew filming it, and wiped their tape. The Dutch have determined to commit societal euthanasia, and dislike fellows pointing out it might not be as painless as they've assumed.

The Spartan faction is ascendant in the West today. Our public intellectuals are Platonist fascists. Rule by cliques of "enlightened" thinkers, those who "know" and who will, out of their innate goodness, keep us from the horrors of the Truth. The Big Lie. It's all for us and the preservation of society, right up till the time everyone is dead.

Bruce Bawer, "Submission in the Netherlands, City Journal. 22 Jan. 2009


The same people who demonized Fortuyn have done their best to stifle Wilders. In April 2007, intelligence and security officials called him in and demanded that he tone down his rhetoric on Islam. Last February, the Minister of Justice subjected him to what he described as another "hour of intimidation." The announcement that he was making a film about Islam only led his enemies to turn up the heat. Even before Fitna was released early last year, Doekle Terpstra, a leading member of the Dutch establishment, called for mass rallies to protest the movie. Terpstra organized a coalition of political, business, academic, and religious leaders, the sole purpose of which was to try to freeze Wilders out of public debate. Dutch cities are riddled with terrorist cells and crowded with fundamentalist Muslims who cheered 9/11 and idolize Osama bin Laden, but for Terpstra and his political allies, the real problem was the one Member of Parliament who wouldn't shut up. "Geert Wilders is evil," pronounced Terpstra, "and evil has to be stopped." Fortuyn, van Gogh, and Hirsi Ali had been stopped; now it was Wilders's turn.

Socrates was evil. Geert Wilders is evil. I'm a boatload of disgusting things. You're rotten, too, no doubt. We cannot be allowed to voice or write our opinions or the whole of society will fall into chaos. That's what happens when evil people speak or write. Better to poison the free-thinker than allow chaos and dissent. Yes, it means the jihadis and the fascists will tyrannize the world, but it'll be OK because the elite know... The Truth. Charge Wilders for disrupting the phantasy of multi-culturalism. Throw him in jail.

[T]he Netherlands allows private citizens to petition the courts to compel prosecution. In Wilders' case, eight parties, including a politician from an opposing party, asked the courts to force prosecutors to bring criminal charges.

A three-judge appeals panel on Wednesday ruled that Wilders' insults to Islam were so egregious that the principle of free speech was not sufficient defense.

"The court considers [Wilders' film] so insulting for Muslims that it is in the public interest to prosecute Wilders," a summary of the court's decision said. The court explained that Wilders' claims in "Fitna" and other media statements were "one-sided generalizations ... which can amount to inciting hatred."

Of course, when one refers to the Truth, one must distinguish between truth as the helots live it and the Truth as the Gnostic Platonists "know" it. And the chaos? Well, again there is the chaos of the helots and the demos and the chaos of putting things right eternally and unchangingly for the good of all later. Right? It means the Will to Death. It's not just a Dutch Disease. It affects us all.

Melanie Phillips, "Britain's Surrender," Wall Street Journal. 19 Jan. 2009.


Years of demonizing Israel and appeasing Islamist extremism within Britain have now coalesced, as a result of the media misrepresentation of the Gaza war as an atrocity against civilians, in an unprecedented wave of hatred against Israel and a sharp rise in attacks on British Jews.

Throughout the war, London's streets have witnessed a hallucinatory level of violent and explicit support for Hamas from Muslims, members of the far left and supposedly progressive individuals.

Night after night, Israel's embassy in well-to-do Kensington found itself under violent siege. Demonstrators attempted to storm the building, howling their support for the terrorist body whose genocidal intentions toward Israel and the Jews necessarily includes killing every one of the occupants inside.


The police told pro-Israel demonstrators on at least one occasion to put away their Israel flags because they were "inflammatory." Yet officers allowed some anti-Israel demonstrators to scream support for Hamas -- and even to dress up as hook-nosed Jews pretending to drink the blood of Palestinian babies.

In general, the police have reacted passively to the violence. One recent video clip captured the astonishing spectacle of Muslims stampeding through London's West End hurling traffic cones and other missiles at the police, all the time shrieking "Allahu akbar" and "cowards." The police ran and stumbled backward rather than standing their ground and stopping the rampage.


It was Britain which took the lead in framing the United Nations resolution calling upon Israel to withdraw all its forces from Gaza while making no mention whatever of Hamas. And it was Britain which also drew a disquieting moral equivalence between Hamas terrorism and Israeli self-defense.

[A]lthough "middle Britain" is beginning to grasp that the Islamists in Gaza are the same as those rampaging through the streets of London, ministers are intent on appeasing Muslim extremism and intimidation both at home and abroad.


Across the spectrum, Britain's elites are terrified of dealing with militant Islamism. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that, in a pattern which goes back to the foundational Christian blood libel against the Jews, they are concealing their fearful inability to deal with Islamist aggression by displacing the blame onto its Israeli victims instead.

Links above, except S. Francis, from Foundation for the Defense of Democracy.

Phillips writes: "Britain's elites are terrified of dealing with militant Islamism.... They are concealing their fearful inability to deal with Islamist aggression by displacing the blame onto its Israeli victims instead."

The Dutch bash Wilders. Every coward government has its favorite. That's not strange. That's totally normal. It's Human to pretend and to sacrifice someone expediently. What doesn't make sense is accepting ones own self as the sacrifice of others for no good reason. Yes, the psychology is there for all of us to grasp; but it's not universal: some will fight back. Some will struggle for the Will to Power against the Will to Death. Ask Geert Wilders.

Our ruling classes will sacrifice the people in small and unnoticed batches till they run out of batches. That's the nature of people. Most will accept death as the way things must be. Some, like Primo Levi, will survive. Some, like Adam Czerniakow, will sacrifice others till the shame drives them to suicide. Such is life. Not everyone is a Jabotinsky.

History isn't determined other than by the confines of Humanness, history being Will, the moment by moment making of the future. Accident is not history. Man's reaction to accident is history. History is Will. Anarcho-tyranny is Will. Revolution is Will.

Plato, Marat, Lenin: all public intellectuals. So too, Socrates, Jefferson, and Sarah Palin. Geert Wilders. What you will.

"Sweden: Muslim demonstrators attack Jews at peaceful pro-Israel rally."

See link for video:

Sweden: Muslim mob attacks peaceful pro-Israel rally, chants "Hitler! Hitler! Hitler!"

See link for video:

Criminal jihadis are not controlled, and law-abiding citizens like Wilders wind up being repressed by the state and attacked by thugs. That's not democracy. That's the Netherlands. It will be; and it will be worse-- unless by Will people rise up and reorganise the state.


Walker Morrow said...

Hey Dag, how's it going?

This post, and especially your closing comments reminded me a little of something that I wrote back when that beheading occurred on that Greyhound bus. The whole incident has sort of faded from our collective memory by now, but back then, it was something that everyone was talking about, and speaking for myself, the act of riding on a bus took on a whole new meaning.

I was wondering why this might be. How we could be so shocked. And the conclusion that I came to was that over time we develop a sort of a bubble, an illusion of safety, which we maintain by increasingly banal efforts to restrict things like carry-on luggage, and how much booze someone can take on a bus, increasingly invasive security measures, and the like. We use all of these measures, and we tell ourselves that we are safe, that if everything is working properly, that if everyone is doing their jobs, then nobody will come to harm.

Then....things go to hell, and the bubble bursts, and we wonder whose fault it was, all the time ignoring that we can never be truly safe or protected, and that agents of chaos are not going to abide by any of the rules of order.

In this instance, radical jihadists are the agents of chaos, and the European Union, and to an extent the other Western Nations are the people living inside the illusion of safety. It's getting popped more and more often, and we're seeking to place the blame on someone from inside the bubble - who messed it up?

All the time, we are ignoring the fact that the agents of chaos are going to do what they do despite our best efforts, and that they will continue to disrupt our society and our illusion of safety - because that's what they are there to do.

I think the agent of chaos changes over time. For the Americans during World War II, it was the Germans who were outside of the bubble of safety - that is, until the Japanese tore apart Pearl Harbour. Now it's radical Islamists, and the casualties for now will only be people like Geert Wilders, until we realise the illusion of safety that we are trying to maintain, and identify the real enemies, or agents of chaos, and orient to fight them, instead.

At least, that could be what it is. Perhaps I'm way off base...

truepeers said...

I don't suppose it's worth pointing out once again that the Dutch political parties that want to put Wilders in jail, in the name of the democratic desire to have a scapegoat, were just the kind of thing that turned Plato against the collapsing democracy of his time. So what is the difference between P's philosopher king and your will to power? It seems to me the same kind of metaphysics. Just left a comment at A-T5

truepeers said...

It seems to me the same kind of metaphysics.

-sorry Dag, i wish i hadn't written that. My point was not that you don't distinguish your ideal from Plato's but that you use the same kind of metaphysical medium. My beef with the "will to power" is that it is an *idea* within the West's metaphysical tradition that has run out of ethically-innovative potential, as, for example, we watch much of it die out alongside Nietzsche and move into deconstruction and its nihilism.

Long story short: we need new narratives, rather than idealized ideas. The will to make history is usually expressed as a Platonic idea; its performance however is an an act of faith in creating new events and stories. How do we understand that faith? That is what I want to pursue.

Eowyn said...

Plato was an idealist. (Rousseau, and uncounted others, his disciples.)

Give me Socrates every time. The truth will out.

Walker Morrow said...

Truepeers: But isn't idealogy, or idealized ideas, one of the driving forces behind change? Whether it is good or bad change is up for grabs, but surely idealogy, even that of such as Plato, can provide incredible drives for change.

Or is that exactly what you're saying, and what you're looking for is a driving force for change which isn't idealogical?

I hate to bring up capitalism again, but I would almost point toward it again in answer. Capitalism is rather amoral, while at the same time it has an immense power to change the world around it. Capitalism can be influenced by idealogy, but it depends much more on dominant idealogies to drive its own idealogy, and money is really the over-all allure for Capitalism at its heart.

I don't want to say that money makes the world go 'round, but capitalism certainly represents a very powerful, non-idealogical force for massive change.

Walker Morrow said...

On Socrates, I'm with Eowyn. The Truth is the best philosophical aspiration. Societal change, and idealogy can follow afterward.

Although applying that principle to myself is a painful chore...

truepeers said...

Walker, my comments here are part of a larger conversation with Dag about Plato. So it may be a bit difficult to follow what I am getting at with a brief comment, and I only have time now for another but will try to say something more here tonight or tomorrow.

But isn't idealogy, or idealized ideas, one of the driving forces behind change? Whether it is good or bad change is up for grabs, but surely idealogy, even that of such as Plato, can provide incredible drives for change.

-I think the most fundamental driver of change is human desire and resentment that exists in relation to the presently existing order; love is also fundamental as a creative response to the danger of our inevitable resentment of differences and of our own alienation from what we and others hold sacred.

Any given human situation or scene comes into being because the people who share in any scene recognize, through the course of an event, a common need to mediate their resentments by giving off a new sign of what is sacred, what they can agree to preserve as significant experience, as an alternative to, or ending of, violence.

What Plato did was discover or formalize a new kind of sign - the concept or idea - that people could share and develop as a way of mediating their conflicts. This was a sign significantly different in nature from those of tribal myth and ritual. It was the sign of philosophy, metaphysics, or of free speech - speech no longer shaped by tribal myth and ritual.

Once we have a new sign that can be shared and used alongside our need to organize ourselves in new ways, economic and military, it can allow for a mediation of our resentments that expands our shared freedoms by deferring our competing desires and channeling them to productive ends. The sign becomes the focus of an exchange, or mediation, that discovers new possibilities in human being.

Dag is a Plato hater because in discovering the sign of philosophy, Plato explored his nascent experience of philosophy, at a time of democratic decline, when sophists were on the rampage in the polis, to imagine a world in which the philosophers were kings. Dag thinks this fascist, not appreciating, it seems to me, that Plato was doing more to give us philosophy or metaphysics than he was any particular philosophy. As such, his contribution was to expand human freedom as the rise of the West, by marrying Athens and Jerusalem in its thought, might suggest.

Anyway, to clarify my answer: ideas can provide a focus for our energies of love and resentment; I would say these energies are the driving force of change; the ideas are a form of mediating these energies in hopefully productive ways.

As for capitalism, it trades in money which is a token of the sacred thing that becomes a sign that we share to mediate our tensions in hopefully productive ways. There are ideologies of capitalism, to be sure; but there are also anti-capitalist ideologies that do quite well in the capitalist marketplace: Che t-shirts, for example.

We have to try to understand the relationship of the economics sphere to the ideologies or ethics we use to frame the market.
Only the most extreme capitalists are purely focussed simply on making more money. Most of us want to use money to ends which are not themselves part of the economic market. We want to advance our families, or our conception of what is best for our civil society, etc. We want to be able to balance the demands of the marketplace with our lives outside it. We want to balance our desires to consume with our need to remain productive people. This means that the ideologies that accompany our capitalism are paradoxical in a number of ways. We often support capitalism by opposing it (e.g. Che t-shirts, not these are worth much to me...). For example, if I just go with the flow of desires in the marketplace, I can ruin myself by having an imbalance between my desire to consume and my need to remain productive, hard-working, or my need to live in a society where moral imperatives can be recognized in a political market outside of the economic marketplace. If we can't meet such personal and political needs, often by opposing market-born desires, we can destroy our capacity to reproduce the kind of people who can make a free market work.

Not sure if this is getting at your questions...

One last thing about Plato: he is the founder of Western metaphyscis. As such he created a form of thought which has had liberating consequences. But that is not to say it will forever. Much of the debate we are having today concerns whether we can now move beyond metaphysical forms of thinking. I think we can. But I think those who do, those who discover freer forms of thinking, will not be so much in heated rivalry with Plato (which is the sign of someone who is still a metaphysical thinker) as simply seeing beyond him by understanding both the beginning and end of metaphysics in the context of a new kind of anthropological thinking, an anthropology that can, among other things, take us back to an appreciation of our fundamental human, history-making, scenic forces that Plato had to cover up in going beyond tribal myth and ritual.

truepeers said...

Re-reading what I wrote a couple of hours ago, I'm guessing it's probably not too clear. Oh well.

One way of responding to your point about the ideology of capitalism, is that I'm not sure that capitalism proper has an ideology. Today's free market works through transactions that are not themselves obviously ideological in nature. When you take out your credit card, to give it to someone over the phone in a distant land, no one engages you in politics; the transaction is very abstract. But that space of abstract transactions where we are each privately calculating our interest in our own ways has to be framed by some larger ethical or political order in which the debate of ideologies is ever present. And whether those ideologies are ultimately pro or anti-capitalism is not simply a question of what they say, but what they do. As I noted, often when you oppose the system you teach the system how to accommodate you and thus the system grows stronger and freer in learning how to do this. Today's market is sustained by all kinds of nominally "anti-market" ideologies (some of which are more productive and less dangerous than others). It is only those who are truly violent in trying to destroy the marketplace, those who won't let the market buy them off or redeem their rebellion in any way, who are truly anti-capitalists. But there is a sense in which no one can be truly outside the market today. As long as I am actively opposing the market, I am still reliant on its resources to do the job; i have to participate in it. This is why the role of suicide bomber is appealing to true believers. It is the only real way to oppose and opt out of the global economy. But even when you are preparing to detonate, you are still consuming within the single global market....

Our politics can regulate and shape the marketplace in all kinds of ways, many which we cannot yet imagine. But no politics today can really turn the clock back to a time when the economy was based on gift exchange, not abstract transactions, unless it is willing to do unimaginable violence to the present world that has been built up by the free market.

Walker Morrow said...

You're right, Truepeers. I suppose that capitalism is really just an extension of our every-day interaction - just with money involved.

Capitalism does seem to be shaped differently than our average interactions are, though. Our average interactions, I think, tend to be more influenced by things like politeness, and getting along. The impetus is being able to, well, give and take between what you want, and what the other person wants ( you tend to shape this in terms of the sacred, and we probably disagree a bit on that, but you know what I mean). Whereas capitalist interactions tend to be much the same in shape, only with money involved, rather than interpersonal relationships and feelings. Although those can be mixed in as well.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that capitalism seems to have more of an impersonal element - I suppose it is because of the monetary factor. And even though the individuals involved may have their own morals and goals and political aspirations, the main principle, - that of capitalism, the exchange of money for product or service - , I think, is somewhat amoral. Capitalism itsef isn't a particularly moral, or particularly immoral philosophy. I don't think that capitalism really has any central principles, for that matter, other than that of monetary interaction.

So as such, I think capitalism leaves itself open for shaping by moral and political interests, but it isn't particularly moral or political in and of itself. I think this is why people who are actually against free markets are still able to utilize free markets just as successfully as the most die-hard capitalist.

truepeers said...


I think we're saying pretty much the same thing. There is definitely an impersonal element to the free market - it works in terms of anonymous (or largely so) transactions. This is very different from the nature of exchange or reciprocity in traditional societies, which are based on a series of gift exchanges and inter-personal obligations built up and serviced over time. The thing is, even in our world today where the market exchange is largely anonymous, so much of our exchange in daily life is still inter-personal and gift based.

I would NOT say that "capitalism" is simply the equivalent of the culture of the free market. Capital means money, and there have long been people interested in acquiring such, for various reasons, as long as there have been economies based on money. One can be a capitalist in a traditional world where trade is largely something that only exists *between* communities, while communities order themselves internally through a series of gift/service obligations.

Anyway it is because in the modern free market (only 300 years old in the places where it has been around the longest) that the anonymous transaction is so important that we have to invent all kinds of ways of framing market transactions in various political ideologies and moral imperatives that are not themselves based on anonymous transactions. The free market is not self-sufficient but requires a larger ethical or political consensus that has to be defended and built up in ways we can all see and remember: politics must be personal, unlike the economic transaction.

The impetus is being able to, well, give and take between what you want, and what the other person wants ( you tend to shape this in terms of the sacred, and we probably disagree a bit on that, but you know what I mean).

-some things are more sacred to us than other things, I don't want to question that or question how you understand what is sacred. But I think if you inquire into the nature of desire, of what people "want", you have to come up with some way of distinguishing our desires from our natural animal appetites. Obviously, we are capable of desiring much more than we physically need. Desire is something that focusses on what other people think is cool or significant or status attracting, etc. This could be Nike shoes, or the most holy icon. Because our desire can focus on so many things, we need some kind of all-purpose anthropological hypothesis of how this works. My allusions to the sacred, the non-natural foci of our desires, flow from my engagement with such an anthropology (in the light of the work of Rene Girard and others).

truepeers said...

In other words, one can be a "capitalist" in the sense of a Saudi sheikh who has a right to collect oil royalties and who can take this accumulating money anywhere in the world and invest it. Still, because this Sheikh is ultimately a political figure, dependent for his future survival on maintaining a series of gift/service obligations in the Saudi kingdom, he is not a "capitalist" in the same way that, say, Warren Buffet is (or was, before he started becoming a political figure...)

The Sheikh is an old-fashioned "capitalist" who probably doesn't really understand or internalize the culture of the free market, however much he benefits from it; Warren Buffet, on the other hand, is the epitome of someone who only thinks in terms of the free market, rather shallow when it comes to understanding inter-personal ties, or so it seems to me when he goes on about investing...

Walker Morrow said...

Yeah, I think we basically agree. One thing I might add though, is that I think the reason that someone like the Saudi sheikh is sort of instinctively capitalist is because capitalism comes naturally to us all - since capitalism is based in a form of interaction.

I wonder if this is why I tend to think that capitalism is separate from political or other ideological drives - because capitalism is something natural to us, like a tool to be used for a certain end. The users can have their own ideologies and uses for capitalism, but the idea of capitalism is in and of itself amoral and exempt from any ideology except that of capitalistic gain.

truepeers said...

I don't think capitalism is natural to us. Desire is fundamental to human beings, but the desire to accumulate money takes a certain kind of civilization that will first imagine then allow it: early forms of tribal culture have no way for people to bank wealth and the idea wouldn't make sense to someone truly within that world. And even when big men evolve who learn how to control a surplus, their skill is still largely political or ethical.

The point being: the Saudi sheikh knows how to collect oil royalties and to invest them; but if he had to try to figure out how to get ahead in a free market, starting with nothing or little, he'd probably have a lot of trouble. Saudi sheikhs control big money, but a lot of Saudis sit around collecting the tribal dole while foreigners do the high skill work.

Walker Morrow said...

Hmm...that's a good point. But isn't capitalism at its essence based on services/goods versus what someone is willing to trade for those services/goods? Even in tribal cultures that must apply to a certain extent.

So perhaps a purely Westernized free market system of capitalism wouldn't work well with say, our Saudi sheikh, but he must understand the principle of trade - which I think is close enough to capitalism to qualify.

Although perhaps I'm being too nebulous in my definition of capitalism..