Sunday, January 25, 2009

Anarcho-Tyranny, (5): Do not go gentle....

I had a series of photographs of a family, a man and woman about forty, and their ten year old son, all of them standing in front of a trench. Next shot, they are standing with their backs to the camera, naked, their clothes in a pile behind them. Next, the family are kneeling down on their knees while a German officer stands behind them holding a pistol to the back of the man's head.

I had another series of photographs of Italian women standing in a huddle, dressed; then undressed; then laying in a heap after they'd been machine-gunned by Germans. I'd swear to fight.
Edward Olshaker, "Chopra's Delusions," American Thinker. 16 Dec. 2008

[Deepak] Chopra wants to do something, anything, to calm down Islamic terrorist rage. We all do. "Ultimately the [terrorists'] message is always toward Washington," he said. Yet even if the US and Israel were to disappear, there would be no shortage of Islamic extremist rage -- at Buddhist schoolgirls they behead in Thailand; at Christians persecuted for being the wrong religion; at schoolchildren in Beslan, Russia; at blacks they enslave, rape, and kill in genocidal numbers in Sudan; at the Dalai Lama, who is under a death fatwa; at the five fishermen the Mumbai terrorists killed at the start of their mission; at fellow terrorists summarily executed in Palestinian infighting; at their own women who they dispose of in "honor" killings; at their own children who are hanged to death in Iran on suspicion of being gay. It takes no more than a mere cartoon to trigger deadly rage....
American Thinker
I used to live a bit close to the edge, and if I'd been wounded or come close to death through some misadventure I'd find myself in possession of photos of Jews who suffered the ultimate. I might have gazed in wonder at the dead to will that I will not go gentle.
Tom Whitehead. "Prison chapel not to have a crucifix,"Telegraph, 15 Dec. 2008.

A new prison chapel has been stopped from having a crucifix in case it offends Muslims.

The multi-faith room at HMP Lewes will have footbaths installed so Muslim inmates can wash their feet before prayers.

For Christians, however, there will now only be a plain wooden cross and a portable altar which can be removed if other faiths are using the room.

The new £200,000 development at the East Sussex jail has been designed as a multi-faith room with the space split into two.

One side is dedicated to Christian worship and the other is for other faiths in the 485 inmate category B jail.

But a spokeswoman from the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) revealed the traditional Christian crucifix depicting Jesus nailed to the cross will not be used.

After discussions between the prison chaplain and Muslim imam it was agreed a toned-down wooden cross would be used instead of a crucifix....
Most people freeze in a panic. When they do that, one could walk up to each one separately and individually and shoot them in the head, and not a one would cry out or run away. They wait their turn. We came across a whole village of people who died like that. One woman escaped.
John Bingham, "Blind man's guide dog barred from restaurant for offending Muslims," Telegraph, December 15.

A blind man has been turned away from a fashionable Indian restaurant because his guide dog offended Muslim staff....

"I was made to feel like a piece of dirt. They told me I couldn't come in because it was against their religious beliefs to have a dog in the restaurant....
.A crowd is one animal itself. I've been in crowds that have frozen in panic; I've seen a mob hack a man to bits; I saw a man in a crowd gutted by an hysteric in a crowd of hysterics. I've seen a big man intimidated by a small man, the big man shrinking from fear like a corpse. I've seen a beaten woman grin in triumph when another man came to rescue her from her boyfriend. I'm getting old. I've seen lots of weirdness. But never in my travels over the course of a long life-time have I seen anything so strange and disgusting as the fall of Modernity, a huge lumbering animal now frozen in a state of fear, shrinking like a corpse before our eyes, grinning in triumph and shame and confusion.

I'll continue here with more from Samuel Francis and his idea of Anarcho-tyranny.
Sam Francis, "Anarcho-Tyranny—Where Multiculturalism Leads," VDARE.Com. 30 Dec. 2004.

In Europe, if not in the United States, some people are beginning to grasp that just maybe they made a mistake when they decided to welcome millions of immigrants over the last several decades.


To have freedom on a stable political basis, you have to have a homogeneous culture and society, composed of people who share the same values and beliefs.

If they don't share them, you can hold them together only by force.


"Society cannot exist," wrote the great eighteenth century conservative Edmund Burke, "unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more of it there must be without."

Restraints come from within when a population shares cultural and moral values; when they don't, external force has to provide the restraints.

Only a week or so after the murder of Mr. Van Gogh in Holland, the neighboring country of Belgium outlawed its main opposition party, the Vlaamsblok, for being a "racist organization."

The Vlaamsblok, which two opinion polls found was the most popular political party in Flanders the month before, was notable mainly for its strong opposition to immigration. That's what made it "racist" and that's why it had to go.

This month Great Britain simply arrested two of its leading opponents of immigration, Nick Griffin of the British National Party and the party's founder John Tyndall, on charges of "inciting racial hatred." Each, it seems, had made (in private meetings secretly taped by undercover informants) derogatory (or perhaps merely critical) remarks about Islam.

The arrests are transparent efforts by the British overclass to muzzle rising political challengers, but they're also part of the drift toward authoritarianism that mass immigration provokes.

We see the drift in this country, with the Patriot Act and its spawn at airports and in random searches of law-abiding citizens—all because our own overclass will not enforce standing laws against illegal immigration and does nothing to halt the transformation of American society by millions of aliens.

Unwilling to control immigration and the cultural disintegration it causes, the authorities instead control the law-abiding.

This is precisely the bizarre system of misrule I have elsewhere described as "anarcho-tyranny" -- we refuse to control real criminals (that's the anarchy) so we control the innocent (that's the tyranny).

Stealing, raping, and murder are all acceptable under sharia under the right conditions. It's a matter of orthopraxy, of practicing the correct ritual Islamic behaviour. In the state of Velvet Fascism, we have lost even that much sense, delving into banal and ultimately stupid ortholexy. "Whatever you do, don't you ever say that!"

Deflect. Do not look at them. Pretend this is not happening, and perhaps they'll choose someone else. Don't let the trouble-makers rile them up. Silence them. They'll only make it worse.

Following are two examples from the unrelenting daily barrage of the velvet fascism of anarcho-tyranny:
"Mother told to take down her Christmas lights... in case they offend her non-Christian neighbours," from the Daily Mail, 16 Dec. 2008.

A woman has spoken of how she was told to remove her Christmas lights by a housing association worker - in case they offended her non-Christian neighbours.
Dhimmi Watch.
And this:
"After 130 years of fundraising, Sally Army told to stop rattling collecting tins because it might 'offend other religions,'" by Paul Harris in the Daily Mail , December 15 (thanks to James):

For 130 years they have been part of Christmas, filling the air in towns across the land with music and carols.

But one thing is missing from the repertoire of Salvation Army bands this year - the percussion of rattling tins.

Members have been forbidden to shake their charity tins - even if it's done in time to the music - in case it harasses or intimidates people. One said she had been told it might also offend other religions.
Dhimmi Watch.
This is panic gone emasculated, if you will.

Thirty-one people died in the escalator fire at King's Cross subway station, London in 1987. Reporting on this, David Canter, a forensic psychologist says: "We discovered some remarkable things about human behaviour in emergency situations.... We discovered that even in the dark, in choking smoke, commuters kept to their route and tried to behave normally. One police officer said that he saw people on fire queuing to have their tickets validated." 1.

1. Richard Edwards, "Rachel Nickell: Will we ever get inside the criminal mind?" 20 Dec 2008

I'm not so naive that I think people just don't know that Modernity is dying, and that if only I can explain it and show some examples that the majority of men and women in the West will rise up and throw off the enemy force that is killing our Revolution. I don't think anyone can say or write anything new that will motivate people to act to save our civilization. Reality is clear already. The clearer it becomes, the less people will be to act to save Modernity. Fathers will kneel with their wives beside them and think not at all as their children join them. Women will strip themselves and lie themselves down quietly to the bloody ground under the pounding of machinery. Men afire will stand patiently and burn.The blind might bark, but the lights will dim, the bells will cease to toll.

It's not for the mere likes of me to set things straight. What is to be done? We've all known that since the womb. Survive. As we've seen above, that's not so simple. Most survive by submitting. We see people surviving to death by submitting. We see a normal family stripped naked and shot to death one after the other, dad, mom, son. We see a group of naked and helpless women murdered. We see the same confession of despair in the lives of all of those above. We see the triumph of the savage anarchy; and we see the demise of the decent to the tyranny of the elite terrified and delighted in their masochism.

Of course we know what is to be done. That's the problem. Do not go gentle into that good night? O! Someone might object. No, do not go gentle....


truepeers said...

I too like to indulge in jeremiads, so what follows is as much about how I sometimes discipline my own thoughts as it about this post.

The greatest cliche of our modernity (though it dates back beyond Jeremiah) is that it is all going to hell in a handbasket. Now, presumably, one day the cliche may well come true, but why is this our dark moment proof that now really is the end time (foretold by the likes of Orwell, Burke, and many others)?

In any event, to whom does the paleocon like Francis address his dark premonitions: does he really empower the individual to not go quietly or does he rile up an imagined crowd while damning it simultaneously for somehow failing him and the paleocon imagination? I mean, when one starts appealing to the left's hysterics over the Patriot Act...

Futurism that begins with a certain metaphysical (abstract, idealized) portrait that it projects as a nasty trend that will define the future usually fails to satisfy. For starters, such linear thinking fails to account for how our knowledge of such "trends", or ideas, will change them. Human historical processes are reflexive in ways that always surprise people at some point (like 1989). Historians are notoriously bad at predicting the future.

It is easy to juxtapose horror stories from the mad multiculturalism of Europe. But on what basis of reality can this be a plausible development in future when reality really bites? E.g. Why didn't Orwell's 1984 come to full realization?

Drawing an analogy between the Jews and peasants of the 1930s and 40s and all Europeans today is most dubious. The Jews could have gone less quietly, to be sure, but a long persecuted and distinct minority, given up to evil by their neighbors, had little hope and may not be blamed for hoping nonetheless that they or some might be spared if they obeyed.

I just can't see a fair analogy between WWII and Europe today.

Today there are essentially three parties in the struggle. 1) the Jihadists and Sharia lovers who should not be confused with all immigrants, some of whom are more in touch with the alternative to "anarcho-tyranny" than are the often drunken and state-dependent natives; 2) the left-liberal mainstream discovering, with some disquiet, but yet no great revelation, its kinship with fascism, perhaps the logical end point of all Gnostic movements; 3) the defenders of national cultures and the freedoms they sustain.

You seem to assume that 1) and 2) are inevitably going to gang up on 3). But that seems doubtful to me whatever the present pragmatic alliance between the two on issues like Geert Wilders. The alliance is a waiting game, a refusal to give up youthful dreams, to admit a fight between 1 and 2, reflecting a bankruptcy in ideas that is inherent to the nature of 1 and 2 and that puts in doubt any claim that they can inherit the future.

I tend to think that the Global Intifada is very clever at keeping its regularized incitements just at a level that makes it easier for cowardly or pragmatic politicians to pay the blackmail and extortion in hopes that one day things will simmer down. Either they will simmer down for reasons we can't yet foresee, or eventually the Intifada will breach the crumbling dam, and one way or another significant push back will likely happen. This is because it is still the large majority of Europeans, including many "Muslims", who want either to live like post-WWII "social democrats", or 19thC bourgeois, and not like Sharia-bound Iranians or Saudis. Thus I hardly think that any alliance between 1 and 2 is stable, no more than was the thousand year Reich. And since so much of reality necessary to maintaining a modern economy is on the side of 3 I don't foresee it being the easy scapegoat forever.

Most survive by submitting.

-of course, but you say that like it's a bad thing; it is a question of what you submit to. It is the height of reason to submit to certain shared understandings of what is expected of neighbors, coworkers, fellow citizens. Freedom is not maintained by simple openness, by some rebellious spirit that threatens never to submit. Freedom is only ever possible as a relationship between openness and partial closure. To be free is to be able to offer to your fellows, not a big finger or a "leave me alone" sign, but rather a compelling suggestion about how we will govern ourselves. And that suggestion can only be represented as some form of closing off certain possibilities in order to maximize others.

Those of us opposed to current trends need to think about how to offer such signs of partial closure. Don't like immigration policy? What do you suggest by way of allying yourself with those, including surely some immigrants, who would build a covenantal society again? There's no time machine to go back to merry olde Englande. If you can only offer damnation for 1) and 2) and a refusal to go quietly, how can they be blamed for thinking the final battle will be between them after they do away with the heroic losers?

Not going quietly means developing an alternative narrative and trying to sell it, making new alliances, and overcoming our own indulgence in end times thinking.

Anonymous said...

For, after having brought you into the world, and nurtured and educated you, and given you and every other citizen a share in every good that we had to give, we further proclaim and give the right to every Athenian, that if he does not like us when he has come of age and has seen the ways of the city, and made our acquaintance, he may go where he pleases and take his goods with him; and none of us laws will forbid him or interfere with him. Any of you who does not like us and the city, and who wants to go to a colony or to any other city, may go where he likes, and take his goods with him. But he who has experience of the manner in which we order justice and administer the State, and still remains, has entered into an implied contract that he will do as we command him. And he who disobeys us is, as we maintain, thrice wrong: first, because in disobeying us he is disobeying his parents; secondly, because we are the authors of his education; thirdly, because he has made an agreement with us that he will duly obey our commands; and he neither obeys them nor convinces us that our commands are wrong; and we do not rudely impose them, but give him the alternative of obeying or convincing us; that is what we offer and he does neither.

-From Plato's Crito.

Dag said...

Compare Plato's Socrates in the Crito to Socrates in the Republic. Two entirely different men. Two entirely different approaches to reality. Not the same Socrates.

Thanks for the quotation.

truepeers said...

Here's a couple more quotes for you:

1) from Bertonneau on crowds: As my philosopher friend Richard Cocks reminded me over lunch not long ago, there is a passage in Plato’s Republic (we think it’s in The Republic) where Socrates remarks on the compulsory character of theatrical performances: how when the moment of catharsis comes in the tragedy, the spectator fuses with all the other spectators in attending, whether he wills it or not, to the riveting scene. The passage belongs to Plato’s much-misunderstood suspicion of bardic recitation and of drama as collective ritual. It also belongs to Plato’s skepticism about democracy, as a form of dictatorship. The audience’s compulsory unanimity at the moment of catharsis resembles the unanimity worked up by clever orators in the civic assembly, often aimed at the demotion or punishment of ethical individuals who stand for conscience against wicked schemes. Crowds yearn for victims. There is Pasternak’s officer who drowns in the pickle barrel and there is Socrates, condemned in the assembly by scheming demagogues who embody the corruption of the Athenian polity in the troubled aftermath of the Peloponnesian wars.

2)Voegelin on the even later Plato ... follow link to read pages 49-50 since I don't see how to copy the text from Google Books.

truepeers said...

By the way, I am not the Anonymous above.

Eowyn said...

"Do not go gentle ..."


Thinking out loud, here, but hoping for indulgence:

There comes a time -- in everyone's life -- when he is asked to decide what is worth pursuing, and what is not.

What IS worth pursuing, one does. Perhaps it ~works~ ... often, it does not appear to.

But it is up to US, as individuals, and as individuals who find common cause, to decide what is worth pursuing.

Me, it boils down nicely to fundamentals. It's pretty much obvious, at this stage in humanity, which fundamentals work, and which don't. And, we know that convincing one another that certain fundamentals exist is ITSELF an exercise in persuasion.

But, let's face it, certain fundamentals exist. To wit: None of us enjoys, nor should expect, exemption from the Golden Rule. If it doesn't work for me/you, it won't work for me/you.

Ay, chihuahua. *shaking head* over the ability of us all to find the necessary common ground.

We will. Oh, we will. But it's a bit trying to wait ... *wry smile*

Walker Morrow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Walker Morrow said...

Hey Dag, how's it going?

I think that our mistrust of Modernity, and our easy embrace of socialist government policies are very related in nature - both attempt to divert harsh responsibility in the now, for the very possible reality of harsh repercussions in the future. That is why Communism and socialism, which have led to the deaths of tends and hundreds of millions of people, and has seen butchers like Stalin and Guevera, ( and arguably dictators like Hitler and Mussolini as well, if one were to include Europe's older National Socialist parties into the mix )do incredible damage to the societies and economies under their rule. Hell, just take a look at what's still going on in Cuba and Venezuala, and yet I saw a man representing the Marxist/Lenninist party of Canada point toward Cuba as a working society model with my own eyes, at a political forum a few months ago. People will attempt to divert the true reality of things for a brief period of happiness, and at least a temporary lessening of fear.

I think also that this represents a turn towards 'communalism', not in the sense of Bob-sells-the-eggs, Tom-sells-the-corn, we all get a long, but in a socialist system. This turn toward communalism ultimately, I feel, leads toward a repression of the individual, and of the individual's voice, which is why you have people being dragged out their houses into the night under Stalin, and to a lesser extent, why artists can have Fatwas issued against them and be gunned down in the streets of Amsterdam, and yet have their persecutors' radical idealogy protected by Western society's laws. We're seeking a communal approach, repressing the individual, and denying reality in the now for a hope of a better future.

Of course, radical Islam does not do the same, and thus lies a grave problem. What happens when a hard force meets a soft force, or, quite frankly, when a linebacker hits someone in the back of the knees? Collapse.

So I think that the rejection of Modernity, and the embrace of socialism, are quite closely related to one another, although they don't always go hand in hand. Both are damaging in the long run, though. Just ask Saskatchewan and British Columbia how the NDP ran things in the long run - and the NDP is watered-down socialism. I'd hate to see it go full-blown.

And as for the rejection of Modernity, I would point towards a), failures in our 'wilderness preserve' park systems to maintain a stable environment, and b) the failure of the Canadian government and people to preserve Native culture. Both attempts leave a helluva lot of destruction and depression in their wake - both to little affect. In the wilderness preserves, if one species is over-hunting another, then the hunter is nearly wiped out, which leads to a population explosion in a plant-eater, which then decimates the local plant-life, which forces the 'preservers' to curb the herbivore population, which has some other unfortunate unintended effect. We cannot preserve nature, we cannot keep it as it once was, because nature is constantly changing and evolving.

If we attempt to preserve humanity as it once was, as we have tried with the Native culture, then again, our efforts are ruinous and disastrous, and lead to cultural damage of epic and shameful proportions.

We cannot keep things as they once were, or as they are now. We must always accept that things will move onward. That is how progress is made. That is how, quite frankly, capitalism works - constant progress.

Europe is just feeling the effects of not only attempting to keep things as they once were, but also of accepting socialism and communalism within its boundaries.

truepeers said...

Good point Walker, but to say "that's how capitalism works" is to play into the other side's hand: "exactly, that's why we're against capitalism".

It's a universal law of history that it waits for no one, even if history moves more slowly in some places and times than others. Many of the defenders of Western freedom need to take this to heart too as they look on what has transformed their nations and develop ideas (or, more often fail to,) about how do we move on from here.

Walker Morrow said...

Can we do anything to actively develop? I tend to think that such things sort of happen naturally - as we interact with one another, a result of capitalism... whose sole interest is being more efficient for more money.

truepeers said...

Yes, it is just interaction that I mean by "actively develop". It is too easy in dangerous times not to interact, to say we already know what reality is, instead of putting people to the test to find out what they, in this place, right now, really think and will do, when they have to make a choice. (When our reality is only what we have learned from history, we can become the generals who are always fighting the last war and surprised by new realities when they get hit by them in this one...) Reality, in other words, is something we have to continually renew by interacting in a way that allows us to gather information, act on it, and construct new understandings in some kind of conversation with our other. We may be limited, in the worst cases, to violent tit for tat with our other, but even then we need to find out what kind of tat he is capable of when he really has to put his money where his mouth is.

We cannot live forever in the Utopian fantasy of our leftist elites who dream of all conflict disappearing into some kind of UN-EU-NGO-mediated bureaucractic decision making, deferring all decisions to mediators of one kind or another who will forever put off the kind of decisions from which new realities emerge, scapegoating in the process all individualists in order to buttress some re-feudalized order of group identities.

In a free society there has to be ways of regularly guaging and representing public opinion and conduct through various processes of representative democracy and through exemplary realizations of individual freedom - people who find themselves in a position, of real historical significance, and able to do the right thing at the right time. That means, someone somewhere has to be interested in our shared stories and working on building them up. Otherwise you won't know - you won't have that intuition that comes in a flash - to do the right thing if you are ever in that historically signficant, perhaps unprecedented, situation where your actions, or lack, really matters.

Again, I would point out that I cannot accept a strict libertarian view of things. The free market alone cannot construct our necessary reality; there is inevitably a political or moral imperative in relation to which the market must be framed and limited. It is just this closing off of negative possibilities that creates the freedom of the market in other possibilities.

Walker Morrow said...

Oh, I agree with you on that one, Truepeers. I don't think capitalism is all that is required. I think for things like moral and political decisions, such things are brought about by constant interactions between all of us, every day, face to face and browser to browser.

I just think that capitalism is a very important factor in societal change - because it will change society where it can, or pander to it, and it represents an insidious idealogy. One thing that I find amusing is that you will see photose with a Palestinian anti-American protestor, holding a rifle, and wearing an American t-shirt which was, figuratively, made in China, sold in Tennessee, and left behind by an American journalist in Gaza. Capitalism is incredibly insidious in its method of cultural infiltration.

But that's not to downplay the importance of strict one-on-one, or one-on-group interactions - those, I think, are the primary source of a lot of things in our society.

truepeers said...

What's more capitalism creates a world, a global population level, a level of wealth, a standard of living, whose continuance requires a significant degree of freedom for at least some significant number of people. Whatever capitalism's ideologies it also has a pragmatic power to erode the totalitarian that is huge.... Which is why the leading forces of the anti-global market sentiment are today so fiercely intent on massive destruction through terrorism. Hence also the figure of the "suicide" bomber whose resistance must be so pure - he will die in his murderous act - that there is no chance that his resistance can ever be bought off by the market system he detests. It might be painful for a serious Islamist like bin Laden to see his picture emblazoned on t-shirts, etc., like he was some kind of Che.

Anyway, it's partly because the stakes are now so high that so much of Western culture wants to try to appease and mediate than face up to the fight. This of course only increases the great danger in the long run.

Walker Morrow said...

I think also that the insidious way that capitalism works its way through a society's infrastructure may be why there are some/many in our society who are not quick to defend Western values. Because so many of these values are grounded not only in Christianity, but also in the idea of capitalism. We just don't even realize that it's there, so we don't come out in defense of it as much as we should.

Whereas the people that are more easily able to notice such things, the objective enemies of the West, actively hate a culture of capitalism, because it represents so many things that are anethema to religious dogma, or to totalitarian rule.

Dag said...

I'm at a loss for words here, Walker, but "insidious" isn't right. "Inside" is the right root. Beyond that, I'm lost for now.

I write on a regular basis of "Povertarianism." If we look at the world of Modernity, if we compare that to the world of our common past, we see a revolution in social relations, which Marx dismisses as a relation based on "mere cash nexus." His quotation, worth looking at, is in the Communist Manifesto. There he sums up the vision of the Leftist/reactionary perfectly. Life in the Communist paradise will be just like it was in the prelapsarian world: everyone sharing and caring and equal and poor but happy. If we grasp the vision, then we understand the appeal the Left holds for city-dwelling spoiled yuppies and why they idolize Third World dictators.

We can keep going back in time to see Rousseau's General Will and the poverty of the Happy Peasant; further to Th. Aquinas and the noble Poverty of Catholicism; and ultimately to Plato who idealizes Sparta, a Classical version of today's Cuba.

To be thrown from the commune into the city is to be freed from the idiocy of rural living, as Marx puts it. There, each man is bound to live of his own means. He is no longer tied to the group and cannot but make his solitary way. He thus becomes an individual in praxis. Marx and the neo-feudalists hate this individualism. There cannot be a Utopia of individuals. If every man is competing to survive according to his ability, then we will not all sit around the campfire singing "Kumbayah." We'll eventually rie economically to great heights and have the means to pursue our individual interests, leaving the commune to the dirty past.

We can see this anti-individualism in recent history in the stellar example of Pol Pot's Cambodia. That's what we get when intellectuals run things for the good of all. We get also ecologists. All of them are evil. It might seem outrageous to write such a thing, but look at them deeply and you'll find them to be the most evil people in our time.

I'll write more about this yet again. Meanwhile, look at the idea of anarcho-tyranny not as an "end of the world" chest-pounding but as a simple examination, if perhaps myopic, of the reality of our time.

truepeers said...

I think you're right Walker; it must be easier for a bin laden, with one foot in, one out, to see and fear what we are than for many firmly within our world.

We get also ecologists. All of them are evil. It might seem outrageous to write such a thing, but look at them deeply and you'll find them to be the most evil people in our time.

-you might explain that you have an idiosyncratic definition of "ecologist" which doesn't include what your average university ecologist who studies, say, deer populations in relation to wolves, etc., does. Even then, "all of them... most evil" is obvious hyperbole. The "ecologist" may dream of a world with a much reduced human population, but it is surely more evil to actually do something about it, like say a Mugabe. All humans are evil because we need such scapegoats.

Walker Morrow said...

Dag - thanks for the insights. You're right, it's not so much an end-of-the-world sort of thing. I suppose people have been worried about the fate of the world since the world began. It's probably more of a constant change - the world is changing, it's not ending. Perhaps it's not changing for the better...but it's changing, and it'll change again over time. So even if Western sensibilities are overwhelmed in the future, whatever comes in to replace them will in turn be replaced, perhaps even by Western values once more.

Dag said...

Am I writing hyperbolic jeremiads or do I actually believe what I write to be accurate and informed? I writes it as I sees it.

'Peers will possible dismiss the idea of history as dialectic, though I suspect he'd agree to it as an unknowable unfolding through experience, undetermined by "laws" of History. So, Peers might well agree, and I think I've heard him say something similar to your idea that the world will unfold as it will, even returning to a higher state later, possibly. Peers of course,writes his own theses wonderfully, and here I only make mention of the barest possible essence.

My point in presenting these five short preliminary adumbrations of "anarcho-tyranny" is to raise the talking point of Will as History. Peers is a definite professional in this intellectual field, while I have mere opinions. However, my opinions are informed by empiricism and some kind of thought.

I don't see History as a narrative reconstruction of the Dead Letter of past events; nor do I see it as a mystic unfolding of the Unknown; and History, as I must thank Peers for insisting I consider till I at last sat and thought it through, is not, to me or anyone sensible, a metaphysical cipher to be grasped only by the Gnostic elite. History is the Will to Power constrained only the the ever-expanding Physic. No, Will will not give me access to the moon, just yet. We are constrained. The serious question is whether Man is perfectible by Will, not his own but that of the Superman, i.e. the Gnostic elitist? And that is the crux of the problem we see in anarcho-tyranny.

These questions fill untold volumes of centuries of work by great thinkers, and my purpose here is to sketch out simply a bit of an idea. It is that Man is free to decide, within the physic, his course of action. Should he? That's a religious question. That he does, regardless, is empirically so. History, then, is not what happened, but the constant making in the moment of the future. To paraphrase Kierkegaard, "Not to make is to make."

One can make, be a poet, in the sense that Jefferson is a maker; and one can make in the sense of Lenin. But both are makers, and both made. Both acted in Will to Power. Both men are the same in action though different in intentions. Intention is not the issue here. That's a religious question again.

We're faced with Jeffersonian and Leninist possibilities: to act or not to act. Regardless of what we do, we act anyway, even if we do not a thing.

We are faced daily, as we see above, with increasing activities by anarcho-tyrants. They will not cease of their own accord, that being a determined feature of the Mind. Yes, people are determined, in my opinion as based on the empirical, to act, and to act mostly against others in negative ways unless restrained by force, hence our tort laws and contract laws and war itself. There is also religion. There is prudence and sympathy. There is a long list of restraints. But there is a Will to Power that we must confront, not only in ourselves but in all others. We can look at it as benign in most cases and amenable to Reason or Dane Geld, but we must look at it as innate. Nothing stops without a boundary, what ever that boundary is. Without a boundary, anarcho-tyranny or Velvet fascism or Brown or Red Fascism or any other Will to Power will continue to its natural limit. We must, if we care at all, bind the innate. If we don't, that is an act of Will. It is history as made by Man. No cosmic dialectic, no deep structures, no grand revelations, just the daily doing of men and women in their daily, routine lives. Sometimes that routine is force. Regardless, one gets what one makes, more or less.

truepeers said...

Well Dag, thanks for the complementary spirit, but I am not a professional.

It's not simply that no one pays me to write. Whatever the quality of my posts, the thinking is that of an amateur, which is no small thing, for the amateur is the one who remains open to the possibility of knowing the human as a whole while the professional is, by nature, a priest who enforces some kind of closure in knowledge; the professional is a sacrificer. The amateur pursues knowledge with the spirit of yet unaligned youth. Professionals are narrow in outlook; amateurs are generalists.

Am I writing hyperbolic jeremiads or do I actually believe what I write to be accurate and informed? I writes it as I sees it.

-I take no pleasure in offending you, but the ethic of the amateur is that friendship is honest opposition, not the false chumminess of the professional's networking. "Truepeers" is a paradox with unclear referent, but it certainly cannot be applied to professionals.

Anyway, whatever you believe about "ecologists" (and maybe it's because I know one, and have read of others studying natural systems, and know they are not the most evil of persons, that I am quick to oppose certain language...), and however informed your opinions, a jeremiad is still a jeremiad, hyperbole is still hyperbole. Look, the most brilliant writers engage in such things at times. If this is pointed out to brilliance, it is because the reader probably wants to see more.

To make a bold and unqualified statement that ecologists are the most evil people of our time may be informed by all kinds of study, but the plain statement as such gives us no particular reason to believe. It is a call to take something on faith. And when we imagine what a more full account of the ecologist might consist in, the many details, differentiations, distinctions it would require of a careful writer seeking to convey maximum meaning, in the true aristocratic spirit of the amateur, it is easy to compare the simple statement of the "most evil" and realize it must be hyperbolic, whatever the truth. For by what standard or measure are we to weigh "evil"? We cannot take the exact temperature of certain things in this world, and evil is one of them. And in such cases to assert we have determined absolute zero is, well, hyperbolic. In other words, I take as my ground in making this charge that I know something about the nature of evil, and that the truth about ecology is not particularly important to weighing the value of this accusation of most evil.

The essence of evil, as I understand it, is our universal human need to advance our interests by calling others evil. It's not that our charges of evil are always without merit, for those we so charge do it to us and maybe in more evil ways. But if we are to make sense of this rivalry in terms of good and evil, we need to discover a standard to apply in our contests of one upmanship ( a standard that will put in question claims that such questions can be reduced to the will to power).

Anyway, the basic human social need and desire to point out evil, something that the best in culture teaches us to discipline (many find the indulgence distasteful and not in service of compelling rhetoric, which a true friend might point out in support of his friend's ambition), is distinguishable by keen readers from the merit of any particular accusation. The need inevitably preceeds the accusation because of the fundamental nature of our mimetic desire and rivalry. We have the need whatever the merits of our charge.

We have to mediate this rivalry and perhaps calling out someone's evil in failing to help us mediate our common rivarly in relatively humane ways is indeed just. Some asshole may indeed hate humanity in the name of ecology. But this is to say there is a standard of justice and if you are going to put people to the charge of most evil, you are being hyperbolic until you make your case. And when you don't, you leave yourself open to the charge of being too human, of having a desire to pronounce on evil that is not simply justified by the evil to which you point. Regarless of the truth, you want us to believe you on simple "faith", you want us to form a lynch mob behind you to get the bad guys, without first mediating or educating us in the tension we all suffer (it's not just the most evil bad guys who have these evil anti-human thoughts) by doing the work of clearly differentiating the reality that justifies the charge.

As an amateur I make it my business to oppose professionals, with wills to power, because of their propensity, even at the best of times, to have something of the kangaroo in their court.

I will say more on the uncreative will to power as it relates to the nature of history, soon....

Dag said...

Socrates was a non-professional as well in the sense you refer to, a gifted amateur, a lover.

I've written so extensively on Ecology by now that it's easy to forget all of it in the general heap. I have far more yet to write on this topic, but not this evening.

As far as suggestions of "hyperbolic," why, I'll destroy your whole village for such a remark! But not tonight. I need some sleep before carrying out such a task.

truepeers said...

I just wanted to say that I understand the will to power as a fierce desire to obtain or consume something that already exists. As such, it can be invoked to explain certain kinds of historical actors but it cannot explain how anything new comes into the world (and so it cannot explain the historical process as a whole). "Action" may take the form of a will to power, but what may be called for in our present struggles is the kind of action that has nothing to do with the will to power.

The most pessimistic view of someone like Lenin is that he destroyed the old regime and simply imposed an inferior (because less subtle, less differentiated) form of Czarism. To the extent that the Soviets actually did have some creative achievements, these cannot be explained by Lenin's will to power because they must be the product of some shared, negotiated, created reality. In other words, Lenin had to share power to help make them happen, in good faith.

Anyway, as the fate of Russia today might suggest to us, having a Lenin-like will to power doesn't solve certain fundamental problems of (a lack of) social progress; it only perhaps postpones some final reckoning of a nation's failure to progress, to the extent that the strong man is obeyed in some order that survives without growing.

We may control, for a time, the anarcho-tyrants, if these be our enemy, by a will to power, but we will not advance the cause of human freedom which can be the only real solution to overcoming tyranny.

I need to sleep too, and won't attempt another of my explanations of what we can and cannot know about the creative process by which new freedoms are generated, the not fully graspable process by which shared experience leads to new forms of transcendent culture. But the will involved is a will to love, or to know God, not to power.

As for the claims that the will to power is innate, are you claiming it is animalistic? When two animals fight over dominance and submission that is not what I would call the will to power because human power is not simple dominance in a naturalistic pecking order (the pecking order simply exists without any question of it being shaped in different ways by desires to perform different tasks - animals don't have imaginative desires, only appetites, and they have no communal power to conceive and carry out tasks that are not hard-wired into them.) I would suggest that human power is the ability to kickstart, shape, influence or control. IN the case of the desire to control, we are talking about controlling what is already sacred (i.e. the will to power). The power we all have to kickstart, shape, influence, is tied to the power to create.

In other words, power has to do with the amount of freedom and/or capability inherent in one or another form of society. Power is thus the essence of history, not biology. Might I suggest that you invoke the innate because you are not sufficiently interested in how human communities or networks are organized around centres of sacrality, which are the real source of our shared power. The big man simply stands in for the less visible or, in some minds, "divine" authority that is compelling us to do this or do that.

Dag said...

We could rightly refer to early Leninist "Will to Power" as Bonapartism. I might accept later Leninism as Lutheranism. The point is that Will to Power is imaginative in itself, visionary, and not simply a replay of the past with a new strong man in power over others. why must we assume that Will to Power is a mere replay of failures? victor Frankl's Will to Power is visionary, and B.F. Skinner's Will to Power is not. We,a s free agents, choose. Thus, we are not mere animals acting instinctively in the face of stimuli. The Will to Death is a Will. Will to submit is a Will.

Cosmic over-reach is what makes us Human. Hubris is what makes us inhuman. We have the sense, some of us, to know the difference. Those who don't know or who don't care, will follow the strongest strong man to whatever cliff he leads them over, if that's the case. And then there is Jefferson, who leads all men to their own ownership of themselves, by their own Will to Power as the individuals of the mass. There is the power of competing visions and the motors of moving back or forward or sideways or down, and so on. Nothing is still.

truepeers said...

Sure we could interpret "will to power" to mean anything, any kind of will, though most people will read it with Nietzchean connotations. And that's the problem: Nietzsche had no respect for a fundamental side of our humanity - our need for shared deference to things sacred - and that's why he went mad. What is important to the exercise of freedom and creativity is to understand why we need to defer to existing, and hope for future, forms of sacrality.

If we define ourselves in terms of supermen or of men in need of great leaders, we begin to model ourselves on one or another egoistic will. So, for example, Sean reads Dag going on about the will to power and Sean begins to model Dag's desire, which means even if he begins as a respectful student he will inevitably enter into rivalry with his model. Dag will become for him a scandal. Scandalized, Sean will likely be full of frustrations and won't be of much use to himself or anyone and he might feel that the only way out of this impasse is to kill King Dag and becoming king. But in obtaining power thus, Sean has not achieved anything of any good to anyone else.

What Sean needs is not simply an idea of a road to power, but an idea of how or why to defer that desire long enough for him to become creative in his own right. You can't win in the marketplace until you first have been offline, often for years, creating something that you can then take into the market. And how useful can our idea of the "will to power" be in disciplining us for those offline years? How many qualifications do we have to add in building our metaphysical system? Could there be a simpler way?

In other words, Sean needs ways to understand the nature of human rivalry and he needs to understand that certain fundamental questions regarding it have already been settled - in other words he needs the faith that he can put certain issues aside, in deference to already revealed wisdom (he can just thank God and not have to fight over everything) - he needs a secular way of understanding why he should sometimes defer to "God". If Sean cannot defer his rivalry by acknowledging certain qualities of our universal humanity, he will ever be stuck with defining himself as an artist, first, and not, first, as a common human mired in a universal rivalry and evil. And as long as he is first of all an artist pursuing his will to power he will either achieve nothing or become some kind of monster. The real road to creative power is to start with some humility and significant human self-understanding, not with some over-simplified will to power.

Anyway, what matters is the most efficient way of distinguishing hubris from reasonable self-assertion. It is not enough to say some people have good sense and some don't and go over the cliff. What we need are differentiations in self-understanding that allow us more insight. And how far can we go in understanding hubris and the alternatives if we take as a fundamental starting point for our ontology the "will to power", and imagine it to be innate?

In other words, in my anthropology humanity does not begin with a will to power but with a shared deferral before a sacred centre (before the centre that the shared act of deferral simultaneously creates) as the only alternative to the war of all against all.

The point is that Will to Power is imaginative in itself, visionary, and not simply a replay of the past with a new strong man in power over others.

-I think the imaginative begins when we are able to defer our desire to focus on replacing the big man, or any other with whom we are in rivalry, with ourselves. Then we are able to imagine creating something that will allow others to share with us in enjoying a greater degree of freedom, that we may be liberated together. This is the road to success in a free market environment - e.g. rivalry is deferred by giving everyone a blog, by giving everyone more freedom.

Are we going to simply kill all those who don't want to be free, or find ways for them to co-exist in our global free market? That is what is at stake when we try to understand the will to power.

The basic problem is how do we maintain the faith to act creatively in the world. The Nietzchean will to power fails to provide; history shows thatit ends in nihilism because it can't explain why one would defer to faith in an equalitarian humanity (and without being an endless victim worshiper, resenting the differences that our freedom creates).