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Archive for March, 2009

When the local Galactic Empire decides that we are technologically mature enough for them to bother making contact with us, their anthropologists will clarify the turbulence of the 20th century onward with the theory of the Forbidden Fruit of Knowledge. They will likely have a different name for it, derived from a different myth, but this will be the name the Jungians of Earth will promptly apply to it.

Traditional society – family, monarchy, religion, marriage, and myriad small customs and norms – developed over untold centuries of human life. It did not do so because a handful of mean powerful males got together, filled with some irrational dread of female sexuality or people with different skin colors, and decided to hoodwink everyone else into letting them run the show. It did so because generations found that human life was safer and more satisfying if these institutions were respected and these rules were followed.

Nobody ever claimed that these rules were perfect. Indeed, in pre-19th century literature, the acknowledgement of the tragic nature of the human condition and the sorrow of this vale of tears was routine, and it was accepted just as the existence of gravity or the constant cycle of the seasons was.

Nowadays, human problems are generally blamed on “the system”, “the patriarchy”, “our Judeo-Christian heritage”, and various other institutions which have in fact done much to alleviate human problems for centuries. The progressive belief is that human life is naturally happy and peaceful, and if it fails to be so, it’s because mean people prevented it. The current liberal disillusionment with Barack Obama is an example of this. His adoring fans are not simply people with inaccurate beliefs about the efficacy of socialism or the morality (not to mention utility) of embryonic stem cell research. They are people in the grip of a powerful delusion that

A sudden transformation will bring a total change in one’s fortunes, bypassing work, luck, self-sacrifice, and time in one fantastic stroke.

And

We can enter a totally new world with different codes and the promise of adventure.

~Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power, p.267

The current collision with reality is proving quite traumatic for these true believers.

This is not just about Obama’s groupies. The assumption that the world is unpleasant because of a few bad people and that everything will turn to sunshine if we can just get rid of the corporations/Republicans/flyover states/religious right/smokers/capitalists/Jews has become deeply entrenched throughout America and Europe, and it has been for decades.

There have always been a few people prone to this delusion, but their numbers were kept small by harsh reality. Any day, sickness could strike, and medicine was primitive. Any night, a wolf could eat us on our way to the outhouse, or a snake could bite us, a horse could throw us. Any year, the harvest could fail because of drought or insects or blight, and this was before it was a simple matter to import necessities from elsewhere, or to maintain a surplus.

Today people can become terminally ill, or die in an accident, or have a flood or earthquake. We still live one breath away from death, three square meals away from savagery. But scientific advances have made us feel this less keenly. We tend to assume that if we get sick, doctors will give us magic pills that will make us all better. Often, they can, but when they can’t, our first reaction tends to be surprise. And thanks to mass transportation and consequent easy importing, crop failure has become the financial misfortune of a few farmers, not starvation for the community.

This has made problems and risks an abstract matter for most people, not something understood at a gut level, leaving us free to imagine how fun life could be without all those tiresome rules our mothers taught us.

Advanced technology makes us feel that we can do without the old boundaries and rules. To an extent, we can. For example: there were free-love theorists in the 19th century, but very few women could be persuaded to take up the philosophy, not because they were too oppressed by the patriarchy, but because they were too oppressed by the facts of their own biology. What birth control methods existed were highly unreliable, and abortion was extremely dangerous. No doubt many women chafed at premarital virginity and marital fidelity, but knowing the very likely consequences of violating them, most of them restrained themselves.

Until birth control, which finally made it possible for women to experience “sexual freedom” without as many consequences. To the optimistic, it must have seemed that women were now able to be as sexually free as men. In reality, however, women still have more consequences than men for promiscuity. Birth control makes conception far less likely; it does not make it impossible. Abortion advocates deny this, but the reports of women who have had them show that many women are traumatized by the experience. Casual sex is riskier for women, who might find themselves behind a closed door with a violent stranger from whom they cannot defend themselves. And the greater biological investment a woman makes in each of her gametes, relative to a man’s, has caused nature to make us far more emotionally attached to the sex act than men, and far more easily hurt by being abandoned. Plus, nature designed us to find emotional satisfaction in bonding with our sex partners and raising children with them. Nature does not act quickly enough to erase that bit of our genetic programming the moment we figure out how to make birth control pills.

Now that birth control has allowed us to minimize the chances of pregnancy, more and more of us spend our lives bereft of stable family bonds, discarded for the short-term enjoyment of sexual adventures. When I was a child, my two best friends were a pair of sisters whose parents were divorced. I always assumed their father had abandoned the family. A few years ago, my mother told me the truth: their mother, a very attractive woman who wore a lot of makeup and always had lots of boyfriends, had left their father when she discovered that marriage is not an eternal courtship. That her children needed a father and a stable household income did not concern her. This woman’s folly was partly enabled by no-fault divorce, the granting of alimony to women who leave their husbands, and default mother custody, but except for the last, which began in the 19th century in America, these laws were only made possible by the disconnection of sex from reproduction. A woman who knew that if she had sex, she would need financial support for the children who would probably result, would not have left her husband to play the field while her children grew up without a father. Nature did not change our desire for a stable family the moment we became able to survive – that is, feed ourselves and avoid being eaten by bears – without them.

Feminism did not happen until the Industrial Revolution, not because patriarchal oppressors were able to successfully keep women down until then, but because women who tried to be “equal” to men would have run into hard reality in about five minutes. Much of today’s economy consists of shuffling papers, using computers, or talking to people. That last is something women are naturally skilled at; the other two, if the male brain is better suited to them, the difference is subtle. A woman of the 18th century who demanded to be treated as an equal in the workplace would have crumpled the first time she had to heft a sledgehammer, carry a bale, or swing a sword – do you know how heavy a real sword is? As opposed to an ornamental or fencing sword? Even if a woman entered a profession that did not require upper body strength, unless she was prepared for a life of celibacy, she would have to quit in order to take care of her children in this era before government mandated maternity leave and day care centers. Today, advanced technology allows women the privilege of demanding entry to the workplace, and of imagining that women could have been sword-wielding soldiers all along if it weren’t for those mean old patriarchs. But technology hasn’t changed the way men and women relate to each other – they do not function well as direct competitors, men (and boys) do not respond well to female authority, men and women rarely achieve the same kind of camaraderie that comes easily to single-sex groups, and they see each other as potential sex partners, which is not conducive to a professional relationship. (These problems are not insurmountable, but most people today pretend that they are nonexistent. This is a grave error.) Technology also hasn’t changed the need children have for a secure attachment to their mothers, which cannot be created in a couple of hours of quality time a day. It hasn’t changed the necessity of socializing those children, training them in the norms of their society, which requires a considerable time investment. Technology made it possible for women to devote their lives to careers instead of to motherhood, but it did nothing to change children’s need for their mothers. Nor, as more and more “career women” whose fertile years are waning are discovering, did it change what gives women emotional satisfaction. For thousands of years, nature compensated us for our inescapable bondage to motherhood by making motherhood emotionally satisfying to us. Now that motherhood is no longer inescapable, nature has neglected to reprogram us to find our greatest satisfaction in careers instead. Anyone would think that nature doesn’t care if women are literally equal to men or not.

Nature also has not adjusted our tastebuds and physiology to adapt to the refined sugars and synthetic chemicals we have just recently learned to make. We are drawn to sweet tastes to make us eat berries, which contain all sorts of vitamins. Berries, which are sweet, are good for us. Now that we know how to make pure sugar out of sugar cane or beets, the healthy desire for sweet flavors has us consuming candy, soda, and desserts in ever-increasing amounts. The results are obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.

This is not even mentioning the numerous creative and horrible ways we have devised for killing a lot of each other at once. Those are discussed so constantly that they go without saying.

One more way in which our technological prowess has bypassed our biology: advanced technology has made it possible for socialism to work, a little bit. That is, a limited amount of socialism will cause problems, but will not cause the entire economy to collapse. Modern farms and factories can produce enough of a surplus that some of it can be spared for socialist looters. Before the Industrial Revolution, people labored too hard just to feed themselves and their aristocratic governments to be able, much less willing, to give up their money to finance absurd social programs.

Ironically, many progressives are to some degree Luddites, if only to the extent of being environmentalists. Once I heard someone refer to “food that was fresh out of the grocery store”. We are so disconnected from the harsh reality that we don’t even remember where food comes from. Only advanced technology has made progressive ideas at all practicable, but progressives have no understanding of this.

Today, the central conflict of civilization is between progressives who believe that we can cast aside all of the rules, codes, and restraints of our ancestors to dwell in an egalitarian paradise, and wet-blanket traditionalists who are struggling to warn everyone else that although we are somewhat safer from starvation and illness and crop failure than before, human nature has not changed and we still need the old rules.

Many a sentient species, our galactic anthropologists will tell us, destroyed their civilizations when they attained enough technology to achieve superficial freedom from their traditional mores. Intelligent beings clever enough to manipulate their hormones ignored the social consequences of mating out of season. Intelligent cowlike beings with five stomachs adopted a diet of easily digested processed food, heedless of the unpredictable consequences to their health. Intelligent aquatic creatures recklessly moved onto dry land and found that in the long run, they all developed psychological problems that had been unknown in the water.

How we can adapt to our own achievements, how we can acquire the wisdom and discipline not to avail ourselves of the apparent freedoms our technology has given us, is more than I can answer. It is most likely that we will not, and that instead we will continue to bring disaster down upon ourselves.

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This evening’s survey of the blogosphere yielded a news article which is virtually a textbook example of the Hegelian Dialectic. I wish I could say that the article surprises me, but my parents and teachers spent years laboring to ensure that I would consider this sort of behavior on the part of authority figures par for the course.

Mothers of prevention
Schoolgirls in Lancashire and Yorkshire are falling prey to sinister gangs of pimps. Two men have been sent to jail, but the girls’ mothers, not the police, are at the forefront of the crackdown. Why are the authorities so reluctant to get involved?

A t the crown court in Preston on August 10, a trial involving two Asian men caused unusual interest across a number of cities in the north of England. The defendants, Zulfqar Hussain and Qaiser Naveed, were each sentenced to five years and eight months for abduction, sexual activity with a child, and the supply of a controlled drug.

They had both pleaded guilty, and they were placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.

It seemed a shabby, seedy episode, probably typical of many cases down the years that have involved exploitative men and naive women. Yet, until these convictions, the police in over a dozen towns and cities, including Leeds, Sheffield, Blackburn and Huddersfield, had appeared reluctant to address what many local people had perceived as a growing problem – the groups of men who had been preying on young, vulnerable girls and ensnaring them into prostitution.

It was a very uncomfortable scenario, not least because many of these crimes had an identifiable racial element: the gangs were Asian and the girls were white. The authorities, in the shape of politicians and the police, seemed reluctant to acknowledge this aspect of the crimes; it has been left to the mothers of the victims to speak out.

Maureen’s daughter Jo was one of Hussain and Naveed’s victims, having been groomed by them and a number of other Asian men when she was 14. Jo went missing from her Blackburn home 90 times during the six-month period in 2005 that she was in Hussain and Naveed’s clutches.

“I was told by one police officer that he did not ‘want to start a race riot’ by arresting Pakistani men for sexual offences,” Maureen said. During the six months that Jo was in the clutches of these men, they raped, beat and abused her to the point where, says her mother, she did not even know who she was any more. Eventually, after she was attacked by Hussain and Naveed with an iron bar, Jo somehow found the courage to report them to police, and they were arrested. The case took 16 months to come to court. In the meantime, other pimps, undeterred by the impending trial, continued to go about their business.

Got that? The police think that getting along with Muslims and living peaceably (if you can call that peace) is more important than punishing repeated felonies. Remember what I quoted Dean Gotcher as saying: “you have a socialist cosmic mind which puts aside anything that gets in the way of the relationship.” You have the thesis: girls’ right not to be raped. Then the antithesis: the Muslim belief that the rape of female infidels is acceptable. And here is the synthesis:

So what are the police doing? Lancashire police say that in the past few months they have sent letters to 70 men who were believed to be spending an unusual amount of time with young girls. The letters warn the men that the girls are underage; the men are required to sign the letter, confirming they have received and read it.

The details are left on file – but there is no guarantee that the police will take any further action if the grooming continues.

The article goes on to say that several families are considering suing the police for their inaction. In the meantime, I am going to buy more guns, thanking God for the liberties my country still bitterly clings to. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

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Not all, but many children are born with a strong innate moral sense. I had the misfortune to be one of them. It was a misfortune because of the era into which I was born; the cultural revolution of the Sixties had just “liberated” all of the adults around me from all those repressive old morals, freeing them to do whatever they felt like at the moment, and here I was, a little brat trying to bring the rules back.

To such a child, things seem simple. If two or three larger children run up to her and start hitting her for no particular reason, she tells the authorities (the grownups), and expects the adults to order her tormentors, “Never gang up on smaller children! Now go do a bunch of extra chores as punishment!”

Of course, that is not what happens. She informs the mother of a couple of the young hooligans and the mother demands, “What did you do to upset them so much? You should play nicely with the other children!” The child appeals to her own father for justice, expecting him to tell the bullies, “If I ever catch you three beating up my daughter again, I’ll skin you all alive!” and the mother, “You had better make your little thugs behave!” Instead, her father, being an enlightened sort, smiles at the boys ingratiatingly, asks them what their names are, then nicely introduces them to his daughter and encourages them all to play together. Of course, only a nasty-minded person would ever think that if they did play together, it would be virtually inevitable that the girl would be violently assaulted again. Any nice person would naturally understand that things would be all honey and roses from then on.

This happened to me countless times throughout my childhood, at home and at school. Finally around the age of ten, I stopped bothering to report any assaults, because I knew by then that if any punishment was meted out for an assault on me, it would be to me for complaining about it. I couldn’t understand it, but concluded that I simply happened to have been born in the midst of a handful of mentally confused adults.

I was in college before I finally got it through my head that my parents and teachers were not confused about particular incidents, they were genuinely amoral. They were indifferent to such concepts as “right” and “wrong”; what they cared about was the license to be lazy and cowardly (not, for instance, having to face the angry protective parents of a bully) while simultaneously admiring their own higher morality in doing so. All teachers and a significant percentage of parents do this. They have been trained to do so, in the service of a greater social movement towards progressivism.

This particular element is the Hegelian Dialectic, a way of thinking that has infected all of Western society. When I first read about it last year, I finally understood how my father could stand by and watch happily while his small daughter was repeatedly battered and ostracized. Nature and civilization have provided that for parents who do not feel enough affection in their hearts to protect their children, which is many more parents than we care to believe, possessive anger that someone else dares to attack what is theirs will motivate them to do so. The Hegelian Dialectic wipes out even that motive and tells them that neglecting to protect their children is serving the greater good.

So what is the Hegelian Dialectic? It isn’t easy to define, because it is irrational.

Hegel took logic to the next logical level, in what many consider to be a higher intellectual level, claiming an (A) ideology conflicting with its (B) opposite ideology = (C) a new and sometimes better philosophy. The dialectic pits A against B in a constant conflict and resolution, which eventually creates an outcome that may or may not have any resemblance to A and B. According to modern social scientists, C does not have to be a reasonable conclusion, since Hegel’s dialectic takes pure reason out of the reasoning.

If you don’t get it, that means you got it, because anything arrived at using Hegel’s “logic” doesn’t have to make any sense.

What is the Hegelian Dialectic?

The simplest and clearest definition I have found is this one:

The concept of the dialectic has been around for a long time. It is simply that of opposite positions: Thesis (position) vs. Antithesis (opposite position). In traditional logic, if my thesis was true, then all other positions were by definition untrue. For example, if my thesis is 2+2=4, then all other answers (antithesis) are false. George W.F. Hegel, the nineteenth century German philosopher, turned that concept upside down by equalizing Thesis and Antithesis. All things are now relative. There is no such thing as absolute truth to be found anywhere. Instead, “truth” is found in Synthesis, a compromise of Thesis and Antithesis. This is the heart and soul of the consensus process.

And here we have the basis of today’s moral relativism, the opposite of what Chesterton’s Father Brown said:

“Reason and justice grip the remotest and the loneliest star. Look at those stars. Don’t they look as if they were single diamonds and sapphires? Well, you can imagine any mad botany or geology you please. Think of forests of adamant with leaves of brilliants. Think the moon is a blue moon, a single elephantine sapphire. But don’t fancy that all that frantic astronomy would make the smallest difference to the reason and justice of conduct. On plains of opal, under cliffs cut out of pearl, you would still find a notice-board, `Thou shalt not steal.'”

But of course those who wish to steal will not allow this. And so we have a culture which has increasingly and implicitly elevated harmony above justice. The schoolteacher who admonishes students to “play nice together” instead of punishing bullies is doing the same thing as politicians and UN denizens who exhort natives of Western nations to be “accepting” and “tolerant” of the violence, vandalism, and terror Muslim immigrants bring with them instead of either locking up Mohammedans who violate our laws or else shipping them back whence they came. To previous generations, the conflict was between the bullies who wanted to batter smaller children and the smaller children who expected the adults to do their job and protect them. The question was whether right or wrong would prevail. To the Hegelian, the point is for the bullies who wish to beat up others and their prospective victims to somehow come to a compromise which does not involve either side “winning”. In their ideal world – and in a great deal of their fiction – this happens by the victims coming to a greater understanding of how difficult the bullies’ lives have been and offering them friendship, which makes the bullies feel greater self-esteem and reform their ways. (Anyone who in any way participates in creating such a work of fiction is an accomplice to murder and should be sent to the electric chair.) Similarly, Muslims do not engage in violence, the stoning of suspected adultresses, or the murder and oppression of “infidels” because their holy book and their culture encourage it, but because their intended victims seem to them to be meanies. If we Westerners just supplicate enough, give them enough welfare payoffs, turn the other cheek enough, and otherwise behave like doormats, Muslims will eventually decide that we aren’t so bad after all, and we will thenceforth live in peace and harmony. (In other words, Hegel is a direct path to dhimmitude.)

Of course, in practice, bad people – whether fanatical terrorists or mean fourth graders – react to all this kindness and understanding by gleefully taking advantage of it to cause their victims further injury. I remember hearing the bullies in my class laughing about the naivete of the adults who punished their victims for “whining” instead of punishing them for committing assault and battery.

Dean Gotcher put it this way:

Well, the process is built on three stages which are more complex than this. There is thesis, which is simple, that’s you and your position and facts based on what you believe. Antithesis is somebody who’s different than you. The moment the two of you who are different are in the same room, there’s a potential relationship there. However, the only way you can get to it is synthesis [agreement in the relationship]. You and the other person have to put aside your differences for the sake of a relationship and try to find facts or elements of your belief systems that are in harmony. That’s socialism. Eventually if that becomes your agenda– the dialectic way of thinking–you have a socialist cosmic mind which puts aside anything that gets in the way of the relationship. That, by the way, means any information that’s introduced that breaks up human relationship is impractical and is irrational. This then is John Dewey’s instrumentalism approach to this process.

And:

Accountability to a higher authority. The patriarchal way means children are to obey their parents. That’s being rejected –its an old fashioned way of thinking. Now it’s partnership and dialoging to consensus. Finding common ground through the use of consensus– that’s synthesis By the way, in a meeting we find that we are to focus in on what we can accept for sake of a relationship. The church is really more troubling to me as far as its involvement in it. The state and the government has been in this process for some time, but the religious community is being pulled into it. I really don’t know if there’s going to be a turn around without God’s direct intervention.

Its uses go beyond feeling good about cowardice, however. It also makes it impossible for the person wielding it without shame to lose an argument.

My fellow American conservatives – the mainstream ones, I mean – keep expressing bafflement that we won the Cold War and yet socialism is still around. Hasn’t it been demonstrated beyond all doubt that no matter what variations you come up with, the system still doesn’t work? So why do America and Europe keep enacting socialist laws? Why do the various left-leaning parties continue to advocate measures which have been tried and which failed utterly? The answer is that they are kidding themselves that they are trying something new, what Pope Pius XI called “a third way between socialism and capitalism”. They have left us fogeys arguing about capitalism (thesis) versus communism (antithesis) behind to move on to greater things: the synthesis between the two, which will be utterly new and shiny and exciting! No need to commit to any of the old systems or moral codes. No, we can move beyond petty old concepts like right and wrong and be as gods!

Another manifestation of the Hegelian Dialectic is in the social push towards androgyny. Indeed, when I was in college I came across a book arguing that in a few more decades, humans would become so androgynous that it would be impossible to distinguish the sexes from each other! That will never happen, obviously, but modern women have been made far less feminine and modern men far less masculine. There is a place (in art) for highly stylized androgyny, but if most people have entered a dreary gray zone of neither masculinity nor femininity, the artistic impact of it is lost.

Men hold doors for women as a symbol of the chivalrous obligation of men to protect the women of their society. Women wear prettier clothes than men as a symbol that men have done a good enough job in protecting and providing for them that women are free to wear impractical clothing, a gesture which also implies that male valor and labor has created a society with sufficient security and leisure to make such things as great art and philosophy possible. That is, a society in which symphonies can be composed is also a society in which women can wear high heeled shoes. To conservatives or traditionalists, the myriad differences in dress, grooming, and manners that point up the biological distinctions between the sexes are valuable and deserve preservation. To the fringe radicals who introduce the new bits of madness that will later become widespread, such as feminism or environmentalism or communism, such distinctions are the tools of the oppressor and must be attacked, which is why early feminists burned their bras (apparently on the theory that men who see bouncing breasts are moved to reflect on how similar the sexes are), and why the mothers of many of my female classmates cut off their hair and forced them to wear drably colored pants and boys’ shirts to school and to play with balls instead of Barbies. But to the Hegelian, the burning of bras and the deprivation of children of the toys and clothes they would prefer is only the antithesis, the second step. Now it is time for the synthesis, for everyone to transcend the petty categories of male and female and evolve into something that is both and neither, the androgyne. Never mind that without substantial genetic engineering, this is not going to come anywhere near to working. All divisions, all boundaries must be broken down.

Apply this same attitude towards patriotism and we have the universalist ideals of the UN, the EU, the euro, the proposed global currency, the metric system, proposed international courts, etc. Apply it to religion and we have those brainless “COEXIST” bumper stickers. (Note: refraining from killing heathens is not at all the same as believing that their faith is just as good or true as yours, an inherently contradictory idea.) Also to the irritating cliché, “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual,” and the Dalai Lama writing in the Forward of Spiritual Politics by Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson, “Narrow-mindedness and self-centered thinking may have served us well in the past, but today will only lead to disaster. We can overcome such attitudes through a combination of education and training.”

The Hegelian Dialectic is not just a fossil of 19th-century philosophy that, yes, does fit the behavior of today’s moral relativists. It was the basis of the manipulation methods of Saul Alinsky. Most of my readers are probably familiar with Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s training in the Alinsky method. What might not be so familiar is the related Delpha Technique. Here is article from which I first learned what the Hegelian Dialectic is:

Using the Delphi Technique to Achieve Consensus by Lynn M. Stuter

The Delphi Technique and consensus building are both founded in the same principle — the Hegelian dialectic of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, with synthesis becoming the new thesis. The goal is a continual evolution to “oneness of mind” (consensus means solidarity of belief) — the collective mind, the wholistic society, the wholistic earth, etc. In thesis and antithesis, opinions or views are presented on a subject to establish views and opposing views. In synthesis, opposites are brought together to form the new thesis. All participants in the process are then to accept ownership of the new thesis and support it, changing their views to align with the new thesis. Through a continual process of evolution, “oneness of mind” will supposedly occur.

In group settings, the Delphi Technique is an unethical method of achieving consensus on controversial topics. It requires well-trained professionals, known as “facilitators” or “change agents,” who deliberately escalate tension among group members, pitting one faction against another to make a preordained viewpoint appear “sensible,” while making opposing views appear ridiculous.

This led me to more digging:

As he observes the group he begins to evaluate the positions of each member, watching for those with the strongest opinion and those who may be a little hesitant in their convictions. The weaker ones become his target. He begins to question the position of the leaders, playing on the doubts or fears of those with weaker convictions or differing opinions. Finally, he begins to drive a wedge between them – always, he says, with the “good of the group” in mind.

Soon, as a result of his manipulation, dissension breaks out in the group. Its goals become clouded. Eventually it will break up completely or take a radically different position on the issue. The outcome that the Educrats wanted is achieved. Their opposition has been neutralized.

The “Delphi Technique” And How It Robs Parents of Control Over Their Child’s Education

How Delphi Works

Using a series of surveys to develop a “consensus” was the original technique. A 100 page report using a Delphi technique survey done in 1989 is typical. The study was titled, Teacher Perceptions of the Effects of Implementation of Outcome-Based education. It was financed and distributed by ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) of the U.S. Department of Education. The report described the method used. It said: A random sample of 60 teachers was selected from 600 teachers in an Iowa school district. The 60 teachers were given a “survey” which included 39 “statements” concerning educational goals and implementation of OBE. Those surveyed were given a choice of six responses from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. Space was provided for writing any comments or reactions to each statement.

When the surveys were returned, those conducting them tallied the results and analyzed the comments. An effort was made to determine the degree to which at least 75% of those responding would accept each of the statements. On the first “try” 75% or more of those responding agreed to (or would go along with) twenty of the original thirty-nine statements or premises. Those twenty statements became a part of the “consensus.”

Try, Try And Try Again

A month later the sixty participants were surveyed again. They were asked to rethink their positions and then were again given the nineteen statements on which there had been no “consensus.” When these tabulations were done, there was a consensus on twelve of the nineteen. Thirty days later, a third survey was done on the last seven points. By the time the third round was completed and the written comments were tabulated, it was found that a consensus was achieved and at least 75% of the participants were “in agreement” on the pre-determined package of statements. When the Delphi “consensus” is achieved, a lengthy and comprehensive report can be prepared and released using the “consensus” to support the goals and techniques of OBE or a tax increase or some other new project. When experienced teachers, or citizens, or business leaders, etc. have come to a “consensus” anyone disagreeing, must obviously be uninformed or out of step and may be an odd ball. The technique avoids the possibility of informed people with conflicting views influencing others.

Ultimately, depending on how big the project is, the “consensus” may be packaged beautifully (expensively) for dissemination to parents, teachers, legislators, and media.

BEWARE – the Delphi Technique Trained Facilitators in public meetings

With some exceptions, progressives are not people who are confused about a couple of things, who will accept reality if they’re shown enough evidence that socialism doesn’t work and that men and women are different, etc. No doubt some of the young people who are voting Democrat or Labour because all their friends are and because they’ve heard it would be “racist” not to, can be brought around with facts. But what we are really facing is people far more sophisticated than this, who will be unswayed by facts or events. Their most fundamental philosophical convictions are utterly alien to us. And if they are to be fought, they must be understood.

 

 

Note: Essays linked here are not necessarily endorsed in their entirety, nor are the sites on which they are carried. At least a couple of the essays I have linked in this post have many wrong conclusions or invalid connections, but their insights on the Hegelian Dialectic are very useful.

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Others have already chronicled this so well that I am largely just going to assemble quotations here. For some of you, this will be review. For the rest of you, this is a necessary foundation. It took me years of digging through books and blogs and websites before I found out about this.

Most Americans look back on the 1950s as a good time. Our homes were safe, to the point where many people did not bother to lock their doors. Public schools were generally excellent, and their problems were things like talking in class and running in the halls. Most men treated women like ladies, and most ladies devoted their time and effort to making good homes, rearing their children well and helping their communities through volunteer work. Children grew up in two–parent households, and the mother was there to meet the child when he came home from school. Entertainment was something the whole family could enjoy.

What happened?

If a man from America of the 1950s were suddenly introduced into America in the 2000s, he would hardly recognize it as the same country. He would be in immediate danger of getting mugged, carjacked or worse, because he would not have learned to live in constant fear. He would not know that he shouldn’t go into certain parts of the city, that his car must not only be locked but equipped with an alarm, that he dare not go to sleep at night without locking the windows and bolting the doors – and setting the electronic security system.

If he brought his family with him, he and his wife would probably cheerfully pack their children off to the nearest public school. When the children came home in the afternoon and told them they had to go through a metal detector to get in the building, had been given some funny white powder by another kid and learned that homosexuality is normal and good, the parents would be uncomprehending.

What is “Political Correctness”? by William S. Lind

This, by the way, was brilliantly dramatized in the delightful movie Blast From The Past. A man who has been hiding in a bomb shelter since 1962 emerges, looks around 1997 Los Angeles, and promptly concludes that what he sees is the result of nuclear devastation.

Mr. Lind answers his own question:

Cultural Marxism began not in the 1960s but in 1919, immediately after World War I. Marxist theory had predicted that in the event of a big European war, the working class all over Europe would rise up to overthrow capitalism and create communism. But when war came in 1914, that did not happen. When it finally did happen in Russia in 1917, workers in other European countries did not support it. What had gone wrong?

Independently, two Marxist theorists, Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary, came to the same answer: Western culture and the Christian religion had so blinded the working class to its true, Marxist class interest that Communism was impossible in the West until both could be destroyed. In 1919, Lukacs asked, “Who will save us from Western civilization?” That same year, when he became Deputy Commissar for Culture in the short-lived Bolshevik Bela Kun government in Hungary, one of Lukacs’s first acts was to introduce sex education into Hungary’s public schools. He knew that if he could destroy the West’s traditional sexual morals, he would have taken a giant step toward destroying Western culture itself.

In 1923, inspired in part by Lukacs, a group of German Marxists established a think tank at Frankfurt University in Germany called the Institute for Social Research. This institute, soon known simply as the Frankfurt School, would become the creator of cultural Marxism.

To translate Marxism from economic into cultural terms, the members of the Frankfurt School – – Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Wilhelm Reich, Eric Fromm and Herbert Marcuse, to name the most important – – had to contradict Marx on several points. They argued that culture was not just part of what Marx had called society’s “superstructure,” but an independent and very important variable. They also said that the working class would not lead a Marxist revolution, because it was becoming part of the middle class, the hated bourgeoisie.

Who would? In the 1950s, Marcuse answered the question: a coalition of blacks, students, feminist women and homosexuals.

What is Cultural Marxism? By William S. Lind

In 1926, an Italian communist named Antonio Gramsci ended up in Mussolini’s prison after a return from Russia. While there, he wrote his “prison notebooks” and they laid out a plan for destroying Western faith and culture. His plans included ways to undermine and discourage Westerners through the intentional collapse of the existing social structure from within.

Gramsci advocated not only Marxist class warfare, which was economically focused, but also social and cultural warfare at the same time. His theories and the “slow march through the culture” (or institutions) which he envisioned to destroy the West are enshrined in current American social policy. His theories surrounding “hegemony” and a “counter-hegemony” were designed to destroy Western social structure and overthrow the “West” from within.

Hegemony, as defined by Gramsci is that widely accepted system of values, morals, ethics, and social structure which holds a society together and creates a cohesive people. Western social structures holding society together (i.e. “the hegemony”) include: authority, morality, sexual restraint, monogamous marriage, personal responsibility, patriotism, national unity, community, tradition, heredity, education, conservatism, language, Christianity, law, and truth. His theory called for media and communications to slowly co-opt the people with the “counter-hegemony” propaganda message.

Statement of Bill Wood, Charlotte, North Carolina

The members of the Frankfurt School are Marxist, they are also, to a man, Jewish. In 1933 the Nazis came to power in Germany, and not surprisingly they shut down the Institute for Social Research. And its members fled. They fled to New York City, and the Institute was reestablished there in 1933 with help from Columbia University. And the members of the Institute, gradually through the 1930s, though many of them remained writing in German, shift their focus from Critical Theory about German society, destructive criticism about every aspect of that society, to Critical Theory directed toward American society. There is another very important transition when the war comes. Some of them go to work for the government, including Herbert Marcuse, who became a key figure in the OSS (the predecessor to the CIA), and some, including Horkheimer and Adorno, move to Hollywood.

These origins of Political Correctness would probably not mean too much to us today except for two subsequent events. The first was the student rebellion in the mid-1960s, which was driven largely by resistance to the draft and the Vietnam War. But the student rebels needed theory of some sort. They couldn’t just get out there and say, “Hell no we won’t go,” they had to have some theoretical explanation behind it. Very few of them were interested in wading through Das Kapital. Classical, economic Marxism is not light, and most of the radicals of the 60s were not deep. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for our country today, and not just in the university, Herbert Marcuse remained in America when the Frankfurt School relocated back to Frankfurt after the war. And whereas Mr. Adorno in Germany is appalled by the student rebellion when it breaks out there – when the student rebels come into Adorno’s classroom, he calls the police and has them arrested – Herbert Marcuse, who remained here, saw the 60s student rebellion as the great chance. He saw the opportunity to take the work of the Frankfurt School and make it the theory of the New Left in the United States.

The Origins of Political Correctness by Bill Lind

Let me pause to draw some attention to this sentence from the above: “The members of the Frankfurt School are Marxist, they are also, to a man, Jewish.” This is not, in fact, correct. Gramsci was an Italian Catholic; indeed, the Vatican claims that he had a deathbed conversion. As far as I have been able to determine, Felix Weil and Jürgen Habermas were not Jewish (correct me if I am wrong). And there are a few other, lesser-known Frankfurt School members who were not. However, most of them were, which of course just lends support to those who believe that we Jews are in a worldwide conspiracy to destroy/dominate/make money off everyone else. (I would like to know why I haven’t been invited to join.)

My own theory about why so many of these eggheaded scoundrels were Jewish is that first, we tend to be intellectual, so where goyische scoundrels rob banks or beat their wives and Islamic scoundrels blow up buildings, our scoundrels come up with deranged theories (see: Marx, Freud). Second, they were all from secular, assimilated families. Barred from their own heritage and not entirely belonging to the larger society in which they were moving, they had to feel alienated, and they struck out in the only way that they could see.

On the other end of the scale, cultural Marxists who read conservative articles exposing the well documented activities of the Frankfurt School do not hesitate to ignore all of the facts involved except for the fact that most of them were Jewish and accuse these conservatives of antisemitism for daring to criticize Jewish Marxists. In doing this, they are only following Communist Party procedure as set out by the Moscow Central Committee in 1943: “Members and front organizations must continually embarrass, discredit and degrade our critics. When obstructionists become too irritating, label them as fascist, or Nazi or anti-Semitic…The association will, after enough repetition, become ‘fact’ in the public mind.”

Since nearly all of the Frankfurt School denizens were German, except for a Hungarian and a couple of Italians, those of us who denounce it could just as easily be labelled “anti-German” – which, by the way, I am not. However, I am reminded that in his popular book The Closing of the American Mind, Jewish author Allan Bloom discusses several of these same cultural Marxists, without using the phrase “Frankfurt School”, and then remarks, “My insistence on the Germanness of all this is intended not as a know-nothing response to foreign influence, the search for a German intellectual under every bed, but to heighten awareness of where we must look if we are to understand what we are saying and thinking, for we are in danger of forgetting.”

Today’s disintegration of the family can be laid entirely at the door of the Frankfurt School. Lenin said, “Destroy the family and you destroy society.” His followers have proven him right:

“Gramsci hated marriage and the family, the very founding blocks of a civilized society. To him, marriage was a plot, a conspiracy… to perpetuate an evil system that oppressed women and children. It was a dangerous institution, characterized by violence and exploitation, the forerunner of fascism and tyranny. Patriarchy served as the main target of the cultural Marxists. They strove to feminize the family with legions of single and homosexual mothers and ‘fathers’ who would serve to weaken the structure of civilized society.”

…[A]nother cultural Marxist (George Lukacs) brought the Gramscian strategy to the schools… As deputy commissioner in Hungary… his first task was to put radical sex education in the schools… it was the best way to destroy traditional sexual morality, and weaken the family. Hungarian children learned… free love, sexual intercourse, and the archaic nature of middle-class family codes, the obsolete nature of monogamy, and the irrelevance of organized religion which deprived man of pleasure. Children were urged to deride and ignore… parental authority, and precepts of traditional morality. If this sounds familiar, it is because this is what is happening in our public… schools.

…Under the rubric of ‘diversity,’ its hidden goal is to impose a uniformity of thought and behavior on all Americans. The cultural Marxists, often teachers, university professors and administrators, TV producers, newspaper editor and the like, serve as gatekeepers by keeping all traditional and positive ideas, especially religious ideas, out of the public marketplace.

Herbert Marcuse was largely responsible for bringing cultural Marxism to the United States… He believed that all taboos, especially sexual ones, should be relaxed. “Make love, not war!” was his battle cry that echoed through ivy-covered college campuses all over America. His methodology for rebellion included the deconstruction of the language, the infamous “what does ‘is’ mean?” which fostered the destruction of the culture. By confusing and obliterating word meanings, he helped cause a breakdown in the social conformity of the nation, especially among the… young of America…

A Nation of Frogs

Many people would be shocked to learn that much of the current “family law” system we have today, which is at the heart of so much of our modern social upheaval and America’s “welfare state,” was born in the Soviet Union. Still more shocking would be the revelation that when the Soviet Union discovered its system was a disastrous failure, it instituted serious reforms in the early 1940’s to try to restore the family and the country. The Soviets made these changes when fatherlessness (which included children from divorced fathers) reached around 7 million children and their social welfare structure (day cares, kindergartens, state children’s facilities, etc.) was overburdened….

“Family law” is one of the key tools of the “counter-hegemony” which is used to advance the social welfare state through the promotion of the social structural collapse of America. The early Soviet system focused on personal happiness and self-centered fulfillment with its roots in class warfare. When it was determined that this type of class warfare directed at the family was a complete failure, the Soviets worked quickly to restore the traditional nuclear family in the 1940’s. Shortly after this, the NAWL (National Association of Women Lawyers) began their push for adopting these failed Soviet policies in America.

Statement of Bill Wood, Charlotte, North Carolina

Communist ACLU founder William Z. Foster says this: “To free the woman from the enslavement of the perpetual care of her children is also a major object of Socialism. To this end in the Soviet Union there is being developed the most elaborate system of kindergartens and playgrounds in the world . . . .”

Here, Foster really spills the frijoles. Notice that for a mother to take care of her own children is “enslavement.” Apparently it is not enslavement for someone else – a different mother – to take care of them, while their own mother works as a machinist.

THE COMMUNIST PLAN FOR AMERICAN WOMEN by Alan Stang

Conservative Americans fancy that socialism has been largely defeated or that its greatest remaining threat lies in taxation and spending. They forget that the dream of leftist revolutionaries for centuries has been not only to equalize wealth and social status, but to eliminate all distinctions among the citizens of their ideal republic. All of these revolutionaries from Marx on down have targeted the family for destruction.

Undemocratic Institution

The family is a highly undemocratic institution. The nuclear family consists of one man and one woman, a highly specific and unliberated straitjacket of a social structure. They have loyalty to one another greater than that to society at large and also dedication to their own children, over whom they have authority—and any private authority is a rival to the government’s. To a true democrat, this preference for one’s spouse and authority over one’s children violates the principle of equality, which proclaims that we must treat everyone exactly the same. For the modern democratic statist, these loyalties and authorities weaken his own power and inhibit the ongoing concentration of all authority in one central government.

Children of the State by Joseph A. D’Agostino

And there was one more area that Marxists had to attack for their plan to work. I have been contending for years that the ugliness of the modern world is not just a fashion or an accident, but that it has a fundamental connection to the collapse of morality and of our legal system. Hardly anyone agrees with me, but I stand by my assertions: the ugly fonts, advertisements, clothes, music, cars and houses go hand in hand with no-fault divorce, man-hating feminism, our current useless educational system, welfare, the crime rate, and our inability to deal with terrorism. The two feed upon each other. Get rid of one and the other will collapse.

Guess what? I was right about that too.

Congressman George Dondero said, “Modern art is Communistic because it is distorted and ugly, because it does not glorify our beautiful country…. It is therefore opposed to our government, and those who create and promote it are our enemies.” I wouldn’t confine it it “our beautiful country” or “our government” – it does not glorify any beautiful country and it opposes all non-communist governments – but other than that, he was quite right.

On a different level, in the 1930s members of CPUSA (the Communist Party of the USA) got instructions from Moscow to promote non-representational art so that the US’s public spaces would become arid and ugly.

Americans hearing that last one tend to laugh. But the Soviets, following the lead of Marxist theoreticians like Antonio Gramsci, took very seriously the idea that by blighting the U.S.’s intellectual and esthetic life, they could sap Americans’ will to resist Communist ideology and an eventual Communist takeover. The explicit goal was to erode the confidence of America’s ruling class and create an ideological vacuum to be filled by Marxism-Leninism.

The Soviets consciously followed the Gramscian prescription; they pursued a war of position, subverting the “leading elements” of society through their agents of influence. (See, for example, Stephen Koch’s Double Lives: Stalin, Willi Munzenberg and the Seduction of the Intellectuals; summary by Koch here.) This worked exactly as expected; their memes seeped into Western popular culture and are repeated endlessly in (for example) the products of Hollywood.

Indeed, the index of Soviet success is that most of us no longer think of these memes as Communist propaganda. It takes a significant amount of digging and rethinking and remembering, even for a lifelong anti-Communist like myself, to realize that there was a time (within the lifetime of my parents) when all of these ideas would have seemed alien, absurd, and repulsive to most people — at best, the beliefs of a nutty left-wing fringe, and at worst instruments of deliberate subversion intended to destroy the American way of life….

Gramscian Damage

Adorno, a trained musician, wrote The Philosophy of Modern Music, in which he, in essence, polemicizes against beauty itself — because it has become part of the ideology of advanced capitalist society and the false consciousness that contributes to domination by prettifying it. Avant-garde art and music preserve the truth by capturing the reality of human suffering. Hence:

“What radical music perceives is the untransfigured suffering of man… The seismographic registration of traumatic shock becomes, at the same time, the technical structural law of music. It forbids continuity and development. Musical language is polarized according to its extreme; towards gestures of shock resembling bodily convulsions on the one hand, and on the other towards a crystalline standstill of a human being whom anxiety causes to freeze in her tracks… Modern music sees absolute oblivion as its goal. It is the surviving message of despair from the shipwrecked.”

This view of modern art as producing truth only through the negation of traditional aesthetic form and traditional norms of beauty because they have become ideological is characteristic of Adorno and of the Frankfurt School generally. It has been criticized by those who do not share its conception of modern society as a false totality that renders obsolete traditional conceptions and images of beauty and harmony.

Wikipedia article on the Frankfurt School

Here are a few more links for those who wish to read further:

Political Correctness — The Revenge of Marxismby Baron Bodissey

Why There Is A Culture War: Gramsci and Tocqueville in America by John Fonte

The Origins of Political Correctness by Bill Lind

The Four Horsemen of the Frankfort SchoolBy Charles A. Morse

What is the Frankfurt School? By Dr. Gerald L. Atkinson CDR USN (Ret.)

Who are the real radicals? by Jennifer King

 

EDIT: I just came across a link I forgot to include in this post: Why There Is A Culture War

“The Revolution won’t happen with guns, rather it will happen incrementally, year by year, generation by generation. We will gradually infiltrate their educational institutions and their political offices, transforming them slowly into Marxist entities as we move towards universal egalitarianism.”
~Max Horkheimer

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Shortly after I made my last post, I edited it to add that class boundaries should be permeable. I was inspired to say this partly because of something a friend of mine said after I made some pro-class-system remark. She’s apparently bought Hollywood’s version of what a rigid class system is like, because she immediately protested that someone capable of curing cancer shouldn’t be stuck doing menial work because of the class he’s born into. Obviously they shouldn’t, but really, few societies sufficiently advanced to make finding cures for diseases a feasible project have had indentured servitude, and then not for long. It’s the lack of technology that motivates slavery and serfdom. Nobody would deal with trying to keep slaves in line if they could just buy a tractor instead.

Then I watched a documentary on television about the Hapsburg royal jewels, which after the Great War were stolen from their rightful owners and are now in some dreary museum. In discussing one stunning and elaborate piece, the speaker related how many years it took for the craftsman to create it and a little about his methods. He then announced that when it was completed, the craftsman’s family was ennobled in recognition of his skill and service.

Which got me to thinking that, despite what the unimpeachable source of bodice-ripping movies tells us, class boundaries have always been permeable. Really, the big problem has always been trying to shore them up, because they are naturally permeable. Your son will grow up and marry the daughter of a tanner. Tradesmen will make enough money to indebt you to them however you resist, and you’ll end up raising them to the peerage to buy guns to keep the Huns at bay. Italian corporals will leave their native land and display enough charisma and strategy that no one dares to stop them from plucking a crown from the gutter. Now and then a commoner will insist upon developing such an excellent brain that you have no choice but to make him your chancellor even if he does slurp his soup.

Enemies of class distinctions like to rail against the elaborate codes of etiquette favored by the well-off, but there is a practical reason for them: they are guarding themselves from con men and gold diggers. You can’t very well ask the guests at your cocktail party to show their identification and bank statements, so instead you go on guard if they break one of your thousand unwritten rules of behavior. Richard Coniff relates the story of one aspiring grifter who finagled an invitation to dinner at the home of a wealthy acquaintance. The wealthy man, for some reason, served a cheap wine out of a decanter, hoping perhaps that his guests would drink enough of it not to notice. The grifter took a sip and said, “Wonderful. A Bordeaux, no?” The wealthy man serving the cheap wine immediately realized that his guest could not possibly be the old-money patrician he pretended, and when the bait for the con was dangled before him, declined to bite. Shortly thereafter the grifter was arrested on multiple charges. “The moral of the story,” Mr. Coniff concludes, “is, of course, know your wines.”

Another remark I wanted to follow up was the one about how keeping the masses from causing trouble was not justification for forced and involuntary servitude. I announced that even for a reactionary, this is over the line beyond which individual rights must be respected despite the potential threat to society.

It is over the line for a reactionary, but not for a progressive. Left-wing British journalist Brian Basham wants private schools to be abolished. “[T]he siphoning off of influential, powerful middle-class parents causes the most damage. Who can doubt that if those parents had no alternative to the state system, they would force the Government to ensure that it was successful?” Well, I can, for one. It’s kind of hard to force the Government – you know, the people who own lots of guns and an organized police force and army and a bunch of prisons – to do anything. Even if they could, I don’t see that enslaving their children and holding them hostage is justified, but then, people who are not progressives tend to have hidebound notions about individual rights. He also blithely ignored the method shown by history to be quite effective at keeping school standards high: of leaving control of all schools in the hands of parents. If all parents had the say in where their children went to school and what the teachers taught, even lower class parents would not stand for what Western governments are currently forcing on almost everyone.

Mr. Basham is missing the central point. Giving all children identical education would not make all adults grow up with equal abilities. A great deal about us, including our IQ, is determined the moment our parents put their DNA together. Progressives believe that “education” is some sort of magical process, and that by sufficient immersion in it, a sow’s ear shall be turned into a silk purse – or perhaps the other way ’round. It isn’t. Your chromosomes have far more to do with your future abilities and success than anything some tart standing in front of a blackboard might recite to you.

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The Good Old Days

A conservative article I once read, I can’t recall where, began by remarking that we really ought to put dates on conservatives. That is, what past era does the conservative in question consider the best example of How It Spoze To Be.

Joseph of Arimathea commented here a few days ago, asking, “Was Victorian and Edwardian England ideal for you? Bourgeois standards for most, with the good sense to look the other way while Oscar Wilde self-destructed?”

He was very close. My preferred era is from 1890-1955. I love the old miniseries of Brideshead Revisited, but I found it deeply ironic that the protagonist decided to reject his own time for its alleged materialism and corruption. I would literally give my right arm to live in the time of that novel. Waugh, it seems, was a medievalist. I accept that the medieval period was not the unmitigated nightmare progressives like to claim it was, but nor was it an era in which I would care to live.

I don’t argue that my preferred era is the ideal for humanity. In my ideal world, there would be numerous countries which roughly corresponded to different time periods. Medievalists could have their feudal dream, I could have my Edwardian idyll, perhaps we could have a Classical region, and so on.

One reason I prefer the era I do is the one Joseph mentioned. Few people cared about such ultimately trivial matters as a handful of decadent people getting up to assorted vices. Nowadays, vices (drugs, nonreproductive sex) have been politicized and used to destroy those bourgeois standards Joseph mentioned, forcing people who really should have better things to think about to pay attention to the hanky-panky of strangers. Back then, people who practiced a measure of discretion could get up to all sorts of things behind closed doors, so long as they didn’t wreck civilization or scare the horses. Today the mere idea of discretion causes good progressives to break out in hives, but as Florence King once said, “Hypocrisy is another name for civilization.” Good manners and good grooming were expected of everyone on a daily basis, to a level not found today in most churches.

Another reason is a purely emotional one: I respond powerfully to the aesthetic of that era, particularly Art Nouveau and Art Deco. I listen to Big Band music in my car, I eat off Ballerina Porcelain made in the Fifties, I watch black and white movies, I brush my hair with a Victorian-looking silver brush, I paint my face with Airspun face powder and Besame mascara (neither of which has changed their design since the 1930’s, nor do I see any reason that they should), I even wear a garter belt instead of panty hose. I have no use for the aesthetic of my own lifetime.

I don’t really believe that people were less materialistic before that. Indeed, they usually couldn’t afford to be; most people have spent most of human history trying to feed themselves. The moral and cultural collapse of the 1960s, which took centuries to work up to, is historically unique. Excluding the post-1960 era, I doubt that people in general were ever a great deal more or less spiritual from one time to another. Humans are still humans, and have needs of their bodies and their souls during all times.

It was in the late nineteenth century that technology began to really advance, and I like technology. I have no wish to fetch my water from a well, scrub my clothes against a washboard, or do the other backbreaking manual labor in which most human lifetimes have always been spent. Of course, I would likely have servants to do that for me, but I find that idea every bit as depressing. Some of the nuttier traditionalists have no interest in manual labor for themselves, but believe that it would be beneficial for the rabble. Granted it would be useful in preventing said rabble from listening to whatever statist snake oil is being promoted by carpetbaggers at the moment, but really, even for us reactionaries there is a line where the good of society has to yield to the rights of the individual, and sentencing most of mankind to a lifetime of drudgery so stupid people won’t join spurious religions and vote for slimeballs is definitely over that line.

It really gets my goat when people try to claim that it was moralistic crusades that ended this kind of drudgery. I can’t find the source now, but a few years ago a journalist asserted that if it weren’t for the heroism of journalists before him, we would still be having our chimneys cleaned by underfed, overworked children. Did he actually believe that? For most of my adult life I haven’t even had a chimney. There are reasons for this, such as “central heating” and “electric stoves”. Notice that “valiant newspaper writers” is not on this list. Some years back I moved into a house with a chimney, and when I hired a (grown) man to clean it, he did it with a mechanical contraption that didn’t even exist in the Victorian era. It was these inventions, this technology, that freed us from the necessity of sending children down into chimneys which only they were small enough to fit into. Similarly, it was the much-reviled Industrial Revolution which made the abolition of slavery and serfdom actually practicable for the first time in human history. Without machines, well, human societies need stuff in order to thrive, and making stuff is a lot of boring and unpleasant work that no one wants to do, and the temptation to press people into servitude to do it is, history tells us, irresistible. Even my own faith, revolutionary when its laws were first written down, nevertheless only dared to regulate slavery, not abolish it. (Thousands of years later American slave owners were to use this as their proof that God approved of slavery, though they blithely ignored the many rules He gave us concerning it.) I doubt that outright forbidding slavery in the ancient Fertile Crescent would have been even possible.

Mention of slavery leads me to another of the reasons I am drawn to this era. In my opinion, this is the time when we foolish mortals came the closest to getting the balance between individual rights and societal need right. Slavery had been abolished. Many will point to the continuing segregation and discrimination, but the fact remained that it was possible for people of any ethnicity to achieve and advance. At the same time, no one suggested that people whose ancestors had been oppressed were therefore exempt from society’s laws, whereas today, it is commonplace for news articles to suggest that nonwhite violent criminals are only helplessly lashing out because of all the terrible discrimination they endure. I heard that one a great deal after 9/11; one silly bint pleaded on her livejournal, “Americans, please pay attention to these people who are so desperate to be heard.” So desperate that they murder 3,000 innocent people – oh, excuse me, 3,000 little Eichmanns. It never occurred to our grandparents to react to Pearl Harbor by dumping ashes on their heads for having given the Japanese too little indulgence.

One thing that worries me about this is that the reverse racism of such absurdities is likely to inspire a resurgence of racism. Now that we have an American president who hates white people and clearly intends to pay off the “people of color” who elected him by taking away even more of our rights and property, I would say this is going to happen very soon. Most likely, all of the progress that has been made towards racial harmony will be lost.

But I am straying from my point, which is the balance of personal freedom and societal expectations. In this era, the very unhealthy concept of “adolescence” had not been invented, let alone extended far into adulthood as it now is. If a fifteen-year-old was living with his parents and going to school, he was a child. If his father was dead and he was working to support himself and perhaps his family, he was an adult. Nor did today’s insane boundaries separating healthy young adults from productive work exist. For that matter, productive work still existed; Europeans and Americans could still work in factories, as we had not yet made the disastrous conversion to a service economy.

For most of the period I am discussing, most professions were open to women. The only exceptions were the sensible ones, such as steel worker or soldier, jobs which few if any women are physically capable of doing. Feminists insist that discrimination was so intense that women, weak and retiring creatures that we are, were helpless to fight it, but authors such as Carolyn Graglia and Phyllis Schafly have debunked these claims. But while a woman who was genuinely motivated could build a career for herself, the understanding was that most women would get married and be fulltime wives and mothers, and that sex and childbearing were reserved for after marriage. Only a small handful of lunatics actually believed that the sexes would grow up identically if little girls were dressed in pants instead of pretty dresses and given short haircuts and told to play ball games.

Those lunatics, by the way, had their heyday in the 60’s and 70’s (I remember those poor little girls in my school with their cropped hair and ugly clothes), but when their daughters still insisted on playing with Barbies and their sons, denied toy guns, fashioned them out of sticks, most people admitted that men and women are different despite being “equal”. Still, there are some stubborn holdouts, chiefly in academia. Last summer I read some rant by a female professor about gender being a social construct, and then a couple of days later noticed a toy in the grocery store: a sparkly purple unicorn doll with a pink mane. I indulged in a brief fantasy of presenting that professor with this evidence of the failure of forty years of feminism.

I freely admit that my favorite era was not perfect, although like all eras since we figured out how to use fire, it was better than today’s. A few years ago I contemplating writing a historical novel set in the first few decades of the twentieth century. I could see all sorts of potential for drama in Prohibition and jazz music and the World Wars. But as I thought about it more, I realized that I would not be able to leave out the sinister notions which were then fads confined to a handful of intellectuals, but which have since infected the entire world and all but destroyed everything good which mankind hath wrought: Freudianism, Marxism, antinationalism, feminism, alternate religions, and so on. I would not be able to ignore such seminal catastrophes as the League of Nations and the Square Deal and the dissolution of the Hapsburg Empire. And seeing the doom that these dark forces led to would have caused me tremendous distress. So I abandoned the project.

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I am continuing to read Arthur Herman’s The Idea of Decline in Western History and to be impressed by it. I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to know how we came to our present pass. It’s especially enlightening as to the history of racism. Readers of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism will find that the estimable Mr. Goldberg only scratched the surface.

Socialism has always been linked to race rackets, whether it’s the affirmative action type of the universalist left or the extreme racism of the nationalist left, such as the National Socialists of Germany. It turns out that it was in fact racism that gave socialism its foothold. During the 19th century, a great many people were convinced that the white race was degenerating and needed to be revived in some way. (Hitler did not make up his philosophy himself; he was drawing upon a large well of ideas with which many people in Europe and America agreed at the time.) Eugenics laws, forcible sterilization, and the various other gimmicks people came up with for the revitalization of white people required huge amounts of money and in many cases outside force. In short, only government intervention could keep the white race pure and robust. Our ancestors gave up much of their (and our) liberty and property because they believed it was a necessity to save Caucasians from oblivion.

(And by the way, it didn’t work.)

Also, I reiterate: egalitarianism leads to racism. Classism is inherent in all societies, but efforts to ignore or eradicate it lead to all sorts of damaging things, such as replacing social class with other divisions, such as race or age. It should be obvious, but perhaps must be mentioned anyway, that classism does not mean hating members of other classes, or depriving them of their basic human rights, nor should class barriers be impermeable. (In fact, they never have been, even when the ruling powers attempted to make them so.) Those are the vices of racism, including the reverse racism of hating white people.

The book includes a chapter about W.E.B. Du Bois, the Stalinist who formed most of today’s leftist racial thought: hatred of America, the assertion that oppressive imperialism has been the sole contribution of the white race to history, that capitalism and chastity are evil, that a “talented tenth” of nonwhite people ought to lead the rest of them to destroy the corrupt western civilization. He visited Nazi Germany in 1936 and clearly drew much of his inspiration from their theories, ironic as it seems. Nazis believed that Aryans were the primordial human race, who spread over the earth created all the benefits of civilization but then degenerated. Du Bois believed almost the same thing about Africans. Du Bois also created the black use of the word “soul”; as Herman points out, Du Bois used it as the equivalent of the Nazi usage of the word Kultur.

Du Bois, it turns out, was from a family of free mulattoes from Haiti. His family was never enslaved, and they were wealthy, educated and refined. Light-skinned mulattoes, even in the era of slavery, frequently escaped the legal and social discrimination that darker-skinned black people lived with. Then in the 1890’s, the Jim Crow laws stripped this gens de couleur libre of their privileged status. “These laws would soon ruin that natural black aristocracy that Fiske [University] had cultivated and to which Du Bois belonged, transforming its members into second-class citizens and leaving them at the mercy of poor-white voters and mobs…. A recurring image in his later writings is the humiliation of the segregated railway car, in which well-to-do blacks (such as himself) are forced to ride in filth and squalor while the lowest white farmhand travels in comfort.” (Herman, p. 193.)

The point here is, attempting to demolish class barriers results in lumping people of different classes together on the basis of other criteria, such as race. The result of this is the creation of fascist demagogues whose reaction of poisonous philosophies culminates in the election of Barack Obama to the most powerful office in the world.

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