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dimanche, 14 août 2011

Zinoviev's Homo Sovieticus: Communism as Social Entropy

Zinoviev’s “Homo Sovieticus”: Communism as Social Entropy

Tomislav Sunic

Ex: http://freespeechproject.com/


Alexandre_Zinoviev_2002.jpgStudents and observers of communism consistently encounter the same paradox: On the one hand they attempt to predict the future of communism, yet on the other they must regularly face up to a system that appears unusually static. At Academic gatherings and seminars, and in scholarly treatises, one often hears and reads that communist systems are marred by economic troubles, power sclerosis, ethnic upheavals, and that it is only a matter of time before communism disintegrates. Numerous authors and observers assert that communist systems are maintained in power by the highly secretive nomenklatura, which consists of party potentates who are intensely disliked by the entire civil society. In addition, a growing number of authors argue that with the so-called economic linkages to Western economies, communist systems will eventually sway into the orbit of liberal democracies, or change their legal structure to the point where ideological differences between liberalism and communism will become almost negligible.

The foregoing analyses and predictions about communism are flatly refuted by Alexander Zinoviev, a Russian sociologist, logician, and satirist, whose analyses of communist systems have gained remarkable popularity among European conservatives in the last several years.

According to Zinoviev, it is impossible to study communist systems without rigorous employment of appropriate methodology, training in logic, and a construction of an entirely new conceptual approach. Zinoviev contends that Western observers of communism are seriously mistaken in using social analyses and a conceptual framework appropriate for studying social phenomena in the West, but inappropriate for the analysis of communist systems. He writes:

A camel cannot exist if one places upon it the criteria of a hippopotamus. The opinion of those in the West who consider the Soviet society unstable, and who hope for its soon disintegration from within (aside that they take their desires for realities), is in part due to the fact that they place upon the phenomenon of Soviet society criteria of Western societies, which are alien to the Soviet society.

Zinoviev’s main thesis is that an average citizen living in a communist system -- whom he labels homo sovieticus -- behaves and responds to social stimuli in a similar manner to the way his Western counterpart responds to stimuli of his own social landscape. In practice this means that in communist systems the immense majority of citizens behave, live, and act in accordance with the logic of social entropy laid out by the dominating Marxist ideology. Contrary to widespread liberal beliefs, social entropy in communism is by no means a sign of the system’s terminal illness; in fact it is a positive sign that the system has developed to a social level that permits its citizenry to better cope with the elementary threats, such as wars, economic chaos, famines, or large-scale cataclysms. In short, communism is a system whose social devolution has enabled the masses of communist citizens to develop defensive mechanisms of political self-protection and indefinite biological survival. Using an example that recalls Charles Darwin and Konrad Lorenz, Zinoviev notes that less-developed species often adapt to their habitat better than species with more intricate biological and behavioral capacities. On the evolutionary tree, writes Zinoviev, rats and bugs appear more fragile than, for example, monkeys or dinosaurs, yet in terms of biological survivability, bugs and rats have demonstrated and astounding degree of adaptability to an endlessly changing and threatening environment. The fundamental mistake of liberal observers of communism is to equate political efficiency with political stability. There are political stability. There are political systems that are efficient, but are at the same time politically unstable; and conversely, there are systems which resilient to external threats. To illustrate the stability of communist systems, Zinoviev writes:

A social system whose organization is dominated by entropic principles possesses a high level od stability. Communist society is indeed such a type of association of millions of people in a common whole in which more secure survival, for a more comfortable course of life, and for a favorable position of success.

Zinoviev notes that to “believe in communism” by no means implies only the adherence to the ruling communist elite of the unquestionable acceptance of the communist credo. The belief in communism presupposes first and foremost a peculiar mental attitude whose historical realization has been made possible as a result of primordial egalitarian impulses congenial to all human beings. Throughout man’s biocultural evolution, egalitarian impulses have been held in check by cultural endeavors and civilizational constraints, yet with the advent of mass democracies, resistance to these impulses has become much more difficult. Here is how Zinoviev sees communism:

Civilization is effort; communality is taking the line if least resistance. Communism is the unruly conduct of nature’s elemental forces; civilization sets them rational bounds.

It is for this reason that it is the greatest mistake to think that communism deceives the masses or uses force on them. As the flower and crowning glory of communality, communism represents a type of society which is nearest and dearest to the masses no matter how dreadful the potential consequences for them might be.

zinoviev1978.jpgZinoviev refutes the widespread belief that communist power is vested only among party officials, or the so-called nomenklatura. As dismal as the reality of communism is, the system must be understood as a way of life shared by millions of government official, workers, and countless ordinary people scattered in their basic working units, whose chief function is to operate as protective pillars of the society. Crucial to the stability of the communist system is the blending of the party and the people into one whole, and as Zinoviev observes, “the Soviet saying the party and the people are one and the same, is not just a propagandistic password.” The Communist Party is only the repository of an ideology whose purpose is not only to further the objectives of the party members, but primarily to serve as the operating philosophical principle governing social conduct. Zinoviev remarks that Catholicism in the earlier centuries not only served the Pope and clergy; it also provided a pattern of social behavior countless individuals irrespective of their personal feelings toward Christian dogma. Contrary to the assumption of liberal theorists, in communist societies the cleavage between the people and the party is almost nonexistent since rank-and-file party members are recruited from all walks of life and not just from one specific social stratum. To speculate therefore about a hypothetical line that divides the rulers from the ruled, writes Zinoviev in his usual paradoxical tone, is like comparing how “a disemboweled and carved out animal, destined for gastronomic purposes, differs from its original biological whole.”

Admittedly, continues Zinoviev, per capita income is three to four times lower than in capitalist democracies, and as the daily drudgery and bleakness of communist life indicates, life under communism falls well short of the promised paradise. Yet, does this necessarily indicate that the overall quality in a communist society is inferior to that in Western countries? If one considers that an average worker in a communist system puts in three to four hours to his work (for which he usually never gets reprimanded, let alone fears losing his job), then his earnings make the equivalent of the earnings of a worker in a capitalist democracy. Stated in Marxist terminology, a worker in a communist system is not economically exploited but instead “takes the liberty” of allocating to himself the full surplus value of his labor which the state is unable to allocate to him. Hence this popular joke, so firmly entrenched in communist countries, which vividly explains the longevity of the communist way of life: “Nobody can pay me less than as little as I can work.”

Zinoviev dismisses the liberal reductionist perception of economics, which is based on the premise that the validity or efficiency of a country is best revieled by it high economic output or workers’ standard of living. In describing the economics of the Soviet Union, he observes that “the economy in the Soviet Union continues to thrive, regardless of the smart analyses and prognoses of the Western experts, and is in fact in the process of becoming stronger.” The endless liberal speculations about the future of communism, as well as the frequent evaluations about whether capitalist y resulted in patent failures. The more communism changes the more in fact it remains the same. Yet, despite its visible shortcomings, the communist ideal will likely continue to flourish precisely because it successfully projects the popular demand for security and predictability. By contrast, the fundamental weakness of liberal systems is that they have introduced the principles of security and predictability only theoretically and legally, but for reasons of economic efficiency, have so far been unable to put them into practice. For Claude Polin, a French author whose analyses of communist totalitarianism closely parallel Zinoviev’s views, the very economic inefficiency of communism paradoxically, “provides much more chances to [sic] success for a much larger number of individuals than a system founded on competition and reward of talents.” Communism, in short, liberates each individual from all social effort and responsibility, and its internal stasis only reinforces its awesome political stability.

For Zinoviev, communist terror essentially operates according to the laws of dispersed communalism; that is, though the decentralization of power into the myriad of workers’ collectives. As the fundamental linchpins of communism, these collectives carry out not only coercive but also remunerative measures on behalf of and against their members. Upon joining a collective, each person becomes a transparent being who is closely scrutinized by his coworkers, yet at the same time enjoys absolute protection in cases of professional mistakes, absenteeism, shoddy work, and so forth. In such a system it is not only impossible but also counterproductive to contemplate a coup or a riot because the power of collectives is so pervasive that any attempted dissent is likely to hurt the dissenter more than his collective. Seen on the systemic level, Communist terror, therefore, does not emanate from one central source, but from a multitude of centers from the bottom to the top of society, whose foundations, in additions to myriad of collectives, are made up of “basic units,” brigades, or pioneer organizations. If perchance an individual or a group of people succeeds in destroying one center of power, new centers of power will automatically emerge. In this sense, the notion of “democratic centralism,” derided by many liberal observers as just another verbal gimmick of the communist meta-language, signifies a genuine example of egalitarian democracy -- a democracy in which power derives not from the party but from the people. Zinoviev notes:

Even if you wipe out half the population, the first thing that will be restored in the remaining half will be the system of power and administration. There, power is not organized to serve the population: the population is organized as a material required for the functioning of power.

Consequently, it does not appear likely that communism can ever be “improved,” at least not as Westerners understand improvement, because moral, political, and economic corruption of communism is literally spread throughout all pores of the society, and is in fact encouraged by the party elite on a day-to-day basis. The corruption among workers that takes the form of absenteeism, moonlighting, and low output goes hand in hand with corruption and licentiousness of party elite, so that the corruption of the one justifies and legitimatizes the corruption of the others. That communism is a system of collective irresponsibility is indeed not just an empty saying.

The corruption of language in communist societies is a phenomenon that until recently has not been sufficiently explored. According to an elaborate communist meta-language that Marxist dialecticians have skillfully developed over the last hundred years, dissidents and political opponents do not fall into the category of “martyrs,” or “freedom fighters” -- terms usually applied to them by Western well-wishers, yet terms are meaningless in the communist vernacular. Not only for the party elite, but for the overwhelming majority of people, dissidents are primarily traitors of democracy, occasionally branded as “fascist agents” or proverbial “CIA spies.” In any case, as Zinoviev indicates, the number of dissidents is constantly dwindling, while the number of their detractors is growing to astounding proportions. Moreover, the process of expatriation of dissidents is basically just one additional effort to dispose of undesirable elements, and thereby secure a total social consensus.

for the masses of citizens, long accustomed to a system circumventing al political “taboo themes,” the very utterance of the word dissident creates the feeling of insecurity and unpredictability. Consequently, before dissidents turn into targets of official ostracism and legal prosecution, most people, including their family members, will often go to great lengths to disavow them. Moreover, given the omnipotent and transparent character of collectives and distorted semantics, potential dissidents cannot have a lasting impact of society. After all, who wants to be associated with somebody who in the popular jargon is a nuisance to social peace and who threatens the already precarious socioeconomic situation of a system that has only recently emerged from the long darkness of terror? Of course, in order to appear democratic the communist media will often encourage spurious criticism of the domestic bureaucracy, economic shortages, or rampant mismanagement, but any serious attempt to question the tenets of economic determinism and the Marxist vulgate will quickly be met with repression. In a society premised on social and psychological transparency, only when things get out of hand, that is, when collectives are no longer capable of bringing a dissident to “his senses,” -- which at any rate is nowadays a relatively rare occurrence -- the police step in. Hence, the phenomenon of citizens’ self-surveillance, so typical of all communist societies, largely explains the stability of the system.

In conclusion, the complexity of the communist enigma remains awesome, despite some valid insights by sovietologists and other related scholars. In fact, one reason why the study of communist society is still embryonic may be ascribed to the constant proliferation of sovietologists, experts, and observers, who seldom shared a unanimous view of the communist phenomenon. Their true expertise, it appears, is not the analysis of the Soviet Union, but rather how to refute each other’s expertise on the Soviet Union. The merit of Zinoviev’s implacable logic is that the abundance of false diagnoses and prognoses of communism results in part from liberal’s own unwillingness to combat social entropy and egalitarian obsession on their own soil and within their own ranks. If liberal systems are truly interested in containing communism, they must first reexamine their own egalitarian premises and protocommunist appetites.

What causes communism? Why does communism still appear so attractive (albeit in constantly new derivatives) despite its obvious empirical bankruptcy? Why cannot purportedly democratic liberalism come to terms with its ideological opponents despite visible economic advantages? Probably on should first examine the dynamics of all egalitarian and economic beliefs and doctrines, including those of liberalism, before one starts criticizing the gulags and psychiatric hospitals.

Zinoviev rejects the notion that the Soviet of total political consolidation that can now freely permit all kinds of liberal experiments. After all, what threatens communism?

Regardless of what the future holds for communist societies, one must agree with Zinoviev that the much-vaunted affluence of the West is not necessarily a sign of Western stability. The constant reference to affluence as the sole criterion for judging political systems does not often seem persuasive. The received wisdom among (American) conservatives is that the United States must outgun or out spend the Soviet Union to convince the Soviets that capitalism is a superior system. Conservatives and others believe that with this show of affluence, Soviet leaders will gradually come to the conclusion that their systems is obsolete. Yet in the process of competition, liberal democracies may ignore other problems. If one settles for the platitude that the Soviet society is economically bankrupt, then one must also acknowledge that the United States is the world’s largest debtor and that another crash on Wall Street may well lead to the further appeal of various socialistic and pseudosocialist beliefs. Liberal society, despite its material advantages, constantly depends on its “self-evident” economic miracles. Such a society, particularly when it seeks peace at any price, may some day realize that there is also an impossibly high price to pay in order to preserve it.

[The World and I   (Washington Times Co.), June, 1989]

Mr. Sunic, a former US professor and a former Croat diplomat, holds a Ph.D. in political science. He is the author of several books. He currently resides in Europe.


samedi, 13 août 2011

Towards a New World Order: Carl Schmitt's "The LandAppropriation of a New World"



Towards a New World Order: Carl Schmitt's "The Land Appropriation of a New World"

Gary Ulmen

Ex: http://freespeechproject.com/


The end of the Cold War and of the bipolar division of the world has posed again the question of a viable international law grounded in a new world order. This question was already urgent before WWI, given the decline of the ius publicum Europaeum at the end of the 19th century. It resurfaced again after WWII with the defeat of the Third Reich. If the 20th century is defined politically as the period beginning with the "Great War" in 1914 and ending with the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989, it may be seen as a long interval during which the question of a new world order was suspended primarily because of the confrontation and resulting stalemate between Wilsonianism and Leninism. Far from defining that period, as claimed by the last defenders of Left ideology now reconstituted as "anti-fascism," and despite their devastating impact at the time, within such a context fascism and Nazism end up automatically redimensioned primarily as epiphenomenal reactions of no lasting historical significance. In retrospect, they appear more and more as violent geopolitical answers to Wilsonianism's (and, to a lesser extent, Leninism's) failure to establish a new world order.

Both the League of Nations and the United Nations have sought to reconstitute international law and the nomos of the earth, but neither succeeded. What has passed for international law throughout the 20th century has been largely a transitory semblance rather than a true system of universally accepted rules governing international behavior. The geopolitical paralysis resulting from the unresolved conflict between the two superpowers created a balance of terror that provided the functional equivalent of a stable world order. But this state of affairs merely postponed coming to terms with the consequences of the collapse of the ius publicum Europaeum and the need to constitute a new world order. What is most significant about the end of the Cold War is not so much that it brought about a premature closure of the 20th century or a return to the geopolitical predicament obtaining before WWI, but that it has signaled the end of the modern age--evident in the eclipse of the nation state, the search for new political forms, the explosion of new types of conflicts, and radical changes in the nature of war. Given this state of affairs, today it may be easier to develop a new world order than at any time since the end of the last century.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Ernest Nys wrote that the discovery of the New World was historically unprecedented since it not only added an immense area to what Europeans thought the world was but unified the whole globe.(n1) It also resulted in the European equilibrium of land and sea that made possible the ius publicum Europaeum and a viable world order. In his "Introduction" to The Nomos of the Earth, Carl Schmitt observes that another event of this kind, such as the discovery of some new inhabitable planet able to trigger the creation of a new world order, is highly unlikely, which is why thinking "must once again be directed to the elemental orders of concrete terrestrial existence."(n2) Despite all the spatial exploration and the popular obsession with extra-terrestrial life, today there is no event in sight comparable to the discovery of a New World. Moreover, the end of the Cold War has paved the way for the further expansion of capitalism, economic globalization, and massive advances in communication technologies. Yet the imagination of those most concerned with these developments has failed so far to find any new alternatives to the prevailing thinking of the past decades.

Beyond the Cold War

The two most prominent recent attempts to prefigure a new world order adequate to contemporary political realities have been made by Francis Fukuyama and Samuel P. Huntington.(n3) Fukuyama thinks the West has not only won the Cold War but also brought about the end of history, while Huntington retreats to a kind of "bunker mentality" in view of an alleged decline of the West.(n4) While the one suffers from excessive optimism and the other from excessive pessimism, both fail primarily because they do not deal with the "elemental orders of concrete terrestrial existence" and troth remain trapped in an updated version of Wilsonianism assuming liberal democracy to be the highest achievement of Western culture. While Fukuyama wants to universalize liberal democracy in the global marketplace, If Huntington identifies liberalism with Western civilization. But Huntington is somewhat more realistic than Fukuyama. He not only acknowledges the impossibility of universalizing liberalism but exposes its particularistic nature. Thus he opts for a defense of Western civilization within an international helium omnium contra omnes. In the process, however, he invents an "American national identity" and extrapolates from the decline of liberal democracy to the decline of the West.

Fukuyama's thesis is derived from Alexandre Kojeve's Heideggerian reading of Hegel and supports the dubious notion that the last stage in human history will be a universal and homogeneous state of affairs satisfying all human needs. This prospect is predicated on the arbitrary assumption of the primacy of thymos--the desire for recognition--which both Kojeve and Fukuyama regard as the most fundamental human longing. Ultimately, according to Fukuyama, "Kojeve's claim that we are at the end of history . . . stands or falls on the strength of the assertion that the recognition provided by the contemporary liberal democratic state adequately satisfies the human desire for recognition."(n5) Fukuyama's own claim thus stands or falls on his assumption that at the end of history "there are no serious ideological competitors to liberal democracy."(n6) This conclusion is based on a whole series of highly dubious ideological assumptions, such as that "the logic of modern natural science would seem to dictate a universal evolution in the direction of capitalism"(n7) and that the desire for recognition "is the missing link between liberal economics and liberal politics."(n8)

According to Fukuyama, the 20th century has turned everyone into "historical pessimists."(n9) To reverse this state of affairs, he challenges "the pessimistic view of international relations . . . that goes variously under the titles 'realism,' realpolitik, or 'power politics'."(n10) He is apparently unaware of the difference between a pessimistic view of human nature, on which political realism is based, and a pessimistic view of international relations, never held by political realists such as Niccolo Machiavelli or Hans Morgenthau--two thinkers Fukuyama "analyzes" in order to "understand the impact of spreading democracy on international politics." As a "prescriptive doctrine," he finds the realist perspective on international relations still relevant. As a "descriptive model," however, it leaves much to be desired because: "There was no 'objective' national interest that provided a common thread to the behavior of states in different times and places, but a plurality of national interests defined by the principle of legitimacy in play and the individuals who interpreted it." This betrays a misunderstanding of political realism or, more plausibly, a deliberate attempt to misrepresent it in order to appear original. Although he draws different and even antithetical conclusions, Fukuyama's claim is not inconsistent with political realism.(n11)

Following this ploy, Fukuyama reiterates his main argument that: "Peace will arise instead out of the specific nature of democratic legitimacy, and its ability to satisfy the human longings for recognition."(n12) He is apparently unaware of the distinction between legality and legitimacy, and of the tendency within liberal democracies for legality to become its own mode of legitimation.(n13) Even in countries in which legality remains determined independently by a democratic legislative body, there is no reason to believe it will be concerned primarily or at all with satisfying any "human longing for recognition"; rather, it will pursue whatever goals the predominant culture deems desirable. Consequently, it does not necessarily follow that, were democratic legitimacy to become universalized with the end of the Cold War, international conflict would also end and history along with it. Even Fukuyama admits that: "For the foreseeable future, the world will be divided between a post-historical part, and a part that is still stuck in history. Within the post-historical part, the chief axis of interaction between states would be economic, and the old rules of power politics would have decreasing relevance."(n14)

This is nothing more than the reconfiguration of a standard liberal argument in a new metaphysical guise: the old historical world determined by politics will be displaced by the new post-historical world determined by economics. Schmitt rejected this argument in the 1920s: according to liberals, the "concept of the state should be determined by political means, the concept of society (in essence nonpolitical) by economic means," but this distinction is prejudiced by the liberal aversion to politics understood as a domain of domination and corruption resulting in the privileging of economics understood as "reciprocity of production and consumption, therefore mutuality, equality, justice, and freedom, and finally, nothing less than the spiritual union of fellowship, brotherhood, and justice."(n15) In effect, Fukuyama is simply recycling traditional liberal efforts to eliminate the political(n16)--a maneuver essential for his thesis of the arrival of "the end of history" with the end of the Cold War. Accordingly: "The United States and other liberal democracies will have to come to grips with the fact that, with the collapse of the communist world, the world in which they live is less and less the old one of geopolitics, and that the rules and methods of the historical world are not appropriate to life in the post-historical one. For the latter, the major issues will be economic."(n17) Responding to Walter Rathenau's claim in the 1920s that the destiny then was not politics but economics, Schmitt said "what has occurred is that economics has become political and thereby the destiny."(n18)

For Fukuyama, the old historical world is none other than the European world: "Imperialism and war were historically the product of aristocratic societies. If liberal democracy abolished the class distinction between masters and slaves by making the slaves their own masters, then it too should eventually abolish imperialism."(n19) This inference is based on a faulty analogy between social and international relations. Not surprisingly, Fukuyama really believes that "international law is merely domestic law writ large."(n20) Compounded with an uncritical belief in the theory of progress and teleological history, this leads him to generalize his own and Kojeve's questionable interpretation of the master-slave dialectic (understood as the logic of all social relations) to include international relations: "If the advent of the universal and homogeneous state means the establishment of rational recognition on the level of individuals living within one society, and the abolition of the relationship of lordship and bondage between them, then the spread of that type of state throughout the international system of states should imply the end of relationships of lordship and bondage between nations as well--i.e., the end of imperialism, and with it, a decrease in the likelihood of wars based on imperialism."(n21) Even if a "universal and homogeneous state" were possible today, in an age when all nation-states are becoming ethnically, racially, linguistically and culturally heterogeneous, it is unclear why domestic and international relations should be isomorphic. Rather, the opposite may very well be the case: increasing domestic heterogeneity is matched by an increasingly heterogeneous international scene where "the other" is not regarded as an equal but as "a paper tiger," "the Great Satan," "religious fanatics," etc.

At any rate, imperialism for Fukuyama is not a particular historical phenomenon which came about because of the discovery of the New World at the beginning of the age of exploration by the European powers. Rather, it is seen as the result of some metaphysical ahistorical "struggle for recognition among states."(n22) It "arises directly out of the aristocratic master's desire to be recognized as superior--his megalothymia."(n23) Ergo: "The persistence of imperialism and war after the great bourgeois revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is therefore due not only to the survival of an atavistic warrior ethos, but also to the fact that the master's megalothymia was incompletely sublimated into economic activity."(n24) Thus the formal market relation between buyer and seller, both reduced to the level of the hyper-rational and calculating homo oeconomicus, comes to displace the master-slave dialectic whereby, miraculously, the interaction between these economic abstractions generates as much recognition as anyone would want, rendering conflict obsolete and putting an end to history.

In terms of Fukuyama's own formulation, the real end of history, as he understands it, is not even close. In his scenario, since there are still a lot of unresolved conflicts between the historical and the post-historical worlds, there will be a whole series of "world order" problems and "many post-historical countries will formulate an abstract interest in preventing the spread of certain technologies to the historical world, on the grounds that world will be most prone to conflict and violence."(n25) Although the failure of the League of Nations and the UN has led to the general discrediting of "Kantian internationalism and international law," in the final analysis, despite his Heideggerian Hegelianism, Fukuyama does not find the answer to the end of history in Hegel, Nietzsche or even Kojeve,(n26) but rather in Kant, who argued that the gains realized when man moved from the state of nature to civilization were largely nullified by wars between nations. According to Fukuyama, what has not been understood is that "the actual incarnations of the Kantian idea have been seriously flawed from the start by not following Kant's own precepts," by which he means that states based on republican principles are less likely than despotisms to accept the costs of war and that an international federation is only viable if it is based on liberal principles.

Although Huntington has a much better grasp of international relations than Fukuyama, his decline of the West scenario is equally unconvincing. The central theme of his book is that "culture and cultural identities, which at the broadest level are civilization identities, are shaping the patterns of cohesion, disintegration, and conflict in the post-Cold War world."(n27) But whereas Fukuyama couches his thesis in terms of a universal desire for recognition, Huntington couches his thesis in terms of a global search for identity: "Peoples and nations are attempting to answer the most basic question humans can face: Who are we?"(n28) The result is a "multipolar and multi-civilizational" world within which the West should abandon its presumed universalism and defend its own particular identity: "In the clash of civilizations, Europe and America will hang together or hang separately. In the greater clash, the global 'real clash,' between Civilization and barbarism, the worlds great civilizations . . . will also hang together or hang separately. In the emerging era, clashes of civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace, and an international order based on civilizations is the surest safeguard against world war."(n29)

In Huntington's new world, "societies sharing civilizational affinities cooperate with each other."(n30) Leaving aside his cavalier blurring of the differences between cultures, civilizations and societies, what does Huntington regard as the essence of Western particularism? Here he is ambiguous: he first mentions Christianity, then some secular residues of Christianity, but when he adds up the civilizational core of the West it turns out to be none other than liberalism. As Stephen Holmes points out, it is "the same old ideology, plucked inexplicably from the waste-bin of history that once united the West against Soviet Communism."(n31) But Huntington also claims that the West had a distinct identity long before it was modern (since he insists that modernization is distinct from Westernization, so that non-Western societies can modernize without Westernizing, thus retaining their civilizational distinctiveness). In this case, however, the West cannot really be identified with liberalism, nor can its heritage be equated sic et nunc with "American national identity." While liberalism may very well be declining, this need not translate into a decline of the West as such. Similarly, if "American national identity" is threatened by "multiculturalism,"(n32) it need not signal the arrival of barbarians at the gates but may only mark another stage in the statist involution of liberalism. Huntington's fears of a decline of the West at a time when it is actually at the acme of its power and vigor is the result of the unwarranted identification of Western civilization with liberalism and what he understands by "American national identity." Today liberalism has degenerated into an opportunistic statist program of "a small but influential number of intellectuals and publicists," and "American national identity" into a fiction invented as part of a failed project after the War between the States to reconfigure the American federation into a nation-state.(n33)

According to Huntington? the assumption of the universality of Western culture is: false, because others civilizations have other ideals and norms; immoral, because "imperialism is the logical result of universalism"; and dangerous, because it could lead to major civilizational wars.(n34) His equation of universalism and imperialism, however, misses the point of both it misunderstands the philosophical foundations of Western culture and the historical roots of Western imperialism. Other civilizations do have their own ideals and norms, but only Western civilization has an outlook broad enough to embrace all other cultures, which explains why it can readily sponsor and accommodate even confused and counterproductive projects such as "multiculturalism." Of course, Europeans set forth on their journeys of discovery and conquest not only in order to bring Christianity and "civilization" to the world but also to plunder whatever riches they could find. But whatever the reasons, Europeans were the ones who opened the world to global consciousness and what Schmitt called "awakened occidental rationalism."

Until recently, largely because of American cultural hegemony and technological supremacy, the goal of the rest of the world has been "Westernization," which has come to be regarded as synonymous with modernization. In Huntington's "realist" view, however: "A universal civilization requires universal power. Roman power created a near universal civilization within the limited confines of the Classical world. Western power in the form of European colonialism in the nineteenth century and American hegemony in the twentieth century extended Western culture throughout much of the contemporary world. European colonialism is over; American hegemony is receding."(n35) The real question is whether continued American world hegemony is primarily a function of the persistence of colonialism. Despite his emphasis on culture and civilization, Huntington does not appreciate the importance of cultural hegemony.? Had he not restricted the Western tradition to late 20th century liberalism, he may have appreciated the extent to which the rest of the world is becoming increasingly more, rather than less dependent on the US--in communication technologies, financial matters and even aesthetic forms. Today the Internet is potentially a more formidable agency of cultural domination and control than was the British Navy at the peak of the Empire. Here McNeill is right: Huntington's gloomy perception of the decline of the West may merely mistake growing pains for death throes.

If Huntington's salon Spenglerianism were not bad enough, he also adopts a kind of simplistic Schmittianism (without ever mentioning Schmitt). Complementing his "birds of a feather flock together" concept of civilizations --with "core states" assuming a dominant position in relation to "fault line" states--he pictures an "us versus them" type of friend/enemy relations based on ethnic and religious identities. But Schmitt's friend/enemy antithesis is concerned with relations between political groups: first and foremost, states. Accordingly, any organized group that can distinguish between friends and enemies in an existential sense becomes thereby political. Unlike Huntington (or Kojeve, who also explicitly drew geopolitical lines primarily along religious lines(n36), Schmitt did not think in terms of ethnic or religious categories but rather territorial and geopolitical concepts. For Schmitt, the state was the greatest achievement of Western civilization because, as the main agency of secularization, it ended the religious civil wars of the Middle Ages by limiting war to a conflict between states.(n37) In view of the decline of the state, Schmitt analyzed political realities and provided a prognosis of possible future territorial aggregations and new types of political forms.

Huntington finds the "realist" school of international affairs "a highly useful starting point," but then proceeds to criticize a straw man version of it, according to which "all states perceive their interests in the same way and act in the same way." Against it, not only power but also "values, culture, and institutions pervasively influence how states define their interests.... In the post-Cold War world, states increasingly define their interests in civilizational terms."(n38) Had Huntington paid more careful attention to hans Morgenthau, George Kennan or other reputable political realists, he would have concluded that their concept of power is not as limited as his caricature of it. In particular, had he read Schmitt more closely he would not have claimed that nation-states "are and will remain the most important actors in world affairs"(n39)--at a time when economic globalization has severely eroded their former sovereignty and they are practically everywhere threatened with internal disintegration and new geopolitical organizations. At any rate, political realism has been concerned primarily with the behavior of states because they were the main subjects of political life for the past three centuries.(n40) If and when they are displaced by other political forms, political realism then shifts its focus accordingly.

Huntington attempts to think beyond the Cold War. But since he cannot think beyond the nation-state, he cannot conceive of new political forms. When he writes that cultural commonality "legitimates the leadership and order-imposing role of the core state for both member states and for the external powers and institutions,"(n41) he seems to have in mind something akin to the concept of GroBraum.(n42) But Schmitt's model was the American Monroe Doctrine excluding European meddling in the Western Hemisphere. At that time (and well into the 20th century), the US was not a nation-state in the European sense, although it assumed some of these trappings thereafter. Thus it generally followed George Washington's policy--because of the "detached and distant situation" of the US, it should avoid entangling alliances with foreign (primarily European) powers. The Monroe Doctrine simply expanded on the reality and advantages of this situation. Schmitt rightly saw the global line of the Western Hemisphere drawn by the Monroe Doctrine as the first major challenge to the international law of the ius publicum Europaeum.

Given the current understanding of national sovereignty, it is difficult to see what Huntington means by "core state." Despite the title of his book, he has no concept of international law or of world order. Not only does he abandon hope for global regulations governing the behavior of states and civilizations, but he reverts to a kind of anthropological primitivism: "Civilizations are the ultimate human tribes, and the clash of civilizations is tribal conflict on a global scale."(n43) All he can suggest for avoiding major inter-civilizational wars is the "abstention rule" (core states abstain from conflicts in other civilizations), and the "mediation rule" (core states negotiate with each other to halt fault line wars).(n44) Huntington's vision is thus surprisingly conformist--it merely cautions the US from becoming embroiled in the Realpolitik of countries belonging to other civilizational blocs while defending a contrived liberal notion of"Western" civilization.

Anti-Colonialism and Appropriation
The anti-colonialism of both Fukuyama and Huntington is consistent with the predominant 20th century ideology directed primarily against Europe. Anti-colonialism is more historically significant than either anti-fascism and anti-communism. As Schmitt pointed out in 1962: "Both in theory and practice, anti-colonialism has an ideological objective. Above all, it is propaganda--more specifically, anti-European propaganda. Most of the history of propaganda consists of propaganda campaigns which, unfortunately, began as internal European squabbles. First there was France's and England's anti-Spanish propaganda--the leyenda negra of the 15th and 16th centuries. Then this propaganda became generalized during the 18th century. Finally, in the historical view of Arnold Toynbee, a UN consultant, the whole of Europe is indicted as a world aggressor."(n45) Thus it is not surprising that the 500th anniversary of the "discovery" of America was greeted with more condemnation than celebration.(n46)

Anti-colonialism is primarily anti-European propaganda because it unduly castigates the European powers for having sponsored colonialism.(n47) Given that there was no international law forbidding the appropriation of the newly discovered lands--in fact, European international and ecclesiastical law made it legal and established rules for doing so--the moral and legal basis for this judgment is unclear. On closer analysis, however, it turns out to be none other than the West's own universalistic pretenses. Only by ontologizing their particular Western humanist morality--various versions of secularized Christianity--as universally valid for all times and all places can Western intellectuals indict colonialism after the fact as an international "crime." Worse yet, this indictment eventually turns into a wholesale condemnation of Western culture (branded as "Eurocentrism") from an abstract, deterritorialized and deracinated humanist perspective hypostatized to the level of a universally binding absolute morality. Thus the original impulse to vindicate the particularity and otherness of the victims of colonialism turns full circle by subsuming all within a foreign Western frame-work, thereby obliterating the otherness of the original victims. The ideology of anti-colonialism is thus not only anti-European propaganda but an invention of Europeans themselves, although it has been appropriated wholesale and politically customized by the rest of the world.

As for world order, this propaganda has even more fundamental roots: "The odium of colonialism, which today confronts all Europeans, is the odium of appropriation,"(n48) since now everything understood as nomos is allegedly concerned only with distribution and production, even though appropriation remains one of its fundamental, if not the most fundamental, attributes. As Schmitt notes: "World history is a history of progress in the means and methods of appropriation: from land appropriations of nomadic and agricultural-feudal times, to sea appropriations of the 16th and 17th centuries, to the industrial appropriations of the industrial-technical age and its distinction between developed and undeveloped areas, to the present day appropriations of air and space."(n49) More to the point, however, is that "until now, things have somehow been appropriated, distributed and produced. Prior to every legal, economic and social order, prior to every legal, economic or social theory, there is the simple question: Where and how was it appropriated? Where and how was it divided? Where and how was it produced ? But the sequence of these processes is the major problem. It has often changed in accordance with how appropriation, distribution and production are emphasized and evaluated practically and morally in human consciousness. The sequence and evaluation follow changes in historical situations and general world history, methods of production and manufacture--even the image human beings have of themselves, of their world and of their historical situation."(n50) Thus the odium of appropriation exemplified by the rise of anti-colonialism is symptomatic of a changed world situation and changed attitudes. But this state of affairs should not prevent our understanding of what occurred in the past or what is occurring in the present.

In order to dispel the "fog of this anti-European ideology," Schmitt recalls that "everything that can be called international law has for centuries been European international law. . . [and that] all the classical concepts of existing international law are those of European international law, the ius publicum Europaeum. In particular, these are the concepts of war and peace. as well as two fundamental conceptual distinctions: first, the distinction between war and peace, i.e., the exclusion of an in-between situation of neither war nor peace so characteristic of the Cold War; and second, the conceptual distinction between enemy and criminal, i.e. exclusion of the discrimination and criminalization of the opponent so characteristic of revolutionary war--a war closely tied to the Cold War."(n51) But Schmitt was more concerned with the "spatial" aspect of the phenomenon: "What remains of the classical ideas of international law has its roots in a purely Eurocentric spatial order. Anti-colonialism is a phenomenon related to its destruction.... Aside from ... the criminalization of European nations, it has not generated one single idea about a new order. Still rooted, if only negatively, in a spatial idea, it cannot positively propose even the beginning of a new spatial order."(n52)

Having discovered the world as a globe, Europeans also developed the Law of Nations. Hugo Grotius is usually credited with establishing this new discipline with his De lure belli ac pacts (Paris: 1625), since he was the first to deal with the subject as a whole (although various European scholars had dealt at length with themes such as the justice of war, the right of plunder, the treatment of captives, etc.). Nys writes: ". . . from the I 1th to the 1 2th century the genius of Europe developed an association of republics, principalities and kingdoms, which was the beginning of the society of nations. Undoubtedly, some elements of it had been borrowed from Greek and Roman antiquity, from Byzantine institutions, from the Arabo-Berber sultanates on the coast of Africa and from the Moorish kingdoms of Spain. But at the time new sentiments developed, longing for political liberty. The members of this association were united by religious bonds; they had the same faith; they were not widely separated by speech and, at any rate, they had access to Latin, the language of the Church; they admitted a certain equality or at least none of them claimed the right to dominate and rule over the others. A formula came into use to describe this state of affairs: respublica a Christiana, res Christina."(n53)

Steeped in Roman law, 1 3th and 1 4th century jurists opposed any "Law of Nations" recognizing political distinctions between different peoples. In the Roman system, different peoples were only "parts of the Roman Empire." Thus, in a wider sense, ius gentium extended to all civilized peoples and included both public and private law. In a narrower sense, however, it also dealt with the rules governing relations between Romans and foreigners. Understood in this narrower sense, ius gentium promoted the constitution of distinct peoples and consequently kingdoms, intercourse and conflicts between different political communities, and ultimately wars. For this reason, those who still believed in the viability of the Holy Roman Empire thought that this interpretation of ius gentium led to disintegration. This is why the Law of Nations--European public law and international law--did not become a distinct "science" until the Middle Ages.

Spanish theologians first articulated the theoretical and practical problems of ius gentium understood as the Law of Nations. Chief among them was Francisco de Vitoria, whose Relectiones theologicae on the Indians and the right of a "just war" have become classics.(n54) In his lectures, Vitoria invokes the Law of Nations--the ius gentium. At the beginning of the third section of his account of the Spaniards' relations with the aborigines in the New World, he treats them as one people among others, and therefore subject to ius gentium: "The Spaniards have a right to travel into the lands in question and to sojourn there, provided they do no harm to the natives, and the natives may not prevent them. Proof of this may in the first place be derived from the law of nations (ius gentium), which either is natural law or is derived from natural law."(n55) That he understands peoples in the sense of "nations" becomes even more clear when he speaks about gentes nationes. He distinguishes between the political community--the respublica--and the private individual. The latter may defend his person and his property, but he may not avenge wrongs or retake goods after the passage of time. This is the respublica's prerogative--it alone has authority to defend itself and its members. Here Vitoria identifies the prince's authority with that of the state: "The prince is the issue of the election made by the respublica.... The state, properly so called, is a perfect community, that is to say, a community which forms a whole in itself, which, in other words, is not a part of another community, but which possesses its own laws, its own council, its own magistrates."(n56)

Clearly, what developed in Europe from antiquity to the respublica Christiana, from the origin of the sovereign state and ius publicum Europaeum to the Enlightenment and beyond, was as unique and significant as the discovery of the "New World." Yet, given today's predominant ideology, European culture has almost become the truth that dare not speak its name. Not only is Columbus demonized, but the whole Age of Discovery and all of European (Western) culture is dismissed as "imperialistic," "racist?" "sexist," etc. The Nomos of the Earth is a much needed antidote to this anti-European propaganda, which is only a symptom of the crisis of European identity and consciousness.(n57) All the major themes of Schmitt's book are either implicit or explicit in "The Land Appropriation of a New World": the origin and significance of the European and Eurocentric epoch of world history; the discovery of the New World and the American challenge to the European order; the search for a new nomos of the earth; the critique of the discriminatory concept of war; the critique of universalism and the danger of total relativism.

The Conquest of America and the Concept of a "Just War"

In the 20th century, the ideology of anti-colonialism was articulated most prominently by Woodrow Wilson and Vladimir Lenin, signaling the end of European domination in world history. Now, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of communism, some American intellectuals have turned this anti-European propaganda against the US, seemingly unaware that their critique is possible only within the orbit of the European culture they otherwise castigate and dismiss. To attack European culture is tantamount to attacking American culture as well, since the latter is but a special case of the former, which is precisely why it has been able to accept and absorb peoples and influences not only from the Western hemisphere but from all over the world. American universalism is but an extension of that same Christian universalism which for centuries has defined European identity. As Schmitt emphasized, the European equilibrium of the ius publicum Europaeum presupposed a seemingly homogeneous Christian Europe, which lasted well into the 19th century. The American project has always been a fundamentally heterogeneous undertaking and Americans have always come from the most diverse ethnic, racial, religious and linguistic backgrounds. But if there had not been some homogeneous culture to unity this diversity, there would have been no distinct American culture which, unfortunately, today many educated Europeans and Americans no longer understand and therefore have come to despise.

A paradigmatic example of this general anti-European syndrome is Tzvetan Todorov's The Conquest of America. In an effort to vindicate the particularity of "the other," the author ends up castigating West European culture as a whole by deploying a secularized version of Christian universalism. Openly acknowledging the moralistic objectives and "mythological" character of his account,(n58) Todorov develops a "politically correct" postmodern interpretation of the Spanish conquista not to understand its historical significance but to show how it has shaped today's Western imperialist identity--one allegedly still unable to come to terms with "the other" and therefore inherently racist, ethnocentric, etc. The book closes with a discussion of "Las Casas' Prophesy" concerning the wrath that "God will vent" not only upon Spain but all of Western Europe because of its "impious, criminal and ignominious deeds perpetrated so unjustly, tyrannically and barbarously."(n59)

Todorov overlooks not only the generally religious framework of Las Casas' prophesy, but also the idiosyncratically Western concept of justice the Dominican bishop deployed. Having ontologized a humanism derived from the Western axiological patrimony, he does not realize the extent to which his postmodernism has already reduced "the other" to "the same," precisely in his effort to vindicate its particularity.(n60) Worse yet, inhibited by his "politically correct" moralism, he not only provides a ridiculous, if academically fashionable, explanation for the Spaniards' success,(n61) but he manages to subvert his own arguments with the very evidence he adduces to support them. He claims that the "present" is more important to him than the past, but in defining genocide he makes no reference whatsoever to either the Armenians or the Holocaust as reference points. Consequently, his claim that "the sixteenth century perpetuated the greatest genocide in human history"(n62) remains not only unsubstantiated but falsified. By his own account, most of the victims died of diseases and other indirect causes: "The Spaniards did not undertake a direct extermination of these millions of Indians, nor could they have done so." The main causes were three, and "the Spaniards responsibility is inversely proportional to the number of victims deriving from each of them: 1. By direct murder, during wars or outside them: a high number, nonetheless relatively small; direct responsibility. 2. By consequence of bad treatment: a high number; a (barely) less direct responsibility. 3. By diseases, by `microbe shock': the majority of the population; an indirect and diffused responsibility."(n63)

Todorov does acknowledge that Columbus was motivated by the "universal victory of Christianity" and that it was Columbus' medieval mentality that led him "to discover America and inaugurate the modern era."(n64) His greatest infraction, however, was that he conquered land rather than people, i.e., he was more interested in nature than in the Indians, which he is treated as "the other", "Columbus summary perception of the Indians [is] a mixture of authoritarianism and condescension . . . In Columus' hermeneutics human beings have no particular place."(n65) Had Todorov set aside his abstract moralizing, he may have realized that the conquest of the New World was primarily a land appropriation. It is not surprising, therefore, that the conquerors thought they were bringing "civilization" to those they conquered--something probably also true of the Mongols who invaded and colonized China, Russia and a few other which, by contrast, had higher than thier own.

The ideological slant of The Conquest of America is by no means unusual. Long before, Schmitt noted that non-European peoples who have undertaken conquest, land appropriations, etc. were not being tarred with the same brush as Europeans.(n66) Unlike Todorov's moralistic tirade, The Nomos of the Earth is dressed to historians and jurists. In no ways does Schmitt excuse the atrocities committed by the Spanish, but rather explains how they were possible in the given circumstances. "The Land Appropriation of a New World" begins with a discussion of the lines drawn by the European powers to divide the world. In this connection, Schmitt discusses the meaning of "beyond the line," which meant beyondn the reach of European law: " At this`line' Europe ended and `New World' began. At any rate, European law -- `European public law' -- ended. Consequently, so did the bracketing of war achieved by the former European international law, meaning the struggle for land appropriations knew no bounds. Beyond the line was an `overseas' zone in which, for want of any legal limits to war, only, the law of the stronger applied."n(67) For Todorov, it is a much simpler explanation: "Far from central government, far from royal law, all prohibitions give way, the social link, already loosened, snaps, revealing not a primitive nature, the beast sleeping in each of us, but a modern being? one with a great future in fact, restrained by no morality and inflicting death because and when he pleases."(n68) The Spaniards are simply racist, ethno-centric, ruthless exploiters, etc., i.e., modern -- they already exhibited traits Todorov claims are characteristic of Western identity.

Of particular interest here are Todorov's comments on Vitoria and the concept of a "just war," since most of Schmitt's chapter is devoted to these subjects. By his own admission, Todorov mixes (in fact, confuses) medieval and modern categories. This is particularly true in the case of Vitoria. Todorov observes that: "Vitoria demolishes the contemporary justifications of the wars waged in America, but nonetheless conceives that `just wars' are possible."(n69) More to the point: "We are accustomed to seeing Vitoria as a defender of the Indians; but if we question, not the subject's intentions, hut the impact of his discourses, it is clear that . . . under the cover of an international law based on reciprocity, he in reality supplies a legal basis to the wars of colonization which had hitherto had none (none which, in any case, might withstand serious consideration)."(n70) But there was no "international law based on reciprocity." Here Todorov is simply transposing modern categories to medieval matters for his own ideological purposes.

Unlike Todorov, Schmitt places the problem in perspective: "For 400 years, from the 16th to the 20th century, the structure of European international law was determined by a fundamental course of events the conquest of the New World. Then, as later, there were numerous positions taken with respect to the justice or injustice of the conquista. Nevertheless, the fundamental problem the justification of European land appropriations as a whole -- was seldom addressed in any systematic way outside moral and legal questions. In fact, only one monograph deals with this problem systematically and confronts it squarely in terms of international law.... It is the famous relectiones of Francisco de Vitoria."(n71) Vitoria rejected the contrary opinions of other theologians and treated Christians and non-Christians alike. He did not even accept discovery, which was the recognized basis of legal title from the 1 6th to the 1 8th century, as legitimate. More to the point, he considered global lines beyond which the distinction between justice and injustice was suspended not only a sin but an appalling crime. However: "Vitoria's view of the conquista was ultimately altogether positive. Most significant for him was the fait accompli of Christianization. . . . The positive conclusion is reached only by means of general concepts and with the aid of objective arguments in support of a just war.... If barbarians opposed the right of free passage and free missions, of liberum commercium and free propaganda, then they would violate the existing rights of the Spanish according to ius gentium; if the peaceful treaties of the Spanish were of no avail, then they had grounds for a just war."(n72)

The papal missionary mandate was the legal foundation of the conquista. This was not only the pope's position but also that of the Catholic rulers of Spain. Vitoria's arguments were entirely consistent with the spatial order and the international law of the respublica Christiana. One cannot apply modern categories to a medieval context without distorting both: "In the Middle Ages, a just war could he a just war of aggression. Clearly, the formal structure of the two concepts of justice are completely different. As far as the substance of medieval justice is concerned, however, it should be remembered that Vitoria's doctrine of a just war is argued on the basis of a missionary mandate issued by a potestas spiritualis that was not only institutionally stable but intellectually self-evident. The right of liberum commercium as well as the ius peregrinandi are to facilitate the work of Christian missions and the execution of the papal missionary mandate.... Here we are interested only in the justification of land appropriation--a question Vitoria reduced to the general problem of a just war. All significant questions of an order based on international law ultimately meet in the concept of a just war."(n73)



The Question of a New Nomos of the Earth

Following chapters on "The Land Appropriation of a New World" and "The Ius Publicum Europaeum," Schmitt concludes his book with a chapter titled "The Question of a New Nomos of the Earth, which is concerned primarily with the transformation of the concept of war. Clearly, this problem was uppermost in Schmitt's mind following Germany's total defeat in WWII and the final destruction of the European system of states. But he had already devoted a treatise to the development of a discriminatory concept of war following WWI,(n74) and in 1945 he wrote a legal opinion on the criminality of aggressive war.(n75) Despite whatever self-serving motives he may have had in writing these works,(n76) they are consistent with the historical and juridical structure of international law during the respublica Christiana, the ius publicum Europaeum, and what remains of international law today.

This progression can be put into perspective by following Schmitt's discussion of Vitoria's legacy: "Vitoria was in no sense one of the `forerunners of modern lawyers dealing with constitutional questions.'. . . Abstracted entirely from spatial viewpoints, Vitoria's ahistorical method generalizes many European historical concepts specific to the ius gentium of the Middle Ages (such as yolk prince and war) and thereby strips them of their historical particularity."(n77) In this context, Schmitt mentions the works of Ernest Nys, which paved the way for the popularization of Vitoria's ideas after WWI but who, because of his belief in humanitarian progress, also contributed to the criminalization of aggressive war. This was also true of James Brown Scott, the leading American expert on international law, who blatantly instrumentalized Vitoria's doctrines concerning free trade (liberum commercium, the freedom of propaganda, and a just war) to justify American economic imperialism. Schmitt sums up Sctott's argument as follows: "War should cease to be simply a legally recognized matter or only one of legal indifference; rather, it should again become a just war in which the aggressor as such is declared a felon in the full criminal sense of the word. The former right to neutrality, grounded in the international law of the ius publicum Europaeum and based on the equivalence of just and unjust war, should also and accordingly be eliminated."(n78)

Here then is the crux of the matter. Vitoria's thinking is based on the international law obtaining during the Christian Middle Ages rather than on the international law between states established with the ius publicum Europaeum. Moreover, as Schmitt points out, Vitoria was not a jurist but a theologian: "Based on relations between states, post-medieval international law from the 1 6th to the 20th century sought to repress the iusta causa. The formal reference point for the determination of a just war was no longer the authority of the Church in international law but rather the equal sovereignty of states. Instead of iusta causa, the order of international law between states was based on iustus hostis; any war between states, between equal sovereigns, was legitimate. On the basis of this juridical formalization, a rationalization and humanization--a bracketing--of war was achieved for 200 years." The turn to "the modern age in the history of international law was accomplished by a dual division of two lines of thought that were inseparable in the Middle Ages -- the definitive separation of moral-theological from juridical-political arguments and the equally important separation of the question of iusta causa, grounded in moral arguments and natural law," from the juridical question of iustus hostis, distinguished from the criminal, i.e., from object of punitive action."(n79)

With the end of the ius publicum Europaeum, the concept of war changed once again: moralistic (rather than theologically-based) arguments became confused with political arguments, and the iusta causa displaced the just enemy (iustus hostis). Accordingly, war became a crime and the aggressor a criminal, which means that the current distinction between just and unjust war lacks any relation to Vitoria and does not even attempt to determine the iusta causa.(n80) According to Schmitt: "If today some formulas of the doctrine of a just war rooted in the concrete order of the medieval respublica Christiana are utilized in modern and global formulas, this does not signify a return to, but rather a fundamental transformation of concepts of enemy, war, concrete order and justice presupposed in medieval doctrine."(n81) This transformation is crucial to any consideration of a new nomos of the earth because these concepts must be rooted in a concrete order. Lacking such an order or nomos, these free-floating concepts do not constitute institutional standards but have only the value of ideological slogans.

Unimpressed with the duration of the Cold War and its mixture of neither war nor peace, Schmitt speculated on the possibility of the eventual development of what he called GroBetaraume(n82) -- larger spatial entities, similar to but not synonymous with federations or blocs --displacing states and constituting a new nomos.(n83) Since his death in 1985 and the subsequent collapse of communism, the likelihood of his diagnosis and prognosis has increased. While the international situation remains confused and leading intellectuals such as Fukuyama and Huntington, unable to think behind predominant liberal democratic categories, can only recycle new versions of the old Wilsonianism, Schmitt's vision of a world of GroBetaraume as a new geopolitical configuration may well be in the process of being realized.

vendredi, 12 août 2011

Schopenhauer: el primer golpe a la Ilustracion




Schopenhauer: el primer golpe a la Ilustración


Alberto Buela (*)


En Arturo Schopenhauer (1788-1860) toda su filosofía se apoya en Kant y forma parte del idealismo alemán pero lo novedoso es que sostiene dos rasgos existenciales antitéticos con ellos: es un pesimista  y no es un profesor a sueldo del Estado. Esto último deslumbró a Nietzsche.

Hijo de un gran comerciante de Danzig, su posición acomodada lo liberó de las dos servidumbres de su época para los filósofos: la teología protestante o la docencia privada. Se educó a través de sus largas estadías en Inglaterra, Francia e Italia (Venecia). Su apetito sensual, grado sumo, luchó siempre la serena  reflexión filosófica. Su soltería y misoginia nos recuerda el tango: en mi vida tuve muchas minas pero nunca una mujer. En una palabra, conoció la hembra pero no a la mujer.

Ingresa en la Universidad de Gotinga donde estudia medicina, luego frecuenta a Goethe, sigue cursos en Berlín con Fichte y se doctora en Jena con una tesis sobre La cuádruple raíz del principio de razón suficiente en 1813.

En 1819 publica su principal obra El mundo como voluntad y representación y toda su producción posterior no va ha ser sino un comentario aumentado y corregido de ella. Nunca se retractó de nada ni nunca cambió. Obras como La voluntad en la naturaleza (1836),  Libertad de la voluntad (1838), Los dos problemas fundamentales de la ética (1841) son simples escolios a su única obra principal.

Sobre él ha afirmado el genial Castellani: “Schopen es malo, pero simpático. No fue católico por mera casualidad. Y fue lástima porque tenía ala calderoniana y graciana, a quienes tradujo. Pero fue  “antiprotestante” al máximo, como Nietzsche, lo cual en nuestra opinión no es poco…Tuvo dos fallas: fue el primer filósofo existencial sin ser teólogo y quiso reducir a la filosofía aquello que pertenece a la teología” [1]

En 1844 reedita su trabajo cumbre, aunque no se habían vendido aun los ejemplares de su primera edición, llevando los agregados al doble la edición original.

Nueve años antes de su muerte publica dos tomos pequeños Parerga y Parilepómena, ensayos de acceso popular donde trata de los más diversos temas, que tienen muy poco que ver con su obra principal, pero que le dan una cierta popularidad al ser los más leídos de sus libros. Al final de sus días Schopenhauer gozó del reconocimiento que tanto buscó y que le fue esquivo.

Schopenhauer siguió los cursos de Fichte en Berlín varios años y como “el fanfarrón”, así lo llama, parte y depende también de Kant.

Así, ambos reconocen que el mérito inmortal de la crítica kantiana de la razón es haber establecido, de una vez y para siempre, que los entes, el mundo de las cosas que percibimos por los sentidos y reproducimos en el espíritu, no es el mundo en sí sino nuestro mundo, un producto de nuestra organización psicofísica.

La clara distinción en Kant entre sensibilidad y entendimiento pero donde el entendimiento no puede separarse realmente de los sentidos y refiere a una causa exterior la sensación que aparece bajo las formas de espacio y tiempo, viene a explicar a los entes, las cosas como fenómenos pero no como “cosas en sí”.

Muy acertadamente observa Silvio Maresca que: “Ante sus ojos- los de Schopenhauer- el romanticismo filosófico y el idealismo (Fichte-Hegel) que sucedieron casi enseguida a la filosofía kantiana, constituían una tergiversación de ésta. ¿Por qué? Porque abolían lo que según él era el principio fundamental: la distinción entre los fenómenos y la cosa en sí”.[2]

Fichte a través de su Teoría de la ciencia va a sostener que el no-yo (los entes exteriores) surgen en el yo legalmente pero sin fundamento. No existe una tal cosa en sí. El mundo sensible es una realidad empírica que está de pie ahí. La ciencia de la naturaleza es necesariamente materialista. Schopenhauer es materialista, pero va a afirmar: Toda la imagen materialista del mundo, es solo representación, no “cosa en sí”. Rechaza la tesis que todo el mundo fenoménico sea calificado como un producto de la actividad inconciente del yo. ¿Que es este mundo además de mi representación?, se pregunta. Y responde que se debe partir del hombre que es lo dado y de lo más íntimo de él, y eso debe ser a su vez lo más íntimo del mundo y esto es la voluntad. Se produce así en Schopenhauer un primado de lo práctico sobre lo teórico.

La voluntad es, hablando en kantiano “la cosa en sí” ese afán infinito que nunca termina de satisfacerse, es “el vivir” que va siempre al encuentro de nuevos problemas. Es infatigable e inextinguible.

La voluntad no es para el pesimista de Danzig la facultad de decidir regida por la razón como se la entiende regularmente sino sólo el afán, el impulso irracional que comparten hombre y mundo. “Toda fuerza natural es concebida per analogiam con aquello que en nosotros mismos conocemos como voluntad”.

Esa voluntad irracional para la que el mundo y las cosas son solo un fenómeno no tiene ningún objetivo perdurable sino sólo aparente (por trabajar sobre fenómenos) y entonces todo objetivo logrado despierta nuevas necesidades (toda satisfacción tiene como presupuesto el disgusto de una insatisfacción) donde el no tener ya nada que desear preanuncia la muerte o la liberación.

Porque el más sabio es el que se percata que la existencia es una sucesión de sin sabores que no conduce a nada y se desprende del mundo. No espera la redención del progreso y solo practica la no-voluntad.

El pesimista de Danzig al identificar la voluntad irracional con la “cosa en sí” puede afirmar sin temor que “lo real es irracional y lo irracional es lo real” con lo que termina invirtiendo la máxima hegeliana “todo lo racional es real y todo lo real es racional”. Es el primero del los golpes mortales que se le aplicará  al racionalismo iluminista, luego vendrá Nietzsche y más tarde Scheler y Heidegger. Pero eso ya es historia conocida. Salute.


Post Scriptum: 

Schopenhauer en sus últimos años- que además de hablar correctamente en italiano, francés e inglés, hablaba, aunque con alguna dificultad, en castellano. La hispanofilia de Schopenhauer se reconoce en toda su obra pues cada vez que cita, sobre todo a Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658), lo hace en castellano. Aprendió el español para traducir el opúsculo Oráculo manual (1647). También cita a menudo El Criticón a la que considera “incomparable”. Existe actualmente en Alemania y desde hace unos quince años una revista de pensamiento no conformista denominada “Criticón”. También cita y traduce a Calderón de la Barca.

Miguel de Unamuno fue el primero que realizó algunas traducciones parciales del filósofo de Danzig, como corto pago para una deuda hispánica con él. En Argentina ejerció influencia sobre Macedonio Fernández y sobre su discípulo Jorge Luis Borges. Tengo conocimiento de dos buenos artículos sobre Schopenhauer en nuestro país: el del cura Castellani (Revista de la Universidad de Buenos Aires, cuarta época, Nº 16, 1950) y el mencionado de Maresca.


(*) alberto.buela@gmail.com   www.disenso.org

[1] Castellani, Leonardo: Schopenhaue, en Revista de la Universidad de Buenos Aires, cuarta época, Nº 16, 1950, pp.389-426

[2] Maresca, Silvio: En la senda de Nietzsche, Catálogos, Buenos Aires, 1991, p. 20

Carl Schmitt's Decisionism

Carl Schmitt's Decisionism

Paul Hirst

Ex: http://freespeechproject.com/


politik.gifSince 1945 Western nations have witnessed a dramatic reduction in the variety of positions in political theory and jurisprudence. Political argument has been virtually reduced to contests within liberal-democratic theory. Even radicals now take representative democracy as their unquestioned point of departure. There are, of course, some benefits following from this restriction of political debate. Fascist, Nazi and Stalinist political ideologies are now beyond the pale. But the hegemony of liberal-democratic political agreement tends to obscure the fact that we are thinking in terms which were already obsolete at the end of the nineteenth century.

Nazism and Stalinism frightened Western politicians into a strict adherence to liberal democracy. Political discussion remains excessively rigid, even though the liberal-democratic view of politics is grossly at odds with our political condition. Conservative theorists like Hayek try to re-create idealized political conditions of the mid nineteenth century. In so doing, they lend themselves to some of the most unsavoury interests of the late twentieth century - those determined to exploit the present undemocratic political condition. Social-democratic theorists also avoid the central question of how to ensure public accountability of big government. Many radicals see liberal democracy as a means to reform, rather than as what needs to be reformed. They attempt to extend governmental action, without devising new means of controlling governmental agencies. New Right thinkers have reinforced the situation by pitting classical liberalism against democracy, individual rights against an interventionist state. There are no challenges to representative democracy, only attempts to restrict its functions. The democratic state continues to be seen as a sovereign public power able to assure public peace.

The terms of debate have not always been so restricted. In the first three decades of this century, liberal-democratic theory and the notion of popular sovereignty through representative government were widely challenged by many groups. Much of this challenge, of course, was demagogic rhetoric presented on behalf of absurd doctrines of social reorganization. The anti-liberal criticism of Sorel, Maurras or Mussolini may be occassionally intriguing, but their alternatives are poisonous and fortunately, no longer have a place in contemporary political discussion. The same can be said of much of the ultra-leftist and communist political theory of this period.

Other arguments are dismissed only at a cost. The one I will consider here - Carl Schmitt's 'decisionism' - challenges the liberal-democratic theory of sovereignty in a way that throws considerable light on contemporary political conditions. His political theory before the Nazi seizure of power shared some assumptions with fascist political doctrine and he did attempt to become the 'crown jurist' of the new Nazi state. Nevertheless, Schmitt's work asks hard questions and points to aspects of political life too uncomfortable to ignore. Because his thinking about concrete political situations is not governed by any dogmatic political alternative, it exhibits a peculiar objectivity.

Schmitt's situational judgement stems from his view of politics or, more correctly, from his view of the political as 'friend-enemy' relations, which explains how he could change suddenly from contempt for Hitler to endorsing Nazism. If it is nihilistic to lack substantial ethical standards beyond politics, then Schmitt is a nihilist. In this, however, he is in the company of many modern political thinkers. What led him to collaborate with the Nazis from March 1933 to December 1936 was not, however, ethical nihilism, but above all concern with order. Along with many German conservatives, Schmitt saw the choice as either Hitler or chaos. As it turned out, he saved his life but lost his reputation. He lived in disrepute in the later years of the Third Reich, and died in ignominy in the Federal Republic. But political thought should not be evaluated on the basis of the authors' personal political judgements. Thus the value of Schmitt's work is not diminished by the choices he made.

Schmitt's main targets are the liberal-constitutional theory of the state and the parliamentarist conception of politics. In the former, the state is subordinated to law; it becomes the executor of purposes determined by a representative legislative assembly. In the latter, politics is dominated by 'discussion,' by the free deliberation of representatives in the assembly. Schmitt considers nineteenth-century liberal democracy anti-political and rendered impotent by a rule-bound legalism, a rationalistic concept of political debate, and the desire that individual citizens enjoy a legally guaranteed 'private' sphere protected from the state. The political is none of these things. Its essence is struggle.

In The Concept of the Political Schmitt argues that the differentia specifica of the political, which separates it from other spheres of life, such as religion or economics, is friend-enemy relations. The political comes into being when groups are placed in a relation of emnity, where each comes to perceive the other as an irreconcilable adversary to be fought and, if possible, defeated. Such relations exhibit an existential logic which overrides the motives which may have brought groups to this point. Each group now faces an opponent, and must take account of that fact: 'Every religious, moral, economic, ethical, or other antithesis transforms itself into a political one if it is sufficiently strong to group human beings effectively according to friends and enemy.' The political consists not in war or armed conflict as such, but precisely in the relation of emnity: not competition but confrontation. It is bound by no law: it is prior to no law.

For Schmitt: 'The concept of the state presupposes the concept of the political.' States arise as a means of continuing, organizing and channeling political struggle. It is political struggle which gives rise to political order. Any entity involved in friend-enemy relations is by definition political, whatever its origin or the origin of the differences leading to emnity: 'A religious community which wages wars against members of others religious communities or engages in other wars is already more than a religious community; it is a political entity.' The political condition arises from the struggle of groups; internal order is imposed to pursue external conflict. To view the state as the settled and orderly administration of a territory, concerned with the organization of its affairs according to law, is to see only the stabilized results of conflict. It is also to ignore the fact that the state stands in a relation of emnity to other states, that it holds its territory by means of armed force and that, on this basis of a monopoly of force, it can make claims to be the lawful government of that territory. The peaceful, legalistic, liberal bourgeoisie is sitting on a volcano and ignoring the fact. Their world depends on a relative stabilization of conflict within the state, and on the state's ability to keep at bay other potentially hostile states.

For Hobbes, the political state arises from a contract to submit to a sovereign who will put an end to the war of all against all which must otherwise prevail in a state of nature - an exchange of obediance for protection. Schmitt starts where Hobbes leaves off - with the natural condition between organized and competing groups or states. No amount of discussion, compromise or exhortation can settle issues between enemies. There can be no genuine agreement, because in the end there is nothing to agree about. Dominated as it is by the friend-enemy alternative, the political requires not discussion but decision. No amount of reflection can change an issue which is so existentially primitive that it precludes it. Speeches and motions in assemblies should not be contraposed to blood and iron but with the moral force of the decision, because vacillating parliamentarians can also cause considerable bloodshed.

In Schmitt's view, parliamentarism and liberalism existed in a particular historical epoch between the 'absolute' state of the seventeenth century and the 'total state' of the twentieth century. Parliamentary discussion and a liberal 'private sphere' presupposed the depoliticization of a large area of social, economic and cultural life. The state provided a legally codified order within which social customs, economic competition, religious beliefs, and so on, could be pursued without becoming 'political.' 'Politics' as such ceases to be exclusively the atter of the state when 'state and society penetrate each other.' The modern 'total state' breaks down the depoliticization on which such a narrow view of politics could rest:


Heretofore ostensibly neutral domains - religion, culture, education, the economy - then cease to be neutral. . . Against such neutralizations and depoliticizations of important domains appears the total state, which potentially embraces every domain. This results in the identity of the state and society. In such a state. . . everything is at least potentially political, and in referring to the state it is no longer possible to assert for it a specifically political characteristic.


Democracy and liberalism are fundamentally antagonistic. Democracy does away with the depoliticizations characteristic of rule by a narrow bourgeois stratum insulated from popular demands. Mass politics means a broadening of the agenda to include the affairs of all society - everything is potentially political. Mass politics also threatens existing forms of legal order. The politicization of all domains increases pressure on the state by multiplying the competing interests demanding action; at the same time, the function of the liberal legal framework - the regulating of the 'private sphere' - become inadequate. Once all social affairs become political, the existing constitutional framework threatens the social order: politics becomes a contest of organized parties seeking to prevail rather than to acheive reconciliation. The result is a state bound by law to allow every party an 'equal chance' for power: a weak state threatened with dissolution.

Schmitt may be an authoritarian conservative. But his diagnosis of the defects of parliamentarism and liberalism is an objective analysis rather than a mere restatement of value preferences. His concept of 'sovereignty' is challenging because it forces us to think very carefully about the conjuring trick which is 'law.' Liberalism tries to make the state subject to law. Laws are lawful if properly enacted according to set procedures; hence the 'rule of law.' In much liberal-democratic constitutional doctrine the legislature is held to be 'sovereign': it derives its law-making power from the will of the people expressed through their 'representatives.' Liberalism relies on a constituting political moment in order that the 'sovereignty' implied in democratic legislatures be unable to modify at will not only specific laws but also law-making processes. It is therefore threatened by a condition of politics which converts the 'rule of law' into a merely formal doctrine. If this 'rule of law' is simply the people's will expressed through their representatives, then it has no determinate content and the state is no longer substantially bound by law in its actions.

Classical liberalism implies a highly conservative version of the rule of law and a sovereignty limited by a constitutive political act beyond the reach of normal politics. Democracy threatens the parliamentary-constitutional regime with a boundless sovereign power claimed in the name of the 'people.' This reveals that all legal orders have an 'outside'; they rest on a political condition which is prior to and not bound by the law. A constitution can survive only if the constituting political act is upheld by some political power. The 'people' exist only in the claims of that tiny minority (their 'representatives') which functions as a 'majority' in the legislative assembly. 'Sovereignty' is thus not a matter of formal constitutional doctrine or essentially hypocritical references to the 'people'; it is a matter of determining which particular agency has the capacity - outside of law - to impose an order which, because it is political, can become legal.

Schmitt's analysis cuts through three hundred years of political theory and public law doctrine to define sovereignty in a way that renders irrelevant the endless debates about principles of political organization or the formal constitutional powers of different bodies.


From a practical or theoretical perspective, it really does not matter whether an abstract scheme advanced to define sovereignty (namely, that sovereignty is the highest power, not a derived power) is acceptable. About an abstract concept there will be no argument. . . What is argued about is the concrete application, and that means who decides in a situation of conflict what constitutes the public interest or interest of the state, public safety and order, le salut public, and so on. The exception, which is not codified in the existing legal order, can at best be characterized as a case of extreme peril, a danger to the existence of the state, or the like, but it cannot be circumscribed factually and made to conform to a preformed law.


Brutally put: ' Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.' The sovereign is a definite agency capable of making a decision, not a legitimating category (the 'people') or a purely formal definition (plentitude of power, etc.). Sovereignty is outside the law, since the actions of the sovereign in the state of exception cannot be bound by laws since laws presuppose a normal situation. To claim that this is anti-legal is to ignore the fact that all laws have an outside, that they exist because of a substantiated claim on the part of some agency to be the dominant source of binding rules within a territory. The sovereign determines the possibility of the 'rule of law' by deciding on the exception: 'For a legal order to make sense, a normal situation must exist, and he is sovereign who definitely decides whether this normal situation actually exists.'

Schmitt's concept of the exception is neither nihilistic nor anarchistic, it is concerned with the preservation of the state and the defence of legitimately constituted government and the stable institutions of society. He argues that ' the exception is different from anarchy and chaos.' It is an attempt to restore order in a political sense. While the state of exception can know no norms, the actions of the sovereign within the state must be governed by what is prudent to restore order. Barbaric excess and pure arbitrary power are not Schmitt's objecty. power is limited by a prudent concern for the social order; in the exception, 'order in the juristic sense still prevails, even if it is not of the ordinary kind.' Schmitt may be a relativist with regard to ultimate values in politics. But he is certainly a conservative concerned with defending a political framework in which the 'concrete orders' of society can be preserved, which distinguishes his thinking from both fascism and Nazism in their subordination of all social institutions to such idealized entities as the Leader and the People. For Schmitt, the exception is never the rule, as it is with fascism and Nazism. If he persists in demonstrating how law depends on politics, the norm on the exception, stability on struggle, he points up the contrary illusions of fascism and Nazism. In fact, Schmitt's work can be used as a critique of both. The ruthless logic in his analsysis of the political, the nature of soveriegnty, and the exception demonstrates the irrationality of fascism and Nazism. The exception cannot be made the rule in the 'total state' without reducing society to such a disorder through the political actions of the mass party that the very survival of the state is threatened. The Nazi state sought war as the highest goal in politics, but conducted its affairs in such a chaotic way that its war-making capacity was undermined and its war aims became fatally overextended. Schmitt's friend-enemy thesis is concerned with avoiding the danger that the logic of the political will reach its conclusion in unlimited war.

Schmitt modernizes the absolutist doctrines of Bodin and Hobbes. His jurisprudence restores - in the exception rather than the norm - the sovereign as uncommanded commander. For Hobbes, lawas are orders given by those with authority - authoritas non veritas facit legem. Confronted with complex systems of procedural limitation in public law and with the formalization of law into a system, laws become far more complex than orders. Modern legal positivism could point to a normal liberal-parliamentary legal order which did and still does appear to contradict Hobbes. Even in the somewhat modernized form of John Austin, the Hobbesian view of sovereignty is rejected on all sides. Schmitt shared neither the simplistic view of Hobbes that this implies, nor the indifference of modern legal positivism to the political foundation of law. He founded his jurisprudence neither on the normal workings of the legal order nor on the formal niceties of constitutional doctrine, but on a condition quite alien to them. 'Normalcy' rests not on legal or constitutional conditions but on a certain balance of political forces, a certain capacity of the state to impose order by force should the need arise. This is especially true of liberal-parliamentary regimes, whose public law requires stablization of political conflicts and considerable police and war powers even to begin to have the slightest chance of functioning at all. Law cannot itself form a completely rational and lawful system; the analysis of the state must make reference to those agencies which have the capacity to decide on the state of exception and not merely a formal plentitude of power.

In Political Theology Schmitt claims that the concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts. This is obvious in the case of the concept of sovereignty, wherein the omnipotent lawgiver is a mundane version of an all-powerful God. He argues that liberalism and parliamentarism correspond to deist views of God's action through constant and general natural laws. His own view is a form of fundamentalism in which the exception plays the same role in relation to the state as the miracles of Jesus do in confirming the Gospel. The exception reveals the legally unlimited capacity of whoever is sovereign within the state. In conventional, liberal-democratic doctrine the people are sovereign; their will is expressed through representatives. Schmitt argues that modern democracy is a form of populism in that the people are mobilized by propaganda and organized interests. Such a democracy bases legitimacy on the people's will. Thus parliament exists on the sufferance of political parties, propaganda agencies and organized interest which compete for popular 'consent.' When parliamentary forms and the rule of 'law' become inadequate to the political situation, they will be dispensed with in the name of the people: 'No other constitutional institution can withstand the sole criterion of the people's will, however it is expressed.'

Schmitt thus accepts the logic of Weber's view of plebiscitarian democracy and the rise of bureaucratic mass parties, which utterly destroy the old parliamentary notables. He uses the nineteenth-century conservatives Juan Donoso Cortes to set the essential dilemma in Political Theology: either a boundless democracy of plebiscitarian populism which will carry us wherever it will (i.e. to Marxist or fascist domination) or a dictatorship. Schmitt advocates a very specific form of dictatorship in a state of exception - a "commissarial' dictatorship, which acts to restore social stability, to preserve the concrete orders of society and restore the constitution. The dictator has a constitutional office. He acts in the name of the constitution, but takes such measures as are necessary to preserve order. these measures are not bound by law; they are extralegal.

Schmitt's doctrine thus involves a paradox. For all its stress on friend-enemy relations, on decisive political action, its core, its aim, is the maintenance of stability and order. It is founded on a political non-law, but not in the interest of lawlessness. Schmitt insists that the constitution must be capable of meeting the challenge of the exception, and of allowing those measures necessary to preserve order. He is anti-liberal because he claims that liberalism cannot cope with the reality of the political; it can only insist on a legal formalism which is useless in the exceptional case. He argues that only those parties which are bound to uphold the constitution should be allowed an 'equal chance' to struggle for power. Parties which threaten the existing order and use constitutional means to challenge the constitution should be subject to rigorous control.

Schmitt's relentless attack on 'discussion' makes most democrats and radicals extremely hostile to his views. He is a determined critic of the Enlightenment. Habermas's 'ideal speech situation', in which we communicate without distortion to discover a common 'emancipatory interest', would appear to Schmitt as a trivial philosophical restatement of Guizot's view that in representative government, ' through discussion the powers-that-be are obliged to seek truth in common." Schmitt is probably right. Enemies have nothing to discuss and we can never attain a situation in which the friend-enemy distinction is abolished. Liberalism does tend to ignore the exception and the more resolute forms of political struggle.

jeudi, 11 août 2011

Keith Preston: Understanding Carl Schmitt


Keith Preston: Understanding Carl Schmitt

Carl Schmitt: The Conservative Revolutionary Habitus and the Aesthetics of Horror

Carl Schmitt: The Conservative Revolutionary Habitus and the Aesthetics of Horror

Richard Wolin

Ex: http://freespeechproject.com/


"Carl Schmitt's polemical discussion of political Romanticism conceals the aestheticizing oscillations of his own political thought. In this respect, too, a kinship of spirit with the fascist intelligentsia reveals itself."
—Jürgen Habermas, "The Horrors of Autonomy: Carl Schmitt in English"

"The pinnacle of great politics is the moment in which the enemy comes into view in concrete clarity as the enemy."
—Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political (1927)


Only months after Hitler's accession to power, the eminently citable political philosopher and jurist Carl Schmitt, in the ominously titled work, Staat, Bewegung, Volk, delivered one of his better known dicta. On January 30, 1933, observes Schmitt, "one can say that 'Hegel died.'" In the vast literature on Schmitt's role in the National Socialist conquest of power, one can find many glosses on this one remark, which indeed speaks volumes. But let us at the outset be sure to catch Schmitt's meaning, for Schmitt quickly reminds us what he does not intend by this pronouncement: he does not mean to impugn the hallowed tradition of German étatistme, that is, of German "philosophies of state," among which Schmitt would like to number his own contributions to the annals of political thought. Instead, it is Hegel qua philosopher of the "bureaucratic class" or Beamtenstaat that has been definitely surpassed with Hitler's triumph. For "bureaucracy" (cf. Max Weber's characterization of "legal-bureaucratic domination") is, according to its essence, a bourgeois form of rule. As such, this class of civil servants—which Hegel in the Rechtsphilosophie deems the "universal class"—represents an impermissable drag on the sovereignty of executive authority. For Schmitt, its characteristic mode of functioning, which is based on rules and procedures that are fixed, preestablished, calculable, qualifies it as the very embodiment of bourgeois normalcy—a form of life that Schmitt strove to destroy and transcend in virtually everything he thought and wrote during the 1920s, for the very essence of the bureaucratic conduct of business is reverence for the norm, a standpoint that could not exist in great tension with the doctrines of Carl Schmitt himself, whom we know to be a philosopher of the state of emergency—of the Auhsnamhezustand (literally, the "state of exception"). Thus, in the eyes of Schmitt, Hegel had set an ignominious precedent by according this putative universal class a position of preeminence in his political thought, insofar as the primacy of the bureaucracy tends to diminish or supplant the perogative of sovereign authority.

But behind the critique of Hegel and the provocative claim that Hitler's rise coincides with Hegel's metaphorical death (a claim, that while true, should have offered, pace Schmitt, little cause for celebration) lies a further indictment, for in the remarks cited, Hegel is simultaneously perceived as an advocate of the Rechtsstaat, of "constitutionalism" and "rule of law." Therefore, in the history of German political thought, the doctrines of this very German philosopher prove to be something of a Trojan horse: they represent a primary avenue via which alien bourgeois forms of political life have infiltrated healthy and autochthonous German traditions, one of whose distinguishing features is an rejection of "constitutionalism" and all it implies. The political thought of Hegel thus represents a threat—and now we encounter another one of Schmitt's key terms from the 1920s—to German homogeneity.

Schmitt's poignant observations concerning the relationship between Hegel and Hitler expresses the idea that one tradition in German cultural life—the tradition of German idealism—has come to an end and a new set of principles—based in effect on the category of völkish homogeneity (and all it implies for Germany's political future)—has arisen to take its place. Or, to express the same thought in other terms: a tradition based on the concept of Vernuft or "reason" has given way to a political system whose new raison d'être was the principle of authoritarian decision—whose consummate embodiment was the Führerprinzep, one of the ideological cornerstones of the post-Hegelian state. To be sure, Schmitt's insight remains a source of fascination owing to its uncanny prescience: in a statement of a few words, he manages to express the quintessence of some 100 years of German historical development. At the same time, this remark also remains worthy insofar as it serves as a prism through which the vagaries of Schmitt's own intellectual biography come into unique focues: it represents an unambiguous declaration of his satiety of Germany's prior experiments with constitutional government and of his longing for a total- or Führerstaat in which the ambivalences of the parliamentary system would be abolished once and for all. Above all, however, it suggest how readily Schmitt personally made the transition from intellectual antagonist of Weimar democracy to whole-hearted supporter of National Socialist revolution. Herein lies what one may refer to as the paradox of Carl Schmitt: a man who, in the words of Hannah Arendt, was a "convinced Nazi," yet "whose very ingenious theories about the end of democracy and legal government still make arresting reading."

The focal point of our inquiry will be the distinctive intellectual "habitus" (Bourdieu) that facilitated Schmitt's alacritous transformation from respected Weimar jurist and academician to "crown jurist of the Third Reich." To understand the intellectual basis of Schmitt's political views, one must appreciate his elective affinities with that generation of so-called conservative revolutionary thinkers whose worldview was so decisive in turning the tide of public opinion against the fledgling Weimar republic. As the political theorist Kurt Sontheimer has noted: "It is hardly a matter of controversy today that certain ideological predispositions in German thought generally, but particularly in the intellectual climate of the Weimar Republic, induced a large number of German electors under the Weimar Republic to consider the National Socialist movement as less problematic than it turned out to be." And even though the nationalsocialists and the conservative revolutionaries failed to see eye to eye on many points, their respective plans for a new Germany were sufficiently close that a comparison between them is able to "throw light on the intellectual atmosphere in which, when National Socialism arose, it could seem to be a more or less presentable doctrine." Hence "National Socialism . . . derived considerable profit from thinkers like Oswald Spengler, Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, and Ernst Jünger," despite their later parting of the ways. One could without much exaggeration label this intellectual movement protofascistic, insofar as its general ideological effect consisted in providing a type of ideological-spiritual preparation for the National Socialist triumph.


Schmitt himself was never an active member of the conservative revolutionary movement, whose best known representatives—Spengler, Jünger, and van den Bruck—have been named by Sontheimer (though one might add Hans Zehrer and Othmar Spann). It would be fair to say that the major differences between Schmitt and his like-minded, influential group of right-wing intellectuals concerned a matter of form rather than substance: unlike Schmitt, most of whose writings appeared in scholarly and professional journals, the conservative revolutionaries were, to a man, nonacademics who made names for themselves as Publizisten—that is, as political writers in that same kaleidoscope and febrile world of Weimar Offentlichkeit that was the object of so much scorn in their work. But Schmitt's status as a fellow traveler in relation to the movement's main journals (such as Zehrer's influential Die Tat, activities, and circles notwithstanding, his profound intellectual affinities with this group of convinced antirepublicans are impossible to deny. In fact, in the secondary literature, it has become more common than not simply to include him as a bona fide member of the group.

The intellectual habitus shared by Schmitt and the conservative revolutionaries is in no small measure of Nietzschean derivation. Both subscribed to the immoderate verdict registered by Nietzsche on the totality of inherited Western values: those values were essentially nihilistic. Liberalism, democracy, utlitarianism, individualism, and Enlightenment rationalism were the characteristic belief structures of the decadent capitalist West; they were manifestations of a superficial Zivilisation, which failed to measure up to the sublimity of German Kultur. In opposition to a bourgeois society viewed as being in an advanced state of decomposition, Schmitt and the conservative revolutionaries counterposed the Nietzschean rites of "active nihilism." In Nietzsche's view, whatever is falling should be given a final push. Thus one of the patented conceptual oppositions proper to the conservative revolutionary habitus was that between the "hero" (or "soldier") and the "bourgeois." Whereas the hero thrives on risk, danger, and uncertainity, the life of bourgeois is devoted to petty calculations of utility and security. This conceptual opposition would occupy center stage in what was perhaps the most influential conservative revolutionary publication of the entire Weimar period, Ernst Jünger's 1932 work, Der Arbeiter (the worker), where it assumes the form of a contrast between "the worker-soldier" and "the bourgeois." If one turns, for example, to what is arguably Schmitt's major work of the 1920s, The Concept of the Political (1927), where the famous "friend-enemy" distinction is codified as the raison d'être of politics, it is difficult to ignore the profound conservative revolutionary resonances of Schmitt's argument. Indeed, it would seem that such resonances permeate, Schmitt's attempt to justify politics primarily in martial terms; that is, in light of the ultimate instance of (or to use Schmitt's own terminology) Ernstfall of battle (Kampf) or war.

Once the conservative revolutionary dimension of Schmitt's thought is brought to light, it will become clear that the continuities in his pre- and post-1933 political philosophy and stronger than the discontinuities. Yet Schmitt's own path of development from arch foe of Weimar democracy to "convinced Nazi" (Arendt) is mediated by a successive series of intellectual transformations that attest to his growing political radicalisation during the 1920s and early 1930s. He follows a route that is both predictable and sui generis: predictable insomuch as it was a route traveled by an entire generation of like-minded German conservative and nationalist intellectuals during the interwar period; sui generis, insofar as there remains an irreducible originality and perspicacity to the various Zeitdiagnosen proffered by Schmitt during the 1920s, in comparison with the at times hackneyed and familar formulations of his conservative revolutionary contemporaries.

The oxymoronic designation "conservative revolutionary" is meant to distinguish the radical turn taken during the interwar period by right-of-center German intellectuals from the stance of their "traditional conservative" counterparts, who longed for a restoration of the imagined glories of earlier German Reichs and generally stressed the desirability of a return to premodern forms of social order (e.g., Tönnies Gemeinschaft) based on aristocratic considerations of rank and privilege. As opposed to the traditional conservatives, the conservative revolutionaries (and this is true of Jünger, van den Bruck, and Schmitt), in their reflections of the German defeat in the Great War, concluded that if Germany were to be successful in the next major European conflagaration, premodern or traditional solutions would not suffice. Instead, what was necessary was "modernization," yet a form of modernization that was at the same time compatible with the (albeit mythologized) traditional German values of heroism, "will" (as opposed to "reason"), Kultur, and hierarchy. In sum, what was desired was a modern community. As Jeffrey Herf has stressed in his informative book on the subject, when one searches for the ideological origins of National Socialism, it is not so much Germany's rejection of modernity that is at issue as its selective embrace of modernity. Thus
National Socialist's triumph, far from being characterized by a disdain of modernity simpliciter, was marked simultaneously by an assimilation of technical modernity and a repudiation of Western political modernity: of the values of political liberalism as they emerge from the democratic revolutions of the eighteenth century. This describes the essence of the German "third way" or Sonderweg: Germany's special path to modernity that is neither Western in the sense of England and France nor Eastern in the sense of Russia or pan-slavism.

Schmitt began his in the 1910s as a traditonal conservative, namely, as a Catholic philosopher of state. As such, his early writings revolved around a version of political authoritarianism in which the idea of a strong state was defended at all costs against the threat of liberal encroachments. In his most significant work of the decade, The Value of the State and the Significance of the Individual (1914), the balance between the two central concepts, state and individual, is struck one-sidely in favour of the former term. For Schmitt, the state, in executing its law-promulgating perogatives, cannot countenance any opposition. The uncompromising, antiliberal conclusion he draws from this observation is that "no individual can have full autonomy within the state." Or, as Schmitt unambiguously expresses a similar thought elsewhere in the same work: "the individual" is merely "a means to the essence, the state is what is important." Thus, although Schmitt displayed little inclination for the brand of jingoistic nationalism so prevalent among his German academic mandarin brethern during the war years, as Joseph Bendersky has observed, "it was precisely on the point of authoritarianism vs. liberal individualism that the views of many Catholics [such as Schmitt] and those of non-Catholic conservatives coincided."

But like other German conservatives, it was Schmitt's antipathy to liberal democratic forms of government, coupled with the political turmoil of the Weimar republic, that facilitated his transformation from a traditional conservative to a conservative revolutionary. To be sure, a full account of the intricacies of Schmitt's conservative revolutionary "conversion" would necessitate a year by year account of his political thought during the Weimar period, during which Schmitt's intellectual output was nothing if prolific, (he published virtually a book a year). Instead, for the sake of concision and the sake of fidelity to the leitmotif of the "conservative revolutionary habitus," I have elected to concentrate on three key aspects of Schmitt's intellectual transformation during this period: first, his sympathies with the vitalist (lebensphilosophisch) critique of modern rationalism; second, his philosophy of history during these years; and third, his protofascistic of the conservative revolutionary doctrine of the "total state." All three aspects, moreover, are integrally interrelated.


The vitalist critique of Enlightenment rationalism is of Nietzschean provenance. In opposition to the traditional philosophical image of "man" qua animal rationalis, Nietzsche counterposes his vision of "life [as] will to power." In the course of this "transvaluation of all values," the heretofore marginalized forces of life, will, affect, and passion should reclaim the position of primacy they once enjoyed before the triumph of "Socratism." It is in precisely this spirit that Nietzsche recommends that in the future, we philosophize with our affects instead of with concepts, for in the culture of European nihilism that has triumphed with the Enlightenment, "the essence of life, its will to power, is ignored," argues Nietzsche; "one overlooks the essential priority of the spontaneous, aggressive, expansive, form-giving forces that give new interpretations and directions."

It would be difficult to overestimate the power and influence this Nietzschean critique exerted over an entire generation of antidemocratic German intellectuals during the 1920s. The anticivilizational ethos that pervades Spengler's Decline of the West—the defence of "blood and tradition" against the much lamented forces of societal rationalisation—would be unthinkable without that dimension of vitalistic Kulturkritik to which Nietzsche's work gave consummate expression. Nor would it seem that the doctrines of Klages, Geist als Widersacher der Seele (Intellect as the Antagonist of the Soul; 1929-31), would have captured the mood of the times as well as they did had it not been for the irrevocable precedent set by Nietzsche's work, for the central opposition between "life" and "intellect," as articulated by Klages and so many other German "anti-intellectual intellectuals" during the interwar period, represents an unmistakably Nietzschean inheritance.

While the conservative revolutionary components of Schmitt's worldview have been frequently noted, the paramount role played by the "philosophy of life"—above all, by the concept of cultural criticism proper to Lebensphilosophie—on his political thought has escaped the attention of most critics. However, a full understanding of Schmitt's status as a radical conservative intellectual is inseparable from an appreciation of an hitherto neglected aspect of his work.

In point of fact, determinate influences of "philosophy of life"—a movement that would feed directly into the Existenzphilosophie craze of the 1920s (Heidegger, Jaspers, and others)—are really discernable in Schmitt's pre-Weimar writings. Thus, in one of his first published works, Law and Judgment (1912), Schmitt is concerned with demonstrating the impossibility of understanding the legal order in exclusively rationalist terms, that is, as a self-sufficient, complete system of legal norms after the fashion of legal positivism. It is on this basis that Schmitt argues in a particular case, a correct decision cannot be reached solely via a process of deducation or generalisation from existing legal precedents or norms. Instead, he contends, there is always a moment of irreducible particularity to each case that defies subsumption under general principles. It is precisely this aspect of legal judgment that Schmitt finds most interesting and significant. He goes on to coin a phrase for this "extralegal" dimension that proves an inescapable aspect of all legal decision making proper: the moment of "concrete indifference," the dimension of adjudication that transcends the previously established legal norm. In essence, the moment of "concrete indifference" represents for Schmitt a type of vital substrate, an element of "pure life," that forever stands opposed to the formalism of laws as such. Thus at the heart of bourgeois society—its legal system—one finds an element of existential particularity that defies the coherence of rationalist syllogizing or formal reason.

The foregoing account of concrete indifference is a matter of more than passing or academic interest insofar as it proves a crucial harbinger of Schmitt's later decisionistic theory of sovereignty, for its its devaluation of existing legal norms as a basis for judicial decision making, the category of concrete indifference points towards the imperative nature of judicial decision itself as a self-sufficient and irreducible basis of adjudication. The vitalist dimension of Schmitt's early philosophy of law betrays itself in his thoroughgoing denigration of legal normativism—for norms are a product of arid intellectualism (Intelligenz) and, as such, hostile to life (lebensfeindlick)—and the concomitant belief that the decision alone is capable of bridging the gap between the abstractness of law and the fullness of life.

The inchoate vitalist sympathies of Schmitt's early work become full blown in his writings of the 1920s. Here, the key text is Political Theology (1922), in which Schmitt formulates his decisionist theory of politics, or, as he remarks in the work's often cited first sentance: "Sovereign is he who decides the state of exception [Ausnahmezustand]."

It would be tempting to claim from this initial, terse yet lapidry definition of sovereignty, one may deduce the totality of Schmitt's mature political thought, for it contains what we know to the be the two keywords of his political philosophy during these years: decision and the exception. Both in Schmitt's lexicon are far from value-neutral or merely descriptive concepts. Instead, they are both accorded unambiguously positive value in the economy of his thought. Thus one of the hallmarks of Schmitt's political philosophy during the Weimar years will be a privileging of Ausnahmezustand, or state of exception, vis-à-vis political normalcy.

It is my claim that Schmitt's celebration of the state of exception over conditions of political normalcy—which he essentially equates with legal positivism and "parliamentarianism"—has its basis in the vitalist critique of Enlightenment rationalism. In his initial justification of the Ausnahmezustand in Political Theology, Schmitt leaves no doubt concerning the historical pedigree of such concepts. Thus following the well-known definition of sovereignty cited earlier, he immediantly underscores its status as a "borderline concept"—a Grenzbegriff, a concept "pertaining to the outermost sphere." It is precisely this fascination with extreme or "boundry situations" (Grenzsituationen—K. Jaspers—those unique moments of existential peril that become a proving ground of individual "authenticity"—that characterizes Lebensphilosophie's sweeping critique of bourgeois "everydayness." Hence in the Grenzsituationen, Dasein glimpses transcendence and is thereby transformed from possible to real Existenz." In parallel fashion, Schmitt, by according primacy to the "state of exception" as opposed to political normalcy, tries to invest the emergency situation with a higher, existential significance and meaning.

According to the inner logic of this conceptual scheme, the "state of exception" becomes the basis for a politics of authenticity. In contrast to conditions of political normalcy, which represent the unexalted reign of the "average, the "medicore," and the "everyday," the state of exception proves capable of reincorporating a dimension of heroism and greatness that is sorely lacking in routinized, bourgeois conduct of political life.

Consequently, the superiority of the state as the ultimate, decisionistic arbiter over the emergency situation is a matter that, in Schmitt's eyes, need not be argued for, for according to Schmitt, "every rationalist interpretation falsifies the immediacy of life." Instead, in his view, the state represents a fundamental, irrefragable, existential verity, as does the category of "life" in Nietzsche's philosophy, or, as Schmitt remarks with a characteristic pith in Political Theology, "The existence of the state is undoubted proof of its superiority over the validity of the legal norm." Thus "the decision [on the state of exception] becomes instantly independent of argumentative substantiation and receives autonomous value."

But as Franz Neumann observes in Behemoth, given the lack of coherence of National Socialist ideology, the rationales provided for totalitarian practice were often couched specifically in vitalist or existential terms. In Neumann's words,


[Given the incoherence of National Socialist ideology], what is left as justification for the [Grossdeutsche] Reich? Not racism, not the idea of the Holy Roman Empire, and certainly not some democratic nonsense like popular sovereignty or self-determination. Only the Reich itself remains. It is its own justification. The philosophical roots of the argument are to be found in the existential philosophy of Heidegger. Transferred to the realm of politics, exisentialism argues that power and might are true: power is a sufficient theoretical basis for more power.


[Excerpts from The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism (2004).]

mercredi, 10 août 2011

Jonathan Bowden on Thomas Carlyle


Jonathan Bowden on Thomas Carlyle

lundi, 08 août 2011

L'histoire répond-elle aux problèmes de l'avenir?

L’Histoire répond-elle aux problèmes de l’avenir ?

Ex: http://scorpionwind.hautetfort.com/

Par Dominique Venner (historien)

Toujours les hommes ont éprouvé le besoin de scruter l‘avenir. Les Grecs interrogeaient la pythie de Delphes. Elle savait rendre des oracles dont l’obscurité se prêtait à de multiples interprétations. Se pliant à l’usage, Alexandre vint la consulter avant d’entreprendre la conquête de l’Asie. Comme elle tardait à rejoindre son trépied, l’impatient Macédonien l’y traîna de force. Elle s‘exclama : « On ne peut te résister…» Ayant entendu ces mots, Alexandre la laissa choir, disant : « Cette prédiction me suffit. » C’était un sage.

Chaque époque eut ses prophètes, devins, haruspices, astrologues, chiromanciens, futurologues et autres charlatans. Autrefois, on faisait tourner des tables, aujourd’hui les ordinateurs. Catherine de Médicis s’en rapportait à Nostradamus. Cromwell écoutait William Lily. Staline interrogeait Wolf Messing. Hitler questionnait Eric Hanussen. Briand et Poincaré se partageaient les talents de Mme Fraya… Une chose cependant, est le destin individuel, une autre celui des civilisations.

Précédé par l’optimisme hérité des Lumières, le XXème siècle s‘était ouvert sur les promesses d’un avenir radieux, dans la certitude que la science et le savoir étaient des facteurs de progrès et de sagesse. L’homme devenu vraiment «maître et possesseur de la nature», allait acquérir la maîtrise de lui-même. Après la victoire sur les choses, la paix et l’entente entre les hommes s’établiraient d’elles-mêmes.

L’impitoyable XXème siècle a démenti ces illusions. Personne ou presque n’avait vu venir la catastrophe sortie du meurtre de Sarajevo à l’été 1914. Chez tous les belligérants, on croyait à une guerre courte, fraîche et joyeuse. Elle fut interminable, épouvantable et meurtrière comme jamais. C’était le cadeau imprévu fait aux hommes par le progrès industriel et la démocratie de masse, deux facteurs nouveaux qui avait transformé la nature même de la guerre. Commencée comme un conflit classique entre les Etats, elle finit en croisade idéologique, entraînant la destruction de l’ancien ordre européen, incarné par les trois grands empires du Centre et de l’Est. On sait que le charcutage de l’Europe et les conditions imposées aux vaincus après 1919 portaient le germe d’une autre guerre plus catastrophique encore.

A l’aube d’un nouveau siècle et d’un nouveau millénaire, les illusions du progrès se sont en partie dissipées, au point que l’on entend parler de «progrès meurtrier» ou «d’horreur économique». Le marxisme et ce qu’il charriait de certitudes se sont effrondés dans la débâcle du système qu’il avait enfanté. L’optimisme d’hier cède souvent devant une sorte de pessimisme accablé, nourri par l’inquiétude d’un avenir à biens des égards angoissant. On se tourne vers l’Histoire pour lui demander des réponses.

Mais l’interprétation de l’Histoire n’échappe ni aux modes ni aux idées dominantes. Un effort de l’intelligence et du caractère est donc toujours requis pour s’affranchir des pesanteurs de son époque. Avec un peu d’entraînement, tout esprit curieux, libre et cultivé peut y parvenir. A ne prendre que les cent dernières années les faits ne manquent pas, qui soulignent par exemple le caractère imprévisible de l’Histoire, n’en déplaisent aux théories déterministes issues de la vision hégélienne.

Le 22 janvier 1917, un Lénine quasi inconnu et toujours exilé, prit la parole devant le cercle des étudiants socialistes : « Nous, les vieux, dit-il en parlant de lui, nous ne verrons peut-être jamais les batailles décisives de la Révolution… » Sept semaines plus tard, le tsarisme était renversé sans que Lénine et les bolchéviks n’y fussent pour rien. Les « batailles décisives » aux quelles il ne croyait plus allaient commencer, pour le malheur de la Russie et du monde entier. Je connais peu d’anecdotes aussi révélatrices de la difficulté des prévisions historiques. Mais il en est d’autres dans un registre différent.

Durant l’année universitaire 1975-1976, Raymond Aron, l’un des esprits les plus perspicaces de sont temps, donna un cours au Collège de France sur « La Décadence de l’Occident », ce qui était déjà tout un programme. Voici sa conclusion : « l’abaissement des Etats-Unis de 1945 à 1975 découlait de forces irrésistibles ». Retenons « irrésistibles ». Dans ses Mémoires, publiées l’année de sa mort, en 1983, Aron revenait sur cette réflexion en l’amplifiant : « Ce que j’observais dès 1975, c’était la menace de désagrégation de la zone impériale américaine…» A nous qui vivons sous l’ombre portée de l’imperium mondial américain, cette analyse ferait douter de la lucidité de l’auteur. Et pourtant, celle-ci n’a jamais été mise en doute. Notre étonnement vient du fait que l’Histoire a galopé à notre insu, nous montrant aujourd’hui un monde très différent de ce qu’il était vingt ans plus tôt, ce que personne n’avait prévu.

Je ne suggère nullement d’ignorer les menaces inscrites à notre horizon : mondialisation dévorante, gonflement démographique, immigrations massives, pollution de la nature, manipulations génétiques, etc. Dans une période inquiétante il est sain de repousser les illusion béates, il est salubre de pratiquer les vertus du pessimisme actif, celui de Thucydide ou de Machiavel. Mais il est tout aussi nécessaire de rejeter la forme de pessimisme qui pousse au fatalisme. Devant les menaces du futur, une première erreur serait de les considérer comme inéluctables. L’Histoire n’est pas le domaine de la fatalité mais celui de l’imprévu. Une deuxième erreur serait d’imaginer l’avenir en prolongement du présent. S’il est une certitude, c’est que l’avenir sera différent de ce qu’on l’imagine aujourd’hui. Une troisième erreur serait de désespérer de l’intelligence, de l’imagination, de la volonté, et finalement de nous-mêmes.

source : Le Figaro du 19 janvier 2000


mercredi, 03 août 2011

Généalogie de l'individualisme moderne

Généalogie de l'individualisme moderne

par Edouard Rix

Ex: http://tpprovence.hautetfort.com/

S’interroger sur la filiation de l’individualisme moderne, c’est poser la question des origines et de l’évolution historique d’un des principes fondateurs de nos sociétés contemporaines.

« Le terme “individualisme“ recouvre les notions les plus hétérogènes que l’on puisse imaginer » (1) écrivait le sociologue Max Weber dans L’Ethique protestante et l’Esprit du capitalisme. Nous définirons l’individualisme comme une dimension de l’idéologie moderne qui érige l’individu, en tant qu’être moral, en valeur suprême.

De la famille à l’individu

Pour établir notre généalogie de l’individualisme moderne, nous commencerons par les travaux d’un juriste britannique, sir Henry Sumner Maine. Ce dernier, grand spécialiste du droit comparé, est l’auteur d’un ouvrage publié en 1861 et qui a connu de nombreuses rééditions, Ancient Law, dans lequel il examine les concepts juridiques des sociétés anciennes en s’appuyant sur le droit romain, les systèmes juridiques de l’Inde et de l’Europe orientale, ou encore les jurisprudence contemporaines.

Selon Maine, les sociétés humaines ont connu successivement deux grands principes d’organisation  politique : la parenté de sang, puis la communauté de territoire. Dans un chapitre intitulé « La société primitive et l’ancien droit », consacré au droit dans les sociétés archaïques, il écrit : « L’histoire des idées politiques commence, en fait, avec l’idée que la parenté de sang est la seule base possible d’une communauté de fonctions politiques ; et aucun de ces renversements de sentiments que nous appelons solennellement révolutions n’a été si surprenant et si complet que le changement survenu lorsque quelque autre principe, celui de contiguïté locale par exemple, fut établi pour la première fois comme base d’une action politique commune » (2). Sa thèse est limpide : c’est lorsque le cadre territorial s’est substitué aux liens de parenté comme fondement du système politique que l’organisation sociale moderne que nous connaissons est apparue.

Pour Maine, tout commence avec la famille : « la famille est le type même de la société archaïque ». Pour retracer l’histoire des sociétés les plus anciennes, il va s’appuyer, dans son enquête, sur des sources variées : les observations des contemporains, les archives, mais surtout les institutions et les systèmes juridiques primitifs qui se sont transmis jusqu’à nos jours. Il analyse ainsi les premiers chapitres de la Genèse, où l’organisation politique de la société apparaît fondée sur le pouvoir patriarcal. Utilisant également la littérature antique, il cite le passage de l’Odyssée concernant les cyclopes : pour Homère, ces monstres incarnent « le type de civilisation étrangère et moins avancée » (3). Les cyclopes n’avaient ni assemblées, ni thémistes, et les chefs de famille exerçaient le pouvoir sur leurs épouses et leur descendance. Dans la Grèce ancienne et à Rome, Maine trouve la trace des groupes de filiation à partir desquels s’est constitué l’Etat. On peut donc supposer que les premières communautés politiques apparurent partout ou les familles, au lieu d’éclater à la mort du patriarche qui les dirigeait, gardèrent leur unité. Les institutions romaines ont conservé les vestiges de cette tradition : « Le groupe élémentaire est la Famille, rattachée au plus ancien descendant mâle. L’agrégation des Familles forme le Gens ou la Maison. L’agrégation des tribus constitue l’Etat (Commonwealth) » (4). Maine en conclut que l’idée d’un lien lignager commun est une donnée fondamentale des sociétés archaïques. Ce phénomène est commun aux Indo-européens qui retracent leurs origines à partir d’un même rameau familial.

Les thèses de Maine sur les origines lignagères de la sociétés sont à mettre en rapport avec les discussions sur le droit naturel. Pour Maine, l’état de nature est une notion « non historique, invérifiable », de même que l’idée de contrat social qui est au centre des doctrines philosophiques. Sa position est à l’opposé des thèses défendues par Hobbes, Locke et Rousseau. Pour lui, les philosophes voient l’état de nature, l’état d’avant l’Etat, avec les yeux de l’individualisme moderne, présupposant l’existence d’un contractualisme avant l’heure.

Au modèle de l’autorité patriarcale, les sociétés modernes opposent une autre conception du lien politique, la cellule de base n’étant plus la famille mais l’individu. « L’unité de la société archaïque était la famille, celle de la société moderne est l’individu » (5) insiste-t-il. La grande nouveauté du monde moderne, c’est le remplacement du lien statutaire qui prévalait dans les sociétés anciennes par la relation purement contractuelle. Comme le résume Maine dans un célèbre aphorisme : « Le mouvement progressif des sociétés jusqu’à nos jours a été un mouvement du status au contrat » (6). Certes, au XIXème siècle, il n’a pas été le seul à opposer le caractère individualiste des sociétés modernes aux sociétés archaïques communautaires. Tocqueville, par exemple, a fort bien analysé le développement et le triomphe de l’individualisme dans l’Amérique démocratique et, au-delà les pays développés d’Occident. De même, dans Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, publié en 1887, Ferdinand Tonnies oppose la communauté (gemeinschaft), unité organique, à la société (gesellschaft), construction mécanique et rationalisée. « Maine inaugure une pensée du politique à deux vitesses, selon laquelle une scission fondamentale sépare archaïsme et modernité, ou, selon une formulation plus moderne, sociétés holistes et sociétés individualistes » (7) écrit Marc Abélès dans Anthropologie de l’Etat.

Sociétés holistes et sociétés individualistes

C’est à Louis Dumont, dont l’œuvre embrasse l’ensemble des domaines des sciences sociales (sociologie, anthropologie, philosophie, histoire, droit et sciences politiques), que l’on doit l’analyse la plus pertinente sur les concepts d’individualisme et d’holisme, permettant une appréhension nouvelle de la modernité. En effet, Dumont distingue les sociétés traditionnelles de la société moderne. « Dans les premières, écrit-il, comme par ailleurs dans la République de Platon, l’accent est mis sur la société dans son ensemble, comme Homme collectif ; l’idéal se définit par l’organisation de la société en vue de ses fins (et non en vue du bonheur individuel) ; il s’agit avant tout d’ordre, de hiérarchie, chaque homme particulier doit contribuer à sa place à l’ordre global et la justice consiste à proportionner les fonctions sociales par rapport à l’ensemble » (8). Le sociologue qualifie ce type de sociétés de « holiste ».

Il poursuit : « Pour les modernes au contraire, l’Etre humain c’est l’homme “élémentaire“, indivisible, sous sa forme d’être biologique et en même temps de sujet pensant. Chaque homme particulier incarne en un sens l’humanité entière. Il est la mesure de toute chose (…) Le royaume des fins coïncide avec les fins légitimes de chaque homme, et ainsi les valeurs se renversent. Ce qu’on appelle encore “société“ est le moyen, la vie de chacun est la fin. Ontologiquement la société n’est plus, elle n’est plus qu’un donné irréductible auquel on demande de ne point contrarier les exigences de liberté et d’égalité » (9). Dumont constate que « parmi les grandes civilisations que le monde a connues, le type holiste de société a prédominé » (10). Il ajoute que « tout se passe même comme s’il avait été la règle, à la seule exception de notre civilisation moderne et de son type individualiste de société » (11). La civilisation européenne est donc, à l’origine, une civilisation holiste, la société y étant perçue comme une communauté, comme un tout organique auquel on appartient par héritage.

« Ce n’est pas en tant qu’individu, note Jean-Pierre Vernant, que l’homme grec respecte ou craint un dieu, c’est en tant que chef de famille, membre d’un genos, d’une phratrie, d’un dème, d’une cité ». De même, aucune tradition philosophique classique ne pose l’homme comme un individu isolé. Ainsi, pour Aristote, l’homme est par nature un zoon politikon, un animal politique, qui n’est nullement détaché des autres hommes. Toutefois, « la transition dans la pensée philosophique de Platon et d’Aristote aux nouvelles écoles de la période hellénistique montre une discontinuité », souligne Louis Dumont, « l’émergence soudaine de l’individualisme » (12). En effet, précise-t-il, « alors que la polis était considérée comme autosuffisante chez Platon et Aristote, c’est maintenant l’individu qui est censé se suffire à lui-même. Cet individu est, soit supposé comme un fait, soit posé comme un idéal par les épicuriens, cyniques et stoïciens tous ensemble » (13).

Dans son ouvrage, désormais classique, A History of Political Theory, Georges Sabine classe les trois écoles philosophiques comme différentes variétés de “renonciation“ (14). En effet, ces écoles enseignent la sagesse, et pour devenir un sage, il faut d’abord renoncer au monde… Comment interpréter la genèse de cet individualisme philosophique ? Dumont l’explique ainsi : « L’activité philosophique, l’exercice soutenu par des générations de penseurs de l’enquête rationnelle, doit avoir par lui-même nourri l’individualisme, car la raison, si elle est universelle en principe, œuvre en pratique à travers la personne  particulière qui l’exerce, et prend le premier plan sur toutes choses, au moins implicitement » (15). Si Platon et Aristote, après Socrate, avaient su reconnaître que l’homme est essentiellement un être social, leurs successeurs hellénistiques posèrent comme idéal supérieur celui du sage détaché de la vie sociale. La ruine de la polis grecque et l’unification du monde – Grecs et Barbares confondus – sous l’égide de l’empire universel d’Alexandre, événement historique sans précédent, aura sans doute favorisé l’avènement de cet individualisme.

L’individualisme chrétien

Ainsi que l’a montré Louis Dumont dans ses travaux, c’est avec le christianisme que l’individualisme fait véritablement son apparition dans l’espace mental européen, de pair avec l’égalitarisme et l’universalisme.

L’universitaire écrit : « Il n’y a pas de doute sur la conception fondamentale de l’homme née de l’enseignement du Christ : comme l’a dit Troeltsch, l’homme est un individu-en-relation-avec-Dieu, ce qui signifie, à notre usage, un individu essentiellement hors du monde » (16). Et d’ajouter : « La valeur infinie de l’individu est en même temps l’abaissement, la dé-valuation du monde tel qu’il est : un dualisme est posé, une question est établie qui est constitutive du christianisme et traversera toute l’histoire » (17). Il précise : « Il suit de l’enseignement du Christ et ensuite de Paul que le chrétien est un “individu-en-relation-à Dieu. Il y a, dit Ernst Troelsch, “individualisme absolu et universalisme absolu“ en relation à Dieu. L’âme individuelle reçoit valeur éternelle de sa relation filiale à dieu, et dans cette relation se fonde également la fraternité humaine : les chrétiens se rejoignent dans le Christ dont ils sont les membres » (18). Conclusion : « L’individu comme valeur était alors conçu à l’extérieur de l’organisation sociale et politique donnée, il était en dehors et au-dessus d’elle, un individu-hors-du-monde » (19). A l’aide de l’exemple indien, Dumont soutient que l’individualisme n’aurait pas pu se développer autrement à partir du holisme traditionnel.

La relation de l’individu et du monde va subir toute une évolution dans la conception chrétienne. Dans un premier temps, correspondant à l’époque du christianisme primitif, l’opposition au monde est très forte. Les obligations sociales, confondues avec le service des valeurs païennes, sont niées ; la vie dans le monde est à la fois une condition et un obstacle au salut individuel. Dans un deuxième temps, l’Eglise ayant triomphé du paganisme, revendique son droit au pouvoir politique. La conversion de l’Empereur et ensuite de l’Empire impose à l’Eglise une relation plus étroite à l’Etat. Elle se « mondanise » : ce qui est du monde devient simplement subordonné à ce qui est hors-du-monde. Du même coup, l’individualisme, porteur de l’élément extramondain, peut se développer librement au détriment de la communauté. Cette « mondanisation » s’opère en deux étapes. D’abord, le pape Gélase développe une théorie de la relation entre l’Eglise et l’Empereur qui aboutit à une dyarchie hiérarchique, faisant la distinction hiérarchique entre l’auctoritas du prêtre et la potestas du souverain. Le prêtre est subordonné au souverain dans les affaires mondaines qui concernent l’ordre public. On a affaire à une « complémentarité hiérarchique » (20). Puis, au VIIIème siècle, se produit un changement majeur. Les papes rompent leurs liens avec Byzance et s’arrogent le pouvoir temporel suprême en Occident. L’Eglise prétend maintenant régner, directement ou indirectement, sur le monde, ce qui signifie que l’individualisme chrétien est maintenant engagé dans le monde à un degré sans précédent.

Tels sont les stades de la transformation de l’individu-hors-du-monde à l’individu-dans-le-monde : l’individu chrétien, étranger au monde à l’origine, s’y trouve progressivement de plus en plus profondément impliqué. L’Histoire de l’Europe chrétienne va devenir l’Histoire de la diffusion progressive de l’individualisme. « Par étages, la vie mondaine sera ainsi contaminée par l’élément extramondain jusqu’à ce que, finalement, l’hétérogénéité du monde s’évanouisse entièrement. Alors le champ entier sera unifié, le holisme aura disparu de la représentation, la vie dans le monde sera conçue comme pouvant être entièrement conformée à la valeur suprême, l’individu hors-du-monde sera devenu le moderne individu-dans-le-monde » (21).

Laïcisation de l’individualisme

L’étape suivante est la laïcisation. A partir de la Renaissance, le christianisme, confronté à la Réforme protestante, ne peut plus organiser naturellement la vie collective. La religion « cesse le garant d’une structure hiérarchique : elle révèle, au plan politique, sa charge égalitaire » écrit Paul Claval (22).

La laïcisation des valeurs chrétiennes fait de l’individualisme, de l’égalitarisme et de l’universalisme des notions concrètes de la vie profane. L’Etat moderne est une « église transformée », dixit Louis Dumont, qui ne règne que sur des individus. L’individualisme progresse, à partir du XIIIème siècle, à travers l’émancipation d’une catégorie : le politique, et la naissance d’une institution, l’Etat. Le processus culmine chez Calvin qui fait du monde une vaste théocratie, où règne la valeur individualiste. Avec lui, « la dichotomie hiérarchique qui caractérisait notre champ d’étude prend fin : l’élément mondain antagonique, auquel l’individualisme devait jusque-là faire une place, disparaît entièrement dans la théocratie de Calvin. Le champ est absolument unifié. L’individu est maintenant dans le monde, et la valeur individualiste règne sans restriction ni limitation. Nous avons devant nous l’individu-dans-le-monde » (23).

Le libéralisme a hérité de la conception individualiste, égalitariste  et universaliste, induite par le christianisme. Pour Dumont, à partir du XVIIIème siècle, l’émancipation de la catégorie économique représente, à son tour, par rapport à la religion et à la politique, à l’Eglise et à l’Etat, un progrès de l’individualisme. « La vue économique est l’expression achevée de l’individualisme » précise-t-il (24). Dans un premier temps historique, le libéralisme hérite de la justification religieuse de l’individualisme : « Pour Locke, concevoir la société comme juxtaposition d’individus abstraits fut possible seulement parce que, aux liens concrets de la société, il pouvait substituer la moralité en tant qu’elle réunit ces individus de l’espèce humaine sous le regard de Dieu » (25). Il insiste : « La substitution à l’homme comme être social de l’homme comme individu a été possible parce que le christianisme garantissait l’individu en tant qu’être moral » (26). La moralité prend alors appui sur la foi « pour offrir un substitut au holisme dans l’espèce humaine en tant que porteur de l’obligation morale » (27). Dans un deuxième temps, lorsque la religion, victime du processus de désacralisation, de désensorcellement, de désenchantement (Entzauberung) du monde, mis en œuvre par le rationalisme, commence à perdre de son influence, les bases morales du libéralisme tendent à s’effacer tandis que, parallèlement, le goût de l’effort et de la discipline du travail individuel sont progressivement remplacés par la recherche hédoniste du bonheur individuel. Avec l’affaiblissement de la croyance en Dieu, l’individualisme changera de pôle : il ne s’exprime plus sous la forme d’une volonté tendue vers l’effort, la glorification de Dieu dans le monde, mais sous celle d’un pur hédonisme, d’un désir de jouissance et la recherche du bonheur.

La sécularisation des idéologies religieuses, la laïcisation de l’individualisme entraîne, nécessairement, le matérialisme. La recherche individuelle du bonheur, sans prise en considération de l’intérêt collectif, fait de la conquête des choses, et non plus du dépassement de soi, le but essentiel de l’existence. C’est ainsi que La Déclaration d’Indépendance américaine, proclamée à Philadelphie, le 4 juillet 1776, insiste moins sur les droits politiques du citoyen que sur la recherche pour l’homme du bonheur, sur le droit de l’individu à résister à toute souveraineté qui entraverait son libre arbitre et son bon plaisir. On y trouve, en effet, cette formule révélatrice : « Nous considérons comme des vérités évidentes par elles-mêmes que les hommes naissent égaux ; que leur Créateur les a dotés de certains droits inaliénables, parmi lesquels sont la vie, la liberté, la recherche du bonheur (pursuit of happiness); que les gouvernements humains ont été institués pour garantir ces droits ». Chez les Pères de l’Indépendance on retrouve donc l’idée, déjà formulée chez Hobbes, Locke ou Rousseau, que l’individu constitue l’unité de base de la vie. Or, remarque à juste titre Guillaume Faye, « une telle idée, aujourd’hui, rejetée par les sciences sociales et l’éthologie, provient, comme l’on montré Halbwachs et Baudrillard, de la transposition politique du dogme chrétien du salut individuel. Le destin collectif et historique se trouve mis entre parenthèses, rendu provisoire, au profit du destin existentiel de l’individu » (28).

Karl Marx n’échappe pas à cette vue-du-monde. Le sociologue et économiste révolutionnaire-conservateur autrichien Othmar Spann avait déjà souligné la prédominance des traits individualistes chez lui (29). De même, Dumont soutient la thèse que « Marx est essentiellement individualiste » (30). Dans le marxisme, peuples et nations ne sont qu’accessoires par rapport à cette humanité potentielle, simple somme d’individus elle aussi, qu’est la classe. « Le but de Marx demeure l’émancipation de l’homme par la révolution prolétarienne, écrit Dumont, et ce but est construit sur la présupposition de l’individu » (31). La conception de l’homme comme individu est ainsi à la base de la théorie de la valeur-travail, chez Ricardo comme chez Marx. Pour lui, la cause est entendue : « Le socialiste Marx croit à l’Individu d’une manière qui n’a pas de précédent chez Hobbes, Rousseau et Hegel et même, dirait-on, chez Locke » (32).

Postmodernité et néo-individualisme

Dans les années 70, les sociétés occidentales développées entrent dans un processus de changement radical quant à leur mode d’organisation social, culturel et politique, qui équivaut à un changement complet de civilisation. C’est alors que le concept de postmodernité fait son apparition pour désigner ce changement complet de civilisation. Il renvoie à plusieurs éléments : l’effondrement de la rationalité et la faillite des « grands récits » ou « métarécits » (33), la fin de l’ère industrielle productiviste, la consommation de masse, la montée de l’individualisme, le dépérissement des normes d’autorité et de discipline, la désaffection pour les passions politiques et le militantisme, la désyndicalisation.

Le philosophe Gilles Lipovetsky a produit une magistrale analyse de ce phénomène dans des essais brillants comme L’ère du vide et L’Empire de l’éphémère. Il estime que la société postmoderne est caractérisée avant tout par un néo-individualisme hédoniste et autiste, ce qu’il appelle la « seconde révolution individualiste » : engouement pour les nouvelles technologies et les sports de glisse, indifférence à autrui, désinvestissement de la vie publique, perte de sens des grandes institutions sociales et politiques, dissolution de la mémoire collective, relativisme moral, narcissisme exacerbé, « cocooning » de la jeunesse. Autant de thèmes à rapprocher des travaux du sociologue américain Christopher Lasch qui, dans La culture du narcissisme, met l’accent sur l’apparition d’un nouveau type d’individu caractérisé par une « personnalité narcissique ». Loin de s’alarmer de l’inéluctable progression de cet individualisme de masse, Lipovetsky s’en félicite. Finie la contrainte autoritaire, voici venu le temps de l’explication et du dialogue. Pour lui, cet individualisme contemporain est une « chance démocratique ».

Mais, depuis les attentats du 11 septembre 2001, les choses auraient changé. L’individu jouissif de la postmodernité serait devenu un individu anxieux. Au désir d’affranchissement de toutes les normes, aurait succédé une demande généralisée de protection, une obsession de la santé, et une inquiétude vis-à-vis du futur. Nous aurions basculé dans les Temps hypermodernes (34), caractérisés par l’ « hyper » : hyper-puissance américaine, hyperconsommation et hypernarcissisme. Fin de la postmodernité, bienvenue à l’hypermodernité ! Lipovetsky insiste sur la recomposition de notre rapport au temps. C’est le règne de l’économie du stock zéro, de la production à flux tendu, de la consommation immédiate. Le passé étant invalidé, le futur apparaissant comme incertain voire risqué, reste le présent qui devient l’axe central du rapport au temps. L’ici et maintenant est prédominant. Le triomphe de l’instantanéité signe l’abandon de toute attitude prométhéenne. Le présent hédoniste l’emporte.

Robert Steuckers a parfaitement résumé la généalogie intellectuelle de l’individualisme moderne tel que nous venons de la décrire : « L’Occident a raisonné depuis mille ans en termes de salut individuel, lors de la phase religieuse de son développement, en termes de profit individuel, lors de sa phase bourgeoise et matérialiste, en termes de narcissisme hédoniste, dans la phase de déliquescence totale qu’il traverse aujourd’hui ».

Edouard Rix, Terre & Peuple magazine, solstice d’été 2011, n°48, pp. 11-15.


(1) M. Weber, L’Ethique protestante et l’esprit du capitalisme, Plon, Paris, 1964, p. 122, note 23.

(2) H.S. Maine, Ancient Law, Oxford University Press, Londres, 1959, p. 106.

(3) Ibid, p. 103.

(4) Ibid, p. 106.

(5) Ibid, p. 104.

(6) Ibid, p. 141.

(7) M. Abélès, Anthropologie de l’Etat, Petite bibliothèque Payot, Paris, 2005, p. 46.

(8) L. Dumont, Homo hierarchicus. Essai sur le système des castes, Gallimard, coll. Bibliothèque des sciences humaines, Paris, 1966, p. 23.

(9) Ibid.

(10) L. Dumont, Homo aequalis. Genèse et épanouissement de l’idéologie économique, Gallimard, Paris, 1977, p. 12.

(11) Ibid.

(12) L. Dumont, Essais sur l’individualisme. Une perspective anthropologique sur l’idéologie moderne, Seuil, coll. Esprit, Paris, 1983, p. 37.

(13) Ibid.

(14) G. H. Sabine, A History of Political Theory, Londres, 1963, p. 137.

(15) L. Dumont, Essais sur l’individualisme, op.cit., p. 39.

(16) L. Dumont, « La genèse chrétienne de l’individualisme. Une vue modifiée de nos origines »,  Le Débat, septembre-octobre 1981, 15, p. 127.

(17) Ibid, p. 129.

(18) L. Dumont, Essais sur l’individualisme, op.cit., p. 40.

(19) Ibid, p. 58.

(20) Ibid, p. 53.

(21) L. Dumont, « La genèse chrétienne de l’individualisme », op. cit., p. 130.

(22) P. Claval, « Idéologie et démocratie », in Michel Prigent, éd., Les intellectuels et la démocratie, PUF, Paris, 1980, p. 81.

(23) L. Dumont, Essais sur l’individualisme, op.cit., p. 60.

(24) Ibid, p. 23.

(25) L. Dumont, Homo aequalis, op. cit., p. 81.

(26) Ibid.22)

(27) Ibid, p. 80.

(28) G. Faye, Le Système à tuer les peuples, Copernic, Paris, 1981, p. 100.

(29) O. Spann, Der wahre Staat, 1931, pp. 130-131.

(30) L. Dumont, Homo aequalis, op. cit., p. 139.

(31) Ibid, p.197.

(32) L. Dumont, Essais sur l’individualisme, op.cit., p. 111.

(33) J.F. Lyotard, La condition postmoderne, éditions de Minuit, Paris, 1979.

(34) G. Lipovetsky, Les Temps hypermodernes. Entretien avec Sébastien Charles, Grasset, Paris, 2004.


M. Abélès, Anthropologie de l’Etat, Petite bibliothèque Payot, Paris, 2005, 253 p.

L. Dumont, Homo hierarchicus. Essai sur le système des castes, Gallimard, coll. Bibliothèque des sciences humaines, Paris, 1966, 445 p.

L. Dumont, Homo aequalis. Genèse et épanouissement de l’idéologie économique, Gallimard, Paris, 1977, 270 p.

L. Dumont, Essais sur l’individualisme. Une perspective anthropologique sur l’idéologie moderne, Seuil, coll. Esprit, Paris, 1983, 272 p.

C. Lasch, La culture du narcissisme, Champs Flammarion, Paris, 2006, 332 p.

G. Lipovetsky, L’ère du vide. Essais sur l’individualisme contemporain, Gallimard, Paris, 1983, 246 p.

G. Lipovetsky, L’empire de l’éphémère : la mode et son destin dans les sociétés modernes, Gallimard, Paris, 1987, 345 p.

G. Lipovetsky, Les Temps hypermodernes. Entretien avec Sébastien Charles, Grasset, Paris, 2004, 186 p.

J.F. Lyotard, La condition postmoderne, éditions de Minuit, Paris, 1979, 128 p.

H.S. Maine, Ancient Law, Oxford University Press, Londres, 1959, p. 106.

dimanche, 31 juillet 2011

The NewDark Age: The Frankfurt School and "Political Correctness"

The New Dark Age: The Frankfurt School and 'Political Correctness'

Michael Minnicino

Ex: http://www.wermodandwermod.com/

The people of North America and Western Europe now accept a level of ugliness in their daily lives which is almost without precedent in the history of Western civilization. Most of us have become so inured, that the death of millions from starvation and disease draws from us no more than a sigh, or a murmur of protest. Our own city streets, home to legions of the homeless, are ruled by Dope, Inc., the largest industry in the world, and on those streets Americans now murder each other at a rate not seen since the Dark Ages.

At the same time, a thousand smaller horrors are so commonplace as to go unnoticed. Our children spend as much time sitting in front of television sets as they do in school, watching with glee, scenes of torture and death which might have shocked an audience in the Roman Coliseum. Music is everywhere, almost unavoidable—but it does not uplift, nor even tranquilize—it claws at the ears, sometimes spitting out an obscenity. Our plastic arts are ugly, our architecture is ugly, our clothes are ugly. There have certainly been periods in history where mankind has lived through similar kinds of brutishness, but our time is crucially different. Our post-World War II era is the first in history in which these horrors are completely avoidable. Our time is the first to have the technology and resources to feed, house, educate, and humanely employ every person on earth, no matter what the growth of population. Yet, when shown the ideas and proven technologies that can solve the most horrendous problems, most people retreat into implacable passivity. We have become not only ugly, but impotent.

Nonetheless, there is no reason why our current moral-cultural situation had to lawfully or naturally turn out as it has; and there is no reason why this tyranny of ugliness should continue one instant longer.

Consider the situation just one hundred years ago, in the early 1890's. In music, Claude Debussy was completing his Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, and Arnold Schönberg was beginning to experiment with atonalism; at the same time, Dvorak was working on his Ninth Symphony, while Brahms and Verdi still lived. Edvard Munch was showing The Scream, and Paul Gauguin his Self-Portrait with Halo, but in America, Thomas Eakins was still painting and teaching. Mechanists like Helmholtz and Mach held major university chairs of science, alongside the students of Riemann and Cantor. Pope Leo XIII's De Rerum Novarum was being promulgated, even as sections of the Socialist Second International were turning terrorist, and preparing for class war.

The optimistic belief that one could compose music like Beethoven, paint like Rembrandt, study the universe like Plato and Nicolaus of Cusa, and change world society without violence, was alive in the 1890's—admittedly, it was weak, and under siege, but it was hardly dead. Yet, within twenty short years, these Classical traditions of human civilization had been all but swept away, and the West had committed itself to a series of wars of inconceivable carnage.

What started about a hundred years ago, was what might be called a counter-Renaissance. The Renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was a religious celebration of the human soul and mankind's potential for growth. Beauty in art could not be conceived of as anything less than the expression of the most-advanced scientific principles, as demonstrated by the geometry upon which Leonardo's perspective and Brunelleschi's great Dome of Florence Cathedral are based. The finest minds of the day turned their thoughts to the heavens and the mighty waters, and mapped the solar system and the route to the New World, planning great projects to turn the course of rivers for the betterment of mankind. About a hundred years ago, it was as though a long checklist had been drawn up, with all of the wonderful achievements of the Renaissance itemized—each to be reversed. As part of this "New Age" movement, as it was then called, the concept of the human soul was undermined by the most vociferous intellectual campaign in history; art was forcibly separated from science, and science itself was made the object of deep suspicion. Art was made ugly because, it was said, life had become ugly.

The cultural shift away from the Renaissance ideas that built the modern world, was due to a kind of freemasonry of ugliness. In the beginning, it was a formal political conspiracy to popularize theories that were specifically designed to weaken the soul of Judeo-Christian civilization in such a way as to make people believe that creativity was not possible, that adherence to universal truth was evidence of authoritarianism, and that reason itself was suspect. This conspiracy was decisive in planning and developing, as means of social manipulation, the vast new sister industries of radio, television, film, recorded music, advertising, and public opinion polling. The pervasive psychological hold of the media was purposely fostered to create the passivity and pessimism which afflict our populations today. So successful was this conspiracy, that it has become embedded in our culture; it no longer needs to be a "conspiracy," for it has taken on a life of its own. Its successes are not debatable—you need only turn on the radio or television. Even the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice is deformed into an erotic soap opera, with the audience rooting from the sidelines for their favorite character.

Our universities, the cradle of our technological and intellectual future, have become overwhelmed by Comintern-style New Age "Political Correctness." With the collapse of the Soviet Union, our campuses now represent the largest concentration of Marxist dogma in the world. The irrational adolescent outbursts of the 1960's have become institutionalized into a "permanent revolution." Our professors glance over their shoulders, hoping the current mode will blow over before a student's denunciation obliterates a life's work; some audio-tape their lectures, fearing accusations of "insensitivity" by some enraged "Red Guard." Students at the University of Virginia recently petitioned successfully to drop the requirement to read Homer, Chaucer, and other DEMS ("Dead European Males") because such writings are considered ethnocentric, phallocentric, and generally inferior to the "more relevant" Third World, female, or homosexual authors.

This is not the academy of a republic; this is Hitler's Gestapo and Stalin's NKVD rooting out "deviationists," and banning books—the only thing missing is the public bonfire.

We will have to face the fact that the ugliness we see around us has been consciously fostered and organized in such a way, that a majority of the population is losing the cognitive ability to transmit to the next generation, the ideas and methods upon which our civilization was built. The loss of that ability is the primary indicator of a Dark Age. And, a new Dark Age is exactly what we are in. In such situations, the record of history is unequivocal: either we create a Renaissance—a rebirth of the fundamental principles upon which civilization originated—or, our civilization dies.

I. The Frankfurt School: Bolshevik Intelligentsia

The single, most important organizational component of this conspiracy was a Communist thinktank called the Institute for Social Research (I.S.R.), but popularly known as the Frankfurt School.

In the heady days immediately after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, it was widely believed that proletarian revolution would momentarily sweep out of the Urals into Europe and, ultimately, North America. It did not; the only two attempts at workers' government in the West— in Munich and Budapest—lasted only months. The Communist International (Comintern) therefore began several operations to determine why this was so. One such was headed by Georg Lukacs, a Hungarian aristocrat, son of one of the Hapsburg Empire's leading bankers. Trained in Germany and already an important literary theorist, Lukacs became a Communist during World War I, writing as he joined the party, "Who will save us from Western civilization?" Lukacs was well-suited to the Comintern task: he had been one of the Commissars of Culture during the short-lived Hungarian Soviet in Budapest in 1919; in fact, modern historians link the shortness of the Budapest experiment to Lukacs' orders mandating sex education in the schools, easy access to contraception, and the loosening of divorce laws—all of which revulsed Hungary's Roman Catholic population.

Fleeing to the Soviet Union after the counter-revolution, Lukacs was secreted into Germany in 1922, where he chaired a meeting of Communist-oriented sociologists and intellectuals. This meeting founded the Institute for Social Research. Over the next decade, the Institute worked out what was to become the Comintern's most successful psychological warfare operation against the capitalist West.

Lukacs identified that any political movement capable of bringing Bolshevism to the West would have to be, in his words, "demonic"; it would have to "possess the religious power which is capable of filling the entire soul; a power that characterized primitive Christianity." However, Lukacs suggested, such a "messianic" political movement could only succeed when the individual believes that his or her actions are determined by "not a personal destiny, but the destiny of the community" in a world "that has been abandoned by God [emphasis added-MJM]." Bolshevism worked in Russia because that nation was dominated by a peculiar gnostic form of Christianty typified by the writings of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. "The model for the new man is Alyosha Karamazov," said Lukacs, referring to the Dostoyevsky character who willingly gave over his personal identity to a holy man, and thus ceased to be "unique, pure, and therefore abstract."

This abandonment of the soul's uniqueness also solves the problem of "the diabolic forces lurking in all violence" which must be unleashed in order to create a revolution. In this context, Lukacs cited the Grand Inquisitor section of Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, noting that the Inquisitor who is interrogating Jesus, has resolved the issue of good and evil: once man has understood his alienation from God, then any act in the service of the "destiny of the community" is justified; such an act can be "neither crime nor madness.... For crime and madness are objectifications of transcendental homelessness."

According to an eyewitness, during meetings of the Hungarian Soviet leadership in 1919 to draw up lists for the firing squad, Lukacs would often quote the Grand Inquisitor: "And we who, for their happiness, have taken their sins upon ourselves, we stand before you and say, 'Judge us if you can and if you dare.' "

The Problem of Genesis

What differentiated the West from Russia, Lukacs identified, was a Judeo-Christian cultural matrix which emphasized exactly the uniqueness and sacredness of the individual which Lukacs abjured. At its core, the dominant Western ideology maintained that the individual, through the exercise of his or her reason, could discern the Divine Will in an unmediated relationship. What was worse, from Lukacs' standpoint: this reasonable relationship necessarily implied that the individual could and should change the physical universe in pursuit of the Good; that Man should have dominion over Nature, as stated in the Biblical injunction in Genesis. The problem was, that as long as the individual had the belief—or even the hope of the belief—that his or her divine spark of reason could solve the problems facing society, then that society would never reach the state of hopelessness and alienation which Lukacs recognized as the necessary prerequisite for socialist revolution.

The task of the Frankfurt School, then, was first, to undermine the Judeo-Christian legacy through an "abolition of culture" (Aufhebung der Kultur in Lukacs' German); and, second, to determine new cultural forms which would increase the alienation of the population, thus creating a "new barbarism." To this task, there gathered in and around the Frankfurt School an incredible assortment of not only Communists, but also non-party socialists, radical phenomenologists, Zionists, renegade Freudians, and at least a few members of a self-identified "cult of Astarte." The variegated membership reflected, to a certain extent, the sponsorship: although the Institute for Social Research started with Comintern support, over the next three decades its sources of funds included various German and American universities, the Rockefeller Foundation, Columbia Broadcasting System, the American Jewish Committee, several American intelligence services, the Office of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, the International Labour Organization, and the Hacker Institute, a posh psychiatric clinic in Beverly Hills.

Similarly, the Institute's political allegiances: although top personnel maintained what might be called a sentimental relationship to the Soviet Union (and there is evidence that some of them worked for Soviet intelligence into the 1960's), the Institute saw its goals as higher than that of Russian foreign policy. Stalin, who was horrified at the undisciplined, "cosmopolitan" operation set up by his predecessors, cut the Institute off in the late 1920's, forcing Lukacs into "self-criticism," and briefly jailing him as a German sympathizer during World War II.

Lukacs survived to briefly take up his old post as Minister of Culture during the anti-Stalinist Imre Nagy regime in Hungary. Of the other top Institute figures, the political perambulations of Herbert Marcuse are typical. He started as a Communist; became a protégé of philosopher Martin Heidegger even as the latter was joining the Nazi Party; coming to America, he worked for the World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and later became the U.S. State Department's top analyst of Soviet policy during the height of the McCarthy period; in the 1960's, he turned again, to become the most important guru of the New Left; and he ended his days helping to found the environmentalist extremist Green Party in West Germany.

In all this seeming incoherence of shifting positions and contradictory funding, there is no ideological conflict. The invariant is the desire of all parties to answer Lukacs' original question: "Who will save us from Western civilization?"

Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin

Perhaps the most important, if least-known, of the Frankfurt School's successes was the shaping of the electronic media of radio and television into the powerful instruments of social control which they represent today. This grew out of the work originally done by two men who came to the Institute in the late 1920's, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin.

After completing studies at the University of Frankfurt, Walter Benjamin planned to emigrate to Palestine in 1924 with his friend Gershom Scholem (who later became one of Israel's most famous philosophers, as well as Judaism's leading gnostic), but was prevented by a love affair with Asja Lacis, a Latvian actress and Comintern stringer. Lacis whisked him off to the Italian island of Capri, a cult center from the time of the Emperor Tiberius, then used as a Comintern training base; the heretofore apolitical Benjamin wrote Scholem from Capri, that he had found "an existential liberation and an intensive insight into the actuality of radical communism."

Lacis later took Benjamin to Moscow for further indoctrination, where he met playwright Bertolt Brecht, with whom he would begin a long collaboration; soon thereafter, while working on the first German translation of the drug-enthusiast French poet Baudelaire, Benjamin began serious experimentation with hallucinogens. In 1927, he was in Berlin as part of a group led by Adorno, studying the works of Lukacs; other members of the study group included Brecht and his composer-partner Kurt Weill; Hans Eisler, another composer who would later become a Hollywood film score composer and co-author with Adorno of the textbook Composition for the Film; the avant-garde photographer Imre Moholy-Nagy; and the conductor Otto Klemperer.

From 1928 to 1932, Adorno and Benjamin had an intensive collaboration, at the end of which they began publishing articles in the Institute's journal, the Zeitschrift fär Sozialforschung. Benjamin was kept on the margins of the Institute, largely due to Adorno, who would later appropriate much of his work. As Hitler came to power, the Institute's staff fled, but, whereas most were quickly spirited away to new deployments in the U.S. and England, there were no job offers for Benjamin, probably due to the animus of Adorno. He went to France, and, after the German invasion, fled to the Spanish border; expecting momentary arrest by the Gestapo, he despaired and died in a dingy hotel room of self-administered drug overdose.

Benjamin's work remained almost completely unknown until 1955, when Scholem and Adorno published an edition of his material in Germany. The full revival occurred in 1968, when Hannah Arendt, Heidegger's former mistress and a collaborator of the Institute in America, published a major article on Benjamin in the New Yorker magazine, followed in the same year by the first English translations of his work. Today, every university bookstore in the country boasts a full shelf devoted to translations of every scrap Benjamin wrote, plus exegesis, all with 1980's copyright dates.

Adorno was younger than Benjamin, and as aggressive as the older man was passive. Born Teodoro Wiesengrund-Adorno to a Corsican family, he was taught the piano at an early age by an aunt who lived with the family and had been the concert accompanist to the international opera star Adelina Patti. It was generally thought that Theodor would become a professional musician, and he studied with Bernard Sekles, Paul Hindemith's teacher. However, in 1918, while still a gymnasium student, Adorno met Siegfried Kracauer. Kracauer was part of a Kantian-Zionist salon which met at the house of Rabbi Nehemiah Nobel in Frankfurt; other members of the Nobel circle included philosopher Martin Buber, writer Franz Rosenzweig, and two students, Leo Lowenthal and Erich Fromm. Kracauer, Lowenthal, and Fromm would join the I.S.R. two decades later. Adorno engaged Kracauer to tutor him in the philosophy of Kant; Kracauer also introduced him to the writings of Lukacs and to Walter Benjamin, who was around the Nobel clique.

In 1924, Adorno moved to Vienna, to study with the atonalist composers Alban Berg and Arnold Schönberg, and became connected to the avant-garde and occult circle around the old Marxist Karl Kraus. Here, he not only met his future collaborator, Hans Eisler, but also came into contact with the theories of Freudian extremist Otto Gross. Gross, a long-time cocaine addict, had died in a Berlin gutter in 1920, while on his way to help the revolution in Budapest; he had developed the theory that mental health could only be achieved through the revival of the ancient cult of Astarte, which would sweep away monotheism and the "bourgeois family."

Saving Marxist Aesthetics

By 1928, Adorno and Benjamin had satisfied their intellectual wanderlust, and settled down at the I.S.R. in Germany to do some work. As subject, they chose an aspect of the problem posed by Lukacs: how to give aesthetics a firmly materialistic basis. It was a question of some importance, at the time. Official Soviet discussions of art and culture, with their wild gyrations into "socialist realism" and "proletkult," were idiotic, and only served to discredit Marxism's claim to philosophy among intellectuals. Karl Marx's own writings on the subject were sketchy and banal, at best.

In essence, Adorno and Benjamin's problem was Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Leibniz had once again obliterated the centuries-old gnostic dualism dividing mind and body, by demonstrating that matter does not think. A creative act in art or science apprehends the truth of the physical universe, but it is not determined by that physical universe. By self-consciously concentrating the past in the present to effect the future, the creative act, properly defined, is as immortal as the soul which envisions the act. This has fatal philosophical implications for Marxism, which rests entirely on the hypothesis that mental activity is determined by the social relations excreted by mankind's production of its physical existence.

Marx sidestepped the problem of Leibniz, as did Adorno and Benjamin, although the latter did it with a lot more panache. It is wrong, said Benjamin in his first articles on the subject, to start with the reasonable, hypothesizing mind as the basis of the development of civilization; this is an unfortunate legacy of Socrates. As an alternative, Benjamin posed an Aristotelian fable in interpretation of Genesis: Assume that Eden were given to Adam as the primordial physical state. The origin of science and philosophy does not lie in the investigation and mastery of nature, but in the naming of the objects of nature; in the primordial state, to name a thing was to say all there was to say about that thing. In support of this, Benjamin cynically recalled the opening lines of the Gospel according to St. John, carefully avoiding the philosophically-broader Greek, and preferring the Vulgate (so that, in the phrase "In the beginning was the Word," the connotations of the original Greek word logos—speech, reason, ratiocination, translated as "Word"—are replaced by the narrower meaning of the Latin word verbum). After the expulsion from Eden and God's requirement that Adam eat his bread earned by the sweat of his face (Benjamin's Marxist metaphor for the development of economies), and God's further curse of Babel on Nimrod (that is, the development of nation-states with distinct languages, which Benjamin and Marx viewed as a negative process away from the "primitive communism" of Eden), humanity became "estranged" from the physical world.

Thus, Benjamin continued, objects still give off an "aura" of their primordial form, but the truth is now hopelessly elusive. In fact, speech, written language, art, creativity itself—that by which we master physicality—merely furthers the estrangement by attempting, in Marxist jargon, to incorporate objects of nature into the social relations determined by the class structure dominant at that point in history. The creative artist or scientist, therefore, is a vessel, like Ion the rhapsode as he described himself to Socrates, or like a modern "chaos theory" advocate: the creative act springs out of the hodgepodge of culture as if by magic. The more that bourgeois man tries to convey what he intends about an object, the less truthful he becomes; or, in one of Benjamin's most oft-quoted statements, "Truth is the death of intention."

This philosophical sleight-of-hand allows one to do several destructive things. By making creativity historically-specific, you rob it of both immortality and morality. One cannot hypothesize universal truth, or natural law, for truth is completely relative to historical development. By discarding the idea of truth and error, you also may throw out the "obsolete" concept of good and evil; you are, in the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, "beyond good and evil." Benjamin is able, for instance, to defend what he calls the "Satanism" of the French Symbolists and their Surrealist successors, for at the core of this Satanism "one finds the cult of evil as a political device ... to disinfect and isolate against all moralizing dilettantism" of the bourgeoisie. To condemn the Satanism of Rimbaud as evil, is as incorrect as to extol a Beethoven quartet or a Schiller poem as good; for both judgments are blind to the historical forces working unconsciously on the artist.

Thus, we are told, the late Beethoven's chord structure was striving to be atonal, but Beethoven could not bring himself consciously to break with the structured world of Congress of Vienna Europe (Adorno's thesis); similarly, Schiller really wanted to state that creativity was the liberation of the erotic, but as a true child of the Enlightenment and Immanuel Kant, he could not make the requisite renunciation of reason (Marcuse's thesis). Epistemology becomes a poor relation of public opinion, since the artist does not consciously create works in order to uplift society, but instead unconsciously transmits the ideological assumptions of the culture into which he was born. The issue is no longer what is universally true, but what can be plausibly interpreted by the self-appointed guardians of the Zeitgeist.

"The Bad New Days"

Thus, for the Frankfort School, the goal of a cultural elite in the modern, "capitalist" era must be to strip away the belief that art derives from the self-conscious emulation of God the Creator; "religious illumination," says Benjamin, must be shown to "reside in a profane illumination, a materialistic, anthropological inspiration, to which hashish, opium, or whatever else can give an introductory lesson." At the same time, new cultural forms must be found to increase the alienation of the population, in order for it to understand how truly alienated it is to live without socialism. "Do not build on the good old days, but on the bad new ones," said Benjamin.

The proper direction in painting, therefore, is that taken by the late Van Gogh, who began to paint objects in disintegration, with the equivalent of a hashish-smoker's eye that "loosens and entices things out of their familiar world." In music, "it is not suggested that one can compose better today" than Mozart or Beethoven, said Adorno, but one must compose atonally, for atonalism is sick, and "the sickness, dialectically, is at the same time the cure....The extraordinarily violent reaction protest which such music confronts in the present society ... appears nonetheless to suggest that the dialectical function of this music can already be felt ... negatively, as 'destruction.' "

The purpose of modern art, literature, and music must be to destroy the uplifting—therefore, bourgeois — potential of art, literature, and music, so that man, bereft of his connection to the divine, sees his only creative option to be political revolt. "To organize pessimism means nothing other than to expel the moral metaphor from politics and to discover in political action a sphere reserved one hundred percent for images." Thus, Benjamin collaborated with Brecht to work these theories into practical form, and their joint effort culminated in the Verfremdungseffekt ("estrangement effect"), Brecht's attempt to write his plays so as to make the audience leave the theatre demoralized and aimlessly angry.

Political Correctness

The Adorno-Benjamin analysis represents almost the entire theoretical basis of all the politically correct aesthetic trends which now plague our universities. The Poststructuralism of Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida, the Semiotics of Umberto Eco, the Deconstructionism of Paul DeMan, all openly cite Benjamin as the source of their work. The Italian terrorist Eco's best-selling novel, The Name of the Rose, is little more than a paean to Benjamin; DeMan, the former Nazi collaborator in Belgium who became a prestigious Yale professor, began his career translating Benjamin; Barthes' infamous 1968 statement that "[t]he author is dead," is meant as an elaboration of Benjamin's dictum on intention. Benjamin has actually been called the heir of Leibniz and of Wilhelm von Humboldt, the philologist collaborator of Schiller whose educational reforms engendered the tremendous development of Germany in the nineteenth century. Even as recently as September 1991, the Washington Post referred to Benjamin as "the finest German literary theorist of the century (and many would have left off that qualifying German)."

Readers have undoubtedly heard one or another horror story about how an African-American Studies Department has procured a ban on Othello, because it is "racist," or how a radical feminist professor lectured a Modern Language Association meeting on the witches as the "true heroines" of Macbeth. These atrocities occur because the perpetrators are able to plausibly demonstrate, in the tradition of Benjamin and Adorno, that Shakespeare's intent is irrelevant; what is important, is the racist or phallocentric "subtext" of which Shakespeare was unconscious when he wrote.

When the local Women's Studies or Third World Studies Department organizes students to abandon classics in favor of modern Black and feminist authors, the reasons given are pure Benjamin. It is not that these modern writers are better, but they are somehow more truthful because their alienated prose reflects the modern social problems of which the older authors were ignorant! Students are being taught that language itself is, as Benjamin said, merely a conglomeration of false "names" foisted upon society by its oppressors, and are warned against "logocentrism," the bourgeois over-reliance on words.

If these campus antics appear "retarded" (in the words of Adorno), that is because they are designed to be. The Frankfurt School's most important breakthrough consists in the realization that their monstrous theories could become dominant in the culture, as a result of the changes in society brought about by what Benjamin called "the age of mechanical reproduction of art."

II. The Establishment Goes Bolshevik:
"Entertainment" Replaces Art

Before the twentieth century, the distinction between art and "entertainment" was much more pronounced. One could be entertained by art, certainly, but the experience was active, not passive. On the first level, one had to make a conscious choice to go to a concert, to view a certain art exhibit, to buy a book or piece of sheet music. It was unlikely that any more than an infinitesimal fraction of the population would have the opportunity to see King Lear or hear Beethoven's Ninth Symphony more than once or twice in a lifetime. Art demanded that one bring one's full powers of concentration and knowledge of the subject to bear on each experience, or else the experience were considered wasted. These were the days when memorization of poetry and whole plays, and the gathering of friends and family for a "parlor concert," were the norm, even in rural households. These were also the days before "music appreciation"; when one studied music, as many did, they learned to play it, not appreciate it.

However, the new technologies of radio, film, and recorded music represented, to use the appropriate Marxist buzz-word, a dialectical potential. On the one hand, these technologies held out the possibility of bringing the greatest works of art to millions of people who would otherwise not have access to them. On the other, the fact that the experience was infinitely reproducible could tend to disengage the audience's mind, making the experience less sacred, thus increasing alienation. Adorno called this process, "demythologizing." This new passivity, Adorno hypothesized in a crucial article published in 1938, could fracture a musical composition into the "entertaining" parts which would be "fetishized" in the memory of the listener, and the difficult parts, which would be forgotten. Adorno continues,


The counterpart to the fetishism is a regression of listening. This does not mean a relapse of the individual listener into an earlier phase of his own development, nor a decline in the collective general level, since the millions who are reached musically for the first time by today's mass communications cannot be compared with the audiences of the past. Rather, it is the contemporary listening which has regressed, arrested at the infantile stage. Not only do the listening subjects lose, along with the freedom of choice and responsibility, the capacity for the conscious perception of music .... [t]hey fluctuate between comprehensive forgetting and sudden dives into recognition. They listen atomistically and dissociate what they hear, but precisely in this dissociation they develop certain capacities which accord less with the traditional concepts of aesthetics than with those of football or motoring. They are not childlike ... but they are childish; their primitivism is not that of the undeveloped, but that of the forcibly retarded. [emphasis aded]

This conceptual retardation and preconditioning caused by listening, suggested that programming could determine preference. The very act of putting, say, a Benny Goodman number next to a Mozart sonata on the radio, would tend to amalgamate both into entertaining "music-on-the-radio" in the mind of the listener. This meant that even new and unpalatable ideas could become popular by "re-naming" them through the universal homogenizer of the culture industry. As Benjamin puts it,


Mechanical reproduction of art changes the reaction of the masses toward art. The reactionary attitude toward a Picasso painting changes into a progressive reaction toward a Chaplin movie. The progressive reaction is characterized by the direct, intimate fusion of visual and emotional enjoyment with the orientation of the expert.... With regard to the screen, the critical and receptive attitudes of the public coincide. The decisive reason for this is that the individual reactions are predetermined by the mass audience response they are about to produce, and this is nowhere more pronounced than in the film.

At the same time, the magic power of the media could be used to re-define previous ideas. "Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Beethoven will all make films," concluded Benjamin, quoting the French film pioneer Abel Gance, "... all legends, all mythologies, all myths, all founders of religions, and the very religions themselves ... await their exposed resurrection."

Social Control: The "Radio Project"

Here, then, were some potent theories of social control. The great possibilities of this Frankfurt School media work were probably the major contributing factor in the support given the I.S.R. by the bastions of the Establishment, after the Institute transferred its operations to America in 1934.

In 1937, the Rockefeller Foundation began funding research into the social effects of new forms of mass media, particularly radio. Before World War I, radio had been a hobbyist's toy, with only 125,000 receiving sets in the entire U.S.; twenty years later, it had become the primary mode of entertainment in the country; out of 32 million American families in 1937, 27.5 million had radios — a larger percentage than had telephones, automobiles, plumbing, or electricity! Yet, almost no systematic research had been done up to this point. The Rockefeller Foundation enlisted several universities, and headquartered this network at the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Named the Office of Radio Research, it was popularly known as "the Radio Project."

The director of the Project was Paul Lazersfeld, the foster son of Austrian Marxist economist Rudolph Hilferding, and a long-time collaborator of the I.S.R. from the early 1930's. Under Lazersfeld was Frank Stanton, a recent Ph.D. in industrial psychology from Ohio State, who had just been made research director of Columbia Broadcasting System—a grand title but a lowly position. After World War II, Stanton became president of the CBS News Division, and ultimately president of CBS at the height of the TV network's power; he also became Chairman of the Board of the RAND Corporation, and a member of President Lyndon Johnson's "kitchen cabinet." Among the Project's researchers were Herta Herzog, who married Lazersfeld and became the first director of research for the Voice of America; and Hazel Gaudet, who became one of the nation's leading political pollsters. Theodor Adorno was named chief of the Project's music section.

Despite the official gloss, the activities of the Radio Project make it clear that its purpose was to test empirically the Adorno-Benjamin thesis that the net effect of the mass media could be to atomize and increase lability—what people would later call "brainwashing."

Soap Operas and the Invasion from Mars

The first studies were promising. Herta Herzog produced "On Borrowed Experiences," the first comprehensive research on soap operas. The "serial radio drama" format was first used in 1929, on the inspiration of the old, cliff-hanger "Perils of Pauline" film serial. Because these little radio plays were highly melodramatic, they became popularly identified with Italian grand opera; because they were often sponsored by soap manufacturers, they ended up with the generic name, "soap opera."

Until Herzog's work, it was thought that the immense popularity of this format was largely with women of the lowest socioeconomic status who, in the restricted circumstances of their lives, needed a helpful escape to exotic places and romantic situations. A typical article from that period by two University of Chicago psychologists, "The Radio Day-Time Serial: Symbol Analysis" published in the Genetic Psychology Monographs, solemnly emphasized the positive, claiming that the soaps "function very much like the folk tale, expressing the hopes and fears of its female audience, and on the whole contribute to the integration of their lives into the world in which they live."

Herzog found that there was, in fact, no correlation to socioeconomic status. What is more, there was surprisingly little correlation to content. The key factor — as Adorno and Benjamin's theories suggested it would be — was the form itself of the serial; women were being effectively addicted to the format, not so much to be entertained or to escape, but to "find out what happens next week." In fact, Herzog found, you could almost double the listenership of a radio play by dividing it into segments.

Modern readers will immediately recognize that this was not a lesson lost on the entertainment industry. Nowadays, the serial format has spread to children's programming and high-budget prime time shows. The most widely watched shows in the history of television, remain the "Who Killed JR?" installment of Dallas, and the final episode of M*A*S*H, both of which were premised on a "what happens next?" format. Even feature films, like the Star Wars and Back to the Future trilogies, are now produced as serials, in order to lock in a viewership for the later installments. The humble daytime soap also retains its addictive qualities in the current age: 70% of all American women over eighteen now watch at least two of these shows each day, and there is a fast-growing viewership among men and college students of both sexes.

The Radio Project's next major study was an investigation into the effects of Orson Welles' Halloween 1938 radioplay based on H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Six million people heard the broadcast realistically describing a Martian invasion force landing in rural New Jersey. Despite repeated and clear statements that the show was fictional, approximately 25% of the listeners thought it was real, some panicking outright. The Radio Project researchers found that a majority of the people who panicked did not think that men from Mars had invaded; they actually thought that the Germans had invaded.

It happened this way. The listeners had been psychologically pre-conditioned by radio reports from the Munich crisis earlier that year. During that crisis, CBS's man in Europe, Edward R. Murrow, hit upon the idea of breaking into regular programming to present short news bulletins. For the first time in broadcasting, news was presented not in longer analytical pieces, but in short clips—what we now call "audio bites." At the height of the crisis, these flashes got so numerous, that, in the words of Murrow's producer Fred Friendly, "news bulletins were interrupting news bulletins." As the listeners thought that the world was moving to the brink of war, CBS ratings rose dramatically. When Welles did his fictional broadcast later, after the crisis had receded, he used this news bulletin technique to give things verisimilitude: he started the broadcast by faking a standard dance-music program, which kept getting interrupted by increasingly terrifying "on the scene reports" from New Jersey. Listeners who panicked, reacted not to content, but to format; they heard "We interrupt this program for an emergency bulletin," and "invasion," and immediately concluded that Hitler had invaded. The soap opera technique, transposed to the news, had worked on a vast and unexpected scale.

Little Annie and the "Wagnerian Dream" of TV

In 1939, one of the numbers of the quarterly Journal of Applied Psychology was handed over to Adorno and the Radio Project to publish some of their findings. Their conclusion was that Americans had, over the last twenty years, become "radio-minded," and that their listening had become so fragmented that repetition of format was the key to popularity. The play list determined the "hits"—a truth well known to organized crime, both then and now—and repetition could make any form of music or any performer, even a classical music performer, a "star." As long as a familiar form or context was retained, almost any content would become acceptable. "Not only are hit songs, stars, and soap operas cyclically recurrent and rigidly invariable types," said Adorno, summarizing this material a few years later, "but the specific content of the entertainment itself is derived from them and only appears to change. The details are interchangeable."

The crowning achievement of the Radio Project was "Little Annie," officially titled the Stanton-Lazersfeld Program Analyzer. Radio Project research had shown that all previous methods of preview polling were ineffectual. Up to that point, a preview audience listened to a show or watched a film, and then was asked general questions: did you like the show? what did you think of so-and-so's performance? The Radio Project realized that this method did not take into account the test audience's atomized perception of the subject, and demanded that they make a rational analysis of what was intended to be an irrational experience. So, the Project created a device in which each test audience member was supplied with a type of rheostat on which he could register the intensity of his likes or dislikes on a moment-to-moment basis. By comparing the individual graphs produced by the device, the operators could determine, not if the audience liked the whole show — which was irrelevant—but, which situations or characters produced a positive, if momentary, feeling state.

Little Annie transformed radio, film, and ultimately television programming. CBS still maintains program analyzer facilities in Hollywood and New York; it is said that results correlate 85% to ratings. Other networks and film studios have similar operations. This kind of analysis is responsible for the uncanny feeling you get when, seeing a new film or TV show, you think you have seen it all before. You have, many times. If a program analyzer indicates that, for instance, audiences were particularly titilated by a short scene in a World War II drama showing a certain type of actor kissing a certain type of actress, then that scene format will be worked into dozens of screenplays—transposed to the Middle Ages, to outer space, etc., etc.

The Radio Project also realized that television had the potential to intensify all of the effects that they had studied. TV technology had been around for some years, and had been exhibited at the 1936 World's Fair in New York, but the only person to attempt serious utilization of the medium had been Adolf Hitler. The Nazis broadcast events from the 1936 Olympic Games "live" to communal viewing rooms around Germany; they were trying to expand on their great success in using radio to Nazify all aspects of German culture. Further plans for German TV development were sidetracked by war preparations.

Adorno understood this potential perfectly, writing in 1944:

Television aims at the synthesis of radio and film, and is held up only because the interested parties have not yet reached agreement, but its consequences will be quite enormous and promise to intensify the impoverishment of aesthetic matter so drastically, that by tomorrow the thinly veiled identity of all industrial culture products can come triumphantly out in the open, derisively fulfilling the Wagnerian dream of the Gesamtkunstwerk—the fusion of all the arts in one work.

The obvious point is this: the profoundly irrational forms of modern entertainment—the stupid and eroticized content of most TV and films, the fact that your local Classical music radio station programs Stravinsky next to Mozart—don't have to be that way. They were designed to be that way. The design was so successful, that today, no one even questions the reasons or the origins.

III. Creating "Public Opinion": The "Authoritarian Personality" Bogeyman and the OSS

The efforts of the Radio Project conspirators to manipulate the population, spawned the modern pseudoscience of public opinion polling, in order to gain greater control over the methods they were developing.

Today, public opinion polls, like the television news, have been completely integrated into our society. A "scientific survey" of what people are said to think about an issue can be produced in less than twenty-four hours. Some campaigns for high political office are completely shaped by polls; in fact, many politicians try to create issues which are themselves meaningless, but which they know will look good in the polls, purely for the purpose of enhancing their image as "popular." Important policy decisions are made, even before the actual vote of the citizenry or the legislature, by poll results. Newspapers will occasionally write pious editorials calling on people to think for themselves, even as the newspaper's business agent sends a check to the local polling organization.

The idea of "public opinion" is not new, of course. Plato spoke against it in his Republic over two millenia ago; Alexis de Tocqueville wrote at length of its influence over America in the early nineteenth century. But, nobody thought to measure public opinion before the twentieth century, and nobody before the 1930's thought to use those measurements for decision-making.

It is useful to pause and reflect on the whole concept. The belief that public opinion can be a determinant of truth is philosophically insane. It precludes the idea of the rational individual mind. Every individual mind contains the divine spark of reason, and is thus capable of scientific discovery, and understanding the discoveries of others. The individual mind is one of the few things that cannot, therefore, be "averaged." Consider: at the moment of creative discovery, it is possible, if not probable, that the scientist making the discovery is the only person to hold that opinion about nature, whereas everyone else has a different opinion, or no opinion. One can only imagine what a "scientifically-conducted survey" on Kepler's model of the solar system would have been, shortly after he published the Harmony of the World: 2% for, 48% against, 50% no opinion.

These psychoanalytic survey techniques became standard, not only for the Frankfurt School, but also throughout American social science departments, particularly after the I.S.R. arrived in the United States. The methodology was the basis of the research piece for which the Frankfurt School is most well known, the "authoritarian personality" project. In 1942, I.S.R. director Max Horkheimer made contact with the American Jewish Committee, which asked him to set up a Department of Scientific Research within its organization. The American Jewish Committee also provided a large grant to study anti-Semitism in the American population. "Our aim," wrote Horkheimer in the introduction to the study, "is not merely to describe prejudice, but to explain it in order to help in its eradication.... Eradication means reeducation scientifically planned on the basis of understanding scientifically arrived at."

The A-S Scale

Ultimately, five volumes were produced for this study over the course of the late 1940's; the most important was the last, The Authoritarian Personality, by Adorno, with the help of three Berkeley, California social psychologists.

In the 1930's Erich Fromm had devised a questionnaire to be used to analyze German workers pychoanalytically as "authoritarian," "revolutionary" or "ambivalent." The heart of Adorno's study was, once again, Fromm's psychoanalytic scale, but with the positive end changed from a "revolutionary personality," to a "democratic personality," in order to make things more palatable for a postwar audience.

Nine personality traits were tested and measured, including:

  • conventionalism—rigid adherence to conventional, middle-class values
  • authoritarian aggression—the tendency to be on the look-out for, to condemn, reject and punish, people who violate conventional values
  • projectivity—the disposition to believethat wild and dangerous things go on in the world
  • sex—exaggerated concern with sexual goings-on.

From these measurements were constructed several scales: the E Scale (ethnocentrism), the PEC Scale (poltical and economic conservatism), the A-S Scale (anti-Semitism), and the F Scale (fascism). Using Rensis Lickerts's methodology of weighting results, the authors were able to tease together an empirical definition of what Adorno called "a new anthropological type," the authoritarian personality. The legerdemain here, as in all psychoanalytic survey work, is the assumption of a Weberian "type." Once the type has been statistically determined, all behavior can be explained; if an anti-Semitic personality does not act in an anti-Semitic way, then he or she has an ulterior motive for the act, or is being discontinuous. The idea that a human mind is capable of transformation, is ignored.

The results of this very study can be interpreted in diametrically different ways. One could say that the study proved that the population of the U.S. was generally conservative, did not want to abandon a capitalist economy, believed in a strong family and that sexual promiscuity should be punished, thought that the postwar world was a dangerous place, and was still suspicious of Jews (and Blacks, Roman Catholics, Orientals, etc. — unfortunately true, but correctable in a social context of economic growth and cultural optimism). On the other hand, one could take the same results and prove that anti-Jewish pogroms and Nuremburg rallies were simmering just under the surface, waiting for a new Hitler to ignite them. Which of the two interpretations you accept is a political, not a scientific, decision. Horkheimer and Adorno firmly believed that all religions, Judaism included, were "the opiate of the masses." Their goal was not the protection of Jews from prejudice, but the creation of a definition of authoritarianism and anti-Semitism which could be exploited to force the "scientifically planned reeducation" of Americans and Europeans away from the principles of Judeo-Christian civilization, which the Frankfurt School despised. In their theoretical writings of this period, Horkheimer and Adorno pushed the thesis to its most paranoid: just as capitalism was inherently fascistic, the philosophy of Christianity itself is the source of anti-Semitism. As Horkheimer and Adorno jointly wrote in their 1947 "Elements of Anti-Semitism":


Christ, the spirit become flesh, is the deified sorcerer. Man's self-reflection in the absolute, the humanization of God by Christ, is the proton pseudos [original falsehood]. Progress beyond Judaism is coupled with the assumption that the man Jesus has become God. The reflective aspect of Christianity, the intellectualization of magic, is the root of evil.

At the same time, Horkheimer could write in a more-popularized article titled "Anti-Semitism: A Social Disease," that "at present, the only country where there does not seem to be any kind of anti-Semitism is Russia"[!].

This self-serving attempt to maximize paranoia was further aided by Hannah Arendt, who popularized the authoritarian personality research in her widely-read Origins of Totalitarianism. Arendt also added the famous rhetorical flourish about the "banality of evil" in her later Eichmann in Jerusalem: even a simple, shopkeeper-type like Eichmann can turn into a Nazi beast under the right psychological circumstances—every Gentile is suspect, psychoanalytically.

It is Arendt's extreme version of the authoritarian personality thesis which is the operant philosophy of today's Cult Awareness Network (CAN), a group which works with the U.S. Justice Department and the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith, among others. Using standard Frankfurt School method, CAN identifies political and religious groups which are its political enemies, then re-labels them as a "cult," in order to justify operations against them.

The Public Opinion Explosion

Despite its unprovable central thesis of "psychoanalytic types," the interpretive survey methodology of the Frankfurt School became dominant in the social sciences, and essentially remains so today. In fact, the adoption of these new, supposedly scientific techniques in the 1930's brought about an explosion in public-opinion survey use, much of it funded by Madison Avenue. The major pollsters of today—A.C. Neilsen, George Gallup, Elmo Roper—started in the mid-1930's, and began using the I.S.R. methods, especially given the success of the Stanton-Lazersfeld Program Analyzer. By 1936, polling activity had become sufficiently widespread to justify a trade association, the American Academy of Public Opinion Research at Princeton, headed by Lazersfeld; at the same time, the University of Chicago created the National Opinion Research Center. In 1940, the Office of Radio Research was turned into the Bureau of Applied Social Research, a division of Columbia University, with the indefatigable Lazersfeld as director.

After World War II, Lazersfeld especially pioneered the use of surveys to psychoanalyze American voting behavior, and by the 1952 Presidential election, Madison Avenue advertising agencies were firmly in control of Dwight Eisenhower's campaign, utilizing Lazersfeld's work. Nineteen fifty-two was also the first election under the influence of television, which, as Adorno had predicted eight years earlier, had grown to incredible influence in a very short time. Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborne — the fabled "BBD&O" ad agency—designed Ike's campaign appearances entirely for the TV cameras, and as carefully as Hitler's Nuremberg rallies; one-minute "spot" advertisements were pioneered to cater to the survey-determined needs of the voters.

This snowball has not stopped rolling since. The entire development of television and advertising in the 1950's and 1960's was pioneered by men and women who were trained in the Frankfurt School's techniques of mass alienation. Frank Stanton went directly from the Radio Project to become the single most-important leader of modern television. Stanton's chief rival in the formative period of TV was NBC's Sylvester "Pat" Weaver; after a Ph.D. in "listening behavior," Weaver worked with the Program Analyzer in the late 1930's, before becoming a Young & Rubicam vice-president, then NBC's director of programming, and ultimately the network's president. Stanton and Weaver's stories are typical.

Today, the men and women who run the networks, the ad agencies, and the polling organizations, even if they have never heard of Theodor Adorno, firmly believe in Adorno's theory that the media can, and should, turn all they touch into "football." Coverage of the 1991 Gulf War should make that clear.

The technique of mass media and advertising developed by the Frankfurt School now effectively controls American political campaigning. Campaigns are no longer based on political programs, but actually on alienation. Petty gripes and irrational fears are identified by psychoanalytic survey, to be transmogrified into "issues" to be catered to; the "Willy Horton" ads of the 1988 Presidential campaign, and the "flag-burning amendment," are but two recent examples. Issues that will determine the future of our civilization, are scrupulously reduced to photo opportunities and audio bites—like Ed Murrow's original 1930's radio reports—where the dramatic effect is maximized, and the idea content is zero.

Who Is the Enemy?

Part of the influence of the authoritarian personality hoax in our own day also derives from the fact that, incredibly, the Frankfurt School and its theories were officially accepted by the U.S. government during World War II, and these Cominternists were responsible for determining who were America's wartime, and postwar, enemies. In 1942, the Office of Strategic Services, America's hastily-constructed espionage and covert operations unit, asked former Harvard president James Baxter to form a Research and Analysis (R&A) Branch under the group's Intelligence Division. By 1944, the R&A Branch had collected such a large and prestigeous group of emigré scholars that H. Stuart Hughes, then a young Ph.D., said that working for it was "a second graduate education" at government expense. The Central European Section was headed by historian Carl Schorske; under him, in the all-important Germany/Austria Section, was Franz Neumann, as section chief, with Herbert Marcuse, Paul Baran, and Otto Kirchheimer, all I.S.R. veterans. Leo Lowenthal headed the German-language section of the Office of War Information; Sophie Marcuse, Marcuse's wife, worked at the Office of Naval Intelligence. Also at the R&A Branch were: Siegfried Kracauer, Adorno's old Kant instructor, now a film theorist; Norman O. Brown, who would become famous in the 1960's by combining Marcuse's hedonism theory with Wilhelm Reich's orgone therapy to popularize "polymorphous perversity"; Barrington Moore, Jr., later a philosophy professor who would co-author a book with Marcuse; Gregory Bateson, the husband of anthropologist Margaret Mead (who wrote for the Frankfurt School's journal), and Arthur Schlesinger, the historian who joined the Kennedy Administration. Marcuse's first assignment was to head a team to identify both those who would be tried as war criminals after the war, and also those who were potential leaders of postwar Germany. In 1944, Marcuse, Neumann, and Kirchheimer wrote the Denazification Guide, which was later issued to officers of the U.S. Armed Forces occupying Germany, to help them identify and suppress pro-Nazi behaviors. After the armistice, the R&A Branch sent representatives to work as intelligence liaisons with the various occupying powers; Marcuse was assigned the U.S. Zone, Kirchheimer the French, and Barrington Moore the Soviet. In the summer of 1945, Neumann left to become chief of research for the Nuremburg Tribunal. Marcuse remained in and around U.S. intelligence into the early 1950's, rising to the chief of the Central European Branch of the State Department's Office of Intelligence Research, an office formally charged with "planning and implementing a program of positive-intelligence research ... to meet the intelligence requirements of the Central Intelligence Agency and other authorized agencies." During his tenure as a U.S. government official, Marcuse supported the division of Germany into East and West, noting that this would prevent an alliance between the newly liberated left-wing parties and the old, conservative industrial and business layers. In 1949, he produced a 532-page report, "The Potentials of World Communism" (declassified only in 1978), which suggested that the Marshall Plan economic stabilization of Europe would limit the recruitment potential of Western Europe's Communist Parties to acceptable levels, causing a period of hostile co-existence with the Soviet Union, marked by confrontation only in faraway places like Latin America and Indochina—in all, a surprisingly accurate forecast. Marcuse left the State Department with a Rockefeller Foundation grant to work with the various Soviet Studies departments which were set up at many of America's top universities after the war, largely by R&A Branch veterans.

At the same time, Max Horkheimer was doing even greater damage. As part of the denazification of Germany suggested by the R&A Branch, U.S. High Commissioner for Germany John J. McCloy, using personal discretionary funds, brought Horkheimer back to Germany to reform the German university system. In fact, McCloy asked President Truman and Congress to pass a bill granting Horkheimer, who had become a naturalized American, dual citizenship; thus, for a brief period, Horkheimer was the only person in the world to hold both German and U.S. citizenship. In Germany, Horkheimer began the spadework for the full-blown revival of the Frankfurt School in that nation in the late 1950's, including the training of a whole new generation of anti-Western civilization scholars like Hans-Georg Gadamer and Jürgen Habermas, who would have such destructive influence in 1960's Germany. In a period of American history when some individuals were being hounded into unemployment and suicide for the faintest aroma of leftism, Frankfurt School veterans—all with superb Comintern credentials — led what can only be called charmed lives. America had, to an incredible extent, handed the determination of who were the nation's enemies, over to the nation's own worst enemies.

IV. The Aristotelian Eros: Marcuse and the CIA's Drug Counterculture

In 1989, Hans-Georg Gadamer, a protégé of Martin Heidegger and the last of the original Frankfurt School generation, was asked to provide an appreciation of his own work for the German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He wrote,


One has to conceive of Aristotle's ethics as a true fulfillment of the Socratic challenge, which Plato had placed at the center of his dialogues on the Socratic question of the good.... Plato described the idea of the good ... as the ultimate and highest idea, which is supposedly the highest principle of being for the universe, the state, and the human soul. Against this Aristotle opposed a decisive critique, under the famous formula, "Plato is my friend, but the truth is my friend even more." He denied that one could consider the idea of the good as a universal principle of being, which is supposed to hold in the same way for theoretical knowledge as for practical knowledge and human activity.

This statement not only succinctly states the underlying philosophy of the Frankfurt School, it also suggests an inflection point around which we can order much of the philosophical combat of the last two millenia. In the simplest terms, the Aristotelian correction of Plato sunders physics from metaphysics, relegating the Good to a mere object of speculation about which "our knowledge remains only a hypothesis," in the words of Wilhelm Dilthey, the Frankfurt School's favorite philosopher. Our knowledge of the "real world," as Dilthey, Nietzsche, and other precursors of the Frankfurt School were wont to emphasize, becomes erotic, in the broadest sense of that term, as object fixation. The universe becomes a collection of things which each operate on the basis of their own natures (that is, genetically), and through interaction between themselves (that is, mechanistically). Science becomes the deduction of the appropriate categories of these natures and interactions. Since the human mind is merely a sensorium, waiting for the Newtonian apple to jar it into deduction, humanity's relationship to the world (and vice versa) becomes an erotic attachment to objects. The comprehension of the universal—the mind's seeking to be the living image of the living God—is therefore illusory. That universal either does not exist, or it exists incomprehensibly as a deus ex machina; that is, the Divine exists as a superaddition to the physical universe — God is really Zeus, flinging thunderbolts into the world from some outside location. (Or, perhaps more appropriately: God is really Cupid, letting loose golden arrows to make objects attract, and leaden arrows to make objects repel.) The key to the entire Frankfurt School program, from originator Lukacs on, is the "liberation" of Aristotelian eros, to make individual feeling states psychologically primary. When the I.S.R. leaders arrived in the United States in the mid-1930's, they exulted that here was a place which had no adequate philosophical defenses against their brand of Kulturpessimismus [cultural pessimism]. However, although the Frankfurt School made major inroads in American intellectual life before World War II, that influence was largely confined to academia and to radio; and radio, although important, did not yet have the overwhelming influence on social life that it would acquire during the war. Furthermore, America's mobilization for the war, and the victory against fascism, sidetracked the Frankfurt School schedule; America in 1945 was almost sublimely optimistic, with a population firmly convinced that a mobilized republic, backed by science and technology, could do just about anything. The fifteen years after the war, however, saw the domination of family life by the radio and television shaped by the Frankfurt School, in a period of political erosion in which the great positive potential of America degenerated to a purely negative posture against the real and, oftentimes manipulated, threat of the Soviet Union. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of the young generation—the so-called baby boomers—were entering college and being exposed to the Frankfurt School's poison, either directly or indirectly. It is illustrative, that by 1960, sociology had become the most popular course of study in American universities. Indeed, when one looks at the first stirrings of the student rebellion at the beginning of the 1960's, like the speeches of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement or the Port Huron Statement which founded the Students for a Democratic Society, one is struck with how devoid of actual content these discussions were. There is much anxiety about being made to conform to the system—"I am a human being; do not fold, spindle, or mutilate" went an early Berkeley slogan—but it is clear that the "problems" cited derive much more from required sociology textbooks, than from the real needs of the society.

The CIA's Psychedelic Revolution

The simmering unrest on campus in 1960 might well too have passed or had a positive outcome, were it not for the traumatic decapitation of the nation through the Kennedy assassination, plus the simultaneous introduction of widespread drug use. Drugs had always been an "analytical tool" of the nineteenth century Romantics, like the French Symbolists, and were popular among the European and American Bohemian fringe well into the post-World War II period. But, in the second half of the 1950's, the CIA and allied intelligence services began extensive experimentation with the hallucinogen LSD to investigate its potential for social control. It has now been documented that millions of doses of the chemical were produced and disseminated under the aegis of the CIA's Operation MK-Ultra. LSD became the drug of choice within the agency itself, and was passed out freely to friends of the family, including a substantial number of OSS veterans. For instance, it was OSS Research and Analysis Branch veteran Gregory Bateson who "turned on" the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg to a U.S. Navy LSD experiment in Palo Alto, California. Not only Ginsberg, but novelist Ken Kesey and the original members of the Grateful Dead rock group opened the doors of perception courtesy of the Navy. The guru of the "psychedelic revolution," Timothy Leary, first heard about hallucinogens in 1957 from Life magazine (whose publisher, Henry Luce, was often given government acid, like many other opinion shapers), and began his career as a CIA contract employee; at a 1977 "reunion" of acid pioneers, Leary openly admitted, "everything I am, I owe to the foresight of the CIA." Hallucinogens have the singular effect of making the victim asocial, totally self-centered, and concerned with objects. Even the most banal objects take on the "aura" which Benjamin had talked about, and become timeless and delusionarily profound. In other words, hallucinogens instantaneously achieve a state of mind identical to that prescribed by the Frankfurt School theories. And, the popularization of these chemicals created a vast psychological lability for bringing those theories into practice. Thus, the situation at the beginning of the 1960's represented a brilliant re-entry point for the Frankfurt School, and it was fully exploited. One of the crowning ironies of the "Now Generation" of 1964 on, is that, for all its protestations of utter modernity, none of its ideas or artifacts was less than thirty years old. The political theory came completely from the Frankfurt School; Lucien Goldmann, a French radical who was a visiting professor at Columbia in 1968, was absolutely correct when he said of Herbert Marcuse in 1969 that "the student movements ... found in his works and ultimately in his works alone the theoretical formulation of their problems and aspirations [emphasis in original]." The long hair and sandals, the free love communes, the macrobiotic food, the liberated lifestyles, had been designed at the turn of the century, and thoroughly field-tested by various, Frankfurt School-connected New Age social experiments like the Ascona commune before 1920. (See box.) Even Tom Hayden's defiant "Never trust anyone over thirty," was merely a less-urbane version of Rupert Brooke's 1905, "Nobody over thirty is worth talking to." The social planners who shaped the 1960's simply relied on already-available materials.

Eros and Civilization

The founding document of the 1960's counterculture, and that which brought the Frankfurt School's "revolutionary messianism" of the 1920's into the 1960's, was Marcuse's Eros and Civilization, originally published in 1955 and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. The document masterfully sums up the Frankfurt School ideology of Kulturpessimismus in the concept of "dimensionality." In one of the most bizarre perversions of philosophy, Marcuse claims to derive this concept from Friedrich Schiller. Schiller, whom Marcuse purposefully misidentifies as the heir of Immanuel Kant, discerned two dimensions in humanity: a sensuous instinct and an impulse toward form. Schiller advocated the harmonization of these two instincts in man in the form of a creative play instinct. For Marcuse, on the other hand, the only hope to escape the one-dimensionality of modern industrial society was to liberate the erotic side of man, the sensuous instinct, in rebellion against "technological rationality." As Marcuse would say later (1964) in his One-Dimensional Man, "A comfortable, smooth, reasonable, democratic unfreedom prevails in advanced industrial civilization, a token of technical progress." This erotic liberation he misidentifies with Schiller's "play instinct," which, rather than being erotic, is an expression of charity, the higher concept of love associated with true creativity. Marcuse's contrary theory of erotic liberation is something implicit in Sigmund Freud, but not explicitly emphasized, except for some Freudian renegades like Wilhelm Reich and, to a certain extent, Carl Jung. Every aspect of culture in the West, including reason itself, says Marcuse, acts to repress this: "The totalitarian universe of technological rationality is the latest transmutation of the idea of reason." Or: "Auschwitz continues to haunt, not the memory but the accomplishments of man—the space flights, the rockets and missiles, the pretty electronics plants...."

This erotic liberation should take the form of the "Great Refusal," a total rejection of the "capitalist" monster and all his works, including "technological" reason, and "ritual-authoritarian language." As part of the Great Refusal, mankind should develop an "aesthetic ethos," turning life into an aesthetic ritual, a "life-style" (a nonsense phrase which came into the language in the 1960's under Marcuse's influence). With Marcuse representing the point of the wedge, the 1960's were filled with obtuse intellectual justifications of contentless adolescent sexual rebellion. Eros and Civilization was reissued as an inexpensive paperback in 1961, and ran through several editions; in the preface to the 1966 edition, Marcuse added that the new slogan, "Make Love, Not War," was exactly what he was talking about: "The fight for eros is a political fight [emphasis in original]." In 1969, he noted that even the New Left's obsessive use of obscenities in its manifestoes was part of the Great Refusal, calling it "a systematic linguistic rebellion, which smashes the ideological context in which the words are employed and defined." Marcuse was aided by psychoanalyst Norman O. Brown, his OSS protege, who contributed Life Against Death in 1959, and Love's Body in 1966—calling for man to shed his reasonable, "armored" ego, and replace it with a "Dionysian body ego," that would embrace the instinctual reality of polymorphous perversity, and bring man back into "union with nature." The books of Reich, who had claimed that Nazism was caused by monogamy, were re-issued. Reich had died in an American prison, jailed for taking money on the claim that cancer could be cured by rechanneling "orgone energy." Primary education became dominated by Reich's leading follower, A.S. Neill, a Theosophical cult member of the 1930's and militant atheist, whose educational theories demanded that students be taught to rebel against teachers who are, by nature, authoritarian. Neill's book Summerhill sold 24,000 copies in 1960, rising to 100,000 in 1968, and 2 million in 1970; by 1970, it was required reading in 600 university courses, making it one of the most influential education texts of the period, and still a benchmark for recent writers on the subject. Marcuse led the way for the complete revival of the rest of the Frankfurt School theorists, re-introducing the long-forgotten Lukacs to America. Marcuse himself became the lightning rod for attacks on the counterculture, and was regularly attacked by such sources as the Soviet daily Pravda, and then-California Governor Ronald Reagan. The only critique of any merit at the time, however, was one by Pope Paul VI, who in 1969 named Marcuse (an extraordinary step, as the Vatican usually refrains from formal denunciations of living individuals), along with Freud, for their justification of "disgusting and unbridled expressions of eroticism"; and called Marcuse's theory of liberation, "the theory which opens the way for license cloaked as liberty ... an aberration of instinct." The eroticism of the counterculture meant much more than free love and a violent attack on the nuclear family. It also meant the legitimization of philosophical eros. People were trained to see themselves as objects, determined by their "natures." The importance of the individual as a person gifted with the divine spark of creativity, and capable of acting upon all human civilization, was replaced by the idea that the person is important because he or she is black, or a woman, or feels homosexual impulses. This explains the deformation of the civil rights movement into a "black power" movement, and the transformation of the legitimate issue of civil rights for women into feminism. Discussion of women's civil rights was forced into being just another "liberation cult," complete with bra-burning and other, sometimes openly Astarte-style, rituals; a review of Kate Millet's Sexual Politics (1970) and Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch (1971), demonstrates their complete reliance on Marcuse, Fromm, Reich, and other Freudian extremists.

The Bad Trip

This popularization of life as an erotic, pessimistic ritual did not abate, but in fact deepened over the twenty years leading to today; it is the basis of the horror we see around us. The heirs of Marcuse and Adorno completely dominate the universities, teaching their own students to replace reason with "Politically Correct" ritual exercises. There are very few theoretical books on arts, letters, or language published today in the United States or Europe which do not openly acknowledge their debt to the Frankfort School.

The witchhunt on today's campuses is merely the implementation of Marcuse's concept of "repressive toleration"—"tolerance for movements from the left, but intolerance for movements from the right"—enforced by the students of the Frankfurt School, now become the professors of women's studies and Afro-American studies. The most erudite spokesman for Afro-American studies, for instance, Professor Cornell West of Princeton, publicly states that his theories are derived from Georg Lukacs. At the same time, the ugliness so carefully nurtured by the Frankfurt School pessimists, has corrupted our highest cultural endeavors. One can hardly find a performance of a Mozart opera, which has not been utterly deformed by a director who, following Benjamin and the I.S.R., wants to "liberate the erotic subtext." You cannot ask an orchestra to perform Schönberg and Beethoven on the same program, and maintain its integrity for the latter. And, when our highest culture becomes impotent, popular culture becomes openly bestial. One final image: American and European children daily watch films like Nightmare on Elm Street and Total Recall, or television shows comparable to them. A typical scene in one of these will have a figure emerge from a television set; the skin of his face will realistically peel away to reveal a hideously deformed man with razor-blade fingers, fingers which start growing to several feet in length, and—suddenly—the victim is slashed to bloody ribbons. This is not entertainment. This is the deeply paranoid hallucination of the LSD acid head. The worst of what happened in the 1960's is now daily fare. Owing to the Frankfurt School and its co-conspirators, the West is on a "bad trip" from which it is not being allowed to come down.

The principles through which Western Judeo-Christian civilization was built, are now no longer dominant in our society; they exist only as a kind of underground resistance movement. If that resistance is ultimately submerged, then the civilization will not survive—and, in our era of incurable pandemic disease and nuclear weapons, the collapse of Western civilization will very likely take the rest of the world with it to Hell.

The way out is to create a Renaissance. If that sounds grandiose, it is nonetheless what is needed. A renaissance means, to start again; to discard the evil, and inhuman, and just plain stupid, and to go back, hundreds or thousands of years, to the ideas which allow humanity to grow in freedom and goodness. Once we have identified those core beliefs, we can start to rebuild civilization.

Ultimately, a new Renaissance will rely on scientists, artists, and composers, but in the first moment, it depends on seemingly ordinary people who will defend the divine spark of reason in themselves, and tolerate no less in others. Given the successes of the Frankfurt School and its New Dark Age sponsors, these ordinary individuals, with their belief in reason and the difference between right and wrong, will be "unpopular." But, no really good idea was ever popular, in the beginning.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/lkbrg6

samedi, 23 juillet 2011

Carl Schmitt: Total Enemy, Total State & Total War

Total Enemy, Total State, & Total War


Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

 Translated by Simona Draghici

Editor’s Note:

The following translation from Carl Schmitt appears online for the first time in commemoration of Schmitt’s birth on July 11, 1888. The translation originally appeared in Carl Schmitt, Four Essays, 1931–1938, ed. and trans. Simona Draghici (Washington, D.C.: Plutarch Press, 1999).


cs.jpgIn a certain sense, there have been total wars at all times; a theory of the total war, however, presumably dates only from the time of Clausewitz who would talk of “abstract” and “absolute” wars.”[1] Later on, under the impact of the experiences of the last Great War, the formula of total war has acquired a specific meaning and a particular effectiveness. Since 1920, it has become the prevailing catchword. It was first brought out in sharp relief in the French literature, in book titles like La guerre totale. Afterwards, between 1926 and 1928, it found its way into the language of the proceedings of the disarmament committee at Geneva. In concepts such as “war potential” (potentiel de guerre), “moral disarmament” (désarmement moral) and “total disarmament” (désarmement total). The fascist doctrine of the “total state” came to it by way of the state; the association yielded the conceptual pair: total state, total war. In Germany, the publication of the Concept of the Political has since 1927 expanded the pair of totalities to a set of three: total enemy, total war, total state. Ernst Jünger’s book of 1930 Total Mobilization made the formula part of the general consciousness. Nonetheless, it was only Ludendorff’s 1936 booklet entitled Der Totale Krieg (The Total War) that lent it an irresistible force and caused its dissemination beyond all bounds.

The formula is omnipresent; it forces into view a truth whose horrors the general consciousness would rather shun. Such formulas, however, are always in danger of becoming widespread nationally and internationally and of being degraded to summary slogans, to mere gramophone records of the publicity mill. Hence some clarifications may be appropriate.

(a) A war may be total in the sense of summoning up one’s strength to the limit, and of the commitment of everything to the last reserves.[2] It may also be called total in the sense of the unsparing use of war means of annihilation. When the well-known English author J. F. C. Fuller writes in a recent article, entitled “The First of the League Wars, Its Lessons and Omens,” that the Italian campaign in Abyssinia was a modern total war, he only refers to the use of efficacious weapons (airplanes and gas), whereas looked at from another vantage point, Abyssinia in fact was not capable of waging a modern total war nor did Italy use its reserves to the limit, reach the highest intensity, and lead to an oil blockade or to the closing of the Suez Canal, because of the pressure exerted through the sanctions imposed by the League of Nations.

(b) A war may be total either on both sides or on one side only. It may also be deliberately limited, rationed and measured out, because of the geographical situation, the war technique in use, and also the predominant political principles of both sides. The typical 18th-century war, the so-called “cabinet war,” was essentially and deliberately a partial war. It rested on the clear segregation of the soldiers participating in the war from the non-participant inhabitants and non-combatants. Nevertheless, the Seven Years War of Frederick the Great was relatively total, on Prussia’s side, when compared with the other powers’ mobilization of forces. A situation, typical of Germany, showed itself readily in that case: the adversity of geographical conditions and the foreign coalitions compelled a German state to mobilize its forces to a higher degree than its more affluent and fortunate bigger neighbors.[3]

(c) The character of the war may change during the belligerent showdown. The will to fight may grow limp or it may intensify, as it happened in the 1914–1918 world war, when the war trend on the German side towards the mobilization of all the economic and industrial reserves soon forced the English side to introduce general conscription.

(d) Finally, some other methods of confrontation and trial of strength, which are not total, always develop within the totality of war. Thus for a time, everyone seeks to avoid a total war which naturally carries a total risk. In this way, after the world war, there were the so-called military reprisals (the 1923 Corfu Conflict, Japan-China in 1932), followed by the attempts at non-military, economic sanctions, according to Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations (against Italy, autumn 1935), and finally, certain methods of power testing on foreign soil (Spain 1936–1937) emerged in a way that could be correctly interpreted only in close connection with the total character of modern warfare. They are intermediate and transitional forms between open war and true peace; they derive their meaning from the fact that total war looms large in the background as a possibility, and an understandable caution recommends itself in the delineation of the conflictual spaces. Likewise, it is only from this point of view that they can be grasped by the science of international law.


The core of the matter lies in warfare. From the nature of the total war one may grasp the character and the whole aspect of state totality; from the special character of the decisive weapons one may deduce the peculiar character and aspect of the totality of war. But it is the total enemy that gives the total war its meaning.[4]

The different services and types of warfare, land warfare, sea warfare, air warfare, they each experience the totality of war in a particular way. A corresponding world of notions and ideas piles on each of these types of warfare. The traditional notions of “levée en masse” (levy), “nation armée” (nation in arms), and “Volk in Waffen” (the people in arms) belong to land warfare.[5] Out of these notions emerged the continental doctrine of total war, essentially as a doctrine of land warfare, and that thanks mainly to Clausewitz. Sea warfare, on the other hand, has its own strategic and tactical methods and criteria; moreover, until recently, it has been first and foremost a war against the opponent’s trade and economy, whence a war against non-combatants, an economic war, which by its laws of blockade, contraband, and prizes, drew neutral trade into the hostilities, as well. Air warfare has not so far built up a similar fully-fledged and independent system of its own. There is no doctrine of air warfare yet that would correspond to the world of notions and concepts accumulated with regard to land and sea warfare. Nonetheless, as a consequence of air warfare, the overall configuration sways in the main towards a three-dimensional total war.

The “if” of a total war is beyond any doubt today. The “how” may vary. The totality is perceptible from opposite vantage points. Hence the standard type of guide and leader in a total war is necessarily different. It would be too simple an equation to accept that the soldier will step into the centre of this totality as the prevailing type in a total war to the same extent as in other kinds of wars previously.[6] If, as it has been said, total mobilization abolishes the separation of the soldier from the civilian, it may very well happen that the soldier changes into a civilian as the civilian changes into a soldier, or both may change into something new, a third alternative. In reality, it all depends on the general character of the war. A real war of religion turns the soldiers into the tools of priests or preachers. A total war that is waged on behalf of the economy becomes the tool of economic power groups. There are other forms in which the soldier himself is the typical model and the ascending expression of the character of the people. Geographical conditions, racial and social peculiarities of all kinds, are factors that determine the type of warfare waged by great nations. Even today it is unlikely that a nation could engage in all the three kinds of warfare to a degree equal to the three-dimensional total war. It is probable that the centre of gravity in the deployment of forces will always rest with one or the other of the three kinds of warfare and the doctrine of total war will draw on it.[7]

Until now the history of the European peoples has been dominated by the contrast of the English sea warfare with the Continental land warfare. It is not a matter of “traders and heroes” or that sort of thing, but rather the recognition that any of the various kinds of warfare may become total, and out of its own characteristics generate a special world of notions and ideals as its own doctrine and also relevant to international and constitutional law, particularly in the assessment of the soldier’s worth and of his position in the general body of the people. It would be a mistake to regard the English sea warfare of the last three centuries in the light of the total land warfare of Clausewitz’s theory, essentially as mere trade and economic but not total warfare, and to misinterpret it as unconnected with and markedly different from totality. It is the English sea warfare that generated the kernel of a total world view.[8]

The English sea warfare is total in its capacity for total enmity. It knows how to mobilize religious, ideological, spiritual, and moral forces as only few of the great wars in world history have done. The English sea warfare against Spain was a world-wide combat of the Germanic and Romance peoples, between Protestantism and Catholicism, Calvinism and Jesuitism, and there are few instances of such outbursts of enmity as intense and final as Cromwell’s against the Spaniards. The English war against Napoleon likewise changed from a sea war into a “crusade.” In the war against Germany between 1914 and 1918, the world-wide English propaganda knew how to whip up enormous moral and spiritual energies in the name of civilization and humanity, of democracy and freedom, against the Prussian-German “militarism.” The English mind had also proved its ability to interpret the industrial-technical upsurge of the 19th century in the terms of the English worldview. Herbert Spencer drew an extremely effective picture of history that was disseminated all over the world, in countless works of popularization, the propagandistic force of which proved its worth in the 1914–1918 World War. It was the philosophy of mankind’s progress, presented as an evolution from feudalism to trade and industry, from the political to the economic, from soldiers to industrialists, from war to peace. It portrayed the soldier essentially as Prussian-German, eo ipso “feudal reactionary,” a “medieval” figure standing in the way of progress and peace. Moreover, out of its specificity, the English sea warfare evolved a full, self-contained system of international law. It asserted itself and its own concepts held on their own against the corresponding concepts of Continental international law throughout the 19th century. There is an Anglo-Saxon concept of enemy, which in essence rejects the differentiation between combatants and non-combatants, and an Anglo-Saxon conception of war that incorporates the so-called economic war. In short, the fundamental concepts and norms of this English international law are total as such and certainly indicative of an ideology in itself total.

Finally, the English constitutional regulations turned the subordination of the soldiers to the civilians into an ideological principle and imposed it upon the Continent during the liberal 19th century. By those standards, civilization lies in the rule of the bourgeois, civilian ideal which is essentially unsoldierly. Accordingly, the constitution is always but a civil-bourgeois system in which, as Clemenceau put it, the soldier’s only raison d’être is to defend the civilian bourgeois society, while basically he is subject to civilian command. The Prussian soldier state carried on a century-long political struggle on the home front against this bourgeois constitutional ideal. It succumbed to it in the Autumn of 1918. The history of Prussian Germany’s home politics from 1848 to 1918 was a ceaseless conflict between the army and parliament, an uninterrupted battle which the government had to fight with the parliament over the structure of the army, and the army budget necessary to make ready for an unavoidable war, that were determined not by the necessities of foreign policy but rather by compromises regarding internal policy. The dictate of Versailles, which stipulated the army’s organization and its equipment to the smallest detail, in an agreement of foreign policy, was preceded by half a century of periodical agreements of internal policy between the Prussian-German soldier state and its internal policy opponents, in which all the details of the organization and the equipment of the army had been decided by the internal policy. The conflict between bourgeois society and the Prussian soldier state led to an unnatural isolation of the War Office from the power of command and to many other separations, consistently rooted in the opposition between a bourgeois constitutional ideal imported from England either directly or through France and Belgium, on the one hand, and the older constitutional ideal of the German soldiery, on the other.[9]

Today Germany has surmounted that division and achieved a close integration of its soldier force.[10] Indeed, attempts will not fail to be made to describe it as militarism, in the manner of earlier propaganda methods, and to hold Germany guilty of the advent of total war. Such questions of guilt too belong to the totality of the ideological wrangles. Le combat spirituel est aussi brutal que la bataille d’hommes (spiritual combat is as brutal as the battles of men). Nonetheless, before nations stagger into a total war once more, one must raise the question whether a total enmity truly exists among the European nations nowadays. War and enmity belong to the history of nations. But the worst misfortune only occurs wherever the enmity is generated by the war itself, as in the 1914–1918 war, and not as it would be right and sensible, namely that an older, unswayed enmity, true and total to the Day of Judgment, should led to a total war.

Translator’s Notes

Originally published in Völkerbund und Völkerrecht, vol. 4, 1937, this essay was reproduced in Posirionen und Begriffe im Kampf mit Weimar-Gent-Versailles, 1929–1939, (Hamburg, 1940), pp. 235–239.

1. General Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831) is best known for his book Vom Kriege, never finished and published posthumously, which incidentally has been translated into English under the title On War. There are numerous versions available in print.

2. Carl Schmitt’s own political principles of “will” and “energy,” components of his qualitative concept of total state, derive from this characteristic feature of “total war”: collective determination to assume a cause considered worthwhile and unreserved commitment to its fulfillment. As a generalized rallying around and enthusiasm for a cause and a particular course of action, it is a frequent phenomenon of social psychology, yet its usually ephemeral character makes it unfit as a durable basis of any social structure. I remember the enthusiasm with which in 1982, to a man, the Argentines, for instance, rallied to the idea of going to war to free the Maldives and hurried to put it into practice, and the accompanying hatred which grew against the British. The enthusiasm cooled off quickly, but not the hatred, which lingered on. To perpetuate the enthusiasm, a plethora of other factors have to be brought in, of which, in the case of Germany at the beginning of the ’thirties, Carl Schmitt actually had not a clue.

3. The “lesson” is in keeping with the Hitlerite Frederician cult and legitimating tradition and does not claim to be historically accurate. Although a digression that seems out of place, it has a certain significance for the time it was made. In the autumn of 1936, Hitler circulated a memorandum revealing his expansionist intentions. Then in 1937, the organization of the nation to serve those intentions began, a process which coincided with the rise of the SS state. In November of the same year the German media were ordered to keep silent about the preparations for a “total war.” Bearing all that in mind, Schmitt’s short digression reads more as a warning of danger than a point of military strategy.

4 . What is interesting here is his insistence on the existential essence of the phenomenon, which is consonant with his earlier definition of the political and at the same time renders the distinction between the professional soldier and the civilian meaningless. Moreover, total enmity with its implicit elimination of the adversary excludes any prospect of a peace treaty, as the war is to go on until one of the belligerents is annihilated.

5. Das Volk in Waffen (The Nation in Arms) happens to be the title of a work on total war by Colmar von der Goltz (1843–1916), published in 1883, and which is an important stepping stone in the reflection on modern warfare that led to Ludendorff’s book.

6. At the beginning of February 1938, Adolf Hitler became commander in chief of the German armed forces, appointing General Keitel his assistant at the head of the High Command of the Armed Forces, as the War Ministry was dissolved.

7. Eventually only the Soviet Union came closest to Carl Schmitt’s expectations, while the United States waged a fully-fledged three-dimensional war, dictated by its geographical position and sustained by its vast economic and technical resources most of which remained outside the battle zone.

8. For a broader treatment of the subject-matter see Carl Schmitt’s Land und Meer, which as Land and Sea is available in an English translation (Washington, D.C.: Plutarch Press, 1997).

9. The conflict between the civil society and the military in Germany was the subject-matter of a longer essay by Carl Schmitt, published in Hamburg in 1934 under the title Staatsgefüge und Zusammenbruch des Zweites Reiches. Der Sieg des Burgers über den Soldaten (The State Structure and the Collapse of the Second Reich. The Burghers’ Victory Over the Soldiers).


10. Röhm, the ideological soldier, had been eliminated in 1934, at the same time as the political soldiers, the Generals von Schleicher and von Bredow. Furthermore, as already mentioned in note 6 above, the War Ministry ceased to exist at the beginning of 1938, while the Commander in Chief, Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg was removed from his post for having compromised himself by marrying a “lady with a past,” and his prospective successor, General von Fritsch was forced to resign on a trumped-up Charge of homosexuality. At the same time, sixteen other generals were retired and forty-four were transferred. Göring who had been very active in carrying out this “integration” got for it only the title of field marshal, as Hitler kept for himself the supreme military command.


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/07/total-enemy-total-state-and-total-war/

lundi, 18 juillet 2011

"Fatigue du sens" de Richard Millet


« Fatigue du sens » de Richard Millet

Ex: http://www.polemia.com/

Polémia a publié récemment un article sur « La révolte des intellectuels ». L’essai fulgurant de Richard Millet, Fatigue du sens, en est l’illustration. Didier Marc présente ici l’œuvre de l’ « écrivain prolifique et magnifique » qui en est l’auteur : le témoignage courageux et passionné d’un écrivain-guerrier pour qui « l’Europe tout entière n’est plus qu’une déchirure raciale dont l’islam et l’antiracisme sont les fourriers et le libéralisme le grand ordonnateur ».

richard-millet.jpegRichard Millet est un écrivain prolifique et magnifique. Son œuvre comprend une cinquantaine de livres, des romans et des essais, tous écrits dans une langue et un style qui n’ont guère d’équivalent dans la littérature française contemporaine. Le sentiment de la langue

L’auteur du Sentiment de la langue (1), ouvrage qui a obtenu le Prix de l’essai de l’Académie française en 1994, est né en Haute-Corrèze et a vécu au Liban de six à quatorze ans, double enracinement que l’on retrouve dans toute son œuvre. Le pays de sa prime enfance c’est celui des hauts plateaux du Limousin, celui de Siom, son village entre Tulle et Aubusson, un pays « obscur entre l’eau, le granit et le ciel », aux gens repliés « dans les éternelles postures primitives ». Puis viendra le Liban et Beyrouth, cette ville pleine d’odeurs, de « chants d’oiseaux et de cris d’enfants », où il devient adolescent « dans un creuset de langues, de vocables et d'accents [qui] incitait à la tolérance », mais où, plus tard, il éprouvera « au plus haut le fait de vivre tout en achevant de [se] séparer de l'espèce humaine ».

Ces lieux de mémoire lui inspireront la plupart de ses livres, parmi lesquels deux sont particulièrement emblématiques : Ma vie parmi les ombres (2) pour la Corrèze, et La Confession négative (3) pour le Liban.

Le premier est un roman autobiographique, une plongée dans l’univers crépusculaire, funèbre, d’un monde rural que ses habitants abandonnent et qui meurt ; c’est une sorte de requiem pour une civilisation millénaire qui disparaît. C’est là qu’il erre, « perdu ou sauvé par l'écriture, ombre parmi les grandes ombres de Siom ». Ce livre pourrait être placé sous l’invocation de Patrice de la Tour du Pin selon lequel « les pays qui n’ont plus de légendes sont condamnés à mourir de froid ».

Confessions négatives

Le second livre, La Confession négative, est également autobiographique. C’est le récit de l'engagement de l’auteur, alors âgé de 22 ans, à Beyrouth aux côtés des chrétiens maronites et de leurs phalanges armées, lors de la guerre civile de 1975-1976. Millet était venu au Liban « chercher la poésie », et il n'y a trouvé que « la fleur inverse de [sa] propre abjection ». Ce mot renvoie sans doute, comme l’a souligné le critique Richard Blin (4), aux Fleurs du mal, « livre atroce », disait Baudelaire, dans lequel « j'ai mis tout mon cœur, toute ma haine ». Dans son journal, Mon cœur mis à nu, il écrivait aussi : « Il n'y a de grand parmi les hommes que le poète, le prêtre et le soldat. L'homme qui chante, l'homme qui bénit, l'homme qui sacrifie et se sacrifie ». C’est à ces hauteurs (celles où l’on côtoie Jünger, Malaparte ou Malraux) que se situe Richard Millet dans cet admirable récit qu’il définit lui-même comme un « opéra baroque ».

Après le Liban, il regagnera l'Europe « où les hommes ne croient plus à rien et où les ormes sont morts de maladie » et consacrera une part importante de son œuvre à défendre et illustrer la langue française, notamment avec sa trilogie sur Le sentiment de la langue.

Langue sans appartenance, nationalité sans fondement…

Cet amour du français se retrouve dans l’essai qu’il vient de publier sous le titre Fatigue du sens. Il y dénonce, en effet, le déclin de notre langue devenue « simple outil de communication, d’information, de propagande ». Le français d’aujourd’hui, le « sous-français contemporain […] est une langue sans appartenance véritable, de la même façon qu’il existe des nationalités ou des identités sans fondement ». En d’autres termes, le déclin de la langue est consubstantiel à la décadence de la nation. On assiste ainsi aujourd’hui à une véritable « tiers-mondisation des langues nationales par quoi le libéralisme établit le règne du Marché ».

Le cri de douleur d’un écrivain français, soucieux des origines

Ce thème n’est toutefois qu’un des aspects de cet essai qui est avant tout le cri de douleur d’un écrivain français qui a le « vaste souci de l’origine » et s’interroge sur « ce qu’il advient du sens de la nation et de [son] identité devant une immigration extra-européenne qui la conteste comme valeur et […] ne peut que la détruire, non pas avec l’intention de le faire mais parce que l’illimitation de son nombre et son assentiment aux diktats du libéralisme international rencontrent cette terrible fatigue du sens qui affecte les Européens de souche ». Par ce propos liminaire, le ton du livre est donné. Mais Millet n’est ni un pamphlétaire ni un provocateur. C’est un écrivain de souche française qui clame son appartenance à un peuple qui n’est plus aujourd’hui qu’une « population – une variabilité statistique ». Le peuple français, « parfaite synthèse » des Latins, des Celtes et des Germains, « ne peut qu’entrer en conflit avec une immigration extra-européenne » devenue massive.

L’immigré, figure emblématique de la société post-moderne

Cette immigration, estime-t-il, est devenue un « cauchemar », pour les autochtones comme pour les immigrés, car elle n’est, sous tous ses aspects, qu’un « trafic d’êtres humains où les intérêts mafieux rencontrent ceux du capitalisme international ». Il n’hésite pas à dire que « seuls les imbéciles et les propagandistes du Bien » peuvent continuer à prétendre que l’immigration est une « chance pour la France ». Pour lui, elle est, au contraire, porteuse d’une « guerre civile innommée ». Elle est devenue une idéologie, l’acmé de la pensée dominante, et l’immigré (le clandestin, le sans-papiers, le Rom) non seulement le nouveau prolétaire, mais la figure emblématique de la société post-moderne.

Ecrivain enraciné dans le sol français, dans la « vieille terre de la langue », Richard Millet ne peut se résoudre à « voir des minarets se dresser sur le plateau de Millevaches […] déjà défiguré par des éoliennes ». Il souffre de ne plus se reconnaître dans le pays qui est le sien, qui a honte de lui-même et ne cesse de se repentir et de se renier. Il se demande « comment être le citoyen d’un pays dont Yannick Noah, « cet histrion du Bien, miroir de l’insignifiance française, symbole de l’idéologie mondialiste » est la personnalité préférée. La France n’est plus qu’un « grand corps épuisé », un « non-lieu » incrusté dans une « mosaïque de non-lieux labellisés » (l’Europe, le monde).

Français de sang

Dans la même veine, il stigmatise l’idéologie racialiste du métissage généralisé et l’antiracisme, cet « appareil idéologique d’Etat » qui « finira par jeter l’opprobre sur ceux qui, n’appartenant à aucune minorité visible, ne sont que des Français de souche », expression à laquelle il préfère celle de « Français de sang ».

Comment en est-on arrivé là ? « C’est dans l’enseignement que tout s’est joué », énonce fort justement l’auteur. Ancien professeur dans la banlieue sud-est de Paris, il a pris conscience que face à une majorité d’élèves issus de l’immigration il ne pouvait plus « dire nous, ni renvoyer à un champ référentiel historique, géographique, culturel, religieux commun ». Ce constat l’a amené à renoncer à la « conception intégrationniste » de l’enseignement qu’il avait fait sienne et à abandonner ce métier. Mais il n’oublie pas de pointer également la responsabilité des idéologues et des pédagogues qui ont « mis à mal le système éducatif français au nom d’idéaux égalitaristes ». Ils ont notamment, au nom du fameux « apprendre à apprendre » cher aux « experts » en sciences de l’éducation, vidé la notion d’apprentissage de son sens. « Pourquoi apprendre et quel savoir », s’interroge l’ancien professeur, « lorsque l’idée de connaissance obéit à la logique horizontale et que la haine de l’intelligence, de l’héritage, de la profondeur, de l’effort est une des caractéristiques du monde contemporain ! »

Sans craindre le reproche incapacitant d’islamophobie, il écrit que l’islam est incompatible avec le christianisme européen et que sa « ruse suprême est de faire croire qu’il n’a rien à voir avec l’islamisme ». Il considère que l’islam, devenu, volens nolens, la deuxième religion en France, est un « universalisme expansif et réducteur ».

L’Europe, espace de disneylandisation ethnique

Millet n’est cependant pas un anti-immigré obsessionnel, comme voudraient le faire croire tous ceux, et ils sont nombreux, que ses idées insupportent et qui le détestent. Il n’hésite pas à montrer du doigt la figure du « Français de souche fatigué d’être lui-même au point de devenir l’esclave de […] sa veulerie, de sa médiocrité, de son acrimonie petite-bourgeoise… ». Il condamne également la « sous-américanisation » de la France et, au-delà, de l’Europe qui sont devenues « un espace de dysneylandisation ethnique […], le modèle du “parc humain” (5) de l’avenir où l’esprit est mis à mal par le divertissement et le spectacle ». Il se sent en exil, enfin, dans ce monde d’aujourd’hui que gouvernent « la Loi, la Tolérance, le Bien, l’Humanité » et que régentent les « lobbies sexuels, religieux, ethniques, régionalistes, maçonniques, etc. ».

En écrivant, dans une phrase qui pourrait résumer l’ensemble de son livre, « l’Europe tout entière n’est plus qu’une déchirure raciale dont l’islam et l’antiracisme sont les fourriers et le libéralisme le grand ordonnateur », Richard Millet a sans doute encore élargi le cercle de ses contempteurs. Mais il n’en a cure, car son essai, scandaleux pour la doxa et tous les bien-pensants du politiquement correct, est un véritable livre de combat. Il constitue, malgré parfois certaines généralisations un peu excessives, un ensemble de « fragments en forme de carreaux d’arbalètes » décochés sur le « monde horizontal » qui est le nôtre, c'est-à-dire le monde qui a renoncé « à toutes les valeurs de la verticalité ». Fatigue du sens est le témoignage courageux et passionné d’un écrivain-guerrier.

Didier Marc

Richard Millet, Fatigue du sens, éd. Pierre-Guillaume de Roux, 2011, 154 pages, 16 €.


(1) Le Sentiment de la langue, I, II, III, La Table Ronde, puis coll. Petite Vermillon, 2003.
(2) Gallimard, 2003, puis Folio, 2005.
(3) Gallimard, 2009.
(4) In Le matricule des anges,
(5) Cf. Allusion à Peter Sloterdijk, n° 100, février 2009. Règles pour le parc humain. Une lettre en réponse à la Lettre sur l'Humanisme de Heidegger, Paris, Editions Mille et Une Nuits, « La petite collection », 2000.

Correspondance Polémia – 8/07/2011

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samedi, 16 juillet 2011

Cioran: scrivere per non morire


Emil Cioran:

scrivere per non morire


Ex: http://rinascita.eu/

Solitario. Schifato dalla realtà e da molti aspetti incerti e fallaci della vita. Unico. Spietato nell’analisi, tagliente come un coltello che squarcia le credenze di tutti i giorni. Dimenticato. La descrizione corrisponde ad uno dei più grandi filosofi del 1900, un “maestro” saggista e nichilista, che ha avuto una sola colpa: ritrovare quel vitalismo, scomparso in molti momenti della sua vita, in un’ideologia che non può avere intellettuali compiacenti, perché rappresenta “il male assoluto”. Emil Cioran, lasciato chiuso nell’armadio ingombrante degli artisti maledetti, da cancellare dalle scuole, da non far conoscere. È retorica, ma, come si sa, sono i vincitori che decidono ciò che è degno di memoria. Decidono “loro”.

Cioran nacque nel 1911 in Transilvania, Romania. Tessuto sociale difficile e molto chiuso. Figlio di un prete ortodosso, visse un’ infanzia, ma verrebbe da dire un’intera vita, solitaria. Durante la prima guerra mondiale i genitori di Emil, come una parte degli intellettuali di origine rumena, erano stati confinati; il padre a Sopron, la madre a Cluj, lasciando i figli alle cure della nonna a Rasina. Durante il periodo universitario riuscì a legare con Samuel Beckett che ricorderà sempre con profonda amicizia. Conoscendo egregiamente il tedesco, i suoi primi studi si incentrarono su Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer e specialmente Friedrich Nietzsche, suo filosofo di riferimento. Ma prima di pubblicare la sua prima opera, avendo vinto una borsa di studio, nel 1933, si trasferì a Berlino, poi a Dresda e a Monaco. Assistette all’insediamento di Hitler e rimase profondamente ammaliato dall’ideologia nazional-socialista che, in vecchiaia, criticò. Al suo rientro in Romania venne a contatto con il locale movimento fascista delle “guardie di ferro” che abbandonò solo alla vigilia della seconda guerra mondiale. Il fascismo, nella sua vita, fu l’unica ideologia che lo entusiasmò realmente, lui che odiava i pensieri realizzati perché “inseguitore di utopie”. All’utopia dedicò un famoso saggio del 1960 ,“Storia e utopia”, in cui sottolinea come da qualsiasi sogno utopico basato su un presunto ritorno o sua una futura realizzazione dell’età dell’oro, si scatenino sempre forze liberticide. Intanto si era laureato all’Università di filosofia di Bucarest e, successivamente, iniziò ad insegnare presso i licei di Brasov e Sibiu. La cattedra non faceva per lui, si sentiva come un lupo in gabbia. Gli mancava il respiro. E così iniziò a scrivere non solo come valvola di sfogo filosofico poetica, ma anche per rimanere in vita. Cioran, infatti, soffriva di insonnia e, più di una volta, scrisse che se non ci fosse stata la scrittura a tenergli compagnia durante la notte, si sarebbe ucciso. Molto incline al suicidio, l’intellettuale rumeno sopravvisse solo grazie alla sua penna. Pessimista cronico, schiacciato dall’incompiutezza dell’essere e fortemente critico perfino della “venuta al mondo”, dedicò tutta la sua vita, anche quando si trasferì in Francia, alla stesura di saggi profondissimi: nel 1952 uscì “Sillogismi dell’amarezza” raccolta di aforismi corrosivi e nel 1956 “La tentazione di esistere”. Nel 1964 elaborò “La caduta nel tempo”; in “Il funesto demiurgo” del 1969, fece un viaggio nel mondo dello gnosticismo; nell’“L’inconveniente di essere nati” del 1973 cercò, attraverso la positività e la negatività delle emozioni, di raggiungere i panorami più alti. Dalla sua grande mente presero vita svariatissimi libri, tantissimi altri rispetto a quelli citati in breve. Ma le opere che fotografano nel migliore dei modi Cioran sono l’ultima, “Confessioni e anatemi”, testamento pessimista che condanna la felicità fondata sul nulla; e la prima “Al Culmine della disperazione” del 1933 ove per la prima volta, lo scrittore rumeno capì che senza scrittura non avrebbe potuto vivere.

“L’insonnia è una vertiginosa lucidità che riuscirebbe a trasformare il Paradiso stesso in un luogo di tortura. Qualsiasi cosa è preferibile a questo allerta permanente, a questa criminale assenza di oblio. È durante quelle notti infernali che ho capito la futilità della filosofia. Le ore di veglia sono, in sostanza, un’interminabile ripulsa del pensiero attraverso il pensiero, è la coscienza esasperata da se stessa, una dichiarazione di guerra, un infernale ultimatum della mente a se medesima. Camminare vi impedisce di lambiccarvi con interrogativi senza risposta, mentre a letto si rimugina l’insolubile fino alla vertigine. Se non lo avessi scritto (“Al culmine della disperazione”, ndr) certamente avrei messo fine alle mie notti”. Questa l’introduzione al libro, quest’altro, invece, uno dei ragionamenti più celebri dell’opera: “Se non c’è salvezza attraverso la follia, è perché non c’è nessuno che non ne tema gli sprazzi di lucidità. Si desidererebbe il caos, ma si ha paura delle sue luci”.

Emil Cioran morì a Parigi il 20 giugno 1995. Finalmente riuscì ad addormentarsi, ma per sempre. E così venne dimenticato dai più. Già, perché decidono “loro” ciò che è degno di memoria oppure no. Ma non per tutti. Perché Cioran nelle librerie e, soprattutto, nella mente di qualche “bastardo”, è ancora vivo e da lì, rincrescerà all’“intellighenzia” del 2000, non si può esiliare.

00:17 Publié dans Philosophie | Lien permanent | Commentaires (1) | Tags : cioran, philosophie, france, pessimisme, roumanie | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

Martin Heidegger en de traditie van het Westers denken


Martin Heidegger en de traditie van het Westers denken

door Marc. Eemans

Ex: http://marceemans.wordpress.com/

Zoals veel andere traditionele denkers uit het Westen, en hoewel hij graag verwijst naar een “hyperboreïsche” (Noordse) kijk op de “primordiale Traditie”, meent Julius Evola toch dat “het licht uit het Oosten komt: “ex Oriente lux”, daarbij menend dat de resten van deze traditie het best bewaard bleven in de Vedas en in de Avesta. Volgens hem – trouwens ook volgens veel andere traditionalistische denkers – begint de neergang van onze wereld zowat 7 of 8 eeuwen vóór onze tijdrekening, zodat we sindsdien leven in de cyklus van de “Kali-yuga” of ijzeren tijdperk, en dat àlles van langsom slechter gaat, terwijl alles wat onze Westerse beschaving kenmerkt slechts een gevolg van deze dekadentie is.

Door tenvolle bewust te worden van deze dekadentie wordt de “traditionele” mens ertoe geleid de problemen van onze tijd bewust tegemoet te treden en met kracht het onsamenhangende en nihilistische van onze wereld aan te klagen.

Vele van Evola’s geschriften behandelen dit onderwerp, zowel zijn hoofdwerk “Rivolta contra il mondo moderno” als twee bescheidener boeken “Gli uomini e le rovine”, en “Cavalcare la tigre”.

In dit laatste werk, waarin hij ondermeer diverse facetten van het Europese nihilisme behandelt, valt Evola ook het “aktief nihilisme” van Nietzsche aan en wijst ook – ons inziens op àl te oppervlakkige en onkorrekte wijze – “de impasse van het existentialisme” aan, tot wiens “ineenstorting” hij besluit.

Laten we het aan Evola over, de ongetwijfeld dekadente en onophoudelijk “gauchistische” ideeën van een Jean-Paul Sartre af te kraken, maar we verzetten ons tegen zijn bewering als zou de filosofie van een der grootste wijsgeren dezer eeuw, Martin Heidegger, dekadent zijn en niet traditionalistisch.


Na de snobs te hebben beschreven die het Saint-Germain-des-Prés van die dagen bevolken, vervolgt Evola: “De existentialistische wijsgeren zitten in een gelijkaardige toestand als Nietzsche: ze zijn ook “modern”, dus losgehaakt van de wereld der Traditie, ontberen elke kennis of begrip van deze wereld. Ze gebruiken de schemas van het “Westers denken”, wat zoveel betekent als profaan, abstrakt en ontworteld…”

Zonder in een wijsgerige diskussie te willen treden, wensen we toch te benadrukken, dat Evola hier getuigt van een totaal onbegrip tegenover de diepe denkwereld van Heidegger. Hij zit blijkbaar op een andere golflengte als de eenzaat, de “houthakker uit het Schwarzwald” zoals zijn leerlingen Martin Heidegger graag noemden.

Vergeten we niet dat Evola een Romein is, een Latijn dus, en zelfs al vindt hij zichzelf de “laatste der Gibellijnen” toch komt hij voor een donker, haast ondoordringbaar woud te staan, zodra hij gekonfronteerd wordt met een zo typisch “Germaans” denken als dat van Heidegger. Zeggen we vlakaf dat het absurd is, wijsgeren als Karl Jaspers en Heidegger onder hetzelfde hoedje te plaatsen als de gauchistische “filosoof” uit de kroegjes Saint-Germain. Evola zal wel niet geweten hebben, dat Heidegger in een vraaggesprek met de “Figaro littéraire”(4.11.50) verklaard had: “Sartre? Een goed schrijver, maar geen filosoof!”



Overigens, zelfs als in elke korte historiek van de wijsbegeerte het werk van Heidegger wordt beschreven als een variante van het “ateïstisch existentialisme”, dan nog mag men bevestigen dat héél zijn wijsgerige “Werdegang” het “existentialistisch” etiket negeert dat men hem om reden van vulgarizatie wilde opkleven, evenzeer als het onjuist is bij hem over atheïsme te spreken: heel zijn geestelijke pelgrimstocht is verlicht door de zin voor het sakrale, wat niet hetzelfde is als religieus gevoelen, en evenmin het toetreden betekent tot eender welke religie.

Julius Evola lijkt ons wat àl te verblind door de luchtspiegeling van een “traditie” die we uiteindelijk maar kunnen aanvaarden als “mobielmakende myte” die heel wat kan verklaren over onze wereld-in-krisis, maar die niet in staat is àlles te verklaren of àlle vragen te beantwoorden. Wat ons vooral ergert is de illusie van het “ex Oriente lux” die zelfs sommige jonge traditionalisten ertoe brengt, de jongste omwenteling in Iran te begroeten als een zege van de Traditie op de “noodlottige gevolgen van de verwestelijking van dat land”, terwijl het hier toch duidelijk gaat om een omwenteling met regressief karakter.

Martin Heidegger, veel beter op de hoogte van de werkelijkheid der Westerse dekadentie dan Evola, aarzelde niet te schrijven “ik ben ervan overtuigd, dat een ommekeer maar kan geschieden vanuit het gebied waar de moderne technische wereld geboren werd. Dat kan niet door het aanvaarden van het Zen-boeddhisme of andere experimenten uit het Oosten. De ommekeer in de gedachten heeft de hulp nodig van de Europese traditie, met haar recentste aanwinsten. Gedachten worden slechts hervormd door gedachten met dezelfde oorsprong en hetzelfde doel.” (Vraaggesprek met “Der Spiegel” 3l.5.76).

Men bemerkt dat Heidegger, in tegenstelling tot Evola, zich op de Westerse traditie beroept, die voor hem niet louter een geesteskonstruktie is, een myte uit een ver Indoeuropees verleden, maar tastbare werkelijkheid, waarvan hij de stroom kan volgen vanuit de bron, bij de Griekse presokratische denkers. Weliswaar valt die tijd samen met de eerste tekenen van dekadentie – volgens Evola – en waarvan we nu de laatste stuiptrekkingen beleven Heidegger’s wijsbegeerte zou daarvan slechts een epifenomeen op het vlak van de gedachte betekenen…

Herinneren we er toch aan, dat wijsbegeerte een manier van denken is, eigen aan het Westen, dat ze in Griekenland ontstond en geen tegenhanger heeft in het Oosten – toch niet in de zin waarin ze begrepen wordt door onze metafysische traditie. Jazeker, in de Middeleeuwen hebben Arabische en Joodse denkers de Griekse wijsgerige traditie overgemaakt aan de denkers van de Westerse middeleeuwse wereld, maar zélf hebben ze slechts kommentaren geleverd op de werken der Griekse filozofen, zonder zelf nieuwe wijsgerige stelsels te scheppen. Véél later zullen Spinoza en Bergson zich in de Westerse wijsgerige traditie inwerken, er hier en daar een andere klank inbrengend.

In zijn rektorale rede besprak Heidegger de drie Indoeuropese basisfunkties, die we in de werken van Georges Dumézil uiteengezet vinden, maar hij plaatst ze in de aktuele Duitse kontekst “Arbeitsdienst – Wehrdienst – Wissensdienst”. Deze drie diensten passen niet alleen in de Duitse natie van dàn, maar in heel de Westerse traditie.

Wie zich aan één van deze diensten wijdt, zegt Heidegger tot zijn studenten, wijdt zich niet alleen aan het lot van ons Duitse vaderland, maar aan dat van gans het Westen (dit begrepen in zijn metafysische betekenis) . En Heidegger herinnert eraan, dat dit Westen op zijn grondslagen wankelt, wat noodzaakt dat eenieder zich aan zijn behoud en zijn heil toewijdt…

Wij ontlenen enkele gegevens aan het boek van Jean-Michel Palmier “Les écrits politiques de Heidegger” (Ed. L’Herne, 1968). Deze citeert Heidegger “Niemand vraagt ons of wij willen of afwijzen, op het ogenblik dat de geestelijke kracht van het Westen wegdeemstert, zijn bouwwerk wankelt, de dode schijnkultuur ineenzakt en elke energie wegzinkt in wanorde en waanzin.” Het Westen – zegt Palmier – is voor Heidegger het vertrekpunt van de Griekse wijsbegeerte.

In de mate dat wij nog steeds door deze wijsbegeerte geleid worden, identificeert de vraag naar de toekomst van het Westen zich met de vraag naar de toekomst der metafysica. Het is ook dat wat Heidegger bedoelt met de oorspronkelijke “breuk” waarmee en waardoor onze lotsbestemming aanving. En Palmier citeert: “Wij begrijpen tenvolle de schittering en de grootheid van het vertrekpunt dat breuk betekent, als we in onszelf de koelbloedigheid opbrengen, die de oude Griekse wijsheid formuleerde als “Alle Grösse steht im Sturm”.

In zijn “Cavalcare la Tigre” valt Evola het beperkte doorzicht van de existentialistische denkers tegenover de problemen  van het ogenblik aan: “Men kan moeilijk beter verwachten van mensen die, zoals alle “ernstige” extentialisten (dit integenstelling tot de nieuwe, reeds in de war geraakte generatie), professoren zijn, kamergeleerden die een leven leiden van perfekte kleinburgers. In hun konformistisch bestaan (behalve bij enkelen, met politieke opties van het liberale of kommunistische type) lijken ze nooit “verbrand” en evenmin overschrijden ze de grens van goed en kwaad. Het is vooral bij hen die in opstand komen tegen het chaotisch leven der grootsteden of bij hen die door stormen van vuur en staal, en door de verwoestingen van de totale oorlog gingen, of inde wereld der puinen gevormd werden, dat men de vereisten had kunnen verenigd vinden ter herovering van een hogere levensopvatting, en van een existentiële, wérkelijke en niet teoretische, overstijging van de problematiek der mensen-in-krisis. Men had vertrekpunten kunnen aanduiden, ook voor passende spekulatieve formuleringen…”

Het komt ons voor dat Evola, die men (zij het ten onrechte) “grijze eminentie van Mussolini” noemde, slecht geplaatst is om de existentialistische wijsgeren het verwijt “kamergeleerden” toe te sturen, als men Heidegger’s tragedie kent, sinds de opkomst van het nationaalsocialisme tot aan zijn dood: om beurten werd hij uitgekreten (door de fanaten van het Hitlerisme), en als Hitleriaan (door heel de horde van gauchisten aller schakeringen). Voegen we er het drama bij van twee zonen, krijgsgevangenen in Duitsland, en we kunnen besluiten dat de “kleinburgerlijke professor” Heidegger beslist niet gespaard werd door de oorlog.

Vatten we samen: zoals zoveel Duitsers, gehecht aan de grootheid van Duitsland, heeft hij zonder twijfel de opbloei van het nationaal-socialisme begroet als een heilzame gebeurtenis voor zijn vaderland, dat na vernedering van de nederlaag, het onrechtvaardig verdrag van Versailles en de chaos van de Weimar-republiek de ondergang tegemoet ging.

Op verzoek van zijn kollegas aan de Universiteit van Freiburg-in-Breisgau aanvaardde hij, in de lente van l933 het rektoraat, enkele maanden nadat Adolf Hitler rijkskanselier geworden was. Hij begon aan zijn opdracht met de vaste wil, in de mate van zijn mogelijkheden een apolitiek klimaat te doen heersen en dat op een ogenblik dat alle Duitse hogescholen overdreven gepolitiseerd raakten!

Zijn rektorale rede “Die Selbstbehauptung der deutschen Universität” is een echte “keure” van deze apolitieke bekommernis, maar weldra moest Heidegger het hoofd bieden aan allerlei politieke problemen, zoals de wegzending van twee fakulteitsdekens die hijzelf benoemd had, de professoren Erich Wolf en Von Möllendorf.

Geërgerd door de voortdurende inmenging van de politiek in universitaire aangelegenheden, bood Heidegger na zowat tien maand zijn ontslag aan, en werd opgevolgd door een serviele nationaal-socialist. In die (korte) periode had hij wél enkele toespraken gehouden en proklamaties gedaan die men terecht kan takseren als van nationaal-socialistische inspiratie.

We kunnen deze teksten hier niet ontleden en verwijzen terzake naar het boek van Palmier. Het ontslag van Heidegger betekent de inzet van een afbrekende kampanje tegen hem, vanwege de fanatici van het nieuwe regime geleid door Ernst Krieck en Alfred Baeumler(*), nationaalsocialistische rektoren van Heidelberg en Berlijn. Zijn kursussen werden bijgewoond door agenten van deze rektoren, die elke kritische opmerking tegen het regiem nauwkeurig noteerden.

Tenslotte werden zijn leergangen geschorst en Heidegger kende de vernedering te moeten arbeiden aan de verdedigingswerken van de Rijn en vervolgens in de Landsturm te moeten dienen. De droom van Ernst Krieck-Heidegger van de universiteit wegjagen – werd echter slechts door de gealliëerden verwezenlijkt.

Vanaf mei 1945 werd hij even ongenadig, even onrechtvaardig aangevallen, nu echter door de gauchisten.

Als échte wijsgeer liet Heidegger beide stormen onbewogen overtrekken, aan zijn vrienden de zorg overlatend hem te verdedigen. Eerst op 31 mei 1976 publiceerde “der Spiegel” een vraaggesprek dat Rudolf Augstein en Georg Wolff met Heidegger voerden, en dat zowat zijn enige zelfverdediging mag genoemd worden omtrent de korte periode van zijn rektoraat, “dat incident” zoals Jean Guitton eens schreef.

Keren we terug naar ons opzet, Heidegger te situeren binnen de Traditie, niet in die van een “primordiale traditie” maar in die van het Westers denken. Hij heeft zich als wijsgeer herbrond bij de presokratische wijsbegeerte enerzijds, en anderzijds bij de poëzie van enkele grote Duitse dichters – Holderlin vooral. Zijn filosofische aktiviteit volgt overigens het spoor van grote Duitse denkers als Meister Eckehart, Jacob Boehme, Leibniz, Kant, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer en Nietzsche.



Evola verweet Heidegger een typisch pessimistische wijsbegeerte te hebben opgezet, typisch – volgens hem – voor het eind van de cyklus van Kali-Yuga. Maar is juist deze pessimistische wijsbegeerte niet inherent aan de faustische traditie in de Duitse ziel?

In het boek dat Jean-Claude Riviére en zijn medewerkers aan Georges Dumézil wijdden (Ed. Copernic, 1979) vinden we enkele verhelderende zinnen in het hoofdstuk dat François-X. Dillmann, docent aan de universiteit van München, en auteur van diverse werken over de oude Germaanse beschaving, schrijft over “G. Dumézil et la religion germanique”. Hij herinnert er aan het boek van Hans Naumann “Germanischen Schicksalsglaube” (Jena, 1934) waarin deze germanist een parallel trekt tussen de pessimistische gedachte van god Odin tegen de naderende “Götterdämmerung” en de “Sorge”-filozofie, zoals Heidegger ze uiteenzette. Naumann blijft lang bij dit parallelisme stilstaan; met een perfekte kennis van zijn onderwerp, van de talloze interpretaties van Odin’s goddelijkheid en van Heidegger’s wijsbegeerte, onderstreept hij hoe diep de filosofie van de schrijver van “Holzwege” verankerd zit in de Germaanse psyche. “Verworteling” is overigens een heideggeriaans Leitmotiv. Hij is inderdaad een boer-wijsgeer, verankerd in zijn geboortegrond, wat trouwens één der redenen was, waarom hij een leerstoel aan de provinciale universiteit van Freiburg, hoofdplaats van zijn heimat, verkoos boven die welke hem in Berlijn werd aangeboden.

Uiteraard wekte deze tekst van Naumann (in 1934-35 rektor te Bonn) de toorn van rektor Krieck, die ooit tegen Heidegger deze betekenisvolle zin uitsprak “Galileeër, uw spraak heeft u verraden!”

Heidegger een Galileeër, dat is wat àl te belachelijk! Natuurlijk is het zo, dat zijn filosofie met haar vaak ingewikkelde formuleringen niet direkt binnen het bereik lag van de eerste de beste nazi, zelfs al was die toevallig rektor en één der officiële denkers van het regime.

In het “Spiegel”-vraaggesprek zei Heidegger: “Voor zover mij bekend, is al wat werkleijk essentieel en belangrijk is, maar kunnen gebeuren, doordat de mens een “Heimat” heeft en in een traditie verworteld is”. Nu kan men over de kwaliteit van deze traditie natuurlijk van mening verschillen, en vooropstellen dat die waarin de faustische Duitse psyche verankerd zit, in feite een emanatie is van de Kali-Yuga; en dan is alles gezegd…

Nee, niet alles is gezegd: in het bewuste vraaggesprek lezen we: “Al wat ik de laatste 30 jaren in mijn kursussen en seminaries vooropstelde, is niets anders geweest dan een interpretatie van de Westerse wijsbegeerte. Terugkeren naar de vertrekpunten van de geschiedenis ter gedachte, het geduld opbrengen de vraagstukken te overdenken die sinds de Griekse wijsbegeerte nog niet “uitgedacht” waren, betekent niet dat men zich van de traditie losmaakt. Maar ik stel voorop: de denkwijze van de metafysische traditie die met Nietzsche ten einde liep, is niet meer in staat de basisgegevens aan te duiden van het technisch tijdvak dat pas aangebroken is.”

En wat verder lezen we, over de taak van de wijsbegeerte en haar impakt op de ontwikkeling van een beschaving in de richting van een maatschappij die de Kali-Yuga  zou ontstijgen, deze zin: “Wij hoeven niet te wachten, tot de mens over 300 jaar eens een idee heeft; het komt erop aan, vertrekkend van basisgegevens die in de huidige tijd amper overdracht worden, vooruit te denken voor de komende eeuwen, zonder zich daarom profetische allures aan te meten. Denken is niét: niets doen, denken is – in zich – dialogeren met een, als noodlot vooropgestelde, wereld. Het komt me voor, dat het onderscheid (van metafysische oorsprong) tussen theorie en praktijk, en de voorstelling van een overdragen van de ene naar de andere, de weg afsnijdt voor een beter begrip van wat ik “denken” noem.”

En terloops laat Heidegger opmerken, dat de lessenreeks die hij in 1954 onder het thema “Wat noemt men denken?” liet verschijnen, wellicht het minst gelezene van al zijn werken is…

Nog even terug naar het Spiegel-vraaggesprek, waarin hij de rol behandelt die de wijsbegeerte zou kunnen spelen in het veranderen van de huidige wereld. Na te hebben vastgesteld dat ze geen onmiddellijk zichtbare resultaten kan hebben, vervolgt hij: “Dat geldt niet alleen voor de wijsbegeerte, maar voor al wat slechts menselijke bekommernis en menselijk streven is. Alleen een god kan ons nog redden. Onze enige mogelijkheid ligt in het voorbereiden, in gedachte en poëzie, van de bereidheid tot afwachten. Deze bereidheid voorbereiden kan wel een eerste-hulpmiddel zijn. De wereld kan niet zijn wàt zij is en hoe zij is door de mens, maar zonder de mens, kan zij gewoon niet zijn. Dat houdt mijn inziens verband met het feit dat wat men (met een term die van zeer ver komt, veel betekenissen draagt en nu versleten is) “het zijn” noemt, de mens nodig heeft voor zijn verschijnen, zijn bescherming en vormgeving…”

Sprekend over het indringen van de techniek “in opmars sinds drie eeuwen” in de moderne wereld, verwerpt Heidegger die techniek niet a priori, maar stelt voorop, dat men zich moet bevrijden van de pragmatische mentaliteit die de wereld der techniek nu beheerst. “Wie van ons zal niet erkennen dat, de een of andere dag, in Rusland of China zeer oude “denk”-tradities zullen ontwaken die er zullen toe bijdragen, voor de mens een vrije relatie met de technische wereld mogelijk te maken ?”

Heidegger zelf heeft “zeer oude denk-tradities” die ooit eens uit Rusland of China zouden kunnen komen, niet afgewacht om over zin en essentie van de techniek te mediteren en te filosoferen. Dit vooral vertrekkend van Ernst Jünger’s boek “Der Arbeiter” (l932). Moesten we zélf gaan mediteren over zin en essentie van de techniek, dan zou ons dit uiteraard te ver voeren.

Wij zouden kunnen doorgaan met alles te citeren wat Heidegger aan de “Spiegel”-ondervragers zegt, net zoals we zouden kunnen verwijzen naar al wat hij geschreven heeft, vooral in de laatste dertig jaren, waarin heel zijn ontwikkeling, heel zijn poëtische zoektocht getuigt van een bestendige bezorgdheid om het sakrale doorheen de diepste menselijke autenticiteit.

Voor wie lezen kàn, heeft Heidegger – doorheen een ander taalgebruik, en zonder de omweg langs het Oosten en de “Primordiale Traditie” – dezelfde bekommernis als Julius Evola omtrent de noodzakelijke regeneratie van onze wereld. Beiden hebben gedacht en gewerkt afzijdig van de politiek der politikasters en haar kompromissen. Zonder dat ze elkaar écht kenden (daarbij denken we aan de miskenning van Heidegger’s gedachte door Evola, en de vermoedelijk volledige onkunde van Heidegger omtrent Evola’s werk) hebben ze elkaar ontmoet, daar waar wijzelf hen wilden ontmoeten op een weg die de onze is en die, – hopen we toch – geen “Holzweg” zal zijn, geen weg die nergens heen voert.


(*) Het fanatisme waarmee de nationaalsocialistische rektoren Ernst Krieck en Alfred Baeumler zich tegen Martin Heidegger keerden zou wel eens kunnen verklaard worden door hun neofietenijver. Beide heren kwamen in die periode (l933-34) toch vrij recent uit het konservatief-revolutionaire kamp overgestapt naar het nationaal-socialisme. In de ogen van vele oudgediende nationaal-socialisten hadden ze nog alles te bewijzen…

In Armin Mohler’s werk “Die konservative Revolution in Deutschland” vindt men in het overzicht van de veelvuldige stromingen en auteurs ook een hoofdstuk “Uberläufer zum Nationalsozialismus”. Mohler behandelt hier exemplair slechts twee auteurs die volgens hem de meest typische “gevallen” zijn: Alfred Baeumler en Ernst Krieck. (N.v.d.r.)

jeudi, 14 juillet 2011

A. Buela: Autobiografia intelectual


Autobiografía intelectual


Alberto Buela (*)


Yo no sé si fue Juan Romano, antiguo estudiante del seminario metropolitano y fiel discípulo del P. Lucio Gera, el más lúcido pensador americano de la religiosidad popular, cuya primera parroquia fue San Bartolomé, o el cura Pablo Di Benedetto, quien hacía muy poco tiempo había llegado desde Versailles a nuestra parroquia de Chiclana y Boedo,  quien me da a leer El Criterio de Jaime Balmes, allí comencé mi carrera filosófica.

Al poco tiempo, aun estábamos en el colegio secundario, nos lleva, Di Benedetto, a conocer a Meinvielle a la Casa de Ejercicios de Salta e Independencia, porque el cura había fundado el Ateneo Popular de Versailles y los scouts argentinos. Y allí comienza una relación, no de maestro a alumno porque nunca me dio una clase, sino de traslado de información (libros, publicaciones, autores, familia de ideas, vínculos, etc.). Aun conservo un regalo suyo, los tres tomos de Historia de la filosofía de Guillermo Fraile, con dedicatoria en julio de 1964.

En el plano político conocí y traté  por la época, en sus años de larga enfermedad, a José Luis Torres, el fiscal de la Década Infame. En esas visitas a su departamento de la Av. Las Heras me vinculé a su discípulo y coprovinciano Alejandro Olmos, autor de la denuncia sobre la Deuda Externa en los años 80-90.

Quien me introdujo en ese círculo fue Pepe Taladriz, hermano de Domingo, el imprentero de la Av. San Juan que le editaba los libros a Meinvielle y a todo el campo nacional, peronistas y nacionalistas.

Una anécdota: Torres nos recibía en la cama o sentado en un sofá y cuando yo le comenté que Sandino era comunista, me respondió con esa voz de trueno que tenía: No m´hijo, Sandino es nacionalista como nosotros, son los yanquis que nos quieren hacer creer que es comunista. Esto me liberó para siempre de las taras del nacionalismo parroquial y elitista, y me ubicó de un golpe en el nacionalismo popular de Patria Grande. Torres comienza a darme a leer a los pensadores hispanoamericanos que él conocía muy bien. (Pablo Antonio Cuadra, Julio Icaza Tijerino, Augusto Céspedes, Carlos Montenegro, Natalicio González, Carlos Arturo Torres, Vasconcelos y tantos otros.

Comencé la carrera en la UBA en 1966, pero enseguida vino “la colimba” y como en esa época estaba vinculado al grupo político-cultural Nueva Argentina, que en ese año fueron a Malvinas en el Operativo Cóndor (Dardo Cabo, Alejandro Giovenco, etc.), y su influencia política fue muy grande, no se me ocurrió otra cosa que estando en formación, pasando Onganía junto con el brigadier Teodoro Álvarez, grité: Masón.

Me pasé un año con ocho meses de recargo preso y el único libro que me dejaron pasar fue una gramática griega.

Salido del “la colimba” y con un conocimiento respetable del griego ático comencé a cursar materias hasta recibirme en 1972. Tuve algunos profesores significativos como Eggers Lan en “antigua”, Mercado Vera en “moderna”, Maliandi en ética, Amuchástegui en historia, Pucciarelli en metafísica y gnoseología. No más. Quienes en general se dedicaron a dictar su materia sin ningún tipo de seguimiento personal, salvo Eggers y Mercado que me demostraron una estima especial. Calculo que el primero porque sabía griego y el segundo porque estudiaba con ahínco Hegel.

Apenas termino la carrera gano un concurso de YPF para dictar clase de “humanidades” en la Universidad San Juan Bosco de Comodoro Rivadavia, claro está, no se había presentado nadie.

Me caso y publico ese mismo año mi primer libro El ente y los trascendentales con prólogo de don Julio Meinvielle (nunca supe quien pagó la edición) y desde Comodoro casi todos los días comienzo a enviarlo a todas las bibliotecas y universidades del mundo, como diciendo: “miren, también aquí en el fin del mundo se hace filosofía”.

A fines del 72 con el primer regreso de Perón al país comienza un período convulsionado que se hace imposible vivir sin participar y la participación estaba allá, en Buenos Aires.

Regreso  y viajo a Córdoba a conocer a Nimio de Anquín quien por esa época había sacado el último de sus libros De las dos inhabitaciones en el hombre, la experiencia me resultó fascinante: “Ve todos esos escritos que tengo en ese estante, si yo fuera monseñor Derisi los tendría todos publicados”. “No olvide, escribir filosofía no significa publicar todo lo que se escribe”.

Me pongo a dictar clase en colegios secundarios y entro en contacto con Ricardo Maliandi quien me dirige una beca de iniciación en el Conicet tanto a mí como a mi tocayo Alberto Gorrini, desaparecido apenas comienza la Dictadura Militar.

Paso a la Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata donde dicto antropología filosófica y gnoseología, logro participar en el II Congreso nacional de estudios clásicos en el Chaco con una ponencia Corruptio optimi pessima est, y  publico mi segundo libro, que lleva el prólogo de mi tocayo Gorrini, El ente: manifestación y conocimiento  donde estudio dos autores, Hegel y Santo Tomás, en cuatro temas centrales: dialéctica, acción, conocimiento y método.

A fines del 74 publico mi primer libro político filosófico: La sinarquía y lo nacional  y es en este último punto donde comenzamos a trabajar sobre la idea de nacionalismo continental, gran espacio autocentrado y cultura de síntesis que nosotros denominamos “simbiosis”. “la conciencia del americano es una simbiosis, los dos elementos completos el europeo y el americano forman un mixto perfecto, una unión sustancial de ambos elementos que es la conciencia americana, análogamente diferente de los elementos de que está compuesta… la cosmovisión europea aporta la idea de jerarquía de los fines y la cosmovisión indiana el tiempo americano”.

Pero no puedo desarrollarlo luego en conferencias y charlas pues me agarra el golpe de Estado del 24 de marzo del 76. Y con un citroen 2 CV y una beba recién nacida y sin un mango, inicio mi regreso por el camino de la costa, entonces todo de tierra, hasta mis pagos de Magdalena.

Cayó así la loza de plomo sobre la inteligencia argentina. Es interesante notar que nadie, hasta el más pintado aséptico, produjo nada en el orden filosófico. Yo lo puede comprobar estudiando la obra del más significativo historiador de las ideas en Argentina, Alberto Caturelli, quien para muchos fue un hombre que vivió cómodo durante la Dictadura, sin embargo, mi tocayo no produjo ninguna obra entre los años 76 al 81. Demás está decir que todos esos años fueron para mí de lectura constante además de mi participación activa en el grupo sindical de “los 25”, quienes el 27 de abril del 79, le realizan la primera huelga general al gobierno del Proceso.

El 17 de octubre de 1981 con un pasaje de ida que me dan Osvaldo Borda y Ubaldini viajo a la Sorbona de París donde me acepta Pierre Aubenque para dirigirme primero la tesis de licenciatura (el DEA) y luego la de doctorado sobre Le fondement métaphisique de l´éthique chez Aristote, siendo los seminarios para la licenciatura sobre Plotino con Pierre Hadot y sobre Scheler con Pierre Boutang. Y es este último quien me marca a fuego. Boutang fue la antítesis de Sartre. Él fue todo. Desde secretario de Maurras cuando joven, hasta el ideólogo del Conde de París. Fue traductor de la Divina Comedia al francés, traductor varios diálogos de Platón, autor de obras de teatro, novelista, periodista  y autor de grandes tratados de filosofía. El largo trato que tuve desde el 81 al 84, año en que dejó de dictar clase de metafísica en la Sorbona, me abrió la cabeza respecto de las tareas que debe realizar un filósofo. Él fue el filósofo genuinamente engagé  que conocí hasta ahora.

Fue con él con quien comencé a madurar la meditación sobre América y nuestra identidad. Con él hablé de don Nimio de Anquín y sus poderosos trabajos Las dos concepciones del ente en Aristóteles y El ser visto desde América. Con él tengo una jugosa anécdota que relaté en Un juicio sobre Meinvielle.[1]

En 1984 dicto mi primera conferencia en francés en el Palacio de Congresos de Versailles junto con Julien Freund y Alain de Benoist: hispanoamérique contre l´Occidente, años después publicada en libro en España con prólogo de Abel Posse.

De regreso a Buenos Aires con los títulos de licenciado y doctor en filosofía por la Sorbona me presento a dos concursos y “la intelligensia radical” en ese entonces en plenitud con Nino, Rabossi, Klimosky, Gariglia y Olivieri los declaran desiertos. Voy a ver al decano de filosofía, el buen amigo Rodríguez Bustamante, y me dice: Buela, que quiere, Ud. es peronista.

Me refugio en la UCA donde era decano el excelente profesor esloveno Emilio Komar y mientras él lo fue yo duré, luego me echaron.

Comienza allí mi largo período de “seminarios ad hoc ” que duran hasta hoy. Y así, sin la presión de la burocracia universitaria, vengo desarrollando mi pensamiento en distintos centros y universidades de aquí y de allá: Tierra del Fuego, San Juan, Córdoba, Cuyo, San Luis, Santa Fe, Formosa, San Pablo y Barcelona.   

En 1983 reedito el trabajo político y filosófico La sinarquía y lo nacional  al que le agrego un apéndice sobre José Luis Torres: el fiscal de la década infame, y en este punto comenzamos a trabajar sobre los pensadores nacionales de toda Iberoamérica.

La conferencia del 84 en Francia nos abre muchos contactos internacionales tanto en Europa como en Nuestra América. Así trabo amistad con Alain de Benoist el fundador del grupo cultural GRECE quien me incita a trabajar sobre los temas de pensamiento único vs. pensamiento disidente,  identidad vs. homogenización, equidad vs. igualitarismo, pluralismo vs. uniformidad, pluriverso vs. universo, etc. Con Robert Steuckers quien me orienta hacia la geopolítica y Primo Siena, sobre todo, hacia la metapolítica. Con Javier Esparza y la producción cultural hispana más genuina soterrada por el pensamiento políticamente correcto. Con Marco Tarchi y su meditación sobre la ingeniería política del Estado post guerra fría. Con el ítalo-norteamericano Paul Piccone y la convergencia de la new left y pensamiento no conformista. Conozco, trato y me trata con singular deferencia un grande de España: Gonzalo Fernández de la Mora, seguramente el más significativo pensador político de lengua española de la segunda mitad del siglo XX. Y a todos los pensadores hispanoamericanos sostenedores de la disidencia al statu quo  político-cultural vigente.

Dada mi actividad en los sindicatos que viene desde la creación de “los  25 gremios combativos”, me publican en el 84 un libro: La organización sindical con prólogo de Osvaldo Borda quien fuera uno de los secretarios generales de la CGT y secretario general de obreros del caucho y fundador de “los 25”. Allí defiendo la tesis clásica del peronismo en este tema: un solo gremio por rama, actividad u oficio, el de mayor representatividad, y la organización sindical con nacimiento de abajo hacia arriba como creación de la comunidad y no desde el Estado, como en el caso del fascismo.

En el ámbito estrictamente filosófico realizo la primera traducción del griego al castellano del Protréptico de Aristóteles, donde rescato el concepto de phrónesis como sapiencia y no como prudencia, como habitualmente se lo ha traducido. Pues el concepto de sapiencia encierra la idea de un conocimiento teórico y práctico a la vez, con lo que vuelca al castellano de manera ejemplar la idea griega de phrónesis.

Durante el 85 trabajo sobre el marco teórico de la idea de comunidad organizada tan cara al peronismo y publico: Hegel: derecho, moral y Estado. Al respecto mi viejo maestro don Andrés Mercado Vera, el máximo conocedor de Hegel en Argentina, me escribió: “Usted pone de relieve la soterrada afinidad hegeliana del pensamiento de Perón, así como la depuración popular a la que lo somete, tácitamente, el conductor... alguna vez yo también he intentado indicar esta ignorada afinidad, que mucho ha influido en mi propia toma de posición política... lo incito a que siga trabajando con igual fervor e inteligencia”. Carta del 6 de Enero de 1986.

En el 87 publico un trabajo de largo aliento: Aportes al pensamiento nacional  donde desarrollo una serie de disyuntivas como comunidad o sociedad, norte o sur, liberación o dependencia, democracia liberal o democracia social, nación o constitución, patria grande o patria chica, etc.

En el 88 regreso a la publicación filosófica stricto sensu con El fundamento metafísico de la ética en Aristóteles, nuestra tesis doctoral aumentada y aggiornada.

Y en 1990 aparece mi libro El sentido de América que concentra en él la primera gran meditación de conjunto, donde profundizo mis dos tesis principales: América como lo hóspito y el tiempo americano como un madurar con las cosas opuesto tanto al time is money como al laissez faire.

Los dos años siguientes trabajamos para publicar para el V Centenario Pensadores nacionales iberoamericanos en dos gruesos volúmenes que editó el Congreso de la Nación, que incluyen dos o tres pensadores por cada uno de nuestros veintidós países. Un trabajo de biblioteca no recomendable para los alérgicos al polvo.

En el 93 volvemos a la filosofía y publicamos Epítome de antropología fruto de las clases que veníamos dictando desde la Universidad de Mar del Plata y durante varios años en el Consudec.

En el 94 publicamos Ensayos iberoamericanos sobre el ser de América, América como “lo otro”, acerca de la filosofía en y de Iberoamérica, etc. Y ese mismo año nos lanzamos a la aventura intelectual que fue Disenso.

La revista Disenso que se editó en Buenos Aires durante un lustro, desde 1994 a 1999- bajo nuestra dirección fue la primera revista en el ámbito iberoamericano de metapolítica; esto es, la disciplina que estudia las grandes categorías que condicionan la acción política de los gobiernos de turno. Hoy existe, aunque con otra orientación, la revista Metapolítica editada en la ciudad de Méjico, con la dirección del profesor Cesar Cansino.

Disenso nucleó en su seno a todo un grupo de hombres provenientes de distintas disciplinas y actividades pero que se caracterizaban por una visión no conformista de la realidad. Así llegaron a colaborar: filósofos, literatos, economistas, diplomáticos, artistas, politólogos, historiadores, poetas, políticos, entre los que hubo diputados, ex presidentes, gobernadores. Es decir, se intentó la imbricación entre pensamiento y realidad. En una palabra, pensar la realidad tal como se da, ir a las cosas mismas, diría Husserl, lo que en politología se denomina realismo político.

Fue una revista de carácter hispano o iberoamericano y no “latinoamericana” como machacona y falsamente nos denomina el pensamiento políticamente correcto. Y como tal en cada número escribieron uno o más autores hijos de nuestros diferentes países. Se pudo construir así, o reconstruir, una red de correspondientes que abarcó a todo el mundo hispano o lo que quedaba de él. Tuvimos representantes no sólo en  toda América sino también en Asia, en Filipinas, y en África, tanto en Guinea Ecuatorial como en la República Saharaui en el exilio. La construcción de este tejido de relaciones hizo exclamar a ese gran pensador nicaragüense don Julio Ycaza Tigerino: “El proyecto Disenso, más que una revista, es la manifestación ostensible de que existe un pensamiento hispanoamericano que no imita, y que es singular y genuino. Además mostró la continuidad de un genuino pensamiento hispanoamericano que transitó todo el siglo XX y que tuvo su antecedente más remoto en la revista porteña Dinámica Social (1950-1964) con la que también colaboré”.[2]

Al antecedente de Dinámica Social debemos sumarle en el desarrollo de la temática propiamente argentina la revista Ahijuna (dic.67 a sep.68)[3] que creó y dirigió el historiador Fermín Chávez y al que asistieron, entre otros, Soler Cañas, Pedro de Paoli, Ricardo Caballero, Rega Molina, José Perrone, Sánchez Uncal, Enrique Stieben, A.Saenz Germain. Fue una revista de historia, literatura, filosofía, pensamiento nacional y sobre todo poesía. Sobre la que escribieron: Abelardo Vázquez, Julio César Luzzatto, Leonardo Castellani, Ignacio Anzoátegui, H. Lima Quintana, José M. Fernández Usaín, J. Melazza Muttoni y Gorosito Heredia.

Pese a ser entusiastamente iberoamericana, Disenso intento, con muy buenos resultados, constituirse en un puente entre el pensamiento disidente del Viejo Continente y el de la América profunda. Por las páginas de esta publicación transitaron las ideas de colaboradores españoles, italianos, franceses, alemanes, croatas y de otros lugares, que abordaron temas históricos, de geopolítica, filosofía, economía y critica de la cultura, siempre desde un punto de vista ajeno al pensamiento único y a la homogeneización compulsiva de la globalización. Precisamente, esta característica metapolítica del derecho a la diferencia, se convirtió en un estandarte de nuestra revista. En tal sentido, Disenso represento uno de los nexos más eficaces entre historia (Europa) y paisaje (América).
Como aporte singularmente iberoamericano, Disenso reivindico las ideas
propias, pero contextualizadas al decurso histórico y adaptadas a un
tiempo vertiginoso, defendiendo la correlación entre pensamiento, historia y política. Toda política es histórica en tanto quehacer humano, y toda
historia es política en tanto lo es de hombres, pueblos, naciones, bloques,
es decir culmina en lo específicamente político. En el plano doctrinario,
Disenso hizo suya, pues, aquella conclusión de Nietzsche, cuando señalaba que la influencia del pensamiento sobre el pensamiento era la mejor arma y el principal motor de los procesos históricos.
Esta singularidad y genuinidad se intentó poner de manifiesto en una sección denominada “textos”, donde en cada número se rescataban textos y trabajos de autores ya desaparecidos que conforman el bagaje intelectual  y espiritual más auténtico de la nuestra ecúmene cultural. Sus nombres fueron los siguientes: Nimio de Anquín(argentino); Pedro Henríquez Ureña(dominicano); Rubén Salazar Mallén (méjicano); José de
la Riva Agüero(peruano); Roberto Prudencio(boliviano); Mario Góngora(chileno); Alberto Zum Felde(uruguayo); Eduardo Caballero Calderón(colombiano); Ricuarte Soler(panameño); Justo Pastor Benítez(paraguayo), Gonzalo Zaldumbide(ecuatoriano); Mariano Picón Salas(venezolano); José Pedro Galvao de Souza(brasileño); Alejo Carpentier(cubano); Joaquín García Monje(costariqueño); José Cecilio del Valle( hondureño); Alberto Masferrer(salvadoreño); Augusto Cesar Sandino(nicargüense); Juan José Arévalo(panameño); Antonio Pedreira( portoriquense); Ramiro de Maetzu(español) y Antonio Sardinha(portugués).

Su difusión y, sobre todo, su distribución se realizó literalmente a todo el mundo. Mediante una artimaña  que no vamos a develar, llegaban hasta setecientos ejemplares a Europa y otros tantos a Nuestra América, e igual cantidad al resto del mundo. Recibimos un apoyo en comentarios y recensiones de revistas alternativas como Hespérides, Tribuna Europa de España; Parolibera, Diorama, Behemonth y Orion de Italia; Eléments, L´Epervier, Résistence, L´Autre Histoire de Francia; The Scorpion de Inglaterra, Synergies Européennes y Vouloir de Bélgica; Criticón y Etappe de Alemania, sin contar con la inmensa cantidad de revistas universitarias que a diario se editan en todo el mundo, una de las cuales y muy buena es la revista de filosofía Daimwn así en griego, de la Universidad de Murcia dirigida por el profesor y amigo Eduardo Bello Reguera. 

En resumen podemos decir que Disenso fue una aventura cultural y como tal interdisciplinaria con vocación de Patria Grande, que se dio a conocer al resto del mundo la existencia de un pensamiento hispanoamericano genuino, diferente al “único y políticamente correcto”. Y en este sentido, el apoyo europeo, en aquello que Europa tiene de mejor, fue fundamental. Se logró constituir así una generación de amigos en la última década del siglo que formamos parte de una familia de ideas, que hoy, lentamente, van recogiendo los mass media: el derecho a la diferencia, la oposición a la homogeneización de las culturas, la crítica a la partidocracia,  a la democracia procedimental y  representatividad política, al monoteísmo del mercado, etc., etc.  

Mientras trabajamos diariamente en la edición de Disenso se publica en España nuestro primer libro Hispanoamérica contra Occidente (1996). En el 98 regresamos nuevamente a la filosofía y editamos Estudios griegos, básicamente, trabajos sobre filósofos presocráticos. Y en el 99  cuando finaliza la aventura intelectual de Disenso nos editan en Barcelona Ensayos de Disenso que tiene por prólogo el estudio del más significativo filósofo suramericano del siglo XX, Alberto Wagner de Reyna, el introductor de Heidegger al castellano con primigenio trabajo La ontología fundamental de Heidegger. En estos Ensayos de Disenso aparecen no solo todos mis artículos publicados en la revista sino mi largo trabajo sobre el desencantamiento del mundo. En el 2000 aparece La taba y otros asuntos criollos, que tienen que ver más con nuestra ubicación social-existencial en la sociedad argentina que con el juego mismo. En el 2002 retornamos a la filosofía con Metapolítica y filosofía, donde perfilamos ya definitivamente nuestra doble actividad, sea como filósofos sea como metapolíticos.

Pasan tres años de plomo para nuestra superviviencia que se hicieron muy duros, prácticamente sin recursos, nos cierra todas las puertas el progresismo kirchnerista, una especie de socialdemocracia con chiripá. Vivimos de los cursos privados a salto de mata. Pero en el 2005 podemos publicar finalmente nuestra Teoría del Disenso.

Y recién en el 2007 un grupo de sindicatos denominado “grupo abasto” nos edita Notas sobre el peronismo, que viene a resumir nuestra experiencia de treinta o más años dentro de este movimiento político. En el 2008 publicamos Pensamiento de ruptura, por aquello de Platón: “la filosofía es ruptura con la opinión”. Libro que contempla tres partes: 1) filosofía en sentido estricto. 2) filosofía práctica y 3) filósofos argentinos postergados. Con un último y extenso trabajo sobre Despliegue del pensamiento americano y una entrevista que me realizara Alain de Benoist.

En el 2009 nos mantenemos firmes en el terreno de la filosofía sale el libro Los mitos platónicos vistos desde América  y como un mentís a la tesis de Hegel que “el espíritu no alumbró en estas tierras de Suramérica”  lo realizamos del otro lado del río Salado, del Salado interior, a partir del cual comenzaba la verdadera Pampa, la tierra de indio y del gaucho. El desierto como decían nuestros abuelos.

Finalmente hoy, en el 2011 tenemos en prensa Disyuntivas de nuestro tiempo (ensayos sobre metapolítica) en donde tratamos las siguientes posiciones:

Homogeneización o identidad, Mundo único o regiones culturales, Crisis o decadencia, Derechos humanos o derechos de los pueblos, Multiculturalismo o interculturalismo, Memoria o historia, Pensamiento único o pensamiento disidente, Decrecimiento o progreso, Consenso o disenso Y pluralismo o unitarismo.


Mirado a la distancia y en una secuencia de cuarenta años desde la primera a la última publicación, si es que los libros pueden encerrar todo lo que uno ha pensado, observamos un zigzagueante periplo que va de la filosofía a los problemas sociales y políticos, de la filosofía a la metapolítica, que al final se queda con los dos imbricados.

Cuatro son los temas que se han llevado todos nuestros esfuerzos intelectuales: la teoría del disenso, la América como lo hóspito, la metapolítica y la teoría de la virtud. Esperemos vivir cuarenta años más para poder duplicar el esfuerzo, pues como afirmaba Roberto Arlt: solo la prepotencia del trabajo vence la adversidad en las sociedades dependientes como la nuestra.    




                        Esquema del desarrollo filosófico argentino


Todo aquel que hace filosofía en forma genuina siempre vislumbra alguna posibilidad de incorporarse a la historia de la filosofía en algún aspecto. Descartamos de plano que nosotros tengamos la infatuación de un Aristóteles o un Hegel que vieron converger en ellos la historia anterior de la filosofía. Pero estimamos que por un problema ya visto por Platón: "dialéctico=filósofo es el que ve el todo y el que no, no lo es", nosotros al ver el todo tenemos la sana pretensión de incorporarnos o incorporar lo poquítísimo que hemos hecho a ese todo, que es, a su vez,  el que produce el sentido de lo que hacemos.                                                                                    


Se distinguen en la historia de la filosofía en Argentina varios períodos claramente definidos. Hay que señalar que en todas estas etapas, si bien se destaca el tono de cada uno (escolástico, ilustrado, romántico, positivista, espiritualista, etc.), la hacienda siempre viene mezclada.


1) El del predomino escolástico que va de 1536 a 1773, aunque ya a partir de 1710 se nota la influencia del pensamiento de Descartes. En 1613 el paraguayo fray Fernando de Trejo funda la Universidad de Córdoba y el primer profesor de filosofía fue el madrileño  Juan de Albiz, quien, se cuenta, poseía un ingenio agudo que alegraba a los presentes.

En este largo período con primacía de la escolástica, aunque existe casi un siglo de influencia del racionalismo cartesiano, se destacan: Domingo Muriel(1718-1795) y sus meditaciones sobre Hispanoamérica,  José Peramás (1732-1793) con sus trabajos sobre la ciudad platónica y la ciudad cristiana en el Nuevo Mundo y fray de San Alberto (1727-1804) con sus meditaciones sobre pedagogía, política y vida espiritual.


2) Introducción de las ideas modernas con la ilustración y la radicalización de su ideología de 1773 a 1830.

Las generaciones de1810 (Saavedra, Castelli, Belgrano, deán Funes, Moreno, Monteagudo) y la de 1821 (Lafinur, Fernández de Agüero y Diego Alcorta como los ideólogos y Antonio Sáenz, Castro Barros y el padre Castañeda por el pensamiento tradicional). Esta experiencia dual recorre todo el pensamiento argentino hasta nuestros días: los ideólogos intentando poner en nuestro tiempo lo pensado por los europeos y los tradicionalistas rescatando para nuestra tierra y sangre nuestra compleja historia.


3) Introducción de historicismo romántico con la generación de 1837 (Echeverría, Alberdi, Sastre, Sarmiento, Mármol, Vicente Fidel López, Florencia Varela). Del espiritualismo ecléctico con las generaciones de 1853 y 1866: en la primera se destacan Mitre, Mansilla, Bilbao, destacándose aparte Mamerto Esquiú. Y en la segunda, José Hernández, Estanislao del Campo, Manuel Sáenz.

El historicismo romántico caló fuerte en la joven generación del 37. Quizás se pueda observar que dicha influencia quedó relegada al mundo social y político, dejando al racionalismo ilustrado el resto de los temas. Puede señalarse, como ejemplo, los dos textos del joven Alberdi: el “Fragmento…” de 1842, y “Las Bases” de 1848.


4) La introducción del positivismo se produce en la generación de 1880 y se prolonga hasta la de 1896. (Ramos Mejía, Ameghino, Pirovano, y sigue en la del 96 con Carlos Bunge e Ingenieros). Al mismo tiempo se destacan Estrada, Goyena, Cambaceres en el pensamiento tradicional. Y nace el pensamiento sobre nosotros mismos con autores como Juan Agustín García, Joaquín V. González y Ernesto Quesada. En la generación del 96 se ubica el primer filósofo profesional argentino Alejandro Korn (1860-1936) quien encabeza la reacción antipositivista, pero su producción intelectual es tardía por eso se lo ubica en la generación de 1910.

Es conocida la interpretación que a menudo se ha realizado sobre el positivismo argentino, tanto por sus defensores como detractores. Quizás no se haya prestado la suficiente atención, punto que Nimio de Anquín ha enfatizado, acerca del carácter originario que puede poseer para nosotros el positivismo  en tanto se centre en la cognición de las individualidades entitativas. En tal sentido podría indicarse al positivismo como un primer bosquejo de pensamiento iberoamericano con algunos rasgos propios.


 5) Crítica y superación del cientificismo. Surgimiento de un nuevo espiritualismo con la generación del centenario. Primera llegada de Ortega (1916) y de D`Ors (1918). Se inicia la profesión de filósofo.(Korn, Rougès, Alberini, Franceschi, J.B.Terán, Macedonio y desde el ensayo, Rojas, Lugones, Ugarte).

Su continuación y profundización se da en con los hombres de la generación del 25 que junto con la de 1940 realizan la mayor, mejor y más profunda producción filosófica argentina. Se ubican en la primera: Romero, Guerrero, de Anquín, Astrada, Fatone, Vasallo, Miguel A. Virasoro, Sixto Terán, Cossio, Taborda, y desde el ensayo Canals Feijoo, Borges, Mallea, Scalabrini, Battistessa. Y en la del 40 Sepich, T.Casares, Castellani, Meinvielle, desde el ensayo Marechal, Jauretche, J.L. Torres.


6) 1955: la quiebra y el vaciamiento de la universidad argentina con la expulsión de los grandes filósofos: Nimio de Anquín, Miguel A.Virasoro, Carlos Astrada, Carlos Cossio, Diego Pró, Eugenio Pucciarelli, Luis Juan Guerrero, Leonardo Castellani. Imposición del “normalismo filosófico” de Francisco Romero por sobre la propuesta de Coriolano Alberini de “florecimiento de genios filosóficos ajenos a la enseñanza oficial”.


7) Retroceso y repliegue de la actividad filosófica en la generación del 60 (Murena, Masotta, Caturelli, Eggers Lan, Kusch, Maliandi), reducida en el mejor de los casos a buenos e incansables investigadores.


8) 1972: II Congreso Nacional de Filosofía, surgimiento, tanto de la filosofía de la liberación (Dussel, Casalla, Fornari, Scannone, De Zan) con anclaje en Astrada,  como del pensamiento de la disidencia y la identidad (Caparro, Buela, Maresca con anclaje en de Anquín), que tiene un desarrollo posterior en el tiempo a la anterior.


9) La loza de plomo en la filosofía argentina (1976-2011). Investigadores rentados (Vigo, Crespo, Ruiz Pesce, García Bazán, Walton)  y algunos filósofos aislados (Maresca, del Barco, Fornari, Buela, Feinmann, Regnasco), que mejor sería denominar arkeguetas, esto es, aprendices constantes.





               El secreto más guardado de la filosofía argentina



Cuando Gustavo Bueno, el más significativo, por lo inconformista, filósofo español vivo me preguntó acerca de la filosofía en Argentina para agregar en su página de “filosofía en español”, le recomendé el mamotreto de 1500 paginas del querido y eximio profesor y tocayo Caturelli: Historia de la filosofía en la Argentina 1600-2000 que cuenta además con 550 páginas de bibliografía filosófica argentina que supone un trabajo de enanos el haberla realizado por un solo hombre. El libro comenta 1400 autores y se detiene en unos 200(ojo¡ que nos puso dentro de estos). De estos doscientos en mi criterio se destacan por su originalidad y penetración el 10%:

Virasoro, Miguel Angel; Vasallo, Ángel; Terán, Sixto; Taborda, Saúl; Sepich, Juan; Rougés, Alberto; Romero, Francisco; Pró, Diego; Murena, Héctor; Meinvielle, Julio

Massuh, Víctor; Kusch, Rodolfo; Guerrero, Luis; Casas, Manuel; Castellani, Leonardo

Aybar, Benjamín; Anquín, Nimio de; Astrada, Carlos y Alberini, Coriolano. Y que si me veo obligado a reducir a dos, ellos serían Astrada y de Anquín.


El secreto mejor guardado de la filosofía argentina es el que han realizado los pseudos filósofos de la autodenominada filosofía de la liberación cuando se autotitulan discípulos de Carlos Astrada (marxista-maoista) y borran la influencia de Nimio de Anquín, por considerarlo nipo-nazi-facho-falanjo- peronista.


La vida de estos dos filósofos corre paralela: nacen en Córdoba en 1894 y 1896, estudian en la misma universidad con los mismos profesores. Parten en 1926 con una beca para Alemania donde uno va a estudiar con Heidegger y otro con Cassirer. Los dos participan activamente en el I Congreso de filosofía de 1949. De Anquín con una sólida formación clásica en Aristóteles y Santo Tomás termina volcándose a Hegel y Astrada con una débil formación clásica pero una basta información contemporánea, también termina arropándose en el filósofo de Berlín.

Durante el primer peronismo Astrada dirige desde la Universidad de Buenos Aires los Cuadernos de filosofía mientras que de Anquín desde la Universidad de Córdoba edita por su cuenta y riesgo Arkhé (revista americana de filosofía sistemática y de historia de la filosofía).

La adopción por parte de ambos de Hegel y su Volkgeist (espíritu del pueblo) hace que Astrada por su pertenencia maoísta-marxista lo vea encarnado en “el proletariado” y de Anquín su pertenencia al peronismo en los trabajadores y en “la tradición nacional” expresada por Lugones como “poeta óntico”. Los dos son antiimperialistas pero mientras que Astrada lo es al estilo marxista, de Anquín nos habla de un “imperialismo situado” y como se manifiesta aquí y ahora, al estilo de ese gran denunciante que fue José Luis Torres, el fiscal de la Década Infame.


Enrique Dussel en su publicitada obra Filosofía de la liberación (ver pp.50 a 56) ve el problema pero escamotea la verdad. Y así afirma que la filosofía de la liberación le debe su paternidad de Carlos Astrada y su Mito gaucho (1948) ignorando adrede, silenciando a propósito (lo mismo ha hecho Arturo Roig en su Pensamiento latinoamericano) la extra-ordinaria meditación de Nimio de Anquín El ser visto desde América (1953), que es la que realmente funda un genuino pensamiento americano de las identidades y de la disidencia al pensamiento único y políticamente correcto.


Así Dussel en sus infinitas “agachadas” al régimen de poder constituido y al statu quo reinante de los diferentes países donde ha vivido como “turista filosófico”, cuando habla de los crímenes sobre la filosofía corre rápido al ejemplo de Husserl y su expulsión por los nazis pero nada dice del asesinato de Jan Patocka por parte del gobierno comunista checo.

Tendría que aprender de la valentía del filósofo argentino Oscar del Barco quien reclamó igual juicio que a los milicos de la dictadura, a sus antiguos compañeros los montoneros, y lo ralearon de todos lados.

Hace ya muchos años otro muy buen filósofo argentino, Máximo Chaparro, me comentaba que había que desarmar la gran mentira en torno a don Nimio, porque fue él, el auténtico y genuino fundador de la filosofía popular de la liberación con el rescate “el Ser singular (que es el ser visto desde América) en su discontinuidad fantasmagórica. El americano es un elemental, y sus pensadores representativos se asemejan a los físicos presocráticos.., para quien filosofe genuinamente como americano, no tiene otra salida que el pensamiento elemental dirigido al Ser objetivo-existencial…y este pre socratismo americano será, al cabo, una contribución efectiva a la recuperación del sentido greco-medieval del ser”.

Y sobre esto me observa el mismo Chaparro que: “Esta recuperación tiene un hondo significado. Por un lado, la ubicación del filosofar americano dentro de la tradición europea, rescatando su y nuestra originalidad, y por otro, en el desarrollo de la autoconciencia, el encuentro con las cosas en su individuación y  potencial universalidad. A menudo algunos repetidores se refieren a de Anquín como prototipo de un filosofar regresivo y ahistórico, no comprendiendo ni la ontología del filósofo y menos aún su imponente hermenéutica de la tradición europea”. [4]

Y así como Hernández pintó en Martín Fierro al pueblo argentino, análogamente de Anquín, hablando desde Lugones como poeta óntico, ve que ese Ser singular está encarnado también en el pueblo argentino.[5] Es por ello que todo el pensamiento post anquiniano es un pensamiento sobre la identidad o sobre las identidades. Y así como la filosofía de la liberación de corte marxista y astradista “no ha sido mas que un programa y no un desarrollo de ideas, el pensamiento sobre la “singularidad americana”   al decir de don Luis Villoro, la mejor cabeza filosófica viva que tiene México, el pensamiento sobre la “singularidad americana”  que nace con de Anquín (se haya sido o no discípulo de él) ha producido pensamiento filosófico genuino. Irrita y subleva que sus alumnos directos, como Dussel o Roig, quienes han escrito trabajos ad hoc sobre él, como el zorro en el monte hayan borrado con la cola las huellas.

Es un pensamiento sobre la cultura de síntesis que somos nosotros y la interculturalidad y no el multiculturalismo como han postulado muchos pensadores de la filosofía marxista de la liberación. Esa interculturalidad se manifiesta en la religiosidad popular que es católica hasta el tuétano, cargada con todas las manifestaciones heterodoxas que nuestro pueblo le ha adherido (Gauchito Gil, Difunta Correa, etc.).

Nosotros nos inscribimos en esta tradición de pensamiento como hombres del campo nacional, como pensadores populares católicos y como nacionalistas de Patria Grande. Y ante el one word, el mundo uno, no nos queda más salida que el ejercicio del disenso y el rescate de las identidades y las diferencias, en el marco de una tradición cultural tan específica como la de nuestra ecúmene hispanoamericana.


(*) alberto.buela@gmail.com

Casilla de Correo 3198 (1000) Buenos Aires




[1] Ver en Internet en varios sitios.

[2] Dinámica Social fue fundada y dirigida por el italiano Carlo Scorza. Se editaron 150 números desde septiembre de 1950 a octubre de 1964. Fue la única revista trilingüe (castellano, francés e italiano) que se editó en América del sur. Entre su colaboradores habituales extranjeros se destacaron Vintila Horia, G. Ucastescu, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, Manuel Fraga Iribarne, Paul Berger, Julio Icaza Tiberino, Pierre Daye, Carl Schmitt, Gino Miniati, Ramón de la Serna, Galvao de Souza, J. Osorio Lizarazu, Giorgio del Vecchio, F. Marionescu, Ploncard D`Assac, Gaëtan Bernoville, Drieu la Rochelle, Henri de Man, Charles Maurras, Alexis Carrel, Luigi Villari, Origo Vergami, Walter von Brüning, etc.

[3] El término ahijuna tiene una larga tradición argentina. Nace en pleno contrapunto entre federales y unitarios allá por 1830. La encontramos en los cielitos de El torito de los muchachos de Luis Pérez. Y con José Hernandez, el autor del Martín Fierro se pluraliza: ¡Ah! Hijos de una y gran puta. Así apocopado queda: Ahijuna como exclamación genuinamente argentina.

[4] Caparro, Máximo: carta personal del 25/3/11

[5]la Guerra Gaucha es el anti Martín Fierro porque es la epopeya del hombre americano que defiende su tierra hasta la muerte; mientras que el Martín Fierro es el relato del individuo nómade que constantemente huye; la Guerra Gaucha crea patriotismo y coraje, el Martín Fierro resentimiento y astucia, la una es poesía de vida o muerte, el otro versificación de homicidio y de sobre vida” (Lugones, poeta óntico). Borges irónico en Nota sobre la tierra Púrpura de Hudson afirma: “El Martín Fierro, pese a la canonización de Lugones, está falseado por inconvincentes bravatas y por una quejumbre casi italiana”.

mercredi, 13 juillet 2011

La religions des Seigneurs

La religion des Seigneurs


par Willy Fréson


Éric Stemmelen, La religion des seigneurs – Histoire de l’essor du christianisme entre le Ier et le VIe siècle, éd. Michalon, Paris, 2010.  € 22.


1100258-gf.jpgEn affirmant à la fois l’unicité et l’intelligibilité du cosmos, puis en l’investiguant par la libre réflexion appuyée sur l’observation et l’expérimentation, les Grecs de l’antiquité avaient fait accomplir à la pensée un véritable saut quantique. Sur ce plan, aucune civilisation ne fut jamais comparable – la nôtre, immergée dans son ébriété marchande et technicienne, n’étant que l’héri- tière bâtarde et improbable du « miracle grec ». Cette performance unique fut au fondement de la culture dite « gréco-romaine », dont le cadre politique fut, durant des siècles, l’œuvre tenace d’un autre peuple de génie, l’Empire romain que Nietzsche considérait comme « la forme d’organisation la plus grandiose jamais atteinte jusque-là, et en comparaison de quoi tout ce qui précède, tout ce qui suit, n’est qu’ébauche, amateurisme, dilettantisme » (L’Antéchrist, § 58).


L’ouvrage d’Éric Stemmelen dont il est ici question aborde un épisode absolument crucial de notre histoire puisqu’il ne s’agit de rien de moins que de comprendre comment une secte juive dissidente a pu en arriver à conditionner toute la destinée future de l’Europe et du monde en s’emparant du pouvoir dans l’Empire romain et en détruisant de l’intérieur une civilisation millénaire. Car, proclamait déjà le philosophe au marteau, « le christianisme a été le vampire de l’imperium Romanum, il a défait du jour au lendemain ce que les Romains avaient fait de prodigieux, défricher le sol où édifier une grande civilisation qui avait le temps pour elle » (ibidem). L’auteur constate que le phénomène est traditionnellement étudié dans sa dimension idéologique et, donc, à partir des témoignages chrétiens. Il choisit, quant à lui, de privilégier une démarche différente : elle consiste à délaisser le roman fantastique tramé par ces sources « internes » pour envisager résolument le processus du dehors, en le replaçant « dans les évolutions politiques, économiques, sociales du monde romain » (p. 10).


Stemmelen commence par faire un sort au mythe de l’irrésistible ascension du christianisme, censé culminer avec la conversion de l’usurpateur Constantin (306-337). Et en effet, comme ce sont toujours les vainqueurs qui écrivent l’histoire, on ne s’étonnera pas que, jusqu’à nos jours, l’historiographie traditionnelle soit imprégnée d’une vision plutôt conforme aux vœux de l’Église : le surnom de « Grand » conféré à Constantin est, en ce sens, révélateur. Depuis le triomphe de cette dernière, le christianisation est en effet présentée comme un processus irrésistible, nécessaire et bénéfique, s’inscrivant dans le « sens providentiel de l’histoire » et venant parachever le cycle civilisateur du progrès humain. Le récit se résume à la geste héroïque et vertueuse d’une communauté militante vouée au bien-être et au salut de l’humanité souffrante, à l’éloge des qualités intellectuelles et éminemment morales du message véhiculé par les évangiles (τὸεὐαγγέλιον : la « bonne » nouvelle) et, last but not least, à l’évocation des sanglantes persécutions prétendument orchestrées par un pouvoir romain buté dans son pathétique attachement aux traditions « païennes ». Ainsi, en 1939, l’historien et académicien Jérôme Carcopino, parlant de la chrétienté, écrit sans rire : « Évidemment sa croissance souterraine a progressé avec une étonnante rapidité ; … La religion des Juifs avait exercé son attrait sur nombre de Romains séduits par la grandeur de son monothéisme et la beauté du Décalogue. Celle des Chrétiens qui rayonnait des mêmes lumières, mais qui, de plus, divulguait un splendide message de rédemption et de fraternité, ne tarda pas à y substituer son propre prosélytisme » (La vie quotidienne à Rome à l’apogée de l’Empire, p. 163). Dans cette vision, le monde romain était déjà largement et spontanément converti dès le IIIe siècle. Le ralliement de Constantin au parti chrétien et sa conversion apparaissent dès lors comme l’achèvement d’un processus et non comme un « basculement ». C’est ce qu’écrit, par exemple, le cardinal Daniélou dans sa Nouvelle histoire de l’Église (1963) : « Au début du IVe siècle, les forces vives de l’empire étaient en grande partie chrétiennes. … En dégageant l’empire de ses liens avec le paganisme, Constantin ne sera pas un révolutionnaire. Il ne fera que reconnaître en droit une situation déjà réalisée dans les faits ».


Or, les résultats les plus récents de la recherche infirment cette sentence, et c’est sur eux que s’appuie la thèse de Stemmelen. Il faut surtout signaler les travaux de Robin Lane Fox et d’Alan Cameron aux États-Unis, de même que ceux de Pierre Chuvin et de Claude Lepelley en France. Ils apportent un sérieux bémol à cette vulgate de l’histoire chrétienne. En bonne méthode critique, ces auteurs sont retournés aux sources pour constater que la dite vulgate n’a guère d’autres fondements que les écrits, partisans et polémiques, des auteurs chrétiens eux-mêmes. En fait, de nombreux témoignages montrent que jusqu’en plein IVe siècle, les cultes traditionnels – « païens » – gardent toute leur vigueur ; à l’inverse, jusque vers le milieu du IIIe siècle, le corpus des textes non chrétiens ne comporte que très peu de témoignages de l’existence du christianisme, sans parler de l’authenticité douteuse de certains d’entre eux. Il en va de même des données épigraphiques, papyrologiques et archéologiques dont l’importance ne devient vraiment significative qu’à l’approche du IVe siècle. Si ce constat pose un rude problème méthodologique du fait que les affirmations de l’apologétique chrétienne – déjà suspectes en soi – ne peuvent guère être contrôlées par des recoupements externes, il laisse en tout cas soupçonner que la secte chrétienne a plus ou moins végété durant deux bons siècles, sinon dans le mépris, du moins dans la quasi indifférence générale, perdue qu’elle était dans le foisonnement des religions et des doctrines philosophiques d’un monde polythéiste et donc « pluraliste » par nature. Ce soupçon devient conviction lorsque l’on considère la faiblesse numérique des chrétiens avant et longtemps encore après leur prise du pouvoir : selon des estimations plausibles – car fondées sur des documents peu nombreux, certes, mais néanmoins révélateurs –, à la fin du IIe siècle, ils ne représentaient qu’à peine 2 % des habitants de l’Empire, et, au début du IVe, pas plus de 4 ou 5 %. Encore faut-il tenir compte des disparités régionales inhérentes à l’immensité de l’Empire : dans les provinces européennes, hormis Rome et quelques villes importantes, on tombe à 1 ou 2 %. Quant à l’Égypte, riche de sa documentation papyrologique et tenue pour l’un des premiers gros bastions du christianisme, elle ne devait compter tout au plus que 20 % de convertis à la même époque. On est loin de l’irrésistible et rapide conversion des masses décrite par les historiens conformes ! Et pour ce qui est des trop fameuses « persécutions », soit dit en passant, elles relèvent, pour l’essentiel, de fictions propagandistes chrétiennes : jusqu’au milieu du IIIe siècle et surtout jusqu’aux mesures bien trop tardives de Dioclétien (284-305), le pouvoir romain ne se préoccupa guère d’une secte si peu importante – de minimis non curat praetor –, et les actions antichrétiennes se résumèrent à des faits anecdotiques locaux, plutôt rares et aux effets limités.


Ce constat entraîne une conséquence capitale : le ralliement de Constantin ne peut plus être considéré comme l’aboutissement inévitable d’une christianisation avancée de l’Empire, mais bien comme un coup de force révolutionnaire qui imposa, en peu de temps, la dictature du parti de « Dieu ». Ceci apparaît d’autant plus clairement que, par ailleurs, la « question constantinienne » semble désormais tranchée. Elle s’était longtemps posée aux historiens qui s’interrogeaient sur la date de la conversion de Constantin : était-ce en 312, après sa fameuse vision et sa victoire décisive sur Maxence au pont Milvius, ou plus tard, en 326, après les meurtres de son propre fils Crispus et de sa seconde épouse Fausta, ou encore en 337, sur son lit de mort, lorsqu’il reçut enfin le baptême (une astuce d’époque, pour se faire pardonner jusqu’au dernier de ses innombrables péchés) ? On a maintenant de bonnes raisons pour fixer l’événement en 312 et pour rechercher sa cause du côté des nécessités politiques bien plus que des convictions religieuses.


La grande crise du IIIe siècle, avec ses usurpations, ses sécessions et ses guerres civiles, avait en effet gravement ébranlé l’image impériale. Pour la restaurer, les « empereurs soldats » avaient recouru à un stratagème idéologique qui consistait à se poser comme les représentants sur terre d’un dieu suprême. Aurélien s’était ainsi voué à Sol Invictus, tout comme les tétrarques Dioclétien et Maximien respectivement à Jupiter et à Hercule, ce qui leur conférait une légitimité d’essence divine, censée disqualifier les usurpateurs. Or, précisément, Constantin était un usurpateur qui, en 306, n’avait pas reculé devant un coup d’État et devant une guerre civile pour s’assurer de la succession de son père, Constance Chlore, au détriment des règles constitutionnelles de la Tétrarchie nouvellement instaurée par Dioclétien. Confrontés à des adversaires qui s’appuyaient sur les cultes encore vivaces des divinités traditionnelles de l’Empire, il s’était d’abord tourné vers les figures tutélaires d’Apollon et de Sol Invictus avant de sauter un pas décisif en adoptant, pour mobiliser ses troupes, une divinité d’un tout autre genre et en misant sur l’appui d’un mouvement religieux très minoritaire, certes, mais disposant d’atouts idéologiques indiscutables, et solidement organisé par des activistes passés maîtres dans l’art de l’agit-prop. Depuis longtemps, en effet, malgré son penchant affiché pour les misérables, l’ecclésia chrétienne avait réussi à gagner de l’influence auprès de certains éléments des couches aisées voire fortunées de la société, sans doute séduits par l’aplomb d’une doctrine qui non seulement prétendait donner réponse catégorique à toutes les interrogations existentielles, mais encore synthétisait des idées familières véhiculées autant par les gnoses et mystères orientaux que par une certaine philosophie grecque (dualisme, monothéisme, universalisme, eschatologie, sotériologie). Ce sont ces milieux qui avaient fourni le financement et les cadres éduqués indispensables à la propagande et à la crédibilité du mouvement au plus haut niveau. Ainsi, l’Africain Tertullien (entre 160 et 225) tout comme Minucius Felix, son quasi-contemporain, étaient des avocats des plus aisés, l’un à Carthage, l’autre à Rome, et nombreux étaient les évêques issus de familles très riches, tel Cyprien à Carthage (200-258).


C’est ainsi que l’on peut établir une conjonction entre les besoins de la politique et l’offre idéologique de l’époque : pour assurer son coup de force politique, Constantin fit le pari d’une nouvelle légitimité reposant sur une formule simple, démagogique et à l’efficacité prometteuse. L’analyse ne peut toutefois s’arrêter en si bon chemin car, ce faisant, l’usurpateur prenait le risque de se mettre à dos l’écrasante majorité des habitants de l’Empire. Comment, dès lors, expliquer son calcul ? Stemmelen, comme il l’a annoncé dans son prologue, procède alors à une approche « externe » des faits et vise à démontrer que le succès durable de Constantin tint au soutien décisif de la classe dominante des grands propriétaires, elle-même déjà largement gagnée par le christianisme.


Si l’on admet les aspects les moins contestables de la pensée de Marx, il faut ici rappeler que toute société se construit autour de trois contraintes qui sont l’exploitation économique, la domination politique et l’hégémonie idéologique. Selon le sociologue Robert Fossaert (La société. I : Une théorie générale, 1977), « l’instance économique tend à représenter l’ensemble des pratiques et des structures sociales relatives à la production de la vie matérielle de la société. Le concept central à partir duquel elle s’organise est celui de mode de production. L’instance politique tend à représenter l’ensemble des pratiques et des structures sociales relatives à l’organisation de la vie sociale. Le concept central à partir duquel et autour duquel elle s’organise est celui de l’État ». Quant à l’instance idéologique, elle se définit de la façon la plus large « comme l’analyse de l’ensemble des pratiques par lesquelles et des structures dans lesquelles les hommes-en-société se représentent le monde où ils vivent ». Si l’on transpose ces considérations au cas historique qui nous préoccupe, on voit que sa victoire de 312 assura à Constantin la mainmise sur l’appareil d’État romain (il liquidera Licinius, son corégent et beau-frère, en 325), laquelle conditionna la mise en place de l’hégémonie idéologique de l’Église et du parti chrétiens. Or, le caractère durable et, en fait, définitif de cette révolution induit nécessairement que des éléments dominants de la société étaient partie prenante dans l’opération car, comme le rappelle Stemmelen, « aucun régime politique ne peut gouverner contre la classe qui détient le pouvoir économique » (p. 110). Ce point constitue le noyau de la thèse développée par l’auteur, et il le résume comme suit (pp. 271-72) :


« Au IIe siècle, l’économie romaine est entrée dans un nouveau mode de production, fondé sur la propriété latifundiaire et sur le colonat, qui s’est substitué à l’esclavage traditionnel, en particulier en Orient et en Afrique. Il consiste à faire exploiter de très grands domaines agricoles par des paysans, dénommés « colons » [coloni], qui, bien que « libres » et non pas esclaves, doivent demeurer attachés à la terre qu’ils travaillent, pour le compte et au bénéfice d’un richissime propriétaire. Pour que ce système fonctionne, il est nécessaire que ces paysans se soumettent à l’autorité des grands propriétaires fonciers, qu’ils acceptent de travailler pour le compte d’autrui alors que leur statut d’hommes libres ne les y oblige pas, contrairement aux esclaves, et enfin qu’ils fondent une famille et qu’ils assurent une descendance afin que perdure l’exploitation. Or, dans un monde aux mœurs plutôt relâchées, où règne une certaine oisiveté (le travail et la soumission étant réservés aux esclaves), rien n’incite des hommes libres à se plier à de telles contraintes. La religion chrétienne va fournir aux propriétaires l’instrument idéologique adéquat car elle est la seule à promouvoir avec force les valeurs d’autorité, de travail et de famille. Sa vision très particulière de la sexualité, réduite à sa fonction reproductrice, s’oppose radicalement aux mœurs antiques. Les nouveaux seigneurs fonciers vont donc favoriser l’essor de cette secte très minoritaire et utiliser ses cadres, les évêques, d’abord pour asseoir leur tutelle sur les coloni, ensuite pour s’emparer du pouvoir politique, ceci aux dépens de l’ancienne classe dominante esclavagiste représentée par l’ordre sénatorial. La création d’un empire chrétien s’ensuivra, avec la mise en place, au IVe siècle, d’un régime dictatorial, entièrement voué à la puissance et à l’enrichissement des seigneurs, et qui procèdera à une christianisation forcée. »


Dans son principe, cette thèse est séduisante en ceci qu’elle tente d’expliquer le triomphe de l’Église chrétienne non plus par de simples considérations idéologiques (les « vertus » intrinsèques du discours chrétien) mais, plus largement et plus fondamentalement, par des arguments d’ordre politique, économique et social. À la suite des profondes mutations subies par l’Empire romain durant le IIIe siècle,elle décrit, en fait, l’émergence d’un ordre nouveau totalitaire où, au travers d’une stricte hiérarchie de « seigneurs » (domini ; plus tard, en latin ecclésiastique, seniores), se conjuguent de manière saisissante les rets de l’exploitation économique, de la domination politique et de l’hégémonie idéologique. De haut en bas, on a ainsi le Dominus céleste – créateur et principe de l’univers –, puis le dominus terrestre – l’empereur, jadis simple princeps et désormais maître du monde par la grâce divine –, et enfin, de multiples domini locaux – grands propriétaires, soutiens et bénéficiaires ultimes du système tout autant qu’incarnation de celui-ci auprès du commun des mortels.


La démonstration, pourtant, ne laisse pas de susciter quelques objections. On ne peut, en effet, que s’étonner de voir l’auteur reprendre une affirmation du juriste italien Aldo Schiavone disant que « la crise de l’esclavage romain s’accompagne, à partir des débuts du troisième siècle après J.-C., de l’effondrement de tout le système économique de l’empire » (p. 30). Ce point de vue catastrophiste, fondé surtout sur les textes et partagé naguère par nombre de spécialistes, est aujourd’hui dépassé. Les recherches récentes des archéologues dessinent au contraire une image nettement plus favorable de la situation économique de l’Empire durant ce siècle troublé ; elles présentent, en outre, un tableau très différencié suivant les périodes et les régions. Par exemple, on sait maintenant que, si l’Afrique a connu alors un véritable « boom » économique, ce ne fut pas au détriment d’autres provinces et encore moins à celui de l’Italie, prétendument en complète régression : simplement, les acteurs économiques, les réseaux d’échanges et les centres de gravité ont évolué avec le temps. En particulier, les conséquences du déclin de la main d’œuvre servile ont été exagérées. Elle a surtout touché l’Italie, où les esclaves avaient été très nombreux à la suite des conquêtes de la République ; mais le processus s’était amorcé dès le Ier siècle de notre ère et, dans le monde rural, ses effets avaient été absorbés depuis, grâce aux restructurations rendues possibles par la persistance d’une nombreuse paysannerie libre, en Italie comme dans les provinces. Ceci dit, le nombre des esclaves restait tout de même non négligeable, ce qui, d’ailleurs, ne heurtait en rien les idéologues chrétiens. Dans ces conditions, on ne peut affirmer, sans plus, que « le colonat s’est substitué à l’esclavage traditionnel » et que « les nouveaux seigneurs fonciers » se sont établis « aux dépens de l’ancienne classe dominante esclavagiste représentée par l’ordre sénatorial ». La réalité fut plus complexe, sans aucun doute, mais, vu le caractère limité de nos sources, elle se laisse difficilement appréhender.


Le problème du colonat illustre bien cet état de choses. Le colon était un paysan libre qui, contre redevance, recevait le droit de cultiver une parcelle de terre agricole. Ce genre de bail à métayage était courant sur les grands domaines (praedia) privés ou publics du monde romain. Sous l’Empire tardif, les textes législatifs révèlent une apparente dégradation de la condition des colons. Ces derniers, ainsi que leurs descendants, sont désormais impérativement liés (adscripti) à leur « lieu d’origine » (origo), c’est-à-dire à la terre qu’ils cultivent. Ceci est apparu comme une préfiguration du servage médiéval, et, longtemps, on a cru y voir une mesure destinée à remédier à la défaillance de l’économie esclavagiste. En réalité, l’obligation de rester sur sa terre d’origine est une conséquence de la grande réforme fiscale promulguée par Dioclétien en 287. À cette occasion fut introduit le système de l’impôt par répartition qui consistait à attribuer à chaque unité fiscale, du haut en bas de la hiérarchie administrative, un certain nombre de parts (capita) de la charge globale. Les grands domaines fonciers comptèrent de la sorte parmi les unités de base, et, afin de soulager les agents du fisc, leurs propriétaires, les domini, eurent chacun pour tâche de répartir et de percevoir l’impôt (capitatio) dans leur domaine propre – ce qui n’était sans doute que la systématisation d’un pragmatisme bien antérieur. Aussi est-ce pour assurer la pérennité du rendement fiscal que les colons furent légalement adscrits à la terre. Ceux-ci restaient donc libres car l’obligation à laquelle ils étaient assujettis était de droit public et non privé : autrement dit, la loi visait à garantir l’intérêt de l’État – i. e. la rentrée de l’impôt – et non celui des propriétaires fonciers qui, de leur côté, bien sûr, cherchaient à maintenir leurs baux. Cependant, si la législation visait, au départ, à protéger les colons, elle ouvrait indéniablement la portes aux pires abus en déléguant aux domini non seulement la collecte de la capitation mais aussi le contrôle de l’obligation faite aux colons de rester en place. À la longue, évidemment, au gré des défaillances de l’État, le pouvoir de ces « seigneurs » finit par rompre l’équilibre et par détourner à son profit ce fragile cadre juridique.


Dans un monde où l’agriculture représentait encore la part majeure de l’économie, les grands propriétaires fonciers étaient, sans conteste, les principaux détenteurs des moyens de production, d’autant qu’ils étaient aussi impliqués dans les échanges commerciaux. Sous l’Empire tardif, ils formèrent une classe particulièrement opulente et puissante, en Orient et, plus encore, en Occident. On ne saurait dire, toutefois, qu’elle s’est constituée, par la grâce du colonat, en opposition à l’ancien ordre sénatorial « esclavagiste ». Elle est, en fait, le résultat des évolutions politiques, sociales et économiques des trois premiers siècles de l’Empire qui ont vu l’ancienne aristocratie italienne s’ouvrir peu à peu aux élites provinciales puis aux parvenus de toute sorte, alors même que l’économie agraire se restructurait diversement suivant les régions, en privilégiant d’autres modes de production que l’esclavagisme. Nonobstant, ce correctif mis à part, il est tout à fait plausible qu’une partie au moins de la classe des « seigneurs » ait joué un rôle actif et intéressé dans la promotion d’un christianisme promouvant si opportunément les valeurs « d’au- torité, de travail et de famille » ; de nombreux signes montrent, en tout cas, que cette classe s’est largement ralliée au camp de Constantin puis de ses fils à partir de la victoire décisive du premier en 312, réalisant ainsi le « basculement » évoqué par Stemmelen.


Reste, maintenant, un point essentiel. De ce qui a été dit jusqu’ici, on peut conclure que l’ébranlement de l’Empire, au IIIe siècle, n’est pas, dans son essence, assimilable à une crise  économique majeure – et encore moins à un « effondrement » –, comme le conçoit Stemmelen à la suite de toute une tradition historiographique marquée du plus typique des réductionnismes « modernes », à savoir l’économisme (« réduction à l’économie des finalités sociales et des buts du politique »). S’il en avait été ainsi, jamais l’Empire n’eût pu y survivre comme il le fit. La crise, bien réelle en tout état de cause, fut plutôt la conséquence d’un collapsus politique induit par une impasse géopolitique. Les effets de cette dernière, un temps maîtrisés, finiront par mener, au Ve siècle, à l’effondrement militaire et politique de l’Empire romain en Occident.


Depuis ses origines, en effet, le système impérial souffrait d’une contradiction majeure car, pour le faire accepter au terme de sanglantes guerres civiles qui avaient abattu le pouvoir du Sénat, Auguste, le premier empereur, avait dissimulé les réalités de la nouvelle monarchie militaire en perpétuant le décorum des institutions républicaines. On était donc toujours officiellement en République et le Sénat gardait, au moins nominalement, un certain nombre de prérogatives, dont la désignation de l’empereur, présenté comme le princeps, « le premier des sénateurs » (d’où le nom de « principat » donné au régime). Or, malgré l’opposition larvée de l’ordre sénatorial, les réalités ultimes du pouvoir se trouvaient maintenant de facto aux mains de l’armée (perpétuant l’idée du peuple romain en armes), sans qu’aucun principe constitutionnel ne vînt clairement définir les modalités de la succession impériale.


Par ailleurs, la République, régime oligarchique d’assemblée – par nature méfiant à l’égard des grands commandements affectés à de grandes entreprises –, n’avait jamais élaboré de concept stratégique autre qu’empirique et s’en tint toujours à quelques principes, dont le plus constant consista à ne dépasser sous aucun prétexte l’écosystème du bassin méditerranéen, berceau de la civilisation et base du système international dans lequel se déployait la politique romaine. Le Sénat crut possible, en effet, de se réserver « la part utile » du monde, quitte à abandonner le reste à son sort, faisant sur ce point essentiel bon marché des pesanteurs de la géopolitique et transposant à l’échelle de l’œkoumène un comportement de propriétaire terrien typique de l’aristocratie romaine. Ce fut le génie novateur de César qui, au temps de la révolution romaine, amena la rupture avec cette posture restrictive en concevant une authentique « grande stratégie » accordée à la vision d’un empire universel. Le nouveau concept tirait les conséquences de la situation très particulière et aussi très préoccupante de l’empire républicain, lequel, bordant presque tout le pourtour de la Méditerranée, se présentait comme une île inversée, avec ses côtes tournées vers l’intérieur et ses territoires déployés en arc de cercle, ouverts aux profondeurs continentales. La vulnérabilité de ces frontières interminables s’étant brutalement révélée lors de l’invasion cimbrique qui avait frappé l’Italie et les provinces depuis la péninsule balkanique jusqu’à l’Espagne (113-101), l’objectif de César fut alors d’annuler ces frontières en portant les limites de l’empire jusqu’aux rivages de l’océan. La fameuse « guerre des Gaules » (58-51) fut l’amorce de cette « grande stratégie » qui, d’emblée, s’orienta vers l’Europe, hinterland de l’Italie. La mort du « dictateur » empêcha la réalisation d’un plan qu’il prévoyait de poursuivre depuis la Caspienne jusqu’à l’Atlantique. Le projet fut cependant repris par son petit neveu, Auguste, le premier empereur, qui, après avoir plus clairement encore donné la priorité stratégique à l’Europe plutôt qu’à l’Orient, poussa jusqu’à la Baltique, la Bohême et le bassin des Carpates. L’échec final de ce projet perspicace – dû plus à des raisons de politique intérieure qu’aux difficultés rencontrées (révoltes germaniques et illyriennes) – et le repli sur le Rhin et le Danube ordonné par Tibère, son successeur, constituèrent le tournant décisif de toute l’histoire stratégique romaine, car c’est sur ce front, entre mer du Nord et mer Noire, qu’allait se décider le destin de l’Empire et, par suite, de l’Europe. Cette décision, qui devait se révéler définitive, eut une double conséquence : d’une part, elle entraîna le retour, sur un mode élargi, à l’empire méditerranéen, caractérisé par un manque de profondeur stratégique sur le théâtre européen, et, d’autre part, elle redonna, par contrecoup et comme sous la République, la priorité à l’Orient et à ses mirages. Ce choix équivalait à une faute géopolitique capitale dont, aujourd’hui encore, la portée historique semble échapper autant aux historiens qu’à Stemmelen, qui écrit benoîtement que « Julien, comme bien avant lui Trajan ou Septime Sévère, avait compris que l’Orient pourrait redonner à l’empire romain une raison d’être et une identité collective » (p. 163).


Aussi, s’il n’y eut manifestement pas progression linéaire mais basculement du monde traditionnel vers l’ordre nouveau, la raison première en fut, selon toute apparence, la conjonction fatale entre les fragilités internes du régime impérial et une configuration géopolitique au plus haut point défavorable. La crise, déjà latente depuis la fin du IIe siècle, atteint son maximum au cours du IIIe, surtout durant les cinquante années qui s’écoulent de l’assassinat d’Alexandre Sévère (235) à la proclamation de Dioclétien (284). L’Empire est alors confronté à des attaques de grande ampleur simultanément sur plusieurs fronts. À l’est, sur le plateau iranien, la dynastie parthe déclinante cède la place à celle, beaucoup plus agressive, des Sassanides, lesquels se réclament de l’héritage des Achéménides, jadis vaincus par Alexandre le Grand ; en clair, ils revendiquent tout l’Orient romain et percent les défenses de celui-ci jusqu’à la Méditerranée. Au sud, les nomades du désert africain multiplient les razzias. Enfin, les peuples germaniques et leurs alliés s’ébranlent sur un front allant de la mer du Nord à la mer Noire, et lancent une multitudes de raids sans cesse renouvelés sur les provinces européennes de l’Empire : bientôt l’Espagne, l’Italie, la Grèce et même l’Asie Mineure sont touchées. La profonde dénivellation culturelle séparant l’Europe romaine des « Barbares » avait été l’occasion pour ces derniers de se mettre à l’école de la civilisation romaine, tout comme il l’avaient fait, jadis, à celle des Celtes laténiens. L’archéologie révèle aujourd’hui l’ampleur des influences exercées par Rome sur ses voisins du Nord – à travers une diplomatie active, un commerce téléguidé, un recrutement assidu de mercenaires et un transfert étonnant de richesses et de technologies. Le résultat fut une militarisation et une organisation croissante des sociétés germaniques, dont les liens gentilices furent de plus en plus doublés par des structures politico-guerrières héritées des Celtes d’Europe centrale et perfectionnées au contact de la machinerie militaire romaine, celles des comitatus (all. Gefolgschaften) vouant, par serment, de grandes compagnies à des chefs de guerre entreprenants, capables de mener des actions prédatrices et de redistribuer ensuite le butin accumulé.


Sous cette formidable pression, le système défensif romain fut débordé et le transfert répété de troupes du front européen vers l’Orient entraîna la ruée toujours renouvelée de véritables armées germaniques vers les richesses convoitées du Sud. Pillages, destructions, massacres et déportations de prisonniers ne se comptèrent plus ; les provinces européennes furent ainsi le plus durement touchées et c’est là qu’on peut voir se profiler, à des degrés variables, le plus d’impacts économiques et sociaux. Le paroxysme fut atteint en 260, lorsque la défaite et la capture de l’empereur Valérien par les Perses entraîna la sécession de pans entiers de l’Empire, contraints de prendre acte de la défaillance du pouvoir central et d’assurer eux-mêmes leur défense. Les pronunciamientos et les usurpations, autant que les guerres internes et externes, consacrèrent le rôle démesuré des armées et achevèrent ainsi de désorganiser l’État. Celui-ci, en la personne des « empereurs-soldats », n’eut alors de cesse de se trouver une nouvelle légitimation capable de mobiliser les forces nécessaires à la reconquista et à la restauration de l’Empire. C’est dans ce contexte de chaos à peine maîtrisé que se place la totale refonte des institutions tentée par Dioclétien, encore placée sous les auspices de la religion romaine traditionnelle, et qui devait aboutir à l’éphémère système tétrarchique. C’est toujours dans ce contexte que le rebelle Constantin cherchera à imposer son pouvoir, cette fois, selon Stemmelen, en s’appuyant sur un tout nouveau parti de possédants et dans un esprit révolutionnaire implacable et sans scrupules que perpétueront ses successeurs. Jésus dit le « Christ », l’icône du nouveau régime, n’avait-il pas été explicite, en son temps, lorsqu’il déclarait sans ambages : « Quant à mes ennemis, ceux qui n’ont pas voulu que je règne sur eux, amenez-les ici, et égorgez-les en ma présence » (Luc, 19, 27).


Conclusion : l’Histoire officielle mérite, à maints égards, une révision radicale. Les « racines chrétiennes de l’Europe », dont on nous rabat les oreilles, constituent un mensonge absolu : depuis quand des racines se trouvent-elles si haut sur l’arbre ? La christianisation fut un accident tardif de l’histoire européenne. Celle-ci plonge ses vraies racines bien plus loin, dans un passé fabuleux dont le Parthénon, les mégalithes et la grotte Chauvet ne sont que des étapes parmi tant d’autres. C’est en cela qu’il faut saluer le bel effort de Stemmelen : « La religion des Seigneurs » est un essai et, comme tel, l’ouvrage n’est pas exempt d’objections critiques, mais il n’en demeure pas moins un livre documenté et stimulant pour la discussion, d’autant que l’importance de son sujet n’est pas à démontrer.

Willy Fréson, juin 2011.


lundi, 11 juillet 2011

La experiencia metafisica


La experiencia metafísica


Alberto Buela (*)


El término metafísica ha sido bastardeado en estos últimos años hasta significar todo o no significar nada. Esta disciplina, con seguridad la más noble de la filosofía, ha sido oscurecida no sólo por los miles de “estafadores del espíritu”[1] que la usan para cualquier cosa y de cualquier manera, sino por aquellos que haciendo formalmente filosofía no saben de qué hablan, o lo que es peor, “oscurecen las aguas para que parezcan más profundas”.

Sin embargo unos pocos hombres, vistos como “raros”, la han ejercido con maestría: Platón, Aristóteles, Anselmo, Eriúgena, Tomás de Aquino, Duns Escoto, Suárez, Leibniz, Descartes, Kant, Hegel. Luego, entró la disciplina en una edad crepuscular que llega hasta nuestros días.


La metafísica ha sido caracterizada de una vez y para siempre por Aristóteles en Metafísica 1003 a 20-22, como la ciencia del ente en tanto ente y los atributos que como tal le corresponden. Estin episthmh tiV h qewrein to on h on kai toutw uparconta kaq´auto = estín episteme tis he theoréin to on e on kai ta toúto ypárchonta kath´autó= es la ciencia que contempla el ente en tanto ente y aquellos atributos que le son propios.Dado que el ente “es lo que es”, él se nos aparece por todas partes pero al mismo tiempo no es ninguno en particular. Es decir, que los hombres en el momento en que caemos a la existencia estamos rodeados de entes y de algún modo conocemos, antes o previamente a todo preguntar por su índole, que son los entes. Tenemos una precognición de lo que son ellos. Pero en el momento mismo en que nos preguntamos por el ente o los entes surge la pregunta por el “ser del ente”= to ti en einai= to ti hn einai.

El hombre, todo hombre tiene una comprensión familiar sobre los entes, tiene un saber primigenio en el cual siempre “ya está ahí”. El asunto se complica cuando al preguntarse por el ser del ente aparece el ser que se esconde en el ente y es renuente a nuestra pregunta. El ser se extiende a todos los entes pero al mismo tiempo no es ninguno de ellos.

Cuando nos preguntamos por el ente lo podemos entender y se nos presenta de dos perspectivas: como to on,como algo entitativo, cuando designa todas las cosas singulares que nos rodean. O como to einai, como aquello que hace que el ente sea. Y así lo confirma Heidegger en 1935:“La primera significación de to on significa ta onta= entia; la segunda, to einai=esse.”[2]

Ahora bien, si el ser, einai o esse  es aquello que hace que el ente sea, el ser tiene que estar en todos los entes pero al mismo tiempo no agotarse en ningún ente en particular, por lo tanto el ser es al mismo tiempo lo común a todos y lo diverso, pues todos los entes tienen ser pero no son el ser. El término ser no tiene igual sentido para todo lo que es (unívoco) ni en sentido diverso (equivoco) sino en sentido análogo. Esto es, que se dice en un sentido relativamente igual (la mesa y el caballo son porque tienen ser) pero este ser es propiamente diverso (el ser no es ni la mesa ni el caballo).

Así, todos los entes son, pero son limitados por su esencia a una determinada manera de ser. Y la esencia es aquello que está encerrado en la definición del ente. Pero sin el ser la esencia no es, de modo que el ser es el que pone en acto la esencia, el ser es el actus essendi. Es el acto constitutivo, primordial y radical del ente.

La metafísica occidental tuvo un largo desarrollo que llegó hasta Hegel, quien pudo elaborar la última gran exposición ontológica completa en una obra gigantesca después de la cual el pensamiento metafísico se detuvo. Vinieron luego Kierkegaard y Nietzsche que anuncian una nueva experiencia ontológica, sea la interioridad sea la hondura dionisíaca de la vida, y luego Husserl y Scheler con la reducción eidética y finalmente Heidegger que se vino a preguntar por el ser ahí, por el Dasein. De modo que hoy, más precisamente desde 1927 cuando fue publicado Ser y Tiempo, estamos obligados a hacer metafísica de un modo distinto a como lo ha hecho la philosophia perennis desde Aristóteles hasta Hegel.

“Todo esto vale para Europa, si es que aún existe Europa. No olvidemos que la madurez hegeliana es signo de crepúsculo. ¿Valdría también para nosotros americanos de Hispanoamérica?” se preguntó, a respecto, el mayor metafísico que dio Hispanoamérica allá por 1953.[3]

Esto no quiere decir que tengamos que renegar de ese poderoso bagaje cultural que es la razón última de Occidente, sino que con ese bagaje cultural tenemos que hacerla de otra manera.

Así la primera exigencia de un metafísico hoy, al comienzo de la segunda década del siglo XXI, es conocer en profundidad todo el desarrollo histórico de la metafísica, lo que supone largos años de estudio pormenorizado.

En segundo lugar plantarse ante los entes y tomarlos por lo que son. Y si es que pretendemos hacer filosofía desde América adoptar un presocratismo americano en donde los entes se nos muestran en su realidad objetiva existencial. En una palabra, nuestro método es atenernos a la realidad singular y concreta que nos circunda y no caer en la trampa que nos creó la filosofía moderna de la primacía y el privilegio del método sobre el asunto u objetivo. 


Nuestra experiencia metafísica, ésta que venimos realizando desde la publicación de nuestro primer libro allá por 1972, nos ha mostrado que el ente se nos presenta antes que nada como “cosa”. Hay ceniceros, casas, mesas, injusticias, asesinatos, estafas pero también fantasías, solidaridades, cohetes, celulares, computadoras, pizarrones (ya no tantos), en una palabra, un mundo de cosas que forman nuestro contorno y que nos rodean desde el momento en que caemos a la existencia en este mundo. Sobre esta multiplicidad de entes nosotros tenemos un cierto saber previo, sabemos de su esencia sin poder explicitarla. Todo hombre, dice por ahí en algún lugar  Aristóteles, es radicalmente filósofo y cuando lo dice lo afirma en este sentido, que todo hombre tiene una captación inmediata del ente como cosa. Y ello es concebido primariamente como evidente por el entendimiento. Es que lo más común y general se conoce, aunque de manera confusa, antes que lo singular y concreto. Y lo más común y general es que “hay entes”. En el qaumazw = thaumázo= admiración, en el instante mismo del comienzo del filosofar, nuestro entendimiento se fija en “esta cosa” y no en cualquier cosa ni en todas las cosas. Al filósofo lo admira antes que nada esta cosa, este fenómeno, este problema y de “esta cosa ”, “este fenómeno” o “este problema” ya tiene, como dijimos, un cierto saber previo.

Es por ello que se puede afirmar que: “la cosa añade al ente una cierta inteligibilidad, puesto que ésta despliega la realidad de la esencia de un ente”. [4]

El hombre tiene un saber previo sobre los entes por el mero hecho de ser hombre, pero en cuanto se pregunta por esa esencia sobre la que tiene un saber precognictivo, salta inmediatamente el tema de si existe o no. Sino me estoy preguntando por un ser ideal o un ser real. Sino me estoy equivocando o errando. El desprestigio de la metafísica post hegeliana nace acá, en este momento en el que el pensar busca al ser y cuando no lo encuentra lo inventa. Esta es la madre del borrego de la quiebra de la metafísica contemporánea, pues mientras hablamos de esencias, de cosas, de entes no hay mayores problemas, el asunto es cuando queremos traer esos entes cuando no existen, a la existencia, pues allí se le aplica a estos falsos metafísicos el viejo verso criollo:


“que gente que sabe cosas,

La gente de este albardón,

Que gente que sabe cosas,

Pero cosas que no son”.


Ahora bien, este paso a la existencia se da cuando las cosas, los entes se nos presentan como “algo”. Cuando surge la pregunta metafísica por antonomasia: ¿ porqué existe algo y no mas bien la nada?[5] Y respondemos “el ente como algo es no-nada, pues lo algo nos dice que el ente discrepa con la nada, que el ente existe.”[6]  Algo en latín se dice aliquid  que proviene de alius quid = otro que está ahí. Así cuando decimos que las cosas son algo, que están allí estamos diciendo que los entes, cada uno de ellos se separan unos de otros por su propia existencia. Pues la existencia es “lo no común” que anida en el ente, ya que la esencia es compartida por el género y la especie, en tanto que el existir= el ser= el acto de ser, es lo inalienable, lo propiamente individual de cada ente y esto es lo añadido por “lo algo” al ente.

El hábito metafísico, aquel que se adquiere luego de muchos años de ejercicio en la pregunta sobre los entes y sobre el ser de los entes, lleva en un segundo momento a introducirnos en lo que llamó ese gran metafísico que fue Eugen Fink, “en la cuádruple dimensión trascendental del problema único del ser, que ya en la antigüedad se centraba en la interna relación del  ens-unum-verum-bonum= on-en-alhJeV-agaJon “.[7]

Visto que hay entes porque hay cosas y que sabemos que esos entes existen porque se nos presentan como algo, sea porque los tocamos como el incrédulo de Santo Tomás o por el impulso de resistencia que nos ofrecen, como afirma Max Scheler, el metafísico comienza a desenvolver propiamente y stricto sensu su dominio. Aquel domino de los entes donde le es propio hablar y que va más allá del campo de la diferencia entre género y especie o la definición por diferencia específica propia de las ciencias y de otras disciplinas de la propia filosofía.

El metafísico se mueve en el ámbito de la dimensión trascendental pues el ente no es ningún género y su actividad específica se da sobre el ente.

Así el metafísico estudia por principio la totalidad de lo que es y existe. La totalidad del hombre, el mundo y sus problemas, como gustaba decir Miguel Ángel Virasoro[8] es su campo de acción, y de alguna manera, la metafísica es infinita pues cualquier ente que se hace presente al entendimiento entra dentro de los dominios del ser y por ende de la metafísica.

Es que la metafísica es siempre metafísica del ser y no metafísica de las esencias como erróneamente propuso el racionalismo moderno “bajo el presupuesto dualista que no conocemos la realidad sino nuestras representaciones de ella” [9]

Esta versión espuria de la metafísica pretende ordenar las representaciones confiando que alcanzará una explicación absoluta de lo real a partir exclusivamente del pensamiento. Las consecuencias más nefastas de este cambio las tenemos hoy en aquellas “metafísicas del embuste” mencionadas al comienzo.

La metafísica del ente en tanto ente, la del ser como acto del ente, aquella que viene a explicitar lo implícito de toda realidad, es una metafísica que parte de la experiencia del ser del ente y se apoya en el hábito metafísico.


La respuesta metafísica, aquella que puede ofrecer una experiencia metafísica fructífera es siempre trascendente, cuando se encara un problema o un dominio del ser, el metafísico busca en primer lugar ver el todo y aquello en lo que más se manifiesta ese todo. La totalidad de lo que estudia y su sentido. Tiene grabada en su frente aquella enseñanza de Platón: “dialéctico (metafísico) es el que ve el todo y el que no, no lo es” (Rep. 537 c 13). Y esa visión del todo al ser tratada metafísicamente es reducida a la unidad. La reductio ad unum no es otra cosa que encontrar el ser, el sentido último, la causa profunda del fenómeno estudiado. 

Es que, en definitiva, lo complejo y lo compuesto no tiene ser mientras sus partes están divididas sino que tiene sentido cuando las partes constituyen el compuesto o lo complejo, y lo uno= unum = en , agrega al ente, al problema o al fenómeno tratado: la indivisión. Por eso los antiguos aconsejaban distinguere ut iungere= distinguir para unir.

Lo uno como el ente se dicen de muchas maneras. Lo uno se dice como lo idéntico, lo mismo, lo semejante, lo igual, mientras que el ente se dice como sustancia y como accidentes. Pero tanto lo uno como el ente se convierten uno con otro= ens et unum convertuntur con la diferencia que no son expresados por conceptos distintos. Y así lo afirma Aristóteles en su Metafísica “el ente y lo uno son idénticos y de una misma naturaleza” (1003b 23)… “lo uno no es nada aparte de ente. Además la sustancia de cada ente es una y no por accidente” (1003b 31).

Lo uno presenta a la cabeza metafísica, según la experiencia que podemos recoger, al ente como sí mismo, como idéntico y no como siendo otro. Evita el denominado falso problema que tan comúnmente se plantea. Y al mismo tiempo obliga ir a la revelación de la sustancia del ente o del problema o del asunto.


El otro acceso metafísico al ente, desde la experiencia, es la búsqueda de lo verdadero=alhJeV. Así como desde el punto de vista gnoseológico la verdad es la adecuación entre el entendimiento y el ente, y desde el punto de vista lógico la verdad está en el juicio. Desde la metafísica, verdadero es lo que es, y como también el ente es lo que es: ens et verum convertuntur, lo verdadero y el ente se convierten uno en el otro respectivamente.

La existencia de un ente no verdadero es tan imposible como la de un conocimiento no verdadero, que termina siendo una nada de conocimiento. De la misma manera que la existencia de la no verdad, o sea, la negación de la verdad, se transforma de suyo en una verdad.

Lo verdadero añade al ente la comparación con el entendimiento, de ahí que un metafísico, cuyo método no es otro que seguir al ente o los entes, se enfrenta a un ente, por ej.: cristal falso afirma que es verdadero vidrio. Trajimos un ejemplo límite para mostrar que no puede existir un ente totalmente no verdadero.

Aristóteles afirma “tanto una cosa tiene de ser, cuanto de verdad” (Met. 993b 30)  cuando se pregunta cuál es la causa de la verdad. Así la plenitud de ser será la causa de la verdad y la jerarquía de los valores. Y esto nos lleva a otro modo de llegada al ente, aquella a través de lo bueno=agaJon. Porque lo bueno adhiere al ente la idea de perfecto, de que nada le falta, de ahí que los antiguos hayan definido el bien como aquello a que todas las cosas (los entes) aspiran.

Este acceso al ente a través de lo bueno abre al metafísico todo el amplio campo del obrar (la voluntad apetente y la libertad) y el de los valores.

La historia de la filosofía vista como un todo, vista desde la metafísica, destaca tres corrientes que han ejercido la mayor influencia: realismo, voluntarismo y racionalismo, las que han otorgado, respectivamente, primacía al ser, el bien y la verdad. El realismo llegó al siglo XX bajo la forma de neoaristotelismo, neotomismo y filosofía de la existencia. El voluntarismo como empirismo, utilitarismo, positivismo y el racionalismo como neohegelianismo, fenomenología y estructuralismo.

Casi a finales del siglo veinte aparece una corriente de pensamiento caracterizada como postmoderna que vino a ofrecer una visión desencantada del hombre signada  por el nihilismo y descreimiento que buscó refugio y puso el acento en la filosofía del arte, buscando el acceso al ente a través del lo bello=pulchrum =kaloV. Pero cabe recordar que ya el genio de Kierkegaard había advertido que “la temática del esteticismo es lo superficial”. ¡Toda una advertencia para nuestros días!. Es que la obra de arte en la postmodernidad ha dejado de ser pensada y vista como “aquello que no deja margen para haber podido ser diferente” como quería Kant, ni es splendor veri como en Platón, sino que lo bello viene asociado a lo feo, a lo kisch.

El rescate de la pregunta metafísica por excelencia: ¿Por qué es en general el ente y no más bien la nada?, que al ser la más extensa, pues todo lo que no sea nada entra en ella; la más profunda, pues se pregunta por el fundamento del ente y la más original, pues se demanda por la totalidad de los entes, sin preferencia particular por alguno, ha sido el logro de la metafísica del siglo XX.

Pero, hablando con propiedad, fue el realismo en sus diversas acepciones quien tuvo el mérito de rescatar la pregunta y la meditación metafísica (Cornelio Fabro, Xavier Zubiri, Enrico Berti, Nimio de Anquín, Pierre Aubenque, Leonardo Polo, Pierre Boutang, Alasdair MacIntayre, et allii). Pero, sin lugar a dudas, ha sido Heidegger en el siglo XX y lo que va del XXI quien con su enjundia le dio al desarrollo genuino de la meditación metafísica su mayor impronta. Así, el ente como presencia= anwesen y el hombre como Dasein= ser ahí son aportes heideggerianos incontrovertibles a la metafísica entendida como un saber que se reconfigura y reformula continuamente, en una palabra, como ciencia siempre buscada=zhtoumenh= zethouméne.

Con justa razón observó Leibniz al respecto:”Nadie debe asombrarse que esta ciencia primordial a la que pertenece el nombre de metafísica, y que Aristóteles llamó buscada siga estando hoy entre las ciencias que deben buscarse” [10]




(*)arkegueta, eterno comenzante



Universidad Tecnológica Nacional

(CeeS) Centro de estudios estratégicos






[1] Son “los metafísicos” que garantizan saber todo sobre lo divino y lo humano a partir de sus más arbitrarias ideas. Son los que nos ofrecen conocer el futuro a través de una cantidad inmensa de iniciados, magos, horoscoperos, pseudos orientalistas, “chantas”, embaucadores de todo pelaje, especialistas de lo máximo, moralistas a la violeta y tutti quanti. Son los que tienen por finalidad el enriquecimiento ilícito ejerciendo “esa metafísica” del embuste.

[2] Heidegger, Martín: Introducción a la metafísica, Nova, Buenos Aires, 1966, p.69

[3] Anquín, Nimio de: Ente y ser, Gredos, Madrid, 1962, p.65

[4] Buela, Alberto: El ente y los trascendentales, Cruz y Fierro, Buenos Aires, 1971, 16

[5]Pregunta que se hace Heidegger al comienzo nomás de su Introducción a la metafísica y que se hicieron otros tantos metafísicos.

[6] Ibidem: p. 17

[7] Fink, Eugen: Zum Problem der ontologischen Erfahrung, Primer congreso nacional de filosofía de Argentina, Mendoza, 1949

[8] Miguel A. Virasoro (1900-1967) autor de Intuición metafísica, tiene la mejor y más anotada traducción al castellano del Ser y nada de Sartre

[9] Agazzi, Evandro: “Metafísica y racionalidad científico-técnica”, en Contrastes, Suplemento 7, Málaga, 2002

[10] Leibniz, G: De primae philosophiae

dimanche, 10 juillet 2011

La droite et le libéralisme

La droite et le libéralisme

par Pierre LE VIGAN

Maurras rappelle une réticence classique des droites vis-à-vis du libéralisme quand il énonce : « la liberté de qui ? la liberté de quoi ? c’est la question qui est posée depuis cent cinquante ans au libéralisme. Il n’a jamais pu y répondre » (Maurras, Dictionnaire politique et critique, 1938). Pour comprendre cette réticence, il faut remonter aux origines de la droite.

Août – septembre 1789 : à l’occasion du débat constitutionnel, les partisans du veto absolu (et non suspensif) du roi se situent à droite de l’assemblée. À gauche se placent les partisans d’un pouvoir royal faible. Dans le même temps, une partie des droites se prononce en faveur d’une constitution à l’anglaise fondée sur le bicaméralisme. De quoi s’agit-il ? Exactement de deux rapports très différents au libéralisme, et qui concernent dés l’origine les familles politiques qui se situent « à droite ». Être partisan d’un veto royal absolu signifie refuser l’autorité venue « d’en bas », c’est-à-dire du Parlement. C’est, d’emblée, défendre une conception transcendante du pouvoir, et considérer, avec Joseph de Maistre, qu’on ne peut « fonder l’État sur le décompte des volontés individuelles ». À l’inverse, être partisan du bicaméralisme signifie se méfier du peuple tout autant que du pouvoir. Tout en ayant comme point commun l’opposition à la toute-puissance de l’Assemblée constituante, ce sont là deux façons très différentes d’être « à droite ». Le paysage se complique plus encore en prenant en compte les arrière-pensées de chaque position.

Si le bicaméralisme est l’expression constitutionnelle assez claire d’un souci d’alliance ou de compromis entre la bourgeoisie montante et l’aristocratie déclinante, par contre, la revendication d’un pouvoir royal fort peut – et c’est une constante de l’histoire des familles politiques de droite – se faire en fonction de préoccupations non seulement différentes mais contradictoires : s’agit-il de donner au roi les moyens de liquider au profit de la bourgeoisie les pouvoirs nobiliaires qui s’incarnaient dans les anciens parlements, ou au contraire s’agit-il de pousser le roi à s’arc-bouter sur la défense de ces privilèges nobiliaires, ou bien encore de nouer une nouvelle alliance entre roi et  peuple contre la montée de la bourgeoisie ? De même, le bicaméralisme a pour préoccupation d’affaiblir le camp des « patriotes » (c’est-à-dire de la gauche), et rencontre donc des soutiens « à droite ». Pour autant, est-il « de droite » dans la mesure où il relève d’une  méfiance devant tout principe d’autorité ? En tant que moyen d’empêcher la toute-puissance de l’Assemblée constituante, ne relève-t-il pas indiscutablement du libéralisme, c’est-à-dire d’une attitude moderne qu’exècrent une grande partie des droites ?

Cette attitude moderne a ses racines, comme l’a bien vu Benjamin Constant, dans un sens différent de la liberté chez les Anciens et les Modernes. Le bonheur étant passé dans le domaine privé, et étant, sous cette forme, devenu « une idée neuve en Europe » (Saint-Just), la politique moderne consiste à ne pas tout attendre de l’action collective. La souveraineté doit ainsi être limitée, ce qui va plus loin que la simple séparation des pouvoirs. « Vous avez beau diviser les pouvoirs : si la somme totale du pouvoir est illimitée, les pouvoirs divisés n’ont qu’à former une coalition et le despotisme est sans remède » (Benjamin Constant). Tel est le principe de fond du libéralisme : la séparation tranchée des sphères privées et publiques. Conséquence : la crainte du pouvoir en soi. Car dans le même temps, la désacralisation du monde aboutit à ce que chacun estime – comme l’avait vu Tocqueville, avoir « un droit absolu sur lui-même », par déficit de sentiment de  participation à la totalité du monde. En sorte que la volonté souveraine ne peut sortir que de « l’union des volontés de tous ». La réunion des conditions d’une telle unanimité étant à l’évidence difficile, – ou dangereuse – le libéralisme y supplée en affirmant le caractère « naturel » – et par là indécidable – de toute une sphère de la vie sociale : la sphère économique, celle de la production et reproduction des conditions de la vie matérielle. Rien de moins.

Un tel point de vue par rapport à l’économie et aux rapports de travail dans la société n’est caractéristique que de l’une des droites – une droite qui n’est pas « née » à droite mais qui a évolué vers le freinage d’un mouvement qu’elle avait elle-même contribué à engendrer. C’est en quelque sorte la droite selon le « droit du sol » contre la droite selon le « droit du sang ». Relève de la première l’homme politique et historien François Guizot, valorisant la marche vers le libéralisme avant 1789, mais cherchant à l’arrêter à cette date. C’est la droite orléaniste. Les autres droites, celles qui le sont par principe – et parce qu’elles croient aux principes  – prônent l’intervention dans le domaine économique et social. « Quant à l’économie, on ne saurait trop souligner combien le développement d’une pensée sociale en France doit à la droite, remarque François Ewald. […] Il ne faut pas oublier que les premiers critiques de l’économie bourgeoise et des méfaits du capitalisme ont été des figures de droite (Villeneuve de Barjemont, Sismonde de Sismondi) (1). »

Cette critique des sociétés libérales par certaines droites n’est pas de circonstance. Elle s’effectue au nom d’une autre vision  de l’homme et de la société que celle des libéraux. « Il y a une sociologie de droite, précise encore François Ewald, peut-être occultée par la tradition durkheimienne, dont Frédéric Le Play est sans doute avec Gabriel de Tarde le représentant le plus intéressant ». La pensée anti-libérale de droite est, de fait, jalonnée par un certain nombre d’acteurs et de penseurs importants. Joseph de Maistre et Louis de Bonald voient dans l’irréligion, le libéralisme, la démocratie des produits de l’individualisme. Le catholique Bûchez (1796 – 1865), pour sa part,  défend les idées de l’association ouvrière par le biais du journal L’Atelier. Le Play, de son côté, critique « les faux dogmes de 1789 » : la perfection originelle de l’homme (qui devrait donc être restaurée), sa liberté systématique, l’aspiration à l’égalité comme droit perpétuel à la révolte. La Tour du Pin, disciple de Le Play, critique la séparation (le « partage ») du pouvoir, considérant que celui-ci doit s’incarner dans un prince, mais propose la limitation du pouvoir et la consultation de la société (civile) notamment par la représentation corporative : le refus du libéralisme n’équivaut pas à une adhésion automatique à l’autoritarisme.

Par contre, le refus d’une société réduite à des atomes individuels est une constante de la pensée de droite, de l’école contre-révolutionnaire aux divers traditionalismes. Maurras a défendu l’idée, dans ses Réflexions sur la révolution de 1789, que la loi Le Chapelier interdisant l’organisation des travailleurs était un des actes les plus néfastes de la Révolution. Il établit un lien entre celle-ci et le libéralisme pour, tous les deux, les condamner. « L’histoire des travailleurs au XIXe siècle, écrit Maurras, se caractérise par une ardente réaction du travailleur en tant que personne à l’encontre de son isolement en tant qu’« individu », isolement imposé par la Révolution et maintenu par le libéralisme (2). » Thierry Maulnier résumait de son côté l’opinion d’une Jeune Droite composante essentielle des « non-conformistes de années Trente » en écrivant : « Il devait être réservé à la société de structure libérale d’imposer à une catégorie d’individus un mode de dépendance qui tendait, non à les attacher à la société, mais à les en exclure (3) ».

L’Espagnol José Antonio Primo de Rivera formulait un point de vue largement répandu dans la droite française extra-parlementaire quand il évoquait, en 1933, la signification du libéralisme économique. « L’État libéral est venu nous offrir l’esclavage économique, en disant aux ouvriers : vous êtes libres de travailler; personne ne vous oblige à accepter telle ou telle condition. Puisque nous sommes les riches, nous vous offrons les conditions qui nous conviennent; en tant que citoyens libres, vous n’êtes pas obligés de les accepter; mais en tant que citoyens pauvres, si vous ne les acceptez pas, vous mourrez de faim, entourés, bien sûr, de la plus haute dignité libérale. »

Les critiques à l’égard du libéralisme énoncées par une partie des droites sont parallèles à celles énoncées d’un point de vue catholique par Louis Veuillot, puis par René de La Tour du Pin et Albert de Mun, promoteurs des Cercles catholiques d’ouvriers, qui furent confortés par l’encyclique Rerum Novarum (1891), mais dont les positions annonçaient avec cinquante ans d’avance celles de Divini Redemptoris (1937). C’est à ce moment que se met en forme, à droite (avec Thierry Maulnier, Jean-Pierre Maxence, Robert Francis, etc.), une critique du productivisme complémentaire de la critique du libéralisme. La Jeune Droite rejoignait sur ce point la critique d’auteurs plus inclassables (Drieu La Rochelle, Robert Aron, Arnaud Dandieu, …).

Si l’anti-productivisme, comme l’anti-économisme (celui par exemple de la « Nouvelle Droite » du dernier quart du XXe siècle) apparaissent par éclipse à droite, la condamnation du libéralisme est le noyau commun de la pensée de droite. Caractéristique dans sa banalité droitière même est le propos de Pierre Chateau-Jobert : « Le libéralisme, écrit-il, […] a pris la liberté pour seule règle. Mais pratiquement, c’est le plus fort, ou le moins scrupuleux, ou le plus riche, qui est le plus “ libre ”, puisqu’il a le plus de moyens (4) ». Droitiste d’une envergure plus considérable, Maurice Bardèche ira jusqu’à déclarer que, comme Jean-Paul Sartre, il « préfère la justice à la liberté ».

Cette conception de la liberté comme toujours subordonnée à d’autres impératifs explique que la droite soit à l’origine de nombreuses propositions sociales. En 1882, Mgr Freppel demande la création de retraites ouvrières. En 1886, Albert de Mun propose la limitation de la journée de travail à dix heures et, en 1891, demande la limitation du travail des femmes et des enfants. En 1895, le même de Mun demande que soit reconnue aux syndicats la possibilité de posséder de biens à usage collectif. En 1913, Jean Lerolle réclame l’instauration d’un salaire minimum pour les ouvrières à domicile (5).

Les projets de réorganisation des rapports sociaux de Vichy (la Charte du travail soutenue par nombre de syndicalistes) comportent  de même des aspects socialement protecteurs. Enfin, la difficulté de réaliser des transformations sociales qu’a montré l’expérience de gauche de 1981 à 1983 permet de réévaluer les projets de participation et de « troisième voie » du Général de Gaulle et de certains de ses soutiens venus de la droite radicale comme Jacques Debu-Bridel, d’ailleurs anciens du Faisceau de Georges Valois.

La critique du libéralisme par la droite – hormis le courant orléaniste -, concerne tout autant l’économie que le politique. Le parlementarisme, expression concrète du libéralisme politique selon la droite est, jusqu’à l’avènement de la Ve République, accusé de fragmenter l’expression de la souveraineté nationale, et de la soumettre aux groupes de pression. Pour Barrès, « le parlementarisme aboutit en fait à la constitution d’une oligarchie élective qui confisque la souveraineté de la nation ». D’où sa préférence pour le plébiscite comme « idée centrale constitutive » : « le plébiscite reconstitue cette souveraineté parce qu’il lui donne un mode d’expression simple, le seul dont elle puisse s’accompagner ».

De son côté, Déroulède précise : « Vouloir arracher la République au joug des parlementaires, ce n’est pas vouloir la renverser, c’est vouloir tout au contraire instaurer la démocratie véritable ». Péguy, pour sa part, dénonce en 1902 le parlementarisme comme une « maladie ». Trente années plus tard, André Tardieu (1876 – 1945), chef d’une droite modernisatrice de 1929 à 1936, créateur des assurances sociales, député de Belfort (ville se dotant souvent de députés originaux), auteur de La révolution à refaire voit dans le parlementarisme « l’ennemi de la France éternelle ». Dans un contexte singulièrement aggravé, et énonçant le point de vue de la « Révolution nationale », Charles-Emmanuel Dufourcq, dans Les redressements français (6) concentre aussi ses attaques contre le parlementarisme et l’autorité « venue d’en-bas » comme causes, tout au long de l’histoire de France, des affaiblissements dont le pays n’est sorti que par le recours à l’autorité indiscutée d’un roi, d’un Napoléon ou d’un Pétain. Il manifestait ainsi une remarquable continuité – ou une étonnante absence d’imagination selon le point de vue – avec les tendances théocratiques de la Contre-Révolution.

En revanche, plus marginaux sont les secteurs de la droite qui se sont sentis concernés par la critique du parlementarisme effectuée par le juriste Carré de Malberg, qui inspirera René Capitant et les rédacteurs de la Constitution de 1958.  Dès le XIXe siècle, aussi bien la droite dans ses composantes non-orléanistes que la gauche des démocrates et des socialistes – de Ledru-Rollin à Proudhon – sont en porte à faux par rapports aux mythes fondateurs de la modernité française. « L’objectif de 1789 […] consiste, indique Pierre Rosanvallon, à démocratiser, “ politiquement ”, le système politique, qui est d’essence absolutiste, et à libéraliser, “ sociologiquement ”, la structure sociale, qui est d’essence féodale (7) ».

La difficulté du processus tient dans sa simultanéité (et c’est la différence avec l’Angleterre). D’un côté, la gauche socialiste veut « républicaniser la propriété » (Jules Guesde), de l’autre, une certaine droite met en cause « les responsabilités des dynasties bourgeoises » (Emmanuel Beau de Loménie) et le libéralisme qui les a laissé prendre tant de place. Rien d’étonnant à ce que des convergences apparaissent parfois (le Cercle Proudhon avant 1914, les planistes et « non-conformistes des années Trente », le groupe Patrie et Progrès au début de la Ve République, …).

En effet, pour toute la période qui va du milieu du XIXe siècle à nos jours, la distinction proposée par René Rémond en 1954 entre trois droites, légitimiste, orléaniste, bonapartiste, apparaît peu adaptée. D’une part, l’appartenance du bonapartisme à la droite est très problématique : c’est un centrisme césarien. D’autre part, l’orléanisme est écartelé dès son origine entre conservatisme et libéralisme : conservatisme dont François Guizot est une figure centrale, qualifiée par Francis-Paul Benoît de « conservateur immobile, donc non libéral (8) », le libéralisme étant représenté, plus que par les économistes « classiques », par les saint-simoniens modernistes ralliés à Napoléon III.

À partir de 1870, le clivage qui s’établit, « à droite », oppose, plutôt que les trois droites de la typologie de René Rémond, une droite radicale (radicalement de droite, et non conjoncturellement radicalisée), voire une « droite révolutionnaire » (Zeev Sternhell) en gestation, et une droite libérale-conservatrice. L’organisation d’une « droite » libérale au plan économique, conservatrice au plan politique est en effet ce qui permet après le Second Empire le passage, sinon sans heurts, du moins sans révolutions de la France dans l’univers bourgeois et capitaliste. C’est à l’évidence à cette droite que pensait un jour François Mitterrand disant : « la droite n’a pas d’idées, elle n’a que des intérêts ». C’est la droite comme la désigne désormais le sens commun.

Entre la droite révolutionnaire (forme extrême de la droite radicale) et la droite libérale (qui n’est conservatrice que dans la mesure où un certain conservatisme, notamment moral, est le moyen de faire accepter le libéralisme), la vision de la politique est toute différente. Du point de vue libéral, dans la mesure où la souveraineté ne peut venir que du consensus, le champ de la « naturalité » économique et sociale doit être étendu le plus possible. À la suite des penseurs libéraux français comme Bastiat, Hayek affirme que « le contrôle conscient n’est possible que dans les domaines où il est vraiment possible de se mettre d’accord » (ils ne sont évidemment pas très nombreux).

Tout autre est l’attitude du radicalisme de droite (appelé souvent « extrême droite » avec de forts risques de contresens). Jean-François Sirinelli, coordinateur d’une Histoire des droites en France (9), remarque que « l’extrême droite aspire rien moins qu’à un état fusionnel de la politique ». Certes. En d’autres termes, elle aspire à retrouver – ou à inventer – un critère d’indiscutabilité du principe d’autorité, et du lien social lui-même. Conséquence : cette droite radicale tend à ne pas décliner son identité comme celle d’une droite, s’affirmant « ni de droite, ni de gauche » (Barrès, Valois, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Doriot, les hommes des Équipes d’Uriage, le Jean-Gilles Malliarakis des années 80, …), ou encore « simultanément de droite et de gauche » (la « Nouvelle Droite »).

La difficulté de caractériser la droite par des idées à amener certains analystes comme Alain-Gérard Slama à essayer de la définir par un tempérament. Celui-ci consisterait, selon Slama, dans la recherche du compromis. Cette hypothèse ne fait que souligner l’existence de deux droites, une droite libérale, et la droite radicale, que presque tout oppose. Si la première recherche effectivement les accommodements, la droite radicale se caractérise plutôt par la recherche d’un dépassement synthétique des contradictions du monde moderne. À divers égards, sous des formes et à des niveaux très différents, c’est ce qui rassemble Le Play, Péguy, Bernanos, Drieu la Rochelle, Charles de Gaulle. Dépassement des contradictions de la modernité : vaste programme que ces hommes – pas toujours « à droite », mais sans doute « de droite » – n’ont jamais envisagé de mettre en œuvre par des moyens par principe libéraux.

Pierre Le Vigan


1 : François Ewald, Le Magazine littéraire, « La droite. Idéologies et littérature », décembre 1992.

2 : cité dans Thomas Molnar, La Contre-Révolution, La Table Ronde, 1981.

3 : Thierry Maulnier, Au-delà du nationalisme, Gallimard, 1938, p. 153.

4 : Pierre Chateau-Jobert, Manifeste politique et social, Diffusion de la pensée française, 1973.

5 : Cf. Charles Berrias et Michel Toda, Enquête sur l’histoire, n° 6, 1992, p. 13.

6 : Charles-Emmanuel Dufourcq, Les redressements français, Lardanchet, 1943.

7 : François Furet, Jacques Julliard, Pierre Rosanvallon, La République du centre. La fin de l’exception française, Calmann-Lévy, 1988.

8 : Francis-Paul Benoît, Les idéologies politiques modernes. Le temps de Hegel, P.U.F., 1980, p. 314.

9 : cf. Histoire des droites en France, Gallimard, trois volumes, 1992.

Le présent article, remanié pour Europe Maxima, est paru dans Arnaud Guyot-Jeannin (sous la direction de), Aux sources de la droite, L’Âge d’Homme, 2000.

Article printed from Europe Maxima: http://www.europemaxima.com

URL to article: http://www.europemaxima.com/?p=2014

samedi, 09 juillet 2011

Boutang: donde las ideas se atropellan


Boutang: donde las ideas se atropellan


Alberto Buela (*)


Conocer personalmente a Pierre Boutang en 1981 y tratarlo hasta 1984 ha sido una de las mejores experiencias filosóficas que hemos tenido. La vehemencia de su conversación y la convergencia en su persona del periodista, el panfletario, el polemista, el literato, el historiador, el político, el orador y el poeta hicieron de él, el filósofo completo de que nos habla Platón cuando nos dice: filósofo es el que ve el todo y el que no, no lo es (Rep. 537 c 14-15). Y eso fue Boutang.



Datos biográficos


Nació en Saint Etienne en 1916 y murió cerca de París en su casa de Saint Germain   en Laye en 1998. “Fue un joven tan brillante que llegó a ser el más joven agrégé de filosofía de Francia”  ha sostenido Francois Marie Algoud que lo conoció muy bien.

Comenzó como profesor de filosofía en 1936 y en ese mismo año comienza a participar en La Acción Francesa de Charales Maurras. La diferencia entre ambos es que Maurras se hace monárquico en tanto que Boutang lo era desde siempre por su familia. Al morir Maurras, que fue considerado por él como le Maître, lo nombra su sucesor pero Boutang no acepta.

En el 43 participa en el gobierno de Giraud en el norte de África y cuando se retira de la Armada colonial francesas en 1946 fue dado de baja sin pensión y con la prohibición de enseñar. Trabaja de periodista y en 1955 rompe con la Acción francesa y su antisemitismo. Es más, a partir de allí se transforma en un sostenedor del sionismo y del Estado de Israel.(ver: artículos de mayo-julio de 1967 en La guerre de six tours)[1]

Va a insistir con la tesis de que la constitución de la Quinta República reposa sobre el modelo monárquico, que a su vez está articulado con el cristianismo. Tesis que viene de uno de sus primeros trabajos: La política considerada como cuidado de 1948.

Este cierto apoyo desde la monarquía a la república gaullista sumado a la intervención  en su favor de Edmond Michelet, Alain Payrefitte y subrepticiamente Francois Mitterant, hicieron que de Gaulle lo reintegre a la enseñanza en 1967.

Primero como profesor en el Instituto Turgot, luego en la universidad de Brest y por último como titular(1976) de la cátedra de metafísica en la silla que había pertenecido a Emmanuel Lévinas en la Paris IV-Sorbona. Es allí, donde lo conocí a propósito de mi tesis de doctorado bajo Pierre Aubenque, dictó clase hasta 1984, prolongando su seminario en su casa de Saint Germain en Laye hasta el fin de sus días.


Datos sobre su pensamiento


Dejamos de lado en este artículo toda la obra literaria de Boutang compuesta por cuatro o cinco novelas, al par que sus traducciones del griego, del inglés y del italiano. En cuanto a su veintena de ensayos vamos a tratar uno de los primeros, luego su tesis de doctorado bajo la dirección de Jean Wahl (1888-1974) : L'Ontologie du secret de 1973 y un escrito póstumo Le Temps (1993).

Su primer escrito (1946) fue la traducción de La apología de Sócrates de Platón y el segundo, un año después, Sastre, est-il un possédé? lo que le valió el resto de su vida ser considerado como el Antisartre.

Antes que nada hay que decir que el concepto de legitimidad es una noción clave en la filosofía política de Boutang. En la Politique considérée comme un souci (1948), va a sostener  luego de una descripción fenomenológica del poder que se produce una modificación cristiana del poder. Y para ello se va a apoyar en una nueva interpretación de Dostoieski, Kafka y Shakespeare. Analiza en primer lugar el concepto de autoridad bajo su aspecto paternal. La idea en la filosofía contemporánea de  « cuidado », « sorge », « cura » está en Platón, y Boutang lo sabe. Es la de « epimeléia ». Y allí es donde va a pivotear él. Porque la epimeléia tiene que ver con el poder en tanto se aplica a la comunidad, al poder como servicio. Pone además de relieve el contexto existencialista en que la obra aparece cuando afirma : « la paradoja inherente a la condición humana es el hecho para el hombre que debe vivir como un compromiso necesario y  absoluto, este  acontencimiento siempre contigente y relativo que es aquel de haber nacido en una comunidad que no eligió ».


Sobre la Ontologia del secreto , que se articula sobre la metáfora del viaje de Ulises y que puede leerse como un gran poema en prosa, afirma Boutang: « Describo y termino aquí una larga investigación sobre el ser tal como se esconde y aparece en el secreto. La diversidad de secretos, su contorno material y la intención de su forma todo ha sido tenido en cuenta en nuestro largo recorrido ».

Georges Steiner ha consierado este trabajo « uno de los textos maestros de la metafísica del siglo XX ». Y Gabriel Marcel ha afirmado que « es un monumento por la profundidad de su análisis y la riqueza de su meditación que tiene algo de autónomo que es excepcional ».


En El tiempo, ensayo sobre el origen se va a ocupar de tres puntos, pero eso lo dice recién al final del ensayo, como es habitual en él, luego de un largo periplo o « viaje » como gusta decir, por toda la historia de la filosofía. Estos tres puntos son 1) sobre los orígenes en la historia en sus épocas y con sus repeticiones y acá va a rescatar y se va a apoyar en Gianbattista Vico (1668-1744) que es un pensador moderno « que no tiene nada en común con los dogmas de las Luces…Además la filosofía de Vico es una de las raras en la edad moderna que es completamente compatible con el pensamiento cristiano ». 2) sobre el origen y la repetición del origen en la experiencia moral, donde « la penitencia » que es la que lo puede explicar, está cada vez menos comprendida en su sentido. 3) sobre el origen en cada hombre de la unión del alma con el cuerpo « la reflexión más profunda, sobre el origen y la modalidad de esta unión, es particularmente el objeto del comentario de Santo Tomás sobre el Tratado del alma de Aristóteles ».

Y de un salto abrupto según su estilo se pregunta de golpe: « la palabra misma d´avortement = aborto, que proviene de ab-oriri que significa « morir naciendo ». ¿Puede o podría ser distinguida de un homicidio puro y simple ? ».

Si este no es un pensador contra corriente y no conformista que nos digan donde se encuentra otro.

La finalidad de este artículo de divulgación ha sido intentar sacar de la oscuridad y el desconocimiento la figura de Pierre Boutang en el mundo de lengua castellana. 


Post Scriptum : Le Figaro, 18/2/2008

Hay rayos del espíritu. Es lo que le pasaba a Jean Francois Mattéi cuando encontraba al filósofo y polemista Pierre Boutang, quien había tomado la sucesión de Emmanuel Lévinas como profesor de metafísica en la Sorbona en 1976. « Mi primera impresión, confirmada por las siguientes, fue la de un gigante del pensamiento. El se movía con una comodidad increible en los textos más difíciles y recitaba de corazón el Parménides de Platón y las poesías de Rimbaud…El me impresionaba menos por su inmensa cultura que por la soltura con que la manejaba », explica Jean Francois Mattéi, devenido fiel seguidor de Boutang, pero no está seguro de ello porque no sabe si áquel « haya sido un maestro que espera un discípulo ». J.F.Mattéi a menudo viaja a Collobrières dans le Var, donde Boutang poseía una casa sin electricidad. Allá, ellos han divisado la bella estrella degustando « un travel » bien frio, al lado aquellos que Boutang admitía en su proximidad y que corrían el riesgo de hacerse reprender si ellos no habían leído Platón, Aristóteles, Santo Tomás y tantos otros. Católico y monárquico, Boutang, que jamás renegó de Maurras era un hombre tal que la distensión se acompañaba a menudo con la colera. ! Qué personaje ¡.

                                     Boutang: un juicio sobre Meinvielle (2003)


                                                                                                             Alberto Buela


El 17 de octubre de l981 llegaba a París por primera vez y luego del económico viaje en micro desde el aeropuerto de Orly, descendí a unas cuadras de la Casa Argentina en la Cité Universitaire, marchando  a pie hasta la misma, pero unos trescientos metros antes de llegar observo una manifestación frente a la entrada de la Cité y dada la fecha pensé como Borges:  Estos peronistas son incorregibles, hasta acá vienen a festejar el día de la lealtad”. Pero me equivoqué, eran iraníes partidarios del imán Komeini y contrarios a Bani Saar, un reformista pronorteamericano.


Me inscribí en la Sorbona, la de verdad, no la Patrick Lumumba de la calle Guillaume 28 donde se doctoró la mayoría de los socialdemócratas argentinos como el excanciller Dante Caputo. Ni en las Écoles Pratique des Hautes Études como tantos de nuestros filósofos investigadores del Conicet. Allí, bajo la dirección de Pierre Aubenque, uno de los especialistas más profundos de Aristóteles en el siglo XX, realicé, la licenciatura, el DEA (Diplome d´études approfondie) con dos seminarios complementarios, uno bajo la dirección de Pierre Hadot sobre Eros et Afrodite chez Plotin y otro dictado por  Pierre Boutang sobre L´ontologie de l´origine, además del dirigido por nuestro director sobre Métaphysique livre Z.


Y es a propósito del dirigido por Pierre Butang que viene a cuento la anécdota que paso a relatar.

Cursaba yo su seminario regularmente y de manera aplicada, el hombre era vehemente en la exposición pero al mismo tiempo un disperso que comenzaba hablando de Aristóteles o Scheler y terminaba siempre con una contundente crítica al gobierno socialista de Mitterrant. Se notaba en él un compromiso existencial con los destinos de Francia. No era para menos, después me enteré que siendo joven había sido secretario de Charles Maurras, que tenía en su haber la mejor traducción de la Divina Comedia al francés, también la Apología de Sócrates, y una treintena de obras entre novelas, obras de teatro y ensayos filosóficos. Su encono con la democracia me recuerda que estando una mañana dando clase el sol le da en la cara y entonces solicita a uno de los oyente: “Señor, corra las cortinas que el sol me jode (m´embete) como la democracia”. 


Años después comprendí la decisión de mi agudo director de tesis que siendo él socialista me instó a cursar con un monárquico un seminario del DEA. Claro está, mi crítica a la democracia liberal coincidía con la de Boutang.


Mi participación en su seminario era bastante activa debido sobre todo a los comentarios y observaciones que sobre Aristóteles y Max Scheler podía hacer, teniendo en cuenta que éste último está más traducido al castellano que al francés y que sobre el primero contaba con los comentarios griegos de Alejandro de Afrodisia en la Biblioteca Leon Robin del Centre de Recherches sur la pensée antique, que yo leía antes de cada sesión del seminario. En una palabra, no eran tantos los méritos propios sino la sabiduría de los antiguos sobre los que me había subido a los hombros.


Para mi sorpresa un día me convoca a su despacho luego de la sesión y me pregunta de donde sacaba mis comentarios sobre Aristóteles ante lo cual le dije la verdad y añadí: “Pero yo estudié Aristóteles antes de venir acá con Conrado Eggers Lan y con el cura Meinvielle”. “El Padre Julio Meinvielle, respondió, el teólogo más profundo del siglo XX, porque le otorgó a la teología mayor funcionalidad político-social que ningún otro. Fue el primero en criticar a Hitler y el primero en desarmar el andamiaje teórico de Jacques Maritain y su engendro: la democracia cristiana”.


Terminando ya el seminario, nosotros estabamos en plena guerra de Malvinas, me invitó a cenar junto con el entonces viejísimo abad Luc Lefevre el fundador y director hasta su muerte de La Pensée Catholique, participó de la cena el joven profesor Philippe Veysset.

Boutang, espléndido y dicharachero realizó todo un racconto de su vida política, estaba contento porque acababa de terminar su voluminosa obra sobre Maurras que saldría publicada dos años después bajo el título Maurras, la destinée et l´oeuvre. El viejo abad comenzó luego a hablar de Meinvielle y su polémica con Maritain y las cartas de Garrigou-Lagrange, hizo una larga exposición a la que Boutang asentía cada tanto, hasta que de golpe explotó: “Vea, Maurras me dijo una vuelta, es la inteligencia más profunda que ha dado la Francia en lo que va del siglo”. Ante semejante afirmación suavemente le observé: “Profesor, Meinvielle era argentino”. Mire joven, me respondió: “Si yo fuera abogado le diría que para nosotros vale más el ius sanguinis que el ius solis, pero como soy filósofo y francés le digo que el valor universal de Meinvielle lo hace más francés que argentino. El producto argentino hasta ahora es más pintoresco (tango y gauchos) que universal. Meinvielle ha sido, que conozca, el primero que rompió ese cliché conmoviendo con sus observaciones y críticas a lo mejor de la inteligencia europea”.


Esta apropiación lisa y llanamente de un autor cuando lo consideran valioso, que los europeos realizan cotidianamente otorgando miles de cartas de ciudadanía a científicos, artistas y pensadores muestra el peso internacional de Meinvielle, afirmado sin tapujos ni vergüenzas por un filósofo de la altura de Pierre Boutang(1916- 1998). 


La defensa de la argentinidad de Meinvielle la dejamos como final abierto para que la complete cualquiera de nuestros lectores. Simplemente decimos que era un hijo de nuestra tierra, educado en nuestra tradición más genuina, prueba de ello la da un pariente suyo, el poeta campero Omar Meinvielle, autor de El Lunar de mi Tripilla. Recibió una esmerada educación en el seminario metropolitano de Buenos Aires en su mejor época, la de los Derisi, Sepich, Garay y tantos otros. Tuvo un sobrino que llegó a obispo. Vemos pues, como el origen francés de la familia no le impidió dar auténticos hijos de la tierra argentina.



Ficha Bibliográfica


La Maison un dimanche. Suivi de Chez Madame Dorlinde, Paris, La Table ronde, 1947. (Rééd. Paris, Éd. de la Différence, 1991).

Quand le furet s'endort, Paris, La Table ronde, 1948.

Le Secret de René Dorlinde, Paris, Fasquelle, 1958.

Le Purgatoire, Paris, Le Sagittaire, 1976.

Ensayos y filosofía

(et Henri Dubreuil), Amis du Maréchal, Paris, F. Sorlot, coll. "Cahiers des amis du Maréchal" Nº 1, 1941

Sartre est-il un possédé ?, Paris, La Table ronde, 1946

La politique : la politique considérée comme souci, Paris, J. Froissart, 1948

La République de Joinovici, Paris, Amiot-Dumont, 1949.

Les Abeilles de Delphes, Paris, La Table ronde, 1952. Reedición en 1999 (Ed. des Syrtes)

Commentaire sur quarante-neuf dizains de la 'Délie', Paris, Gallimard, 1953

La Terreur en question, Paris, Fasquelle, 1958.

L'Ontologie du secret, Paris, PUF, 1973. Reeditado en 2009 con prefacio de Jean-François Mattéi (PUF, collection 'Quadrige').

Reprendre le pouvoir, Paris, Le Sagittaire, 1977.

Gabriel Marcel interrogé. Entretien de 1970, Paris, Paris, J.-M. Place, 1977.

Apocalypse du désir, Paris, Grasset, 1979. Reedición a Ed. du Cerf, 2009

La Fontaine politique, Paris, J.-E. Hallier/A. Michel, 1981.

Précis de Foutriquet. Contre Giscard, Paris, J.-E. Hallier/A. Michel, 1981.

Maurras, la destinée et l'œuvre, Paris, Plon, 1984.

Art poétique. Autres mêmes, Paris, La Table ronde, 1988.

Karin Pozzi ou la quête de l'immortalité, Paris, Éd. de la Différence, 1991.

Le Temps, essai sur l´origine, Paris, Hatier, 1993

(avec George Steiner), Dialogues. Sur le mythe d'Antigone. Sur le sacrifice d'Abraham, Paris, Lattès, 1994.

La Fontaine. Les "Fables" ou la langue des dieux, Paris, Hachette, 1995.

William Blake : manichéen et visionnaire, La Différence, 1990.

La Source sacrée (Les Abeilles de Delphes II, posthume), Ed. du Rocher, 2003.

« Dialogue sur le Mal », in Cahier de l'Herne Steiner, Pierre Boutang et George Steiner, dialogue animé par François L'Yvonnet, L'Herne, 2003.

La guerre de six jours, Paris, Les Provinciales, 2011.

Diario (inédito) 5000 páginas (1946-1997)


Platon, Apologie de Socrate, Paris, J. et R. Wittmann, 1946.

Platon, Le Banquet, Paris, Hermann, 1972.

G.K.Chesterton , L'auberge volante (The Flying Ill), Lausannne-Paris, L'Âge d'homme, 1990.

William Blake, Chansons et mythes, Paris, La Différence, 1889.

Sobre Pierre Boutang

Dossier H, "Pierre Boutang". Collectif (articles de Gabriel Matzneff, V. Volkoff, G.Steiner, Jean José Marchand, etc.), 440 pp. L'Age d'homme, 2002.

Geneviève Jurgensen, "Pierre Boutang, l’art de l’absolu et du paradoxe", en La Croix, 30 de junio 1998

Patrick Kechichian, "Pierre Boutang, un intellectuel engagé. De Maurras à Mitterrand", dans Le Monde, 30 de junio 1998

Gérard Leclerc : "Pierre Boutang et l'Eglise", La France Catholique, 17 de enero 2003

Joseph Macé-Scaron, "La mort de Pierre Boutang: un métaphysicien intransigeant", dans Le Figaro, 29 de junio 1998

Pierre Marcabru, "Pierre Boutang : un gentilhomme d’un autre temps", dans Le Figaro, 16 de diciembre 1999

Revista Éléments de París, hay un dossier sobre Boutang pero no recordamos la fecha.


(*) filósofo, mejor arkegueta, eterno comenzante

alberto.buela@gmail.com  -  www.disenso.org

Association des amis de Pierre Boutang  47, rue du Rochechouart 75009 Paris.


[1] Contrariamente a la opinión de sus comentadores, el sinonismo de Boutang no es político sino teológico y su razonamiento es el siguiente: El fracaso de la cristiandad en Europa después del zafarrancho de la segunda guerra mundial descalificó al cristianismo y, entonces, se restituyó a Israel su cargo original. La única victoria de la segunda guerra mundial, a lo Pirro, para el cristianismo fue la creación del Estado de Israel. Es que la Iglesia que es el verdadero Israel, no pudiendo conservar ese privilegio lo restituyó a Israel que fue el primer depositario. “nous Chrétiens, en un sens, avec nos nations cruellement renégates, avons pris le rang des Juifs de la diaspora” (nosotros cristianos en cierto sentido, con nuestras naciones que cruelmente han renegado del cristianismo, hemos tomado el lugar de los judíos de la diáspora).

Y en sus conversaciones con G.Steiner observa que los efectos del caso Dreyfus han sido el fracaso de una Francia católica y monárquica estigmatizada por la victoria de la democracia parlamentaria que tiene, en parte, al mesianismo judío laicizado, cuando éste viene de ser desjudaizado. Boutang como nuestro Nimio de Anquín viene a denunciar la descristianización del poder político y la “canalización” del judaísmo.

Los raigalmente católicos como Boutang son los únicos que están en condiciones de entender lo que quiso decir “el Atropellado”, el resto en este tema tiene que guardar silencio para no meter la pata.

mardi, 07 juin 2011

Modernité, postmodernité, hypermodernité



Modernité, postmodernité, hypermodernité

par Edouard RIX

Ex: http://tpprovence.wordpress.com/

En 1917, dans La Crise de la culture européenne, Rudolph Panwitz qualifie le surhomme nietzschéen de « postmoderne ». Le concept connaît ensuite une longue éclipse, avant de ressurgir dans le débat philosophique en 1979.

Jean-François Lyotard est l’un des premiers à repérer qu’un changement complet de civilisation s’opérait sous les yeux de ses contemporains sans qu’ils n’en aient conscience. C’est en 1979 qu’il écrit son ouvrage fondateur, La condition postmoderne (1). L’idée centrale insiste sur « l’épuisement des grands récits » ou, autre formule-choc, « la fin des métarécits » : émancipation progressive de la raison et de la liberté, enrichissement de l’humanité par le progrès scientifique et technique, salut chrétien…  Sont visés, pêle-mêle les philosophes héritiers des Lumières, les marxistes qui promettent le « grand soir » révolutionnaire, et tous les « croyants impénitents ». Mais, c’est surtout le grand récit scientifique de la modernité positiviste du XIXème siècle, la croyance en la marche inexorable du progrès, qui est emporté par la lame de fond postmoderne.

Avec la postmodernité, l’idée même de sujet autonome, d’« animal rationnel », fait naufrage, victime d’une triple crise. D’abord, la crise de l’idée de progrès. Toute transformation a un coût humain, social et environnemental lourd à payer. Les prouesses technologiques produisent une déshumanisation croissante, des gaspillages et des abus. Ensuite, la crise sans précédent de la raison. Le rationalisme et le positivisme étroits du XIXème siècle sont balayés, les savoirs changent sans cesse. Aux démonstrations rationnelles se substituent des explications mystico-ésotériques, le recours à la magie et à la voyance. Enfin, la crise de l’affirmation même du sujet. A la suite de Nietzsche, Marx et Freud – « maîtres du soupçon » selon Paul Ricoeur -, l’homme a pris conscience que ses discours et ses pratiques obéissent à d’autres intérêts que ceux énoncés officiellement. Derrière les grands mots de « civilisation » et d’« humanité » se cachent de nouvelles entreprises de domination – l’ « humanitarisme-alibi » du charity business par exemple -.

L’ère du vide et de l’éphémère

Le principal mérite du concept de postmodernité est de signaler que les sociétés occidentales développées sont entrées dans un processus de changement radical quant à leur mode d’organisation social, culturel et politique : effondrement de la rationalité et faillite des grandes idéologies, mais aussi fin de l’âge industriel productiviste, montée de l’individualisme et de la consommation de masse, dépérissement des normes autoritaires et disciplinaires, désaffection pour les passions politiques et le militantisme.

Le philosophe Gilles Lipovetsky analysera magistralement ce phénomène dans L’ère du vide (2) et dans L’Empire de l’éphémère (3)Selon lui, la société postmoderne est marquée par un néo-individualisme hédoniste, ce qu’il appelle la « seconde révolution individualiste », dont les traits principaux sont un désinvestissement de la sphère publique, une perte de sens des grandes institutions sociales et politiques, la dissolution de la mémoire collective, l’engouement pour les nouvelles technologies, le relativisme moral, le narcissisme exacerbé – dénoncé aussi par Christopher Lasch dans Le complexe de Narcisse -. Pour Lipovetsky, cet individualisme de masse anti-autoritaire est une « chance démocratique »…

Quant au sociologue Michel Maffesoli, il défendra une vision résolument libertaire et esthétique de la postmodernité caractérisée par un retour du dionysiaque et de l’irrationnel, le polythéisme des valeurs, un néo-tribalisme urbain, l’indifférenciation sexuelle, la mobilité professionnelle (4).

Modernité et esprit faustien

Faut-il pour autant souhaiter que la postmodernité débouche sur la fin de toute modernité ? Selon Wolfgang Welsh, auteur d’un remarquable essai sur le sujet (5), la modernité est une vision-du-monde qui commence avec le grand projet de « Mathesis Universalis » voulu par Descartes, relayé par les mythes de l’Aufklärung, des Lumières. C’est à cette époque que l’individualisme bourgeois imprègne le droit, avec les révolutions américaine et française -voir les travaux de Louis Dumont-, et que naissent les grandes idéologies modernes, du libéralisme économique au marxisme, qui promettent une unification du monde sous le règne de la raison.

Il convient toutefois de distinguer deux modernités différentes, apparues dès la fin de la Renaissance. La première, moralisatrice et sans élan, qui correspond à un rationalisme étroit et calculateur professé par le bourgeois si bien décrit par Werner Sombart (6), et à l’origine des messianismes iréniques et autres grands récits émollients des idéologies modernes. La seconde, audacieuse et conquérante, qui correspond à un rationalisme ascétique et créateur, théorisé par Max Weber, et à l’origine des grandes découvertes scientifiques.

Dans Dialektik der Aufklärung (7), Max Horkheimer et Theodor Adorno distinguent, dans la pensée européenne, deux raisons. L’une, qui recueille leur adhésion, purement normative, est celle du « métarécit », qui impose des normes abstraites, développe une éthique de la conviction, et se veut allergique à toute volonté de puissance. L’autre, est strictement « instrumentale » et donne la puissance à son utilisateur. C’est la raison scientifique et technique, décrite par Max Weber, qui maîtrise les forces de l’univers et les met au service de l’homme. L’Ecole de Francfort, inspirée par le refus biblique de la puissance humaine, l’accuse d’être prométhéenne et la source de tous les maux, du capitalisme au fascisme, de l’électro-fascisme à la destruction de la nature…

Cette raison « instrumentale » s’incarne dans le volontarisme dynamique qui caractérise, selon Oswald Spengler la culture « faustienne » de l’Occident, qui s’est affirmée comme « la plus puissante, la plus véhémente », en tant que « volonté de puissance qui se rit de toutes les limitations temporelles ou spatiales, qui considère précisément l’illimité et l’infini comme constituant ses objectifs » (8). Pour Spengler, la modernité est un phénomène ambigu. Tel le dieu romain Janus, elle présente deux visages : d’un côté, un vitalisme faustien et aventureux, transformateur de la nature organique; de l’autre, une idéologie homogénéisante et inorganique, qui prétend normaliser la planète entière, mettant ainsi fin à l’âge des « hautes cultures » (Hochkulturen). La première correspond à notre vision tragique du monde, la seconde à la vision progressiste de l’Histoire, prédominante depuis la Renaissance.

Mais, même la modernité faustienne conduit au règne de la quantité, au « désenchantement du monde » – selon la formule de Marcel Gauchet. Tel est le sort de l’esprit faustien lorsqu’il est coupé de ses mythes fondateurs, ainsi que le souligne Robert Steuckers : « la rationalité conquérante, si elle est arrachée à ses mythes fondateurs, à son humus ethno-identitaire, à son indo-européanité matricielle, retombe, même après les assauts les plus impétueux, inerte, vidée de sa substance, dans les rets du petit rationalisme calculateur et dans l’idéologie terne des « Grands récits » » (9).

L’interrègne postmoderne

On peut définir la postmodernité comme un interrègne. Giorgio Locchi a décrit cet interregnum comme une période d’attente durant laquelle le destin balance entre deux options : soit parachever le triomphe de la conception du monde égalitaire, avec la « fin de l’histoire », soit promouvoir une régénération historique (10).

Ainsi, pour Lipovetsky,  depuis le 11 septembre 2001 nous avons basculé dans les Temps hypermodernes (11), marqués par l’hyperpuissance américaine, l’hyperconsommation et l’hypernarcissisme. L’ici et maintenant est prédominant. Le triomphe de l’instantanéité signe la fin de toute vision progressiste, mais aussi la défaite de toute attitude prométhéenne. C’est le présent hédonique qui l’emporte.

Face à ce « meilleur des mondes » postmoderne, consumériste et narcissique, que l’on nous permette de souhaiter l’avènement d’une postmodernité combinant élan faustien et enracinement ethno-européen.

Edouard Rix, Réfléchir & Agir, hiver 2011, n°37, pp.49-50.

Notes :

(1) J.F. Lyotard, La condition postmoderne, éditions de Minuit, Paris, 1979.

(2) G. Lipovetsky, L’ère du vide. Essais sur l’individualisme contemporain, Gallimard, Paris, 1983.

(3) G. Lipovetsky, L’Empire de l’éphémère : la mode et son destin dans les sociétés modernes, Paris, Gallimard, 1987.

(4) M. Maffesoli, Le temps des tribus: le déclin de l’individualisme dans les sociétés postmodernes, Table Ronde, Paris, 2010.

(5) W. Welsh, Unsere Postmoderne Moderne, VCH Acta Humaniora, Weinheim, 1987.

(6) W. Sombart, Le bourgeois, Payot, Paris, 1966.

(7) M. Horkheimer und T.W. Adorno, Dialektik der Aufklärung, S. Fischer, Frankfurt, 1969.

(8) O. Spengler, Le Déclin de l’Occident, Gallimard, coll. Bibliothèque des idées, Paris, 1976, I.

(9) R. Steuckers, « Défis post-modernes : entre Faust et Narcisse », Orientations, 1988, n°10.

(10) G. Locchi, Nietzsche, Wagner e il mito sovrumanisto, Akropolis, Roma, 1982.

(11) G. Lipovetsky, Les Temps hypermodernes. Entretien avec Sébastien Charles, Grasset, Paris, 2004.


jeudi, 02 juin 2011

Il vero problema per José Ortega y Gasset, è che la società non possiede più una morale

Il vero problema, per José Ortega y Gasset, è che la società non possiede più una morale

di Francesco Lamendola

Fonte: Arianna Editrice [scheda fonte]

Rileggere Ortega y Gasset è una operazione sempre attuale e sempre necessaria, poiché i pericoli della società di massa da lui evidenziati, nel suo saggio «La ribellione delle masse», sono ancora gli stessi, semmai più urgenti e minacciosi, benché l’opera del filosofo spagnolo sia stata scritta nell’ormai lontano  (lontano?)  1930.

Vale la pena di rileggerlo, dunque, perché egli è stato uno dei non molti autori che hanno saputo cogliere in pieno il fenomeno degenerativo dell’uomo moderno, dell’uomo-massa, quando ancora buona parte degli intellettuali europei si attardavano a ragionare sull’uomo secondo categorie ottocentesche o, addirittura, settecentesche, vale a dire illuministe e piattamente, acriticamente ottimiste, fiduciose nei due talismani della democrazia e del progresso - inteso, quest’ultimo, essenzialmente come aumento quantitativo dei beni e dei servizi e come perfezionamento dell’apparato tecnico-industriale.
Ma è opportuno saperlo rileggere liberamente, senza addentrarsi specificamente nel processo del suo pensiero storico e sociologico e senza fare, pertanto, della filologia filosofica; è opportuno rileggerlo con la consapevolezza di cittadini del terzo millennio, che sanno di non avere più molto tempo a disposizione, perché la situazione si è di molto aggravata in questi ultimi ottant’anni e il tempo per correre ai ripari è ormai quasi scaduto.
Anzitutto, Ortega y Gasset non teme di distinguere la categoria della vita nobile da quella della vita volgare: caratterizzate, la prima dal concetto di forza, la seconda da quello d’inerzia; per concludere che il mondo moderno, il mondo dell’uomo-massa, si svolge ormai all’insegna dell’inerzia e, quindi, della vita volgare.
Dai suoi tempi, il democraticismo rozzo e petulante ha fatto passi da gigante e il solo parlare di “vita nobile” e di “vita volgare” suscita una reazione istintiva non solo negli intellettuali, tutti debitamente progressisti e democraticisti, ma anche nelle persone comuni e illetterate, perché sa maledettamente di aristocratico; e ormai il cliché dell’aristocrazia come di una forza sociale obbrobriosa, che ha sfruttato il sangue del popolo per secoli e millenni, si è definitivamente insediato nell’immaginario collettivo e tutto ciò che sa di aristocratico provoca, nel migliore dei casi, fastidio e irritazione.
Poco importa se “aristocratico” significa, alla lettera, “il migliore”, e se tutti i filosofi più grandi, a cominciare da Platone, hanno sempre sostenuto che la società dovrebbe essere guidata dai migliori: ormai il credo democratico, secondo il quale tutti gli uomini sono uguali non solo nei diritti, ma anche nelle capacità e nello spirito di dedizione al bene comune, ha diffuso universalmente l’dea che non deve esservi nulla di “nobile” che si distingua da ciò che è “plebeo”, perché tutto deve essere uguale a tutto e nessuno deve poter emergere: pena, il vedere vanificata la “sacra” Rivoluzione francese e ristabilito l’odioso Ancien Régime.
In base al Pensiero Unico democratico, oggi imperante, non si può dire che esistono cose volgari, idee volgari, persone volgari: bisogna proclamare otto volte al giorno che tutti sono ugualmente nobili, confondendo in maniera marchiana la pari dignità e, in ultima analisi, la sacralità di ogni anima umana, con ciò che, poi, i singoli individui decidono di fare della propria vita; confondendo, cioè, la nobiltà della natura umana, quale essa può diventare a prezzo di impegno, lavoro e fatica, e la pretesa nobiltà di ogni comportamento umano, fosse pure il più volgare, il più vile, il più spregevole.
Dunque, diciamolo forte e chiaro: non tutte le esistenze umane sono spese all’insegna della nobiltà; molte, al contrario, sprofondano, sovente per una libera scelta, nel fango dell’abiezione, dell’egoismo distruttivo, della malvagità intenzionale.
Non è vero che tutte le filosofie sono uguali; che tutti i comportamenti umani si equivalgono; che l’importante è sviluppare pienamente la propria libertà, concepita come arbitrio individuale e come assenza di obblighi e di doveri; non è vero che tutte le verità hanno lo stesso valore, che ciascuno è padrone di stabilire e perseguire la propria personale verità; e non è vero che spendere la propria vita nella ricerca esclusiva del piacere e del potere è la stessa cosa che spenderla per conseguire saggezza, consapevolezza e rispetto del bene universale.
Qui c’è un grosso equivoco da chiarire, una volta per tutte; un equivoco che è stato alimentato ad arte: se è vero, infatti, che ogni vita merita amore e rispetto (e non solo quella degli umani, ma anche delle creature non umane), è altrettanto chiaro che non meritano lo stesso rispetto tutte le forme in cui la vita si realizza: quella dello spacciatore di droga, ad esempio, o dello sfruttatore di donne, non merita certo lo sesso rispetto di quella di colui che vive cercando di aiutare il prossimo e rispettare il più debole.
Anche se possiamo immaginare che dietro una vita mal spesa vi siano, a loro volta, dei tristi precedenti di ignoranza e, forse, di violenza, ciò dovrebbe indurre alla compassione, ma non alla confusione del giudizio morale: il fatto che un violentatore pedofilo abbia, magari, subito a sua volta degli abusi sessuali quand’era piccolo, dovrebbe insegnarci a non giudicare con troppa facilità, ma - d’altra parte - non può e non deve diventare una ragione per l’indifferentismo etico, per il permissivismo e per una colpevole indulgenza nei confronti del male.
Soprattutto, non dobbiamo esitare a chiamare le cose con il loro nome e, quindi, a dichiarare che una vita spesa a vantaggio del bene è una vita nobile e degna di essere portata ad esempio, mentre una vita all’insegna dell’egoismo e della prevaricazione è volgare e chi la pratica non merita alcuna considerazione, alcuna tolleranza, alcuno sconto, fino a quando non decida di ravvedersi, di riparare al male fatto e di espiare le proprie colpe.
Secondo l’analisi di Ortega y Gasset, noi siamo anzitutto ciò che il nostro mondo ci invita ad essere: e il mondo moderno, il mondo dell’uomo-massa, ci invita continuamente ad essere delle volgari nullità, preoccupate solo di saziare il ventre e i bassi appetiti e di esercitare una qualche forma di potere o di autorità sui nostri simili, non in base a dei meriti effettivi, ma unicamente in base alla furbizia, al cinismo e alla mancanza di scrupoli.
Si è instaurata, nel corso dell’ultimo secolo, una vera e propria pedagogia alla rovescia, una vera e propria selezione dei peggiori, ai quali si aprono tutte le strade dell’affermazione sociale, del predominio culturale e del potere economico e politico; selezione dei peggiori che si regge sulla menzogna democraticista, secondo cui tutti gli uomini possiederebbero uguali meriti e uguali competenze e tutti sarebbero degni di uguale stima, purché si adattino perfettamente al modello etico, politico e culturale dominante.
La civiltà dell’uomo-massa ha prodotto addirittura una apposita scienza, la psichiatria, per “normalizzare” sempre più gli individui potenzialmente ribelli e per omologare, appiattire, spogliare di ogni originalità, tutti i suoi membri; una scienza il cui braccio armato, la psicoanalisi freudiana, funziona come una solerte forza di polizia mentale, il cui scopo è persuadere l’individuo che non vi è pace se non nel fare propri tutte le dottrine, tutti i comportamenti, tutte le aberrazioni della cosiddetta “civiltà”, a cominciare dalle sue stesse, deliranti teorie psicologiche sul padre, sull’invidia del pene, sull’incesto, su Dio e sulla nascita delle nevrosi.
In luogo di un individuo creativo, che offre ai suoi simili la ricchezza del suo pensiero e delle sue emozioni, la società moderna tende a riprodurre individui grigi e conformisti, non importa se ammantati delle vesti ridicole dell’anticonformismo di massa; individui stanchi e rassegnati, che non si meravigliano più di nulla, che credono solo nella religione della scienza materialista e del progresso quantitativo; bambini che, a sei anni, sembrano già dei vecchietti vissuti e annoiati, senza spontaneità, senza fantasia, senza gioia e senza occhi per vedere la bellezza del mondo e per gioirne e provarne gratitudine.
Ora, secondo Ortega y Gasset, per la prima volta dalla notte dei tempi, la storia d’Europa appare affidata alla decisione dell’uomo volgare; o, in altri termini, per la prima volta l’uomo volgare, che, in passato, si lasciava dirigere, ora ha deciso di governare il mondo (ai tempi in cui scriveva il filosofo spagnolo, l’Europa dirigeva ancora il mondo).
Dunque, se prima esisteva un centro direzionale della vita politica europea, della sua economia, della sua cultura, ora non c’è più; al suo posto, vi sono una miriade di egoismi individuali, di presunzioni individuali, di ignoranze individuale, sorretti, chissà perché, dalla convinzione di essere legittimati da una filosofia dei diritti e, quindi, di esercitare un legittimo ruolo storico.
Il “bimbo viziato” della storia europea, il “signorino insoddisfatto”, è salito alla ribalta, rivendica i suoi diritti, pretende il suo spazio: è l’erede che si comporta esclusivamente come erede, colui che non ha dovuto faticare per guadagnarsi la propria posizione, ma sfrutta la fatica altrui e, in compenso, ha dei formidabili appetiti da far valere.
Il “bimbo viziato” della civiltà moderna è pieno di tendenze incivili; è, alla lettera, un nuovo barbaro, con l’aggravante che non sa di esserlo, ma pensa e si comporta, anzi, come se lui solo rappresentasse il concentrato di ciò che è “civile”; è l’uomo medio che si è insediato nel mondo della sovrabbondanza dei mezzi, che lui percepisce solo in senso quantitativo; e i cui orizzonti, le cui aspirazioni, la cui volontà non si dirigono mai verso la propria interiorità, che non esiste, ma unicamente verso il mondo esterno, che ritiene essere lì a sua completa disposizione.
L’uomo medio è, per formazione e per vocazione, uno specialista: non vede la complessità dei problemi, ma solo quel segmento di essi su cui può e vuole esercitare una competenza specifica, una forma di dominio; e il mondo moderno è, in sintesi, la barbarie dello specialismo eretto a sistema, dello specialismo svincolato da qualunque sistema di etica.
Lo Stato moderno è il risultato della tirannia dell’uomo massa che, per la prima volta nella storia, pretende di riferire ogni cosa a sé, non si lascia dirigere, non si lascia organizzare, non si lascia formare, ma esige che tutto s’inchini al suo numero, alla sua volgarità, al suo specialismo: uno Stato fuori controllo, senza un centro propulsore e senza un ideale; che nasce unicamente dalla somma matematica dei suoi componenti e che sta correndo chissà dove.
L’Europa ha dimenticato che l’uomo è una creatura costituzionalmente destinata a cercare e a seguire un’istanza di ordine superiore: ora come ora, le masse andate al potere non seguono altro impulso che il proprio meschino tornaconto immediato, e lo spacciano per interesse nazionale o, addirittura, sovranazionale.
Dato che lo Stato è essenzialmente una tecnica, una tecnica di natura politica e amministrativa, lo Stato moderno è diventato una mina vagante: lo dirigono dei “tecnici” altamente deresponsabilizzati e la società dovrà vivere in funzione dello Stato, l’uomo dovrà vivere e lavorare per mantenere la macchina del governo.
Lo Stato, gigantesco parassita, succhierà dalla società ogni linfa vitale e finirà per paralizzare e irrigidire ogni manifestazione spontanea: sarà uno Stato di cui aver paura, uno Stato di polizia, il cui fine principale non consisterà più nella ricerca del bene pubblico, ma nel mantenimento di una burocrazia elefantiaca.  
Ancora: la politica degli Stati è il risultato di un’azione di comando; ma non c’è comando senza una istanza di ordine spirituale: il comandare è l’arte di dirigere le masse in una certa direzione, in base a determinati valori. Il rapporto tra chi comanda e chi obbedisce è la risultante di una situazione spirituale, nella quale vi è una condivisione della necessità che qualcuno comandi, e che questo qualcuno rappresenti un movimento dello spirito.
Invece nella società moderna nessuno vuole più obbedire, tutti vogliono solo comandare: e non per andare in una qualche direzione o per realizzare un’idea, ma solo per l’esercizio del potere in quanto tale.
I “piani quinquennali” dell’economia sovietica sono un buon esempio di questo comando della tecnica, di questo specialismo amorale, dell’uomo-massa che ha ridotto l’arte del governo a mero esercizio di una tecnica quantitativa; e, più in generale, il bolscevismo è l’ideologia corrispondente alla coscienza dell’uomo-massa, che non sa obbedire né riconoscere la propria natura inferiore, ma pretende di esercitare il potere in nome della massa in quanto massa, fatto inaudito e mai verificatosi nella storia dell’umanità.
Il cuore del problema della modernità, per Ortega y Gasset, è, pertanto, lo smarrimento della morale: la civiltà moderna, che è la civiltà delle masse in rivolta, rifiuta ogni etica dei doveri, dunque ogni etica tout-court, anche se non ha l’onestà intellettuale di dichiararlo apertamente e si gingilla con le parole.
La mancanza di una morale è la mancanza di una istanza superiore, la perdita di un’idea, di un principio rispetto al quale gli uomini si sentano legati, vincolati, obbligati: da quando trionfa l’Europa dei “diritti”, gli obblighi sono caduti e ciascuno ha delle pretese da far valore, ma nessuno è disposto a sottoporre la propria libertà a dei limiti, se non - come appunto nel bolscevismo - in vista di un aumento della forza materiale delle masse, che consenta loro di prendersi una “storica” rivincita sulle classi egemoni.
Soffermiamoci sulla questione dell’oblio della morale.
Scrive José Ortega y Gasset nell’ultimo capitolo del suo classico «La ribellione delle masse» (titolo originale: «La rebelión de las masas»; traduzione italiana di Salvatore Battaglia, Bologna, Società Editrice Il Mulino, 1962, pp.152-154), intitolato «Il vero problema»:

«Questo è il problema: l’Europa è rimasta senza morale. Non è che l’uomo-massa disprezzi la morale antiquata a vantaggio di un’altra che s’annunzia, ma è che il centro del suo regime vitale consiste precisamente nell’aspirazione di vivere senza sottoporsi a nessuna morale. Non è da prestar fede a nessuna parola quando si sentono parlare i giovani di “nuova morale”.Nego recisamente che esista oggi in qualunque angolo del continente un qualsiasi gruppo informato da un nuovo “ethos”che abbia sembianze d’una morale. Quando si parla di “nuova morale”, non si fa altro che commettere una immoralità di più e tentare il mezzo più comodo per compiere un contrabbando.
Per questa ragione sarebbe un’ingenuità rinfacciare all’uomo d’oggi la sua carenza di moralità. L’imputazione lo lascerebbe senza disagio e, anzi, lo lusingherebbe. L’immoralismo è arrivato a un prezzo molto basso, e chiunque ostenta di esercitarlo.
Se mettiamo da parte - come si è fatto in questo saggio - tutti i gruppi che significano sopravvivenza del passato - i cristiani, gli “idealisti”, i vecchi liberali, ecc. - non si troverà fra tutti quelli che rappresentano l’epoca attuale la cui altitudine dinanzi alla vita non si riduca a credere che gli spettino tutti i diritti e nessun obbligo. È indifferente che si mascheri di reazionario o di rivoluzionario: per modi attivi o per vie passive, alla fine, il suo stato d’animo consisterà, in maniera decisiva, nell’ignorare ogni obbligo e nel sentirsi, senza che egli stesso sospetti perché, soggetto di illimitati diritti.
Qualunque sostanza che cada su un’anima siffatta darà lo stesso risultato, e si tramuterà in un pretesto per non sottoporsi a nulla di concreto. Se si presenta come reazionario o antiliberale, sarà per poter affermare che la salvezza della patria, dello Stato, dà diritto a mortificare tutte le altre norme e a far violenza al prossimo, soprattutto se il prossimo possiede una personalità eminente. Però si verifica lo stesso se gli capita d’essere rivoluzionario: il suo apparente entusiasmo  per l’operaio manuale, per il miserabile e per la giustizia sociale, gli serve da travestimento per potersi disciogliere da ogni obbligo - come la cortesia, la veridicità e, soprattutto, il rispetto e la stima degli individui superiori. Io so di non pochi che sono entrati in questo o quel partito operaio non per altro che per conquistare dentro se stessi il diritto di disprezzare l’intelligenza e di risparmiarsi gl’inchini dinanzi a lei. In quanto alle altre “dittature”, abbiamo già visto come allettino l’uomo-massa schiacciando tutto quanto sembrava eminente.
Questa repellenza per ogni obbligo spiega, in parte, il fenomeno, fra ridicolo e scandaloso, che si sia fatta ai giorni nostri una piattaforma della “giovinezza” come tale. Forse l’epoca nostra non presenta un tratto più grottesco di questo. Le persone, goffamente, si dichiarano “giovani” perché hanno udito che il giovane ha più diritti che obblighi, una volta che può rimandare l’osservanza di questi ultimi fino alle calende greche della maturità. Sempre il giovane, come tale, si è considerato esentato di fare o di aver già fatto “imprese”. Sempre è vissuto di credito. Questo è insito nella natura dell’uomo. Era come un falso diritto, fra ironico e tenero,  che i non giovani concedevano ai ragazzi. Però è stupefacente ch’essi ora lo assumano come un diritto effettivo, e precisamente per attribuirsi tutti gli altri che appartengono soltanto a chi abbia fatto già qualcosa.
Per quanto sembri menzogna, si è giunti a fare della gioventù un “chantage”. In realtà, viviamo in un tempo di “chantage” universale che assume due forme di smorfia complementare:  c’è lo “chantage” della violenza e lo “chantage” dell’umorismo. Con l’uno o con l’altro si tende sempre alla stessa cosa: che l’inferiore, che l’uomo volgare possa sentirsi esentato da ogni disciplina.
Perciò, non bisogna nobilitare la crisi attuale considerandola come il conflitto  fra due morali o civiltà, l’una caduca e l’altra albeggiante.  L’uomo-massa manca semplicemente di orale, che è sempre, per essenza,  sentimento di sottomissione a qualcosa, coscienza di osservanza e di obbligo. Però forse è un errore dire “semplicemente”. Perché non si tratta soltanto del distacco di questo tipo di creatura dalla morale. No: non rendiamogli così facile la sua fatica. Dalla morale non è possibile affrancarsi senz’altro. Ciò che con un vocabolo perfino difettoso dal lato grammaticale, si chiama “amoralità” è una cosa che non esiste. Se non ci si vuole affidare ad alcuna norma, bisogna pure, si voglia o no, sottostare alla forma di negare ogni morale: e ciò non +è amorale ma immorale. È una morale negativa che conserva dell’altra la forma vuota.
Come si è potuto credere nella “amoralità” della vita? Senza dubbio, perché ogni cultura e la civiltà moderna conducono a questa convinzione. Adesso l’Europa raccoglie le peno0se conseguenze della sua condotta spirituale. Si è gettata senza riserve nella direzione d’una cultura magnifica ma sprovvista di radici…»

“Chantage”, ricatto: come aveva saputo vedere avanti Ortega y Gasset, benché scrivesse quasi un secolo fa, quando ancora non esistevano né la bomba atomica, né la televisione, né il computer, né il telefonino cellulare.
È il ricatto del democraticismo volgare, secondo il quale nessuno può essere ricondotto sotto l‘etica dei doveri, perché, prima, ciascuno ha un lunghissimo elenco di diritti da far valere; per cui, ad esempio, nessun figlio può essere “costretto” dai genitori a mettersi a studiare seriamente, oppure a cercarsi un lavoro, perché, prima, la famiglia ha il dovere di mantenerlo per tutto il tempo che lui deciderà necessario per terminare gli studi o per trovarsi, appunto, un lavoro, magari a trenta, a quaranta anni compiuti: e ciò con la benedizione del legislatore e con la solerte protezione del giudice e delle forze dell’ordine.
È il ricatto per cui non si possono chiudere le frontiere a milioni di migranti che sbarcano sulle nostre spiagge, perché essi fuggono da situazioni di difficoltà, talvolta (ma non sempre) di pericolo, quindi hanno il “diritto” di essere accolti, di essere sfamati, di essere sistemati, di avere un lavoro e di ottenere la nostra cittadinanza, compreso il diritto di voto, nel giro di pochi anni; anche se il lavoro non c’è nemmeno per noi e i nostri figli; anche se i nostri nonni, quando emigravano in cerca di pane, non irrompevano oltre le frontiere altrui, ma si presentavano disciplinatamente e chiedevano di essere accolti in prova, rispettando la condizione di avere un contratto di lavoro e di rigare dritto come lavoratori-ospiti.
Senza una morale, nessuna società va lontano; ma può anche succedere, come è il nostro caso, che la vecchia morale, bandita perfino dai libri di scuola (proibito, ormai, parlare delle radici cristiane dell’Europa: sarebbe un delitto di lesa maestà del laicismo massonico), venga usata come una clava per ricattare le coscienze e per far valere la pretesa di sempre nuovi diritti da parte di sempre nuovi soggetti.
Senza che si parli mai dei corrispondenti doveri…

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Savigny: The Volksgeist & Law


Savigny: The Volksgeist & Law

Andrew Hamilton

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Before they addressed themselves to the impractical task of changing men by changing laws, the justices might have pondered the words of Savigny, who wrote, ‘Law is no more made by lawyers than language by grammarians. Law is the natural moral product of a people . . . the persistent customs of a nation, springing organically from its past and present. Even statute law lives in the general consensus of the people.’” –Wilmot Robertson, The Dispossessed Majority (1981)

The concept of the Volksgeist, or “the spirit of the Volk,” was developed by German philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744–1803). The application of Herder’s theory to law was made by German jurist and legal historian Friedrich Karl von Savigny (1779–1861).

Herder’s Volksgeist is a manifestation of the people; it animates the nation. Every Volk is, as an empirical matter, different from every other Volk, each nationality characterized by its own unique spirit. Every people possesses its own cultural traits shaped by ancestral history and the experience of a specific physical environment, and mentally constructs its social life through language, law, literature, religion, the arts, customs, and folklore inherited from earlier generations. The Volk, in other words, is the family writ large.

Laws, too, must be adapted to the spirit of each nation, for rules applied to one nation are not valid for another. The only legitimate governments are those that develop naturally among particular nations and reflect, in their differences from other polities, the cultures of the people they govern.

Law is the unique creation of a race, a people, a Volk. Like language or values, it is the result of collective human action and reason over generations, not the result of human design. Language and law were never consciously invented at a specific moment in time. Rather, they represent slow accumulations, organic emanations of discrete peoples.

To cite but one example, European law and values and Jewish law and values are as different as night and day. In adopting torture, assassination, criminalization of free speech, thought, and association, genocide, and the abolition of formal restraints on tyranny, whites overnight lost half a millennium or more of slow, painful moral and legal progress.

Descendant of Landed Nobility

Savigny was the descendant of a distinguished Huguenot family from Lorraine, in France, which moved to Germany in 1730 to escape Catholic intolerance. The family derived its name from the Castle of Savigny in the valley of the Moselle River; its members retained their German allegiance upon the transfer of Lorraine to France.

Savigny was born in Frankfurt, the son of a Lutheran father and a Calvinist mother. Orphaned at thirteen, without parents or siblings, the boy was raised by his father’s best friend, a prominent German attorney and government official who, from the age of 15, plunged Savigny and his own son “into a terrible course [of education], comprising the science of law, natural law, international law, Roman law, and German law”—an experience Savigny’s chroniclers compare to John Stuart Mill’s über-rigorous schooling.

Graduating from the University of Marburg in 1800, Savigny took up teaching at the same institution. Among his students were the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the later philologists and mythologists famous for Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Savigny eventually secured a position for Jacob at the University of Berlin, and the two maintained a correspondence. Jacob Grimm dedicated his masterwork, Deutsche Grammatik, one of the most important works  of German philology ever written, to Savigny.

Savigny married into the famous Brentano family. One of his wife’s nephews, pacifist economist Ludwig Brentano, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1927. Savigny’s brother-in-law was the writer Clemens Brentano, and his sister-in-law was Bettina von Arnim, correspondent of Goethe and wife of romantic poet and novelist Achim von Arnim. Through his in-laws Savigny came into close contact with the Heidelberg group of Romantic writers. Savigny’s son, Karl Friedrich von Savigny (1814–1875), was a prominent Prussian diplomat and politician.

In 1810 Savigny became Professor of Roman Law at Prussia’s newly-formed University of Berlin at the request of Wilhelm von Humboldt. There he helped found the institution, served as its first Rector, and organized the law faculty. He also taught the Crown Prince, subsequently King Frederick William IV of Prussia.

Savigny’s highly influential legal works include The Law of Possession (Das Recht des Besitzes) (1803), History of Roman Law in the Middle Ages (Geschichte des römischen Rechts im Mittelalter), 6 vols. (1815–1831), in which he traced the history of Roman law from the breakup of the empire until the beginning of the 12th century and showed how it lived on in local customs, towns, ecclesiastical doctrines, and school teachings until its reemergence in the Renaissance, System of Modern Roman Law (System des heutigen römischen Rechts), 8 vols. (1840–1849), an uncompleted work on the contemporary Roman law of Europe, Miscellaneous Writings (Vermischte Schriften), 5 vols. (1850), and The Law of Contracts (Das Obligationenrecht), 2 vols. (1851–53).

As Jewish law professor Milton R. Konvitz noted:

His massive work on Roman law in the Middle Ages became the source of subjects for countless historical monographs. His students, and their students in turn, dominated historical and legal scholarship and teaching for several generations, and he was universally acknowledged as one of the most influential thinkers and scholars of the nineteenth century.

Civil Law and Common Law

Historically, there has been a disjunction between the civil law systems of continental Europe and the common law systems characteristic of England and the English-settled countries.

Civil law is based upon Roman law, which was first codified in the Twelve Tables in 450 B.C. Codification was completed in 535 A.D. in the Corpus Juris Civilis, the culminating work of Roman legal scholarship.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Roman law persisted as part of Germanic law, the customary law of the ancient Germans (codified in the 5th–9th centuries A.D.), and canon law, the law of the Roman Catholic Church courts. It also remained the law of the Eastern Roman Empire, centered in modern-day Turkey, until its collapse in 1453.

The revival of classical studies during the Renaissance led to the resurrection of Roman law, as the Corpus Juris Civilis became the model for most of the legal systems of continental Europe.

The civil law system of the continent was thus a mixture of Roman law and local customary law. As a committee of legal historians observed in 1914:

The story of Western Continental Law is made up, in the last analysis, of two great movements, racial and intellectual. One is the Germanic migrations, planting a solid growth of Germanic custom everywhere, from Danzig to Sicily, from London to Vienna. The other is the posthumous power of Roman law, forever resisting, struggling, and coalescing with the other.

The importance of Roman law, Savigny wrote, is that “by reason of its high state of cultivation” it serves as a pattern for modern jurists. The importance of the local or customary law is that “it is directly and popularly connected with us.” Examination of the historical modifications of the two systems demonstrates how both Roman law and local law varied under the stress of actual needs and the application of legal theory.

Eventually, a single European civil code may replace existing national codes, and Savigny figures in current discussions about this. Here, for example, is Belgian law professor, former Advocate General of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, and general editor of a series of casebooks on the Common law of Europe Walter van Gerven writing for the European Commission:

The opposition between von Savigny and Thibaut [see below], regarded as an opposition between law, seen as a product of history, and law, seen as a product of reason, is somehow reflected in the opposition nowadays between those who believe that cultural differences between Member States and legal mentalities are such that no codification at European level is possible, at least not for the time being, and those who believe that codification has to come about without further delay. (p. 9)

To help overcome this difficulty, it has been suggested by some that Savigny’s historical school of law should be reconstituted on a pan-European level. (E.g., Reinhard Zimmerman, “Savigny’s Vermächtnis, Rechtsgeschichte, Rechtsvergleichung und die Begdindung einer Europäischen Rechtswissenschaft” ["Savigny's Legacy, Legal History, Unification of Law and Preconditions for European Legal Sciences"], Juristische Blätter [1998], 273.)

As an aside, it is instructive to briefly touch upon the Pan-European method behind this endeavor as described by van Gerven:

Work that is already underway should be continued on an even larger scale with “the aim of finding a European common core of legal principles and rules” and starting with the modest task of “mark(ing) out areas of agreement and disagreement, to construct a European legal lingua franca that has concepts large enough to embrace legal institutions which are functionally comparable, to develop a truly common law literature and the beginnings of a European law school curriculum.” (p. 29)

The author continues: “That this is not an easy matter appears from the literature on [European] Community law which now flourishes abundantly in any one Member State, but unfortunately very often in a closed national, or one language, circuit without reference to literature published in other Member States or other languages.” (p. 29n)

This shows how even the largest European institutions, with ample access to multilingual personnel, extensive translations, and continuous cross-border contacts and cooperation are still stymied by deeply entrenched intra-European cultural differences—particularly linguistic balkanization.

The situation is comparable but far worse for white racialists with their meager resources, inability to communicate in multiple languages, and lack of international contacts. Indeed, when racialists try to establish even one-off personal connections they are often hounded mercilessly by Jewish organizations, communist street thugs, pliant politicians and journalists, and police agencies determined to strangle white unity in the cradle. Victims of such actions have included Francis Parker Yockey, George Lincoln Rockwell, William Pierce, Tom and John Metzger, David Irving, and many others.

Unfortunately, any new Pan-European laws promulgated by existing elites will be deeply inimical to white racial survival and fundamental human rights.

The Origin of Germany’s Codification Controversy

There have been many modern codifications of civil law principles, the most famous and influential of which is the Code Napoléon (1804) of France, which strongly shaped the civil law systems of continental Europe and Latin America.

Louisiana is the only US civil law state, its law based upon French and Spanish codes and ultimately Roman law as opposed to English common law. Similarly, in Canada, French Quebec is the only province that operates under a dual system, with civil matters being governed by continental-style civil law and criminal matters by common law. The legal system of white South Africa was based upon Roman-Dutch civil law, and Scotland is considered a mixed law system.

In addition to the Code Napoléon, the major modern civil codes in effect when the German codification controversy flared were the Prussian Landrecht (Allgemeines Landrecht für die Preussischen Staaten, 1794) and the Austrian General Civil Code (Allgemeines bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, or ABGB, 1811). Today national civil codes are prevalent almost everywhere in continental Europe.

The primary difference between common law and civil code systems is ideological.

Common law is based upon precedent and gradual change, balancing tradition and reason.

The codes generally reflect the radical, utopian hyper-rationalism of the French Revolution. The French sought to abolish all prior law and replace it with new, all-encompassing norms in codified form. History was deemed irrelevant to the formulation, interpretation, and application of the French code; law ought to originate abstractly in the human mind (pure reason). A frequently repeated maxim of the legal radicals was, “I know nothing of the civil law; I know only the Code Napoléon.”

Theoretically the codes, complete, coherent, and clear, reduced all law to written form. Since lawmaking power was lodged solely in the legislature, judges could not look outside of the code for guidance. Their duty was to mechanically apply the law as set forth in the code.

Under the Holy Roman Empire there had been more than 300 German states. Between 1806 and 1815, the conqueror Napoleon organized them into the Confederation of the Rhine. Following his defeat, the Congress of Vienna (1814–15) created the German Confederation, consisting of 39 states, the most powerful of which were Prussia and the Austrian Empire. Each German state had its own system of laws which changed as you crossed the border, greatly hampering economic and political coordination.

In 1814, A. F. J. Thibault, professor of Roman Law at the University of Heidelberg, a former student of Immanuel Kant’s at the University of Königsberg and, like Savigny, a German of French Huguenot descent, proposed a unified German civil code on the French model to remedy the chaos of existing law. He set forth his proposals in a pamphlet, About the Necessity of a Common Civil Law for Germany (Über die Nothwendigkeit eines allgemeinen bürgerlichen Rechts für Deutschland).

Interestingly, though desirous of enacting a uniform system of laws for the German states, Thibault opposed political unification. As part of his proposed rationalistic reconstruction, he favored discarding Roman law, “the work of a nation which was very unlike us, and from the period of the lowest decline of the same.”

Opposing a French-style code for Germany, Savigny characterized the rationalistic legal mentality as one of “infinite arrogance” and “shallow philosophy.” Law, he maintained, could not be abstractly originated by a handful of individuals at a specified moment in time, but is organically created by the people of a nation as an expression of its Volksgeist. It is a grave error to try to consciously construct an ideal, all-encompassing legal code, to which everyone is compelled to submit. He believed that intellectuals lacked the ability to construct humane, workable legal systems in such a manner.

The Volksgeist and Law

Savigny set forth his views in an epochal pamphlet, Vom Beruf unserer Zeit für Gesetzgebung und Rechtswissenschaft (1814, 2nd rev. ed. 1828) (Eng. trans., Frederick Charles von Savigny, Of the Vocation of Our Age for Legislation and Jurisprudence, Abraham Hayward trans. [London: Littlewood, 1831]) and in an introductory article to the Journal of Historical Jurisprudence (Zeitschrift für geschichtliche Rechtswissenschaft), which he co-founded. From 1815 to 1850 it served as the organ of the historical school of jurisprudence.

The German Romanticism of the early 19th century had a strong influence on Savigny’s philosophy of law. As John Henry Merryman notes:

Savigny and his followers—influenced by Kant, Hegel, and German Romanticism—opposed this [codification] effort . . . Proponents of what came to be known as the “historical school,” these scholars maintained that it would be wrong for Germany to attempt to devise a [French-style] civil code . . . In their view, the law of a people was a historically determined organic product of that people’s development, an expression of the Volksgeist. Consequently, a thorough study of the existing German law and of its historical development was a necessary prelude to codification. Since the Roman civil law as interpreted by the medieval Italian scholars had been formally received in Germany some centuries before, a thorough historical study of German law had to include Roman law and old Germanic law as well as more recent elements of the contemporary German legal system. Under the influence of Savigny and the historical school, many German scholars turned their energies to the intensive study of legal history.

. . . The result would be a reconstruction of the German legal system according to its inherent principles and features.

Savigny considered law to be an emanation of a people’s spiritual and historical experience. It “is first developed by custom and popular acceptance, next by judicial decisions—everywhere, therefore, by internal silently operating powers, not by the arbitrary will of the law-giver.” The essential prerequisite was a deep and far-reaching appreciation of the genius of a particular Volk; the prescriptive content of the law must accord with the Volksgeist.

For Savigny, German law was an expression of the Volksgeist of the German people. Law is only properly understood in the light of past and present history, and reflects the inner convictions of Volk psychology and shared moral values. The Volksgeist, constantly changing and evolving as the German people changed and evolved, drove the slow evolution of law over the course of history. Savigny believed that the Volk of every land had a similar effect on each nation’s law.

Legal institutions and values, like music, art, or language, are an indigenous expression of the culture. Savigny, like Herder, thought that there was “an organic connection of law with the being and character of the people. . . . Law grows with the growth, and strengthens with the strength of the people, and finally dies away as the nation loses its nationality.”

Again like Herder, the Volksgeist is best understood through careful examination of historical data. That is why Savigny is considered a pillar of the historical school of jurisprudence. Time and again he traced the natural history of law, its organic growth as a living thing, and indicated the processes by which it adjusted to the needs of successive generations.

Although law initially manifests through custom, as social activity and rules grow more complex a specialist body of lawyers emerges. The lawyers who formulate law for an advanced culture seve as the representatives of the Volksgeist. Combining historical knowledge of law with a conceptual, systematic understanding of how rules interrelate with one another and with the whole, jurists separate what still has validity from that which is lifeless “and only belongs to history,” arriving thereby at a “living customary law.”

Thanks in large part to Savigny’s immense influence on 19th century German law and legal scholarship, Germany proved more resistant to the influence of the French Revolution than any other civil law nation in Europe. The German jurist decisively won the codification debate, and a new German Civil Code did not emerge until 1900. When it did, its historical orientation was in marked contrast to the revolutionary and rationalistic character of the Code Napoléon. As Merryman explains:

The German Civil Code of 1896 [Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch or BGB, effective 1900] is the opposite of revolutionary. It was not intended to abolish prior law and substitute a new legal system; on the contrary, the idea was to codify those principles of German law that would emerge from careful historical study of the German legal system. Instead of trying to discover true principles of law from man’s nature, as the French did . . . the Germans sought to find fundamental principles of German law by scientific study of the data of German law: the existing German legal system in historical context.

The Volksgeist Abroad

No one who has studied the works of Nobel Prize-winning Austrian economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek will fail to notice the parallels between his thought and Herder’s and Savigny’s. In the case of Herder to cite but one example, there are precise parallels concerning the belief in the evolution, as opposed to the conscious invention or construction, of human languages. Though Hayek did not articulate a racial or ethnic basis for his evolutionary theory, he may be profitably read as if he had by anyone who recognizes that racial universalism is incorrect and unworkable.

It is not apparent that Hayek ever read Herder, but he was familiar with Savigny. (It is too little appreciated that Hayek received a doctorate in law from the University of Vienna.) Savigny’s theories of law are in accord with Hayek’s belief that social phenomena such as language, law, the family, morality, the free market, etc., objectively are (and normatively ought to be) the “results of human action but not of human design.” To attempt conscious, rationalistic constructions in such areas of life is an error characteristic of the totalitarian mind.

Hayek traced the influence of Edmund Burke upon the German historical school, and, in the reverse direction, “In the social sciences it was through Savigny’s follower Sir Henry Maine that the evolutionary approach re-entered the English tradition.”

Indeed, the common law of the United Kingdom and the English-settled white countries was itself an unconscious expression of the Volksgeist principle. The conservative tendency of the common law stood in marked contrast to the revolutionary ideology from which the continental codes emerged.

James Coolidge Carter, a distinguished New York attorney and opponent of 19th-century American codification, was a legal theorist in the Savigny-Maine mold. He succinctly summarized the common law method as follows:

It is agreed that the true rule must somehow be found [note he says found, not made]. Judge and advocates, all together, engage in the search. Cases more or less nearly approaching the one in controversy are adduced. Analogies are referred to. The customs and habits of men are appealed to. Principles already settled as fundamental are invoked and run out to their consequences; and finally a rule is deduced which is declared to be the one which the existing law requires to be applied to the case.

Another textbook example of the Volksgeist principle in action is Scandinavia, whose legal development has been described as follows:

Legal attitudes and legislative practices among the Nordic peoples have been very similar, and highly democratic, since early times. These concepts remained largely uninfluenced by Roman law, which spread over most of the Continent. Rather, ancient tribal laws evolved pragmatically and were passed down through generations by word of mouth. When these laws were codified, starting about 1100, they were found to be common regarding principles, differing only with particular local conditions. (Norman E. Holly, “Legal and Legislative Co-operation in the Scandinavian States,” American Bar Association Journal, November 1963, p. 1089.)


In his civil law casebook (1994), John Henry Merryman asked (but did not answer) the question: “Does a nation have only one Volksgeist or do ethnically diverse nations have a Volksgeist for each cultural group?”

In multiracial ex-white nations, the dominant Volk, the Jews, freely express their Volksgeist through Jewish and general law, but other groups are limited by the will of the rulers. This is true even of currently favored groups like Muslims, with their Sharia law.

But oppressed whites no longer have a Volksgeist. Culture distortion simultaneously destroys both the collective life of the people and its law, which is supplanted by a rigid, racist legal positivism characteristic of contemporary totalitarian regimes.

But if we eventually regain our freedom and independence, Savigny’s Volksgeist should inform our reacquisition of law. The applicability to a racialist jurisprudence of a view of law as organically evolved over time out of the consciousness or spirit of a people is obvious.

Because biological race consists of a system of nested hierarchies, law may be adapted to any appropriate level of specificity or generality circumstances call for. At present, a higher level of racial generality than was characteristic of the old European nationalisms appears most suitable to the needs of what is ultimately likely to be a greatly diminished, ingathered population.

mardi, 31 mai 2011


Ex: http://rezistant.blogspot.com/
Die Wertlehre feiert in der Erörterung der Frage des gerechten Krieges ihre eigentlichen Triumphe. Das liegt in der Natur der Sache. Jede Rücksicht auf den Gegner entfällt, ja sie wird zum Unwert, wenn der Kampf gegen diesen Gegner ein Kampf für die höchsten Werte ist. Der Unwert hat kein Recht gegenüber dem Wert, und für die Durchsetzung des höchsten Wertes ist kein Preis zu hoch. Hier gibt es dann infolgedessen nur noch Vernichter und Vernichtete. Alle Kategorien des klassischen Kriegsrechts des Jus Publicum Europaeum - gerechter Feind, gerechter Kriegsgrund, Verhältnismässigkeit der Mittel und das geordnete Vorgehen, der debitus modus - fallen dieser Wertlosigkeit hoffnungslos zum Opfer. Der Drang zur Wertdurchsetzung wird hier ein Zwang zum unmittelbaren Wertvollzug.

Carl Schmitt, Die Tyrannei der Werte, 1960.

lundi, 30 mai 2011

Point de situation

Point de situation

Ex: http://lepolemarque.blogspot.com/

Le professeur Bernard Wicht, dont les Éditions Le Polémarque ont publié dernièrement l’essai Une nouvelle Guerre de Trente Ans ?, intervient de manière régulière en séances théoriques dans le cadre des formations proposées par l’association NDS* pour le développement des techniques de défense citoyenne. Diffusés sous forme de fiches synthétiques et remaniés en permanence, ces cours feront dès la rentrée de septembre 2011 l’objet de la nouvelle collection « Paysages Stratégiques » des Éditions Le Polémarque. Son ambition, modeste dans ses moyens mais réelle en terme d’impact, sera d’apporter aux lecteurs soucieux d’affronter les transformations structurelles irréversibles à l’œuvre à l’intérieur de notre société (B. Wicht parle sans détour de « la fin de l’ancien monde », annoncée par « la fin de l’État moderne »), les armes conceptuelles nécessaires pour mieux comprendre notre époque, afin de mieux la surmonter**.
Le « point de situation » que nous reproduisons ci-dessous, avec l’aimable autorisation de NDS, résume l’orientation générale du projet.

L. Schang

* Neurone Défense Système (nds-ch.org). Pour joindre son alter ego français, l’ACDS (Académie du Couteau et de la Défense en Situation), voir le site acds-fr.org.

** Selon cette autre formulation empruntée à l’auteur de L’idée de milice et le modèle suisse dans la pensée de Machiavel (L’Âge d’Homme, 1995) : « Lorsque les sociétés refusent de voir l’ennemi, lorsqu’elles montrent des signes d’effondrement, alors on voit se dresser des individus particuliers qui n’acceptent pas cet état de fait et reprennent la lutte à leur compte, parvenant à éluder ce qui paraissait inéluctable et à reconstruire des solidarités et une cohésion de groupe. Agissant de la sorte, ces individus retrouvent l’essence du fait étatique, le compagnonnage et les liens personnels de fidélité. » « Rebelle, armée et bandit : le processus de restauration de la cité », in La culture du refus de l’ennemi, Modérantisme et religion au seuil du XXIe siècle, collectif, PULIM, 2007, pp 111-128.

Point de situation

1) C’est la fin de l’État moderne et des institutions qu’il a créés et qui le portent : armée, université, système éducatif national, etc.
2) C’est la fin de l’ère industrielle et des formes d’organisation hiérarchique et pyramidale dont elle a accouché : des grandes usines aux grandes banques (d’où une démassification et une sorte de « démodernisation »).
3) C’est l’avènement de la société de l’information : structures plus petites et « sans tête », l’idée compte plus que l’organisation et l’institution, les nouvelles élites sont déjà au travail (mais on ne les voit pas parce qu’on ne regarde pas au bon endroit : principe de celui qui cherche ses clefs sur le réverbère plutôt que là où il les a perdues).

Dans cette perspective, il faut considérer :

- que l’effondrement actuel du Maghreb et du Moyen-Orient va accélérer la fin de l’ancien monde et l’avènement du nouveau (avec tous les bouleversements que cela suppose, en particulier en Europe) ;
- que se battre sur des positions déjà submergées (telles que universités, grandes écoles, armée est un gaspillage de temps et d’énergie ;
- qu’il faut s’efforcer de travailler en fonction des nouveaux paradigmes : nouvelles formes d’organisation, nouvelles méthodes de travail (selon les principes : « créer la culture, donner des moyens, laisser faire le travail » ; « travailler dans la marge d’erreur du système (actuel) » ; « (dans le contexte actuel) le salut vient des marges ; « loi des petits nombres (en lieu et place de l’ère des masses) ».

À titre d’exemple, de petites structures (souvent peu formalisées) se montrent de plus en plus aptes à développer des idées fortes, précisément parce qu’elles agissent « en dehors » (non pas contre) du système et qu’elles ne sont pas liées à l’establishment. Ce sont leurs projets qui font se rencontrer des gens ne se connaissant pas mais qui pourtant se font immédiatement confiance. Elles agissent le plus souvent par capillarité, selon le principe de « l’inoculée conception », et ont un écho et un impact inversement proportionnels à leur taille et à leur moyens.

Aujourd’hui, c’est ce type de structures qui permet de faire avancer tant la réflexion que les pratiques et la production : on peut ainsi citer en vrac les blogs, les start-up, les petites coopératives, etc. − NDS et Le Polémarque notamment, s’inscrivent dans une telle dynamique.

Bernard Wicht

samedi, 28 mai 2011

José Ortega y Gasset et le politique éminent

José Ortega y Gasset et le politique éminent

par Arnaud Giraud

Ex: http://fr.novopress.info/

José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955) vient juste après la « génération de 1898 » – Azor, Baroja, Benavente, Ruben Dario, Unamuno… -, tous ces jeunes écrivains rebelles qui aspirent à la renaissance de l’Espagne.

Il naît à Madrid dans une famille bourgeoise très impliquée dans la vie littéraire et artistique. Formé par les Jésuites, il perd la foi très tôt et suit un cursus universitaire qu’il double d’une carrière journalistique. Il rompt ses premières lances avec Miguel de Unamuno, en désaccord sur l’«essence de l’Espagne », la nature exacte du « casticisme », de l’âme espagnole. Ortega y Gasset s’ouvre à l’Europe en fréquentant les universités allemandes. Séduit dans un premier temps par le kantisme puis lecteur de Nietzche, il se rapproche des phénoménologues (Husserl) et, un peu plus tard de Heidegger, de six ans son cadet.

Ce qui nous retient ici est beaucoup moins son « ratiovitalisme » qu’il résume en un phrase : « Le vital est le concret, l’incomparable, l’unique… », moins sa métaphysique qui joue aux lisières de l’essentialisme et de l’existentialisme que son analyse spectrale du temps et de l’espace européens. Les huit volumes d’essais regroupés sous le titre « El Espectador » (Le Spectateur), les articles de la « Revista de Occidente » (1923-1936) mettent en scène la presque totalité des cultures européennes passées et présentes. Cette prolixité est servie par une érudition hors du commun, un style incisif et raffiné qui joue de l’allégorie, de la métaphore.

Théoricien et acteur de l’éducation qu’il veut soustraire à la férule cléricale, Ortega y Gasset fonde en 1913 la Ligue d’Education politique. Il s’agit d’armer la jeune génération en l’ouvrant à la modernité. La montée simultanée du communisme et du fascisme conduit Ortega y Gasset à écrire son essai le plus connu : « La Révolte des masses » (1930). C’est là une ample réflexion sur l’impact grandissant de la technique sur la « culture moderne ». Mais c’est aussi un appel aux Européens pour qu’ils relèvent le défi lancé par l’U.R.S.S. engagée dans un plan quinquennal « titanesque » pour bâtir une « énorme économie ». Avec cet avertissement :

« Si l’Europe, en attendant, persiste dans le vil régime végétatif de ces dernières années, les nerfs amollis par le manque de discipline, sans projet de vie nouvelle, comment pourrait-elle éviter l’effet de contamination d’une entreprise aussi imposante ? C’est ne pas connaître l’Européen que d’espérer qu’il puisse entendre sans s’enflammer cet appel d’un nouveau « faire » alors qu’il n’aura rien d’aussi « actif » à lui opposer. »

Engagé dans les débats qui déchirent l’éphémère république espagnole (1931-1936), Ortega y Gasset finit par s’en détacher. A titre privé, il penche pour les nationalistes puis préfère quitter l’Espagne. Il n’y revient qu’en 1945, suspect à la fois aux yeux de la dictature franquiste et de l’opposition républicaine.

La pensée politique d’Ortega y Gasset va à rebours des poncifs actuels. Trop vite définie comme libérale (après Tocqueville, avant Aron), elle repose sur une conception exigeante et même hautaine de l’Histoire :

« J’ai dit, et je le crois toujours, chaque jour avec une conviction plus énergique, que la société humaine est toujours aristocratique, bon gré, mal gré, par sa propre nature ».

Lorsqu’il ausculte l’«archétype du politique » et qu’il se penche aussi bien sur Mirabeau que sur César ou Napoléon, il est fortement conseillé aux âmes sensibles de s’écarter. Puisque, d’abord, il ne faut pas confondre l’archétype et l’idéal : « Les idéaux, ce sont les choses comme nous estimons qu’elles devraient être. Les archétypes, ce sont les choses selon leur inéluctable réalité. »

Modèle d’archétype de « politique éminent » : Mirabeau. Un mauvais sujet, certes, qui déborde d’excès et de désordres dans sa vie privée et sociale mais aussi un politique puissant et inspiré. Tout simplement parce qu’il se bat pour une politique nouvelle dont l’objectif est la monarchie constitutionnelle. En toute lucidité, parce que c’est le moins mauvais des choix. Ce « libéralisme démocratique », Mirabeau en voit « dans tout son développement futur  la futur nouvelle politique et il voit même au-delà : il voit ses limites, ses vices, sa dégénérescence et jusqu’aux moyens de la discréditer… »

Mirabeau est sans doute profondément immoral, vénal, mais le projet l’emporte sur l’homme. A Joseph-Marie Chénier (le cadet du poète guillotiné) qui proclame : « Il n’y a point de grand homme sans vertu », à Robespierre qui veut tout assujettir aux « principes immortels », Mirabeau oppose sa détermination qui ne s’embarrasse pas des moyens. Ortega y Gasset nous demande de ne pas scruter le grand homme avec le regard du valet de chambre qui en décompte les « petits vices » et toutes les « petites vertus » qui lui font défaut.

Antonio Machado, G. Marañón, José Ortega y Gasset, Ramón Pérez de Ayala

Le grand politique est tout, sauf pusillanime, il en est le contraire : C’est un « magnanime »… un homme qui a une mission créatrice : vivre et être, c’est, pour lui, faire de grandes choses, produire des œuvres de grand calibre. » Alors que « le pusillanime (…) n’a pas de mission ; vivre c’est pour lui simplement exister pour soi, se conserver soi-même, c’est aller parmi les choses qui se trouvent déjà là… »

Ortega y Gasset s’emploie à opposer le politique éminent au « petit gouvernant commun ». Le plus grand : César, paradigme du Politique, comparé à Marius, Pompée, Marc Antoine, « splendide série de fougueux animaux humains (auxquels) il manque à tous la petite flamme de Saint Elme que produit sur les cîmes la combustion de l’esprit. Aucune vision, aucune prévision chez eux. Ils sont d’énormes automates sous le poids du Destin. Le Destin ne tombe pas du dehors sur César, il est en lui, c’est lui qui le porte et qui est le Destin. »

Lorsqu’il  se penche sur l’Espagne et sur l’Europe de son temps composée de « peuples très vieux, et la vieillesse se caractérise par l’accumulation des organes morts, des matières cornées… », Ortega y Gasset ne cache pas son inquiétude. En 1927, il n’identifie pas de « politiques éminents », ni chez les successeurs de Lénine, ni le Mussolini qui pactise avec le vieil ordre social. Plus tard, au tournant du siècle, les grands tyrans lui inspirent une vive répugnance.

Pour lui, la marque du grand politique tient à sa disponibilité d’esprit lorsque, plongé en pleine tourmente, il peut encore distraire son esprit et l’ouvrir à d’autres champs de réflexion et de création. Marc Aurèle sur le limes composant ses réflexions morales, César écrivant un traité d’Analogie lorsqu’il traverse les Alpes pour conquérir la Gaule, Napoléon, en pleine retraite de Russie dictant à Caulaincourt le règlement de la Comédie française : « Quand un esprit jouit de son propre exercice et ajoute à l’allure obligée le saut luxueux – comme le muscle de l’adolescent qui complique la marche par le saut pour le pur plaisir de jouir de sa propre élasticité – ,c’est qu’il s’est complètement développé, qu’il est capable de tout comprendre. »

José Ortega y Gasset. Tabeau de Zuloaga

Lorsque Ortéga y Gasset publie, en 1930, « La Révolte des masses » il lui apparaît que les  politiques éminents se font plus rares et qu’ils cèdent la place à ceux qu’il appelle les « hommes vulgaires, les « hommes-masse » ou encore le « se?orito satisfait » qu’il dépeint ainsi :« Si l’on étudie la structure psychologique de ce nouveau type d’homme-masse (…) on y relèvera les caractéristiques suivantes : en premier lieu, l’impression originaire et radicale que la vie est facile, débordante, sans aucune tragique limitation ; de là, cette sensation de triomphe et de domination qu’éprouvera en lui chaque individu moyen, sensation qui, en second lieu, l’invitera à s’affirmer lui-même tel qu’il est, à proclamer que son patrimoine moral et intellectuel lui paraît satisfaisant et complet (…). Aussi – en dernier lieu – interviendra –t-il partout pour imposer son opinion médiocre, sans égards, sans atermoiements, sans formalités ni réserves… »

Sept ans plus tard, Ortega y Gasset préface la traduction française de « La Révolte des masses ». Il vit à l’écart de la guerre civile espagnole, n’ayant pu choisir entre la république et la junte de Burgos. Il réaffirme sa foi dans un « grand Etat national européen » mais déclare : « Les hommes d’esprit épais n’arrivent pas à concevoir une idée aussi déliée, aussi acrobatique, une idée où la pensée agile ne doit se poser sur l’affirmation de la pluralité que pour bondir sur la confirmation de l’unité, et vice versa. »

Faute d’agir, faute d’avoir vu un « politique éminent » surgir et s’imposer à l’Europe, Ortega y Gasset plaide pour un individualisme qui n’est en fait qu’une veille aristocratique, faite de « haute hygiène » et de « vie créatrice ». Une claustration factuelle non dénuée de grandeur mais qui ramenait le philosophe à sa position initiale de « spectateur ».

Armand Giraud pour Novopress France

[cc] Novopress.info, 2011, Dépêches libres de copie et diffusion sous réserve de mention de la source d’origine