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dimanche, 17 juillet 2011

J. P. Arteault / F. Sainz: les racines anglo-saxonnes du mondialisme

J. P. Arteault / F. Sainz: Les racines anglo-saxonnes du mondialisme

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mardi, 10 mai 2011

New Books by Troy Southgate

 

New Books by Troy Southgate from Black Front Press

 

 
Copies of EVOLA: THOUGHTS & PERSPECTIVES, VOLUME ONE are now available to preorder. The book is over 400 pages in length and costs just £24 (UK), £26 (Europe) & £27 (America/Rest of World). All prices include postage and the Paypal address is: arktoslondon@yahoo.co.uk More details below.
JULIUS Evola is one of the more intriguing and controversial figures in the Traditionalist milieu and this unique collection of essays, the first of its kind in English, looks at various aspects of the Italian philosopher’s work. Ranging fr…om Art, Sex, Feminism and Economics right through to Race, Politics, Islam and the Occult, this book will serve as a detailed and scholarly guide to one of Europe’s most vehement critics of the modern epoch. Contributors include Professor Roger Griffin, Professor Tomislav Sunic, Troy Southgate, Gwendolyn Toynton, K.R. Bolton, Keith Preston, Sean Jobst, Mariella Shearer, Brett Stevens and Christopher Pankhurst.
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SPECIAL OFFER: Buy two books from Black Front Press and get a third book absolutely free. This offer applies to three titles only: (i) FURTHER WRITINGS: ESSAYS ON PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION, HISTORY & POLITICS, (ii) ADVENTURES IN COUNTER-CULTURE: POLITICS, MUSIC, FILM & LITERATURE and (iii) OTTO STRASSER: THE LIFE & TIMES OF A GERMAN SOCIALIST. For more information about each title, please see below.
You can now copies of my new 300-page book, FURTHER WRITINGS: ESSAYS ON PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION, HISTORY & POLITICS, which costs just £20 (UK), £22 (Europe) & £24 (America/Rest of World). All prices include postage and the Paypal address is: arktoslondon@yahoo.co.uk
MOUNTING to thirty-five detailed chapters, Troy Southgate’s latest offering explores some of the more intriguing aspects of human civilisation. From an in-depth study of history’s prominent thinkers, ideologues and theologians right throug…h to a dissection of the world’s most fascinating empires, wars and revolutions, you will find this knowledgeable and erudite collection of essays both informative and thought-provoking.
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Signed copies of my 368-page book, ADVENTURES IN COUNTER-CULTURE: POLITICS, MUSIC, FILM AND LITERATURE, costs just £22 (UK), £24 (Europe) & £25 (America/Rest of World). All prices include postage and the Paypal address is: arktoslondon@yahoo.co.uk
Including key interviews with important political figures like Robert Steuckers, Martin Schwarz and Jonathan Bowden, as well as interesting musicians such as Richard Leviathan (Ostara), Christopher Walton (Endura), Puissance and Turbund Stu…rmwerk, Troy Southgate’s ten-year foray into the political and musical underground has managed to yield some very interesting results. This 368-page book also includes numerous reviews centred on concerts and releases by a remarkable variety of Industrial, Metal, Gothic, Neofolk and Experimental projects, and includes much in-depth analysis based around the world of film and literature.
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My biography, OTTO STRASSER: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A GERMAN SOCIALIST, is 200 pages in length & contains world-exclusive plates featuring family photographs supplied by Strasser’s own son. Signed copies – including postage – cost just £17 (UK), £19 (Europe) & £21 (America/Rest of World). Paypal address: arktoslondon@yahoo.co.uk

 

PRIOR to the outbreak of the Second World War, Otto Strasser was a leading activist in the National-Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). Distancing himself from the prevailing ideologies of both capitalism and communism, Strasser famousl…y accused Adolf Hitler of betraying the socio-economic principles of the original Nazi programme and went on to become a leading opponent of the Third Reich. Along with his brother, Gregor, he believed that a form of German Socialism could provide an alternative future for the nation’s long-suffering workers and peasants. As a result, he was ruthlessly pursued across several countries by Gestapo agents and became embroiled in a series of thrilling adventures. This is the story of how a Bavarian man with a sense of national freedom and social justice became one of the world’s most intriguing revolutionary ideologues.

 

dimanche, 01 mai 2011

A Arte de Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

A Arte de Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Ex: http://legio-victrix.blogspot.com/

 


















00:05 Publié dans art | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : art, peinture, arts plastiques, angleterre, 19ème siècle | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

dimanche, 17 avril 2011

A Arte de Lord Frederick Leighton

A Arte de Lord Frederick Leighton

Ex: http://legio-victrix.blogspot.com/ 

 







00:06 Publié dans art | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : art, arts plastiques, peinture, angleterre, 19ème siècle | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

mardi, 29 mars 2011

La guerra anglo-boera

La guerra anglo-boera

di Angelo Cani

Fonte: Conflitti e strategie [scheda fonte]


angloboera2.jpgDue guerre, quella degli Stati Uniti del 1898 contro la Spagna, per la conquista di Cuba e delle Filippine, e quella intrapresa dall’Inghilterra, contro le due piccole repubbliche boere: il Transvaal e lo Stato libero d’Orange, segnarono l’inizio di una nuova epoca, l’epoca dell’imperialismo e del dominio del capitale finanziario.

Nella storia del passato si erano combattute molte guerre, allo scopo di estendere il commercio e i possedimenti delle potenze imperialistiche, ma mai gli interessi del capitale monopolistico e finanziario avevano avuto un ruolo così decisivo e determinante.

La guerra anglo-boera, scoppiata nel 1899, è stata la prima guerra imperialistica.

La piccola repubblica del Transvaal, fondata nel 1837 dai discendenti dei contadini olandesi, che erano emigrati al Capo di Buona Speranza alla metà del XVII secolo, aveva goduto di una relativa pace fino al 1886, anno della scoperta dei giacimenti d’oro.

Dei 300 mila kg. d’oro, che a quei tempi si estraevano ogni mese in tutto il pianeta, 80 mila provenivano dalla piccola Repubblica. La sola Inghilterra, ogni mese, estraeva dalle proprie colonie 80 mila kg. e se si Fosse impadronita della repubblica boera, come era sua intenzione, sarebbe diventata padrona di più della metà della produzione mondiale di oro. Per questa ragione i dirigenti inglesi, subito dopo la scoperta del metallo prezioso, si attivarono per la conquista della Repubblica del Transvaal. L’impresa venne affidata a Cecil Rodes, fondatore e direttore della “Chartered Company”, capo del potente sindacato “de Beers”, che forniva il 90% della produzione diamantifera mondiale, primo ministro della Repubblica del Capo e padrone della Rhodesia. Egli preparò, molto accuratamente, un grandioso piano per creare un impero inglese che avrebbe dovuto estendersi da Città del Capo fino al Cairo. La conquista della Repubblica boera faceva parte di questo piano. I mezzi per raggiungere tale obiettivo furono i più svariati. In primo luogo, in base a un trattato imposto ai boeri nel 1884, l’Inghilterra aveva il diritto di esercitare il controllo sui rapporti di questa Repubblica con l’estero. In secondo luogo essi potevano esercitare una costante pressione sul governo boero agendo sugli immigrati inglesi che avevano ottenuto la cittadinanza della piccola Repubblica e speravano di prevalere sui boeri. In terzo luogo l’Inghilterra aveva cercato di accerchiare e isolare il Transvaal con i suoi possedimenti. Quest’ultimo tentativo fallì perché la Repubblica boera si era unita direttamente con una ferrovia con il porto portoghese Laurenco Marques situato sulla costa della baia di Delagoa. Il tentativo di conquistare, da parte del governo inglese, il controllo di questo porto e della ferrovia fallì per l’opposizione del governo portoghese dietro il quale agiva attivamente la diplomazia e il capitale tedesco che aveva già costruito la ferrovia che collegava Pretoria direttamente al mare. Inoltre per dimostrare il suo appoggio a Pretoria e per dissuadere gli inglesi il governo tedesco, nel gennaio del 1895, mandò dimostrativamente a Delagoa due navi da guerra. Sempre in questo periodo l’influenza economica, la penetrazione dei capitali e delle merci tedesche nella Repubblica boera si sviluppò considerevolmente. L’industria meccanica tedesca, i trusts elettrotecnici, le grandi ditte di costruzioni, la Società per l’industria dell’acciaio di Bochum, la fabbrica di vagoni Deutzer di Colonia, la Krupp e la Siemens trovarono in questo paese lo sbocco per la propria produzione.

angloboera1.jpgLe banche tedesche non si limitavano a partecipare alla banca del Transvaal, ma di fatto la controllavano. Nell’ottobre del 1895 la Dresdner Bank aprì a Pretoria una succursale e grande interesse mostrò anche la Deutsche Bank. Il capitale tedesco investito in Transvaal raggiungeva in questo periodo la somma di 500 milioni di marchi.

Attratti dai fantastici guadagni, accorsero nella Repubblica boera numerosi avventurieri, commercianti e industriali tedeschi. Solo nella città di Johannesburg i tedeschi immigrati erano 15000. Questi immigrati si consideravano il nucleo della nuova grande Germania nell’Africa meridionale. Il loro progetto era quello di instaurare sul Transvaal il protettorato della Germania e per questo era necessario eliminare il pericolo di un protettorato inglese. I circoli tedeschi dichiararono unanimi la loro disponibilità a difendere i boeri da un’eventuale attacco inglese.

Nell’aprile 1895 i tedeschi riuscirono, d’accordo con il Portogallo, a strappare agli inglesi il controllo sul servizio postale lungo la costa sudorientale dell’Africa. La reazione dell’Inghilterra non si fece attendere. Il 30 dicembre, con il benestare del governo, bande della “Chartered Company”, forti di oltre 800 uomini, armate di cannoni e mitragliatrici, al comando di Jamenson, stretto collaboratore di Rhodes, entrano nel territorio del Transvaal e marciano verso Johannesburg, dove si attendeva da un momento all’altro l’insurrezione organizzata da tempo sempre da Rhodes.

Il giorno dopo la notizia arriva a Berlino. Il governo reagisce: rompe le relazioni diplomatiche con l’Inghilterra, invia una unità militare a Pretoria, ordina al comandante dell’incrociatore “Seeadler”, dislocato nelle acque della baia di Delagoa, di sbarcare un reparto di fanteria marina e di inviarlo nel Transvaal. Ma quando la tensione tra Londra e Berlino sta ormai per raggiungere un punto di non ritorno sono gli avvenimenti del giorno dopo a far allentare la tensione.

Le bande di Jamenson vengono circondate dai boeri e catturate assieme al loro capo. Anche il complotto organizzato a Johannesburg Fallisce miseramente. L’incursione delle bande inglesi smascherano Rhodes di fronte alla popolazione e al governo del Transvaal che, pur contando sull’aiuto tedesco, comincia ad armarsi per potersi difendere autonomamente. Buona parte delle armi vengono acquistate in Germania. La ditta Krupp riceve, proprio in questo periodo, grandi ordinazioni di cannoni e la ditta berlinese Lewe trae grandi guadagni dalla vendita di un gran numero di fucili Mauser.

I boeri, con l’acquisto di armi belghe, fecero guadagnare molto denaro anche ad alcune ditte commerciali inglesi, le quali erano a conoscenza che tali armi sarebbero state usate contro i soldati inglesi. Ma furono soprattutto le ditte tedesche a trarre i massimi guadagni fornendo ai boeri armi per la guerra contro l’Inghilterra e contemporaneamente fornendo all’esercito inglese armi e munizioni per la guerra contro i boeri. Interesse di queste ditte era quindi quello di mantenere il più a lungo possibile lo stato di tensione nei rapporti tra inglesi e boeri.

Dopo la crisi del 1895-96 possiamo notare un graduale cambiamento del governo tedesco per quanto riguarda i rapporti anglo- boeri. Le ragioni del mutamento politico vanno ricercate nei diversi interessi del capitale tedesco.

Nella Repubblica boera oltre ai circoli della Deutsche Bank e della Darmstadt Bank, che deteneva un grosso pacco di azioni delle ferrovie del Transvaal, avevano grossi interessi anche le acciaierie Krupp, gli armatori di Amburgo e altri esportatori. Un ruolo importantissimo veniva svolto da uno dei più grandi gruppi del capitale finanziario tedesco: la Disconto – Gesellschaft. Soprattutto il capo di questa banca, il banchiere Hansemann, s’interessava proprio in questo momento della costruzione di una ferrovia che doveva collegare l’Africa orientale tedesca con l’Africa sud – occidentale tedesca. Il progetto prevedeva che la ferrovia attraversasse ilterritorio del Transvaal.

La Lega pangermanica, appoggiata dalla Disconto, si affrettò, attraverso la stampa, a sostenere tale progetto. Era però chiaro, fin dall’inizio, che questa banca da sola non avrebbe potuto assicurare il finanziamento di un’impresa così grandiosa. Il tentativo di avere l’appoggio della Deutsche Bank fallì, lo stesso avvenne con la City di Londra che era interessata alla realizzazione della linea ferroviaria, che da Città del Capo arrivava al Cairo, progettata da Rhodes.

Hansemann assieme ad una parte dei commercianti anseatici, della compagnia navale Werman e altri grandi circoli finanziari chiedeva al governo tedesco di svolgere una politica più attiva nell’Africa del sud e una lotta più incisiva per avere un peso più determinate nel Transvaal. Ma per quanto questo gruppo fosse influente, il governo tedesco doveva tener conto anche degli interessi di un altro gruppo finanziario alla cui testa si trovava la Deutsche Bank: anche questo gruppo chiedeva al governo un impegno maggiore e una politica più attiva nella Repubblica boera, ma i suoi dirigenti, molto informati sugli interessi dell’imperialismo inglese e sull’atteggiamento dei boeri, avevano cominciato ad elaborare vasti piani verso l’Impero ottomano, l’Asia sud-occidentale e la Cina. Al centro di questo grandioso piano espansionistico stava il progetto della costruzione della ferrovia, che partendo dal Bosforo passava per Bagdad e giungeva fino al Golfo Persico.

Questi circoli legati alla Deutsche Bank, dopo aver ottenuto la concessione dal governo turco per la costruzione della ferrovia, avevano incominciato, per l’impossibilità di fermare la crescente pressione dei capitalisti inglesi, a disinteressarsi degli affari del Transvaal. Infatti Siemens e gli altri dirigenti della Deutsche Bank si erano resi conto che sarebbe stato più conveniente, per il capitale tedesco, rinunciare alle mire

espansionistiche nel sud Africa e sfruttare le posizioni politiche ed economiche di cui disponevano in quella zona, per costringere l’Inghilterra a scendere a patti. Essi rivendicavano, in cambio di un loro disinteresse sulla piccola Repubblica del Transvaal, grossi compensi finanziari e coloniali. Fu così che in questi gruppi del capitale finanziario cominciò a prendere forma una linea di ritirata invece di una linea di politica attiva nella Repubblica boera. Questa politica coincideva con gli interessi delle classi dominanti: borghesia e junker.

Nella lotta tra i due gruppi del capitale finanziario tedesco, uno capeggiato dalla Deutsche e l’altro dalla Disconto, prevalse, grazie all’appoggio del governo, la tendenza che considerava più conveniente alimentare e accentuare la tensione nei rapporti tra l’imperialismo inglese e i boeri. Da un lato i circoli della lega pangermanica facevano credere ai boeri che la Germania non gli avrebbe mai abbandonati. Dall’altro lato, il Kaiser, il capo del governo von Bulow e l’ambasciatore tedesco a Londra, non rinunciavano a sondare il terreno presso il ministro inglese Salisbury , sui compensi per l’amicizia che la Germania avrebbe potuto concedere, a determinate condizioni, all’Inghilterra.

angloboera3.pngNell’estate del 1898, la diplomazia tedesca venuta a conoscenza che il governo inglese si accingeva ad approfittare della difficile situazione finanziaria in cui era venuto a trovarsi il Portogallo per mettere le mani sui suoi possedimenti coloniali, pretese dall’Inghilterra la propria parte, cioè avere libero accesso alla spartizione delle colonie portoghesi. Per rendere più convincente la sua richiesta il governo tedesco minacciò di intervenire a fianco dei boeri, di allearsi con la Russia e altre potenze rivali dell’Inghilterra, ma in realtà questo era solo un ricatto per poter aumentare le proprie pretese.

Alla fine, dopo lunghi contrasti e mercanteggiamenti, arrivano ad un accordo per la spartizione delle colonie portoghesi. Tutti i partiti dominanti accettarono tale accordo, eccezion fatta per la lega pangermanica, che aveva a cuore gli interessi della Disconto, che lo qualificò come tradimento a danno dei boeri.

Nel marzo 1899 Cecil Rhodes, per assicurarsi della neutralità dei circoli tedeschi in caso di guerra contro il Transvaal, si recò a Berlino e si impegnò: ad esercitare pressioni sulle alte sfere inglesi per strappare concessioni coloniali, particolarmente nelle isole Samoa, che i circoli della marina tedesca consideravano una importante base strategica nell’Oceania, favorire la Germania nella costruzione della linea telegrafica e della ferrovia transafricana e appoggiare la Deutsche Bank nell’Asia sud – occidentale.

La linea politica, del non intervento, del governo tedesco poggiava sul sostegno della Deutsche Bank perché vi vedeva la condizione per il successo per la sua espansione sia verso l’Asia sud-occidentale, sia verso la Cina. I circoli collegati con la Disconto -Gesellschaft non erano entusiasti, ma aspettavano anche loro i grossi vantaggi, promessi da Rhodes, per la costruzione della ferrovia africana. I Krupp e gli altri grandi magnati dell’industria bellica avevano già ottenuto grossi profitti prima della guerra e se ne aspettavano altri ancora maggiori in caso di inizio guerra .

Il 22 settembre il governo inglese, dopo essersi assicurato la neutralità della Germania, proclamò la mobilitazione di un corpo d’armata. Alcuni giorni dopo una parte considerevole venne mandata in Africa del sud.

Il 9 ottobre il presidente del Transvaal, Kruger, presentò l’ultimatum al governo inglese chiedendo di ritirare le truppe a ridosso della frontiera. Il governo inglese le respinse. Kruger, dopo aver avuto l’appoggio del presidente della Repubblica d’Orange, prese l’iniziativa e occupò il Natal. La guerra era cominciata.

La guerra inizialmente fù sfavorevole per gli inglesi. I boeri in tre distinte battaglie sconfissero le truppe britanniche. E per tre anni, prima di essere sconfitti dal potente esercito inglese nel 1902, inflissero dure perdite alle forze britanniche.

La fine della guerra anglo-boera non pose fine ai contrasti coloniali tra le potenze europee e la Germania, anzi, dopo l’accordo tra Francia e Inghilterra, firmato nel 1904, per la spartizione dell’Africa settentrionale, divennero irreversibili. Con questo accordo la Francia rinunciò alle pretese egemoniche nei confronti dell’Egitto e ne riconobbe l’influenza Inglese. l’Inghilterra si dichiarò a sua volta favorevole ad un ampliamento del dominio francese in Tunisia, Algeria e Marocco. Ma proprio in quest’ultimo paese le banche e le grosse imprese tedesche, già da tempo, avevano intrapreso una intensa e redditizia attività commerciale e non erano per niente disposte a farsi da parte. La Germania per superare i contrasti e far valere le proprie ragioni promosse una conferenza internazionale che si tenne nella città spagnola di Algesiras nel 1906.

L’incontro non eliminò nessun contrasto, anzi l’unico effetto che sortì fu l’isolamento politico e l’indebolimento economico dell’Impero tedesco. Ad esasperare ulteriormente i contrasti fu la crisi di sovrapproduzione industriale, incominciata 1907, che interessò tutti i paesi capitalistici, in particolar modo la Germania.

Nel luglio del 1911 le speranze tedesche di sfruttare i giacimenti di ferro, di piombo e manganese, in Marocco, vennero cancellate definitivamente con l’occupazione militare da parte della Francia. Venuta meno questa possibilità le industrie e le banche tedesche rivolsero l’attenzione all’area balcanica e al Medio Oriente. La Disconto fornì alla Romania, Grecia e Bulgaria prestiti per completare le loro reti ferroviarie ed elettriche mediante acquisti di materiale dalle industrie tedesche. Sempre la Disconto riescì ad ottenere la concessione per lo sfruttamento dei giacimenti di petrolio di Ploesti, vendendo in Germania tutto il petrolio estratto.

La Deutsche Bank portò avanti lo sfruttamento dei giacimenti di cromonell’Asia Minore e il collegamento ferroviario tra Istambul e Bagdad. L’ascesa al potere in Turchia dei “giovani Turchi” nel 1908 accentuò il legame con la Germania e le banche concessero grossi prestiti per rinnovare il suo armamentario con acquisti di materiale bellico dall’industria tedesca e in particolar modo dalla Krupp. Negli ambienti capitalistici tedeschi si fece strada l’idea di poter superare la crisi economica facendo di tutta l’area balcanica e medio-orientale un vasto mercato in grado di dare uno sbocco all’industria pesante tedesca e al contempo fornirle a basso costo le materie prime necessarie. Questo disegno del capitalismo tedesco creò però sempre più gravi tensioni internazionali.

L’Inghilterra premeva sul governo persiano per non permettere il passaggio della ferrovia nel suo territorio. La Francia cercava con tutti i mezzi di ridurre l’influenza tedesca in Serbia, Grecia, Bulgaria e Romania.

Le due guerre combattute nel 1912/13 che hanno interessato i paesi dell’area balcanica (passate alla storia come guerra balcaniche) avevano portato sull’orlo della bancarotta le nazioni che vi avevano partecipato.

Alla fine del conflitto la Serbia si rivolse per un grosso prestito alle banche tedesche, che non disponevano, per ragioni storiche, di capitali liquidi e quindi non erano in grado di concedere alcun prestito. La Serbia si rivolse allora alla Francia che, grazie alla disponibilità di capitali liquidi, non aveva difficoltà a concedere il prestito, ponendo, però, come condizione l’acquisto di merci francesi.

Anche la Romania chiese un prestito alle banche tedesche ottenendo, come la Serbia, lo stesso risultato negativo. L’unica strada percorribile, per la grande disponibilità di liquidità, era quella francese, che concesse il prestito, ma ponendo come condizione il controllo dei pozzi petroliferi già controllati dai tedeschi.

La stessa dinamica si svolse in Turchia che prima chiese alle banche tedesche il denaro per riarmare il proprio esercito e costruire le fortificazioni nei Dardanelli, ma non avendolo ottenuto si rivolse alla Francia che pone anche in questo caso come condizione l’acquisto di armi dalle proprie industrie. A questo punto l’unico sbocco alle incessanti

contraddizioni che la crisi capitalistica aveva generato, coinvolgendo tutte le potenze industrializzate, e in particolar modo la Germania che aveva l’esercito più potente del mondo, non poteva essere che la guerra.

 


Tante altre notizie su www.ariannaeditrice.it

mardi, 08 février 2011

Churchill: More Myth than Legend

churchill.jpeg

Churchill: More Myth than Legend

by Patrick Foy

Ex: http://takimag.com/

Last week a country-club Republican friend in Palm Beach gave me a copy of The Weekly Standard and urged me to read “A World in Crisis: What the thirties tell us about today” by opinion editor Matthew Continetti. The article would have the reader believe that the universe’s fate hinged upon a little-known 1931 Manhattan traffic accident involving Winston Churchill.

Churchill was crossing Fifth Avenue at 76th Street in the late evening of December 13th, 1931 on his way to Bernard Baruch’s apartment for a powwow when he looked the wrong way, crossed against the light, and was sideswiped by a car going 30MPH. The hapless statesman spent over a week in Lenox Hill Hospital recovering from a sprained shoulder, facial lacerations, and a mild concussion, all of which required a doctor’s prescription for “alcoholic spirits especially at meal times.” Continetti mentions “the granularity of history,” whatever that means: “If the car had been traveling just a little bit faster, the history of the twentieth century would have been irrevocably altered.” True enough, but for the better or the worse?

Continetti would argue that this chance mishap worked out for the best. His premise is that the 1930s were dangerous times much like our own, and it took the astute Winston Churchill to come to humanity’s rescue and make things right: “A few people in December 1931 recognized the growing danger. The patient at Lenox Hill Hospital was one.” Oh, dear. What bilge.

The Weekly Standard, as well as National Review Online and Commentary Magazine, all belong to the same faux-conservative neocon fraternity which hijacked Washington starting with H. W. Bush in the Cold War’s aftermath and has demolished any hope of a “peace dividend” ever since.

Fighting fire with gasoline is not generally a good idea, and Islamic extremism is a logical byproduct of the Tel Aviv-Washington alliance. Hence, the slow-motion downfall of the world’s “indispensable nation” is now upon us. It reminds me of the sad state of Little England in WWII’s aftermath, all thanks to Sir Winston’s myopic leadership.

Neocon opportunists have grabbed Churchill as one of their own. He is always linked to the presumed “good war” and has been glorified to the skies as a result. But what if that car had been traveling faster down Fifth Avenue in 1931 and knocked the British bulldog into the next world? Could the Second World War have been avoided altogether?

“Neocon opportunists have grabbed Churchill as one of their own.”

The “good war” resulted in approximately fifty million fatalities worldwide, left Europe a starved and blasted continent, destroyed the far-flung British and French empires, brought the Soviets into Europe’s heart for more than forty years, and handed China over to Mao Tse-tung.

Churchill actively participated in making World War II a global conflict. He promoted war’s outbreak in Europe in the summer of 1939, utilizing the Versailles Treaty’s last unresolved issue: Danzig and the Polish Corridor. Prime Minister Chamberlain gave Poland a blanket guarantee of the status quo, terminating a negotiated settlement and making war between Berlin and Warsaw inevitable.

In 1941, Churchill withheld vital information from the Hawaiian commanders about an imminent outbreak of hostilities. London’s Far East code-breakers had cracked the Japanese naval code, JN-25, and Churchill had access to it. The “surprise” attack on Pearl Harbor turned the European conflict into a truly global war. It was Pearl Harbor that saved Churchill’s backside and rescued the Roosevelt presidency.

Churchill had some surprisingly positive things to say about Hitler prior to the invasion of Poland. In Francis Neilson’s The Churchill Legend Neilson quotes what Churchill wrote about the German leader in a letter to himself dated September 17th, 1937 and included in Step by Step, published in 1939:

“One may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we would find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations.”

Along the same lines, Neilson cites the 1937 book Great Contemporaries, in which Churchill states that Hitler’s life’s story “cannot be read without admiration for the courage, the perseverance, and the vital force which enabled him to challenge, defy, conciliate, or overcome, all the authorities or resistances which barred his path.”

I’m now wondering about pre-1931. If the twentieth century could have been “irrevocably altered” by Churchill’s brush with death in a traffic accident between the World Wars, what if Churchill had never been engaged in politics in the first place? For the answer, one has only to get a copy of The Churchill Legend and read it. Francis Neilson, who was a member of Parliament at the outbreak of the Great War, claimed to have known Churchill longer than anyone alive.

The list of disasters Churchill presided over prior to the Second World War includes the fiasco at Gallipoli, the Lusitania’s sinking (when Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty), and the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1917 by the British War Cabinet, which opened a Pandora’s box from which has sprung endless injustice and bloodshed in the Middle East. Not that Churchill deserves the sole credit for these disasters, but his fingerprints are there. He was certainly involved at the highest level. Both the sinking of the Lusitania and the Balfour Declaration were the byproducts of a desperate strategy to drag America into the Great War.

One gets the impression from reading Neilson that Churchill’s entire public career—grounded in both World Wars—shows indisputable evidence of incompetence, opportunism, ruthlessness, mendacity, and bad judgment. Yes, history is repeating itself.

vendredi, 17 décembre 2010

D. H. Lawrence on Men & Women

D. H. Lawrence on Men & Women

Derek HAWTHORNE

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

1. Love and Strife

Lawrence.jpgIn a 1913 letter D. H. Lawrence writes that “it is the problem of to-day, the establishment of a new relation, or the readjustment of the old one, between men and women.” Lawrence’s views about relations between the sexes, and about sex differences are perhaps his most controversial – and they have frequently been misrepresented. But before we delve into those views, let us ask why it should be the case that establishing a new relation between men and women is “the problem of to-day.” The reason is fairly obvious. The species divides itself into male and female, reproduces itself thereby, and the overwhelming majority of human beings seek their fulfillment in a relationship to the opposite sex. If relations between the sexes have somehow been crippled—as Lawrence believes they have been—then this is a catastrophe. It is hard to imagine a greater, more pressing problem.

Lawrence came to relations with women bearing serious doubts about his own manhood, and with the conviction that his nature was fundamentally androgynous. Throughout his life, but especially as a boy, it was easier for him to relate to women and to form close bonds with them. Thus, when Lawrence discusses the nature of woman he draws not only upon his experiences with women, but also upon his understanding of his own nature. One of the questions we must examine is whether, in doing so, Lawrence was led astray. After all, Lawrence eventually came to repudiate the idea of any sort of fundamental androgyny and to claim that men and women are radically different. In Fantasia of the Unconscious he writes, “We are all wrong when we say there is no vital difference between the sexes.” Lawrence wrote this in 1921 intending it to be provocative, but it is surely much more controversial in today’s world, where it has become a dogma in some circles to insist that sex differences (now called “gender differences”) are “socially constructed.” Lawrence continues: “There is every difference. Every bit, every cell in a boy is male, every cell is female in a woman, and must remain so. Women can never feel or know as men do. And in the reverse, men can never feel and know, dynamically, as women do.”

Lawrence saw relations between the sexes as essentially a war. He tells us in his essay “Love” that all love between men and women is “dual, a love which is the motion of melting, fusing together into oneness, and a love which is the intense, frictional, and sensual gratification of being burnt down, burnt into separate clarity of being, unthinkable otherness and separateness.” The love between men and women is a fusing—or a will to fusing—but one that never fully takes place because the relation is also fundamentally frictional. Again and again Lawrence emphasizes the idea that men and women are metaphysically different. In other words, they have different, and even opposed ways of being in the world. They are not just anatomically different; they have different ways of thinking and feeling, and achieve satisfaction and fulfillment in life through different means.

Lawrence’s view of the difference between the sexes can be fruitfully compared to the Chinese theory of yin and yang.  These concepts are of great antiquity, but the way in which they are generally understood today is the product of an ambitious intellectual synthesis that took place under the early Han dynasty (207 B.C.–9 A.D.). According to this philosophy, the universe is shot through with an ultimate principle or power known as the Tao. However, the Tao divides itself into two opposing principles, yin and yang. These oppose yet complement each other. Yang manifests itself in maleness, hardness, harshness, dominance, heat, light, and the sun, amongst other things. Yin manifests itself in femaleness, softness, gentleness, yielding, cold, darkness, the moon, etc.

Contrary to the impression these lists might give, however, yang is not regarded as “superior” to yin; hardness is not superior to softness, nor is dominance superior to yielding. Each requires the other and cannot exist without the other. In certain situations a yang approach or condition is to be preferred, in others a yin approach. On occasion, yang may predominate to the point where it becomes harmful, and it must be counterbalanced by yin, or vice versa. (These principles are of central importance, for example, in traditional Chinese medicine.) The Tao Te Ching, a work written by a man chiefly for men extols the virtues of yin, and continually advises one to choose yin ways over yang. Lao-Tzu tells us over and over that it is “best to be like water,” that “those who control, fail. Those who grasp, lose,” and that “soft and weak overcome stiff and strong.”

Like the Taoists, Lawrence regards maleness and femaleness as opposed, yet complementary. It is not the case that the male, or the male way of being, is superior to the female, or vice versa. In a sense the sexes are equal, yet equality does not mean sameness. The error of male chauvinism is in thinking that one way, the male way, is superior; that dominance and hardness are just “obviously” superior to their opposites.

Yet the same error is committed by some who call themselves feminists. Tacitly, they assume that the male or yang characteristics are superior, and enjoin women to seek fulfillment in life through cultivating those traits in themselves. To those who might wonder whether such a program is possible, to say nothing of desirable, the theory of the “social construction of gender” is today being offered as support. According to this view, the only inherent differences between men and women are anatomical, and all of the intellectual, emotional, and behavioral characteristics attributed to the sexes throughout history have actually been the product of culture and environment. (And so “yin and yang,” according to this view, is really a rather naïve philosophy which confuses nurture with nature.) Clearly, Lawrence would reject this theory. In doing so, he is on very solid ground.

It would, of course, be foolish not to recognize that some “masculine” and “feminine” traits are culturally conditioned. An obvious example would be the prevailing view in American culture that a truly “masculine” man is unable, without the help of women or gay men, to color-coordinate his wardrobe. However, when one sees certain traits in men and women displaying themselves consistently in all cultures and throughout all of human history it makes sense to speak of masculine and feminine natures. It is plausible to argue that a trait is culturally conditioned only if it shows up in some cultures but not in others. Unfortunately, the “social construction of gender” thesis has achieved the status of a dogma in academic circles. And, in truth, ultimately it has to be asserted as dogma since believing in it requires that we ignore the evidence of human history, profound philosophies such as Taoism, and most of the scientific research into sex differences that has taken place over the last one hundred years.

I said earlier that Lawrence believes men and women to be “metaphysically different,” and in his essay “A Study of Thomas Hardy” he does indeed write as if he believes they actually see the world with a different metaphysics in mind:

It were a male conception to see God with a manifold Being, even though He be One God. For man is ever keenly aware of the multiplicity of things, and their diversity. But woman, issuing from the other end of infinity, coming forth as the flesh, manifest in sensation, is obsessed by the oneness of things, the One Being, undifferentiated. Man, on the other hand, coming forth as the desire to single out one thing from another, to reduce each thing to its intrinsic self by process of elimination, cannot but be possessed by the infinite diversity and contrariety in life, by a passionate sense of isolation, and a poignant yearning to be at one.

So, men seek or are preoccupied with multiplicity, and women with unity. What are we to make of such a bizarre claim? First of all, it seems to run counter to the Greek tradition, especially that of the Pythagoreans, which tended to identify the One with the masculine, and the Many with the feminine. However, if one looks to Empedocles, a pre-Socratic philosopher Lawrence was particularly keen on, one finds a different story. Empedocles posits two fundamental forces which are responsible for all change in the universe: Love and Strife. Love, at the purely physical level, is a force of attraction. It draws things together, and without the intervention of Strife it would result in a monistic universe in which only one being existed. Strife breaks up and divides. It is a force of repulsion and separation. Now, Empedocles seems to identify Love with Aphrodite, and we may infer, though he does not say so, that Strife is Ares. In other words, he identifies his two forces with the archetypal female and male. This can offer us a clue as to what Lawrence is up to.

In Lawrence’s view, it is the female who wants to draw things, especially people, together. It is the female who yearns to heal divisions, to break down barriers. “Coming forth as the flesh, manifest in sensation” she seeks to overcome separateness through feeling, primarily through love. In the family situation, it is the female who tries to unite and overcome discord through love, whereas it is the male, typically, who frustrates this through the insistence on rules and distinctions. The ideal of universal love and an end to strife and division is fundamentally feminine—one which men, throughout history, have continually frustrated. It is characteristic of men to make war, and characteristic of women, no matter what cause or principle is involved, to object and to call for peace and unity.

Now the male, as Lawrence puts it, suffers from a sense of isolation, and a “yearning to be one.” He yearns for oneness, in fact, as the male yearns for the female. Yet his entire being disposes him to see the world in terms of its distinctness, and, indeed, to make a world rife with distinctions. Lawrence implies that polytheism is a “male” religion, and monotheism a “female” one. It is easy to see the logic involved in this. Polytheism sees the divine being that permeates the world as many because the world is itself many. Further, societies with polytheistic religions have always been keenly aware of ethnic and social differences, differences within the society (as in the Indian caste system), and between societies. Monotheism, on the other hand, tends toward universalism. Christianity especially, however it has actually been practiced, declares all men equal in the sight of God and calls for peace and unity in the world. (Lawrence, as we shall see later on, does indeed regard Christianity as a “feminine” religion, and blames it, in part, for feminizing Western men.)

This fundamental, metaphysical difference has the consequence that men and women do, in a real sense, live in different worlds. But perhaps such a formulation reflects a male bias towards differentiation. It is equally correct to say, in a more “feminine” formulation, that it is the same world seen in two, complementary ways. Indeed, it may be the case that it is difficult to see, from a male perspective, how the two sexes and their different ways of thinking and perceiving can achieve a rapprochement. Lawrence believes, of course, that they can live together, and that their opposite tendencies can be harmonized. In this way he is like Heraclitus, Lawrence’s favorite pre-Socratic, when he says “what is opposed brings together; the finest harmony is composed of things at variance, and everything comes to be in accordance with strife.” Heraclitus also tells us that “They do not understand how, though at variance with itself, it [the Logos] agrees with itself. It is a backwards-turning attunement like that of the bow and lyre.” In order to make a lyre or a bow, the two opposite ends of a piece of wood must be bent towards each other, never meeting, but held in tension. Their tension and opposition makes possible beautiful music, in the case of the lyre, and the propulsion of an arrow, in the case of the bow. Both involve a harmony through opposition.

In a 1923 newspaper interview Lawrence is quoted as saying “If men were left to themselves, they would rush off . . . into destruction. But women keep life back at its own center. They pull the men back. Women have enormous passive strength, the strength of inertia.” Here Lawrence uses an image he was very fond of: women are at the center, the hub. This is because they are closer to “the source” than men are.

womeninlove.jpgIn Fantasia of the Unconscious, Lawrence tells us “The blood-consciousness and the blood-passion is the very source and origin of us. Not that we can stay at the source. Nor even make a goal of the source, as Freud does. The business of living is to travel away from the source. But you must start every single day fresh from the source. You must rise every day afresh out of the dark sea of the blood.” Lawrence believes that men yearn for purposive, creative activity, which involves moving away from the source. However, the energy and inspiration for purposive activity is drawn from the source, and so there is a complementary movement back towards it.

In The Rainbow, Lawrence describes how Tom Brangwen, besotted with his wife, seems to lose himself in a sensual obsession with her, and with knowing her sexually. But gradually,

Brangwen began to find himself free to attend to the outside life as well. His intimate life was so violently active, that it set another man in him free. And this new man turned with interest to public life, to see what part he could take in it. This would give him scope for new activity, activity of a kind for which he was now created and released. He wanted to be unanimous with the whole of purposive mankind.

Sex is one means of contacting the source. Men contact the source through women. This does not mean, of course, that blood-consciousness is in women but not in men. Rather, it means that in most men the blood-consciousness in them is “activated” primarily through their relationship to women. Second, in women blood-consciousness is more dominant than it is in men. Women are more intuitive than men; they operate more on the basis of feeling than intellect. It should not be necessary to point out that whereas such an observation might, in another author, be taken as a denigration of women, in Lawrence it is actually high praise. Women are also much more in tune with their bodies and bodily cycles than men are. Men tend to see their bodies as adversaries that must be whipped into shape.

When Lawrence continually tells us that we must find a way to reawaken the blood-consciousness in us, he is writing primarily for men. Women are already there—or, at least, they can get there with less effort. There is an old adage: “Women are, but men must become.” To be feminine is a constant state that a woman has as her birthright. Masculinity, on the other hand, is something men must achieve and prove. Rousseau in Emile states “The male is male only at certain moments, the female is female all of her life, or at least all her youth.” We exhort boys to “be a man,” but never does one hear girls told to “be a woman.” One can compliment a man simply by saying “he’s a man,” whereas “she’s a woman” seems mere statement of fact. The psychological difference between masculinity and femininity mirrors the biological fact that all fetuses begin as female; something must happen to them in order to make them male. It also articulates what is behind the strange conviction many men have had, including many great poets and artists, that woman is somehow the keeper of life’s mysteries; the one closest to the well-spring of nature.

In “A Study of Thomas Hardy,” Lawrence states that “in a man’s life, the female is the swivel and centre on which he turns closely, producing his movement.” Goethe tells us “Das ewig Weiblich zieht uns hinan” (“The Eternal Feminine draws us onwards”). The female, the male’s source of the source, stands at the center of his life. The woman as personification of the life mystery entices him to come together with her, and through their coupling the life mystery perpetuates itself. But he is not, ultimately, satisfied by this coupling. He goes forth into the world, his body renewed by his contact with the woman, but full of desire to know this mystery more adequately, and to be its vehicle through creative expression.

Without a woman, a man feels unmoored and ungrounded, for without a woman he has no center in his life. A man—a heterosexual man—can never feel fulfilled and can never reach his full potential without a woman to whom he can turn. As to homosexual men, it is a well-known fact that many cultivate in themselves characteristics that have been traditionally usually associated with woman: refined taste in clothing and decoration, cooking, gardening, etc. What these characteristics have in common is connectedness to the pleasures of the moment, and to the rhythms and necessities of life. Men are normally purpose-driven and future-oriented. They tend to overlook those aspects of life that please, but lack any greater purpose other than pleasing. They tend, therefore, to be somewhat insensitive to their surroundings, to color, to texture, to odor, to taste. They tend, in short, to be so focused upon doing, that they miss out on being. Heterosexual men look to women to ground them, and to provide these ingredients to life—ingredients which, in truth, make life livable. Homosexual men must make a woman within themselves, in order to be grounded. (This does not mean, however, that they must become effeminate – see my review essay of Jack Donovan’s Androphilia for more details.)

Homosexual men are, of course, the exception not the rule. Lawrence writes, of the typical man, “Let a man walk alone on the face of the earth, and he feels himself like a loose speck blown at random. Let him have a woman to whom he belongs, and he will feel as though he had a wall to back up against; even though the woman be mentally a fool.” And what of the woman? What does she desire? Lawrence tells us that “the vital desire of every woman is that she shall be clasped as axle to the hub of the man, that his motion shall portray her motionlessness, convey her static being into movement, complete and radiating out into infinity, starting from her stable eternality, and reaching eternity again, after having covered the whole of time.” Man is the “doer,” the actor, whereas woman need do nothing. Just by being woman she becomes the center of a man’s universe.

The dark side of this, in Lawrence’s view, is a tendency in women towards possessiveness, and towards wanting to make themselves not just the center of a man’s life but his sole concern. In Women in Love, Lawrence’s describes at length Rupert Birkin’s process of wrestling with this aspect of femininity:

But it seemed to him, woman was always so horrible and clutching, she had such a lust for possession, a greed of self-importance in love. She wanted to have, to own, to control, to be dominant. Everything must be referred back to her, to Woman, the Great Mother of everything, out of whom proceeded everything and to whom everything must finally be rendered up.

Birkin sees these qualities in Ursula, with whom he is in love. “She too was the awful, arrogant queen of life, as if she were a queen bee on whom all the rest depended.” He feels she wants, in a way, to worship him, but “to worship him as a woman worships her own infant, with a worship of perfect possession.”

Woman’s possessiveness is understandable given that the man is necessary to her well-being: she is only happy if she is center to the orbit and activity of some man. Again, for Lawrence, such a claim does not denigrate women, for he has already as much as said that a man is nothing without a woman. Nevertheless, some will see in this view of men and woman a sexism that places the man above the woman. From Lawrence’s perspective, this is illusory. It is true that the man is “doer,” but his perpetual need to act and to do stands in stark contrast to the woman, who need do nothing in order be who she is. It is true, further, that men’s ambition has given them power in the world, but it is a power that is nothing compared to that of the woman, who exercises her power without having to do anything. She reigns, without ruling. The man does what he does, but must return to the woman, and is “like a loose speck blown at random without her” – and he knows this. Much of misogyny may have to do with this. From the man’s perspective, the woman is all-powerful, and the source of her power a mystery.

Many modern feminists, however, conceive of power in an entirely male way, as the active power of doing. Lawrence recognized that in trying to cultivate this male power within themselves, women do not rise in the estimation of most men. Instead they are diminished, for men’s respect for and fascination with women springs entirely from the fact that unlike themselves women do not have to chase after an ideal of who they ought to be; they do not have to get caught up in the rat race in order to respect themselves. They can simply be; they can live, and take joy just in living.

One can make a rough distinction between two types of feminism. The most familiar type is what one might call the “woman on the street feminism,” which one encounters from average, working women, and which they imbibe from television, films, and magazines. This feminism essentially has as its aim claiming for women all that which formerly had been the province of men—including not only traditionally male jobs, but even male ways of speaking, moving, dressing, bonding, exercising, and displaying sexual interest. Ironically, this form of feminism is at root a form of masculinism, which makes traditionally masculine traits the hallmarks of the “liberated” or self-actualized human being.

The other type of feminism is usually to be found only in academia, though not all academic feminists subscribe to it. It insists that women have their own ways of thinking, feeling, and relating to others. Feminist philosophers have written of woman’s “ways of knowing” as distinct from men’s, and have even put forward the idea that women approach ethical decision-making in a markedly different way. It is this form of feminism to which Lawrence is closest. Lawrence’s writings are concerned with liberating both men and women from the tyranny of a modern civilization which cuts them off from their true natures. Liberation for modern women cannot mean becoming like modern men, for modern men are living in a condition of spiritual (as well as wage) slavery. In an essay on feminism, Wendell Berry writes

It is easy enough to see why women came to object to the role of [the comic strip character] Blondie, a mostly decorative custodian of a degraded, consumptive modern household, preoccupied with clothes, shopping, gossip, and outwitting her husband. But are we to assume that one may fittingly cease to be Blondie by becoming Dagwood? Is the life of a corporate underling—even acknowledging that corporate underlings are well paid—an acceptable end to our quest for human dignity and worth? . . . How, I am asking, can women improve themselves by submitting to the same specialization, degradation, trivialization, and tyrannization of work that men have submitted to? [Wendell Berry, “Feminism, the Body, and the Machine,” in The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry, ed. Norman Wirzba (Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 2002), 69–70.]

I will return to this issue later.

Having now characterized, in broad strokes, Lawrence’s views on the differences between men and woman, I now turn to a more detailed discussion of each.

2. The Nature of Man

As we have seen, Lawrence believes that men (most men) need to have a woman in their lives. Their relationship to a woman serves to ground their lives, and to provide the man not only with a respite from the woes of the world, but with energy and inspiration. However, this is not the same thing as saying that the man makes the woman, or his relationship to her, the purpose of his life. In Fantasia of the Unconscious Lawrence writes, “When he makes the sexual consummation the supreme consummation, even in his secret soul, he falls into the beginnings of despair. When he makes woman, or the woman and child, the great centre of life and of life-significance, he falls into the beginnings of despair.” This is because Lawrence believes that true satisfaction for men can come only from some form of creative, purposive activity outside the family.

women1.jpgHaving a woman is therefore a necessary but not a sufficient condition for male happiness. In addition to a woman, he must have a purpose. Women, on the other hand, do not require a purpose beyond the home and the family in order to be happy. This is another of those claims that will rankle some, so let us consider two important points about what Lawrence has said. First, he is speaking of what he believes the typical woman is like, just as he is speaking of the typical man. There are at least a few exceptions to just about every generalization. Second, we must ask an absolutely crucial question of those who regard such claims as demeaning women: why is being occupied with home and family lesser than having a purpose (e.g., a career) outside the home? The argument could be made—and I think Lawrence would be sympathetic to this—that the traditional female role of making a home and raising children is just as important and possibly more important than the male activities pursued outside the home. Again, much of contemporary feminism sees things from a typically male point of view, and denigrates women who choose motherhood rather than one of the many meaningless, ulcer-producing careers that have long been the province of men.

Lawrence writes, “Primarily and supremely man is always the pioneer of life, adventuring onward into the unknown, alone with his own temerarious, dauntless soul. Woman for him exists only in the twilight, by the camp fire, when day has departed. Evening and the night are hers.” Lawrence’s male bias creeps in here a bit, as he romanticizes the “dauntless” male soul. Men and women always believe, in their heart of hearts, that their ways are superior. Nevertheless, Lawrence is not here relegating women to an inferior position. Half of life is spent in the evening and night. Day belongs to the man, night to the woman. It is a division of labor. Lawrence is drawing here, as he frequently does, on traditional mythological themes: the man is solar, the woman lunar.

Lawrence characterizes the man’s pioneering activity as follows: “It is the desire of the human male to build a world: not ‘to build a world for you, dear’; but to build up out of his own self and his own belief and his own effort something wonderful. Not merely something useful. Something wonderful.” In other words, the man’s primary purpose is not having or doing any of the “practical” things that a wife and a family require. And when he acts on a larger scale—Lawrence gives building the Panama Canal as an example—it is not with the end in mind of making a world in which wives and babes can be more comfortable and secure (“a world for you, dear”). He seeks to make his mark on the world; to bring something glorious into existence. And so men create culture: games, religions, rituals, dances, artworks, poetry, music, and philosophy. Wars are fought, ultimately, for the same reason. It is probably true, as is often asserted, that every war has some kind of economic motivation. However, it is probably also true to assert that in the case of just about every actual war there was another, more cost-effective alternative. Men make war for the same reason they climb mountains, jump out of airplanes, race cars, and run with the bulls: for the challenge, and the fame and glory and exhilaration that goes with meeting the challenge. It is an aspect of male psychology that most women find baffling, and even contemptible.

Now, curiously, Lawrence refers to this “impractical,” purposive motive of the male as an “essentially religious or creative motive.” What can he mean by this? Specifically, why does he characterize it as a religious motive?

It is religious because it involves the pursuit of something that is beyond the ordinary and the familiar. It is a leap into the unknown. The man has to follow what Lawrence frequently calls the “Holy Ghost” within himself and to try to make something within the world. He yearns always for the yet-to-be, the yet-to-be-realized, and always has his eye on the future, on what is in process of coming to be. Yet there seems to be, at least on the surface, a strange inconsistency in Lawrence’s characterization of the man’s motive as religious. After all, for Lawrence the life mystery, the source of being is religious object—and women are closer to this source. Man is entranced by woman, and with her he helps to propagate this power in the world through sex, but his sense of “purpose” causes him to move away from the source. So why isn’t it the woman whose “motives” are religious, and the man who is, in effect, irreligious?

The answer is that religion is not being at the source: it is directedness toward the source. Religion is possible only because of a lack or an absence in the human soul. Religion is ultimately a desire to put oneself at-one with the source. But this is possible only if one is not, originally or most of the time, at one with it. In a way, the woman is not fundamentally religious because she is the goddess, the source herself. The sexual longing of the man for the woman, and his utter inability ever to fully satisfy his desire and to resolve the mystery that is woman, are a kind of small-scale allegory for man’s large-scale, religious relationship to the source of being itself. He is, as I have said, renewed by his relations with women and, for a time, satisfied. But then he goes forth into the world with a desire for something, something. He creates, and when he does he is acting to exalt the life mystery (religion and art), to understand it (philosophy and science), or to further it (invention and production).

Lawrence speaks of how a man must put his wife “under the spell of his fulfilled decision.” Woman, who rules over the night, draws man to her and they become one through sex. Man, who rules the day, draws woman into his purpose, his aim in life, and through this they become one in another fashion. The man’s purpose does not become the woman’s purpose. He pursues this alone. But if the woman simply believes in him and what he aims to do, she becomes a tremendous source of support for the man, and she gives herself a reason for being. The man needs the woman as center, as hub of his life, and the woman needs to play this role for some man. Without a mate, though a man may set all sorts of purposes before him, ultimately they seem meaningless. He feels a sense of hollow emptiness, and drifts into despair. He lets his appearance go, and lives in squalor. He may become an alcoholic and a misogynist. He dies much sooner than his married friends, often by his own hand. As to the woman, without a man who has set himself some purpose that she can believe in, she assumes the male role and tries to find fulfillment through some kind of busy activity in the world. But as she pursues this, she feels increasingly bitter and hard, and a terrific rage begins to seethe beneath her placid surface. She becomes a troublemaker and a prude. Increasingly angry at men, she makes a virtue of necessity and declares herself emancipated from them. She collects pets.

In Studies in Classic American Literature Lawrence writes:

As a matter of fact, unless a woman is held, by man, safe within the bounds of belief, she becomes inevitably a destructive force. She can’t help herself. A woman is almost always vulnerable to pity. She can’t bear to see anything physically hurt. But let a woman loose from the bounds and restraints of man’s fierce belief, in his gods and in himself, and she becomes a gentle devil.

If a woman is to be the hub in the life a man, and derive satisfaction from that, everything depends on the spirit of the man. A few lines later in the same text Lawrence states, “Unless a man believes in himself and his gods, genuinely: unless he fiercely obeys his own Holy Ghost; his woman will destroy him. Woman is the nemesis of doubting man.” In order for the woman to believe in a man, the man must believe in himself and his purpose. If he is filled with self-doubt, the woman will doubt him. If he lacks the strength to command himself, he cannot command her respect and devotion. And the trouble with modern men is that they are filled with self-doubt and lack the courage of their convictions.

Lawrence, following Nietzsche, in part blames Christianity for weakening modern, Western men. Men are potent—sexually and otherwise—to the extent they are in tune with the life force. But Christianity has “spiritualized” men. It has filled their heads with hatred of the body, and of strength, instinct, and vitality. It has infected them with what Lawrence calls the “love ideal,” which demands, counter to every natural impulse, that men love everyone and regard everyone as their equal.

Frequently in his fiction Lawrence depicts relationships in which the woman has turned against the man because he is, in effect, spiritually emasculated. The most dramatic and symbolically obvious example of this is the relationship of Clifford and Connie  in Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Clifford returns from the First World War paralyzed from the waist down. But like the malady of the Grail King in Wolfram’s Parzival, this is only (literarily speaking) an outward, physical expression of an inward, psychic emasculation. Clifford is far too sensible a man to allow himself to be overcome by any great passion, so the loss of his sexual powers is not so dear. He has a keen, cynical wit and believes that he has seen through passion and found it not as great a thing as poets say that it is. It is his spiritual condition that drives Connie away from him, not so much his physical one. And so she wanders into the game preserve on their estate (representing the small space of “wildness” that still can rise up within civilization) and into the arms of Mellors, the gamekeeper. Their subsequent relationship becomes a hot, corporeal refutation of Clifford’s philosophy.

In Women in Love, Gerald Crich, the industrial magnate, is destroyed by Gudrun essentially because he does not believe in himself. Outwardly, he is “the God of the machine.” But his mastery of the material world is meaningless busywork, and he knows it. Gudrun is drawn to him because of this outward appearance of power, but when she finds that it is an illusion she hates him, and ultimately drives him to his death. For Lawrence, this is an allegory of the modern relationship between the sexes. Men today are masters of the material universe as they have never been before, but inside they are anxious and empty. The reason is that these “materialists” are profoundly afraid of and hostile to matter and nature, especially their own. Their intellect and “will to power” has cut them off from the life force and they are, in their deepest selves, impotent. The women know this, and scorn them.

In The Rainbow, Winifred Inger is Ursula’s teacher (with whom she has a brief affair), and an early feminist. She tells Ursula at one point,

The men will do no more,–they have lost the capacity for doing. . . .  They fuss and talk, but they are really inane. They make everything fit into an old, inert idea. Love is a dead idea to them. They don’t come to one and love one, they come to an idea, and they say “You are my idea,” so they embrace themselves. As if I were any man’s idea! As if I exist because a man has an idea of me! As if I will be betrayed by him, lend him my body as an instrument for his idea, to be a mere apparatus of his dead theory. But they are too fussy to be able to act; they are all impotent, they can’t take a woman. They come to their own idea every time, and take that. They are like serpents trying to swallow themselves because they are hungry.”

In Fantasia of the Unconscious Lawrence writes, “If man will never accept his own ultimate being, his final aloneness, and his last responsibility for life, then he must expect woman to dash from disaster to disaster, rootless and uncontrolled.”

It is important to understand here that the issue is not one of power. Lawrence’s point not that men must dominate or control their wives. In fact, in a late essay entitled “Matriarchy” (originally published as “If Women Were Supreme”) Lawrence actually advocates rule by women, at least in the home, because he believes it would liberate men. He assumes the truth of the claim—now in disrepute—that early man had lived in matriarchal societies and writes, “the men seem to have been lively sorts, hunting and dancing and fighting, while the woman did the drudgery and minded the brats. . . . A woman deserves to possess her own children and have them called by her name. As to the household furniture and the bit of money in the bank, it seems naturally hers.” The man, in such a situation, is not the slave of the woman because the man is “first and foremost an active, religious member of the tribe.” The man’s real life is not in the household, but in creative activity, and religious activity:

The real life of the man is not spent in his own little home, daddy in the bosom of the family, wheeling the perambulator on Sundays. His life is passed mainly in the khiva, the great underground religious meeting-house where only the males assemble, where the sacred practices of the tribe are carried on; then also he is away hunting, or performing the sacred rites on the mountains, or he works in the fields.

Men, Lawrence tells us, have social and religious needs which can only be satisfied apart from women. The disaster of modern marriage is that men not only think they have to rule the roost, but they accept the woman’s insistence that he have no needs or desires that cannot be satisfied through his relationship to her. He becomes master of his household, and slave to it at the same time:

Now [man’s] activity is all of the domestic order and all his thought goes to proving that nothing matters except that birth shall continue and woman shall rock in the nest of this globe like a bird who covers her eggs in some tall tree. Man is the fetcher, the carrier, the sacrifice, and the reborn of woman. . . . Instead of being assertive and rather insentient, he becomes wavering and sensitive. He begins to have as many feelings—nay, more than a woman. His heroism is all in altruistic endurance. He worships pity and tenderness and weakness, even in himself. In short, he takes on very largely the original role of woman.

Ironically, in accepting such a situation without a fight, he only earns the woman’s contempt: “Almost invariably a [modern] married woman, as she passes the age of thirty, conceives a dislike, or a contempt, of her husband, or a pity which is near to contempt. Particularly if he is a good husband, a true modern.”

3. The Nature of Woman

In Fantasia of the Unconscious Lawrence writes, “Women will never understand the depth of the spirit of purpose in man, his deeper spirit. And man will never understand the sacredness of feeling to woman. Each will play at the other’s game, but they will remain apart.” But what is meant by “feeling” here? Lawrence is referring again to his belief that women live, to a greater extent than men, from the primal self. In the case of most men today, “mind-consciousness” and reason are dominant—to the point where they are frequently detached from “blood-consciousness” and feeling.

In describing the nature of woman Lawrence once again draws on perennial symbols: “Woman is really polarized downwards, towards the centre of the earth. Her deep positivity is in the downward flow, the moon-pull.” The sun represents man, and the moon woman. Day belongs to him, and night to her. However, another set of mythic images associates the earth with woman and the sky with man. The “pull” in women is towards the earth, and this means several things. First, the earth is the source of chthonic powers, and so, as poetic metaphor, it represents the primal, pre-mental, animal aspect in human beings. In a literal sense, however, Lawrence believes that women are more in tune than men with chthonic powers: with the rhythms of nature and the cycle of seasons. Further, the “downward flow” refers to Lawrence’s belief that the lower “centres” of the body are, in a sense, more primitive, more instinctual than the upper, and that women tend to live and act from these centers more than men do. Lawrence writes, “Her deepest consciousness is in the loins and belly. . . . The great flow of female consciousness is downwards, down to the weight of the loins and round the circuit of the feet.”

Finally, to be “polarized downwards, towards the centre of the earth” means to have one’s life, one’s vital being fixed in reference to a central point. If Lawrence intends us to assume that man is polarized upwards then we may ask, toward what? If woman is oriented towards the center of the earth, then–following the logic of the mythic categories–is man oriented toward the center of the sky? But the sky has no center. Man is less fixed than woman; he is a wanderer. He is a hunter, a seeker, a pioneer, an adventurer. Woman, on the other hand, lives from the axis of the world. Mircea Eliade writes that “the religious man sought to live as near as possible to the Center of the World.” Woman is at the center. Man begins there, then goes off. He returns again and again, the phallic power in him rising in response to the chthonic power of the woman. And his religious response is an ongoing effort to bring his daytime self into line with the life force he experiences when in the arms of the woman.

Woman, Lawrence tells us, “is a flow, a river of life,” and this flow is fundamentally different from the man’s river. However, “The woman is like an idol, or a marionette, always forced to play one role or another: sweetheart, mistress, wife, mother.” The mind of the male is built to analyze and categorize. But the nature of woman, like the nature of nature itself, defies categorization. Even before Bacon, man’s response to nature was to force it to yield up its secrets, to bend it to the human will, or to see it only within the narrow parameters of whatever theory was fashionable at the moment. The male mind attempts to do this to woman as well–and the woman, to a great extent, cooperates. She fits herself into the roles expected of her by authority figures, whether it is dutiful daughter-sister-wife-mother, or dutiful feminist and career-woman.

Lawrence writes, “The real trouble about women is that they must always go on trying to adapt themselves to men’s theories of women, as they always have done.” Two opposing wills exist in women, Lawrence believes: a will to conform or to submit, and a will to reject all boundaries and be free. In Women in Love, Birkin compares women to horses:

“And of course,” he said to Gerald, “horses haven’t got a complete will, like human beings. A horse has no one will. Every horse, strictly, has two wills. With one will, it wants to put itself in the human power completely—and with the other, it wants to be free, wild. The two wills sometimes lock—you know that, if ever you’ve felt a horse bolt, while you’ve been driving it. . . . And woman is the same as horses: two wills act in opposition inside her. With one will, she wants to subject herself utterly. With the other she wants to bolt, and pitch her rider to perdition.”

Ursula, who is present at this exchange, laughs and responds “Then I’m a bolter.” The trouble is that she is not.

Lawrence’s fiction is filled with vivid portrayals of women (arguably much more vivid and well-drawn than his portrayals of men). The central characters in several of his novels are women (The Rainbow, The Lost Girl, The Plumed Serpent, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover). All of Lawrence’s major female characters exhibit these two wills, but frequently he presents pairs of women each of whom represents one of the wills. This is the case in Women in Love. Ultimately, in Ursula’s character the will to surrender emerges as dominant. In her sister Gudrun the will to be free and wild dominates, with tragic results. In Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Connie Chatterley exhibits the will to surrender, and her sister Hilda the will to be free. The two lesbians in Lawrence’s novella The Fox are cut from the same cloth. Similar pairs of women also crop up in Lawrence’s short stories. In each case, one woman learns the joys of submitting, not to a man but to the earth, to nature, to the life mystery within her. The man is a means to this, however. The best example of this in Lawrence’s fiction is probably Connie Chatterley’s journey to awakening. In John Thomas and Lady Jane, an earlier version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lawrence has Connie speak of the significance of her lover and of his penis: “I know it was the penis which really put the evening stars into my inside self. I used to look at the evening star, and think how lovely and wonderful it was. But now it’s in me as well as outside me, and I need hardly look at it. I am it. I don’t care what you say, it was penis gave it me.” As to the other woman in Lawrence’s fiction, she tends to be horrified by the primal self in her, and its call to surrender. She lives from the ego. She rages against anything in her nature that is unchosen, and against anything else that would hem her in, especially any man. She views herself as “realistic” and hardheaded, but the general impression she gives is of being hardhearted and sterile.

In his portrayals of the latter type of woman, Lawrence is partly depicting what he believes to be a perennial aspect of the female character, and partly depicting what he regards as the quintessential “modern” woman. It is in the nature of woman to counterbalance the will to submit with an opposing will that “bolts,” and kicks against all that which limits her, including her own nature. Lawrence believes that modern womanhood and all the problems of women today arise from the over-development of that will to freedom.

A “will to freedom” sounds like a good thing, so it is important to realize that essentially what Lawrence means by this is a negative will which tries either to control, or to destroy all that which it cannot control. Lawrence’s critique of modernity is a major topic in itself, but suffice it say that he believes that in the modern period a disavowal of the primal self takes place on a mass, cultural scale. The seeds of this disavowal were sown by Christianity, and reaped by modern scientism, which becomes the avowed enemy of the religion that helped foster it. Individuals live their lives from the standpoint of ego and mental-consciousness, and distrust the blood-consciousness. The negative will in women seizes upon reason and ego-dominance as a means to free herself from the influence of her dark, chthonic self, and from the influence of the men that this dark, chthonic self draws her to. The will to negate, using the mind as its tool, thus becomes the path to “liberation.”

Lawrence writes in Apocalypse:

Today, the best part of womanhood is wrapped tight and tense in the folds of the Logos, she is bodiless, abstract, and driven by a self-determination terrible to behold. A strange ‘spiritual’ creature is woman today, driven on and on by the evil demon of the old Logos, never for a moment allowed to escape and be herself.

And in an essay he writes, “Woman is truly less free today than ever she has been since time began, in the womanly sense of freedom.” This is, of course, exactly the opposite of what is asserted by most pundits today, when they speak of the progress made by woman in the modern era. Why does Lawrence believe that woman is now so unfree? The answer is implied in the quotation from Apocalypse: she is not allowed to be herself.

In Studies in Classic American Literature Lawrence tells us

Men are not free when they are doing just what they like. The moment you can do just what you like, there is nothing you care about doing. Men are only free when they are doing what the deepest self likes.

And there is getting down to the deepest self! It takes some diving.

Because the deepest self is way down, and the conscious self is an obstinate monkey. But of one thing we may be sure. If one wants to be free, one has to give up the illusion of doing what one likes, and seek what IT wishes done.

aaron'srod.jpgWhat Lawrence says here is applicable to both men and women. “To be oneself” in the true sense means to answer to the call of the deepest self. We can only achieve our “fullness of being” if we do so. The mind invents all manner of goals and projects and ideals to be pursued, but ultimately all that we do produces only frustration and emptiness if we act in a way that does not fundamentally satisfy the needs of our deepest, pre-mental, bodily nature.

Lawrence writes further in Apocalypse: “The evil Logos says she must be ‘significant,’ she must ‘make something worth while’ of her life. So on and on she goes, making something worth while, piling up the evil forms of our civilization higher and higher, and never for a second escaping to be wrapped in the brilliant fluid folds of the new green dragon.” Earlier in the same text, Lawrence tells us that “The long green dragon with which we are so familiar on Chinese things is the dragon in his good aspect of life-bringer, life-giver, life-maker, vivifier.” In short, the “green dragon” represents the life force, the source of all, the Pan power. Lawrence is saying that modern woman, in search of something “significant” to do with her life, falls in with all the corrupt (largely, money-driven) pursuits that have brought men nothing but ulcers, emptiness, and early death. “All our present life-forms are evil,” he writes. “But with a persistence that would be angelic if it were not devilish woman insists on the best in life, by which she means the best of our evil life-forms, unable to realize that the best of evil life-forms are the most evil.” Like men, she loses touch with the natural both within herself and in the world surrounding her. Lawrence’s dragon symbolizes both of these: primal nature as such, and the primal nature within me. It is this dragon which Lawrence seeks to awake in himself, and in his readers. The tragedy of modern woman is that she has renounced the dragon, whereas she would be better off being devoured by it.

In John Thomas and Lady Jane Lawrence also links the ideal of fulfilled womanhood to the dragon. Following Connie Chatterley’s musings on the meaning of the phallus (which I quoted earlier), Lawrence writes:

The only thing which had taken her quite away from fear, if only for a night, was the strange gallant phallus looking round in its odd bright godhead, and now the arm of flesh around her, the socket of the hand against her breast, the slow, sleeping thud of the man’s heart against her body. It was all one thing—the mysterious phallic godhead. Now she knew that the worst had happened. This dragon had enfolded her, and its folds were pure gentleness and safety.

Make no mistake, Lawrence believes that women can adopt the ways of men; he believes that they can succeed at traditionally male work. But he believes that they do this at great cost to themselves. “Of all things, the most fatal to a woman is to have an aim,” Lawrence tells us. In general, he believes that the ultimate aim of life is simply living, and that we set a trap for ourselves when we declare that some goal or some ideal shall be the end of life, and believe that this will make life “meaningful.” This applies to men, but even more so to women. Why? Because, again, women are so much closer to the source that men tend to regard women as the life force embodied (“Mother Nature”). For a woman to live for something other than living is to pervert her nature, and her gift. Again, Lawrence’s position is not that a woman is incapable of doing the work of a man, but ultimately she will find it deadening: “The moment woman has got man’s ideals and tricks drilled into her, the moment she is competent in the manly world—there’s an end of it. She’s had enough. She’s had more than enough. She hates the thing she has embraced.”

In our age, many women who have forgone marriage and children in order to pursue a career are discovering this. The body has its own needs and ends, and the organism as a whole cannot flourish and achieve satisfaction unless these needs and ends are satisfied. With some exceptions, women who have chosen not to have children regret it, and suffer in other ways as well (for example, they are at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer than women who have given birth). The same goes for men, many of whom spend a great many “productive” years without feeling a need to reproduce–then are suddenly hit by that need and launch themselves on a frantic, sometimes worldwide search for a suitable mate able to father them a child. Lawrence wrote the following, prophetic words in one of his final essays:

It is all an attitude, and one day the attitude will become a weird cramp, a pain, and then it will collapse. And when it has collapsed, and she looks at the eggs she has laid, votes, or miles of typewriting, years of business efficiency—suddenly, because she is a hen and not a cock, all she has done will turn into pure nothingness to her. Suddenly it all falls out of relation to her basic henny self, and she realizes she has lost her life. The lovely henny surety, the hensureness which is the real bliss of every female, has been denied her: she had never had it. Having lived her life with such utmost strenuousness and cocksureness, she has missed her life altogether. Nothingness!

This quote suggests that Lawrence believes that the woman, the hen, ruins herself by taking up the ways appropriate and natural for the cock – but this is not exactly what he means. In Lawrence’s view, the modern ways of the cock are destroying the cock as well, but they are doubly bad for the hen. What’s bad for the gander is worse for the goose. Lawrence believes that in order to achieve satisfaction in life, we must get in touch with that primal self that the woman is fortunate enough always to be closer to.

4. A New Relation Between Man and Woman

So what is to be done? How are we to repair the damage that has been done in the modern world to the relation between the sexes? How are we to make men into men again, and women into women?

Lawrence has a great deal to say on this subject, but one of his oft-repeated recommendations essentially amounts to saying that relations between the sexes should be severed. By this he means that in order for men and women to come to each other as authentic men and women, they must stop trying to be “pals” with each other. In a 1925 letter he writes, “Friendship between a man and a woman, as a thing of first importance to either, is impossible: and I know it. We are creatures of two halves, spiritual and sensual—and each half is as important as the other. Any relation based on the one half—say the delicate spiritual half alone—inevitably brings revulsion and betrayal.”

In order for men and women to be friends, they must deliberately put aside or suppress their sexual identities and their very different natures. They must actively ignore the fact that they are men and women. They relate to each other, in effect, as neutered, sexless beings. They can never truly relax around each other, for they must continually monitor the way that they look at each other or (more problematic) touch each other. Sitting in too close proximity could awaken feelings that neither wants awakened. If, with respect to their “daytime selves,” men and women are forced to relate to each other in this way regularly, it has the potential of wrecking the ability of the “nighttime self” to relate to the opposite sex in a natural, sensual manner. Once accustomed to the daily routine of suppressing thoughts and feelings, and taking great care never to show a sexual side to their nature, these habits carry over into the realm of the romantic and sexual. Dating and courtship become fraught with tension, each party unsure of the “appropriateness” of this or that display of sexual interest or simple affection. The man, in short, becomes afraid to be a man, and the woman to be a woman. “On mixing with one another, in becoming familiar, in being ‘pals,’ they lose their own male and female integrity.” Writing of the modern marriage, Wendell Berry states

Marriage, in what is evidently its most popular version, is now on the one hand an intimate “relationship” involving (ideally) two successful careerists in the same bed, and on the other hand a sort of private political system in which rights and interests must be constantly asserted and defended. Marriage, in other words, has now taken the form of divorce: a prolonged and impassioned negotiation as to how things shall be divided. During their understandably temporary association, the “married” couple will typically consume a large quantity of merchandise and a large portion of each other.

If we must suppress our masculine and feminine natures in order to be friends with the opposite sex, in what way then do we actually relate to each other? We relate almost entirely through the intellect. Lawrence writes, “Nowadays, alas, we start off self-conscious, with sex in the head. We find a woman who is the same. We marry because we are ‘pals.’” And: “We have made the mistake of idealism again. We have thought that the woman who thinks and talks as we do will be the blood-answer.” Modern men and women begin their relationships as sexless things who relate through ideas and speech. The man looks for a woman, or the woman for a man who thinks and talks as they do; who “knows where they are coming from,” and has “similar values.” They might as well not have bodies at all, or conduct the initial stages of their relationships by telephone or email. Indeed, that is exactly the way many modern relationships are now beginning. But the primary way men and women are built to relate to each other is through the body and the signals of the body; through the subtle, sexual “vibrations” that each gives off, through the sexual gaze (different in the male and in the female), and through touch. No real, romantic relationship can be forged without these, and without feeling through these non-mental means that the two are “right” for each other. We cannot start with “mental agreement” and then construct a sexual relationship around it.

Lawrence, like Rousseau, had a good deal to say about education, and in fact much of what he says is Rousseauian. His ideas on the subject are expressed chiefly in Fantasia of the Unconscious and in a long essay, “The Education of the People.”

In Fantasia of the Unconscious, in a chapter entitled “First Steps in Education,” Lawrence lays out a new program for educating girls and boys: “All girls over ten years of age must attend at one domestic workshop. All girls over ten years of age may, in addition, attend at one workshop of skilled labour or of technical industry, or of art. . . . All boys over ten years of age must attend at one workshop of domestic crafts, and at one workshop of skilled labour, or of technical industry, or of art.” The difference between how boys and girls are to be educated (at least initially) is that whereas both are required to attend a “domestic workshop,” only boys are required to attend a “workshop of skilled labour or of technical industry, or of art.” Keep in mind that Lawrence is laying down the rules for education in his ideal society. He anticipates that whereas all males will work outside the home (in some fashion or other), not all females will. His system is not designed to force women into the role of homemakers, for he leaves it open that girls may, if they choose, learn the same skills as boys. As to higher education, Lawrence leaves this open: “Schools of mental culture are free to all individuals over fourteen years of age. Universities are free to all who obtain the first culture degree.” The system is designed in such a way that individuals are drawn to pursue certain avenues based on their personalities and natural temperaments. Unlike our present society, in Lawrence’s world there would be no universal pressure to attend university: only individuals with certain natural gifts and inclinations would go in that direction. Similarly, the system leaves open the possibility that some women will pursue the same path as men, but only if that is their natural inclination. The intent of Lawrence’s program is not to force individuals into certain roles, but to cultivate their natural, innate characteristics. And as we have seen, Lawrence believes that males and females are innately different.

Lawrence makes it clear elsewhere that in the early years education will be sex-segregated. This is intended to facilitate the development of each student’s character and talents. Males, especially early in life, relate more easily to other males and are better able to devote themselves to their studies in the absence of females. The same thing applies to females. Sex-segregated education in the early years also has the advantage, Lawrence believes, of promoting a healthier interaction between males and females later on. In Fantasia of the Unconscious he states, “boys and girls should be kept apart as much as possible, that they may have some sort of respect and fear for the gulf that lies between them in nature, and for the great strangeness which each has to offer the other, finally.” After all, “You don’t find the sun and moon playing at pals in the sky.”

But this is, of course, all in the realm of fantasy. Lawrence’s system would be practical, if modern society could be entirely restructured, and he is aware that this is not likely to occur anytime soon. So what are we to do in the meantime? Here we encounter some of Lawrence’s most controversial ideas, and most inflammatory prose. He writes, “men, drive your wives, beat them out of their self-consciousness and their soft smarminess and good, lovely idea of themselves. Absolutely tear their lovely opinion of themselves to tatters, and make them look a holy ridiculous sight in their own eyes.” It is this sort of thing that has made Lawrence a bête noire of feminists. Yet, in the next sentence, he adds “Wives, do the same to your husbands.” Lawrence’s intention, as always, is to destroy the ego-centredness in both husband and wife; to destroy the modern tendency for men and women to relate to each other, and to themselves, through ideas and ideals.

As a man and a husband, however, he writes primarily from that standpoint: “Fight your wife out of her own self-conscious preoccupation with herself. Batter her out of it till she’s stunned. Drive her back into her own true mode. Rip all her nice superimposed modern-woman and wonderful-creature garb off her, Reduce her once more to a naked Eve, and send the apple flying.” Does he mean any of this literally? Is he advocating that husbands beat their wives? Perhaps. Lawrence and Frieda were famous for their quarrels, which often came to blows, though the blows were struck by both. Lawrence states the purpose of such “beatings” (whether literal or figurative) as follows: “Make her yield to her own real unconscious self, and absolutely stamp on the self that she’s got in her head. Drive her forcibly back, back into her own true unconscious.”

As we have already seen, Lawrence believes that healthy relations between a man and a woman depend largely on the man’s ability to make the woman believe in him, and the purpose he has set for himself in life. Sex unites the “nighttime self” of men and women, but the daytime self can only be united, for Lawrence, through the man’s devotion to something outside the marriage, and the woman’s belief in the man. This is just the same thing as saying that what unites the lives of men and women (as opposed to their sexual natures) is the woman’s belief in the man and his purpose. And so Lawrence writes:

You’ve got to fight to make a woman believe in you as a real man, a pioneer. No man is a man unless to his woman he is a pioneer. You’ll have to fight still harder to make her yield her goal to yours: her night goal to your day goal. . . . She’ll never believe until you have your soul filled with a profound and absolutely inalterable purpose, that will yield to nothing, least of all to her. She’ll never believe until, in your soul, you are cut off and gone ahead, into the dark. . . . Ah, how good it is to come home to your wife when she believes in you and submits to your purpose that is beyond her. . . . And you feel an unfathomable gratitude to the woman who loves you and believes in your purpose and receives you into the magnificent dark gratification of her embrace. That’s what it is to have a wife.

Friends of Lawrence must have smiled when they read these words, for he was hardly giving an accurate description of his own marriage. As I have mentioned, Lawrence and Frieda frequently fell into violent quarrels, and she would often demean and humiliate him, and he her. Yet, ultimately, Frieda believed in Lawrence’s abilities and his mission in life; he knew it and derived strength from it. Those who may think that Lawrence’s prescriptions for marriage require an extraordinarily submissive and even unintelligent wife should take note of the sort of woman Lawrence himself chose.

Now, some might respond to Lawrence’s description of marriage by asking, understandably, “Where is love in all of this? What has become of love between man and wife?” Yet Lawrence speaks again and again, especially in Women in Love, of love between man and wife as a means to wholeness, as a way to transcend the false, ego-centered self. In a 1914 letter he tells a male correspondent:

You mustn’t think that your desire or your fundamental need is to make a good career, or to fill your life with activity, or even to provide for your family materially. It isn’t. Your most vital necessity in this life is that you shall love your wife completely and implicitly and in entire nakedness of body and spirit. Then you will have peace and inner security, no matter how many things go wrong. And this peace and security will leave you free to act and to produce your own work, a real independent workman.

Initially in these remarks Lawrence seems to be taking a position different from the one he expressed in the later Fantasia of the Unconscious, where he asserts that the man derives his chief fulfillment from purpose, not from the home and family. But Lawrence’s position is complex. He believes that the man requires a relationship to a woman in order to be strengthened in the pursuit of his purpose. Recall the lines I quoted earlier, “Let a man walk alone on the face of the earth, and he feels himself like a loose speck blown at random. Let him have a woman to whom he belongs, and he will feel as though he had a wall to back up against; even though the woman be mentally a fool.” Man fulfills himself through having a purpose beyond the home, but he must have a home and a wife to support him. Through romantic love (which always involves a strong sexual component) the man comes to his primal self, and emerges from the encounter with the strength to carry on in the world. Lawrence is telling his correspondent—and this becomes clear in the last lines of the passage quoted—that in order to accomplish anything meaningful he must first submerge himself, body and soul, into love for his wife.

Of course, this makes it sound as if Lawrence regards married love merely as a means to an end: merely as a means to pursuing a male “purpose.” Elsewhere, however, he speaks of it as if it were an end in itself. This is particularly the case in Women in Love. Early in the novel Birkin tells Gerald, “I find . . . that one needs some one really pure single activity—I should call love a single pure activity. . . . The old ideals are dead as nails—nothing there. It seems to me there remains only this perfect union with a woman—sort of ultimate marriage—and there isn’t anything else.” Again, Lawrence is seeking a way to get beyond idealism, and all the corrupt apparatus of modern, ego-driven life. To get beyond this, to what? To the true self, and to relationships based upon blood-consciousness and honest, uncorrupted sentiment. In Women in Love, Lawrence’s plan for achieving this involves a “perfect union” with a woman (and, as he states in the same novel, “the additional perfect relationship between man and man—additional to marriage”).

Birkin wants to achieve this with Ursula, but he keeps insisting over and over (much to her bewilderment and anger) that he means something more than mere “love.” The reason for this is that Birkin and Lawrence associate “love” with an ideal that is drummed into the heads of people in the modern, post-Christian world. We are issued with the baffling injunction to “love thy neighbor,” where thy neighbor means all of humanity. Any intelligent person can see that to love everyone means to love no one in particular. And any psychologically healthy person would find valueless the “love” of someone who claimed also to love all the rest of humanity. Lawrence is reacting also against the lovey-dovey, white lace, sanitized, billing and cooing sort of “love” that society encourages in married couples. Lawrence’s disgust for this sort of thing is expressed in his short story “In Love.” The main character, Hester, is repulsed by the “love” her fiancé, Joe, shows for her. They had been friends prior to their engagement and got on well

But now, alas, since she had promised to marry him, he had made the wretched mistake of falling “in love” with her. He had never been that way before. And if she had known he would get this way now, she would have said decidedly: Let us remain friends, Joe, for this sort of thing is a come-down. Once he started cuddling and petting, she couldn’t stand him. Yet she felt she ought to. She imagined she even ought to like it. Though where the ought came from, she could not see.

Birkin (like Lawrence) wants to avoid at all costs falling into this sort of scripted, stereotyped love relationship, but Ursula has a great deal of difficulty understanding what it is that he does want. He tries his best to explain it to her:

“There is,” he said, in a voice of pure abstraction, “a final me which is stark and impersonal and beyond responsibility. So there is a final you. And it is there I would want to meet you—not in the emotional, loving plane—but there beyond, where there is no speech and no terms of agreement. There we are two stark, unknown beings, two utterly strange creatures, I would want to approach you, and you me. And there could be no obligation, because there is no standard for action there, because no understanding has been reaped from that plane. It is quite inhuman—so there can be no calling to book, in any form whatsoever—because one is outside the pale of all that is accepted, and nothing known applies. One can only follow the impulse, taking that which lies in front, and responsible for nothing, giving nothing, only each taking according to the primal desire.”

The “final me and you” refers to the primal self. “The old ideals are dead as nails” and so is modern civilization. Birkin does not want his relationship to Ursula to “fit” into the modern social scheme, to become conventional or “safe.” He also fears and abhors the impress of society on his conscious, mental self. He does not want to come together with Ursula “though the ego,” as it were. He wants them to come together through their primal selves and to forge a relationship that is based on something deeper and far stronger than what the overly socialized creatures around him call “love.” Yet, at the same time, one could simply say that what he wants is a truer, deeper love, and that what passes for love with other people is usually not the genuine article. They are doing what one “ought” to do, even when in bed together.

In The Rainbow (to which Women in Love forms the “sequel”), Tom Brangwen offers his views on love and marriage in a famous passage:

“There’s very little else, on earth, but marriage. You can talk about making money, or saving souls. You can save your own soul seven times over, and you may have a mint of money, but your soul goes gnawin’, gnawin’, gnawin’, and it says there’s something it must have. In heaven there is no marriage. But on earth there is marriage, else heaven drops out, and there’s no bottom to it. . . . If we’ve got to be Angels . . . and if there is no such thing as a man or a woman among them, then it seems to me as a married couple makes one Angel. . . . [An] Angel can’t be less than a human being. And if it was only the soul of a man minus the man, then it would be less than a human being. . . . An Angel’s got to be more than a human being. . . . So I say, an Angel is the soul of a man and a woman in one: they rise united at the Judgment Day, as one angel. . . . If I am to become an Angel, it’ll be my married soul, and not my single soul.”

À la Aristophanes in Plato’s Symposium, men and women form two halves of a complete human being. Human nature divides itself into two, complementary aspects: masculinity and femininity. A complete human being is made when a man and a woman are joined together. But they cannot be joined—not really—through the mental, social self, but only through the unconscious, primal self.

In Women in Love, this view returns but in a modified form. Now Birkin tells us, “One must commit oneself to a conjunction with the other—for ever. But it is not selfless—it is a maintaining of the self in mystic balance and integrity—like a star balanced with another star.” And Lawrence tells us of Birkin, “he wanted a further conjunction, where man had being and woman had being, two pure beings, each constituting the freedom of the other, balancing each other like two poles of one force, like two angels, or two demons.” Tom Brangwen’s view implies that men and women, considered separately, do not have complete souls, and that a complete soul is made only when they join together in marriage. There is a suggestion in what he says that the “individuality” of single men and women is false, and that only a married couple constitutes a true individual. Birkin’s ideal, on the other hand, involves the man and the woman each preserving their selfhood and individuality and “balancing” each other.

Despite the fact that Birkin frequently, and transparently, speaks for Lawrence we cannot take him as speaking for Lawrence here. I believe that it is Brangwen’s position that is closest to Lawrence’s own. When Women in Love opens, Birkin is in a relationship with Hermione, who Lawrence portrays as a woman living entirely from out of her head, without any naturalness or spontaneity. Yet there is a bit of this in Birkin as well, which is perhaps why he reacts against it so violently when he sees it in Hermione. After the passage just quoted from Women in Love, Lawrence writes of Birkin, “He wanted so much to be free, not under the compulsion of any need for unification, or tortured by unsatisfied desire. . . . And he wanted to be with Ursula as free as with himself, single and clear and cool, yet balanced, polarised with her. The merging, the clutching, the mingling of love was become madly abhorrent to him.” Lawrence then goes on to describe Birkin’s fear and loathing of women’s “clutching.” Birkin is a conflicted character. He wants to lose himself in a relationship with a woman, but fears it at the same time. He wants Ursula, and talks on and on about spontaneity and the evil of ideals, yet he is continually preaching to Ursula about his ideal relationship which, conveniently, is one in which he can unite with her yet preserve his ego intact. This at first bewilders then infuriates Ursula, who never understands what it is that he wants. In the end, the problem resolves itself, probably just as it would in real life. Drawn to Ursula by a power stronger than his conscious ego, Birkin eventually drops all of his talk, surrenders his will, and settles into a married bliss that is marred only by his continued desire for the love of a man.

Ultimately, Lawrence believes that the “establishment of a new relation” between men and women depends upon a return to the oldest of relationships, and that this is possible only through a recovery of the oldest part of the self. We must, he believes, drop our ideal of the unisex society and be alive again to the fundamental, natural differences between men and women. Men and woman do not naturally desire to enjoy each other’s society at all times. We must not only educate men and women apart, but re-establish “spaces” within civilized society where men can be with men, and women with women. We must not force men and women together and command them to forget that they are men and women. Education and, indeed, much else in society must work to cultivate and to affirm the natural, masculine qualities and virtues in men, and the feminine qualities and virtues in women. Having become true men and women and having awakened, through their apartness, to the mystery and the allure that is the opposite sex, they will then come together and forge romantic alliances that are not based upon talk and “common values” but upon the “pull” between man and woman. Lawrence is not referring here simply to lust. A sexual element is, of course, involved, but what he means is the mysterious, ineffable attraction between an individual man and a woman, what we often call “chemistry,” which has nothing to do with the words they utter or the ideals they pay lip service to. And once this attraction is established, if the two desire to become bound to each other, then they must surrender themselves to the relationship. They must overcome their fear of the loss of ego boundaries. They must drop all talk of “rights” and not fall into the trap of treating the marriage as if it were a business partnership. For both, it is a leap into the unknown but in this case the unknown is the natural. When we plant a seed we must close the earth over it and go off and wait in anticipation. But we know that nature, being what it is, will produce as it has before. If all goes well, in that spot will grow the plant we were expecting. Similarly, marriage is not a human invention but something that grows naturally between a man and woman if its seed is planted in the fertile soil of the primal selves of each.

lundi, 29 novembre 2010

The Doctrine of Higher Forms

The Doctrine of Higher Forms

Sir Oswald MOSLEY

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

1311427.jpgSince the war I have stressed altogether five main objectives. The true union of Europe; the union of government with science; the power of government to act rapidly and decisively, subject to parliamentary control; the effective leadership of government to solve the economic problem by use of the wage-price mechanism at the two key-points of the modern industrial world; and a clearly defined purpose for a movement of humanity to ever higher forms.

It is strange that in this last sphere of almost abstract thought my ideas have more attracted some of the young minds I value than my practical proposals in economics and politics. The reason is perhaps that people seek the ideal rather than the practical during a period in which such action is not felt to be necessary. This is encouraging for an ultimate future, in which through science the world can become free from the gnawing anxiety of material things and can turn to thinking which elevates and to beauty which inspires, but the hard fact is that many practical problems and menacing dangers must first be faced and overcome.

The thesis of higher forms was preceded by a fundamental challenge to the widely accepted claim of the communists that history is on their side. On the contrary, they are permanent prisoners of a transient phase in the human advance which modern science has rendered entirely obsolete. Not only is the primitive brutality of their method only possible in a backward country, but their whole thinking is only applicable to a primitive community. Both their economic thinking and their materialist conception of history belong exclusively to the nineteenth century. This thinking, still imprisoned in a temporary limitation, we challenge with thinking derived from the whole of European history and from the yet longer trend revealed by modern science. We challenge the idea of the nineteenth century with the idea of the twentieth century.

Communism is still held fast by the long obsolete doctrine of its origin, precisely because it is a material creed which recognizes nothing beyond such motives and the urge to satisfy such needs. Yet modern man has surpassed that condition as surely as the jet aircraft in action has overcome the natural law of gravity which Newton discovered. The same urge of man’s spiritual nature served by his continually developing science can inspire him to ever greater achievement and raise him to ever further heights.

The challenge to communist materialism was stated as follows in Europe: Faith and Plan:

What then, is the purpose of it all? Is it just material achievement? Will the whole urge be satisfied when everyone has plenty to eat and drink, every possible assurance against sickness and old age, a house, a television set, and a long seaside holiday each year? What other end can a communist civilization hold in prospect except this, which modern science can so easily satisfy within the next few years?

If you begin with the belief that all history can be interpreted only in material terms, and that any spiritual purpose is a trick and a delusion, which has the simple object of distracting the workers from their material aim of improving their conditions—the only reality—what end can there be even after every conceivable success, except the satisfaction of further material desires? When all the basic needs and wants are sated by the output of the new science, what further aim can there be but the devising of ever more fantastic amusements to titillate material appetites? If Soviet civilization achieves its furthest ambitions, is the end to be sputnik races round the stars to relieve the tedium of being a communist?

Communism is a limited creed, and its limitations are inevitable. If the original impulse is envy, malice, and hatred against someone who has something you have not got, you are inevitably limited by the whole impulse to which you owe the origin of your faith and movement. That initial emotion may be well founded, may be based on justice, on indignation against the vile treatment of the workers in the early days of the industrial revolution. But if you hold that creed, you carry within yourself your own prison walls, because any escape from that origin seems to lead towards the hated shape of the man who once had something you had not got; anything above or beyond yourself is bad. In reality, he may be far from being a higher form; he may be a most decadent product of an easy living which he was incapable of using even for self-development, an ignoble example of missed opportunity. But if the first impulse be envy and hatred of him, you are inhibited from any movement beyond yourself for fear of becoming like him, the man who had something which you had not got.

Thus your ideal becomes not something beyond yourself, still less beyond anything which now exists, but rather, the petrified, fossilized shape of that section of the community which was most oppressed, suffering, and limited by every material circumstance in the middle of the nineteenth century. The real urge is then to drag everything down toward the lowest level of life, rather than the attempt to raise everything towards the highest level of life which has yet been attained, and finally to move beyond even that. In all things this system of values seeks what is low instead of what is high.

So communism has no longer any deep appeal to the sane, sensible mass of the European workers who, in entire contradiction of Marxian belief in their increasing “immiseration,” have moved by the effort of their own trade unions and by political action to at least a partial participation in the plenty which the new science is beginning to bring, and towards a way of living and an outlook in which they do not recognize themselves at all as the miserable and oppressed figures of communism’s original workers.

The ideal is no longer the martyred form of the oppressed, but the beginning of a higher form. Men are beginning not to look down, but to look up. And it is precisely at this point that a new way of political thinking can give definite shape to what many are beginning to feel is a new forward urge of humanity. It becomes an impulse of nature itself directly man is free from the stifling oppression of dire, primitive need.

The ideal of creating a higher form on earth can now rise before men with the power of a spiritual purpose, which is not simply a philosophic abstraction but a concrete expression of a deep human desire. All men want their children to live better than they have lived, just as they have tried by their own exertions to lift themselves beyond the level of their fathers whose affection and sacrifice often gave them the chance to do it. This is a right and natural urge in mankind, and, when fully understood, becomes a spiritual purpose.

venus_milo_ac-grenoble.jpgThis purpose I described as the doctrine of higher forms. The idea of a continual movement of humanity from the amoeba to modern man and on to ever higher forms has interested me since my prison days, when I first became acutely aware of the relationship between modern science and Greek philosophy. Perhaps it is the very simplicity of the thesis which gives it strength; mankind moving from the primitive beginning which modern science reveals to the present stage of evolution and continuing in this long ascent to heights beyond our present vision, if the urge of nature and the purpose of life are to be fulfilled. While simple to the point of the obvious, in detailed analysis it is the exact opposite of prevailing values. Most great impulses of life are in essence simple, however complex their origin. An idea may be derived from three thousand years of European thought and action, and yet be stated in a way that all men can understand.

My thinking on this subject was finally reduced to the extreme of simplicity in the conclusion of Europe, Faith and Plan:

To believe that the purpose of life is a movement from lower to higher forms is to record an observable fact. If we reject that fact, we reject every finding of modern science, as well as the evidence of our own eyes. . . . It is necessary to believe that this is the purpose of life, because we can observe that this is the way the world works, whether we believe in divine purpose or not. And once we believe this is the way the world works, and deduce from the long record that it is the only way it can work, this becomes a purpose because it is the only means by which the world is likely to work in future. If the purpose fails, the world fails.

The purpose so far has achieved the most incredible results—incredible to anyone who had been told in advance what was going to happen—by working from the most primitive life forms to the relative heights of present human development. Purpose becomes, therefore, quite clearly in the light of modern knowledge a movement from lower to higher forms. And if purpose in this way has moved so far and achieved so much, it is only reasonable to assume that it will so continue if it continues at all; if the world lasts. Therefore, if we desire to sustain human existence, if we believe in mankind’s origin which science now makes clear, and in his destiny which a continuance of the same progress makes possible, we must desire to aid rather than to impede the discernible purpose. That means we should serve the purpose which moves from lower to higher forms; this becomes our creed of life. Our life is dedicated to the purpose.

In practical terms this surely indicates that we should not tell men to be content with themselves as they are, but should urge them to strive to become something beyond themselves. . . . To assure men that we have no need to surpass ourselves, and thereby to imply that men are perfect, is surely the extreme of arrogant presumption. It is also a most dangerous folly, because it is rapidly becoming clear that if mankind’s moral nature and spiritual stature cannot increase more commensurately with his material achievements, we risk the death of the world. . . .

We must learn to live, as well as to do. We must restore harmony with life, and recognize the purpose in life. Man has released the forces of nature just as he has become separated from nature; this is a mortal danger, and is reflected in the neurosis of the age. We cannot stay just where we are; it is an uneasy, perilous and impossible situation. Man must either reach beyond his present self, or fail; and if he fails this time, the failure is final. That is the basic difference between this age and all previous periods. It was never before possible for this failure of men to bring the world to an end.

It is not only a reasonable aim to strive for a higher form among men; it is a creed with the strength of a religious conviction. It is not only a plain necessity of the new age of science which the genius of man’s mind has brought; it is in accordance with the long process of nature within which we may read the purpose of the world. And it is no small and selfish aim, for we work not only for ourselves but for a time to come. The long striving of our lives can not only save our present civilization, but can also enable others more fully to realize and to enjoy the great beauty of this world, not only in peace and happiness, but in an ever unfolding wisdom and rising consciousness of the mission of man.

The doctrine of higher forms may have appealed to some in a generation acutely aware of the divorce between religion and science because it was an attempted synthesis of these two impulses of the human movement. I went so far as to say that higher forms could have the force of a science and a religion, in the secular sense, since it derived both from the evolutionary process first recognized in the last century, and from the philosophy, perhaps the mysticism, well described as the ‘eternal becoming’, which Hellenism first gave to Europe as an original and continuing movement still represented in the thinking, architecture and music of the main European tradition.

To simplify and synthesize are the chief gifts which clear thought can bring, and never have they been so deeply needed as in this age. A healing synthesis is required, a union of Hellenism’s calm but radiant embrace of the beauty and wonder of life with the Gothic impulse of new discoveries urging man to reach beyond his presently precarious balance until sanity itself is threatened. The genius of Hellas can still give back to Europe the life equilibrium, the firm foundation from which science can grasp the stars. He who can combine within himself this sanity and this dynamism becomes thereby a higher form, and beyond him can be an ascent revealing always a further wisdom and beauty. It is a personal ideal for which all can try to live, a purpose in life.

We can thus resume the journey to further summits of the human spirit with measure and moderation won from the struggle and tribulation of these years. We may even in this time of folly and sequent adversity gain the balance of maturity which alone can make us worthy of the treasures, capable of using the miraculous endowment, and also of averting the tempestuous dangers, of modern science. We may at last acquire the adult mind, without which the world cannot survive, and learn to use with wisdom and decision the wonders of this age.

I hope that this record of my own small part in these great affairs and still greater possibilities has at least shown that I have ‘the repugnance to mean and cruel dealings’ which the wise old man ascribed to me so long ago, and yet have attempted by some union of mind and will to combine thought and deed; that I have stood with consistency for the construction of a worthy dwelling for humanity, and at all cost against the rage and folly of insensate and purposeless destruction; that I have followed the truth as I saw it, wherever that service led me, and have ventured to look and strive through the dark to a future that can make all worth while.

Source: http://www.oswaldmosley.com/higher-forms.htm

vendredi, 19 novembre 2010

Croquis étrusques de D. H. Lawrence

Croquis étrusques de D. H. Lawrence

Ex: http://stalker.hautetfort.com/

À propos de D. H. Lawrence, Croquis étrusques (Le Bruit du Temps, préface de Gabriel Levin, traduction de l’anglais par Jean-Baptiste de Seynes, appareil critique établi par Simonetta de Filippis pour la Cambridge Edition of the Works of D. H. Lawrence, notice traduite par Élisabeth Vialle, 2010).
LRSP (livre reçu en service de presse).

Lawrence-Etruscan.jpgC’est à la fin du VIIe siècle avant la naissance du Christ qu’apparaît en Toscane une population que les Latins appelleront Tusci ou Etrusci, dont les origines continuent de rester énigmatiques. On suggère aujourd’hui que la culture étrusque est née d’un ancien substrat local qui s’est lentement modifié au cours des différentes vagues de population s’installant en Italie, tandis que l’hypothèse qui prévalait au début du siècle passé rejoignait le récit d’Hérodote, d’après lequel ce peuple serait venu par la mer de Lydie.
Après un essor spectaculaire, la civilisation étrusque est entrée, à partir du Ve siècle, dans une phase d’affaiblissement notable jusqu’à sa soumission à Rome aux IVe et IIIe siècles.
Pourtant, au milieu du VIIe siècle, ce peuple fascinant de Toscane à la vocation maritime, avait commencé à se poser en rival sérieux des Grecs pour l’hégémonie méditerranéenne. Ainsi, allié à Carthage, il avait accepté la pénétration punique en Sardaigne alors que, dès le milieu du VIe siècle, il dut affronter les Hellènes désireux de coloniser l’Italie méridionale.
Cette période de guerres et d’alliances s’acheva en 474 par une défaite étrusque face à la coalition maritime que menèrent Cumes et Syracuse.
Cette date marque le début de l’effondrement du système confédéral instauré par Tarchon et regroupant, selon la tradition, douze cités ou groupes urbains dirigés par un lucumon, dans la région située entre l’Arno et le Tibre. C’est ce même Tarchon qui, selon la légende, fut le premier à fonder douze villes dans le nord de l’Italie, franchit ensuite les Apennins pour fonder la ville de Mantoue puis onze autres villes, redoublant ainsi la ligue originelle, villes qui s’unirent en une ligue appelée par les Latins Duodecim Populi Etruriae. Tarquinia était la plus ancienne des douze premières cités-États. Il y avait aussi Vulci, Vetulonia, Cerveteri, Arezzo, Chiusi, Roselle, Volterra, Cortona, Perugia, Volsinii, Populonia, certaines d’entre elles constituant les titres des chapitres du livre de Lawrence.
Après la défaite devant Cumes, les comptoirs commerciaux étrusques s’effondrèrent les uns après les autres sous la pression des Oscques et des Sabelliens qui prennent Capoue en 430.
Quoi qu’il en soit, durant les premiers siècles de l’histoire romaine, l’Étrurie sut conserver une relative indépendance, les Étrusques ayant obtenu le droit à la citoyenneté romaine en 89 avant Jésus-Christ, alors que l’Étrurie devient, elle, dans la division administrative de l’Italie conçue par Auguste, la septième région. Élie Faure évoque bellement l’appétit insatiable de conquêtes, secrètement conforté par l’Étrurie soumise devenue le cœur de l’Empire, qui fut celui de Rome : «Dès ses débuts, Rome est elle-même. Elle détourne à son profit les sources morales du vieux monde, comme elle détournait les eaux dans les montagnes pour les amener dans ses murs. Une fois la source captée, son avidité l’épuise, elle va plus loin pour en capter une autre.Dès le commencement du IIIe siècle l’Étrurie, broyée par Rome, cimente de son sang, de ses nerfs, avec le sang et les nerfs des Latins, des Sabins, le bloc où Rome s’appuiera pour se répandre sur la terre, en cercles concentriques, dans un effort profond» (in Histoire de l’art. L’art antique, Gallimard, coll. Folio Essais, 1988, pp. 305-6). Lawrence, parfois, fort rarement à vrai dire, croit découvrir sur les visages de certains hommes et femmes croisés lors de son périple les traits caractéristiques qu’il prête aux anciens Étrusques. De même, il constatera que de très anciens édifices construits par ce peuple disparu ont été restaurés, plus ou moins fidèlement à son goût, par son implacable conquérant romain.
La langue étrusque fut tout d’abord parlée en Toscane. Nous en avons conservé plus de dix mille inscriptions ainsi qu’un texte manuscrit de mille cinq cents mots environs, inscrits sur les bandelettes de lin enveloppant une momie. Les autres textes connus à caractère votif ou funéraire n’expriment guère que le nom du fidèle ou du défunt. L’alphabet a été emprunté au grec, probablement autour de 700 avant Jésus-Christ, sous l’influence des colonies grecques des îles Pithécuses. Elle demeure indéchiffrable pour Lawrence et, bien sûr, d’autant plus poétique.
La religion des Étrusques, sur laquelle notre auteur écrira de belles et étranges pages, a fait l’objet de maints commentaires de la part des Anciens. Peut-être d’origine orientale, sa «révélation» avait été consignée dans des livres sacrés dépositaires de la théologie et des rites inspirés par le génie Tagès et la nymphe Végoia, aux antipodes du paganisme gréco-romain.
C’est chargé d’un immense savoir livresque qu’il ne manquera pas de moquer dans son propre livre, c’est après avoir accumulé les lectures des ouvrages savants de Mommsen, Weege, Ducati ou encore Fell (1), que D. H. Lawrence commence son périple au milieu des ruines des anciennes villes étrusques, qu’il a projeté de visiter dès la fin mars 1926. Lawrence connaît aussi bien qu’il l’aime l’Italie qui ne «juge pas» (2), à ses yeux, à la différence de pays fatigués comme l’Angleterre et l’Allemagne, où la morale a remplacé la belle vitalité des peuples jeunes. Pour ce qui concerne la civilisation étrusque, l’écrivain semble avoir été frappé, assez tôt (en 1908) par sa lecture de La Peau de chagrin de Balzac, roman publié en 1831, dans lequel, dès le début du livre, le héros observe un vase étrusque qui le fascine : «Ah ! Qui n’aurait souri comme lui de voir sur un fond rouge la jeune fille brune dansant dans la fine argile d’un vase étrusque devant le Dieu Priape qu’elle saluait d’un air joyeux». En 1915, c’est la lecture du chapitre IX (intitulé Le culte des arbres) du célèbre Rameau d’or de Frazer qui frappe l’esprit de Lawrence comme il a durablement frappé celui de tant d’autres écrivains (comme T. S. Eliot), chapitre où sont mentionnés l’Étrurie centrale et ses «champs fertiles».
Ce savoir que D. H. Lawrence accumula pourtant consciencieusement durant les années de lente maturation de son projet de livre ne lui fut que d’un maigre secours au moment de rédiger ce dernier et même, au moment où il fut lu et critiqué par ses premiers lecteurs professionnels (cf. pp. 272-278 de notre ouvrage). Plusieurs critiques reprochèrent en effet à l’écrivain son manque de sérieux scientifique, alors que Lawrence, de son côté, avait plusieurs fois émis des doutes, dans les lettres adressées à ses amis et éditeurs, sur la capacité réelle des foules à apprécier et goûter son œuvre qui, pour réellement exister, devait à son goût se détacher du savoir pulvérulent et sans grâce des gros livres savants et inutiles mais, tout autant, se frayer un chemin difficile vers le cœur de lecteurs ne sachant plus vraiment lire.
Quoi qu’il en soit, ce dépouillement nécessaire était finalement dans la logique même des différents croquis que Lawrence consacra aux tombes étrusques ornées de fresques magnifiques. Car c’est tout compte fait peu dire que, au travers de la découverte puis de la description de ces chefs-d’œuvre picturaux des anciens âges, l’unique sujet de l’écrivain est l’opposition entre le fourmillement plein de vie du passé et l’étiolement bavard dans lequel nos sociétés modernes sont tombées. Pénétrant dans les ténèbres des caveaux étrusques, Lawrence est un homme qui semble se dépouiller de sa très vieille peau occidentale comme un serpent qui ferait sa mue, et se remplir, a contrario, d’un savoir paradoxal qui irrigue son être tout entier, comme la religion des Anciens, selon l’écrivain, a irrigué les danseurs dont il contemple les représentations sur les murs des tombeaux : «Comme le disait l’antique auteur païen, écrit ainsi Lawrence : Il n’est partie vivante de nous ou de nos corps qui ne ressente la religion; dès lors, qu’aucune chanson ne manque à l’âme, et qu’aux genoux et au cœur abondent le bond et la danse; car tous autant qu’ils sont connaissent les dieux…» (p. 109). Nous ne les connaissons plus, puisqu’il est vrai que nous ne dansons ou même ne savons plus danser, comme Lawrence d’ailleurs le remarque, en accomplissant des gestes scellant la magique entente des hommes et du monde qui les porte.
L’Italie elle-même, du moins dans sa partie qui conserve quelques antiques traces du peuple disparu, paraît pour Lawrence (mais qu’en est-il de nos jours ?) s’être salutairement éloignée du foyer de contagion : la vie moderne qui corrompt le vivant de façon irrémédiable. Ainsi, dès le tout premier texte des Croquis étrusques, Cerveteri, décrivant le visage d’un des habitants de la peu riante région qu’il traverse avec son ami, nous pouvons lire sous la plume de Lawrence : «Il est probable que, quand je retournerai dans le Sud, il aura disparu. Ils ne peuvent survivre, ces hommes à visage de faune au profil si pur, avec ce calme étrange qui est le leur, éloigné de toute morale. Seuls survivent les visages déflorés» (p. 24).
C’est dire en somme que la civilisation étrusque, insouciante, légère, aérienne comme les oiseaux qui ornent les fresques de ses tombeaux, était condamnée à disparaître dans un monde qui, au fil des siècles, s’est figé dans la lourdeur sans vie des peuples sérieux qui ont oublié la danse, le rire et les chants célébrant l’harmonie rejouée par chaque nouvelle célébration. Finalement encore, notre époque consacre le triomphe des visages flétris, comme, sous couvert de respect d’une morale aussi ridicule que contraignante (sans compter qu’elle est mensongère), notre société magnifie le comble de la dégénérescence, les portraits de milliers de Dorian Gray qui, devenus trop compliqués, exclusivement cérébraux, ont perdu tout contact réel avec la «verte primitivité» chère à Kierkegaard qui est à l’œuvre, selon D. H. Lawrence, dans l’ensemble des témoignages que la civilisation étrusque nous a légués. Vitalité des premiers jours de l’homme. Immobilité, en dépit même du mythe du progrès qui lance ses milliers de tentacules dans toutes les directions, de l’homme moderne. Art de l’aube des peuples, «émerveillement des matinées humaines» comme dit le poète, science véritable de la vie quotidienne contre psychologie des «ignorantins» que nous sommes devenus (cf. p. 127).
L’écrivain poursuit, contemplant cette fois les visages féminins, porteurs d’un secret évident, qui se tient à portée de regard ou plutôt, pour l’auteur de L’Amant de lady Chatterley, à portée de toucher (au sens de communication physique et pré-mentale que Mellors, dans le roman le plus célèbre de Lawrence, développera) : «Ce sont de belles femmes, issues d’un monde ancien, en qui se mêlent ce silence et cette réserve qui les rendent si attirantes et qui sans doute étaient leur apanage, dans le passé. Comme si, au profond de chaque femme, il y avait encore quelque chose à chercher que l’œil jamais n’est en mesure de déceler. Quelque chose qui peut être perdu, et qui jamais ne peut être retrouvé» (p. 26). C’est dire que la femme est toujours du côté du passé, précieux puits originel d’où sortent les hommes hagards, presque immédiatement nostalgiques de ce qu’ils ont conscience d’avoir perdu d’une façon irrémédiable et qu’ils tenteront, leur vie durant, de reconquérir de mille et mille façons, par la guerre, l’art, l’écriture, la déchéance même, surtout si elle devient un dérèglement systématique de tous les sens. Et ce qu’ils ont perdu, ce que chaque homme perd en venant au monde, ce sont la beauté, la sécurité, une forme souveraine d’harmonie inconsciente, primitive, primesautière, pas moins reliée à toute la chaîne des vivants et à l’univers tout entier, le secret éternellement rejoué à chaque nouvelle naissance de l’être et de ses manifestations, que D. H. Lawrence ira chercher au plus profond de l’obscurité gardienne d’un peu de poussière qui autrefois fut femme et homme.
Ce secret de la spontanéité et de la fraîcheur de la vie, Lawrence les surprend ainsi dans les fresques splendides qui ornent les dernières demeures de riches Étrusques : «Aux formes et mouvements des murs et volumes souterrains s’attache une simplicité jointe à une spontanéité, un naturel dépoitraillé tout à fait particulier qui, immédiatement, réconforte l’esprit. Les Grecs cherchaient à faire impression, et le gothique bien plus encore vise à frapper l’esprit. Les Étrusques, non. Ce qu’ils réalisaient, en ces siècles insouciants où ils vécurent, apparaît aussi simple et naturel que la respiration. Ils laissent la poitrine respirer librement, aspirer sans effort une certaine abondance de vie» (p. 38).
Belle, audacieuse image bien que je ne pense pas que nous puissions véritablement parler de «siècles insouciants» à propos des âges de rapines et de violences de toute sorte qui furent ceux des anciens peuples ayant colonisé l’Italie. Élie Faure a raison de distendre l’ombre inquiétante qui est celle des personnages si joyeux de vivre que Lawrence croit contempler de son regard grisé, creusant la naïveté des dessins étrusques d’une profondeur qui, à vrai dire, n’est absolument pas étrangère au texte de Lawrence lui-même, surtout lorsqu’il contemple, pris de vertige, l’abîme des siècles et des millénaires : «Le prêtre règne. Les formes sont enfermées dans les tombeaux. La sculpture des sarcophages où deux figures étranges, le bas du corps cassé, le haut secret et souriant s’accoudent avec la raideur et l’expression mécaniques que tous les archaïsmes ont connues, les fresques des chambres funéraires qui racontent des sacrifices et des égorgements, tout leur art est fanatique, superstitieux et tourmenté» (op. cit., p. 305). Je crois que Lawrence tente en fait de magnifier en estompant plus qu’en effaçant toutes ses ombres une époque de non-réflexivité absolue pour ainsi dire, où les femmes et les hommes préféraient de très loin vivre plutôt que se voir vivre, agir plutôt que bavarder comme il en va, selon l’écrivain, à notre époque anémiée.
Nous retrouvons ici la thématique si chère à Lawrence de la «conscience phallique» que nous pourrions caractériser comme l’aspiration naïve de la vie vers son expansion maximale et, surtout, libérée de toute contrainte d’ordre moral ou religieux (3) : «C’est la beauté de proportion naturelle de la conscience phallique, qui vient s’opposer aux proportions plus recherchées ou plus extatiques de la conscience mentale et spirituelle à laquelle nous sommes habitués» (p. 35). C’est dans L’Amant de lady Chatterley que Lawrence évoquera, tout comme il a fait du toucher un de ses thèmes centraux, cette «conscience phallique», écrivant de son livre qu’il est un : «roman phallique, tendre et délicat – pas un roman érotique au sens propre […]. Je crois sincèrement qu’il faut restaurer, ajoute-t-il, une conscience phallique dans nos vies, parce qu’elle est à la source de toute vraie beauté et de toute vraie douceur» (4).
La simplicité que Lawrence voit à l’œuvre dans l’art funéraire étrusque est encore décrit comme un «naturel confinant à la platitude» et, plus loin, comme un véritable secret dont la clé a été perdue : «C’est là presque toujours présent dans les objets étrusques, ce naturel confinant à la platitude, mais qui en général l’évite, et qui, bien souvent, atteint à une originalité si spontanée, si hardie et si fraîche que nous, amoureux des conventions et des expressions «ramenées à une norme», en venons à qualifier cet art de bâtard et de banal» (p. 79).
Chimera_d'arezzo,_firenze,_06.JPGLawrence, suivant en cela la leçon d’un nombre incalculable d’auteurs mais sans toutefois tomber dans le délire de certains qui, comme Keyserling, fonda à Darmstadt en 1920 une École de la Sagesse dénonçant les limites de la culture occidentale et puisant son enseignement de pacotille dans une Inde fantasmée, confère au monde ancien une vertu éminente : au contraire de ce que nous pouvons constater à notre époque de spécialistes qui poussent de grands cris dès qu’un esprit un peu audacieux essaie de créer des passerelles entre plusieurs domaines de savoir, le monde ancien ne craignait pas d’établir des parentés symboliques, donc réelles, entre les êtres vivants et les choses, reliés par un flux souterrain de sang (5). «Merveilleux monde, écrit ainsi Lawrence, qu’était sans doute ce monde ancien où toutes choses semblaient vivantes, luisantes dans l’ombre crépusculaire du contact qui les faisait se toucher, un monde où chaque chose n’était pas seulement une individualité isolée prise au piège de la lumière diurne; où chaque chose apparaissait en son clair contour, visuellement, mais qui du sein de sa clarté même était reliée par des affinités émotionnelles ou vitales à d’autres choses étranges, une chose surgissant d’une autre, mentalement contradictoires qui fusionnaient dans l’émotion, si bien qu’un lion pouvait au même instant être aussi une chèvre, et ne pas être une chèvre [Lawrence a évoqué précédemment la chimère en bronze d’Arezzo, conservée au musée de Florence et qui fut en partie restaurée par Benvenuto Cellini)» (p. 142).
Plus même, puisque Lawrence, tirant finalement les conséquences logiques du mythe de l’Âge d’or, ayant même peut-être lu Vico qui associait naissance du langage et chant dans une même étreinte poétique de l’univers, affirme que les anciens dont il contemple les œuvres d’art étaient de véritables enfants : «Les anciens voyaient consciemment ce que les enfants voient inconsciemment : l’éternelle merveille des choses. Dans le monde antique, les trois émotions cardinales devaient être l’émerveillement, la crainte et l’admiration – l’admiration au sens latin du mot comme dans notre acception présente, et la crainte dans sa signification la plus large, qui inclut la répulsion, l’épouvante et la haine» (p. 143). Puisque les Étrusques incarnaient merveilleusement les vertus de l’aube (l’insouciance, la légèreté, la spontanéité, la fraîcheur, la joie), ils ne pouvaient être que de véritables enfants, et non point de ridicules adultes qui singeraient l’enfance. Leur caractère enfantin plutôt qu’infantile provenait du fait qu’ils ne séparaient point les êtres qu’ils considéraient de la grande chaîne reliant toutes les choses, tous les êtres créés. L’esprit d’abstraction, au sens propre du terme, leur était inconnu. Ils ne connaissaient que l’esprit procédant par association symbolique, qui est sans doute le seul qui soit capable de révéler la vérité profonde des êtres. Lawrence emploie, à propos de cette vérité profonde, une magnifique expression (que je souligne), écrivant : «C’est en étant capable de voir le qui-vive de toutes choses au cœur partout ramifié de la grande signification, toute palpitante de passion, que les anciens maintenaient vivants l’émerveillement et la délectation, mais aussi bien l’effroi et la répugnance. Ils étaient comme les enfants – mais ils avaient la force, la puissance et la connaissance sensuelle des vrais adultes» (pp. 143-4).
Et l’auteur de tirer toutes les conséquences de cette idée selon laquelle l’homme a perdu la grâce de ses premiers gestes. La religion elle-même, selon Lawrence, a vu sa nature profonde s’infléchir pour n’être plus qu’un vil instrument dont l’homme se sert. Tout le délire mécaniciste moderne semble pour Lawrence sorti du culte grec de la raison et du génie bâtisseur romain : «L’ancienne religion, qui voulait que l’homme assidûment tente de s’harmoniser avec la nature, tienne ferme sur ses pieds et s’épanouisse en fleur dans le grand bouillonnement de la vie, s’est transformée avec les Grecs et les Romains en un désir de résister à la nature, de développer la ruse mentale et la force mécanique susceptibles de surpasser la nature en intelligence et de l’enchaîner complètement, complètement au point qu’il ne subsiste plus aucune liberté en cette nature et que tout soit contrôlé, domestiqué et asservi aux pouvoirs mesquins de l’homme» (p. 158).
611MTDUIAML__SS500_2.jpgC’est dans un chapitre inachevé, resté à l’état de manuscrit et qui, peut-être, eût pu servir à Lawrence de conclusion pour ses Croquis étrusques, intitulé Le musée de Florence, que l’auteur va systématiser ses intuitions sur le thème d’une déperdition, au travers des siècles, d’une force rayonnante qui s’échappe désormais inéluctablement des œuvres des hommes. Ainsi, selon Lawrence, nous devons bien comprendre que les religions elles-mêmes de nos ancêtres les plus magnifiques, comme le sont, à ses yeux, les Étrusques, ne sont que des bribes d’un savoir immémorial ayant précédé les plus anciennes civilisations : «Ce qu’il nous faut saisir lorsque nous contemplons des œuvres étrusques, c’est que celles-ci nous révèlent les derniers feux d’une conscience cosmique humaine – disons, la tentative d’hommes aspirant à la conscience cosmique – différente de la nôtre. L’idée qui veut que notre histoire soit issue des cavernes ou de précaires habitats lacustres est puérile. Notre histoire prend corps à l’achèvement d’une phase précédente de l’histoire humaine, une phase prodigieuse et comparable à la nôtre. Il est bien plus vraisemblable que le singe descende de nous que nous du singe» (p. 225). Renversement de perspective qui a dû faire bondir les esprits scientistes ou chagrins, c’est tout un, qui lurent les Croquis étrusques lorsqu’ils furent publiés ! On se demande même comment l’auteur n’a semble-t-il pas été traité de réactionnaire. Il l’a peut-être été, à la réflexion, tout comme on n’a pas manqué de lui reprocher son manque de sérieux scientifique (cf. la réception du livre, pp. 272-278). Citons donc longuement ce très beau passage, toujours extrait du même texte qui ne fut pas recueilli en livre par Lawrence, où il semble sérieusement douter de la théorie de l’évolution, l’homme ayant toujours été un homme, l’homme ne provenant pas du singe comme nous l’avons vu mais l’homme, pourtant, depuis qu’il s’est coupé de ses plus profondes racines de savoir symbolique, paraissant en revanche devoir dégénérer, dévoluer : «Les civilisations apparaissent comme des vagues, et comme des vagues elles s’évanouissent. Tant que la science, ou l’art, n’aura pu saisir le sens dernier de ces symboles flottant sur l’ultime vague de la période préhistorique, c’est-à-dire cette période qui précède la nôtre, nous ne serons pas en mesure d’instituer la juste relation avec l’homme en ce qu’il est, en ce qu’il fut, en ce que toujours il sera.
Aux temps d’avant Homère, les hommes vivant en Europe n’étaient pas de simples brutes, des sauvages ou des monstres prognathes; ce n’étaient pas non plus de grands enfants stupides. Les hommes restent des hommes, et bien que l’intelligence puisse prendre diverses formes, les hommes sont toujours intelligents : ce ne sont pas des imbéciles mal dégrossis, des crétins en masse.
Ces symboles qui nous parviennent à la crête des dernières vagues de la culture préhistorique constituent le reliquat d’une immense et très ancienne tentative de l’humanité de se former une conception de l’univers. Cette conception s’est exténuée, elle a volé en éclats au moment même où elle reprenait vie, en Égypte. Elle a connu un nouvel essor dans la Chine ancienne, en Inde, en Babylonie et en Asie Mineure, chez les Druides, chez les Teutons, chez les Aztèques et les Mayas de l’Amérique, chez les Noirs même. Mais à chaque fois cet essor était plus faible, la vague se mourait, le flux de conscience peu à peu se transformait en un autre flux traversé de multiples courants contradictoires» (p. 226, l’auteur souligne).
Je parlais plus haut de secret. Lawrence écrit, opposant une nouvelle fois le passé magnifié d’un débordement d’énergie et de candeur et le présent se mourant par son excès de normes et de réflexion : «C’est comme si un courant puissant venu de quelque vie différente les traversait de part en part, sans rien de commun avec le courant superficiel qui nous anime aujourd’hui; comme si les Étrusques tiraient leur vitalité de profondeurs inconnues dont l’accès nous est désormais refusé» (p. 111).
Citons d’ailleurs, extrait des Tombes peintes de Tarquinia, I, ce long passage, très intéressant, où se découvre le mépris de Lawrence à l’égard d’un peuple, celui composé par ses contemporains, considéré comme étant un immense lecteur aveugle, incapable de goûter la beauté secrète d’une œuvre. Ce thème est très présent dans la correspondance de l’écrivain, y compris même durant les mois qui précèdent la rédaction de ses Croquis étrusques dont Lawrence doute fortement qu’ils soient appréciés d’un public de plus en plus grossier et inculte. L’ésotérisme, par essence, ne peut être réservé qu’à une élite puisque, de fait, il ne peut être séparé non point seulement d’une révélation mais d’une pratique, dont ne peut absolument rien dire celui qui ne l’a point vécue. Dans ce même passage, l’auteur affirme que notre époque n’est plus même reliée à son prestigieux passé par un filet de savoir secret (6), alors que, inversement, c’est la maigreur même de ce savoir transmis depuis les âges les plus anciens qui entretient son insurpassable bavardage : «Les peuples ne sont pas initiés aux cosmogonies, ni ne se voient révéler le chemin vers cet état d’éveil où palpite la conscience aiguisée. Quoi que vous puissiez faire, jamais la masse des hommes n’atteindra cette vibration de la pleine conscience. Il ne leur est pas possible d’aller au-delà d’un soupçon de conscience.en foi de quoi il faut leur donner des symboles, des rituels et des signes qui empliront leur corps de vie jusqu’à la mesure qu’ils peuvent contenir. Plus leur serait fatal. C’est la raison pour laquelle il convient de les tenir à l’écart du vrai savoir, de crainte que, connaissant les formules sans avoir jamais traversé les expériences qui y correspondent, ils deviennent insolents et impies, croyant avoir atteint le grand tout quand ils ne maîtrisent en réalité qu’un verbiage creux. La connaissance ésotérique sera toujours ésotérique, car la connaissance est une expérience, non une formule. Par ailleurs, il est stupide de galvauder les formules. Même un petit savoir est chose dangereuse. Aucune époque ne l’a mieux montré que la nôtre. Le verbiage est, en définitive, ce qu’il y a de plus désastreux» (pp. 114-5, l’auteur souligne).
D’une autre façon, Lawrence raillera la science muséographique, invoquant le prétexte que la plongée réelle dans le passé ne peut être qu’une expérience poétique : «Mais quel intérêt présentent ces leçons de choses concernant des races évanouies ? Ce que l’on cherche, c’est un contact. Les Étrusques ne sont ni une théorie ni une thèse. Ils sont, d’abord et avant tout, une expérience» (p. 218, l’auteur souligne). Et l’écrivain d’enfoncer le clou : «Et c’est une expérience toujours ratée. Des musées, encore des musées, toujours des musées, des leçons de choses bricolées n’importe comment en vue d’illustrer les théories insanes des archéologues, tentatives insensées de coordonner et ajuster en un ordre intangible cela qui échappe à tout agencement définitif et se refuse à toute coordination !» (Ibid.) (7).
Le savoir est et ne peut être qu’expérience véritable, non point accumulation de thèses mortes avant même que d’avoir été publiées, pour la raison qu’elles ne peuvent en aucun cas délivrer un savoir autre que livresque, les livres évoquant d’autres livres dans une régression infinie qui est synonyme de mort spirituelle et morale des hommes. Celui qui sait se tait (8), vérité de la plus immémoriale ancienneté que D. H. Lawrence aura redécouverte (9) en s’enfonçant dans les tombes abandonnées, pillées, parfois très endommagées, des Étrusques dont la force véritable, spirituelle, est aussi fragile que celle d’une plante mais n’en a pas moins prodigué son suc dans les membres de l’immense corps de l’empire romain, selon la loi que commente Élie Faure : «Asservi matériellement, un peuple de culture supérieure asservit moralement le peuple qui l’a vaincu» (op. cit., p. 309).
Et ce sont pourtant cette plante (une pâquerette, précise Lawrence) ou ce rossignol (10), manifestations les plus humbles de la vie qui, plus durables qu’une altière pyramide qui finira par se désagréger au fil des millénaires, témoigneront d’une force dont les fresques étrusques gardent et révèlent le magnifique et bouleversant secret.

Notes
(1) Lawrence, avant de se rendre sur le terrain, a beaucoup lu sur la question, éminemment débattue à son époque, de la civilisation étrusque. Par exemple Theodor Mommsen, Römische Geschichte, que Lawrence connaissait dans sa traduction anglaise réalisée en 1861 (revue et corrigée en 1894), par W. P. Dickson, sous le titre The History of Rome. Fritz Weege, Etruskische Malerei (Halle, 1920-1921). Pericle Ducati, Etruria Antica (Turin, 1925). Roland Arthur Lonsdale Fell enfin, Etruria and Rome, Cambridge, 1924.
(2) The Letters of D. H. Lawrence (édition établie par James T. Boulton, Cambridge, 1979), I, p. 544, citées par Simonetta de Filippis dans la Notice aux Croquis étrusques, p. 250 de notre ouvrage.
(3) Voir cette curieuse image : «Si nous n’aimons pas les asphodèles, c’est à mon sens parce que nous rejetons tout ce qui est fier et jaillissant» (p. 28).
(4) In Letters of D. H. Lawrence, op. cit., tome VI, p. 328.
(5) «Le monde vivant, nous ne le connaîtrons jamais que symboliquement. Pourtant, chaque conscience – la rage du lion et le venin du serpent – est, donc elle est divine. Tout provient du cercle ininterrompu et de son noyau, le germe, l’Un, le Dieu, s’il vous plaît de l’appeler ainsi. Et l’homme qui apparaît, avec son âme et sa personnalité, est éternellement relié à l’ensemble. Le fleuve de sang est un, il est ininterrompu, mais il bouillonne d’oppositions et de contradictions» (p. 143).
(6) «C’est comme si un courant puissant venu de quelque vie différente les traversait de part en part, sans rien de commun avec le courant superficiel qui nous anime aujourd’hui; comme si les Étrusques tiraient leur vitalité de profondeurs inconnues dont l’accès nous est désormais refusé» (p. 111).
(7) C’est le sens des moqueries que D. H. Lawrence adresse à l’un des personnages qu’il a rencontrés lors de son voyage : «Mais le jeune Allemand ne veut rien entendre à tout cela. C’est un moderne, pour qui n’existent véritablement que les seules évidences. Un lion à tête de chèvre, en plus de sa propre tête, est une chose impensable. Et ce qui est impensable n’existe pas, n’est rien. Raison pour laquelle tous les symboles étrusques n’ont pour lui aucune réalité et ne témoignent que d’une grossière incapacité à penser. Il ne gaspillera pas une minute de son temps à y réfléchir. Ces symboles ne sont que le produit de l’impuissance mentale, par conséquent négligeables» (p. 139).
(8) «L’air du dehors nous paraît immense, blême, et de quelque façon vide. Nous ne percevons plus aucun des deux mondes, ni celui, souterrain, des Étrusques, ni celui du jour banal qui est le nôtre. Silencieux, épuisés, nous revenons vers la ville environnés de vent, le vieux chien stoïquement sur nos talons – et le guide nous promet de nous montrer les autres tombes dès le lendemain» (p. 110).
(9) La quête d’une vérité originelle semble avoir fasciné Lawrence qui écrit ainsi que les dieux personnels des Grecs «ne sont que les avatars décadents d’une religion cosmique antérieure», les «mythes grecs» n’étant pour leur part que «les représentations grossières de certaines conceptions ésotériques très anciennes et fort précises, qui sont bien plus âgées que les mythes – ou les Grecs» (p. 138).
(10) Voir cette image aussi étonnante que belle : «La force brute écrase de nombreuses plantes. Et pourtant ces plantes repoussent. Les pyramides ne durent qu’un instant, comparées à la pâquerette. Avant que Bouddha ou Jésus aient commencé de parler le rossignol chantait, et bien après que les paroles de Jésus ou de Bouddha seront tombées dans l’oubli, le rossignol continuera de chanter. Point de prêche ni d’enseignement, ni de commandement ou d’intimidation : juste le chant. Au commencement n’était pas le Verbe, mais le pépiement» (p. 71). Remarquons encore que Lawrence oppose l’antique religion des Étrusques qui «s’intéresse à l’ensemble des puissances et des forces physiques et créatrices en tant qu’elles participent à la construction et à la destruction de l’âme» à la religion du Verbe qui, étrange vue, n’accorderait aucune réalité au monde physique, Verbe qui «est martelé dru jusqu’à le rendre mince et permettre, comme une dorure, de recouvrir et dissimuler toutes choses» (p. 139).

jeudi, 23 septembre 2010

Scruton over de Natiestaat, Nation-Building en Wagner

Scruton over de Natiestaat, Nation-Building en Wagner

roger-scruton.jpgOp vrijdag 23 juni jl. gaf de conservatieve filosoof Roger Scruton een lezing over de crisis die het multiculturele dogma in onze samenleving heeft veroorzaakt. Net voor de lezing had ik een kort gesprek met Scruton over de natiestaat, nation-building in Irak en de opvoering van Wagners Ring-cyclus door de Vlaamse opera.

U noemt de natiestaat de grootste Europese verwezenlijking. De Europese Unie heeft dat erfgoed weggegooid. Waarom gelooft u niet dat economische samenwerking conflicten tussen Europese naties zal voorkomen?

Economische samenwerking heeft nooit conflicten voorkomen in het verleden, nietwaar? Natuurlijk is economische samenwerking een goede zaak op zich, maar conflicten hebben hun oorsprong in allerlei rivaliteiten die niets met economie hebben te zien: immigratie en emigratie, bedreigde grenzen, taalverschillen, religieuze verschillen, enz. Het volstaat niet om te zeggen dat we mensen gaan aanmoedigen om handel te drijven met elkaar. Samenwerking tussen a en b is enkel mogelijk indien a zich onderscheidt van b. Indien het onderscheid van de natiestaat verloren gaat, verlies je ook ondernemingen.

Uw verdediging van de natiestaat wordt bekritiseerd door diegenen die menen dat de geschiedenis van de Europese natiestaat samenvalt met de donkerste periode van de Westerse beschaving: kolonialisme, imperialisme, fascisme en nationaal-socialisme. Wat zegt u daarop?

Eerst en vooral, wat is er verkeerd met kolonialisme en imperialisme? Wat is de Europese Unie, als het geen imperialisme is? Empire is een natuurlijk iets voor mensen en het is een manier om conflicten te overwinnen. Over fascisme zou ik zeggen dat het uiteraard gaat om een verminkte vorm van de natiestaat. De natiestaat bestaat in Engeland op zijn minst sinds Shakespeare’s verheerlijking ervan. En de donkerste periode in de Europese geschiedenis werd veroorzaakt door een pathologische vorm van Duits nationalisme, niet door de natiestaat.

Menig islamitisch immigrant kent geen territoriale loyaliteit welke een voorwaarde is voor burgerschap in de natiestaat. Wat te doen met diegenen die niet willen assimileren?

Het correcte beleid tegenover diegenen die niet willen assimileren is hen de optie te geven om elders te gaan waar ze dat wel kunnen, zoals bijvoorbeeld, waar ze vandaan komen.

Er wordt nu veel gepraat over een Amerikaans imperium. Hoe kijkt u daar tegen aan?

Het gaat niet om imperialisme van de oude stempel. Natuurlijk gebruiken de Amerikanen hun macht om – in hun overtuiging – overal ter wereld democratische regeringen te stichten omdat zij denken dat democratie de enige weg naar stabiliteit is. Welke andere vorm van stabiliteit is er in deze moderne wereld? Ik zeg niet dat de Amerikanen het recht hebben om hun macht op deze wijze te gebruiken. Niettemin, dat is hoe ze het doen. Het is niet hetzelfde als imperialisme. Integendeel, het is een poging om onafhankelijke staten te creëren door dictators te verwijderen.

Irak is met zijn met artificiële grenzen een product van het kolonialisme. Zijn de Amerikanen niet gedoemd om te falen in hun nation-building aldaar?

Ik hoop het niet maar het is wel waarschijnlijk voor de redenen waarnaar je verwijst. Irak is een volkomen artificiële staat net zoals België. In een regio die de natiestaat niet heeft gekend is het zeer onwaarschijnlijk om te slagen. Mijn eigen mening is dat de correcte benadering tegenover Irak is om het op te splitsen in een Koerdisch, Sjiitisch en Soennitisch gedeelte.

U bent Wagner-kenner. De Vlaamse Opera gaat Wagners ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’ (de Ring-cyclus) opvoeren. Momenteel wordt Das Rheingold vertoond. De regisseur heeft echter de context van de Germaanse mythologie overboord gegooid en plaats de opera in een geglobaliseerde internetgemeenschap. Wat denkt u van zo’n interpretatie?

De gewoonte om de opera’s van Wagner te verminken is nu zodanig diep in onze cultuur verankerd dat men niet kan hopen dat ze vertoond zullen worden zoals hij het bedoeld heeft. Indien men de Ring-cyclus ontdoet van de openbaring van de natuur, de jager-verzamelaar gemeenschap, de akkerbouw en de rol van de goden daarin, dan neem je de structuur van het muziekdrama weg. De Ring-cyclus heeft vele betekenissen maar het heeft deze omdat het ook een letterlijke betekenis heeft. Als je de letterlijke betekenis vernietigt, vernietig je ook al de andere.

De regisseur [Ivo Van Hove] zal zich waarschijnlijk verdedigen door te stellen dat hij Wagner vertaalt naar de moderne wereld van vandaag.

De Ring-cyclus is een schitterend portret van de moderne wereld, net omdat het gesitueerd is in mythische tijden. Door deze mythische tijden te creëren maakt Wagner het mogelijk om onze eigen toestand te zien. Als je het vastpint op het huidige moment van de internetcultuur, dan verlies je die mythische tijd en verlies je die eerste moderne betekenis zodat het morgen al verouderd zal zijn.

 
 
Scruton in het Nederlands:

Roger Scruton heeft een uitzonderlijk hoogstaand oeuvre van meer dan 30 boeken geschreven waarbij hij diepgang combineert met breedte: of hij nu schrijft over de dreiging van de islam, over Westerse filosofie, over het conservatisme, over esthetica, over moderne cultuur en zelfs over seksuele begeerte, het is steeds met een professionalisme dat de specialist versteld doet staan.

De betekenis van het conservatisme (Edmund Burke Lezing I, Aspekt, 2001)

Voor de Edmund Burke Stichting sprak Scruton over zijn eigen conservatieve overtuiging en zijn ervaring met mei ’68. Een ideale inleiding met bibliografie.

Het Westen en de islam – Over globalisering en terrorisme (Houtekiet, 2003)

De botsing met de islam dwingt ons, aldus Scruton, om grondig na te denken over de fundamenten van onze politieke ordening.

Moderne cultuur – Een gids voor kritische mensen (Agora, 2003)

Tegenover de richtingloze moderne cultuur plaatst Scruton het spirituele houvast dat onze traditie biedt en houdt hij een warm pleidooi voor ‘hoge cultuur’.

Andere: Filosofisch denken – Een handleiding voor nieuwsgierige mensen (Bijleveld, 2000). In de reeks ‘Kopstukken Filosofie’ verschenen tevens vertalingen van zijn werken over Spinoza en Kant (Lemniscaat, 2000).

 
Meer informatie op Scrutons website.

 

lundi, 30 août 2010

Roy Campbell

Roy Campbell

Roy Campbell was born in October 1902 in the Natal District of South Africa. He enjoyed an idyllic childhood, growing up in South Africa and being imbued as much with Zulu traditions and language as with his Scottish heritage. He showed early talent as an artist but an interest in literature including poetry soon became predominant.

In 1918 he traveled to England to attend Oxford where by this time he was an agnostic with a love for the Elizabethan literature. Campbell’s friendship with the composer William Walton at Oxford brought him into contact with the literati including T. S. Eliot, the Sitwells and Wyndham Lewis. He was by now reading Freud, Darwin and Nietzsche, and had a distaste for Anglo-Saxonism and the ‘drabness of England’ and found an affinity with the Celts. He also identified with the Futurist movement in the arts. Campbell writes at this time in a manner suggesting the Classicism of Hulme, Lewis, Pound, and the Vorticists.

Art is not developed by a lot of long-haired fools in velvet jackets. It develops itself and pulls those fools wherever it wants them to go . . .  Futurism is the reaction caused by the faintness, the morbid wistfulness of the symbolists. It is hard, cruel and glaring, but always robust and healthy.

Campbell continues by describing the new art in Nietzschean and Darwinian terms of struggle, survival and victory, but also suggesting something of his own colonial character:

It is art pulling itself together for another tremendous fight against annihilation. It is wild, distorted, and ugly, like a wrestler coming back for a last tussle against his opponent. The muscles are contorted and rugged, the eyes bulge, and the legs stagger. But there it is, and it has won the victory.

Campbell escaped from England’s ‘drabness’ to Provence where he worked on fishing boats and picked grapes. Despite his agnosticism he was impressed by the simple faith of the peasants, and started writing poems of a religious nature such as Saint Peter of the Candles—the Fisher’s Prayer, which took ten years to complete and portrays Campbell’s spiritual odyssey He returned to London in 1921, married Mary Garman, and became highly regarded among the Bloomsbury coterie who were impressed with his rough manners and hard drinking.

His wife inspired his first epic poem The Flaming Terrapin, written while the couple lived for over a year at a remote Welsh village where their first daughter was born. T. E. Lawrence was immediately impressed with the poem and took it to Jonathan Cape for publication. This established Campbell’s reputation as a poet.

Nietzsche, Christ, & the Heroic Poet
 

The Flaming Terrapin is a combination of Christianity and Nietzsche. In a letter to his parents Campbell sought to explain the symbolism as being founded on Christ’s statement: “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is, hewn down and cast into fire,” and “Ye are the salt of the earth but if that salt shall have lost its savor it shall he scattered abroad and trodden under the feet of men.”

Campbell now realized that Christ, was the first to “proclaim the doctrine of heredity and survival of the fittest,” and that his “aristocratic outlook” was misunderstood by Nietzsche as being a religion of the weak. World War I had destroyed the best breeding stock and demoralized humanity. The Russians for example had succumbed to Bolshevism. But Campbell hoped that a portion might have become ennobled from the suffering.

He continued to explain that the deluge in The Flaming Terrapin represents the World War, and that the Noah family represents “the survival of the fittest,” triumphing over the terrors of the storm to colonize the earth. The terrapin in eastern tradition is the tortoise that represents “strength, longevity, endurance and courage” and is the symbol of the universe. It is this “flaming terrapin” that tows the Ark, and wherever he crawls upon the earth creation blossoms forth. He is “masculine energy” and where his voice roars man springs forth from the soil. His acts of creation are born from “action and flesh in one clean fusion.”

The poem published in 1924 in Britain and the USA received critical acclaim from the press as a fresh and youthful breath, as breaking free from both the banalities of the past and from the skeptical nihilism of the new generation. Campbell and his family returned to South Africa where he was welcomed as a celebrity. Here Campbell lectured on Nietzsche, and praised Nietzsche’s condemnation of the meanness of modern democracy. In this lecture Campbell also attacked the ascendancy of technology, stating that the rush to progress and enthronement of science during the previous century has outpaced mans’ mental and moral faculties and that man has becoming suddenly “lost.”

All those useful mechanical toys which man primarily invented for his own convenience have begun to tyrannize every moment of his life.

This was a theme that concerned Campbell throughout his life. In a poem written a year later entailed The Serf, Campbell proclaimed the tiller of the soil as “timeless” as he “plows down palaces and thrones and towers.” The tiller of the soil, states a hopeful Campbell, endures through eternity while the cycles of history rise and fall around him. This gives a sense of permanence in a constantly shifting world.

His poem in honor to his wife Dedication to Mary Campbell is Nietzschean in theme but also a criticism of his fellow South Africa, referring to the poet as “living by sterner laws,” as not concerned with their commerce, and as worshiping a god “superbly stronger than their own.”

Estranged from South Africans

In 1925 he became editor of Voorslag and was closely associated with William Plomer whose first novel Turbott Wolfe involves inter-racial marriage. However, despite their friendship and Campbell’s disdain for the racial situation in South Africa he reviewed Plomer’s novel and found it having “a very strong bias against the white colonists.” Nevertheless, Campbell was not impressed by what he considered as white South Africa, “reclining blissfully in a grocer’s paradise on the labor of the natives.”

Campbell resigned from editorship after the publisher’s interference. Some of Campbell’s best poems written in South Africa at this time are considered to be among his best. To a Pet Cobra returns to Nietzschean themes, describing poets in heroic terms, the Zarathustrian solitary atop the mountain peaks.

There shines upon the topmost peak of peril
There is not joy like them who fight alone
And in their solitude a tower of pride

Bloomsbury & Provence

On their return to Britain Campbell and his wife were introduced to the Bloomsbury coterie, including the poetess Vita Sackville-West her husband the novelist Harold Nicolson, Virginia and Leonard Wolfe, Richard Aldington, Aldous Huxley, Lytton Strachey, et al. The robust Campbell found their refined manners, pervasive homosexuality, and pretentiousness sickening, writing in Some Thoughts on Bloomsbury that his own voice is the only one he likes to hear when around all the “clever people.” Several years later in The Georgiad he satirizes the dinner parties of Bloomsbury where wishing to stop the ‘din’ of his ‘dizzy’; head he imagines stuffing his ears with meat and bread, and wishes the diners would choke on their food that their chattering would be halted.

In 1928 the Campbells returned to Provence. The atmosphere was altogether different from England and the wealthy socialist intelligentsia from which he sought escape. The Campbells fully involved themselves in the community, celebrated the harvest feasts, and welcomed the local folk into their home. Campbell became a celebrated figure in the dangerous sport of “water jousting.” He also assisted in the ring at bullfights. Campbell found in the customs and culture of the Provencal villagers stability and permanence in a changing world obsessed by science and “progress.” His own aesthetics, at the basis of his rejection of liberalism and socialism, was a synthesis of the romanticism of Provence and the Classicism of the Graeco-Roman. He admired Caesar and the stoicism and martial ethos of the ancients. His ideal was a combination of aesthete and athlete.

In Taurine Provence, published in 1932 Campbell writes of this:

So men in whom the heroic principle works will be driven by their very excess of vitality to flaunt their defiance in the face of death or danger, as in the modern arena.

Campbell, freed from the English intelligentsia, now renewed his attack with fury. Writing in 1928 in Scrutinies by Various Writers, he states that the dominant philosophy of the contemporary writer is dictated by fear of discomfort, excitement or pain than by love of life.” His attack on the “sex-socialism” of Bloomsbury as being flabby and effete is contrasted with his own robust nature that could not fit in with the simpering and decadent atmosphere of the intellectual. Following on from Wyndham Lewis’ scathing attack on Bloomsbury, The Apes of God, which Campbell enjoyed immensely, Campbell wrote The Georgiad in 1931, as his own broadside. This would bring against him the mixture of condemnation and silence that the intellectual coterie had been using against Wyndham Lewis.

The Georgiad expresses Campbell’s disdain for the way Bloomsbury makes sickly everything it touches. Campbell compares his own ‘hate’ with that of their “dribbles.”

Like lukewarm bilge out of a running leak
Scented with lavender and stale cologne
Lest by its true effluvium should be known
The stagnant depth of envy that you swim in,
Who hate like gigolos and fight like women.

Bulwark of Christendom

In 1933 the Campbells left Provence for Spain due to financial hardship, despite the success of Campbell’s acclaimed volume of poems Adamastor, published in both the USA and England. This was the final work to be well-received from the Bloomsbury crowd, while his Georgiad received what The Times Literary Supplement was to recall in 1950 as a “conspiracy of silence.”

The Campbells arrived at Barcelona where a right-wing electoral victory resulted in strikes and violence by the anarchists and where machine guns were much in evidence on the streets. However, the Campbells were greatly impressed by the traditional Catholic culture.

Campbell described himself for the first time as a “Catholic” in his 1933 autobiography Broken Record, attacking both English Protestantism as “a cowardly form of atheism” and the Freudianism that pervaded the Bloomsbury progressives. He contrasted this with the “traditional human values” that continued to form the basis of Spanish culture. Broken Record was a break with modernism, but still lacked a coherent philosophy.

Despite the reference to Catholicism, Campbell had not yet converted, but spiritual questions had long occupied him, with an interest in Mithraism emerging in Provence. This cult was still to be seen in the shrines of Provence. That it was the religion most favored by the Roman legions, with its strong martial ethos, together with the mythos of the bull, appealed to Campbell.

However, he had also been strongly impressed with the faith and traditionalism of the fishermen and farmers among whom he had been so popular in Provence. His Mithraic Sonnets are a reflection of Campbell’s own spiritual odyssey beginning with Mithras and ending with the triumph of Christ, a mixture of the two religions. The Mithraic conquering sun. Sol Invictus, the byword of the Roman legions, becomes transmogrified as the Sun of the Son of God, “the shining orb” reflecting as a mirrored shield the image of Christ. It is with these vague feelings towards Christianity and Catholic culture that the Campbells moved south to the rural village of Altea in 1934.

Campbell continued to sing the song of Catholicism in martial terms, of the solar Christ as “captain” winning the battle of faith. Spain breathes its Catholic tradition and in The Fight Campbell writes again with a martial flavor, an aerial dog-fight for Campbell’s soul; his “red self” of atheism shot down by the “white self” of the Solar Christ, “the unknown pilot.” At Altea, Campbell was again impressed with the “freshness, bravery and reverence” of the people Under such an impress the whole Campbell family, actually at the initiative of his wife, converted in 1935, received by the village priest Father Gregorio.

His daughter Anna related many years later, that for Campbell, Spain was the last country left in Europe that was still a pastoral society while much of the rest had become industrialized under the impress of Protestantism. Such was Campbell’s aversion to machinery that he never learnt to drive or even used a typewriter.

At this time Campbell wrote Rust. The rust of time that brings ruin to the intentions of those who would industrialize and modernize:

So there, and there it gnaws, the Rust,
Shall grind their pylons into dust . . .

Lackeys of Capitalism

Campbell’s political outlook becomes coherent with his religious conversion. An article published in 1935 in the South African magazine The Critic shows just how clear Campbell’s knowledge of politics now was:

The artist as romantic ‘rebel’ is the tamest mule imaginable. He dates from the industrial era and has been politicized to play into the hands of the great syndicates and cartels. First by dogmatizing immorality, breaking up the “Family,” that one definitive unit that have withstood the whole effort of centuries to enslave, dehumanize and mechanize the individual, thereby cheapening and multiplying labor. It is the “Intellectual” which had been chiefly politicized into selling his fellow mates to capitalism, whether the capitalism be disguised as a vast inhuman state [as in the USSR under communism] or whether a gang of individuals. The last century has seen more class-wars, and wars between generations, than any other period. They have been deliberately fostered by capitalism, of which bolshevism is merely an anonymous form. Divide and rule, said Cicero: encourage your slaves to quarrel and your authority will be supreme. A thousand artists and reformers with the highest ideals have leaped ignorantly and romantically into these rackets, and by means of causing hate between man and woman, father and son, class and class, white and black, almost irretrievably embroiled the human individual in profitless, exhausting struggles which leave him at the mercy of the unscrupulous few.

In 1936 Campbell met British Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, at the suggestion of Wyndham Lewis. Although Campbell declined to join Mosley as British Fascism’s official poet, his poetry was to appear in Mosley’s magazines both before and after the War.

Toledo, the Sacred City

The Campbells next moved to Toldeo, which had been Spain’s capital under Charles V during the Holy Roman Empire. The city was isolated and timeless, medieval, full of churches, monasteries, convents, and shrines. The old Fortress, the Alcazar, designed to play a pivotal role in the defense of Christendom against Bolshevism, served as a military academy. The city was full of priests, nuns, monks, and soldiers, a combination of the religious, the military, and the traditional that prompted Campbell to call Toldeo the “sacred city of the mind.”

The assumption to power of the Left-wing Popular Front resulted in the release of communist and anarchist revolutionaries from gaol amidst increasing political violence in Madrid and Barcelona and street fighting between Left-wing and Right-wing factions. Churches were now being desecrated and destroyed throughout Spain. The violence reached Toledo where priests and monks were attacked and a church set ablaze.

The Campbells sheltered several Carmelite monks in their home. Campbell, well known for his anti-Bolshevik views and for his faith, was severely beaten by Government “red” guards and paraded through the streets to police headquarters. His gypsy friend, with whom he was riding at the time of his capture, “Mosquito” Bargas, was murdered at the time of the arrest. Campbell was probably spared this fate by being a foreigner. In his tribute to his friend In Memoriam of Mosquito, Campbell writes with typical stoicism and faith when beaten bloody and dragged through Toledo:

I never felt such glory
As handcuffs on my wrists.
My body stunned and gory
With tooth marks on my wrists . . .

While Spain was on the verge of civil war the Campbells were confirmed into the Church by Cardinal Goma, Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain, in a secret ceremony.

In July 1938 the Government’s red guards killed parliamentary opposition leader Calvo Sotel, the leader of the monarchists. Four days later the military under General Franco revolted against the Government to restore order and liberty of worship. With the Alcazar being a military academy, Toldeo was easily taken by Nationalist troops, and peasants from the surrounding countryside fled to the city for refuge. The Government militia from Madrid prepared to attack Toledo, and the Alcazar was bombed and shelled. The Campbells hid the archives of the Carmelite monks at their home for the duration of the civil war.

Seventeen Carmelite monks were herded into the streets by the red forces and shot. Among them was the Campbell’s father confessor who died with a smile and the shout of “Long live Christ’ Long live Spain!” (Father Easebio who had received the Campbells into the Church was also killed).

In Campbell’s excursion into the city he came across the Carmelites lying in the street and found the bodies of the Marista monks. Smeared in their blood on a wall was: “Thus strike and Cheka,” a reference to the Soviet secret police. In the city square religious artifacts from churches and private homes were tossed onto bonfires.

In the besieged Alaczar were 1000 soldiers and 700 civilians, mostly women and children. Under the Command of Colonel Moscardo they held out, even as the Colonel’s 24-year-old son Louis, captured by the Red forces, was compelled to telephone his father and say that he would be shot unless Alcazar was surrendered. In an epic of heroism and martyrdom that helped make Alcazar a shrine to this day the Colonel replied to his son: “Commend your soul to God, shout ‘Viva Espana!’ And die like a hero. The Alcazar will never surrender.”

The Campbells left Spain and returned to London. They felt isolated in England where most of the literati supported the “Left” in the Spanish civil war. The family soon moved to a fishing village in Portugal, a nation that retained the same spirit of faith and tradition as Spain.

Campbell returned to Spain as a correspondent for the British Catholic newspaper The Tablet and was given safe conduct to the Madrid front. His desire to enlist in the Nationalist forces was unsuccessful as the Nationalist authorities were insistent that he could do more good for the cause as a writer. He was decorated for saving life under fire on multiple occasions, met Franco, and was present at the Nationalist victory parade in Madrid.

The Civil War was to result in the murder of 12 bishops. 4,184 priests, 2,365 monks, and around 300 nuns. George Orwell who had gone to Spain along with others of the literati to fight with the Reds, was to remark that, “Churches were pillaged everywhere as a matter of course in six months in Spain I only saw two undamaged churches” (Homage to Catalonia).

Flowering Rifle

Campbell’s epic saga Flowering Rifle is a detailed explanation of his poetical credo, a tribute to his Catholicism, to Spain’s faith and martyrdom and also a condemnation of the British intelligentsia. It his introductory note Campbell explains that “humanitarianism” is the “ruling passion” of the British intelligentsia which

sides automatically with the Dog against the Man, the Jew against the Christian, the black against the white, the servant against the master, the criminal against the judge.

As a form of “moral perversion” it was natural that such humanitarians sided with Bolshevik mass murderers. The poem begins with a description of the (fascist) salute, the “opening palm, of victory” the sign, of “palms triumphant foresting the day.” By contrast is the clenched fist of communism, “a Life-constricting tetanus of fingers,” the sign of an “outworn age” under which “all must starve under the lowest Caste.” The Bloomsbury intelligentsia represents the connection between capitalism and communism. Behind these stand “the Yiddisher’s convulsive gold”: one of many allusions to the prominent role played by Jews in Communism and in the International Brigades.

Spain is heralded as a resurrected nation that might show the rest of Europe the path to regeneration and stand against Bolshevism “which no godless democracy could quell.” The martyrs of the Nationalist cause are described in mystical terms, each death “a splinter of the Cross,” each body building a Cathedral to the sky. Nobility is achieved through suffering and sacrifice, as Christ, the “Captain” suffered. But when suffering and sacrifice are eliminated from life mankind is “shunned by the angels as effete baboons.”

Primo de Rivera, the charismatic young leader of the Falangists who had been shot without trial while in the custody of the Leftist Government, was similarly eulogized:

Whose phoenix blood in generous libation
With fiery zest rejuvenates the nation . . .

The Marxist deaths on the other hand were vacuous, for their gods are economics, science, gold, and sex, and as exponents of abortion and birth control they are the essence of anti-life. But capitalism, is just as much a debasement of man, as communism:

To cheapen thus for slavery and hire
The racket of the Invert and the Jew
Which is through art and science to subdue.
Humiliate, and to pulp reduce
The Human Spirit for industrial use
Whether by Capital or by Communism
It’s all the same despite their seeming schisms

Those who are debased the most are, under democracy, elevated to positions of honor and state, elected by the voting masses who are mesmerized by the media and the literati, the politicians hang about the League of Nations

That sheeny club of communists and masons
He bombs the Arabs, when his Jews invade.

Britannia’s trident had become a “graveyard spade” while condemning Germany and Italy. “Who from the dead have raised more vital forces…” Franco, Mussolini, and Portugal’s Salazar had “muzzled up the soul destroying lie” of communism, and as Spain had shown, victory would come through nationhood, not League sanctions, wealth or arms. Meanwhile Britain shunned its unbought men, such as Campbell who brings “the tidings that Democracy is dead.”

When the Campbells traveled to Italy in 1938 the exiled Spanish king Alfonso XIII, who was greatly impressed with Flowering Rifle, cordially greeted them. Of course the British literati were outraged, and even some Catholics felt the poem lacked “charity.”

War Service

Campbell and his wife returned to Toledo in 1939, the Nationalists having triumphed. But there was now widespread famine. Mary opened a soup kitchen and refurbished the damaged chapel, and both literally gave their clothes away to help the distressed inhabitants. As the world war approached Campbell considered that there would be two great contending forces: Fascism and Communism. With the exception of what he considered to be a pagan orientation in Germany, the Fascist states were eminently Christian and allowed Christians the right to live, whereas Bolshevism simply killed and degraded everything, being the enemy of every form of religion.

However, despite his antagonism to the English bourgeoisie and democratic Britain, Campbell always had an admiration for the heroic spirit of the British Empire and a feeling for those Britons facing an enemy. He sought to enlist, although under no illusions about the justice of the Allied cause. His animosity by this time was against all systems, fascism, democracy, and bolshevism, which he dubbed as Fascidemoshevism.

His ideal was not the cumbersome state of any of these systems but that of small, self-reliant and co-operating, family based communities, like those he had experienced in Provence, Spain, and Portugal.

In the Moon of Short Rations Campbell considered the Allied cause to be that of both socialism and the multi-national corporations, twin figures of a universal sameness. He saw that the post-war world would be ever more depersonalized and mechanical. Campbell could not sit still or take a soft option as a number of his pro-war Left-wing intellectual accusers were doing while Britons marched to war. He lampooned these hypocrites such as Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis who had a job in the Ministry of Information, when they attacked his “fascism,” and he wrote The Volunteer’s Reply to the Poet stating:

It will be the same, but a bloody sight worse . . .
Since you have a hand in the game . . .
You coin us the catchwords and phrases
For which to be slaughtered . . .

However, because of his age and a bad hip Campbell, had to be content with the home guard until 1942 when he was recruited into the Army Intelligence Corps due to his skills in languages. Britain in wartime had in Campbell’s view awakened from its “drabness” to become again a “warrior nation.” Campbell was popular with the troops as a “grandfatherly” figure, and was stationed in East Africa. Contracting malaria and with a deteriorating hip condition necessitating the use of a cane, he was discharged with an “excellent military record”

The Post-War World

The England of the post-war years returned to its drab routine and worse still for Campbell, the prospects of an all-consuming welfare state. Campbell soon went back into fighting mode against the Left-wing poets with The Talking Bronco (a name that Spender had applied to him). Even Vita Sackville-West, calling Campbell “one of our most considerable living poets” acclaimed this volume. Desmond McCarthy writing in The Sunday Times regarded Campbell as “the most democratic poet,” not politically, but in his feeling for the common man and for the common soldier. Others were of course outraged. Cecil Day-Lewis believed Campbell should be sacked as a “fascist” from the job he now had as producer of the BBC talk programs, since he was not fit to “direct any civilized form of cultural expression.”

Campbell was horrified by the Allied victory that had placed half of Europe under the USSR. However, he was equally horrified by the rest of the world falling under the dominion of the multinational corporations and their creed of global consumerism, or what we today call globalization. For Campbell the Cold War was a contention between two equally internationalist forces.

His daughter Anna wrote in 1999 that Campbell admired all types of ethnic civilization as opposed to the mass conformity of Marxism and the globalization of the likes of MacDonalds and Coca-Cola. His concern was in “everything becoming the same.” He would have been “horrified by what the world has become now” she wrote.

Despite Campbell’s sensitivity to being called a “fascist,” he was unapologetically a man of the “Right,” of tradition and nationalism, and continued to forthrightly expound this position after the war in his poetry and essays. Writing in “A Decade in Retrospect” in the Jesuit journal The Month May 1950, he refers to the “Gaderene stampede” of progress for the want of two sensible standbys (a brake and a steering wheel). In “Tradition and Reaction,” he writes: “A body without reactions is a corpse. So is a Society without Tradition.”

In 1949 Campbell left his job with the BBC to take over the editorship of The Catacomb, founded by his close friend the poet Rob Lyie as a defense of Catholic and Classical traditions against socialism and secularism.

The Catacomb stopped publication in 1951. In 1952 the family moved to Portugal. Before leaving England, Campbell got together with a number of South African literary friends and signed an open letter to the South African Government protesting voting restrictions on the colored population. However, Campbell’s misgivings about the South African situation were not prompted by the liberal desire for a democratic, monocultural state. He feared that antagonism between the races would result in Bolshevism and the destruction of his rustic ideal. With the advent of Black rule, free market capitalism was ushered in on the wings of Marxism and revolution. Today the ANC today calls globalization and trade liberalization the “correct path to Marxism-Leninism.”

In 1954 his views on his native land were given when accepting an honorary doctorate from Natal. In an off the cuff speech, much to the embarrassment of the liberal audience, he defended South Africa against England’s condemnation of apartheid, ridiculing Churchill and Roosevelt, who had sold “two hundred million natives of Europe” to the far worse slavery of bolshevism.

While in the USA on a speaking tour he praised “the two greatest Yanks” Senator McCarthy and General MacArthur.

In April 1957 returning from Spain, Campbell and his wife had a motor accident. Campbell’s neck was broken, and he died at the scene. Mary survived him by 22 years.

Edith Sitwell who converted to Catholicism through the example of the Campbells, remarked: “He died as he had lived, like a flash of lightning.”

lundi, 23 août 2010

Paganismo y filosofia de la vida en Knut Hamsun y D. H. Lawrence

Paganismo y filosofía de la vida en Knut Hamsun y D.H. Lawrence

Knut Hamsun en "Dikterstuen", Nørholm, 1930

Robert Steuckers*

 

El filólogo húngaro Akos Doma, formado en Alemania y los Estados Unidos, acaba de publicar una obra de exégesis literaria, en el que hace un paralelismo entre las obras de Hamsun y Lawrence. El punto en común es una “crítica de la civilización”. Concepto que, obviamente, debemos aprehender en su contexto. En efecto, la civilización sería un proceso positivo desde el punto de vista de los “progresistas”, que entienden la historia de forma lineal. En efecto, los partidarios de la filosofía del Aufklärung y los adeptos incondicionales de una cierta modernidad tienden a la simplificación, la geometrización y la “cerebrización”. Sin embargo, la civilización se nos muestra como un desarrollo negativo para todos aquellos que pretenden conservar la fecundidad inconmensurable de los veneros culturales, para quienes constatan, sin escandalizarse por ello, que el tiempo es plurimorfo; es decir, que el tiempo para una cultura no coincide con el de otra, en contraposición a los iluministas quienes se afirman en la creencia de un tiempo monomorfo y aplicable a todos los pueblos y culturas del planeta. Cada pueblo tiene su propio tiempo. Si la modernidad rechaza esta pluralidad de formas del tiempo, entonces entramos irremisiblemente en el terreno de lo ilusorio. 

Desde un cierto punto de vista, explica Akos Doma, Hamsun y Lawrence son herederos de Rousseau. Pero, ¿de qué Rousseau? ¿Quién que ha sido estigmatizado por la tradición maurrasiana (Maurras, Lasserre, Muret) o aquél otro que critica radicalmente el Aufklärung sin que ello comporte defensa alguna del Antiguo Régimen? Para el Rousseau crítico con el iluminismo, la ideología moderna es, precisamente, el opuesto real del concepto ideal en su concepción de la política: aquél es antiigualitario y hostil a la libertad, aunque reivindique la igualdad y la libertad. Antes de la irrupción de la modernidad a lo largo del siglo XVIII, para Rousseau y sus seguidores prerrománticos, existiría una “comunidad sana”, la convivencia reinaría entre los hombres y la gente sería “buena” porque la naturaleza es “buena”. Más tarde, entre los románticos que, en el terreno político, son conservadores, esta noción de “bondad” seguirá estando presente, aunque en la actualidad tal característica se considere en exclusiva patrimonio de los activistas o pensadores revolucionarios. La idea de “bondad” ha estado presente tanto en la “derecha” como en “izquierda”.

Sin embargo, para el poeta romántico inglés Wordsworth, la naturaleza es “el marco de toda experiencia auténtica”, en la medida en que el hombre se enfrenta de una manera real e inmediatamente con los elementos, lo que implícitamente nos conduce más allá del bien y del mal. Wordsworth es, en cierta forma, un “perfectibilista”: el hombre fruto de su visión poética alcanza lo excelso, la perfección; pero dicho hombre, contrariamente a lo que pensaban e imponían los partidarios de las Luces, no se perfecciona sólo con el desarrollo de las facultades de su intelecto. La perfección humana requiere sobre todo pasar por la prueba de lo elemental natural. Para Novalis, la naturaleza es “el espacio de la experiencia mística, que nos permite ver más allá de las contingencias de la vida urbana y artificial”. Para Eichendorff, la naturaleza es la libertad y, en cierto sentido, una trascendencia, pues permite escapar a los corsés de las convenciones e instituciones.

Con Wordsworth, Novalis y Eichendorff, las cuestiones de lo inmediato, de la experiencia vital, del rechazo de las contingencias surgidas de la artificialidad de los convencionalismos, adquieren un importante papel. A partir del romanticismo se desarrolla en Europa, sobre todo en Europa septentrional, un movimiento hostil hacia toda forma moderna de vida social y económica. Carlyle, por ejemplo, cantará el heroísmo y denigrará a la “cash flow society”. Aparece la primera crítica contra el reino del dinero. John Ruskin, con sus proyectos de arquitectura orgánica junto a la concepción de ciudades-jardín, tratará de embellecer las ciudades y reparar los daños sociales y urbanísticos de un racionalismo que ha desembocado en puro manchesterismo. Tolstoi propone una naturalismo optimista que no tiene como punto de referencia a Dostoievski, brillante observador este último de los peores perfiles del alma humana. Gauguin transplantará su ideal de la bondad humana a la Polinesia, a Tahití, en plena naturaleza.

Hamsun y Lawrence, contrariamente a Tolstoi o a Gauguin, desarrollarán una visión de la naturaleza carente de teología, sin “buen fin”, sin espacios paradisiacos marginales: han asimilado la doble lección del pesimismo de Dostoievski y Nietzsche. La naturaleza en éstos no es un espacio idílico propicio para excursiones tal y como sucede con los poetas ingleses del Lake District. La naturaleza no sólo no es un espacio necesariamente peligroso o violento, sino que es considerado apriorísticamente como tal. La naturaleza humana en Hamsun y Lawrence es, antes de nada, interioridad que conforma los resortes interiores, su disposición y su mentalidad (tripas y cerebro inextricablemente unidos y confundidos). Tanto en Hamsun como en Lawrence, la naturaleza humana no es ni intelectualidad ni demonismo. Es, antes de nada, expresión de la realidad, realidad traducción inmediata de la tierra, Gaia; realidad en tanto que fuente de vida.

 

D H Lawrence

Frente a este manantial, la alienación moderna conlleva dos actitudes humanas opuestas: 1.º necesidad de la tierra, fuente de vitalidad, y 2.º zozobra en la alienación, causa de enfermedades y esclerosis. Es precisamente en esa bipolaridad donde cabe ubicar las dos grandes obras de Hamsun y de Lawrence: Bendición de la tierra, para el noruego, y El arcoiris del inglés.
En Bendición de la tierra de Hamsun, la naturaleza constituye el espacio el trabajo existencial donde el hombre opera con total independencia para alimentarse y perpetuarse. No se trata de una naturaleza idílica, como sucede en ciertos utopistas bucólicos, y además el trabajo no ha sido abolido. La naturaleza es inabarcable, conforma el destino, y es parte de la propia humanidad de tal forma que su pérdida comportaría deshumanización. El protagonista principal, el campesino Isak, es feo y desgarbado, es tosco y simple, pero inquebrantable, un ser limitado, pero no exento de voluntad. El espacio natural, la Wildnis, es ese ámbito que tarde o temprano ha de llevar la huella del hombre; no se trata del espacio o el reino del hombre convencional o, más exactamente, el acotado por los relojes, sino el del ritmo de las estaciones, con sus ciclos periódicos. En dicho espacio, en dicho tiempo, no existen interrogantes, se sobrevive para participar al socaire de un ritmo que nos desborda. Ese destino es duro. Incluso llega a ser muy duro. Pero a cambio ofrece independencia, autonomía, permite una relación directa con el trabajo. Otorga sentido, porque tiene sentido. En El arcoiris, de Lawrence, una familia vive de forma independiente de la tierra con el único beneficio de sus cosechas.

Hamsun y Lawrence, en estas dos novelas, nos legan la visión de un hombre unido al terruño (ein beheimateter Mensch), de un hombre anclado a un territorio limitado. El beheimateter Mensch ignora el saber libresco, no tiene necesidad de las prédicas de los medios informativos, su sabiduría práctica le es suficiente; gracias a ella, sus actos tienen sentido, incluso cuando fantasea o da rienda suelta a los sentimientos. Ese saber inmediato, además, le procura unidad con los otros seres.

Desde una óptica tal, la alienación, cuestión fundamental en el siglo XIX, adquiere otra perspectiva. Generalmente se aborda el problema de la alienación desde tres puntos de vista doctrinales:

1.º Según el punto de vista marxista e historicista, la alienación se localizaría únicamente en la esfera social, mientras que para Hamsun o Lawrence, se sitúa en la naturaleza interior del hombre, independientemente de su posición social o de su riqueza material.

2.º La alienación abordada a partir de la teología o la antropología.

3.º La alienación percibida como una anomalía social.

 

D H Lawrence

En Hegel, y más tarde en Marx, la alienación de los pueblos o de las masas es una etapa necesaria en el proceso de adecuación gradual entre la realidad y el absoluto. En Hamsun y Lawrence, la alienación es un concepto todavía más categórico; sus causas no residen en las estructuras socioeconómicas o políticas, sino en el distanciamiento con respecto a las raíces de la naturaleza (que no es, en consecuencia, una “buena” naturaleza). No desaparecerá la alienación con la simple instauración de un nuevo orden socioeconómico. En Hamsun y Lawrence, señala Doma, es el problema de la desconexión, de la cesura, el que tiene un rango esencial. La vida social ha devenido uniforme, desemboca en la uniformidad, la automatización, la funcionalización a ultranza, mientras que la naturaleza y el trabajo integrado en el ciclo de la vida no son uniformes y requieren en todo momento la movilización de energías vitales. Existe inmediatez, mientras que en la vida urbana, industrial y moderna todo está mediatizado, filtrado. Hamsun y Lawrence se rebelan contra dichos filtros.

Para Hamsun y, en menor medida, Lawrence las fuerzas interiores cuentan para la “naturaleza”. Con la llegada de la modernidad, los hombres están determinados por factores exteriores a ellos, como son los convencionalismos, la lucha política y la opinión pública, que ofrecen una suerte de ilusión por la libertad, cuando en realidad conforman el escenario ideal para todo tipo de manipulaciones. En un contexto tal, las comunidades acaba por desvertebrarse: cada individuo queda reducido a una esfera de actividad autónoma y en concurrencia con otros individuos. Todo ello acaba por derivar en debilidad, aislamiento y hostilidad de todos contra todos.

Los síntomas de esta debilidad son la pasión por las cosas superficiales, los vestidos refinados (Hamsun), signo de una fascinación detestable por lo externo; esto es, formas de dependencia, signos de vacío interior. El hombre quiebra por efecto de presiones exteriores. Indicios, al fin y a la postre, de la pérdida de vitalidad que conlleva la alienación.
En el marco de esta quiebra que supone la vida urbana, el hombre no encuentra estabilidad, pues la vida en las ciudades, en las metrópolis, es hostil a cualquier forma de estabilidad. El hombre alienado ya no puede retornar a su comunidad, a sus raíces familiares. Así Lawrence, con un lenguaje menos áspero pero acaso más incisivo, escribe: “He was the eternal audience, the chorus, the spectator at the drama; in his own life he would have no drama” (“Era la audiencia eterna, el coro, el espectador del drama; pero en su propia vida, no había drama alguno”); “He scarcely existed except through other people” (“Apenas existía, salvo en medio de otras personas”); “He had come to a stability of nullification” (“Había llegado a una estabilidad que lo había anulado”).

En Hamsun y Lawrence, el Ent-wurzelung y el Unbehaustheit, el desarraigo y la carencia de hogar, esa forma de vivir sin fuego, constituye la gran tragedia de la humanidad de finales del siglo XIX y principios del XX. Para Hamsun el hogar es vital para el hombre. El hombre debe tener hogar. El hogar de su existencia. No se puede prescindir del hogar sin autoprovocarse una profunda mutilación. Mutilación de carácter psíquico, que conduce a la histeria, al nerviosismo, al desequilibro. Hamsun es, al fin y al cabo, un psicólogo. Y nos dice: la conciencia de sí es a menudo un síntoma de alienación. Schiller, en su ensayo Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung, señalaba que la concordancia entre sentir y pensar era tangible, real e interior en el hombre natural, al contrario que en el hombre cultivado que es ideal y exterior (“La concordancia entre sensaciones y pensamiento existía antaño, pero en la actualidad sólo reside en el plano ideal. Esta concordancia no reside en el hombre, sino que existe exteriormente a él; se trata de una idea que debe ser realizada, no un hecho de su vida”).

Schiller aboga por una Überwindung (superación) de dicha quiebra a través de una movilización total del individuo. El romanticismo, por su parte, considerará la reconciliación entre Ser (Sein) y conciencia (Bewußtsein) como la forma de combatir el reduccionismo que trata de arrinconar la conciencia bajo los corsés de entendimiento racional. El romanticismo valorará, e incluso sobrevalorará, al “otro” con relación a la razón (das Andere der Vernunft): percepción sensual, instinto, intuición, experiencia mística, infancia, sueño, vida bucólica. Wordsworth, romántico inglés, representante “rosa” de dicha voluntad de reconciliación entre Ser y conciencia, defenderá la presencia de “un corazón que observe y apruebe”. Dostoievski no compartirá dicha visión “rosa” y desarrollará una concepción “negra”, donde el intelecto es siempre causa de mal, y el “poseso” un ser que tenderá a matar o a suicidarse. En el plano filosófico, tanto Klages como Lessing retomarán por su cuenta esta visión “negra” del intelecto, profundizando, no obstante, en la veta del romanticismo naturalista: para Klages, el espíritu es enemigo del alma; para Lessing, el espíritu es la contrapartida de la vida, que surge de la necesidad (“Geist ist das notgeborene Gegenspiel des Lebens”).

Lawrence, fiel en cierto sentido a la tradición romántica inglesa de Wordsworth, cree en una nueva adecuación del Ser y la conciencia. Hamsun, más pesimista, más dostoievskiano (de ahí su acogida en Rusia y su influencia en los autores llamados ruralistas, como Vasili Belov y Valentín Rasputín), nunca dejará de pensar que desde que hay conciencia, hay alienación. Desde que el hombre comienza a reflexionar sobre sí mismo, se desliga de la continuidad que confiere la naturaleza y a la cual debiera estar siempre sujeto. En los ensayos de Hamsun, encontramos reflexiones sobre la modernidad literaria. La vida moderna, ha escrito, influye, transforma, lleva al hombre a arrancarlo de su destino, a apartarlo de su punto de llegada, de sus instintos, más allá del bien y del mal. La evolución literaria del siglo XIX muestra una fiebre, un desequilibrio, un nerviosismo, una complicación extrema de la psicología humana. “El nerviosismo general (ambiente) se ha adueñado de nuestro ser fundamental y se ha fijado en nuestra vida sentimental”. El escritor se nos muestra así, al estilo de un Zola, como un “médico social” encargado de diagnosticar los males sociales con objeto de erradicar el mal. El escritor, el intelectual, se embarca en una tarea misionera que trata de llegar a una “corrección política”.

 

Nietzsche con el uniforme de artillero prusiano, 1868

Frente a esta visión intelectual del escritor, el reproche de Hamsun señala la imposibilidad de definir objetivamente la realidad humana, pues un “hombre objetivo” es, en sí mismo, una monstruosidad (ein Unding), un ser construido como si de un mecano se tratase. No podemos reducir al hombre a un compendio de características, pues el hombre es evolución, ambigüedad. El mismo criterio encontramos en Lawrence: “Now I absolutely flatly deny that I am a soul, or a body, or a mind, or an intelligence, or a brain, or a nervous system, or a bunch of glands, or any of the rest of these bits of me. The whole is greater than the part” (“Bien, yo niego absoluta y francamente ser un alma, o un cuerpo, o un espíritu, o una inteligencia, o un cerebro, o un sistema nervioso, o un conjunto de glándulas, o cualquier otra parte de mí mismo. El todo es más grande que las partes”). Hamsun y Lawrence ilustran en sus obras la imposibilidad de teorizar o absolutizar una visión diáfana del hombre. El hombre no puede ser vehículo de ideas preconcebidas. Hamsun y Lawrence confirman que los progresos en la conciencia de uno mismo no conllevan procesos de emancipación espiritual, sino pérdidas, despilfarro de la vitalidad, del tono vital. En sus novelas, son las figuras firmes (esto es, las que están arraigadas a la tierra) las que logran mantenerse, las que triunfan más allá de los golpes de suerte o las circunstancias desgraciadas.

No se trata, en absoluto, repetimos, de vidas bucólicas o idílicas. Los protagonistas de las novelas de Hamsun y Lawrence son penetrados o atraídos por la modernidad, los cuales, pese a su irreductible complejidad, pueden sucumbir, sufren, padecen un proceso de alienación, pero también pueden triunfar. Y es precisamente aquí donde intervienen la ironía de Hamsun o la idea del “Fénix” de Lawrence. La ironía de Hamsun taladra los ideales abstractos de las ideologías modernas. En Lawrence, la recurrente idea del “Fénix” supone una cierta dosis de esperanza: habrá resurrección. Es la idea de Ave Fénix, que renace de sus propias cenizas.

El paganismo de Hamsun y Lawrence

Si dicha voluntad de retorno a una ontología natural es fruto de un rechazo del intelectualismo racionalista, ello implica al mismo tiempo una contestación de calado al mensaje cristiano.

En Hamsun, se ve con claridad el rechazo del puritanismo familiar (concretado en la figura de su tío Han Olsen) y el rechazo al culto protestante por los libros sagrados; esto es, el rechazo explícito de un sistema de pensamiento religioso que prima el saber libresco frente a la experiencia existencial (particularmente la del campesino autosuficiente, el Odalsbond de los campos noruegos). El anticristianismo de Hamsun es, fundamentalmente, un acristianismo: no se plantea dudas religiosas a lo Kierkegaard. Para Hamsun, el moralismo del protestantismo de la era victoriana (de la era oscariana, diríamos para Escandinavia) es simple y llanamente pérdida de vitalidad. Hamsun no apuesta por experiencia mística alguna.

Lawrence, por su parte, percibe la ruptura de toda relación con los misterios cósmicos. El cristianismo vendría a reforzar dicha ruptura, impediría su cura, imposibilitaría su cicatrización. En este sentido, la religiosidad europea aún conservaría un poso de dicho culto al misterio cósmico: el año litúrgico, el ciclo litúrgico (Pascua, Pentecostés, Fuego de San Juan, Todos los Santos, Navidad, Fiesta de los Reyes Magos). Pero incluso éste ha sido aherrojado como consecuencia de un proceso de desencantamiento y desacralización, cuyo comienzo arranca en el momento mismo de la llegada de la Iglesia cristiana primitiva y que se reforzará con los puritanismos y los jansenismos segregados por la Reforma. Los primeros cristianos se plantearon como objetivo apartar al hombre de sus ciclos cósmicos. La Iglesia medieval, por el contrario, quiso adecuarse, pero las Iglesias protestantes y conciliares posteriores han expresado con claridad su voluntad de regresar al anticosmicismo del cristianismo primitivo. En este sentido, Lawrence escribe: “But now, after almost three thousand years, now that we are almost abstracted entirely from the rhythmic life of the seasons, birth and death and fruition, now we realize that such abstraction is neither bliss nor liberation, but nullity. It brings null inertia” (“Pero hoy, después de tres mil años, después que estamos casi completamente abstraídos de la vida rítmica de las estaciones, del nacimiento, de la muerte y de la fecundidad, comprendemos al fin que tal abstracción no es ni una bendición ni una liberación, sino pura nada. No nos aporta otra cosa que inercia”). Esta ruptura es consustancial al cristianismo de las civilizaciones urbanas, donde no hay apertura alguna hacia el cosmos. Cristo no es un Cristo cósmico, sino un Cristo rebajado al papel de asistente social. Mircea Eliade, por su parte, se ha referido a un “hombre cósmico”, abierto a la inmensidad del cosmos, pilar de todas las grandes religiones. En la perspectiva de Eliade, lo sagrado es lo real, el poder, la fuente de vida y de la fertilidad. Eliade nos ha dejado escrito: “El deseo del hombre religioso de vivir una vida en el ámbito de lo sagrado es el deseo de vivir en la realidad objetiva”.

Knut Hamsun, 1927

La lección ideológica y política de Hamsun y Lawrence

En el plano ideológico y político, en el plano de la Weltanschauung, las obras de Hamsun y de Lawrence han tenido un impacto bastante considerable. Hamsun ha sido leído por todos, más allá de la polaridad comunismo/fascismo. Lawrence ha sido etiquetado como “fascista” a título póstumo, entre otros por Bertrand Russell que llegó incluso a referirses a su “madness”: “Lawrence was a suitable exponent of the Nazi cult of insanity” (“Lawrence fue un exponente típico del culto nazi a la locura”). Frase tan lapidaria como simplista. Las obras de Hamsun y de Lawrence, sgún Akos Doma, se inscriben en un cuádruple contexto: el de la filosofía de la vida, el de los avatares del individualismo, el de la tradición filosófica vitalista, y el del antiutopismo y el irracionalismo.

1.º La filosofía de la vida (Lebensphilosophie) es un concepto de lucha, que opone la “vivacidad de la vida real” a la rigidez de los convencionalismos, a los fuegos de artificio inventados por la civilización urbana para tratar de orientar la vida hacia un mundo desencantado. La filosofía de la vida se manifiesta bajo múltiples rostos en el contexto del pensamiento europeo y toma realmente cuerpo a partir de la reflexiones de Nietzsche sobre la Leiblichkeit (corporeidad).

2.º El individualismo. La antropología hamsuniana postula la absoluta unidad de cada individuo, de cada persona, pero rechaza el aislamiento de ese individuo o persona de todo contexto comunitario, familiar o carnal: sitúa a la persona de una manera interactiva, en un lugar preciso. La ausencia de introspección especulativa, de conciencia y de intelectualismo abstracto hacen incompatible el individualismo hamsuniano con la antropología segregada por el Iluminismo. Para Hamsun, sin embargo, no se combate el individualismo iluminista sermoneando sobre un colectivismo de contornos ideológicos. El renacimiento del hombre auténtico pasa por una reactivación de los resortes más profundos de su alma y de su cuerpo. La suma cuantitativa y mecánica es una insuficiencia calamitosa. En consecuencia, la acusación de “fascismo” hacia Lawrence y Hamsun no se sostiene en pie.

3.º El vitalismo tiene en cuenta todos los acontecimientos de la vida y excluye cualquier jerarquización de base racial, social, etc. Las oposiciones propias del vitalismo son: afirmación de la vida / negación de la vida; sano / enfermo; orgánico / mecánico. De ahí, que no se pueda reconducirlas a categorías sociales, a categorías políticas convencionales, etc. La vida es una categoría fundamental apolítica, pues todos los hombres sin distinción están sometidos a ella.

4.º El “irracionalismo” reprochado a Hamsun y Lawrence, igual que su antiutopismo, tienen su base en una revuelta contra la “viabilidad” (feasibility; Machbarkeit), contra la idea de perfectibilidad infinita (que encontramos también bajo una forma “orgánica” en los románticos ingleses de la primera generación). La idea de viabilidad choca directamente con la esencia biológica de la naturaleza. De hecho, la idea de viabilidad es la esencia del nihilismo, como ha apuntado el filósofo italiano Emanuele Severino. Para Severino, la viabilidad deriva de una voluntad de completar el mundo aprehendiéndolo como un devenir (pero no como un devenir orgánico incontrolable). Una vez el proceso de “acabamiento” ha concluido, el devenir detiene bruscamente su curso. Una estabilidad general se impone en la Tierra y esta estabilidad forzada es descrita como un “bien absoluto”. Desde la literatura, Hamsun y Lawrence, han precedido así a filósofos contemporáneos como el citado Emanuele Severino, Robert Spaemann (con su crítica del funcionalismo), Ernst Behler (con su crítica de la “perfectibilidad infinita”) o Peter Koslowski. Estos filósofos, fuera de Alemania o Italia, son muy poco conocidos por el gran público. Su crítica a fondo de los fundamentos de las ideologías dominantes, provoca inevitablemente el rechazo de la solapada inquisición que ejerce su dominio en París.

Nietzsche, Hamsun y Lawrence, los filósofos vitalistas o, si se prefiere, “antiviabilistas”, al insistir sobre el carácter ontológico de la biología humana, se opusieron a la idea occidental y nihilista de la viabilidad absoluta de cualquier cosa; esto es, de la inexistencia ontológica de todas las cosas, de cualquier realidad. Buen número de ellos —Hamsun y Lawrence incluidos— nos llaman la atención sobre el presente eterno de nuestros cuerpos, sobre nuestra propia corporeidad (Leiblichkeit), pues nosotros no podemos conformar nuestros cuerpos, en contraposición a esas voces que nos quieren convencer de las bondades de la ciencia-ficción.

La viabilidad es, pues, el “hybris” que ha llegado a su techo y que conduce a la fiebre, la vacuidad, la ligereza, el solipsismo y el aislamiento. De Heidegger a Severino, la filosofía europea se ha ocupado sobre la catástrofe que ha supuesto la desacralización del Ser y el desencantamiento del mundo. Si los resortes profundos y misteriosos de la Tierra o del hombre son considerados como imperfecciones indignas del interés del teólogo o del filósofo, si todo aquello que ha sido pensado de manera abstracta o fabricado más allá de los resortes (ontológicos) se encuentra sobrevalorado, entonces, efectivamente, no puede extrañarnos que el mundo pierda toda sacralidad, todo valor. Hamsun y Lawrence han sido los escritores que nos han hecho vivir con intensidad dicha constante, por encima incluso de algunos filósofos que también han deplorado la falsa ruta emprendida por el pensamiento occidental desde hace siglos. Heidegger y Severino en el marco de la filosofía, Hamsun y Lawrence en el de la creación literaria, han tratado de restituir la sacralidad en el mundo y revalorizar las fuerzas que se esconden en el interior del hombre: desde ese punto de vista, estamos ante pensadores ecológicos en la más profunda acepción del término. El oikos nos abre las puertas de lo sagrado, de las fuerzas misteriosas e incontrolables, sin fatalismos y sin falsa humildad. Hamsun y Lawrence, en definitiva, anunciaron la dimensión geofilosófica del pensamiento que nos ha ocupado durante toda esta universidad de verano. Una aproximación sucinta a sus obras se hacía absolutamente necesaria en el temario de 1996.

________________

* Comentario al libro de Akos Doma, Die andere Moderne. Knut Hamsun, D.H. Lawrence und die lebensphilosophische Strömung des literarischen Modernismus (Bouvier, Bonn, 1995), leído como conferencia en Lombardía, en julio de 1996. Traducción de Juan C. García Morcillo.

[Tomo el artículo del archivo de su fuente primera, la asociación Sinergias Europeas, que editaba el boletín InfoEuropa. Ya no cabalgan.]

dimanche, 20 juin 2010

Londres, avril 2008

LOndresAVR08.jpg
Londres, avril 2008: belle journée, excursion d'un jour. Dans les nouveaux quartiers, les Docksides, animation inconnue des vieux visiteurs de la capitale anglaise. Un nouveau Londres, après celui de Jesus-Christ Superstar des années 70 de nos premières visites... C'est le Londres d'après Thatcher, le Londres de Blair et d'une espèce de "Troisième Voie" (qui n'est pas la nôtre...), avec cet animateur dans une rue couverte, tout de peinture argentée... Extraordinaire déguisement...

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mardi, 15 juin 2010

D. H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence

Ex: http://www.oswaldmosley.com/

D.H. Lawrence 1885-1930 is acknowledged as one of the most influential novelists of the 20th Century. He wrote novels and poetry as acts of polemic and prophecy. For Lawrence saw himself as both a prophet and the harbinger of a New Dawn and as a leader-saviour who would sacrificially accept the tremendous responsibilities of political power as a dictator so that humanity could be free to get back to being human.

Much of Lawrence's outlook is reminiscent of Jung and Nietzsche but, although he was acquainted with the works of both, his philosophy developed independently. Lawrence was born in Eastwood, a coal-mining town near Nottingham, into a family of colliers. His father was a heavy drinker, and his mother's commitment to Christianity imbued the house with continual tension between the parents. At college, he was an agnostic and determined to become a poet and an author. Having rejected the faith of his mother, Lawrence also rejected the counter-faith of science, democracy, industrialisation and the mechanisation of man.

LOVE, POWER AND THE "DARK LORD"

dh-lawrence.jpgFor Lawrence capitalism destroyed the soul and the mystery of life, as did democracy and equality. He devoted most of his life to finding a new-yet-old religion that will return the mystery to life and reconnect humanity to the cosmos.

His religion was animistic and pantheistic, seeing the soul as pervasive, God as nature, and humanity as the way God is self-realised. The relations between all things are based on duality -opposites in tension. This duality is expressed in two ways: love and power. One without the other results in imbalance. Hence, to Lawrence, the love of Christianity is a sentimentality that destroys the natural hierarchy of social relations and the inequality between individuals. The critique of Christianity is reminiscent of Nietzsche.

Love and power are the two "threat vibrations" which hold individuals together, and emanate unconsciously from the leadership class. With power, there is trust, fear and obedience. With love, there is "protection" and "the sense of safety". Lawrence considers that most leaders have been out of balance with one or the other. That is the message of his novel Kangaroo. Here the Englishman Richard Lovat Somers although attracted to the fascist ideology of "Kangaroo" and his Diggers movement, ultimately rejects it as representing the same type of enervating love as Christianity, the love of the masses, and pursues his own individuality. The question for Somers is that of accepting his own dark master (Jung's Shadow of the repressed unconscious). Until that returns no human lordship can be accepted:

"He did not yet submit to the fact of what he HALF knew: that before mankind would accept any man for a king. Before Harriet would ever accept him, Richard Lovat as a lord and master he, this self-same Richard who was strong on kingship, must open the doors of his soul and let in a dark lord and master for himself, the dark god he had sensed outside the door. Let him once truly submit to the dark majesty, creaking open his doors to this fearful god who is master, and entering us from below, the lower doors; let himself once admit a master, the unspeakable god: the rest would happen."

What is required, once the dark lord has returned to men's souls in place of undifferentiated 'love' is a social order based on a hierarchical pyramid culminating in a dictator. The dictator would relieve the masses of the burden of democracy. This new social order would be based on the balance of power and love, something of a return to the medieval ideal of protection and obedience.

The ordinary folk would gain a new worth by giving obedience to the leader, who would in turn assume an awesome responsibility and would lead by virtue of his being "circuited" to the cosmos. Through such a redeeming philosopher-king individuals could reconnect cosmically and assume Heroic proportions through obedience to Heroes.

"Give homage and allegiance to a hero, and you become yourself heroic, it is the law of man."

HEROIC VITALISM
Hence, heroic vitalism is central to Lawrence's ideas. His whole political concept is antithetical to what he called "the three fanged serpent of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity." Instead, "you must have a government based on good, better and best."

In 1921 he wrote: "I don't believe in either liberty or democracy. I believe in actual, sacred, inspired authority." It is mere intellect, soulless and mechanistic, which is at the root of our problems; it restrains the passions and kills the natural.

His essay on Lady Chatterley's Lover deals with the social question. It is the mechanistic, arising from pure intellect, devoid of emotion, passion and all that is implied in the blood (instinct) that has caused the ills of modern society.

"This again is the tragedy of social Itfe today. In the old England, the curious blood connection held the classes together. The squires might be arrogant violent, bullying and unjust, yet in some ways they were at one with the people, part of the same blood stream. We feel it in Defoe or Fielding. And then in the mean Jane Austen, it is gone...So, in Lady Chatterley's Lover we have a man, Sir Clifford, who is purely a personality, having lost entirely all connection with his fellow men and women, except those of usage. All warmth is gone entirely, the hearth is cold the heart does not humanly exist. He is a pure product of our civilisation, but he is the death of the great humanity of the world."

Against this pallid intellectualism, the product the late cycle of a civilisation, writing in 1913 Lawrence posited: "My great religion is a belief in the blood, as the flesh being wiser than the intellect. We can go wrong in our minds but what our blood feels and believes and says, is always true."

The great cultural figures of our time, including Lawrence, Yeats, Pound and Hamsun, were Thinkers of the Blood, men of instinct, which has permanence and eternity. Rightly, the term intellectual became synonymous since the 1930s with the "Left", but these intellectuals were products of their time and the century before. They are detached from tradition, uprooted, alienated bereft of instinct and feeling. The first 'Thinkers of the Blood' championed excellence and nobility, influenced greatly by Nietzsche, and were suspicious, if not terrified of the mass levelling results of democracy and its offspring communism. In democracy and communism, they saw the destruction of culture as the pursuit of the sublime. Their opposite numbers, the intellectuals of the Left, celebrated the rise of mass-man in a perverse manner that would, if communism were universally triumphant, mean the destruction of their own liberty to create above and beyond the state commissariats.

Lawrence believed that socialistic agitation and unrest would create the climate, in which he would be able to gather around him "a choice minority, more fierce and aristocratic in spirit" to take over authority in a fascist like coup, "then I shall come into my own."

Lawrence's rebellion is against that late or winter phase of civilisation, which the West has entered as, described by Spengler. It is marked by the rise of the city over the village, of money over blood connections. Like Spengler, Lawrence's conception of history is cyclic, and his idea of society organic.

Against this pallid intellectualism, the product the late cycle of a civilisation, writing in 1913 Lawrence posited: "My great religion is a belief in the blood, as the flesh being wiser than the intellect. We can go wrong in our minds but what our blood feels and believes and says, is always true."

The great cultural figures of our time, including Lawrence, Yeats, Pound and Hamsun, were Thinkers of the Blood, men of instinct, which has permanence and eternity. Rightly, the term intellectual became synonymous since the 1930s with the "Left", but these intellectuals were products of their time and the century before. They are detached from tradition, uprooted, alienated bereft of instinct and feeling. The first 'Thinkers of the Blood' championed excellence and nobility, influenced greatly by Nietzsche, and were suspicious, if not terrified of the mass levelling results of democracy and its offspring communism. In democracy and communism, they saw the destruction of culture as the pursuit of the sublime. Their opposite numbers, the intellectuals of the Left, celebrated the rise of mass-man in a perverse manner that would, if communism were universally triumphant, mean the destruction of their own liberty to create above and beyond the state commissariats.

Lawrence believed that socialistic agitation and unrest would create the climate, in which he would be able to gather around him "a choice minority, more fierce and aristocratic in spirit" to take over authority in a fascist like coup, "then I shall come into my own."

Lawrence's rebellion is against that late or winter phase of civilisation, which the West has entered as, described by Spengler. It is marked by the rise of the city over the village, of money over blood connections. Like Spengler, Lawrence's conception of history is cyclic, and his idea of society organic.

RELIGION OLD AND NEW
Lawrence sought a return to the pagan outlook with its communion with life and the cosmic rhythm. He was drawn to blood mysticism and what he called the dark gods. It was the 'Dark God' that embodied all that had been repressed by late civilisation and the artificial world of money and industry. His quest took him around the world. Reaching New Mexico in 1922, he observed the rituals of the Pueblo Indians. He then went to Old Mexico where he then stayed for several years.

It was in Mexico that he encountered the Plumed Serpent, Quetzalcoatl, of the Aztecs. Through a revival of this deity and the reawakening of the long repressed primal urges, Lawrence thought that Europe might be renewed. To the USA, he advised that it should look to the land before the Spaniards and the Pilgrim Fathers and embrace the 'black demon of savage America'. This 'demon' is akin to Jung's concept of the Shadow, (and its embodiment in what Jung called the "Devil archetype"), and bringing it to consciousness is required for true wholeness or individuation.

Turn to "the unresolved, the rejected", Lawrence advised the Americans (Phoenix). He regarded his novel The Plumed Serpent as his most important; the story of a white women who becomes immersed in a social and religious movement of national regeneration among the Mexicans, based on a revival of the worship of Quetzalcoatl.

Through the American Indians Lawrence hoped to see a lesson for Europe. He has one of the leaders of the Quetzalcoatl revival, Don Ramon, say: "I wish the Teutonic world would once more think in terms of Thor and Wotan and the tree Yggdrasill...".

Looking about Europe for such a heritage, he found it among the Etruscans and the Druids. Yet although finding his way back to the spirituality that had once been part of Europe, Lawrence does not advocate a mimicing of ancient ways for the present time; nor the adoption of alien spirituality for the European West, as is the fetish among many alienated souls today who look at every culture and heritage except their own. He wishes to return to the substance, to the awe before the mystery of life. "My way is my own, old red father: I can't cluster at the drum anymore", he writes in his essay Indians and an Englishman. Yet what he found among the Indians was a far off innermost place at the human core, the ever present as he describes the way Kate is affected by the ritual she witnesses among the followers of Quetzalcoatl.

In The Woman Who Rode Away the wife of a mine owner tired of her life leaves to find a remote Indian hill tribe who are said to preserve the rituals of the old gods. She is told that the whites have captured the sun and she is to be the messenger to tell them to return him. She is sacrificed to the sun... It is a sacrifice of a product of the mechanistic society for a reconnection with the cosmos. For Lawrence the most value is to be had in "the life that arises from the blood"

THE LION, THE UNICORN AND THE CROWN
Lawrence's concept of the dual nature of life, in which there is continual conflict between polarities, is a dialectic that is synthe-sised. Lawrence uses symbolism to describe this. The lion (the mind and the active male principle) is at eternal strife with the unicorn (senses, passive, female). But for one to completely kill the other would result in its own extinction and a vacuum would be created around the victory. This is so with ideologies, religions and moralities that stand for the victory of one polarity, and the repression of the other. The crown belongs to neither. It stands above both as the symbol of balance. This is something of a Tao for the West, of what Jung sought also, and of what the old alchemists quested on an individual basis.

The problems Lawrence brought under consideration have become ever more acute as our late cycle of Western civilisation draws to a close, dominated by money and the machine. Lawrence, like Yeats, Hamsun, Williamson and others, sought a return to the Eternal, by reconnecting that part of ourselves that has been deeply repressed by the "loathsome spirit of the age".


Kerry Bolton

vendredi, 30 avril 2010

1812: les Etats-Unis face à l'Angleterre

Mansur KHAN:

1812: les Etats-Unis face à l’Angleterre

 

War%201812.jpgLa guerre anglo-américaine de 1812 a eu notamment pour cause l’avancée continue de nouveaux colons américains dans la région située entre l’Ohio et le Mississippi. Ce territoire était contesté entre les deux puissances : Britanniques et Américains le convoitaient. Le Président Jefferson avait déjà formulé des menaces en 1807 : « Si l’Angleterre ne nous donne pas satisfaction, comme nous le souhaitons, nous prendrons le Canada qui pourra alors entrer dans l’Union » (1). La clique gouvernementale au pouvoir à Washington à l’époque prévoyait déjà, en cas de guerre avec l’Angleterre, de prendre possession de la Floride orientale et occidentale qui appartenaient encore à l’Espagne (2).

 

Lorsque la guerre de 1812 fut ultérieurement soumise à une analyse objective, Henry Adams découvrit « … que Timothy Pickering et que les éléments les plus radicaux du parti fédéraliste hostile à la guerre jouèrent un rôle clef dans le scénario, en encourageant les Anglais à poursuivre leur politique commerciale agressive, laquelle, par ricochet, permit aux fauteurs de guerre américains, les « warhawks », les faucons, de mener le pays au conflit ouvert : ils ont manipulé et interprété la politique commerciale et maritime de Jefferson d’une manière perverse et traîtresse … Irving Brant a montré dans sa remarquable biographie de Madison que celui-ci n’avait pas été poussé à la guerre contre ses vues personnelles par Clay, Calhoun et les « warhawks » mais qu’il en avait pris la décision sur base de ses convictions propres » (3).

 

Les bellicistes ont justifié leur engagement à l’époque par l’argument suivant : il fallait favoriser les exportations de tabac, de coton et d’autres surplus de la production. Mais Washington ne s’est pas contenté dans l’histoire d’écouler ses seuls surplus…

 

Mansur KHAN.

 

NOTES :

(1) Gert RAITHEL, Geschichte der Nordamerikanischen Kultur – Vom Puritanismus bis zum Bürgerkrieg 1600-1870, Bd. 1, Zweitausendeins, Frankfurt/M., 1997, p. 264.

(2) Mansur KHAN, Die Geheime Geschichte der amerikanischen Kriege. Verschwörung und Krieg in der US-Aussenpolitik, Grabert, Tübingen, 2003 (3ième éd.), pp. 1994-223.

(3) Harry Elmer BARNES (éd.), Entlarvte Heuchelei (Ewig Krieg für Ewigen Frieden) – Revision der amerikanischen Geschichtsschreibung, Karl Priester, Wiesbaden, 1961, p. 2 ss.

mercredi, 24 mars 2010

Die Islamisierung Grossbritanniens und der Widerstand

Die Islamisierung Großbritanniens und der Widerstand

Geschrieben von: Nils Hermann

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de/   

english-defence-league-de.jpgEuropa im Jahre 2010 ist ein Europa der Fronten, die sich langsam aber sicher bilden. In allen europäischen Ländern gibt es große Parallelgesellschaften. In fast allen dieser Länder hat sich aber auch nennenswerter Widerstand gebildet. Ob liberal, konservativ, sozialistisch, regionalistisch oder faschistisch, alle diese Formen treten auf und erzeugen unterschiedliche Wirkungen. In Großbritannien stellen sich vornehmlich drei Parteien dem Problem der Islamisierung.

Nach dem Zusammenbruch des Empires wanderten viele Muslime nach Großbritannien aus

Im Vereinigten Königreich gibt es mehrere Formen des Widerstandes. Doch wichtig ist zuerst, wogegen sich der Widerstand bildet. Nach dem Zusammenbruch des Empires kamen viele Einwanderer aus allen Kontinenten nach Großbritannien und integrierten sich mehr oder weniger. Ihnen war allen gemeinsam, dass sie eingeladen wurden, um die einseitige Freizügigkeit im Commonwealth zu nutzen. Die Gruppe, welche sich von Anfang an am wenigsten integrierte, war die der pakistanischen Muslime. Der erste Widerstand in den 80ern, als die Probleme überschaubar waren, ging von kleinen postfaschistischen Skinheadgruppen aus, die ein (Erfolgs-)Modell für ganz Europa bilden sollten.


Als der Islam immer offener als Problem auftrat, ob mit Anschlägen, in der alltäglichen Kriminalität oder in den Sozialsystemen, so sehr wurde auch der Widerstand immer professioneller. Anfang des Jahres wurde die Organisation „Islam4UK“ verboten, die radikaler als jede vorherige die Islamisierung des Vereinigten Königreiches forderte. Sie gehört zu gut drei Dutzend anderen verbotenen Terrororganisationen. Allerdings war keine davon so sehr von den Erfolgen der Islamisierung überzeugt wie „Islam4UK“. Nun ist diese Zuversicht auch nicht mehr unbegründet. Längst sind die muslimischen Einwanderer nicht mehr die Herrscher in ihren eigenen Ghettos oder in den britischen Gefängnissen.

Zum Beispiel haben prominente Moslems Positionen in der herrschenden Labour Party besetzt. Seit dem Amtsantritt Tony Blairs hat gerade diese Partei die Einwanderung in einem deutlich höherem Maße vorangetrieben. Es gäbe viele witzige Anekdoten über die Islamisierung zu erzählen. Doch dies sei dem Publizisten Udo Ulfkotte und der Webseite „Politically Incorrect“ überlassen. Wichtiger ist die sachliche Frage: Wer stellt sich dem entgegen?

Islamkritik auf die Fahnen geschrieben

Die islamkritische „Rechte“ in Großbritannien ist in relativ viele, jedoch auch erfolgreiche, Organisationen zerstreut. Die erfolgreichste ist die konservative United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), die nach außen hin seriös und gleichzeitig progressiv auftritt. Im Parteiprogramm steht hier Islamkritik neben der Hauptforderung der Unabhängigkeit vom Kontinent, also von der Europäischen Union (EU). Hinzu kommt noch der Hang zur Marktwirtschaft, was sie von ihrem kleineren Konkurrenten unterscheidet.


Hinter dem Namen British National Party verbirgt sich eine sozialistische und nationalistische Partei, die trotz aller Radikalität nicht bedeutungslos ist. Bis vor kurzem nahm diese nur Weiße auf. Weil ihr das Pateiverbot drohte, entfernte sie diesen Punkt jedoch aus der Satzung.

Als liberal kommt hingegen die außerparlamentarische Opposition in Form der English Defense League daher. Diese hat sich Anfang des Jahres aus Protest gegen einen Aufmarsch der Organisation „Islam4UK“ gebildet und versucht nun durch eine Vielzahl an Demonstrationen Aufmerksamkeit zu erlangen. Diese bekommt sie, aber kaum positive. Die English Defense League versucht sich von der Rechten abzugrenzen, jedoch ohne Erfolg.

Diese Gruppierungen stellen sich einem Islam entgegen, der mit höherer Geburtenzahl, dem Willen zur Macht und freundlichen Helfern auftritt. Die Lösung des Problem drückte ein Parlamentarier der UKIP so aus: „Eine Symbiose aus EU-skeptischen und EU-feindlichen Konservativen wird nicht lange auf sich warten lassen und mehr erreichen, als alle Faschisten der letzten 70 Jahre.“

mercredi, 17 mars 2010

L'oeuvre géopolitique de Sir Halford John Mackinder (1861-1947)

Archives de SYNERGIES EUROPEENNES - 1986

L'oeuvre géopolitique de Sir Halford John Mackinder (1861-1947)

Mac.gifQui était le géopoliticien britannique Mackinder, génial concepteur de l'opposition entre thalassocraties et puissances océaniques? Un livre a tenté de répondre à cette question: Mackinder, Geography as an Aid to Statecraft, par W.H. Parker. Né dans le Lin-colnshire en 1861, Sir Halford John Mackinder s'est interessé aux voyages, à l'histoire et aux grands événements internationaux dès son enfance. Plus tard, à Oxford, il étu-diera l'histoire et la géologie. Ensuite, il entamera une brillante carrière universitaire au cours de laquelle il deviendra l'impulseur principal d'institutions d'enseignement de la géographie. De 1900 à 1947, il vivra à Londres, au coeur de l'Empire Britannique. Sa préoccupation essentielle était le salut et la préservation de cet Empire face à la montée de l'Allemagne, de la Russie et des Etats-Unis. Au cours de ces cinq décennies, Mackinder sera très proche du monde poli-tique britannique; il dispensera ses conseils d'abord aux "Libéraux-Impérialistes" (les "Limps") de Rosebery, Haldane, Grey et Asquith, ensuite aux Conservateurs regroupés derrière Chamberlain et décidés à aban-donner le principe du libre échange au profit des tarifs préférentiels au sein de l'Empire. La Grande-Bretagne choisissait une économie en circuit fermé, tentait de construire une économie autarcique à l'échelle de l'Empire. Dès 1903, Mackinder classe ses notes de cours, fait confectionner des cartes historiques et stratégiques sur verre destinées à être projetées sur écran. Une oeuvre magistrale naissait.

 

Une idée fondamentale traversera toute l'oeuvre de Mackinder: celle de la confrontation permanente entre la "Terre du Milieu" (Heartland) et l'"Ile du Monde" (World Island). Cette confrontation incessante est en fait la toile de fond de tous les événe-ments politiques, stratégiques, militaires et économiques majeurs de ce siècle. Pour son biographe Parker, Mackinder, souvent cité avec les autres géopoliticiens américains et européens tels Mahan, Kjellen, Ratzel, Spykman et de Seversky, a, comme eux, appliqué les théories darwiniennes à la géographie politique. Doit-on de ce fait rejetter les thèses géopolitiques parce que "fatalistes"? Pour Parker, elles ne sont nullement fatalistes car elles détiennent un aspect franchement subjectif: en effet, elles justifient des actions précises ou attaquent des prises de position adverses en proposant des alternatives. Elles appellent ainsi les vo-lontés à modifier les statu quo et à refuser les déterminismes.

 

L'intérêt qu'a porté Mackinder aux questions géopolitiques date de 1887, année où il pro-nonça une allocution devant un auditoire de la Royal Geographical Society qui contenait notamment la phrase prémonitoire suivante: "Il y a aujourd'hui deux types de conqué-rants: les loups de terre et les loups de mer". Cette allégorie avait pour arrière-plan historique concret la rivalité anglo-russe en Asie Centrale. Mais le théoricien de l'anta-gonisme Terre/Mer se révélera pleinement en 1904, lors de la parution d'un papier inti-tulé "The Geographical Pivot of History" (= le pivot géographique de l'histoire). Pour Mackinder, à cette époque, l'Europe vivait la fin de l'Age Colombien, qui avait vu l'ex-pansion européenne généralisée sans résistan-ce de la part des autres peuples. A cette ère d'expansion succédera l'Age Postcolom-bien, caractérisé par un monde fait d'un système politique fermé dans lequel "chaque explosion de forces sociales, au lieu d'être dissipée dans un circuit périphérique d'espa-ces inconnus, marqués du chaos du barba-risme, se répercutera avec violence depuis les coins les plus reculés du globe et les éléments les plus faibles au sein des orga-nismes politiques du monde seront ébranlés en conséquence". Ce jugement de Mackinder est proche finalement des prophéties énoncées par Toynbee dans sa monumentale "Stu-dy of History". Comme Toynbee et Spengler, Mackinder demandait à ses lecteurs de se débarrasser de leur européocentrisme et de considérer que toute l'histoire européenne dépendait de l'histoire des immensités conti-nentales asiatiques. La perspective historique de demain, écrivait-il, sera "eurasienne" et non plus confinée à la seule histoire des espaces carolingien et britannique.

 

Pour étayer son argumentation, Mackinder esquisse une géographie physique de la Rus-sie et raisonne une fois de plus comme Toynbee: l'histoire russe est déterminée, écrit-il, par deux types de végétations, la steppe et la forêt. Les Slaves ont élu domi-cile dans les forêts tandis que des peuples de cavaliers nomades règnaient sur les espa-ces déboisés des steppes centre-asiatiques. A cette mobilité des cavaliers, se déployant sur un axe est-ouest, s'ajoute une mobilité nord-sud, prenant pour pivots les fleuves de la Russie dite d'Europe. Ces fleuves seront empruntés par les guerriers et les marchands scandinaves qui créeront l'Empire russe et donneront leur nom au pays. La steppe cen-tre-asiatique, matrice des mouvements des peuples-cavaliers, est la "terre du milieu", entourée de deux zones en "croissant": le croissant intérieur qui la jouxte territo-rialement et le croissant extérieur, constitué d'îles de diverses grandeurs. Ces "croissants" sont caractérisés par une forte densité de population, au contraire de la Terre du Mi-lieu. L'Inde, la Chine, le Japon et l'Europe sont des parties du croissant intérieur qui, à certains moments de l'histoire, subissent la pression des nomades cavaliers venus des steppes de la Terre du Milieu. Telle a été la dynamique de l'histoire eurasienne à l'ère pré-colombienne et partiellement aussi à l'ère colombienne où les Russes ont pro-gressé en Asie Centrale.

 

Cette dynamique perd de sa vigueur au moment où les peuples européens se dotent d'une mobilité navale, inaugurant ainsi la période proprement "colombienne". Les ter-res des peuples insulaires comme les Anglais et les Japonais et celles des peuples des "nouvelles Europes" d'Amérique, d'Afrique Australe et d'Australie deviennent des bastions de la puissance navale inaccessibles aux coups des cavaliers de la steppe. Deux mobilités vont dès lors s'affronter, mais pas immédiatement: en effet, au moment où l'Angleterre, sous les Tudor, amorce la con-quête des océans, la Russie s'étend inexo-rablement en Sibérie. A cause des diffé-rences entre ces deux mouvements, un fossé idéologique et technologique va se creuser entre l'Est et l'Ouest, dit Mackinder. Son jugement rejoint sous bien des aspects celui de Dostoïevsky, de Niekisch et de Moeller van den Bruck. Il écrit: "C'est sans doute l'une des coïncidences les plus frappantes de l'histoire européenne, que la double expansion continentale et maritime de cette Europe recoupe, en un certain sens, l'antique opposition entre Rome et la Grèce... Le Germain a été civilisé et christianisé par le Romain; le Slave l'a été principalement par le Grec. Le Romano-Germain, plus tard, s'est embarqué sur l'océan; le Greco-Slave, lui, a parcouru les steppes à cheval et a conquis le pays touranien. En conséquence, la puissance continentale moderne diffère de la puissance maritime non seulement sur le plan de ses idéaux mais aussi sur le plan matériel, celui des moyens de mobilité".

 

Pour Mackinder, l'histoire européenne est bel et bien un avatar du schisme entre l'Empire d'Occident et l'Empire d'Orient (an 395), ré-pété en 1054 lors du Grand Schisme op-posant Rome et Byzance. La dernière croi-sade fut menée contre Constantinople et non contre le Turc. Quand celui-ci s'empare en 1453 de Constantinople, Moscou reprend le flambeau de la chrétienté orthodoxe. De là, l'anti-occidentalisme des Russes. Dès le XVIIème siècle, un certain Kridjanitch glo-rifie l'âme russe supérieure à l'âme cor-rompue des Occidentaux et rappelle avec beaucoup d'insistance que jamais la Russie n'a courbé le chef devant les aigles ro-maines. Cet antagonisme religieux fera pla-ce, au XXème siècle, à l'antagonisme entre capitalisme et communisme. La Russie opte-ra pour le communisme car cette doctrine correspond à la notion orthodoxe de fra-ternité qui s'est exprimée dans le "mir", la communauté villageoise du paysannat slave. L'Occident était prédestiné, ajoute Mac-kinder, à choisir le capitalisme car ses reli-gions évoquent sans cesse le salut individuel (un autre Britannique, Tawney, présentera également une typologie semblable).

 

Le chemin de fer accélerera le transport sur terre, écrit Mackinder, et permettra à la Russie, maîtresse de la Terre du Milieu si-bérienne, de développer un empire industriel entièrement autonome, fermé au commerce des nations thalassocratiques. L'antagonisme Terre/Mer, héritier de l'antagonisme reli-gieux et philosophique entre Rome et Byzan-ce, risque alors de basculer en faveur de la Terre, russe en l'occurence. Quand Staline annonce la mise en chantier de son plan quinquennal en 1928, Mackinder croit voir que sa prédiction se réalise. Depuis la Révo-lution d'Octobre, les Soviétiques ont en ef-fet construit plus de 70.000 km de voies ferrées et ont en projet la construction du BAM, train à voie large et à grande vitesse. Depuis 70 ans, la problématique reste identi-que. Les diplomaties occidentales (et surtout anglo-saxonnes) savent pertinemment bien que toute autonomisation économique de l'espace centre-asiatique impliquerait auto-matiquement une fermeture de cet espace au commerce américain et susciterait une réorganisation des flux d'échanges, le "crois-sant interne" ou "rimland" constitué de la Chine, de l'Inde et de l'Europe ayant intérêt alors à maximiser ses relations commerciales avec le centre (la "Terre du Milieu" proprement dite). Le monde assisterait à un quasi retour de la situation pré-colombienne, avec une mise entre parenthèses du Nouveau Monde.

 

Pour Mackinder, cette évolution historique était inéluctable. Si Russes et Allemands conjuguaient leurs efforts d'une part, Chinois et Japonais les leurs d'autre part, cela signifierait la fin de l'Empire Britannique et la marginalisation politique des Etats-Unis. Pourtant, Mackinder agira politiquement dans le sens contraire de ce qu'il croyait être la fatalité historique. Pendant la guerre civile russe et au moment de Rapallo (1922), il soutiendra Denikine et l'obligera à concéder l'indépendance aux marges occidentales de l'Empire des Tsars en pleine dissolution; puis, avec Lord Curzon, il tentera de construire un cordon sanitaire, regroupé au-tour de la Pologne qui, avec l'aide française (Weygand), venait de repousser les armées de Trotsky. Ce cordon sanitaire poursuivait deux objectifs: séparer au maximum les Allemands des Russes, de façon à ce qu'ils ne puissent unir leurs efforts et limiter la puissance de l'URSS, détentrice incontestée des masses continentales centre-asiatiques. Corollaire de ce second projet: affaiblir le potentiel russe de façon à ce qu'il ne puisse pas exercer une trop forte pression sur la Perse et sur les Indes, clef de voûte du système impérial britannique. Cette stratégie d'affaiblissement envisageait l'indépendance de l'Ukraine, de manière à soustraire les zones industrielles du Don et du Donetz et les greniers à blé au nouveau pouvoir bolchévique, résolument anti-occidental.

 

Plus tard, Mackinder se rendra compte que le cordon sanitaire ne constituait nullement un barrage contre l'URSS ou contre l'ex-pansion économique allemande et que son idée première, l'inéluctabilité de l'unité eurasienne (sous n'importe quel régime ou mode juridique, centralisé ou confédératif), était la bonne. Le cordon sanitaire polono-centré ne fut finalement qu'un vide, où Allemands et Russes se sont engouffrés en septembre 1939, avant de s'en disputer les reliefs. Les Russes ont eu le dessus et ont absorbé le cordon pour en faire un glacis protecteur. Mackinder est incontestablement l'artisan d'une diplomatie occidentale et conservatrice, mais il a toujours agi sans illusions. Ses successeurs reprendront ses ca-tégories pour élaborer la stratégie du "con-tainment", concrétisée par la constitution d'alliances sur les "rimlands" (OTAN, OTASE, CENTO, ANZUS).

Chessboard.jpg

 

En Allemagne, Haushofer, contre la volonté d'Hitler, avait suggéré inlassablement le rapprochement entre Japonais, Chinois, Rus-ses et Allemands, de façon à faire pièce aux thalassocraties anglo-saxonnes. Pour étayer son plaidoyer, Haushofer avait repris les arguments de Mackinder mais avait inversé sa praxis. La postérité intellectuelle de Mackinder, décédé en 1947, n'a guère été "médiatisée". Si la stratégie du "contain-ment", reprise depuis 1980 par Reagan avec davantage de publicité, est directement inspirée de ses écrits, de ceux de l'Amiral Mahan et de son disciple Spykman, les journaux, revues, radios et télévision n'ont guère honoré sa mémoire et le grand public cultivé ignore largement son nom... C'est là une situation orwellienne: on semble tenir les évidences sous le boisseau. La vérité serait-elle l'erreur?

 

Robert STEUCKERS.

 

W.H. PARKER, Mackinder. Geography as an Aid to Statecraft, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1982, 295 p., £ 17.50.  

 

mercredi, 27 janvier 2010

Saint Chesterton, riez pour nous !

Saint Chesterton, riez pour nous !

Dieu : la preuve par l’Absurde

Ex: http://www.causeur.fr

g-k-chesterton

Puisque la mode est aux béatifications, j’en ai une bien bonne à vous raconter ! En plus, celle-là n’a guère été médiatisée, et pour cause : Gilbert K. Chesterton n’a pas été pape de 1939 à 1945. Primo, la place était prise ; deuxio les papes anglais, ça se fait plutôt rare ces deux mille dernières années ; et puis de toute façon, l’intéressé était mort depuis trois ans.
Accessoirement, la cause de béatification de Gilbert n’en est qu’à ses tout débuts. C’est seulement l’été passé que le Chesterton Institute a eu l’idée de l’introduire auprès du Vatican, à l’issue d’un colloque judicieusement intitulé  “The Holiness of Gilbert K. Chesterton“.
La nouvelle fut annoncée au monde ébahi le 14 juillet dernier par Paolo Giulisano, auteur de la première biographie en italien de mon écrivain ultra-mancien préféré1.

Il y raconte comment Pie XI avait réagi à l’annonce du décès de Chesterton (par la plume de son secrétaire d’Etat Eugenio Pacelli, encore lui !) Bref le pape Ratti déplorait, dans son message de condoléances, la perte de ce “fils fervent de la Sainte Eglise, brillant défenseur des bienfaits de la foi catholique.”

C’était seulement la deuxième fois dans l’Histoire qu’un pontife décernait ce titre, jadis prestigieux, de “défenseur de la foi” à un Anglais. Et encore, rappelle malicieusement Giulisano, la première fois ce ne fut pas un succès : ça concernait Henry VIII, peu avant qu’il n’invente sa propre Eglise pour des raisons de convenance personnelle2.

Le chemin de Chesterton fut exactement inverse : élevé dans le protestantisme pur porc, marié à une “high anglican“, il n’a cessé de se rapprocher du catholicisme jusqu’à s’y convertir.
Dès ses jeunes années de journaliste, Gilbert s’exerça à dézinguer tour à tour les penseurs organiques de la société anglicano-victorienne : Kipling, Wells, G.-B. Shaw et leur “monde rapetissé”.
En 1901, il publie ses chroniques dans un recueil aimablement intitulé Hérétiques. Pourtant, il ne sortira lui-même officiellement de cette hérésie dominante, en se faisant baptiser, qu’à 40 ans passés… Le temps sans doute de peser la gravité d’une telle apostasie, et surtout de ménager son épouse – qui le suivra un an plus tard dans cette conversion. Happy end !

Dans l’intervalle, il avait quand même publié Orthodoxie, son Génie du christianisme à lui, en moins chiant quand même. Ce Credo iconoclaste, si l’on ose dire, fut sa réponse à une question mille fois entendue, genre : “C’est bien beau de tout critiquer, mais tu proposes quoi, petit con ?” (Gilbert avait 27 ans à la parution d’Hérétiques.) Une réponse en forme de pamphlet prophétique et drôle qui à coup sûr, un siècle plus tard, a moins vieilli que l’avant-dernier Onfray.
Je ne saurais trop recommander la lecture de ce chef-d’œuvre d’humour et d’amour – y compris à ceux d’entre vous qui n’ont “ni Dieu ni Diable”, comme disait ma grand-mère3. Après tout, les amateurs de films de vampires ne croient pas tous à l’existence de ces fantômes suceurs de sang…

Je reviendrai volontiers, à l’occasion, sur l’apologétique chestertonienne, pour peu qu’Elisabeth Lévy m’en prie… Mais pour aborder le bonhomme, dont toute l’œuvre n’a d’autre but que de mettre l’esprit au service de l’Esprit, il semble plus raisonnable de commencer par le “e” minuscule. Surtout sur un site comme Causeur – laïc et gratuit, faute hélas d’être obligatoire.

Journaliste, essayiste et romancier, “confesseur de la Foi” et auteur de polars, Chesterton fut d’abord, dans toutes ces entreprises, un incomparable théoricien mais aussi praticien du Rire (contrairement à l’ami Bergson, qui rit quand il se brûle4).
Ainsi, dans Le Défenseur5, publié la même année qu’Hérétiques, consacre-t-il un chapitre à la “Défense du nonsense”. Est-ce à dire que sa foi relève elle-même du nonsense ?

La réponse est oui à toutes les questions ! Ce punk, figurez-vous, n’hésite pas à justifier un paradoxe par un jeu de mots. Le fou, le vrai, nous dit-il, ce n’est pas comme dans le dico l’homme qui a perdu la raison ; c’est “celui qui a tout perdu sauf la raison”.
Le nonsense au sens de l’oncle Gilbert, c’est le contraire de la folie : une des façons les plus sensées, pour nous autres pauvres créatures – peut-être même pas créées ! – d’assumer notre condition. Et d’abord notre incapacité naturelle à “comprendre” l’Univers qui nous inclut. Il ferait beau voir, n’est ce pas, qu’un contenu explique son contenant !
Mais Chesterton ne plaisante pas avec le nonsense. N’allez pas, par exemple, lui parler de Lewis Carroll ! Son Alice au Pays des Merveilles relève tout juste de l’ ”exercice mathématique”. Loin d’abjurer la foi en la déesse Raison, il en intègre tous les principes. Ses fantaisies millimétrées ne sont pas un moyen d’évasion : juste la cour de la prison !

Le vrai nonsense selon G.K., il faut aller le chercher chez Edward Lear (1812-1888), passé d’extrême justesse à la postérité grâce à ses Nonsense poems6. Pourtant, au temps de Chesterton déjà, ce ouf malade était bien démodé, quand “Alice” avait commencé de s’imposer comme la Bible du nonsense.
Eh bien, Gilbert s’en fout : la différence irréductible, explique-t-il, c’est que les limericks de Lear ne riment littéralement à rien – même si leur versification, elle, a la rigueur métronomique d’une nursery rhyme. Et si l’ensemble donne une idée de l’Absolu, c’est qu’il n’est relatif à rien de particulier : ouvert comme un Oulipo en plein air.

Bien sûr la lettre en est inaccessible, et plus encore au lecteur non anglophone. Reste l’esprit, qui n’en est que plus libre.
Un exemple ? Mais bien volontiers : à la demande générale, laissez-moi “traduire” les premiers vers de Cold are the crabs, un des plus beaux poèmes du roi Lear 7. Ça m’a pris plus d’une heure pour un quatrain, alors doucement les basses ! De toute façon, je ne risque rien : personne n’a jamais pu faire le job convenablement, même Google !

Faute de “sens” conventionnel, que traduire exactement ? Rien. A sa façon, le learisme est un darwinisme : adapt or die ! Voici donc mon adaptation de Cold are the crabs8 (on considérera comme muets, par licence poétique, les “e” qui figurent entre parenthèses) :
“Froids sont les crab(e)s qui rampent sur nos monts,
Et plus froids les concombr(e)s qui poussent tout au fond ;
Mais plus froides encor(e) les menteries cyniques
Qui emballent nos trist(e)s pilules philosophiques.”

Comment ça, je ne suis pas fidèle au texte ? Mais qui êtes-vous pour parler de contre-sens dans l’adaptation d’un nonsense ? Bien sûr, là où j’écris “menteries cyniques”, Google préfère traduire littéralement “côtelettes d’airain”. Du coup ça vous prend une consonance surréaliste, et ça perd tout sens.

Or, pour notre ami Gilbert, le vrai nonsense a un sens, et c’est précisément que le sens de la vie nous est caché ! On ne peut y accéder qu’en passant par le “Royaume des Elfes”.

Pas les délires formatés à la Lewis Carroll ; plutôt les rêveries inspirées à la C.S. Lewis… Je sais : Chesterton n’a connu que l’un des deux, et moi aucun. Mais à ce compte-là, qu’est ce qu’on fait de vous ?

En tout cas, ça serait con de se brouiller maintenant, surtout sans raison. Alors j’en ai trouvé une excellente : pinailler jusqu’au bout sur le sens du nonsense.
Deux erreurs de perspective, plutôt courantes ces derniers siècles, consistent d’un même mouvement à naturaliser le surnaturel et à surnaturaliser le naturel. Grâce au nonsense, prêche le père Gilbert, sortons enfin de ce cercle vicieux !
Admettons-le une fois pour toutes en souriant : quelque chose ici-bas nous dépasse ! “Et si les plus vieilles étoiles n’étaient que les étincelles d’un feu de joie allumé par un enfant ?”


Les enquêtes du Père Brown
Gilbert Keith Chesterton
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  1. Et encore, il la partage avec l’excellent Hilaire Belloc (”Chesterton & Belloc : Apologia e Profezia”, Ed. Ancora).
  2. Du temps de son “Adversus Lutherum”, qui fait toujours autorité.
  3. Maternelle. L’autre était athée.
  4. Et encore, au deuxième degré !
  5. Un des noms de Dieu dans la Bible.
  6. Que Chesterton et son pote Hilaire ont même tenté d’imiter ; mais on ne peut pas être doué pour tout, n’est ce pas ? Moi-même, etc.
  7. D’après moi.
  8. Cold are the crabs that crawl on yonder hills,
    Colder the cucumbers that grow beneath,
    And colder still the brazen chops that wreathe
    The tedious gloom of philosophic pills
    !

samedi, 23 janvier 2010

Wyndham Lewis

Wyndham Lewis

Percy Wyndham Lewis, 1882 - 1957

Percy Wyndham Lewis, 1882 - 1957

Percy Wyndham Lewis is credited with being the founder of the only modernist cultural movement indigenous to Britain. Nonetheless, he is seldom spoken of in the same breath as his contemporaries, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, and others. Lewis was one of the number of cultural figures who rejected the bourgeois liberalism and democracy of the nineteenth century that descended on the twentieth. However, in contradiction to many other writers who eschewed democracy, liberalism, and “the Left,” Lewis also rejected the counter movement towards a return to the past and a resurgence of the intuitive, the emotional and the instinctual above the intellectual and the rational. Indeed, Lewis vehemently denounced D. H. Lawrence, for example, for his espousal of instinct above reason.

Lewis was an extreme individualist, whilst rejecting the individualism of nineteenth Century liberalism. His espousal of a philosophy of distance between the cultural elite and the masses brought him to Nietzsche, although appalled by the popularity of Nietzsche among all and sundry; and to Fascism and the praise of Hitler, but also the eventual rejection of these as being of the masses.

Born in 1882 on a yacht off the shores of Nova Scotia, his mother was English, his father an eccentric American army officer without income who soon deserted the family. Wyndham and his mother arrived in England in 1888. He attended Rugby and Slade public schools both of which obliged him to leave. He then wandered the art capitals of Europe and was influenced by Cubism and Futurism.

Wyndham Lewis, "Timon of Athens"

Wyndham Lewis, "Timon of Athens"

In 1922, Lewis exhibited his portfolio of drawings that had been intended to illustrate an edition of Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, in which Timon is depicted as a snapping puppet. This illustrated Lewis’ view that man can rise above animal by a classical detachment and control, but the majority of men will always remain as puppets or automata. Having read Nietzsche, Lewis was intent on remaining a Zarathustrian type figure, solitary upon his mountain top far above the mass of humanity.

Vortex

Lewis was originally associated with the Bloomsbury group, the pretentious and snobbish intellectual denizens of a delineated area of London who could make or break an aspiring artist or writer. He soon rejected these parlor pink liberals and vehemently attacked them in The Apes of God. This resulted in Lewis largely being ignored as a significant cultural figure from this time onward. Breaking with Bloomsbury’s Omega Workshop, Lewis founded the Rebel Art Centre from which emerged the Vorticist movement and their magazine Blast. Signatories to the Vorticist Manifesto included Ezra Pound, French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, and painter Edward Wadsworth.

Pound who described the vortex as “the point of maximum energy” coined the name Vorticism. Whilst Lewis had found both the stasis of Cubism and the frenzied movement of Futurism interesting, he became indignant at Mannetti’s description of him as a Futurist and wished to found an indigenous English modernist movement. The aim was to synthesis cubism and futurism. Vorticism would depict the static point from where energy arose. It was also very much concerned with reflecting contemporary life where the machine was coming to dominate, but rejected the Futurist romantic glorification of the machine.

Both Pound and Lewis were influenced by the Classicism of the art critic and philosopher T. E. Hulme, a radical conservative. Hulme rejected nineteenth century humanism and romanticism in the arts as reflections of the Rousseauian (and ultimately communistic) belief in the natural goodness of man when uncorrupted by civilization, as human nature infinitely malleable by a change of environment and social conditioning.

A definition of the classicism and romanticism, which are constant in Lewis’ philosophy, can be readily understood from what Hulme states in his publication Speculations:

Here is the root of all romanticism: that man, the individual, is an infinite reservoir of possibilities, and if you can so rearrange society by the destruction of oppressive order then these possibilities will have a chance and you will get progress. One can define the classical quite clearly as the exact opposite to this. Man is an extraordinarily fixed and limited animal whose nature is absolutely constant. It is only by tradition and organization that anything decent can be got out of him.

Wyndham Lewis, "Ezra Pound"

Wyndham Lewis, "Ezra Pound"

Lewis’s classicism is a dichotomy, classicism versus romanticism, reason versus emotion, intellect versus intuition and instinct, masculine versus feminine, aristocracy versus democracy, the individual versus the mass, and later fascism versus communism.

Artistically also classicism meant clarity of style and distinct form. Pound was drawn to the manner in which, for example, the Chinese ideogram depicted ideas succinctly. Hence, art and writing were to be based on terseness and clarity of image. The subject was viewed externally in a detached manner. Pound and Hulme had founded the Imagist movement on classicist lines. This was now superseded by Vorticism, depicting the complex but clear geometrical patterns of the machine age. In contradiction to Italian Futurism, Vorticist art aimed not to depict the release of energy but to freeze it in time. Whilst depicting the swirl of energy the central axis of stability dissociated Vorticism form Futurism.

The first issue of Blast describes Vorticism in terms of Lewis’ commitment to classicism:

Long live the great art vortex sprung up in the center of this town.
We stand for the reality of the Present-not the sentimental Future or the scarping Past . . .

We do not want to make people wear Futurist patches, or fuss people to take to pink or sky blue trousers . . .  Automobilisim (Marinetteism) bores us. We do not want to go about making a hullabaloo about motor cars, anymore than about knives and forks, elephants or gas pipes . . .  The Futurist is a sensational and sentimental mixture of the aesthete of 1890 and the realist of 1870.

In 1916 his novel Tarr was published as a monument to himself should he be killed in the war in which he served as a forward observation officer with the artillery. Here he lambastes the bohemian artists and literati exemplified in England by the Bloomsbury coterie:

Your flabby potion is a mixture of the lees of Liberalism, the poor froth blown off the decadent Nineties, the wardrobe-leavings of a vulgar bohemianism . . . . You are concentrated, highly-organized barley water; there is nothing in the universe to be said for you: any efficient state would confiscate your property, burn your wardrobe–that old hat and the rest–as infectious, and prohibit you from propagating.

A breed of mild pervasive cabbages has set up a wide and creeping rot in the West . . .  that any resolute power will be able to wipe up over night with its eyes shut. Your kind meantime make it indirectly a period of tribulation for live things to remain in your neighborhood. You are systematizing the vulgarizing of the individual: you are the advance copy of communism, a false millennial middle-class communism. You are not an individual: you have. I repeat, no right to that hair and to that hat: you are trying to have the apple and eat it too You should be in uniform and at work. NOT uniformly OUT OF UNIFORM and libeling the Artist by your idleness. Are you idle? The only justification of your slovenly appearance it is true is that it’s perfectly emblematic.

There is much of Lewis’ outlook expressed here, the detestation of the pseudo-individualistic liberal among the intelligentsia and his desire to impose order in the name of Art. In 1918, he was commissioned as an official war artist for the Canadian War Records Office. Here some of his paintings are of the Vorticist style, depicting soldiers as machines of the same quality as their artillery. Once again, man is shown as an automaton. However, the war destroyed the Vorticist movement, Hulme and Gaudier-Brzeska both succumbing, and Blast did not go beyond two issues.

artlewiswyndb

Wyndham Lewis, "A Battery Shelled" (1919)

In 1921, Lewis founded another magazine. Tyro: Review of the Arts. The title reflects Lewis’ view of man as automaton. Tyros are a mythical race of grotesque beings, all teeth and laughter. Satire is a major element of Lewis’ style. His exhibition “Tyros and Portraits” satirizes humanity.

The Code of a Herdsman

Lewis’ non-Nietzschean Nietzsechanism is succinctly put in an essay published in The Little Review in 1917, “The Code of a Herdsman.” Among the eighteen points:

In accusing yourself, stick to the Code of the Mountain. But crime is alien to a Herdsman’s nature. Yourself must be your Caste.

Cherish and develop side by side, your six most constant indications of different personalities. You will then acquire the potentiality of six men . . .  Each trench must have another one behind it.

Spend some of your time every day in hunting your weaknesses caught from commerce with the herd, as methodically, solemnly and vindictively as a monkey his fleas. You will find yourself swarming with them while you are surrounded by humanity. But you must not bring them up on the mountain . . .

Do not play with political notions, aristocratisms or the reverse, for that is a compromise with the herd. Do not allow yourself to imagine a fine herd though still a herd. There is no fine herd. The cattle that call themselves ‘gentlemen’ you will observe to be a little cleaner. It is merely cunning and produced by a product called soap . . .

Be on your guard with the small herd of gentlemen. There are very stringent regulations about the herd keeping off the sides of the mountain In fact your chief function is to prevent their encroaching. Some in moment of boredom or vindictiveness are apt to make rushes for the higher regions. Their instinct fortunately keeps them in crowds or bands, and their trespassing is soon noted Contradict yourself. In order to live you must remain broken up.

Above this sad commerce with the herd, let something veritably remain “un peu sur la montagne” Always come down with masks and thick clothing to the valley where we work. Stagnant gasses from these Yahooesque and rotten herds are more dangerous than the wandering cylinders that emit them . . .  Our sacred hill is a volcanic heaven. But the result of the violence is peace. The unfortunate surge below, even, has moments of peace.

Fascism

Wyndham Lewis,<br> "The Artist's Wife, Froanna"

Wyndham Lewis, "The Artist's Wife, Froanna"

Poverty dogged Lewis all his life. He, like Pound, looked for a society that would honor artists. Like Pound and D. H. Lawrence, he felt that the artist is the natural ruler of humanity, and he resented the relegation of art as a commodity subject to the lowest denominator to be sold on a mass market.

Lewis’s political and social outlook arises form his aesthetics. He was opposed to the primacy of politics and economics over cultural life. His book The Art of Being Ruled in 1926 first details Lewis’s ideas on politics and a rejection of democracy with some favorable references to Fascism.

Support for Fascism was a product of his Classicism, hard, masculine, exactitude, and clarity. This classicism prompted him to applaud the “rigidly organized” Fascist State, based on changeless, absolute laws that Lewis applied to the arts, in opposition to the “flux” or changes of romanticism.

Lewis supported Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Fascist movement, and Mosley records in his autobiography how Lewis would secretly arrange to meet him. However, Lewis was open enough to write an essay on Fascism entitled “Left wing” for British Union Quarterly, a magazine of Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, which included other well-known figures in its columns, such as the tank warfare specialist General Fuller, Ezra Pound, Henry Williamson, and Roy Campbell. Here Lewis writes that a nation can be subverted and taken over by numerically small groups. The intelligentsia and the press were doing this work of subversion with a left wing orientation. Lewis was aware of the backing Marxism was receiving from the wealthy, including the millionaire bohemians who patronized the arts. Marxist propaganda in favor of the USSR amounted to vast sums financially. Marxism is a sham, a masquerade in its championship of the poor against the rich.

That Russian communism is not a war to the knife of the Rich against the Poor is only too plainly demonstrated by the fact that internationally all the Rich are on its side. All the magnates among the nations are for it; all the impoverished communities, all the small peasant states, dread and oppose it.

That Lewis is correct in his observations on the nature of Marxism is evidenced by the anti-Bolshevist stance of Portugal and Spain for example, while Bolshevism itself was funded by financial circles in New York, Sweden, and Germany; the Warburgs, Schiff, and Olaf Aschberg the so-called “Bolshevik Banker.”

Lewis concludes his brief article for the BUF Quarterly by declaring Fascism to be the movement that is genuinely for the poor against the rich, who are for property whilst the “super-rich” are against property, “since money has merged into power, the concrete into the abstract . . . ”

You as a Fascist stand for the small trader against the chain store; for the peasant against the usurer: for the nation, great or small, against the super-state; for personal business against Big Business; for the craftsman against the Machine; for the creator against the middleman; for all that prospers by individual effort and creative toil, against all that prospers in the abstract air of High Finance or of the theoretic ballyhoo of internationalisms.

Nonetheless, Lewis had reservations about Fascism just as he had reservations about commitment to any doctrine. For him the principle of action, of the man of action, becomes too much of a frenzied activity, where stability in the world is needed for the arts to flourish. He states in Time and Western Man that Fascism in Italy stood too much for the past, with emphasis on a resurgence of the Roman imperial splendor and the use of its imagery, rather than the realization of the present. As part of the “Time cult,” it was in the doctrinal stream of action, progress, violence, struggle, of constant flux in the world, that also includes Darwinism and Nietzscheanism despite the continuing influence of the latter on Lewis’s own philosophy.

Wyndham Lewis,<br> "The Apes of God" (1930)

Wyndham Lewis, "The Apes of God" (1930)

An early appreciation entitled Hitler was published in 1931, sealing Lewis’ fate as a neglected genius, despite his repudiation of both anti-Semitism in The Jews, Are They Human? and Nazism in The Hitler Cult both published in 1939.

Well before such books, Lewis’ satirizing and denigration of the bohemian liberal Bloomsbury set had resulted in what his self-styled “literary bodyguard,” the poet and fellow “Rightist” Roy Campbell, calls a “Lewis boycott” “When life’s bread and butter depended on thinking pro-Red and to generate one’s own ideas was a criminal offence.”

Time and Space

A healthy artistic environment requires order and discipline, not chaos and flux. This is the great conflict between the “romantic” and the “classical” in the arts. This dichotomy is represented in politics and the difference between the philosophy of “Time” and of “Space,” the former of which is epitomized in the philosophy of Spengler. Unlike many others of the “Right,” Lewis was vehemently opposed to the historical approach of Spengler, critiquing his Decline of the West in Time and Western Man. To Lewis, Spengler and other “Time philosophers” relegated culture to the political sphere. The cyclic and organic interpretations of history are seen as “fatalistic” and having a negative influence on the survival of the European race.

Lewis does not concur with Spengler, who sees culture as subordinate to historical epochs that rise and fall cyclically as living organisms. “There is no common historical and cultural outlook representing any specific cycle, but many ages co-existing simultaneously and represented by various individuals.”

This time philosophy was in contrast to that of Space or the Spatial, and resulted in the type of ongoing change or flux that Lewis opposed. Lewis looked with reverence to the Greeks, who existed in the Present, which he regarded Spengler as disparaging, in contrast to the “Faustian” urge of Western Man that looked to “destiny.”

Democracy

Lewis’s antipathy towards democracy is rooted in his theory on Time. Of democracy, he writes in Men Without Art, “No artist can ever love.” Democracy is hostility to artistic excellence and fosters “box office and library subscription standards.” Art is however timeless, classical.

Democracy hates and victimizes the intellectual because the “mind” is aristocratic and offensive to the masses. Here again Lewis is at odds with others of the “Right,” with particular antipathy toward D. H. Lawrence. Again, it is the dichotomy of the “romantic versus the classical.”

Conjoined with democracy is industrialization, both representing the masses against the solitary genius. The result is the “herding of people into enormous mechanized masses.” The “mass mind . . .  is required to gravitate to a standard size to receive the standard idea.”

Wyndham Lewis, "Self-Portrait"

Wyndham Lewis, "Self-Portrait"

Democracy and the advertisement are part and parcel of this debasement and behind it all stands money, including the “millionaire bohemians” who control the arts. Making a romantic image of the machine, starting in Victorian times, is the product of our “Money-age.” His opposition to Italian Futurism, often mistakenly equated with Vorticism, derives partly from Futurism’s idolization of the machine. Vorticism, states Lewis, depicts the machine as befits an art that observes the Present, but does not idolize it. It is technology that generates change and revolution, but art remains constant; it is not in revolt against anything other than when society promotes conditions where art does not exist, as in democracy.

In Lewis’s satirizing of the Bloomsbury denizens, he writes of the dichotomy existing between the elite and the masses, yet one that is not by necessity malevolent towards these masses:

The intellect is more removed from the crowd than is anything: but it is not a snobbish withdrawal, but a going aside for the purposes of work, of work not without its utility for the crowd . . .  More than the prophet or the religious teacher, (the leader) represents . . .  the great unworldly element in the world, and that is the guarantee of his usefulness. And he should be relieved of the futile competition in all sorts of minor fields, so that his purest faculties could be free for the major tasks of intelligent creation.

Unfortunately, placing one’s ideals onto the plane of activity results in vulgarization, a dilemma that caused Lewis’s reservations towards Nietzsche. In The Art of Being Ruled Lewis writes that of every good thing, there comes its “shadow,” “its ape and familiar.”

Lewis was still writing of this dilemma in Netting Hill during the 1950s.
“All the dilemmas of the creative seeking to function socially center upon the nature of action: upon the necessity of crude action, of calling in the barbarian to build a civilizations.” This was of course the dilemma for Lewis in his early support for Hitler and for Italian Fascism.

Revolt of the Primitive

Other symptoms of the romantic epoch subverting cultural standards include the feminine principle, with the over representation of homosexuals and the effete among the literati and the Bloomsbury coterie; the cult of the primitive; and the “cult of the child,” that is closely related to the adulation of the primitive.

Female values, resting on the intuitive and emotional, undermine masculine rationality, the intellect–the feminine flux against the masculine hardness of stability and discipline. To Lewis revolutions are a return to the past. Feminism aims at returning society to an idealized primitive matriarchy. Communism aims at a returning to primitive forms of common ownership. The idolization of the savage and the child are also returns to the atavistic. The millionaire world and “High Bohemia” support these, as it does other vulgarizing revolutions. The supposedly outrageous, to Lewis, is tame.

Lewis’s book Paleface: The Philosophy of the Melting Pot inspired as a counter-blast to D. H. Lawrence, was written to repudiate the cult of the primitive, fashionable among the millionaire bohemians, as it had been among the parlor intellectuals of the eighteenth century; the Rousseauean ideal of the “return to nature” and the “noble savage.” Although D. H. Lawrence was writing of the primitive tribes to inspire a decadent European race to return to its own instinctual being, such “romanticism” is contrary to the classicism of Lewis, with its primacy of reason. In contradiction of Lawrence, Lewis states that,

I would rather have an ounce of human consciousness than a universe full of “abdominal” afflatus and hot, unconscious, “soulless” mystical throbbing.

Wyndham Lewis, <i>Blast</i>, no. 2

Wyndham Lewis, Blast, no. 2

In Paleface Lewis calls for a ruling caste of aesthetes, much like his friend Ezra Pound and his philosophical opposite Lawrence:

We by birth the natural leaders of the white European, are people of no political or public consequence any more . . .  We, the natural leaders of the world we live in, are now private citizens in the fullest sense, and that world is, as far as the administration of its traditional law of life is concerned, leaderless. Under these circumstances, its soul, in a generation or so, will be extinct.

Lewis opposes the “melting pot” where different races and nationalities are becoming indistinguishable. Once again, Lewis’ objections are aesthetic at their foundation. The Negro gift to the white man is jazz, “the aesthetic medium of a sort of frantic proletarian subconscious,” degrading, and exciting the masses into mindless energy, an “idiot mass sound” that is “Marxistic.”

Compulsory Freedom

By the time Lewis wrote Time and Western Man he believed that people would have to be “compelled” to be free and individualistic. Reversing certain of his views espoused in The Art of Being Ruled, he now no longer believed that the urge of the masses to be enslaved should be organized, but rather that the masses will have to be compelled to be individualistic.

I believe they could with advantage be compelled to remain absolutely alone for several hours every day and a week’s solitary confinement, under pleasant conditions (say in mountain scenery), every two months would be an excellent provision. That and other coercive measures of a similar kind, I think, would make them much better people.

Return to Socialist England

In 1939, Lewis and his wife went to the USA and on to Canada where Lewis lectured at Assumption College, a situation that did not cause discomfort, as he had long had a respect for Catholicism although not a convert. Lewis as a perpetual polemicist began a campaign against extreme abstraction in art, attacking Jackson Pollock and the Expressionists.

Lewis returned to England in 1945, and despite being completely blind by 1951 continued writing, in 1948 his America and Cosmic Man portrayed the USA as the laboratory for a coming new world order of anonymity and utilitarianism. He also received some “official” recognition in being commissioned to write two dramas for BBC radio, and becoming a regular columnist for The Listener.

A post-war poem, So the Man You Are autobiographically continues to reflect some of Lewis’ abiding themes; that of the creative individual against the axis of the herd and “High Finances”:

The man I am to blow the bloody gaff
If I were given platforms? The riff-raff
May be handed all the trumpets that you will.
No so the golden-tongued. The window sill
Is all the pulpit they can hope to get.

Lewis had been systematically stifled since before World War I when he broke with the Bloomsbury wealthy parlor Bolsheviks who ruled the cultural establishment in Britain. Lewis continued with “Herdsman’s principles of eschewing both Bolshevism and Plutocracy, staying above the herd in solitude”:

What wind an honest mind advances? Look
No wind of sickle and hammer, of bell and book,
No wind of any party, or blowing out
Of any mountain blowing us about
Of High Finance, or the foot-hills of same.
The man I am he who does not play the game!

Lewis felt that “everything was drying up” in England, “extremism was eating at the arts and the rot was pervasive in all levels of society.” He writes of post-war England:

This is the capital of a dying empire–not crashing down in flames and smoke but expiring in a peculiar muffled way.

Wyndham Lewis,<br> Portrait of Edith Sitwell

Wyndham Lewis, "Portrait of Edith Sitwell"

This is the England he portrays in his 1951 novel Rotting Hill (Ezra Pound’s name for Netting Hill) where Lewis and his wife lived. The Welfare State symbolizes a shoddy utility standard in the pursuit of universal happiness. Socialist England causes everything to be substandard including shirt buttons that don’t fit the holes, shoelaces too short to tie, scissors that won’t cut, and inedible bread and jam. Lewis seeks to depict the socialist drabness of 1940s Britain.

Unlike most of the literati, who rebelled against Leftist dominance in the arts, Lewis continued to uphold an ideal of a world culture overseen by a central world state. He wrote his last novel The Red Priest in 1956. Lewis died in 1957, eulogized by T. S. Eliot in an obituary in The Sunday Times: “a great intellect has gone.”

Chapter 8 of K. R. Bolton, Thinkers of the Right: Challenging Materialism (Luton, England: Luton Publications, 2003).

jeudi, 21 janvier 2010

How the West Was Lost

How the West Was Lost

Churchill, Hitler, and “the Unnecessary War”
How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World
Patrick J. Buchanan
New York: Crown Publishers, 2008

Patrick J. Buchanan's <i>Churchill, Hitler, and the Uncessary War</i>

Many reviewers of the respectable class become unhinged upon seeing the words “unnecessary war” in the title of a book dealing with World War II—in their minds, the “Good War” to destroy the ultimate evil of Hitler’s Nazism.[1] And, of course, Buchanan was already in deep kimchi on this issue since he had expressed a similar criticism of American entry into World War II in his A Republic, Not an Empire.[2]

With this mindset, most establishment reviewers simply proceed to write a diatribe against Buchanan for failing to recognize the allegedly obvious need to destroy Hitler, bringing up the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, and other rhetorical devices that effectively silence rational debate in America’s less-than-free intellectual milieu. However, Buchanan’s book is far more than a discussion of the merits of fighting World War II. For Buchanan is dealing with the overarching issue of the decline of the West—a topic he previously dealt with at length in his The Death of the West.[3] In his view, the “physical wounds” of World Wars I and II are significant factors in this decline. Buchanan writes: “The questions this book answers are huge but simple. Were these two world wars the mortal wounds we inflicted upon ourselves necessary wars? Or were they wars of choice? And if they were wars of choice, who plunged us into these hideous and suicidal world wars that advanced the death of our civilization? Who are the statesman responsible for the death of the West?” (p. xi). Early in his Introduction, Buchanan essentially answers that question: “Historians will look back on 1914–1918 and 1939–1945 as two phases of the Great Civil War of the West, when the once Christian nations of Europe fell upon one another with such savage abandon they brought down all their empires, brought an end to centuries of Western rule, and advanced the death of their civilization” (p. xvii).

Buchanan sees Britain as the key nation involved in this process of Western suicide. And its own fall from power was emblematic of the decline of the broader Western civilization. At the turn of the twentieth century, Britain stood out as the most powerful nation of the West, which in turn dominated the entire world. “Of all the empires of modernity,” Buchanan writes, “the British was the greatest—indeed, the greatest since Rome—encompassing a fourth of the Earth’s surface and people” (p. xiii). But Britain was fundamentally responsible for turning two localized European wars into the World Wars that shattered Western civilization.

Contrary to the carping of his critics, Buchanan does not fabricate his historical facts and opinions but rather relies on reputable historians for his information, which is heavily footnoted. In fact, most of his points should not be controversial to people who are familiar with the history of the period, as shocking as it may be to members of the quarter-educated punditocracy.

Buchanan points out that at the onset of the European war in August 1914, most of the British Parliament and Cabinet were opposed to entering the conflict. Only Foreign Minister Edward Grey and Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, held that it was necessary to back France militarily in order to prevent Germany from becoming the dominant power on the Continent. In 1906, however, Grey had secretly promised France support in the event of a war with Germany, which, Buchanan implies, might have served to encourage French belligerency in 1914. However, it was only the German invasion of neutral Belgium—the “rape” of “little Belgium” as pro-war propagandists bellowed—that galvanized a majority in the Cabinet and in Parliament for war.

Buchanan maintains that a victorious Germany, even with the expanded war aims put forth after the onset of the war, would not have posed a serious threat to Britain. And certainly it would have been better than the battered Europe that emerged from World War I. Describing the possible alternate outcome, Buchanan writes:

Germany, as the most powerful nation in Europe, aligned with a free Poland that owed its existence to Germany, would have been the western bulwark against any Russian drive into Europe. There would have been no Hitler and no Stalin. Other evils would have arisen, but how could the first half of the twentieth century have produced more evil than it did? (p. 62)

As it was, the four year world war led to the death of millions, with millions more seriously wounded. The utter destruction and sense of hopelessness caused by the war led to the rise of Communism. And the peace ending the war punished Germany and other members of the Central powers, setting the stage for future conflict. The Allies “scourged Germany and disposed her of territory, industry, people, colonies, money, and honor by forcing her to sign the ‘War Guilt Lie’” (p. 97). Buchanan acknowledges that it was not literally the “Carthaginian peace” that its critics charged. Germany “was still alive, more united, more populous and potentially powerful than France, and her people were now possessed of a burning sense of betrayal” (p. 97). But by making the new democratic German government accept the peace treaty, the Allies had destroyed the image of democratic government in Germany among the German people. In essence, the peace left “Europe divided between satiated powers, and revisionist powers determined to retrieve the lands and peoples that had been taken from them” (p. 95). It was “not only an unjust but an unsustainable peace. Wedged between a brooding Bolshevik Russia and a humiliated Germany were six new nations: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. The last two held five million Germans captive. Against each of the six, Russia or Germany held a grievance. Yet none could defend its independence against a resurrected Germany or a revived Russia. Should Russia and Germany unite, no force on Earth could save the six” (p. 98). It should be noted that Buchanan’s negative depiction of the World War I peace is quite conventional, and was held by most liberal thinkers of the time.[4]

Buchanan likewise provides a very conventional interpretation of British foreign policy during the interwar period, which oscillated between idealism and Realpolitik and ultimately had the effect of weakening Britain’s position in the world. Buchanan points out that Britain needed the support of Japan, Italy, and the United States to counter a revived Germany, but its diplomacy undercut such an alliance. To begin with, Britain terminated its alliance with Japan to placate the United States as part of the Washington Naval Conference of 1922. Buchanan contends that the Japanese alliance had not only provided Britain with a powerful ally but served to restrain Japanese expansionism.

Britain needed Mussolini’s Italy to check German revanchism in Europe, a task which “Il Duce” was very willing to undertake. However, Britain drove Mussolini into the arms of Hitler by supporting the League of Nations’ sanctions against Italy after it attacked Ethiopia in 1935. “By assuming the moral high ground to condemn a land grab in Africa, not unlike those Britain had been conducting for centuries, Britain lost Italy,” Buchanan observes. “Her diplomacy had created yet another enemy. And this one sat astride the Mediterranean sea lanes critical in the defense of Britain’s Far Eastern empire against that other alienated ally, Japan” ( p. 155).

America, disillusioned by the war’s outcome, returned to its traditional non-interventionism in the 1920s, so it was not available to back British interests. Consequently, Britain would only have France to counter Hitler’s expansionism in the second half of the 1930s.

Buchanan provides a straightforward account of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s and Foreign Minister Halifax’s appeasement policy. The goal was to rectify the wrongs of Versailles so as to prevent the outbreak of war. “They believed,” Buchanan points out, “that addressing Germany’s valid grievances and escorting her back into Europe as a Great Power with equality of rights was the path to the peace they wished to build” (p. 201). Buchanan asserts that such a policy probably would have worked with democratic Weimar Germany, but not with Hitler’s regime, because of its insatiable demands and brutality.

Munich was the high point of appeasement and is conventionally considered one of the great disasters of British foreign policy. Buchanan explains Chamberlain’s reasoning for the policy, which was quite understandable. First, morality seemed to be on Germany’s side since the predominantly German population of the Sudetenland wanted to join Germany. Moreover, maintaining the current boundaries of Czechoslovakia was not a key British interest worth the cost of British lives. Finally, Britain did not have the wherewithal to intervene militarily in such a distant, land-locked country.

Churchill, who represented the minority of Britons who sought war as an alternative, believed that support from Stalinist Russia would serve to counter Hitler. Of course, as Buchanan points out, the morality of such an alliance was highly dubious because Stalin had caused the deaths of millions of people during the 1930s, while Hitler’s victims still numbered in the hundreds or low thousands before the start of the war in 1939. Moreover, Communist Russia would have to traverse Rumania and Poland to defend Czechoslovakia, and the governments of these two countries were adamantly opposed to allowing Soviet armies passage, correctly realizing that those troops would likely remain in their lands and bring about their Sovietization. It should also be added that it was questionable whether the Soviet Union really intended to make war on the side of the Western democracies, because Stalin hoped that a great war among the capitalist states, analogous to World War I, would bring about their exhaustion and facilitate the triumph of Communist revolution, aided by the intervention of the Soviet Red Army.[5]

Buchanan concludes that Chamberlain was right not to fight over the Sudetenland but “was wrong in believing that by surrendering it to Hitler he had bought anything but time,” which he should have used to rearm Britain in preparation for an inevitable war (p. 235). Instead, Chamberlain believed that Hitler could be trusted and that peace would prevail.

While Buchanan faults Chamberlain for not properly preparing for war after the Munich Agreement, he does not believe that Munich per se brought on the debacle of war. What did bring about World War II, according to Buchanan, was the British guarantee to defend Poland in March 1939. This guarantee made Poland more resistant to compromise with Germany, and made any British decision for war hinge on the decisions made by Poland. Moreover, as Buchanan points out, “Britain had no vital interest in Eastern Europe to justify a war to the death with Germany and no ability to wage war there” (p. 263).

Buchanan, while citing several explanations for the Polish guarantee, seems to give special credence to the view that Chamberlain was more of a realist than a bewildered naïf. Buchanan holds that a clear analysis of Chamberlain’s words and intent shows that in the guarantee the Prime Minister had not bound Britain to fight for the territorial integrity of Poland but only for its independence as a nation. “The British war guarantee,” Buchanan contends, “had not been crafted to give Britain a pretext for war, but to give Chamberlain leverage to persuade the Poles to give Danzig back” (p. 270). Chamberlain seemed to be “signaling his willingness for a second Munich, where Poland would cede Danzig and provide a road-and-rail route across the Corridor, but in return for Hitler’s guarantee of Poland’s independence” (p. 270). Hitler, however, did not grasp this “diplomatic subtlety” and believed that a German effort to take any Polish territory would mean war. The Poles did not understand Chamberlain’s intent either, and assumed that Britain would back their intransigence and thus refused to discuss any territorial changes with Germany. Buchanan, however, seems to reverse this interpretation of Chamberlain’s motivation when discussing his guarantees to other European countries in 1939, writing that “Chamberlain had lost touch with reality” (p. 278).

In the end, Britain and France went to war with Germany over Poland without the means to defend her. Poland’s fate was finally sealed when Hitler made his deal with Stalin in August 1939, which, in a secret protocol, offered the Soviet dictator the extensive territory that he sought in Eastern Europe.

Some reviewers have claimed that Buchanan excuses Hitler of blame for the war, but this is far from the truth. Buchanan actually states that Hitler bore “full moral responsibility” for the war on Poland in 1939 (p. 292), in contradistinction to the wider world war, though even here the charge of “full responsibility” would seem to be belied by much of the information in the book. For Buchanan points out that the Germans not only had justified grievances regarding the Versailles territorial settlement, but that, despite Hitler’s bold demands, the German-Polish war might not have happened without Britain’s meddling in 1939. Buchanan’s analysis certainly does not absolve Hitler of moral responsibility for the Second World War (much less palliate his crimes against humanity), but it does show that there is plenty of blame to go around.

Buchanan writes that “had there been no war guarantee, Poland . . . might have done a deal over Danzig and been spared six million dead” (p. 293). It is quite possible that after any territorial deal with Poland, Hitler would have consequently made much greater demands against her. Perhaps he would have acted no differently toward Poland and the Polish Jews than he actually did—but the outcome could not have been worse for the Polish Jews, almost all of whom were exterminated during the World War II. And Polish gentiles suffered far more than the inhabitants of other countries that resisted Hitler less strenuously. In short, a war purportedly to defend Poland was an utter disaster for the inhabitants of Poland. It is hardly outrageous to question whether this was the best possible outcome and to attempt to envision a better alternative.

Buchanan shows how World War II was hardly a “Good War.” The Allies committed extreme atrocities such as the deliberate mass bombing of civilians and genocidal population expulsions. The result was the enslavement of half of Europe by Soviet Communism. “To Churchill,” Buchanan writes, “the independence and freedom of one hundred million Christian peoples of Eastern Europe were not worth a war with Russia in 1945. Why, then, had they been worth a war with Germany in 1939?” (p. 373).

Buchanan holds that had Britain not gone to war against Germany, a war between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany would have been inevitable, and that such a conflict would have exhausted both dictatorships, making it nigh impossible for either of them to conquer Western Europe. Although this scenario would not have been a certainty, a military stalemate between the two totalitarian behemoths would seem to be the most realistic assessment based on the actual outcome of World War II. Certainly, the Soviet Union relied on Western support to defeat the Nazi armies; and Germany was unable to knock out the Soviet Union during the lengthy period before American military began to play a significant role in Europe.

Buchanan contrasts the lengthy wars fought by Britain, which gravely weakened it, and the relative avoidance of war by the United States, which enabled it to become the world’s greatest superpower. In Buchanan’s view, the United States “won the Cold War—by avoiding the blunders Britain made that plunged her into two world wars” (p. 419). In the post-Cold War era, however, the United States has ignored this crucial lesson, instead becoming involved in unnecessary, enervating wars. “America is overextended as the British Empire of 1939,” Buchanan opines. “We have commitments to fight on behalf of scores of nations that have nothing to do with our vital interests, commitments we could not honor were several to be called in at once” (p. 423). Buchanan maintains that in continuing along this road the United States will come to the same ruinous end as Britain.

Buchanan’s British analogy, unfortunately, can be seen as giving too much to the position of the current neo-conservative war party. Although I think Buchanan’s non-interventionist position on the World Wars is correct, it should be acknowledged that Britain faced difficult choices. Allowing Germany to become the dominant power on the Continent would have been harmful to British interests—though the two World Wars made things even worse. In contrast, today it is hard to see any serious negative consequences resulting from the United States’ pursuit of a peaceful policy in the Middle East. No Middle East country or terrorist group possesses (or possessed) military power in any way comparable to that of Germany under the Second or Third Reichs, and, at least, Iran and Iraq do (did) not have any real interest in turning off the oil spigot to the West since selling oil is the lifeblood of their economies.

Another important aspect of the book is Buchanan’s attack on the cult of Winston Churchill, who has served as a role model for America’s recent bellicose foreign policy, with President George W. Bush even placing a bust of Churchill in the Oval Office. Buchanan maintains that Churchill, with his lust for war, was the individual most responsible for the two devastating World Wars.

In contrast to the current Churchill hagiography, Buchanan portrays the “British Bulldog” as a poor military strategist who was ruthlessly indifferent to the loss of human life, advocating policies that could easily be labeled war crimes. Churchill proposed both the incompetent effort to breech the Dardanelles in 1915, ending with the disastrous Gallipolli invasion, and the bungled Norwegian campaign of April 1940. Ironically, the failures of the Norwegian venture caused the downfall of the Chamberlain government and brought Churchill to power on May 10, 1940.

Churchill supported the naval blockade of Germany in World War I, which in addition to stopping war materiel prevented food shipments, causing an estimated 750,000 civilian deaths. Churchill admitted that the purpose of the blockade was to “starve the whole population—men, women, and children, old and young, wounded and sound—into submission” (p. 391). He successfully proposed the use of poisonous gas against Iraqi rebels in the interwar period and likewise sought the use of poison gas against German civilians in World War II, though the plan was not implemented due to opposition from the British military. Churchill was, however, successful in initiating the policy of intentionally bombing civilians, which caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Equally, if not more, inhumane, Churchill’s support for the forcible “repatriation” of Soviet POWs to the Soviet Union and the “ethnic cleansing” of Germans from Eastern and Central Europe involved the deaths of millions of people. And, of course, Churchill was willing to turn over Eastern Europe’s millions to slavery and death under Stalinist rule.

Overall, the Buchanan thesis makes considerable sense—though in some cases it assumes a foresight that would not be possible. For example, the pursuit of containment by the United States in the Cold War period, which Buchanan praises, was a policy largely rejected by the contemporary American Right, of which Buchanan was a member. The American Right held that the policy of containment was a defensive policy that could not achieve victory but instead likely lead to defeat—a position best expressed by James Burnham. And, at least up until Reagan’s presidency, the power of the Soviet Union greatly increased, both in terms of its nuclear arsenal and its global stretch, relative to that of the United States. While Buchanan touts Reagan’s avoidance of war, what most distinguished Reagan from his presidential predecessors and the foreign policy establishment was his willingness to take a harder stance toward the Soviets—a difference that terrified liberals of the time. Reagan’s hard-line stance consisted of a massive arms build-up, and, more importantly, an offensive military strategy (violating the policy of containment), which had the United States supporting a revolt against the Soviet-controlled government in Afghanistan. (The policy was begun under President Carter but significantly expanded under Reagan.) Perhaps, if the United States had launched such a policy in the early years of the Cold War, the Soviet Empire would have unraveled much earlier and not been such a threat to the United States. The Soviet Union was obviously the first country that could destroy the United States, and it achieved this lethal potential during the policy of containment. To this reviewer, it does not seem inevitable that everything would have ultimately turned out for the best.

While Buchanan makes a good case that the two World Wars were deleterious to the West, it would seem that they were only one factor, and probably not the primary one, in bringing about the downfall of Western power—a decline that was observed by astute observers such as Oswald Spengler prior to 1914.[6] (Buchanan himself is not oblivious to these other factors but gives a prominent place to the wars.) Moreover, it is questionable if Britain would have retained its empire any longer than it did, even without the wars, given the spread of nationalism to the non-Western world and the latter’s greater rates of population increase compared to Europe. Also, the growing belief in the West of universal equality obviously militated against European rule over foreign peoples.

In sum, Buchanan’s work provides an excellent account of British diplomacy and European events during the crucial period of the two world wars, which have shaped the world in which we now live. It covers a host of issues and events that are relatively unknown to those who pose as today’s educated class, and does so in a very readable fashion. While this reviewer regards Buchanan’s theses as fundamentally sound, the work provides a fount of information even to those who would dispute its point of view.

Forthcoming in TOQ vol. 9, no. 1 (Spring 2009).


 

<!--[if !supportFootnotes]-->[1] The phrase “The Unnecessary War” is not placed in quotes on the paper jacket or on the hardback cover but is in quotes inside the book, including on the title page. This tends to make the meaning of the phrase unclear. (I owe this insight to Dr. Robert Hickson who has produced a review of this book, along with others, for Culture Wars, though I present a somewhat different take on the subject.) Buchanan quotes Churchill’s use of the phrase in his memoirs (p. xviii). Churchill wrote: “One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once, ‘The Unnecessary War.’ There never was a war more easy to stop than that which has just wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle.” But Churchill meant that the war could have been avoided if the Western democracies had taken a harder line, while Buchanan supports, in the main, a softer approach for the periods leading up to both wars.

[2] Patrick J. Buchanan, A Republic, Not an Empire: Reclaiming America’s Destiny (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 1999). See also Stephen J. Sniegoski, “Buchanan’s book and the Empire’s answer: Fahrenheit 451!” The Last Ditch, October 13, 1999, http://www.thornwalker.com/ditch/snieg7.htm.

[3] Patrick J. Buchanan, The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2002).

[4] One early critic was the well-known British economist, John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Howe, 1920).

[5] Viktor Suvorov, Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War? (New York: Viking Press, 1990); Viktor Suvorov, The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2008); R. C. Raack, Stalin’s Drive to the West, 19381945: The Origins of the Cold War (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995); R. C. Raack, “Stalin’s Role in the Coming of World War II,” World Affairs, vol. 158, no. 4 (Spring 1996), http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/raack.htm; James E. McSherry, Stalin, Hitler, and Europe: The Origins of World War II, 19331939 (Cleveland: World Pub. Co, 1968).

[6] Spengler had developed his thesis of the Decline of the West (Der Untergang des Abendlandes) before the onset of World War I, though the first volume was not published until 1918.

vendredi, 15 janvier 2010

15 janvier 1821: les Anglais au Yémen

voyage-yemen-1.jpg15 janvier 1821 : Depuis l’expédition de Bonaparte en Egypte et ses tentatives de prendre pied en Palestine et en Syrie en 1798-99, l’Angleterre s’est faite la protectrice de l’Empire ottoman; elle réitérera cette protection contre l’Egypte de Mehmet Ali en 1839 et contre la Russie, lors de la guerre de Crimée et lors de l’offensive russe vers la Bulgarie et la Thrace en 1877-78, où les armées orthodoxes ont campé aux portes de Constantinople. L’Empire ottoman se situait sur la route des Indes, était bien présent en Méditerranée orientale, d’où la Sainte Ligue n’avait pu le déloger après la bataille de Lépante (1571) ni libérer Chypre; au 17ème siècle, les Ottomans, malgré leur ressac, avaient même pu conquérir la Crète, dernier bastion vénitien. Aucune puissance, aux yeux de l’Angleterre ne peut donc subjuguer cet Empire ottoman en pleine déliquescence ni acquérir des zones stratégiques lui appartenant. Si ces zones demeurent ottomanes, elles sont en quelque sorte neutralisées et ne servent pas de têtes de pont à une puissance européenne capable de rompre les communications entre la Grande-Bretagne et les Indes. Seule l’Angleterre, bien entendu, qui donne sa garantie à la Sublime Porte, mais tente de grignoter les côtes de son empire moribond ou d’occuper les points stratégiques éloignés de Constantinople, difficilement contrôlables et gérés par des potentats locaux, dont la fidélité est assez aléatoire. En 1821, avant que ne se consolide le pouvoir de Mehmet Ali en Egypte et avant que ne se déclenche la révolte grecque que soutiendront finalement, après bien des hésitations, Anglais, Français et Russes, la Royal Navy bombarde le port de Mokka au Yémen du 4 au 20 décembre 1820, afin de faire fléchir l’Imam local. Le 15 janvier 1821, celui-ci accepte les “capitulations” qui lui sont imposées: il doit respecter les “droits du résident anglais” et reconnaître la juridiction britannique sur tous les sujets de Sa Majesté vivant ou circulant au Yémen. En outre, il doit limiter les droits d’entrée de toutes les marchandises anglaises qui arrivent sur son territoire: c’est une application claire et nette des principes de l’ “impérialisme libre-échangiste”, pratiqué par l’Angleterre au 19ème siècle qui vise à lui assurer des débouchés, à briser les résistances locales et les barrières douanières et à garder les monopoles qu’elle a acquis en tant que première puissance industrielle. Quelques mois plus tard, les Anglais placent sous la protection de leur flotte l’Emir de Bahrein. La thalassocratie britannique est dorénavant présente à l’entrée de la Mer Rouge et dans le Golfe; elle en verrouille les accès. Petit à petit, elle se rend maîtresse de l’Océan Indien, océan du milieu, garant, pour qui le contrôle, de la maîtrise du globe. La logique de cet impérialisme, et les pratiques destinées à en assurer la longue durée, seront théorisées tout au début du 20ème siècle par deux géopolitologues: Halford John Mackinder et Homer Lea. Mutatis mutandis, ces règles servent encore pour étayer la stratégie américaine au Moyen Orient, en Afghanistan et au Pakistan, cette fois, sans la maîtrise directe de l’Inde, mais avec la maîtrise d’une île minuscule, celle de Diego Garcia, où se concentrent un arsenal moderne de bombardiers lourds à long rayon d’action et une flotte, épaulée par des porte-avions, véritables îles mobiles capables de frapper l’intérieur des terres sans donner prise à un ennemi dépourvu d’armes de ce genre.

 

 

mardi, 05 janvier 2010

Intégration ou isolement? Le dilemme de la Grande-Bretagne face au continent

Grande_Bretagne_1689.gifArchives de SYNERGIES EUROPEENNES - 1990

Intégration ou isolement?

Le dilemme de la Grande-Bretagne face au continent

 

par Gwyn DAVIES

 

Le samedi 24 février 1990 s'est tenu à Londres le colloque annuel de l'association IONA. Sous la présidence de Mr. Richard Lawson, plusieurs orateurs ont pris la parole: le Prof. Hrvoje Lorkovic, Robert Steuckers, Gwyn Davies et Michael Walker. Vouloir publiera chacune de ces interventions. Nous commençons par celle de Mr. Davies.

 

A une époque de grande fluidité, lorsque des changements soudains bouleversent les modèles devenus conventionnels de la vie quotidienne, il est souvent nécessaire de juguler nos impulsions immédiates qui nous poussent à participer à l'euphorie générale que suscite la nouveauté. Lorsque des concepts jadis tenus pour intan­gibles et immuables s'effritent à une vitesse in­soupçonnée, il est trop facile de se laisser porter par l'effervescence d'une liberté nouvelle. Mais l'homme rationnel doit maintenir une saine dis­tance devant l'immédiateté provocatrice du chan­gement, car le changement per se  n'est pas un but en soi mais un simple catalyseur qui fera ad­venir un but. Les actions prestées à des époques aussi décisives ne doivent pas s'arcbouter sur le rien de l'éphémère mais, au contraire, réfléchir des analyses solides, denses et raisonnées. Car lorsque les pratiques conventionnelles subissent une révision radicale, des décisions doivent être prises rapidement, des choix doivent être posés; dans ces moments où nous sommes confrontés à des dilemmes, les fonctions sélectives de notre intelligence doivent pouvoir travailler à bon es­cient. Si les choses doivent se passer ainsi dans la vie personnelle de chacun d'entre nous, il est d'autant plus impératif qu'elles empruntent la même voie temporisatrice, réfléchie, délibérée, lorsque la destinée des nations est en jeu.

 

Lorsque les constantes rigidifiées de l'orthodoxie politique acceptée par tous sont challengées voire balancées par-dessus bord, lorsque la Grundnorm (la norme fondamentale) du gouver­nement des Etats est minée et affaiblie derrière le paravent de la cohésion structurelle de l'ordre existant, les groupes sociaux qui souhaitent de­venir des pièces influantes sur l'échiquier trans­formé n'enregistreront des succès, ne réaliseront leurs ambitions, que s'ils identifient correctement puis résolvent les questions-clefs que soulève la réalité nouvelle.

 

Susciter de nouveaux foyers d’énergie en Europe

 

Les événements récents qui ont agité la partie orientale de l'Europe au cours de ces derniers mois, ont soulevé l'espoir de voir disparaître la division artificielle du continent. Les deux blocs, aux contours bien distincts, qui se sont regardés en chiens de faïence depuis une quarantaine d'années, abrités derrière leurs retranchements respectifs (d'ordre tant physique que philoso­phique), se sont débarrassé aujourd'hui de leur antipathie mutuelle, au point de permettre à leurs satellites de dévier de leurs orbites préétablies.

 

En effet, avec l'implosion imminente de l'une des composantes du binôme USA/URSS, les liens gravitationnels qui avaient préalablement entravé le mouvement des planètes satellisées pourraient très bientôt se dissoudre. Mais les lois de l'ordre naturel nous enseignent que dans tout univers nouvellement émergé, de nouveaux foyers d'énergie doivent rapidement jaillir du chaos pour imposer de la discipline dans le vide désordonné. En gardant ces lois à l'esprit, il est d'une importance vitale de bien évaluer les mo­dèles émergeants hors de ce bouillonnement de transformations et de forger, sur base de telles données, un concept global pour indiquer à la Grande-Bretagne la marche à suivre dans la dé­cennie tumultueuse qui s'ouvre devant nous.

 

Le contexte historique des relations euro-britanniques

 

Avant de vous livrer notre contribution à l'élaboration de ce concept, il m'apparaît néces­saire de passer en revue le contexte historique des relations euro-britanniques.

 

D'abord, il me semble opportun de constater que les Iles britanniques n'ont pas eu la moindre in­fluence sur la scène européenne avant la conquête normande. L'installation par la force d'une aris­tocratie étrangère a conduit l'Angleterre à partici­per activement aux rivalités et machinations des dynasties de l'Occident chrétien et, plus particu­lièrement, à la longue lutte d'hégémonie avec les Capétiens de France. Le rêve angevin d'un Etat anglo-français faillit réussir après le mariage d'Henri II avec Eléonore d'Aquitaine mais le projet s'enlisa dans une orgie de luttes fratri­cides. Après l'échec de cette union, le Royaume d'Angleterre n'a plus eu la possibilité de jouer un rôle déterminant sur la scène politique euro­péenne et les Français affrontèrent seuls les fai­blesses du Saint Empire et les prétentions fragiles des Hohenstaufen.

 

Dès le début du XIIIième siècle, la Couronne anglaise ne s'engagea plus qu'à la périphérie de l'arène européenne en jouant le rôle d'un agent interventionniste. Beaucoup, sans doute, ne se­ront pas d'accord avec mon affirmation et cite­ront, pour la réfuter, les triomphes d'Edouard III et de Henri V en France et la grandiose participa­tion du Prince Noir dans la querelle pour la suc­cession au trône de Castille. Il n'en demeure pas moins vrai que, malgré les épisodes héroïques de Crécy, Poitiers, Navarette et Azincourt, l'Etat anglais fut incapable de transformer ses succès tactiques en gains stratégiques permanents.

 

Avec le début de la Guerre des Deux Roses (entre les partis de York et de Lancaster), la Guerre de Cent Ans touchait à sa fin et le conflit interne, très sanglant, qui se déroula sur le sol anglais, empêcha toute déviation des forces na­tionales vers des objectifs étrangers.

 

Ce ne fut pas avant le règne de Henri VIII que l'appétit pour les engagements transnationaux revint à la charge, aiguillonné par le tort causé au commerce de la laine flamande par la rivalité entre les maisons de Valois et de Habsbourg. L'intervention théâtrale et sans conséquence du Roi Henri peut être considérée comme la dernière expression de l'ancienne doctrine de l'absolutisme monarchique. Ses royaux succes­seurs ne purent plus se payer le luxe de traiter la politique étrangère comme un instrument au ser­vice de leurs ambitions personnelles.

 

L’ère impériale commence

avec Elizabeth Ière

 

L'ère élizabéthaine ouvrait un âge nouveau. La philosophie du temps s'accomodait parfaitement aux exigences du commerce, dont les demandes pressantes annulaient tous les autres impératifs qui tentaient de s'imposer à la Cour. Le com­merce devint ainsi le premier moteur de l'action royale. La Couronne répondit au défi écono­mique en élargissant ses perspectives et en adoptant une vision impériale, reflet de sa propre gloire et de l'agitation vociférante des princes marchands dont les fortunes aidèrent à asseoir l'ordre intérieur.

 

L'hégémonie monolithique des Habsbourgs d'Espagne sur le commerce avec l'Orient créa un goulot d'étranglement et obligea les négociants britanniques à chercher d'autres voies de com­munication; la royauté marqua son accord tacite pour l'organisation de telles expéditions; des compagnies à participation se mirent à proliférer, tirant profit des découvertes et de leur exploita­tion. Les bénéfices engrangés grâce au trafic d'esclaves et à la piraterie frappant les posses­sions espagnoles dans le Nouveau Monde ont conféré une légitimité officielle à l'idéologie ex­pansioniste. Et comme les raiders et les mar­chands avaient besoin de bases et que les bases demandaient à être défendues, l'Angleterre éla­bora une stratégie coloniale pour protéger et fournir en matériaux divers ses postes d'outre-mer. L'existence même de ces dépendances lointaines postulait l'inévitable développement de colonies, car colons, soldats et artisans débar­quaient sans cesse dans les comptoirs initiaux, processus qui assurait la promotion et l'expansion du commerce.

 

La protection des routes commerciales conduisit l'Angleterre à mener des guerres successives contre les puissances continentales, la Hollande, la France et l'Espagne. Ces guerres induisirent à leur tour la politique de Balance of Power (équilibre de puissance), qui atteindra son abo­minable apex dans les désastres humains de la première guerre mondiale.

 

En résumé, l'approche doctrinale des Britanniques vis-à-vis des querelles continentales était la suivante: soutien politique et militaire au parti ou à l'alliance dont la victoire empêcherait la création d'un bloc unitaire hostile disposant de suffisamment de ressources pour priver l'Etat britannique de l'oxygène du commerce. Les ré­sultats engrangés par ce calcul astucieux ont été énormes; il suffit de se remémorer les triomphes britanniques à la suite de la Guerre de Succession d'Espagne (1701-14) et de la Guerre de Sept Ans (1756-63). A la fin de ce conflit, le continent nord-américain était devenu chasse gardée de la Grande-Bretagne et sa suprématie maritime pou­vait faire face à tous les défis.

 

Arrivé au sommet de sa puissance, le régime des rois hannovriens oublia les prudences d'antan et poursuivit les projets d'outre-mer dans le plus parfait isolement. Mais cet oubli de la politique européenne traditionnelle coûta très cher; il en­traîna la perte des treize colonies américaines re­belles, soutenues par ses alliés européens, trop heureux de porter des coups durs à la vulnérable Albion.

 

La clef de la suprématie britannique: le système des coalitions

 

Mais les leçons de la défaite américaine ont été rapidement assimilées. Les guerres de la Révolution et de l'Empire offrirent l'occasion de remettre en jeu les règles du système des coali­tions. Tandis que les alliés de l'Angleterre rece­vaient de considérables subventions et affron­taient les Français sur terre, les Britanniques agissaient sur mer avec brio, contrôlaient les voies de communication maritimes et purent ainsi survivre au blocus continental napoléonien, fermé au commerce britannique, et à la défaite de toutes les puissances européennes devant les ar­mées de l'Empereur corse.

 

Grande-Bretagne-map.jpgEnsuite, après l'effondrement des rêves bona­partistes de conquête de l'Orient consécutif à la bataille perdue du Nil, les Britanniques purent débloquer des ressources considérables pour as­seoir leur domination aux Indes et s'emparer de colonies étrangères dont le site détenait une im­portance stratégique. Au Congrès de Vienne en 1815, c'est un second Empire britannique, fer­mement établi, qui se présentait face aux autres puissances européennes.

 

Dès le début du XIXième siècle, une destinée impériale prenait son envol et allait occuper toutes les imaginations britanniques pendant près d'un siècle. Les troubles intérieurs qui agitaient les puissances rivales permirent à cette destinée de se déployer sans opposition. L'Europe perdait tout intérêt aux yeux des Anglais. J'en veux pour preuves les abandons successifs d'atouts straté­giques en Europe continentale: la dissolution de l'union avec le Royaume du Hannovre en 1837 et, plus tard, l'abandon d'Héligoland pour obte­nir des réajustements de frontière en Afrique orientale.

 

Les Indes: pièce centrale de l’Empire britannique

 

L'ère de la Splendid Isolation  commençait et les seules menaces qui étaient prises en compte, étaient celles qui mettaient l'Empire en danger, et plus particulièrement les Indes. De là, le souci quasi hystérique qui s'emparait des milieux dé­cisionnaires londoniens lorsque la fameuse «question d'Orient» faisait surface et l'inquiétude qui les tourmentait face à l'expansionisme des Tsars en Asie Centrale. Avec toutes les res­sources de ses vastes domaines d'outre-mer, la Grande-Bretagne se croyait à l'abri de toute at­taque directe et les paroles de Joseph Chamberlain, prononcées en janvier 1902, sont l'écho de cette confiance: «Nous sommes le peuple d'un grand Empire... Nous sommes la nation la plus haïe du monde mais aussi la plus aimée... Nous avons le sentiment de ne pouvoir compter que sur nous-mêmes et c'est pourquoi j'insiste en disant que c'est le devoir de tout homme politique britannique et que c'est le de­voir du peuple britannique de ne compter que sur eux-mêmes, comme le firent nos ancêtres. Je dis bien que nous sommes seuls, oui, que nous sommes dans une splendid isolation, entourés par les peuples de notre sang».

 

Mais au moment même où ces paroles étaient prononcées, les réalités politiques du jour heur­taient de plein fouet cette arrogance. L'alliance anglo-japonaise de 1902 marquait une limite dans le déploiement de la politique étrangère britan­nique: Londres était obligée d'abandonner les «formules obligatoires et les superstitions vieil­lottes» (comme l'affirma Lansdowne à la Chambre des Lords), c'est-à-dire ne plus consi­dérer l'isolement comme désirable et adopter à la place une approche plus active de la scène inter­nationale, avec un engagement limité auprès de certaines puissances pour des objectifs spéci­fiques.

 

L'Allemagne wilhelmienne, aveuglée par les possibilités d'un destin impérial propre, renia, à cette époque, les principes de la Realpolitik, en rejetant toutes les offres d'alliance britanniques. La conséquence inévitable de ce refus fut le rap­prochement anglo-français, avec l'Entente Cordiale de 1904, impliquant la résolution à l'amiable des querelles coloniales qui, jusqu'alors, avaient envenimé les relations entre les deux puissances occidentales. Cette amitié nouvelle fut encore renforcée par les crises suc­cessives au Maroc et par la «conciliation des inté­rêts» entre Russes et Britanniques au détriment de la Perse.

 

La polarisation en Europe était désormais un fait et l'équilibre savamment mis au point par Bismarck pour éviter une tragédie fatale fut re­misé au placard et tous se précipitèrent avec une criminelle insouciance vers la destruction mu­tuelle. L'inutile catastrophe que fut la première guerre mondiale blessa et mutila l'Europe au point que même les puissances victorieuses en sortirent exsangues et épuisées par leur victoire à la Pyrrhus. Non seulement ce conflit inutile sema les graines de misères futures mais tous les pro­tagonistes furent désormais exposés aux usurpa­tions extra-européennes. Les bénéficiaires réels des carnages de la Somme et de l'Isonzo, de Verdun et de Tannenberg, furent des puissances observatrices et opportunistes, des belligérants prudents, comme le Japon et les Etats-Unis. Par le sacrifice de ses soldats dans la Forêt d'Argonne, les Etats-Unis, par le droit du sang versé, demandèrent à siéger à la Conférence de Versailles. Pour la première fois, une ombre transatlantique voilait un soleil européen, pâle et malade. La puissance américaine n'était encore qu'au stade de l'enfance et, bien que ses mar­chands avaient exploité à fond les opportunités laissées par les Européens occupés à s'entre-dé­chirer et avaient systématiquement braconné les anciens marchés réservés de l'Europe sur les autres continents, de vastes zones du globe res­taient à l'abri de la pénétration américaine grâce au protectionnisme colonial.

 

Le premier après-guerre

 

Durant ces années cruciales du premier après-guerre, quand la marée montante des nationa­lismes envahissait les débris d'anciens empires continentaux, la Grande-Bretagne quitta, dépitée, le théâtre européen, pour se vautrer une nouvelle fois dans les délices nostalgiques de sa gloire impériale d'antan. Mais la puissance de l'Empire s'était ternie dès les années 90 du siècle passé, lorsque le principe du Two Power Standard  (équilibre des forces entre, d'une part, la Grande-Bretagne, et, d'autre part, les deux na­tions les plus puissantes du continent) ne s'appliquait plus qu'à la flotte. Dans les années 30, qu'en était-il de ce tigre de papier? N'était-ce plus qu'illusion?

 

Tandis que les Français cherchaient à contrer une Allemagne renaissante en forgeant un jeu d'alliances complexes avec des Etats est-euro­péens et balkaniques, les Britanniques restaient stupidement aveugles. La politique étrangère du gouvernement national-socialiste allemand fonc­tionnait à l'aide du Führerprinzip. Les signes avant-coureurs d'un désastre imminent étaient parfaitement perceptibles. Mais un malaise débili­tant paralysait les ministères britanniques suc­cessifs. La crise tchécoslovaque demeurait, pour ces diplomates, «une querelle dans un pays loin­tain, entre des peuples dont nous ne savons rien». L'arrogance et l'ignorance venaient d'atteindre leur apogée.

 

L'incapacité de Neville Chamberlain à saisir le projet hitlérien dans sa totalité apparaît à l'évidence dans les garanties aussi pieuses que sans valeur que son gouvernement accorda à toute une série d'Etats est-européens instables. Ces gestes vains ne firent rien pour arrêter les ambitions germaniques et ne servirent qu'à en­traîner la Grande-Bretagne dans une guerre où la victoire était impossible et la défaite inévitable.

 

Si la première guerre mondiale avait permis aux Etats-Unis d'entrer dans un club d'élite de «courtiers de puissance» internationaux, la se­conde leur permit d'assumer simultanément les rôles de Président et de trésorier. A la Grande-Bretagne, il ne restait plus qu'à devenir le secré­taire scrupuleux, qui enregistre et annonce les motions décidées par le patron-contrôleur.

 

Les buts de guerre des Etats-Unis

 

Les Etats-Unis ne sont pas entrés dans le conflit à son début, animés par une ferveur libérale, par le feu d'une croisade. Ils sont entrés en guerre à contre-cœur, contraints d'agir de la sorte par une agression japonaise délibérée. Mais dès que leurs forces pesèrent dans la balance, les Etats-Unis décidèrent que leurs sacrifices pour la cause de la liberté ne seraient pas si vite oubliés et que le monde devrait leur en savoir gré. Le prix exigé par les Américains pour la sauvegarde de l'Europe était élevé: c'était le remodelage du Vieux Continent ou, du moins, de sa portion dite «libre». L'Europe devait être à l'image de ses li­bérateurs et le Plan Marshall était l'instrument destiné à provoquer la métamorphose.

 

Il n'est guère surprenant que les Américains aient largement réussi dans la tâche monumentale qu'ils s'étaient assignée, à savoir transformer l'Europe sur les plans culturel et économique. Le Vieux Continent, ébranlé, a été obligé d'embrasser la main tendue qui offrait les moyens de la reconstruction, quelqu'aient d'ailleurs été ces moyens. Les Etats-Unis utilisè­rent l'aide alimentaire et les transfusions de dol­lars pour reconstituer les économies des pays tombés dans leur sphère d'influence. Les Soviétiques utilisèrent, quant à eux, des moyens nettement plus frustes: l'Armée Rouge comme élément de coercition et la mobilisation en masse des forces de travail. Quoi qu'il en soit, l'assistance américaine précipita les bénéficiaires dans un réseau étroit de dépendance économique. Par leur «générosité» magnanime, les Etats-Unis s'assurèrent la domination de leur zone de comptoirs à l'Ouest de l'Elbe pendant quelque deux décennies après la fin de la guerre.

 

Si tel était le magnifique butin ramassé par les Américains, que restait-il aux Britanniques, si­non les fruits amères d'une défaite réelle mais non formelle? Les années d'austérité qui s'étendirent jusqu'à la fin des années 50 ternirent la «victoire» et mirent cruellement en exergue le coût de la guerre. L'Empire se désagrégea lente­ment, malgré la conviction têtue que la nation britannique restait un arbitre dans les affaires du monde. Cette illusion fit que les Britanniques se préoccupèrent d'une stratégie globale, au détri­ment d'une stratégie européenne. L'énorme charge des budgets militaires, due à cette volonté de garder une position en fait intenable, retarda la restructuration économique de la métropole, ce qui provoqua la chute de la livre sterling, devant un dollar qui ne cessait de monter.

 

Et malgré le désir de préserver le statut de super-puissance pour la Grande-Bretagne, la politique des gouvernements successifs ne put nullement ôter aux observateurs objectifs l'impression que notre pays n'était guère plus qu'un pion de l'Amérique. L'opération de Suez, qui sera un fiasco, fut lancée par l'état-major britannique malgré l'opposition de Washington. La réaction négative du State Department suffit à arrêter pré­maturément l'opération, ce qui contribua à aigrir les relations franco-britanniques pendant toutes les années 60. La Grande-Bretagne battit sa coulpe et ne tenta plus aucune intervention unila­térale sans recevoir au préalable l'imprimatur  de son «allié» d'Outre-Atlantique.

 

Les «special relationships»

 

Les fameuses special relationships,  dont on parle si souvent, sont effectivement spéciales, car quel Etat souverain délaisse volontairement ses intérêts légitimes pour satisfaire les exigences stratégiques d'un partenaire soi-disant égal? Le mythe de la dissuasion nucléaire indépendante de la Grande-Bretagne montre le véritable visage de ces «relations spéciales»: car sans la livraison par les Etats-Unis des fusées lanceuses, sans leur coopération dans la conception des bombes, sans leurs matériaux nucléaires, sans les facilités qu'ils accordent pour les essais, sans leurs plate­formes de lancement, sans leurs systèmes de navigation et sans leurs informations quant aux objectifs, où résiderait donc la crédibilité de l'arme nucléaire anglaise?

 

Un tel degré de dépendance à l'endroit de la technologie militaire américaine fait qu'un flux continu de concessions part de Londres pour aboutir à Washington: cela va des arrangements particuliers qui permettent aux forces américaines d'utiliser des bases britanniques d'outre-mer  —ce qui réduit à néant les discours pieux sur l'auto-détermination—  jusqu'aux droits de dé­collage et de survol pour les appareils de l'USAF en route pour attaquer des Etats tiers, sans que le gouvernement britannique ne soit mis au courant! Toutes ces concessions font que les Européens perçoivent de plus en plus souvent la Grande-Bretagne comme un simple pion dans la politique américaine; la promptitude empressée de nos politiciens qui obéissent aux moindres lubies du Pentagone signale qu'ils accordent une pleine confiance aux requêtes de Washington.

 

L'affaire de Suez, au moins, a prouvé la fragilité de l'édifice impérial. La course au désengage­ment qui s'ensuivit conduisit à accorder l'indépendance tant aux colonies qui la désiraient qu'à celles qui ne la désiraient pas. Le «rôle glo­bal» du Royaume-Uni ne se justifiait plus, ne méritait plus les soucis et l'attention qu'on lui avait accordé dans le passé. Pendant ce temps, la situation changeait en Europe.

 

Le défi du Traité de Rome

 

En 1957, les Six signent le Traité de Rome et mettent ainsi sur pied deux corps supra-natio­naux, la CEE et l'EURATOM, destinés à com­pléter la CECA déjà existante. Le but déclaré de ces organisations, c'était de favoriser une plus grande unité entre les Etats participants par l'harmonisation des lois et par une libéralisation des régimes commerciaux. Inutile de préciser que ces changements ne suscitèrent que fort peu d'enthousiasme en Grande-Bretagne; les Traités furent ratifiés avant le discours de Macmillan (Wind of Change),  quand le Royaume-Uni se laissait encore bercer par la chimère de la Commonwealth Preference  (La préférence au sein du Commonwealth). Mais l'institution de tarifs douaniers communs par les Etats membres de la CEE frappait les marchandises d'importation venues de l'extérieur. Il fallait ré­pondre à ce défi et c'est ainsi que le RU devint l'un des principaux signataires du Traité de Stockholm de 1959, établissant l'AELE (Association Européenne du Libre Echange; EFTA en anglais). Cette Association fut créée comme un simple mécanisme destiné à faciliter le commerce et n'avait pas d'objectifs en politique extérieure allant au-delà des buts purement mer­cantilistes.

 

Il apparut très vite que l'adhésion à l'AELE/EFTA n'était pas un substitut adéquat à la pleine adhésion à la CEE. Rapidement, les re­présentants des intérêts commerciaux de la Grande-Bretagne exercèrent une pression cons­tante sur le gouvernement, afin qu'il leur garan­tisse un accès préférentiel aux marchés plus lu­cratifs, c'est-à-dire qu'il demande la pleine ad­hésion du RU à la CEE. Macmillan s'exécuta et la première demande britannique fut soumise en juillet 1961, pour être finalement rejetée par De Gaulle en 1963, à la suite de longues négocia­tions inutiles. L'opposition française n'empêcha pas qu'une seconde demande fut formulée en 1967. L'amertume laissée par l'affaire de Suez était passée. Et la Grande-Bretagne entra finale­ment dans la Communauté le 1 janvier 1973, en même temps que l'Irlande et le Danemark. Un ré­férendum en 1975 donna des résultats en faveur de l'adhésion: 67% des votants ayant émis un avis favorable. Les rapports ultérieurs du RU avec la CEE furent souvent turbulents et diffi­ciles, ce qui trahit la profonde ambiguïté des atti­tudes britanniques à l'égard des principes consti­tutifs de l'eurocentrisme.

 

La Grande-Bretagne reste en marge de l’Europe

 

A tort ou à raison, la Grande-Bretagne se perçoit toujours comme une nation à part, jouissant d'un lien particulier, bien que souvent ambigu, avec les pays associés au Commonwealth, lesquels forment un monde où les affinités historiques ac­quièrent fréquemment plus d'importance que la solidarité interne.

 

L'influence pernicieuse des «relations spéciales» freine le développement d'une approche plus eu­rocentrée des relations internationales. Lorsque les intérêts militaires américains exigent que les politiques nationales de Londres et de Washington soient parallèles, comment cela peut-il être possible, comment la collaboration RU/USA peut-elle s'avérer rentable, si la Grande-Bretagne participe activement à un sys­tème protectionniste eurocentré? Il vaudrait la peine de noter le nombre de fois où le gouverne­ment britannique a résisté aux initiatives commu­nautaires parce qu'elles offusqueraient inutile­ment Washington et provoqueraient une «guerre commerciale» soi-disant au détriment de tous.

 

De plus, malgré que la Grande-Bretagne ait ac­cepté l'Acte Unique Européen, dont le premier article déclare que «les communautés euro­péennes et que la coopération politique euro­péenne auront pour objectif de contribuer en­semble à faire des progrès concrets en direction de l'unité européenne», Londres ne respecte que formellement ces aspirations. Tout ce qui va au-delà des paramètres de pure coopération écono­mique est perçu d'un très mauvais oeil à Westminster et les privilèges locaux et étriqués de la Grande-Bretagne sont défendus fanatique­ment, bec et ongles.

 

Pareilles équivoques ne donnent nullement con­fiance aux autres Européens; la crédibilité de la Grande-Bretagne est ruinée. De plus en plus de voix réclament la construction d'une Europe à deux vitesses avec, d'une part, les Etats récalci­trants relégués à un étage inférieur, de façon à permettre aux éléments plus progressistes de poursuivre le rêve de l'unité sans trop d'entraves. Tandis que la Grande-Bretagne croupit, asservie, sous le régime thatchérien, il semble inconcevable qu'une convergence réelle puisse un jour avoir lieu entre les partenaires eu­ropéens.

 

Alors que notre gouvernement proclame à grands cris l'importance du progrès scientifique et tech­nologique, la contribution britannique à l'Agence Spatiale Européenne est incroyablement basse. Alors que notre gouvernement se déclare le dé­fenseur impavide de la livre sterling, il refuse de participer au mécanisme de stabilisation qu'est le serpent monétaire européen. Voilà qui est abso­lument déconcertant. Si des objectifs éminement conservateurs comme ceux-là ne sont même pas activement poursuivis, pourquoi nous étonne­rions-nous que le gouvernement de Madame Thatcher s'oppose implacablement à l'augmentation des droits des travailleurs grâce à une nouvelle Charte sociale?

 

Dans tous ses domaines, le RU exerce ses préro­gatives pour bloquer et retarder les résolutions de la Communauté et pour satisfaire ses propres objectifs, en fin de compte négatifs pour le salut du continent. Si cette opposition s'appuyait sur une critique tranchante des principes mécanicistes et bureaucratiques qui sous-tendent le processus d'unification européenne porté par les institutions communautaires, la position britannique jouirait d'un certain capital de sympathie. Mais, malheu­reusement, cette hostilité ne consiste pas en une censure permanente et constructive du modus operandi;  au contraire, elle présente toutes les caractéristiques d'un nombrilisme malsain et per­vers. En effet, cet égoïsme étroit, justifié par l'«intérêt national», nous oblige à nous demander si le RU doit demeurer associé au processus d'unification européenne, tant que la seule justi­fication qu'il évoque pour son engagement, re­pose sur la base douteuse de l'expédiant écono­mique.

 

Une orientation européenne sans arrière-pensées pour la Grande-Bretagne

 

Or c'est précisément aujourd'hui, en ces jours décisifs, dans le tourbillon de changements qui balaye ce dualisme moribond auquel nous de­vons la division de notre continent, que les têtes pensantes en Grande-Bretagne doivent se mobili­ser pour construire le futur de l'Europe. Ces têtes pensantes doivent ignorer les événements péri­phériques de l'Afrique du Sud et de Hong Kong, montés en épingle pour les distraire. Ce sont des soucis résiduels, hérité d'un Empire qui est bel et bien mort aujourd'hui. Le seul défi actuel con­siste, pour nous, à définir quelles relations le RU entretiendra avec l'Europe. Cette question cru­ciale nous conduit à un dilemme tranché. En ef­fet, deux voies, qui s'excluent l'une l'autre, s'offrent à notre choix: celle de l'isolement et celle de l'intégration.

 

La première de ces voies ne demande pas un ef­fort particulier de lucidité car la politique actuelle de la Grande-Bretagne accentue déjà la tendance au désengagement en Europe. Cependant, il nous faudra bien mettre en évidence les dangers inhé­rents à ce retrait.

 

Un exemple: combien de temps le programme Inward Investment (Investissement intérieur), tant vanté par Madame Thatcher, survivra-t-il dans un RU découplé? Après tout, le rôle de Cheval de Troie pour les industries japonaise et américaine, que joue notre pays, n'est possible que parce que les investisseurs nippons et yankee considèrent le RU comme une tête de pont vers la CEE, idéale pour les opérations «tourne-vis». Ces opérations seraient rapidement évacuées ail­leurs si disparaissaient les opportunités de péné­trer le marché européen dans sa totalité.

 

Certes, les conséquences économiques d'un repli sur soi seraient catastrophiques. La menace qui pèse sur nous est toutefois plus terrible encore si on l'envisage d'un point de vue plus large. Si le RU prend ses distances par rapport à l'Europe, sans plus avoir d'ancrage de sécurité dans un Empire, il dérivera, erratique, sur la mer des re­lations internationales sans motivation et sans punch. Très rapidement, notre nation se réduirait à un simple appendice des puissants Etats-Unis et perdrait, dans la foulée et sans doute à jamais, tout vestige de son ascendance morale et cultu­relle.

 

Avec un tel destin à l'horizon, la perspective de voir un RU isolé, survivant comme une entité bien distincte au XXIième siècle, s'avère pure illusion. La seule vraie chance de préserver l'héritage culturel unique de nos îles, c'est, para­doxalement, de les immerger dans un idéal euro­péen. Cette solution n'est pas aussi contradictoire qu'elle en a l'air à première vue car l'éthos euro­péen n'exige pas un renoncement total à nos identités (à rebours du modèle américain si vo­race et destructeur). L'éthos européen appelle une synthèse entre l'élément national/ethnique et le projet continental. L'élément national/ethnique acquiert ainsi un sens du contexte civilisationnel, soit un sens vital du destin. Le concept d'Europe peut s'accomoder de la multiplicité de ses com­posantes sans mutiler celles-ci par quelque con­centration artificielle, par quelque corset de con­formisme.

 

Dans cette optique, l'idée d'une «Europe aux cent drapeaux» demeure parfaitement compatible avec l'objectif d'un continent plus fort et plus confédéré. Les progrès dans le sens de l'hété­rogénéité doivent toutefois toujours avancer dans le même sens que la marche à l'unité, si l'Europe veut éviter les pièges des monolithismes de tous ordres.

 

Comme la réunification allemande est désormais davantage une question de calendrier que de conjoncture, il existe un risque réel de voir les faibles économies est-européennes basculées dans une nouvelle Mitteleuropa germanocentrée. Les tentations de se livrer à un paternalisme ger­manique menacent la logique d'une Europe des peuples, car la diversité serait asphyxiée sous une uniformité germano-industrielle, terreau sur lequel pourraient germer de nouvelles idéologies autoritaires. Un tel scénario doit être évité à tout prix, si l'on veut faire l'économie d'un conflit. La Grande-Bretagne ne doit pas fuir ses respon­sabilités et doit participer à la sécurité collective du continent.

 

La notion de Balance of power  est sans doute démodée. Mais sauf si l'on pousse le processus d'unification européenne jusqu'à son ultime conclusion, avec la pleine participation de toutes les nations européennes dans l'enthousiasme, le retour de cette vénérable doctrine serait inévitable pour contrer les prédominances dangereuses. Dans le cas particulier qui nous préoccupe, l'énergie déployée par la ferveur pangermanique ne pourra être canalisée que par le consensus et non par la coercition, de façon à ce que, demain, l'Europe puisse être une et que tous les peuples du Continent puissent prospérer avec une égale vigueur.

 

Nous, peuples des Iles britanniques, devons être prêts à renier l'hypocrisie et la rhétorique propa­gée pendant des siècles de désintérêt hautain puis embrasser avec une conviction venue tout droit du cœur notre identité européenne réelle et con­crète. La barrière illusoire que constitue le Pas-de-Calais a longtemps été plus difficile à traver­ser pour nous que les immensités de l'Atlantique. Toutefois, le retour de la vraie perspective euro­péenne doit recevoir la priorité absolue. Re­connaître notre héritage européen commun, vouloir agir positivement à la lumière de cette évidence, voilà les impératifs vitaux à honorer si nous voulons préserver la paix, si nous voulons résister puis repousser l'avance d'une culture créole globale, faites de bric et de broc.

 

Gwyn DAVIES.  

lundi, 23 novembre 2009

Meltdown

meltdown.jpgMeltdown

February 19, 2009

By Joe Priestly / http://bnp.org.uk

It seems like every day brings with it a new and significant development and always more evidence of the conspiracies and cock-ups of Brown and co. It’s impossible to keep pace with events – this feels like meltdown. Nothing works and nothing makes sense; reality is catching up with the liblabcon fantasy.

Over the past sixty years or so the liblabcons have been spinning a web of lies to justify the destruction of British culture and the genocide of the British people. Their common purpose is to remake Britain as a society consisting of peoples and cultures from every corner of the earth. The responsibility for putting in place the final pieces of this multicultural jigsaw fell to the New Labour government, ably supported of course by the ‘opposition’. The economy was the key. It was essential that people had money to spend on the latest distractions. Hence the government-sponsored credit boom; it was a smokescreen behind which they hid our demise.

They didn’t want us to trouble ourselves with concerns about immigration, Islam, asylum, education, crime, the EU… just in case we came to the wrong conclusion. So they gave us easy credit and unbridled consumerism and added the big match and the soaps to stop us thinking about what really matters.

But a financial storm blew away their easy-money smokescreen and left the liblabcons with nowhere to hide. People are now counting their pennies and thinking less about hi-tech toys and the latest Big Brother controversy and more about the state of the nation and its impact on their lives and futures. They’re waking up to the mess that the liblabcons have made of this country.

The establishment is ideology-led and has convinced itself that nature can be moulded to fit its plan. And it’s this thinking that’s brought Britain to its sorry state. But perhaps it had to come to this. Maybe nothing short of crisis would have woken us from our slumber – that is the British way isn’t it? It seems to me though that we’re waking up now. What’s that they say about the problem being the catalyst for its own solution? And we can see it in action in the increasing number of people who are making the connection between the ideology and its manifestations.

The establishment is founded on a lie so monumentally absurd that it’s spent all its life lurking between the lines and only ever appearing as hint and suggestion. Stripped of all its camouflage the bare-faced lie is that the genocide of the British people is good for the British people – little wonder they had to sugar-coat it with a billions tending towards trillions credit boom.

But that alone wasn’t enough. It was necessary also for them to rework every aspect of society to discourage dissent and to encourage the British people’s acquiescence in their own genocide. It worked for a long time and that and the booming economy encouraged the liblabcons to think that the good times would last forever and that their transformation of Britain would proceed unnoticed.

That was then; the party finished a while back. Post party, in the cold light of a looming depression, the changes imposed on Britain are not all that their liblabcon architects had painted them to be. What they said would be utopia looks increasingly like chaos – and that’s before the lights start going out. The consequences of the lie are beginning to be felt and it’s dawning on British people that the reality of the lie is their destruction.

And as Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels* observed, “The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political (and) economic… consequences of the lie.” And he should know. The British political and media establishment used the credit boom to soften the impact of its ideology on the population; they encouraged people to focus on personal gain while they got on with the job of creating 21st century multiracial multicultural Britain. But the boom has turned to bust and their lie is there for all to see.

Politicians, power brokers, celebrities, and mainstream media-types have staked their reputations (read fortunes) on their sick lie and its bastard child multiracial multicultural Britain. The maintenance of the lie is all that separates them from ruin; without it they’d be irrelevant. They are the status quo and everything they do is aimed at holding that position; they have no choice but to maintain the lie. But now the spend fest is over. The cupboard is bare and winter approaches; the liblabcons have run out of the means to shield the British people from the consequences of the lie. The reality of mass third world immigration is upon us.

If we take fact as truth then a lie is a deliberate distortion of fact. In respect of mass immigration and its impact on British society the establishment distorts the facts so as to paint a positive picture of its creation the multiracial multicultural society. But the nearer a disaster looms the more it is recognised for what it is, irrespective of official explanations. Ignoring facts doesn’t make them go away nor does it diminish their truth.

The establishment lost the argument years ago and their position now is entirely dependant upon those members of the population that remain indifferent to politics and politicians until they impact on them personally. But the collapse of consumerism and the maturation of the multiracial multicultural society is encouraging even the formerly indifferent to pay attention to the shenanigans of people in power. The establishment sold out for short term advantage and the short term is almost up; the theft of a nation from under the noses of its people isn’t something that can go unnoticed forever. The British people are waking up to the liblabcons’ crimes.

Having distorted the facts for six decades the British establishment is in no position to face them. Facing facts will expose the lie and their world will come crashing down. Britain is a multiracial multicultural society because the establishment ignored the facts; in spite of the fact of the chaos of third world multiracial multicultural societies, Britain’s political and media elite facilitated the importation of millions of third world aliens into our midst as part of a plan to make Britain into such a society. Now the predictable is happening; multiracial multicultural chaos is playing on our streets.

Of course they never would have predicted it. Their world view, their equality dogma, prohibits any such prediction. And whereas a growing number of the rest of us are coming to believe that the liblabcons were negligent in failing to anticipate the chaos that would accompany mass third world immigration, the liblabcons continue the charade of the multiracial multicultural society as utopia – in the face of growing evidence to the contrary. You’ve got to laugh.

The liblabcons put me in mind of a kind of circus act that I saw on TV years ago but haven’t seen since. I don’t know what it’s called but it involved spinning plates (crockery) on canes. Those that know what I’m talking about please hum along for a moment while I explain for those that don’t… A number of canes (at a guess about 50) is set vertically and fixed at the lower point, the ‘artist’ gyrates each cane in turn and sets a plate spinning on the upper point so that it balances under its own momentum, he does the same with each cane until each has a plate spinning on it. He then attempts to maintain this equilibrium by moving from one cane to another to tend to those plates in danger of slowing beyond the critical and crashing to the floor. In a short while his movement has become a rush from one cane to another as the plates lose momentum faster than he can maintain it. And then the inevitable happens. First one plate then another and another until almost in unison the rest crash to the floor.

Their situation is analogous to that of the circus artist upon the realization that the inevitable is, well, inevitable. The plates haven’t yet all crashed to the floor but they’re going to. Like the circus artist the liblabcons have created something that can’t be maintained but unlike him they can’t just throw up their hands and walk away from the crashing plates; they’ve got far too much invested in keeping things spinning for as long as possible.

But in a meltdown everything goes wrong. And the liblabcons’ frantic effort to keep their metaphorical plates spinning merely draws attention to the illogic of setting them spinning that way in the first place. Our economy and our society aren’t working because they’re founded on an ideological fallacy, universal equality and the theory of the interchangeability of man. Yet the liblabcons’ solutions to the problems caused by their way of thinking is yet more of the same; they’re trying to solve society’s problems with the same thinking that created them. And they’re beginning to look ridiculous because of it; every time they open their mouths they contradict themselves. Their world view is in meltdown, and yet it looked so good on paper – or so they used to say.

To paraphrase Karl Marx, Marxism is collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions. There’s so much going wrong now in this country that our establishment and its idiotic thinking are permanently under the spotlight and both are being revealed as barrels of contradiction. That’s why no liblabcon type will ever stand his ground – they haven’t got a coherent argument so they avoid argument. It’s a variation on the no-platform theme. Even establishment media persons are shuffling their feet away from liblabcon egalitarianism. The lie is being found out and every time an establishment mouthpiece attempts a cover up they succeed only in shoving their foot further down their throat. Everything they do is founded on a lie and the lie is being undone by its own contradictions.

British society today is a manifestation of liblabcon equality ideology. The alienation that we feel is a consequence of society following the incoherent ideology of egalitarianism, which quite literally doesn’t make sense. It is smoke and mirrors and it’s survived to this point, since WWII, on a combination of bullying, bullshit, and brass neck. It’s bullied, bullshit, and brass necked its way to intimidating the rest of us into going along with its world view. But in spite of the power of its ‘followers’, equality ideology has never convinced more than a committed few. Tolerance of its ‘inherent contradictions’ requires a dedication far beyond the means of most people; the majority of those that go along with equality ideology do so because it’s the direction of least resistance.

The reality is that equality ideology has a fundamental weakness; it lacks continuity. Its argument is riddled with inconsistencies and so its proponents always seek refuge in vagueness. These people need plenty of room for manoeuvre.

Yet their room for manoeuvre is shrinking. It’s becoming clearer by the hour that the problem is the liblabcons and their equality thinking – the logical conclusion of which is the state of Britain today, economically, socially, and spiritually. Having created this mess, the establishment is now in the unfortunate position of not only having to defend it but to promote it as well. And so naturally incoherence features in every aspect of everything that the establishment does and says. Whatever the policy, whatever the department, whatever the statement, you know it won’t make sense. There are countless examples of the idiocy of liblabcon thought in action; three which immediately come to mind are free movement of labour, the incarceration of immigrants, and the Afghanistan ‘war’.

In their blind pursuit of ‘equality’ the liblabcons sanctioned the free movement of labour and in so doing signed away this country’s right to favour its own workers on its own soil over foreign workers on its soil – surely the most treasonable act ever committed. I wonder if they think they’re going to get away with that one forever. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, from the liblabcons’ long term health point of view that is, by severing their commitment to their own population they sort of compound their problems by effectively making themselves redundant. If they’re not there to represent our interests what exactly are they for? Is that what they mean by an unintended consequence, or was it intended and part of a conspiracy of extreme subtlety? I can never work out whether their determination to have us see them as lying, idiotic, thieving, hypocritical, treacherous cowards is due to incompetence or whether it’s part of a cunning plot that’s beyond my wit to understand.

It seems to me they’re paying the price of living a lie and the lie is coming back to haunt them.

Having said that, I’m sure I could put the case for the liblabcons better than they do. Consider the gaga they offer in explanation for the statistical over-representation of ethnic minorities in prisons and in secure mental health institutions. You don’t need me to tell you what it is – they parrot the Marxist line, that these inequalities of outcome are a consequence of the racism of the criminal justice and mental health systems. Any other explanation would set in motion a train of thought that leads back to the source of the problem, equality dogma and its application; the Marxists’ intention is to set the train of thought on a wild goose chase after whites as the cause of the problem. It’s the easy option and it’s the only one that doesn’t question their insane world view.

But there’s a nice irony in this; their explanation is a perfect example of the inconsistency it was intended to disguise. For them the problem is not the equality idea but opposition to the idea. And so every explanation they offer for any of society’s problems must always be tailored to protect the easily bruised equality idea. It’s this that has them tripping over their own feet.

Ethnic minorities are over-represented in prisons and mental hospitals either because they’re more inclined to criminality and mental health problems or because they’re not treated the same as the majority population. If it’s not one it’s the other. And that’s a no brainer for the establishment whose equality dogma dictates that ethnic minorities can never be the cause of any problem. The problem therefore is the majority population. It’s that catch-all again, racism, the only explanation that doesn’t question the equality idea.

But it’s here they get their wires crossed. According to them the criminal justice system is racist because it treats ethnic minorities differently from ethnic Britons, and the mental health system is racist because it treats ethnic minorities the same as ethnic Britons and fails to take into account cultural and ethnic difference in behaviour when diagnosing mental illness. Doesn’t that just sum up these gibbering liblabcon wrecks? The criminal justice system is racist because it discriminates; the mental health system is racist because it doesn’t discriminate.

They’re less concerned with the soundness of their argument than they are with arriving at the right conclusion; equality ideology must never be seen to be a problem. All their roads lead to racism.

The “racism” accusation began as a tactic, it developed into a strategy, and now it looks increasingly like a last ditch effort. You can tell they’re no longer comfortable with it, it’s like they’re suddenly aware that British people are sick to death with the accusation and contemptuous of its argument. But when liblabcon backs are against the door – it’s either racism or the admission that their thinking has been wrong all along.

Nothing they say makes sense because their argument is founded not on hard facts but on wishful thinking. Their explanations run contrary to the facts and as the facts become clearer so do the holes in the explanations. That’s what’s happening now; the reality of the multiracial multicultural society is hitting home and the liblabcons’ equality/diversity sweet talk is at such odds with the facts that it’s encouraging the scepticism it’s designed to stop.

Consider the conflict in Afghanistan: The establishment is putting our soldiers’ lives on the line in Afghanistan allegedly to protect Britain from terrorism yet at the same time it keeps Britain’s borders open to any Tom, Dick, or Harry who cares to cross them. Anybody else see the contradiction here? Yet the liblabcons don’t get it – their idiotic ideology won’t allow them to.

 They’re in denial. It’s a common response to overwhelming collapse. They’re taking the only option open to them, they’re burying their faces in their comfort blankets and singing nursery rhymes about joy and diversity. Liblabcon thought is reaching its logical conclusion – illogicality. They’re in meltdown.

mercredi, 14 octobre 2009

Gilbert K. Chesterton, la ironia hecha inocencia

chesterton.jpgGilbert K. Chesterton, la ironía hecha inocencia

Un escritor y pensador ameno en él que incluso sus novelas más ligeras tienen un mensaje

Ex: http://www.arbil.org/

Gilbert K. Chesterton fue uno de los más famosos y polémicos escritores ingleses de este siglo.

Este periodista británico nació en el seno de una familia pudiente de mentalidad liberal y protestante.

Sin embargo, su búsqueda de la verdad le llevó a ser después de Newman uno de los casos más llamativos de conversión al catolicismo en la Inglaterra victoriana.

Nacido el 29 de mayo de 1874 en el barrio londinense de Kensington, en una familia de corredores de fincas.

A los cinco años nació su hermano Cecil, con quien discutiría de temas intelectuales.

Ya en la escuela demuestra su interés por la polémica y forma parte de un club de debate.

De joven, su padre le hace inscribirse en Bellas Artes, es más fácil que el joven Gilbert viva del dibujo, que de escritor.

Pero desde 1895, Gilbert abandona el dibujo y decide dedicarse a escribir para una pequeña editorial.

Con ingresos mínimos se enamora de Frances, una anglocatólica de pobres recursos, menuda y tímida, con la cual iniciará un largo noviazgo que les llevará al matrimonio en 1901.

Como era natural, a Gilbert se le perdió la corbata, perdieron luego el tren y finalmente llegaron tarde al hotel donde les esperaban para la luna de miel.

Por cuestiones de salud de élla nunca pudieron tener hijos lo que les unió más en una simbiosis platónica castigada por la ausencia de descendencia.

A pesar de todo, su casa se convirtió en lugar de reunión deescritores y periodistas, donde siempre encontraban cerveza y salchichas.

Gilbert recorría las tabernas vecinas y polemizaba aficionado al borgoña y al jerez.

Sin embargo, de su excesivo trabajo, acompañado de la bebida le llevó a tener problemas cardiacos.


Gilbert K. Chesterton, con un descomunal físico y maneras de sabio despistado, fue un gran literato en la lengua inglesa con Un hombre llamado jueves, Las historias del P. Brown, La esfera y la cruz, La balada del caballo blanco, Magia, Ortodoxia, San Francisco de Asís, Santo Tomás de Aquino y otras más.

No obstante, no pasará a la historia únicamente por su labor literaria, al haberse cruzado en su camino un escritor anglofrancés de firme carácter católico, Hilarie Belloc.

Belloc era un defensor a ultranza de la justicia social frente al liberalismo capitalista y al socialismo marxista.

Pronto el anglofrancés convenció a Cecil Chesterton, hermano del novelista, para que colaborase con él en varias revistas, donde difundieron sus teorías inspiradas en las ideas que León XIII había desarrollado en la Encíclica Rerum Novarum.

Estas ideas que fomentaban la formación de una sociedad orgánica como mejor sistema para evitar las desigualdades sociales fue conocido en Inglaterra como distribucionalismo.

Pero, cuando en la Primera Guerra Mundial falleció Cecil en Francia, su hermano Gilbert decidió ocupar su puesto y colaborar con Belloc en la difusión del corporativismo católico.

Del mismo modo, en que Cecil se había convertido al catolicismo, Gilbert aceptó la Fe romana en julio de 1922, ya que había llegado al convencimiento de que las diferentes formas anglicanas eran pálidos reflejos de la verdadera Iglesia encabezada por el Papa.

El P. O`Connor, un sacerdote irlandés, con el cual tuvo sus polémicas y una antigua amistad, sirviéndole el clérigo de inspiración para su personaje literario el P. Brown


La conversión de Gilbert K. Chesterton fue tomada como la máxima provocación.

Pero Frances, su esposa, le acompañará en 1926 en su entrada en la Iglesia Católica, como su secretaria Dorothy Collins poco después.

Gilbert mantiene una gran intensidad de trabajo con conferencias que le lleva por Canada, Estados Unidos, Polonia y España.

Al mismo tiempo que publica "El retorno del Quijote" y "La vida de Santo Tomás de Aquino", Chesterton fue un periodista crítico y contracorriente que defendió el nacionalismo británico en contra del imperialismo victoriano dominante, lo que le llevó a posicionarse a favor de los böers en la guerra sudafricana y de los fascistas italianos en su toma de Abisinia.

Pero su lucha principal fue contra el parlamentarismo, al que acusaba de representar a la plutocracia política que dirigía el país y oprimía a la mayoría de la población.

Para Chesterton y Belloc, las elecciones no tenían importancia al no variar substancialmente la política.

Los resultados producían alternancias del poder entre miembros de una élite política entrelazada en intereses comunes, pero que no representaban los de la sociedad.

En cambio, el corporativismo representaría más fielmente los intereses de la sociedad real.

Chesterton y Belloc creían que esta forma política se había dado ya en la historia con éxito en la Edad Media y había que readaptarla a la época contemporanea.

El organicismo natural de la sociedad se había perdido definitivamente con la aparición del protestantismo.

Al ser la Iglesia católica la inspiradora de esa tercera alternativa al capitalismo y al socialismo.

No es raro ver como los hermanos Chesterton decidieron dar el paso hacia el catolicismo después de su lucha política por la justicia social

Su último viaje le lleva de peregrinación a Lourdes y Lisieux, pero a su vuelta debe guardar descanso.

Frances le cuida con esmero y únicamente el P. O`Connor es recibido por el obeso escritor.

Los problemas económicos se mantienen, las ganancias obtenidas por los éxitos publicados y las conferencias dadas suplen las deudas que proporciona la revista que mantiene con Hilaire Belloc.

Sin embargo, en junio empeora su estado, el P. Vincent Mc Nabb O.P. le reza el Salve Regina, costumbre que tiene la orden con sus miembros moribundos.

El 14 de junio de 1936 murió Gilbert, su mujer Frances, únicamente le sobrevivivó dos años

J.L.O.

dimanche, 30 août 2009

Une conspiration anglo-saxonne

cecil-rhodes.jpg

UNE CONSPIRATION ANGLO-SAXONNE

 

 

Aux Journées du Soleil 2009, dans le Jura, la leçon de la deuxième matinée a été dispensée par Jean-Patrick Arteault. Il  l’a intitulée ‘Le mondialisme de l’idée anglophone. Ce n’est en effet que dans sa première phase que l’impérialisme anglo-saxon se limite à fédérer au Royaume-Uni les dominions de l’Empire britannique, Nouvelle-Zélande, Australie, Canada, Afrique du Sud, qu’il convient de réunir naturellement aux Etats-Unis. Dans la phase suivante, le messianisme des protestants (leur surconsommation de la Bible les élève de fait au rang de Juifs de désir) a tôt fait de les investir de la mission d’étendre au monde entier le modèle indépassable de la démocratie anglaise.

 

Ils s’accommodent par ailleurs d’être des prédestinés, parmi un petit nombre d’élus, pour qui la réussite matérielle et sociale est le signe de l’approbation divine. Pragmatique, cette élite a la sagesse, pour éviter la révolte des masses, de prôner un socialisme non-marxiste. On se souviendra que c’est en observant la scandaleuse exploitation de leur prolétariat par les Anglais que Marx a pu prédire une irrésistible révolution. Pragmatique encore, le mouvement messianique anglo-saxon va s’ordonner à accélérer l’avènement de son règne mondial.

 

Le mouvement va éclore au XIXe siècle dans le compagnonnage amical d’étudiants des quatre collèges d’Oxford, Oriel, Balliol, New College et All Souls. Ils ont pour initiateur et père spirituel le poète, sociologue et historien d’art John Ruskin (1819-1900). Homme complet, celui-ci a fait le voyage de Rome et l’Italie et le passage des Alpes l’a marqué, lui inspirant une pensée profondément panthéiste. Il est sinon chrétien et socialiste, rattaché en fait dans un premier temps au mouvement chrétien socialiste, qui est un variante anglaise du socialisme non marxiste. Critique d’art, il est fort lié au peintre préraphaélite Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Ardent protecteur du patrimoine architectural, il est opposé à l’idée de Viollet-le-Duc de restituer l’ancien dans son état d’origine.

 

Professeur à Oxford, John Ruskin éduque des promotions de jeunes disciples, nés de la classe dirigeante, sélection naturellement destinée dans son esprit à gouverner suivant le modèle platonicien. A gouverner dans le souci de sauvegarder la haute culture anglo-saxonne, selon lui le summum de l’évolution humaine, en élevant le niveau de la masse laborieuse, afin d’éviter qu’elle ne détruise dans une révolution cette culture, en même temps que la classe dirigeante.

 

Le message de Ruskin a été particulièrement bien reçu par un de ses étudiants, un certain Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902), jeune homme attachant, d’autant plus dynamique que, se sachant de santé fragile, il agit toujours avec le sentiment qu’il peut mourir sous peu. Rongé d’asthme, il doit abandonner Oxford pour le climat plus salubre de l’Afrique du Sud, qui se révèlera effectivement excellent pour lui. Il y arrive au moment où on découvre des diamants dans la région et, très entreprenant en affaires, il se charge de fournir les chercheurs en matériel, équipements et subsistance. Alors qu’il n’a encore que dix-sept ans, il fait rapidement fortune. Sa santé s’est rétablie suffisamment pour qu’il reprenne ses études à Oriel College, tout en menant ses affaires minières, qui l’amèneront deux ans plus tard à fonder la De Beers et à contrôler la production du diamant. Il entre alors dans la franc-maçonnerie à Oxford.

 

A partir de condisciples choisis, avec lesquels il entretient des liens étroits d’amitié, il s’applique à constituer un groupe organisé. Il va bientôt donner à celui-ci la forme d’une société secrète, structurée sur le modèle de la Société jésuite, qu’il entend affecter au service de la Sainte Eglise que constitue pour lui l’Empire britannique. Il est bien sûr le Général de la Société. Assisté d’une Junte de Trois, il vise à réunir et organiser des sujets brillants à placer dans la politique, l’université et le journalisme. Parallèlement au cercle interne de sa Société des élus, il institue, au départ avec le soutien de Nathan Rothschild, un cercle externe, l’Association des bienfaiteurs. Seuls les Elus sont tenus au secret et à l’engagement. Ils sont les seuls à connaître tous les buts de la Société.

 

La junte est assez réservée à l’égard des rituels d’initiation et de fonctionnement auxquels Rhodes incline. Comme se montrera également réservé Nathan Rothschild, premier baron du noml, qui recommandera même la distance à son gendre, Lord Rosebery, ministre puis premier ministre, qui lui est des Elus. Dans le même temps, pour renforcer la fidélité de ceux-ci, la Société les encourage à créer entre eux des liens familiaux par mariage et elle obtient pour eux des titres nobiliaires. Elle suscite entre eux des activités de club, qui vont donner lieu à la mise en place à Chatham House (du nom de l’Hôtel de William Pitt où il se réunit) du club qui deviendra, en 1919, le RIIA (Royal Institute of International Affairs), avec son pendant américain le CFA (Council on Foreign Relations), organisations non-gouvernementales de politique étrangère. L’une comme l’autre applique, pour préserver la liberté de parole de chacun, la règle de confidentialité selon laquelle il est permis de révéler ce qui s’y est dit, mais pas qui l’a dit. La Société prend le contrôle du quotidien The Times, qui ne tire qu’à 50.000 exemplaires, mais est l’organe officieux du Foreign Office.

 

Cecil Rhodes, qui comme nombre d’autres personnages marquants de la Société des Elus considère l’argent comme un moyen et non comme un objectif, affectera une partie importante de sa fortune à constituer une fondation qui a comme objet d’accorder à de jeunes Anglais prometteurs, et à de jeunes Américains, une bourse pour étudier à Oxford. La fondation fonctionne toujours. Bill Clinton est un boursier Rhodes comme le Général Wesley Clark, comme le sont également six membres de l’équipe d’Obama.

 

La première Junte des Trois est constituée par trois personnalités remarquables : Stead, Milner et Brett. Rhodes avait dès l’abord éprouvé un coup de foudre pour le journaliste William T. Stead. Celui-ci, qui a un don évident de prémonition (Il va mourir sur le Titanic après avoir écrit un roman dont le héros est sauvé par le navire Titan d’un naufrage causé par un iceberg !), pense de Rhodes qu’il rêve d’être à la fois César et Ignace de Loyola. Il estime fort, par ailleurs, Milner qu’il juge capable de succéder à Rhodes.

Alfred Milner (1854-1925), qui est d’origine allemande, est pénétré de l’idée qu’il faut réorganiser l’Empire britannique aux fins de développer la vie spirituelle par l’éducation des masses à formater. Il aspire à réaliser l’Union anglo-américaine, avec au besoin sa capitale aux Etats-Unis, qui devra être le modèle d’une fédération mondiale qui regroupera la civilisation autour de la langue anglaise. L’Afrique du Sud servira de laboratoire d’essai de l’opération. Mais Rhodes, qui veut réaliser la liaison ferrée Le Cap-Le Caire, va trouver des Allemands encombrants dans son chemin, comme Milner trouve des Boers réfractaires. Les objectifs hautement moraux de l’un et l’autre viennent heureusement justifier l’immoralité des atrocités de la guerre, ce qui n’ira pas sans frictions internes. Pour réaliser les objectifs de la société, Milner recrute des jeunes gens à qui il confie très vite, avec succès, des postes à responsabilité. On appellera ‘affectueusement’ son groupe le Kindergarten ! Milner met en place une revue-laboratoire d’idées autour de groupes de réflexion : La Table Ronde. Idéologue, il veut installer une fraternité de type religieux unie autour du sens du devoir et du service de l’Etat. Il est significatif qu’il sera un des cinq membres du cabinet de guerre à partir de 1915.

Alfred Brett se charge du bon fonctionnement interne de la Société et de ses relations avec la Couronne. Tout comme Milner, il préfère son influence au sein de l’organisation, plutôt qu’un poste officiel (il déclinera l’offre de devenir Vice-Roi des Indes .

 

Mais l’idée d’une fédération mondiale est trop lente à percer. Aussi, dès avant 1914, Milner s’applique avec Lionel Curtis, le penseur de loin le plus profond du groupe, à lancer l’idée d’un Commonwealth des Nations, dont la Société des Nations (1919) sera un produit dérivé. L’objectif avoué de Curtis est rien moins que faire mourir l’Empire, pour qu’en renaisse un système mondial intégré, dont l’objet est d’éduquer aux libertés démocratiques et de porter la plupart des populations du globe au niveau de responsabilité de l’homme blanc.

 

Le groupe Milner va s’adjoindre Alfred Zimmern, un Juif allemand converti qui enseigne à Oxford et pour qui Athènes est le modèle de l’Occident. Mais Athènes a trahi le modèle athénien en devenant brutalement impérialiste, une voie que ne doit pas suivre l’Empire Britannique s’il veut ensemencer le monde avec ses idées démocratiques. Zimmern sera à l’origine de la mise en place du RIIA et de son correspondant américain le CFR, et bientôt par la suite de l’Unesco.

 

Philippe Kerr, 11e marquis de Lothian, succède à Milner. Ambassadeur du Royaume-Uni aux Etats-Unis, il y a préparé la Charte de l’Atlantique, qui consacre le transfert de l’influence à Washington. Il est l’auteur d’une étude, réalisée avant la guerre de 1914, sur les collectivités noires aux Etats-Unis censée applicable à l’Afrique du Sud.

 

Robert Henry Brand est l’économiste du Milners Kindergarten. Directeur du Times et de la Lloyd Bank, il rejoint finalement Lazard Brothers & Cy. Il est le beau-frère du financier américain Astor, qui sera fait vicomte. Il exerce une influence sur l’abandon de l’étalon-or. Il sera par ailleurs favorable à la politique d’apaisement avec le Reich.

 

Leo Amery (journaliste d’origine juive au Times) et Herbert Samuel (1er vicomte Samuel) s’attachent à concilier mondialisme WASP et sionisme, pour éduquer les Arabes à l’anglais. Ils interviendront (Amery surtout) dans la rédaction de la Déclaration Balfour, qui soutient les prétentions des Sionistes à un foyer national juif en Terre Sainte. Samuel sera Haut Commissaire en Palestine.

 

Walter Lippmann, Juif américain d’origine allemande, est journaliste au New York Herald Tribune. Il est en contact étroit avec Philippe Kerr et avec la Table Ronde dès le premier voyage de Kerr aux Etats-Unis. Il est secrétaire général de The Inquiry, qui est l’équivalent des groupes de réflexion de la Round Table britannique et qui débouchera sur la constitution du CFR. Bien qu’ayant soutenu le candidat Théodore Roosevelt, perdant contre Wilson, il anime le think tank de la politique extérieure américaine avant et durant la première guerre mondiale. Il intervient dans la rédaction des Quatorze Points de Wilson, lesquels sont l’écho des idées de la Round Table, et dans celle du Traité de Versailles. Il participe également à la mise en place de la Société des Nations, mais celle-ci est plutôt l’œuvre de Curtis, et le Traité de Versailles celle de Milner. Communicateur avant la lettre, Lippmann invente la notion de ‘fabrique du consentement’ et, à partir des réactions des soldats des tranchées de 14-18 aux pilonnages d’artillerie, introduit la terreur dans la manipulation des opinions publiques.

 

Les rejetons ultérieurs du RIIA et du CFR ont nom Groupe de Bilderberg, Commission Trilatérale, Forum de Davos.