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samedi, 13 avril 2013

Convergence of Catastrophes by Guillaume Faye

Politics Book Review:

Convergence of Catastrophes by Guillaume Faye,

by Jared Taylor

mercredi, 09 janvier 2013

Is Catastrophe Inevitable?

Is Catastrophe Inevitable?

 

Alex Kurtagic

Ex: http://www.amren.com/  

How liberalism may lead to collapse and Western rebirth.
 
Guillaume Faye, Convergence of Catastrophes, Arktos, 2012, 220 pp., $28.05 (soft cover)

Convergence of Catastrophes is the third book by French author Guillaume Faye to be published by Arktos in English. If you have read the other two (Archeofuturism and Why We Fight), you will recognize in the title a familiar theme in the author’s critique of liberal modernity: the idea that liberalism has unleashed a series of catastrophic processes now converging towards a cataclysmic global implosion.

I was keen to read this volume because it promised an elaboration on one of the key arguments Dr. Faye makes in Archeofuturism. This proved to be the case, though one difference is that Dr. Faye’s prose has shifted to reflect a higher degree of rage, directed at Europe’s and particularly France’s liberal establishment.

Dr. Faye frankly addresses the unfolding, slow-motion policy car crash no politician wants to talk about. Though in a different order and separated into more categories, he identifies the following lines of catastrophe converging in the West today:

  1. The collapse of the earth’s ecosystem, caused by overpopulation, half-hearted or absent environmental policies, and the belief that the Third World needs to be “developed” to the American standard—which Faye thinks would require several earths’ worth of resources.
  2. The degeneracy of European culture and man, brought about by egalitarianism, secularism, and social liberalism.
  3. The clash of civilizations, particularly between a degenerate Europe and a vigorous Islam, which Faye considers extremist by nature and never moderate (Dr. Faye deems the idea of a secular, moderate Islam a myth invented by scared Western politicians).
  4. The demographic coma in Europe, resulting in a shrinking and ageing population, and the lack of political will to reverse this with pro-natalist policies rather than immigration.
  5. The colonization of Europe by settlers from the Third World, who see the continent as a welfare El Dorado and whose continued arrival will increase ethnic tensions to the point of ethnic civil war.
  6. The giant economic crisis caused by the failure of the casino economy of finance capitalism, which will lead to a collapse worse than the Great Depression and to universal poverty and a new Middle Ages.

The tone of Convergence is lighter than in Archeofuturism and Why We Fight, though each page drips with sarcasm, cynicism, and animated exasperation. There is no mincing of words here.

Dr. Faye takes the darkest view of everything, predicting always the worst possible outcomes. In his view it is too late; for decades the warning signs have been ignored, suppressed, and explained away by politicians, academics, and the media. Nothing has been done. They have let structural problems grow worse in the belief that disaster will somehow be averted or that things will magically work themselves out. Though he does not state it explicitly, it is clear that Dr. Faye has no hope of any kind of counter-cultural movement with the power to halt the final cataclysm.

Towards the end of the book, Dr. Faye outlines three possible collapse scenarios: a soft one, a hard one, and a very hard one. In the soft one a total systemic breakdown is averted, but Western societies live on impoverished and in a state of permanent crisis. In the very hard one there is total breakdown. Western civilization is destroyed and the world population collapses, ushering in a new Middle Ages. Dr. Faye considers this both the most likely and the most desirable scenario. For him, history is cyclical. We are at the end of a cycle, and the harder scenario clears the decks for a new beginning, founded on entirely different—and better—philosophical suppositions. For this reason, Dr. Faye believes that this grim convergence of catastrophes is positive and necessary, and that the prospect of a new beginning should be reason for hope.

For the future, Convergence offers the vision outlined in Archeofuturism: a diversified world with a highly developed zone in the northern hemisphere and agricultural or subsistence societies in the south. Dr. Faye sees this as not only environmentally more sustainable, but as a more accurate reflection of the diversity of human societies; only a fraction of humanity, in his view, is suited to a techno-industrial society.

I generally agree with Dr. Faye’s thesis of converging catastrophes, but I fear it includes a slight element of wishful thinking. It seems Dr. Faye looks forward to the collapse; his attitude is the mirror image of the liberals’, who are either complacent or in denial. This may lead him to paint a scenario that satisfies him and that begins to unfold within his lifetime—in other words, he imagines he will be there to gloat as liberals bite the dust. He also suggests that Europeans will rise naturally from the ashes, without stressing that this depends on what we do now; it is not the natural outcome of collapse. This assumption is dangerous, because there are no guarantees of anything.

There is no guarantee that Europeans will rise from the ashes.

I am less willing than Dr. Faye to predict cataclysm sometime within the next eight years (when he wrote Archeofuturism in 1999, he predicted disaster by 2020). Nor would I assume that the lines of catastrophe will all converge within a narrow timeframe, or that European man will necessarily exist in the post-collapse world, even in smaller numbers.

To begin with, collapse scenarios can take a variety of forms, including forms in which the collapse would not be recognized as such by those living through it, or even by those living after it. A soft collapse, for example, can be one in which life remains pleasurable, so collapse is never widely recognized as such. Standards of morality weaken, the race degenerates, and a culture dissolves gradually, giving way to another that takes over therapeutically, subtly enslaving people who do not mind because they love their slavery. There may be a few bumps here and there along the way, of course, but, on the whole, this is how it unfolds. Does this not sound like the collapse of WASPdom in the United States?

Dr. Faye’s soft collapse scenario I would describe as either “deferred” or “slow.” In the first, the collapse has already occurred, but the final cataclysm is endlessly postponed, more or less like the financial crisis we are living through now. Through subterfuge, ways keep being found to levitate what should already be on the ground. In the second, the collapse unfolds gradually, in a managed and technocratic manner, and the social temperature is always kept below the threshold needed for a revolution.

One can also debate the “hard” convergence thesis. We can accept that various catastrophic trends are in place, but will they converge close enough together in time for a complete collapse, or will the catastrophes hit in succession over a long period? It is conceivable that each line of catastrophe may progress at a different speed, and that some will prompt a delaying action, thus weakening the convergence.

For example, global warming may be slowed significantly if electric cars are improved enough to trigger a phase out of the internal combustion engine over the next 10 to 15 years. In 2004, when Convergence was originally published in French, the electric car was still a distant prospect; now it is getting closer, and with decreasing petroleum reserves, it may soon make sense for motorists to make the switch. A technological breakthrough could potentially take the environmental and even the economic trend out of the equation, or at least slow them down, though this may not matter a great deal if the other trends continue.

Of course, this does not argue against the very real prospect of declining economic conditions, continuing political paralysis, and so on; it simply argues in favor of what Dr. Faye may consider the worst and most insidious of all scenarios: a “soft” convergence and a protracted or deferred collapse, whose final denouement occurs so far in the future that there are not enough of us left for it to matter any longer.

The important point is that the outcomes of collapse are not foreordained: They depend on what we do now. If some form of collapse is inevitable, then it is imperative that we establish today the bases for the world that will follow that collapse, and that we seize control of the process—including precipitating it artificially—so as to ensure for us the most favorable outcome. I believe Faye would agree with this, although he does not say so explicitly.

I must refer to this book’s latent anti-Americanism. It is only a minor part of the narrative, but it is a flaw, and Jared Taylor’s foreword points out Dr. Faye’s careless conflation of America with the American government. For many Americans, their government is their number-one enemy, and is distinct and separate from America. In Convergence, Dr. Faye accuses America of trying to weaken Europe by promoting free trade and multiculturalism, while practicing protectionism and controlling immigration to the US, when, in fact, America enthusiastically practices the same policies it promotes in Europe. Fortunately, and as Mr. Taylor points out, Dr. Faye has since revised this position: In a speech delivered in Nashville at the 2012 American Renaissance conference, he described Americans and Europeans as brothers in arms.

Dr. Faye speaking at the 2012 American Renaissance conference.

The philosophical foundations of the American republic are classical liberalism, but I believe it is essential—even if difficult—to separate liberalism (Americanism) from America, and to re-imagine America in philosophically non-liberal terms. To this we would need to look at the parts of American heritage that existed before, or beyond the reach of, classical liberalism. One can think of the early colonial period (before) and the wild West (beyond). This may prove vital in the effort to guarantee the continuity in the 21st century of white Americans and white American culture in the New World.

Do not look to Dr. Faye for a practical action plan; his purpose is to frankly assess present trends in the West and to point out that any cataclysmic outcome marks a beginning as well as an end. It is up to each reader to decide his course of action and translate what he has learned into effective action. For more concrete policy matters, Dr. Faye has just published Mon Programme (My Program), but it is available only in French.

Despite its imperfections, Convergence is a compelling and furious read, addressing important topics with an honesty that is rarely found and never with such intensity in a single volume. Futurology is very subjective, so one must be lenient with predictions—particularly those involving complex global events; but Dr. Faye’s analysis is fundamentally correct and will be read with profit by anyone who wants to understand how the liberal global experiment will eventually end.

mardi, 08 janvier 2013

Introduction to Guillaume Faye’s book Convergence of Catastrophes

Introduction to Guillaume Faye’s book Convergence of Catastrophes, published by Arktos Media

An Explosive Cocktail

The modern world is like a train full of ammunition ­running in the fog on a moonless night with its lights out.’ (Robert Ardrey[1])

GFcoc_1.jpgFor the first time in its history, humanity is threatened by a convergence of catastrophes.

A series of ‘dramatic lines’ are approaching one another and converging like a river’s tributaries with perfect accord (between 2010 and 2020) towards a breaking point and a descent into chaos. From this chaos — which will be extremely painful on the global scale — can emerge the new order of the post-catastrophe era and therefore a new civilisation born in pain.

Let us briefly summarise the nature of these lines of catastrophe.

The first is the cancerisation of the European social fabric. The colonisation of the Northern hemisphere for purposes of permanent settlement by the peoples of the global South, which is increasingly serious despite the reassuring affirmations of the media, is pregnant with explosive situations; the failure of the multiracial society, increasingly full of racism of all kinds with different communities becoming more and more tribal; the progressive ethnic and anthropological metamorphosis of Europe, a true historical cataclysm; the return of poverty to Western and Eastern Europe; the slow but steady growth of criminal activity and drug use; the continual disintegration of family structures; the decline of educational infrastructure and the quality of academic programs; the disruption of the transmission of cultural knowledge and social disciplines (barbarisation and loss of needed skills); the disappearance of popular culture and the increasing degrading of the masses by the culture of spectacles.[2] All this indicates to us that the European nations are moving toward a New Middle Ages.[3]

But these factors of social breakdown in Europe will be aggravated by the economic and demographic crisis which will only get worse and end by producing mass poverty. By 2010 the number of active workers will not be large enough to finance the retirements of the ‘grandpa boomers’. Europe will collapse under the weight of old people; then its ageing countries will see their economies slowed and handicapped by payments for healthcare and retirement benefits for unproductive citizens; in addition, the ageing of the population will dry up technical and economic dynamism. In addition to these problems, the economy will increasingly resemble the Third World because of the uncontrolled immigration of unskilled populations.

Modernity’s third dramatic line of catastrophe will be the chaos of the global South. By displacing their traditional cultures with industrialisation, the nations of the South, in spite of a deceptive and fragile economic growth, have created social chaos that is only going to get worse.

The fourth line of catastrophe, which has recently been explained by Jacques Attali,[4] is the threat of a world financial crisis, which will be much more serious than the crisis of the 1930s and will bring about a general recession. The harbinger of the crisis will be the collapse of the stock markets and currencies of the Far East, like the recession that is striking this region.

The fifth line of catastrophe is the rise of fanatical religious cults, principally Islam. The rise of radical Islam is the backlash to the excesses of the cosmopolitanism of modernity that wanted to impose on the entire world the model of atheist individualism, the cult of material goods, the loss of spiritual values and the dictatorship of the spectacle. In reaction to this aggression, Islam has radicalised, just as it was already becoming once again a religion of domination and conquest, in conformity with its traditions.

The sixth line of catastrophe: a North-South confrontation, with theological and ethnic roots, will appear on the horizon. It is increasingly likely to replace the risk of an East-West conflict, which we have so far avoided. No one knows what form it will take, but it will be serious, because it will be based on collective challenges and sentiments much stronger than the old and artificial partisan polarity of the USA and USSR, capitalism and Communism.

The seventh line of catastrophe is the uncontrolled increase of pollution, which will not threaten the Earth (which still has four billion years to look forward to and can start evolution over again from zero), but the physical survival of humanity. This collapse of the environment is the fruit of the liberal and egalitarian myth (which was once also a Soviet myth) of universal industrial development and a dynamic economy for everyone.

We can add to all this the probable implosion of the contemporary European Union, which is increasingly ungovernable, the risks involved with nuclear proliferation in the Third World, and the probability of ethnic civil war in Europe.

The convergence of these factors in the heart of a globalised and very fragile civilisation allows us to predict that the Twenty-first century will not be the ‘progressive’ continuation of the contemporary world, but the rise of another world. We must prepare ourselves for this tragic possibility with lucidity.

Believing in Miracles

We are dealing with a general prejudice inherited from the egalitarian and humanitarian utopias, like the philosophy of Progress, according to which ‘we can have everything at the same time’ and that reality never has negative consequences.

People believe they can have their cake and eat it too. They imagine, according to the liberal faith, that an ‘invisible hand’ will spontaneously restore a harmonious equilibrium. I shall mention a few examples of believing in miracles:

•    Imagining that the dogma of the unlimited economic development of every nation is possible without massive pollution and ecological catastrophes that will destroy this very development. This is the illusion of indefinite development.

•    Believing that a permissive society will not produce a social jungle, and that you can obtain at the same time libertarian emancipation and self-disciplined harmony. We see this drama being acted out in the shipwreck of our schools, where violence, insecurity, ignorance, and illiteracy are arising out of the illusion of progressive education, an educational method which rejects any form of discipline for its students.

•    Believing that it will be possible to preserve retirement systems and social and medical entitlements while remaining faithful, in a period of demographic decline, to the ideal of ‘solidarity of distribution’. This is the illusion of the Communist conception of solidarity.

•    Believing that large-scale alien immigration is compatible with the ‘values of the French Republic’ and the preservation of the civilisation of the nations and peoples of Europe; and that Islam can become secular and blend in with republican values. Believing also that we can renew the working population by importing immigrants, when these immigrants are unskilled welfare recipients and our responsibility. Imagining also that by regularising the status of masses of illegal immigrants, it will be possible to assimilate them and avoid the arrival of new masses, although we observe exactly the opposite. This is the illusion of the benefits of immigration.

•    Extolling the assimilation and integration of aliens while wanting to preserve and maintain their special characteristics, their original cultures, their memories and native mores. This is the communitarian illusion, one of the most harmful of all, which is particularly cherished by ‘ethno-pluralist’ intellectuals.

•    Imagining that by cancelling Third World debt we can encourage their economic growth and prevent new indebtedness in the future. This is the Third Worldist illusion.

•    Demanding at one and the same time that we abandon nuclear energy programs and replace them with power plants using natural gas, coal and petroleum, while advocating the reduction of polluting gases. This is the ecologist’s illusion.

•    Thinking that a world economy founded on short term speculation based on computerised markets and replacing monetary policies with the caprice of financial markets will guarantee a lasting ‘new growth’. This is the illusion of the new economy.

•    Believing that democracy and ‘republican values’ will be reinforced by eliminating ‘populism’, that is, the direct expression of the will of the people.

I could make the list longer. In all these matters, believing in miracles can be explained by the incorrigible optimism of the secular religion of egalitarian progressivism, but also by the fact that, although it has reached an impasse, the dominant ideology does not dare deny its dogmas or make heartbreaking revisions, while clinging to the idea that ‘the storm will never come’. The whole thing is explained by the sophisms of bogus experts, whose conclusions are always that everything is going well and getting better and that we have the situation under control. They are like a driver who speeds through a red light and justifies it by explaining that the faster he drives, the less time he spends in the intersection and therefore reduces the risk of a collision.

Man, a Sick Animal

Paul MacLean,[5] Konrad Lorenz,[6] Arthur Koestler,[7] and Jean Rostand[8] have sensed that man is a sick animal, endowed with a brain that is too large. Conscience is perhaps, on the evolutionary scale, an illness and intelligence a burden. Man has lost touch with his natural survival instincts. We have not been on the Earth for a long time and it may be that, from life’s point of view, or Gaïa’s,[9] we are a failed species, an abortive experiment; and that, especially by destroying the ecosystem that supports it, the suicidal human race is hastening its own disappearance.

Our neocortex, which some biologists compare to a tumour, does not function sufficiently in symbiosis with our reptilian brain. This is ‘cerebral schizo-physiology’, the source of a chaotic and self-destructive culture: wars, religious fanaticisms, frenzied exploitation of nature, aberrant demographic proliferation or, on the other hand, catastrophically low birth levels, frustrating natural selection, etc.: Homo sapiens sapiens does not deserve the name he has given himself. He is not ‘wise’, only intelligent. But he will perhaps perish from this excessive intelligence, which is pushing him to excess, hybris[10], and is making him lose every instinct of collective survival and all capacity to ‘feel’ the dangers that are piling up.

The Golem Parable, or the Machine that Went Mad

Humanity has lost control of the forward rush of the technological and globalised civilisation born in the Nineteenth century. We should remember the parable of the Golem, the Jewish allegory from Prague, in which a mud figure brought to life by magic escapes its maker, becomes an autonomous and out of control entity, and then starts spreading terror.

Today’s little Jules Vernes[11] are mistaken. Optimistic and short-sighted mechanics, they are only making the situation worse. More than that, they are not in control of the machine and have no idea where it is heading. There really is a pilot in the airplane, but he is convinced that he is driving a locomotive.

Among the inescapable trends at work today, there are other risks that are unforeseeable today but which will make things worse (or perhaps better, but this is less likely), or else create new tendencies or new earth-shattering phenomena. At any rate, it is hard to see any positive signs. All the indictors are flashing red.

In futurology, there are only two types of extrapolation from current trends that one can make with a high degree of probability: the weak and the strong. Today predictions are typically based on weak extrapolations. These latter are, for example, the pursuit of economic growth, linear and continuous technological progress, scientific civilisation, the affirmation of democracy everywhere in the world (who is telling us that Europe will be ‘democratic’ in 2030?); the lasting character of the United Nations; the effectiveness of antibiotics in the next century, and so on.

We are less concerned with strong extrapolations, which have a good chance of being realised in the next twenty years: the demographic disequilibrium of North and South that will grow massively; the unavoidable ageing of the indigenous European population; the growth of mass immigration into rich countries; the worsening of pollution, atmospheric warming and the exhaustion of resources, which is growing worse regardless of what measures may be taken today on a global level (and they are not being taken); the rising power of Islam; the worsening of social disintegration in Europe along ethnic lines, etc. All these strong extrapolations are headed in the direction of the system’s breakdown, and are what we might call ‘pessimistic’.

The ‘Billiard Ball’ Theory

The current implicit ideology that dominates the world, especially in the West, still continues to profess, officially, the utopia inherited from the egalitarian philosophy of the Enlightenment (Eighteenth century), positivism[12] and scientism (Nineteenth century): to create a situation where, in a few decades from now, some eight billion people will live on the planet with a good standard of living and democracy for all. All this resembles the billiard player who imagines that after four or five rebounds his ball will automatically fall into the hole. These professors of ballistics are playing golf, but they do not know it.

It is a quasi-certainty that this persistent belief in progress and modernity, concepts which the political classes of the West are always jabbering about and which are totally obsolete, will never see its objectives occur. The dream will shatter into pieces. Constraining forces, a physical wall, makes this ideology resemble a mass of intellectual stupefaction and belief in miracles.

The demanding parameters, mentioned above, based upon the assumption that current realities will persist and that current projections for the future will be realised, are not taken into account. No one is looking at the dashboard or the fuel gauge. Only the short-term counts, but for how much more time? The majority of the elites do not concern themselves with the long term, or even the middle term, in this civilisation of the here and now. The fate of future generations does not interest the decision-makers at all. They care only about their own careers.

*  *  *

They are helped by the experts in every field, who practice constant disinformation and censorship of pessimism, taking advantage of the good old Coué method of optimistic autosuggestion:[13] ‘Everything is going badly, so, to reassure myself, I say that everything is going well.’ Actually pessimism would be more convincing, since it incites people to improve matters and to try to cure the disease. Alas, I think that is already too late. We have passed the point of no return.

The majority of intellectuals, media people, politicians and businessmen maintain a language of utopian optimism, clinging to their dogmas and making a gross travesty of reality: ‘republican assimilation is making progress and will continue to make progress in France’; ‘we are on the path to control massive illegal immigration’; ‘Islamism is in decline’; ‘we are on track to win the war on terror’; ‘economic growth will resume next year and, because of the economic recovery, unemployment will go down’ (when tomorrow comes, erasing it will cost nothing); ‘we are going to establish democracy in the Near East’; ‘we can stop using nuclear power and reduce pollution by making more efficient use of other resources, even if we go back to power plants that use petroleum, natural gas and coal’; ‘we are going to find the money to pay for the costs of healthcare insurance without increasing public borrowing’; and so on.

We go forward each time either by lying and misrepresenting the objective situation, or by deliberately ignoring the parameters and changes that are taking place.

If elites of all different kinds pretend to believe this nonsense, public opinion (once upon a time we used to say, ‘the people’) subscribes to it less and less. Pessimism is present everywhere, like a sort of presentiment of a coming apocalypse. Already in 1995, an IFOP[14] poll published in the Leftist newspaper Libération revealed that to the question, ‘In ten years will we live in a better world?’ 64 % of those polled responded in the negative. They were not mistaken.

‘Catastrophe Theory’ and ‘Discrete Structural Metamorphoses’

In his ‘catastrophe theory’ French mathematician René Thom[15] explained that a ‘system’ (whether physical-chemical, mechanical, climatic, organic, social, civilisational, etc.) is an always fragile ensemble that can suddenly lurch into chaos, without anyone anticipating it, as a result of an accumulation of factors. It is the famous ‘drop of water that causes the cup to overflow’. Every system is unstable and every civilisation is mortal, like everything in the universe. But sometimes the collapse is violent and sudden. For a long time a system can be worn away from inside by an endemic crisis; it holds out for a long time and then, suddenly, everything tips over. We find here the law of viral and bacterial biology: incubation is slow, but the final attack is as fast as lightning. A tree, apparently in good health, falls down during the first storm, although no one suspected that its insides were eaten away.

History offers us examples of sudden and unforeseen collapses: the Amerindian civilisation after the Spanish invasion, or else the Egyptian empire facing the assault of the Romans. I am defending the thesis that this is what awaits today’s global civilisation in the next twenty years. We are going to hit a very sudden breaking point arising from the simultaneous convergences of great crises. It is easy to envisage spectacular and rapid historical reversals.

*  *  *

It is always necessary to beware of surprises, these unforeseen and sometimes discrete transformations, which turn everything upside down. They radically modify a system’s structure, without making a loud noise and suddenly, their consequences explode and change everything. That is what is heading for us today. They are ‘discrete structural metamorphoses’.

We believe that we are still living in world X, when we are already in world Y, and the house of cards of the old world collapses without warning. These metamorphoses do not always make the front pages of newspapers; they take place without making a fuss. They constitute history’s infrastructure, not its ephemeral surface.

The founding of the Fifth Republic,[16] the fall of Communism, the results of American elections, etc., are events that depend on the superstructure. On the other hand, what we have called the ‘discrete structural metamorphoses’ will have incalculable consequences. For a generation they have been increasingly frequent and rapid. They are transforming the face of our civilisation.

Let us mention some cases. In France and Belgium, and soon in other countries, the number of active practitioners of Islam is soon going to surpass that of the Christian churches; the depopulation of Europe has begun as the radical ethnic modification of its population; the Spanish language has already equalled and even surpassed English in the American Southwest; some twenty nations possess the technology for making nuclear weapons; in a number of Western countries the traditional family is collapsing and a demographic coma is in place; the ‘casino economy’, purely speculative and unregulated, stretches over the entire world, especially in China, which still calls itself ‘Communist’; antibiotics are less and less effective against bacterial epidemics, and so on.

We are in control of none of these structural metamorphoses. And very few people are aware of the power of their interaction.

We Must Stop Believing in Sorcerers: Techno-science Gone Mad

The elites who direct the Western world, the over-credentialed ‘experts’, are pulling the wool over our eyes. They possess neither strategy nor mastery of analysis and are satisfied with tactics. The real problems are never investigated. The solutions are rhetorical or electoral. The good apostles, bureaucrats with MBAs from prestigious schools, are only masters of words. No improvement is in sight. The Golem’s inexorable march continues.

The burden of ‘doing nothing’ is the heaviest. But the experts and specialists (once called ‘savants’) are consoling us. They play the role sorcerers played in ancient societies.

*  *  *

No one is directing science and technology any longer and, far from improving the human condition as they used to, they are making it worse, notably by exhausting resources and destroying the environment. The modern myth of ‘development’, which is venerated more than ever all over the world, leads to its opposite, a gigantic regression, a race to the bottom. No authority, no international planning has emerged. Globalisation is anarchy. The backdrop of this fatal movement is generalised individual consumerism, the search for the highest possible standard of living, unbridled enthusiasm for the free market, the speculative economy and the cult of ‘taking each day as it comes’.

Similarly, democracy has to be seen as an aggravating factor, for this type of regime removes any central authority that can, when it sees the storm appearing, react in an emergency. Liberal democracy favours improvidence, the law of the market, and short-term calculation by individuals or corporations. If once upon a time this type of regime was efficient, today it seems incompetent, as it shows every day, to stem the rise of dangers.

International conferences on the environment are a futile waste of time. Just as there is no control over mass immigration, so the destruction of fish reserves and our forest heritage, the increased emission of greenhouse gases, the demographic gap between North and South, etc., are out of control. Even the authorities who arise to reverse the catastrophic course of events, whether they represent countries or the United Nations, do not succeed in correcting the direction of the cargo ship that is going full sail, faster and faster, towards the reefs.

*  *  *

But we are reassured by the ‘experts’ and are still fascinated by techno-science, believing that it will solve all our problems using some new form of magic. Computers, the electric or low-polluting engines, organic agriculture, and pharmaceutical research will not prevent the return of famines and epidemics or the exponential growth of pollution. It is too late. The machine is racing. Intellectuals and ‘philosophers’ have been telling us over and over again for decades that ‘the myth of Progress’ is dead. On the contrary, it has never been in such good shape, especially in the developing countries of the South. We are victims of the psychological condition of derealisation, a loss of the sense of reality of what is happening. Our contemporaries have persuaded themselves that ‘catastrophe cannot happen’ and that this civilisation is at the same time eternal and continually getting better and better, that it will never experience a reversal, and a fortiori[17] not a collapse. Not only is this a possibility, but it will happen, and very soon.

What comforts us in this gloomy illusion is our techno-scientific environment, which we consider to be indestructible, when on the contrary this global civilisation is a colossus with feet of clay. The politicians and the experts, who possess neither audacity nor imagination, reject every radical solution. They always prefer little solutions, tactical or rigged, compromises that please an electorate with cold feet, always respecting the status quo. They believe, like King Arthur, that ‘the fortress is impregnable’ when no one is guarding the walls.[18]

The groundswell — or rather the different groundswells arriving at the same time, demographic, strategic, sociological, economic, environmental — is arrogantly ignored. In France we even use the surreal expression ‘sustainable development’! The dominant ideology, which calls itself rationalist, is really magical. In every area it plays the role of an ‘ideology of sleep’.

*  *  *

We must not forget — and it is one of the central theses of this work — that mini-catastrophes reinforce one another, multiplying their effects among one another to produce a global mega-catastrophe. An accident (of an airplane, for instance) is the result of a series of causes and never just one: for example, the conjunction of a technical problem in the controls, bad weather and pilot error.

It is the same with the situation we are living through, or rather that we are soon going to be living through. For example, the natural calamities produced by global warming aggravate the famines caused by other economic and demographic causes and thus make the economic situation even worse and push the populations of the South to emigrate to the North, thus destabilising the West still more. Growing poverty in certain countries feeds religious fanaticism that, in turn, complicates political instability. And so on.

The system is holistic and interactive, which explains the acceleration of the arrival of the breaking point, since a multitude of crises converge at the same moment, without anyone being able to treat them separately.


[1]     Robert Ardrey (1908-1980) was a widely read and discussed author during the 1960s, particularly his books African Genesis (1961) and The Territorial Imperative (1966). Ardrey’s most controversial hypothesis, known as the ‘killer ape theory’, posits that what distinguished humans’ evolutionary ancestors from other primates was their aggressiveness, which caused them to develop weapons to conquer their environment and also leading to changes in their brains which led to modern humans. In his view, aggressiveness was an inherent part of the human character rather than an aberration. Ardrey’s ideas were highly influential at the time, most notably in the ‘Dawn of Man’ sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and also in the writings of GRECE, in which Ardrey was frequently cited.

[2]     Presumably a reference to ‘society of the spectacle’, a term coined by Guy Debord (1931-1994), a French Marxist philosopher and the founder of the anarchist Situationist International. The spectacle, as described in his principal work, The Society of the Spectacle, is one of the means by which the capitalist establishment maintains its authority in the modern world — namely, by reducing all genuine human experiences to representational images in the mass media, thus allowing the powers-that-be to determine how individuals experience reality.

[3]     This is a concept developed by the French author Alain Minc, in which he predicts a coming time of chaos and hardship resembling the Middle Ages, which will end in the development of a much smaller, but more sustainable, global economy. He discusses this idea in Le Nouveau Moyen-âge (Paris: Gallimard, 1993).

[4]     Jacques Attali (b. 1943) is a French economist who was an advisor to Mitterrand during the first decade of his presidency. Many of his writings are available in translation. Faye may be referring to Attali’s article ‘The Crash of Western Civilisation: The Limits of the Market and Democracy’, which appeared in the Summer 1997 issue of the American journal Foreign Policy. In it, Attali claimed that democracy and the free market are incompatible, writing: ‘Unless the West, and particularly its self-appointed leader, the United States, begins to recognise the shortcomings of the market economy and democracy, Western civilisation will gradually disintegrate and eventually self-destruct.’ In many ways his arguments resemble Faye’s.

[5]     Paul D. MacLean (1913-2007) was an American neuroscientist who developed the triune theory of the human brain, postulating that, over the course of its evolution, the brain was actually made up of three distinct elements: the reptilian complex, the limbic system, and the neocortex. As a result, human behavior is the product of all three tendencies.

[6]     Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989) was an Austrian ethologist who won the Nobel Prize in 1973. He was a member of the National Socialist Party during the Third Reich. He speculated that the supposed advances of modern life were actually harmful to humanity, since they had removed humans from the biological effects of natural competition and replaced it with the far more brutal competition inherent in relations between individuals in modern societies. After the war, his books on popular scientific and philosophical topics earned him international fame.

[7]     Arthur Koestler (1905-1983) was a Hungarian writer who, in his 1967 book The Ghost in the Machine, speculated that the triune model of the brain as described by Paul MacLean was responsible for a failure of the various parts to fully interconnect with each other, resulting in a conflict of desires within each individual leading to self-destructive tendencies.

[8]     Jean Rostand (1894-1977) was a French biologist who was a proponent of eugenics as a means for humanity to take responsibility for its own destiny.  He was also a pioneer in the field of cryogenics.

[9]     Gaïa is the Ancient Greek name for the goddess of the Earth. In recent decades, the name has been adopted by ecologists, who use it to depict the combined components of the Earth as a living organism with its different parts acting in symbiosis with one another, rather than as a resource merely intended to be exploited by humans.

[10]    Latin: ‘pride’.

[11]    Jules Verne (1828-1905) was a French novelist who is regarded as the inventor of the science fiction genre. Several of his books are notable for their predictions of future technological developments.

[12]    Positivism holds that the only knowledge which can be considered reliable is that which is obtained directly through the senses and via the (supposedly) objective techniques of the scientific method.

[13]    Émile Coué (1857-1926) was a French psychologist whose method involved repeating ‘Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better’ at the beginning and end of each day in a ritualized fashion, believing that this would influence the unconscious mind in a manner that would allow the practitioner to be more inclined toward success.

[14]    The Institut français d’opinion publique, or French Institute of Public Opinion, is an international marketing firm.

[15]    René Thom (1923-2002) was a French mathematician who made many achievements during his career, but is best remembered for his development of catastrophe theory. The theory is complex, but in essence it states that small alterations in the parameters of any system can cause large-scale and sudden changes to the system as a whole.

 

[16]    The Fifth Republic began after the collapse of the Fourth Republic in 1958 as a result of the crisis in Algeria, bringing Charles de Gaulle to power and resulting in the drafting of a new constitution. It has remained in effect up to the present day.

[17]    Latin: ‘an argument with a stronger foundation’.

[18]    King Arthur’s Camelot was frequently left unguarded while his knights were engaged in lengthy quests.

samedi, 27 juin 2009

A review of "La convergence des catastrophes" by Guillaume Corvus

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A review of "La convergence des catastrophes" by Guillaume Corvus

"La convergence des catastrophes by Guillaume Corvus, Paris: Diffusion International, 2004, 221 pages

by Michael O'Meara

 


Part I


NEARLY THREE HUNDRED YEARS ago, the early scientistic stirrings of liberal modernity introduced the notion that life is like a clock: measurable, mechanical, and amenable to rationalist manipulation. This modernist notion sought to supplant the traditional one, which for millennia held that life is organic, cyclical, and subject to forces eluding ma"thematical or quantifiable expression. In this earlier view, human life was understood in terms of other life forms, being thus an endless succession of seasons, as birth, growth, decay, and death followed one another in an order conditioned by nature. That history is cyclical, that civilizations rise and fall, that the present system will be no exception to this rule -- these notions too are of ancient lineage and, though recognized by none in power, their pertinence seems to grow with each new regression of the European biosphere. With Corvus' Convergence des catastrophes, they assume again something of their former authority.

"For the first time in its history," Corvus writes, "humanity is threatened by a convergence of catastrophes." This is his way of saying that the 18th-century myth of progress -- in dismissing every tradition and value distinct to Europe -- is about to be overtaken by more primordial truths, as it becomes irrefutably evident that continued economic development creates ecological havoc; that a world system premised on short-term speculation and financial manipulation is a recipe for disaster; that beliefs in equality, individualism, and universalism are fit only for a social jungle; that multiculturalism and Third World immigration vitiate rather than re-vitalize the European homelands; that the extension of so-called republican and democratic principles suppress rather than supplant the popular will, etc. In a word, Corvus argues that the West, led by the United States, is preparing its own irreversible demise.


II


Though Convergence des catastrophes takes its inspiration from the distant reaches of the European heritage, its actual theoretical formulation is of recent origin. With reference to the work of French mathematician René Thom, it first appeared in Guillaume Faye's L'archéofuturisme (Paris: L'aencre, 1998), arguably the most important work of the "new European nationalism." Indeed, those familiar his style and sentiments are likely to suspect that "Corvus" is Faye himself.

Anticipating today's "chaos theory," Thom's "catastrophe theory" endeavored to map those situations in which gradually changing circumstances culminate in abrupt systemic failure. Among its non-scientific uses, the theory aimed at explaining why relatively smooth changes in stock markets often lead to sudden crashes, why minor disturbances among quiescent populations unexpectedly explode into major social upheavals, or why the Soviet Union, which seemed to be surpassing the United States in the 1970s, fell apart in the 1980s. Implicit in Thom's catastrophe theory is the assumption that all systems -- biological, mechanical, human -- are "fragile," with the potential for collapse. Thus, while a system might prove capable of enormous expansion and growth, even when sustaining internal crises for extended periods, it can, as Thom explains, suddenly unravel if it fails to adapt to changing circumstances, loses its equilibrium, or develops "negative feedback loops" that compound existing strains.

For Corvus -- or Faye -- the liberal collapse, "the tipping point," looks as if it will occur sometime between 2010 and 2020, when the confluence of several gradually mounting internal failures culminate in something more apocalyptic. Though the actual details and date of the impending collapse are, of course, unpredictable, this, he argues, makes it no less certain. And though its effects will be terrible, resulting in perhaps billions of dead, the chaos and violence it promises will nevertheless prepare the way for a return to more enduring truths.


III


What is this system threatening collapse and what are the forces provoking it? Simply put, it is the technoeconomic system born of 18th-century liberalism -- whose principal exemplar has been the United States and Europe, but whose global impetus now holds most of the world in its grip.

Faye's work does not, however, focus on the system per se. There is already a large literature devoted to it and, in several earlier works, he has examined it at length. The emphasis in Convergence des catastrophes is on delineating the principal fault lines along which collapse is likely to occur. For the globalization of liberal socioeconomic forms, he argues, now locks all the world's peoples into a single complex planetary system whose fragility increases as it becomes increasingly interdependent. Though it is difficult to isolate the catastrophes threatening it (for they overlap with and feed off one another), he believes they will take the following forms:


1. The cancerization of the social fabric that comes when an aging European population is deprived of its virile, self-confident traditions; when drug use, permissiveness, and family decline become the norm; when a dysfunctional education system no longer transmits the European heritage; when the Culture Industry fosters mass cretinization; when the Third World consolidates its invasion of the European homelands; and, finally, when the enfeebling effects of these tendencies take their toll on all the other realms of European life.

2. The worsening social conditions accompanying these tendencies, he predicts, will be exacerbated by an economic crisis (or crises) born of massive indebtedness, speculation, non-regulation, corruption, interdependence, and financial malpractices whose global ramifications promise a "correction" more extreme than that of the 1930s.

3. These social and economic upheavals are likely to be compounded by ecological devastation and radical climatic shifts that accelerate deforestation and desiccation, disrupt food supplies, spread famine and disease, deplete natural resources (oil, along with land and water), and highlight the unsustainability of the world's present overpopulation.

4. The scarcity and disorders these man-made disasters bring will not only provoke violent conflicts, but cause the already discredited state to experience increased paralysis, thus enhancing the prospect of global chaos, especially as it takes the form of strife between a cosmopolitan North and an Islamic South.


These catastrophes, Faye argues, are rooted in practices native to liberal modernity. For the globalization of Western civilizational forms, particularly American-style consumerism, has created a latently chaotic situation, given that its hyper-technological, interconnected world system, dependent on international trade, driven by speculators, and indifferent to virtually every non-economic consideration, is vulnerable to a diverse range of malfunctions. Its pathological effects have indeed already begun to reach their physical limit. For once the billion-plus populations of India and China, already well embarked on the industrializing process, start mass-producing cars, the system will simply become unfit for human habitation. The resource depletion and environmental degradation that will follow are, though, only one of the system's tipping points.

No less seriously, the globalizing process creates a situation in which minor, local disputes assume planetary significance, as conflicts in remote parts of the world are imposed on the more advanced parts, and vice versa. ("The 9/11 killers were over here," Pat Buchanan writes, "because we were over there.") In effect, America's "Empire of Disorder" is no longer restricted to the periphery, but now threatens the metropolis. Indeed, each new advance in globalization tends to diminish the frontier between external and internal wars, just as American-sponsored globalization provokes the terrorism it ostensibly resists. The cascading implication of these developments have, in fact, become strikingly evident. For instance, if one of the hijacked Boeings of 9/11 had not been shot down over Pennsylvania and instead reached Three Mile Island, the entire Washington-New York area would have been turned into a mega-Chernobyl -- destroying the U.S. economy, as well as the global order dependent on it. A miniature nuke smuggled into an East Coast port by any of the ethnic gangs specializing in illegal shipments would have a similar effect. Revealingly, speculation on such doomsday scenarios is now seen as fully plausible.

But even barring a dramatic act of violence, catastrophe looms in all the system's domains, for it is as much threatened by its own entropy (in the form of social-racial disorder, economic crisis, and ecological degradation), as it is by more frontal assaults. This is especially the case with the global economy, whose short-term casino mentality refuses the slightest accountability. Accordingly, its movers and shakers think nothing of casting their fate to fickle stock markets, running up bankrupting debts, issuing fiat credit, fostering a materialistic culture of unbridled consumption, undermining industrial values, encouraging outsourcing, de-industrialization, and wage cutting, just as they remain impervious to the ethnocidal effects of international labor markets and the growing criminality of corporate practices.


IV


Such irresponsible behaviors are, in fact, simply another symptom of the impending crisis, for the system's thinkers and leaders are no longer able to distinguish between reality and their virtualist representation of it, let alone acknowledge the folly of their practices. Obsessed with promoting the power and privileges sustaining their crassly materialist way of life and the progressive, egalitarian, and multicultural principles undergirding the global market, they see the world only in ways they are programmed to see it. The ensuing "reality gap" deprives them, then, of the capacity both to adapt to changing circumstances or address the problems threatening the system's operability. (The way the Bush White House gathers and interprets "intelligence," accepting only that which accords with its ideological needs, is perhaps the best example of this). In this spirit, the system's leaders tirelessly assure us that everything is getting better, that new techniques will overcome the problems generated by technology, that unbridled materialism and self-gratification have no costs, that cultural nihilism is a form of liberation, that the problems caused by climatic changes, environmental degradation, overpopulation, and shrinking energy reserves will be solved by extending and augmenting the practices responsible for them. These dysfunctional practices are indeed pursued as if they are crucial to the system's self-legitimacy. Thus, at the very moment when the system's self-corrective mechanisms have been marginalized and the downhill slide has become increasingly immune to correction, the charlatans, schemers, and careerists in charge persist in propagating the belief that everything is "hunky-dory."

Karl Marx spilt a great deal of ink lambasting ideologues who thought capitalism arose from natural principles, that all hitherto existing societies had preordained the market's triumph, or that a social order subordinate to economic imperatives represented the highest stage of human achievement. Today, the "new global bourgeoisie" gives its euronationalist critics even greater cause for ridicule. Paralyzed by an ideology that bathes itself in optimistic bromides, the system's rulers "see nothing and understand nothing," assuming that the existing order, in guaranteeing their careers, is a paragon of civilizational achievement, that the 20,000 automobiles firebombed every year in France by Muslim gangs is not sign of impending race war, that the non-White hordes ethnically cleansing European neighborhoods will eventually be turned into peaceful, productive citizens, that the Middle East will democratize, that the spread of human rights, free-markets, and new technologies will culminate in a consumer paradise, that limitless consumption is possible and desirable, that everyone, in effect, can have it all.

Nothing, Faye argues, can halt the system's advance toward the abyss. The point of no return has, indeed, already been passed. Fifteen years of above average temperatures, growing greenhouse gases, melting ice caps, conspicuous biological deterioration, and the imminent peaking of oil reserves, combined with an uncontrolled Third World demographic boom, massive First World indebtedness, social policies undermining the state's monopoly on our loyalties, and a dangerous geopolitical realignment -- each of these potentially catastrophic developments is preparing the basis of the impending collapse. Those who think a last minute international agreement will somehow save the day simply whistle pass the graveyard. Washington's attitude (even more pig-headed than Beijing's) to the modest Kyoto Accords -- which would have slowed down, not halted greenhouse emissions -- is just one of the many signs that the infernal machine cannot be halted. The existing states and international organizations are, in any case, powerless to do anything, especially the sclerotic "democracies" of Europe and United States, for their corrupt, short-sighted leaders have not the slightest understanding of what is happening under their very noses, let alone the will to take decisive action against it. Besides, they would rather subsidize bilingual education and Gay Pride parades (or, on the conservative side, ban Darwin) than carry out structural reforms that might address some of their more glaring failures. For such a system, the sole solution, Faye insists, is catastrophe.


V


The ecological, economic, demographic, social, civilizational, and geopolitical cataclysms now in the process of converging will bring about the collapse of liberalism's technoeconomic civilization. In one of the most striking parts of his book, Faye juxtaposes two very different TV images to illustrate the nature of the present predicament: one is of a troubled President Bush, whose Forest Gump antics left him noticeably perplexed on 9/11; the other is of the traditionally-dressed, but Kalachinokov-bearing Bin Laden, posing as a new Mohammed, calmly and confidently proclaiming the inevitable victory of his rag-tag jihadists. These two images -- symbolizing the archaic violence that promises to disturb the narcoticized sleep of a sickened modernity -- sum up for Faye the kind of world in which we live, especially in suggesting that the future belongs to militant traditionalists rooted in their ancestral heritage, rather than high-tech, neo-liberal "wimps" like Bush, who are alienated from the most elementary expressions of Europe's incomparable legacy.

Though rejecting liberalism's monstrous perversion of European life, Faye does so not as a New Age Luddite or a left-wing environmentalist. He argues that a technoeconomic civilization based on universalist and egalitarian principles is a loathsome abnormality -- destructive of future generations and past accomplishments. But while rejecting its technological, bureaucratic, cosmopolitan, and anti-White practices, he fully accepts modern science. He simply states the obvious: that the great technological and economic accomplishments of Europe cannot be extended to the world's six billion people -- let alone tomorrow's ten billion -- without fatal consequence. For this reason, he predicts that science and industry in a post-catastrophe world will have no choice but to change, becoming the province of a small elite, not the liberal farce that attempts to transform all the world's peoples into American-style consumers. Similarly, Faye does not propose a restoration of lost forms, but rather the revitalization of those ancient spirits which might enable our children to engage the future with the confidence and daring of their ancestors. Thus, as befits a work of prophecy, Faye's survey of the impending tempests aims at preparing us for what is to come, when the high flood waters and hurricane winds clear away the system's ethnocidal illusions and create the occasion for another resurgence of European being. It aims, in a word, at helping Europeans to resume the epic course of their history.


[Michael O'Meara, Ph.D., studied social theory at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Sciences Sociales and modern European history at the University of California. He is the author of New Culture, New Right: Anti-Liberalism in Postmodern Europe (2004)]

Source:
http://foster.20megsfree.com/index_en.htm