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vendredi, 27 mai 2016

Is Jonah Goldberg Right About Fascism?


Is Jonah Goldberg Right About Fascism?


At the recent Scholars’ Conference (sponsored by the L von M Institute) I asserted that while anti-New Deal commentators between the two wars were not entirely wrong in their analysis of fascism, current attempts to identify fascism with the Left are rarely more than GOP rhetoric.  Since this point may have puzzled my listeners, it may be helpful to explain what my statement meant. My clarification may be all the more necessary since I said roughly the same thing on Tom Woods’s radio program, without going into details. In the 1930s and 1940s, such critics of the New Deal and FDR’s liberal internationalism as John T. Flynn, Albert J. Nock, Garet Garrett and Frank Chodorov were fond of associating the politics of the American government with European fascism. This criticism went back to the 1930s and in the case of Flynn, was originally aimed at the Italian fascist regime. Flynn and his followers feared that fascism, which like the New Deal offered a halfway house between capitalism and socialism, was more insidious for the West than Communism:  “A man could support publicly and with vehemence this system of the Planned Economy without incurring the odium of being too much of a radical for a polite and practical society.” Fascism with its “Planned Capitalism,” insisted Flynn, was the “direct opposite of liberalism.” (Flynn in this passage was using the word liberal in its true historical sense.) This newly conceived regime was “an attempt, somewhere between Communism and capitalism, to organize a stable society and to do it by setting up a state equipped with massive powers over the lives and fortunes of its citizens.”

The Roosevelt Myth_Flynn.jpgFlynn’s still highly readable The Roosevelt Myth includes accurate, well-phrased observations, however much they may overestimate the staying power of the fascist model. But in his assumption that the fascist state would have long-term appeal, Flynn was hardly alone. In 1933, FDR and his Brain Truster Rexford Tugwell thought that fascism would be here to stay, and as late as 1940, James Burnham viewed it as one of the several forms of the modern administrative state —and possibly the most successful form that it would assume in the course of the twentieth century.

I should also indicate at this point what Flynn and his confreres never said. They did not claim that fascists were leftists, at a time when New Dealers and the editorial board of the very leftist New Republic imagined that Mussolini was their ideological ally. Critics of the New Deal who discerned overlaps between Mussolini and FDR pointed to a shared managerial style of rule. They viewed fascist Italy and welfare-state America as related threats to a liberal society, and the fact that FDR in the early and mid-1930s, before Mussolini’s sudden about-face and alliance with Nazi Germany, expressed admiration for his Italian counterpart, seemed to prove the validity of Flynn’s comparison.  I would not hold it against Flynn, Garrett, and Nock that they failed to anticipate my own arguments about Italian fascism. From their historical position, they may not have seen this development as a make-believe revolutionary movement, which came to power largely as a check on the revolutionary Left.

This was not obvious to most American observers in the 1930s, who may have been more likely to have noticed the political resemblances between fascist Italy and New Deal America. The extensive labor legislation introduced in America in the 1930s looked at least on paper like the “Labor Charter” introduced by Mussolini’s government in 1926. The pump-priming efforts undertaken by both governments to deal with the Great Depression were noticeably similar. Nor was there any reason in the early or mid- 1930s or perhaps even later for an intelligent foreign observer to think that fascism would soon be on its way out. By the early 1930s, there was a “fascist international” that sought to compete with the Communist movement for support throughout the world.  Italian fascist journalists were then taking the side of indigenous populations against English colonialism. (The Italian fascist government generally viewed England as their main rival; however between 1933 and 1936 Mussolini’s hostility was transferred temporarily to Nazi Germany.)

godwinslaw.jpgWhile New Deal critics tried to understand fascism in their time, today’s GOP propagandists do not try to understand anything about this interwar movement. They make their living by labeling the Democrats “fascists” and then identifying fascism and the Democrats with the Left.  Jonah Goldberg’s best-selling pseudo-scholarship Liberal Fascism (2007) may be the most popular example of this propaganda technique but (alas) Goldberg’s nonsense is far from the worst of its genre. In researching my monograph, I unearthed so many abuses of the “f” word by GOP publicists and conservatism, inc., that I finally gave up cataloging them. I also discovered that no one (except perhaps for old-fashioned Habsburg monarchists) really believes that “fascism” was or is a leftist movement. When neocons start screaming about “Islamofascism,” I doubt that they’re suggesting that Muslim terrorists and multicultural Americans are ideological soulmates.

By this point fascism is not an ideological reference point but the verbal equivalent of a chair that one throws at one’s enemy’s head. Just a few minutes ago, I found this substantiated when neoconservative luminary Robert Kagan announced that “Trump will bring fascism to America.” Finally, I can’t believe that anyone but a total idiot would imagine that American affirmative action programs (when enforced by Democrats but supposedly not Republicans) resemble Hitler’s exclusion of Jews from professions and from German citizenship during the 1930s. When I encountered this comparison in Goldberg’s turgid screed, I remember saying to myself I hope he’s joking or simply lying to sell books to Dittoheads. Any other reason for his lunatic statements is too scary to consider.

In any case, I get exasperated by those who try to trace Goldberg’s opinions back to Flynn and other anti-New Deal critics of fascism. Contrary to what is suggested in the introductory chapter of Fascism: Career of a Concept Goldberg and his fellow-publicists in the GOP establishment are not offering an interpretation of fascism that goes back to the interwar American Right. These specialists in PR have never thought seriously about the “f” word and happily run together Italian fascism, German Nazis, Hillary Clinton and whatever else the GOP establishment is currently running against.  By contrast, Flynn and others of his time and persuasion were better-informed analysts. Their critical commentaries on the “fascist revolution” and its relation to the New Deal are still worth revisiting.

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mardi, 12 avril 2016

Robert Stark interviews Paul Gottfried about his book Fascism: The Career of a Concept


Robert Stark interviews Paul Gottfried about his book Fascism: The Career of a Concept

Listen Here!

Robert Stark and co-host Alex von Goldstein talk to Professor Paul Gottfried about his latest book Fascism: The Career of a Concept

Ex: http://www.attackthesystem.com

pgfasccQXL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgTopics include:

How Fascism is used as a pejorative to describe any opposing political movement

Defining Fascism and how most people who use the term cannot define it

Mussolini’s Italy as the truest form of fascism

How Hitler was not a generic Fascist and that

Franco in Spain was not a Fascist at all

Ernst Nolte‘s Fascism In Its Epoch and his view that fascism was a counter-revolutionary movement to socialism

Non European movements influenced by Fascism such as Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey, Zionist Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and the Hindutva movement in India

The de-Nazification process in postwar Germany and how it had a delayed effect

The Frankfurt School(Cultural Marxist) who have used anti-Fascism to shape the political discourse

Cultural Marxist versus Traditional Marxist and how the former abandoned economic issues

How mainstream conservatives also missuse the term (ex.Eco-fascism, Islamo-Fascism, Liberal Fascism)

The myth that fascism was on the left

How conservatives have adopted the values and rhetoric of the left

Paul Gottfried’s article Will a Trump Victory Actually Dislodge the Neocons?

lundi, 14 mars 2016

Will a Trump Victory Actually Dislodge the Neocons?


Will a Trump Victory Actually Dislodge the Neocons?

Although I fully share the jubilation of others that Donald Trump may be taking a wrecking ball to the GOP establishment, I don’t hold the view that Trump’s candidacy will reduce neoconservative power. Matthew Richer, Justin Raimondo and other writers whose columns I usually welcome all believe that Trump’s rise as a Republican presidential candidate may help bring down his bogus conservative enemies. The more Trump’s popular support soars, the more the neocons have supposedly turned themselves into paper tigers. The establishment Republicans whom they “advise” have not marginalized Trump; nor have the neocons and their clients been able to elevate as GOP frontrunner someone who serves their purposes. The fact that prominent neocons like Robert Kagan have indicated their willingness to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of a GOP presidential candidate they don’t want, has underscored the emptiness of their opposition to Mrs. Clinton. The neoconservatives’ willingness to abandon the Republican side in the presidential race if they don’t get their way dramatizes their deviousness and arrogance. Presumably others will now abandon these power-hungry careerists and perpetual war mongers.

Unfortunately, I expect none of this to happen. Indeed it would not surprise me if the neocons exhibited the staying power of the Egyptian New Kingdom, which ruled Egypt for five hundred years (1570-1070 BC) despite such occasional setbacks as military defeats. What neoconservative publicists are now doing when they bait and switch, does not seem different from what they did in the past. Prominent neocons have not consistently taken the side of eventually victorious Republican presidential candidates. In 1972 Nathan Glazer, Daniel Bell and other neocon heavyweights backed McGovern against Nixon, yet neocon and Democrat Daniel Moynihan carried great weight in the Nixon administration. In the presidential primaries in 1976 Irving Kristol and most other Republican neocons backed Gerald Ford against Ronald Reagan; nonetheless, after Reagan’s victory in 1980 neoconservatives William Bennett and Eliot Abrams came to play highly visible roles in the Republican administration.

Conceivably even if Robert Kagan and his friends support Hillary Clinton against Trump, they would still remain prominent, well-connected “conservatives.” The neoconservatives’ power and influence do not depend on their willingness to march in lockstep with the GOP. Their power base extends into both parties; and if most neocons are currently identified with the “moderate” wing of the GOP, providing their political ambitions are met and their foreign policy is carried out, other recognizable neocons like William Galston, Kagan’s wife Victoria Nuland, and Ann Applebaum have identified strongly with Democratic administrations. Neoconservatives will not likely cease to be part of the political and journalistic establishment, even if some in their ranks chose to back Hillary against the Donald.

Even less likely, will they cease to be a shaping force in a “conservative movement” that remains mostly under their wing. Since the 1980s neoconservatives have been free to push that movement in their own direction, toward a neo-Wilsonian foreign policy, toward the defense of what they celebrate as a “democratic capitalist welfare state” and toward a gradual acceptance of leftist social positions, as being less vital to “conservatism” than “national defense.” Neoconservatives demand that the government be pro-active in relation to the rest of the world. They and those politicians they train speak of “leading from the front” and place special emphasis on the protection of Israel and continued American intervention in “trouble spots” across the globe.

Neoconservatives have their own characteristic American nationalism, which is based on both energetic involvement in the affairs of other states and calls for further immigration, which now comes mostly from the Third World. Both of these foundational positions are justified on the grounds that American identity rests on a creed, which stresses universal equality. Most anyone from anywhere can join the American nation by adopting the neocons’ preferred creed; and once here these “new Americans, “ it is argued, will become hardy defenders of our propositional nationhood while providing the cheap labor needed for economic growth. Perhaps most importantly, neocons have no trouble attracting corporate donors, who hold their views on immigration and their fervent Zionism. Australian newspaper baron Rupert Murdoch, who finances their media outlets, has been particularly generous to his neoconservative clients but is far from their only benefactor.

The hundreds of millions of dollars that are poured into neoconservative or neoconservative-friendly policy institutes annually are not likely to dry up in the foreseeable future. A meeting just held on Sea Island off the coast of Georgia for the purpose of devising and executing a plan to bring down Trump, included, according to Pat Buchanan, all the usual suspects. Neocon journalist Bill Kristol,, executives of neocon policy institute AEI, and Republican bigwigs and politicians were all conspicuously represented at this gathering of the “conservative “ in-crowd , and gargantuan sums of money were pledged to destroy the reputation of someone whom the attendees hoped to destroy.

If the neocons were falling, certainly they are hiding their descent well. Finally, there seems to be a continuing congruence between the liberal internationalism preached by neoconservatives and such architects of America’s foreign policy as the Council on Foreign Relations. Although the Old Right and libertarians may lament these troublemakers, the neoconservatives do not labor alone in imposing their will. They are the most out-front among those calling for an aggressive American internationalism; and this has been a dominant stance among American foreign policy elites for at least a century.

It is hard to imagine that the neocons will lose these assets because they’ve been branding Trump a fascist or because they’re unwilling to back the GOP presidential candidate, no matter who he or she is. Powerbrokers in their own right, they don’t have to worry about passing litmus tests. They enjoy unbroken control of the “conservative movement,” and benefit from the demonstrable inability of a more genuine Right to displace them. Matthew Richer asks whether Donald Trump’s election would spell “the end of NR’s influence over the conservative movement in America.” The answer is an emphatic no, unless those who distribute the funding for the neoconservative media empire decide to close down this particular fixture. Otherwise Rich Lowry and his buds will go on being funded as agents for disseminating neocon party lines.

Moreover, those featured in NR‘s printed issues and/or on its widely visited website are routinely invited on to Fox-news and contribute to other interlocking neoconservative enterprises. Rich Lowry and Jonah Goldberg will not be thrown out of work, because they dumped toxic waste on Trump. And Max Boot will not lose his position at the WSJ because of his over-the-top tirades against Trump, after having railed non-stop for several weeks against Confederate monuments and Confederate Battle Flags. There is nothing the neocons say when they’re reaching leftward or revealing their leftist colors that the leftist media aren’t also saying, even more stridently. Pointing out the silliness of neoconservative assertions about history or the current age may help us deal with our irritation. It does not mean that we can dissuade those who fund the neoconservatives from giving them more money. They are being kept around not for their wisdom or the elegance of their prose but because they are useful to the powerful and rich.

Finally I should observe that the neocons have done so well in marginalizing their opposition on the right that it seems unlikely, as George Hawley points out in Right-Wing Critics of the Conservative Movement (University of Kansas, 2016), that the balance of power between the two sides is about to change. How exactly will a genuine Right that has not been contaminated by the neocons gain enough influence to replace them? How can such a Right, given its modest circumstances, even compete with the neocons for access to the public and for friends in high places?

The neocons would never yield ground to competitors on the right. Indeed they have fought them so relentlessly, because they view them as nothing less carriers of anti-Semitism and other things that the neocons fear. Further, leftist allies would join the neocons in preventing our side from ever gaining ground. And this kind of alliance has worked well before, e.g., when the neocons made their opposition disappear with an assist from the Left in the 1980s and early 1990s. Although there are isolated journalists like Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan who resist the neocons from the Right while enjoying prominence, these are the exceptions. Most of those who attack the neocons from the right languish in relative obscurity. Indeed most right-wing critics of the neoconservatives, as Hawley underscores, have been effectively removed from media visibility. This isolation suits the regular Left as it does the Left’s more moderate neoconservative wing.

To those who hope to see the neocons swept from power as Donald Trump and his backers prosper politically, I am offering the sobering message that your expectations are unrealistic. Although the neoconservatives can be challenged from the Right, such a challenge can only work on the media level if the would-be counterforce is as well-equipped as what it’s fighting. Simply saying that the neocons are losing ground or are now in freefall won’t make one’s wish come to pass. Needless to say, I’d be delighted if proven wrong in this matter.

vendredi, 19 février 2016

Heidegger, ein Faschist?


Heidegger, ein Faschist?

von Prof. Dr. Paul Gottfried

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de

Im Oktober ist im Karolinger-​Verlag die Schrift „Heidegger und der Antifaschismus“ von Bernard Willms erschienen. Herausgegeben wurde sie von Till Kinzel.

Heidegger-​Studien in Hülle und Fülle vorliegen, legte Willms etwas Originelles hin, als er durch seinen bündig gefassten Band Heideggers politische Kritiker auseinandernahm. Eine Schwemme an überhitzten Denunziationen kreist um Heideggers Einsatz für die „Deutsche Revolution“, die in seiner Freiburger Rektoratsrede von 1933 anklang, nachdem er eine Woche zuvor der NSDAP beigetreten war.

9770789a0f33e588bdf77280b57e9f04_L.jpgDie antisemitischen Äußerungen von Heidegger

Ausgehend von einem bahnbrechenden Band (1987) des chilenischen Kommunisten Victor Farias, sind einander jagende Anti-​Heidegger-​Demontagen zuhauf erschienen. Samt und sonders zielen sie darauf ab, Heideggers ideenpolitische Reise zum Faschismus von seiner Kinderstube bis zu seinem Tod aufzuzeigen. Auf seinem Lebensweg tauchen vermeintlich gewisse Charakteristika auf, im besonderen Abscheu vor der Moderne, Judenhass, und (bei Farias) eine Reihe von katholisch angehauchten tiefreaktionären Haltungen.

Willms, der sein Buch 1991 vollendete, war nicht imstande, die in den letzten zehn Jahren veröffentlichten Werke von Peter Trawny über die „Schwarzen Hefte“, die die antisemitischen Aussprüche aus Heideggers zwischen 1938 und 1941 niedergelegten „Überlegungen“ zusammentragen, und die Kinzel in seinem bibliographischen Anhang aufführt, zu besprechen. Aber meiner Ansicht nach ist dieser für Skandal sorgende Renner Willms Einschätzung kaum abträglich. Heideggers Anzüglichkeiten über Juden, dass sie „entwurzelt“ seien und zu einem krassen Händlertum gehören, sind klischeehaft und zwar schimpflich, aber kommen der Nazi-​Rassentheorie an Lästerlichkeit bei weitem nicht gleich. Leicht wäre es, ebenso unglimpfliche Bemerkungen zu Juden bei Churchill oder anderen zu finden. Dergleichen habe ich schon bei diesen Prominenten ausgebuddelt. Dem Anklagebrief entgegenzuhalten, ist aber die Tatsache, dass Heidegger vor 1933 von jüdischen Studenten umschwärmt wurde. Die berühmteste ist sicherlich die deutsche Jüdin Hannah Arendt. Seinem jüdischstämmigen Gönner und engem Freund Edmund Husserl hatte er zudem Sein und Zeit (1927) gewidmet.

Die größte Dummheit seines Lebens

Auch während des Krieges hielt Heidegger die seinem Tagebuch vertrauten antijüdischen Äußerungen nicht für „druckfähig“. Schon im April 1934 trat er verdrossen aus seiner Rektoratsstelle aus, und nach dem Krieg kennzeichnete er sein mit verschränkten Verweisen auf das Griechentum beschwingte Lob auf das Dritte Reich als die „größte Dummheit meines Lebens“. Leider genügt dieser begrenzte Reueausdruck keineswegs, um der Schlägerei ein Ende zu machen. Beim deutschen Intellektuellentum, so Willms, floriert eine Heimindustrie, die Heidegger eine lebenslange Anfälligkeit für die Nazi-​Bewegung unterstellt. Von dem verdeutschten Farias, über Bernd Martin, Hugo Ott und Jürgen Habermas bis zu Trawny schießen die Verrisse wie Pilze aus dem Boden.

Sie sind bestrebt, so Willms, Heidegger ins ärgste erdenkliche Licht zu rücken und hantierten mit fragwürdigen Kontinuitäten, um die beabsichtigte Bilanz zu ziehen. Aus der denunziatorischen Wortflut erschließen sich bestimmbare Grundmotive, die Willms akribisch untersuchte. Zuallererst ersparen sich die Denunzierenden die Mühe, Heideggers Seinsphilosophie zu bewältigen, eine erschöpfende Aufgabe angesichts der Verstricktheit des zu berücksichtigenden Lesestoffs. Statt mit stilistisch schweren Texten ringen zu müssen, kann sich der Kritiker mit politischen Mahnungen begnügen. Die seinsphilosophische Grübelei fühlt man sich berechtigt abzutun, denn sie entsprang einem Feind unserer jeweiligen Demokratie und ohnehin einem eingefleischten Faschisten.

Postmoderne Wende

Zum zweiten tauchten die vielfältigen Anklagen gegen Heidegger im Zusammenhang einer aufgeheizten Auseinandersetzung in Frankreich und anschließend in Deutschland zwischen einerseits den Modernisten, Linksdemokraten sowie Kommunisten, und andererseits den Vertretern der Postmoderne auf. Die postmodernen Vordenker, vor allem Jacques Derrida und Jean-​Francois Lyotard, reißen sich von Marx und anderen fortschrittlichen Vordenkern los, so der Jammerchor, um auf einen antidemokratischen, zeitfremden Mystiker ihre Spannkraft zu richten. Damit die Abgelenkten auf die rechte Bahn zurückgebracht werden können, tut es not, Heidegger in seiner vollen Niedertracht zu entlarven.

In Anknüpfung daran – und hier steckt das wahre Herzstück der Arbeit – bezeugen die Anstürme auf Heidegger den steten Versuch der ihn Denunzierenden, ihren Antifaschismus als Gründungslehre der aus der Besatzung entstandenen menschenrechtlichen deutschen Demokratie zu unterstreichen. Jedesmal wenn ein Möchtegern-​Prominenter Heidegger schlechtmacht, attestiert er seinen Mitbürgern oder seinen gleichgestimmten Kollegen, dass er anständiger ist. Als Paradebeispiel führt Willms Karl Jaspers an, der mit der „schnodderigen Bemerkung“ den Reigen eröffnete: „Heidegger weiß nicht, was die Freiheit ist.“

Wer Faschist ruft, will seine eigene moralische Überlegenheit beweisen

Stark geprägt von Heideggers Existenzphilosophie, die er in einer volkstümlichen Gestalt, den breiten Massen zugänglich machte, setzte Jaspers einen weitaus helleren Denker herab, um seine moralische Überlegenheit zu beweisen. Die Sache noch weiter trübend, so Willms, wusste Jaspers Bescheid, dass Heidegger einen philosophischen Freiheitsbegriff eingehend ausgearbeitet hatte. Was Jaspers mit seiner Urteilfindung bezweckte, war sich über einen höher zu rangierenden Kopf moralisch emporzuheben. Und mit seinem Gestus bekannte er sich zu der antifaschistischen Nachkriegsordnung, die für Heidegger keinen Platz übrig hatte.

Noch zeitbedeutender ist darüber hinaus, dass der politisch und kulturell grundlegende Antifaschismus den eingeschworenen Kommunisten und sonstigen Linkstotalitären eine rauschende Willkommenskultur bescherte. Namhaften kommunistischen Fürsprechern, am merkwürdigsten Berthold Brecht und Jean-​Paul Sartre, war alle Ehre im antifaschistischen Kampflager beschieden. Abbitte mussten Antifaschisten keineswegs leisten, auch wenn sie für Stalin und Mao unverschämt eingetreten waren. Während es gehalten sei, Heidegger wegen seiner 1933 verübten Verirrung laufend zu verdammen, belobigt man dennoch „antifaschistische” Kommunisten als vorbildliche Demokraten.

Hoffnung auf eine schicksalshafte Geschichtswende

Im Gegensatz zu dem heuchlerischen Gefasel der Sittenwächter sei die Auffassung, die Heideggers ehemaliger Assistent Karl Löwith in Denker in dürftiger Zeit (1953) darbietet, wenigstens vertretbar, dass Heideggers emotional aufgeladener Sinn der Schicksalshaftigkeit zu seiner eingangs positiven Haltung zum Dritten Reiches den Weg bahnte. Die Erwartung einer weltbewegenden Geschichtswende, die die „Destruktion“ aller bestehenden Wertsysteme nach sich ziehen muss, öffnete dem in die Rektoratsrede eingeflochtenen Thema „Nationalrevolution“ Tür und Tor.

Löwith sucht eine begriffliche Überleitung von Heideggers Denkansätzen zu seiner folgenschweren Entscheidung im Gefolge einer verhängnisvollen Regierungsveränderung. Er führt aus, dass Heideggers Aufbruch von einem subjektiven Dasein, das in Sein und Zeit herausgestellt wird, zu einem alles durchdringenden Seinsbegriff gewisse Weiterungen mittrug. Diese als philosophisch eingeordnete Wende hatte eine Politik der apokalyptischen Erwartung zur Folge. Seiner zeitlich begrenzten Empfänglichkeit für den 1933 vorgefallenen Erdenrutsch eilte Heideggers geistige Umorientierung voran.

Beiläufig erwähnt: Löwith, ein protestantischer Akademiker jüdischer Abkunft, wurde nach 1933 gedrängt, aus Deutschland nach Italien zu flüchten. Dort traf er mit seinem in Urlaub gegangenen Mentor zusammen, der drauflos redete, wie durch und durch begeistert er war von der Neuordnung. Der entflohene Ex-​Anhänger wurde von Entsetzen gepackt, als er Heideggers Ergüssen zuhörte. Nicht nur war er aus seiner Heimat hinausgedrängt worden. Ebenso beunruhigend war die sonderbar anmutende Begeisterung seines Freundes, den er nicht mehr wiedererkannte. Im Unterschied zu den jetzt in Schwung gekommenen Anti-​Heidegger-​Moralisten kreidete Löwith aber seinem gefallenen Idol später kein Festhalten seiner ehemaligen Haltungen an. Heidegger war eben eine im Wandel stehende und nicht immer auf einen glücklichen Ausgang zustrebende Denkfigur.

Bernard Willms: Heidegger und der Antifaschismus. Wien: Karolinger, 2015.

lundi, 01 février 2016

Fighting the Multicultural Left


Fighting the Multicultural Left

By Paul Gottfried

Ex: http://www.lewrockwell.com 

In his latest column Pat Buchanan writes eloquently about a “civil war on the right.” According to Pat, “conservatives” are now locked in mortal combat over the future of the American Right, and the sides are divided between the fans and despisers of populist presidential candidate Donald Trump. From this narrative it seems that while some “conservatives” are rooting for the Donald, others are ready to bolt the Republican Party if he picks up the Republican presidential nomination.

Although the events Pat describes are indeed unfolding, his label is misleading. Whatever political term one may decide to confer on Trump, most of those who are now railing against him, led by Rich Lowry and his band at National Review, are hardly “conservative.” They are essentially leftists, who are slightly less leftist than their friends at the Washington Post and at other national papers, whose editorial pages are graced by such “conservatives” as Jennifer Rubin, Charles Krauthammer, George Will, and Michael Barone. Much of what looks like the Right has been forced to live in the shadows since the neoconservatives in conjunction with the establishment Left helped to marginalize a truer Right in the 1980s. Real “conservative wars” did take place in the 1980s; and the paleoconservatives and paleolibertarians were overrun by the other side’s superior resources. The winning side was led by the neoconservatives who were helped significantly by the journalistic Left.

What happened in those years resulted in having “conservative” and “liberal” labels assigned to factions that had once belonged on the Left. By now of course the “conservative” label means whatever the media and our two official parties wish it to mean. Thus we encounter advocates of gay marriage, David Boas and John Podhoretz featured among National Review‘s “conservatives,” in a battle against the supposed interloper from the left, Donald Trump? It is certainly hard, and perhaps even impossible, to locate the “conservative” substance or worldview uniting the critics of Trump in National Review. Why should we think, for example, that National Review expresses “conservatism” when it protests Vladimir Putin’s critiques of “Western social decadence” and when a National Review-regular contributor wishes to intervene in Ukraine on behalf of the transgendered? Does the magazine represent the “conservative” side in international relations, as opposed to, say, self-described leftist Steven Cohen, who has urged greater moderation in dealing with the conservative nationalist Russian government?

Why are Republican presidential candidates who yearn to call Bibi and pledge him our unconditional support as soon as they’re elected taking the “conservative” side in anything? And is being in good standing with Rupert Murdoch and Sheldon Adelson the current operative definition of being a “conservative”? Perhaps Richard Lowry and Marco Rubio could answer this question for us. But it’s unlikely they would, since I’m considered to be the sworn enemy of “conservativism,” whatever that term has now come to mean. Not surprisingly, National Review and most of its anti-Trump critics ran to affix the label “conservative” to Mitt Romney, John McCain and to other centrist, leaning-left Republicans when they were nominated for president. The term “conservative” for these Trump-critics is synonymous with being acceptable to the Republican establishment.

It was also tiresome listening to Megyn Kelly on Fox news explain that “conservative luminaries” have denounced Trump as a leftist. Most of those who did the denouncing would have been viewed as social radicals by the American standards of the 1950s, that is, before the feminist and gay movements took over and before the government became an agency of accelerating Political Correctness. Further, the word “luminary” is one that I would reserve for figures of the stature of Shakespeare, Newton, Mozart, Goethe, and George Washington. Lesser but also significant luminaries in my time were Murray Rothbard, M.E. Bradford, Sam Francis and other brilliant thinkers whom Rich Lowry’s movement of yuppie journalists and pretentious cultural illiterates helped turn into non-persons.

Talking about the mislabeling of what Trump called a “dying” publication (which unfortunately is still not dead enough), the most unconvincing defense of NR’s tear against Trump was from those who wish to remind us that Bill Buckley set up a publication that would “stand athwart the time.” Since NR in 1955 was meant to be a “conservative” fortnightly, we are therefore supposed to believe that it has remained such. The problem with this evidence is that it proves nothing at all, except that in 1955 the founder of a particular enterprise had a certain intention which he may or may not have realized. One may doubt whether Buckley’s brain child ever realized its proposed goal (certainly those on the right whom he expelled would have questioned that).

But even if we do concede arguendo that the magazine was properly established to present conservative positions, why would I have to believe that sixty years later it is still doing the same thing? In the 1950s the New York Times was a pro-Eisenhower Republican newspaper; in 1940 the French daily Le Figaro was a right-wing nationalist one; and as late as fifteen years ago, Hans-Hermann Hoppe described the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quite accurately to me as “eine bürgerliche Zeitung (a bourgeois newspaper).” All these publications are now integral parts of the propaganda apparatus of the multicultural Left, although Le Figaro and the FAZ may be more sympathetic to corporate capitalism than the spasmodically socialist NYT.

Newspapers and news magazines change their politics over the decades, and most of them that have survived into our now perfected “liberal democracies” have moved decidedly to the left on a wide range of social and political issues. Despite the fact that its advertising still features, with ample support from leftist friends, the “conservative” name brand, National Review has undergone the kind of fundamental change that has characterized other publications that once belonged recognizably to the Right. Evidence of how far to the left this fortnightly has moved became apparent to me when I chanced upon a long tribute on National Review-Online to the Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Particularly noteworthy about this fulsome tribute, by Steve Schwarz, was that it was prominently published in a “conservative” magazine.

The same publication had actively participated in purging and marginalizing those right-wing contributors (like me), who had failed to meet the PC criteria of the magazine’s control people. As I read NR’s tribute to a failed Communist global revolutionary, it dawned on me that what the editorial board understood as “conservative” was something far closer to Trotskyism than it was to what had passed for “conservatism” among NR’s founders in 1955. Needless to say, the term in question had signified something different to interwar opponents of the American welfare state than it did to Bill Buckley. Still, the two sides spoke to each other in a meaningful fashion. Although strife broke out on the right when Buckley espoused his own form of liberal interventionism, the anti-welfare state isolationists of the 1930s and the original editors of NR shared enough of the same universe of discourse to engage in communication. Moreover, by the present standards of ideological conformity that prevail at Lowry’s operation, the post-World War Two debates on what still looked like some kind of Right were models of free exchange. But today NR‘s editors and those whom they’ve helped flush down a memory hole could not even begin to hold a civil conversation. This may be attributed to the not insignificant fact that NR’s “conservatives” have taken over so much of the leftist spirit of the age that there is nothing conservative that they represent any longer.

See this quotation from NR; it’s unforgettable: “To my last breath, I will defend Trotsky who alone and pursued from country to country and finally laid low in his own blood in a hideously hot house in Mexico City, said no to Soviet coddling to Hitlerism, to the Moscow purges, and to the betrayal of the Spanish Republic, and who had the capacity to admit that he had been wrong about the imposition of a single-party state as well as about the fate of the Jewish people. To my last breath, and without apology. Let the neofascists and Stalinists in their second childhood make of it what they will.” [see Paul Gottfried’s commentary on Takimag.com, April 17, 2007]

Paul Gottfried [send him mail] is Horace Raffensperger Professor Emeritus of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and author of Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt, The Strange Death of Marxism, and Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right. His latest book is Encounters: My Life with Nixon, Marcuse, and Other Friends and Teachers.


Previous article by Paul Gottfried: From Under the Rubble

mercredi, 13 janvier 2016

Second Thoughts About the Germans

Second Thoughts About the Germans


Ex: http://www.lewrockwell.com

For the last thirty years I have devoted my energies to defending the German people against a variety of charges directed against them by their leftist and neoconservative critics in the US and Germany. Many of the points that I’ve raised about the historical past don’t have to be amended, because they continue to be true, e.g., about the Allied responsibility for the outbreak of World War One,  the silliness of looking for Nazi ideas throughout the German past, and the brilliance of German philosophical and literary accomplishments. Nothing that is now occurring would cause me to revise my critical judgments about the grossly unjust Treaty of Versailles, the terror bombing of German cities during the last year of World War Two, the arrogant stupidity of the post-World War Two re-education of the German people carried out by the “Western democracies” and the kangaroo court held in Nuremberg in 1946 and 1947. These are not things that I feel impelled to reconsider.

What I am changing my mind about is whether the Germans are totally blameless for the antifascist horror into which they’ve descended. As German friends tell me, what transpired on New Year’s Eve, when over a thousand Near Eastern Muslims attacked 121 women near the central train station in Cologne, tore off their clothes and in some cases began to rape them, is only the “tip of the iceberg.” There have been hundreds of other incidents of violence across Germany that have been reported since Angela Merkel, to the near unanimous support of her Christian Democratic-captains, encouraged Muslim migrants to enrich her country by their presence. The German media have tried to hush up the embarrassing incidents or after the attacks in Cologne shifted the blame to the victims. Apparently the verbally abused and assaulted women didn’t “stay at arm’s length” from their attackers. It is hardly surprising that the police came belatedly to the crime scene or that Cologne’s feminist social democratic mayor, Henriette Reker, insists that the failure of the victims to maintain the proper distance from their attackers led to their fate. But, according to Reker, this setback will not hinder the construction of a German multicultural society. The federal minister of justice, Heiko Maas, who is also a feminist Social Democrat (read antinationalist, antifascist enthusiast) has expressed the same optimistic judgment as the one issued by the Cologne mayor.

Last Sunday when a demonstration against the abuse of the victimized German women took place at the site of the attacks, the police quickly intervened and threw canisters of gas at the demonstrators. The government and various corporate heads have pledged to take action against those who are heard to disparage the “welcoming culture.” This culture has been generated for the benefit of more than one million Muslim migrants who have entered Germany, with the blessings of the political and journalistic class. If the “conservative” German head of state Angela Merkel falls from power and her totally submissive party is “abgewählt” (voted out of office), the new government would likely be the most Culturally Marxist regime on the face of this planet. PC totalitarianism will then descend on the Germans in a hurry rather than with measured strides.

Up until recently I might have explained away this situation by pointing to German antifascist re-education after the War, a subject on which I have written a great deal. I might also have cited the fact that the Germans have lost two great wars, a fate that has left them utterly demoralized. I would also have brought up the understandable reaction to the crimes committed by the Third Reich and the concomitant responsibility felt by the younger Germans to somehow make amends for the Third Reich. Although Germans, I would have argued, have been excessive in their atonement frenzy and have drawn the wrong conclusions from the recent past, at least their motives seemed decent. One German lady provided another interpretation that was at least plausible when I asked why Germans revel in their atonement rites. She explained that they still regard themselves as being “occupied” by the victors of World War Two and therefore are intent “die Amis zu befriedigen (to please the Yankees).”

Although there may be a measure of truth in most of these explanations, I no longer accept them as definitive. I now consider the Germans to be responsible for their own mess and reaping a well-deserved punishment. The fanatically intolerant leftist politicians who inhabit the German political scene were democratically elected. No one put a gun to the head of any German to vote for them. Moreover, there’s nothing like a Trump movement or the National Front that has emerged on the German right, which hardly exists as a political force. The only slightly right-of-center party in Germany, and the one that is stepping forth to address the exploding Muslim violence, is the Alternative für Deutschland. This is a party that only in Germany would be viewed as occupying the “far Right.” In the US the AfD would be hardly indistinguishable from the GOP establishment; and like our establishment Republicans, the leaders of this party are forever pummeling each other for being “too right-wing.” When Angela Merkel praised Germany for not needing “a party of the Right,” she knew whereof she spoke. Until now all her opposition has come from a Left that would make Bernie Sanders look like Edmund Burke.

Workers and state employees dutifully report to the government about who is expressing rightist sentiments, for example, by not participating in the welcoming culture for the migrants. Universities, which in Germany are entirely state-run institutions, would not give anyone a position in a history or social science department if that person were thought to hold insufficiently antinational opinions. The renowned modern historian Christopher Clark was shocked at the anti-German animus that he encountered while lecturing at German universities on the causes of World War One. Last year I too was shocked when German President Joachim Gauck accepted blame on behalf of his country for “the massacre of the Armenians” in 1915. I’m still trying to figure out how the German Imperial army participated in the mass murder that Gauck has laid on them. From what I’ve read on the subject, (and it is a great deal), German officers, like Liman von Sanders, tried to prevent Turkish military units from massacring Armenians, despite the fact that some Armenians had taken up arms on the side of Russia against Germany and Turkey. But since German politicians relish recounting their nation’s sins, real and imagined, why shouldn’t they throw in more nonsense? We might even add to their mea culpa list all the lesbians that the Third Reich is imagined to have killed but never did.

It is entirely possible that Germans act as they do because as one young American friend who is studying in Germany noted: “They follow their leaders, right over the cliff.” Although this explanation may be drawing on unfair stereotypes, the person who offered it is far from an inveterate German hater. He went to study at a German university because of his deep respect for the humanistic accomplishments of mostly dead Germans. But Germans of the present generation have embraced a lunatic, antifascist ideology, and they have done so with a moral intensity that is characteristically German. Other nations do not act in this way, at least not to the same degree.

Claiming this behavior is due to the forced re-education inflicted on Germans after World War Two and to the bad self-image that Germans took away from the Nuremberg show trials is not entirely credible. World War Two ended in 1945 and Germany is no longer an occupied country. If the Germans stopped waging war on themselves as a people, the American army would not likely reinvade their territory. In fact except for a handful of German-hating journalists and academics, who are located exclusively between Boston and D.C., most people wouldn’t even notice if the Germans became a self-respecting nation again. Perhaps they could start by closing their borders to migrants. They might also think about filling their universities with academics who don’t loathe their country’s entire existence up until the moment the Allies occupied it.

vendredi, 04 décembre 2015

Prof. P. Gottfried: Die deutsche Nation

Die deutsche Nation

von Prof. Dr. Paul Gottfried
Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de

Prof. Paul Gottfried stellt in diesem Beitrag das Denken von Bernard Willms und insbesondere sein Buch „Die deutsche Nation“ vor.

willms.pngDer den Freitod wählende Staatsdenker und weltbekannte Hobbes-​Sachkenner Bernard Willms (19311991) zählte zu den eigenständigsten Promovierten von Joachim Ritter. Wie Ritter, der eine beträchtliche Reihe von namhaften konservativ ausgerichteten Gelehrten promoviert hat, wurde Willms von Hegels Rechtsphilosophie stark angetan. In einem beweisbaren Sinn versinnbildlicht Hegel einen Fixpunkt für Willms’ politische und weltanschauliche Orientierung. Gewiss wurde Willms von anderen Staatsdenkern, insbesondere Fichte, Hobbes und Carl Schmitt und nicht zuletzt von Heideggers Seinsphilosophie unauslöschlich geprägt.

Besät ist sein Band Die deutsche Nation mit weitgehenden Hinweisen auf Fichte und Hobbes (ganz von Heideggers Vorstellung der „Seinsvergessenheit“ zu schweigen). Diese Vordenker sind in Hülle und Fülle herangezogen, als es versucht wird, eine „politisch organisierte“ Lebensform und eine zum Selbstbewußtsein wachgerufene deutsche Volksnation in Verbindung zu bringen. Zusätzlich wartet Willms mit Auszügen aus Fichtes „Reden an die deutsche Nation“ auf. Ebenso wie im frühen neunzehnten Jahrhundert, als gegen Napoleon mobilisierte Patrioten auf eine deutsche Erweckung abzielten, bedürfen bis heute die Deutschen eines Programms der Nationalerziehung, damit sie es dazu bringen können, eine „Fremdherrschaft“ loszuschütteln.

Der Vernunftstaat

Die unübersehbaren Hegelschen Begrifflichkeiten bei Willms treten aus seinem Ansatz hervor, die Gründung oder Bewahrung einer nationalen Allgemeinheit auf das Werden und Wirken eines Staates zu beziehen. Nach seiner aus Hegel entlehnten Formulierung hängt die Beschützung einer „Kulturnation“ vom geeigneten Staatsgefüge ab. Beides macht ein „wirklichkeitsbezogenes“ Gespann. Willms borgt Hegels Wendung des „Vernunftstaates”, um die erwünschte Zusammenfügung von Denken und Geschichtsnotwendigkeit zu kennzeichnen. Er verweist auf eine in Nachkriegsdeutschland in Schwung gekommene Absicht, eine wiederhergestellte Nation der Dichter und Denker anzustreben. Diesen Idealisten fehlte es allerdings an einem geübten Verhältnis zur Geschichte. Ohne eine staatliche und staatserzieherische Unterstützung verlief der Plan, Deutschland als eine reine Kulturnation zurückzubringen, im Sande.

Gemeinsame Selbstbehauptung

Auch zu beachten ist, dass Willms dem Hegelschen Gedankengang folgend eine „verwirklichte Nation” als eine ausgeprägt „begriffene Allgemeinheit” erfasst. Egal auf welche Weise sie urzeitig oder urwüchsig sich zusammenfaßte, ist die neuzeitliche Nationalgemeinschaft nur als eine ausgedachte Volksidentität zu verwirklichen. Und die Zeit fordert dringlich, dass eine Staatsregierung, die die dazugehörige Nationalität gewährleistet, ins Leben gerufen wird. Willms richtet sich an deutsche Patrioten, die eine aus der Vergangenheit entstandene und auf die Zukunft hinausgreifende kollektive Existenz geistig sowie emotional behaupten. Nicht ein dumpfes Gefühl der Zusammengehörigkeit sondern eine gemeinsame Selbstbehauptung, der sich alle einzelnen Mitglieder anschließen, und die eine vereinigende Staatsform annimmt, prägt die zum Nationalstaat gehobene Volksgemeinschaft der Neuzeit aus.

Ein Schwerpunkt, der bei Willms kaum zu übersehen ist, stellt seine Thematisierung der Neuzeit dar. Von den medialen Seitenhieben auf ihn als einen abstoßenden Reaktionär absehend, erachtet sich Willms als Vollblutvertreter der Moderne. Immer wieder streitet er den Linken ihre Vereinnahmung der Moderne ab. Er konstatiert, dass die Moderne dem Wesen nach nicht in erster Linie mit einer Konsumgesellschaft oder mit dem Kultus der sogenannten Menschenrechte gleichzustellen ist. Die „Neuzeit“ habe vielmehr Erscheinungen hervorgebracht wie die protestantische Reformation, der Aufstieg einer gebildeten, selbstbewussten Bürgerschaft, das Schaffen des Nationalstaates und eines überall im Westen geltend gemachten Völkerrechts.

Liberale Demokratie und deutscher Idealismus

Ebenso hervorstechend bei seiner Zeitanalyse ist ein anderer von Willms vorgetragener Gegensatz, zwischen den nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg den Geschlagenen aufgezwungenen „liberaldemokratischen“ Leitsätzen und dem zur gegenwärtigen Stunde in Mißkredit geratenen „deutschen Idealismus“. Beide Weltanschauungen nehmen für sich in Anspruch, die Neuzeit zu vollführen, aber Willms stellt fest, dass nur die letztere das Gütesiegel trägt. Die zur Staatsreligion aufgewertete liberaldemokratische Grundlehre führt dazu, einer einstigen Nation sowohl ihre Selbstverwirklichungsmöglichkeit wie ihre Selbstachtung abzunehmen. Statt ein Durchdenken ihres Nationsdefizits zu erwecken, hat die liberaldemokratische Gängelführung zur Folge, die Deutschen sich selbst zu entfremden und ihren Siegern unterzuordnen. Die Sache erschwerend gibt diese Einstellung einer genießerischen Lebensweise Nahrung, als sie darauf gerichtet ist, die Deutschen von der Wiedererlangung einer Nationalidentität dauernd abzulenken.

Willms bezeichnet gezielt die „deutsche Philosophie“, den Idealismus von Kant bis Heidegger, als den Weg für seine selbstentfremdete Nation ins Freie. Dadurch versteht er die Wiederaneignung einer Selbstidentität über einen punktuellen Denkprozess. Ein Grundzug der Moderne, betrachtet von der Sichtweise der deutschen Idealisten her, war die Vorpräparierung eines bedachten nationalen Eigenwesens, deren Ergebnis auf eine Allgemeinheit übertragbar war. Eine Idee von dieser Ausprägung entsprang der Zukunftsvision und dem Geschichtssinn der Philosophen, die für die Deutschen eine Nationalgemeinschaft vorgreifend umrissen. Das Ergebnis war nur insoweit möglich, als das betreffende Denken eine historische Notwendigkeit philosophisch widerspiegelt.

willms35.JPGWer national ist, wird als Antidemokrat beschimpft

Die liberaldemokratische Herrschaft, die mit der französischen Besatzung während der napoleonischen Zeitepoche verglichen wird, verweigert den Deutschen ein wahres Recht, die „Nationalfrage“ zur Diskussion zu stellen. Diesem Denkverbot zuwiderzuhandeln, tut jeder Freidenker auf die Gefahr hin, sich als „Antidemokrat“ stempeln zu lassen. Dennoch riet Willms seinen Mitbürgern einen „demokratischen“ Kurs nicht kategorisch ab.

In Die deutsche Nation nimmt Willms eine Reihe von antinationalen Strömungen ins Visier, einschließlich der moralisierenden antideutschen Geschichtsschreibung, des Kollektivschuldfimmels und der Anstrengungen der Eliten den Deutschen ein erfundenes „weltgemeinschaftliches“ Eigenwesen unterzuschieben. Unter seinen Zielscheiben befindet sich ebenso eine auf die Spitze getriebene Konsumgesellschaft. Hier beruft sich Willms auf Rousseau und Fichte, die von der Zucht der gesetzten Staatsbürger als ausgesprochenes Charakteristikum der wohlgeordneten Gemeinschaft sprachen.

Die Jugend und die Mobilisierung der Nationalidentität

Auch klagt Willms die jüngere Generation an, die samt und sonders „gehäufte irrationalistische Ausbrüche aus dem Zirkel der Sinnlosigkeit” zum Schaden der deutschen Nation entladen. Zu einer „Mobilisierung der Nationalidentität” würden diese Gestrauchelten nicht im entferntesten taugen.

Meine beliebtesten Stellen aus dem Buch Die deutsche Nation beinhalten jedoch Willms’ Ansatz, gestützt auf die Wertkritik von Max Weber und Carl Schmitt, die liberaldemokratische Höchstwertsetzung auseinanderzunehmen. Ohne mit demokratischen Spielregeln vorliebzunehmen, drängen die „Gesinnungsdemokraten“ dazu, ihrem Verfahren eine unbestreitbare Heiligkeit zu verleihen. Mit einer nüchternen Wertung der jeweiligen Existenzlage hat das nichts zu tun. Die Zeitwirklichkeit kann so aufgefasst werden, dass wegen zweier verlorener Kriege eine von ihren Eroberern vorgeschriebene Staatsform den Deutschen aufgedrängt wurde, zusammen mit einem geschmälerten außenpolitischen Spielraum.

Der Höchstmaßstab für politisches Handeln

Statt eine verhaltene Haltung dem Unausweichlichen gegenüber anzunehmen, münzen die Gesinnungsdemokraten den Willensakt ihrer Besieger in eine Staatskirche um. Willms macht uns klar, dass diese Anbetung keinem philosophisch oder geschichtlich begründeten Standpunkt entspricht. Wie Weber stellt er fest, dass weder Menschenrechte noch wechselnde Parteiregierungen, sondern das Weiterbestehen einer Nation den „Höchstmaßstab” für politisches Handeln bildet. Willms weist darauf hin, dass Weber, der altliberal ausgerichtet war, nicht von einem ausufernden Deutschnationalismus angetrieben war. Der berühmte Soziologe war bestrebt, die von ihm begriffenen politischen Verhältnisse der Neuzeit darzulegen.

Durch seine akademische Laufbahn hindurch besetzte Willms eine Professur an der Universität Bochum. Dort konnte er sich seinem freimütigen Schreiben und scharfsinnigen Referaten unbehelligt hingeben. Ebenso augenfällig war sein Erfolg beim Platzieren seiner Buchtexte bei ansehnlichen Verlagshäusern, wie Suhrkamp, Kohlhammer und Bertelsmann. Seit seinem Tod werden Willms’ vielfältige Schriften totgeschwiegen, wenn nicht verunglimpft. Wenn Willms nicht seine Lebensjahre verkürzt hätte, dann hätte er schon erkannt, dass ihm der Zeitgeist unverkennbar abgewandt ist. Als geschichtlich orientierter Denker musste er aber wissen, dass der Zeitgeist nicht von selbst her handelt. Die sachbezogene Frage heißt nicht, wer über den Ausnahmefall entscheidet, sondern wer die „liberaldemokratische” Deutungshöhe zur Ausschließung der Nichtangepassten besetzt.

jeudi, 29 octobre 2015

The Gospel According to Kristol


The Gospel According to Kristol

Having noticed that Bill Kristol has agreed with Billy Graham that Seventh Day Adventists are “great on New Testament doctrine,” I have to wonder how much canonical weight Bill’s judgment here would carry among Murdochites. (My friend Boyd Cathy has created this term for those whose minds are totally imprisoned in the synthetic world of the Murdoch media.) Now I can figure out why Kristol the Lesser has conferred his seal of approval on the Seventh Day Adventists. His least favorite Republican presidential contender, the Donald, has been lording it over Dr. Ben, a political competitor who, unlike the Presbyterian Trump, is a lowly Adventist. Trump’s comments on this subject seem hardly worth remembering, and for all I know, they may have been said jokingly. But Kristol decided to come to the defense of the candidate whom he’s hoping will knock out the hated Trump, not because Bill really wants a black Adventist surgeon named Ben Carson to become the GOP nominee but because he needs Carson to get rid of Trump. At that point he and the other neocons will push one of their paid lackeys, preferably Rubio, to the front of the line, providing they can do a number on Dr. Ben.

All of this should seem obvious to anyone who has been following the GOP presidential contest with open eyes. The problem is, authentic Murdochites would never accept the view that Bill Kristol is not speaking as an expert on the Bible.  Neocons for the adepts are experts on everything they deign to address, just as Marxists used to claim an extensive knowledge about everything because of their Marxist “science.” Allow me to mention that I’ve just finished an anthology of essays mostly on historical topics, which Northern Illinois University Press will be publishing after my book on fascism. Among those distortions and half-truths I engage in this volume, the bulk came from neoconservative journalists, typically misrepresented as “conservatives” or “libertarians.”  Friends ask me why I would waste my time dealing with these lightweights. The answer is simple: These lightweights get loads of publicity in the neoconservative and established leftist press; and whatever kooky stuff they write about the past or about the Bible or about anything else they “explain” to the rest of us, is widely treated as the alternative position to what the academic Left is saying. Unfortunately what these self-described scholars are peddling are not really alternative views but what the Left used to proclaim before it went on to even nuttier positions.

I for one wouldn’t care what these scribblers wrote if they weren’t reaching millions of people, at least some of whom have told me the following nonsense: There is no reason to write anything else on fascism because Jonah Goldberg has already treated this subject from a “conservative” point of view, and everyone who counts, including Ted Cruz and the New York Times Bestseller list, has recognized the brilliance and comprehensiveness of Jonah’s scholarship.  Or: the Germans and Austrians were entirely responsible for World War One because Victor Davis Hanson and Max Boot say so. What supposedly seals the case is that the Weekly Standard ran an article maintaining that Kaiser Bill planned to invade the US as soon as he finished off “democratic” England. Since most of this article was an attack on the “horrid” Germanophile H.L. Mencken, it was unclear whether Mencken was embroiled in the invasion or was simply ready to cheer it on.  Let’s not get into Lincoln and the American Civil War, subjects about which there is no significant difference between what the PC Left drums into our heads and what the “conservatives” are proposing as their non-alternative alternative. Tom DiLorenzo may have to devote the rest of his earthly existence to the “conservative” defenders of the “conservative” Lincoln, trying to change their obstinate minds. I shall gladly leave him this task.

In a less uniformly leftist and less ideologically leftist culture, I would not feel obliged to write my “revisions and dissents,” which is the provisional title of my anthology; nor would other non-leftist revisionist historians have to fight what usually looks like a combined leftist-neocon front on historical questions; nor would I find myself battling “conservative interpretations” of subjects like fascism prepared by culturally illiterate partisan Republicans. Even more depressing is the activity of the Murdoch media, which spits out instant historical interpretations that have no factual content but correspond to neoconservative prejudices or momentary GOP strategy.  Each time I encounter this nonsense my blood pressure goes through the roof. The new Authorized Version rarely deviates from what the establishment Left taught us in college and graduate school.  But back then one could easily extract alternative views from traditional conservatives, from libertarian authors like Murray Rothbard or from some traditional Marxist who had an interesting take on some historical development. Murdoch and his friends have been able to white out the discussion of alternative historical views from the non-authorized Right. And even worse, they duplicate what they pretend to oppose.

Of course on certain subjects they go their own way, particularly when it comes to the Middle East. I’ve no idea how Murdoch’s Jerusalem Post can pretend that no Palestinian was ever ethnically cleansed during the creation of the Israeli state. In a well-researched dossier, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe puts the figure for non-combatant Palestinians who were killed or driven from the present Israeli territory (excluding the West Bank) at about 800,000. One does not have to be an enemy of the Jewish state (and I am certainly not one) to recognize that Palestinians do have justified historical gripes. Furthermore, their territory was not a land waiting for a people when Jewish settlers arrived from Europe. On this historical point the neocons and their sponsors differ significantly from everyone else, and the rest of the Left may be closer to the truth here than the neoconservatives and establishment Republicans. Also on those very few issues on which “conservative” history now diverges from the opinions of the rest of the Left, the Old Right, or what’s left of one, may find itself closer to the official Left than it is to the faux conservatives.

jeudi, 10 septembre 2015

Conservativism, Inc. and the Ideological Follies of My Youth


Conservativism, Inc. and the Ideological Follies of My Youth

One of the first essays I ever published was in the left-leaning Canadian Forum, to which I contributed a dissenting article, from the right, in 1968. Those were the days when the Left was far more tolerant than it is at the present time, and also far more tolerant than are the Stalinists and Trotskyites who run Conservatism, Inc. Unfortunately I can’t say much for the essay that I wrote as a young assistant professor at Case Western Reserve, which was full of sound and fury but signifying about as much as the latest NR editorial In fact there wasn’t much difference between what I said in 1968 and what a minicon today, looking back at the 1960s, would likely be saying. I berated the hippies and the “Counter-culture” for being unwilling to recognize the mortal struggle we were engaged in against the bad guys. Combatting the communist beast, I thought, was all-important, and the malodorous hippies who were high on a psychedelic life style, were AWOL in our war for civilization. What I didn’t mention was that I was then a fervent Republican and had just made a donation to the presidential campaign of Richard Nixon. My views in 1968 were reducible to the facile formula: “Hippies are bad; Republicans are good.”

Boy, was I deluded as well as insufferably pompous back then! The hippies were epiphenomenal in terms of what the Left has since become, while the Republican Party seems an insurmountable barrier to any attempt to stop the further progress of the Cultural Marxist epidemic that has grabbed hold of the Western world. The most critical political development of the 1960s, as I argue in After Liberalism, was the explosion of the managerial state in the Western “liberal democracies,” together with the state’s increasing involvement in “social policy.” The flower children had nothing to do with this tendency, although those who later promoted the new politics, like Hillary Clinton, are delighted to pull out old pics of themselves looking like flower-power kids. There were intelligent thinkers in 1968 who did point out the big picture. But since, like my later friends Christopher Lasch and Murray Rothbard, these critics were deemed as weak in fighting the Soviet challenge, they were not regarded in official movement circles as “conservative.” Back then I imagined that arch-conservative political thinker George F. Kennan, who was blistering in his attacks on Western decadence, was a raving leftist. After all, William F. Buckley said so and to prove the case, Kennan was in favor of making agreements with communist countries.

Mind you, I’m not saying the Soviets were not an international danger or that the Right was not justified in calling for resistance against aggressive communist dictatorships. Not everything the Right argued for or against during the 1960s, particularly on the domestic front, was wrong, and in retrospect, I would prefer the Right we had in 1960 to the grotesque caricature of the one we’re stuck with now.

But the onetime preoccupation of the American Right with what its critics described as “apocalyptic anti-Communism” has had unhappy consequences. Among them are saber-rattling and a fixation on foreign enemies that have to be invaded before they overrun the “homeland.” These obsessions have found lasting form in what is now imagined to be conservatism. In most meaningful respects the conservative movement has moved far, far from where it used to be. Today it shamelessly fronts for the GOP and the Israeli Right (sometimes so abjectly that it may embarrass Israeli politicians); at the national level it goes along with increased immigration from the Third World and various plans to “normalize” (read amnesty) illegal residents, and most conservative publicists whom I encounter either acquiesce in or jubilantly affirm the sanctity of gay marriage. But for our self-described patriots and vicarious front-line warriors, these developments are not worth our mental energy. We should be standing up for “American exceptionalism” and against all those who would resist our expanding conception of “human rights.”

Although on every social issue the current conservative establishment is light years to the left of the founders of National Review, on at least crucial two points, past and present merge. Today’s conservatives no less than the militant Cold Warriors of an earlier epoch seek to “roll back” the foreign enemy. What James Burnham once said about America’s fate in the Cold War, has now been extended to all foes of “American democracy.” We are “in a struggle for the world,” with changing Axes of Evil and see it dramatized every day and night on Fox News. Although admittedly a world power like ours faces real enemies, one has to wonder why enemies requiring military preparedness and possibly military intervention keep popping up every night on “conservative” TV and in the Republican press. This issue overshadows all other concerns, exactly as the Communist menace did for the older conservative movement, even after the Commies had ceased to be an international threat.

The other point on which conservatism then and now would agree is that the main, perhaps overshadowing domestic threat is creeping “socialism.” The worst insult that the “conservative” press hurls against Obama, when he is not attacked as an adversary of American military strength, is that he is really a “socialist” and a “Marxist” at heart. Fortunately, we are told, there is an alternative. Apparently, whenever the GOP captures the presidency, the socialist threat recedes, although the same massive welfare state that the Democrats preserve and expand remains in place. Still, we are assured, there is a difference: When the Republicans manage public administration and collect taxes, they claim (counterfactually) to be “getting government off our backs.” Again I am willing to concede that Republican administrations tweak the taxes a bit better to favor certain business interests and don’t unleash the EPA as often on landowners in rural areas. But they certainly don’t change the structure of the administrative state and whatever distinguishes them from the other side, is a difference of degree rather than a large difference of kind.

Even more upsetting is the persistent use of the word “socialist” to divert us from the real threats of overreaching government. Why doesn’t the relentless advance of anti-discrimination laws and government-enforced sensitivity training matter to so-called conservatives as much as does the specter of full-blown socialism? Significantly, Western countries, led by the Labour government of Tony Blair in England in the 1990s, have generally been moving in the direction of denationalizing industries. Economic socialism as it existed in the past has become less, not more, visible, if by this term we mean direct government ownership of productive forces. But at the same time public administration is taking away our economic and other freedoms, without being technically “socialist.” For example, government is steadily tightening control over our behavior, in the name of fighting prejudice. When the Left went after the Confederate Battle Flag and began attacking other symbols and place names associated with Confederate heroes, the protest from Conservatism, Inc. was deafening silence. After all, the Left, we were made to believe, is fighting bigots, even if that means stripping entire regions of the country of the outward signs of their heritage. The Left, for Conservatism, Inc., only becomes a threat when it skimps on military weapons and avoids military confrontations. The Left becomes an even larger threat when it doesn’t favor GOP donors. Then we’re truly playing with “socialism.”

I most definitely am not a friend of a state-controlled economy and, in fact, would like to see our increasingly centralized managerial government and meddlesome courts get out of our lives as much as humanly possible. But this is not likely to happen, given our leftward-trending electorate and disastrous immigration policies, and given our even more radicalized media and educational establishment. But what makes the desired outcome even less possible are the obvious priorities of Conservatism, Inc. Some of its emphases are of relatively recent origin, but others reveal a dangerous continuity with the obsessions of a less leftist conservative movement that arose after the Second World War. Today the conservative movement offers the worst of both past and present. It is unwilling to confront the Left’s social agenda, and usually submissively accepts it, but to make matters worse, it outdoes an older, more conservative Right by screaming incessantly for military intervention and larger military budgets. Finally, it diverts attention from efforts to limit the scope of runaway government by making it appear that the solution to the problem is voting for the Republican Party. I am still waiting to see how such an action could reverse the march now underway into a grimly leftist future.

The eighth annual meeting of the H.L.Mencken Club will take place Nov. 6th and 7th. To find out more about the conference and to register, click on this link: http://hlmenckenclub.org/2015-conference/

dimanche, 08 février 2015

Houellebecq’s SOUMISSION: Would Nietzche Say Islam Can Redeem Europe?


Houellebecq’s SOUMISSION: Would Nietzche Say Islam Can Redeem Europe?


lundi, 22 décembre 2014

Robert Stark interviews Paul Gottfried on Dugin & Neoconservatives

Robert Stark interviews Paul Gottfried on Dugin & Neoconservatives





Duginxcvvbnb.jpgPaul Gottfried recently retired as Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA. He is the author of After Liberalism, Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt and The Strange Death of Marxism His most recent book is Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America.

Topics include:

Alexander Dugin and Martin Heidegger

The definition of Liberalism

The Eurasian school of thought

National Review’s Hit Piece on Dugin

How Neoconservatives attack their enemies such as Dugin as Fascist or Nazis

How Neoconservatives are a faction of the left

The Neoconservative View toward Russia

The Cold War and whether it was a mistake

The conflict with Russia in the Ukraine

Why Paleoconservatives tend to dislike Israel

Paul Gottfried’s upcoming book Fascism: The Career of a Concept

samedi, 08 novembre 2014

Unverdienter Sieg


Unverdienter Sieg

von Prof. Paul Gottfried

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de

Professor Paul Gottfried kommentiert die Midterm-​Wahlen in den USA: Nicht glanzvoll, sondern nur mit Hängen und Würgen konnten sich die Republikaner durchsetzen.

Jetzt kann ich mit Genugtuung behaupten, daß ich das Ergebnis des jüngst in den USA ausgetragenen Wahlkampfes mit Akribie vorhergesagt habe. Mein Prognose war, daß die Republikanische Partei eine Mehrheit der Mandate im Bundessenat nach großen Anstrengungen erringen würde.

Ohne die sozialkonservative Parteibasis zwingend anzusprechen, erreichten die Republikaner den Zieleinlauf mit acht neuen Mandaten im Senat und vierundzwanzig im Unterhaus. Die meisten hinzugewonnenen Sitze legten sie aber mit einer mickrigen Gewinnspanne von ein bis drei Prozent zu. Die Siegerpartei wollte vor allem mit ihrer Mißbilligung von Obamas Gesundheitspolitik und Kritik an einer einsatzbereiten Außenpolitik punkten. Sozialfragen wurden laut Pat Buchanan „nicht mal mit der Kneifzange“ angefasst. Zudem wurden republikanische Kandidaten von einer Gottesangst erfaßt, daß sie mit traditionsgebundenen Christen in schädlicher Verbindung gebracht werden könnten und dabei die Frauen und Minoritäten vergraulen würden.

Notfalls mit Bestechung

Die Parteibonzen und das sozial-​links geneigte Mäzenatentum setzten alles daran, jeden gewagten Herausforderer ihrer gut angepaßten oder einförmig dressierten mittleren Kandidaten mit großem Aufwand von Geld und Werbemitteln kleinzuhalten. Im Bundesstaat Mississippi wurden die Diffamierungsanstrengungen der republikanischen Parteioberen so weit getrieben, daß ein wählbarer Gegner des 78- ​jährigen, tattrigen Amtshabers Thad Cochran ohne den geringsten Beweis als „racist“ in der Vorwahl schlechtgemacht wurde. Der Republikanische Bundesausschuß heuerte sogar schwarze Demokraten an, die beauftragt wurden, ihre Stammesbrüder zur Urne zu treiben, damit Cochran sich durchsetzen konnte. Eine Vielzahl der bestochenen Wähler gaben ihre Stimmen gesetzeswidrig ab, da sie schon in der vorausgegangenen Demokratischen Vorwahl abgestimmt hatten.

In den meisten Bundesstaaten, auch in denjenigen, die nicht parteilich begrenzte Vorwahlen (open primaries) veranstalten, ist es dem Wähler erlaubt, nur einmal wahlweise für Republikaner oder Demokraten zur Urne zu gehen. Auf Amtsstellen und Pfründe, die eine Senatsmehrheit nach sich ziehen würde, lossteuernd, beeilte sich die Parteiführung der „Grand Old Party“ (GOP) die Moralität über den Haufen zu werfen. Und das als eine Partei, die tagein, tagaus auf ihre Ehre insistiert und die Gegenseite der ärgsten Verdorbenheit bezichtigt.

Ohne eigene Vision dagegen

Um eine mögliche Niederlage abzufedern, erläuterten die republikanischen Medien den parteitreuen, daß ein bis dahin nicht ausreichend diskutierter Faktor Schaden bereiten könnte. Es stellte sich heraus, daß die andere Partei über eine riesigere Schatulle verfügte und das Mißverhältnis bei der Waffenstärke den Republikanern eine Enttäuschung eintragen dürfte. Darüber hinaus gelang es der anderen Partei, mit hervorragenden Prominenten ins Feld zu ziehen. Nie wollte man den Verdacht aufkommen lassen, daß die Begünstigung der möglichst farblosen Kandidaten, wie am deutlichsten in Bundesstaaten wie Michigan und Kansas, der Partei etliche Verluste einbringen könnte. Felsenfeste Standpunkte wiesen die Republikaner nichtsdestotrotz auf.



Sie setzten sich Obamacare entgegen, machten aber nicht deutlich, was das Programm ersetzen soll oder ob sie die Willenskraft aufbringen können, das Pfuschwerk abzuschaffen. Gleichzeitig sind sie für eine tatkräftige Außenpolitik und weitere Aufrüstung. Leider findet ihre Kriegstreiberei in der Öffentlichkeit wenig Anklang. Während nach Umfragen mehr als siebzig Prozent unserer amerikanischen Wählerschaft einen Einsatz gegen ISIS bejaht, ist das Ergebnis keineswegs mit Begeisterung für stete amerikanische Kampfhandlungen quer durch die Welt gleichzusetzen.

Und auch wenn eine Mehrzahl der Amerikaner für ein verstärktes Vorgehen gegen ISIS eintreten – diese Haltung rangiert mit Abstand hinter anderen innenpolitischen Sorgen. Aus Kreisen republikanischer Anhänger entnimmt man, daß eine strenge Immigrationspolitik vorrangig bleibt. Aber die Parteitaktiker laufen solchen brenzligen Kampfpositionen davon. Im Gegensatz zu ihrer Basis ist die Republikanische Geberklasse auf eine aufgelockerte Einwanderungspolitik verschrieben und sozial links ausgerichtet. Die unverkennbare Lücke zwischen Feldherren und Fußsoldaten der Partei läßt sich schwerlich mit weiteren Kriegsaktionen und Aufrufen zu einem amerikanischen Überlegenheitsgefühl auffüllen.

Gleichgültig ob Elefant oder Esel

Achtbare linksgerichtete Kommentatoren ließen verlauten, daß republikanische Senatskandidaten verlieren mußten, weil sie nicht genug für die Frauenbewegung geleistet haben. Die betreffenden Kandidaten bemühten sich nicht genug, so die Anklage, zu ansteckenden christlichen Reaktionären eine Distanz zu halten. Diese Anschuldigung läuft der wahrnehmbaren Wirklichkeit zuwider. Es fiel schwer, die meisten republikanischen Kandidaten und ihre demokratischen Gegner sozialpolitisch zu unterscheiden.

Entweder übergingen die Republikaner Sozialfragen oder wollten den Eindruck vermitteln, daß sie und die Demokraten, was die Frauen und illegale Einwanderer betrifft, ähnliche Ansichten haben. Als ein demokratischer Senatskandidat im Bundesstaat Colorado gegen seinen republikanischen Gegner eiferte wegen seiner angeblichen Weigerung Verhütungsmittel in allerlei Läden erhältlich zu machen, ging der Angriff daneben. Sozialpolitisch stellte sich der Republikaner wie sein demokratischer Ankläger. Die zwei konkurrieren miteinander im Anbiedern – bei der Frauenbewegung, bei Schwulen und den Sachwaltern der „Illegals“.

Mangelnde Mobilisierung der Demokraten…

Der republikanische Wahlsieg erhärtet zwei Eindrücke: Zuallererst erreichten es die Parteimedien und die wohlhabenden Förderer, die Basis an der Leine zu halten. Man bläute der republikanischen Wählerschaft ein, daß die demokratische Opposition und voran Obama ihr eigenes Land an den Bettelstab bringen. Entgegen dem weitverbreiteten Spruch konnte man wenigstens in diesem Fall den Hund hinterm Offen hervorlocken. Ohne eine wohlüberlegte Alternative vorzuschlagen und ohne an Sozialfragen von rechts heranzugehen, richtete es die Werbebranche der republikanischen Partei ein, das Geschäft wie immer zu treiben.

Zum anderen verloren der Präsident und seine Partei wegen ihrer gescheiterten Politik das Wohlwollen der meisten Wähler, mit den merklichen Ausnahmen seiner schwarzen Gefolgschaft und des schon ausufernden Staatsbeamtentum. Zum Leiden des jeweiligen Staatsträgers besteht ein klaffender Widerspruch zwischen den Interessen der meisten Amerikaner und den Begehren der Minderheiten, die sich ihm anhängen. Aber auch das ist nicht überzubewerten. Weil gerade die Schwarzen nach ihrer begeisterten Unterstützung des ersten halbschwarzen Präsidenten kaum Verbesserungen für sich warhnehmen, versäumten sie vorgestern, für Obama in gleichwertigen Zahlen wie vorher einzutreten. Kurzum siegten die Republikaner nicht wegen des eigenen Verdienstes – der recht spärlich erscheint.

…und Enthaltung bei den Republikanern

Das Publikum zeigte den Demokraten ihre Verdrossenheit anschaulich. Der Washington Post–Berichterstatter Dan Balz erachtet die erfolgte Wahl als eine „ablehnende Entscheidung“, die nicht mit „einem mündigen Auftrag“ zu verwechseln sei. Jedenfalls sind die Demokraten bei dieser Zwischenwahl glimpflich davongekommen. Die meisten Verluste sind bei der nächsten Bundeswahl in zwei Jahren zu vermuten.

Genau aus diesen Gründen bin auch ich der Wahl ferngeblieben. Eine Förderung des geringeren Übels kam für mich nicht in Frage. Meine Stimmenthaltung werde ich gern überdenken, sobald bedeutende Alternativen zum Kampf antreten. Aber ich bezweifle, daß zu meinen Lebzeiten die erwünschte Änderung eintreffen wird.


jeudi, 11 septembre 2014

Neocon Mythmongering About WW1

Neocon Mythmongering About WW1

us_propaganda-7.jpgThe success of neoconservative myth-mongering about World War One was brought home to me for the millionth time this weekend as I picked up our borough weekly The Elizabethtown Advocate. The feature article was supposedly by our Republican congressman, who represents Pennsylvania’s 16th District. Although I don’t want to speak ill of him, I can’t think of anything positive to say about Congressman Joe Pitts, other than the fact that he mails me a nice picture of his family, around Election Day. Like our US Senator Pat Toomey, Pitts is a paradigmatic Republican, who marches in lockstep with his party, particularly in foreign affairs. This now means first and always parroting the Murdoch media and sounding like the Weekly Standard and Victor Davis Hanson in speaking about twentieth century history.

In Pitts’s imagination “the First World War has lessons we can learn one-hundred years later.” Back before the War began, “there were many educated persons who believed that the major European powers had moved past the notion of using armies to settle conflicts” and “trade ties between all the major powers had blossomed.” But then suddenly a Teutonic bee appeared in the ointment: “While business leaders and the general public may have been unprepared for war, the leaders of Germany had been preparing for years. At a secret war council meeting in1912, Kaiser Wilhelm and his top commanders had concluded that was inevitable. They set about finding a way to swiftly deal a knockout blow to France and defeat Russia. They stockpiled materials and trained what became one of the finest fighting forces ever assembled.”  

Allow me to note that I don’t think Pitts produced this garbled account of the antecedents of the Great War. It is too literate and sophisticated for anything that I associate with his persona. Presumably it came from the word processor of a congressional assistant who is steeped in neoconservative talking points. An attempt is made in this literary exercise, but never clearly developed, to link Wilhelm, Hitler and Putin in some kind of rogues’ gallery. But this is hardly original. It seems to be nothing more than a paraphrase of the latest invective of VDH or something that one could easily extract from any neocon publication mentioning the anniversary of the Great War. We are also told that the war unleashed by the Kaiser created such “horror” in the interwar period that the Allies allowed Hitler to run riot across Europe. This continuing fear of war and craving for material security are now producing what for Pitts or his ghost-writer is a new unwillingness to face international challenges.

As an historian of World War One, I continue to wonder what was the ominous meeting that the Kaiser and his General Staff held in 1912, in order to plan a European-wide war, for which they had been “stockpiling” weapons for decades. There were in fact multiple meetings that the General Staff held in 1911 and 1912 with and without Wilhelm and/or his ministers. The idea that there was one meeting in 1912 at which these decisions were reached is a fiction, as Gunter Spraul shows convincingly in Der Fischer Komplex. This charge arose among state-authorized historians in East Germany and then traveled by way of Fritz Fischer and his groupies to West Germany, where the fateful, invented meeting became a staple of the antifascist Left’s brief against their country. Joe Pitts’s imagined meeting then migrated to England where anti-German historians and strangely enough, Mrs. Thatcher picked it up and used it as evidence of an eternal German danger. Not at all surprisingly, the East German Communists abandoned the narrative by then, perhaps for being incompatible with the Marxist-Leninist interpretation that both sides were responsible for the First World War, which had been a struggle for world power among late capitalists.

What really happened is that the Kaiser, the Chief of the General Staff, Helmut von Moltke, and other German political actors were concerned that the French and the Russians were drafting far more soldiers than the Germans and their Austrian allies. There was no plan to launch a European-wide preventive war, unless, as Wilhelm pointed out, the “very existence in Germany hung in the balance.” We know there was a Schlieffen Plan, drafted in the 1890s and then periodically updated, that would allow the Germans to gain the upper hand in a two-front war, since they were in fact encircled by hostile Entente powers. But this was discussed as a last resort, and Moltke expressed the view, in a memorandum in December 1911, that his country should be careful to avoid risks, given the imbalance of forces between them and their enemies. That particular memorandum, according to Spraul, has usually been cited in a garbled form to make it appear that Moltke was actually advocating a preventive war against France and Russia. Significantly, the Jewish social democratic historian Arthur Rosenberg, who was by no means a hardened German nationalist, noted in 1929: “General von Moltke as the head of the military faction never desired any war. Whoever asserts the contrary, knows nothing about the weak character of the first chief of the German general staff, who shuddered at whatever responsibilities were thrust on him.”

In 1912, while the German government was supposedly planning a great war, its leaders sat by passively while the Serbs, Greeks, Romanians and Greeks made war on Germany’s ally Turkey, with Russian support. The Germans also sat on their hands while the Balkan belligerents stripped the Ottoman Empire of most of its European possessions. This situation was a provocation not only for Germany but even more for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, since it allowed a very unfriendly Serbia, in alliance with Russia, to expand in Southeastern Europe. One might ask Congressman Pitts’s ghost-writer why the Germans didn’t mobilize their armies and reach for their long stockpiled weapons to launch a war at that point. Oh, and lest I forget to mention the obvious, the anti-German side had been arming to the teeth for decades. The Germans were not alone in this practice and in fact lagged behind the other side in military manpower as the Guns of August went off.

vendredi, 29 août 2014

Ignorant Conservatives and August 1914


Ignorant Conservatives and August 1914

Those Intellectuals Who Know Nothing of the Past May Help to Repeat It

I recently received an unexpected gift from American historian and political theorist Barry Alan Shain, The Declaration of Independence in Historical Context, a 600 page collection of documents from the era of the American Revolution, with accompanying commentaries and a long introductory essay, published by Yale University Press. It would be marvelous if Barry’s ambitious scholarship elicited the widespread discussion among journalists and media celebrities that it richly deserves. But I doubt this will happen. The author is not in sync with the authorized political camps, from Dinesh D’Souza to the followers of left-radical historian Howard Zinn, when he warns against such “misconceptions” as the belief that the US was founded as a “propositional nation.” Contrary to this belief: “The Declaration may more accurately be seen as the unintended and undesired culmination of a process of resistance in which the majority of the colonists believed they were defending customary and traditional British constitutional institutions and historical political rights against misguided ministerial and parliamentary innovations.”

Shain demonstrates exhaustively that up until the eve of the Revolution most members of the Continental Congress opposed “parliamentary innovations,” as staunch monarchists. Most of these dignitaries were not comfortable with the natural rights phrases that Thomas Jefferson inserted into the Declaration, a point that such scholars as George Carey and Forrest McDonald have also made. If one could go back in time and tell these delegates they were founding a global democracy based on human rights, and that they were putting the US on a course toward converting the entire planet to something called “liberal democracy,” they would have viewed the speaker as mad.

Although other scholars have offered similar arguments, their views, like those of Shain, cannot possibly prevail against the parameters of debate established by our political-journalistic elites. Certain discussions that would have unfolded in the past have become closed questions. This has happened for two reasons, both of which I try to explain in my book The Strange Death of Marxism.

First, in the cultural and social sphere, the US has moved dramatically toward the left, so much so that the left center in my youth would be well to the right of where “conservatives” have placed themselves. Note that onetime feminist Eleanor Roosevelt wanted to limit women’s access to the workplace, lest their presence there reduce the “single family wage” of their husbands and threaten the unity of the family.

Until the 1960s, women were seen by both of our political parties as primarily wives and mothers; homosexuality was generally viewed as a psychic disorder (by communist even more than capitalist nations); and civil rights for blacks meant the right to sit at an integrated lunch counter. Although those changes that have occurred since then may be viewed by the broad public as “only fair,” they have exacted an enormous price, and part of that price is an intolerance of the way people lived before the cataclysm of the 1960s and 1970s. Please note that an idea like gay marriage would have struck most people as silly and possibly offensive thirty years ago; today it is proclaimed by our media as a fundamental, universal right. The Wall Street Journal rails against Russian leader Vladimir Putin for not allowing self-proclaimed homosexuals to teach in public schools. Through most of my life I could easily imagine most Americans taking similar positions to those of the Russian president, without eliciting the anger of Democratic or Republican newspapers.

Second, the shift of our cultural-political spectrum leftward has brought a narrowing of historical debate, which seems to have resulted in having both sides take what used to be recognizably leftist positions. Certain discussions can barely take place any longer, without the participants being accused by the media, the educational establishment, and the official conservative opposition of racial or gender insensitivity. Is it really possible to take a negative view of Reconstruction, without being attacked as a racist? This fate has befallen even the pro-Union historian William A. Dunning. In his study of the Union army’s occupation of the post-Civil War South, Dunning criticizes the politics and rapacity of the Reconstruction government and of those who were behind it; this hapless historian, who came from an impeccable Abolitionist background, is therefore now condemned as a racist. The book on Reconstruction by Eric Foner, which treats the events in question as a morality play between evil Southern whites and a virtuous Union occupying army, has supplanted other treatments of a now politically settled subject. The fact that Foner, a longtime revolutionary socialist, presents Reconstruction as “America’s unfinished revolution” gives his work a link to contemporary social engineering projects.

But the most disfiguring ideological reconstruction of history has taken place on what is supposedly the conservative side. Here we see the current labeling of good and bad guys read back into the past in order to justify a belligerent foreign policy. Thus the struggles for hegemony between two ancient Greek slave societies, according to Victor Davis Hanson, reveal the outlines of modern confrontations between predictable heroes and equally predictable villains.

These evocations of Manichean struggles, which I notice particularly in Hanson’s newspaper columns, sometimes verge on the ludicrous. They have nothing to do with history as a serious discipline. The first rule for the study of history should be to understand the differences between past and present and then the differences between different things in the past. I am now reading and hearing outbursts of anger in the press about the revival of murderous anti-Semitism in Germany and France. This invective, however well-intentioned, leave the mistaken impression that the violently anti-Jewish demonstrators who are raging through European cities are the left over accessories from the Nazi regime. Only by looking at pictures could one guess that the troublemakers are Muslim immigrants who have been allowed to settle in Western European countries. Although a serious problem is occurring, let’s not pretend it’s more of the evil European past. We are dealing with an unprecedented problem that was caused by an unwise immigration policy.

A discussion that the “conservative” establishment in particular has tried to take off the table concerns responsibility for the Great War that started one hundred years ago. From reading Professor Hanson and Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard, I would have to assume both counterfactually and counterintuitively, that “autocratic” Germany was responsible for the entire bloodbath, that Winston Churchill played a gallant role in World War One as he did in the struggle against Hitler, in preserving European democracy against the German threat, and that Imperial Germany and possibly the Habsburg Empire were precursors of the Third Reich. These tediously recited opinions are the result of looking in the wrong places for a later disaster, in this case Nazi crimes. Although Imperial Germany was an unevenly developed constitutional monarchy and although the last German Kaiser was far from a model diplomat (who was in European politics in 1914?), Germany in 1914 was a government of law, with the best fed working class and lowest taxes in Europe and a very free press. Germany had no more to do with inciting the First World War, the scope of which none of the belligerents foresaw, than the Entente powers that the Germans fought.

All the major participants behaved with equivalent recklessness, a point that Christopher Clark demonstrates in his magisterial The Sleepwalkers. As someone who has been studying the Great War for forty years, I shall be happy to provide my critics with a mountain of counterevidence to what has become neoconservative holy writ for German sole responsibility for the Great War. This position was supposedly worked out indisputably in Fritz Fischer’s voluminous critical study of Wilhelmine Germany, Griff nach der Weltmacht (1961), a work that seems to have brought equal pleasure to the German anti-national Left, American refugee historians with whom I studied in graduate school, and the future neoconservative masters of the American conservative movement.

Unfortunately for his ill-informed American fans, every major contention in Fischer’s brief against Imperial Germany, which was written by a onetime Nazi zealot, who later made a name for himself as a German antifascist, anti-nationalist historian, has been effectively challenged multiple times. It is even questionable whether Fischer found the evidence for his brief in those East German archives to which he was given access, but which were closed to less radically leftist historians. Much of what Fischer claims to be documenting was glaringly misquoted or given a distorting context. Moreover, those nationalist attitudes Fischer’s books treat as peculiarly German were at least as much present in Germany’s enemies as they were in the German Second Empire. France and Russia has far more extensive military conscription than the Germans and Austrians and were obviously planning for war against the Central Powers in 1914.

Equally noteworthy, the German historian Gunter Spraul in Der Fischer Komplex devotes several hundred pages of minute analysis to investigating how Fischer twisted the statements of German leaders in 1914 and even earlier in order to prove what Fischer never satisfactorily proves: that the German government alone planned a general European war that it unleashed in 1914, for the sake of territorial conquest and economic hegemony. Even more devastating in this regard is the 1100 page work 14/18. Der Weg nachVersailles by Jörg Friedrich, a study that blows out of the water any explicit or implicit defense of the main lines of the Fischer-thesis. Of course the authors of neoconservative screeds against Imperial Germany may be totally oblivious to whatever contradicts the anti-German hang-ups of their patrons. I strongly doubt that these journalists do research in German sources or keep up with relevant secondary works. There is no need for them to do either in order to collect their checks.

There are copious available sources for all the following assertions, which I can easily provide for the curious or skeptical: Although Winston Churchill behaved heroically in facing up to Hitler, the British First Lord of the Admiralty was an anti-German loose wire in 1914 and throughout the decade before the war; it was the Germans and Austrians, never the Allies, who displayed a willingness to end the war with a compromise peace. Not incidentally, there was far more tolerance of antiwar opposition in Germany and Austria than in the “democracies,” particularly after Woodrow Wilson launched our first “crusade for democracy” after having suppressed all opposition to this undertaking.

It is also inaccurate to claim that the British were “driven” into an anti-German and anti-Austrian alliance system because of the naval expansion begun by the Germans in 1898. This build-up never came close to threatening English naval supremacy, and on the eve of the war, Germany had only moved from eleventh place up to fifth as a naval powe r. When Anglophile German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg (his name is inexcusably misspelled in the English Wikipedia and in its slavish German translation) proposed to scale down the naval build-up and offered other concessions to the British as a way of winning their friendship, he got nowhere in a hurry. As we learn from German dean of diplomatic historians Konrad Canis in Der Weg in den Abgrund 1891-1914 , the British government of Lord Edward Grey ignored the Chancellor’s overtures and proceeded to tighten the encirclement of Germany with the French and Russians. In the summer of 1914, if the war had not broken out, the British would have signed an agreement with the Russians centered on landing Russian armies, who were to be transported in British ships, on the North German coast. This was not in any way prompted by provocative German action. It was, as Canis painstakingly documents, a step toward the hostile encirclement of Germany that the Grey government had been working to achieve since 1905.

Moreover, a civilian government continued to operate in Germany throughout what we are sometimes misleadingly told was a “military dictatorship,” and it was the collapse of the will of the Kaiser and the military command that caused Germany to sue for peace. The parliamentary parties would in all probability have continued the struggle against the Allies. Ironically the military fobbed off the defeat on the civilian government, when it was the military that caved in. The starvation blockade that Churchill placed around Germany resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and led to the unrestricted U-Boat sinking carried out by the Germans in the Atlantic, which was intended to divert the blockading British fleet. This misstep handed Wilson’s never really neutral government the excuse to go to war, a step the Anglophile Republican Party had been calling for since 1914.

This blockade would have been illegal as well as outrageously immoral but the British government, knowing they would use this measure in a war they expected to wage against Germany, refused to sign the Hague Conventions, banning starvation blockades on humanitarian grounds. The Belgians were far from neutral in 1914. Indeed the Belgian king had participated in military conversations with the British and French, calling for an amphibious landing of British troops on the Belgian coast in case of war with Germany. Finally, as Niall Ferguson points out in The Pity of War, England would have been in a much better position in 1919, even if the Central Powers managed to squeeze out a victory, than she was after the devastation of World War One. Nor would the US have chosen badly if it had stayed out. It still would have been the world’s major power in 1919 and might have done even better if it had tried, contrary to what it actually did, to broker an honest peace between the two war-weary sides.

These are just a few of the judgments regarding the supposedly bad side in World War One, which would have been axiomatic truths in National Review, Human Events and among many respectable historians circa 1965. Naturally I have no hope of converting Professor Hanson whose idiosyncratic revulsion for the Germans may even exceed that of his neoconservative sponsors, who continue to loathe the Germans as perpetrators of the Holocaust. As a prime illustration of Hanson’s idée fixe, allow me to cite from a column on NATO that he posted on his home site at NR-Online on August 6: “The war-torn democracies were scared that Germany would quickly rebound to prompt yet another European war for the fourth time in less than a century.” Having shown this puzzling passage to various historians of my acquaintance, none of them could figure out what Hanson’s third German war was. We’ll concede arguendo two German wars, but what the hell is the third one. Perhaps Hanson means the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, but in that conflict it was France that stupidly declared war on Prussia (there was no unified Germany at the time). In the rest of his column Hanson rages against the dangers posed by Putin as a Russian nationalist, although even here it seems that Hanson is continuing his anti-German rant and simply transferring it to the new Kaiser Wilhelm in Moscow.

Well at least, Hanson has not descended to the degree of historical illiteracy about World War One that I’ve encountered in the Weekly Standard, most recently on August 4. There I learned that Wilson should have entered the war against the German autocrats much earlier, a point that we somehow learn, or so author Daniel Halper insists, from the events of the Second World War. I don’t quite grasp the connection, but since I’m neither a neocon nor a certified movement conservative any longer, this is not surprising. Apparently had we not entered the European struggle for democracy, after what Halper tells us was Wilson’s honest efforts to maintain neutrality, an aggressive Germany “would have dominated Europe and then threatened the United States.” Perhaps Wilson and Halper would have done well to notice the British starvation blockade, which drove the German government to desperate measures, and the fact that the Lusitania, which the Germans sank in 1915, was not a harmless pleasure vessel, as Halper suggests. The ship was loaded with contraband, including munitions to the British that would be used against German and Austrian soldiers. The Lusitania was also registered with the British navy as an auxiliary cruiser and was therefore a fair war target for the German submarines. Finally, and not insignificantly, the German government had advertised these facts in American newspapers and urged Americans not to expose themselves to danger by travelling on what was viewed as an armed war ship. Oh yes, I know this refutation is an exercise in futility. Neocons have at their beck and call major media resources and don’t have to respond to aging Old Right critics, whom they marginalized decades ago with the snap of their fingers.

Let me end my comments on Germanophobic obsessions, by recalling an exchange at a conference on international relations that was sponsored by the Alexander Hamilton Institute. At that conference I found myself on a panel with Hanson’s Doppelgänger, an army officer who seemed to have emerged from the pages of the Murdoch press but who had actually worked in intelligence. I agreed with my fellow-participant when he stressed the need for a “realistic” foreign policy,” although he may have meant by that term something different from my understanding of it. In my remarks I noted parenthetically that the origins of some conflicts are “extremely complex” and, because of the anniversary of that catastrophe, I mentioned the Great War as an example. The officer then shot back in my direction: “That’s not true. That was caused by a German military dictatorship.” At that point I thought to myself: “Right! And the Spanish American War was caused by a Latin Catholic autocrat who sank our ship in Havana harbor.”


mercredi, 29 janvier 2014

Paul Gottfried’s Leo Strauss & the Conservative Movement in America

Paul Gottfried’s Leo Strauss & the Conservative Movement in America

By Greg Johnson

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

Paul Edward Gottfried
Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America: A Critical Appraisal [2]
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012

leo strauss,paul gottfried,théorie politique,philosophie,philosophie politique,sciences politiques,politologie,états-unis,straussiens,néo-conservateursPaul Gottfried’s admirable book on Leo Strauss is an unusual and welcome critique from the Right.

Leo Strauss (1899–1973) was a German-born Jewish political theorist who moved to the United States in 1937. Strauss taught at the New School for Social Research in New York City before moving to the University of Chicago, where he was Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor until his retirement in 1969. In the familiar pattern of Jewish intellectual movements as diverse of Psychoanalysis, Marxism, and Objectivism, Strauss was a charismatic teacher who founded a cultish school of thought, the Straussians, which continues to this day to spread his ideas and influence throughout academia, think tanks, the media, and the government.

The Straussians have not, however, gone unopposed. There are three basic kinds of critiques: (1) critiques from the Left, which range from paranoid, middlebrow, journalistic smears by such writers as Alan Wolfe [3], Cloaked in Virtue: Unveiling Leo Strauss and the Rhetoric of American Foreign Policy [4], and John P. McCormick [5], to more scholarly middlebrow critiques by such writers as Shadia Drury [6] and Norton [7], (2) scholarly critiques of the Straussian method and Straussian interpretations from philosophers and intellectual historians such as Hans-Georg Gadamer and Quentin Skinner, and (3) scholarly critiques from the Right.

As Gottfried points out, the Straussians tend only to engage their critics on the Left. This makes sense, since their Leftist critics raise the cultural visibility of the Straussian school. The critics are also easily defeated, which raises Straussian credibility as well. Like all debates within the parameters of Jewish hegemony, the partisans in the Strauss wars share a whole raft of assumptions which are never called into question. Thus these controversies look somewhat farcical and managed to those who reject liberalism and Jewish hegemony root and branch.

Gottfried offers a far more penetrating critique of Straussianism because he is a genuine critic of liberalism. He is also surprisingly frank about Strauss’s Jewish identity and motives, although these matters come into crisper focus in Kevin MacDonald’s treatment [8] of Strauss. Gottfried’s volume is slender, clearly written, and closely argued—although his arguments tend to be overly involved. Gottfried presupposes a basic knowledge of Strauss. He also talks as much about Straussians as about Strauss himself. Thus this book cannot be used as an introduction to Strauss’s ideas—unlike Shadia Drury’s The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss [9] (New York: Saint Martins Press, 1988), for instance.

Gottfried strives to be scrupulously fair. He acknowledges the genuine intellectual virtues of Strauss and some of his followers. He distinguishes between good and bad writings by Strauss, good and bad Straussians, good and bad writings by bad Straussians, etc. But for all these careful qualifications, the net impression left by this book is that Straussians are an obnoxious academic cult engaged in a massive ethnically motivated intellectual fraud, to the detriment of higher education, the conservative movement, and American politics in general.

1. Straussians are Not Conservatives

Straussians like to posture as beleaguered intellectual and political outsiders. But Strauss and his school are very much an establishment phenomenon, with professorships at elite institutions, including Harvard and Yale, regular access to major university and academic presses (Yale, Chicago, and Cornell for the first stringers, SUNY, Saint Augustine’s Press, and Rowman and Littlefield for the rest), and a cozy relationship with the flagships of the “liberal” media the New York Times and the Washington Post.

This favored position is due largely to the strongly Jewish character of Straussian thought and of most Straussians. The Straussians are one of the major vectors by which Jewish hegemony was established over American conservatism. They are promoted by the Jewish establishment as a “safe” alternative to the Left. But they are a false alternative, since there is nothing conservative about the Straussians. Most Straussians are promoters of the welfare state, racial integration, non-white immigration, and an abstract “creedal” conception of American identity—the same basic agenda as the Jewish Left.

Where the Straussians depart from the Left is their bellicose “Schmittian” political realism. They recognize that enmity is a permanent feature of political life, and they fight to win. Although Straussians cloak their aims in universal terms like “liberal democracy,” the common thread running through their politics from Cold War liberalism to present-day neoconservatism is an entirely parochial form of ethnic nationalism, namely using the United States and Europe to fight on behalf of Israel and the Jewish diaspora world-wide.

As Jews in exile, Straussians prefer that the United States be a liberal democracy, a universal, propositional society that does not exclude them from power and influence. But since the world is a dangerous place, Straussians prefer the United States to be a militant, crusading liberal democracy, as long as its blood and treasure are spent advancing Jewish interests in Israel and around the globe.

Since the American Right contains strong militarist tendencies, Strauss and his followers regarded it as a natural ally. It was child’s play, really, for the Straussians to take over the post-World War II American Right, in which a glib, shallow poseur like William F. Buckley could pass as an intellectual leader. All the Straussians needed to do was assume “a certain right-wing style without expressing a right-wing worldview” (p. 115).

Once inside the Right-wing camp, the Straussians worked to marginalize any nativist, isolationist, identitarian, racialist, and genuinely conservative tendencies—any tendencies that might lead Americans to see Jews as outsiders and Israel as a questionable ally. Gottfried sums up Strauss’s project nicely:

As a refugee from a German movement once identified with the far Right and as someone who never quite lost his sense of Jewish marginality, Strauss was anxious about the “festering dissatisfaction” on the American Right. A patriotic, anticommunist conservatism, one that was open to the concerns of Strauss and his followers, could lessen this anxiety about Right-wing extremism. Such a contrived Right would not locate itself on the nativist or traditional nationalist Right, nor would it be closed to progressive winds in the direction of the civil rights revolution that was then taking off. But it would be anti-Soviet and emphatically pro-Zionist. In a nutshell, it would be Cold War liberalism, with patriotic fanfare. (p. 120)

Of course the Straussians did not gain the power to remake the American Right along Jewish lines merely through merit. Like other Jewish intellectual movements, the Straussians’ preferred method of advancement is not rational debate but the indoctrination of the impressionable, the slow infiltration of institutions, and then, when their numbers are sufficient to cement control, the purge of dissidents within and the exclusion of dissidents without. Gottfried has been observing the Straussian takeover of the American Right for decades. He has seen his own ambitions, and the ambitions of other conservatives, checked by Straussian operatives.

Straussians make a cult of great “statesmen” like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill. But, as Gottfried points out, “From the standpoint of . . . older [American] republicanism, Lincoln, and other Straussian heroes were dangerous centralizers and levelers, certainly not paradigms of great statesmanship” (p. 111). There is nothing distinctly conservative about the warmongering of Straussian neoconservatives:

Fighting wars for universal, egalitarian propositions was never a priority for authoritarian conservatives like Antonio Salazar or Francisco Franco. Nor is this type of crusade an activity that one might associate with American conservative isolationists like Robert Taft. It is an expression of progressive militarism, a form of principled belligerence that French Jacobinism, Wilsonianism, and wars of communist liberation have all exemplified at different times. (p. 116)

Some Straussian apologists argue that Strauss and the neoconservatives are two very different things. Of course not all Straussians are neoconservatives, and not all neoconservatives are Straussians. But nobody argues for such simplistic claims. Gottfried devotes an entire chapter to the neoconservative connection, arguing that “the nexus between neoconservatism and Straussians is so tight that it may be impossible to dissociate the two groups in any significant way” (p. 9).

Of course, the Straussians and neoconservatives need to be understood in the larger context of Jewish hegemony, and the more specific context of Jewish subversion of the American Right. The problem is not just the Straussians. Thus it could not be solved simply by purging Straussians from American life. The problem is the larger Jewish community and its will to dominate.

If Leo Strauss had never set foot on these shores, essentially the same process of Jewish subversion would have taken place, only the external details would be different. There were other sources of neoconservatism besides the Straussians: Zionist Trotskyites, for example. And long before the birth of neoconservatism, Jews were already at work redefining the American Right. For instance, George H. Nash documents extensive Jewish involvement in the founding of National Review. (See George H. Nash, “Forgotten Godfathers: Premature Jewish Conservatives and the Rise of National Review,” American Jewish History, 87, nos. 2 & 3 [June–September 1999], pp. 123–57.)

2. The “Lockean Founding” of the United States

Gottfried is apparently attracted to the anti-rationalist Burkean tradition of conservatism, which in effect claims that history is smarter than reason, therefore, we should take our guidance from historically evolved institutions and conventions rather than rational constructs. This form of conservatism is, of course, dismissed by the Straussians as “historicism.” Gottfried counters that the Straussians

seek to ignore . . . the ethnic and cultural preconditions for the creation of political orders. Straussians focus on those who invent regimes because they wish to present the construction of government as an open-ended, rationalist process. All children of the Enlightenment, once properly instructed, should be able to carry out this constructivist task, given enough support from the American government or American military. (pp. 3–4)

In the American context, historicist conservatism stresses the Anglo-Protestant identity of American culture and institutions. This leads to skepticism about the ability of American institutions to assimilate immigrants from around the globe and the possibility of exporting American institutions to the rest of the world.


leo strauss,paul gottfried,théorie politique,philosophie,philosophie politique,sciences politiques,politologie,états-unis,straussiens,néo-conservateurs


Moreover, a historicist Anglo-Protestant American conservatism, no matter how “Judaizing” its fixation on the Old Testament, would still regard Jews as outsiders. Thus Straussians, like other Jewish intellectual movements, have promoted an abstract, “propositional” conception of American identity. Of course, Gottfried himself is a Jew, but perhaps he has the intellectual integrity to base his philosophy on his arguments rather than his ethnic interests

(Catholic Straussians are equally hostile to an Anglo-Protestant conception of America, but while Jewish Straussians have changed American politics to suit their interests, Catholic Straussians have gotten nothing for their services but an opportunity to vent spleen against modernity.)

The Straussians’ preferred “Right-wing” form of propositional American identity is the idea that American was founded on Lockean “natural rights” liberalism. If America was founded on universal natural rights, then obviously it cannot exclude Jews, or refuse to grant freedom and equality to blacks, etc. The liberal, Lockean conception of the American founding is far older than Strauss and is defended primarily by Strauss’s followers Thomas L. Pangle in The Spirit of Modern Republicanism: The Moral Vision of the American Founders and the Philosophy of Locke [10] (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988) and Michael Zuckert Natural Rights and the New Republicanism [11] (Princeton University Press, 1994). Moreover, the Straussians argue that Locke was a religious skeptic, thus on the Straussian account, “The ‘American regime’ was a distinctly modernist and implicitly post-Christian project . . . whose Lockean founders considered religious concerns to be less important than individual material ones” (p. 39).

Lockean bourgeois liberalism is so dominant in America today that it is easy to think that it must have been that way at the founding as well. But this is false. Aside from the opening words of the Declaration of Independence—which were highly controversial among the signatories—and the marginal writings of Thomas Paine, Lockean natural rights talk played almost no role in the American founding, which was influenced predominantly by classical republicanism as reformulated by Machiavelli, Harrington, and Montesquieu (the thesis of J. G. A. Pocock’s The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition [12] [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975]) and Calvinist Christianity (the thesis of Barry Allan Shain’s The Myth of American Individualism: The Protestant Origins of American Political Thought [13] [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994]).

There is nothing distinctly Lockean about the American Constitution, and nothing particularly Constitutional about modern Lockean America. Liberals effectively refounded America by replacing the Constitution with Jefferson’s Lockean Declaration of Independence (which is not even a legal document of the United States). Daniel Webster (1782–1852) is the first figure I know of to promote this project, but surely he was not alone. The refounding is summed up perfectly by the opening of Straussian hero Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address: “Four score and seven years ago [i.e., 1776] our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” The United States, of course, was founded by the US Constitution, which was written in 1787 and ratified in 1788 and which says nothing about universal human equality, but does treat Negroes as 3/5 of a person and Indians as foreign and hostile nations. But Lincoln was in the process of founding a new nation on the ruins of the Constitution as well as the Confederacy.

Straussians, of course, oppose both the classical republican and Anglo-Calvinist origins of the United States because both sources are tainted with particularist identities that exclude Jews. Gottfried doubts that the “organic communitarian democracy” defended by Carl Schmitt—and also by classical republicans and New England Calvinists, although Gottfried does not mention them in this context—would appeal to Strauss: “Outside of Israel, that is not a regime that Strauss would likely have welcomed” (p. 128). Jews can have an ethnostate in the Middle East, but they insist we live under inclusive, universal liberal democracies.

Incidentally, the North American New Right does not aim at a restoration of the Anglo-Protestant past, which has been pretty much liquidated by the universal solvents of capitalism and liberal democracy. The Anglo-American has been replaced by a blended European-American, although the core of our language, laws, and status system remains English. American “conservatism” has managed to conserve so little of the original American culture and stock that by the time New Rightist regimes might attain power, we will in effect be handed a blank slate for constructivist projects of our own design.

3. The “Return” to the Ancients

The Straussians are reputed by friend and foe alike to be advocates of a return to classical political philosophy, and perhaps even to classical political forms like the polis. Strauss and his students certainly have produced many studies of ancient philosophy, primarily Plato and Aristotle. The Straussians, moreover, have a definite pattern of praising the ancients and denigrating modernity.

Gottfried, however, demolishes this picture quite handily. We have already seen his argument that the Straussians are advocates of universalistic modern liberal democracy, not classical Republicanism or any other form of political particularism—except, of course, for Israel.

Beyond that, Gottfried argues that Straussians merely project Strauss’s own modern philosophical prejudices on the ancients. The method that licenses such wholesale interpretive projection and distortion is Strauss’s famous rediscovery of “esoteric” writing and reading. Strauss claims that under social conditions of intolerance, philosophers create texts with two teachings. The “exoteric” teaching, which is accommodated to socially dominant religious and moral opinions, discloses itself to casual reading. The “esoteric” teaching, which departs from religious and moral orthodoxy, can be grasped only through a much more careful reading. Philosophers adopt this form of writing to communicate heterodox ideas while protecting themselves from persecution.

Ultimately, Strauss’s claim that classical political philosophy is superior to the modern variety boils down to praising esotericism over frankness. But esoteric writers can exist in any historical era, including our own. Indeed, for the Straussians at least, the “ancients” have already returned.

In my opinion, Strauss’s greatest contribution is the rediscovery of esotericism. In particular, his approach to reading the Platonic dialogues as dramas in which Plato’s message is conveyed by “deeds” as well as “speeches” has revolutionized Plato scholarship and is now accepted well beyond Straussian circles.

That said, Strauss’s own esoteric readings are deformed by his philosophical and religious prejudices. Strauss was an atheist, so he thought that no serious philosopher could be religious. All religious-sounding teachings must, therefore, be exoteric. Strauss was apparently some sort of Epicurean materialist, so he dismissed all forms of transcendent metaphysics from Plato’s theory of forms to Aristotle’s metaphysics to Maimonides’ argument for the existence of God as somehow exoteric, or as mere speculative exercises rather than earnest attempts to know transcendent truths. Strauss was apparently something of an amoralist, so he regarded any ethical teachings he encountered to be exoteric as well.

In short, Strauss projected his own Nietzschean nihilism, as well as his radical intellectual alienation from ordinary people onto the history of philosophy as the template of what one will discover when one decodes the “esoteric” teachings of the philosophers. These prejudices have been taken over by the Straussian school and applied, in more or less cookie cutter fashion, to the history of thought. As Gottfried puts it:

He [Strauss] and his disciples typically find the esoteric meaning of texts to entail beliefs they themselves consider rational and even beneficent. . . . If this cannot be determined at first glance, then we must look deeper, until we arrive at the desired coincidence of views. . . . Needless to say, the “hidden” views never turn out to be Christian heresies or any beliefs that would not accord with the prescribed rationalist worldview. A frequently heard joke about this “foreshortening” hermeneutic is that a properly read text for a Straussian would reveal that its author is probably a Jewish intellectual who resides in New York or Chicago. Being a person of moderation, the author, like his interpreter, would have attended synagogue services twice a year, on the High Holy Days—and then probably not in an Orthodox synagogue. (p. 99)

This is not to deny that there are genuine Straussian contributions to scholarship, but the best of them employ Strauss’s methods while rejecting his philosophical prejudices.

Throughout his book, Gottfried emphasizes the importance of Strauss’s Jewish identity, specifically the identity of a Jew in exile. And I have long thought that the radical alienation of the Straussian image of the philosopher goes well beyond ordinary intellectual detachment. It is the alienation of the exiled Jew from his host population. Strauss’s philosophers reject the “gods of the city,” constitute a community with strong bonds of solidarity, and engage in crypsis to protect themselves from persecution by the masses. But Strauss’s philosophers are no ordinary Jews in exile, for they seek to influence society by educating its leaders. The template of the Straussian philosopher is thus the “court Jew” who advises the rulers of his host society, phrasing his advice in terms of universal values and the common good, but working always to secure the interests of his tribe. Thus it is no aberration that the Straussians have spawned a whole series of neoconservative “court Jews,” like William Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz, who do not just have ink on their fingers but blood up to their elbows.

Straussians make a great show of “piety” toward the great books. They have the face to claim that they understand texts exactly as the authors did, rejecting as “historicist” arrogance the idea of understanding an author better than he understood himself. In practice, however, Straussians turn the great philosophers of the past into sockpuppets spouting Strauss’s own views. As Gottfried remarks, “In the hands of his disciples, Strauss’s hermeneutic has become a means of demystifying the past, by turning ‘political philosophers’ into forerunners of the present age. One encounters in this less an affirmation of a permanent human nature than a graphic examples of Herbert Butterfield’s ‘Whig theory of history’” (p. 10).

Surely one cause of these Straussian misreadings is simple hermeneutic naïveté: they reject reflection on their own prejudices as “historicism,” thus they remain completely in their grip. But that is not the whole story. When a school of thought makes a trademark of praising dishonesty over frankness, one would be a fool to assume that “they know not what they do.”

Straussian interpretations have often been called “Talmudic” because of certain stylistic peculiarities, including their use of arithmetic. But the similarity is not just stylistic. Talmudism, like Straussianism, affects a great show of piety and intellectual rigor. But its aim is to reconcile human selfishness with divine law, to impose the interpreter’s agenda on the text, which is the height of impiety, intellectual dishonesty, and moral squalor. And if Talmudists are willing to do it to the Torah, Straussians are willing to do it to Plato as well. Beyond that, both Talmudism and Straussianism have elements of farce—as texts are bent to support preconceived conclusions—and of perversity, since the practitioners of the art applaud one another for their dialectical subtleties and their creation of complex arguments where simple ones will do.

Straussians like to posture as critics of postmodernism and political correctness, but in practice there is little difference. They merely sacrifice objective scholarship and intellectual freedom to a different political agenda. As with other academic movements, the pursuit of truth runs a distant third to individual advancement within the clique and collective advancement of its political agenda.

* * *

Throughout Gottfried’s book, I found myself saying “Yes, but . . .” Yes, Gottfried makes a powerful case against Straussianism. Yes, it functions as an intellectual cult corrupting higher education and national politics. Yes, the Straussian graduate students I encountered were smug, pompous, and clubbish. Yes, some of the Straussian professors I encountered really were engaged in cult-like indoctrination. But in all fairness, I have had a number of Straussian and quasi-Straussian teachers whom I greatly admire as scholars and human beings.

And, in the end, Strauss towers above his epigones. Over the last 25+ years, I have read all of Strauss’s published writings, many of them repeatedly. He has had an enormously positive influence on my intellectual life. More than any other writer, he has opened the books of both ancients and moderns to me, even though in the end I read them rather differently. (See my “Strauss on Persecution and the Art of Writing [14].”)

There are three areas in which I do not think Gottfried does Strauss justice.

First, Gottfried is correct to stress the abuses of Strauss’s hermeneutics. But these abuses to not invalidate the method. Gottfried shows no appreciation of the power of esotericism to reveal long-hidden dimensions of many ancient and modern thinkers.

Second, Gottfried is dismissive of the idea that Strauss’s engagement with Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Schmitt—and his evident knowledge of the broader Conservative Revolutionary milieu—indicates a real sympathy with far-Right identitarian politics. Simply repeating Strauss’s praise of liberal democracy cannot settle this question. The fact that Gottfried has written a fine book on Carl Schmitt proves that he is certainly competent to inquire further. (See my ongoing series on “Leo Strauss, the Conservative Revolution, and National Socialism,” Part 1 [15], Part 2 [16].)

Third, Gottfried is a historicist, Strauss an anti-historicist. Until the question of historicism is settled, a lot of Gottried’s criticisms are question-begging. Yet a serious engagement with historicism falls outside the scope of Gottfried’s book.

But all that is merely to say: Paul Gottfried’s Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America is that rarest of achievements: an academic book that one wishes were longer.

Source: The Occidental Observer, Part 1 [17], Part 2 [18]




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[2] Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America: A Critical Appraisal: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1107675715/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1107675715&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[3] Alan Wolfe: https://chronicle.com/article/A-Fascist-Philosopher-Helps-Us/20483

[4] Cloaked in Virtue: Unveiling Leo Strauss and the Rhetoric of American Foreign Policy: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0415950902/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0415950902&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[5] John P. McCormick: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521664578/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0521664578&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[6] Shadia Drury: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312217838/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0312217838&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[7] Norton: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0300109733/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0300109733&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[8] treatment: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2013/09/paul-gottfried-and-claes-ryn-on-leo-strauss/

[9] The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/140396954X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=140396954X&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[10] The Spirit of Modern Republicanism: The Moral Vision of the American Founders and the Philosophy of Locke: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226645479/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0226645479&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[11] Natural Rights and the New Republicanism: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0691059705/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0691059705&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[12] The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0691114722/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0691114722&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[13] The Myth of American Individualism: The Protestant Origins of American Political Thought: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0691029121/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0691029121&linkCode=as2&tag=countercurren-20

[14] Strauss on Persecution and the Art of Writing: http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/01/strauss-on-persecution-the-art-of-writing/

[15] Part 1: http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/01/leo-strauss-the-conservative-revolution-and-national-socialism/

[16] Part 2: http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/03/leo-strauss-the-conservative-revolution-and-national-socialism-part-2/

[17] Part 1: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2014/01/review-of-paul-gottfrieds-leo-strauss-and-the-conservative-movement-in-america-part-1/

[18] Part 2: http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2014/01/review-of-paul-gottfrieds-leo-strauss-and-the-conservative-movement-in-america-part-2/


samedi, 29 juin 2013

In Search of Anti-Semitism


In Search of Anti-Semitism

By Paul Gottfried

Ex: http://neweuropeanconservative.wordpress.com/

Among those authors considered politically incorrect, and even those considered really politically incorrect, Kevin MacDonald holds a special place of honor or shame. A feature story in the May 9 (Los Angeles) Jewish Journal describes this small-boned, soft-spoken 64-year-old professor of psychology at California State University at Long Beach as “the professors anti-Semites love.” Alluding to the fact that university authorities have been trying to force the outspoken MacDonald out of his tenured position, the article complains about “the downside of academic freedom.” We also learn that this clinical psychologist is “considered the foremost anti-Semitic thinker by civil rights experts.”

It would be ridiculous to imagine the same ignominy would be visited on MacDonald if he were a black sociologist making critical remarks about white people. Assuming that he were a designated victim, he would be allowed to compose for profit and prestige diatribes against white Christian males, possibly from a cushy university post at whatever salary illustrious defamers of Euro-Americans are now earning. And if he were a Jew or Christian attacking Christians as the agents of human evil, the now browbeaten MacDonald could make a king’s ransom at some well-heeled institute or as a feature writer for The New Republic or New York Times.

Readers of this website are aware of the lunatic double standard that has been imposed on intellectuals throughout the Western world, almost always by Westerners themselves, for the purpose of determining who can criticize whom. (By now this has become a permanent aspect of “democratic” regimes.)

Plainly MacDonald is not playing by the establishment rules when he observes that Jews have worked at weakening those non-Jewish societies in which they have lived. Although this thesis seems to me to be a bit too generalized, I have no objection to letting MacDonald go on trying to prove it.

In his recently published anthology of essays, Cultural Insurrections, it would be proper to note that MacDonald makes assumptions here that I have questioned in my review of his three-volume, monumental work on the Jews since Moses. I continue to find some of the cognitive disparities he stresses between Ashkenazi Jews and Euro-Americans to be overstated or at least under-demonstrated. If they were in fact as stark as MacDonald insists they are, I would believe that Jews have a right to treat Euro-Americans as natural inferiors or as people probably unfit to sustain their civilization (or what remains of it) without a Jewish master class. I am also skeptical about the possibility of extrapolating from the way a particular Jewish subculture has behaved in the U.S., Canada, and parts of Europe in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to how Jews have conducted themselves everywhere at all times.

It also seems that certain Jewish behavioral patterns MacDonald outlines are not uniquely Jewish. Other minorities such as Protestant non-conformists and later Irish Catholics in England (and in the U.S.), Huguenots in France, and Old Believers in Tsarist Russia, have shown exactly the same propensity for radical social causes, partly as acts of defiance against what they viewed as regimes that had failed to accord them full legal and/or social recognition.

Sephardic and German Jews who came to America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries seemed hell-bent on joining upper-class Protestants and they usually disappeared into the dominant gene pool within a few generations. I am not convinced that Jewish behavior toward Christians follows a biologically determined strategy aimed at the control of resources. My lifelong impression from being around them is that Jews don’t like Christians because of historical grievances, just the way Irish Catholics continue to rage against Protestant Yankees for real amd imaginary offenses inflicted on their ancestors.

Although friend-enemy distinctions are evident here, it is doubtful that these dividing lines operate strictly according to biological conditioning. And it seems even less likely that they are shaped by the natural desire to control resources, in competition against other groups. Much of what MacDonald cites as Jewish behavior is hostility, mixed with anxiety, rather than competitiveness. MacDonald is illustrating culturally subversive activities that go well beyond any attempt to achieve group competitive advantage measured by socio-economic success. Assailing the moral foundations of a Christian middle-class society as pathological and anti-Semitic, a tendency MacDonald proves Jewish intellectuals have repeatedly engaged in, is not simply an attack on the material resources of the dominant society. What MacDonald highlights looks like unfriendly behavior; and one may certainly question the biological reductionism used to explain it.

Having raised these critical points, I should also mention that MacDonald builds a thoroughly cogent case that the creation of “modernity” and the launching of a succession of indignant social crusades against bourgeois Christian civilization by Jewish intellectuals and political activists has usually betokened some degree of malice. But as I mentioned above, and as MacDonald is well aware, Jews are not the only minority that has attempted to subvert dominant outside cultures. They’re just better at doing this than any other group. Jewish intellectuals and activists excel at agitating in the name of some presumed moral high ground, acting like the cunning or resentful priestly class, to which Nietzsche compared the Jews in Genealogy of Morals. In Nietzsche’s analysis, Jews are good at transmitting “slave morality,” without being (immediately) infected themselves.

MacDonald’s newest anthology offers further evidence of what he understands as the Jewish practice of burrowing from within to weaken the cultural coherence of gentile societies. And he offers abundant proof that this burrowing has and is continuing to occur. Whether he is dealing with the predominantly Jewish Frankfurt School and its cultural influences, the role played by Jewish activists in opposing controls on immigration throughout the last hundred years, the penetration and takeover of the American Right by the neoconservatives, or the pressures placed on politicians and political parties by Zionist organizations, MacDonald creates the impression that Jews have worked collectively toward two ends: lessening the cohesion of gentile society and promoting specifically Jewish national ends.

An argument I have used in the past to counter his generalizations is that “not every Jewish community at all times and in all places have acted in this way”; nonetheless, MacDonald could respond to my objections by pointing out that his analysis applies to American Jews for at least the last several generations. And he offers evidence that the same behavioral patterns as the one he discerns among the predominantly Eastern European Jews in the U.S. could already be seen among the relatively assimilated German Jews since their emancipation in Europe.

The same radicalization could be perceived among German Jewish intellectuals going back to the beginnings of Marxian socialism. And the cultural Marxism that has now taken off in a big way had its origin among alienated or embittered German Jews of the interwar period, who later emigrated to the U.S. The present multicultural fixation that has taken Western Europe, Canada and the U.S. by storm was largely the creation of German Jews.

But the group MacDonald’s brief leaves me wondering about most is the white Christian majority: They are jerked around because they have accepted this role for themselves. My own works on the politics of guilt underlines this tendency: Euro-Americans have become emotionally and sociologically predisposed toward aggrieved minorities that condemn them for politically incorrect attitudes. But have Jewish priests been necessary to get the Christian majority to practice slave morality? My answer is that “it helps but isn’t absolutely necessary.”

The institution of learning at which I work and the German Anabaptist denomination to which it was long connected are paradigmatically PC. Furthermore, Lancaster County, where our college is located, registered the largest vote for Obama in the Democratic primary of any county in Pennsylvania that’s not predominantly black. This result was owed much to Church of the Brethren, whose members in their zany anti-racism and open-borders postures make Abe Foxman sound relatively sane. The chance that such radicalized Protestants, who live in their own social bubble, would have picked up their lunacies from any Jew (me perhaps?) is next to nil. They came by their madness on their own, as a “peace church,” and as late entrees into the modern age after having spent an eternity on isolated farms in the Pennsylvania countryside. Like Jimmy Carter, Jim Wallis, Bill Moyers, and most of the Catholic hierarchy on the question of immigration, these Anabaptists exemplify aspects of Christianity that are totally compatible with cultural Marxism and the politics of Western suicide. They do not need Jews, blacks, or North African Muslims to teach them self-destructive behavior, any more than Swedes or Spaniards need the villains in MacDonald’s script to hand over their countries to hostile Muslims from North Africa.

The most interesting point for me in MacDonald’s volume is his presentation of movement conservative goyim. He is absolutely on the money in documenting their servility in relation to their neoconservative puppet-masters. The most startling aspect of this relation is the degree to which the servile class allows itself to be instructed. Irving Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Douglas Feith, and other neoconservative spokesmen have indeed convinced their pliant enablers that Israel is to be defended as an “ethno-cultural creation,” while the American nation is to be seen as possessing an “ideological identity,” founded on global human rights principles and on an expansionist foreign policy. MacDonald cites the remarkable tribute produced for neocon guru Leo Strauss by his admiring disciple Werner Dannhauser, a tribute that extols Strauss, the famous mentor to global democrats, as “a good Jew. He knew the dignity and worth of love of one’s own. Love of the good is higher than love of one’s own, but there is only one road to truth and it leads through love of one’s own.” MacDonald asks rhetorically whether Anglo-Saxon Protestant “conservatives” could express such sentiments about their own group without Jewish liberals or neocons attacking them as nativists or incipient Nazis.

McDonald cites the public letter drafted by William Kristol’s Project for the New American Century in 2002, calling for a “move against Saddam Hussein,” on the grounds that “Israel’s fight against terrorism is ours.” MacDonald calls special attention to the prominent Jewish neoconservatives who appended their signatures to this call for a war of aggression on behalf of Israel. But what is perhaps even more striking are the non-Jewish signatories, such as William J. Bennett, Frank Gaffney, Ellen Bork, and the professionally insecure, very young editor of National Review, Rich Lowry. In most of these cases one encounters demonstrations of fealty paid to the neoconservative barons who run FOX News, Wall Street Journal, Heritage Foundation, ISI, and the minds of a majority of Republican voters.

But pace MacDonald, these neocon lords and their servants are not the voices of the entire Likud coalition in Israel. They speak for Natan Sharansky, Benjamin Netanyahu, and others even further on the Israeli nationalist right, many of whom have been taught to mumble neocon gibberish about how “democracies have never fought wars” and about how “only democracies are legitimate governments.” A point Israeli political analysts Leon Hadar (see especially his book Sandstorm) and Martin van Creveld have argued for several years now is that neoconservatives and their gentile policy-think-tank hangers-on do not speak for the majority of Israelis, who certainly did not favor the American invasion of Iraq. (Iran might well be a different matter.) It was American neoconservatives, supported by the Christian Right and their Israeli contacts, who planned Bush’s Middle Eastern policy. In the end, MacDonald demonstrates the same when he investigates the Israeli associations of Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Douglas Feith.

The Evangelical Cal Thomas and the “conservative Catholic” “theologian” Michael Novak invariably cite in their columns and speeches the alleged return of anti-Semitism on the antiwar left. When Novak came to speak at my college six years ago, he attacked movie producers in Hollywood—Jewish leftists to a man—as “anti-Semites.” The audience listened to him in understandable astonishment, for it could not escape even our news-averse trustees that Novak was saying something glaringly ridiculous.

Moreover, in their invectives against Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright, FOX News analysts and announcers played on Wright’s association with the “anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan.” That Wright and Farrakhan don’t much like Jews and Judaism seemed to matter more than the more obvious fact that the pair hate the Jews specifically as subgroup of Whitey.

Such pandering may result from the fact that movement conservative gentiles are almost as infected as other gentiles by the politics of white Christian guilt. They can only embrace their country to the extent that it renounces an “ethnic-cultural” identity, a character that they happily concede to Jews and others, but which they have collectively renounced for the dubious honor of being a “propositional nation.” Naturally (what else?) the assumption of this contrived identity sets the stage for their country being overwhelmed by legal and illegal Third World immigrants. It also means waging whatever wars the neocon master race tells their gentile collaborators is “good for Israel” and/or helps to spread “democracy.” Unlike MacDonald, I see no compelling reason to blame this lunacy exclusively or even predominantly on the two percent of the population which is Jewish, without noticing that the majority group, including those who describe themselves as “conservatives,” have lost their cotton-picking minds.

Gottfried, Paul. “Homo Americanus.” Taki’s Magazine, 6 April 2009. <http://takimag.com/article/in_search_of_anti-semitism/print#ixzz2Wu4ZRqK6 >.

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mercredi, 19 juin 2013

Dichter der Tradition


Dichter der Tradition

von Prof. Paul Gottfried (Gastautor)

Ex: http://www.blauenarzisse.de/

T S. Eliot verkörpert in Europa die US-​amerikanische Spielart literarischer Moderne. Der Schriftsteller selbst sah sich im Dreiklang von „Monarchie, Klassizismus und einer anglokatholischen Einstellung”.

Der „Stockneuengländer” mit anglikanischen Vorfahren aus Boston kam 1888 in St. Louis/​Missouri zur Welt und steuerte früh auf einen europäischen Bezugspunkt zu. 1914 reiste er nach Marburg und siedelte sich schließlich in Oxford an. Als Harvard-​Absolvent mit einer schon bewährten literarischen Begabung brauchte der junge Autor des modernistischen Klassikers und Versepos The Waste Land von 1922 eine Lebens– und Mitwelt, in der er sich seelisch zuhause fühlen konnte. Der von ihm in seinem theoretischen Schrifttum hervorgehobene Dreiklang „Monarchie, Klassizismus und eine anglokatholischen Einstellung im theologischen Bereich“, bezeugt Eliots Suche nach einer allumfassenden, sinnstiftenden Identität.

Die englische Tradition

Was Thomas Stearns Eliot begrifflich und dichterisch herstellte, entsprang seiner Schöpferkraft, die unter anderem eine traumhafte, archaisierte politische und kulturelle Landschaft der Gegenwart als Folie heraufbeschwor. In seinem Gesamtwerk zeichnen sich seine immer wiederkehrenden Vergangenheitsbeschäftigung ab und – nicht weniger hervorstechend – sein Bedauern über den Verlust einer aristokratisch-​priesterlichen Pracht.

Ein scharfsinniger Deuter des angloamerikanischen Dichters, Adrian Cunningham, betont Eliott Schwepunktsetzung auf die „englische Tradition“. Formelhaft und anhand des französischen Monarchisten Charles Maurras gelangte Eliot zu einem Verständnis der Tradition als geteiltem Erbgut, das er mit seiner kunstvoll konturierten englischen Vergangenheit in Verbindung brachte. Eliot ging diese intellektuelle Übung in seiner 1992 gegründeten Literaturzeitschrift Criterion an, ohne Rücksicht auf die Besonderheiten seiner eigenen Familienvergangenheit zu nehmen. Bei Eliots Zerlegung „des gewöhnlichen Handelns“ tritt wenig Erlebtes und Prägendes aus dem eigenen Elternhaus im mittleren Westen der USA heraus. Dabei wanderten seine angesehenen Vorfahren aus England aus und siedelten sich im 17. Jahrhundert in den amerikanischen Kolonien an.

Mehr Soziologie als Theologie

elio1101500306_400.jpgWenn Eliot seine Glaubenslehre verteidigt, läuft seine Darlegung Cunningham zufolge eher „auf einen soziologischen als einen theologischen Standpunkt“ hinaus. Der Dichter verstand sie als Bestandteil der Idee einer „universalen Kirche“ im Kontext der römischen und orthodoxen Konfessionen. Nach dem strengen Katholiken Cuningham scheiterte das Verfahren in dem Maße, dass Eliot von einer selbstbezogenen Vorstellung ausging, ohne in einer wahren religiösen Tradition verankert zu sein.

Seine Schaffensfreudigkeit wurde dauernd mit einer Kritik der Moderne verknüpft und zugleich mit dem Auftrag, eine für seine Lebensmission geeignete Tradition vorzufinden oder sich auszudenken. Cunningham betont Eliots Besorgnis über den ausufernden Relativismus, der ihn in seinem aus den Fugen geratenen Zeitalter erschütterte. Umso größer blieb Eliots Bedürfnis nach einem sittlichen Rettungsanker. Er trauerte um den Verlust ästhetischer Maßstäbe, die in einer noch erkennbar aristokratischen Kultur gediehen waren. Durch sein Werk wollte der Dichter diese glühend verehrte Vergangenheit versinnlichen.

Doch Eliots angenommene Identität und sein Festhalten an einer monarchistischen, hochkirchlichen Tradition hätte dessen Vorfahren kaum angesprochen. Im Gegensatz zu seinen calvinistischen, republikanisch gesinnten Ahnherren, die in die Neue Welt einwanderten, entschied sich Eliot für den Monarchismus und für die seine Wahltradition begleitende Dogmenlehre.

Verschlossenheit und Wandel

Daraus erwuchs ihm und der englischsprachigen Literatur im Zwanzigsten Jahrhundert ein großer Gewinn. In Dramen wie Murder in the Cathedral (1935) und der umfangreichen Lyrik verbirgt sich eine schöpferische Genialität, die Eliots steife und verkrampfte Außenwirkung Lügen straft. Wie seine angenommenen, englischen Mituntertanen des Königs hat Eliot oft eine sprichwörtliche Verschlossenheit bekundet. Das kam ihm zugute, als er mit einer Menge von Schwierigkeiten zu ringen hatte. Als seine erste Gattin, Vivienne, geisteskrank wurde, litt der Dichter und fühlte sich gedrängt, sie in ein Sanatorium einzuliefern.

Modernismus und vergangene Pracht

Bis heute tobt eine stürmische Kontroverse um die Frage, ob Eliot für seine junge temperamentvolle Frau hinlänglich sorgte und ihre Einweisung berechtigt war. Außer Zweifel steht, dass Eliot bis tief in seine mittleren Jahre hinein bedürftigen Umständen gegenüberstand. In einer Bank rackerte er sich tagsüber als Kassierer ab. Seine literarische Leidenschaft konnte er sich nur nachts und daher häufig übermüdet widmen. Trotz des unerwarteten Erlöses, der ihm dank The Waste Land zufiel, versiegte sein Wohlstand rasch. Eliot fehlte das Geld, sich ganz der Dichtkunst zuzuwenden. Erst als er 1948 mit dem Literaturnobelpreis geehrt wurde, zeichnete sich langsam ein Wandel ab.

Bemerkenswert bleibt, dass Eliot gerade in seine theologisch-​politischen Schriften viel Mühe investierte. Wenn heute seine umständlichen Essays, etwa The Idea of a Christian Society (1939), nicht derart bekannt wie die Gedichte sind, dann muss beachtet werden, dass Eliot in seinen geschmacklichen und politisch-​theologischen Aufsätzen seine mit Wehmut angehauchte Weltansicht am stärksten enthüllt. In seinen Gedichten tritt dagegen eine mit dem Modernismus verwachsene Schöpferkraft zutage, die ebenso auf neue literarische Ausdrucksmöglichkeiten vorausweist, wie sie in eine vergangene Pracht zurückführt.

Schon in seinen ersten bedeutenden, satirischen Gedichten, The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock, die bereits 1917 herauskamen, erschlossen sich einige Zeichen des Experimentierens mit Versformen, die die schon damals hervortretenden Modernisten kennzeichnete. Sie arbeiteten vor allem mit freien Versen und eingestreuten Glossen über die Verkommenheit der Massenkultur. Als Wegbereiter galten Leitfiguren wie Ezra Pound, Gottfried Benn, und Louis-​Ferdinand Céline, die den Aufruf zur ästhetischen Mobilisierung mit konservativen oder rechten Zuneigungen verquickten.

Pietät und Märtyrerleiden

Im Gegensatz zum genialen Ezra Pound, der mit ihm die Erstfassung von The Waste Land umgearbeitet hatte, blieb Eliot aber von neuheidnischen Gedanken unberührt. Diese Zeitströmung, die im letzten Viertel des 19. Jahrhunderts einsetzte und mit Namen wie Nietzsche, D’Annunzio, und Pound in die kulturelle Tradition einzog, prallte von Eliot gänzlich ab. Aus seinen Dichtungen und Schauspielen entströmt, wie bei dem katholischen, französischen Schriftsteller Paul Claudel (18681955), ein betont christlicher Geist. In etlichen Schöpfungen wie Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch, 1930) und Murder in the Cathedral bleiben die Thematiken unverkennbar anglokatholisch.

Auch bei Eliots Bewunderern erschöpft sich manchmal die menschliche Geduld, wenn Eliot seine Pietät wiederholt unterstreicht. In den Schauspielen Murder in the Cathedral, das die Tötung des Erzbischofs Thomas Beckett auf Befehl des ihm entfremdeten Königs Heinrich II. schildert sowie The Cocktail Party (1948), das das Befestigen einer Missionarin an einem Ameisenhügel irgendwo in Afrika nacherzählt, zeigt sich die finstere Seite des Gläubigen. Märtyrerleiden übten auf Eliot zeitlebens eine große Faszination aus. Zweifelsohne, Eliot ging konsequent einen ganz eigenen Weg. Von anderen ließ er sich unterrichten, ohne ihnen zu verfallen.

jeudi, 13 juin 2013

P. Gottfried: My Meetings with Herbert Marcuse

Encountering the Left:

My Meetings with Herbert Marcuse

Paul Gottfried

mercredi, 11 juillet 2012

Fascism, Anti-Fascism, and the Welfare State

Fascism, Anti-Fascism, and the Welfare State

Paul Gottfried

mardi, 10 juillet 2012

Interview with Paul Gottfried

"Attack the System"

Interview with Paul Gottfried

00:18 Publié dans Entretiens | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : droite, gauche, paul gottfried, entretiens, etats-unis | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

dimanche, 22 avril 2012

The Multicultural Theocracy: An Interview With Paul Gottfried



The Multicultural Theocracy: An Interview With Paul Gottfried

Myles B. Kantor
Thursday, Dec. 5, 2002

Ex: http://archive.newsmax.com/

Paul Gottfried is Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College. An adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and contributing editor to Humanitas and Chronicles, he is the author of several books including "The Conservative Movement," "Carl Schmitt: Politics and Theory" and "After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State." His new book is "Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Toward a Secular Theocracy."

You observe, "Nothing could be more misleading than to equate a multicultural society with a multiethnic one." What distinguishes a multicultural society from a multiethnic one?

Multiethnic societies have been recurrent political phenomena and involve the coexistence of more than one ethnos, that is, national community, living in the same jurisdiction. Such an arrangement has usually come about because of conquest or dynastic inheritance and until now has never required a celebration of diversity. Multiethnic societies have almost always been empires because of the way they have been formed and because of their lack of cohesion beyond the fact of what Thomas Hobbes called "acquired sovereignty." Moreover, unlike multicultural regimes, multiethnic ones do not celebrate sexual exotica or the nonrecognition of separate gender identities. Multicultural regimes are inherently subversive of traditional social relations.

You frame the multicultural question as fundamentally governmental in nature: "For all their complaints about 'political correctness,' moderate conservatives...do not devote their primary attention to the government's control of speech and behavior. The battle between supporters and opponents of political correctness is thought to be taking place among warring cultural elites." What is the consequence of viewing multiculturalism as a purely cultural phenomenon?

The fact that neoconservatives – the anti-Communist liberals, once identified with Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Henry "Scoop" Jackson and Hubert Humphrey, who took over the conservative movement with only minor opposition in the 1980s – have been able to treat multiculturalism as an hermetically sealed cultural and academic problem has allowed them to go on glorifying the current American regime as the paradigmatic global democracy. (Read the second edition of my book "The Conservative Movement" for a detailed description of the neoconservative ascendancy and the marginalization of everyone to the right of the Cold War liberals.)

Their other avoidance of the truth in order to spare the government that they want to expand is presenting the state as the hapless victim of bad culture. My own perspective is diametrically opposite. It is trying to understand the role of multiculturalism as a politically enforced ideology. Multiculturalism has the same relation to the present managerial state as the Catholic Church did to medieval European monarchies. It travels in the baggage of the American empire, as was evident during the unprovoked attack on Serbia.

You often refer to "the managerial state," "the administrative state," and "the therapeutic state." What are these phenomena and their relationship to multiculturalism?

State administrations have been around since the High Middle Ages, while the managerial state refers to the social engineering, redistributionist regime that came into existence with mass democracy in the twentieth century. (Mass democracy is a term used to describe a government that rules in the name of the "people" but is highly centralized and operates increasingly without an ethnic-cultural core. It is a bureaucratic empire that distributes political favors and provides a minimal level of physical protection but is no longer capable of or interested in practicing self-government.

In "After Liberalism," which precedes my latest book, an attempt is made to plot the development of modern administrative "democracy" from a more limited and nationally focused state that existed a hundred years ago. What happened is that, contrary to what nineteenth-century critics of democracy believed, universal suffrage and urbanization did not lead to the outbreak of anarchy and violent expropriation. Rather the people voted to hand over power to "public administrators" and more recently in the U.S. judges, who became the agents for practicing democracy on our behalf. Democracy was not equated with meaningful self-rule but with being socialized by administrators, who taught us "equality" and later, pluralism and multiculturalism. )

That mass democratic regime has turned progressively therapeutic, with the advent of the cult of victims and the degeneration of Christianity into a purveyor of the politics of guilt. Question two misses a point: I am not except in a negative sense a libertarian. Through most of its history, the state, in my opinion, has been a positive force, assisting the rise of the bourgeoisie in Western Europe more than hindering that development and providing a uniform system of law protecting persons and property. The good state reached its high point in the nineteenth century but was overtaken by mass democracy and the managerial revolution in the twentieth century.

I am also not an enemy of all forms of democracy and totally approve of the management of my own town by small property-owners who come out of a shared rural culture. Unfortunately the hand of PC is already upon us as the demonic state and federal behemoths (the first is only an agent of the second) invade our civic and family life.

What are some examples of those behemoths invading civic and family life?

Examples of PC enforcement by the state are the use of Title Nine to impose verbal and behavioral conformity on male academics and workers; the various hate speech laws that exist in Canada and Europe and are applied almost exclusively against white Christian European; and the delegitimation of the historical heritage of victimizing groups: e.g., the war against Southern symbols and iconography waged, in among other areas in the US, public education [e.g., dress codes prohibiting attire with a Confederate flag].

The BBC recently had a headline, "Hate crime police raid 150 homes," about an operation in London administered by a "Diversity Directorate." Sweden recently passed a law criminalizing the "disrespecting" of homosexuals.

This attempt to muzzle traditional Christians is perfectly consistent with both the multicultural values of the therapeutic state and the thrust of liberal Christianity. In fact what is happening in England and Sweden is the disciplining by the government of Christians who have not accepted the Protestant deformation. A by now transformed Christianity, which is as grotesque in its own way as Hitler's Nazified Evangelical Church, has allied itself to the state that is suppressing Christians who will not go along with PC indoctrination.

On the matter of Hitler, perhaps the most sensitive instance of the politics of guilt you discuss is contemporary treatment of the Holocaust. You write, "By now all Christians have been generically indicted for the Holocaust, which has been extended to gays and explained in such a way as to minimize the suffering of identifiably Christian victims."

Members of my family were worked to death in Nazi labor camps; some died of typhus soon after being liberated. Needless to say, I am not a Holocaust denier. Indeed I am profoundly offended by the attempts to draw parallels between Nazi Germany and the German Imperial government, on the grounds that the latter was a "defective constitutional regime."

The Nazis were reprehensible not for establishing a second-class constitutional government but for turning Europe into a death camp. What I oppose is not the recognition by the establishment Left that the Nazis killed millions of people but the use of anti-fascism as a tool of control. This instrumentalization has been cynically carried out by political elites, European Commies, and academics throughout the West.

A very useful book on this subject in French by Elisabeth Levy shows how completely the totalitarian Left suppresses opposition in France by identifying all dissenters as Nazis or fascists. Supposedly by making a case against increased Islamicist immigration into France, one incites fascist hate and prepares the way for a second Auschwitz.

Read Peter Novick's "The Holocaust in American Life" for a striking account of the changes in Jewish attitudes about who or what caused the Holocaust. Novick maintains that what has fueled this new animus against "Nazi-bearing" Christianity has nothing to do with scholarly revelations. Rather it has arisen out of Jewish repugnance for Christianity at a time when Christians have certainly not persecuted Jews. To the contrary, Christians are the only possible allies that the Jews can now claim.


You referred earlier to "the Protestant deformation." What is it and its relation to the multicultural theocracy?

In the U.S., what the Presbyterian scholar James Kurth (see my intro chapter) calls the "Protestant deformation" has profoundly influenced the spread of multiculturalism. Although Catholic clergy, as revealed by the Italian study "L'invasione silenziosa" (The Silent Invasion), have expressed many of the same xenophile sentiments, calling for massive Third World immigration to offset Western parochialism and bigotry, in the U.S., Canada and England, Protestants have taken the lead in pushing both multicultural ideology and the politics of guilt.

Kurth tries to explain this by looking at the progressive deterioration of Protestant theology and moral culture since the nineteenth century. At the heart of the problem is the transformation of justified spiritual guilt into social guilt and the Protestant focus on the individual into a rejection of membership in a shared civilization that needs to be preserved.

What are the prospects for containing or rolling back the multicultural theocracy?

A deus ex machina that may come along to prevent the worsening of the situation I describe is the rallying by Western nations to a defense of their societies. This may be happening dramatically in Flanders whose people vote for the anti-immigration and anti-welfare Vlaams Blok. Moreover, in Antwerpen there are now armed camps with, on the one side, the Arab European League and, on the other, Flemish nationalists. While such confrontations are not particularly savory, they may prevent the Islamicists and the European Union PC bureaucracy from moving in more quickly to convulse or denature European society.

Note I do not think these battles will solve long-term problems; unless Western peoples start having families again, the social unit and population base needed for a civilization will be lacking. I do not believe that civilizations are purely or even substantially "propositional" or can be sustained by requiring courses on Martin Luther King and global democracy prepared by Harry Jaffa, Bill Bennett, and Mrs. Cheney.

While societies can assimilate, there are three presuppositions that must obtain: a core population that carries a distinctive culture that it hopes to preserve; a minority that is accepted on the condition that it eagerly embraces that majority culture; and a sufficiently controlled immigration so that assimilation is possible.

Contact Myles Kantor at kantor@FreeEmigration.com


Editor's note:
Now we know: "Why the Left Hates America"

00:10 Publié dans Entretiens | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : multiculturalisme, entretiens, paul gottfried | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

samedi, 21 avril 2012

Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement

Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement

by Paul Gottfried

Ex: http://lewrockwell.com/




A book of mine, Leo Strauss and Conservative Movement in America: A Critical Appraisal, is about to come out with Cambridge University Press; and it has a special connection to the Mises Institute. Much of the critical thrust comes from attending conferences sponsored by the Mises Institute and from getting to know my fellow- participants and their writings. Although I harbored strong doubts about my latest subjects even before these encounters, my conversations with David Gordon, Murray Rothbard, Robert Higgs and Thomas DiLorenzo and later, discovering Mises’s comments about Strass gave additional substance to my suspicions. My project became a way of calling attention to a significant body of criticism that the liberal-neoconservative press and most scholarly organizations wouldn’t deign to present. I was upset in particular by the inability of David Gordon (and Lew Rockwell) to find a suitable publisher for a long, incisive work that David had produced about Harry Jaffa’s reading of American history. It was one of the most cerebral "value critiques" by a living thinker that I had seen.

Why, asks David, should Jaffa, a cult figure who is wined and dined by GOP benefactors, be immune from the type of assessment that other authors of scholarly works should have to accept? Why do Straussians like Jaffa, Allan Bloom, Thomas Pangle, and Charles Kesler achieve canonical status as "conservative" thinkers without having their ideas rigorously examined in widely accessible forums? It seems that the only appraisals such figures have to deal with are puff pieces in neoconservative publications and the scribbling of inflamed leftists attacking them as rightwing extremists.



Note that my book does not come out of any political engagement. It is in no way a statement of my political creed. Although hardly friendly to the Wilsonian Weltpolitik of the Straussians, I devote more space to defending my subjects from unjust critics than I do to dissecting their views. Nor was my book produced, as one nasty commentator writing to the executive editor of an Ivy League press explained, because I’m "a very angry person" trying to settle scores. Apparently my madness would "permanently discredit" any press that was foolish enough to publish me. My book at any rate is not an expression of pique, and I bend backward to make sense of arguments that I have trouble accepting at face value. I also treat main subject, Leo Strauss, with respect and empathy, even while disagreeing with his hermeneutic and liberal internationalism. I stress that for all his questionable judgments, Strauss was a person of vast humanistic learning, and more thoughtful and less pompous than some of his famous students. I fully sympathize with the plight that he and others of his background suffered who because of their Jewish ancestry were driven out of their homeland and forced to live in exile. My own family suffered the same fate.

What seemed intolerable, however, was the unwillingness of Straussians and their adulators to engage serious critics, some of whom have been associated with the Mises Institute. These expressions of moral self-importance may go back to Strauss himself. Murray Rothbard observed that at a Volker Fund conference, his teacher Mises had argued vainly with Strauss about the need to separate facts from values in doing research. Strauss had retorted that there are moral judgments inseparably attached to our use of facts. This supposedly indicates that one could not or, perhaps more importantly, should not draw the fact/value distinction that Mises, and before him, in a different form, Max Weber had tried to make. In response to these statements, Mises argued that facts remain such, no matter how people dress them up. "A prostitute would be plying the same trade no matter what designation we choose to confer on such a person." As the debate wore on and Strauss began to moralize, Mises lost his equanimity. He indicated to Rothbard that he was being asked to debate not a true scholar but a "gymnasium instructor."



In my book I quote David, who has taken over and elaborated on the criticism offered by his teacher and Murray’s teacher Mises, namely, that the Straussians reach for moral platitudes against those who are better- armed with "facts." One reason David is mentioned so often in my monograph, and particularly in the chapter "The Method Deconstructed," is that he did much of the deconstructing for me. While helping with the proofreading, which is another service he performed, David commented about how much he enjoyed my text; then, in typically David-fashion, he listed as his favorite parts of my book those pages on which he’s mentioned. Actually he missed more than half of the references to him, including two of them in the acknowledgements.

Like other thoughtful critics of Straussian methodology, specifically Grant Havers, Barry Shain, and Kenneth McIntyre, David was essential to my work. But in his case listening to him reel off what was wrong with how the Straussians read (or misread) selected texts, inspired my project. Without the fact that David cornered me about ten years ago at a conference in Auburn and explained to me in between Borscht Belt jokes the fallacies of Strauss and his disciple, I doubt that I would have done my book. His conversation and written comments, stored in the bowels of the Lew Rockwell Archives, made my task considerably less burdensome. One remark from David’s conversation in Auburn that I still remember was his hypothetical rejoinder to Harry Jaffa in a debate that never took place. Jaffa insisted on the pages of National Review, and in fact wherever else he wrote, that we should believe in equality because Lincoln did (never mind that Di Lorenzo, among others, has challenged this view of Lincoln with counter-evidence). David asked that "even if we assume that Jaffa was expressing Lincoln’s real opinion, why should we have to hold the same view"? And why are we supposed to impose Lincoln’s opinion on unwilling subjects by force of arms? No one else to my knowledge has asked these indelicate questions.



Even then David and I were sick of the smarminess with which certain Straussians would respond to logical and factual objections. Calling one’s opponent a "relativist" or scolding him for not embracing universal democratic values is not an answer at all. It is an arrogant evasion of a discussion. David also observed that in their attempt to find "secret writing" in texts, Straussians would almost compulsively read their own values into the past. Presumably all smart people who wrote "political philosophy," no matter when they lived, were religious skeptics, yearning for something like "liberal democracy." This speculation could be neither confirmed nor disconfirmed and contributed zip to scholarly discussion. Like me, David also wondered why none of the great minds whom the Straussians wrote about was ever shown to be a Christian heretic or something other than a forerunner of those who are now revealing their concealed meanings. One might have thought that if concealment was their intention, these fellows on at least some occasions would have been hiding non-modern thoughts from the public or their monarchs. Why do all "secret writings" seem to have originated with a Jewish agnostic residing in an American metropolitan area?

An observation in my book contrasting Straussian enterprises to the Mises Institute also warrants some attention here. The Miseans and the Straussians both claim intellectual descent from Central European Jewish scholars who fled from the Nazis. Moreover, both groups have processed these biographical experiences and incorporated them into their worldviews, but in totally different ways. Whereas the Miseans view their founder as the victim of a particularly noxious form of state socialism, the Straussians emphasize the evils of the "German connection," as explained by Allan Bloom in The Closing of the American Mind. While the Miseans focus on the link between state planning and tyranny, the Straussians finger the uniquely wicked heritage of the Germans in telling us why "liberal democracy" is always under siege. Strauss himself established this perspective, when in Natural Right and History he stressed the continuing danger of German ideas, even though the German military threat had been defeated six years earlier.



While the disciples of Mises favor an isolationist foreign policy designed to dismantle socialism at home, the Straussians are perpetually reliving Munich 1938, when the "democracies" backed down to a German dictatorship, just as they had failed to confront the supposed iniquities of Kaiser Wilhelm in 1914. One might push the contrast even further: while the Mises Institute celebrates the Vienna in which the Austrian School of Economics took form, including the generally supportive liberal monarchy of Kaiser Franz Josef, the Straussians have continued their efforts to counter a threat that they see originating in Central Europe. During the student revolts of the 1960s, Allan Bloom and his soul-brothers blamed these outbursts on German critics of modern democracy. Strauss’s star students managed to find the German threat wherever they looked. In one of my earliest encounters with Straussian professors, at Michigan State in 1967 and 1968, it was explained to me that German historicists had fueled the antiwar student protest with their antidemocratic notions. This connection seemed to me so surreal that it caused me to reflect on the life’s experiences of those who could believe such things.

Significantly, these Straussian attacks on the tainted German heritage play well in our society of letters. A Jewish liberal-neoconservative presence (perhaps predominance) in the media and in the academy renders some Straussian fixations profitable. Well-placed intellectuals are still agonizing over the "German catastrophe" in a way that they don’t about other bloodbaths, particularly those unleashed by Communist tyrants. There is also a culture of defeat and self-rejection among the Germans which fits perfectly with the Straussian war on German ideas and German illiberalism. Although the Left may attack the Straussians rhetorically as "fascists," it shares many of their sentiments, particularly their revulsion for German culture and for German politics before the First World War.

Another factor has helped the Straussians professionally: Their impassioned Zionism has enhanced their moral acceptability in Jewish and neoconservative circles. If their interpretive gymnastics may sometimes drive their political fans up the wall, Strauss’s disciples win points where it counts. They are recognized as part of the journalistic establishment. Whereas the Miseans (and a fortiori this author) would have trouble getting into the New York Times, Washington Post or neoconservative publications, Straussians (and their allies) appear in all these venues as both authors and respected subjects. Nothing is more baffling than the complaint that the "liberal media" ignore or persecute Straussians. This gripe is almost as baseless as another related one, that Straussians are excluded from elite universities. Would that I had been excluded from academic posts during my career the way the Straussians have been.



I do not mean to suggest that there is something wrong with how the Mises Institute has dealt with its founder’s experiences in Central Europe. Its approach to this aspect of twentieth-century history has been rational and even commendable. But it has certainly not won the Mises Institute the moral acceptability that the Straussians have achieved by taking the opposite position. Curiously, leftist opponents have laced into the Straussians for not being sufficiently Teutonophobic. Despite the scornful references to German ideas in their polemics, these Straussians are alleged to be perpetuating the hated German connection while pretending to denounce it. In short, one can never hate German thought sufficiently (except of course for Marx and a few other selected German leftists) to please our current cultural industry. But Straussians can at least be credited with having made a start here.

One final point may belong here: The professional and journalistic successes of Strauss’s students have had little to do with their efforts to revive a "classical heritage" or to make us appreciate Plato and Thucydides. The argument I try to make in my book is exactly the opposite: the Straussians have done so well at least partly because they have bet on the right horse in our current liberal internationalist politics. They provide window-dressing and cultic terminology for a widely propagated American creed pushed by government and the media, featuring calls for armed "human rights" campaigns, references to the Holocaust and the Anglosphere, and tributes to liberal or social democratic "values." The Straussians have made names for themselves by putting old and even stale wine into new bottles.

December 7, 2010

Paul Gottfried [send him mail] is Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and author of Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt, The Strange Death of Marxism, Conservatism in America: Making Sense of the American Right, and Encounters: My Life with Nixon, Marcuse, and Other Friends and Teachers. His latest book, Leo Strauss and the American Conservative Movement: A Critical Appraisal, was just published by Cambridge University Press.


Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

lundi, 24 octobre 2011

Who's a Fascist?



Who's a Fascist?

by Paul Gottfried

Ex: http://www.lewrockwell.com/

Having participated this weekend in an Internet discussion courtesy of Paul Craig Roberts, it seems to me that "fascist" is bandied about on the right in the same careless way as one finds on the left. Note that the anti—New Deal American Right in the thirties fell over themselves denouncing FDR and his minions as American Mussolinians. The Old Right associated the fascists with a corporatist economy, welfare programs, and military rearmament, all of which they despised. The fact that the New Republic and other American leftist organs then raved about the virtues of Latin fascism and often considered it soft Communism may have contributed to the illusion that big-government boosters at home were fascists in a state of denial. Recently the Old Right has revived the same charge of fascism and hurled it at the neoconservatives. Because neocons are imperialists, militarists, and enthusiasts for centralized government (all of which they admittedly are), they must also be fascists. After all, didn't Mussolini teach his nation to do everything for the state and nothing against it? How is this different from Bill Kristol's view that to be an American patriot one must love the American state?

While Kristol's "state" does not differ from Mussolini's fascist creation by being truly lovable (God knows it is not!), it may be possible to point out certain palpable differences between the two forms of state worship. Neoconservatives and fascists do not share the same historical context; nor are they reacting against the same enemies. Fascism was an interwar phenomenon and one bound up with a reaction against the revolutionary Left in Italy, Spain, Austria, and other European countries. It was also profoundly reactionary, in the sense that it valued certain classical conservative principles, like hierarchy, patriarchy and the restoration of antiquity, but believed it was only possible to bring about what it wanted through a constructivist project. Therefore Mussolini and his counterparts created a neoclassical version of a pre-bourgeois society, which was cobbled together with Roman republican and Spartan models. Fascists also stressed the organic unity of the nation, something that points to the semantic problem incurred by critics of the neoconservatives who wish to see them as "multicultural" fascists. Although not all fascists were racialists (the German case was the lunatic exception), most of them were avowed anti-internationalists and would not have approved of anything as destabilizing as immigration expansion. In the 1930s the Italian fascist government even tried to make sure that government workers would marry ethnic Italians.

Peter Brimelow was correct to observe in last weekend's Internet chat that neoconservatives believe not in fascism but in "Goldbergism" when they push for open borders and an aggressive foreign policy in the name of human rights. Jonah Goldberg, one of their major political theorists, has explained on NROnline that European conservatives like Joseph de Maistre were really on the left, seeing that they rejected "human rights," which is the essence of a conservative belief system. No matter how silly Goldberg's interpretation may seem, what he enunciates is the current neoconservative dogma that justifies imperial expansion. And it is hard to grasp anything fascist about Goldberg's redefinition of conservatism. Goldberg arrives at his view from reading the English social democratic historian Isaiah Berlin, who plays up the derivation of fascist thinking from Maistre's attack on the universalism and abstract ideals of the French Revolution. Although Berlin overstates this connection, he is nonetheless justified in perceiving the fascists as being connected to European counterrevolutionary traditions. The neoconservatives are not only not connected in any way to such traditions but are clearly on the side of what Michael Ledeen calls the "creative destruction" of the social and cultural traditions of other peoples.

Without judging the merits of this project, it seems that those who pursue it are not definable as fascists. They may in fact be far more destructive but are not a subgenus of interwar fascists who have landed up in our society. Depicting them as such depends on an underdetermined definition that serves strictly polemical ends. Just because all modern Western industrial states have large administrations that socialize the family and feature public education does not make them "fascist." Fascists took advantage of a political paradigm they shared with non-fascist modern governments, in order to achieve in some cases counterrevolutionary ends. But they did not initiate the welfare state, which flourished without the fascists, on the Euro-American left. Nor were the fascists unique in having military dictators and wars of expansion. Both Tom Woods's The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and Tom DiLorenzo's study of the Great Emancipator as state-builder provide illustrations of Lincoln's authoritarian manner that show bad European habits could crop up here as well. But that happened generations before there was a fascist movement.

It is not accurate to refer to Abraham Lincoln as a "fascist," because he applied military force to quell the Southern secession and ruled as a military dictator. Political leaders can do things that are open to condemnation without being fascists. It would also not be irrelevant to cite the case of one of Lincoln's precursors, Oliver Cromwell, who also slaughtered secessionists, to reunite the United Kingdom, and whom the young Lincoln saw as someone he wished to emulate. Yet curiously the two men, long viewed as being alike in their nationalist fervor, connection to an Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture, and role as social modernizers, have contributed to very different cults. After being identified for centuries with republicanism and Protestant sectarians, Cromwell became a hero for rightwing English nationalists, including the fascist followers of Sir Oswald Mosley in the late thirties. Lincoln, by contrast, has become a god figure for the Left, from the communist Abraham Lincoln Brigade fighting in the Spanish Civil War down to the civil rights movement and his current apotheosis, as the incarnation of global democratic ideals. My friend Tom Di Lorenzo has made this last point clear by debating Lincoln-admirers, who invariably bring with them leftist agendas. But neither Cromwell nor Lincoln produced the twentieth-century cults that sprang up around their putative achievements. The Irish are certainly entitled to dislike Cromwell and his son-in-law for devastating their land during the English Civil War and like Paul Craig Roberts, I cannot find any sane reason for a Southerner whose family suffered during Lincoln's invasion of the South to revere this brutal nationalist. But neither figure belonged to the twentieth century or to its ideological wars; and both have been co-opted to symbolize battles that are no longer theirs. Like Cromwell, Lincoln was neither a fascist nor a neocon.

December 2, 2004

Paul Gottfried [send him mail] is Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and author of, most recently, Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt.

Copyright © 2004 LewRockwell.com

lundi, 12 septembre 2011

Entretien avec Paul Gottfried

Entretien avec Paul Gottfried : les étranges métamorphoses du conservatisme

Propos recueillis par Arnaud Imatz

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

gootfried.jpgProfesseur de Lettres classiques et modernes à l’Elizabethtown College, président du Henry Louis Mencken Club, co-fondateur de l’Académie de Philosophie et de Lettres, collaborateur du Ludwig von Mises Institute et de l’Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Paul Edward Gottfried est une figure éminente du conservatisme américain. Il est l’auteur de nombreux livres et articles sur notamment le paléo et néoconservatisme. Proche de Pat Buchanan, qui fut le candidat républicain malheureux aux primaires des présidentielles face à George Bush père (1992), Paul Gottfried a été l’ami de personnalités politiques comme Richard Nixon et intellectuelles prestigieuses telles Sam Francis, Mel Bradford, Christopher Lasch…

1. Au début des années 1970 vous sympathisiez avec le courant dominant du conservatisme américain. Quarante ans plus tard, le spécialiste notoire du conservatisme américain que vous êtes, déclare ne plus se reconnaître dans ce mouvement. Que s’est-il passé ?

L’explication tient dans le fait qu’il n’y a pas de véritable continuité entre le mouvement conservateur américain des années 1950 et celui qui a pris sa place par la suite. Sur toutes les questions de société, le mouvement conservateur actuel, « néo-conservateur », est plus à gauche que la gauche du Parti démocrate dans les années 1960. Depuis cette époque, et surtout depuis les années 1980, les néo-conservateurs [1] dominent la fausse droite américaine. Leur préoccupation essentielle, qui éclipse toutes les autres, est de mener une politique étrangère fondée sur l’extension de l’influence américaine afin de propager les principes démocratiques et l’idéologie des droits de l’homme.

2. Selon vous, les conservateurs authentiques croient en l’histoire et aux valeurs de la religion ; ils défendent la souveraineté des nations ; ils considèrent l’autorité politique nécessaire au développement de la personne et de la société. Aristote, Platon, Saint Thomas, Machiavel, Burke ou Hegel sont, dites vous, leurs références à des titres divers. Mais alors comment les néo-conservateurs, partisans de la croissance du PNB, du centralisme étatique, de la démocratie de marché, du multiculturalisme et de l’exportation agressive du système américain, ont-ils pu s’imposer?

J’ai essayé d’expliquer cette ascension au pouvoir des néo-conservateurs dans mon livre Conservatism in America. J’ai souligné un point essentiel : à l’inverse de l’Europe, les États-Unis n’ont jamais eu de véritable tradition conservatrice. La droite américaine de l’après-guerre n’a été, en grande partie, qu’une invention de journalistes. Elle se caractérisait par un mélange d’anticommunisme, de défense du libre marché et de choix politiques prosaïques du Parti républicain. Il lui manquait une base sociale inébranlable. Son soutien était inconstant et fluctuant. Dans les années 1950, le mouvement conservateur a essayé de s’enraciner parmi les ouvriers et les salariés catholiques ouvertement anti-communistes et socialement conservateurs. Mais à la fin du XXème siècle cette base sociale n’existait plus.

Les néo-conservateurs proviennent essentiellement de milieux juifs démocrates et libéraux. Antisoviétiques pendant la guerre froide, pour des raisons qui étaient les leurs, ils se sont emparés de la droite à une époque ou celle-ci était épuisée et s’en allait littéralement à vau-l’eau. J’ajoute que les conservateurs de l’époque, qui faisaient partie de l’establishment politico-littéraire et qui étaient liés à des fondations privées, ont presque tous choisi de travailler pour les néo-conservateurs. Les autres se sont vus marginalisés et vilipendés.

3. (…)

4. (…)

5. Vous avez payé le prix fort pour votre indépendance d’esprit. Vos adversaires néo-conservateurs vous ont couvert d’insultes. Votre carrière académique a été torpillée et en partie bloquée. La direction de la Catholic University of America a fait l’objet d’incroyables pressions pour que la chaire de sciences politiques ne vous soit pas accordée. Comment expliquez-vous que cela ait pu se produire dans un pays réputé pour son attachement à la liberté d’expression ?

Il n’y a pas de liberté académique aux États-Unis. La presque totalité de nos universités sont mises au pas ( gleichgeschaltet ) comme elles le sont dans les pays d’Europe de l’Ouest, pour ne pas parler du cas de l’Allemagne « antifasciste » ou la férule a des odeurs nauséabondes. Tout ce que vous trouvez en France dans ce domaine s’applique également à la situation de notre monde académique et journalistique. Compte tenu de l’orientation politique de l’enseignement supérieur aux États-Unis, je ne pouvais pas faire une véritable carrière académique.

6. (…)

7. (…)

8. Vos travaux montrent qu’en Amérique du Nord comme en Europe l’idéologie dominante n’est plus le marxisme mais une combinaison d’État providence, d’ingénierie sociale et de mondialisme. Vous dites qu’il s’agit d’un étrange mélange d’anticommunisme et de sympathie résiduelle pour les idéaux sociaux-démocrates : « un capitalisme devenu serviteur du multiculturalisme ». Comment avez-vous acquis cette conviction ?

Mon analyse de l’effacement du marxisme et du socialisme traditionnel au bénéfice d’une gauche multiculturelle repose sur l’observation de la gauche et de sa pratique aux États-Unis et en Europe. Le remplacement de l’holocaustomanie et du tiers-mondisme par des analyses économiques traditionnelles s’est produit avant la chute de l’Union soviétique. Au cours des années 1960-1970, les marqueurs politiques ont commencé à changer. Les désaccords sur les questions économiques ont cédé la place à des différends sur les questions culturelles et de société. Les deux « establishments », celui de gauche comme celui de droite, ont coopéré au recentrage du débat politique : la gauche s’est débarrassée de ses projets vraiment socialistes et la droite a accepté l’Etat protecteur et l’essentiel des programmes féministes, homosexuels et multiculturalistes. Un exemple : celui du journaliste vedette, Jonah Goldberg. Ce soi-disant conservateur a pour habitude de célébrer la « révolution féministe et homosexuelle » qu’il considère comme « un accomplissement explicitement conservateur ». Sa thèse bizarre ne repose évidemment sur rien de sérieux… Mais il suffit qu’une cause devienne à la mode parmi les membres du « quatrième pouvoir » pour qu’une pléiade de journalistes néo-conservateurs la présentent immédiatement comme un nouveau triomphe du conservatisme modéré.

9. Vos analyses prennent absolument le contrepied des interprétations néo-conservatrices. Vous rejetez comme une absurdité la filiation despotique entre le réformisme d’Alexandre II et le Goulag de Staline. Vous récusez comme une aberration la thèse qui assimile les gouvernements allemands du XIXème siècle à de simples tyrannies militaires. Vous réprouvez la haine du « relativisme historique » et la phobie de la prétendue « German connection ». Vous contestez l’opinion qui prétend voir dans le christianisme le responsable de l’holocauste juif et de l’esprit nazi. Vous dénoncez l’instrumentalisation de l’antifascisme « outil de contrôle au main des élites politiques ». Vous reprochez aux protestants américains d’avoir pris la tête de la défense de l’idéologie multiculturelle et de la politique culpabilisatrice. Vous affirmez que les chrétiens sont les seuls alliés que les Juifs puissent trouver aujourd’hui. Enfin, comble du « politiquement incorrect », vous estimez que la démocratie présuppose un haut degré d’homogénéité culturelle et sociale. Cela dit, en dernière analyse, vous considérez que le plus grave danger pour la civilisation occidentale est la sécularisation de l’universalisme chrétien et l’avènement de l’Europe et de l’Amérique patchworks. Pourquoi ?

En raison de l’étendue et de la puissance de l’empire américain, les idées qu’il propage, bonnes ou mauvaises, ne peuvent manquer d’avoir une influence significative sur les européens. Oui ! effectivement, je partage le point de vue de Rousseau et de Schmitt selon lequel la souveraineté du peuple n’est possible que lorsque les citoyens sont d’accords sur les questions morales et culturelles importantes. Dans la mesure où l’État managérial et les médias ont réussi à imposer leurs valeurs, on peut dire, qu’en un certain sens, il existe une forme d’homonoia aux États-Unis.

En fait, la nature du nationalisme américain est très étrange. Il est fort proche du jacobinisme qui fit florès lors de la Révolution française. La religion civique américaine, comme sa devancière française, repose sur la religion postchrétienne des droits de l’homme. La droite religieuse américaine est trop stupide pour se rendre compte que cette idéologie des droits de l’homme, ou multiculturaliste, est un parasite de la civilisation chrétienne. L’une remplace l’autre. Le succédané extraie la moelle de la culture la plus ancienne et pourrit sa substance.

Pour en revenir au rapide exposé que vous avez fait de mes analyses, je dirai que je suis globalement d’accord. Mais il n’est pas inutile de préciser pourquoi je considère aussi essentiel, aux États-Unis, le rôle du protestantisme libéral dans la formation de l’idéologie multiculturelle. Le pays est majoritairement protestant et la psychologie du multiculturalisme se retrouve dans le courant dominant du protestantisme américain tout au long de la deuxième moitie du XXème siècle. Bien sûr, d’autres groupes, et en particulier des intellectuels et des journalistes juifs ont contribué à cette transformation culturelle, mais ils n’ont pu le faire que parce que le groupe majoritaire acceptait le changement et trouvait des raisons morales de le soutenir. Nietzsche avait raison de décrire les juifs à demi assimilés comme la classe sacerdotale qui met à profit le sentiment de culpabilité de la nation hôte. Mais cette stratégie ne peut jouer en faveur des Juifs ou de tout autre outsider que lorsque la majorité se vautre dans la culpabilité ou identifie la vertu avec la culpabilité sociale. Je crois, qu’à l’inverse de la manipulation bureaucratique des minorités disparates et du lavage de cerveau des majorités, la vraie démocratie a besoin d’un haut degré d’homogénéité culturelle. Je suis ici les enseignements de Platon, Rousseau, Jefferson ou Schmitt, pour ne citer qu’eux.

10. Parmi les adversaires du néo-conservatisme, à coté des « vieux » conservateurs, souvent stigmatisés comme « paléo-conservateurs », on peut distinguer trois courants : le populisme, le fondamentalisme évangélique et le Tea Party. Pouvez-vous nous dire en quoi ces trois tendances diffèrent du vrai conservatisme ?

Je ne crois pas que l’on puisse trouver du « paléo-conservatisme » dans l’un ou l’autre de ces courants. Les membres du Tea Party et les libertariens sont des post-paléo-conservateurs. Les évangéliques, qui n’ont jamais partagé les convictions des vieux conservateurs, sont devenus les « idiots utiles » des néo-conservateurs, qui contrôlent les medias du GOP (Grand Old Party ou Parti Républicain). Actuellement, les « paléos » ont sombré dans le néant. Ils ne sont plus des acteurs importants du jeu politique. À la différence des libertariens, qui peuvent encore gêner les néo-conservateurs, les « paléos » ont été exclus de la scène politique. Faute de moyens financiers et médiatiques, ils ne peuvent plus critiquer ou remettre en cause sérieusement les doctrines et prétentions néo-conservatrices. Le pouvoir médiatique ne leur permet pas de s’exprimer sur les grandes chaînes de télévision. Ils ont été traités comme des lépreux, des « non-personnes », comme l’on fait les médias britanniques avec le British National Party. Pat Buchanan, qui fut un conseiller de Nixon, de Ford et de Reagan et qui est connu pour sa critique des va-t-en-guerre, a survécu, mais il est interdit d’antenne sur FOX, la plus grand chaîne de TV contrôlée par les néo-conservateurs. Il ne peut paraître que sur MSBNBC, une chaîne de la gauche libérale, où il est habituellement présenté en compagnie de journalistes de gauche.

11. Vous avez été traité d’antisémite pour avoir écrit que les néo-conservateurs sont des vecteurs de l’ultra-sionisme. En quoi vous différenciez-vous du sionisme des néo-conservateurs ?

Les néo-conservateurs sont convaincus que seule leur conception de la sécurité d’Israël doit être défendue inconditionnellement. Il est pourtant tout-à-fait possible d’être du côté des israéliens sans mentir sur leur compte. Que les choses soient claires : il n’y a aucun doute que les deux parties, les israéliens et les palestiniens, se sont mal comportés l’un vis-à-vis de l’autre. Cela dit, c’est une hypocrisie scandaleuse, une tartufferie révoltante, que de refuser à d’autres peuples (disons aux Allemands et aux Français) le droit à leur identité historique et ethnique pour ensuite traiter les Juifs comme un cas particulier, parce qu’ils ont connu des souffrances injustes qui les autoriseraient à conserver leurs caractères distinctifs.

12. Quels livres, revues ou sites web représentatifs du conservatisme américain recommanderiez-vous au public francophone ?

Je recommanderai mon étude la plus récente sur le mouvement conservateur  Conservatism in America  (Palgrave MacMillan, 2009) et le livre que je suis en train de terminer pour Cambridge University Press sur Leo Strauss et le mouvement conservateur en Amérique. Vous trouverez également les points de vue des conservateurs, qui s’opposent aux politiques des néo-conservateurs, sur les sites web : www.americanconservative.com 
www.taking.com [2]

13. Vos amis les néo ou postsocialistes Paul Piccone et Christopher Lasch, estimaient que les différences politiques entre droite et gauche se réduisent désormais à de simples désaccords sur les moyens pour parvenir à des objectifs moraux semblables ? Considérez-vous aussi que la droite et la gauche sont inextricablement mêlées et que les efforts pour les distinguer sont devenus inutiles ?

Je suis tout-à-fait d’accord avec mes deux amis aujourd’hui décédés. Les différences politiques entre droite et gauche se réduisent de nos jours à des désaccords insignifiants entre groupements qui rivalisent pour l’obtention de postes administratifs. En fait, ils ergotent sur des vétilles. Le débat est très encadré ; il a de moins en moins d’intérêt et ne mérite aucune attention. J’avoue que j’ai de plus en plus de mal à comprendre l’acharnement que mettent certains droitistes - censés avoir plus d’intelligence que des coquilles Saint-Jacques - à collaborer aux activités du Parti Républicain et à lui accorder leurs suffrages. Plutôt que d’écouter les mesquineries mensongères d’une classe politique qui ne cesse de faire des courbettes au pouvoir médiatique, je préfère encore assister à un match de boxe.

14. Dans les années 1990, deux universitaires néo-conservateurs ont soulevé de farouches polémiques en Europe : Francis Fukuyama, qui a prophétisé le triomphe universel du modèle démocratique, et Samuel Huntington, qui a soutenu que le choc des civilisations est toujours possible parce que les rapports internationaux ne sont pas régis par des logiques strictement économiques, politiques ou idéologiques mais aussi civilisationnelles. Ce choc des civilisations est-il pour vous une éventualité probable ou un fantasme de paranoïaque?

Je ne vois pas une différence fondamentale entre Fukuyama et Huntington. Les deux sont d’accords sur la nature du Bien : l’idéologie des droits de l’homme, le féminisme, le consumérisme, etc. La principale différence entre ces deux auteurs néo-conservateurs est que Fukuyama (du moins à une certaine époque car ce n’est plus le cas aujourd’hui) était plus optimiste qu’Huntington sur la possibilité de voir leurs valeurs communes triompher dans le monde. Mais les deux n’ont d’autre vision historique de l’Occident que le soutien du consumérisme, les revendications féministes, l’égalitarisme, l’inévitable emballage des préférences américaines urbaines c’est-à-dire le véhicule valorisant du hic et nunc.

Je ne doute pas un instant que si la tendance actuelle se poursuit les non-blancs ou les antichrétiens non-occidentaux finiront par occuper les pays d’Occident. Ils remettront en cause les droits de l’homme, l’idéologie multiculturaliste et la mentalité qui les domine aujourd’hui. Les nations hôtes (qui ne sont d’ailleurs plus des nations) sont de moins en moins capables d’assimiler ce que le romancier Jean Raspail appelle « un déluge d’envahisseurs ». En fait, l’idéologie des droits de l’homme n’impressionne vraiment que les chrétiens égarés, les Juifs et les autres minorités qui ont peur de vivre dans une société chrétienne traditionnelle. Pour ma part, je doute que l’idéologie ou le patriotisme civique de type allemand puisse plaire au sous-prolétariat musulman qui arrive en Europe. Cette idéologie ne risque pas non plus d’avoir la moindre résonance sur les latino-américains illettrés qui se déversent sur les États-Unis. Dans le cas ou les minorités revendicatrices deviendraient un jour le groupe majoritaire, une fois les immigrés parvenus au pouvoir, il y a bien peu de chances pour qu’ils s’obstinent à imposer les mêmes doctrines multiculturelles. En quoi leurs serviraient-elles ?

15. Vous avez anticipé ma dernière question sur les risques que devront affronter l’Europe et l’Amérique au XXIème siècle…

Je voudrais quand même ajouter quelques mots. La dévalorisation systématique du mariage traditionnel, qui reposait hier sur une claire définition du rôle des sexes et sur l’espoir d’une descendance, est la politique la plus folle menée par n’importe quel gouvernement de l’histoire de l’humanité. Je ne sais pas où cette sottise égalitariste nous conduira mais le résultat final ne peut être que catastrophique. Peut être que les musulmans détruiront ce qui reste de civilisation occidentale une fois parvenus pouvoir, mais je doute qu’ils soient aussi stupides que ceux qui ont livré cette guerre à la famille. Si ça ne tenait qu’à moi, je serai ravi de revenir au salaire unique du chef de famille. Et si on me considère pour cela anti-libertarien et anticapitaliste, je suppose que j’accepterai cette étiquette. Je ne suis pas un libertarien de cœur mais un rallié à contrecœur.

Propos recueillis par Arnaud Imatz

Notes :

[1] Les figures les plus connues du conservatisme américain de l’après-guerre furent M. E. Bradford, James Burnham, Irving Babbitt, le premier William Buckley (jusqu’à la fin des années 1960), Will Herberg, Russell Kirk, Gerhart Niemeyer, Robert Nisbet, Forrest McDonald et Frank Meyer. Celles du néo-conservatisme sont Daniel Bell, Allan Bloom, Irving Kristol, S. M. Lipset, Perle, Podhoretz, Wattenberg ou Wolfowitz (N.d.A.I.).
[2] Dans son livre Conservatism in America, Paul Gottfried recommande trois autres sources qui peuvent aussi être consultées avec profit : l’enquête de George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 (2ème éd., Wilmington, DE : ISI, 1996), l’anthologie de textes de Gregory L. Schneider, Conservatism in America Since 1930 (New York, New York University Press, 2003) et l’encyclopédie publiée par l’Intercollegiate Studies Institute, American Conservatism : An Encyclopedia (ISI, 2006), (N.d.A.I.).

Correspondance Polémia - 5/08/2011

mercredi, 23 février 2011

Ghosts of the Truman Doctrine


Ghosts of the Truman Doctrine

by Paul Gottfried

Ex: http://takimag.com/

In the last few days I’ve run across two authoritative statements by neocon journalists which provide a new American “Freedom Doctrine for Arab democracy.” One statement is by Pod the Younger in the New York Post summoning Americans back to the Truman Administration’s pro-democracy policy. In Europe after World War II, it seems, American stewardship kept Europe from going communist.

Pod is referring to the arduous string-pulling that the US engaged in after the Second World War to keep European countries with large communist parties, particularly France and Italy, from moving into the Soviet Bloc. But those countries had communist parties that rarely received above a quarter of the popular vote. It is also doubtful that these places would have fallen behind the Iron Curtain even if the US didn’t bankroll what quickly became corrupt blocs such as Italy’s Christian Democrats. In the German case, with due respect to Pod and other neocons, there were pre-Nazi parliamentary institutions dating back to the early nineteenth century. Germany always had a substantial, well-educated middle class and very industrious workers. Unlike the Egyptians, almost all Germans were literate and most had marketable skills. Comparing the Germans, even after World War II, to most of the Arab world today is almost infantile. Would Pod suggest that we export our labor unions to foreign countries to teach others about “democracy”? That may not be a bad idea, provided we could move our unions out of this country into North Africa.

Krauthammer exhibits more mental energy than Pod in framing his detailed endorsement of global democracy. He appeals to the Truman Doctrine, the third reference point in neocon memory after the 1938 Munich Agreement and Israel’s founding in 1948. The US is urged to “use its influence to help democrats everywhere throw off dictatorial rule.” We must also intervene to make sure that we have true democracy when we foster (or incite) revolution.

It is furthermore in our government’s interest to protect “these new democracies…against totalitarians, foreign and domestic.” Just as during the Cold War’s early phase when we kept communist parties from entering European governments, we must now take action to keep totalitarian parties, meaning here Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, “out of power.” Krauthammer does not imagine that the policies he proposes can be implemented without extensive American involvement. But he reminds us: “A freedom doctrine is a freedom agenda given direction by guiding principles. Truman did it. So can we.”

Is what Krauthammer proposes really self-rule for other countries, or is it acceptance of a permanent American suzerainty? He seems far less willing to allow Egypt to go its own way than to have Egyptians live according to his wishes. Why not describe his political program as having the US government force the rest of the world into compliance with the neocon vision of a good society?

If Krauthammer is universally concerned with freedom, why doesn’t he protest the continual infringement on free speech and inquiry in Western “democracies” in the name of fighting hate speech and unkind thoughts? In France one can now be arrested and thrown in jail for questioning the “Turkish genocide.” The same is true throughout the EU for those who challenge the governmentally recognized account of the Holocaust. It is also quite possibly a punishable crime in France to reissue Jean Raspail’s Le Camp des Saints. According to Le Figaro Magazine, the novel’s 85-year-old author will have courts prosecuting him and his publisher on 87 counts as soon as his reprinted work hits the bookstands. In this novel, first published 35 years ago, Raspail depicts Indians fleeing en masse in a boat to France. Since this voyage is shown in a less-than-complimentary fashion, the author is subject to judicial prosecution for having insulted Third World sensibilities.

Raspail told Le Figaro that freedom’s primary threat isn’t “Big Brother,” it’s “Big Other”—the silent shaming collective force of those who aren’t native Europeans. He points out that there are now multiple laws in his country, mostly passed by French communists and socialists, criminalizing ungracious speech against certain (particularly non-Christian and usually nonwhite) minorities.


But there are governmental attacks on politically incorrect sentiments closer to home. In Saskatchewan, ministers have been threatened with jail if they read aloud passages from the Bible that are sexist or homophobic. Presumably said ministers can get away with this act against Canadian “human rights” if they dissuade their parishioners from believing in the offending biblical ethics. Why are attacks on liberty acceptable when done in the name of “human rights” but not because of the Koran?

Krauthammer complains that there are still Americans who question his “freedom doctrine”: Although the left is “enthusiastic for Arab democracy,” they have not been consistent in their willingness to do what is necessary to sustain it. “Indeed, the left spent the better part of the Bush years excoriating the freedom agenda as either fantasy or yet another sordid example of U.S. imperialism.” Krauthammer is particularly bothered by what we are led to believe is the exclusively leftist idea of “Arab exceptionalism,” namely the idea that our Western ideas about democracy are not workable for Arabs.

Is Krauthammer such an idiot that he doesn’t know that lots of people on the right, including most Ron Paul voters, believe it’s a bad idea to invest money and lives trying to convert most of the world to those features of modern democracy that Krauthammer considers desirable? These mavericks (to borrow Sarah Palin’s term) also believe that we would do better to fight for our diminishing freedom in the Western world rather than going elsewhere in search of monsters to slay. No one is asking Krauthammer or his buds on FOX News to agree with this alternative point of view. It’s only a question of acknowledging that those who disagree with them are by no means exclusively on the left. Why can’t they treat their enormous opposition on the right as worthy of respectful mention?

I believe there are two obvious reasons for this rejection of reality. First, the predominantly Jewish neocons who run the conservative media apparatus loathe “opponents on the right,” meaning people who are collectively dismissed as anti-Semites and who are so uniformly contemptible that one is supposed to avoid noting their existence. Krauthammer on TV can barely conceal his revulsion for Ron Paul, and last week he poured out his contempt on the mostly conventional Republican CPAC because some of the participants were enthusiastic Paul-backers. Such enthusiasm has not been authorized, and those who express it are, from Krauthammer’s perspective, deserving of suspicion. Who knows whether such enthusiasts aren’t also “neo-Confederates” like Tom DiLorenzo, who has been beaten from pillar to post in the national press for having addressed the League of the South in addition to being an economics advisor to Ron Paul? Krauthammer, Kristol, and the Pod people surely wouldn’t want such a person allowed anywhere near the conservative-GOP coalition. Someone as extremist as DiLorenzo might scare off Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy, or those liberals whom the neocons have wooed onto their TV programs.

Two, it is important that the neocons, who are having their way in terms of controlling “movement conservative” resources, don’t cause their benefactors to notice that theirs is not the only show on the very loosely defined “right.” There are still competing views from bona fide conservatives, and if business donors are made aware of this fact they may take their donations elsewhere. For those who are monopolizing the goodies, it is important to keep those who count from noticing other conservative positions.

The liberal media has exactly the same interest. The establishment left does not care any more than the neocons to see the present “conservative” opposition pulled toward a harder right. Even if the left and the non-neocon right occasionally agree on foreign policy, they are farther apart sociologically than, say, Jonah Goldberg is from Matthew Yglesias or Bill Kristol from Alan Colmes. Those permitted to participate in the conversation keep the others out of view. Why complicate the picture by seeking the opinion of nonpersons?