21 August 2009

Fantasy Ideology and its fallout

The following is from The Jacksonian Party.

The following is a white paper of The Jacksonian Party.

From Lee Harris, Al Qaeda's Fantasy Ideology:

"Know your enemy” is a well-known maxim, but one that is difficult to observe in practice. Nor is the reason for this hard to fathom: If you are my enemy, it is unlikely that I will go very much out of my way to learn to see things from your point of view. And if this is true even in those cases where the conflict is between groups that share a common culture, how much more true will it be when there is a profound cultural and psychological chasm between the antagonists?

Yet, paradoxically, this failure to understand the enemy can arise not only from a lack of sympathy with his position, but also from a kind of misplaced sympathy: When confronted by a culturally exotic enemy, our first instinct is to understand such conduct in terms that are familiar to us — terms that make sense to us in light of our own fund of experience. We assume that if our enemy is doing x, it must be for reasons that are comprehensible in terms of our universe.

A Fantasy Ideology is one that can only determine the course of events and give policy within a limit set of mental boundaries that form up that ideology. Al Qaeda has a belief system that includes the concept that if one good and strong deed is done, then Allah will sweep his hand out to do the remaining deeds for you and lower your enemy. Lee Harris gives very good analysis of how that works and why, but the crux of the problem is that any fantasy ideology has within it fantastical concepts, magical concepts, that anyone without the ideology is put into a position of wondering why these people believe the world works that way when all experience demonstrates otherwise.

The premise presented by Mr. Harris is that when operating within a fantastical realm of thought that is supposed to determine how reality works, that those who get negative results do not take those results as an actual feedback to their actions, but as having missed some particular set of nuances inside the belief system that then need to be rectified. One particular point is brought up by Mr. Harris when he examines how this plays out in America, and it is an extended quote so as to get full context of his observation when having talked with a friend about an Anti-Vietnam war rally in Washington, he disagreed with a friend about the productiveness of a disruptive event that could turn very counter-productive, his friend disagreed and that even if it was counter-productive it was good for his soul:

What I saw as a political act was not, for my friend, any such thing. It was not aimed at altering the minds of other people or persuading them to act differently. Its whole point was what it did for him.

And what it did for him was to provide him with a fantasy — a fantasy, namely, of taking part in the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed against their oppressors. By participating in a violent anti-war demonstration, he was in no sense aiming at coercing conformity with his view — for that would still have been a political objective. Instead, he took his part in order to confirm his ideological fantasy of marching on the right side of history, of feeling himself among the elect few who stood with the angels of historical inevitability. Thus, when he lay down in front of hapless commuters on the bridges over the Potomac, he had no interest in changing the minds of these commuters, no concern over whether they became angry at the protesters or not. They were there merely as props, as so many supernumeraries in his private psychodrama. The protest for him was not politics, but theater; and the significance of his role lay not in the political ends his actions might achieve, but rather in their symbolic value as ritual. In short, he was acting out a fantasy.

It was not your garden-variety fantasy of life as a sexual athlete or a racecar driver, but in it, he nonetheless made himself out as a hero — a hero of the revolutionary struggle. The components of his fantasy — and that of many young intellectuals at that time — were compounded purely of ideological ingredients, smatterings of Marx and Mao, a little Fanon and perhaps a dash of Herbert Marcuse.

For want of a better term, call the phenomenon in question a fantasy ideology — by which I mean, political and ideological symbols and tropes used not for political purposes, but entirely for the benefit of furthering a specific personal or collective fantasy. It is, to be frank, something like “Dungeons and Dragons” carried out not with the trappings of medieval romances — old castles and maidens in distress — but entirely in terms of ideological symbols and emblems. The difference between them is that one is an innocent pastime while the other has proven to be one of the most terrible scourges to afflict the human race.

This concept is not unknown and was seen decades prior to the Vietnam war by another man who was examining the decline of Western Culture. From Oswald Spengler, The Oswald Spengler Collection: Biographical Essay; Extracts From The Decline Of The West: The Hour of Decision:

We live in momentous times. The stupendous dynamism of the historical epoch that has now dawned makes it the grandest, not only in the Faustian civilization of Western Europe, but - for that very reason - in all world-history, greater and by far more terrible than the ages of Caesar and Napoleon. Yet how blind are the human beings over whom this mighty destiny is surging, whirling them in confusion, exalting them, destroying them! Who among them sees and comprehends what is being done to them and around them? Some wise old Chinaman or Indian, perhaps, who gazes around him in silence with the stored-up thought of a thousand years in his soul. But how superficial, how narrow, how small-minded are the judgments and measures of Western Europe and America! What do the inhabitants of the Middle West of the United States know of what goes on beyond New York and San Francisco? What conception has a middle-class Englishman, not to speak of a French provincial, of the trend of affairs on the Continent? What, indeed, does any one of them know of the direction in which his very own destiny is facing? All we have is a number of absurd catchwords such as "overcoming the economic crisis," "understanding of peoples," "national security and self-sufficingness," with which to "overcome" catastrophes within the space of a generation or two by means of "prosperity" and disarmament.

Spengler was coming to grips with a movement of Western Civilization that had started before his time and was gaining steam in his life. He saw the results of the inward-looking trends of Western Civilization and in identifying those trends he sought to understand them as they play out in society. He would examine this playing out in Germany, but the general thesis is plain across Western Culture that the insularity was leading to a belief that by giving popular catchwords or phrases that a problem could be defined, refined and then addressed all in good order. Yet there is only the order we create in the world and it is not one that broad generalizations or categories can properly address. The idea of a citizen being self-responsible and knowing enough of the world to make good decisions was being supplanted by one of moving decisions from the citizenry and upwards to governments. By giving pleasing words to represent what were thought to be the problems, the citizenry was given that their politicians actually knew what they were doing. That, however, led to World Wars and global ideological conflicts as those not joining in this Western inward conception of the world continued to act outside the constraints of political definition.

That latter effect he would go into, and it was one that politicians would utilize to further isolate the common man from world affairs and even the affairs of government:

Added to all this is the universal dread of reality. We "pale-faces" have it, all of us, although we are seldom, and most of us never, conscious of it. It is the spiritual weakness of the "Late" man of the higher civilizations, who lives in his cities cut off from the peasant and the soil and thereby from the natural experiencing of destiny, time, and death. He has become too wide awake, too accustomed to ponder perpetually over yesterday and tomorrow, and cannot bear that which he sees and is forced to see: the relentless course of things, senseless chance, and real history striding pitilessly through the centuries into which the individual with his tiny scrap of private life is irrevocably born at the appointed place. That is what he longs to forget, refute, or contest. He takes flight from history into solitude, into imaginary far-away systems, into some faith or another, or into suicide. Like a grotesque ostrich he buries his head in hopes, ideals, and cowardly optimism: it is so, but it ought not to be, therefore it is otherwise. We sing in the woods at night because we are afraid. Similarly, the cowardice of cities shouts its apparent optimism to the world for very fear. Reality is no longer to be borne. The wish-picture of the future is set in place of facts - although fate has never taken any notice of human fancies - from the children's Land of Do-Nothing to the World Peace and Workers' Paradise of the grown-ups.

Little as one knows of events in the future - for all that can be got from a comparison of other civilizations is the general form of future facts and their march through the ages - so much is certain: the forces which will sway the future are no other than those of the past. These forces are: the will of the Strong, healthy instincts, race, the will to possession and power; while justice, happiness, and peace - those dreams which will always remain dreams - hover ineffectively over them.

At this point we now merge Spengler and Harris, to see the passage of Western Civilization going into a mode of thought that is fantastical not only in its beginnings but in its outcomes. The actual 'do this activity because it is a good activity' that was present before the ongoing urbanization of the West was being replaced by a fantastical conception of what man had to actually do to get good results: you just had to have good intentions and talk a good game, and let others do the hard work for you. That is not living with reality, but a fantasy in which what is said gets magically enacted in the real world and made perfect because it had such a good start as an idea. Narrative for your own life that you write now replaces actually living a life that is worth being narrated by others. Instead of being ground up in the urban environment where you are just one individual isolated from others within a large city by yourself and unwilling to do the hard work of actually getting to know others around you, as was done in small towns heretofore, you need only join isolated social groups that have such similar beliefs that you think by acting across a wide-ranging physical landscape that you are also doing that for the mental landscape and that all other areas believe just as you do. Never mind that is one, single, individual from a farther area that believes as you do, that individual must represent 'the masses' around him. That is how personal heroic narratives go, and so you make your struggle that 'of the people' while not actually reaching out of your limited mental confines to experience a variety of the people who just might disagree with you.

Western Civilization, Spengler's 'white culture', is part of the ongoing evaluation of how man examines himself, places himself amongst his fellow man and then uses the observed differences to inform him so as to make decisions. What this boils down to, although Spengler could not know it, is a more generalized condition of man via his own works, that would separate man from the inherent wisdom of working with nature and understanding it. If all of our great works are so wonderful, and they are, then why are we to die so as not to appreciate them forevermore? By creating the works, themselves, man does that self-isolation, and to live in cities is to live in a created realm that has little attachment to nature and yet nature comes to pull man out of it as nature can only be built upon, not replaced. This new form of man has a name to him: Homo Urbanus.

What happens when man moves from nature to urban environments? This is what Spengler addresses and the disconcerting problem is that as urban areas are created, they have a seeming facade of control to them via that creation. Yet this urban creation does not cater to the needs of those who are there: the poor remain poor, the sick remain sick, and the needs to get basic 'services' to such people then taxes our creation that is not meant for so many to be crowded into urban environments. The cries we hear, today, of the 'global problems' are not a reality but a reaction to our urban world being unable to cope with the needs of our own people and, thus, we recoil from it and cast about for something, anything, that we might be able to do something about so as to ignore the things we can do nothing about. Our great works fail in many areas and our own mortality is reflected in that failure.

Those that follow politics see this play out on the Left that asserts certain future 'facts': that everyone will have affordable health care, that everyone will live in peace with each other, that our world is being destroyed by us, that we must change NOW in order to get to a perfect world. That imperative is repeated for everything from Dreadnoughts to nuclear arms to 'population bombs' to a coming global ice age to being irradiated by nuclear reactors to the dangers of cars to the dangers of not eating right to global warming to health care: there is nothing that cannot be put off as a future 'fact' that can not be addressed NOW if you would just give up some of your liberty to those that run urban societies. Do not bother these adherents of urban fantasy with such things as economics, human culture, manufacturing needs, limits on what can be done with medicine or the very fact that man being a creature of nature will never be perfect or perfectable, just able to be more perfect than he was. By putting that into play and to show our advances, those who want a perfect world will then castigate you for how far we have yet to go... yet we can get there instantly if we give up our liberty, our self-identity and our worth to government.

To them.

Those that use the past to guide their decisions, who examine civilizations of all cultures, see this siren song again and again: serve Pharaoh and all will be well, be forced to unity under a warlord and all will be well, give Caesar the power to rule and all will be well, let the smart decide for you or the powerful or the politically well connected and all will be well. Be it Agamemnon, Ramses, Alexander, Caesar, Genghis Khan, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, Castro... the idea that an entire people can be embodied in a single representative who rules arises so often in mankind's past that it is to be seen as the norm of how man works. Yet the Enlightenment was to move us down a path away from hero worship and from belief in a perfect State and to one of imperfectable man creating imperfect works and dealing with problems as they arose. With increasing urbanization comes the belief that we CAN control what we build, that nature CAN be made to do our bidding, we forget the actual nature of the world and ourselves. The grotesque fantasies of childhood are not dispelled so long as there is a belief that by dealing with WORDS you can deal with THINGS and EVENTS. We have clear evidence over the history of mankind that trying to make future 'facts' come true, requires the most horrific of events to happen so as to make those 'facts' arrive.

We CAN make sure that the elderly are always cared for by government. And create a system headed to insolvency that will bankrupt the Nation.

We CAN wage a 'war' on poverty. And yet the poor are ever with us no matter how much we spend.

We CAN wage a 'war' on cancer. And find that it is not one thing but many, many things that each need different approaches so that there is no 'silver bullet'.

We CAN have a post office for first class mail. That now runs a deficit each quarter and needs massive subsidies to run in an inefficient manner.

We CAN give government the ability to 'regulate' our banking and currency. Yet that has made one recession into a Great Depression and spurred on another recession to something deeper.

We CAN give government the ability to regulate corporations. And find it was unable to do so and helped cause at least one recession if not more of them.

We CAN help people 'live the American Dream' to buy a home. And build a corpulent bureaucracy full of political cronies who then strong-arm banks to give loans to people who don't have good credit or ANY credit at all nor the means to pay off such loans.

We CAN make drugs illegal. And then spend billions upon billions chasing the now illegal drugs, putting small time users in jail by the truck load and giving a massive stimulus to global organized crime and terrorism.

We CAN give government the ability to tax disproportionately because it will NEVER tax the working class. Which died as an ideal within years of the passage of that.

We CAN give government tremendous 'oversight' to the banking industry. And find that it misses huge fraud systems by organized crime that even a decade on can not be unraveled.

We CAN give government more to do to make us better off. And find our liberty, our lives, and our freedom threatened by so many regulations that even the regulators can not keep up with them all and YOU are at risk for breaking many, many federal regulations each and every second of every day and should probably be put in jail for your own good when you are born so you can have your life dictated to you without the niceties of faking civil society.

It is that worrying last part that makes the cycle difficult to understand, in that thinking that the words we put into regulations under law will, actually, change society and change mankind. Instead we find ourselves coming to be not only ignorant of the proliferating regulations but coming to understand that such regulations, no matter how 'good' their ends, are not worth the means of their creation. From that we come to accept that we, as individuals, will practice common sense when leading our lives with the understanding that all the good worded regulations are not worth learning. From that we become criminal not from conscious intent but from not caring about the regulations and their goals. Mankind under Homo Urbanus then moves towards Homo Criminalis: Criminal Man.

From Wim Bernasco, Foraging Strategies of Homo Criminalis: Lessons From Behavioral Ecology, Crime Patterns and Analysis, ECCA Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2009:

Environmental questions on how crime is enacted are perhaps regularly asked in criminology, but elaborated theories that explain behavioral variations are rare. Sometimes, routine activities theory (Cohen and Felson 1979) is used to answer such questions. According to this theory, crime arises from patterns of ordinary legal activities. When these patterns lead to motivated perpetrators and unprotected targets being present in the same place at the same time, the necessary and sufficient conditions for criminality are fulfilled, and crimes will occur. By this theory, crime is thus a question of “systematic coincidence.” An objection to this approach is that it does not take the goal-oriented behavior of many perpetrators sufficiently into account. For many of them, committing crimes is an everyday routine. Moreover, many criminals do not merely encounter unprotected targets by accident but consciously go in search of them, as is shown by the findings of many ethnographic studies (e.g., Wright and Decker 1997, 1994). Rational choice theory (Cornish and Clarke 1986) is also frequently used to answer environmental questions on crime. This theory is not concerned with criminal motivation either, but in this case because it assumes that every person is in principle prepared to commit crime. Rational choice theory regards every form of behavior as a goal-oriented choice directed toward accomplishing objectives. The point of departure is that, after weighing the advantages and disadvantages of various alternatives, a choice is made which is optimal given the aim (benefit maximization). Rational choice theory itself is abstract and requires supplementary empirical content through specification of the relevant aims and choice situations. To be able to apply rational choice theory to questions of how crime is enacted, a supplemental theory is therefore often necessary with respect to the choice situations with which individuals are confronted as they make decisions about when, where, how and against what target an offense will be committed.

An over-regulated world creates a rational choice space within it, that requires that each individual makes the best choice for themselves that is goal-oriented towards what they are doing. As that often requires, or even demands, that regulations be broken to accomplish these activities, individuals do so: to perform legal activities in an efficient manner so as to yield best price vs cost results, the breaking of a regulation is more than just a savings point in monetary terms, but a negation of cost to the activity involved so as to yield greater gains and timeliness to the activity and transaction. When government so believes it can control all behavior, all transactions, everything about commerce, we find that the overwhelming burden of it upon ourselves and our businesses not only does not increase accountability, but diminishes it.

From the WSJ 28 APR 2009:

Mr. Lewis has told investigators for New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that in December Mr. Paulson threatened him not to cancel a deal to buy Merrill Lynch. BofA had discovered billions of dollars in undisclosed Merrill losses, and Mr. Lewis was considering invoking his rights under a material adverse condition clause to kill the merger. But Washington decided that America's financial system couldn't withstand a Merrill failure, and that BofA had to risk its own solvency to save it. So then-Treasury Secretary Paulson, who says he was acting at the direction of Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, told Mr. Lewis that the feds would fire him and his board if they didn't complete the deal.

Mr. Paulson told Mr. Lewis that the government would provide cash from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to help BofA swallow Merrill. But since the government didn't want to reveal this new federal investment until after the merger closed, Messrs. Paulson and Bernanke rejected Mr. Lewis's request to get their commitment in writing.

"We do not want a disclosable event," Mr. Lewis says Mr. Paulson told him. "We do not want a public disclosure." Imagine what would happen to a CEO who said that.

After getting the approval of his board, Mr. Lewis executed the Paulson-Bernanke order without informing his shareholders of the material events taking place at Merrill. The merger closed on January 1. But investors and taxpayers had to wait weeks to learn that the government had invested another $20 billion plus loan portfolio insurance in BofA, and that Merrill had lost a staggering $15 billion in the last three months of 2008.

This was the second time in three months that Washington had forced Bank of America to take federal money. In his testimony to the New York AG's office, Mr. Lewis noted that an earlier TARP investment in his bank had a "dilutive effect" on existing shareholders and was not requested by BofA. "We had not sought any funds. We were taking 15 [billion dollars] at the request of Hank [Paulson] and others," Mr. Lewis testified.

The government as 'regulator' turns into the government as 'strongman'. We go from it being for the common good for all transactions in banking institutional investment to be held openly between institutions for mergers and consolidations, to having them put into secret by government fiat so as to commit the very abuses the regulatory structure was meant to eliminate. The ease of the criminal behavior on the part of those that are supposed to ENFORCE the regulations points to that change over to Homo Criminalis: the shift from breaking minor regulations for commercial expediency to undercutting the structure of transparent transactions for government expediency. Homo Criminalis is Homo Urbanus who is willing to undercut the very structure of regulations that allows the urban environment to prosper because it is a 'good thing to do'. This was what Spengler was talking about when those in government who are unconnected with reality try to force 'facts' to happen.

The dread of reality is not that it can be summed up in nice, neat catch phrases but that it can't. When the expediency of 'we are doing this for your own good' replaces the actual and fair system of due process, you no longer have due process of law, but process to pre-defined outcomes. And when reality does not conform to those outcomes, when bolstering the banking structure leads to unaccountable transactions and money that cannot even be FOUND that have come from the public coffers, you find that the COST of such 'facts' far outweigh any 'solution' that was meant to get to them. That is not only in purely economic terms, although that is horrific on its own, but in social and cultural terms as this is an abrogation of trust at the highest levels of government. As both Parties and both Presidents wanted this to happen, BOTH have demonstrated that they are untrustworthy. If one President leaves with little trust, the next comes in picking up the exact, same methods and procedures and finds his trust eroded no end.

What is even deeper than the corruption of public institutions by such activities is that those pushing for the 'good ideas' that will assuredly lead to good ends, no matter what the process, have forgotten that it is the process that is to make good ends and to be satisfied with that process and its ends as they are a benefit to all of society. This conception of wanting the good end and enacting laws to 'make it so', and becoming a personal hero because you took part in the pushing of the idea, is in harsh contrast with the previous version of heroic acts. Laying down in front of a car to protest a war is not a heroic act to all of society, but to yourself, only: it is a narcissistic conception of hero that sees the only benefit of your actions coming to yourself, with hopes of praise from others that it was, indeed, heroic. Unfortunately much of that praise comes from other self-oriented 'heros' who have a vested interest in giving praise so as to get praise.

Heroic deeds are done in service to an end, of course, no one would deny that. A hero, however, does the deeds as they are related to the end, and does not allow them to become an end in, and of, themselves. Some heroes set out on heroic journeys but find that there is a deep and grave cost to them in lost comrades, lost paths and even lost hope. Odysseus was one such who was already a Hero of the Trojan War, a 'sacker of cities' in the grand set of conflicts that would see Troy stripped of her affiliated trade partners. Returning a Hero from war, however, and helping to bring the Trojan War to an end, was not the end of the Heroes journey and Odysseus would find himself and his men hard put to survive the tempest ride home. Indeed the older and wiser Odysseus would be the sole survivor of that journey: returning alone with the rest of his comrades in arms lost to destiny. Hercules would find Goddess given madness given to him just long enough to have him kill his beloved wife and family. Even knowing that this was not his own rage he saw that this is the rage that flesh is heir to and needed to atone for his being part man and part God. His journey to atonement would require him to tame himself as seen in the Hydra where the passion of battle rage would defeat any who only saw red until they were exhausted and eaten by the multiplicity of heads their combat had created. Jesus Christ would have his fate tested high and low, the problems of being a man exposed and fight through those only to have his final faith tested on the Cross: he was heroic for keeping his faith, not just in any single deed and would point out that we ALL have these problems within us.

The reasons that Heroes are universal is that they speak to the human condition writ large: they face dangers and problems so extreme that ours pale in comparison. And yet the story of them is that they win through or die trying and that, often, achievement of the goal is not the end and it may not even be a good end. Hercules can only find redemption in a living warrior's funeral pyre, Jesus would die on the Cross to have his eternal self revealed and Odin would be pinned to Yggdrasil and lose one eye to the crows only to be bestowed the gift seeing into the future from that empty socket even though he knew what the final destiny of the Gods was, already. Odysseus would return to find suitors clustered at his old home, trying to get the hand of his wife in marriage after he had been presumed dead and gone. She would be rewarded by her faith in him and his return would see the suitors put to a bloody end: there would be no other in the home of Odysseus worthy of his bow. Each of these Gods and Men would seek out those necessary things to them and find a high, high price to pay for their fame, and we would tell stories of their works as ours are so small how can we not find some part of us that can get through our much smaller pains and problems?

To continue on with Spengler we get the following:

But Romanticism too, with its lack of a sense for reality, is just as much an expression of rationalist arrogance as are Idealism and Materialism. They are all in fact closely related, and it would be difficult to discover the boundary between these two trends of thought in any political or social Romantic. In every outstanding Materialist a Romantic lies hidden. [3] Though he may scorn the cold, shallow, methodical mind of others, he has himself enough of that sort of mind to do so in the same way and with the same arrogance. Romanticism is no sign of powerful instincts, but, on the contrary, of a weak, self-detesting intellect. They are all infantile, these Romantics; men who remain children too long (or for ever), without the strength to criticize themselves, but with perpetual inhibitions arising from the obscure awareness of their own personal weakness; who are impelled by the morbid idea of reforming society, which is to them too masculine, too healthy, too sober. And to reform it, not with knives and revolvers in the Russian fashion - heaven forbid! - but by noble talk and poetic theories. Hapless indeed they are if, lacking creative power, they lack also the artistic talent to persuade at least themselves that they possess it. Yet even in their art they are feminine and weak, incapable of setting a great novel or a great tragedy on its legs, still less a pure philosophy of any force. All that appears is spineless lyric, bloodless scenarios, and fragmentary ideas, all of them displaying an innocence of and antagonism to the world which amounts to absurdity. But it was the same with the unfading "Youths" (Jünglinge), with their "old German" coats and pipes - Jahn and Arndt, even, included. Stein himself was unable to control his romantic taste for ancient constitutions sufficiently to allow him to turn his extensive practical experience to successful account in diplomacy. Oh, they were heroes, and noble, and ready to be martyrs at any moment; but they talked too much about German nature and too little about railways and customs unions, and thus became only an obstacle in the way of Germany's real future. Did they ever so much as hear the name of the great Friedrich List, who committed suicide in 1846 because no one understood and supported his far-sighted and modern political aim, the building of an economic Germany? But they all knew the names of Arminius and Thusnelda.

Those saying they are in 'real world' views and then holding fantastical outlooks are substituting their fantasy of the way they wish the world should work for the way it does work. They will tell you of all the things they support, all the changes they want, and how, really, everyone is striving towards that same end. Without exception! Save those nasty people who disagree with them... what is strange is that those living in this 'real world' conception are unable to put forth their own courage save in the 'I protested, I'm a hero!' way, that is neither heroic nor actually a deeply held theological nor ideological conception of how the world works. Those who have protested war in Iraq, say, have grown quiet even though the conflict continues and grows bloody as we seek to pull out from it: they will take NO responsibility for the blood on their hands for their grand ideals and don't care if others die for their ideals because they are 'right'. To be 'right' however, requires adult ownership and responsibility to one's beliefs and obligation to recognize that ideology has real world consequences. Saying that Jason and the Argonauts getting the Golden Fleece is a great idea and then claiming part of their heroism for yourself is not being heroic: you have not done the hard work, suffered with the grieving, made amends for the dead, but just claim part of someone else's actions for yourself. Leaving a war requires as much, if not more time, care and oversight so as to end it in an equitable fashion than getting INTO it. The United States spend the end of 1941 to mid-1945 at war, and then would require more years to help rebuild Germany, Italy, France... and over a decade in Japan to ensure that a constitutional republic had really been established there. And our forces are STILL not fully out of these problems and on station to continue our help DECADES later.

Thus the political Left in America is not only following a fantasy ideology but, like the Romantics in Germany, unwilling to actually toil at what they talk about. Instead it is 'protest this' or 'march that' and 'chant the other' all the while the things that they seek to ease, poverty, sickness, corruption in politics, a better understanding between Nations, all of that can be DONE by individuals who are willing to put themselves into the fray to actually DO THE WORK. The modern Left in America is not only unwilling to enter the fray, they criticize any who DO that and wish to put those works at an end because people actually dare, DARE to follow through on their beliefs with direct work for them. They are all ready to 'man the barricades' and 'change society', but please don't ask them to move from their computers, coffee houses, or elite social groups to actually get their hands dirty doing any of that. Homo Urbanus knows better because they 'know' what everyone wants. Just don't bother them to talk with everyday people who may not agree with them to find out, as that would take actually going out into the world from their Urban environs which are self-imposed no matter if it is a teenager in an apartment in the heart of any major city or Theodore John Kaczynski who would write diatribes against modern society, spend long hours crafting bombs and then send those out to kill and maim innocents to prove just how deranged society was as he had spent so many hours describing. Really, it had to be true if it would drive a nice man like him to do these things, doesn't it?

With that the Unabomber completed his cycle to Homo Criminalis deciding to impose his tracts on society via brute force of criminal activity. What he did, instead, is show the derangement that comes with believing that mere words and great wishes describe society entire: they cannot. To be flexible in outlook towards cultures means mutual respect of cultures, understanding the good and ills of each culture and working to improve your own while not endangering that of others. The modern Left has no wish of that, and prefers a bland 'multi-cultural' blanket of easy to identify racial and sexual characteristics to the actual work of taking time to understand other people's, their cultures, their mores, their ethics and their moralities. Self-sequestered into pointless 'me too' heroics, and group thinking, the Left demonstrates a form of decadence about their own cultural interests: they don't have any to judge anyone by save within their groups and identity political realms.

It is telling that 'identity politics' so suffuses the Left that anyone who doesn't act according to the precepts of it are then only seen in the prism of 'identity politics'. If you disagree with a black or hispanic candidate you are dubbed: racist. That misses the point of those who can only judge by 'race' and who call 'racism' at every turn are, in themselves, practicing racism. The idea that anyone else just might have a different way to view the world and politics, and accept that policy is a good way to judge character is not acceptable as it requires the actual examination of policy and then trying to see if that is acceptable to an entire Nation. Anyone who criticizes the modern Left on a policy basis is only judged by the Left's own inward looking prism of 'identity politics' based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion and social class. The concept of good policy that must work across all classes, races, genders and not infringe on the rights or liberty of anyone is now apostasy to the Left: to speak of it makes you a RADICAL in their eyes, who is racist, classist and so on.

It would be funny if it weren't so lethal.

This is the politics of 'the ends justifies the means' so that any, and I do mean ANY, excuse as a good end then justifies the expansion of government, erosion of liberty, removal of freedom and vesting more and more power in National government that then can make laws and rules to cover any aspect of life from the moment you are born to the moment you die: the State will decide if you are to be born, how you are to live, and when you die. By forcing society to 'do good' via government, the powers of government being those that we vest in it for our own security, are then turned against the people of a Nation. There is no 'good' in that even if the ends are reached as expected, but those ends are never reached because they are unreachable objects in and of themselves. To remove poverty we must have none that are rich and, thusly, impoverish everyone to a life of servitude in which their liberty gains them NOTHING. Indeed, being able to prosper by one's own works is seen as an absolute threat to the modern Left that prefers to imbue government with being able to do everything good and that people just have to be restrained so that they can do good.

In putting forward so much for the State and so little for individuals, what is sought is the life of servitude, no matter how 'nice' or 'good' for all citizens. The 'elite' will 'toil' with grand ideas that they will then force everyone ELSE to work at. Yet it is that very elite structure now in the highest reaches of government, and it has been there for decades, that have increased the amount of regulations on us to the point where over 2/3, if not 3/4 by now, of all regulations have been enacted since 1972. And yet we have seen no end of poverty. Sickness is still with us. Our infrastructure decays rapidly. Businesses find it hard to expand and grow due to regulations that put high burdens on growing so as to protect Big Business elites. It is laughable that 'regulations' actually threaten large businesses when they are the ones able to get seats at the table to WRITE THEM no matter which party is in power.

Thus the modern RIGHT now has the problems of the modern LEFT in believing that more regulations, more laws, and more interference in the lives of individuals is a GOOD THING. If that is merely lethal when done by one-half of the political 'spectrum' then it is FATAL to liberty and freedom when done by ALL of it. Yet this last election demonstrates that little more than 50% of the public eligible to vote actually voted. That 49% that didn't vote are not absent by mandate, but by choice: they purposefully stay away from the polls as they find nothing, no one, worth voting FOR. They are not 'leaving it to the knowledgeable', but telling the 'knowledgeable' that they have NOTHING to offer these that do not vote. Any organization that could offer even a fraction of the non-voting public a reason TO vote would swing politics in this Nation completely in ways that neither the Left nor Right can fathom. To do that, however, takes hard work, meeting your fellow man, understanding him, and working out the basis of agreement so as to fashion a new political view that starts to bring down the edifice created by these 'modern' parties and yet stay fully in the modern world.

As neither Party seems able to do that, these days, we now must look to the people who don't show up at elections, those who are so fed up with the system that they have withdrawn their support for it. Perhaps they have some folks willing to do things with each other so as to create a better Nation and remove the laws and regulations that have turned us into Homo Criminalis. Because neither Party will support liberty and freedom for the common man as they both believe that by mandating the good they are actually creating it. Instead they practice a far worse evil than mere criminality: they seek to remove the actual good behind doing good of your own free will.

There is no worse evil than that as it becomes the source of all tyranny.


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

If only Western Civilizations could TRULY understand the first two paragraphs of this paper.


A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - That is the exact point of Spengler and Harris, both: those blinded by ideology and unwilling to accept the way things work at face value are living in a fantasy and a damned dangerous one at that. Dangerous to society, to culture and civilization.

These two men describe the exact, same thing, just at different points along the timeline.

Kevin said...

Such a great article...You look like a perfectionist of writing blogs and such things...great work...keep it up...

A Jacksonian said...

Kevin - My thanks.

There is more than a modicum of research involved in a number of my articles. Particularly those on war, terrorism, international organized crime... and politics.