In the comments section of Part 1 of Hans-Peter Raddatz’ article, our Canadian correspondent Rembrandt Clancy provided some useful explanatory background for the complex academic material that informed Dr. Raddatz’ essay. To give his exegesis the widest possible distribution, it is republished below in a slightly edited version:
As pointed out in the introduction, Dr. Raddatz writes for a scholarly periodical (Die Neue Ordnung), hence there appears to be a certain expectation that readers will be familiar with the background concepts. Sometimes his words appear simple enough, but there is much more behind them.
]I will attempt to explain some of the expressions which appear in the above quotation offered by JBP. Overall, the quoted section is describing a political development which moves from a constitutional republic to a (partisan) party state, then to peoples’ democracies and finally to the EU system, which is slowly taking on the characteristics of “radical democracy” (Habermas). The most important concept to be discussed here is “radical democracy”.
But let us start from the beginning. JBP’s excerpt begins: The “party state as a decadent form of the constitutional state” (K. A. Schachtschneider). German readers will wish to follow the above link which goes to Schachtschneider’s “Public Affairs are the Peoples’ Affairs”. It is the source for the above quotation and also for the paragraph which follows immediately.
For the “party state” Dr. Schachtschneider actually uses the term “partisan party” state (parteiliche Partei: an ideologically driven party), by which he means that government and citizenry have become separated. In the republic, by contrast, the real politicians are the citizens, a condition which is not subject to “dogmatisation” (presumably, ideologisation). When the identity between ruler and citizen is lost, the essence of the constitutional republic is gone; what remains is the party state, a decadent form of the republic.
Dr. Raddatz’ context is the journalistic corruption described in his previous paragraph. The level of state indoctrination implemented by the press identifies today’s Germany as an example of a decadent form of the republic, a party state. For by the act of indoctrination it identifies itself as “partisan” and sets itself against the citizen. It is well known that all five parties in Germany’s Bundestag have largely the same ideology and policies on important matters; for example, Islamisation and the implementation of the EU dictatorship.
The next expression in JBP’s excerpt is “the road to democracy”, which according to Raddatz, is an expression that has been used “monotonously” since the “Arab Spring”: It refers to “…a system of government which is in the process of radicalising and anonymising the elites” (Europe and the Coming Caliphate, Introduction, Section 1). Our quoted JBP paragraph tells us that this anonymous form of “democracy” (discussed below) is prefigured by the “people’s democracies” (Volksdemokratien) of which the German Democratic Republic was an example, but the party state concept also embraces Nazi-Fascism, Bolshevism and also Jacobinism. The EU is the “Islamic-inspired successor version” of the peoples’ democracies, and Dr. Raddatz understands it as a fourth wave of totalitarianism starting with the Jacobins.
But the EU system is now a developing “radical democracy”. Radical democracy is “a disguised discipline of obedience, which — with decades of pluralisation — metamorphosed into ‘voluntary obedience’ and emerged as communicative action, correctness, excellence and self-reflexivity (Selbstreflexivität)…” (Europe and the Coming Caliphate, Introduction, Section 1). Among these undefined terms, the most pivotal is “self-reflexivity”, as found in the expression “self-controlling mass society” (sich sellbst kontrollierende … Massengesellschaft: cf. section 5 of Part I of the current essay).
Self-reflexivity literally refers to the dynamic of a “reflex”, as opposed to reflection (Reflexion: thought, contemplation). Reason and self-reflection are replaced by automaticity, especially at the communicative level, hence “communicative action” (Habermas). ‘Action’ is of course behaviour, hence the term suggests the absence of a conscious subject, unless it is outside of the communicative system itself.
For readers in the English speaking world, Behaviourism constitutes a mechanistic system which roughly parallels this type of reflexivity (the operantly conditioned reflex), although it is much less abstract than Habermas’s system, but Behaviourism also represents a type of automatic communication. Behaviourism’s reward system is modelled after the mechanistic theory of Natural Selection: those behaviours which are consistent with the environment (reward or reinforcement) automatically increase, otherwise they become automatically extinguished (analogue of Darwin’s “extinction”). The exclusive focus on behaviour rules out consciousness, hence Behaviourism’s de-subjectivisation of the individual.
With respect to Dr. Raddatz’ mention of the sociologists Habermas and Luhmann, it is sufficient to note here that their theories are also radically mechanistic after the fashion of the theory of Natural Selection, to which they too show some correspondence. Dr. Raddatz represents these mechanistic theories as models of communication and interaction which “de-subjectivise” man, for the theories emphasise interactions which become reflexive rather than reflective. “Change”, for example, is a highly valued word. It becomes an end in itself, or more literally translated, it becomes its own purpose (Wandel zum Selbstzweck werden läßt, Cf Part II of this essay.). Mechanism, or automatic change, is an unconscious process and not within the conscious power of the individual as a person. In Part II, Dr. Raddatz refers to the expression used by Angela Merkel and others, that there is “no alternative” (to the Euro currency). He points out that when there is “no alternative”, there is only power. It is within the vacuum thus created by “no alternative” that a passive mass emerges which is subject to a radical determinism, a de-subjectivised system (“Kommunikation als entsubjektiviertes System” (cf. Kirsten Reich: Luhmanns Entsubjektivierung des Konstruktivismus, “Luhmanns de-subjectivisation of Constructivism”).
Parallel to self-reflexivity is “self-dressage”, the training for radical democracy. For Dr. Raddatz, the “dialogue”, which has its beginning in Vatican II, is a training procedure en route to radical democracy, and it too has the character of reflexivity, hence he refers to it as “self-dressage”. “Dressage” is Dr. Raddatz’ metaphor for the automatic and reductive training character of the “dialogue”, hence he mentions it in connection with self-reflexivity which is apparent in the definition of dressage as horse training: “…it [the horse] walks, trots, and canters …, all in response to barely perceptible movements of its rider’s hands, legs, and weight.” (Dressage: Encyclopaedia Britannica).
Dr. Raddatz: “The self-dressage [Selbstdressur] of the ‘dialogue’, in accordance with the dogma that Islamic peace consists in the elimination of all that is non-Islamic, envisions its objective of salvation as now being on the path toward another kind of democracy; namely, “radical democracy”, which is associated with the sociological dogma of self-reflexivity” [Selbstreflexivität] (Europe and the Coming Caliphate, Section 3 ).
As a good example of how the dialogue works as dressage, in section 2 Dr. Raddatz mentions French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, whom he quotes as saying that “Muslims have brought God back to Europe.” Dr. Raddatz has “the dialogue” in mind here, for Cardinal Tauran is president of the “Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue”, a discastery of the Roman curia which appears to be oriented mainly to “dialogue” with Islam. The Cardinal is reported to have said the following:
‘Islam makes people afraid: It is a fact. For many people, Islam is reduced to fanaticism, holy war, terrorism, polygamy and proselytism, all preconceptions that circulate in the Western world,’ he said.
‘Should we be afraid of Islam? No, certainly not,’ he said. But only dialogue allows people to overcome such fear, by informing them about the religious traditions of the others, identifying what unites and what separates them, and cooperating as much as possible in the societies where they live, he said. (Catholic News Service)
As an aside to the Tauran reference, Dr. Raddatz, immediately following the mention of Cardinal Tauran, mentions that “Pope Francis gave different signals, suggesting rather an abatement of the excessive political ‘dialogue’.” This ‘abatement’ is far from apparent after reading the recent interviews the Pope has given. Consider the one to La Repubblica‘s founder, Eugenio Scalfari on 1 October 2013: ‘The Council Fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers. But afterwards very little was done in that direction. I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.’
With respect to “social-technical coding” (mentioned at the end of JBP’s quoted paragraph), this term further accentuates the de-subjectivised world of sociologists such as Luhmann. For Luhmann, “systems (social, political, economic etc.) have reference only to themselves (self-referential) and are self-producing. Each system, money for example, is marked off from its environment by its own specific binary code, in this case “pay/not-pay”. In the legal system, the code is just and unjust. Government and business have different codings which relate to efficiency. ‘Coding’ comprises a complexity reduction, which lends systems a higher order in respect of themselves, albeit a reduced one vis-à-vis the environment” (Reich, Kersten: Die Ordnung der Blicke. Band 1; Kapitel II.2.5).
There are highly specialised elites which permit the otherwise isolated and differently coded systems to communicate with each other at their point of contact. These elites are called “differentiation parasites” (Armin Nassehi), a term which is not necessarily construed negatively by its inventor. Due to the high level of complexity at the coding level of operation, differentiation parasites remain invisible, hence a reference to the anonymity of the elites mentioned above. For Dr. Raddatz’ application of the concept of coding, the point of contact for the operation of the parasites is the interface between the general mass and the elites. Here we have the separation of state from the governed, which once again defines Dr. Schachtschneider’s decadent “partisan state”.
The dynamic of a binary code, which is peculiar to each social system, contributes to its specialised automaticity (unconscious functioning). Having noted this same reflexive character in respect of ‘radical democracy’, what we have here is the technologisation of human relationships (Source: Eliten als Differenzierungsparasiten, “Outline of a Research Programme”).
The essence of the paragraph quoted by JBP is its end point, ‘radical democracy’. For Dr. Raddatz, “radical democracy” is a resurgent collectivism which is part of a broad “counter concept” to the Judeo-Christian tradition which, to the extent that the latter is still part of Western consciousness, even if it is not literally believed, must be extinguished whatever the cost. As a counter concept to Judeo-Christianity, it is not simply a matter of it extinguishing Christianity as one belief system among others. At the heart of ‘radical democracy’s’ automaticity and reflexivity is its rejection of the Logos, understood as logic, speech, reason and the Word; that is, a rejection of Christ Himself as an historic and cosmic event which, in reality, cannot be reversed at all.
Hence the conflict of our time is between Christianity and a resurgent collectivism, between a hard-fought-for consciousness, and a regression to a pre-Christian condition of the Father (Allah), between the free individual and the natural human condition of slavery (Hilaire Belloc) — a future symbolised and evident in the dhimmitude under Islam.
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