Fjordman Interview, Part 7: “An Entire Civilization That Has Lost the Ability to Think”

This is the seventh and final excerpt from a January 11 interview with Fjordman. Previously: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

Below is the final installment of the Document.no interview, recorded on January 7 and published on January 11. It was translated for subtitles by Fjordman himself.

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

For more on Øyvind Strømmen, see:

Video transcript:

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So Here There Be Dragons! (Part IV)

The essay below is the fifth in a series by our English correspondent Seneca III. Previously: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

So Here There Be Dragons!

by Seneca III

Part IV — Lacunae

This part of the series is a short list, with commentary, of some factors contributing to the moral, cultural and political dilemmas we face today, i.e. those either not covered in the preceding parts in detail, not at all or at best only alluded to. A Summaries and an Afterword follow in Parts VA and VB.

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”
— William Pitt the Younger — Speech in the House of Commons (18 November, 1783).

“The tyrant’s plea, / excus’d his devilish deeds”
— John Milton — Paradise Lost, Book iv, line 393.

1. Language — its function and evolution

Language uniquely separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. It enables us to organise and cooperate in complicated ways, to clearly communicate ideas (even abstract ones), emotions, intentions, and much else. It is not a sessile but a motile, dynamic construct constantly being expanded by the introduction of neologisms and also contracted through words and definitions, ‘archaisms’, falling into disuse. Language allows and inspires us to jointly explore and mutually contemplate ourselves and the world and universe around us in a variety of ways practical, philosophical and metaphysical. In competent, successful speaking or writing, language and thought are contiguous, and the words chosen offer us an immediate presentation of some aspect of reality.

Yet, we simply don’t know how language originated. We do know that the ability to produce sound and simple vocal patterning (a hum versus a grunt, for example) appears to be in an ancient part of the brain that we share with all vertebrates, including fish, frogs, birds and other mammals. But that isn’t human language. It is suspected that some type of spoken language must have developed between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago, well before written language (about 5,000 years ago). Yet, among the traces of earlier periods of life on Earth, we never find any direct evidence or artefacts relating to the speech of our distant ancestors. Perhaps because of this absence of direct physical evidence, there has been no shortage of speculation about the origins of human speech. An understanding of how and why human languages developed is a rich field. Darwin was of the opinion that:

“Music, rhythms, frogs, birds, the nightly howling of canis simensis across the Ethiopian high plateau, the song of whales, communicate in ways limited to their immediate environment, establish but limited or for mating purposes, not that our ways in that circumstances are worthy or would stand well under scrutiny.”

2. The use and abuse of tone poetry and figurative language

Languages come in many variants and from different roots yet most are composed of nouns, verbs adjectives, etc. expressed through vowels and consonants. One exception is the ‘click languages’ of Africa, a group of languages in which clicks function as normal consonants. The sole example of a language using clicks outside of Africa is that of ‘Damin’, a ritual vocabulary of the Lardil tribe of northern Queensland, Australia.

In written language punctuation primarily serves to create sense, clarity and stress in sentences, to indicate pauses in the flow and to emphasise or explain certain ideas or thoughts through words, facts and phrases that are presented in the text, thus structuring and organising the written word. If punctuation is missing, as in the [paragraph] below, and as it is in many legal documents, or in what passes for modern journalism, then the use of emphasis, obfuscation, opinions, conflation, relevance and disambiguation can lead to different or preferential interpretations thus, permitting a situation where to precisely define what is true and what is not is difficult or near impossible.

[In written language punctuation primarily serves to create sense clarity and stress in sentences to indicate pauses in the flow and to emphasise or explain certain ideas or thoughts through words facts and phrases that are presented in the text thus structuring and organising the written word If punctuation is missing as in the paragraph below and as it is in many legal documents or in what passes for modern journalism then the use of emphasis obfuscation opinions conflation relevance and disambiguation can lead to different or preferential interpretations thus permitting a situation where to precisely define what is true and what is not is difficult or near impossible.]

However, oratory and rhetoric, which are essentially verbal streams of consciousness used to educate, motivate, deceive or misinform are slightly different, whereby emphasis or the lack of it, pauses, tautologies, gesticulations and responses to audience responses can and often do project and affirm falsehoods favouring the position supported or being proposed by the orator. Skilful lawyers can and do utilise such techniques during the course of a trial and when making closing statements to juries; politicians, particularly on the hustings when trying to con the electorate, do the same, which is why so many of them manage to slither into Parliament in the first place. Media audio-visual presenters do this as well, and they are pretty good at it. Instead of actually addressing the argument itself they focus on a rhetorical flourish that you may consider overly dramatic, inappropriate or irrelevant then, if you question this, they imply that your emotional response invalidates your case. That is tone poetry.

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So Here There Be Dragons! (Part II)

The essay below is the second in a series by our English correspondent Seneca III. Previously: Part 1.

So Here There Be Dragons!

by Seneca III

Part II — Ragnarök, männerbunden, eudemia and eufemia

“The centre of the Vikings’ cosmos was the ash tree Yggdrasil, growing out of the Well of Urd. Yggdrasil holds the Nine Worlds, home of gods, man and all spiritual beings. The gods live in Asgard and Vanaheim and humans inhabit Midgard. Giants live in Jotunheim, elves in Alfheim and dwarves in Svartalfheim. Another is the primordial world of ice, Niflheim, while Muspelheim is the world of fire. The last world comprises Hel, the land of the dead, ruled by the goddess Hel. —From “An Overview of the Culture and History of the Viking Age

“It is not that trash accumulates in human cities — it is that cities turn what accumulates in them into trash.” — Don Colachio

Ragnarök

In Norse mythology, Ragnarök is a series of events, including a great battle, foretold to lead to the death of a number of great figures (including the gods Odin, Thor, Týr, Freyr, Heimdallr, and Loki), natural disasters and the submersion of the world in water. After these events, the world will resurface anew and fertile, the surviving and returning gods will meet and the world will be repopulated by two human survivors.

In the Poetic Edda, the event is referred to as Ragnarök or Ragnarøkkr, old Norse for ‘“Fate of the Gods” or “Twilight of the Gods”. Wagner titled the last of his Der Ring des Nibelungen operas Götterdämmerung, meaning “Twilight of the Gods” in German.

Männerbunden, eudemia and eufemia

In those peoples that are called ‘primitive’, but which most often represent only the degenerate and ensavaged remains of more ancient races and civilizations, the phenomenon of the ‘Männerbunden’ has often attracted the attention of observers.

In such peoples, the individual, to be considered as a merely natural being, is up to a certain age left to the family and especially to maternal care, under the feminine-maternal sign, beneath which these societies locate everything which has bearing for the material, physical side of existence. But at a given moment a change of state occurs. Special rites, which are called ‘rites of passage’ and which are often accompanied by a preliminary period of isolation and hard trials, bring about, according to a schema of ‘death and rebirth’, a new being, which alone can be considered a true man. Indeed, before this, the member of the group, no matter his age, is held to be a member of the women and children, indeed even of the animals. Once he has undergone his transformation, the individual is therefore united to the so-called ‘Männerbunden’. This society, having an initiatic (sacral) and warrior character, has the power of a group. Its right is to be differentiated in terms of its responsibility and its functions. It has the power of command. It has a structure similar to that of an ‘Order’.

With the epoch of the revolutions, there began a mighty assault against whatever could conserve the semblance of a ‘Mannerbünden’, proceeding so far as a complete inversion of values and ideals.

While in the last century [19th century] there was a tendency to derive the State from the institution of the family, a more modern current has rightly located the origin of sovereignty precisely in the phenomenon of a ‘Männerbunden’. The scheme which is now indicated effectively contains the fundamental elements which appropriately define every order, and specifically every political order, and which do so with a clarity that one would seek for in vain amidst the crumbling and degraded theories of our days on the origin of sovereignty. In that schema we encounter above all the idea of a virility in an eminent and spiritual sense, the quality of man as vir (as the Romans would say) and not as simple homo. To this is tied, as has been seen, a ‘break in level’, or a change in state; in its simplest expression, it is the detachment from the sensible, vegetative, physical state. Then there is the idea of a specific unity, much different from any other of ‘naturalistic’ character (as the family, the simple ‘people’, etc.). Finally, there is the idea of power as something connected essentially with this higher plane, so that originally it was recognized as possessing the character of a force from on high, of a ‘sacred power’ (auctoritas and with it imperium in the ancient Roman idea).

Therefore, we can with good right regard all of these matters as ‘constants’, that is, basic ideas which, in very different applications, formulations and derivations, appear recurrently in every major political organization of the past. On account of the processes of deconsecration, of rationalization and of materialization, which have grown ever more accentuated in the course of the times, these original meanings were forced to conceal themselves and to recede. But this remains ever unchanged: where these meanings have been totally obliterated, so that they no longer exist even in a transposed and debilitated form, without any longer even a background of initiatic or sacral character, there no longer exists a true State; every concept has been lost which, in an eminent and traditional sense, makes political reality, in its specific dignity and difference with respect to all the other spheres of existence and, in particular, with respect to all that which has an exclusively economic or ‘social’ character.

With the epoch of the revolutions, there began, in Europe, a mighty assault against whatever could conserve the semblance of a ‘Männerbunden’, which is to say, an assault against the very political principle itself, against the principle of every true sovereignty, proceeding so far as a complete inversion of values and ideals. Indeed, in one form or another the societarian ideologies have reigned for some time now — ideologies which represent simply the anti-State, and also a kind of protest against the virile principle on behalf of all that which, for its connection to the simply physical life of a society, and according to the aforementioned view of the origins, has an analogously ‘feminine’ and promiscuous character. While for the ‘Männerbunden’ honour, battle and dominion are values, for the simple ‘society’, on the other hand, peace, the economy, material well-being, the naturalistic life of the instincts and of the sentiments, and petty security are values: and, at their limit, hedonism and eudaimonism, as against heroism, rank and aristocracy…

[Julius Evola: The Crisis of Modern Society]

In my youth, joining the brotherhood of the military was a rite of passage, an entry into Männerbunden. Now, ‘military’, in the full meaning of that word, is slowly being hollowed out by the enforced entry and the affirmative-actioned fast-track promotion of women, racial minorities — particularly Muslims despite their being acolytes of a belief system dedicated to the subjugation or extermination of Judeo-Christians — and every possible sexual, ideological and moral deviant imaginable, most of them being unsuited for the purpose to which they are assigned, the defence of the realm. In the West our Nation States are in dire jeopardy.

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Book Reviews II: The Koran

A year ago Michael Copeland posted his first selection of reviews of the Koran. Below is his second selection.

Book Reviews II: The Koran

Compiled by Michael Copeland

  • “…this indigestible book, whose every page makes healthy human reason quiver.” — Voltaire (1694-1778)
  • “This book is a long conference of God, the angels, and Mahomet, which that false prophet very grossly invented…” — George Sale, Introduction to “The Koran, commonly called the Alcoran of Mohammed”, 1784, belonging to Thomas Jefferson.
  • “The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God.” — John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), 6th President of the United States
  • “…incites violence, disturbs public tranquillity, promotes, on grounds of religion, feelings of enmity, hatred, and ill-will between different religious communities…” — The Writ Application in The High Court at Calcutta
  • “The Koran is not the solution to Islamic radicalism, it is the cause.”Daniel Greenfield
  • “To tell you the truth, I didn’t find anything I liked.”Ashin Wirathu, Buddhist monk activist, Myanmar
  • “…a confusing and tedious book that most people don’t enjoy.”Ali Sina, ex-Muslim
  • “It offers nothing but ignorance.”Apostate Prophet
  • “a unified message of triumphalism, otherworldliness, and religious hatred” — Sam Harris
  • “a clearly-written, us-versus-them hate-crime book, endorsing a permanent might-makes-right death-threat.” — Uncle Vladdi, comment
  • “a pretty tedious screed of exhortations to violence against unbelievers interspersed with an occasional thought on the Last Judgment.” — Kepha, comment
  • “It’s horrendous. Shocking. Disgusting.” — OP, comment
  • “…the worst major religious work of all time, … exceedingly repetitive, stupid, boring, nauseating and disgusting ….” — Wellington, comment Jan 31, 2020 at 6:16 pm

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Of Burkas and Bare Bottoms

Once again, our Israeli correspondent MC weighs in on the Culture Wars.

Of Burkas and Bare Bottoms

by MC

Perhaps a measure of civilization is the amount of freedom we give our wives and daughters; freedom to live their own lives. Or do we lock them up for our own private consumption?

Anybody who has read A.J. Cronin’s Hatter’s Castle will remember the tyrannical father who throws his accidentally pregnant daughter on the street after her fiancé dies in the Tay Bridge railway disaster (1879). This was Victorian England, and women were held to higher moral standards than their menfolk. The idea of Eve as the intellectually inferior ‘temptress’ was still with us.

In the Garden of Eden, Eve got it all wrong and in so doing destroyed poor, poor Adam. But read it carefully and a different picture emerges; somebody (Adam most likely) told her not to even touch the tree, which the serpent was able to prove was a pack of lies and so erode confidence. The woman confesses that she was deceived by the serpent, Adam blames everybody but himself.

So why does society see Eve as the stupid tart when it was Adam’s arrogance that caused all the problems? Our churches and synagogues are still filled with women of faith and wisdom; it is the men who usually fail to stand up.

Barbaric male-dominated societies seem to be obsessed with ‘virginity’ and ‘purity’, and are ready to murder if they deem that their penile honour has been compromised.

I am not female, and I do not necessarily believe that recreational sex is a good thing, but it happens, especially when people have feelings for each other. Yet in a society where women have equal rights, then I have to accept that it is the woman’s absolute right to choose her sexual partner, and at a time or place of her choosing.

Provided, that is, she fully understands the risks involved. The same goes for the males, of course, and the risk of pregnancy, even despite precautions, is a shared responsibility.

Virginity as such, belongs solely to the girl or woman in question, and is not the plaything of any relative, male or otherwise. This can be very hard for a father to understand, even in this modern society.

However, young girls need to be protected, which means that their rights are violated, but that protection needs to be provided by parents and by society as a whole. Most 12-year-olds (and many 16-year-olds) are not capable of informed consent, and are thus ‘easy meat’ to any handsome male targeting them. The problem here is that girls can get pregnant, and are thus a special case in society, and the younger the girl, the more dangerous the pregnancy can be.

The Islamic habit of regarding unguarded children as fair game is thus a depraved and deplorable attack on the equality of women, and one must ask: where are the feminists demanding that Muslim rapists and sex-slavers be justly punished? But it’s all gone quiet over there because ‘racism’ trumps all.

In the 1980s professional soccer players wore short shorts. In the Victorian 1880s they were somewhat longer. But then along came the influence of Islam, and FIFA had to make rules about the length of shorts and the removal of tops. The players of 40 years ago would often exchange tops after a big game. It was innocent, but not to Islam…

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The Red Army Faction is Dead — Long Live Antifa

The following analysis of the Red Army Faction was written by an ultra-red-diaper baby: the daughter of the communist terrorist Ulrika Meinhof, who was the “Meinhof” of the notorious Baader-Meinhof Gang.

Rembrandt Clancy has provided an introduction to the translated essay, and also an appendix containing additional translated material.

Ideologies have a powerful tendency to develop a momentum of their own and to bring forth ever new motivational drive creators who feel pressure to go one step further. Ideologies have a tendency to expand and take over more and more spheres of politics and society. All spheres of policy today are in this sense determined by ’68: be it education policy, family and gender policy; be it European policy, energy and economic policy, through to the non-existent immigration policy. The culture and subculture as well as the NGOs have been ticking until today in ’68er time. Also, the schizophrenic policy towards radical left-wing violence, be it the G20 summit in Hamburg in July of 2017 or the violent excesses against the ECB in Frankfurt in March of 2015, have to be seen in the context of the ’68er-spin. […] What must be recognised and eliminated is the worldwide “fatwa” of the genocidal mass murderer Mao Zedong against the West, against everything that is Western: against Western culture, against what Western morality is, what Western achievement is; the “fatwa” that in the sixties put so many privileged Western children on the march to blindly hate their West, to furiously destroy and attack it; precisely this “fatwa”, which for fifty years has been taking on a life of its own, raging like a lindworm throughout society and strangling the Western freedom of the individual.*

— Bettina Röhl “Die RAF hat euch Lieb” (2018)

Bettina Röhl: Daughter of the Red Army Faction (RAF)

by Rembrandt Clancy

The author of the present essay was born in 1962 and is one of the twin daughters of Ulrika Meinhof (1934-1976), who still lives on under her maiden name in that other designation for the RAF, the Baader-Meinhof Gruppe (Baader-Meinhof Gang). Ulrika’s husband, Klaus Rainer Röhl, whom she divorced in 1968, was the publisher of konkret, which was the preeminent magazine animating the Extra-Parliamentary Opposition (APO) in the Bundesrepublik from the 1960s until it was shut down in 1973. Ulrike was the magazine’s one-time chief editor. She exercised considerable intellectual and propaganda influence on the radical student movement of her time, including her feminist family concept, where the personal becomes political, an axiom in her essay which also explains why women threw tomatoes at the Shah of Iran in 1967 (cf. Die Frauen im SDS oder In Eigener Sache, “The Women in the SDS or Action On Their Own Behalf”; 1968). In May of 1976 Ulrika Meinhof was found hanged in her prison cell with a makeshift device amid circumstances which, for some, remain unclarified.

Bettina Röhl studied history and is a publicist. She has written two books treating critically of the radical ’68er student movement which threatened to destabilise the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland — BRD). Her first book So macht Kommunismus Spaß! (Making Communism Fun! — 2006) deals with the history of the Left in Germany from 1949 to 1968.

In her second book, Die RAF hat euch lieb (The RAF Loves You — 2018), Bettina Röhl recounts her experiences as a child in the first-generation RAF, whose most prominent names include Horst Mahler, Gudrun Esslin and Andreas Baader. The author conveys the movement’s quasi-religious, “Marxist-Leninist-Maoist” fervour among privileged students, who, mostly children of the National Socialist generation, were capable of arson, bank robberies, bombings, kidnapping, killing and a prison break.

In the light of an essay which treats of the ever-expanding reach of ideology, the meaning of the book’s title is worth a brief remark. “The RAF Loves You” is an impersonal greeting Ulrika Meinhof wrote to her 11-year old twin daughters from Cologne-Ossendorf prison in October of 1972. With this title and the chapter dedicated to it in the book, Bettina Röhl captures the abandonment of the children, as if the mother, who addressed the twins as “comrade mice” [Genossinnen Mäuse!] had confused or fused the intimate sphere with a collective persona.

“Whether you know it or not, whether like it or not, the RAF loves you. I probably know best.” (op. cit., Kindle vers. 1.28.0. München: Random House, Chapter: Die RAF hat euch lieb, para. 12):

Introduction

The intoxicating crowd-events and the brutal highlights of the early RAF years in the Bundesrepublik still live with a special atmospheric colour in the German consciousness. Now after only two months of violent assaults of the Maoist cultural revolutionary type on Western culture, the English-speaking world read Bettina Röhl’s essay on the RAF years with almost the same vivid sense of immediacy as the Germans.

Only the type of collectivist identity has changed after five decades: “The Red Army Faction is Dead”, but “Long live Antifa”. It is as if the author writes of a time-spanning protean spirit of collectivism which preternaturally modifies its external expression to adapt to the changed external political and social circumstances of each generation. Hence Röhl speaks of a spirit of the times, a “revolutionary Zeitgeist”; a “revolution-phantasm” and a “diffuse prototype” of the revolution found in specific dictatorships.

The names of the street gangs change as do those of the identity groups; at one time it is social class, at another it is a particular race, at another a coalition of races, ethnic groups and sexual identities. Röhl’s intuition suggests the presence of a latent, transgenerational collectivist “Geist” which can only be inferred from the surface events she describes.

However, Antifa itself does have a history, or at least its name has a lineage. Its history as paramilitary strategy can be traced to the official founding of Die Antifaschistische Aktion of the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (KPD) on 10 July 1932 (Bernd Langer. 80 Jahre Antifaschistische Aktion, 2012, p. 3).

For two articles which partly depend on the above referenced history of the Antifaschistische Aktion, see The Epoch Times and Gatestone Institute, Part I and Part II.

*   Die RAF hat euch lieb Kindle vers. 1.28.0, München: Random House, Chapter: Schusswort — Conclusion; para 3, 2018)
 

The Red Army Faction is Dead — Long Live Antifa

Source: Neue Zürcher Zeitung

02 June 2020

The freeing of Andreas Baader from prison fifty years ago was the beginning of the Red Army Faction (RAF). What began with revolutionary romanticism terrorised the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD) for more than three decades. Radical Left-wing terror still exists today.

by Bettina Röhl

[original German language article places an image with the RAF logo here]

Who was in a fever in the seventies? Was it the RAF? Was it the German Federal authorities and politicians? Were the media overheated? Was it the society, the establishment, that chased after the terrorists? Or was it the students who were awakened by the events surrounding 1968 — that army of student disciples in the 1970s, who in the publishing sphere time and again rolled out the red carpet for the RAF?

In the Bundesrepublik [Federal Republic] of the time, the large silent majority did not side with the ’68er-movement, much less did they side with the RAF, a movement of armed struggle in West Germany. The overwhelming majority of citizens (above all the working population) felt little attraction to terror, violence, urban guerrillas and revolution; and they looked on with vexation, somewhat paralysed at the fashionable phenomenon of “terrorism”: “being high, being free and a bit of terror must be thrown in”. The silent majority were the ones to be combatted, the “bourgeois”. That is how the young pop-Communist enthusiasts saw it; those who gravitated to Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh and more particularly to Mao Zedong as the ‘one who fundamentally transformed society’ [Umwälzer].

Especially the so-called left-wing intellectuals became, at best, semi-critical propagators of the 1968 RAF ideology; they were the subcultural and established artists, from the writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger to solicitor and singer Franz Josef Degenhardt; from theatre director Claus Peymann to Nobel Prize winner for literature Heinrich Böll. They were ubiquitous at the time with their opinions, especially in the boom-media with their circulation in the millions, such as Der Spiegel, Stern and the “Die Zeit”; but also, they were everywhere in the powerful public sector television broadcasters of the time. Also, many journalists were completely lacking in detachment and became avid reporters for the RAF. At the same time, reportage on the RAF functioned almost like a true-crime serial, presenting the public with crimes, perpetrators and the deaths almost in real time.

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Spengler on Militant Religiosity

“The present can only accomplish its purification by the erasure of its past.”

Below is the third of Thomas Bertonneau’s three-essay sequence on the crisis of modernity.

Spengler on Militant Religiosity

by Thomas F. Bertonneau

Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), the German historian and philosopher, devotes a suite of three chapters (VII, VIII, and IX) in his Decline of the West, Volume II (1922), to what he calls “The Problems of the Arabian Culture.” The third of these chapters, “Pythagoras, Mohammed, Cromwell,” explores the parallelisms that, in Spengler’s view, and in his use of the word, make these figures “contemporary” with one another. The same chapter also contains Spengler’s analysis of Puritanism, but not strictly in the sense of Calvinist doctrine, although he includes Calvinism in his discussion. Spengler views Puritanism as an inevitable phase of religion, one of doctrinal hardening and literalism in which a totalitarian impulse predominates. Puritanism has manifested itself in all the Great Cultures, as Spengler calls them, such as the Chinese, the Classical, and the Gothic. By “The Problems of Arabian Culture” Spengler does not mean to confine himself to a history of Monophysitism or Islam, although these come under his three-chapter remit. Spengler subsumes “Arabian Culture” under the larger category of “Magian Culture,” which embraces both Arabia Felix and Arabia Deserta but reaches far beyond them to aspects of the late Persian and Syriac societies, to the Hellenism of Alexandria, and even to the Iconoclastic centuries of Byzantium. The term Magian also reaches back in time to the late stages of Mesopotamian society. For Spengler, St. Augustine shares rather more with Islamic theology than he does, say, with St. Thomas and the Scholastics. For Spengler, the Hagia Sophia of Constantinople anticipates the mosque. To understand the chapter-sequence on “The Problems of Arabian Culture,” however, requires that Spengler’s often shocking and sometimes counter-intuitive pronouncements, like the ones just mentioned, take their place among the over-arching assumptions of The Decline.

Spengler’s opus impresses the first-time reader as a colossal improvisation. Its erudition and seeming formlessness put off many would-be explorers. Spengler’s basic propositions nevertheless lend themselves to summary. Spengler rejects the idea of a universal history. He recognizes no singular history but a number of histories in the plural, each one peculiar to its own Great Culture. Thus the Classical or Mediterranean Culture begins with the palace kingdoms of Mycenaean Greece and ends with the Severan Dynasty of the Late Second and Early Third Centuries. Indian Culture begins with the Vedas and ends with Buddhism. Western or “Faustian” Culture has its earliest glimmerings in the Eighth Century but really only leaps into being after the year 1000. Western Culture preserves a profound awareness of Classical Culture but this awareness implies, for Spengler, no actual continuity. Each Great Culture constitutes itself hermetically as an organic whole without debt to adjacent or precursor cultures. Borrowings are never essential, but only ornamental. Spengler emphasizes the organic character of culture. He regards each Great Culture as a living entity, whose mortality impends as soon as it comes to birth. Each Great Culture follows the same seasonal life-course — a vivacious and creative spring, a productive summer, a crisis-afflicted fall, and an increasingly inflexible winter. Spengler also makes a distinction between culture, as such, and civilization. Culture flourishes as the vital phase; civilization takes over as the mechanical phase, becoming more and more rigid until the machine stops.

Each Great Culture first expresses itself in a springtime outburst of religion. The Classical pantheon and associated cults already existed in late Mycenaean times; Homer and Hesiod signify a literate transformation of a long existing Apollonian worldview, as Spengler calls it. By the time of Septimius Severus (reigned 193-211), the Classical religion has become a syncretic henotheism, with one god in numerous guises, complete with a church-structure wedded to the state. Whereas the springtime paganism knew nothing of prejudice, the syncretic henotheism has codified itself as a set of compulsory dogmas. Spengler distinguishes between a Magian and a Gothic Christianity, which have little or nothing to do with one another. The latter appears with the building of the Lady Churches and with the blazing out of sacred polyphony. By the time of the Baroque, however, Catholicism has become the counterpart of syncretic henotheism. A living entity no longer, the Church distinguishes itself hardly at all from the array of explicitly secular institutions. As for Magian Christianity, Spengler classifies it as one of many apocalyptic movements that participate in the same mundial vision. These dispensations show themselves initially around the time of Alexander’s campaigns. Spengler writes in Vol. II, Chapter VIII, how “the world, as spread out for the Magian waking-consciousness, possesses a kind of extension that may be called cavern-like.” A “primary dualism” governs the world-cavern of this revelation: “The light shines through the cavern and battles the darkness.” The Magian Culture reaches its final, ossified phase when Mohammed issues his unalterable Koran and commences his coercive mission.

If social, spiritual, and intellectual rigor mortis belonged to the autumnal and hibernal chapters of the cultural life-course, this would not mean that earlier chapters exhibited no forecast of rigidification. Spasms of Puritanism occur in the vernal and estival chapters but show themselves as liable to suppression by the still-vivacious environments where they arise. The first name in the title of Spengler’s third of three chapters on “The Problems of Arabian Culture” is that of Pythagoras, whose person will be familiar to most readers through its association with the theorem of the right triangle. The lifetime of Pythagoras spans most of the Sixth Century BC, with scholarship locating his birth around 570 and his death around 495. The prevailing myth treats Pythagoras in an anodyne way: Philosopher, mystic, mathematician, vegetarian, discoverer of the cosmic harmony, and champion of animals. Pythagoras invited veneration from the Florentine Humanists and again from the French Symbolists as an idealist and altruist. The truth puts Pythagoras in quite a different light. “Pythagoras was not a philosopher,” Spengler writes; but rather, “he was a saint, prophet and founder of a fanatically religious society that forced its truths upon the people around it by every political and military means.” Croton, the Greek colony in Southern Italy where Pythagoras took up residence in middle life, raised an army under his regime that “in the bitter earnest of [its] gospel of duty duly wrecked gay Sybaris and branded it forever a city without morals.” What was that “gospel”? It consists of the “enthusiasms of a sober spirit, cold intensities, dry mysticism, [and] pedantic ecstasy.”

Pythagoreanism belongs under the category of Puritanism. Spengler defines Puritanism as a symptom of dour old-age: “It lacks the smile that had illumined the religion of the Spring… the moments of profound joy in life, the humour of life.” The destruction of Sybaris, around 510 BC, finds affirmation in both history and archaeology; the city suffered such violence that its survivors had to abandon it and take up residence elsewhere, as in Thurii. The wrath unleashed against Sybaris has lodged in the collective memory, Spengler speculates, “because it was the climax of a wild religious war… an explosion of the same hate that saw in Charles I and his gay Cavaliers not merely doctrinal error, but also worldly disposition as something that must be destroyed root and branch.” Furthermore, “A myth purified and conceptually fortified, combined with rigorous ethical precepts, imbued the Pythagoreans with the conviction that they would attain salvation before all other men.” The South-Italian cities that had come under the sway of the collective enthusiasm eventually found the furor too much to bear. Inspired by Spengler, the scholar Kurt von Fritz issued his book Pythagorean Politics in Southern Italy in 1940. Von Fritz pieces together a simultaneous multi-city uprising that in the space of a few days wreaked vengeance on the Pythagorean committees, burned down their lodges, and suppressed the fanatical portion of their following. Spengler notes that the Pythagorean writings, such as the Golden Tablets, make the promise to loyal adherents of elevation to godhood. That degree of self-satisfaction and self-righteousness could only — and soon — draw forth condign reaction.

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Love in the Time of Coronavirus

The title of this post has nothing to do with its content; it just seemed an appropriate header in these parlous pandemic times for an off-topic quote.

The text below is an excerpt from Baja Oklahoma by the late Dan Jenkins (who is better known as the author of Semi-Tough). Dymphna and I both loved the book. At some point back in the ’80s she photocopied the page, trimmed it, and posted it on the refrigerator. When we got a new refrigerator in about 1990, the yellowed clippings from the old one went into an envelope marked “FROM THE OLD REFRIGERATOR”. I found that envelope a few months ago when I was going through boxes of stuff, and have restored the excerpt to the refrigerator:

Mankind’s Ten Stages of Drunkenness

In only twelve years of marriage, Bonnie fancifully transformed herself from Rita Hayworth into Joseph Stalin.

Bonnie deserved all the credit for driving Slick to a unique psychological discovery, the unearthing of Mankind’s Ten Stages of Drunkenness, which were:

1.   Witty and Charming.
2.   Rich and Powerful.
3.   Benevolent.
4.   Clairvoyant.
5.   F**k Dinner.
6.   Patriotic.
7.   Crank up the Enola Gay
8.   Witty and Charming, Part II.
9.   Invisible.
10.   Bulletproof.
 

The last stage was almost certain to end a marriage.

The Canuck Stasi Interrogate Ezra Levant

Actually, the word “Stasi” does not provide an adequate analogy for these two amiable fellows from the Canadian federal election authority. “Stasi” connotes an air of overt menace, but these guys are low-key. Their menace is more subtle and subdued. They’re nice, the way all Canadians are expected to be. Which makes them even more menacing, when you realize what their mission is: they’re tasked by unnamed authorities with investigating Ezra Levant for writing a book during an election campaign.

His best-selling book was about the election, so releasing it during the campaign was an unremarkable business decision. And the two agents concede that books and publicity for books are exempt from the law that restricts political campaign activities. Nevertheless, they think that his book may somehow violate laws promulgated by the Supreme Canadian Soviet, so they want to know why he wrote it, when he wrote it, how he wrote it, and who helped him research it.

Mr. Levant plans to hire the best lawyers to fight the Nice Stasi, and will spare no expense in doing so. As a result he is appealing to his audience for help in funding his cause:

This video is only part 1. Part 2 should prove interesting.

Hat tip: Vlad Tepes.

Matt Bracken and ESW on InfoWars


Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff appeared recently on InfoWars via skype when Matt Bracken was sitting in as host.

She talked about her just-released book, The Truth Is No Defense, which concerns her experiences being prosecuted and convicted in Austria for “denigration of a legally recognized religion”.

She and Matt also discussed the state of free speech in Western Europe (short version: there is none) and the current assault on the First Amendment here in the USA:

For previous posts on the “hate speech” prosecution of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, see Elisabeth’s Voice: The Archives.

When the Truth Counts Against You

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff recently spoke in Montreal, and while she was there she was interviewed by Vlad. In the video below she discusses her conviction in an Austrian court for “denigrating a recognized religion” and her subsequent series of appeals. The entire process took almost ten years and concluded at the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled against her.

She also talks about the fact that freedom of speech has disappeared in Western Europe. She points out that the USA is headed in the same direction, given that the Demonic Convergence — the alliance of the Socialist Left and Islam — is agitating against the First Amendment in its current form.

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for conducting the interview and uploading the video:

For previous posts on the “hate speech” prosecution of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, see Elisabeth’s Voice: The Archives.

The Truth Shall Get You Jailed

Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s book about her encounter with Austrian “justice”, The Truth Is No Defense, will be published next month by the New English Review Press.

The Truth Shall Get You Jailed

by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff

In the past week, two eerily similar polls — one in Germany (available in German only) and one in the United States — made it into the public sphere. Both concerned the pillar of freedom, free speech, and both sadly portend the end of what countless brave souls on both sides of the Atlantic who died on so many battlefields valiantly fought for.

November 2019 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which ostensibly ushered in the end of the Communist iron grip on Eastern Europe. Following the end of World War II, Communism had brutally separated the free West from the subjugated East, and nowhere was this partition more glaringly obvious than in individual liberty or lack thereof. Thirty years have now passed since that glorious November day. I watched the tearing down of the wall by East Berliners desperately seeking freedom — the freedom to speak, think, move, exist — live on television, having visited East Berlin only a year before. I was ecstatic for the people of East Germany, hoping they would be able to savor their hard-fought freedom as I have done over and over.

The widespread disillusionment that has set in over the past decades pains me. Just a few days ago, the Post-Communists won the parliamentary elections of the state of Thuringia in what was once East Germany, and I am quite certain post-election analyses will show that the block of Post-Communist voters consists of mostly young people who have no recollection or experience of the evil of Communism.

And so it comes as no surprise when a well-known German opinion research institute publishes a poll indicating that “nearly two-thirds of [those polled] are convinced that nowadays one must be very careful regarding the topics about which one can speak freely because there many unwritten laws indicating which opinions are permissible and which opinions are not permissible.” In addition, 58% of those polled no longer feel safe speaking freely in public, with only 17% agreeing that they can voice their opinion freely on the Internet. More than 40% sense that political correctness is overemphasized, while 35% have decided for themselves to voice their opinions only in a private setting.

The German poll is complemented by a — frankly, frightening in its ramifications — US poll: a whopping 51% of Millennials call for fines and even jail time for “hate speech.” In a survey conducted by the Campaign for Free Speech, more than 60% call for restrictions on speech in some way. While the Campaign’s director finds the results “frankly extraordinary,” they are hardly surprising. Speech restrictions coupled with hefty fines and, in some instances, even jail time have become the norm in Europe, with my case being one of countless others. Moreover, the results of both polls are what free speech activists on both sides of the Atlantic have been warning about for at least the past decade: at international forums such as the United Nations and the (perhaps lesser-known) Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, these very speech restrictions have been not only concocted, but also weaponized and successfully applied. In one case in point, at an official OSCE forum in Vienna in 2015, which I attended, we were told that speaking the truth may constitute “hate speech”, because “sometimes truth is difficult.” Secretary General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations calls for stepping up international efforts to suppress “hate speech.”

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It’s All for Show

This week’s edition of Dymphna’s Greatest Hits is a follow-up to last week’s, which discussed Annie Jacobsen’s encounter with the Syrian trombonists. This one is a review of Ms. Jacobsen’s book.

It’s All for Show

by Dymphna
Originally published on Sept. 27, 2005

Does the accumulation of four years without further terrorist attacks make you feel safer when you fly? It shouldn’t. The Bureaucratic Bunglers are out in full force and with them in charge you don’t have a prayer. Or rather, all you do have is prayer.

According to Annie Jacobsen, we’d better do our homework on this one because there is no one watching out for us. Back in April, Gates of Vienna posted on Ms. Jacobsen’s tenacity and her willingness to follow this story wherever it led. That post, “Silence of the Sheep,” proved that the author is a sheepdog indeed. Her interviews with other passengers, with government agencies, with the House Judiciary Committee, with airline personnel, and with individual people who bear the day-to-day hazard of working in this field, have made her case. The tale of her experiences is documented well in Terror in the Skies.

This is a top-down problem. The guys in harm’s way — the pilots and flight attendants — know the problems but they have no more power to address them than you do. Less than two percent of pilots are armed. Want to know why? Because in order to actually carry a firearm on board, the firearms training must be done on the pilot’s own time and it has to be done in a place far from home, squeezed into his holiday time or vacation.

And flight attendants? Again, they have to arrange self-defense training on their own time, at their own expense and without the cooperation of the airlines themselves. Think of it this way: what if Brink’s hired drivers and gave them no training in handling attempted robberies? What if they expected their employees to get training — if any — on their own time and their own dime? How long do you think Brink’s would be in business?

That’s the situation we have in the friendly skies of America. When you add to that the cruel joke of the Federal Air Marshals, the lackadaisical behavior of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the farce we all know as the Department of Homeland Insecurity, it’s enough to make you want to stay home and do your business by long-distance and email.

Let’s take just one: FAMS. This is bureaucratese for the Federal Air Marshal program. You know the old joke that goes “you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny”? Well, for this program, the first part may or may not be the case, but for the second premise — being dressed funny — you can count on FAMS. Due to the boneheaded policies of those in charge, Federal Air Marshals are required to wear sport coats and collared shirts. Yes, that’s right: they must look like Federal Air Marshals at all times because they are a reflection of FAMS and dressing in a slovenly disguise would somehow bring disgrace to the organization. Comments about being a lovely corpse would be appropriate here.

Then there’s what they do after they’re up and dressed. Remember, they’re carrying guns, right? So obviously they can’t go through security. However, there’s a second obvious thing they can do — they can fight the current and walk through the exit lanes for deplaning passengers. How’s that for subterfuge?

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Conspiracy Theories? We Have Them A-Plenty

Ever since J. Christian Adams, a career Department of Justice attorney, resigned in 2010 (during Obama’s first term) due to his own unwillingness to turn a blind eye to Eric Holder’s highly charged racialist program within the DOJ, I’ve been wondering when the corruption would be called to account. But it never happened. It never happens in the Democrat Deep State…unless, like Sidney Powell, you know where to look.

No, I didn’t know of her either, but I sure plan to follow what she has to say as this plotting is unloaded on a sickened American electorate. Can They manage to kill off the first capable president we’ve had in more than a generation??

This is a woman after Diana West’s own heart. Mine, too. She not only knows American jurisprudence, but she knows where (some of) the bodies are buried.

From her book page on Amazon from 2014 [five years in, and it’s still selling]:

Sidney Powell was an Assistant United States Attorney in three judicial districts under nine United States Attorneys from both political parties. She represented the United States in 350 criminal appeals and represented private parties in another 150, all resulting in more than 180 published decisions. She was the youngest Assistant U.S. Attorney when she began practicing. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and the past president of the Bar Association for the Fifth Federal Circuit and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.

Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice is a book she prayed she would never have to write. It’s written in the style of a legal thriller to be enjoyable and understandable to non-lawyers, but it is the true, behind-the-scenes insider perspective on major litigation during the last decade. If you think you know the truth about what happened to Arthur Andersen, Merrill Lynch, Enron, and former United States Senator Ted Stevens, think again. You won’t know the truth until you read LICENSED TO LIE. It tells a very human story that every informed citizen, lawyer, and judge should know. The foreword to the book is written by Judge Alex Kozinski, one of the most brilliant legal minds in the country. He is the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but he wrote the foreword in his personal capacity.

She also writes for the New York Observer…and her opinion pieces have received over 16,000 facebook posts, countless tweets, and other methods of “sharing.” […] They include 1. All the President’s Muses 2. Holder Protects Corrupt Prosecutors 3. War on Wall Street 4. Meet Emmet Sullivan (the IRS Judge who scheduled a hearing for July 10); 5. One Two Punch (IRS faces Two Federal Judges), and others. Her news articles and opinion pieces may be found here. These outstanding stories have been picked up multiple times by the Drudge Report, Investors Business Daily, Breitbart, Fox News, Greta Van Susternen, and countless other blogs and reporters. She is the only published authority on federal Judge Emmet Sullivan, former White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, and now Mueller team special prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, and others.

She has been featured on Fox News, the CATO INSTITUTE (broadcast on C-Span), NewsMax TV, and countless radio shows. She has spoken on the topic of prosecutorial misconduct for two federal judicial conferences and numerous bar associations. Her website is here.

This book has over nine hundred customer reviews, overwhelmingly five-star, and they have continued to accrue over the five years since the book came out.

[NOTE: This post has been moldering in my Drafts since the video was brand-new. I’m sorry it’s no longer au courant, but my health (or lack thereof) interfered. While not breaking news, the main elements in this story will continue to drag their sadsack selves through the purgatory of American national politics. If I find any further Sidney Powell commentary, I’ll post it for you.]