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Truth – Philosophical Food for The Mind and Soul. Refuting Postmodern Bullshit.

February 15, 2013
 

The Bee and the Lamb, Part 10

“While Reality’s thorough thrashing of socialism sent many Left intellectuals into terminal despair, for others the crisis meant only that a more radical assault on capitalism was needed. Instead of accepting that Reality had proved them wrong, determined academic socialists declared Reality itself null and void, along with reason and even the possibility of telling true from false and right from wrong.”

 
 

The essay below is the tenth in a series by Takuan Seiyo. See the list at the bottom of this post for links to the previous installments.

Renoir-Grosz
Left: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette, 1876
Right: George Grosz, Metropolis, 1916/17

The Bee and the Lamb
Part 10

By Takuan Seiyo

In the bog of Demonic Mendacity

The undead zombies of the academy

The academic creators of postmodernism, most of them PhDs in philosophy of the German kind, were all far-left socialists around the time that their creed showed its decisive failure as theory and as morality. The booming prosperity and relative freedom of the West and of its working class, particularly in super-capitalist America of the 50’s, belied Karl Marx’s dialectics. The Western proletariat, instead of rising against its capitalist masters, was busy buying homes, cars and TVs, and enjoying the good life. Meanwhile, the communist Valhalla, the Soviet Union, revealed itself after Stalin’s death to have been a machine of mass murder of the malnourished, run by a megalomaniac monster.

“Postmodernism,” wrote the philosopher Stephen Hicks in Explaining Postmodernism, “is the academic far Left’s epistemological strategy for responding to the crisis caused by the failures of socialism in theory and in practice. Confronted by harsh evidence and ruthless logic the far Left had a reply: That is only logic and evidence; logic and evidence are subjective; you cannot really prove anything; feelings are deeper than logic; and our feelings say socialism.” [1]

Conveniently, by the middle of the twentieth century, epistemology and linguistics had already turned into gibberish, not the least due to earlier efforts by illustrious names such as Russell and Wittgenstein. Hicks quotes the German philosopher-scientist Moritz Schlick whose prolific output in the 1920’s revolved around issues such as the meaninglessness of the proposition: “Does the external world exist?” and the corollary issue of the null connection between cause and effect, belabored by Wittgenstein.

Of course any Zen adept would react to the question “Does the external world exist?” by whacking the questioner with a staff, thereby proving the existence and, later, when the blue-red welts formed on the budding philosopher’s backside, the causality as well. But the peculiar perversions of 19th century German philosophy and the great catastrophe of World War I have somehow leeched the vital sap of life from European culture. Instead of climbing or hewing or just classifying rocks, the philosophes preferred being chained to them in Plato’s cave, arguing endlessly about the flickering images.

While Reality’s thorough thrashing of socialism sent many Left intellectuals into terminal despair, for others the crisis meant only that a more radical assault on capitalism was needed. Instead of accepting that Reality had proved them wrong, determined academic socialists declared Reality itself null and void, along with reason and even the possibility of telling true from false and right from wrong. Consequently, as Hicks puts it, postmodernism has recast the nature of rhetoric into “persuasion in the absence of cognition” — a sheer political weapon with which to swat aside and overpower any opposition to socialism in any form.

“The regular deployments of ad hominem, the setting up of straw men, and the regular attempts to silence opposing voices are all logical consequences of the postmodern epistemology of language. Stanley Fish [snip] calls all opponents of racial preferences bigots and lumps them in with the Ku Klux Klan. Andrea Dworkin calls all heterosexual males rapists and repeatedly labels ‘Amerika’ a fascist state. With such rhetoric, truth or falsity is not the issue: what matters primarily is the language’s effectiveness.” [2]

Postmodern (“PoMo”) ideology explicitly rejects truth and logic. In such a framework, it’s easier to understand the curious mixture of presentism and relativism we visited earlier. Hicks summarizes this perverse phenomenon as: “On the one hand, all cultures are equally deserving of respect; on the other, Western culture is uniquely destructive and bad.” He adduces enduring examples of postmodernist theory blatantly at odds with historical facts:

Postmodernists: The West is deeply racist.
Fact: The West ended slavery for the first time ever, and racist ideas are on the defensive only in places where Western ideas have made inroads.

Postmodernists: The West is deeply sexist.
Fact: Western women were the first to get the vote, contractual rights, and the opportunities that most women in the world are still without.

Postmodernists: Western capitalist countries are cruel and exploitive of their poorer citizens.
Fact: The poor in the West are far richer than the poor anywhere else, both in terms of material assets and the opportunities to improve their condition.

The place of honor in the postmodernist Pantheon belongs probably to Jacques Derrida (1930-2004). Derrida’s main task in life was to help advance Marxism by deconstruction of the rational foundations of the West. An academic superstar, the list of universities where he coughed the infecting mist into the brains of adoring tens of thousands included, among others, France’s three most prestigious universities: Sorbonne, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Johns Hopkins, Yale, New York University, The New School for Social Research, Stony Brook University and the University of California at Irvine.

The Australian mathematician and architectural critic Nikos Salingaros summed up Derrida’s “contribution” to Western Civilization as a lethal virus absolutizing subjectivity, motivated by the will to destroy [3]:

 

“Deconstruction asserts that texts have no ultimate meaning, and that their interpretation is up to readers. Deconstruction [snip] erases associations that form coherent thoughts. It acts like a computer virus that erases information in a hard disk. The Derrida virus seeks to undermine any original meaning via a complex and entirely self-referential play of words.

Deconstruction devalues common sense and rejects customary wisdom. [snip] As a virus, it has invaded civilization, erasing collective common sense while spreading with astonishing rapidity.

Deconstruction is not simply a worldview among others. A method to erase knowledge, masquerading as a new philosophical movement, cannot be quarantined within academia. Indoctrinated students eventually enter the real world threatening to create havoc. [snip]

Deconstruction has been remarkably successful in dismantling traditional literature, art, and architecture. Like a biological virus [snip], it only partially destroys its host, because total destruction would stop further transmission. It breaks up coherent sets of ideas by separating natural modules into submodules. Some of these submodules are then selectively destroyed in order to subsequently reattach their components randomly into an incoherent construct.[snip]

Once formed, worldviews are unlikely to change and are trusted more than any direct sensory evidence. These internal worldviews become so much a part of oneself that they are unlikely to undergo any modification, unless one is forced to do so. For this reason, those who have adopted a cult philosophy deny all evidence that threatens the cult’s vision of reality. Rational arguments make no difference.”

Salingaros quotes Derrida himself:

“All I have done … is dominated by the thought of a virus, what could be called a parasitology, a virology, the virus being many things … The virus is in part a parasite that destroys, that introduces disorder into communication. [snip] This is what happens with a virus; it derails a mechanism of the communicational type, its coding and decoding … is neither alive nor dead … [this is] all that I have done since I began writing.” [4]

If Derrida infected the culture with an intellectual virus, Michel Foucault (1926-1984) carried this one step further by sparing no efforts to infect himself, eventually dying of AIDS after a promiscuous sweep of the homo bathhouses of San Francisco.

A graduate of the two aforementioned citadels of French learning, Foucault is acknowledge as perhaps the preeminent social theorist and historian of ideas of mid-20th century, though he was, to be blunt, simply a malevolent intellectual masturbator in the solipsistic German tradition (e.g. Hegel, Heidegger). A prolific one, though, with a recondite vocabulary and soporifically impenetrable style, which, along with his membership in the French Communist Party, later supplanted by Maoist idolatry, qualified him for admission to France’s most august intellectual body, Collège de France, as — this bears reflection — Professor of the History of Systems of Thought.

Like Derrida, Foucault spread his intellectual HIV over much of the world in person. In addition to his teaching positions in several French universities, he held academic posts in Sweden, Germany, Poland, Tunisia and, in the United States, at the University of Buffalo and at UC Berkeley.

We will not waste time perusing his books, though various dystopian afflictions plaguing the West now are the result of eager university students absorbing their postmodernist teaching and then inflicting it upon their lessers after assuming responsible positions in society.

Among others, we owe the pervasive odor of urine and the pitiful shrieking hobos in our center cities, and not a few small genocides by obvious madmen left to live among the sane, to Foucault’s 1961 book, Madness and Civilization and its critique of domineering Reason suppressing the truth of madness. Those who wonder how Europe could have possibly committed the prima facie insanity of importing millions of sharia pollinators might peruse Foucault’s panegyrics to the new form of “political spirituality” he perceived in Muslim turmoil during the 1979 Iranian mullahs’ revolution [5].

How vast and demented Foucault’s influence has been might be inferred from a peek into Journal of Research in Nursing that, one might assume, exists in order to publish learned articles about the swabbing of wounds and intravenous nutrition. The abstract of “On the constitution and status of ‘evidence’ in the health sciences” reads:

“Drawing on the philosophy of Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze, this paper interrogates the constitution of ‘evidence’ that defines the evidence-based movement in the health sciences. What are the current social and political conditions under which scientific knowledge appears to be ‘true’? Foucault describes these conditions as state ‘science’, a regime that privileges economic modes of governance and efficiency. Today, the Cochrane taxonomy and research database is increasingly endorsed by government and public health policy makers. Although this ‘evidence-based’ paradigm ostensibly promotes the noble ideal of ‘true knowledge’ free from political bias, in reality, this apparent neutrality is dangerous because it masks the methods by which power silently operates to inscribe rigid norms and to ensure political dominance. Through the practice of critique, this paper begins to expose and to politicise the workings of this power, ultimately suggesting that scholars are in a privileged position to oppose such regimes and foremost have the duty to politicize what hides behind the distortion and misrepresentation of ‘evidence’.” [6]

Professor Hicks summarizes Foucault in these words:

“In his ‘Introduction’ to The Archaeology of Knowledge, Foucault [snip] speaks of his desire to erase himself. [snip] Foucault extends his desire for effacement to the entire human species. At the end of The Order of Things, for example, he speaks almost longingly about the coming erasure of mankind: Man is ‘an invention of recent date that will soon be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea.’”

What civilization, then, could possibly enshrine a death-craving, babble-spouting sodomite nymphomaniac, but one that has been similarly infected? Except it’s not the civilization that has been infected but just its official custodians and their acolytes whom another Frenchman, Julien Benda, accused of treason already in 1927. The simpler folks had just been seduced to turn away. They inhaled in increasing doses and came to like a compound of dumb digital diversions, sex, porn and pop, uppers and downers, slavery to credit and status shopping, and news and entertainment programs programmed by programmers with hidden agendas and degrees conferred by the same loci of treason and insanity as had enshrined Messrs. Derrida and Foucault. And Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) too, the guru of the 60’s and the most influential peddler of the Frankfurt School’s tainted goods in the United States.

The Institut für Sozialforschung had been established at the University of Frankfurt in 1923 by an endowment from German expat Felix Weil and his father, a prominent grain merchant in Argentina. It was a particularly German concoction, heavily influenced by Hegel and Heidegger, and imbued with the notion that Western Civilization, having mortally injured itself in Word War I, was fit for the trash heap and had to be replaced. Mutating a new form of Marxism, the Frankfurt School taught that power lay with the institutions of culture, rather than with those who controlled the means of production. Thus was “Critical Theory” born, by which all Western cultural precepts and institutions could be taken down one by one, so that Revolution might finally succeed.

The raison d’être for this work being to plow through where there is too much beating around the bush, let us redefine “German” as “German-Jewish.” Practically all the big names of the Frankfurt School were Jews: Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, Friedrich Pollock, Leo Lowenthal, Kurt Lewin, Adolph Lowe, Erich Fromm, David Riazanov (Russian) [7]. The gentiles were a small and less distinguished minority: Karl Korsch, Karl August Wittfogel, the fabled Soviet spy Richard Sorge.

Why would the wealthiest (and Jewish [8]) grain merchant in the world want to fund a Marxist institute is as much an enigma as why the wealthy (and non-Jewish) industrialist Friedrich Engels would finance Karl Marx or why hundreds of the wealthiest Americans, many from old American families and, again, with a disproportionate Jewish participation, would actively, passionately, devote so much energy and money toward the destruction of their own country and their own ethny. The American evolutionary psychologist Kevin MacDonald who reconstructed the previously semi-taboo Jewish components of major Leftist calamities like the Bolshevik Revolution, Communism, and the Frankfurt School, has built a theory around that. Alas, the theory he laid out in his The Culture of Critique trilogy and other writings is little more than a medieval blood libel: the Joos have a genetic evolutionary strategy to dominate and feed off their “white” host [9].

A credible theory, instead of sieving out all the contradictory data and making unwarranted generalizations based on the hand-picked remainder, would account for and integrate the counter-indicators; for instance, that the Jews were among the most patriotic segments of the German population: from a community of under 600,000, an estimated 90,000 Jews served in the German Army during World War 1 and 12,000 lost their lives. Likewise, whereas the most consequential proponents of Marxism in all its forms have been Jews, the most consequential proponents of libertarian freedom were also Jews: the important ones include Mises, Hayek (1/4 Jewish), Rothbard, Ayn Rand, Friedman.

In logic and social phenomena, the proposition “Many X are Y” or even “Most X are Y” does not allow for reversibility into “Most Y are X.” Moreover, much has already been written to explain Jewish Leftism (e.g. in the Jewish neoconservative monthly Commentary), and the issue is of current relevance only with respect to the United States and, arguably, Great Britain. Europeans should rather ask themselves what propels the rabid German and French Leftism.

How come the “Frankfurt School” is still strong and thriving in Frankfurt, its old Jewish pillars now feted as German intellectual giants, and its newer all-German issue Jürgen Habermas the country’s No. 1 public intellectual? Why is there a party in Germany that proposes to tax income above €500,000 at 100%, and a party is actually ruling in France that passed a 75% income tax? Why are French icons Bardot and Depardieu seeking freedom in Russia, and Germany is a fiscal and religious police state searching cars on the Swiss border more rigorously than the Nazis did and jailing resistors to Islamization? Why is the money confiscated from German and French citizens used to subsidize Muslim minorities that in turn beat up, rape and burn [10] the people whose money was so confiscated, with the people severely punished by the state when they draw the logical conclusions? Not nearly enough Europeans have been asking those questions.

When the Nazis came to power, the Frankfurt School was disbanded and its denizens had to flee Germany. Between 1933 and 1939, the most important of those neue-Marxisten, including Marcuse, found their way to the United States and obtained academic posts there, mainly in New York (Columbia, New School of Social Research) and California. And so the infection spread, under the commie-friendly Franklin Roosevelt government.

Marcuse’s unique genius in adapting Marxism to the self-regenerating resilience of American capitalism was in marrying the old concepts to Freudian psychology — oppression plus repression. Since the proletariat was content in acquiring wealth and the comforts that go with it, wealth per se had to be demonized as the purveyor of goods and comforts that were “enslaving” the working class.

Productive work diverted one from pleasure — hence the call for “polymorphous perversity,” “Make love not war,” and other Marcusean mottoes plastered all over the West’s 1960s — in Europe as “Marx, Marcuse, and Mao,” and in the United States as Timothy Leary’s “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Marcuse even managed to transform laziness and rejection of personal hygiene into positive cultural values, thereby spiking, as far the 60s generation was concerned, the Protestant work ethic and body deodorant.

To demonize capitalism and its wealth creation further, it was necessary to link it in a zero sum formula to the destruction of nature, as an inevitable consequence. Thus was modern environmental socialism born, with the farce of “environmental justice” serving now as a bludgeon with which to take from those who have the ability (Whitey), and transfer it to those who do not (i.e. not-Whitey). Seeing the importance of this new New Marxist ju-jitsu throw, Marcuse played a pivotal part in the “Ecology and Revolution” symposium in Paris in 1972, and devoted his last essay to it: “Ecology and the Critique of Modern Society” (1979). [11]

Marcuse’s famous essays “Repressive Tolerance” (1965) and “An Essay on Liberation” (1969) even recast the West’s tolerance as repression. In his book Intellectual Morons Daniel Flynn laid bare Marcuse’s trick as converting reality into its opposite, i.e. “freedom is totalitarianism, democracy is dictatorship, education is indoctrination, violence is nonviolence, and fiction is truth.” To this could be added Marcuse’s other fraudulent memes transplanted straight from the Frankfurt School, i.e. that Nazism was a consequence of capitalism, Communist Parties are the sole anti-fascist power in the world, fascism is an extreme right-wing ideology, and God-Family-Country conservatives are fascists who are not just wrong but mentally deranged.

From that, directly, was born the political culture of bold lying, smearing political opponents, oppressive political correctness and the persecution of political dissent by Marcuse’s children at the helm of all power in the West today. But Marcuse raised not just one but the two most noxious plagues decimating the West today. He proposed “Archimedean points for a larger emancipation” through which a revolutionary minority could apply leverage in order to topple the large edifice of capitalist society.

These points would be the “marginalized and outcast elements” deemed irrational, immoral, or criminal by capitalist definition: women, teens, sexual deviants, psychos, felons, immigrants, the black and the brown and the handicapped. It’s their activism, Marcuse prophesied, that would topple capitalist society where workers’ activism had failed. Moreover, only such minority groups legitimately deserved tolerance, relabeled as “liberating tolerance”. The erstwhile stakeholders, i.e. the autochthon, the male, the Christian, the sane, the family-oriented, the patriotic and the striving (i.e. “capitalist”) ought to be restrained in their liberty so that the balance of power could shift to the Left. This would be, and is today, nothing but redistribution of political, social and cultural capital, on top of the redistribution of financial capital which is already one of the primary activities of the modern Western-Socialist (they are all Socialist) state.

The notion of “liberating tolerance” that is in fact oppressive intolerance is now played out daily in the life of the West. The view of numerous Black “intellectuals” that no Black can be a racist is now the accepted view in America’s Progressive circles, and the American Muslim provocateur, Zaid Shakir, says that no Muslim can be a terrorist. What’s worse, quite a few once-normal Whites believe all that. Thus is the Inversion of Reality, attained.

The pre-eminent historian of Marxism, Leszek Kolakowski, named Chapter 11 in his seminal Main Currents of Marxism: “Herbert Marcuse: Marxism as a Totalitarian Utopia of the New Left.” You who are reading this are already living in the completed rough design of that construction, a couple of years before the painted Styrofoam beams give way.

Marcuse’s superstar status allowed him to spread the infecting spores throughout the West, just as Derrida and Foucault were able to do. He taught at the University of Frankfurt, at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brandeis, UC San Diego, and in hundreds of speaking engagements around the world. It’s remarkable that the résumé of the fourth major pillar of postmodernism, Jean-François Lyotard, includes teaching high school in Algeria, then University of Paris, Derrida’s American beachheads at UC Irvine, Johns Hopkins and Yale, Foucault’s nest UC Berkeley, Marcuse’s UC San Diego, and then Emory University in Atlanta, University of Montreal and University of São Paulo in Brazil.

From those hubs of viral transmission, the plague spread. First, thousands of Western academics and intellectual opinion makers and, by now, tens of millions of university graduates who run all government and all cultural and educational institutions in every country of the Euro-peoples between Berlin and Brisbane.

The two most salient of the intermediary disseminators were celebrated American academics Edward Said (1933-2003) and Howard Zinn (1922-2010). Both excelled at the obsessive picking at the West’s motes, and suffered from major blindness relative to all the Eastern and Southern beams-in-the-eye — i.e. the classic case of what we defined earlier as double cognitive exotropia.

According to his 26 September 2003 obituary in The Guardian, Edward Said was “widely regarded as the outstanding representative of the post-structuralist left in America. Above all, he was the most articulate and visible advocate of the Palestinian cause in the United States.” Said is also revered in the cultural establishment as one of the leading literary critics of the second half of the 20th century, a revolutionary reformist of the field of Oriental Studies, a sage, a philosopher, and what is known among French sophisticates as homme d’action culturelle — though those bumpkin Anglos may use an easier French term, saboteur.

All this and Said’s professorship of English and comparative literature at Columbia University could not have been attained had he not produced his celebrated books by perverting the history he knew and inventing the history he didn’t know — particularly the history of Western Civilization and the Middle East, his major subject. He also tampered with quotations, falsified translations, constructed incoherent arguments based on faulty methodology, ignored anthropology, sociology and psychology, ignored the bulk of Orientalism’s important literature because he didn’t know German, misrepresented the work of many scholars, and flung willy-nilly pejoratives, hyperbole, hysterical exaggerations and false imputations of racism and other guilt [12] — all in the holy cause of postmodernism’s jihad against whitey and his civilization, bolstered by his personal bile as a torch-bearing Arab living in an Israel-supporting Anglo country.

Said credited his politics to his reading of Antonio Gramsci, Adorno, Foucault and Raymond Williams. Gramsci had been the inventor of the Cultural Marxism idea later perfected by the Frankfurt School; Adorno was a main pillar of the Frankfurt School alongside Marcuse; Foucault has been our subject here, and Williams was a Welsh New-Leftist communist. Said’s Orientalism (1978) was an application of the Gramscian concept of controlling hegemony in combination with the Foucauldian bla-bla of discourse and knowledge in the service of power.

Said used that mélange to deconstruct and malign the West’s attitudes and interactions with the Arab or otherwise Muslim East. His particularly bizarre charge was that the academic study of Islam in the West has served as a tool of imperialist domination

One of the most influential books of the last 50 years, ever since its publication Orientalism has been obligatory reading in every field of the arts and humanities where the Frankfurt School’s Critical Theory has any sway — which means all of them. Above all, it has fueled the field of postcolonial studies — one of those academic disciplines that grow in a society of spiritless capitalist surplus like mold does on leftovers from a sumptuous picnic. But the book is just an exercise of a misshapen pot calling a big, sturdy kettle black, though the pot be the blacker one by a factor of three [13].

One could hardly deconstruct the Palestinian deconstructor’s famous book better than the erudite Ibn Warraq has done in his Defending the West [14]:

“What makes self-examination for Arabs and Muslims , and particularly criticism of Islam in the West very difficult is the totally pernicious influence of Edward Said’s Orientalism. The latter work taught an entire generation of Arabs the art of self-pity — “were it not for the wicked imperialists, racists and Zionists, we would be great once more”- encouraged the Islamic fundamentalist generation of the 1980s, and bludgeoned into silence any criticism of Islam. [snip] The aggressive tone of Orientalism is what I have called ‘intellectual terrorism’, since it does not seek to convince by arguments or historical analysis but by spraying charges of racism, imperialism, Eurocentrism [snip]; anyone who disagrees with Said has insult heaped upon him.”

A longtime contributor to the communist magazine The Nation, in 2001 Said published there an attack on old-school Harvard professor Samuel Huntington, whose “Clash of Civilizations” we reviewed earlier. Said titled it, “Clash of Ignorance”. What he writes there is beside the point; it’s a waste of time like anything this and other poststructuralists have written. More cogent and closer to the core of Reality is what Ross Douthat wrote about Said writing about Huntington:

“There is something sad, truth be told, and a little desperate about Said’s essay: It reads like the flailings of an intellectual who realizes, too late, that history is passing him by. He lashes out indecorously, calling Huntington “a clumsy writer and inelegant thinker” — an odd accusation from a essayist [sic] whose prose often reads like something badly translated from an obscure Eastern European tongue.”

Again, that desperate flailing of failed Marxism, in Said’s case channeled to power the threshing of a failed culture, Islam.

Edward Said was Barry-Barack’s professor at Columbia and later, a pal. Dinesh D’Souza credits him as one of now-President Obama’s three “Founding Fathers,” the other two being the black America-haters Frank Marshall Davis and Jeremiah Wright. Nor is his impact confined to America alone. The Saidian brain-disabling mutation is now manifest in the daily life of all the subject peoples of the West’s Progressive Ruling Oligarchy. To apprehend Said’s ghost conducting The Fools’ Symphytic Orchestra of Norway [15], one need only read “Spreading a Romantic View of Islam” at Gates of Vienna.

The historian Richard Landes has argued that Said had deliberately misconstrued Islamic culture by ignoring its unique honor-and-shame aspects, demonizing studies of that culture that showed its “otherness” and cowing the entire Oriental Studies field into a position of academic fraud and politically correct disconnect from Reality. I would rephrase that as weaving a massive net of deception — indeed taqiyyah — that has undone not merely the field of Oriental Studies but the entire standing of the West in the Muslim Orient, with incalculable consequences with respect to the aiding and abetting of the most fanatical strains of Islamic activism everywhere, and sharia-importing at home. All this due to a Saidesque projection of Western rationality and humanistic values onto a tribal, emotions-driven, savagely sanguinary, intensely ethnocentric and religiously fanatical Muslim culture that can buy and deploy the West’s technology, but not its 2500 years of cultural, moral and intellectual development.

The affairs of the West are now managed by people who had their brains exchanged in school and now believe that given the voting ballot and a daily bowl of Western foreign aid rice, Mahmoud from Aswan will soon sit with Larry from Sheboygan to discuss over a non-alcoholic beer how jointly to contribute to world Peace, Justice and Equity. Incidentally, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is a small city (pop. 49,000) founded in 1846 by German immigrants. It is now home to an estimated 6000 Hmong, 100+ imported Muslim families that have now graced the community with a mosque, and an indeterminable further number of decidedly non-Germanic refugees whose origin may only be guessed from info releases of Wisconsin welfare and church refugee aid programs. According to those, Sheboygan will be further enriched in 2013 with hundreds more arrivals from East Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma and Nepal. As they say in the American vernacular, Sheboygan rocks; its Strength-in-Diversity will grow by leaps and bounds onto a glorious future.

Wikipedia has an 11,164 word hagiographic article on Edward Said; in comparison, Aristotle gets 10,795 words of much more lukewarm prose. Let that fact sink.

As there are so many Said/ Zinn parallels in output and impact, let us get started with Howard Zinn as we did with his dear friend, Edward Said: in a eulogy — by another dear friend, Noam Chomsky. It was published, significantly, in Al Jazeera.

“Zinn was an award-winning social activist, writer and historian,” reads the editorial intro. “His best-selling A People’s History of the United States spawned a new field of historical study: People’s Histories”. The link to Zinn’s most famous book leads to a website named “History Is a Weapon.” Much to think about, right there.

The Chomsky text that follows defines the message of A People’s History as “the crucial role of the people who remain unknown in carrying forward the endless struggle for peace and justice, and about the victims of the systems of power that create their own versions of history and seek to impose it.” Of course, had Zinn and his ilk been really interested in giving a voice to the oppressed, they would have given it to the non-brainwashed white autochthon, the white ethnocentric, the generic white male, the traditional Christian, the American constitutionalist, the European traditionalist, the patriot, the heteronormative, the successful small entrepreneur and the middle class as a whole — the “bourgeoisie” that has been the backbone of the West and is now squeezed out of existence by a pincer envelopment of the rich globalists and the poor tribalists: a Davos-Detroit-Damascus triple tap.

Howard Zinn was indeed the most influential American historian of the last 100 years, though he was a lifelong Communist propagandist and perhaps the most successful saboteur America has ever experienced. By the time he died, A People’s History had sold over 2 million copies. Though published in 1980, it still sells over 100,000 copies a year. The book is required reading in thousands of American high schools and colleges, and not only in history studies but in fields ranging from economics to literature.

A People’s History strings together the black spots from American history, omitting the rest. It’s Columbus from the point of view of Caribbean Indians, then the American Indian tribes’ ‘Trail of Tears,’ the slave trade, the indentured poor exported from the British Isles, the paternalistic “tyranny” of the American Revolution, oppression of women and of “people of color,” American conquest of Mexican territory in 1848, the class struggles of the 19th century, the slaves’ emancipation that was no emancipation, the robber barons etc,.—and that’s before we get to the 20th century [16]. The effect is as though a psychopath has taken a walk in a mountain meadow and brought back home not the wildflowers, wild strawberries and shapely leaves but all the cow pies, poison mushrooms and broken twigs he could find.

A celebrated example of postmodernism’s Critical Pedagogy, A People’s History is a Marxist Trojan virus whose RNA consisting of “class, race, and gender discourses” dribbles in school and via mass media at home into the brain cells of the young, stupid and impressionable. When they have grown up and now teach, judge, “inform” or “entertain” others, the virus does what it’s programmed to do: multiply itself and jam the host society’s immune system.

Tellingly, Zinn penned a “Progressive Manifesto,” clearly echoing the lineage of the Communist one in a May 2009 column that he wrote for The Progressive:

“Yes, we’re dreamers. We want it all. We want a peaceful world. We want an egalitarian world. We don’t want war. We don’t want capitalism. We want a decent society.”

One could find no better substantiation of Leszek Kolakowski’s “Marxism as a Totalitarian Utopia.” Why such mendacity is demonic we will see later through the prism of the originator of this term, Eric Voegelin. But to assess the scope of the damage that Zinn’s and Said’s postmodernist rewriting of history and cultural anthropology has wrought, we have to turn again to that part of the world where, under a Marxist jackboot, truth could grow in hard crevices that it has not found under the Marxist velvet slipper in the soft West.

Upon receiving the Kluge Prize in 2003, Professor Kolakowski gave a speech entitled What the Past Is For. He said:

“We must defend and support traditional research methods, elaborated over centuries, to establish the factual course of history and separate it from fantasies, however nourishing those fantasies might be. [snip] And we must preserve our traditional belief that the history of mankind, the history of things that really happened, woven of innumerable unique accidents, is the history of each of us, human subjects; whereas the belief in historical laws is a figment of the imagination. Historical knowledge is crucial to each of us: to schoolchildren and students, to young and old. We must absorb history as our own, with all its horrors and monstrosities, as well as its beauty and splendor, its cruelties and persecutions as well as all the magnificent works of the human mind and hand; we must do this if we are to know our proper place in the universe, to know who we are and how we should act. [snip] It is important to keep on repeating [these points] again and again, because [snip] if we forget them, and they fall into oblivion, we will be condemning our culture, that is to say ourselves, to ultimate and irrevocable ruin.”

To which must be added a phrase from the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz’s 1980 Nobel Prize acceptance speech: “Those who are alive receive a mandate from those who are silent forever.”

We have been spectacularly derelict with respect to fulfilling this mandate. Remembering those who are silent forever, truthfully, is perhaps the most vital emergency rescue a tottering civilization needs. But “remembering truthfully” is as Kolakowski defined it: it does not consist of advancing a bleached out version to counter the selective Communist blackening. To find a path out of the bog of Demonic Mendacity, we have to remember the path that brought us into it, with no convenient memory blackouts.

Those who blame the Reformation or the Enlightenment for the waning of Christianity, must open to perceive the rot in the Catholic Church that caused the Reformation, and the obscurantist rigidities in Christianity that called inexorably for a beam of light [17]. Returning to the cause of failure, obscurantist rigidity, cannot produce a different effect the second time.

Those who invent racist theories to explain the involvement of Jews in socialist movements, or who deny the Holocaust, are offending history too. In the first case, socialist parties since the 1870s were an innovation in Europe partly on account of their welcoming of Jews. But all Nationalist parties were strongly Antisemitic [18]. And the Holocaust is among the best documented event in history; those who deny it are not helping their cause but engaging in what Rudyard Kipling called “the Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire.” If there are new roads to chart for the Western peoples, it’s better to avoid those that can only result in more bandage.

Those who want to defeat the current swelling of socialism must first reckon with the precedent outrage of global financial capitalism. Those who rage at Obama must first rage at Bush. Those who decry Muslim depredations in the West must praise Muslim immunity to the West’s diseases. Those who rail at feminists must remember that when the world was last run entirely by males, the males-in-charge cooked up World War I and World War II.

Conservatives who want to conserve must first know what to conserve, and why. Trying to reform the present by restoring a bleached past that never was seeds the inevitable failure of the future. The false and the wrong have to be accounted for; only then an endurable alternative to the Left’s malfeasant cures of past diseases may take hold.

History is where the DNA code of the West is to be found, and from which a therapeutic salve may be distilled. But history as relayed by its mendacious Left or Right manipulators is useless, for it obscures the causality of things. America’s history as relayed by Zinn can no more explain America than MacDonald’s history can explain the Jews or Said’s the Arabs. But honest history reveals the Yin-become-Yang-become-Yin eternal wheel of polar delusion and mendacity. Only when that arc is perceived in our time will it be possible to get out of the PoMo drowning bog onto solid ground.

Or else, it’s back to Sisyphus’s fate, with one variation: each time the boulder of history rolls downhill, it rolls over us.


Still frame from the 1974 animated short Sisyphus, by Marcell Jankovics

Notes:

 

1.   Stephen R. C. Hicks, Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault, Ockham’s Razor, August 2011. My references and quotes come from an earlier 2004 edition by Scholarly Publishing, available online. This quote, p. 90
2.   Ibid., 178
3.   Nikos Salingaros, “The Derrida Virus,” Telos, No.126, Winter 2003, pp. 66-82; reprinted in Anti-Architecture and Deconstruction, Umbau-Verlag, Solingen, Germany, 2008.
4.   Jacques Derrida, Positions, Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1981, pp. 95—6.
5.   Foucaultiana being one of the best naturally composted fields of Western academia, the interested reader may find a whole book devoted to just one narrow angle of this issue: Janet Afary and Kevin B. Anderson, Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism, University of Chicago Press, 2005.
6.   Journal of Research in Nursing, vol. 13 no. 4 July 2008 pp. 272-280, abstract.
7.   In addition to Marcuse, two more major postmodernists of the five discussed in this chapter were Jewish: Jacques Derrida and Howard Zinn. It’s regrettable that this ethnic angle has received attention only from Nazis and ideological Antisemites, but not from traditionalist conservatives trying to rebuild the West. It ensures that the subject won’t be discussed truthfully, and without identifying the truth a true antidote cannot be devised either.
8.   The Jewish ethnicity of Weil is practically undiscoverable in any encyclopedic source in English. It’s easy to get a fuller background from Argentine sources, e.g. here.
9.   Full disclosure: I have criticized Dr. MacDonald’s work before. His response to my critique was that I was attempting “to draw boundaries of acceptable political discourse in a way that is acceptable to Jewish interests.” Mark Steyn once addressed such infantilisms in a column for National Review entitled “Espying the Jew”.
10.   The same principle of logic applies to Muslims as applies to other minority groups: “Most X are Y” does not convert into “Most Y are X.” However, when the X is such a big subset of Y — i.e. Western Muslims’ terrorism, violence, rape, “grooming,” massive welfare mooching, racial hatred, religious fanaticism, subversive agendas etc. — and when the whole group Y has been imported to the West only in the past 50 years, and without the people’s consent at that, it’s legitimate to weigh the aggregate value of the entire set Y, i.e. the Muslim community, including those who are peaceful and self-supporting, in light of the terrible and growing damage wrought by the X subset.
11.   To realize how many dragon teeth Marcuse has sown, see this essay by UCLA Professor of Philosophy Douglas Kellner, “Marcuse, Liberation, and Radical Ecology”. What’s important now is not what Marcuse wrote in 1979 but how destructive solipsists like Kellner get to occupy in 2013 endowed chairs of philosophy at major American universities.
12.   All these statements are either direct quotes or synthesis of quotes from two books about Said, Daniel Varisco’s Reading Orientalism: Said and the Unsaid and Ibn Warraq’s Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism — both reviewed in Robert Irwin’s “Edward Said’s Shadowy Legacy”.
13.   This is in some ways a poetic exaggeration and, in others, an understatement. It’s difficult to allege Occidentalism bias to Muslims’ study of Western civilization, because Muslim societies have no Occidentalism studies. Indeed, they have no fields of study at all, except those in which Western knowledge is recycled in areas Muslim states deem useful. On the other hand, the infidel dog Islam-domination concepts and the anti-crusader, anti-colonialist, anti-Zionist and Arab-supremacist concepts have been strong and ubiquitous, and supported by nothing more than hot emotion-driven, shame-honor impulses with not even a notion that they have to correlate somehow to an objective reality.
14.   Ibn Warraq, Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism, Prometheus Books, 2007, p.18. This quote served the Norwegian “Orientalist” Fjordman well in his “The Failure of Western Universities”.
15.   Symphytic, in pathology, indicates an abnormal adhesion of two or more parts of a structure. In the case of Norway and the rest of Eurabia, a forced imposition of one of the parts, and a forced and spectacularly failing adhesion.
16.   A good resource for more Zinnology is in Discover-the-Networks.
17.   Stephen Hicks calls Postmodernism the Counter-Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was all about reason, individualism and liberalism (i.e. what I call freedomianism). Postmodernism is all about raging negative emotions, collectivism and restraints of freedom, e.g. Marcuse’s “liberating tolerance.”
18.   For example, in France, the leftist Human Rights League, founded in 1898 to defend Capt. Alfred Dreyfus against the Antisemitic plot that had destroyed him, was open to and friendly to Jews. The French Mouvement Fasciste, on the other hand, was little different from the Nazis’ Brown Shirts.

Takuan Seiyo is a European-born American writer living in exile in Japan. For his previous essays, see the Takuan Seiyo Archives.

From Gates of Vienna: http://gatesofvienna.net/2013/02/the-bee-and-the-lamb-part-10/#more-27052

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