THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 710, March 3, 2013
"The bottom line is that Western Individualism
is under attack from all sides philosophically,
and that this is likely a precursor to an
effort to defeat it by force."
The Forces Array'd
Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
Stimulated by L. Neil Smith's essay of two weeks ago, "Things I Know But Can't Prove," and responses in last week's e-mail comments, I have been giving some thought to the issue of, "Who are the players on the world stage?"
Informed by L. Neil's essay and those letters, I have identified five distinct groups—one of which has two ideologically dissimilar relevant subgroups—which dominate the world stage. Although the groups wield more or less significant political power, they are distinguished more by ideology and worldview than by their political capability. Four of these are working unabashedly against individual liberty, the unifying philosophy of the fifth group, in all of its manifestations.
This essay identifies the groups (and relevant subgroups) and discusses some of their philosophies and interactions at a very high level; volumes could probably be read to flesh out the further details. My purpose here is to get the reader thinking about these trends and working to help the adherents of individual liberty to stave off these four disparate lines of attack. Individualists working together is not a contradiction in terms—American History is founded on it, and America will only continue to have a history as a distinct country if we can restore that philosophical foundation.
My objective is to be frank and speak plainly, with the intent to inform but not to offend. However, I do not apologize for giving offense if taken; where this happens, it represents an area where Individualists, in particular, have to come together if we are to survive. Please think rationally through the consequences of your offense.
A digression on motivations: As Thucydides noted, all men's motivations are guided by three factors: fear, self-interest, and honor (in the Greek, phobos, kerdos, doxa).ii In due reflection, I would add love—in all three of the Greek manifestations, agape (αγαπη), philos (φιλος) and particularly eros (ερος) (broadly translated: love for humanity in general, love for family and friends, and sexual love). These are arguably subsets of the first three, but eros in particular can subvert honor, blind a person to self-interest, and even overcome fear. But each of these three (or six) motivations has to be considered in a societal context. Just one example: honor demands that Christians preach to the "infidels;" it likewise demands Moslems in turn don suicide vests to destroy them.
1. Western Individualism
The Western Individualists, the intellectual heirs of Locke, Burke, and Montesquieu, and of their disciples such as Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin, were the dominant philosophical force in the world in the 19th and early 20th century, until the seductions of progressive socialism began to subvert individualism. The individualist philosophy is largely, but not exclusively, the secular concomitant of the "liberal" Judaism and Christianity of the Eighteenth Century, and is predicated on the philosophy that "salvation"—whether in the religious sense or the more secular sense of having a successful life—is something that is earned by the individual, and that the individual is honor-bound to strive for, and not by "society" or any collective group of people. Individual achievement has driven the greatest successes of the world, in science and in art, even in the collectivist societies. The dominant motivation of the Western individualists are honor and self-interest together as self-reliance, in many combined with the charitable (agape) impulse to help those in true need as individuals.
But the problem with Western individualism is, uh, individualism. Western individualism today comprises broad elements of the American libertarian tradition (including objectivism), evangelical Christianity and much of true American Conservatism, and some segments of Judaism. It also includes some so-called civil libertarians, "sexually liberated" individuals including some homosexuals and abortion advocates, and a smattering of pagan philosophies, particularly (but not exclusively) the Asatru, modern worshippers of the Norse gods.iii On a national level, Western Individualists are well represented in the United States (particularly the so-called "Red" states and counties), many countries of the former British commonwealth, Switzerland, Israel, and some of the states liberated from the Former Soviet Union. There are undoubtedly suppressed Individualists in other countries as well—the oppressed Coptic Christian minority in Egypt and Christians in China are the examples that I hear the most about.
Hence the problem, to put it as politely as possible: the inability of many evangelicals and conservatives to recognize that those with different sexual mores and religious views can be secular allies for political purposes. The First Amendment gives us the right to have different views, while coming together to preserve that Amendment for all. (It also doesn't prevent us from proselytizing for our belief, either; that's a collectivist fallacy, about which more, see below.) But this internal conflict has driven many natural allies of the Individualist into the "enemy" camp, at least so far as voting is concerned, and it keeps members of both groups away from the polls completely. Western individualism was the philosophical foundation that freed the slaves and made women equal—and allowed the collectivists to claim both of those victories and many of their beneficiaries.
Because on a global scale, the Western Individualist is grossly outnumbered. While our enemies have their own issues—among themselves and within themselves—the disparity in numbers is staggering. What the Individualist has that our opponents don't have is the absolute right of the individual to self-defense and participation in collective defense. We may be outnumbered, but we are far from outgunned.
2. Western Collectivists
On the surface, Western collectivist thought goes back to Marx and Engels, but in fact it goes back much farther, to the princedoms and principalities of Medieval Europe, and before that to the feudal society which grew in the Dark Ages. (Whether Marx and Engels would come closer to recognizing modern Socialism than Jefferson and Madison would to recognizing the current US government would be an interesting late night drunken bull session, but is not really relevant to this discussion and would probably require me to actually read The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, rather than the synopses with which I'm currently familiar.)
In part, Western collectivism is formed by Christian and Jewish "Democratic" socialists; the recipients of government largesse provided by "virtue" of their perverted (and Anticonstitutional) admixture of Christian charity and "social justice;" those "civil libertarians" who have been seduced away from economic liberty by government social largesse or by the disdain of the evangelicals; "secular humanists" and other atheistic socialists, and the remnants of communism disguised as the environmental or "green" movement. It is the philosophy dominant among native European populations, had encroached on most areas of the former British Empire, and is rampant in American urban communities. In terms of motivation, it is self-interest without honor, and honor has been further diluted by the gross sexualizing (eros) of society.
However, Western collectivism is dominated politically and philosophically by two groups. Politically dominant are the so-called "elites," who might also be called the Western Nomenklatura (after the dominant social class of the former Soviet Union). They are best described as the modern Feudal Lords—autocrats who determine the broad, and even the narrow (soda bans, anyone?) freedom of action of their serfs in return for a dubious promise of safety and security.
However, broad philosophical dominance is probably held by the "True Believers," adherents of the United Nations Agenda 21 proposal to "save" the Earth by greatly curtailing human activity, up to and including mass genocide if necessary to achieve their estimated 600 million human "carrying capacity" of the planet. In the essay referenced above, Neil Smith identified this group as primarily comprised of Gaia worshippers in deed if not in name, and isn't Mother Nature a bitch? Their gross social control, the first elements of which Feudal Lord Bloomberg is implementing in New York City, is appealing to the Feudal Lords. If they have a conflict, it is pending—the discrepancy between the broad absolute control desired by the Feudal Lords,iv and the absolute control PLUS depopulation agenda of the True Believers. George Soros, the financial manipulator and "Liberal" supporter—I can't believe he's a true liberal; he has just learned how to profit from the chaos he leaves in his wake—is probably the dominant Feudal Lord for all that he works behind the scenes; if he's a True Believer, it is only because he is planning to end up as world dictator, or at least the power behind the throne, after the general societal collapse.
But to both groups, the self-assured Christian and the well-armed Individualist are anathema, and they will work against Individualists and Christians at every turn. However, except for that one unifying agenda, they are hardly the allies of the other groups discussed below.
3. Resurgent Caliphate Islam
While I know the country is exhausted after eleven years of war in the Middle East, and it's arguably true that conflict with the Middle East would be non-existent had the US and Britain not recreated Israel on her traditional soil in partial compensation for the horrors of the Holocaust, today's situation is what it is. v
As one wise man said (paraphrased), "I believe that our enemies will, or at least want to, do what they say they plan to do." We know that Islam under Shariah law is a vile, misogynistic society that broadly treats women as less than animals and in many places mutilates them to make eros unbearably painful; that some elements within Islam seek to re-establish the pre-World War I caliphate, with the destruction of the United States and Israel, the establishment of serfdom ("dhimmitude") among the surviving Christians and Jews, and the enslavement or death of those of other religions. As has already been noted, large segments of Moslem society consider it honorable to don suicide vests or drive explosives-laden automobiles into civilian Jewish (and other) populations.
While it is certainly not universal, the ten percent or so of Islamic society which dominates the balance has perverted Western concepts of honor and self-interest into a society of death and destruction. Incapable of creativity, at least since the broad period more than a thousand years ago when Islam kept art and science alive through Europe's dark ages, large segments of the Islamic population are content to live in seventeenth-century conditions of personal comfort, health, and hygiene while their secular leaders act like Feudal Lords without the responsibility, and their religious leaders scheme to acquire nuclear and other WMD for the eventual destruction of Allah's enemies, permitting the establishment of a global caliphate under Shariah law.
This latter is a common threat to both Western Individualists and Western Collectivists, but the latter have reached some sort of understanding with the Islamists to the mutual detriment of the Individualists, and particular the Christians among the Western Individualists. The Western Feudal Lords think they have common ground with the Islamic Feudal Lords (anecdotally, I've heard stories from the military of my acquaintance how foolish that is, and I'm referring to their efforts at military cooperation, not the two wars with Iraq and the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan). The True Believers seem to believe that they can manipulate the Islamic extremists into doing their dirty work—and that they can control the consequences afterward. The number of Moslems with organizational terrorist ties working their way into the US government under the present Administration bears testimony to the status of both lines of cooperation.
However, Islam has its own objectives, its own logic. It seeks its own feudalism with its royal families and imams at the top, and the rest of the world under its dominion through Shariah law. Its more astute thinkers believe—probably in similar terms—that if they can remove or neuter the Individualists, the Western Collectivists will fall to it without a fight in a couple of generations—and they have a one-generation head start in Europe.
I'm not going to say much about China here (in part because I'm getting close to my practical deadline). The Chinese Feudal Lords are used to having a billion Chinese serfs, and most of its people have absolutely no concept of Western mores—if they hear anything about the United States at all, it is as a weak, decadent society that will pay dearly for its toys until eventually China can come in and buy the country outright for its debts. But for the thrall in which China keeps its serfs, their treatment of other populations is best described as slavery. And if the EPA believes that the Chinese will pay any attention to them after they finish buying the US on the installment plan, I suspect they have a rude awakening coming.
All the evidence is that China will keep to its own sandbox and will move slowly to expand beyond those bounds (though movement is beginning today). But they will absolutely and ruthlessly respond if provoked, and their response to other populations will plausibly be enslavement or death. They will play ball with Western and Islamic Feudal Lords when it's to their benefit, but they undoubtedly hold both groups in disdain; their only fear is the ability of the Western Individualist to foil their implacable advance. If they give any credence to the True Believers, they intend that the survivors will be all Chinese, and then there won't be any wishy-washy Western liberals to stop them from taking what they want.
In the meantime, they're content to support the Islamic (and North Korean) WMD efforts because it diverts Western attention from their own preparations for the global wars to come.
5. The Recrudescent Soviet Thugocracy
At this point, Russia and the former Soviet client states that have not rejoined the West (and which comprise the bulk of the non-US Individualists in the West) is arguably the least of the five major contenders. But close examination shows that most of the former Soviet "republics" are led by senior KGB people. As was outlined by defector Anatoliy Golitsyn in 1984, this was the plan.vi I suspect that things are not going completely according to that plan, but the eventual intent is the re-formation of the Soviet Union. In the meantime, Russia opposes the United States on many things, and continues to support puppet regimes among the Islamic Feudal Lords while warily watching China.
6. The Other Players
The other major players in this little drama are undoubtedly Japan and India. After four hundred years of Western, Islamic, and now Chinese colonialism, Africa is a basket case between the Islamic countries of the Sahara (and Kenya) on the north and Western-influenced (both Individualist and Collectivist) South Africa to the south. Japan is largely Western Collectivist but with less influence from the True Believers (as near as I can tell). India's caste system prevents it from being truly either Individualist or Collectivist, and hinders it in other ways. If push comes to shove, it will probably align with whichever Western philosophy is currently dominant, though it has by far the most to lose from the True Believers.
Some Concluding Thoughts
As I discussed this with a couple of friends, one noted that unemployment in Europe (and real unemployment in the US) are approaching levels compatible with those at the start of World War II, and suggested that low employment, with the end goal of global conflict, may be being manipulated as part of the Agenda 21 implementation.
I will also note that a mass war (with or without implications of the Revelation of St. John the Divine) between the Westerners and Islam/China (with the probable assistance of the Thugocracy) is not inconsistent with Hal Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth and other "prophecy" and with the apocalyptic writings of Joel Rosenberg (the Christian minister/author, not the late SF author), possibly with the True Believers manipulating the conflict into existence behind the scenes.
The bottom line is that Western Individualism—both Christianity and secular/political Libertarianism—is under attack from all sides philosophically, and that this is likely a precursor to an effort to defeat it by force. As Benjamin Franklin said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." Western Individualists are better armed than the rest of the world combined. And we're better armed philosophically, though you can't tell that from the Collectivist wanna-bes in the Republican establishment.
If we don't use those advantages—and work together—those dark prophecies which specifically paint Armageddon in January of 2017—the month of inauguration of the next United States president—may well be correct. For at least some values of correct.
i The full text of this remarkable letter is to be found at http://lachlan.bluehaze.com.au/lit/jeff04.htm accessed 1 March 2013.
ii I owe this observation not to my close study of the classics but to Dan Simmons' polemic about the conflict between the West and Islam at http://www.dansimmons.com/news/message/2006_04.htm, which together with the companion piece at http://www.dansimmons.com/news/message/2006_05.htm is worth your consideration in the context of the relevant sections of this essay. I am further indebted to Lois Bujold's character Aral Vorkosigan (A Civil Campaign) for this definition of honor: "Reputation is what other people know about you; honor is what you know about yourself." In other words, honor is the self-acknowledgement that you have done your best to play by the rules as you understand them.
iii I've met a few Asatru in SF circles, but most of what I know or infer about them as a religious group was absorbed from John Ringo's fantasy (I hope) novels of a team of Christian, Wiccan, and Asatru demon fighters, Princess of Wands and Queen of Wands.
iv One of my friends suggests that Feudal Lord Bloomberg is going after the "big gulps" to, er, make the future Big Gulps easier to swallow. And I personally think that Feudal Lord Cuomo's AntiConstitutional, anti-gun power play in New York is the trial balloon for disarming the rest of the country. Whether Bloomberg is also a True Believer or just plays one because it suits his particular hunger for power over people's lives, further deponent sayeth not. It remains to be seen what effect large numbers of citizens returning their self-defense magazines 64 grains at a time will have on the momentum of the anti-gun movement. But unless sanity is restored first, the deadline for that discovery will be sometime in January 2014.
v Just to clarify, no, I am NOT a "9-11 Truther." A military response in Afghanistan was essential following 9-11, and I'm confident that the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein. That doesn't mean that both Presidents Bush didn't screw up by the numbers (the elder by not eliminating Saddam in 1991 when he had the chance), or that Obama hasn't doubled down on every flawed Bush II policy in direct proportion to how destructive such doubling down is. Or that we wouldn't have been better off, as Jerry Pournelle has suggested, spending that money establishing energy independence through mass buildup of nuclear power plants. The problem is not simple, and is far beyond the scope of this essay. But again I call your attention to the polemics by Dan Simmons, ibid.
vi Golitsyn, Anatoliy. New Lies for Old. G. S. G. & Associates, Incorporated, 1984, 1990, ISBN 0-945001-13-4 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatoliy_Golitsyn#New_Lies_for_Old
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