The purpose of this essay is to critically examine the historical dynamics of liberalism and its impact on contemporary Western polities. This essay will argue a) that liberalism today provides a comfortable ideological “retreat” for members of the intellectual elite and decision makers tired of the theological and ideological disputes that rocked Western politics for centuries; b) that liberalism can make compromises with various brands of socialism on practically all issues except the freedom of the market place; c) that liberalism thrives by expanding the economic arena into all aspects of life and all corners of the world, thereby gradually erasing the sense of national and historical community which had formerly provided the individual with a basic sense of identity and psychological security. This essay will also question whether liberalism, despite its remarkable success in the realm of the economy, provides an adequate bulwark against non-democratic ideologies, or whether under some conditions it may actually stimulate their growth.
In the aftermath of the second world war, liberalism and Marxism emerged as the two unquestionably dominant ideologies following their military success over their common rival, fascism. This brought them into direct conflict with each other, since each contended, from their own viewpoint, that the only valid political model was their own, denying the validity of their opponent’s thesis. Beaud writes that when the liberal and socialist ideas began to emerge, the former quickly cloaked itself in science (“the law of supply and demand,” “the iron law of wages”), while the latter had the tendency to degenerate into mysticism and sectarianism.
Some critics of liberalism, such as the French economist Francois Perroux, pointed out that according to some extreme liberal assumptions, “everything (that) has been happening since the beginning of time (can be attributed to capitalism) as if the modern world was constructed by industrialists and merchants consulting their account books and wishing to reap profits.” Similar subjective attitudes, albeit from a different ideological angle, can often be heard among Marxist theorists, who in the analysis of liberal capitalism resort to value judgements colored by Marxian dialectics and accompanied by the rejection of the liberal interpretation of the concept of equality and liberty. “The fact that the dialectical method can be used for each purpose,” remarks the Austrian philosopher Alexander Topitsch, “explains its extraordinary attraction and its world-wide dissemination, that can only be compared to the success of the natural rights doctrine of the eighteenth century.” Nevertheless, despite their real ideological discord, liberals, neo-liberals, socialists, and “socio-neoliberals,” agree, at least in principle, in claiming a common heritage of rationalism, and on the rejection of all non-democratic ideologies, especially racialism. Earlier in this century, Georges Sorel, the French theorist of anarcho-syndicalism, remarked with irony that “to attempt to protest against the illusion of rationalism means to be immediately branded as the enemy of democracy.”
The practical conflict between the respective virtues of liberalism and socialism is today seemingly coming to a close, as some of the major Marxist regimes move in the direction of a liberalization of their economies, even though the ideological debate is by no means settled amongst intellectuals. Undoubtedly, the popularity of Marxist socialism is today in global decline amongst those who have to face the problem of making it work. In consequence, despite the fact that support for Marxism amongst Western intellectuals was at its height when repression in Marxist countries was at its peak, liberalism today seems have been accepted as a place of “refuge” by many intellectuals who, disillusioned with the failure of repression in the Marxist countries, nevertheless continue to hold to the socialist principles of universalism and egalitarianism.
As Francois B. Huyghe comments, welfare state policies accepted by liberals have implemented many of the socialist programs which patently failed in communist countries. Thus, economic liberalism is not only popular among many former left-wing intellectuals (including numbers of East European intellectuals) because it has scored tangible economic results in the Western countries, but also due to the fact that its socialist counterpart has failed in practice, leaving the liberal model as the only uncontested alternative. “The main reason for the victories of economic liberalism,” writes Kolm, “are due to the fact that all defective functioning of the non-liberal model of social realization warrants the consideration of the alternative liberal social realization. The examples of such cases abound in the West as in the East; in the North as in the South.” In the absence of other successful models, and in the epoch of a pronounced “de-ideologization” process all over Europe and America, modern liberalism has turned out to be a modus vivendi for the formerly embattled foes. But are we therefore to conclude that the eclipse of other models and ideologies must spell the end of politics and inaugurate the beginning of the Age of Liberalism?
Long before the miracle of modern liberalism became obvious, a number of writers had observed that liberalism would continue to face a crisis of legitimacy even if its socialist and fascist foes were miraculously to disappear. More recently, Serge-Christophe Kolm has remarked that liberalism and socialism must not be viewed in dialectical opposition, but rather as a fulfilment of each other. Kolm writes that the ideals of liberalism and Marxism “are almost identical given that they are founded on the values of liberty, and coinciding in the applications of almost everything, except on a subject which is logically punctual, yet factually enormous in this world: wage-earning, location of individuals and self.” Some have even advanced the hypothesis that liberalism and socialism are the face and the counter-face of the same phenomenon, since contemporary liberalism has managed to achieve, in the long run and in an unrepressive fashion, many of those same goals which Marxian socialism in the short run, employing repressive means, has failed to achieve. Yet differences exist.
Not only do socialist ideologues currently fear that the introduction of free market measures could spell the end of socialism, but socialism and liberalism disagree fundamentally on the definition of equality. Theoretically, both subscribe to constitutional, legal, political and social equality; yet their main difference lies in their opposing views regarding the distribution of economic benefits/rewards, and accordingly, as to their corresponding definition of economic equality. Unlike liberalism, socialism is not satisfied with demanding political and social equality, but insists on equal distribution of economic goods. Marx repeatedly criticized the liberal definition of equal rights, for which he once said that “this equal right is unequal right for unequal labor. This right does not acknowledge class difference because everyone is only a worker like everyone else; but it tacitly recognizes unequal individual talents, and consequently it holds individual skills for natural privileges.” Only in a higher stage of communism, after the present subordination of individuals to capital, that is, after the differences in the rewards of labor have disappeared, will bourgeois rights disappear, and society will write on its banner: “From each according to his capacity, to each according to his needs.”
Despite these differences, it may be said that, in general, socialist ideas have always surfaced as unavoidable satellites and pendants of liberalism. As soon as liberal ideas made their inroads into the European feudal scene, the stage for socialist appetites was set – appetites which subsequently proved too large to fulfil. As soon as the early bourgeoisie had secured its position, liquidating guilds and feudal corporations along with the landed aristocracy, it had to face up to critics who accused it of stifling political liberties and economic equality, and of turning the newly enfranchised peasant into a factory slave. In the seventeenth century, remarks Lakoff, the bourgeois ideas of equality and liberty immediately provided the fourth estate with ideological ammunition, which was quickly expressed by numerous proto-socialist revolutionary movements. Under such circumstances of flawed equality, it must not come as a surprise that the heaviest burden for peasants was the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie, which had hailed the rights of equality as long as it struggled to dislodge the aristocracy from power; yet the minute it acceded to power, prudently refrained from making any further claims about equality in affluence. David Thomson remarked with irony that “many of those who would defend with their dying breath the rights of liberty and equality (such as many English and American liberals) shrink back in horror from the notion of economic egalitarianism.” Also, Sorel pointed out that in general, the abuse of power by an hereditary aristocracy is less harmful to the juridical sentiment of a people than the abuses committed by a plutocratic regime, adding that “nothing would ruin so much the respect for laws as the spectacle of injustices committed by adventurers who, with the complicity of tribunals, have become so rich that they can purchase politicians.”
The dynamics of liberal and socialist revolutions gathered steam in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, notably an epoch of great revolutionary ferment in Europe. The liberal 1789 revolution in France rapidly gave way to the socialist Jacobin revolution in 1792; “the liberal” Condorcet was supplanted by the “communist” Babeuf, and the relatively bloodless Girondin coup was followed by the avalanche of bloodshed under the Jacobin terror and the revolt of the “sans-culottes.” Similarly, a hundred years later, the February Revolution in Russia was followed by the accelerated October revolution, replacing the social democrat, Kerensky, by the communist Lenin. Liberalism gobbled up the ancient aristocracy, liquidated the medieval trade corporations, alienated the workers, and then in its turn was frequently supplanted by socialism. It is therefore interesting to observe that after its century-long competition with socialism, liberalism is today showing better results in both the economic and ethical domains, whereas the Marxist credo seems to be on the decline. But has liberalism become the only acceptable model for all peoples on earth? How is it that liberalism, as an incarnation of the humanitarian ideal and the democratic spirit, has always created enemies on both the left and the right, albeit for different reasons?
Free Market: The “Religion” of Liberalism
Liberalism can make many ideological “deals” with other ideologies, but one sphere where its remains intransigent is the advocacy of the free market and free exchange of goods and commodities. Undoubtedly, liberalism is not an ideology like other ideologies, and in addition, it has no desire to impose an absolute and exclusive vision of the world rooted in a dualistic cleavage between good and evil, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the “chosen and the unchosen ones.” Moreover, the liberal ideal lacks that distinctive telos so typical of socialist and fascist ideologies. Contrary to other ideologies, liberalism is in general rather sceptical of any concentration of political power, because in the “inflation” of politics, and in ideological fervor, it claims to see signs of authoritarianism and even, as some authors have argued, totalitarianism. Liberalism seems to be best fitted for a secularized polity, which Carl Schmitt alternatively called the “minimal state” (Minimalstaat), and stato neutrale. It follows that in a society where production has been rationalized and human interaction is subject to constant reification (Vergegenstandlichung), liberalism cannot (or does not wish to) adopt the same “will to power” which so often characterizes other ideologies. In addition, it is somewhat difficult to envision how such a society can request its citizens to sacrifice their goods and their lives in the interests of some political or religious ideal. The free market is viewed as a “neutral filed” (Neutralgebiet), allowing only the minimum of ideological conflict, that aims at erasing all political conflicts, positing that all people are rational beings whose quest for happiness is best secured by the peaceful pursuit of economic goals. In a liberal, individualistic society, every political belief is sooner or later reduced to a “private thing” whose ultimate arbiter is the individual himself. The Marxist theoretician Habermas comes to a somewhat similar conclusion, when he argues that modern liberal systems have acquired a negative character: “Politics is oriented to the removal of dysfunctionalities and of risks dangerous to the system; in other words politics is not oriented to the implementation of practical goals, but to the solution of technological issues.” The market may thus be viewed as an ideal social construct whose main purpose is to limit the political arena. Consequently, every imaginable flaw in the market is generally explained by assertions that “there is still too much politics” hampering the free exchange of goods and commodities.
Probably one of the most cynical remarks about liberalism and the liberal “money fetichism,” came not from Marx, but from the Fascist ideologue Julius Evola, who once wrote: “Before the classical dilemma, your money or your life, the bourgeois will paradoxically be the one to answer: ‘Take my life, but spare my money.'” But in spite of its purportedly agnostic and apolitical character, it would be wrong to assert that liberalism does not have “religious roots.” In fact, many authors have remarked that the implementation of liberalism has been the most successful in precisely those countries which are known for strong adherence to biblical monotheism. Earlier in this century, the German sociologist Werner Sombart asserted that the liberal postulates of economics and ethics stem from Judeo-Christian legalism, and that liberals conceive of commerce, money and the “holy economicalness” (“heilige Wirtschaftlichkeit”) as the ideal avenue to spiritual salvation. More recently, the French anthropologist Louis Dumont, wrote that liberal individualism and economism are the secular transposition of Judeo-Christian beliefs, noting that “just as religion gave birth to politics, politics in turn will be shown to give birth to economics.”
Henceforth, writes Dumont in his book From Mandeville to Marx, according to the liberal doctrine, man’s pursuit of happiness has increasingly come to be associated with the unimpeded pursuit of economic activities. In modern polities, he opines, the substitution of man as an individual for the idea of man as a social being was made possible by Judeo- Christianity: “the transition was thus made possible, from a holistic social order to a political system raised by consent as a superstructure on an ontological given economic basis.” In other words, the idea of individual accountability before God, gave birth, over a long period of time, to the individual and to the idea that economic accountability constitutes the linchpin of the liberal social contract – a notion totally absent from organic and traditional nationalistically-organized societies. Thus Emanuel Rackman argues that Judeo-Christianity played an important role in the development of ethical liberalism in the USA: “This was the only source on which Thomas Paine could rely in his “Rights of Man” to support the dogma of the American Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal. And this dogma was basic in Judaism.” Similar claims are made by Konvitz in Judaism and the American Idea, wherein he argues that modern America owes much to the Jewish holy scriptures. Feurbach, Sombart, Weber, Troeltsch, and others have similarly argued that Judeo-Christianity had a considerable influence on the historical development of liberal capitalism. On the other hand, when one considers the recent economic success of various Asian countries on the Pacific Rim, whose expansionary impetus often overshadows the economic achievements of the countries marked by the Judeo-Christian legacy, one must take care not to equate economic success solely with the Judeo-Christian forms of liberal society.
Equal Economic Opportunity or the Opportunity to Be Unequal?
The strength of liberalism and of free-market economics lies in the fact that the liberal ideal enables all people to develop their talents as they best see fit. The free market ignores all hierarchy and social differentiation, except those differences which result from the completion of economic transactions. Liberals argue that all people have the same economic opportunity, and that consequently, each individual, by making best use of his or her talents and entrepreneurship, will alone determine his or her social status. But critics of liberalism often contend that this formula is in itself dependent upon the terms and conditions under which the principles of “economic opportunity” can take place. John Schaar asserts that liberalism has substantially transformed the social arena into the economic field track, and that the formula should read: “equality of opportunity for all to develop those talents which are highly valued by a given people at a given time.” According to Schaar’s logic, when the whims of the market determine which specific items, commodities or human talents are most in demand, or are more marketable than some others, it will follow that individuals lacking these talents or commodities will experience an acute sense of injustice. “Every society, Schaar continues, “encourages some talents and discourages others. Under the equal opportunity doctrine, the only men who can fulfil themselves and develop their abilities to the fullest are those who are able and eager to do what society demands they do.” This means that liberal societies will likely be most content when their members share a homogeneous background and a common culture. Yet modern liberalism seeks to break-down national barriers and promote the conversion of hitherto homogeneous nation-states into multi-ethnic and highly heterogeneous political states. Thus, the potential for disputation and dissatisfaction is enhanced by the successful implementation of its economic policies.
It is further arguable that the success of liberalism engenders its own problems. Thus, as Karl Marx was quick to note, in a society where everything becomes an expendable commodity, man gradually comes to see himself as an expendable commodity too. An average individual will be less and less prone to abide by his own internal criteria, values or interests, and instead, he will tenaciously focus on not being left out of the economic battle, always on his guard that his interests are in line with the market. According to Schaar, such an attitude, in the long run, can have catastrophic consequences for the winner as well as the loser: “The winners easily come to think of themselves as being superior to common humanity, while the losers are almost forced to think of themselves as something less than human.” Under psychological pressure caused by incessant economic competition, and seized by fear that they may fall out of the game, a considerable number of people, whose interests and sensibilities are not compatible with current demands of the market, may develop feelings of bitterness, jealousness and inferiority. A great many among them will accept the economic game, but many will, little by little, come to the conclusion that the liberal formula “all people are equal,” in reality only applies to those who are economically the most successful. Murray Milner, whose analyses parallel Schaar’s, observes that under such circumstances, the doctrine of equal opportunity creates psychological insecurity, irrespective of the material affluence of society. “Stressing equality of opportunity necessarily makes the status structure fluid and the position of the individual within it ambiguous and insecure.” The endless struggle for riches and security, which seemingly has no limits, can produce negative results, particularly when society is in the throes of sudden economic changes. Antony Flew, in a similar fashion, writes that “a ‘competition’ in which the success of all contestants is equally probable is a game of chance or lottery, not a genuine competition.” For Milner such an economic game is tiring and unpredictable, and if “extended indefinitely, it could lead to exhaustion and collapse.”
Many other contemporary authors also argue that the greatest threat to liberalism comes from the constant improvement in general welfare generated by its own economic successes. Recently, two French scholars, Julien Freund and Claude Polin, wrote that the awesome expansion of liberalism, resulting in ever increasing general affluence, inevitably generates new economic and material needs, which constantly cry out for yet another material fulfilment. Consequently, after society has reached an enviable level of material growth, even the slightest economic crisis, resulting in a perceptible drop in living standards, will cause social discord and possibly political upheavals.
Taking a slightly different stance, Polin remarks that liberalism, in accordance with the much vaunted doctrine of “natural rights,” tends, very often, to define man as a final and complete species who no longer needs to evolve, and whose needs can be rationally predicted and finalized. Led by an unquenchable desire that he must exclusively act on his physical environment in order to improve his earthly lot, he is accordingly led by the liberal ideology to think that the only possible way to realize happiness is to place material welfare and individualism above all other goals. In fact, given that the “ideology of needs” has become a tacit criterion of progress in liberalism, it is arguable that the material needs of modern anomic masses must always be “postponed,” since they can never be fully satisfied. Moreover, each society which places excessive hopes in a salutary economy, will gradually come to view freedom as purely economic freedom and good as purely economic good. Thus, the “merchant civilization” (civilization marchande), as Polin calls it, must eventually become a hedonistic civilization in search of pleasure, and self-love. These points are similar to the views held by Julien Freund, who also sees in liberalism a society of impossible needs and insatiable desire. He remarks that “it appears that satiety and overabundance are not the same things as satisfaction, because they provoke new dissatisfaction.” Instead of rationally solving all human needs, liberal society always triggers new ones, which in turn constantly create further needs. Everything happens, Freund continues, as if the well-fed needed more than those who live in indigence. In other words, abundance creates a different form of scarcity, as if man needs privation and indigence, “as if he needed some needs.” One has almost the impression that liberal society purposely aims at provoking new needs, generally unpredictable, often bizarre. Freund concludes that “the more the rationalization of the means of production brings about an increase in the volume of accessible goods, the more the needs extend to the point of becoming irrational.”
Such an argument implies that the dynamics of liberalism, continually begetting new and unpredictable needs, continually threatens the philosophical premises of that same rationalism on which liberal society has built its legitimacy. In this respect socialist theorists often sound convincing when they in effect argue that if liberalism has not been able to provide equality in affluence, communism does at least offer equality in frugality!
Conclusion: From Atomistic Society to Totalitarian System
The British imperialist, Cecil Rhodes, once exclaimed: “if I could I would annex the planets!” A very Promethean idea, indeed, and quite worthy of Jack London’s rugged individuals or Balzac’s entrepreneurs – but can it really work in a world in which the old capitalist guard, as Schumpeter once pointed out, is becoming a vanishing species?
It remains to be seen how liberalism will pursue its odyssey in a society in which those who are successful in the economic arena live side by side with those who lag behind in economic achievement, when its egalitarian principles prohibit the development of any moral system that would justify such hierarchical differences, such as sustained medieval European society. Aside from prophecies about the decline of the West, the truism remains that it is easier to create equality in economic frugality than equality in affluence. Socialist societies can point to a higher degree of equality in frugality. But liberal societies, especially in the last ten years, have constantly been bedevilled by an uneasy choice; on the one hand, their effort to expand the market, in order to create a more competitive economy, has almost invariably caused the marginalization of some social strata. On the other hand, their efforts to create more egalitarian conditions by means of the welfare state brings about, as a rule, sluggish economic performance and a menacing increase in governmental bureaucratic controls. As demonstrated earlier, liberal democracy sets out from the principles that the “neutral state” and free market are the best pillars against radical political ideologies, and that commerce, as Montesqieu once said, “softens up the mores.” Further, as a result of the liberal drive to extend markets on a world-wide basis, and consequently, to reduce or eliminate all forms of national protectionism, whether to the flow of merchandise, or of capital, or even of labor, the individual worker finds himself in an incomprehensible, rapidly changing international environment, quite different from the secure local society familiar to him since childhood.
This paradox of liberalism was very well described by a keen German observer, the philosopher Max Scheler, who had an opportunity to observe the liberal erratic development, first in Wilhelmian and then in Weimar Germany. He noted that liberalism is bound to create enemies, both on the right and the left side of the political spectrum: On the left it makes enemies of those who see in liberalism a travesty of the natural rights dogma, and on the right, of those who discern in it the menace to organic and traditional society. “Consequently,” writes Scheler, “a huge load of resentment appears in a society, such as ours, in which equal political and other rights, that is, the publicly acknowledged social equality, go hand in hand with large differences in real power, real property and real education. A society in which each has the “right” to compare himself to everybody, yet in which, in reality, he can compare himself to nobody.” In traditional societies as Dumont has written, such types of reasoning could never develop to the same extent because the majority of people were solidly attached to their communal roots and the social status which their community bestowed upon them. India, for example, provides a case study of a country that has significantly preserved a measure of traditional civic community, at least in the smaller towns and villages, despite the adverse impact of its population explosion and the ongoing conflict there between socialism in government and liberalism in the growing industrial sector of the economy. By contrast, in the more highly industrialized West, one could almost argue that the survival of modern liberalism depends on its constant ability to “run ahead of itself” economically.
The need for constant and rapid economic expansion carries in itself the seeds of social and cultural dislocation, and it is this loss of “roots” that provides the seedbed for tempting radical ideologies. In fact how can unchecked growth ever appease the radical proponents of natural rights, whose standard response is that it is inadmissible for somebody to be a loser and somebody a winner? Faced with a constant expansion of the market, the alienated and uprooted individual in a society in which the chief standard of value has become material wealth, may be tempted to sacrifice freedom for economic security. It does not always appear convincing that liberal societies will always be able to sustain the “social contract” on which they depend for their survival by thrusting people into material interdependence. Economic gain may be a strong bond, but it does not have the affective emotional power for inducing willing self-sacrifice in times of adversity on which the old family-based nation-state could generally rely.
More likely, by placing individuals in purely economic interdependence on each other, and by destroying the more traditional bonds of kinship and national loyalty, modern liberalism may have succeeded in creating a stage where, in times of adversity, the economic individual will seek to outbid, outsmart, and outmaneuver all others, thereby preparing the way for the “terror of all against all,” and preparing the ground, once again, for the rise of new totalitarianisms. In other words, the spirit of totalitarianism is born when economic activity obscures all other realms of social existence, and when the “individual has ceased to be a father, a sportsman, a religious man, a friend, a reader, a righteous man – only to become an economic actor.” By shrinking the spiritual arena and elevating the status of economic activities, liberalism in fact challenges its own principles of liberty, thus enormously facilitating the rise of totalitarian temptations. One could conclude that as long as economic values remained subordinate to non-economic ideals, the individual had at least some sense of security irrespective of the fact his life was often, economically speaking, more miserable. With the subsequent emergence of the anonymous market, governed by the equally anonymous invisible hand, in the anonymous society, as Hannah Arendt once put it, man has acquired a feeling of uprootedness and existential futility. As pre-industrial and traditional societies demonstrate, poverty is not necessarily the motor behind revolutions. Revolution comes most readily to those in whom poverty is combined with a consciousness of lost identity and a feeling of existential insecurity. For this reason, the modern liberal economies of the West must constantly work to ensure that the economic miracle shall continue. As economic success has been made the ultimate moral value, and national loyalties have been spurned as out of date, economic problems automatically generate deep dissatisfaction amongst those confronted with poverty, who are then likely to fall prone to the sense of “alienation” on which all past Marxist socialist success has been based.
One must therefore not exclude the likelihood that modern liberal society may at some time in the future face serious difficulties should it fail to secure permanent economic growth, especially if, in addition, it relentlessly continues to atomize the family (discouraging marriage, for example, by means of tax systems which favors extreme individualism) and destroys all national units in favor of the emergence of a single world-wide international market, along with its inevitable concomitant, the “international man.” While any faltering of the world economy, already under pressure from the Third World population explosion, might conceivably lead to a resurgence of right wing totalitarianisms in some areas, it is much more likely that in an internationalized society the new totalitarianism of the future will come from the left, in the form of a resurgence of the “socialist experiment,” promising economic gain to a population that has been taught that economic values are the only values that matter. Precisely because the “workers of the world” will have come to see themselves as an alienated international proletariat, they will tend to lean toward international socialist totalitarianism, rather than other forms of extreme political ideology.
- Michael Beaud, A History of Capitalism 1500-1980 (Paris: New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983), p. 80.
- Francois Perroux, Le capitalisme (Paris: PUF, 1960), p. 31.
- Ernst Topitsch “Dialektik – politische Wunderwaffe?,” Die Grundlage des Spatmarxismus, edited by E. Topitsch, Rudiger Proske, Hans Eysenck et al., (Stuttgart: Verlag Bonn Aktuell GMBH), p. 74.
- Georges Sorel, Les illusions du progres (Paris: Marcel Riviere, 1947), p. 50.
- Francois-Bernard Huyghe, La Soft-ideologie (Paris: Laffont, 1988). See also, Jean Baudrillard, La Gauche divine (Paris: Laffont, 1985). For an interesting polemics concerning the “treason of former socialists clerics who converted to liberalism,” see Guy Hocquenghem, Lettre ouverte a ceux qui sont passes du col Mao au Rotary (Paris: Albin Michel, 1986).
- Serge-Christophe Kolm. Le liberalisme moderne (Paris: PUF, 1984), p. 11.
- Carl Schmitt, Die geistegeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlametatarismus (Munchen and Leipzig: Verlag von Duncker and Humblot, 1926), p. 23.
- Kolm, op. cit., p. 96.
- Karl Marx, Kritik des Gothaer Programms (Zurich: Ring Verlag A.G., 1934), p. 10.
- Ibid. , p. 11.
- Sanford Lakoff, “Christianity and Equality,” Equality, edited by J. Roland Pennock and J. W. Chapmann, (New York: Atherton Press, 1967), pp. 128-130.
- David Thomson, Equality (Cambridge: University Press, 1949), p. 79. 13. Sorel, op. cit., p. 297.
- Sorel, op. cit., p. 297.
- Loc. cit.
- Theodore von Sosnosky, Die rote Dreifaltikeit (Einsiedeln: Verlaganstalt Benziger and Co., 1931).
- cf. Raymond Aron, Democracy and Totalitarianism (New York: Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, 1969), p. 194 and passim.
- Carl Schmitt, Der Begriff des Politischen (Munchen and Leipzig: Verlag von Duncker and Humblot, 1932), p. 76 and passim.
- Ibid. , p. 36.
- Jurgen Habermas Technik and Wissenschaft als Ideologie (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1968), p. 77.
- Alain de Benoist, Die entscheidenden Jahre, “In der kaufmannisch-merkantilen Gesellschaftsform geht das Politische ein,”(Tubingen: Grabert Verlag, 1982), p. 34.
- Julius Evola, “Proces de la bourgeoisie,” Essais politiques (Paris: edition Pardes, 1988), p. 212. First published in La vita italiana, “Processo alla borghesia,” XXV1II, nr. 324 (March 1940): 259-268.
- Werner Sombart, Der Bourgeois, cf. “Die heilige Wirtschaftlichkeit”; (Munchen and Leipzig: Verlag von Duncker and Humblot, 1923), pp. 137-160.
- Louis Dumont, From Mandeville to Marx, The Genesis and Triumph of Economic Ideology (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1977), p.16.
- Ibid., p. 59.
- cf. L. Dumont, Essays on Individualism (Chicago:The University of Chicago Press, 1986).
- Emanuel Rackman, “Judaism and Equality;’ Equality, edited by J. Roland Pennock and John W. Chapman (New York: Atherton Press, 1967), p. 155.
- Milton Konvitz, Judaism and the American Idea (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1978). Also German jurist Georg Jellinek argues in Die Erklarung der Menschen-and Burgerrechte (Leipzig: Duncker and Humbolt, 1904), p. 46, that “the idea to establish legally the unalienable, inherent, and sacred rights of individuals, is not of political but religious origin.”
- John Schaar, “Equality of Opportunity and Beyond,” in Equality, op. cit. , 230.
- Ibid., p. 236.
- Ibid., p. 235.
- Murray Milner, The Illusion of Equality (Washington and London: Jossey-Bass Inc. Publishers, 1972), p. 10.
- Antony Flew, The Politics of Procrustes (New York: Promethean Books, 1981), p. 111.
- Milner, op. cit., p. 11.
- Claude Polin, Le liberalisme, espoir ou peril (Paris: Table ronde, 1984), p. 211.
- Ibid. p. 213.
- Julien Freund, Politique, Impolitique (Paris: ed. Sirey, 1987), p. 336. Also in its entirety, “Theorie des besoins,” pp. 319-353.
- Loc. cit.
- Ibid., p. 336-337.
- Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (New York: Harper and Row, 1975), p. 165 and passim.
- Max Scheler, Das Ressentiment im Aufbau der Moralen (Abhandlungen and Aufsazte) (Leipzig: Verlag der weissen Bucher, 1915), p. 58.
- Claude Polin, Le totalitarisme (Paris: PUF, 1982), p.123. See also Guillaume Faye, Contre l’economisme (Paris: ed. le Labyrinthe, 1982).
- Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Meridian Book, 1958), p. 478.
No political phenomenon can be so creative and so destructive as nationalism. Nationalism can be a metaphor for the supreme truth but also an allegory for the nostalgia of death. No exotic country, no gold, no woman can trigger such an outpouring of passion as the sacred homeland, and contrary to all Freudians more people have died defending their homelands than the honor of their women. If we assume that political power is the supreme aphrodisiac, then nationalism must be its ultimate thrill.
To talk about nationalism in Anglo-Saxon countries usually evokes the specter of tribalism, violence, heavy politics, and something that runs counter to the idea of progress. For an American liberal, nationalism is traditionally associated with irrational impulses, with something incalculable that has a nasty habit of messing up a mercantile mind-set. A merchant does not like borders and national emblems; his badge of honor is his goods, and his friends are those who make the best offer on the global market. It is no coincidence that during World War II the Merchant preferred the alliance with the Commissar, despite the fact that the Commissar’s violence often eclipsed that of the Nationalist. Daniel Bell once wrote that American liberals find it difficult to grasp ethnic infatuation because the American way of thinking is “spatially and temporally suspended.” Indeed, to an insular maritime mind, it must appear absolutely idiotic to observe two people quarreling over a small creek or a stretch of land when little economic yield lies in the balance. A politician in America, unlike his rooted European counterpart, is essentially a realtor, and his attitude towards politics amounts to a real estate transaction. It is hard to deny that a person on the move, reared on Jack Kerouac or Dos Passos, is frightened by the ethnic exclusiveness that is today rocking the part of Europe from the Balkans to the Baltics. The mystique of the territorial imperative, with its unpredictable ethnic cauldron, must be a paramount insult to the ideology of the melting pot. Contrary to widespread beliefs, nationalism is not an ideology, because it lacks programmatic dimension and defies categorization. At best, nationalism can be described as a type of earthbound behavior with residues of paganism. Whereas liberalism operates in the rational singular, nationalism always prefers the irrational plural. For the liberal, the individual is the epicenter of politics; for the nationalist, the individual is only a particle in historical community. To visualize different brands of nationalism one could observe a European family camping on the rocky beaches of the French Riviera and contrast it to an American family on the sandy beaches of Santa Barbara. The former meticulously stakes out its turf, keeps its children in fold; the latter nomadically fans out the moment it comes to the beach, with each family member in search of privacy. Incidentally, the word “privacy” does not even exist in continental European languages.
Following World War II, for a European to declare himself a nationalist was tantamount to espousing neofascism. On the ossuary of Auschwitz, few indeed were willing to rave publicly about the romantic ideas of 19th century poets and princes, whose idyllic escapades gave birth, a century later, to an unidyllic slaughterhouse. At Yalta, the idea of a Europe frolicking with the liturgy of blood and soil was considered too dangerous, and both superpowers held high this reminder in the form of their respective strategy of “double containment.” After their excursion into the largest civil war in history, Europeans decided not to talk about nationalism or self-determination any longer. Many European intellectuals, and particularly German pundits, preferred instead to recommit their suppressed nationalist energy to far-flung Palestinians, Sandinistas, Cubans, or Congolese instead of to their own ethnic soil. Third World nationalism became for the European mandarins both the esoteric catharsis and the exotic superego; and to theorize about the plight of Xhosa in South Africa, or Ibo in Nigeria, or to stage treks to Cashmere or Katmandu became an elegant way of wallowing in new political romanticism. This vicarious type of meta-nationalism continued to play a role of psychological repository for the dormant and domesticated Europeans who needed time to heal wounds and wait for yet another renaissance.
Has this renaissance already occurred? The liberal parenthesis that lasted for 45 years, and which received its major boost after the recent collapse of its communist alter ego, may indeed be coming to an end. From Iberia to Irkutsk, from Kazakhstan to Croatia, hundreds of different peoples are once again clamoring for their place under the sun. To assume that they are raising their ethnic voices for economic reasons alone is misleading, and liberals are committing a serious mistake when they try to explain away nationalism by virtue of structuralist-functionalist paradigms, or when they shrug it off as a vestige of a traditional ascriptive society. Contrary to popular assumptions, the collapse of communism in Europe and the Soviet Union is a direct spin-off of ethnic frustrations that have for decades laid dormant, but have refused to die away. The paradox apparent at the end of the 20th century is this: while everybody is talking about integration, multiculturalism, ecumenism, and cosmic fraternity, fractures, fissures, and cleavages are appearing everywhere. Paradoxes abound as little Luxembourg preaches sermons to a much larger Slovenia on the utility of staying in the Yugoslav fold; or when Bush, after failing to rescue the Balts, comes to the aid of artificial satrapy in the name of the “self-determination” of its handful of petrocrats; or when Soviet apparatchiks fake concern for the plight of Palestinians only to further crack down against their Bashkirs and Meshkets.
Nationalism is entering today the third phase of its history, and similar to a heady Hydra and howling Hecuba it is again displaying its unpredictable character. Must it be creative in violence only? Ethnic wars are already raging in Northern Ireland, in the land of Basques, in Corsica, let alone in Yugoslavia, where two opposing nationalisms are tearing Versailles Europe apart and showering the treaty successors with embarrassing and revisionist questions.
There are different nationalisms in different countries and they all have a different meaning. Nationalism can appear on the right; it does, however, appear on the left. It can be reactionary and progressive, but in all cases it cannot exist unless it has its dialectical Other. German nationalism of the 19th century could not have flourished had Germany not been confronted by the aggressive French Jacobinism; modern English nationalism could not have taken off had it not been haunted by assertive Prussia. Each nationalism must have its ‘Feindbild,’ its image of the evil, because nationalism is by definition the locus of political polarity in which the distinction between the foe and friend, between hostis and amicus, is brought to its deadly paroxysm. Consequently, it is no small wonder that intra-ethnic, let alone inter-ethnic, wars (like the one raging today between Croats and Serbs) are also the most savage ones, with each side vilifying, demonizing, and praying for the total destruction of the other.
In addition, side by side with its positive founding myths, each nationalism must resort to its negative mythology, which in times of pending national disasters sustains its people in the fight with the enemy. In order to energize younger generations Polish nationalists will resurrect their dead from the Katyn, the Germans their buried from Silesia and Sudetenland; Croats will create their iconography on their postwar mass graveyards, Serbs their hagiography out of their war-camp victims. Body counts, aided by modern statistics and abetted by high-tech earth excavators, will be completed by mundane metaphors that usually tend to inflate one’s own victimology and deflate that of the enemy. German nationalists call Poles “Polacks,” and French chauvinists call Germans “boches.” Who can deny that racial and ethnic slurs are among the most common and picturesque of weapons used by nationalists world wide?
Nationalism is not a generic concept, and liberal ideologues are often wrong when they reduce European nationalism to one conceptual category. What needs to be underlined is that there are exclusive and inclusive nationalisms, just as there are exclusive and inclusive racisms. Central Europeans, generally, make a very fine distinction between inclusive Jacobin state-determined (‘staatsgebunden’) unitary nationalism vis-a-vis the soil-culture-blood determined (‘volksgebunden’) nationalism of Central and Eastern Europe. Jacobin nationalism is by nature centralistic; it aims at global democracy, and it has found today its valiant, albeit unwitting, standard-bearer in George Bush’s ecumenical one-worldism. Ironically, a drive towards unitary French nationalism existed before the Jacobins were even born, and it was the product of a peculiar geopolitical location that subsequently gave birth to the modern French state. Richelieu, or Louis XIV, were as much Jacobins in this sense as their secular successors Saint-Just, Gambetta, or De Gaulle. In France, today, whichever side one looks — left, right, center — the answer is always Jacobinism. In a similar vein, in England, the Tudors and Cromwell acted as unitary nationalists in their liquidations and genocides — ad majorem Dei gloriam — of the Cornish and Irish and a host of other ethnic groups. Churchill and other 20th-century English leaders successfully saved Great Britain in 1940 by appealing to unitary nationalism, although their words would have found little appeal today among Scots and Irish.
Contrary to widespread beliefs, the word “nationalism,” (‘Nazionalismus’) was rarely used in National Socialist Germany. German nationalists in the 1920’s and 30’s popularized, instead, such derivatives as ‘Volkstum,’ ‘Volksheit,’ or ‘Voelkisch,’ words that are etymologically affiliated with the word ‘Deutsch’ and which were, during the Nazi rule, synonymously used with the word ‘rassisch’ (“racial”). The word ‘Volk’ came into German usage with J.G. Fichte in the early 19th century, when Germany belatedly began to consolidate its state consciousness. The word ‘Volk’ must not be lightly equated with the Latin or English ‘populus’ (“people”). As an irony of history, even the meaning of the word “people” in the English language is further blurred by its polymorphous significance. People can mean an organic whole, similar to ‘Volk,’ although it has increasingly come to be associated with an aggregate of atomized individuals. Ironically, the German idea of the Volk and the Slavic idea of ‘narodi’ have much in common; and indeed, each group can perfectly well understand, often with deadly consequences, each other’s national aspirations. It is no small wonder that in the German and Slavic political vocabulary the concept of federalism and democracy will acquire a radically different meaning than in linguistically homogeneous England, France, or America.
By ostensibly putting aside its racist past, yet by pushing its universalist message to the extreme, the West paradoxically shows that it is no less racist today than it was yesterday.
French and English nationalisms lack a solid territorial dimension, and their founding myths lie elsewhere. Over the course of their history, due to their colonial holdings, these countries have acted both as European and non-European nations — which explains, particularly in the light of massive non-European immigration — why their elites find it difficult to argue for their strong ethnic identity. Continental European nationalism, and specifically the German idea of ‘Volksheit,’ is by contrast the product of a set of geographic circumstances unparalleled in France or England. In France and England, the people were created out of the existence of the state. In Germany and Continental Europe, nationalism has manifested itself primarily as a cultural phenomenon of frequently stateless peoples. In Germany, Poland, Romania, etc., poets and writers created the national consciousness of their peoples; in France, princes created state consciousness. Popular figures in Central Europe — like Herder or Father Jahn in Germany, Sandor Petofy in Hungary, Ljudevit Gaj in Croatia, Vuk Karadzic in Serbia, or Taras Shevchenko in the Ukraine — played a crucial role in laying the foundation of the modern state for their respective peoples. Quite different was the story of nationalism in France where ‘legists’ created the unitary French state by suppressing regionalism in the French Hexagon. Similarly, in England, the role of nation-state builders fell to merchants and to maritime companies, which, aided by buccaneers, brought wealth for the English crown. Interestingly, during the Battle of Britain, Churchill even toyed with the idea of transferring Downing Street and the Westminster Palace to the heartland of America — a gesture which in Central Europe would have amounted to national suicide.
Like America, France first became a state, and in turn set the stage for the molding of the French people of different tribes; by contrast, Germans have always been a stateless yet compact people. The history of France is essentially the history of genocide, in which French rulers from the Capetians to the Bourbons, all the way down to modern Jacobins, meticulously carried out destruction of Occitans, Vendeans, Bretons, Franche-Comte, etc. Suppression of regionalism and nativism has been one of the major hallmarks of French acculturation, with the latest attempt being to frenchify Arabs from the Maghrib countries. Today, France is paying the price for its egalitarian and universalist dreams. On the one hand, it is trying to impose universal values and laws on the masses of Third World immigrants; on the other, it must daily proclaim the principle of self-determination for its multiracial social layers. If one puts things in historical perspective, everything presages that France has become a prime candidate for sparking off racial warfare all over Europe.
Looking at Germany and its East European glacis, a sharp eye immediately discovers a fluid area of levitating borders, “seasonal states,” yet strong culturally and historically minded peoples. Central and Eastern European have a long ethnic and historical memory, but their borders fall short of clean-cut ethnographic lines. Germany, for instance, offers a view of an open and poorly defined stage yet at the same time it is a closed community. By contrast, Jacobin France, functionalist-minded England, and America are geographically closed states, but open societies. Nationalism in these countries has always been inclusive and has invariably displayed globalist and imperialistic pretensions, notably by spreading its unitary message to disparate peoples worldwide.
Geographic location has also affected the ethnopsychology of European peoples. An average German is essentially a peasant; his psychologic cast and conduct are corporal and telluric. A German displays great courtesy but lacks politeness, and like most peasants he usually exhibits heavy-handed (“schwerfaellig”), and frequently an awkward approach to social relations. By contrast, a Frenchman, irrespective of his ideological stripe and social background, is always a petty bourgeois; he is full of manners and stylishness but also full of pretensions. Unlike a German nationalist, a Frenchman displays a surfeit of manners but lacks courtesy. Even the most ignorant foreign tourist who goes to Germany and France will notice something foggy and unpredictable about Germans, while at the same time he will be gratified by the German sense of professional correctness and absolute honesty. By contrast, the body language and mannerisms of the French, as appealing as they may be, frequently leave one perplexed and disappointed.
In the course of their ethnogeneses, languages gave final veneer to their respective peoples. The German language is an organic language that branches off into eternity; it is also the richest European language. The French language, similar to a great extent to English, is an opaque language spun more by context than by flexion. As idiomatic languages, French and English are ideal for maritime and seaport activities. Over the course of history the French sabir and ‘pidgin’ English proved to be astounding homogenizing agents as well as handy acculturative vectors for the English and French drives toward universalism. Subsequently, English and French became universal languages, in contrast to German, which never spread out beyond the East European marshlands.
The German idea of the ‘Reich’ was for centuries perfectly adapted to the open plains of Europe, which housed diverse and closely knit communities. Neither the Habsburgs nor the Brandenburgs ever attempted to assimilate or annihilate the non-Germanic peoples within their jurisdiction as the French and English did within theirs. The Danube monarchy, despite its shortcomings, was a stable society, proven by its five hundred years of existence. During the First and Second Reich, principalities, towns, and villages within the bounds of the Austrian and Prussian lands had a large amount of self-government that frequently made them vulnerable to French, Swedish, and English imperial ambitions.
German ‘Volksheit’ is an aristocratic as well as a democratic notion, since traditionally the relations between domestic aristocracy and the German people have been organic. Unlike France or England, Germany never experimented with foreign slavery. In Germany, ethnic differences between the local aristocracy and the German people are minimal; by contrast, in France, Spain, and England the aristocracy has usually recruited from the Northern European leadership class and not the masses at large. Incidentally, even now, despite the exactions of the French Revolution, one can see more racial differences between a French aristocrat and an average Frenchman than between a German aristocrat and a German peasant. In Germany the relationship between the elites and the commoners has always been rooted in the holistic environment, and as a result Germany has remained a society barely in need of an elaborate social contract; it has based social relationships on horizontal hierarchy and corporate structure, buttressed in addition by the idea of “equality among the equals.” By contrast, French and English society can be defined as vertically hierarchical and highly stratified; consequently, it should not be surprising that French and English racisms were among the most virulent in the world. It is also worth recalling that the first eugenic and racial laws in this century were not passed in Germany, but in liberal America and England.
Political scientists will one day ponder why the most glaring egalitarian impulses appear in France and America, two countries which, until recently, practiced the most glaring forms of racism. Are we witnessing today a peculiar form of remorse or national-masochism, or simply an egalitarian form of inclusive racism? Inclusive nationalism and racism, that manifest themselves in universalism and globalism, attempt to delete the difference between the foreigner and the native, although in reality the foreigner is always forced to accept the legal superstructure of his now “repented” white masters. By ostensibly putting aside its racist past, yet by pushing its universalist message to the extreme, the West paradoxically shows that it is no less racist today than it was yesterday. An elitist like Vilfredo Pareto wrote that liberal systems in decline seem to worry more about the pedigree of their dogs than the pedigree of their offspring. And a leftist, Serge Latouche, has recently written how liberal racists, while brandishing their ethnic national masochism, force liberal values and liberal legal provisions upon their “decorative coloreds.”
Peoples and ethnic groups are like boughs and petals; they grow and decay, but seldom resurrect. France and England may evoke their glorious past, but this past will invariably have to be adjusted to their new ethnically fractured reality. Lithuania was, several centuries ago, a gigantic continental empire; today it is a speck on the map. The obscure Moscow in the 15th century became the center of the future Russian steamroller because other principalities, such as Suzdal or Novgorod, fantasized more about aesthetics than power politics. Great calamities, such as wars and famines, may be harbingers of a nation’s collapse, but license and demographic suicide can also determine the outcome of human drama. Post-ideological Europe will soon discover that it cannot forever depend on the whims of technocratic elites who are in search of the chimera of the “common European market.” As always, the meaning of carnal soil and precious blood will spring forth from those who best know how to impose their destiny on those who have already decided to relinquish theirs. Or to paraphrase Carl Schmitt, when a people abandons politics, this does not mean the end of politics; it simply means the end of a weaker people.
Hellenism (What We Believe, What We Stand For)
by Kresphontes on behalf of “Diipetes”,
Hellenism (HELLENIKOS ETHNISMOS) is not simply a Religion and Cosmotheory, it is a certain form of human consciousness and an everyday ethos. It is a strong adversary of the so-called “Monotheism” and this not only due to its being the most well-documented of the ancient polytheistic nature-Religions, but also because it is the cultural product of a civilization much higher -on all levels- than the one which created and spread the worship of a Desert “God” throughout the world.
Hellenism perceives Cosmos (KOSMOS, i.e. the Universe) as an ever-existing Being, which not only was not created by some “creator” God out of nothing (EK TOU MEDENOS), but on the contrary allowed the Gods themselves to be created through its procedures. Hellenism understands Cosmos as APEIRON (Infinity) in great, wonderful order and therefore in Hellenic language Cosmos means also jewel (KOSMOS, KOSMEMA). Gods were born inside the Cosmos and live inside it -they are part of it. This is our REAL ddispute with the so-called “Monotheism;” not the number of Gods (One or Many, Mono- or Poly-) but where the God or Gods stand in relation to the Cosmos.
For the “Monotheists” the Cosmos was created by an ever -existing Being outside it (so in this macro-historical level it is nothing more than a mortal creation). For the “Monotheists” Cosmos is a creation that has to obey the laws of its “creator”. For us Hellenes, the eternal Cosmos emerges always from inside of itself (ANADYETAI AF’ EAUTOU) and is the creator of all Gods, which have to obey its own laws. In the Hellenic Cosmotheory, these laws are :
* ANTIPEPONTHOS: Untranslatable into English, but roughly meaning “all events influence others” thought without “cause and effect”,
* NOMOS: The entirey of the universal physical Laws, and
* ANAGKE: Need and Fate, which all Gods respect and obey.
Due to the eternal nature of Cosmos itself, the Hellenic perception of CHRONOS (Time) is not linear (as the followers of Yahweh or the modern “rationalists” declare), nor circular (as many judeo-born occult dogmas teach) through the OUROBOROS symbol (the tail-eater snake), but spiral and leading to APEIRON. Through this shape of Time, the annual circles, the lunar circles, the human (and all) life, and the art of Prophecy, are fully interpreted. History is never “repeated”, just similar to the point that identical events happen but always under different circumstances. And the death of humans (and of all mortal forms of life) happens as the philosopher Alkmaion declared, simply “because it is impossible for the end of the circle to touch the beginning”. In other words, because it is impossible for the old to become infants again.
For the Hellenic Tradition, or at least its part not yet influenced by the “moral” ideas brought over from eastern civilizations by some famous philosophers as Pythagoras and Plato, no such thing as the “karma” of the eastern theocrats exists, and no “judges” exist in the skies or elsewhere. All dead become automatically holy and then they are born again until through ARETE (Virtue) one day their PSYCHE escapes from the spiral of Time, thus becoming primitive God, DAIMON, a word with a positive meaning for Hellenes, in contrast with Judeo-Christain superstition. HERAKLES (Hercules) is the ultimate symbol of this struggle of each mortal to make his / her way to Olympus, among the Immortal Ones. Hercules is the ultimate symbol for all Hellenes of the past and the present. No, we do not believe in METEMPSYCHOSIS (Re-incarnation) suffering or prospering in this life to pay for or be rewarded for the bad or good actions of previous lives, but instead simply in PALIGENESIA (Rebirth). This perspective distinguishes us from the theocratic dogmas that terrify their believers with “punishments” e.t.c.
We love or hate completely outside the Judeo-Christian or karmic designs and dualisms. No dualism of “Good and Evil” exists in the Immortal Cosmos, nor such things as the miscellaneous “moralities” that all the dualistic dogmas spread among humanity. We become virtuous only because we choose to be such. Our Gods are many and we understand them as completing the make-up of the Universal Sphere of Cosmos to its maximum potential and whole. Thus, from the DODEKAEDRON, a geometric shape (that fills up the sphere to its maximum) we imagine twelve planes, each one presenting a God inside the Cosmos and we define our Hellenic PANTHEON (PAN TON THEON, All The Gods) as DODEKATHEON (Pantheon of The Twelve Gods).The Twelve Gods of ours live inside the Shpere of Cosmos and form its various behaviors. In the same way, the twelve Zodiacs represent twelve “energies” that reach Earth and live inside the humans and animals, thus forming various behaviors as well.
Our Twelve Gods are also called OLYMPIOI (the Olympians) not because, as many want to believe, they.. dwell on Mt. Olympus, as the mountains with this name numbered not one but eighteen throughout the Hellenic World. This is just a poetic conception, similar to the one that wants Pan to dwell in the forests of Arcadia. The word “Olympus” comes from the verb LAMPO (shining). Our Twelve Gods are the “Shining Ones”, and the real “Olympus” is not a geographical but a spiritual place, where the Gods really exist. Another fact worth noting is that these Twelve Gods are not the same Twelve Gods for all Hellenes as some leave Dionysos out, some leave Hestia, etc., replacing them with others. It is the number that counts, not the names of the Gods which in any case number in the thousands- and we must underline here that Hellenism honors and worships not only conscious forces and energies of Nature (as almost all Pagan religions do) but also abstract Ideas, such as Harmony, Eunomia (personified Order), Justice, Freedom, Beauty, Luck, etc. For us, the Ideas are alive and have form and consciousness; they are real deities that simply show themselves through the functions of the human mind.
A basic (“for beginners”) form of invocation of the Twelve Olympian Gods, a Pantheon that was worshiped at least since the 16th Century before the Judeo-Christian Era (they are named U-ru-pa-ja-jo in the Linear B inscription of Pylos), and openly until the 9th Century of our times (when the last remains of worship of the ethnic Hellenic Gods were exterminated in Lakonia, under the persecutions by “Saint” Nikon the so-called “Metanoite” i.e. “Repent”) is the following: (The Gods are being invoked in “couples” according to theelements and functions that each “couple” supervises).
*Hestia (the power or denization and of common ethos: all invocations start with her named first: ” AF’ HESTIAS” *
The honored God or Goddess of the hellenic lunar month
* Hephaistos – Hestia (alternatively: Hermes – Hestia)
* Ares – Aphrodite
* Apollo – Artemis
* Hermes – Athena (alternatively: Hephaistos – Athena)
* Poseidon – Demeter
* Hera – Zeus
We must emphasize here that the “male” and “female” terms inside the Hellenic Pantheon have nothing to do with the sexism and dualism dwelling in the minds of narrow-minded followers of alien cultures. Our Gods have no genitals. The existence of six Gods and six Goddesses inside the Hellenic Pantheon only serves to declare the total balance of all elements and characteristics inside the Sphere of Cosmos. Understanding the structure, nature and distribution of the Cosmos in this way, Hellenism comes in open opposition to all one-sided and partial dogmas on Cosmos, such as “Monotheism”, “Bitheism” e.t.c. Because of this, for centuries now, it has been attacked with all the weapons that the arsenal of its enemies contains, from the burnings and crucifixions by the christianized Romans of Contantinoupolis to the disinformation and slander of the modern servants of the Desert “God” Yahweh (in all their disguises). And it may sound odd, but both we and our enemies know that the power of Hellenism is more than that of a Cosmotheory or of a Religion. It’s above all a political and social “how to” theory that means to “haunt” the Every Day Life with its high principles: Dignity, Freedom, Beauty, Honesty, Variety, Tolerance, Candor..
We represent an ethos and a cosmotheory, both deeply admirable, for they never allowed the existence of priestly castes, unquestioning obedience, fear or guilt (Hellenism knows nothing about the word “sin”), dogma, missions, or “sacred” books. We are fighting for the Hellenic Dignity in a country totally dominated by an alien culture and cosmotheory, inside a world which is totally dominated by an alien culture and cosmotheory. We speak a language in which most of its deep meanings are impossible to translate into the widely spoken languages of today, a language that almost nobody can understand (nobody outside Greece can read our journal and books). From a strictly “strategic” perspective, we appear almost insane or, at least, “defeated in advance”. But we know that we tread the correct path and that the Gods support us. Just by existing we win !
We are the revenge of the Ancient Psyche. We call into question almost every thought and act of this dying world enslaved to the Desert “God” Yahweh, almost every single behavior. And we are in full solidarity with all groups and movements all around the Globe, which work for the restoration of their traditional / indigenous ethos and religions, and also with all the others which fight the multi-faceted war for Freedom, Tolerance, Respect for Nature and Direct Democracy in all levels of Every Day Life.
[Published in “Green Egg” Journal, issue no 109, Summer “1995”]
|Christianity – Nature – Nordic Religion
|Geschrieben von: Hopfner
Go to the mountains to refresh yourself.
The peace of nature will penetrate you
the way sunshine penetrates a forest.
The wind will give you its briskness,
the storms its strength, and your worries
will fall away like leaves on an autumn day.
American Natural Scientist
Exploiting the Earth
Despite of some slight slowing downs of our economic growth, we are still living quite high on the hog. Perhaps that is why many of us may not realize that we are unwittingly standing watch by the death-bed of Nature.
How did this happen? How does Christianity and Nordic Religion relate to Nature?
Let’s start by reviewing the present conditions of our enviroment.
Our Earth has a diameter of 7,200 miles, an extremely thin “shell” about 3 miles thick is actualiy livable, 3/5ths of this shell is water, only 2/5ths is land. Subtract the polar regions, desert areas, and similar inhospitable areas, our living area is essentially reduced to two narrow bands along the 50th Longitude. That is our living space – thin and narrow. Yet, the industrial countries, which lie within this region, have progressivly taken much fertile land out of production, requiring this precious treasure for streets, houses, and industrial complexes. We feel this is necessary for our “economic growth”, for the well-being of our civilization, for Progress. We’ve grown accustomed to the “Good Life”, for example, many people run to a drug store or doctor for every little thing, expecting that hiqhly-qualified modern day Medicine Men can quickly cure us, and reassue us that we will live a nice long life, in luxury of course. We permit ourselves liberties that no generation before even dreamed of.. Thanks to highly developed technical wonders, time and space have virtually shrunk to nothingness, and we catch unheard of glimpses into outer space and into the bizarre world seen only through microscopes.
We use this mushrooming knowledge, not only to further what we call “education”, but also (and primarily) to oil the wheels of Industrialization, Mass Production, of economic growth. All this growth has long since eclipsed a normal desire to satisfy our needs, since we well know what our real needs are. Our knowledge and capital are now used solely to continue an annhilation process we call “economic growth”, and the communist economies are only mirroring what the capitalists are doing.
To think and act ecologically means that we must acknowledge and accept that everything in this world is interdependent, that we “can’t fool Mother Nature”, that we must completely re-orient our civilization within a sensible framework.
Our economy is literally running itself to the ground using up priceless energy and raw materials that took millenia to develop. This is a consumption process that one should not praise to highly despite all the pretty little things we surround ourselves with. Our society produces scarcely anything that will still be “in use” a century from now.
What is most terrifying, is the scale at which we are consuming raw materials and energy. It doubles roughly every 38 years. We realize this, and_we are able to surmise how long yet our supplies of Iron, Aluminum, Copper, Coal, Oil and Uranium will last. Big Business is forever feverishly working to find ways of staving off the inevitable before we finally squeeze the last drop of precious oil our of our planet.
In view of all this, it is a waste of time to think that discoveries of new finds will extend our plundering. The end times, so to speak, of our economy may be extended a little bit, but just a little bit, no more.
In the meantime, we will continue to praise the heights of our civilization and culture.
Theoretically, it is possible for us to call it quits with this exploitation process and return to a nature-economy. For eons we got a long very well using regenerative sources energy such as water power and wood. Our living standard may have to return to a pre-industrial level – certainly no rosy picture – since only a limited number of people could live in harmony with the earth’s treasures.
Reality, however, says something else. It’s no longer possible, or thinkable, for us to slow down our consumption of the earth’s raw materials and energy, because on our comparatively small planet, some 6 billion people must eke out a living, 2.8 billion in the Developing Countries alone. These countries are in no position to feed their own citizens, and reject efforts at limiting the birth rate of their starving millions. Every now and then multi-hued prospects depicting undernourished children arrive in the mail, appealing for our empathy, although whatever help we send only serves to further the birth rate of these starving masses, creating ever greater demands on our empathy. We know that most of these children will die of starvation, yet the birth rate continues to exceed the death rate, and the poverty cycle constricts with ever tightening coils. Nonetheless, our businessmen continue to view these countries as markets for our products, that are so mass-produced that it is not possible to find home markets any more. With never ending preaching, we are told that by helping these poor people, we actually secure our own working places and raise our own living standard.
Is it really worth striving for, to enable 6 billion people on our hopelessly over-populated planet to acquire TVs, refrigerators, 2nd cars, and annual vacation trips? It is not even worth the effort to try, since it would require over 40 years (assuming we still have raw materials?!) to grant these pleasures to today’s 6 billions, but by then, there will be 9 billions on earth, and the largest share of the TVs and refrigerators would already be on the blink, necessitating replacements, spare parts, irate consumers, ad nauseum!
It is an exercise in futility to even ponder how to raise the living standard of all the people. The English Professor, Thomas Robert Malthus recognized that 200 years ago (curiously just as the Industrial Revolution was beginning) remarking:
Life on this earth is like a lottery game in which the majority of the participants drew a blank.
A modern day American scientist, Paul Ehrlich has pleaded in vain, that we recognize the main cause of this disaster; over-population of the third world. Thus it was possible for Third World Politicians at the first World Conference on Population to pull a successful coup. Instead of agreeing to a formular that would have slowed down world popualtion growth to 2% after 1985, they managed to avoid having even the word “birth control” mentioned in the closing communique. Many of these politicians believe that birth control is only an euphemism for extermination of non-whites by whites and have even instituted “reproduction programs” in their countries.
Thus, help for developing countries is senseless and a form of suicide since it will boomerang in the form of a gigantic army of starving people begging for even more aid. Help supplied to pregant mothers today, means starving children tomorrow, and wretched refugees by us the day after! In any event, we can’t offer much help anyway since our society is already on the decline as supplies of raw naterials gets used up. Result: “A traditional kind of humanism, which placed the individual at the center of its efforts, won’t exist anymore, since it prooved to be the cause of Nature’s death” (Carl Amery).
60 years from now, 12 billion people will be crowding our planet – assuming the earth is still in one piece and our civilization hasn’t collapsed. Very few of us recognize that the Extermination Process which we call Economic Growth relates exponentionally to the population increase of the 3rd World. The degree and size with which we consume the earth’s raw materials and energy doubles itself almost as quickly as the world’s population – although the white population is frightfully decreasing. Lead astray by incompetent politicians, we think that economic growth is more important than children. This has become practically a fetish, as politicians, demogogues, cardinals, opinion makers and other clowns urge us to kow-tow to the god of economic growth.
We should think about that old French children’s song, where a water lily in a garden pond doubled itself daily. The animals looked on with joy, even to the next to last day as part of the pond was still open, they did not feel threatened. Next day, the whole pond was covered, and all life in the pond choked to death. That is exponentional growth.
What is Ecology? What is Environmental Consciousness?
Ecology is the “Doctrine of the Home”. Meant is the house in which we all live – Nature. Our environment is like a multi-story home: geological, botanical, zoological, and climatological living space. It is all-important that the interrelationships of these dimensions are not destroyed or disturbed. The environment has a very complex character. Every stage: soil, water, plant and animal kingdom even the air has give and take relationships with each other. As long as every thing is in harmony, we’ve got a healthy, natural environment. Protection of the world around us is the efforts to maintain this balance.
Environmental consciousness is nothing more than being conscious of nature. It’s not the ability to recite paragraphs of garbage removal laws, rather it’s the ability to recognize the borders of our housing and what it can and can not shelter. Environmental consciousness is knowing just how far we can go. Nature is not a throw-away, not a cheap trinket, but a living space whose area can only be limitedly used, and wisely used.
Animals use their instincts to get along nicely with their environment. Mankind has long since lost these instincts, and has replaced it with “reason”. Because we have lost our instincts, we are unsure of ourselves in our relation with nature. Many people live in an ecological disorientation; they have lost all sense of contact with Nature. Environmental consciousness must base itself on an appreciation of Nature. But first we’ve got to sensibly develop a Sense for the Environment. This is difficult; since whoever doesn’t consider polution of the environment (for example, noise) as unwholesome, unnatural, indeed deadly, will never be able to understand the reasons for protecting Nature.
Environmentalism originates also from a definite sense of Esthetics. Who doesn’t have an eye for the beauty of the world, can never be won over to the fight for keeping the world beautiful, much less mobilized against environmental polution. First a sense of the world around us must be awakened. This means appreciating plants, animals, geological formations, and people. It means also being able to quickly recognize threats to this beauty. Without well thought out knowledge and experience it’s useless to expect a development of environmental consciousness and responsibility.
Environmental consciousness is knowing how far we can go. Just how far will be recognized as soon as people cherish with awe their surroundings.
Respect for Nature is the first commandment of the environmental ethic. The withering of a sense of values ends in losing this respect. And without it, man will never recognize the full and true value of Nature. Nature can not be programmed into a cost-effect-analysis.
People such as our Nordic forefathers who lived fully integrated with Nature, understood this. Agrarian cultures live in trusting relationship with Nature, life and death reflects the ups and downs of Nature. Our industrial culture has decided to cannibalize Nature, believing that they have overcome Nature and no longer need Nature. From this, however, a new lifestyle has developed which appreciates and treasures Nature. An appreciation rooted in awe and respect of the ecological rules – a return to the one-with-Nature lifestyle of our forefathers.
Our Nordic people have successfully, and with originality, solved problems in the past. Today, we have been somewhat blinded by false phantasies, and it will take almost every thing we have to again utilize out spirit, mind and creative talents to find a way out of our present deadly rat-race.
Let’s leave the “Is Condition” for a moment, and review the relationships of Christianity and Nordic Religion to Nature.
The Rise of Christianity
Whereever Christianity goes, it destroys or severely alters the established culture. It must do that, since, quite simply put, Christianity can not live in harmony with other belief structures. The Church recognized that very early, and for the last 1500 years has terrorized the western world with unheard of brutality. For this reason, Christianity is solely responsible for our tragic slide to the abyss of ecological disaster, since Christianity has no respect for Nature. (See for example, their famous biblical quote: Subdue the Earth).
|In order to understand how this happened, let’s look at the sources. Not so much at actual bible, but more at the actual historical happenings. Christian theologians have always resisted attempts at presenting the Christian teachings in a neutral light, fearing that in so doing, most people would reject the teachings. A couple of decades ago, it was deadly to even question the historicity of “Jesus”. Today, it is possible to do that, not because the Churches have become tolerant, but because a few brave souls have left their lives on the battlefield of freedom of expression.
There is virtually no accurate historical proof that a Jew by the name of Jesus actually lived some 2000 years ago, doing his thing with miracles and rising from the dead. Practically everything we “know” about Jesus comes from the Gospels – all of which were written decades after his alledged death and resurrection.
Curiously, no literature is existant from that period that questions the gospels and its bizarre tales. And even if the gospels are correct, it is interesting to note that even the Churches acknowledge, there is only tenous proof that organized Christianity can trace its history to the Last Supper.
Even if we ignore the religious implications of his life, and view Jesus as merely a political opponent of Roman authorities, we hard put to find any evidence that he existed. To be sure, there were some religious leaders in those days, Josephus Flavius, born in 37 AD, and a historian by profession, developed the concept of modern Jewish history. In his writings mention is made of several “sons of god” and “wondermen”, eg Honi – put to death in 65 AD and even a man called John the Baptist. But Flavius writes nothing about a Jesus.
Years later, the Churches discovered that Flavius wrote nothing about Jesus. Found that hard to believe, and concocted a “Testimonium Flavium” as an appendix to his writings which conviently (of course) gave delayed recognition that a certain Jesus of Nazareth actually lived.
But let’s keep with historical facts only. It is proven that around 70 – 80 AD, that there were Jewish communities outside of Palestine that were in spiritual opposition to Jerusalem. One of these sects, was the Essenes, of which we learned much when the “Qumran scrolls” were unearthed in 1974. These scrolls do give some information that a Jesus did live and was more than likely a member of this community. It’s possible therefore, that since Jesus did not live in Palestine, that may be the reason why Flavius knew nothing of him. Curiously, as soon as the Churches discovered that, their jubilation over the foundings of the Scrolls quieted very sudden.
The actual founder of the Christian religion was a man named Saul, later renamed Paul, also a foreigner and one in standing conflict with Jerusalem. He is the chief historial witness for the 2000 year old fire-and-sword message of Christian fabels. To Paul we are thankful for much: although the Historian can find no solid evidence of a Jesus of Nazareth, all Christians know of all the details of his life thanks to the “unexcelled love of truth” with which Paul wrote – although he had never personally met Jesus, knowing of him only through an ” apparition” .
Paul is quite a character. It was he, not the actual apostles who allegedly knew of this Jesus personally, who developed the Christian belief structure and spread it like wildfire throughout the known world. It will forever remain a mystery why the Jewish god Yahweh was not satisfied with the apostles and had to recruit a stranger to work out the message! Since Paul is so important, let’s take a close look at him.
Saul was born in Tarsus, Turkey, the son of a Jew who had Roman citzenship. Blessed with a good education, including studies at Jerusalem, he quickly identified himself as a dyed-in-the-wool Pharisee, demanding unconditional obiedience to the Mosaic law. When the new Essenes sect arose, and opposed Jerusalem Saul persecuted this sect passionately. Evidently, however, he must have done a little thinking and perhaps spoke with or read the writings of, some of these Essenes. Gradually, he came to realize that this sect, and not Jerusalem, was really bent on renewal of Judaism. Further, this renewal also had traces of possible political liberation from the Roman yoke. Suddenly, on the road to Damascus, “his eyes were opened”. Then, realizing that as a Roman citizen, he could travel freely throughout the known world, he would be the ideal vessel for spreading the message of Jewish renewal. As citizen, he had connections through out the Roman Empire, and as a Jew was acquainted with the Jewish “Chosen Race” philosophy. Later he would claim that all this was “divine” revelation, that it was bound with the name change to Paul, and that this revelation gave him the courage to preach his message independent of the wishes of the original apostles. Through all this he hit upon the idea of converting an obscure member of the anti-Jerusalem community into the “son of god” and “redeemer” of the Jewish people. It speaks volumes that Paul avoided, at virtually all costs, any contact with people who were contemporaries of this legendary Jesus and that he remained almost exclusively outside of Palestine. His opinion was that the apostles should stay in Palestine, fighting with the traditional Jews, while he would conduct a missionary journey among the foreign Jews and heathens.
Fanatically, Paul used the old testament to prove the events of his “new testament”. And nothing changed! Just like the old testament, the Christian era is a continuation of war, murder, persecution, and rape. All justifiable, after all it was done “in the Name of God”. Their relationship with Nature also reflected that they must synchronize all their experiences with what is “dictated” in the so-called holy writings. Whether it is a crusade called by a pope, or the destruction of rain forests, everything could be justified, since the bible gives “evidence” that these things are the “Will of God”.
Originally, these new Christians did not even attempt to develop their own ethic. They were satisfied to mimic the Mosaic law, hoping that “redemption” was actually a political movement, freeing Jewry from the Ronan yoke. Gradually, it dawned on them, that the Jews were rejecting them, and that political liberation from Rome was not feasible. Thereupon the Christians began to develop their own ideology. All people are sinners, not through what they do in life, but merely through birth! The “original sin” was invented, bounding even for already dead people. No one liberates himself from this sin, he must be redeemed. This longawaited redeemer, coming from the Chosen Race, would redeem all people, Jew and Heathern alike. But this had first to be proven and all sorts of “gospels” were written and concocted, many actually contradicted each other. The early churches recognized this, and quickly opted to recognize only 4 gospels, which conveniently echoed each other, more or less. These 4 books were judged as having apostolic approval, and thus became the “Holy Writings” and the “Word of god” for all believers.
Early Attempts to Criticize Christianity
Naturally, many intelligent people, especially those who observed the threat to society’s general well-being, tried to hoist warning flags. The Greek philosopher, Celsus, wrote:
“The Christian religion is a dumb, simple faith,
one which can only attract uneducated and narrow-
minded people, coarse and simple-minded who don’t
possess the ability to reason what they do.”
The Churches did not even try to counter this claim, indeed, they even said the same thing. Church Father Origines observed:
“No learned person, no intellectual person, no wise man dare attempts to come to us. We consider intelligence, knowledge, and scholarship as Evil! But whoever is simple-minded, whoever is uneducated, whoever is a child or a fool, comes trusting to us.”
As the churches attained power, they quickly burned all the anti-Christian writings, and we have only scant tidbits, which survived this “Book Burning”. Some of these writings criticize the actual gospel stories. What divine thing did this imaginary Jesus accomplish? If he was god, why did he flee? Can a god let himself be bound and carried away? Why must he constantly threaten people “Watch and be prepared, for the time is coming”. Can’t this god find some other, more pleasing method for attracting and convincing people? Why did this “god” sweat blood out of fear of his impending death? Can a god die? Why did he plead with his “father” to spare him this painful death? Why wasn’t he strong enough to push away the stone himself, why did he need to recruit two angels? Why did he have to hide himself from his own friends after his resurrection? And where is he hiding now?
Don’t these question ever stop! One of the most hardest: how can the death of this god be so special, how can he take upon himself all the punishment of all people for all time? The philosopher Rudolf Bultmann answered this question: “Which primitive mythology having an anthropological god-figure did not sacrifice this figure to atone for their sins.”
Here, let’s pause for a second and list some points of Christian teachings:
Invention of original sin, to convince people that they’re hopelessly guilty.
Placing people in a master-slave relationship with a god of revenge and hate, who has declared:
“I will eradicate mankind from the earth. Everything I made from people to cattle and birds I will eradiacte because I regret that I ever made them.” (1 Moses 6:6-7)
Banning the human race to a world of dark powers, a place of condemnation “weeping and gnashing of teeth” which he created and only a certain Jesus can free them from.
But even this Jesus wanted to destroy family relationships so he could better handle the people:
“Don’t think that I came to bring peace to the earth.
I have not come to bring peace, but the sword.
I came to set father against son, daughter against mother,
and step-daughter against step-mother.
One’s own colleagues will be one’s own enemies.
Who ever loves his mother or father better than me,
is not worthy of me…”
(Matthew 10, 34-37).
In this utterance, we find the roots of intollerance, revenge and hate that has characterized Christianity to this day.
At the start, this new religion attracted servants, slaves, social outcasts, and potential political dreamers, all who saw in the “Redeemer”, some kind of redemption for their personal selves, be it freedom from slavery, or what have you. With these kinds of people, the early Christians could not, alone, make it within the Roman Empire. Lying and cheating, ruses and fraud were necessary to get a foothold. Suetonius, a contemporary Roman court reporter, observed: “Emperor Claudius banned the Jews from Rome, because they were being politically motivated by the Christians.”
Lucian from Samosata, Greek writer 120-200 AD commented:
“…Those wretched people are convinced that they are immortal and will live forever. They do not fear death, and many freely welcome death. Further, they quote their first law writer, Paul, who claimed that we are all brothers if we would but renounce the Greek gods, and pray to a crucified Sophist, a pseudo-intellectual, and live according to his laws. -They look upon everything with scorn, and consider everything vain, without a satisfying reason, and because of their opinion, will have nothing to do with anything. Should a thief come among them, knowing how to use them to his advantage, he will become a rich man in no time, because these people are so easily led by their noses.”
Other writers, such as Tacitus, Aristides from Mysia, Emperor Julian, Libanius, etc, expressed themselves similarly on this topic. Often quite sharp, as they recognized that this mob is seeking only power and the destruction of the State. History gives evidence.
Reflecting their negative appreciation of this world, the Christians rejected the Roman State, Society and Family. Among their members, they instituted a provision prohibiting Christians from accepting employment in the service of the Emperor or of the Roman gods. In other words, the more converts the Christians were able to win, the more difficult it would be for the State to maintain an army, or to employ necessary officials. The philosopher Celsus was concerned about this, and feared for the survival of Rome. Origines, the church father, replied to these fears characteristically:
“If all Rome would accept the Faith, they would achieve victory over their enemies using prayer and supplication alone. Indeed, they would have no more enemies, since divine power would protect them.”
Paul was intelligent. He knew, from his experiences and education, that the Jews could never destroy Rome with military might, but only through the development of ideas that would undermine and weaken the State. Jesus, in fact, preached that “Who lives by the sword, dies by the sword”. It is no accident, that Paul preached mostly among Roman citizens, who were not Jews. Could that be the reason why Saul joined up with the Essenes because he saw in their message, the ideal weapon for liberating the Jews from the hated Roman occupation?
If he really did think along these lines – and the Christian position vis-a-vis the State of Rome was exactly that – than Paul calculated rightly.
Further the rejection of science, preached by the Christians, is more than just a kind of envy or resentment of ignorant people against highly educated people, it was a studied manouver to deny the State the education, knowledge, and technical help it required to maintain itself. In this light, the words of Tertullian can be well understood:
“What the Athens of antiquity with our Jerusalem had to create, what the academy with the church…Since Jesus we are not allowed to research or investigate, since the Preaching of the Gospels.As long as we believe, we need not go beyond the beliefs…Not knowing anythin outside of the belief structure, means possessing all knowledge.”
The famous theologian, Adolf von Harnack, identified this attitude as pseudo-philosophy and wins with power over the spirit. “She stupifies the person – her highest triumph – kills all sense of reality and destroys the function of other senses.”
By rejecting everything associated with the State, even art and stage, all the ties binding a civilization are cut. The State begins to whither. Old Rome was characterized by a desire to learn, healthy competition, and the nurturing of State pride. A monotheistic redemption religion defeated it, offering in turn, nothing more than a bunch of fairy tales about a certain Jesus who may never have even existed. It is a naked commentary, that when the Christians reestablished themselves in Constantinople (following the collapse of Rome), they, as the state religion, quickly abolished all these “rejection of the State” ideas. Meanwhile in the western lands, in Europe, the End of Reason, ushered in by Christianity, marked the beginning of the Christian victory march into Nordic Lands.
Christianity in the West
As our germanic ancestors overwhelmed the western Roman Empire, they came into contact with Christianity. It has been often remarked, with authentication, that the Germanic people, from princes to paupers, stood in amusement of this religion. But they failed to realize that the simplicity the religion publicly exhibited, was offset but a degree of power, murder, cheating, threats, and double-talk that our forefathers never before ever dreamed of. With these weapons, the Christians were able to confound the Germanic peoples, removing or converting princes as the case may be. By the time the West Frank, Carolus Magnus, arrived at the gates of Rome, the victory of Christianity was no longer stoppable. Since then a bloody trail has weaved its horrendous path through the centuries.
Our ancestors, didn’t give up easy. Throughout the years, they offered resistance and many Nordics were condemned by the “Religion of Love” to painfully slow and bloody deaths. The litany of our sorrows is long, here are a few examples:
313 Emperor Constantin I. states the “Tolerance-Edict” of Milano. Christians consider this as permission to start the persecution of heathens.
341 Emperor Constantin II. states the Edict “Nostra Mansuetudo” (Our Gentleness!). All the veneration of the old gods has to be stopped.
Feb, 20th, 356 Death penalty on veneration of the old gods.
Jan, 25th, 357 Death penalty on asking oracles.
Sept, 9th, 364 Death penalty on making sacrifieces to the old gods and using the old heathen songs.
Feb, 20th, 373 Death penalty on all persons beeing anababtists.
Apr, 22nd, 376 Destruction of all heathen cultural buildings.
Aug, 3rd, 379 Death penalty on all person who are of different opinion.
380 Gratian, Valentinian and Theodosius state, that all persons have to be baptized. Death penalty on all refusers.
415 Archbishop Cyril of Alexandria burned the famous Library of Alexandria, one of the greatest achievments of the ancient world. 900,000 hand written scrolls containing the wisdom of the thinkers, philosophers and scientists of the ancient world were lost forever.
Feb, 6th, 459 Confiscation of all heathen properties.
527 – 565 The christian Emperor Justinian renews and strengthens all the laws against the heathens.
597 Augustine arrives at England. He describes our ancestors as members of a barbarous, fierce and unbelieving nation.
601 Pope Gregory writes to mellitus about converting the English: “It is immpossible to efface everything at once from their obdurate minds.”
640 Eorcenberth of Kent orders destruction of Odinist altars.
681 Conversion of Sussex, last of the pagan kingdoms in England.
746 The Christian Frankish Duke Karlmann murdered thousands of Alemannics near the town of Cannstadt.
782 4000 Saxons were beheaded by the Christian Emperor Karl. 10,000 more deported.
937 – 999 The Christian Dukes, Boleslaw of Poland and Bolesalw of Bohemia slaughtered 10,000 peansants in Pommerania.
1100 – 1200 Over 2 million German men and women in what is today Austria, Switzerland and southern West Germany were pitilessly slaughtered because they would not convert. This was Church orders.
1209 – 1229 Pope Innocent III and King Louis of France organized a crusade against the Albegensians, exterminated thousands, because they were “heretics”.
1212 50,000 German and French children town from their families and pressed into military service, the fool-hardy “Children’s Crusade”. Many died of hunger, sickness, and misery. Very few came home.
1232 Pope Gregory IX took over responsibility for the Inquisition. Almost a million were brutally murdered.
1234 Over 10,000 German men, women, and children were killed at the command of the Bremen archbishop, because they were “heretics”.
1260 – 1327 Meister Eckart von Hochheim, German philosopher. The Christians forbade and burned his writings.
1415 John Huss, Rector of the German University of Prague. Condemned by the Council of Constance. Shortly after burned. His death sparked the succeeding Hussite war conducted by the “Religion of Love”. Ushered in the hate that has poisnoned relations between Czechs and Germans to this day.
1473 – 1543 Nicholas Kopernikus, German Thinker and Astronomer. His writings were banned and burned by the Church.
1475 – 1541 The Christian Francisco Pizarro conquers the Incas, commits genocide against them, and destroys their culture. All with Church “approval”, using the 1198 issued Bull “Sanctum Officium” against heretics and unbelievers.
1489 The papal inquisitors, Henry Institoris and Jacob Sprenger publishes a booklet against witches. It causes a flood of witchhunts in all Europe.
1556 – 1596 The Christian General Alba, with the approval of the Christian Spanish King Philip II, murders 10,000 German and Flemish “heretics”.
1559 The famous Catholic Index of Forbidden Books is first published under Pope Paul IV.
1571 – 1630 Johann Keppler, German Thinker and Astromoner. The Christians condemned and burned his writings.
Aug. 24 th, 1572 The infamous Bartholomew Night Massacre – 30,000 Hugenots were murdered by Catholics in France.
1600 Giodano Bruno, Italian Philosopher, was burned at the stake, at the command of the Church.
1618 – 1648 30-year Christian War of Annihilation in Germany. Population reduced from 30 to 7 millions.
1642 Galileo Galilei, Italian Astronomer. The Church condemned and forbade his writings. He was persecuted, forced to deny his sceintific works.
1100 – 1820 Over 4 million witches were persecuted by the Church and burned at the stake in America and in Europe.
The tragic never-ending list of Crimes Against Humanity committed by the Christian Religion, the self-styled Religion of Love, has no equal.
To govern all these unatoned acts of “mercy”(!), the Church has had 266 popes from the year 67 to 1982 with an extra of 39 unrecognized antipopes, for a total of 305 Holy fathers. Only recently, since the mid-19th Century has efforts at controlling this blood-thirsty machine known as Christianity been somewhat successful. Still one wonders about the thousands and thousands of young men and women who languished a whole life long behind the thick forbidding cloister walls. It will never be satisfactorily known, how much society lost through these criminal actions. Tragically, no monument exists anywhere in the world, commemorating the victims of Christian genocide. We must and will remember them in our hearts.
Perhaps, this barbaric activity can be explained by viewing the content of this religion:
Christianity maintains that it is the Religion of Love. They even go so far as to claim that they “introduced” the idea of Love of neighbor. That is categorically untrue. This kind of love is in-born, it is perfectly natural for all people to love their own kith and kin. If that was not true, than our ancestors could never have possibly survived the era when they were but hunters and gatheres. Christianity, thus claims to usurp a human trait that we have natually, from Nature.
Christianity professes a concern for the “poorest of the poor”, the downtrodden, the wretched incometents, and similar creatures. Regularly, the church implores that the better-off people should held the helpless, that the rich should give their money to the poor, preferably, of course, by way of the Church. What others can’t (or won’t) accomplish, should be handed to them by those who are achievement-oriented.
Presenting human failures as models for others – that is contrary to Nature! Nature, from which we stem, and which has existed for countless millions of years, operates on the principle ‘To the Victor Belong the Spoils’.
Nietzsche identified Christianity as the Religion which says “No” to life. It idealizes such destructive tendencies as withdrawal from the world, resistance of natural drives, and abasement of genuine spiritual studies. Thus it is a negative religion, and undivine religion, one that does not speak to our senses.
As the gospels themselves tell us, the first “converts” to this Jesus of Nazareth were thieves, sinners and scorners. Jesus, himself, is reported to have said that sinners who believe on him will get to heaven, sooner than the just.
The unwelcome harvest of the original sin theory is that it nurishes the evil tendencies in people. People are influenced by their surroundings. If someone tells a person “You are stained with original sin, everything you do and all your good works cannot blot out the stain, just belief on Jesus”, than the person would be discouraged to lead a decent life. In fact, why should he? After all, according to the Christians, the only determining factor is belief on Jesus and his “redemption”. What ever moral fibers may still be present among us, is present not because of Christianty, but in spite of it. The philosopher, Sören Kierkegaard, called Christianity “Satan’s Invention”:
“…in order to be a Christian, one must abandon
oneself, jump into the unknown, and with faith
deal with the irrational”.
To this day, especially in the Southern States such as Tennessee and Mississippi, Christians actually initiate legal proceedings against the teachings of evolution. Despite all the overwhelming evidence of evolution, Christians insist on believeing that all creation was always there “because the bible told me so!”
Some 2300 years ago, a Greek thinker, Empedokles, outlined a theory on elements and suggested the possibility of an evolution process, which differed very little from that advanced by Darwin just over 100 years ago. Regrettably, the “Dark Age” of Christianity intervened between the lifespans of these two men. “As a result of ideas of a nomadic goat herder from Palestine, we lost one and one-half thousand years in our mental development”, wrote a famous author, writer of several books on enviromental protection. That these “Dark Ages” don’t return, is our mission!
Indo-Germanic religions, such as our Nordic Religion, have always preached achievement, a search for knowledge, have always offered their people natural models. In antiquity, it was Hercules and his extraordinary deeds. Prominent distinguished people will always remain immortal in memory. Among Christians, striving for knowledge and wisdom has always been condemned. Already in the Old Testament, the so-called First Parents, were chased out Paradise…because they desired knowledge and wisdom. This god certainly could not be a Germanic god, since it is a Germanic trait to want to help their offspring gain in wisdom and knowledge. Only with these skills can one sucessfully lead a good and wholesome life. One should look around at Nature, study it, observe how it all works, then one will appreciate what we are saying. People, Nordic as well as others, have an in-born desire to learn. The Christian effort at stifling this desire, promising a happy after-life if we would only put up with ignorance and poverty now has been the downfall of many societies for the past 2000 years.
But, the institution of the Church itself? Does it live by its own message? Can one detect ignorance and poverty among their cunningness and riches? It is no wonder that the christians are regularly accused of preaching “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Church and Capital
As he was entering Jerusalem, preparing to announce his kingdom, Jesus entered sitting on an ass (somewhat uncomfortable but innocently disarming – the first clerical subterfuge). Ever since then, the Church has preached Poverty. But has it practiced poverty? Let’s take a look at the intricate maze of clerical entanglements in the world of finance.
Practically right from the start, the Christian leaders rob pagan temples of their treasures. The institutional church’s efforts at converting (read: believe or die!) our forefathers was also characterized by unheard of robbery as well as murder. All the death verdicts of the Augsburg Bishopric ended with the formula: “All your property shall go to the treasury of his princely magesty, the right reverend father Marquard, Bishop of Augsburg and prior of Bamberg”. One of the most tragic examples of clerical financial cunning and one of the best ways they would make fools of our ancestors, occurred next to the death bed. Before a priest would perform the sacrament of Extreme Unction (Last Rites), he would graphically depict all the horrorful things that will befall the hapless peasant because of unatoned sins. But, lucky for the poor old man, the priest would promise to say many masses for him…providing, of course, that he be endowed with some earthly remembrance. “Oh, an acre or so will do!”. The poor uneducated peasant, frightful at spending eternity shoveling coal into a bottomless furnace while being taunted by wierd beings, was only to glad to put his X on a sheet of paper promising the priest everything. Even the wife’s share of the will! Over a period of years, the Church found itself owning practically half of Europe.
In Europe today, the churches are supported in various means by the States, particularly in western Europe. Outright grants, “clerical welfare funding”, and other taxes levied to support the church, mean that the religion gets billions. With so much, what does the church do? Give it to the poor? No. They invest in all sorts of enterprises, regardless of the “moral” character of the firm. A good example is the Italian clothing company “Jesus Jeans”. This company, owned by the Vatican, produces sexy Jeans and similar items. Their advertising is highly erotic. Yet, the same religion that tells its members to be “pure of heart”, sees nothing wrong in selling “impure of heart” wares to the general public.
The financial portfolio of the Roman Catholic Church makes Rockefeller look like a ragged pauper. The list that follows is but small sample: Part of the gold at Fort Knox, goodly shares of US Steel, Sharon Steel, Bethlehem Steel, General Motors, AT&T, Prudential Life, McDonnel-Douglas Aviation, etc. The Jesuits own 51% of the Bank of America.
Of course, the Vatican also has controlling interests in many European companies as well. Besides Jesus Jeans, it virtually monopolizes the banking world in Italy, and has large shares of Fiat, Alitalia, and 90% of the Italian steel industry. In West Germany, the Catholic Church is the Insurance Magnate (owns three largest companies), plus BASF, BMW, Siemens und Halske, Hamhurg Electric Power (in the Protestant North, no less!) and many other large companies.
While the Church constantly begs in well-to-do countries that these citizes should help the poor unfortunate people of the third world, the financial arm of the Church is the actual owner of some of the worst violators of human dignity in the third world. The Bolivian Zinc Pits, being just one example.
To be sure, the Church does spend some of its take for good causes. But, when one compares the astounding wealth of the Church, and compares it to philosophical message (Sell what you have, give it to the poor, and come follow me) the realization of the hypocritical attitude of the Vatican only begins to emerge. Selected individuals within the Church will argue that the money is needed, to finance the Church. But, that also does not jive with their philosophy (the Church preaches, that we – i.e. them also – should not worry what we shall wear, or eat, as God will “take care of us”).
Christianity and Nature
Is it possible for an “Exploitation machine” such as the Church, which owns many of the industries that are destroying the environment, to be concerned about the welfare of Nature? Surely not. Since any concern for Nature, would reflect in lower profits. Reflecting on the Church’s sordid record of trampling Mother Nature, one is hard to put to find a noble reason in the Vatican’s efforts at denouncing Atomic Weapons.
The Protestant-Christian theologian Thielicke quipped shortly after World War II: “Christians who exercised their military service under the eye of God, have understood their handiwork for Death, as having done it in the Name of Love”. His colleague Künneth remarked 13 years later “Even atom bombs can be a means of loving your neighbor”. This outburst was a commentary on Hiroshima. The Jesuit Gundlach, Rector of the Papal University, claimed that an atomic war and its aftermath would be the “conscientious acknowledgement of divine revelation”, since “we know first of all the world will not last forever, and secondly, we are not responsible bor the end of the world…” These comments were expressed during the 1950s, when an atomic war was “winnable” for the western world. Today, since it is popularly accepted that no one can “win” an atomic war, the Church has officially revised its attitude and now speaks of “arrangement” with the Nuklear States.
Despite the recent introduction of sports at Christian schools, one should not forget that the Christian religion has never expressed much interest in Health and bodyily well-being. This is more the ample revealed in many parts of the bible, and in the lifestyles of many early Christians (eg the Syrian monks who went around naked, eating grass) often presented to us a model to follow. Interestingly, the abolishment of the Olympic Games by Theodocius I in 393 AD was a “victory” of Christianity over paganism. As long as the Christians held sway, the Olympic Games were never resumed. Finally in our modern era, as the power of the Church began to ebb, was it possible to renew this Competition of the Body.
It is possible that the originators of Christianity did not fully comprehend that their new religion would destroy man’s relationship with Nature. For this reason, it is even more tragic, that the present day leaders of the Churches do not (or will not) acknowledge that their religion is destroying Nature. This anti-Nature position runs through all Christian sects. The Catholics profess a disgust with the world, while the Protestants are the ones who initiated the Industrial Revolution, which has done more to upset the harmony of Nature, and man’s relationship with Nature, than anything else. It’s really impossible for the Church to become ecological. They has some 2000 years, with a monopoly of power, to teach markind to respect Nature, and they did nothing (Surprising, since the Church also teaches that god made Nature.)
A key to understanding why the Christian Churches have made no effort at developing an awareness of Nature is that their alledged Founder commented “My kingdom is not of this world.” Since Christians believe that this world is just a short stopping place on their journey to eternity, then why should they express any interest in the welfare of Nature?
Since both Jews and Christians consider the bible as their Book of Rules, people should be very cautious of pastors who are pro-ecology. The bible is full of anti-Nature and anti-ecology verses. Throughout the 2000 year history of Christianity, no concerted effort was ever untertaken to teach people that we can not live without Nature. In fact, to the contrary, the Church has long preached that the world ( i.e. Nature) belongs to Satan. All the “bad” things of the world were put here as revenge by god for the “sin” of Adam who only wanted to learn, to exercise his god-given(?) brain.
“To be a Christian, means to acknowledge, that we are sinners incapable of good actions. This self-condemnation can only be redeemed through the death and resurrection of Jesus.”
Paul considered all human urges and drives to be sinful and must be overcome. In reality, of course, it is completely different. These drives are Nature-endowed. Without it there would be no life. Even Paul would never have been Born.
The chief error of Christian teaching is that they have preached that all human drives are tabu. Thus tabu-izing of natural human urges had led to all sorts of neuroses and mental illness.
Perhaps the most sinister facet of Christian teaching is the kind of “re-insurrance” doctrine. For example, if someone tries to discuss with a convinced Christian the various dogmas and teachings, and during the discussion lets it be known that he wishes to find logic in the teaching, than the Christian feels threatened, and gets the feeling that he is being “tempted by the devil”. Any recognition that the other person may be right, will cause quilt feelings in the Christian. Christians have duped themselves into believing that they have a monopoly on truth, and no one should even dare upset them with facts. Curiously, a professed enemy of the church, the Communists, have also developed an identical attitude!
Simple Nature-folk, such as our forefathers treated plants, animals, rivers, trees, etc as if they had their own consciousness. Christians look upon this belief-structure as primitive, although from such a belief-structure it is impossible to have a burning river (eg the Cuyohoga River in the 1970s by Cleveland).
The Indian Chief, Seattle, once penned a criticism of North American Christians:
“We know for a fact, that earth does not belong to
mankind, but mankind belongs to the earth.
We know that everything is bound together,
like the blood of a family. What attacks the earth,
attacks also the sons of earth.
Mankind doesn’t create the web of life,
he is merely a thread in the web.
Whatever he does to harm the web, he does to harm himself.”
Nowhere in the bible or in Christian tradition can a similar or identical commentary be found. The bible even claims that man was made separate from Nature. From the world’s dust, but with an extra-terrestial soul.
The Calvinist-Protestants introduced the idea that this sinful world should, like sins, be defeated rather than merely endured patiently. That shocked the few remaining heirs of our ancestors. The Christians had waited almost a 1000 years for the “second Coming”, nothing happened, so now the Christians, in the aftermath of the Reformation, have decided to rearrange the world to suit their thinking. This led to more persecution. Our forefathers wanted, as we do today, to walk down a happy road, free of redemption ethnic and other anti-human and anti-Nature imports from the Eastern world. We wanted a strong recognition of our Responsibility for Nature. Then and Now.
Christians who want to be ecologists are trying to serve two masters. They are actually lost, since they are over-looking an essential ingredient of Christianity, doveteling the belief in an imaginary “out there” (which allows for trampling people “here”) with the attitude that this world has no value in and of itself. And anyway, so goes the Christian message, everything is the Will of god. So why really get concerned? Christianity’s relation to Nature is similar to Communism’s relation to aristocratic lifestyles – perhaps well meant, but basically in violation of its own ethic. A religion that views natural catastrophes as acts of god punishing a sinful world, can never really develop a pro-Nature philosophy.
“If god sends troubles, he sends endurance also” say Christians. And this attitude underlines their belief that everything is controlled by some higher order, we, therefore, have no real control….or responsibility. And since we have no real responsibility, we are free to do as we please, since god controls everything anyway. Or as the Jesuit Gundlach observed: “They don’t sow or reap, and god feeds them just as well”.
To ascertain how a religion relates to Nature, one must study the relationship between natural things and man as understood by the religion. With our forefathers, before the invasion of Christianity, we had a happy wood-Culture. The forest was our all. We obtained food, building material, protection, grazing land, everything we wanted came from the Forest. Understandably, trees were ennobled, we saw in it all phrases of the life cycle. Seedlings, young twigs, full-grown trees, and fallen trees, as well as renewed growth. Our sacred groves were often marked by stately old trees. Certain elderly trees were often used a meeting places. Trees weren’t looked upon as people, but as the symbol of life.
Perhaps that is why the Christians made such a scene at chopping down and burning our sacred trees, since such trees could not relate with a philosophy of a religion of death and of “out there”. The Christians justified their actions with the bible: “Destroy their altars, smash their gods, uproot their groves” (2 Moses 34: 13). So viewed this oriental religion the belief-structures and Nature-love of other peoples.
Regrettably little has survived, and today, we have only a handful of wooden objects carved by our ancestors. Everything was boldly destroyed by the “Religion of Love”.
Our forefathers viewed the sun as the source of life, and original source of energy. Fire was considered a relative of the sun, and within the framework of the raw northern climate, fire was protected within the center of our villages. During the Night of Consecration, as the symbolic world fire was put out we would gather around to light the new fire of the New Year. Each would then take a lighted branch home, ignite their stove fire, and thus share in the eternal death and rebirth of all things in the world.
Christianity doesn’t appreciate any of this. In Palestine, birthplace of the eastern religions, there are no “Sonnenwend”- fires (Solstice fires). Interestingly, the Christians were never successful in uprooting our Solstice fires customs . So they changed the “interpretation” of the fire. The winter solstice fire became the Christmette (Christmas eve carolling) and the summer solstice fire became the Johannesfeuer (to honor St. John the Baptist – who never even witnessed a Sonnenwendfeuer!).
The Easter celebration was originally our Feast of Spring denoting the lengthening days. It had nothing to do with biblical fantasies. The Christians’ were also unable to destroy this custom, so they also changed.the meanings. The regrowth of Nature in Spring was equated with the Resurrection of Christ. Of course since no one can prove that Christ ever lived, what is the sense of worrying whether he rose from the dead. Nevertheless, our forefathers have maintained their Easter customs (Easter egg, Easter rabbit, drawing of the Easter water) to this day and we will always practice these customs. Always.
Pentecost, known to our forefathers as Holy Mayen, was our way of celebrating the full unfolding of Nature in all its summertime beauty. The Christians, of course, tried to destroy this meaning, attempting to replace it with the recollection of an apparation of a holy “ghost” to 12 men, descending upon them as tongues of fire. An eastern concept, that may make sense to orientals, but means absolutely nothing to western man.
The shrovetide and carnival times were also our holidays. The Christians comandeered them and altered their meaning. For us, particularly the Germans along the river Rhine, it meant the blessing of the Spring god Nerthus. Our forefathers would pull a cart in the form of a ship through the land, announcing that the grip of the Ice Giant was broken. Today, the burning of scarecrows at this time, are carry-overs of this old custom. As an example of how sinister the Churches changed and altered our customs: The original Latin word for our carnivals (carrus navalis = cart ship) was written as carne vale (goodbye to meat).
The Christians were not content to misuse our holidays. They also set about to introduce totally new meanings to all our Nature symbols. The Owl, symbol of the goddess Freya and protectoress of home and stove, was degraded to a bird of death. The Ravens of Wotan became birds of bad luck. His horse as “impure”. The eating of horsemeat, a popular source of nourishment for our forefathers, was forbidden under punishment of death.
The cuckoo bird, which for our forefathers was the rain bird, was condemned as the bird of the devil. Luckily, however, many of our old sayings have survived and in Germany, we still have phrases such as “hol’s der Kuckuck” (catch a falling star).
The number 13 was a lucky number for our forefathers, recognizing the 13 revolutions of the moon in one year. The Christians made the number an unlucky number.
There are many other examples of how the Christians, expressing their hatred of things of nature, turned and twisted the meaning of all our precious customs. Wotan himself, the fame bedecked Rupprecht, symbol of life, was degraded to servant Rupprecht with the belief that no decent North European would ever consider praying to a “servant”.
Our forefathers lived in harmony with Nature. Our religion reflected that. None of our gods were viewed as personalities, this heresy was concocted by the Christians, who think their god is a personality. It is important, that, as we observe the impending collapse of Nature, that we rediscover who we are, what we are, and reawaken our desire to live as free men, to live as our forefathers did.
Christianity and Women
In pondering the relation of a religion to Nature, we must also investigate what kind of relation it has with women.
For our forefathers, the vessel and nourisher of life was held in very high esteem, considered an equal, a peer. Roman and Christian contemporaries of our forefathers remarked with astonishment that we considered women as equal with men. Older women, those beyond child-bearing years, were especially highly praised, were viewed as prophets. Their place of honor at an assembly was attractively adorned. The German expression of this place of honor was “die im Hag Sitzende” (one who sits in a special enclosure). As an example of how the Christians twisted and destroyed our customs, this phrase gradually found its way into the
English-speaking world. The word Hag also means bush or grove, hence the derogative Christian-English expression for old women: old hags.
With the arrival of Christianity, the old beliefs were changed. Women, according to Paul, should not say anything in the community, should shut up! Women was the source of sin, and a piece of impure dirty meat. At the council of Nicea, the Christians actually discussed with all seriousness whether women were people or animals! At the Synod of Macon, Burgundy, it was determined that women are animals (October 23rd, 585). The Church fathers such as Ambrose, Augustine, and John Chrysostomus said that women are sub-human, created only to serve men. Thomas of Acquinas, named by the Church as its primary teacher, preached that women are men that did not get fully formed! Girl babies were considered so unlucky, that the Church went through all sorts of philosophical contortions to explain how such “mistakes” could happen: mal-formed male sperm, defects in the womb, damp south winds, too much rain (women have more water than men!). The highly appreciated “Hag” of the Germans evolved into the witches of modern day Christianity. And witches, of course, had to be burned at the stake.., one million alone in the 17th century. In the 18th century a Swedish protestant bishop, Troilus, lamented that his flock was not active in persecuting witches.
As recently as 1918, the Roman Catholic Church’s Canon Code permitted a husband to starve, beat, bind and lock up his wife (till death do us part, presumably) .
The act of love was viewed by the church father Augustine as “abnormal, ndevilish, burning tumor, disgusting passion, corruption, loathing slime”. Church father Bonaventure said loving was stinking. Church teacher Bernhard of Clairvaux claimed that people who had intercourse, descended to depths lower the swine. For 2000 years, the Church has constantly condemned marriage, holding up eunuchs such as Origines and Tertullian as models rather than married men.
The idea of using women as things to sell like cattle is an eastern idea, one foreign to western people. Yet the Religion of Love (love but don’t touch?) grafted this horrendous practice onto the western scene.
Of course the Church did make one exception, the so-called Mother of God. This Mary, which the churches used as a substitute for the dust that we came from, was given as a model for females. Alledgedly, Mary was “overcome” by the Holy Spirit, but there is increasing evidence that she was actually fooling around with some Roman soldiers stationed in Palestine. According to the Matthew gospel, Joseph, her husband, wanted to leave her because of this (1 Matt 18/19). The soldier who Mary loved was named Panthera, and the outcome of this union was “Jesus ben Panthera”.
In 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Doctrine that Mary was literally taken up to heaven after she died. Of course, he never remarked about why she had to die in the first place. And why is that no man has been so priveledged? Is it because more women than men go to Church?
Seeing how the Church has strapped women over the past 200 centuries, it is a little easy to understand the emancipation effort, the feminist movement, of recent years.
Nordic Religion: the Answer
For us it is a self-understood given that women are equal with men. The equality granted women in American elections was essentially the rebirth of an old Nordic custom.
Monotheistic religions are desert religions. Their background is the eternal fight against a harsh environment. Christianity, which stems from this desert region, developed a Nature-hating philosophy which is solely responsible for today’s grim condition of Nature. Without a revival of our old Religion, we stand in the real danger of not being able to stop the destruction of our planet.
Orientalism in the form of Christianity swamped us in days of old. We are the sole survivors. It is up to us to renew in people a respect for the world, a respect for Nature. We can’t give up, we owe it to our children…and to the memory of our forefathers who heroically tried to stop this nonsense from destroying their (and our) world. Heathenism is our salvation. Now.
We must do everything we can to resist and win back lost ground. Luckily, Christianity has no philosophy that can withstand intelligent arguments. But they do have money, wealth, prestige, and political influence. We have, in comparision nothing but honest convictions. But we must continue the battle. Speak with “Christians”. There are actually only a very small number of “real” Christians. Most who claim to be Christian, have not even the foggiest notion why they are members of this Oriental relgion.
Today, the traditional oriental religions such as Christianity has lost some of its appeal. In its vacuum, however, have come other profit-oriented relgions out of the mysterious orient.
As Christianity begins to whither and die, a new thinking process has set in, especially among the youth. What will become of us. What will follow Christianity.
If we set ourselves, today and now, to preaching our religion, we will succeed. Of course, in opposition to Christian methods of “preaching”, we do not engage in any kind of subterfuge, no hoodwinking, no threats, no persecution, no hate. We merely engage in sensible discussion with other Northerners, other people who trace their ancestry to Northern Europe, other people who can fully appreciate and understand what we are saying, what we believe.
We surrvived 2000 years Christian persecution, that alone gives us hope for the future.
Christianity, as religion of death and disrespect for Nature, gave us symbols such as the cross, an executioners instrument. The Nordic Relgion, the religion of life and respect for Nature, offers us a symbol of a living tree, the symbol of Irminsul.
Can we still conceive of the revival of pagan sensibility in an age so profoundly saturated by Judeo-Christian monotheism and so ardently adhering to the tenets of liberal democracy? In popular parlance the very word “paganism” may incite some to derision and laughter. Who, after all, wants to be associated with witches and witchcraft, with sorcery and black magic? Worshiping animals or plants, or chanting hymns to Wotan or Zeus, in an epoch of cable television and “smart weapons,” does not augur well for serious intellectual and academic inquiry. Yet, before we begin to heap scorn on paganism, we should pause for a moment. Paganism is not just witches and witches’ brew; paganism also means a mix of highly speculative theories and philosophies. Paganism is Seneca and Tacitus; it is an artistic and cultural movement that swept over Italy under the banner of the Renaissance. Paganism also means Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Charles Darwin, and a host of other thinkers associated with the Western cultural heritage. Two thousand years of Judeo-Christianity have not obscured the fact that pagan thought has not yet disappeared, even though it has often been blurred, stifled, or persecuted by monotheistic religions and their secular offshoots. Undoubtedly, many would admit that in the realm of ethics all men and women of the world are the children of Abraham. Indeed, even the bolder ones who somewhat self-righteously claim to have rejected the Christian or Jewish theologies, and who claim to have replaced them with “secular humanism,” frequently ignore that their self-styled secular beliefs are firmly grounded in Judeo-Christian ethics. Abraham and Moses may be dethroned today, but their moral edicts and spiritual ordinances are much alive. The global and disenchanted world, accompanied by the litany of human rights, ecumenical society, and the rule of law-are these not principles that can be traced directly to the Judeo-Christian messianism that resurfaces today in its secular version under the elegant garb of modern “progressive” ideologies?
And yet, we should not forget that the Western world did not begin with the birth of Christ. Neither did the religions of ancient Europeans see the first light of the day with Moses-in the desert. Nor did our much-vaunted democracy begin with the period of Enlightenment or with the proclamation of American independence. Democracy and independence-all of this existed in ancient Greece, albeit in its own unique social and religious context. Our Greco-Roman ancestors, our predecessors who roamed the woods of central and northern Europe, also believed in honor, justice, and virtue, although they attached to these notions a radically different meaning. Attempting to judge, therefore, ancient European political and religious manifestations through the lens of our ethnocentric and reductionist glasses could mean losing sight of how much we have departed from our ancient heritage, as well as forgetting that modern intellectual epistemology and methodology have been greatly influenced by the Bible. Just because we profess historical optimism – or believe in the progress of the modem “therapeutic state”- does not necessarily mean that our society is indeed the “best of all worlds.” Who knows, with the death of communism, with the exhaustion of liberalism, with the visible depletion of the congregations in churches and synagogues, we may be witnessing the dawn of neopaganism, a new blossoming of old cultures, a return to the roots that are directly tied to our ancient European precursors. Who can dispute the fact that Athens was the homeland of Europeans before Jerusalem became their frequently painful edifice?
Great lamenting is heard from all quarters of our disenchanted and barren world today. Gods seem to have departed, as Nietzsche predicted a century ago, ideologies arc dead, and liberalism hardly seems capable of providing man with enduring spiritual support. Maybe the time has come to search for other paradigms? Perhaps the moment is ripe, as Alain dc Benoist would argue, to envision another cultural and spiritual revolution-a revolution that might well embody our pre-Christian European pagan heritage?
Nietzsche well understood the meaning of “Athens against Jerusalem.” Referring to ancient paganism, which he called “the greatest utility of polytheism,” he wrote in The Joyful Wisdom:
There was then only one norm, the man and even people believed that it had this one and ultimate norm. But, above himself, and outside of himself, in a distant over-world a person could see a multitude of norms: the one God was not the denial or blasphemy of the other Gods! It was here that the right of individuals was first respected. The inventing of Gods, heroes, and supermen of all kinds, as well as co-ordinate men and undermen – dwarfs, fairies, centaurs, satyrs, demons, devils-was the inestimable preliminary to the justification of the selfishness and sovereignty of the individual: the freedom which was granted to one God in respect to other Gods, was at last given to the individual himself in respect to laws, customs, and neighbors. Monotheism, on the contrary, the rigid consequence of one normal human being-consequently, the belief in a normal God, beside whom there are only false spurious Gods-has perhaps been the greatest danger of mankind in the past.
Jehovah is not only a “jealous” god, but he can also show hatred: “Yet, I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau” (Malachi 1:3). lie recommends hatred to all those w ho call out his name: “Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 1 hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies” (Psalm 139: 21-22). “Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, 0 God” (Psalm 139:19). Jeremiah cries out: “Render unto them a recompense, O Lord, according to the work of their hands. . . . Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:64-66). The book of Jeremiah is a long series of maledictions and curses hurled against peoples and nations. His contemplation of future punishments fills him with gloomy delight. “Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: … bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction” (Lam. 17:18). “Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their men be put to death” (Lam. 18:21).
Further. Jehovah promises the Hebrews that he will support them in their war efforts: “When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land” (Deuteronomy 12:29). “But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth” (Deut. 20:16). Jehovah himself gave an example of a genocide by provoking the Deluge against the humanity that sinned against him. While he resided with the Philistine King Achish, David also practiced genocide (1 Samuel 27:9). Moses organized the extermination of the Midian people (Numbers 31:7). Joshua massacred the inhabitants of Hazor and Anakim. “And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms. And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire” (Joshua 11:10-11, 20-21). The messianic king extolled by Solomon was also known for his reign of terror: “May he purify Jerusalem for all gentiles who trample on it miserably, may he exterminate by his wisdom, justice the sinners of this country… May he destroy the impious nations with the words from his mouth.” Hatred against pagans is also visible in the books of Esther, Judith, etc.
“No ancient religion, except that of the Hebrew people has known such a degree of intolerance,” says Emile Gillabert in Moise et le phénomène judéo-chrétien (1976). Renan had written in similar terms: “The intolerance of the Semitic peoples is the inevitable consequence of their monotheism. The Indo-European peoples, before they converted to Semitic ideas, had never considered their religion an absolute truth. Rather, they conceived of it as a heritage of the family, or the caste, and in this way they remained foreign to intolerance and proselytism. This is why we find among these peoples the liberty of thought, the spirit of inquiry and individual research.” Of course, one should not look at this problem in a black and white manner, or for instance compare and contrast one platitude to another platitude. There have always been, at all times, and everywhere, massacres and exterminations. But it would be difficult to find in the pagan texts, be they of sacred or profane nature, the equivalent of what one so frequently encounters in the Bible: the idea that these massacres could be morally justified, that they could be deliberately authorized and ordained by one god, “as Moses the servant of the Lord commanded” (Joshua 11:12). Thus, for the perpetrators of these crimes, good consciousness continues to rule, not despite these massacres, but entirely for the sake of the massacres.
A lot of ink has been spilled over this tradition of intolerance. Particularly contentious are the words of Jesus as recorded by Luke: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Some claim to perceive in the word “hate” a certain form of Hebraism; apparently, these words suggest that Jesus had to be absolutely preferred to all other human beings. Some claim to see in it traces of Gnostic contamination that suggest renouncement. despoliation of goods, and the refusal of procreation. In this context, the obligation to “hate” one’s parents is to be viewed as a corollary of not wishing to have children.
These interpretations remain pure conjecture. What is certain is that Christian intolerance began to manifest itself very early. In the course of history this intolerance was directed against “infidels” as well as against pagans, Jews, and heretics. It accompanied the extermination of all aspects of ancient culture-the murder of Julius of Hypati, the interdiction of pagan cults, the destruction of temples and statues, the suppression of the Olympic Games, and the arson, at the instigation of the town’s Bishop Theophilus of Sarapeum, ch by its own deliberate act has subordinated itself to an alien “jurisdiction,” and which by doing so denies this very same jurisdiction to its legitimate (Jewish) owners. Furthermore, it imprisons the Jews who, by virtue of a religion different from their own, are now undeservedly caught in the would-be place of their “accomplishment” by means of a religion which is not their own. Trigano further adds: “If Judeo-Christianity laid the foundations of the West, then the very place of Israel is also the West.” Subsequently, the requisites of “Westernization” must also become the requisites of assimilation and “normalization,” and the denial of identity. “The crisis of Jewish normality is the crisis of the westernization of Judaism. Therefore, to exit from the West means for the Jews to turn their back to their ‘normality,’ that is, to open themselves up to their otherness.” This seems to be why Jewish communities today criticize the “Western model,” only after they first adopt their own specific history of a semi-amnesiac and semi-critical attitude.
In view of this, Christian anti-Semitism can be rightly described as neurosis. As Jean Blot writes, it is because of its “predisposition toward alienation” that the West is incapable of “fulfilling itself or rediscovering itself.” And from this source arises anti-Semitic neurosis. “Anti-semitism allows the anti-Semite to project onto the Jew his own neuroses. He calls him a stranger, because he himself is a stranger, a crook, a powerful man, a parvenu; he calls him a Jew, because he himself is this Jew in the deepest depth of his soul, always on the move, permanently alienated, a stranger to his own religion and to God who incarnates him.” By replacing his original myth with the myth of biblical monotheism, the West has turned Hebraism into its own superego. As an inevitable consequence, the West had to turn itself against the Jewish people by accusing them of not pursuing the “conversion” in terms of the “logical” evolution proceeding from Sinai to Christianity. In addition, the West also accused the Jewish people of attempting, in an apparent “deicide,” to obstruct this evolution.
Many, even today, assume that if Jews were to renounce their distinct identity, “the Jewish problem” would disappear. At best, this is a naive proposition, and at worst, it masks a conscious or unconscious form of anti-Semitism. Furthermore, this proposition, which is inherent in the racism of assimilation and the denial of identity, represents the reverse side of the racism of exclusion and persecution. In the West, notes Shmuel Trigano. when the Jews were not persecuted, they “were recognized as Jews only on the condition that they first ceased to be Jews.” Put another way, in order to be accepted, they had to reject themselves; they had to renounce their own Other in order to be reduced to the Same. In another type of racism, Jews are accepted but denied; in the first, they are accepted but are not recognized. The Church ordered Jews to choose between exclusion (or physical death) or self-denial (spiritual and historical death). Only through conversion could they become “Christians, as others.”
The French Revolution emancipated Jews as individuals, but it condemned them to disappear as a “nation”; in this sense, they were forced to become “citizens as others.” Marxism, too, attempted to ensure the “liberation” of the Jewish people by imposing on them a class division, from which their dispersion inevitably resulted.
The origins of modem totalitarianism are not difficult to trace. In a secular form, they are tied to the same radical strains of intolerance whose religious causes we have just examined. The organization of totalitarianism is patterned after the organization of the Christian Church, and in a similar manner totalitarianisms exploit the themes of the “masses”-the themes inherent in contemporary mass democracy. This secularization of the system has, in fact, rendered totalitarianism more dangerous-independently of the fact that religious intolerance often triggers, in return, an equally destructive revolutionary intolerance. “Totalitarianism,” writes Gilbert Durand, “is further strengthened, in so far as the powers of monotheist theology (which at least left the game of transcendence intact) have been transferred to a human institution, to the Grand Inquisitor.”
It is a serious error to assume that totalitarianism manifests its real character only when it employs crushing coercion. Historical experience has demonstrated-and continues to demonstrate-that there can exist a “clean” totalitarianism, which, in a “soft” manner, yields the same consequences as the classic kinds of totalitarianism. “Happy robots” of 1984 or of Brave New World have no more enviable conditions than prisoners of the camps. In essence, totalitarianism did not originate with Saint-Just, Stalin, Hegel, or Fichte. Rather, as Michel Maffesoli says, totalitarianism emerges “when a subtle form of plural, polytheistic, and contradictory totality, that is inherent in organic interdependency” is superseded by a monotheistic one. Totalitarianism grows out of a desire to establish social and human unity by reducing the diversity of individuals and peoples to a single model. In this sense, he argues, it is legitimate to speak of a “polytheist social arena, referring to multiple and complementary gods” versus a “monotheistic political arena founded on the illusion of unity.” Once the polytheism of values “disappears, we face totalitarianism.” Pagan thought, on the other hand, which fundamentally remains attached to rootedness and to the place, and which is a preferential center of the crystallization of human identity, rejects all religious and philosophical forms of universalism.
Democracy Revisited: The Ancients and the Moderns
Alain de Benoist
“The defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy,” wrote George Orwell.1 This does not seem to be a recent phenomenon. Guizot remarked in 1849: “So powerful is the sway of the word democracy, that no government and no party dares to live, or thinks it can, without inscribing this word on its banner.”2 This is truer today than ever before. Not everybody is a democrat, but everybody pretends to be one. There is no dictatorship that does not regard itself as a democracy. The former communist countries of Eastern Europe did not merely represent themselves as democratic, as attested by their constitutions;3 they vaunted themselves as the only real democracies, in contrast to the “formal” democracies of the West.
The near unanimity on democracy as a word, albeit not always a fact, gives the notion of democracy a moral and almost religious content, which, from the very outset, discourages further discussion. Many authors have recognized this problem. Thus, in 1939, T.S. Eliot declared: “When a word acquires a universally sacred character . . . , as has today the word democracy, I begin to wonder, whether, by all it attempts to mean, it still means anything at all.”4 Bertrand de Jouvenel was even more explicit: “The discussion on democracy, the arguments in its favor, or against it, point frequently to a degree of intellectual shallowness, because it is not quite clear what this discussion is all about.”5 Giovanni Sartori added in 1962: “In a somewhat paradoxical vein, democracy could be defined as a high-flown name for something which does not exist.”6 Julien Freund also noted, in a somewhat witty tone:
To claim to be a democrat means little, because one can be a democrat in a contradictory manner—either in the manner of the Americans or the English, or like the East European communists, Congolese, or Cubans. It is perfectly natural that under such circumstances I refuse to be a democrat, because my neighbor might be an adherent of dictatorship while invoking the word democracy.7
Thus we can see that the universal propagation of the term democracy does not contribute much to clarifying the meaning of democracy. Undoubtedly, we need to go a step further.
The first idea that needs to be dismissed—an idea still cherished by some—is that democracy is a specific product of the modern era, and that democracy corresponds to a “developed stage” in the history of political regimes.8 This does not seem to be substantiated by the facts. Democracy is neither more “modern” nor more “evolved” than other forms of governance. Governments with democratic tendencies have appeared throughout history. We note that the linear perspective used in this type of analysis can be particularly deceiving. The idea of progress, when applied to a political regime, appears devoid of meaning. If one subscribes to this type of linear reasoning, it is easy to advance the argument of the “self-evidence” of democracy, which, according to liberals, arises “spontaneously” in the realm of political affairs just as the market “spontaneously” accords with the logic of demand and supply. Jean Baechler notes:
If we accept the hypothesis that men, as an animal species(sic), aspire spontaneously to a democratic regime which promises them security, prosperity, and liberty, we must then also conclude that, the minute these requirements have been met, the democratic experience automatically emerges, without ever needing the framework of ideas.9
What exactly are these “requirements” that produce democracy, in the same manner as fire causes heat? They bear closer examination.
In contrast to the Orient, absolute despotism has always been rare in Europe. Whether in ancient Rome, or in Homer’s Iliad, Vedantic India, or among the Hittites, one can observe very early the existence of popular assemblies, both military and civilian. In Indo-European societies kings were usually elected; in fact, all ancient monarchies were first elective monarchies. Tacitus relates that among the Germans chieftains were elected on account of their valor, and kings on account of their noble birth (reges ex nobilitate duces ex virtute sumunt). In France, for instance, the crown was long both elective and hereditary. It was only with Pippin the Short that the king was chosen from within the same family, and only after Hugh Capet that the principle of primogeniture was adopted. In Scandinavia, the king was elected by a provincial assembly; that election had then to be confirmed by the other national assemblies.
Among the Germanic peoples the practice of “shielding”—or raising the new king on his soldiers’ shields—was widespread.10 The Holy Roman Emperor was also elected, and the importance of the role of the princely electors in the history of Germany should not be neglected. By and large, it was only with the beginning of the twelfth century in Europe that elective monarchy gradually gave way to hereditary monarchy. Until the French Revolution, kings ruled with the aid of parliaments which possessed considerable executive powers. In almost all European communities it was long the status of freeman that conferred political rights on the citizen. “Citizens” were constituent members of free popular communes, which among other things possessed their own municipal charters, and sovereign rulers were surrounded by councils in the decision-making process. Moreover, the influence of customary law on juridical practice was an index of popular “participation” in defining the laws. In short, it cannot be stated that Europe’s old monarchies were devoid of popular legitimacy.
The oldest parliament in the Western world, the althing, the federal assembly of Iceland, whose members gathered yearly in the inspired setting of Thingvellir, emerged as early as 930 A.D. Adam von Bremen wrote in 1076: “They have no king, only the laws.” The thing, or local parliament, designated both a location and the assembly where freemen with equal political rights convened at a fixed date in order to legislate and render justice.11 In Iceland the freeman enjoyed two inalienable privileges: he had a right to bear arms and to a seat in the thing. “The Icelanders,” writes Frederick Durand
created and experienced what one could call by some uncertain yet suggestive analogy a kind of Nordic Hellas, i.e., a community of freemen who participated actively in the affairs of the community. Those communities were surprisingly well cultivated and intellectually productive, and, in addition, were united by bonds based on esteem and respect.12
“Scandinavian democracy is very old and one can trace its origins to the Viking era,” observes Maurice Gravier.13 In all of northern Europe this “democratic” tradition was anchored in a very strong communitarian sentiment, a propensity to “live together” (zusammenleben), which constantly fostered the primacy of the common interest over that of the individual. Such democracy, typically, included a certain hierarchical structure, which explains why one could describe it as “aristo-democracy.” This tradition, based also on the concept of mutual assistance and a sense of common responsibility, remains alive in many countries today, for instance, in Switzerland.
The belief that the people were originally the possessor of power was common throughout the Middle Ages. Whereas the clergy limited itself to the proclamation omnis potestas a Deo, other theorists argued that power could emanate from God only through the intercession of the people. The belief of the “power of divine right” should therefore be seen in an indirect form, and not excluding the reality of the people. Thus, Marsilius of Padua did not hesitate to proclaim the concept of popular sovereignty; significantly, he did so in order to defend the supremacy of the emperor (at the time, Ludwig of Bavaria) over the Church. The idea of linking the principle of the people to its leaders was further emphasized in the formula populus et proceres (the people and the nobles), which appears frequently in old texts.
Here we should recall the democratic tendencies evident in ancient Rome,14 the republics of medieval Italy, the French and Flemish communes, the Hanseatic municipalities, and the free Swiss cantons. Let us further note the ancient boerenvrijheid (“peasants’ freedom”) that prevailed in medieval Frisian provinces and whose equivalent could be found along the North Sea, in the Low Lands, in Flanders, Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Finally, it is worth mentioning the existence of important communal movements based on free corporate structures, the function of which was to provide mutual help and to pursue economic and political goals. Sometimes these movements clashed with king and Church, which were supported by the burgeoning bourgeoisie. At other times, however, communal movements backed the monarchy in its fight against the feudal lords, thus contributing to the rise of the mercantile bourgeoisie.15
In reality, most political regimes throughout history can be qualified as mixed ones. “All ancient democracies,” writes François Perroux, “were governed by a de facto or de jure aristocracy, unless they were governed by a monarchical principle.”16 According to Aristotle, Solon’s constitution was oligarchic in terms of its Areopagus, aristocratic in terms of its magistrates, and democratic in terms of the make-up of its tribunals. It combined the advantages of each type of government. Similarly, Polybius argues that Rome was, in view of the power of its consuls, an elective monarchy; in regard to the powers of the Senate, an aristocracy; and regarding the rights of the people, a democracy. Cicero, in his De Republica, advances a similar view. Monarchy need not exclude democracy, as is shown by the example of contemporary constitutional and parliamentary monarchies today. After all, it was the French monarchy in 1789 that convoked the Estates-General. “[D]emocracy, taken in the broad sense, admits of various forms,” observed Pope Pius XII, “and can be realized in monarchies as well as in republics.”17
Let us add that the experience of modern times demonstrates that neither government nor institutions need play a decisive role in shaping social life. Comparable types of government may disguise different types of societies, whereas different governmental forms may mask identical social realities. (Western societies today have an extremely homogeneous structure even though their institutions and constitutions sometimes offer substantial differences.)
So now the task of defining democracy appears even more difficult. The etymological approach has its limits. According to its original meaning, democracy means “the power of the people.” Yet this power can be interpreted in different ways. The most reasonable approach, therefore, seems to be the historical approach—an approach that explains “genuine” democracy as first of all the political system of that ancient people that simultaneously invented the word and the fact.
The notion of democracy did not appear at all in modern political thought until the eighteenth century. Even then its mention was sporadic, frequently with a pejorative connotation. Prior to the French Revolution the most “advanced” philosophers had fantasized about mixed regimes combining the advantages of an “enlightened” monarchy and popular representation. Montesquieu acknowledged that a people could have the right to control, but not the right to rule. Not a single revolutionary constitution claimed to have been inspired by “democratic” principles. Robespierre was, indeed, a rare person for that epoch, who toward the end of his reign, explicitly mentioned democracy (which did not however contribute to the strengthening of his popularity in the years to come), a regime that he defined as a representative form of government, i.e., “a state in which the sovereign people, guided by laws which are of their own making, do for themselves all that they can do well, and by their delegates do all that they cannot do themselves.” 18
It was in the United States that the word democracy first became widespread, notably when the notion of “republic” was contrasted to the notion of “democracy.” Its usage became current at the beginning of the nineteenth century, especially with the advent of Jacksonian democracy and the subsequent establishment of the Democratic Party. The word, in turn, crossed the Atlantic again and became firmly implanted in Europe—to the profit of the constitutional debates that filled the first half of the nineteenth century. Tocqueville’s book Democracy in America, the success of which was considerable, made the term a household word.
Despite numerous citations, inspired by antiquity, that adorned the philosophical and political discourse of the eighteenth century, the genuine legacy drawn from ancient democracy was at that time very weak. The philosophers seemed more enthralled with the example of Sparta than Athens. The debate “Sparta vs. Athens,” frequently distorted by bias or ignorance, pitted the partisans of authoritarian egalitarianism against the tenets of moderate liberalism.19 Rousseau, for instance, who abominated Athens, expressed sentiments that were rigorously pro-Spartiate. In his eyes, Sparta was first and foremost the city of equals (hómoioi). By contrast, when Camille Desmoulins thundered against Sparta, it was to denounce its excessive egalitarianism. He attacked the Girondin Brissot, that pro-Lycurgian, “who has rendered his citizens equal just as a tornado renders equal all those who are about to drown.” All in all, this type of discourse remained rather shallow. The cult of antiquity was primarily maintained as a metaphor for social regeneration, as exemplified by Saint-Just’s words hurled at the Convention: “The world has been empty since the Romans; their memory can replenish it and it can augur liberty.”20
If we wish now to continue our study of “genuine” democracy, we must once again turn to Greek democracy rather than to those regimes that the contemporary world designates by the word.
The comparison between ancient democracies and modern democracies has frequently turned into an academic exercise.21 It is generally emphasized that the former were direct democracies, whereas the latter (due to larger areas and populations) are representative democracies. Moreover, we are frequently reminded that slaves were excluded from the Athenian democracy; consequently, the idea emerged that Athens was not so democratic, after all. These two affirmations fall somewhat short of satisfying answers.
Readied by political and social evolution during the sixth century b.c., as well as by reforms made possible by Solon, Athenian democracy entered its founding stage with the reforms of Cleisthenes, who returned from exile in 508 b.c. Firmly established from 460 b.c., it continued to thrive for the next one hundred and fifty years. Pericles, who succeeded Ephialtes in 461 b.c., gave democracy an extraordinary reputation, which did not at all prevent him from exercising, for more than thirty years, a quasi-royal authority over the city.22
For the Greeks democracy was primarily defined23 by its relationship to two other systems: tyranny and aristocracy. Democracy presupposed three conditions: isonomy (equality before laws); isotimy (equal rights to accede to all public offices); and isegory (liberty of expression). This was direct democracy, known also as “face to face” democracy, since all citizens were allowed to take part in the ekklesía, or Assembly. Deliberations were prepared by the boulé(Council), although in fact it was the popular assembly that made policy. The popular assembly nominated ambassadors; decided over the issue of war and peace, preparing military expeditions or bringing an end to hostilities; investigated the performance of magistrates; issued decrees; ratified laws; bestowed the rights of citizenship; and deliberated on matters of Athenian security. In short, writes Jacqueline de Romilly, “the people ruled, instead of being ruled by elected individuals.” She cites the text of the oath given by the Athenians: “I will kill whoever by word, deed, vote, or hand attempts to destroy democracy…. And should somebody else kill him I will hold him in high esteem before the gods and divine powers, as if he had killed a public enemy.”24
Democracy in Athens meant first and foremost a community of citizens, that is, a community of people gathered in the ekklesía. Citizens were classified according to their membership in a deme—a grouping which had a territorial, social, and administrative significance. The term démos, which is of Doric origin, designates those who live in a given territory, with the territory constituting a place of origin and determining civic status.25 To some extent démos and ethnos coincide: democracy could not be conceived in relationship to the individual, but only in the relationship to the polis, that is to say, to the city in its capacity as an organized community. Slaves were excluded from voting not because they were slaves, but because they were not citizens. We seem shocked by this today, yet, after all, which democracy has ever given voting rights to non-citizens?26
The notions of citizenship, liberty, or equality of political rights, as well as of popular sovereignty, were intimately interrelated. The most essential element in the notion of citizenship was someone’s origin and heritage. Pericles was the “son of Xanthippus from the deme of Cholargus.” Beginning in 451 b.c., one had to be born of an Athenian mother and father in order to become a citizen. Defined by his heritage, the citizen (polítes) is opposed to idiótes, the non-citizen—a designation that quickly took on a pejorative meaning (from the notion of the rootless individual one arrived at the notion of “idiot”). Citizenship as function derived thus from the notion of citizenship as status, which was the exclusive prerogative of birth. To be a citizen meant, in the fullest sense of the word, to have a homeland, that is, to have both a homeland and a history. One is born an Athenian—one does not become one (with rare exceptions). Furthermore, the Athenian tradition discouraged mixed marriages. Political equality, established by law, flowed from common origins that sanctioned it as well. Only birth conferred individual politeía.27
Democracy was rooted in the concept of autochthonous citizenship, which intimately linked its exercise to the origins of those who exercised it. The Athenians in the fifth century celebrated themselves as “the autochthonous people of great Athens,” and it was within that founding myth that they placed the pivot of their democracy.28
In Greek, as well as in Latin, liberty proceeds from someone’s origin. Free man *(e)leudheros (Greek eleútheros), is primarily he who belongs to a certain “stock” (cf. in Latin the word liberi, “children”). “To be born of a good stock is to be free,” writes Emile Benveniste, “this is one and the same.”29 Similarly, in the German language, the kinship between the words frei, “free,” and Freund, “friend,” indicates that in the beginning, liberty sanctioned mutual relationship. The Indo-European root *leudh-, from which derive simultaneously the Latin liber and the Greek eleútheros, also served to designate “people” in the sense of a national group (cf. Old Slavonic ljudú, “people”; German Leute, “people,” both of which derive from the root evoking the idea of “growth and development”).
The original meaning of the word “liberty” does not suggest at all “liberation”—in a sense of emancipation from collectivity. Instead, it implies inheritance—which alone confers liberty. Thus when the Greeks spoke of liberty, they did not have in mind the right to break away from the tutelage of the city or the right to rid themselves of the constraints to which each citizen was bound. Rather, what they had in mind was the right, but also the political capability, guaranteed by law, to participate in the life of the city, to vote in the assembly, to elect magistrates, etc. Liberty did not legitimize secession; instead, it sanctioned its very opposite: the bond which tied the person to his city. This was not liberty-autonomy, but a liberty-participation; it was not meant to reach beyond the community, but was practised solely in the framework of the polis. Liberty meant adherence. The “liberty” of an individual without heritage, i.e. of a deracinated individual, was completely devoid of any meaning.
If we therefore assume that liberty was directly linked to the notion of democracy, then it must be added that liberty meant first and foremost the liberty of the people, from which subsequently the liberty of citizens proceeds. In other words, only the liberty of the people (or of the city) can lay the foundations for the equality of political and individual rights, i.e., rights enjoyed by individuals in the capacity of citizens. Liberty presupposes independence as its first condition. Man lives in society, and therefore individual liberty cannot exist without collective liberty. Among the Greeks, individuals were free because (and in so far as) their city was free.
When Aristotle defines man as a “political animal,” as a social being, when he asserts that the city precedes the individual and that only within society can the individual achieve his potential (Politics, 1253a 19–20), he also suggests that man should not be detached from his role of citizen, a person living in the framework of an organized community, of a polis, or a civitas. Aristotle’s views stand in contrast to the concept of modern liberalism, which posits that the individual precedes society, and that man, in the capacity of a self-sufficient individual, is at once something more than just a citizen.30
Hence, in a “community of freemen,” individual interests must never prevail over common interests. “All constitutions whose objectives are common interest,” writes Aristotle, “are in accordance with absolute justice. By contrast, those whose objective is the personal interest of the governors tend to be defective.” (Politics, 1279a 17sq). In contrast to what one can see, for instance, in Euripides’ works, the city in Aeschylus’ tragedies is regularly described as a communal entity. “This sense of community,” writes Moses I. Finley, “fortified by the state religion, the myths and traditions, was the essential source of success in Athenian democracy.”31
In Greece, adds Finley, “liberty meant the rule of law and participation in the decision- making process—and not necessarily the enjoyment of inalienable rights.”32 The law is identified with the genius of the city. “To obey the law meant to be devoted with zeal to the will of the community,” observes Paul Veyne.33 As Cicero wrote, only liberty can pave the way for legality: “Legum…servi sumus ut liberi esse possimus“ (“We are the servants of the law in order that we can be free,” Oratio pro Cluentio, 53.)
In his attempt to show that liberty is the fundamental principle of democracy (Politics, VII, 1), Aristotle succeeds in de-emphasizing the factor of equality. For the Greeks equality was only one means to democracy, though it could be an important one. Political equality, however, had to emanate from citizenship, i.e., from belonging to a given people. From this it follows that members of the same people (of the same city), irrespective of their differences, shared the desire to be citizens in the same and equal manner. This equality of rights by no means reflects a belief in natural equality. The equal right of all citizens to participate in the assembly does not mean that men are by nature equal (nor that it would be preferable that they were), but rather that they derive from their common heritage a common capacity to exercise the right of suffrage, which is the privilege of citizens. As the appropriate means to this téchne, equality remains exterior to man. This process, as much as it represents the logical consequence of common heritage, is also the condition for common participation. In the eyes of the ancient Greeks it was considered natural that all citizens be associated with political life not by virtue of universal and imprescriptible rights of humans as such, but from the fact of common citizenship. In the last analysis, the crucial notion was not equality but citizenship. Greek democracy was that form of government in which each citizen saw his liberty as firmly founded on an equality that conferred on him the right to civic and political liberties.
The study of ancient democracy has elicited divergent views from contemporary authors. For some, Athenian democracy is an admirable example of civic responsibility (Francesco Nitti); for others it evokes the realm of “activist” political parties (Paul Veyne); for yet others, ancient democracy is essentially totalitarian (Giovanni Sartori). 34 In general, everybody seems to concur that the difference between ancient democracy and modern democracy is considerable. Curiously, it is modern democracy that is used as a criterion for the democratic consistency of the former. This type of reasoning sounds rather odd. As we have observed, it was only belatedly that those modern national governments today styled “democracies” came to identify themselves with this word. Consequently, after observers began inquiring into ancient democracy, and realized that it was different from modern democracy, they drew the conclusion that ancient democracy was “less democratic” than modern democracy. But, in reality, should we not proceed from the inverse type of reasoning? It must be reiterated that democracy was born in Athens in the fifth century b.c. Therefore, it is Athenian democracy (regardless of one’s judgments for or against it) that should be used as an example of a “genuine” type of democracy. Granted that contemporary democratic regimes differ from Athenian democracy, we must then assume that they differ from democracy of any kind. We can see again where this irks most of our contemporaries. Since nowadays everyone boasts of being a perfect democrat, and given the fact that Greek democracy resembles not at all those before our eyes, it is naturally the Greeks who must bear the brunt of being “less democratic”! We thus arrive at the paradox that Greek democracy, in which the people participated daily in the exercise of power, is disqualified on the grounds that it does not fit into the concept of modern democracy, in which the people, at best, participate only indirectly in political life.
There should be no doubt that ancient democracies and modern democracies are systems entirely distinct from each other. Even the parallels that have been sought between them are fallacious. They have only the name in common, since both have resulted from completely different historical processes.
Wherein does this difference lie? It would be wrong to assume that it is related to either the “direct” or “indirect” nature of the decision-making process. Each of them has a different concept of man and a different concept of the world, as well as a different vision of social bonds. The democracy of antiquity was communitarian and “holist”; modern democracy is primarily individualist. Ancient democracy defined citizenship by a man’s origins, and provided him with the opportunity to participate in the life of the city. Modern democracy organizes atomized individuals into citizens viewed through the prism of abstract egalitarianism. Ancient democracy was based on the idea of organic community; modern democracy, heir to Christianity and the philosophy of the Enlightenment, on the individual. In both cases the meaning of the words “city,” “people,” “nation,” and “liberty” are totally changed.
To argue, therefore, within this context, that Greek democracy was a direct democracy only because it encompassed a small number of citizens falls short of a satisfying answer. Direct democracy need not be associated with a limited number of citizens. It is primarily associated with the notion of a relatively homogeneous people that is conscious of what makes it a people. The effective functioning of both Greek and Icelandic democracy was the result of cultural cohesion and a clear sense of shared heritage. The closer the members of a community are to each other, the more likely they are to have common sentiments, identical values, and the same way of looking at the world, and the easier it is for them to make collective decisions without needing the help of mediators.
In contrast, having ceased to be places of collectively lived meaning, modern societies require a multitude of intermediaries. The aspirations that surface in this type of democracy spring from contradictory value systems that are no longer reconcilable with unified decisions. Ever since Benjamin Constant (De la liberté des anciens comparée à celle des modernes, 1819), we have been able to measure to what degree, under the impact of individualist and egalitarian ideologies, the notion of liberty has changed. Therefore, to return to a Greek concept of democracy does not mean nurturing a shallow hope of “face to face” social transparency. Rather, it means reappropriating, as well as adapting to the modern world, the concept of the people and community—concepts that have been eclipsed by two thousand years of egalitarianism, rationalism, and the exaltation of the rootless individual.
Alain de Benoist is a leading French theoretician of the European New Right, the editor of Nouvelle École, and a principal founder of the Group for the Research and Study of European Civilization (GRECE). In 1978 he was awarded the Grand prix de l’essai de l’Académie francaise.
Translated by Tomislav Sunic from the author’s book Démocratie: Le problème (Paris: Le Labyrinthe, 1985)
1. George Orwell, Selected Essays (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1957), p. 149.
2. François Guizot, De la démocratie en France (Paris: Masson, 1849), p. 9.
3. Georges Burdeau observes that judging by appearances, in terms of their federal organization, the institutions of the Soviet Union are similar to those of the United States, and in terms of its governmental system the Soviet Union is similar to England. La démocratie (Paris : Seuil, 1966), p. 141.
4. T.S. Eliot, The Idea of a Christian Society (London: Faber & Faber, 1939).
5. Bertrand de Jouvenel, Du pouvoir (Geneva : Cheval ailé‚ 1945), p. 411.
6. Giovanni Sartori, Democratic Theory (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1962), p. 3.
7. “Les démocrates ombrageux,” Contrepoint (December 1976), p. 111.
8. Other authors have held exactly the opposite opinion. For Schleiermacher, democracy is a “primitive” political form in contrast to monarchy, which is thought to correspond to the demands of the modern state.
9. “Le pouvoir des idées en démocratie,”Pouvoir (May 1983), p. 145.
10. Significantly, it was with the beginning of the inquiry into the origins of the French monarchy that the nobility, under Louis XIV, began to challenge the principles of monarchy.
11. The word “thing,” which designated the parliament, derives from the Germanic word that connoted originally “everything that is gathered together.” The same word gave birth to the English “thing” (German Ding: same meaning). It seems that this word designated the assembly in which public matters, then affairs of a general nature, and finally “things” were discussed.
12. “Les fondements de l’État libre d’Icelande: trois siècles de démocratie médiévale,” in Nouvelle Ecole 25-26 (Winter 1974–75), pp. 68–73.
13. Les Scandinaves (Paris: Lidis [Brepols], 1984), p. 613.
14. Cf. P.M. Martin, L’idée de royauté‚ … Rome. De la Rome royale au consensus républicain (Clermont-Ferrand: Adosa, 1983).
15. Here “democracy,” as in the case of peasants’ freedoms as well, already included social demands, although not “class struggle”—a concept ignored by ancient democracy. In the Middle Ages the purpose of such demands was to give voice to those who were excluded from power. But it often happened that “democracy” could be used against the people. In medieval Florence, social strife between the “popolo grosso” and the “popolo minuto” was particularly brisk. On this Francesco Nitti writes: “The reason the working classes of Florence proved lukewarm in defense of their liberty and sympathized instead with the Medicis was because they remained opposed to democracy, which they viewed as a concept of the rich bourgeoisie.” Francesco Nitti, La démocratie, vol. 1 (Paris: Felix Alcan, 1933), p. 57.)
16. This opinion is shared by the majority of students of ancient democracies. Thus, Victor Ehrenberg sees in Greek democracy a “form of enlarged aristocracy.” Victor Ehrenberg, L’état grec (Paris: Maspéro, 1976), p. 94.
17. Pius XII, 1944 Christmas Message: http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P12XMAS.HTM
18. M. Robespierre, “On Political Morality,” speech to the Convention, February 5, 1794: http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/413/
19. On this debate, see the essay by Luciano Guerci, “Liberta degli antichi e liberta dei moderni,” in Sparta, Atene e i `philosophes’ nella Francia del Setecento (Naples: Guido, 1979).
20. Camille Desmoulins, speech to the Convention, March 31, 1794. It is significant that contemporary democrats appear to be more inclined to favor Athens. Sparta, in contrast, is denounced for its “war-like spirit.” This change in discourse deserves a profound analysis.
21. Cf., for example, the essay by Moses Finley, Démocratie antique et démocratie moderne (Paris: Payot, 1976), which is both an erudite study and a pamphlet of great contemporary relevance. The study is prefaced by Pierre Vidal-Naquet, who, among other errors, attributes to Julien Freund (see n. 7, above) positions which are exactly the very opposite of those stated in the preface.
22. To cite Thucydides: “Thanks to his untainted character, the depth of his vision, and boundless disinterestedness, Pericles exerted on Athens an incontestable influence.… Since he owed his prestige only to honest means, he did not have to truckle to popular passions.… In a word, democracy supplied the name; but in reality, it was the government of the first citizen.” (Peloponnesian War II, 65)
23. One of the best works on this topic is Jacqueline de Romilly’s essay Problèmes de la démocratie grecque (Paris: Hermann, 1975).
24. Romilly, Problèmes de la démocratie grecque.
25. The word “démos” is opposed to the word “laós,” a term employed in Greece to designate the people, but with the express meaning of “the community of warriors.”
26. In France, the right to vote was implemented only in stages. In 1791 the distinction was still made between “active citizens” and “passive citizens.” Subsequently, the electorate was expanded to include all qualified citizens able to pay a specified minimum of taxes. Although universal suffrage was proclaimed in 1848, it was limited to males until 1945.
27. On the evolution of that notion, see Jacqueline Bordes, ‘Politeia’ dans la pensée grecque jusqu’à Aristote (Paris : Belles Lettres, 1982).
28. Nicole Loraux interprets the Athenian notion of citizenship as a result of the “imaginary belonging to an autochthonous people” (Les enfants d’Athéna. Idées athéniennes sur la citoyenneté et la divison des sexes [Paris: Maspéro, 1981]). The myth of Erichthonios (or Erechtheus) explains in fact the autochthonous character and the origins of the masculine democracy, at the same time as it grafts the Athenian ideology of citizenship onto immemorial foundations.
29. Emile Benveniste, Le vocabulaire des institutions indo-européennes, vol. 1 (Paris : Minuit, 1969), p. 321.
30. On the work of Aristotle and his relationship with the Athenian constitution, see James Day and Mortimer Chambers, Aristotle, History of Athenian Democracy (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1962).
31. Finley, Démocratie antique et démocratie moderne, p. 80.
32. Finley, Démocratie antique et démocratie moderne, p. 141.
33. Veyne adds: “Bourgeois liberalism organizes cruising ships in which each passenger must take care of himself as best as he can, the crew being there only to provide for the common goods and services. By contrast, the Greek city was a ship where the passengers made up the crew.” Paul Veyne, “Les Grecs ont-ils connu la démocratie?” Diogène October-December 1983, p. 9.
34. For the liberal critique of Greek democracy, see Paul Veyne, “Les Grecs ont-ils connu la démocratie?” and Giovanni Sartori, Democratic Theory (see n. 6 above).
Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft (society)
A major contribution to the discussion of community was made in the 1920’s by Ferdinand Tonnies, who used the German words Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft (society) with special meanings which have entered the language of social science.
Gemeinschaft, normally translated as ‘community’, refers to the closeness of holistic social relationships said to be found in pre-industrial communities, and imputed to the community as moral worth. For Tonnies, Gemeinschaft exists by the subjective will of the members: “the very existence of Gemeinschaft rests in the consciousness of belonging together and the affirmation of the condition of mutual dependence” (Tonnies 1925: 69).
Gesellschaft refers to the more instrumental, purposeful types of relationship typical of industrial society. This objective society or association (Gesellschaft), where “reference is only to the objective fact of a unity based on common traits and activities and other external phenomena” (Tonnies 1925: 67) stands in contrast to community defined by shared feeling. Tonnies considers entities based on objective common interest such as “ethnic community, community of speech, community of work” (Tonnies 1925: 67) to be Gesellschaft (society), not Gemeinschaft (community), because they lack the element of shared feeling which is essential to Gemeinschaft. Gemeinschaft type relationships may be found in modern industrial society, but they do not typify the dominant type of relationship of that society.
For Tonnies, Gemeinschaft exists by the subjective will of the members: “the very existence of Gemeinschaft rests in the consciousness of belonging together and the affirmation of the condition of mutual dependence” (Tonnies 1925: 69). Contrasted to this community defined by shared feeling, is Tonnies’s concept of the objective society or association (Gesellschaft), where “reference is only to the objective fact of a unity based on common traits and activities and other external phenomena” (Tonnies 1925: 67). Tonnies considers entities such as “ethnic community, community of speech, community of work” (Tonnies 1925: 67) to be Gesellschaft (society), not Gemeinschaft (community), because they lack the element of shared feeling which is essential to Gemeinschaft.
This distinction between Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft (society) is important for any student trying to come to grips with the complex confusion of ideas around community studies. Although it is not always referred to directly, this distinction underlies almost all sociological debate in this field.
Tonnies himself drew on previous ideas of evolutionary development constructed in the Nineteenth century. Theories of evolution led to several varieties of “social Darwinism”, in which social systems were seen as analogous to biological systems. Early theories led to a concept of a broad social evolution, progressing from small close-knit rural communities to large urban societies characterised by specialisation, role differentiation and alienation.
Tonnies F (1925) “The Concept of Gemeinschaft”, in Cahnman W J & Heberle R (Eds) Ferdinand Tonnies on Sociology: Pure, applied and empirical. Selected writings, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp62-72.
Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft: A Sociological View of the Decay of Modern Society
Alain de Benoist,
Mankind Quarterly, 34 (1994), 263ff.
The text is based on an original essay by Alain de Benoist, translated and interpreted by Tomislav Sunic.
Peaceful modern societies which respect the individual evolved from age-old familistic ties. The transition from band-type societies, through clan and tribal organizations, into nation-states was peaceful only when accomplished without disruption of the basic ties which link the individual to the larger society by a sense of a common history, culture and kinship. The sense of “belonging” to a nation by virtue of such shared ties promotes cooperation, altruism and respect for other members. In modern times, traditional ties have been weakened by the rise of mass societies and rapid global communication, factors which bring with them rapid social change and new philosophies which deny the significance of the sense of nationhood, and emphasize individualism and individualistic goals. The cohesion of societies has consequently been threatened, and replaced by multicultural and multi-ethnic societies and the overwhelming sense of lost identity in the mass global society in which Western man, at least, has come to conceive himself as belonging.
Sociologically, the first theorist to identify this change was the Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), who emphasized the tendency for mass urban societies to break down when the social solidarity characteristic of tribal and national societies disappeared. Ibn Khaldun saw dramatically the contrast between the morality of the nationalistic and ethnically unified Berbers of North Africa and the motley collation of peoples who called themselves Arabs under Arabic leadership, but did not possess the unity and sense of identity that had made the relatively small population of true Arabs who had built a widespread and Arabic-speaking Empire.
Later it was Ferdinand Tonnies (1855-1936) who introduced this thought to modern sociology. He did so in his theory of gemeinschaft and gesellschaft (Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, 1887). This theory revealed how early tribal or national (gemeinschaft) societies achieved harmonious collaboration and cooperation more or less automatically due to the common culture and sense of common genetic and cultural identity in which all members were raised. This avoided major conflicts concerning basic values since all shared a common set of mores and a common sense of destiny.
However, as history progressed, larger multi-ethnic and multi-cultural societies began to develop, and these Tonnies described as being united by gesellschaft ties. These were not united by any common set of values or historical identity, and collaboration was only maintained due to the need to exchange goods and services. In short, their existence came to depend on economic relations, and as a result of the diversity of cultural values, the lack of any “family feeling,” and the emphasis on economic exchange and economic wealth, conflict over wealth and basic values was likely to disrupt the harmony of such societies at any time. In political terms, liberalism developed to eulogize the freedom of individuals from claims to national loyalty and support for national destiny, while Marxism grew out of the dissatisfaction felt by those who were less successful in achieving wealth and power, which now came to represent the primary goals of the individuals who were left at the mercy of the modern mass gesellschaft society. Nationalism and any sense of loyalty to the nation as a distinct ethnic, kinship unit came to be anathematized by both liberals and Marxists.
“A specter is haunting Europe—a specter of communism” wrote Marx in the preface of the Manifesto. A century later this specter became a mere phantom, with liberalism the dominant force. Over the last several decades, liberalism used communism as a scarecrow to legitimize itself. Today, however, with the bankruptcy of communism, this mode of “negative legitimation” is no longer convincing. At last, liberalism, in the sense of the emphasis on the individual above and even against that of the nation, actually endangers the individual by undermining the stability of the society which gives him identity, values, purpose and meaning, the social, cultural and biological nexus to which he owes his very being.
Fundamentally, classical liberalism was a doctrine which, out of an abstract individual, created the pivot of its survival. In its mildest form it merely emphasized individual freedom of action, and condemned excessive bureaucratic involvement by government. But praiseworthy though its defense of individual freedom was, its claim that the ideal system is that in which there is the least possible emphasis on nationhood leads to situations which in fact endanger the freedom of the individual. In its extreme form, classical liberalism has developed into universal libertarianism, and at this point it comes close to advocating anarchy.
From the sociological standpoint, in its extreme form, modern internationalist liberalism defines itself totally in terms of the gesellschaft society of Tonnies. It denies the historical concept of the nation state by rejecting the notion of any common interest between individuals who traditionally shared a common heritage. In the place of nationhood it proposes to generate a new international social pattern centered on the individual’s quest for optimal personal and economic interest. Within the context of extreme liberalism, only the interplay of individual interests creates a functional society—a society in which the whole is viewed only as a chance aggregate of anonymous particles.
The essence of modern liberal thought is that order is believed to be able to consolidate itself by means of all-out economic competition, that is, through the battle of all against all, requiring governments to do no more than set certain essential ground rules and provide certain services which the individual alone cannot adequately provide. Indeed, modern liberalism has gone so far along this path that it is today directly opposed to the goals of classical liberalism and libertarianism in that it denies the individual any inalienable right to property, but still shares with modern liberalism and with libertarianism an antagonism toward the idea of nationhood. Shorn of the protection of a society which identifies with its members because of a shared national history and destiny, the individual is left to grasp struggle for his own survival, without the protective sense of community which his forebears enjoyed since the earliest of human history.
Decadence in modern mass multicultural societies begins at a moment when there is no longer any discernable meaning within society. Meaning is destroyed by raising individualism above all other values, because rampant individualism encourages the anarchical proliferation of egotism at the expense of the values that were once part of the national heritage, values that give form to the concept of nationhood and the nation state, to a state which is more than just a political entity, and which corresponds to a particular people who are conscious of sharing a common heritage for the survival of which they are prepared to make personal sacrifices.
Man evolved in cooperating groups united by common cultural and genetic ties, and it is only in such a setting that the individual can feel truly free, and truly protected. Men cannot live happily alone and without values or any sense of identity: such a situation leads to nihilism, drug abuse, criminality and worse. With the spread of purely egotistic goals at the expense of the altruistic regard for family and nation, the individual begins to talk of his rights rather than his duties, for he no longer feels any sense of destiny, of belonging to and being a part of a greater and more enduring entity. He no longer rejoices in the secure belief that he shares in a heritage which it is part of his common duty to protect—he no longer feels that he has anything in common with those around him. In short, he feels lonely and oppressed. Since all values have become strictly personal, everything is now equal to everything; e.g., nothing equals nothing.
“A society without strong beliefs,” declared Regis Debray in his interview with J.P. Enthoven in Le Nouvel Observateur, (October 10, 1981), “is a society about to die.” Modern liberalism is particularly critical of nationalism. Hence, the question needs to be raised: Can modern liberal society provide strong unifying communal beliefs in view of the fact that on the one hand it views communal life as nonessential, while on the other, it remains impotent to envision any belief—unless this belief is reducible to economic conduct?
Moreover, there seems to be an obvious relationship between the negation and the eclipse of the meaning and the destruction of the historical dimension of the social corpus. Modern liberals encourage “narcissism”; they live in the perpetual now. In liberal society, the individual is unable to put himself in perspective, because putting himself in perspective requires a clear and a collectively perceived consciousness of common heritage and common adherence. As Regis Debray remarks, “In the capacity of isolated subjects men can never become the subjects of action and acquire the capability of making history” (Critique de la raison politique, op. cit. p. 207). In liberal societies, the suppression of the sense of meaning and identity embedded in national values leads to the dissolution of social cohesion as well as to the dissolution of group consciousness. This dissolution, in turn, culminates in the end of history.
Being the most typical representative of the ideology of equalitarianism, modern liberalism, in both its libertarian and socialist variants, appears to be the main factor in this dissolution of the ideal of nationhood. When the concept of society, from the sociological standpoint, suggests a system of simple ‘horizontal interactions,’ then this notion inevitably excludes social form. As a manifestation of solidarity, society can only be conceived in terms of shared identity—that is, in terms of historical values and cultural traditions (cf. Edgar Morin: “The communal myth gives society its national cohesion.”)
By contrast, liberalism undoes nations and systematically destroys their sense of history, tradition, loyalty and value. Instead of helping man to elevate himself to the sphere of the superhuman, it divorces him from all ‘grand projects’ by declaring these projects ‘dangerous’ from the point of view of equality. No wonder, therefore, that the management of man’s individual well-being becomes his sole preoccupation. In the attempt to free man from all constraints, liberalism brings man under the yoke of other constraints which now downgrade him to the lowest level. Liberalism does not defend liberty; it destroys the independence of the individual. By eroding historical memories, liberalism extricates man from history. It proposes to ensure his means of existence, but robs him of his reason to live and deprives him of the possibility of having a destiny.
There are two ways of conceiving of man and society. The fundamental value may be placed on the individual, and when this is done the whole of mankind is conceived as the sum total of all individuals—a vast faceless proletariat—instead of as a rich fabric of diverse nations, cultures and races. It is this conception that is inherent in liberal and socialist thought. The other view, which appears to be more compatible with man’s evolutionary and socio-biological character, is when the individual is seen as enjoying a specific biological and cultural legacy—a notion which recognizes the importance of kinship and nationhood. In the first instance, mankind, as a sum total of individuals, appears to be “contained” in each individual human being; that is, one becomes first a “human being,” and only then, as by accident, a member of a specific culture or a people. In the second instance, mankind comprises a complex phylogenetic and historic network, whereby the freedom of the individual is guaranteed by the protection of family by his nation, which provide him with a sense of identity and with a meaningful orientation to the entire world population. It is by virtue of their organic adherence to the society of which they are a part that men build their humanity.
As exponents of the first concept we encounter Descartes, the Encyclopaedists, and the emphasis on “rights”; nationality and society emanate from the individual, by elective choice, and are revokable at any time. As proponents of the second concept we find J.G. Herder and G.W. Leibniz, who stress the reality of cultures and ethnicity. Nationality and society are rooted in biological, cultural and historical heritage.
The difference between these two concepts becomes particularly obvious when one compares how they visualize history and the structure of the real. Nationalists are proponents of holism. Nationalists see the individual as a kinsman, sustained by the people and community, which nurtures and protects him, and with which he is proud to identify. The individual’s actions represent an act of participation in the life of his people, and freedom of action is very real because, sharing in the values of his associates, the individual will seldom seek to threaten the basic values of the community with which he identifies. Societies which lack this basic sense of national unity are inherently prone to suffer from repeated situations wherein the opposing values of its egotistical members conflict with each other.
Furthermore, proponents of nationhood contend that a society or a people can survive only when: a) they remain aware of their cultural and historical origins; b) when they can assemble around a mediator, be it individual, or symbolic, who is capable of reassembling their energies and catalyzing their will to have a destiny; c) when they can retain the courage to designate their enemy. None of these conditions have been realized in societies that put economic gain above all other values, and which consequently: a) dissolve historical memories; b) extinguish the sublime and eliminate subliminal ideals; c) assume that it is possible not to have enemies.
The results of the rapid change from national or tribal-oriented societies to the modern, anti-national individualism prevalent in contemporary “advanced” societies have been very well described by Cornelius Castoriadis: “Western societies are in absolute decomposition. There is no longer a vision of the whole that could permit them to determine and apply any political action … Western societies have practically ceased to be [nation] states … Simply put, they have become agglomerations of lobbies which, in a myopic manner, tear the society apart; where nobody can propose a coherent policy, and where everybody is capable of blocking an action deemed hostile to his own interests.” (Liberation, 16 and 21 December, 1981).
Modern liberalism has suppressed patriotic nationhood into a situation in which politics has been reduced to a “delivery service” decision-making process resembling the economic “command post,” statesmen have been reduced to serving as tools for special interest groups, and nations have become little more than markets. The heads of modern liberal states have no options but to watch their citizenry being somatized by civilizational ills such as violence, delinquency, and drugs.
Ernst Junger once remarked that the act of veiled violence is more terrible than open violence. (Journal IV, September 6, 1945). And he also noted: “Slavery can be substantially aggravated when it assumes the appearance of liberty.” The tyranny of modern liberalism creates the illusion inherent in its own principles. It proclaims itself for liberty and cries out to defend “human rights” at the moment when it oppresses the most. The dictatorship of the media and the “spiral of silence” appear to be almost as effective in depriving the citizenry of its freedom by imprisonment. In the West, there is no need to kill: suffice it to cut someone’s microphone. To kill somebody by silence is a very elegant kind of murder, which in practice yields the same dividends as a real assassination—an assassination which, in addition, leaves the assassin with good conscience. Moreover, one should not forget the importance of such a type of assassination. Rare are those who silence their opponents for fun.
Patriotic nationhood does not target the notion of “formal liberties,” as some rigorous Marxists do. Rather, its purpose is to demonstrate that “collective liberty,” i.e., the liberty of peoples to be themselves and to continue to enjoy the privilege of having a destiny, does not result from the simple addition of individual liberties. Proponents of nationhood instead contend that the “liberties” granted to individuals by liberal societies are frequently nonexistent; they represent simulacra of what real liberties should be. It does not suffice to be free to do something. Rather, what is needed is one’s ability to participate in determining the course of historical events. Societies dominated by modern liberal traditions are “permissive” only insofar as their general macrostability strips the populace of any real participation in the actual decision-making process. As the sphere in which the citizenry is permitted to “do everything” becomes larger, the sense of nationhood becomes paralyzed and loses its direction.
Liberty cannot be reduced to the sentiment that one has about it. For that matter, both the slave and the robot could equally well perceive themselves as free. The meaning of liberty is inseparable from the founding anthropology of man, an individual sharing a common history and common culture in a common community. Decadence vaporizes peoples, frequently in the gentlest of manners. This is the reason why individuals acting as individuals can only hope to flee tyranny, but cooperating actively as a nation they can often defeat tyranny.
Book review – The alienation of modern man: an interpretation based on Marx and Tonnies.
Farshad A. Araghi
The Alienation of Modern Man: An Interpretation Based no Marx and Tonnies
by Fritz Pappenheim. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1968. 189 pp., $7.00.
Though it has been in print for many years, this lucid exposition of the roots of alienation in capitalist societies still remains an important contribution to radical sociology. The book is a concise analysis of the forces of alienation and their rise to dominance in our era; more importantly, it is an attempt to relate this development to the social structure of capitalism. This, as Fritz Pappenheim writes in an absorbing introduction, is the aim of the book, and he is largely successful in demonstrating the relation through theoretical analysis and a careful criticism of numerous counterarguments.
Examining briefly existential philosophy (Heidegger, Sartre), phenomenology (Edmund Husserl), and the sociological writings of Georg Simmel, and utilizing some pertinent examples from the realm of art and literature (Kafka, Rilke, Phyllis McGinley, and Arthur Miller), Pappenheim first attempts to show that coming to grips with alienation helps to illuminate one of the decisive forces in modern thinking. “After resting in academic obscurity for nearly a century,’ as Bowles and Gintis also point out, “the term has been elevated to a central position in social criticsm.’1 This for Pappenheim is only an expression of existing reality, of the fact that “the forces of alienation have gained greatly in intensity and significance in the modern world.’
From the outset Pappenheim presses the point that the social correlates of alienation must be distinguished from its causes. “The condition of an event,’ as Pappenheim warns throughout the text, “is not identical with its cause.’ To ignore this not only leads to an ahistorical characterization of social phenomena, but it also tends unduly to limit the scope of inquiry. Thus many social scientists today understand alienation in direct relationship with technology, and advance the argument that technological forces are in and of themselves the cause of alienation. If at one point according to Calvinist ethics every effort of humans to enhance technological progress was to be explained as a way of worshipping God, now technological advancement has itself become the main source of human alienation, his/her estrangement from himself/herself, nature, God, etc. Today social scientists argue the economic effects of rapid industrialization govern every aspect of human life. Alienation, in a word, appears as a painful necessity. The Durkheimian and the Weberian traditions are prime examples of this point of view. In rejecting this standpoint Pappenheim draws on the fact that technology is essentially neutral and indifferent with respect to the ends it serves, that this alienation is associated with a specific use of the machine, and that in order to understand why something which is by its very nature neutral is put to such uses, one has to look into the circumstances under which it is being utilized.
Unfortunately, Pappenheim does not go further in demonstrating that it is only in the most immediate and superficial sense that one may see alienation as resulting from the structure of technology. In an interest analysis, for example, Bowles and Gintis show that the form technological development takes is strongly influenced by the structure of economic institutions. These authors carefully demonstrate that under capitalism profit is the determinant of social division of labor, and that technological innovations are largely geared to forms compatible with capitalist production.2
The next chapter examines the relationship between politics and alienation. Is alienation a result of an individual’s estrangement from his/her political community? Pappenheim considers much evidence which prima facie suggest that this is the case. “We have only to remember the connotations inherent in terms like “politics’ and “politicians’ to realize how deeply many individuals feel themselves apart from the ways of thinking and acting of their political representatives.’ Thus the common observation that people feel powerless vis-a-vis the political establishment, that their thoughts and actions have become the objects of manipulation, that they have lost the purpose that should stand behind their decisions and actions, etc. These of course do constitute a link between alienation and politics, but they do not, in Pappenheim’s view, establish a causal relationship. Rather than resulting from it, alienation only makes itself felt in the political life of today.
Once again the condition in which Pappenheim leaves the concept of alienation–and here its relationship with politics–is incomplete. His analysis would have been more convincing had he tried to demonstrate the class basis of contemporary politics and the way in which the latter functions as the medium through which the alienating effects of bourgeois politics manifest themselves. This kind of analysis, which, for example, can be found in C. Wright Mills, would have been quite illuminating for Pappenheim’s discussion. Mills’ analysis of the transformation of the “public’ to the “mass’ society under advanced capitalism, and his discussion of the role of mass media in manipulating individuals’ behavior through mixing of information and values represents a type of study which attempts to disclose the material roots of political alienation by locating it in the process of capitalist production.3
Pappenheim finally turns to examine the cause of human alienation, that is, the capitalist organization of social life. He does this by a close examination of Tonnies and Marx.
Tonnies’ concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, Pappenheim argues, are sociological concepts which focus on society as an historical process, and are thus of great value to one who wants to explain the relationship between society and the forces of alienation. Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (loosely translated as “community’ and “society’) represent for Tonnies two polar types of social relationships, two types of social psychological texture, or two different types of condition of social life. The relationships within a Gemeinschaft are family type relationships; it is the social unit that individuals find themselves belonging to as they belong to a family. Intimate relations, free play of emotions, a sense of “we’ feeling, are among the basic characteristics of a Gemeinschaft. This type of social group–and according to Tonnies all social relationships within social groups are willed relationships– is based upon a type of human will which is “natural’, “organic’, and “impulsive’ (called Wesenwille). Put in other words, individuals create Gemeinschaft-type relations not by their intentional will and determination, but by their Wesenville, i.e. their natural and instinctive will. Gesellschaft, on the other hand, comes into being by a conscious design. The will behind this type of social unit is purposive and deliberate, called Kurwille. All bureaucracies and bureaucratized relations, for examples, are based on Kurwille. Thus contrary to a Gemeinschaft, in which individuals work for the sake of work itself, in a Gesellschaft, they work for an external end. In a Gesellschaft, according to Tonnies, everything becomes a means to an end. Gesellschaft is thus a social unit dominated by the forces of alienation. Moreover, Gesellschuaft is the predominant force in the of humanity, since Tonnies sees history as leading from an age of Gemeinschaft toward an age of Gesellschaft, i.e. from communal group to institutionalized society. But the change from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft is also accompanied with a characterological shift, since for Tonnies this change is connected with the transition from Wesenwille to Kurwille. This is an important recognition; it strongly anticipates, for example, Mills’ concepts of “personality market’ and “mass society’ with their emphasis on alienation.
Tonnies’ Gesellschaft, Pappenheim argues, is in many ways the archetype of the social framework of advanced capitalist nations analyzed by Marx. While this is true, and while Tonnies’ introduction of a typology of social groups is suggestive, I think Pappenheim overemphasizes the similarity between Marx and Tonnies. Marx also parted ways with Tonnies of which Pappenheim says nothing. Tonnies, for example, does not grasp the importance of Marx’s break with Feuerbach; his reading of Marx’s work is in this respect distorted. Thus the fact that neither his “pure’ nor “applied’ sociology has, despite his attempt to incorporate Marxian notions, anything to do with the philosophy of praxis. Hence in diametric opposition to a structural determinist who sees human actions as the consequence and one-way reflection of the objective conditions, Tonnies’ voluntarist approach views social entities and material conditions as the consequence of human volition. Both perspectives, needless to say, are strange to Marx (if not Marxism). Hence it is not surprising that for the determinist, as well as the voluntarist, the eradication of alienation has no relationship with revolutionary practice; for the former this is postponed to the realization of its material conditions (a task of “history’, of course), for Tonnies, who never fails to reject revolution and revolutionary change, the answer lies in increasingly adapting reformist measures. In this respect, I think Pappenheim’s lack of distinction between Marx and Tonnies and the socio-political implication of their works, serves more to obscure than clarify the class basis of the concept of alienation.
Pappenheim nevertheless does offer a very good discussion of Marx’s view of alienation. For Marx, Pappenheim shows, alienation is always seen as an historically created phenomenon; thus the predominance of the forces of alienation in our era is in direct relationship with the rise of capital as a social relation, with the rise to dominance of commodity exchange and exchange value thereof. I do not intend here to summarize Pappenheim’s excellent discussion of Marx’s standpoint, but there are two shortcomings in his presentation that should be noted. First, Marx’s theory of alienation can best be grasped in relationship with Hegel’s. It was Hegel, after all, who transformed the vague anthropological and philosophical basis of the concept into a social one.4 Pappenheim however, except for a short paragraph, does not attempt to develop the Hegelian perspective. Second, Pappenheim does not attempt to examine the evolution of the concept in Marx’s writings from its first systematic exposition in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 to Capital. In fact, he moves back and forth between the 1844 Manuscripts and Capital without pointing out that in the former alienated labor itself is the central concept (Marx even derives the concept of private property from the concept of alienated labor), while in the latter commodity is the central concept.5
All in all, Pappenheim has written a remarkably good book, one whose service will be all the more important in the new Cold War era. Any critical-minded instructor should be sure to look at this book.
1. Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis, “Class Power and Alienated Labor,’ Monthly Review (March 1975): 9.
2. Ibid., p. 20.
3. C. Wright Mills, White Collar: The American Middle Class (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953).
4. Ernest Mandel, “The Causes of Alienation,’ in Ernest Mandel and George Novack, The Marxist Theory of Alienation (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1973), p. 15.
5. George Novack, “The Problem of Alienation,’ in ibid., p. 61.
[Monthly Review, Jan, 1987 ]
Is World Peace Possible?
A cabled reply to an American poll
First published in Cosmopolitan, January, 1936.
The question whether world peace will ever be possible can only be answered by someone familiar with world history. To be familiar with world history means, however, to know human beings as they have been and always will be. There is a vast difference, which most people will never comprehend, between viewing future history as it will be and viewing it as one might like it to be. Peace is a desire, war is a fact; and history has never paid heed to human desires and ideals.
Life is a struggle involving plants, animals, and humans. It is a struggle between individuals, social classes, peoples, and nations, and it can take the form of economic, social, political, and military competition. It is a struggle for the power to make one’s will prevail, to exploit one’s advantage, or to advance one’s opinion of what is just or expedient. When other means fail, recourse will be taken time and again to the ultimate means: violence. An individual who uses violence can be branded a criminal, a class can be called revolutionary or traitorous, a people bloodthirsty. But that does not alter the facts. Modern world-communism calls its wars “uprisings,” imperialist nations describe theirs as “pacification of foreign peoples.” And if the world existed as a unified state, wars would likewise be referred to as “uprisings.” The distinctions here are purely verbal.
Talk of world peace is heard today only among the white peoples, and not among the much more numerous colored races. This is a perilous state of affairs. When individual thinkers and idealists talk of peace, as they have done since time immemorial, the effect is always negligible. But when whole peoples become pacifistic it is a symptom of senility. Strong and unspent races are not pacifistic. To adopt such a position is to abandon the future, for the pacifist ideal is a static, terminal condition that is contrary to the basic facts of existence.
As long as man continues to evolve there will be wars. Should the white peoples ever become so tired of war that their governments can no longer incite them to wage it, the earth will inevitably fall a victim to the colored men, just as the Roman Empire succumbed to the Teutons. Pacifism means yielding power to the inveterate nonpacifists. Among the latter there will always be white men — adventurers, conquerors, leader-types — whose following increases with every success. If a revolt against the whites were to occur today in Asia, countless whites would join the rebels simply because they are tired of peaceful living.
Pacifism will remain an ideal, war a fact. If the white races are resolved never to wage war again, the colored will act differently and be rulers of the world.