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Civilization and Its Enemies - The Next Stage of History
Civilization and Its Enemies - The Next Stage of History, Free Press | 2004 | Lee Harris

Posted on 10/28/2004 10:26:07 AM PDT by Noumenon

From the Preface of Civilization and Its Enemies – The Next Stage of History by Lee Harris

The subject of this book is forgetfulness.

By this I do not mean our tendency to misplace valuable objects, or our inability to recall the name of he boss’s dog, but the collective and cultural amnesia the over comes any group of human beings who have long benefited fro tm the blessings of civilization – an amnesia first observed nearly eight hundred years ago by the Arab philosopher of history Ibn Khaldun, contemplating the rise and fall of those great feats of organized life that we call by such terms as societies, states and empires.

Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long accustomed to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stole or whether their children would be sold into slavery by a victorious foe. Even then it is necessary for parents, and even grandparents, to have forgotten as well, so that there is no living link between the tranquility of the present generation and those dismal periods in which the world behaved very much in accordance with the rules governing Thomas Hobbes’ state of nature, where human life was “solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short.” When parents have forgotten what that world was like, they can hardly be expected to teach their children how it was or what one had to do in order to survive in it.

Civilized people forget that in order to produce a civilization there must be what German sociologist Norbert Elias ahs called “the civilizing process,” and that this process, if it is to be successful, must begin virtually at our birth, and hence many long years before the child can have any say about the kind of training that he would have preferred. They forget that the civilizing process we undergo must duplicate that of our neighbors, if we are to understand each other in our day-to0-day intercourse. If you are taught to spit at a man who offers to shake your hand, and do when I offer mine, we will not easily get along.

Civilized people forget how much work it is not to kill one’s neighbors, simply because this work was done by our ancestors so that it could be willed to us as an heirloom. They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish. They forget that to fight an enemy it is necessary to have a leader whom you trust, and how, at such times, this trust is a civic duty and not evidence of one’s credulity. They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the enemy.

That, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, an oversight on our part-something that we could correct.

Our first task therefore is to try to grasp what the concept of the enemy really means. The enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the enemy always hates us for a reason, it is his reason and not ours. He does not hate us for our faults any more than for our virtues. He sees a different world from ours, and in he world he sees, we are his enemy. That is hard for us to comprehend, but we must if we are to grasp what the concept of the enemy means.

For Himmler, the Jewish children whom he ordered the SS to murder were the enemy because they would grow up to avenge the death of their fathers, who had been the enemy before them. We have killed their parents; they will want to kill our children. Hence we have no choice but to kill them first. The fact that they had done nothing themselves, and were incapable of doing anything themselves, was irrelevant.

This is how mankind always thought of the enemy- as the one who, if you do not kill him first, will sooner or later kill you. And those who see the world this way see it very differently from those who do not.

This is the major fact of our time. We are caught in the midst of a conflict between those for whom the category of the enemy is essential to their way of organizing all human experience and those who have banished even the idea of the enemy from both public discourse and even their innermost thoughts.

But those who abhor thinking of the world through the category of the enemy must still be prepared to think about the category of the enemy. That is, even if you refuse to think of anyone else as an enemy, you must acknowledge that there are people who do in fact think this way.

Yet even this minimal step is a step that many of our leading intellectuals refuse to take, despite the revelation that occurred on 9/11. they want to see 9/11 as a means to an end and not an end in itself. But 9/11 was an end in itself, and that is where we must begin.

Why do they hate us? They hate us because we are their enemy.

…It is the enemy who defines us as his enemy, and in making this definition he changes us, and changes us whether we like it or not. We cannot be the same after we have been defined as an enemy as we were before.

That is why those who uphold the values of the Enlightenment so often refuse to recognize that those who are trying to kill us are their enemy. They hope that by pretending that the enemy is simply misguided, or misunderstood, or politically immature, he will cease to be an enemy. This is an illusion. To see the enemy as someone who is merely an awkward negotiator of sadly lacking in savoir faire and diplomatic aplomb is perverse. It shows contempt for the depth and sincerity of his convictions, a terrible mistake to make when you are dealing with someone who wants you dead.

We are the enemy of those who murdered us on 9/11. And if you are an enemy, then you have an enemy. When you recognize it, this fact must change everything about the way you see the world.

Once someone sees you as the enemy, then you must yourself deal with this category of human experience, which is why societies that have enemies are radically different from those that do not. A society that lacks an enemy does not need to worry about how to defend itself against him. I does not need to teach its children how to fight and how not to run when they are being attacked by men who want to kill them. I does not need to appoint a single man to make instant decisions that affect the well-being of the entire community, and it does not need to train the community to respond to his commands with unthinking obedience.

But societies with enemies must do all of these things, and do them very well, or else they perish.

Yet there is a problem with each of these various things that must be done to protect a society against its enemy. They are illiberal and they a re at odds with those values that civilized life has to offer – tolerance, individual liberty, government by consensus rather than by fiat, and rational cooperation. Thus it is not unnatural for those who prize such values to be reluctant to acknowledge the existence of an enemy serious enough to require illiberal measures and the yare correct to feel this way.

Thos who argue that war is not the answer are almost invariably right, and if civilization can be said to inhere in any one characteristic more conspicuously than in any other, it must certainly be in the preference for peaceful over violent methods of resolving conflict. To be sure, civilization consists in more than this, but this more is always dependent upon prereflective certainty that the people you must deal with will not resort to force or threat or intimidation when they are dealing with you.

The first duty of all civilization is to create pockets of peaceableness in which violence is not used as a means of achieving one’s objective, the second duty is to defend these pockets against those who would try to disrupt their peace either from within or without. Yet the values that bring peace are the opposite values from those that promote military prowess, and this poses a riddle that very few societies have been able to solve and then only fitfully. If you have managed to create your own pocket of peace - and its inseparable companion, prosperity – how will you keep those who envy you your prosperity from destroying your peace?

There is only one way; you must fight back; if your enemy insists on a war to the finish, then you have no choice but to fight such a war. It is your enemy, and not you, who decides what is a matter of life and death.

Once you have accepted this reality, however, you are faced with the problem of how to fight. If the enemy is composed of men who will stop at nothing, who are willing to die and to kill, then you must find men to fight on your side who will do the same. Only those who have mastered ruthlessness can defend their society from the ruthlessness of others.

This was the plight faced by the peasants in Kurosawa’s masterpiece, The Seven Samurai and by the dirt farmers in the American remake, The Magnificent Seven. Men and women who knew nothing of battle, the impoverished peasants of a remote village found themselves at the mercy of a gang of ruthless bandits who each year came at harvest to steal what the peasants had managed to eke from the soil. In their desperation, the farmers turned to the seven samurai, all of whom had fallen on hard times. But then, once the samurai had defeated the bandits, the question immediately arose in the peasants’ minds: “Now how do we rid ourselves of he samurai?”

Such ahs been the lot of most of mankind: a choice between the gangsters who come across the river to steal and the gangsters on this side of he river who do not need to steal because they have their own peasants to exploit. How else could it be? Given what we know of human nature, how could we expect there to be a government that wasn’t, in the final analysis, simply a protection racket that could make laws?

Yet this is not how Kurosawa’s movie ends. The samurai do not set themselves up as village warlords but instead move on, taking only the wages due them for their services. How was this possible? It was possible only because the samurai lived by a code of honor.

Codes of honor do not come cheap, and they cannot be created out thin air upon demand. The fact that you need samurai and not gangsters is no guarantee that you will get them; indeed, you will almost certainly not get them when you need them unless you had them with you all along.

A code of honor, to be effective when it is needed, requires a tradition that is blindly accepted by the men and women who are expected to live by this code. To work when it must, a code of honor must be the unspoken and unquestioned law governing a community; a law written not in law books but in the heart – something like an instinct.

A code of honor cannot be chosen by us; it can only be chosen for us. Fro if we look on it as one option among many, then we may opt out of it at will. I which case, the community will never be quite sure of us when the chips are down.

All of which explains why those who subscribe to the values of the Enlightenment find the existence of eh enemy so distressing.

The enemy challenges the Enlightenment’s insistence on the supremacy of pure reason by forcing us to respect those code of honor whose foundation is far more visceral than rational, a fact that explains the modern intellectual’s hatred for such codes in whatever guise they lurk. The enemy requires the continued existence of large groups of men and women who refuse to question authority and who are happy to take on blind faith the traditions that have been passed down to them. The enemy necessitates the careful cultivation of such high-testosterone values as brute physical courage and unthinking loyalty to a leader. The enemy demands instinctual patriotism and what Ibn Khaldun calls “group feeling,” that is, the sense of identification with one’s own people. The enemy propels into positions of command men who are accustomed to taking risks and who are willing to gamble with the lives of others, and shuns aside those who prefer the leisure of contemplation to the urgency of action. Lastly, the enemy shatters the Enlightenment’s visions of utopia, of Kant’s epoch of perpetual peace and of the end of history. And this is why so many European and American intellectuals refuse to acknowledge today even the possibility of the enemy’s existence, concocting theories to explain the actions of Al-Qaeda as something other than what they were.

This is why all utopian projects are set either on a distant island or in a hidden valley: they must exist in isolation from the rest of the world, to keep even the thought of the enemy at bay. Otherwise, they would have to deal with the problem of how to survive without abandoning their lofty ideals.

This is the problem that confronts us today.

The ideals that our intellectuals have been instilling in us are utopian ideals, designed for men and women who know no enemy and who do not need to take precautions against him. They are the values appropriate for a world in which everyone plays by the same rules, and accepts the same standards, of rational cooperation; they are fatally unrealistic in a world in which the enemy acknowledges no rule except that of ruthlessness. To insist on maintaining utopian values when your society is facing an enemy who wishes only to annihilate you is to invite annihilation. And that is unacceptable.

The only solution is for us to go back and unforget some of what we have forgotten, for our very forgetfulness is an obstacle to understanding the lessons of the past, so long as we insist on interpreting the past in ways which give comfort to our pet illusions. We want to believe that civilization came about because men decided one fine morning to begin living sensible, peaceful, rational lives; we refuse to acknowledge what it sot to achieve even the first step in this direction. Unless we can understand this first step, none of the rest will make any sense to us, and we will fail to see what is looming right in front of us.

The Greek way of expressing past and future differed from ours. We say that the past is behind us and the future is in front of us. To the Greeks, however, the past was before them, because they could plainly see its finished form standing in front of them: it was territory they had passed through and whose terrain they had charted. It was the future that was behind them, sneaking up like a thief in the night, full of dim imaginings and vast uncertainties. Nothing could penetrate the blackness of this unknown future except the rare flash of foresight that the Greeks called sophos, or wisdom. Yet even these flashes of wisdom depended entirely upon the capacity to remember that which is eternal and unchanging-which is precisely what we have almost forgotten.

The past tells that there can be no end of history, no realm of perpetual peace, and that those who are convinced by this illusion are risking al that they hold dear. The past tells us that there will always be an enemy as long as men care enough about anything to stake a claim to it, and thus enmity is built into the very nature of things. The past tells us that the next stage of history will be a tragic conflict between two different ways of life, which both have much that is worthy of admiration in them but which cannot coexist in the same world. But the past does not, and cannot, tell us how it will end this time.

That is why it is impossible simply to stand by and not take sides. No outcome is assured by any deep logic of history or by any iron law of human development. Individual civilizations rise and fall; in each case the fall was not inevitable, but due to the decisions – or lack of decision – of the human beings whose ancestors had created the civilization for them, but who had forgotten the secret of how to preserve it for their own children.

We ourselves are dangerously near this point, which is all the more remarkable considering how close we are still to 9/11. It is as if 9/11 has become simply an event in the past and not the opening up of a new epoch in human history, one that will be ruled by the possibility of catastrophic terror, just a previous historical epochs were ruled by other possible forms of historical catastrophe, from attack by migratory hordes to totalitarian takeover, from warrior gangs to the threat of nuclear annihilation.

Our journey of recollection must therefore begin with 9/11, for was the moment when one epoch closed, and another opened. With 9/11 commenced the next stage of history, one whose direction will be determined by how the world responds to the possibilities that it has opened up.

And yet, have we even begun to understand it?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: 911; civilization; intellectuals; liberals; utopianmadness
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Long, but worthe the read, as is the rest of the book. You may as I did find minor points of dispute with the author's premises, but his vision is on the whole a breathtaking model of clarity. I'd love to sit in on a discussion between Harris and VDH.
1 posted on 10/28/2004 10:26:07 AM PDT by Noumenon
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To: Noumenon
Ibn Khaldûn...

[S]edentary life becomes the last stage of civilization and the point where it begins to decay. It also constitutes the last stage of evil and of remoteness from goodness.... [S]edentary people have become used to laziness and ease. They are sunk in well-being and luxury. They have entrusted the defense of their property and lives to the governor who rules them, and to the militia which has the task of guarding them.... They are carefree and trusting, and have ceased to carry weapons. Successive generations have grown up in this way of life. They have become like women and children, who depend upon the master of the house."
-- Ibn Khaldûn, Muqaddimah, 1377

2 posted on 10/28/2004 10:33:22 AM PDT by sionnsar (NYT/Cbs: "It's fake but true!" | Iran Azadi | Traditional Anglicans: trad-anglican.faithweb.com)
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To: Noumenon

Wow, a great read! Bookmarked and printed out! Thanks. You are right, imagine this guy and VDH together on a talk show or something..


3 posted on 10/28/2004 10:36:42 AM PDT by Paradox (Occam was probably right.)
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To: sionnsar

Wisdom is where you find it.

Pretty much sums up the modern American liberal mindset, doesn't it?


4 posted on 10/28/2004 10:39:52 AM PDT by Noumenon (The Left's dedication to the destruction of a free society makes them unfit to live in that society.)
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To: Noumenon
According to Spengler, Civilization is the degraded form of Culture. He talked about the various stages of bloom and decline of cultures over time. When we look at the Muslim culture and the civilization it produced, we see a failed and inferior culture to begin with....what??? tell half of humanity to sit at home with a sheet over your head?
5 posted on 10/28/2004 10:42:17 AM PDT by SMARTY ('Stay together, pay the soldiers, forget everything else." Lucius Septimus Severus, to his sons)
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To: SMARTY

We're on the verge of throwing our own civilization away. This is one of history's great watershed moments. And as Harris points out, it is the decisions - or lack of them - made by individual men that determine the rise and fall of of cultures and civilizations.

In other words, it is up to us - it always was.


6 posted on 10/28/2004 10:54:25 AM PDT by Noumenon (The Left's dedication to the destruction of a free society makes them unfit to live in that society.)
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To: Noumenon
We're on the verge of throwing our own civilization away. This is one of history's great watershed moments.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
-Ronald Reagan 40th president of US (1911 - 2004)

Indeed.

7 posted on 10/28/2004 11:02:17 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the Trackball into the Dawn of Information...)
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To: backhoe

Some of us - no - a lot of us Get It. Will it be enough, in this time and in this place? We're going to find out and soon. War is coming, and not just from the Islamofascist front.


8 posted on 10/28/2004 11:05:10 AM PDT by Noumenon (The Left's dedication to the destruction of a free society makes them unfit to live in that society.)
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To: Noumenon

read later


9 posted on 10/28/2004 11:06:26 AM PDT by snopercod (Inflation, it's how wars are paid for.)
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To: snopercod

"That is why it is impossible simply to stand by and not take sides. No outcome is assured by any deep logic of history or by any iron law of human development. Individual civilizations rise and fall; in each case the fall was not inevitable, but due to the decisions – or lack of decision – of the human beings whose ancestors had created the civilization for them, but who had forgotten the secret of how to preserve it for their own children."

That's one of the most telling insights of the preface. There is no neutral ground - morally, philosophically or otherwise. That's the gist of, "you're either with us, or wit hthe terrorists."


10 posted on 10/28/2004 11:13:52 AM PDT by Noumenon (The Left's dedication to the destruction of a free society makes them unfit to live in that society.)
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To: Noumenon
Our biggest problem are the enemy within. In the 60s they sided with the world Soviet effort and helped our enemies defeat us in Vietnam. In the 80s they sided with the softer Socialist movement, advocating nuclear freeze and Sandinista control of central America. In the 90s they have abetted a huge immigrant invasion of the USA. Throughout the entire period they have relentlessly hammered away at the core values of our civilization and sought to replace our core ethical and knowledge traditions with strange leftist cant.

The AQ threat is not seen as a threat by a large portion of our population because they are not part of our civilization. They are outsiders, barbarians inside the gates. They are the enemy within.

Even if AQ is not totally successful it's unclear we will survive the contining 'velvet revolution' of the left.

11 posted on 10/28/2004 11:33:19 AM PDT by Jack Black
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To: Jack Black
Well, we've got some choices to make, and soon wuth respect to dealing with our domestic enemies. This is the "elephant in the living room" that so many of us have resolutely ignored.

"If the enemy is composed of men who will stop at nothing, who are willing to die and to kill, then you must find men to fight on your side who will do the same. Only those who have mastered ruthlessness can defend their society from the ruthlessness of others."

Fell deeds await...

12 posted on 10/28/2004 12:20:29 PM PDT by Noumenon (The Left's dedication to the destruction of a free society makes them unfit to live in that society.)
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To: sionnsar
They have entrusted the defense of their property and lives to the governor who rules them, and to the militia which has the task of guarding them

That is where the citizens give up and don't care anymore. It not a matter of entrusting, it's a case of despair.

13 posted on 10/28/2004 12:23:56 PM PDT by RightWhale (Withdraw from the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and establish property rights)
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To: Noumenon

You keyed this in yourself, didn't you?

I've started reading it, but not finished yet.


14 posted on 10/28/2004 1:16:19 PM PDT by snopercod (Inflation, it's how wars are paid for.)
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To: backhoe
Hell, my good (85-year-old) friend tells me that I will never know what it was like to be free in America. I believe him.

He has told me how he and all his friends used to take shotguns and .22s to school every day and lean them up in a corner so they could hunt something for supper after school.

He walked all the way from Florida to NY and slept under bridges, etc. just to get a job. Never had to show ID and never got rousted for vagrancy.

...and many more eye-openers.

15 posted on 10/28/2004 1:20:52 PM PDT by snopercod (Inflation, it's how wars are paid for.)
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To: snopercod

My long-departed Father ( born 1890, Cape Hatteras ) told me of many such things-- we really have let a lot of freedoms slip away. We won't be seeing them return, either.


16 posted on 10/28/2004 1:24:38 PM PDT by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the Trackball into the Dawn of Information...)
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To: backhoe

These days, you go out for a Sunday drive in your Aeronca, and people (including many FReepers) want to shoot you down.


17 posted on 10/28/2004 1:39:53 PM PDT by snopercod (Inflation, it's how wars are paid for.)
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To: snopercod
Aeronca?

Jeez! My Mom- the old Master Sergeant- learned to fly in an Aeronca back in WWII, at Caspar, Wyoming. I've never been sure if her tale of lashing the prop back on with baling wire and then taking off was true, or just a wee exaggeration.

18 posted on 10/28/2004 1:49:58 PM PDT by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the Trackball into the Dawn of Information...)
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To: snopercod

Yes I did. I felt that it was that important. The book itself is quite interresting. More on that after I've finished it and had time to digest it.

That assumes that events don't overtake us over the next week or so.


19 posted on 10/28/2004 3:08:46 PM PDT by Noumenon (The Left's dedication to the destruction of a free society makes them unfit to live in that society.)
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To: backhoe

I'm impressed. Your Mom invented safety wire! ;-)


20 posted on 10/28/2004 3:15:05 PM PDT by snopercod (Inflation, it's how wars are paid for.)
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To: Noumenon

Thank you so much. More comments after I have digested the entire preface.


21 posted on 10/28/2004 3:15:44 PM PDT by snopercod (Inflation, it's how wars are paid for.)
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To: Noumenon

Good post, Nnnnnnoumen. Long time no see.


22 posted on 10/28/2004 3:30:04 PM PDT by Dr.Deth
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To: backhoe
This is another great perspective:

The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex order and freedom can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without and multiplying from within.
--Will Durant, The Story of Civilization

Sooner or later, and for the sake of our civilization, we are going to have to deal with our domestic enemies.

23 posted on 10/28/2004 9:54:27 PM PDT by Noumenon (The Left's dedication to the destruction of a free society makes them unfit to live in that society.)
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To: Noumenon

BTTT! Great Book!


24 posted on 05/28/2010 8:36:06 AM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP (Make all taxes truly voluntary)
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To: Libertarianize the GOP
I had forgotten that I had posted this six years ago. Since then, Harris has published The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West (a good follow-up to the book mentioned in the original post) and The Next American Civil War: The Populist Revolt against the Liberal Elite - a book that will comfort no one.

Anything this man writes is worthy of our attention, and all of his books should be in our hard copy libraries. I wish I had even 1% of his insight and knowledge. Right now, I'm making a a third pass through his latest book mentioned above. This timethrough, I'm making notes and commetns. I don't agree with all of his opinions, but these are disagreements that intellectually honest men can make with one another.

Reading this 2004 post is chilling. Because it is right in all of its particulars. Survival of our heritage of freedom is looking faces long odds now. It will take the courage of determined men and women and a miracle or two if we are to avoid a civilization-killing, long and deep Dark Age.

25 posted on 05/28/2010 9:30:12 AM PDT by Noumenon ("Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed, that he has grown so great?" - Julius Caesar)
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To: Noumenon
A code of honor, to be effective when it is needed, requires a tradition that is blindly accepted by the men and women who are expected to live by this code. To work when it must, a code of honor must be the unspoken and unquestioned law governing a community; a law written not in law books but in the heart – something like an instinct.

At the moment, Marxism is our nation's most urgent and serious threat. It is occupying center stage. Islam is waiting in the green room.

Only a nation's whose population is thoroughly educated and capable of defending its Judeo Christian priniciples and our nation's founding values is capable of defending against the threats of Marxism and Islam.

I am on these message boards day after day sounding the warning. We MUST MUST MUST shut down our socialist and atheistic government K-12 schools!!! Socialist-funded and atheistic schools can NOT be reformed! They are utterly incapable of preparing our nation's citizens to defend freedom!!!

Conservatives MUST MUST MUST get our nation's children into private conservative schools that will thoroughly and completely integrate into every minute of every school day the Judeo Christian values upon which our nation was founded. Without this "Code of Honor", we are facing a 1,000 year long Dark Age.

26 posted on 05/28/2010 9:47:44 AM PDT by wintertime
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To: wintertime
Islam is waiting in the green room.

Nice multi-level turn of phrase and metaphor. So many peeple are clueless about this. or are in complete denial.

The enemy challenges the Enlightenment’s insistence on the supremacy of pure reason by forcing us to respect those code of honor whose foundation is far more visceral than rational, a fact that explains the modern intellectual’s hatred for such codes in whatever guise they lurk. The enemy requires the continued existence of large groups of men and women who refuse to question authority and who are happy to take on blind faith the traditions that have been passed down to them. The enemy necessitates the careful cultivation of such high-testosterone values as brute physical courage and unthinking loyalty to a leader. The enemy demands instinctual patriotism and what Ibn Khaldun calls “group feeling,” that is, the sense of identification with one’s own people. The enemy propels into positions of command men who are accustomed to taking risks and who are willing to gamble with the lives of others, and shuns aside those who prefer the leisure of contemplation to the urgency of action. Lastly, the enemy shatters the Enlightenment’s visions of utopia, of Kant’s epoch of perpetual peace and of the end of history.

And this is why so many European and American intellectuals refuse to acknowledge today even the possibility of the enemy’s existence, concocting theories to explain the actions of Al-Qaeda as something other than what they were.

The other reason that Harris doesn't mention is that many European and American intellectuals agree with our enemies, in that they wish to see our civilization destroyed. It is nothing less than the worst kind of betrayal, a civilizational suicide. It is a sick desire borne of self-hatred that condemns countless generations to slavery, servitude and slaughter. This is why I can make no peace with liberals or their ilk. They are like a cancer with which no negotiation or accomodation is possible.

I agree. Our children are our repositories of the knowledge and courage that makes freedom possible. We must guard, tend and teach. No one else will. Waht sort of response do you get to your work on other forums?

27 posted on 05/28/2010 10:02:50 AM PDT by Noumenon ("Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed, that he has grown so great?" - Julius Caesar)
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To: Noumenon
Waht sort of response do you get to your work on other forums?
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

There are three responses:

** Those from clueless conservatives that believe that if somehow we could go back to some magical decade in government schooling, or eliminate unions, or have a minute of prayer in an atheistic day, or close down the Department of Education...etc....that somehow we could reform socialist-funded and atheistic government schools.

**Those from professional trolls who are paid by the NEA.

** Those very FEW conservatives who “get it”. Those few conservatives who understand that socialist-funded government schooling can NOT NOT NOT be reformed. Those conservatives who understand that simply by sending a child into government schools, the child learns to be comfortable taking money from his neighbor to pay for a service their parents want tuition-free.

Marxism is our nation's most urgent and serious threat. Government K-12 schools are the Marxists’ most powerful weapon against us.

28 posted on 05/28/2010 10:15:55 AM PDT by wintertime
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To: Libertarianize the GOP

I’ve just purchased four more copies used at $2.00 each. I’ll be giving them away...


29 posted on 05/31/2010 2:49:54 PM PDT by Noumenon ("Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed, that he has grown so great?" - Julius Caesar)
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To: wintertime; zzeeman

Gratuitous bump for rference...


30 posted on 06/25/2010 2:11:00 PM PDT by Noumenon ("Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed, that he has grown so great?" - Julius Caesar)
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To: Noumenon
Thanks for the bump on this one. OK, I now formally have more reading material than I can deal with over the next several months. I will definitely need to cut back on my sleep!

I just downloaded this book and the The Next American Civil War onto our Kindle. Dr. Quigley's T&H (1966, First Printing) is scheduled to arrive on July 2. Add these to the pile of books my son got me for Father's Day and I will be longing for rainy weekends and nothing too urgent to attend to in the shop!

Brief comment on the Enemies: Both (Marxist-Statists and Islam) have already become firmly entrenched within. No need to be overly concerned with external threats at this point, the internal threats have already outstripped our flanks. IMO.

31 posted on 06/25/2010 6:37:31 PM PDT by zzeeman (Existence exists.)
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To: zzeeman
Well, you've certainly got your work cut out for you! But it's great work, necessary work. I guarantee that once you've made your first pass through these books, you'll never look at the world in quite the same way. The second and third passes will have even more impact. Because you'll start connecting names and events. History and the nature of Man will begin to assume a very different shape. I'll be very interrested in how it goes. There'll be a lot to discuss. We used to do that sort of thing here at FR. Back in the late 90s, an FR member who went by the moniker of ACE published a series of stunning essays here. Unfortunately, they're long since gone, but I do wish that they could be resurrected. His first one, Original Sin was absolutely brilliant. Can't find it anywhere now.

But this is the sort of discussion that all of us need to have, especially now. Modern civilizations rise and fall according to the people they produce and the ideas they follow and hold dear. And are willing to defend.

Right now, I've begun a careful re-read of the latest edition of The Road to Serfdom, and I've got Walter Bagehot's Physics and Politics on the way. After reading Quigley, Hayek's efforts to get his work published assume new meaning and context.

Dinner beckons, so I'll close this now. Good evening, all.

32 posted on 06/25/2010 7:48:28 PM PDT by Noumenon ("Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed, that he has grown so great?" - Julius Caesar)
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To: zzeeman
A Civilization and Its Enemies bump. We've no lack of targets.
33 posted on 04/01/2011 1:51:10 PM PDT by Noumenon ("How do we know when the Government is like that guy with the van and the handcuffs?" --Henry Bowman)
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To: SuperLuminal

You might have thought that Harris’ work would get more play here.


34 posted on 04/26/2011 10:00:23 PM PDT by Noumenon ("How do we know when the Government is like that guy with the van and the handcuffs?" --Henry Bowman)
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To: Noumenon
"You might have thought that Harris’ work would get more play here. "

Trying to get up to speed on both Delsol and Harris...(Not withstanding this latest Noumenon thread...{:-))

My schedule getting a couple of guys ready for a competiton is pretty time-consuming...

I won't be wading ashore in front of photographers....but "I shall return" to this discussion...

35 posted on 04/29/2011 8:07:39 PM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)
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To: SuperLuminal

An ‘interesting times’ bump


36 posted on 09/29/2011 2:43:44 PM PDT by Noumenon (The only 'NO' a liberal understands is the one that arrives at muzzle velocity.)
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To: zzeeman
Say, my friend - what did you think of Quigley's take on what he calls The Pakistani-Peruvian axis? One of the best insights of the entire 1300+ pages of Tragedy and Hope, in my opinion. I have never seen such a penetrating enalysis of the mindset of our enemies, nor have I ever see nthe virtues of our Western civilizations summed up in such a moving and elegant fashion:

The ethical sides of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam sought to counteract harshness, egocentricity, tribalism, cruelty, scorn of work and of one’s fellow creatures, but these efforts, on the whole, have met with little success throughout the length of the Pakistani-Peruvian axis. Of the three, Christianity, possibly because it set the highest standards of the three, has fallen furthest from achieving its aims. Love, humility, brotherhood, cooperation, the sanctity of work, the fellowship of community, the image of man as a fellow creature made in the image of God, respect for women as personalities and partners of men, mutual helpmates on the road to spiritual salvation, and the vision of our universe, with all of its diversity, complexity, and multitude of creatures, as a reflection of the power and goodness of God – these basic aspects of Christ’s teachings are almost totally lacking throughout the Pakistani-Peruvian axis and most notably absent on the “Christian” portion of that axis from Sicily, or even the Aegean Sea, westward to Baja California and Tierra del Fuego. Throughout the whole axis, human actions are not motivated by these “Christian virtues,” but by the more ancient Arabic personality traits, which become vices and sins in the Christian outlook: harshness, envy, lust, greed, selfishness, cruelty, and hatred.

Brilliant.

37 posted on 12/16/2011 2:53:49 PM PST by Noumenon ("I tell you, gentlemen, we have a problem on our hands." Col. Nicholson-The Bridge on the River Qwai)
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To: Noumenon
Hi Ward, thanks for the ping! I haven't been on FR too much of late (for a number of reasons) and was just working my way back through pings and saw this one from you. To be frank, I don't recall the "Pakistani-Peruvian axis" at all. There was simply so MUCH material (most of it new to me!) that I could not absorb it all in one pass, this is yet another example! I'll follow your link here and see if I can locate it in the T&H text and let you know.

Wishing you & yours a belated Merry Christmas!

38 posted on 12/26/2011 4:44:46 PM PST by zzeeman ("We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.")
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To: zzeeman
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you and your clan as well. It's going to be a very... interesting year, eh?

You know, it took a second pass through T&H AND Evolution of Civilizations before I truly understood the import of what Quigley was getting at with respect to his analysis of The Pakistani-Peruvian Axis

There is another. Another axis of cruelty and disregard for human life made all the worse in some respects by its veneer of culture and pretensions to a "higher" civilization that it affects. This what I term the Slavic-Teutonic Axis - a combination of Asiatic despotism, Slavic nihilism and Teutonic will-to-power (part of the Teutonic outlook) that in modern times, gave rise to two of the most monstrous and murderous ideologies and outlooks the world has ever seen, and that continues unchecked to this day. It was a stunning realization, and one of the last pieces of the puzzle to fall into place. More as this develops, as the notion of the Slavic-Teutonic Axis essentially completes the chain of thought that is the foundation for my book.

39 posted on 12/26/2011 8:08:31 PM PST by Noumenon ("I tell you, gentlemen, we have a problem on our hands." Col. Nicholson-The Bridge on the River Qwai)
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To: Noumenon; zzeeman
A further refeinement of my earlier premise: I'm tentativley renaming it to The Scandanavian-Slavic Axis, as it better fits the circumstances and historical aspects. Moreover, at a crucial variance with the Pakistani-Peruvian Axis, the The Scandanavian-Slavic Axis derived its totalitarian ruling methodology from the Byzantine Empire of that day, whose administrative and cultural practices were much admired by the Slavic peoples' conqquerors, the the Vikings. Thus: a perverted totalitarian governing principle coupled with the cruel two-class, militaristic society of the Vikings who dominated the Slavs.

But there was even more to it than that. The collapse of the Roman Empire decoupled the idea of society from the principle of its 'ownership' by the state. It became evident that society as such was able to operate on its own during the Dark Ages betwee nempires. This was at a huge variance with the idea that state and society were one and the same, the latter being 'owned' by the former. As Quigley put it:

This experience had revolutionary effects. It was discovered that man can live without a state; this became the basis of Western liberalism. It was discovered that the state, if it exists, must serve men and that it is incorrect to believe that the purpose of men is to serve the state. It was discovered that economic life, religious life, law, and private property can all exist and function effectively without a state. From this emerged laissez-faire, separation of Church and State, rule of law, and the sanctity of private property. In Rome, in Byzantium, and in Russia, law was regarded as an enactment of a supreme power. In the West, when no supreme power existed, it was discovered that law still existed as the body of rules which govern social life. Thus law was found by observation in the West, not enacted by autocracy as in the East. This meant that authority was established by law and under the law in the West, while authority was established by power and above the law in the East. The West felt that the rules of economic life were found and not enacted; that individuals had rights independent of, and even opposed to, public authority; that groups could exist, as the Church existed, by right and not by privilege, and without the need to have any charter of incorporation entitling them to exist as a group or act as a group; that groups or individuals could own property as a right and not as a privilege and that such property could not be taken by force but must be taken by established process of law. It was emphasized in the West that the way a thing was done was more important than what was done, while in the East what was done was far more significant than the way in which it was done.

This outlook represents a hughe and unbridgeable gap between the niominally Christian West and, well, virtually everyone else. The upshot is that the relatively shot time (in the historical sense) that we here in the West have experiences freedom stands in sharp and irreconcilable ccontrast with the way in which the world has worked for everyone else on the planet. Combine the Pakistani-Preuvian Axis with the Scandanavian-Slavic Axis, and you've not got much left. Except for the brief and shining example of America. And the hour is growing late for us.

We who believe in individual freedom and all of the other principles of our brief Western civilization are at non-negotiable, irreconcilable odds with most of the rest of the world. In short, we're playing for everything there is. The triumph of our enemies - the triumph of the will-to-power - will usher in an age of slaughter, cruelty, barbarity and slavery from which the human race may never recover.

40 posted on 12/27/2011 3:43:45 PM PST by Noumenon ("I tell you, gentlemen, we have a problem on our hands." Col. Nicholson-The Bridge on the River Qwai)
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To: Noumenon

Looking at Germany today, or Scandinavia or Peru for that matter, does a lot to deflate these “big picture” theories.


41 posted on 12/27/2011 3:58:30 PM PST by x
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To: Noumenon
A little bumperoo. I had forgotten this thread but not its thesis. Just a few passing thoughts...

Two of the signal characteristics of progressive politics and its adherents are a conviction of moral superiority and an attempt to avoid confrontation with avowed enemies by acknowledging their every complaint as justified and transferring the blame to their own domestic political opponents. This is an attempt to transcend conflict in pursuit of some utopian fantasy-land, hence the conviction of moral superiority.

In today's world this is appallingly dangerous. We had years in the early days of this country before a threat became so extant it had to be answered; as recently as the mid-20th century this had shrunken to months, the months between Pearl Harbor and the growth of a tremendous military effort to answer it. It has shrunken once again. Technological advances in travel, communications, and weapons effectiveness have empowered very small numbers of enemies to have an effect entirely disproportionate to their numbers. The world has not grown more peaceful during the Golden Age of Western civilization, it has grown more dangerous.

But the means of reply have grown equally. What has not grown is the moral character necessary for a strong society to defend itself against existential threats, settle non-existential threats by means short of violence, and especially the experience and wisdom to know the difference. Always there is the tendency of the progressive interested in the appearance of wisdom to deal with the process from moral heights that are a wild luxury in the real world. That luxury tends to get expensive over time, and when it can no longer be paid for, either the society must reject these affectations as the foolishness they are, or it must follow them and pay the price.

The latter has, since 2008, been the United States' polity's chosen course of action. The celebrity politicians in charge are adept not at taking responsibility, but avoiding it; adept not at taking the blame for ineffective or counterproductive policies and correcting them, but in blaming the other fellow and doubling down on them. It is truly a recipe for disaster.

I shall argue in another place my conviction that liberal politics, despite a hurricane of denial, do not actually aim at any egalitarian democracy, but at a return to outright feudalism, in which the ruling classes declare an international brotherhood and the ruled do the dying in pursuit of their masters' vanities. These are the upshots of Marx's doctrines expressed in Marx's own terms. Naturally, as a true progressive, he would deny them and blame somebody else, but it's the truth regardless.

Have a very happy New Year, Ward. We'll pick it up again later.

42 posted on 12/27/2011 4:32:04 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: x
At a superficial, snapshot level, you may be correct. But the problem with snapshots and surface appearances is that you will miss the big picture.

The history of much of the last century was written in the blood of the victims of war, genocide, political upheaval and social unrest. One of the lessons of modern history – lost on most Americans, unfortunately – is that our circumstances can change literally overnight. Consider Beirut, Sarajevo, the Islamic mass murders at the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and lately - the riots in Greece, Spain, Italy and London. These events were all harbingers of an abrupt, irrevocable and often brutal change in peoples’ lives.

Consider a Jewish tailor living in Prague in the late 1930’s. He could scarcely have understood what was happening to him when he and his family were rounded up by the National Socialists and packed into a cattle car – they were told that they were being ‘relocated for their own safety’. But, that was World War 2, you say. So let’s move forward: in the early 1970s, and in the span of 72 hours, the Khmer Rouge emptied every major city in Cambodia and before they were done, they had slaughtered over a third of the country – more than a million people - over the next few years. But, that was during the Vietnam War years and in Asia, you object. Surely, you say, that’s over. But nothing could be further from the truth – as Goldhagen in Worse Than War points out, it never stopped; it only diminished in intensity. Most of us have forgotten Sarajevo, host of the 1984 Winter Olympics and formerly known as “the jewel of the Adriatic.” Sarajevo fell into a flame-shot hell of barbarism with a rapidity that stunned its inhabitants. The so-called ‘siege of Sarajevo’ earned the dubious distinction of being the longest such siege in modern times – it lasted almost 4 years. Modern high-rise buildings became death traps as services failed and snipers picked off anyone who tried to leave in search of food, water or something to burn for warmth. World War 2, again? No – the siege of Sarajevo took place from 1992 through 1996. But those were Serbs and Croats – we’re not like that, you say. But if you thought that we here in America have some special immunity to circumstances like those, you would be wrong. Those same cultural and inimical social outlooks that were responsible for the blood and slaughter are headed this way.

Here in America, the Watts and Rodney King riots, and hurricane Katrina serve as examples of just how quickly our own civil order can vanish. The recent ‘flash mob’ robbery/assault phenomenon - where groups of blacks make use of cell phone texting and social networks such as Twitter to organize and swarm retail establishments in order to overwhelm them and to loot them - are becoming increasingly bolder and more violent here in the good old USA. Lately, and in a more ominous turn of events, those same flash mobs have begun to target individual people for racially motivated robbery and assault. You can even see this on YouTube, where many of these incidents are published for ‘bragging rights’! Even though the flash rob-mob phenomenon has largely fallen off the media radar (and some might say that it is being deliberately suppressed), it hasn’t stopped. It just hasn’t been reported by a compliant media with an agenda. And with few exceptions, nobody’s going to jail for it.

The recent ‘Occupy’ movement with its shadowy organizational origins and even more ambiguous sources of funding are another harbinger of social unrest to come. Merely another situation under-reported and misrepresented by a media strangely uninterested in the whole story, but the sentiment of those participating is easy enough to discern: "Capitalism has taught us that no one is ever going to give us anything," said OSC spokesperson Mark Paschal. "You have to take it.'' His comments and many, many others like it have an old familiar ring:

"We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions."

It is almost word-for-word what is coming from the mouths of the OWS crowd, and you would find few among them who would disagree with it. In fact, you would find few among our intelligentsia, our artists, our journalists, even our preachers and pastors who would find fault with it. But it’s old news, as the quote comes from a speech made in May 1, 1927 by one of the true nemeses and monsters of the last century, one Adolf Hitler. Harbingers. Just where do you think this is coming from?

“It can’t happen here,” you say? Don’t bet on it. It already has. The “low level ethnic conflict,” of the flash mobs, the increasingly violent theater of the Occupy movement, and the systematic abrogation of the rule of law by the Obama regime are merely progressions along the way to something far, far worse.

But no matter. Everything will be just fine. Until the day that it isn't.

43 posted on 12/27/2011 4:33:57 PM PST by Noumenon ("I tell you, gentlemen, we have a problem on our hands." Col. Nicholson-The Bridge on the River Qwai)
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To: Noumenon
Interesting... to say the least! Although definitely not the way I had held out some level of hope for, that is until Gov. Palin decided not to run. (I may have been misguided in any number of ways, but I truly thought that she could at least begin the kind of reform needed. I also believed that her candidacy alone would be able to generate the level of grassroots enthusiasm (both $$$ & GOTV) that would be necessary for a GOP candidate to at least come close to defeating the unprecedented ruthless ("no holds barred, scorched earth") re-election campaign that we are about to see unfold.)

I have been very discouraged by her decision (although I think that I understand her reasons) and cannot muster an ounce of support for any of the statist monsters that are likely to emerge from the primary process (one of the main reasons that I've been scarce around here for a few months!). Bleech.

But to the point, I went back and found that section in T & H and re-read it. About half way through it became familiar and I remembered that I was hung up on the physical geographic implications of a "Pakistani" - "Peruvian" Axis when I first read through that section (in some ways I suppose that I still am a bit). Re-reading definitely helped me to process it and I also remembered that it struck some chords in my own memory of having mused over the rather striking sociological & cultural similarities between LA & Arabic societies. While I can't recall specifically what roused those thoughts in my mind many years ago, I do recall dismissing it as nothing more than sheer coincidental & anecdotal comparisons at the time. For certain I didn't have the vast command of history & sociology of Professor Quigley (nor the outsized ego!) to ever consider it past the point of dreamy musings.

I continued reading on and was left wondering why he didn't draw out more of the influence of the Asiatic Despotism, his focus seemed almost exclusively on the Arabic Outlook. Perhaps I was hoping to see a bit more about the Asiatic Despotism since I recently read a very illuminating book on China, Decker & Triplett's: Bowing to Beijing: How Barack Obama is Hastening America's Decline and Ushering A Century of Chinese Domination. I recommend it to anyone that wants to get a very up to date, fact-filled, objective report on what is really going on between the US and the Middle Kingdom today.

I would suggest that Quigley could have drawn out a bit more depth on the Asiatic Despotism if he spent the time, but it almost seemed to me a a reader many decades removed that he got caught up in the Arabic Outlook aspect and may have simply forgot!

Your Slavic-Teutonic Axis is certainly intriguing and I look forward to seeing it fleshed out soon! Help me out here, am I somehow getting too hung up on the physical geography of these "Axes?" Should I view them more from a purely sociological (rather than geographic) basis?

44 posted on 12/27/2011 4:43:16 PM PST by zzeeman ("We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.")
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To: Billthedrill
Good to hear from you my friend. Your observations are spot on. Where you say that, "What has not grown is the moral character necessary for a strong society to defend itself against existential threats, settle non-existential threats by means short of violence, and especially the experience and wisdom to know the difference," you have hit upon the heart of the dilemma for what remains of our Western civilization.

Most of us are bemused and distracted by the Kabuki theater of what passes for modern American politics, while those who would rule us - and the world - proceed apace with our destruction for their own ends. That may sound, well, a little too extreme for some folks (after all, everything's just fine, isn't it?), but the growing uneasiness that's beginning to haunt people, to creep in around the edges of everyday life suggests that it's all too true.

We wish you a belated Merry Christmas and happy New Year - we're both in he best possible place we could be.

45 posted on 12/27/2011 4:46:11 PM PST by Noumenon ("I tell you, gentlemen, we have a problem on our hands." Col. Nicholson-The Bridge on the River Qwai)
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To: Noumenon
So now your argument is that civil order could collapse anywhere suddenly?

I guess so, but before you were talking about us being alone in a world threatened by Slavo-Teutonic or Scandinavian-Slavic and Pakistani-Peruvian axes, and that's something very different from what you're saying now.

Germany today, Norway and Sweden today, even Peru today don't make up great threats to world peace or to the United States. Sure, things can change, but things have already changed to the point where ideas about a permanent Viking or Teutonic or Hispanic character are questionable.

Those Vikings (after some mixing with the French) also became the Normans who contributed mightily to developing the British model. Indeed, the Vikings weren't so very different from the Anglo-Saxons who provide the another piece of British culture. Getting from the Vikings (or the Byzantines) to later Russian culture was a complicated process that wasn't pre-determined.

And to say as Quigley apparently does that Christianity somehow isn't a major factor in Spanish culture looks quite obtuse. Perhaps he isn't wrong about "more ancient Arabic personality traits" playing a role, but no society, our own included is entirely governed by the "Christian virtues." Hispanic Quigleys, and there were many, saw Northern Europeans as outriders, almost outsiders, of the Christian World just as much as Quigley does Southern Europeans.

46 posted on 12/27/2011 4:56:15 PM PST by x
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To: zzeeman
Yes, I think that Quigley was using the geographical endpoints of his axes as metaphorical bookends, a way of encompassing a great deal of the world that lay in between them. Like you, I would have wished for more of an exposition of his definition of Asiatic despotism, but remember that Qugley rather assumed that in coming to his works or his classes, you had already absorbed the finer points of a classical education. He probaly felt that our understanding of that notion was a given, which is why it appears to get short shrift in T&H.

Yeah, I'm with you, brother. It's a sad, sorry gaggle of statist clowns, grifters, ruling class elitists and opportunists on offer as our 'choice'. "Death or chi-chi?" as the old joke goes. So Palin's my write-in - praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

I'll definitely add the book you reference to my reading list. Thanks for that!

47 posted on 12/27/2011 4:58:55 PM PST by Noumenon ("I tell you, gentlemen, we have a problem on our hands." Col. Nicholson-The Bridge on the River Qwai)
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To: x; DuncanWaring; zzeeman; Lurker
Let's see - where to start?

First of all, the examples of societal collapse are illustrative of the point that culture, ideas and what Quigley characterized as 'outlook do matter - and that they matter a great deal. So much so that the combination of these factors will ultimately determine the direction that a particular nation takes.

This leads us to the second of your assertions. That "Germany today, Norway and Sweden today, even Peru today don't make up great threats to world peace or to the United States." You are correct as far as that goes. But it's what underlies and connects these seemingly disparate nations that does pose a therat to all of us who adhere to the Western ideals of individual freedo, conscience and compassion. As Quigley puts it,

The problem of finding constructive patterns for Latin America is much more difficult than the problem of finding constructive priorities. One reason for this is that the unconstructive patterns that now prevail in Latin America are deeply entrenched as a result of centuries and even millennia of persistent background. In fact, the Latin American patterns that must be changed because today they are leading to social and cultural disruption are not really Latin American in origin, or even Iberian for that matter, but are Near Eastern, and go back, for some of their aspects, for two thousand or more years. As a general statement, we might say that the Latin American cultural pattern (including personality patterns and general outlook) is Arabic, while its social pattern is that of Asiatic despotism. The pattern as a whole is so prevalent today, not only in Latin America, but in Spain, Sicily, southern Italy, the Near East, and in various other areas of the Mediterranean world (such as Egypt), that we might well call it the "Pakistani- Peruvian axis." For convenience of analysis we shall divide it into "Asiatic despotism" and the "Arabic outlook."

So what we're really looking at is not the superficialty of the construct of nations, but of cultural patterns and outlook that have more influence than appeals to a particular nationality. America was always more of a cultural ideal whose roots lay in the foundation of the Christian West.

Thus, the Pakistani-Peruvian axis ofwhich Quigley speaks is is cultural / sociological one; the geographic endpoints of his putative axis are merely place markers to indicate its exent - much like saying "from here to Timbuktu." I'm willing to grant Quigley a bit of hyperbole as he makes his point rather well.

As to the contention that Quigley says that Christianity somehow isn't a major factor in Spanish culture - that's incorrect. What he does say is that much of the nominally Christian culture along his axis had failed to ameliorate or otherwise change the destructive aspects of the outlook comprised of he combination of Asiatic despotism and the Arabic outlook. And that it had in fact become contaminated by those destructive influences. Citing Quigley once again:

Interestingly enough, these attitudes have successfully survived the efforts of the three great religions of ethical monotheism, native to the area, to change these attitudes. The ethical sides of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam sought to counteract harshness, egocentricity, tribalism, cruelty, scorn of work and of one's fellow creatures, but these efforts, on the whole, have met with little success throughout the length of the Pakistani- Peruvian axis. Of the three, Christianity, possibly because it set the highest standards of the three, has fallen furthest from achieving its aims. Love, humility, brotherhood, cooperation, the sanctity of work, the fellowship of the community, the image of man as a fellow creature made in the image of God, respect for women as personalities and partners of men, mutual helpmates on the road to spiritual salvation, and the vision of our universe, with all its diversity, complexity, and multitude of creatures, as a reflection of the power and goodness of God—these basic aspects of Christ's teachings are almost totally lacking throughout the Pakistani-Peruvian axis and most notably absent on the "Christian" portion of that axis from Sicily, or even the Aegean Sea, westward to Baja California and Tierra del Fuego. Throughout the whole axis, human actions are not motivated by these "Christian virtues" but by the more ancient Arabic personality traits, which became vices and sins in the Christian outlook: harshness, envy, lust, greed, selfishness, cruelty, and hatred.

The upshot of all of this is hat none of us live in an intellectual or political vacuum. The extent of prosperity, liberty, and population are defined by our culture and our world view - or outlook, as Quigley puts it. Human history is a continuum, not merely a series of events, or as someone once put it, "one damn thing after another." The ideas and cultural patterns of antiquity have left their mark on all of the succeeding centuries, no matter what our pretentions and protestations to the contrary. All of it had consequences, consequences that we experience today.

Understand that I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you; it's just that there's more to the story than meets the eye. And that we here in America are in fact very much alone with respect to our unique cultural patterns and outlook, all of which are under assault and have been degraded by generations of the Machiavellian-Gramscian-Marcusian memes.

The essence of it is this: destroy our unique American culture based upon liberty, individual conscience and all of those thigns so eloquently summarized by Quigley as the crown of Western civilization, and very bad things will take its place, courtesy of the confluence of the Pakistani-Peruvian axis and the Scandanavian-Slavic axis. Some have spoken of a thousand years of a new Dark Age. Try ten thousand. Or more. That's what's at stake here.

48 posted on 12/28/2011 11:09:11 AM PST by Noumenon ("I tell you, gentlemen, we have a problem on our hands." Col. Nicholson-The Bridge on the River Qwai)
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To: Noumenon
As to the contention that Quigley says that Christianity somehow isn't a major factor in Spanish culture - that's incorrect. What he does say is that much of the nominally Christian culture along his axis had failed to ameliorate or otherwise change the destructive aspects of the outlook comprised of he combination of Asiatic despotism and the Arabic outlook.

Look at what you've quoted Quigley several times as saying:

Love, humility, brotherhood, cooperation, the sanctity of work, the fellowship of the community, the image of man as a fellow creature made in the image of God, respect for women as personalities and partners of men, mutual helpmates on the road to spiritual salvation, and the vision of our universe, with all its diversity, complexity, and multitude of creatures, as a reflection of the power and goodness of God—these basic aspects of Christ's teachings are almost totally lacking throughout the Pakistani-Peruvian axis and most notably absent on the "Christian" portion of that axis from Sicily, or even the Aegean Sea, westward to Baja California and Tierra del Fuego. Throughout the whole axis, human actions are not motivated by these "Christian virtues" but by the more ancient Arabic personality traits, which became vices and sins in the Christian outlook: harshness, envy, lust, greed, selfishness, cruelty, and hatred.

That's quite a fierce and blistering indictment: "Almost totally lacking." It sounds like what you and he want to do is to have it both ways. To make a savage attack on Spain and Latin America as societies where Christianity hasn't had much of an impact and then to deny having made the indictment.

Professors love to do things like that, to lead readers to some extreme conclusion and then attack people for simply connecting the dots. But if you or he want to weasel out of what he's obviously saying, fine, but be aware that other people reading what he wrote aren't going to be taken in by the disavowals.

I don't entirely disagree with you and Quigley. What Quigley writes about Latin America isn't radically different from what Octavio Paz said about Mexico, his own country, but there's a contempt and dismissiveness in Quigley, as well as a complacency about the North American alternative, that Paz didn't share.

There probably are some similarities between Latin America and Southern Europe on the one hand, and the Middle East and Islamic world on the other, at least in comparison to the United States. But Quigley is far too quick to reach the conclusion that Latin American society is more influenced by "ancient Arabic personality traits" than by "Christian virtues." I'd want to study indigenous New World peoples, look at Christian and European societies in other historical periods, and examine how other non-Western cultures handled the issues that he brings up.

I don't exclude the possibility that South and Central America failed in someway to develop as we have, but similar failures occurred in societies with no Arab or Muslim influence at all. Such "failure" may be the norm around the world, rather than something exceptional, and such success as we've had may be more recent and unusual than he assumes.

What Quigley's doing is just what plenty of Southern Europeans and Latin Americans did when they attacked Northern Europe or North America as not really Christian, as given to the worship of Mammon and machines. He just turns their indictment on its head. It was wrong, foolish, and unfair when they attacked us in that way, and what Quigley wrote is equally wrong, foolish, and unfair.

It's bizarre to imagine a Catholic professor at a Catholic college having such a bitter, jaundiced view of some very Catholic societies. Maybe the poor man really understood that what he was talking about wasn't so much Christianity as individualism or classical liberalism, excellent things indeed, but not identical to Christianity.

Also, even if Quigley was spot-on about world problems 40 or 50 years ago, his stuff can't be read today as if it were the last word on other societies. One can't write about Madrid or Buenos Aires or Mexico City today without taking into account the influence modernization and democratization have had on those cities, and their countries and cultures.

49 posted on 12/28/2011 3:48:09 PM PST by x
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To: Noumenon
Yes.

I don't think there are many that will argue against the uniqueness of modern Western Civilization as a whole, and in particular the "American Experiment" as it is often named. This uniqueness has two main dimensions (that are virtually all encompassing): 1. When compared to world "civilization" from the beginnings of recorded history, and 2. When compared to the rest of civilization of modern times up to the present. Perhaps I need to clarify the "are many" with "I don't think there are many (that are even moderately informed with mankind's history & don't have a particular agenda to grind) that will argue...."

I think that we both agree with many of the points of this uniqueness that Harris has described in his work. And it is my belief that this uniqueness (with all of its beauty and inherent righteousness) is what we see being constantly assailed by our enemies using the prongs of "multiculturalism" and "moral relevance." This uniqueness is at the root of the attacks, even if they are muffled behind other rhetoric.

While there are many aspects of this uniqueness spread across many dimensions, I believe that it is the combination of Judeo-Christian "outlook" (to use Quigley's term) and the identification of/with, and reverence for, Natural Law & Rights (both of which notably exclude any promotion or validation of the "will to power") that provide the root of our American uniqueness.

So "yes." I agree wholeheartedly that the creeping onslaught (as slow or impotent that it may seem at times) from a combination of these axes (Scandanavian-Slavic and Pakistani-Peruvian), as broad or as narrow as one may be wont to describe them at various points in time, is indeed our ever present enemy. And that this enemy is indeed moving at a greater pace in recent decades. Of note is also the fact that the enemy has made great inroads into our camp and has been extremely successful at bringing to bear a low-grade battle from inside the gates (and one of the greatest aspects of their "success" is the fact that the majority of the populace refuse to even identify its existence!).

And "yes," again, it is indeed for "all the marbles."

50 posted on 12/28/2011 5:29:10 PM PST by zzeeman ("We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.")
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