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Killers Without Conscience - 2010
2010 | Ward Dorrity

Posted on 05/07/2010 2:13:19 PM PDT by Noumenon

There will always be those who are easily seduced by the offer of wealth and unlimited power. But one of the lessons we can glean from an unflinching look at history and human nature is that power-lust inevitably trumps greed. The power to harm others – and to harm others without consequence - is irresistible to a profoundly evil subset of humanity. Real trouble begins when such people acquire power.

 So here’s a bold assertion that many of you will dismiss out of hand: there are those in government - and those who seek control of your government - who simply want you dead. They would kill you if they could get away with it. Why? Because you are in their way. Failing that, they would settle for taking everything you have if they felt that they could do so without being held accountable. They would use the apparatus of the state to censor your speech, punish you for your politically incorrect thoughts, confiscate the fruits of your labor, seize your property, render you helpless and defenseless and in the end, dictate the very terms of your existence if they could do so with impunity. These are killers without conscience. We can come up with a long list of those whose outlook regard humankind as little more than chattel, but there are four individuals whose ideas connect the totalitarian dots in some interesting ways. They have a history and the ideas that animate them have a pedigree.

Karl Marx, father of modern communism, writing in the mid 1800s, described a world in which the central dynamic was purely economic. For Marx – and all those who followed him - human beings are things - merely the bricks and mortar from which a new utopia would be built. For Communists, human lives were – and still are – disposable. The values we live by - individual conscience and the rule of law - are obstacles to be overcome on the way to utopia and the New Socialist Man.

Sigmund Freud was the father of modern psychiatry, a cocaine addict and a suicide. To Freud we were little more than primitives ruled by our sexual impulses. Our civilized personae, Freud believed, is little more than a thin veneer, easily discarded. Freud’s ideas regarding human nature sowed the seeds of the family-destroying sexual revolution of the Sixties.

B.F. Skinner, an American psychologist, author, inventor and an advocate for "social reform" was born at the turn of the 20th century. Skinner's theory of behavior essentially reduced human beings to mere stimulus-response mechanisms. Skinner was also an advocate of scientific social planning and the use of operant conditioning in the raising of children. In his work, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, Skinner suggested that a "technology of behavior" could help to make what he characterized as a better society. To achieve that end, we would have to accept that independent moral choice is not the driving force of our actions. Ultimately, and in Skinner's view, we would be made to accept that idea - or any other idea the State deemed appropriate. Note that Skinner's ideas had and continue to have a profound effect on American education.

Freud, Marx and Skinner were atheists and all assumed that religion, the impulse that moved men and nations, the source of our notions of right and wrong - was a fantasy and always had been. And the common thread that runs through these men's ideas is the dehumanizing of humanity - the reduction of our hearts, minds and souls and all of our aspirations to something that can be either eradicated or molded to suit the states ambitions.

But it took another philosopher to highlight and to put into play one of the most destructive ideas to emerge in modern times.

Friedrich Nietzsche was also an atheist. But he saw God not as an invention, but as a casualty. He wrote in 1886: "The greatest event in recent times - that 'God is Dead,' that the belief in the Christian God is no longer tenable - is beginning to cast its first shadows upon Europe." The Christian God, he wrote, would no longer stand in the way of the development of the New Man who Nietzsche said would be ‘beyond good and evil’. Nietzsche knew that in Europe, the decline of religion as a guide to conscience and morality would leave a huge vacuum.

Who or what would fill that vacuum?

Nietzsche thought that the most likely candidate would be what he called the 'Will to Power,' which he felt offered a better and more persuasive explanation of human behavior than either Marx or Freud. In place of religious belief, there would be secular ideology. The very concept of good and evil would be discarded as the product of weak and inferior minds.

But above all, Nietzsche believed that the Will to Power would produce a new kind of messiah, uninhibited by religious sanctions, without moral restraint of any kind, and with an unappeasable appetite for controlling mankind.

Let's say that again: the Will to Power would produce a new kind of messiah, uninhibited by religious sanctions, without moral restraint of any kind, and with an unappeasable appetite for controlling mankind.

And how did that 'will to power' express itself in our times?  Jean-Francois Revel, writing over a century after Nietzsche, said of the Europeans in particular,

"It was they, after all, who made the twentieth century the darkest in history; it was they who brought about the two unprecedented cataclysms of two World Wars; and it was they who invented and put into place the two most criminal regimes ever inflicted on the human race - the pinnacles of evil and imbecility achieved in a space of less than thirty years."

If we have learned anything at all from the sad and sorry history of the previous century, it is this: whenever and wherever a government assumes the power to violate your fundamental rights to life and liberty, those who wish to strip you of your rights and claim your life as the property of the state will sooner or later gain control of the apparatus of the state. And they will use it, as I have noted above, without restraint or moral considerations of any kind. Regardless of the scope of that authority, they will exercise it to its fullest extent. If that authority encompasses the power to kill hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people, sooner or later, these killers without conscience will make the fullest and most horrible use of it. The history of the 20th century bears stark and irrefutable witness to this fact. The record is crystal clear in this regard:  'state actors' will use and abuse whatever power and authority they have, to whatever extent they can, and they will actively seek the means and the opportunity to do so.

Those who are driven by the will to power typically disguise their intentions under the guise of 'achieving the greatest good for the greatest number' or social / economic justice. They may claim that they are 'doing the business of the people' or that they are acting according to 'the will of the people'. 'It's for the children,' you know. When it has come to creating the 'New Socialist Man,' those who advance such arguments remain untroubled by the oceans of blood they would have to spill and the mountains of corpses they would have to pile up in order to realize their dreams. They are all animated by the unrestrained and unappeasable ‘will to power’.

 To the extent that we endow the state with power, we invariably create the opportunity for those who wish to acquire and abuse power to do evil. You may recall that a politician once said that, "... a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have." The greatest tragedies in recent history have come about in this manner. In the last century alone, more than 260 million people - say it again: more than 260 million people - unarmed, non-combatant civilians - were murdered by those exercising the power of the state. They were starved, gassed, tortured, shot, impaled, burned alive, frozen to death, hacked apart with hoes, axes and machetes - a litany of brutality and atrocity beyond human imagination. Hundreds of millions more lived their lives enslaved, impoverished and in despair. No few of the survivors may have come to envy the dead.

Virtually without exception, these cruel and murderous regimes have been - and continue to be - collectivist totalitarian autocracies of one sort or another. The crimes and the horrors of collectivism in all its forms - socialism, communism, national socialism, fascism - have been demonstrated beyond dispute by their murderous trajectory through history and the ruin, slaughter, and untold human misery left in their wake. This is the undeniable and irrefutable truth of our times. 

If you try to wrap your mind around the nature and the extent of the murderous results of these totalitarian regimes, you'll soon discover that concepts like genocide and mass murder pale before the reality of historical fact. Professor R. J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii coined the term democide in order to give us a framework to understand nature and the scope of the worst slaughters of the 20th century. Rummel offers these definitions:

Genocide: among other things, the killing of people by a government because of their indelible group membership (race, ethnicity, religion, language).

Politicide: the murder of any person or people by a government because of their politics or for political purposes.

Mass Murder: the indiscriminate killing of any person or people by a government.

Democide: The murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder.

As Professor Rummel has shown in Death by Government, democide has been committed in the name of many causes, beliefs and ideologies. Historically, the slaughter of entire populations has been a matter of national, racial, cultural, religious and political policy. But democide is seldom aimed at an individual. It is always the group that is the target. Democide is possible only where individuals have been defined in terms of a group identity. Where this is not the case, mass violence is virtually unknown.  

  No one wages war on humanity in the name of individualism - R. J. Rummel


We now live in a nation where policies and politics of the 'progressive', Gramscian Left have been  formulated expressly to promulgate class and gender warfare, ignorance, passivity, racial division, poverty, envy, and hatred of the good for being good. It is the prerequisite for the acquisition and exercise of unlimited authority and power. It is, in fact, precisely the outcome desired by Gramscian Marxists who now comprise our cultural elite. They are the heirs of those who had had previously helped unravel the moral and philosophical fabric of traditional Christian Europe, creating the frightful void that communism, socialism, national socialism and fascism would fill. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, writing of the influence of the Left on American foreign policy, referred to the influx of 1914 -1918 émigrés whose ranks were swollen during World War II - 

"And, as pointed out earlier, the majority of those belonged to the leftist camp and were soon intimately tied to the American Left. More often than not, these men had previously helped undermine the fabric of traditional Christian Europe, creating the frightful void that communism, socialism, and later National Socialism would fill. Deserted altars are inhabited by demons.”

History is very clear as to precisely what these civilizational underminers have in store for the rest of us. What demons inhabit our empty altars? What should worry us most is that the majority of our fellow citizens openly applaud this same course – whether they know it or not. The rest of us sanction it by our silence and inaction – and that is the silence of the damned.

Yet, for anyone who cares and dares to look closely, the evidence is overwhelming and incontrovertible: the evils and horrors that arise from the abuse of power far outweigh whatever good that power might achieve. Accordingly, any attempt at achieving positive cultural and societal change without risk to the right of the individual to his life, liberty and private property cannot proceed until the authoritarian power of the state has been de-fanged, muzzled, shackled and cast back into a constitutional prison. 

Power seldom goes unabused. There are, have been, and will always be those willing to commit such monstrous crimes. If they refrain from doing so it is only because they lack the opportunity and are suitably constrained by the rule of law backed by men who will enforce it. When the opportunity arises, or when the power-lusters can create the opportunity, they never fail to step up and seize the moment. As Rummel has said, "Power kills; absolute power kills absolutely."  In this nation and at the beginning of the 21st century, the face of evil is defined best by those who seek that adulterine power to control and destroy and by those who assist, applaud and enable them. 

Perhaps you've seen the well-meaning, ignorant appeasers and applauders - individuals who operate upon the basis of whim and emotion and who don't care to consider the consequences of their actions and beliefs. You've seen their faces in the German newsreels of the '30s and '40s. You've seen them at the Democratic and Republican conventions of the last few decades. They've all signed up for the 'program', and in a particularly tenacious species of denial, they've mapped their own personal versions of intellectual bankruptcy and moral and ethical squalor onto the rhetoric and practice of tyranny. But don't pity them at all. We all know the fate of their German counterparts after the fall of the old Weimar Republic: how many were devoured by the same beast they whelped into the world with their ignorant approval and applause?  

Be wary of the haters of mankind who've mapped their own insecurity, self-loathing and sense of inferiority onto the rest of the human race. They are merely another species of willing participant in the bonfires of human sacrifice. Their view of the world and those who inhabit it are colored in terms of spite and envy. These are the ones who've looked into the mirror that others' success and achievements present. Rather than take the challenge to raise their own state of being, they choose instead to shatter the mirror in a fit of pique and resentment simply because they don't like what they see in the reflection of their own souls. Rather than achieve, they seek to destroy. The urge to destroy what they cannot understand or rule becomes their raison d'etre and their governing passion. This type has always found ready employment in the service of their new masters - for a time. But the sacrificial bonfires burn for them as well.  

Consider the cynical and knowing apologists for tyranny and atrocity, sitting behind easy grins, excusing the worst sort of depravity and corruption with a wink and a smirk, secure in their faith that they are the new nomenklatura and are thus exempt from the 'solutions' to messy problems represented by those of us who would resist the idea that our lives are not someone else's property. 

Finally, we come to the power-lusters themselves - the so-called 'progressive' elites. These individuals are often driven by a profound self-hatred which they direct outwards and project onto humanity in general. Their own self-loathing drives their passion to rule and to subjugate and to destroy, thus opening the door to the commission and justification of the most unimaginable of atrocities and crimes against God, man, nature, justice and reason. Another species of power-luster seeks to impose their own overweening sense of moral rectitude upon a resisting and supposedly ignorant public. C. S. Lewis, writing in God in the Dock eloquently warned us about this last type: 

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the 'good' of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."  

  Eric Hoffer, noted American philosopher, grants us another perspective:

  "It has often been said that power corrupts. But it is perhaps equally important to realize that weakness, too, corrupts. Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. Hatred, malice, rudeness, intolerance, and suspicion are the faults of weakness. The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them but from their sense of inadequacy and impotence. We cannot win the weak by sharing our wealth with them. They feel our generosity as oppression."

This is how a long, dark age begins. An age of horror and human sacrifice. Never underestimate the sheer impatience and hubris of the radical utopian 'reformers' who seek nothing less than dominion over every sphere of human thought and endeavor. Remember, these monsters want to reshape Man in their image and according to their ideals no matter what the cost. There's no room in their scheme of things for those who would disagree. Those of us with even a modest knowledge of history and understanding of human nature know where that mindset took humanity in the last century. It's where we're headed now, and we are headed for Hell on earth. 

  The time is coming when we must either begin the "long march" back through the institutions to reclaim them and to restore the principles of freedom and human dignity to their rightful place, or we must separate from the killers without conscience and those who condone them.  My own world-view is contradictory to, and irreconcilable with, that of the criminal totalitarians - the heirs and disciples of Machiavelli, Marx, Gramsci and Alinsky - who promote the politics of envy and victimization, and whose goal is the destruction of our culture and institutions. 

We cannot co-exist in the same society with such monsters.

"The great misfortune of the twentieth Century is to have been the one in which the ideal of liberty was harnessed to the service of tyranny, the ideal of equality to the service of privilege, and all the aspirations and social forces included under the label of the "Left" enrolled in the service of impoverishment and enslavement. This immense imposture has falsified most of this century, partly through the faults of some of its greatest intellectuals. It has corrupted the language and action of politics down to tiny details of vocabulary, it has inverted the sense of morality and enthroned falsehood in the very center of human thought."
Jean Francois-Revel, The Flight From Truth: The Reign of Deceit in the Age of Information -
1991, Random House 

     There seems to be a sort of 'virtual secession' is underway even as we speak. It usually begins when, one by one, we arrive at the same ideas that I have summarized so far. It's the understanding and acceptance of the fact that we can't 'just all get along' as a certain Mr. R King once suggested. We're well past that. We're well past the point of reasoned debate, appeasement or compromise. Those who feel they have the right to dictate the terms of existence to everyone else are on a deadly collision course with those of us who understand that no such 'right' exists. The history of the 20th century stands in mute witness to the brutal tragedy of appeasement and the folly of compromise with totalitarian monsters. We are in fact at war, realize it or not, like it or not. At the most fundamental level, that war is being waged not so much for control of our economic lives - although that is certainly part of it - but for the hearts and minds of our children. The battlefields are: popular culture, our public schools, our institutions of higher learning, our churches and even our homes. The casualties are your kids' intellectual and spiritual sovereignty - their inner life and their freedom.

    A bold conjecture: that we will descend into a Balkanized nightmare of chaos and destruction as the entitled classes, egged on by the elites, try to cash those very bad checks that liberal socialists and their 'change agent' stooges have written for years and handed out in our schools, churches, culture and inner cities. Those checks - the wages of the sins of class hatred, gender warfare, phony self-esteem and racial division are going to bounce sky high when the goodies they've promised aren't forthcoming. It's the price many of us will pay for both cheering and applauding the transformation of this society into a mob of cannibals and looters, or for simply standing silently by in de facto approval while it happened under our very noses. Some of the fence-sitters, applauders and appeasers may actually understand this and regret their choices in their last few moments as they helplessly watch the mindless mobs their very bad ideas have enabled rape and slaughter their families by the light of their burning homes. 

    Open warfare in this country is inevitable because there is no reconciliation possible with those who claim that your life simply does not belong to you. You cannot make peace with those who demand not only your economic submission, but your intellectual and spiritual surrender as well. The price of surrender has been and always will be more than anyone of reason and good will can ever care to pay. As Sidney Hook once wrote:

"Those who say that life is worth living at any cost have written for themselves an epitaph of infamy, for there is no cause and no person they would not betray to stay alive..."

    I fully expect that our virtual secession will break out into the open in approximately the same time frame that those bouncing checks drawn on the banks of envy and phony self-esteem reach critical mass - any time from right now to another 8-10 years. There will be no turning back once this starts, and the cost in lives and property will be truly staggering. There is absolutely no guarantee that we will ever be able to recover from such a scenario. But then, and only then can we successfully engage in our own 'long march' back towards a society where human dignity and freedom aren't mere bagatelles to bartered away for a mess of liberal socialist pottage, but are fundamental values worth living, striving, fighting - and dying for.

There are many of us, and I include myself among them, who constitute an entirely different class of humanity than these killers without conscience and their enablers. We are neither interested in power nor its abuse. We are satisfied to live our lives in peace with ourselves and with others, and we derive great satisfaction in seeing others enjoy life as we do. We believe that our lives and our minds are sovereign, and that the fruits of our labors are not forfeit to the first thug who demands them at the point of a gun. We are never the initiators of violence. We judge others solely by their competence and by their character. 

The final first-principles question is this: To whom does the world belong? Does it belong to those of us who wish to live free of coercion or to the killers without conscience?  Does it belong to those who uphold man's life as the standard of their values, or those who uphold the standard of death?

Can those of us who are passionately committed to the ideals of life, liberty, and the sovereign state of the individual hope to persist in the face of such an inevitable tragedy? Our one hope is that this pack of snarling communist dogs will turn upon themselves and consume one another before they have time to get to the rest of us. Those of us with the wisdom to prepare and the courage to step forward and rebuild our uniquely American civilization after the fall of this republic are our best and only hope for a decent and humane civilization.

I conclude with a quote from G. Warren Nutter, the late, great University of Virginia economist and proponent of liberty:

"The greatness of a society does not come from its monuments but from the kind of people it produces. Justice, responsibility, and humanity - these are the qualities of greatness in a people. Only the humane can remain free, and only the free can remain humane..."

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To: Noumenon

There are some who are born evil. I’ve met them and seen
an emptiness in their souls that puts a fear into me for I
realized that the only way to combat them is to eliminate them
which would make me as evil as they are.

I wonder If I’m right.

201 posted on 07/20/2011 7:45:44 AM PDT by OregonRancher (Some days, it's not even worth chewing through the restraints)
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To: OregonRancher
The notion that some are born evil is actually an attractive one, as it explains what would otherwwise call for less reassuring diagnosis. But I have my doubts. Daniel Goldhagen, writing in his Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity has what I believe is a more convincing argument and one that actually is more in line with what we know about human agancy and free will. Goldhagen rightly states that those who originate and participate in mass slaughter and atrocity do so willingly and with energy and enthusiasm. Goldhagen takes "the devil made me do it" and the appeal to the dark side of human nature excuses off the table and puts resonsibility squarely where it belongs - with the individual.

I believe that Goldhagen is correct in this regard. Human beings are not automatons, as much as the Left would like to have us believe. Think about it - if we accept that an individaual has no choice in his actions, then we've just written a blank check to the monsters who would rule like cattle.

202 posted on 07/20/2011 9:53:35 AM PDT by Noumenon (The only 'NO' a liberal understands is the one that arrives at muzzle velocity.)
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To: Noumenon willingly and with energy and enthusiasm.

Agreed. However, just because they do so willingly does not
mean they weren’t born evil. Evil takes many forms, and
one born that way might take different paths to satisfy cravings that we would consider outside moral and ethical

203 posted on 07/20/2011 12:14:26 PM PDT by OregonRancher (Some days, it's not even worth chewing through the restraints)
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To: Noumenon
In the Bloggers & Personal forum, on a thread titled: "FBI begins recording call-ins (talk radio)":

To: Gaffer

"We are witnessing the return of the Gestapo - because that madman Weather Underground sympathizer Eric Holder hates white people. While the FBI is under control of Holder, its sister agency the DHS is under control of a lesbian that hates America as much as Eric Holder and Hussein Obama. We are in for some very nasty sh!t if this halfrican is reelected. "

Sort of makes 1998 (or so) look like a "golden era" for freedom & liberty...

Of course, at that time many here thought it couldn't get much worse than klintoon, hitlary, alnotbright, Janet, and albore.

Unfortunately that was the last period of time in which heroic action might have saved the few existing remnants of the former Republic and one-or-two of the freedoms that we still had.

I would strongly recommend reading (or re-reading) this excellent post by Noumenon as he continued to build on central premises that he has posted since those early FR years: "Killers Without Conscience"

Needless to say...."Something wicked" no longer "comes"..It has arrived to stay!

Posted on 10/15/2011 10:11:52 PM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)

204 posted on 10/15/2011 10:25:39 PM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)
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To: SuperLuminal

Thanks for the bump. The book’s moving along in fits and starts as my day job work load and ranch work allows. I’ve had to answer a couple of key questions:

Why, for example is today any different from, say the days of the Roman Empire or medieval with respect to the exercise of power by individuals?

And above all, what is the nature of the antidote, the anti- will to power society and Man’s role in it? How do we go forward?

I’ve found some intriguing answers...

205 posted on 10/16/2011 9:43:06 AM PDT by Noumenon (The only 'NO' a liberal understands is the one that arrives at muzzle velocity.)
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To: Noumenon; Gaffer
"Why, for example is today any different from, say the days of the Roman Empire or medieval with respect to the exercise of power by individuals?"

At least one example is the orders-of-magnitude advantage that today's tyrant has in the amount of dynamic information he has about each and every serf with which to enable, strengthen, and perpetuate his control.

In their wildest dreams, Dzerhzinksy, Stalin, Wolf, Hitler, Goebbels, Malenkov, and Khrushchev couldn't have imagined the top-to-bottom control of every aspect of the serf population's life that is now a simple reality.

The history of the entire 20th century would have significantly different.

Reagan's 1964 warning of "...the last step into a thousand years of darkness." has certainly come to pass.

206 posted on 10/16/2011 2:10:40 PM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)
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To: Noumenon


207 posted on 10/16/2011 2:47:24 PM PDT by gargoyle ( becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them...)
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To: SuperLuminal

Yes, it’s true that modern technology is a force multiplier, so much so that it “generates its own weather”, so to speak. The monarchs, despots and tribal leaders of pre-World War 1 times were largely content to enlarge and otherwise rule over their own empires. Modernity has seen the rise of malignant megalomaniacs driven solely by the will to power; they use that power in pursuit of their savage, murderous Utopias. What they demand is not mere loyalty or economic surrender, but the very extinction of that which makes you human. This requires the elimination of even the smallest hint of dissent and thus - the slaughter of millions. It is the ultimate exercise of power, and it is absolutely irresistible for some. We see their handiwork everywhere today. The abyss beckons, and they are only too willing to plunge headlong into it.

208 posted on 10/16/2011 7:05:35 PM PDT by Noumenon (The only 'NO' a liberal understands is the one that arrives at muzzle velocity.)
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To: Noumenon

Nice piece. I’m glad I finally discovered it.

209 posted on 01/31/2012 3:07:34 PM PST by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: Noumenon

That was a great read, Thank you. I could not find anything there to disagree with!

210 posted on 01/31/2012 3:42:42 PM PST by antisocial (Texas SCV - Deo Vindice)
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To: antisocial

When I finish the book based on this essay, it’ll connect a lot of dots.

211 posted on 01/31/2012 4:17:21 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: Hemingway's Ghost

The commentary’s pretty good, too - reminiscent of what we used have here on a regular basis. Now - not so much.

212 posted on 01/31/2012 4:18:44 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

Please let me know when you get the book ready. Thanks.

213 posted on 01/31/2012 4:36:41 PM PST by antisocial (Texas SCV - Deo Vindice)
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To: antisocial
Will do. Meanwhile, here's a real jaw-dropper that had considerable influence on my work in progress: The Pakistani-Peruvian axis. It's not what you think it is, by the title.
214 posted on 01/31/2012 4:51:12 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
The commentary’s pretty good, too - reminiscent of what we used have here on a regular basis. Now - not so much.

Dig it. I miss the good ol' days, too. These were 200+ of some of the most insightful things I've read on FR in a long time.

Question for you: your stuff on the will to power I found quite compelling, and I think your argument for the vacuum left behind by the decline of the church is fairly water-tight, but I wonder what you think of the "will to power," if you will, of the earlier church?

And I'm not really trying to present an argument, but bring up a topic of conversation, to wit: though the Christian church was singular in the foundation of western morality (good & evil), there's no doubt that a great deal of violence was also done in the name of the church . . . often Christian on Christian violence. Because I'm part Acadian, I'm thinking, of course, of the diaspora in which protestant New Englanders used religion as an excuse to commit a version of genocide (albeit a "light" version of genocide, if there is such a thing) on the Acadians because, nominally, they were Catholic; although what they really had in mind was controlling the land that was then the breadbasket of North America.

Seems to me the "will to power" can exist in any institutional schema designed to govern, direct, or control the mind and the body of man, even in such a noble and august institution of a church. And while we conservatives are quick to point out the flaws of the institutions we look upon with a jaundiced eye - and rightly so, of course - we have to be careful to be fair across the board.

In any event, just a thought. Thanks again for the excellent piece, and the very best to you and yours.

215 posted on 01/31/2012 6:14:35 PM PST by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: Noumenon

Nice piece. I miss this type of writing.

216 posted on 01/31/2012 6:23:24 PM PST by Nita Nupress
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To: Hemingway's Ghost
Thanks for the well-considered response. You've raised a pertinent question: given that the desire for power, to rule over others, seems to be one of our human failings, what makes modern times any different in that respect than, say medieval times? Or the Dark Ages? Or the heyday of ancient Rome?

Part of the answer lies here: Don't Converge the Streams. The essence of the idea is that modern times saw the convergence of some uniquely toxic ideas and memes. Taken together, that convergence gave those who who are driven by the will to power the environment (in all respects), the ideas and the means to embark on the road to slaughter, ruin and atrocity - and I say that it is slaughter, ruin and atrocity for its own sake - beyond anything the world had seen. And, it continues unabated to this day. Somewhere, everywhere.

That's only part of the answer. Power's tough for some to resist. The power to harm others without consequence is more intoxicating than any drug to a particularly evil subset of humanity. The are other convergent factors that have combined to make modernity, for all of our technology and vaunted sophistication, one of the most barbaric episodes in human history. Consider Quigley's Pakistani-Peruvian Axis in the light of those convergent factors. I'm exploring another 'axis' - what I'm calling for now, the Scandinavian-Slavic axis. Loosely rendered, the Scandinavian-Slavic axis is composed of he following elements. First, the two-class warrior culture of the Vikings, who dominated far more of the post-Roman world than most people realize. The Vikings eventually came to conquer and to dominate the pastoral Slavs with their two-class (conqueror and conquered) militaristic culture. The combined nascent culture greatly admired and were dazzled by the power and the relative prosperity of the extant Byzantine culture, who in turn got their notions of totalitarianism from the old Roman Empire.

Byzantine Christianity also took a very different path with respect to its outlook - amounting to a Platonic view of Man and his place in the universe vs the more Aristotelian view.

The upshot is that the Western Christian outlook - so eloquently summarized by Quigley - never took hold in that part of the world. The outlook that eventually developed was totalitarian in the sense that the state essentially owned its subjects, nihilist in the sense that the world was viewed as an un-knowable and corrupt place and that death was the only respite from an evil existence, and that the core essence of Teutonic tribalism in all of its arrogance, savagery and lack of regard for human life never went away - it merely submerged itself in Teutonic sensibility until it was awakened by the monsters of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Beaten into submission in WW II, it still exists today.

Also recall that the Byzantine Empire eventually fell to one just as cruel and sadistic in its outlook (if not more so) - Islam.

That severing of the Byzantine connection left us with what I’m calling the Scandinavian-Slavic axis. It’s funny, isn't it, what happens to your outlook when you start looking at human history in terms of culture and ideas AND events rather than the conventional “one damn thing after another” event-only approach. Because “one damn thing after another” - a series of empty correlations - is all one can come up with absent an acknowledgement of the roles of culture and outlook - as embodied by those two great currents of human culture, custom and outlook.

Against those currents, we here in America stand very much alone.

217 posted on 01/31/2012 8:23:53 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: Hemingway's Ghost

BTW, a tip of the hat to fellow Acadian. I’m a Millet on my mom’s side, she born in Baton Rouge, LA. Lived in New Orleans until I was 9 years old. Still remember the old street cars and the flooded streets in hurricane season.

218 posted on 01/31/2012 8:28:28 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: Nita Nupress

Hey, Nita - long time no see. Hope you’re doing OK.


219 posted on 01/31/2012 8:29:57 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
Well, this was just awesome.

Excellent thoughts, well-presented. Please do add me to any list you might have so I can be notified when your book comes out. I'd love to read it.

Our dit name is Poitiers: generation upon generation upon generation of small-time farmers, laborers, and people of no historical consequence whatsoever . . . but people who lived in the grand Acadian tradition of do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Our USA branch started in the 1920s.

220 posted on 02/01/2012 6:08:57 AM PST by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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