Feb 22, 2010

The Rationale of Madness

There exists an absolute truth – God – toward which every sacred and individual human soul is created to aspire, eternally. This notion of the transcendent nature of man is the marrow of Judeo-Christian consciousness and the fountainhead of Western Civilization.

Unlike any other, this notion – dare we say “revelation” - has fueled man’s quests for knowledge in the sciences and beauty in the arts. It has tempered his savage lusts so that he might live more harmoniously with his fellow man. It is the principle that provides the Declaration of Independence its irrefutable and universal authority.

History is replete with examples demonstrating that the extent to which societies have abided this notion they have thrived. The extent to which they have not, they have failed, often brutally.

Collectivist thinking is the antithesis of this notion, and its legacy is one of mass poverty, destruction, and death. Consider its most effective advocates and practitioners - Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot. Under their rule there exists no God, society alone is sacred. The individual human beings comprising it are no more than cattle to be herded and disposed of as convenient to the objectives of the State.

When discussing the leaders of such regimes, the conclusion is often simply that they were madmen. True enough. But if we genuinely wish to prevent future such madmen from gaining power, we must make ourselves thoroughly aware of the means by which they did so in the past. The process often reveals hair-raising similarities to much of what today is politically fashionable.

Author Mark Musser has done invaluable work in re-constructing the rationale that drove the Nazi death campaign and enabled it to sell its message of murder to so many. In his latest essay, Hitler’s Green Killing Machine, Musser further explores what he calls the “eco-imperialism” that, in the minds of many, justified German expansionism and the attempted extermination of the Jews.

Musser points out that in Mein Kampf, Hitler contends, “the Jews try to pacify or tame Nature through international commerce and capitalism on the one hand, or by stressing universal political values like communistic equality on the other hand, both of which rebel against the stern rigid laws of Nature which cannot be overcome. German zoologist Ernst Haeckel, the racist Darwinist who coined the term 'ecology' in 1866, posited that the Jewish transcendent view of man over nature made them resistant to evolutionary biological change, and hence the Jews had become a lesser race. While Hitler eschewed some of Haeckel's political views, he heartily agreed with this particular belief.”

What made the “Jewish transcendent view of man over nature” so offensive to the Nazis was that it was in complete contradiction to their own.

Many Nazis, including the Fuhrer himself, believed that the industrial age along with its emphasis upon commercialism, city life, international trade and finance were corrupting the biological substance of the German people. The Nazis thus had an extreme literal reading of Nature which would spell absolute disaster for the Jews in particular precisely because they allegedly lived by a false, ‘eternal,’ or transcendent ethos, far above the natural world and her ‘scientific’ evolutionary natural laws of racism.”

Musser notes that, once in power, Hitler quickly codified his green ideology into law.

“By the summer of 1935, right before the Nuremberg laws were set up, Nazi Germany was by far the greenest regime on the planet. The Animal Protection laws were followed up by a strong hunting law for Hermann Goering in 1934. In 1935, Hitler also signed the Reich Nature Protection Act, the high water mark for Nazi environmentalism. Here is seen the birth of environmental permits, environmental impact statements and environmental totalitarianism. The Reich Nature Protection Act even allowed the expropriation of private property without compensation for the sake of the environment. Sustainable forestry practices called Dauerwald, which ironically means ‘eternal’ forest, were also introduced at the federal level.”

These laws, and the thinking behind them, logically concluded in the attempt to rid the world of the Jews who, to the Nazis, “had become a wandering and threatening invasive species because of their steadfastness to universal transcendent values in opposition to the Social Darwinian evolutionary laws of Nature…The revenge of Nature against the Jews was to be carried out by the Nazis, who thought themselves to be the Master Race precisely because they deemed themselves the most 'natural' or 'authentic,' i.e., the most in tune with Nature's pantheistic ways.”

No one advocates totalitarianism, the abolishment of human rights, and genocide openly. They do so - innocently or deliberately – through the promotion of some interpretation of justice and the common good. Through the modern environmentalist movement and its claims to seek the salvation of the planet, the free world has come perilously close to abdicating what liberties it still enjoys, opening the door to whatever monster wishes to take the reins of government and economy and do as he pleases.

As neo-pantheism and agnostic materialism increasingly replace the Judeo-Christian understanding of the transcendent nature of man in the minds of Western man, so this risk will increase. For if each individual human being is not held to be created in the image and likeness of God, endowed with certain unalienable rights, he has no natural rights at all. As such he is wholly at the whim of circumstances, ambitious do-gooders, and madmen.



Feb 8, 2010

The British Guide to National Ruin

Many are the instances where adult children pointedly eschew the profligate ways of their of their drunken and wayward parents. In his fascinating analysis, The Decline of Britain: A Cautionary Tale for America,” Dr. Robin Harris, former policy advisor to Prime Minister to Margaret Thatcher and Director of the Conservative Party Research Department, urges America to do just that: observe and reject the socialism which has rendered old Mother England an economic, political, and social basket case.

“Consanguinity,” (common ancestry for those who are NOT George Will) “works both ways,” advises Dr. Harris. “What works in one of our countries has been shown to work in the other. But what fails in one country also fails in the other, and in crucial respects Britain is now failing. The country’s palpable decline from its prosperity and security of just two decades ago constitutes an awful but, if intelligently observed, timely and useful warning to America.

Harris traces the “remarkable, but also indisputable” parallels of American and British economic and political cycles over the past forty years: regulation and taxation under Nixon and Heath; near bankruptcy under Carter and Callaghan; rebirth and prosperity with Reagan and Thatcher; the watered-down Conservatism of Bush and Major; the triangulation of Clinton and Blair, the War on Terror vigor of Bush and Blair; and now the lunge toward Marxism under Obama and Brown.

What has catapulted Britain into the lead in terms of economic disaster is her legacy of socialism, the roots of which Dr. Harris traces to World War Two.

“The Second World War was arguably the decisive event in the history of British collectivism. It increased public expenditure, taxation, and controls to previously unimaginable levels. The Left argued that total planning, which allegedly had won the war, could also secure universal prosperity. Churchill’s coalition wartime government, bowing to the prevailing ethos, laid foundations for the massive economic and social interventions that were later implemented by the postwar Labour government.”

Presaging Mr. Rahm Emanuel, Clement Attlee and crew let not the very good crisis of the war go to waste. They promised their shell-shocked and war-weary nation heaven on Earth and, having won a landslide victory as a result, implemented a welfare state agenda that nationalized the majority of the economy and made the citizenry dependent on government forever more. Bemused, alienated, and himself more than exhausted, Sir Winston could only watch from the back benches as his beloved Britain succumbed to the siren song of socialism. Later he, and even Lady Thatcher, could steer Britain toward free-market prosperity and credible self-defense, only within the confines of a thoroughly entrenched welfare state.

“Even the Thatcher years—again, despite Mrs. Thatcher’s own objections to the consensus—hardly shook the assumptions established at this time (1945) about what government was about.”

And herein lies the core of Harris’s warning to America: DO NOT let socialism into your home. It is a guest that will never leave!

“Britain’s experience offers a serious long-term warning because it shows how difficult it is for another Anglo–Saxon country to escape the legacy of socialism once that ideology becomes entrenched in attitudes and institutions.”

Harris observes that the Tea party movement is a distinctly and delightfully American phenomenon, which indicates the unlikelihood of socialism becoming entrenched in American attitudes. This is happy reaffirmation for those of us who nearly despaired one year ago that the Americans too had become inextricably infatuated by the wiles of the Nanny State. Where America is most vulnerable, however, is in her lack of focus and vigilance in ensuring that collectivist policies do not overwhelm her institutions.

“For the British, the danger is that they revert to collectivism by historically conditioned reflex,” writes Harris. “For Americans, the risk is different but real: It is, as Tocqueville warned, that they may gently and unwittingly slip into it.”

Alas, many of the Americans now crying out against the direction their nation is heading were the very same who voted-in the current occupants of the Executive and Legislative branches of their government. What were they thinking? They were not thinking. This is a dangerous game, for socialism has, in fact, made significant inroads into American institutions. Colleges and Universities, churches and synagogues, the news media, the entertainment industry, philanthropic foundations, even corporations are infested with collectivist thought, expressed through sham programs and initiatives bearing the banners of “diversity”, “sustainability”, and “social justice.”

Only now is the average American awakening to the malevolence these seemingly innocuous niceties possess. We must hasten this awakening. As more and more institutions surrender to collectivist pressure, the nearer to impossible it becomes to effectively oppose the trend, socially as well as politically.

“Conservative timidity is also understandable in straightforward electoral terms because of the sheer size of the public sector and the number of individual voters who are dependent in one way or another on public spending,” explains Harris. In other words, eventually the national motto becomes, if you can’t beat them, join them. Witness Britain’s “Conservative” Party.

The excesses of British government ignited the American Revolution, galvanizing the principles of limited government, no taxation without representation, and the rule of law in the hearts and minds of the American people. We join Dr. Harris and many others who continue to see the United States as the last best hope of mankind in hopes that, by her tragic example, Britain may do so once again.